The Texas Rangers bolstered their fielding ranks with the first two selections in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft on Monday.
With the 26th overall pick, Texas selected outfielder Bubba Thompson from McGill-Toolen Catholic H.S. in Mobile, Alabama.
The Rangers turned right back around and also selected at 29th overall — as compensation for Ian Desmond signing with Colorado — by taking shortstop Chris Seise from West Orange H.S. in Winter Garden, Florida.
There are a couple of pitchers that have reportedly caught the Rangers eye for possible selections in the draft, which runs through Wednesday.
Nate Pearson, RHP, College of Central Florida
Pearson could be the one at No. 26. The 6-foot-6 240-pounder boasts a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and has been clocked as high as 101 mph.
Pearson also mixes in a curveball, an slider and a changeup, all of which are reportedly inconsistent.
Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
Houck is well-known to various scouting departments. He was drafted in the 12th round in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays, but chose instead to honor his scholarship to the Tigers.
A big kid at 6-foot-5, 220-pound, Houck was a 3.13 ERA with 288 strikeouts in 296 innings of three season of college ball. During his high school days, scouting reports showed the righty with an 89-92 mph fastball, but that increased as he matured to around 97-98 mph with movement.
Houck also has a plus slider and solid changeup and can throw both in the zone.
There are worries that the fastball fell down to the 90-93 mph range but the belief is it’s still a plus pitch due to a sinking tendency low in the zone. Durability appears to be a concern for some, which may explain the dip in fastball velocity.
Houck has a sweeping delivery that can cross-up right-handed hitters but the feeling is that type of delivery may work more as a reliever than a starter, which can help solve the durability issue. He could reach the majors quicker as a reliever but will likely need for development time if used as a starter.
Round 1: Nos. 26 and 29 overall
Round 2: No. 66
Round 3: No. 104
Rounds 4-40: 29th pick of round
The Rangers' last five first round picks:
2016 - Cole Ragans, P
2015 - Dillon Tate, P
2014 - Luis Ortiz
2013 - Chi Chi Gonzalez
2012 - Lewis Brinson
Other recent notable picks include:
2012 - Joey Gallo, 1st compensation round
2012 - Keone Kela, P, 12th round
2011 - Kyle Hendricks, P, 8th round, traded to Cubs
2011 - Nick Martinez, P, 18th round
2010 - Alex Claudio, P, 27th round