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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are hoping the old adage "like father, like son" is true after drafting Ruben Sierra Jr. in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
His father, Ruben Sierra, signed with the Rangers in 1982 as a free agent out of Puerto Rico. All high schoolers from Puerto Rico have been subject to the Draft since '90.
Sierra played parts of 10 seasons with the Rangers, becoming an everyday player at the age of 20. His best season came in 1989, when he hit .306 with 29 home runs and drove in 119 runs. Sierra finished second to Robin Yount in the Most Valuable Player balloting that season.
"I don't know what Senior's scouting reports were as a 17-, 18-year-old," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, "but [Sierra Jr.] is athletic. We wanted guys with quality upside who can reach [the big leagues]."
Sierra Jr. shares plenty of similarities with his father. He stands an inch taller than his father, at 6-foot-2. Sierra Jr. has played center field throughout high school, but once he adds weight to his 172-pound frame, he may shift to a corner-outfield spot, which is precisely where his father played.
Rangers -- Top five selections
|14||LHP||Matthew Purke||Klein HS
|44||RHP||Tanner Scheppers||No School
|62||3B||Thomas Mendonca||Fresno St U
|93||LHP||Robert Erlin||Scotts Valley HS
|124||RHP||Andrew Doyle||U Oklahoma
|Complete Rangers Draft results >|
Sierra's best tool may be his blazing speed. Perfect Game USA, an organization that puts together showcases and tournaments across the U.S., reports Sierra Jr. has run a 4.18 40-yard dash and a 6.38 60-yard dash. If reliable, those are incredibly fast times.
"I haven't seen him run, but [those times] wouldn't surprise me," Daniels said.
Sierra Jr. also has a powerful arm, as he has been clocked in the low 90s while throwing from the outfield. As a lefty, he has hit the upper 80s on the mound.
"We felt the strength of the Draft was pitching," Daniels said. "I think that talks to how difficult it is to find young position players, whether it be through the Draft or to sign them."
Day 2 Roundup:
Round 5 -- Nick McBride, RHP, Ragsdale High School:
Round 4 -- Andrew Doyle, RHP, University of Oklahoma: Doyle is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed junior. He led OU in innings over the past two seasons. He was previously drafted in the 39th round by the Washington Nationals out of Alleman High School (Rock Island, Ill), where he set school records for wins in a season and over his career.
McBride finished the 2009 season with nine wins, an 0.78 ERA and 74 strikeouts. He has committed to East Carolina University. McBride throws a fastball that touches 93 mph with a solid curveball. He is 6-foot-4 and a slight 175 pounds.
Round 6 -- Sierra, Jr., OF, San Juan Educational School:
Sierra is a 6-foot-2, 172-pound high school outfielder out of Puerto Rico. He has run a speedy 6.38 60-yard dash and features a strong arm in the outfield.
Round 7 -- Braxton Lane, OF, Shady Creek High School:
Lane is a two-sport star who has signed a letter of intent to play wide receiver for the University of Oregon. He runs a self-reported 4.31 40-yard dash and features a self-reported 38-inch vertical. He is a 5-foot-10, 190-pound center fielder.
Round 8 -- Braden Tullis, RHP, Skagit Valley College:
Tullis finished the season with a 1.56 ERA over 75 innings for the Cardinals. He limited hitters to a .199 batting average and finished with nine of the Cardinals' 32 wins. At the plate, Tullis hit .176, but he featured an on-base percentage of .423 in 17 at-bats. He is 6-foot-2 and weighs 200 pounds.
Round 9 -- Jabari Blash, OF, Miami Dade Community College:
Blash is a 6-foot-5, 218-pound outfielder with the Sharks. He is a native of the Virgin Islands and features a plus arm. Scouts compare him to a potential Jermaine Dye and like Blash's upside and power potential. He hit 10 home runs in 102 at-bats this season.
Round 10 -- Thomas Lemke, RHP, Northwest Christian High School:
A right-hander, Lemke has a fastball that he can dial up to 90 mph. He features a good delivery and scouts think he can add velocity as he develops. Lemke is 6-foot-7 and weighs 205 pounds.
Round 11 -- Johnny Gunter, RHP, Chattahoochee Valley Community College:
Gunter is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound pitcher who finished 11-3 for CVCC. Gunter threw 94 2/3 innings over 17 appearances and posted a 1.81 ERA. Gunter was named Alabama Community College Conference Player of the Year this season, and he posted an ACCC single-season record 128 strikeouts.
Round 12 -- Vin DiFazio, C, University of Alabama:
DiFazio is a 6-foot, 215-pound catcher for the Tide. His uncle, Vin DiFazio, who was his first baseball coach, died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. DiFazio also contracted a viral nerve disorder that limited his strength and mobility and caused him to miss the 2007 season. He hit .329 in limited time with the Tide this year.
Round 13 -- Justin Jamison, RHP, Strongsville High School:
An Ohio State University recruit, Jamison is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound right-handed pitcher. He went 6-0 this season with a 1.03 ERA. He struck out 57 batters in 54 2/3 innings and limited opponents to a .168 batting average.
