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12/05/09 9:00 AM ET

Rangers take some chances in '09 Draft

Texas doesn't sign top pick but adds to deep farm system

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

The First-Year Player Draft is a bit of a crapshoot for any team, any scout will tell you. Some teams like to gamble more than others. When you're an organization already with a whole big pile of chips, it might be a little easier to take more chances.

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

That's precisely what the Rangers did in the 2009 Draft. Emboldened by one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, Texas took a very tough high school sign in the first round and a pitcher with a very questionable injury history with its second selection. The latter signed, the former did not.

Not signing a first-round pick is never a desirable outcome for any organization, but if there was going to be one that could handle that disappointment, it's this one.

Top five picks

1s. Tanner Scheppers, RHP: There's never been a question about his electric stuff. The issue was whether his shoulder was sound enough to allow him to use his arsenal on the mound. He made his unofficial debut in the Arizona Fall League after signing in mid-September and while his numbers -- 5.73 ERA, four walks, nine strikeouts in 11 innings -- are ordinary, reports of his stuff were very positive. He'll be a very interesting one to watch in 2010.

2. Tommy Mendonca, 3B: The Fresno State standout brought his raw power first to Spokane in the short-season Northwest League and then up to Bakersfield in the Class A Advanced California Legue. He scuffled a bit there (though he did hit two homers in the playoffs), but overall, it was a positive debut for the third baseman: .290/.343/.489 (he slugged .537 for Spokane).

3. Robert Erlin, LHP: The lefty high schooler out of California isn't the biggest guy in the world, but he's got a good arm. He showed it only briefly after signing in late July with the Rangers' club in the rookie-level Arizona League. He appeared in three games spanning four innings, allowing five hits and one run while walking just one and striking out nine.

4. Andrew Doyle, RHP: A starter with Oklahoma, he pitched exclusively as a reliever during his pro debut last summer. All but five of his 19 outings came with Spokane, where he went 2-0 with one save and a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings. He gave up 22 hits and walked four while striking out 24 before moving up to full-season Hickory to finish the season off.

5. Nick McBride, RHP: The North Carolina high schooler is tall and projects to have two decent pitches. He didn't sign until Aug. 12, so he didn't get to try his stuff out at any level until instructional league and will make his official debut in 2010.

Best of the rest

RHP Braden Tullis went 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA over 68 innings for Spokane. He allowed 68 hits and 20 walks while striking out 64 and finishing with a 2.61 GO/AO ratio. ... Between Spokane and Hickory, catcher Vin DiFazio (15th round) hit .278/.417/.526 over 230 total at-bats. He hit a dozen homers and drove in 46 runs in 65 games and was named to the Northwest League postseason All-Star team. ... RHP Sam Brown (22nd round) came out of NC State and went 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 17 relief outings for Spokane. Over 31 1/3 innings, the right-hander struck out 30 and walked eight.

Fast Risers

Assuming he stays healthy, Scheppers' combination of stuff and command should get him to Texas fairly quickly. If the Rangers let him relieve at the outset, having him help out in 2010 isn't completely unrealistic.


The big name, of course, is first-round pick Matthew Purke, the talented Texas high school lefty. The Rangers negotiated with the Purke camp right up until the deadline, but couldn't get anything done. Instead, Purke headed to TCU, where he'll be a draft-eligible sophomore in two years. The Rangers will get an extra first-round pick (No. 15) in 2010. Overall, Texas signed 25 of its 50 selections.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.