Texas Rangers Top 5 All-Time First-Round Draft Choices

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Considering the unpredictability of baseball’s draft, will Rangers’ new No. 1 pick Dillon Tate turn into a pitcher that:

  • Goes 9-26 in the minors and never sniffs The Show?
  • Wins a Cy Young Award, only with a different team?
  • Wins 59 games in Texas over eight years, despite a quick sojourn to Japan?

In the past, the Rangers have drafted all three types of pitchers.

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In ’80 they selected Tim Maki, who failed miserably at the lowest levels of the organization. Then they drafted R.A. Dickey inn ’96, only to see him struggled, leave and re-invent himself as the National League’s best pitcher with the Mets in ’12.

And in ’99 it was Colby Lewis, who returned from the Far East and has been a stalwart on some of the organization’s best teams.

Tate, a pitcher from UC Santa Barbara, has all the tools for a bright future. But, who are we kidding, nobody knows. In their history the Rangers have drafted their TV analyst (Tom Grieve ’66), an AL MVP (Jeff Burroughs ’69) and a litany of forgettable names who never got a hit, recorded an out or made an impact with the team.

Despite his lofty expectations, it’ll be difficult for Tate to break into this list of the Top 5 Rangers’ No. 1 Draft Picks:

5. Joey Gallo ’12 – Okay, this is waaay premature. But just a glimpse of his potential makes it a worthy pick.

4. R.A. Dickey ’96 – Draft a Cy Young winner with the 18th overall pick and it’s a good selection, even if he blossomed in New York.

3. Kevin Brown ’86 – 4th overall pick wound up being Rookie of the Year, a 6-time All-Star and won 211 games, 21 of them as a Ranger in ’92.

2. Jeff Burroughs ’69 – Draft an outfielder 14th overall and he wins a 25-homer, 118-RBI AL MVP five years later. Even though it was pre-Rangers, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

1. Mark Teixeira ’01 – Finished 2nd in AL MVP voting in ’09, then his departure in a trade brought key pieces for back-to-back World Series teams.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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