Draft Rounds 1-10 Review

No games in the US today. Instead, a wrap of Texas’s picks through yesterday. Rounds 11-20 are occurring now. Texas drafted only one high schooler in the first ten rounds.

1st round / 3rd overall. OF Wyatt Langford, U of Florida, Age 21.6, 6’1″, 225
(#3 draft prospect per Baseball America, #3 per MLB.com, #2 per FanGraphs, #2 per The Athletic)
As I’d mentioned, some experts suggested the possibility of prepster Max Clark being picked in the top three, but nobody’s mock draft took that leap. The likely outcome was Skenes, Crews, and Langford in the top three, leaving Texas to chose between Clark and Walker Jenkins. That would have been a fine outcome, considering the quality involved, but Detroit instead opted for Clark, offering the Rangers the opportunity to grab the top college player on the board. They accepted. FanGraphs ranks him the #21 prospect in baseball, second in the draft behind Crews at #8.

Langford can hit. His swing is quick, clean, and compact. He generates plenty of lift but also has very solid contact skills and a keen eye. Some amateur experts have graded his speed at 70, but it hasn’t manifested in the form of steals (just nine in 2023) or in reports on his defensive acumen. Langford has mostly played left field in college but could get a chance at a different spot.

My guess is Langford will spend some time out in Arizona, get into a few rookie-level games, and then head to North Carolina, perhaps to high-A Hickory. I don’t stress at all about placement this early. Just having him in the system and on the field is enough for now.

4/108. RHP Skylar Hales, U of Santa Clara, Age 21.7, 6’4″, 220
(#179 per BA, mentioned but not ranked by FanGraphs)
As a junior, Hales moved back to a relief role after one year in the rotation, and both his control (7% BB/HBP) and strikeout rate (29%) improved considerably. Per Baseball America, Hales has a mid-90s fastball that has touched 100, a fringy upper-80s slider, and no changeup. I suppose Texas could attempt another go at starting, but relief is the likely outcome. Here’s MLB.com’s video.
5/144. RHP Alejandro Rosario, U of Miami (FL), Age 21.5, 6’1″, 182
(#228 per BA, #212 by MLB)
A regular rotation member but shifting between starts on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday as needed, Rosario appears to be a lengthy project despite three busy years at a major college. Rosario’s stuff is impressive: mid-90s fastball touching 100, a high-spin, bat-missing, low-80s slider, a functional upper-80s change, a 25% strikeout rate. Unfortunately, his results have been poor and tracked sideways. He’s prone to both walks (15% BB/HBP rate) and hits (81 including 11 homers in 74 innings). Video from Miami.

6/171. RHP Caden Scarborough, Harmony HS (Harmony, FL), Age 18.2, 6’5″, 185
Scarborough looks under his listed 185 pounds in this video. He’s a giraffe that learned to pitch and struck out 70 in 38 innings as a senior. Diamond Prospect Media reported a 90ish fastball and 70ish curve. Undoubtedly, the Rangers are banking for additional velocity as he ages and fills out. Per this story, Scarborough was offered a scholarship by Dallas Baptist but is leaning pro. One must be wary of such stories, of course, but it has more background info you might find interesting. In their press release, the Rangers noted his prowess at basketball, a topic I personally would have avoided.

7/201. RHP Izack Tiger, Butler County Community College (KS), Age 22.4, 6’2″, 175
Tiger led the Grizzlies with 84 innings, posting a 3.93 ERA (in a very high-scoring league) with 29 walks and 121 strikeouts. A tweet with video from Perfect Game College Baseball reported a 94-97 fastball, 86-90 cutter, and 86-89 changeup in a summer league outing. Kansas-bound if unsigned.

8/231. C Julian Brock, U of Louisiana at Lafayette, Age 22.0, 6’3″, 220
(#371 per BA, #122 per MLB)
Brock is listed as a senior on the MLB Draft Tracker but shows as a redshirt junior elsewhere. MLB.com ranked him the seventh-best catching prospect in the draft and suggested he could be picked in the top five rounds, while Baseball America ranked him 22nd. Brock batted .300 the past two seasons but is considered power-first, and he hit 11 homers and 17 doubles in 64 games in 2023. Defense appears adequate.

9/261. OF Quincy Scott, Palomar College (San Marcos, CA), Age 20.4, 6’5″, 220
Batted .438/.522/.648 with six homers, eight steals, and more than twice as many walks as strikeouts in 41 games. (Note: The team slash line was .354/.450/.523.) Also played for Palomar in 2022, and will switch to Cal Santa Barbara if unsigned.
10/291. RHP Case Matter, U of Washington, Age 21.4, 6’2″, 180
(#362 per BA)
The Huskies’ quasi-closer. Mid-90s fastball, mid-to-upper-80s slider, upper-70s curve. Good strikeout rate (28% compared to Pac 10 average 21%) but poor control (22% BB/HBP) that forces heavy fastball reliance.

Note: BA ranks 500 players, MLB 250, FanGraphs 68 plus around 120 extra mentions, Athletic 100.