The last time the Texas Rangers had a top-five draft pick was in 2001, when they took a big third baseman from Georgia Tech named Mark Teixeira with the fifth overall selection.
In Monday’s draft, the Rangers have the No. 4 pick, their highest since taking right-hander Kevin Brown with the fourth pick in 1986. Brown’s alma mater? Also Georgia Tech.
That’s just a coincidence, but what the prospects also had in common was unquestioned talent.
The Rangers’ philosophy hasn’t changed much under general manager Jon Daniels and Kip Fagg, senior director of amateur scouting the past six years.
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“We’re going to do kind of the same process we’ve done the last few years: take the best player with the best talent and who has the best makeup,” Fagg said. “I don’t think that’s changed.”
With a top-10 pick, however, the chances of landing a future big-league producer rise considerably. The last time the Rangers had a top-10 pick, they selected left-hander John Danks ninth overall in 2003.
Danks, just as Teixeira and Brown, proved to be an above average major leaguer.
“We’re confident we’re going to get a good player,” Daniels said. “You always feel that way, honestly. It’s the nature of the deal.
“You pick higher in the draft, you’d like to think the odds are a little bit better. You take that approach every year. You always expect to hit on the guy.”
Fagg, who’s in his 24th season with the Rangers, added: “I don’t think we’ve approached it any differently this year, even though we’re picking a little higher than the past few.
“There’s not a clear cut [No. 1 pick], let’s be honest. The people above us are not quite sure what they’re doing yet.”
The first three picks go to Arizona, Houston and Colorado, before the Rangers make theirs. Texas will have two picks Monday, including one in the second round (No. 45 overall).
“When you pick in the first round, you have an opportunity to get one of the best players in the country and you expect that guy to produce for you,” Daniels said. “You’re at the mercy of who goes off the board ahead of you.”
In 2015, however, that’s only three players.