Former Rangers Draft Picks – College Preview

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If you’re reading this right now, congrats! We’ve made it. We’ve been through a miserable winter of no baseball and are just a week away from pitchers and catchers day. Our days of staring out the window are almost over.

And if you are a bit more obsessive fan into college baseball, the Road to Omaha starts today. The days of the sacrifice bunts and BBCOR bats have officially arrived.

Here at SDI, I’ll take a look at players who’ve been selected by the Rangers in the past 3 years. These guys could have been around in Hickory, or Frisco in an alternate universe. Some of them could get their names called by the Rangers again in this June.

David Berg, RHP, UCLA, 17th round, 2014

The submarine righty is one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball. In his 132 games, 200 innings with the Bruins, Berg has posted a microscopic 1.26 ERA, struck out 176 batters, walked 36, given up just four home runs and notched 36 saves. He doesn’t have eye-popping stuff, but as you may guess, he kills all the worms with his mid-80s sinking fastball. After the Rangers’ selection, Berg decided to go back to school for his senior year to get his degree of political science. Berg would have to give his consent should he be drafted by the Rangers again this year because the draft rules do not allow a player to be selected by the same team twice without the players permission.

Ryan Burr, RHP, Arizona State, 33rd round, 2012

Featuring a fastball that tops out at 97 MPH and a wipeout slider, Burr has worked mostly as a closer for the Sun Devils. In 89 innings in his collegiate career, Burr has struck out 116 batters, a whopping 11.73 K/9. But as opposed to that, he was walked 61, or 6.17 per 9 innings. This is clearly what he needs to work on.

Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State, 36th round, 2013

Entering the 2013 draft, Perfect Game USA selected Hudson as one of their top 100 prospects. After opening his career at Mississippi State as a weekend starter, he logged in just 17.1 IP in his freshman season. He’s expected to have more workload going forward.

Sheldon Neuse, IF/RHP, Oklahoma, 38th round, 2013

The Sooner sophomore made Baseball America’s preseason All-America Team as a 3B and is one of 50 players on the Golden Spikes Award watch list, along with fellow former Ranger draftee Berg. In his freshman season in 2014, the Fort Worth native hit .304/.369/.521 with seven bombs in 240 AB while splitting his time between 3B and SS.

Brad Stone, LHP, NC State, 35th round, 2012

First, everytime I hear his name, a particular Judas Priest song starts playing in my head. Heading into his junior season, Stone is likely to have the heavy duty of taking Carlos Rodon’s spot in the Wolfpack’s rotation. The 6’3”, 183 lefty has posted a 4.50 ERA, 94/47 K/BB, given up 81 hits, nine dingers in 102 innings in two years in Raleigh.

Matt Withrow, RHP, Texas Tech, 37th round, 2012

Withrow has struggled in his collegiate career so far. In both of his freshman and sophomore years, his ERA was over 5.00. He’s struck out nearly as many hitters (94) as innings pitched (95), though, he’s also walked quite a bit (57) , and gave up a pile of hits (101).

Alex Young, LHP, TCU, 32nd round, 2012

Back in September, Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs ranked Young 30th in his top 50 2015 draft prospect rankings. According to McDaniel, Young’s fastball, changeup, and command are average but he flashes a plus slider and curve. The southpaw has mostly worked out of the bullpen, gone 8-7 with six saves, a 2.57 ERA, 77/26 K/BB, given up three long balls in 83.2 innings in 44 games (four starts).

Jameis Winston, OF/RHP, Florida State, 15th round, 2012

In case you are not familiar with him, he won the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and led the Seminoles to the National Championship while showing questionable behaviors off the field. On the baseball side, Winston serves as a reliever/part time outfielder. At the plate, he’s hit .209/.356/.304, 30/42 BB/K in 158 AB. On the mound, he’s appeared in 41 games, tossed 60 innings, posted a 1.95 ERA, punched out 52 while issuing 19 free passes.

Scouts see him as a raw talent with a crazy high upside. Sounds like the Rangers’ sweetheart, huh? However he won’t play baseball this spring, as he’s headed into the NFL Draft to pursue his career in football.

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Kazuto Yamazaki
Grew up in Tokyo, Kaz fell in love with the 2004 Rangers that featured Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira, and has been a fan since then. Other than doing baseball-related activity, which consumes most of his time, he enjoys singing and playing the guitar. He also writes for The Dynasty Guru and The Scoop Sports. You can follow Kaz on Twitter @Kazuto_Yamazaki and reach him via email kazuto.yamazaki@shutdowninning.com.

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