Draft, Day 2
Round 4. RHP Brock Porter (Age 19, 6’4″, 210 pounds, Michigan) — Porter was ranked the 12th-best draft prospect by Baseball America, 11th by MLB.com, and 14th by FanGraphs.com. All had Porter going 11th or 12th overall and as the first or second pitcher off the board. Once he slid past the #11 Mets (who halted catcher Kevin Parada’s slide) and Tigers (Josh’s brother Jace), no one called his name. That very night, Twitter and message boards were rife with the idea of Texas grabbing Porter and luring him with the savings from Kumar Rocker’s presumed under-slot deal. Swell idea, but the Rangers had to wait out another 28 picks. Everyone else passed again, so Porter is a Ranger, pending doctor’s approval and an agreeable bonus.
Conceivably, Texas drafted both the best college and high school pitcher in the draft. An astonishing feat. Porter offers a mid-90s fastball, an uncommonly good changeup (especially for a high schooler), an improved but still work-in-progress slider, and a curve that lags behind the rest. Descriptions of his delivery suggest simultaneous violence and fluidity.
5. SS Chandler Pollard (18, 6’2″, 175, Georgia) — Ranked 112 by BA, 110 by MLB.com. Great speed, good arm, so-so bat, looks skinnier than his listed 175, has a quirky swing wherein the rest of his body hesitates to complete the motion once he plants his front foot.
6. OF Tommy Specht (18, 6’3″, 200, Iowa) — Ranked 229 by BA. Specht turned 18 only three weeks ago but is filled out more like a college player and has a decent all-around tool set with some upside. He attended the same high school as Down East catcher Ian Moller and also left early. Specht played for the Clinton LumberKings, Texas’s bygone low-A affiliate that found a home in the Prospect League after losing affiliated status.
7. RHP Luis Ramirez (21, 6’2″, 200, Long Beach St.) — Ranked 118 BA, 143 by MLB.com. A shoulder problem limited him to seven starts (2.14 ERA, 11 BB, 38 SO in 33.2 IP) and apparently dropped him three or four rounds. Ramirez deals a low-90s sinker, slider and change.
8. RHP Matt Brosky (22, 5’10”, 190, Youngstown St.) — I’ve seen him listed as a senior on MLB’s draft tracker and a junior by his own school. I think he’s a fourth-year junior but don’t quote me. It may be a distinction without a difference, as I assume he’ll be the first of three straight picks Texas will try to sign for a relative pittance to divert pool money to Porter. Keep in mind that anybody offered an under-slot deal actually needs to sign in order for Texas to achieve this goal. The slot money for unsigned players is deducted from the total pool.
9. SS Griffin Cheney (23, 5’11”, 185, Georgia State) — Definitely a fifth-year senior and owner of a gaudy .350/.445/.640 line with 16 homers and 12 steals in 53 games. Cheney also has substantial experience at third and second.
10. OF Josh Hatcher (23, 6’2″, 200, Kennesaw St.) — Another senior. Hatcher was a teammate of Justin Foscue at Mississippi State and batted .321/.379/.500 as a sophomore in 2019. After a rough 2021, Hatcher transferred to Kennesaw State, where he improved .391/.452/.667 with 15 homers in 64 games in an admittedly easier conference. He played center for Kennesaw State, mostly first and COF for MSU.
Do the Rangers have the money to sign Porter? Texas’s pool is $9,640,700. $5.2 million for Kumar Rocker leaves $4,440,700 for everyone else. Assume picks 8-10 sign for $10,000 each, and picks 5-7 sign for slot. That sums to $6,207,200, leaving $3,433,500 for Porter, roughly equivalent to slot for the draft’s 20th pick. Clubs can also exceed their pool by up to 5% with a 75% tax on the overage. That gives Texas another $482,035 and boosts a potential bonus for Porter up to $3,915,535, or 16th-pick money. Per Levi Weaver of The Athletic, the expected bonus for Weaver is $3.7 million. Voila.
MLB terminated the 2020-2021 rule limiting bonuses for undrafted free agents to $20,000. Those players can now sign for any amount, but anything over $125,000 counts against the pool. As the draft is now 20 rounds instead of 40, a number of players now have some say in choosing their employer and could negotiate a little larger bonus. (Not all 600 who would’ve been drafted in the past, but some.) What a world. Do these players actually make any extra money? The circumstances aren’t identical, but during 2017-2019, Texas paid bonuses exceeding $20,000 to 18 players drafted in Rounds 21-40, topped by pitcher Michael Brewer’s $375,000.
Rookie Recap: Games of 11-16 JulyScores: 11-8 (M’s), 10-4 (White Sox), 5-4 (White Sox), 7-5 (Pads), 6-4 (Royals)
Record: 23-7, 8 G up
RHP Adrian Rodriguez (21): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, BB, 6 SO, 4.15 ERA
RHP Alberto Mota (19): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 6 SO, 0.61 ERA
LHP Josue Rodriguez (19): 2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, HBP, 4 SO, 7.04 ERA
RHP Aidan Curry (20): 4.1 IP, 6 H (HR), 4 R, BB, 6 SO, 3.80 ERA
OF Yeison Morrobel (18): 7-13, 2B, HR (1), 3 BB, .341/.424/.459
IF Gleider Figuereo (18): 6-16, 2 2B, HR (5), BB, SB (6), .286/.402/.671
OF Anthony Gutierrez (17) : 4-16, 2 2B, HR (1), HBP, SB (1), .250/.294/.563
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 5-17, HR (2), .348/.400/.489
OF JoJo Blackmon (19): 2-12, 3B, 4 BB, 3 SB (10), .274/.419/.536
The Rangers have won 13 straight.
Young Anthony Gutierrez is off to a nice start. Down 5-4 in the 6th of a seven-inning game on Friday, Danyer Cueva hit a tying solo homer, and Gutierrez capped the scoring in the 7th with his first homer.
Gleider Figuereo’s .671 slugging percentage leads the league by far, and his 1.073 OPS would also lead if not for 24-year-old Cuba Bess, who plays for Colorado (of course). Figuereo has four doubles, four triples, and five homers in 20 games.