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Rangers view first-round pick as a starter

BOSTON -- The Rangers covered a lot of ground with their first three picks in Thursday's First-Year Draft, going for a college pitcher, a high school infielder and a prep pitcher.

In the process, they took advantage of a deep draft with pitching and also grabbed a shortstop they've been known to covet for months.

The Rangers went away from the recent trend of taking high school pitchers in the first round, selecting Oral Roberts right-hander Alex Gonzalez with the 23rd pick in the draft. They used the 30th pick, one that received as compensation for losing Josh Hamilton to free agency, on Winder Barrow (Ga.) High shortstop Travis Demeritte.

They finished the first night of the three-day draft by selecting 6-foot-6 right-hander Akeem Bostick from West Florence (S.C.) with their second-round pick.

"We feel very excited about the guys we took," Rangers scouting director Kipp Fagg said. "We got a college pitcher with a special arm, we're really excited about Travis Demeritte, a young middle infielder from Georgia with electric tools -- a bat that we really like -- and Akeem Bostick is a big projectable right-handed pitcher."

Gonzalez is a pitcher the Rangers hope can advance through the system at a good pace. He was a part of talented pitching staff at Oral Roberts, going 9-5 with a 1.83 ERA. He has good fastball movement and throws a hard cutter.

"We view him as a starting pitcher," Rangers director of personnel A.J. Preller said. "You look at his delivery, his arm action and his demeanor on the mound, he's a starter. We feel we took a guy who could find his way into the rotation in Arlington sometime in the future."

Demerrette is a power infielder all the way, one the Rangers have coveted for months out of one of their favorite states to draft, Georgia. He plays three infield positions, but will begin his pro career as a shortstop.

"He's a good enough athlete and a good enough bat to give us versatility," Fagg said.

Bostick, taken in the second round at No. 62, brings intrigue. He's signed to play football and baseball at Georgia Southern. He was 10-0 with a 0.60 ERA as a senior for West Florence.

"He's a 6-foot-6 kid, right-handed pitcher with a very loose arm and very good downhill plane," Fagg said. "He has the makings of a breaking ball. It's a little inconsistent, but he has a chance of having a secondary pitch that could be a weapon."