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Rangers find balance on Day 1
06/07/2004 10:38 PM ET
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers selected 19 players on the first day of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, including the club's first pick, junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Diamond from the University of New Orleans at No. 10 overall.

Eric Hurley, a right-handed pitcher from Wolfson High School in Florida, was also selected in the first round by the Rangers with the 30th pick.

"I wasn't totally shocked they were still there," assistant general manager Grady Fuson said. "Only one club in front of us had a shot. I think we thought there might be somebody all along that would get to us."

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Diamond, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Kenner, La., was selected as a preseason All-American by Baseball America and went 6-4 with a 2.38 ERA for the Privateers in 2004. He struck out 138 batters, including a Sun Belt Conference record 17 against Arkansas State.

Hurley was rated as the 15th-best prospect by Baseball America prior to the draft, ranking 11th among pitchers. He went 15-1 with a 0.73 ERA in 105 innings pitched, with 156 strikeouts and 13 walks during his senior season in Jacksonville, Fla. According to Baseball America, he has the second-best fastball among all high school pitchers in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

"I've heard nothing but good things about the Texas Rangers and when I heard my name called, I was very excited to be drafted by a first-class organization with first-class coaching all the way through their system," Hurley said. "I could not have asked for more than to be in a ballclub [like Texas] and possibly one day work with a coach like Orel Hershiser."

Overall the Rangers selected eight pitchers -- all right-handed -- and 11 position players on the first day of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Of the position players, there were six outfielders, two first basemen, one catcher, one third baseman and one second baseman.

"I think you heard some of the statements we made going into the draft, that it was not very deep at all position-wise from our estimation," Fuson said. "We set an agenda to hit as much upside as we could and when you look at the top four or five rounds, I think you see that."

The Rangers expect to concentrate on pitching during the second day of the First-Year Player Draft.

"We took eight pitchers out of 18 rounds and you can never take enough," Fuson said. "I think tomorrow's attention will certainly be on some more. But you do have to have a team out there to surround him. Pitching will be addressed a little bit more, but when you look at the guys we took at the top, we have our share of good program fillers."

A breakdown of the 18 players selected by the Rangers with a comment from Fuson.

Round 1: Thomas Diamond, RHP, University of New Orleans.
"He's been dominating the strike zone throughout his career and besides a great fastball, he also has a very good change, slider, and a breaking ball."

Eric Hurley, RHP, Wolfson High School
"Hurley comes from a quality program, he has a high upside, he's got good stuff, we have a nice track record with the kid."

Round 2: Karl Herren, OF, Auburn High School
"He's good center fielder with an upside bat."

Round 3: Michael Schlact, RHP, Wheeler High School
"He's a projection right-hander. He's a big 6-foot-7 guy that does things very easy. He throws strikes on a downhill plane."

Round 4: Brandon Boggs, OF, Georgia Tech University
"He's an athletic center fielder. He has some strength and hitting ability. He may have to move off of center, but he is going to have to play himself off.

Round 5: Michael Nickeas, C, Georgia Tech University
"He's a solid catch-and-throw guy with a chance to get some things figured out offensively. He's been a two-year Team USA guy."

Round 6: William Susdorf, OF, UCLA
"He lost some time at UCLA this year, but he's a guy we had targeted. He's a pure hitter."

Round 7: Benjamin Harrison, OF, University of Florida
"He was four-year player at Florida. He's a good size corner player. He has some speed and some hitting ability."

Round 8: Mark Roberts, RHP, University of Oklahoma
"He was a senior who is 88-92 mph with his fastball and has a very good slider. He has tremendous pitch-ability."

Round 9: James Fasano, 1B, University of Richmond
"He's a big, monster left-handed bat with power."

Round 10: Justin Maxwell, OF, University of Maryland
"Possibly a complete player. He has a broken arm and we are going to have to take our time and scout him all summer."

Round 11: Travis Metcalf, 3B, Kansas University
"He's a corner player with big power."

Round 12: Kevin Ardoin, RHP, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
"He's 87-91 mph with his fastball. He has a good crisp slider and knows how to pitch."

Round 13: Kyle Rogers, RHP, Ball High School
"He is an upside projection high school guy. We are unsure if can get him to sign, but if he doesn't, he'll be a draft and follow."

Round 14: Timothy Hulett, 2B, Auburn University
"He's a little scrappy second baseman that gets on base. He's a tough out and has top-of-the-order potential."

Round 15 John Lujan, RHP, New Mexico JC
"He's 88-91 mph with his fastball. He has fair command."

Round 16: Jarrod Burcie, RHP, Tarleton State University
"He has a big arm and can get it up to 96 mph. He's kind of a max-effort guy. He needs work with the breaking ball."

Round 17: Nic Crosta, OF, Santa Clara University
"He's a big, physical corner outfielder with a live body for a big man. He has big pull power."

Round 18: Freddie Thon, 1B, Brevard CC
"Freddie is junior college first baseman. He has good hands defensively, but he's not really rangy. He has a chance for power. He is the son of our scout Frankie Thon." .

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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