ARLINGTON -- Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg was feeling quite confident, and even a bit defiant, after selecting four high school players on the second and final day of the 2020 MLB Draft.
There is no question the Rangers' draft strategy puzzled the experts who were offering their insights on the MLB Network broadcast on Thursday. These were analysts with many years of experience who spent many hours putting together Draft scouting reports.
But Fagg didn’t care if the analysts were expressing some doubt about the Rangers' Day 2 picks. He felt the Rangers “beat” other teams on players who would have ended up ranked higher had they played full seasons.
“A lot of these kids we took [Thursday], as you saw, weren’t the top prospects on all the lists,” Fagg said. “We identified them early, did a lot of work on them. Every one of these guys we had targeted. A lot of other teams didn’t scout these guys. We feel like we beat a lot of people on these guys. Time will tell.”
Fagg said he expects all four to join Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue, the Rangers' first-round pick, in signing with the team, rather than going to college.
Here's a look at each of the four players the Rangers drafted on Thursday:
Round 2, 50th overall: Evan Carter, OF, Elizabethton (Tenn.) High
Despite being taken with the No. 50 selection, Carter was not listed on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Prospects list going into the Draft. Other lists also did not include him. He was undaunted by such projections and was ready with his Rangers cap when they drafted him.
“I know I have always flown under the radar,” Carter said. “I never went to the Perfect Game camps or anything like that. I know wherever I show up, I’m there to compete and I’m there to be the best. I definitely let my actions speak for themselves on the field.”
Carter, who is 6-foot-4, has not been totally overlooked. He had a scholarship waiting for him at Duke, but he said he will forego that commitment to sign with the Rangers. He is signing as a left-handed-hitting outfielder, even though he also impressed as a right-handed pitcher in high school.
“This is kind of a no-brainer,” Carter said about signing with the Rangers. “It just kind of makes sense to me and my family.”
As a junior in 2019, Carter was named Super 22 Player of the Year and earned first-team all-state honors. He hit .324 with four home runs and 27 RBIs, while going 10-2 with a 1.34 ERA and six complete games on the mound.
Carter comes from the same high school that produced former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. Carter played football as a freshman, playing wide receiver and safety, and his coach was Witten's brother, Shawn.
Carter said he grew up rooting for the Rangers. His father, Jason, is a Rangers fan and is friends with Danny Clark, the organization’s Minor League pitching coordinator.
“We were a little worried, there were a couple of teams on him,” Fagg said. “I knew Kansas City was on him. Pittsburgh was another team. We were very excited to get this guy. He is the one guy today I think our group is most excited about.”
Round 3, 86th overall: Tekoah Roby, RHP, Pine Forest High School (Pensacola, Fla.)
Roby, who is committed to Troy University and stands 6-foot-1, has a three-pitch mix with a fastball that hits 94 mph. His curveball has the potential to be a swing-and-miss pitch, and his changeup is developing. He made only one start this spring, but he went 7-4 with a 1.19 ERA in 11 starts in 2019, striking out 109 and walking only 10 in 70 innings.
“It’s a loose body,” Fagg said. “Very athletic kid, good arm action. He can spin the ball, he’s got touch and feel with the fastball up to 93-94. He wasn’t seen by a ton of guys when they got shut down, so we felt like we beat a lot of people on this kid.”
Round 4, 115th overall: Dylan MacLean, LHP, Central Catholic High School (Portland, Ore.)
MacLean is a 6-foot-3 lefty who was ranked No. 195 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Prospects list and has a commitment to the University of Washington. He throws in the mid-80s, but he can touch 90. He also has a good feel for pitching, a fluid delivery and excellent command.
MacLean was named Oregon’s High School Player of the Year by Prep Baseball Report and Mt. Hood Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2019. He led all Oregon 6A pitchers in wins, ERA and strikeouts last season, and he was ranked as the second-best pitching prospect in the state behind right-hander Mick Abel.
“He is a guy we saw last summer in the Area Code Games,” Fagg said. “He was an 84-87 mph guy. He threw a ton of strikes with a three-pitch mix. It was a little underdeveloped, and I got a chance to see him early when I went up there in January and saw Mick Abel throw a bullpen.
“I got to see Dylan and I didn’t know who he was. He had gained 20 pounds. The velocity had crept up. Kept the good delivery. Loose body. He is going to throw a ton of strikes.”
Round 5, 145th overall: Thomas Saggese, SS, Carlsbad High School (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Saggese’s mother died last year, and he didn’t get the chance to be seen in the usual summer showcase events. That lack of exposure is unusual for a player from Southern California and is why he wasn’t highly ranked on the top prospects lists.
Saggese, who is 6-foot and committed to Pepperdine, batted .440 with three home runs and nine RBIs in seven games for Carlsbad High School in this spring's shortened season. The shortstop was named Most Valuable Player of San Diego’s Avocado West League as a junior after batting .422 (43-for-102) with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 17 walks against 14 strikeouts.
“He’s one of those kids that has a knack of barreling up baseballs,” Fagg said. “We’ve got a middle-of-the-diamond player with good bat-to-ball skills with power. Love the makeup and the drive. Love the kid.”