Round 14 -- Chadwick Bell, LHP, Walters State Community College:
Bell posted a 2.08 ERA over 65 innings for the Senators. He struck out 78, walked 17 and limited opposing hitters to a .198 batting average. Bell was previously drafted in the 37th round by the Indians last year.
Round 15 -- Keith Campbell, RHP, Everett Community College:
Campbell is a right-handed pitcher coming back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He wasn't drafted out of high school, but he was ranked by Baseball America as one of the 10 best players available in the state of Washington. He is 6-foot-2 and weighs 195 pounds.
Round 16 -- Michael Revell, 3B, Florida High School:
Revell is committed to play at JUCO powerhouse Chipola College. He plays shortstop, but he may have to move to another position as he moves to higher levels. Revell hits left-handed, is 6-foot-2 and weighs 196 pounds.
Round 17 -- Paul Strong, LHP, Marina High School:
Strong posted a stellar season in 2009. His ERA was 1.58, and he struck out 87 over 70 2/3 innings. Strong is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound left-hander who throws three pitches (a fastball, a curveball and a changeup) for strikes. He is committed to University of California-Irvine. Rivals.com ranked him the 63rd-best high school senior in the country.
Round 18 -- Michael Schaaf, RHP, Arthur Hill High School:
Schaaf is a three-sport athlete who is a solid pro-style quarterback recruit. He was considering playing football at Rutgers or Michigan State University, but he appears headed to St. Peter's College in New Jersey for baseball. Schaaf is 6-foot-7 and weighs 235 pounds. He also started as a center in basketball.
Round 19 -- Jayce Boyd, 3B, JM Tate High School:
This Florida State University commit figures to move to first base in the future. He is 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, which means he could afford to gain some weight. Boyd bats and throws right-handed and projects to have a power bat.
Round 20 -- Jerome Werniuk, RHP, Neil McNeil High School:
Werniuk was ranked by Baseball America as the seventh-best Canadian prospect in the Draft. He touched 90 mph against an Astros extended spring training team and allowed no earned runs over two innings.
Round 21 -- Chris Matlock, RHP, University of Central Missouri:
Matlock posted a sterling 1.19 ERA over 53 innings as a reliever. He was 6-2 with 14 saves and limited opposing hitters to a .124 batting average. Matlock struck out 79 hitters.
Round 22 -- Sam Brown, RHP, North Carolina State University:
Brown was previously drafted in the seventh round in 2006 by the Nationals and in the 18th round in '08 by the D-backs. He is a 6-foot-4, 214-pound right-hander. Brown pitched mainly in relief, appearing in 21 games -- two of which were starts. His ERA was 4.67 over 34 2/3 innings.
Round 23 -- Daniel Lima, SS, Barry University:
Lima played in 54 games for Barry, hitting .394 with a .450 on-base percentage. He showed top-end speed, stealing 14 bases on 16 attempts and hitting four triples. He is a 6-foot-1 senior who bats and throws right-handed.
Round 24 -- Shawn Blackwell, RHP, Clear Creek High School:
Blackwell is a 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-handed high schooler. His fastball sits at 90 mph and he has a quality curveball. He is committed to the University of Kansas.
Round 25 -- Riley Cooper, OF, University of Florida:
Cooper played for the Gators' 2006 National Championship football team. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 161 prospect in the country in the '06 First-Year Player Draft. He was chosen in the 15th round of that Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Cooper started in 25 games for the Gators' baseball team this season, hitting .247 with two home runs.
Round 26 -- Kevin Castner, RHP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo:
Castner pitched 20 1/3 innings for the Mustangs, posting a 7.08 ERA in 16 relief appearances. Opposing batters hit .291 against him. He is a right-handed junior and was drafted in the 10th round by the Rangers last season with the 303rd overall pick. Castner was chosen with pick No. 784 this season.
Round 27 -- Aaron Barrett, RHP, University of Mississippi:
Barrett was drafted in the 44th round in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft by the Dodgers and in the 20th round last year by the Twins. He posted an 8.70 ERA over 30 innings this season. Opponents hit .344 against the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Barrett, but he struck out 33 hitters vs. just 13 walks.
Round 28 -- Derek Law, RHP, Seton LaSalle Catholic High School:
Law wasn't too bad in the batter's box this season, hitting .458 in 48 at-bats. However, he was even better on the mound, finishing 6-0 with 84 strikeouts. Last season, he struck out 132 hitters in 67 innings.
Round 29 -- Charles Watson, LHP, Cleburne County High School:
Watson is a left-handed pitcher out of Heflin, Ala. He is 5-foot-11 and weighs 185 pounds. Watson has signed to play baseball at Mississippi State.
Round 30 -- Bryan Fogle, OF, Erskine College:
Fogle is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior. He started in 50 games for the Flying Fleet, hitting .410 with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs. His on-base percentage was .520 and his slugging percentage was .825. Fogle was named a second-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association.