Pollard among Rangers' 5 picks from Georgia

July 19th, 2022

Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga., isn’t exactly known for its ability to produce Major Leaguers. The most recent draftee was, ironically, former Ranger Delino DeShields, who was selected eighth overall by the Astros in 2010. 

That changed on Monday, when the Rangers selected Chandler Pollard with the 139th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Pollard, a Washington State commit, is ranked No. 110 on MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 250 and listed as a shortstop, though the Rangers announced him as an outfielder.

It was one of the Rangers’ more interesting picks this Draft cycle because of the big splashes made in the first and second rounds, with Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter likely commanding most of the club’s bonus pool. It’s unclear how much Pollard will command to pry him away from his Washington State commitment, but general manager Chris Young said the Rangers "intend to sign everyone [they] drafted."

Director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said Pollard took a dramatic jump from last summer to this spring, when he broke out by batting .521 (49-for-94) with 11 home runs, 4 triples, 12 doubles and 36 RBIs. He also ranked sixth in the nation among high schoolers with 59 steals in 61 attempts.

“Chandler Pollard is probably somebody that was a late developer,” Fagg said. “That’s different than a lot of kids that we draft in this neck of the woods, but you know, [he] came from the same high school as Delino there in Atlanta. He’s a dynamic player, a shortstop. He’s very fast with a good bat.

“He was on a lot of good teams growing up in the East Cobb area in Atlanta. Baseball is really, really good down in that part of the country, and he wasn't thought of as high in the rankings as some of these other guys. ... We feel like we got a guy with a big arrow up here in Chandler.”

Pollard, 18, is by no means a finished product, but he has a strong enough arm to play third base, shortstop or center field. The Rangers have a plethora of middle-infield prospects -- some of whom may be on the trade block come Deadline time -- so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Pollard move to the outfield at some point down the line despite his overall lack of experience, according to Fagg.

Pollard was one of five players the Rangers selected out of Georgia during the 2022 Draft, including Georgia State shortstop Griffin Cheney (ninth round), Kennesaw State outfielder Josh Hatcher (10th round) and Mercer right-hander Jackson Kelly (12th round), as well as left-hander Carson Dorsey from the Savannah Bananas (17th round).

Both Young and Fagg emphasized how important crosschecker Tyler Carroll and area scout Arthur McConnehead have been to the process during the Draft cycle.

Carroll is in his first season as the Georgia and Eastern Tennessee area scout after spending years as a scouting intern and video scout in the Rangers’ system. McConnehead is in his first year with Texas after serving as an area supervisor scout with the Orioles.

“Arthur is new to the organization and Tyler's new to the area, and they've made a tremendous impact on this Draft,” Young said. “It was really impressive in the Draft room. That's true of all of our scouts, but to have two new scouts -- one to our organization and one to the area -- it’s a huge responsibility. Obviously, Georgia was a hotbed for talent this year. We're unbelievably lucky to have these guys and what they did for our preparation this year, and I just wanted to recognize that.”