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Rangers shopping for pitching depth in '18 Draft

Texas likely to restock system with arms, infielders
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will have the 15th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. After the compensation and the Competitive Balance picks, the Rangers' second-round pick will be the 55th overall.

The 2018 Draft begins tonight with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 5 p.m. CT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 11 a.m. CT.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will have the 15th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. After the compensation and the Competitive Balance picks, the Rangers' second-round pick will be the 55th overall.

The 2018 Draft begins tonight with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 5 p.m. CT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 11 a.m. CT.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Rangers, beginning with the 15th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Rangers have been trying to restock their farm system after multiple trades during the postseason years of 2015 and 2016. Their pitching depth has also been hit hard by injuries, so that needs to be addressed, but the Rangers' philosophy has been to take the best player available.

The scoop
The Rangers have shown an affinity lately for high school players. In the past two Drafts and in 2014, their top three picks were from the high school ranks. Scouting director Kip Fagg said that's just the way it fell those years. They like power arms and athletic players who fit in the middle of the diamond. The Rangers also work hard on character and makeup, pushing their scouts to establish a close relationship with potential Draft picks. Fagg is in his 27th year with the Rangers, but has begun incorporating up-to-date tools, including video and analytics, to the club's scouting operations.

First-round buzz
Callis has the Rangers taking right-handed pitcher Carter Stewart of Eau Gallie Melbourne (Fla.) High School. He is a power arm with a fastball that hits 98 miles per hour. Two other high school pitchers identified by Callis as attractive to the Rangers are Cole Winn of Orange (Calif.) Lutheran and left-hander Ryan Weathers of Loretto (Tenn.) High School.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

Money matters
The Rangers' first-round pick has an assigned value of $3,738,500 and their bonus pool for the first 10 rounds is $7,356,000.

Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value, and the total for each of a club's selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player picked in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment.

Shopping list
The Rangers always want pitching -- but who doesn't? The Rangers are a little thin at third base and shortstop in their farm system, while center field is a strength. But Fagg said that if the best player available is a center fielder, then that's who the Rangers will take.

• Rangers Top 30 prospects

Trend watch
Fagg said the top college hitters have become a prized commodity in the last few years, although it's unlikely that Wichita State third baseman Alec Brohm, Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal, Florida third baseman Jonathan India and South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggarty will fall to the Rangers. The Rangers also like players from Texas. The best appears to be right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez from Central Heights (Nacogdoches) High.

Rising fast
Right-handed pitcher Tyler Phillips is starting to make an impression at Class A Hickory. He has not allowed an earned run in 17 1/3 innings over his last three starts. He struck out 18 and walked just two in that stretch.

Cinderella story
The Rangers took 6-foot-6 left-hander C.D. Pelham in the 33rd round of the 2015 Draft. He had trouble throwing strikes at Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) Junior College, but the Rangers took him for his size and arm strength. In 15 games as a reliever for Class A Advanced Down East, he has a 1.83 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

In The Show
he Rangers have seven players on their 40-man roster who were originally drafted by them and have played in the Majors: Keone Kela (2012, 12th round), Alex Claudio (2010, 27th round), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (2013, 4th round), Joey Gallo (2012, 1st round), Ryan Rua (2011, 17th round), Nick Gardewine (2013, 7th round) and Drew Robinson (2010, 4th round).

Video: NYY@TEX: Kela fans the side to lock down the save

The Rangers' recent top picks
2017:
Bubba Thompson, OF, Class A Hickory
2016: Cole Ragans, LHP, injured
2015: Dillon Tate, RHP, Yankees' Minor League system
2014: Luis Ortiz, RHP, Brewers' Minor League system
2013: Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP, injured

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers