When Last Translates into First


OK, so the Texas Rangers didn’t exactly pan out in 2014 the way they planned and we hoped. They have the worst record in baseball. And it’s hot outside.

Now, I’m a “glass-is-half-full” kind of guy, so I’m here to bring you some good news. Besides the cold front that will drop us back into forecasted 80’s for highs this week.

Help could be on the way. Wait, make that hope may be on the way. More than the return of the 76 players currently on the DL for Texas.

As it stands today, the Rangers would have the first pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft next June. Sounds great, huh? But who the heck are the top prospects for next season?

Glad you asked.

Drafting is not an exact science, especially when many of the kids eligible to be drafted are 18-years-old. For instance, five teams passed on Derek Jeter in 1992, including the Astros, who took Phil Nevin with the No. 1 pick.

Dazmon Cameron

Dazmon Cameron’s name is one of the first ones mentioned when scouts talk about the 2015 draft. The son of former outfielder Mike Cameron, his all-around ability on the field makes him stand out, as does his talent for making contact with power at a young age. Like his dad, Dazmon can play a little center field with speed. The Georgia high school outfielder has five-tool potential in the bigs.

Want pitching? Duke right-hander Michael Matuella is one that many feel will land in the top-three picks. He’s a 6-6, 225-pound phenom with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a very effective curveball and a decent slider. Plus he has presence on the mound, something that would look good on the hill in Arlington.

Not that the Rangers need another middle infielder, but LSU’s Alex Bergman is a solid shortstop with the ability to hit for average. He has limited range though, but he could be a future second baseman in the pros. I don’t see this a fit for the Rangers, but scouts like him.

Some scouts think shortstop Brandon Rodgers from Florida might challenge Cameron as the top high school player drafted. He’s committed to Florida State but a top-five selection on the draft might change his plan. Rodgers has some raw power with his bat that is hard to find from a shortstop.

Nathan Kirby

Last but not least among our top-five is veteran left-handed pitcher Nathan Kirby of Virginia. He was the Cavaliers’ No. 1 starter this year, helping lead them to the College World Series Final. Kirby dominated this year, earning 102 strikeouts, only 58 hits allowed and a 1.36 ERA.

Now, the bad news is that whoever is drafted in June next year by the Rangers won’t be able to do much to help the situation in Arlington for a few years. But the name of the game in sports is selling, and you’re either selling hope or performance. So when the Rangers have half of their triple-A roster starting vs. the Yankees this week, it’s time to roll out the possible future stars that Texas has a chance to draft next June.

Never mind that this team might lose 95 games this season, we may never see Matt Harrison or Martin Perez again, and of course those temperatures will rise back to triple-digits next week.

I’m all about hope. Speaking of which, good to see Derek Holland is scheduled to have a rehab start soon and looks to be on his way back. That is, until he plays hockey again, er, injures himself while playing with his dog.

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.


  1. Hummmm, I still will place my lot with Roberto Clemente, when I saw him in1971 in Huston personally sling in a catch from the wall in center field and with one shot to the catcher at home plate and put out a runner because of that effort. How about those apples?

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