It’s clear the Texas Rangers had a strategy heading into the 2018 MLB draft and that strategy was to go arm often and prep early. Nine of the Rangers top 12 picks were pitchers and each of their first five selections were prep players. In all, Texas went with 27 pitchers and 13 position players.
1.15 Cole Winn, RHP – Orange Lutheran High School (CA)
The Rangers had their sites set on a pitcher for their first selection and had to be ecstatic when Cole Winn was still available at 15. It’s not just because he is a Cole, but because of the well-developed profile for such a young arm. Winn, who moved from Colorado to California towards the end of 2017, is a 6’2, 190 lb. hurler with a an excellent 1,2 punch in his repertoire. The mid-90’s fastball is complimented well by a devastating curveball. He has a high leg kick from the wind-up with a pretty consistent arm slot in a fluid delivery. The most enticing thing about Winn is his strikeout to walk potential. His senior year he struck out 120 batters while walking just 11 and has good enough stuff to where that will more than likely transition over to the lower level of the minors.
2.55 Owen White, RHP – Jesse Carson High School (NC)
The Rangers went with another prep right hander in the second round when they selected Owen White 55th overall. He may be from the opposite coast, but White possesses some very similar qualities to his first round counterpart. The mid-90’s fastball is there on most days and scouts have reported that he shows a feel for having four advanced pitches in his repertoire, including an already above-average curveball.
— MLB Draft Tracker (@MLBDraftTracker) June 5, 2018
3.91 Jonathan Ornelas, SS – Raymond S. Kellis High School (AZ)
Ornelas was the first position player selected by the Rangers and the first of two Arizona prep shortstops they took in the first five rounds. A product of Raymond S. Kellis High in Arizona, a lot of reports claim Ornelas can’t hang at short despite a high level of athleticism. He will more than likely move to second base, but has a good enough arm to move over to third as well. His best tool is certainly his bat, the power more so than the contact, and his speed is average at best. Jim Callis of MLB.com has placed a Javier Baez comp on Ornelas.
4.119 Mason Englert, RHP – Forney High School (TX)
The Texas native has a prototypical high round pitcher frame at a projectable 6’4, 200 lb. Englert has a quick delivery and keeps his hands on an even plane through the motion, hiding the ball and making his low 90’s heater sneak up on the hitter even quicker. He doesn’t possess quite as good secondary stuff as the Rangers top two pitching selections but has shown the ability to use his slider as an out pitch. The potential for Englert is very high. Keep him in mind in the middle to late rounds of your first year player drafts.
— Jamey Newberg (@NewbergReport) June 11, 2018
5.149 Jayce Easley, SS – Sandra Day O’Connor High School (AZ)
Easley is listed at 5’8, 145 lbs. and 145 lbs. might be a stretch. However, you can’t let this guy’s small stature fool you. The young man can play and the Rangers recognized that. Easley has an explosive, decently controlled swing that produces a lot of solid contact. He can already drive the ball all over the field and as he continues to mature will only add power. Right now his gap power and plate discipline compliment his good speed around the bases. Easley should also stick in the middle infield somewhere as he rates out as a plus defender with a decent arm that should only get better.
Featured image of Cole Winn – via africamlb.com