Monday newsletter time: Rangers win in draft, but limp to All-Star break in D.C.
(AP photo/Gary McCullough)
The two biggest days each of the past two seasons for the Rangers were draft day and the trade deadline, both because the Rangers were reloading the farm system and trying to build a winner.
They are a winner this season, at least so far, so the MLB Draft on Sunday might not have meant as much to those watching the American League West standings. But a healthy MLB team has a thriving farm system, and the Rangers’ selection of Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford is a big deal.
He was one of the best players in the country this season, and few expected him to be around after the third pick. But the Tigers took prep outfielder Max Clark, and the Rangers landed a potential middle-of-the-lineup hitter.
Langford will likely be considered the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect once the industry publications catch up after the draft and trade deadline. That assumes that No. 1 prospect Evan Carter isn’t traded for big-league help.
Instead, Carter and Langford could be patrolling the same outfield in future seasons.
Langford also plays a role what the Rangers might do at the trade deadline. They have added another premium prospect to the farm system, which might make it easier to trade one or two top guys to improve the Rangers’ playoff chances for this season and next.
If Langford signs for the slot value of $7,698,000, the Rangers will have around $2.2 million remaining for the rest of the draft. They don’t pick again until the fourth round, so they should be able to manage the rest of their draft choices.
There was some anticipation, including by me, that the Rangers would go try to find a player to draft who would sign below slot and give them more money to play with later in the draft. By dropping to fourth, Wyatt became an incredible value.
But in listening to general manager Chris Young and amateur scouting director Kip Fagg, it’s apparent that the Rangers weren’t looking to skimp. They had zeroed in on Langford from the start of the scouting process and got their guy.
Rough road trip
The All-Star break has arrived, and the Rangers might be one of the more grateful teams that it is here.
Most of the team will get needed time off, though six key contributors were headed to Seattle on Sunday night for the All-Star Game after the Rangers lost 7-2 to the Nationals.
Right-hander Josh Sborz, who has become a go-to reliever the past month, allowed a close game to get out of hand after starter Dane Dunning was removed with two outs in the sixth. The Nationals scored three times to open up what was a 2-1 game.
Sborz needs rest. Martin Perez and Andrew Heaney need rest. Ezequiel Duran and Leody Taveras, navigating their most extensive playing time as major-leaguers, need rest.
The good news is that the Rangers are in first place in the AL West by two games over the Astros, who lost 3 of 4 games to the Mariners. If given the chance before the season, everyone with the Rangers and who follows the Rangers would have taken a two-game lead at the All-Star break.
The bad news is the season resumes with a difficult nine-game homestand against the Guardians, the Rays and the Dodgers, and then a six-game road trip to Houston and San Diego.
They all get a chance to rest, too.
No one said winning was easy.
Adolis Garcia will be on baseball’s big stage tonight in the Home Run Derby at T Mobile Park in Seattle, and he will be taking on close friend Randy Arozarena of the Rays in the first round.
The derby will be preceded by batting practice, which will be preceded by media day, which will be preceded by the two managers announcing their starting pitchers and lineups.
Astros manager Dusty Baker will be putting five Rangers in the starting lineup — Garcia, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jonah Heim and Josh Jung. Baker could add a sixth by selecting right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Though four days off their feet would have been more beneficial to the Rangers than a cross-country flight and some extra responsibilities as All-Stars, there’s nothing anyone can do about it now.
Might as well enjoy it.
The Wilson Weekend Baseball Adventure on Saturday and Sunday took the clan to McKinney as the 10-year-old played with an 11U team in a Perfect Game tournament. The weather wasn’t perfect.
Saturday was steamy as the boys went 1-1 in pool play. That set up an 8 a.m. game Sunday and a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. As we plowed into Allen, the wife looked at the skies. Rain was on the way, and the tournament got canceled more than an hour away from home.
The lesson? Play better to avoid the 8 a.m. game.
So, I missed some Rangers baseball. If you’re with me, here’s our latest content, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: What to do in the draft?
Friday on the Farm: June stars
Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Dane Dunning audio, video links
I call shotgun! Enjoy.
Majestic AF pic.twitter.com/6SDtDiPvkR
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) July 8, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org