The Texas Rangers used their first-round pick in the 2016 draft on Cole Ragans, a prep left-hander from Florida.
He wasn't going to pitch for the Rangers in 2018 and maybe not even in 2020, but the injury that will cost him a season of development time is the latest obstacle in the Rangers' quest to draft and develop a starting pitcher.
They have the 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, which begins Monday night. If they decide to go with a pitcher, these pitchers could be on their radar.
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Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS: The Gatorade National Pitcher of the Year possesses two of the traits Rangers love their draft picks to have: high upside and tremendous athleticism. Weathers, a Vanderbilt commit, is the son of MLB veteran David Weathers and, according to Baseball America, has a solid three-pitch arsenal. He was a key contributor on a state-championship basketball team.
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Nacogdoches Central Heights HS: A Texas A&M commitment, Rodriguez has jumped from low-90s fastball velocity as a junior to 98 mph this season after he reshaped his body, Baseball America said. The fastball is already a plus-pitch that the 6-foot-5 righty complements with a slider, curveball and changeup.
Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Melbourne, Fla.): MLB.com's latest mock draft has Stewart falling to the Rangers even though they have him listed as the fifth overall prospect. He's tall (6-foot-6), throws hard (98 mph) and has a terrific curveball. He has committed to Mississippi State, which has been in the local news of late.
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cummings, Ga.): Another prep talent, Hankins could fall to the Rangers after dealing with a minor arm injury this spring. MLB.com says the Vanderbilt commitment's fastball is the best in the draft when he's healthy and has a chance to get better. The off-speed pitches are a work-in-progress.
Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida: If the Rangers want a college arm, Kowar could be available for them at No. 15. His fastball touched 98 mph this season, but it doesn't have the kind of movement that makes it a plus-pitch. He does throw a plus-changeup, MLB.com says, and there is room for more with his arm and projectable size.