Former Rangers Draftees to Watch For
It’s this time of year again. Players have reported to Arizona and Florida in the best shapes of their lives. We’ll soon start arguing about who’ll take the 25th spot on the roster. The annoying #FaceOfMLB hashtag may or may not start flooding your Twitter timelines again. Another baseball season has finally arrived as we stop staring out the window.
While big leaguers start preparing for the season, college players have started competing for the ultimate triumph in Omaha in late June.
Here at SDI, I’ll take a look at former Rangers draft picks who altered their way to attend college, instead of going through 10-hour bus rides and less-than minimum wage earnings (though these players would have signed for seven-figure bonuses had they signed). For those who are interested, I did the same experiment last year.
By MLB’s rule, there are minimum chances the Rangers calling these names again thin June. But it’s worth remembering these names since they have the talent to be impact players.
Buddy Reed, OF, Florida, 2013 35th round
Insofar as his name sounds like a fantastic jazz drummer, he’s a fantastic athlete. The Maryland native put himself on the prospect radar with his breakout sophomore campaign in 2015, where he slashed .305/.367/.433 in 282 at-bats while swiping eighteen bags in twenty-six attempts for the Gators. Reed is seen as one of the best prospects in the class and slated to go within the first ten picks in June’s first year player draft as he’s ranked sixth overall by MLB.com’s 2016 draft class list and fourth in Baseball America’s college top 100 draft rankings.
Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State, 2013 36th round
He has the stuff. Hudson sits in the low-90s with his fastball and touches 97. The secondary offering shows bat-missing ability. Yet he has little idea where they are going. In his first two seasons in college ball, the Tennessee native tossed only 34 frames, struck out 36 but issued 19 free passes.
However, he showed improvement last summer in the Cape Cod League, fanning 41 and walking just seven while posting a spectacular 1.69 ERA in 42.2 innings. The stellar summer ball campaign earned him scouts’ attention. He landed 33rd spot in MLB.com and 20th in Baseball America rankings I mentioned above in the Reed section.
Although through first two weeks, Hudson has struggled to hit the zone again, issuing seven walks in 11 innings. The positive sign is that he’s punched out 17 while giving up only two runs in those 11 frames.
Sheldon Neuse, 3B/RHP, Oklahoma, 2013 38th round
A two-way player, Neuse (pronounced noisy) has slashed .290/.356/.473 with 13 round-trippers, 41 walks and 77 strikeouts in 469 at-bats as Oklahoma’s shortstop/third baseman in his two-year collegiate career. On the bump, the Fort Worth native has punched out 17 while walking six in 20 innings.
Should Neuse becomes an early round pick this coming June, as he’s ranked eighty-second on Baseball America’s list, he’ll start making buzz in pro ball *puts on sunglasses* Sooner rather than later.
Ryan Williamson, LHP, NC State, 2013 28th round
First, the lefty has already made SportsCenter Top 10 with a fantastic diving glove you can see in the video above. Throughout his time as a Wolfpack, Williamson has lacked up Ks: 68 in 59 innings. In 2015, his sophomore year, he improved the ability to pound the zone as he nearly halved his BB/9 from 7.40 in the previous season to a much more respectable 3.99.
Taylor Olmstead, OF, Southern New Hampshire University, 2013 13th round
It’s been a tough two-and-a-half years for the former high school two-sport star. After missing the entire season in his first year at UConn, Olmstead appeared in only 15 games and had just 5 at-bats as a redshirt freshman in 2015. His summer ball appearance, in which he hit .265/.325/.497 in 151 at-bats did little to get his career back on track. Before the 2016 season, he transferred to Division II SNHU, where he’s appeared in three of the team’s five games through the end of February and hopes to make rounds with the athleticism that once had him recruited by more than a few schools in baseball and football.