The 2011 draft appears likely to be the most expensive in history, as prospects try to take advantage of the current set of lax guidelines for signing bonuses before MLB changes the rules restrict what teams can pay their draft picks. Danny Hultzen, for example, just informed teams that his price tag is $13 million. He could be the first pick in the draft but is not the top prospect.
The Rangers sit at the very end of the first round, possessing the last pick – No. 33, and one of the first picks of the supplemental round (No. 37). One year ago their draft was consumed by the issue of signability. This year, they appear to be in position to be opportunistic. Thad Levine told reporters: “Based on what has happened the past few years, we may be considering guys who slide back because of availability.”
They had that mindset in 2008 when Justin Smoak fell to them at the ten spot, in 2009 when Tanner Scheppers’ injury concerns landed him in the supplemental round, and of course in 2001 when Mark Teixeira was the top offensive prospect in the draft but lasted until the fifth pick due to Scott Boras’ demands. All of those situations appear to be wins for the Rangers.
The Rangers’ top pick in that 2009 draft, Matt Purke, could be on the board at 33 as a result of arm issues dropping his velocity and general performance level. The Rangers would not be offering him another $6 million at that spot … unless Purke goes to an amateur summer league such as the Cape Cod League and proves that his arm is fine.