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Rangers add speedy Jenkins in Draft

High school outfielder taken with 45th overall pick

ARLINGTON -- Eric Jenkins is 6-foot-2 and can dunk a basketball. He also played a little soccer and football at West Columbus (N.C.) High.

But what he does best is run fast and what he loves most is playing baseball. A left-handed-hitting outfielder with great speed, some power and excellent defensive ability, Jenkins was taken by the Rangers in the second round Monday with the 45th overall pick of the 2015 Draft.

"He is a top-of-the-order guy, energetic, athletic, good swing, top-of-the-chart runner, very good center fielder, very good makeup, very good family," Rangers scouting director Kipp Fagg said. "We were very excited to get him with this pick."

The Draft continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 12 p.m. CT.

• Fourth overall: Dillon Tate

Jenkins has committed to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington but, like first-round pick Dillon Tate, he appears to ready to sign quickly with the Rangers.

"This means a lot to me," Jenkins said. "I have been playing baseball since I was 3 years old. My boyhood dream was to play professional baseball. Today I got that opportunity and to be picked by the Texas Rangers, this means a lot."

Video: Draft Report: Eric Jenkins, HS Outfielder

Jenkins played at a small rural high school but during the summer months he competed in most of the summer All-Star and showcase events put on for Draft and college prospects. He held his own against the best and the Rangers believe he could develop into an impact player.

He hit .323 with seven doubles, four home runs, 25 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in his senior season. He had 66 steals over three years and was a second-team All-American.

The Rangers have upgraded the number of offensive prospects in their farm system over the past few years with big bats like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Nick Williams. But they have been lacking in true speed and Jenkins helps address that.

"We want guys who have a chance to make an impact in the big leagues and he has a chance to do that," Fagg said.

One good sign: Jenkins comes from the same high school as former outfielder Otis Nixon, who stole 50 bases for the Rangers in 1995. Nixon is 16th all-time with 620 career stolen bases.

"If he turns into Otis Nixon, I would be very happy with that," Fagg said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.
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