While baseball’s scouts are always looking for the next impact player, Rangers Magazine/Insider is always looking for the next impact guest. Before the start of Game 2 in the ALDS, A.J. Preller visited with Ben Rogers, Jeff “Skin” Wade and me outside the Home Plate Gate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Preller, 33, is the Rangers' senior director of player personnel and this is his seventh season with the Rangers. He is a Cornell graduate who works under general manager Jon Daniels and in all aspects of scouting (June draft, internationally and pro level). He also works as an adviser to Daniels on key acquisitions.
“There have been teams that have had one- or two-year runs, and it’s hard to do anything like that, but really the goal of everyone in our organization is to do something over the next seven, eight, nine years to where there’s a debate between talk show hosts and fans ... was the 2010 team club better? Was the ’11 club? Or, was the ’18 club better?” Preller said. “I think that’s what we work toward every day ... to build something special.”
Preller talked about several standouts during his DFW radio debut. One in particular is right-handed pitcher Alexi Ogando. Preller saw him play as an outfielder in the Oakland A’s system in 2004 and that led to the Rangers acquiring Ogando in the Rule 5 Draft in 2005 with intent of converting him into a pitcher.
“He was kind of hesitant at first. Tried explaining it to him that if it doesn’t go well go right back out to playing the outfield, and he got on the mound day one and put the radar gun on him. He was 94 his first ball out of his hand,” Preller recalled. “Within two weeks, we put him in an intrasquad game. It was a scrimmage-type game and he was 97-100. Obviously, that’s something special.”
Preller also talked about baseball operations, future Rangers prospects, international scouting impact, Derek Holland, the future status of center field, more on Ogando, Mitch Moreland, philosophy on scouting, the impact of his roles throughout the year and more. Listen to the podcast.