Rangers draft HS players with upside

The Texas Rangers took three high school players they believe have high upside on Monday, the first day of the 2012 MLB Draft.

The club stuck with its organizational philosophy: Take the best available player no matter the position.

The scouts like athletic players with plenty of tools and they believe in their developmental staff’s ability to mold those young players into major leaguers.

“We have confidence in the work we did and the process we went through to get these players,” said Kip Fagg, director of amateur scouting.

The Rangers, also, expect to get all three players signed.

“They will be Texas Rangers,” Fagg said.

The Rangers selected outfielder Lewis Brinson from Coral Springs High School with their first pick. It’s the fourth straight year the Rangers have selected a high school player with their top pick and the second outfielder in the past three years (Jake Skole in 2010).

Brinson, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound right-handed batter, hit .394 with 21 RBIs and 11 stolen bases during his senior season. He admitted that he got off to a slow start and needed to make some mental adjustments.

“It was more just pressure of everything,” said Brinson, who grew up a Miami Marlins fan. “I knew I was going to get drafted and possibly go high. I was putting too much pressure on myself to do good and carry my team. I needed to relax. I wasn’t doing that the first half of the season. By middle of the season, spring break, I relaxed and from then on I was back to my old self.”

The club views Brinson has a “five-tool player” who has good power and speed. He showed that in winning the Under Armour Game’s Home Run Derby this season.

“I take pride in my defense, my arm and having instincts out there,” said Brinson, who said he is "close" to getting a contract done with Texas. “I think that’s probably my strength. At the plate, I’m really focused and developing a good eye.”

Texas took Joey Gallo, a third baseman out of Nevada, with its first compensation pick (for C.J. Wilson) 39th overall. He hits left-handed and throws right-handed and did pitch in high school. He helped lead his high school to its seventh consecutive 4A state title, batting .509 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He was 1-1 on the mound with a 0.00 ERA in 13 2/3 innings with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks in five games, including a no-hitter.

But the Rangers made it clear they view Gallo, 6-foot-5, 205-pound athlete, as a hitter.

“We fully took him as a hitter,” Fagg said. “We scouted him as a hitter. We saw him pitch, but we don’t view that as an option. He’s an athletic player who can hit.”

The final pick of Monday for Texas was right-handed pitcher Collin Wiles from Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He was 8-0 with a 0.10 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. The Rangers liked Wiles’ breaking stuff, which includes a good curve and changeup.

The draft resumes at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and continues through round 40 on Wednesday.