The Texas Rangers made their first pick in the 2013 MLB draft just moments ago and took right-handed pitcher Alex Gonzalez 23rd overall. Gonzalez is 6-foot-3 and pitched for Oral Roberts. He was the Southland Conference pitcher of the year in 2013 after leading the league with a 1.76 ERA as a junior. He averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings and opponents hit just .198 against him.
One scout texted me that Gonzalez has an excellent slider/cutter and projects as a starter with four pitches. And another scout said he was not concerned with the perception that Gonzalez might have issues because he faced weaker competition than some other top pitchers. ESPN.com's Keith Law says Gonzalez has the "best cutter in the draft." Here's what ESPN.com's write-up on him says:
He'll sit 91-94 mph with his fastball, stronger than he was in the fall, with solid command and good rhythm to his delivery, using it to set up all of his off-speed weapons, led by a slider-cutter that varies from a true slider at 84-86 to one closer to a hard cutter up to 89-90. He'll flash a changeup as well, but rarely uses it, succeeding more with the fastball/slider/cutter combo.
His delivery is very simple, pushing off his back leg well for power, pronating his elbow very early as part of a short (but not too short) arm stroke. He might not have a huge ceiling due to his moderate build and lack of a huge fastball but could easily develop into a good No. 3 starter or even a No. 2 thanks to his feel for pitching and variety of offerings.
ESPN.com's Jason Churchill adds his thoughts:
The Rangers get a college right-hander that could help them within a year and a half. ... His stuff projects to play well in their ballpark, thanks to a hard cutter, good fastball movement and future plus command.