'Fab Five' embrace chance to sign with Rangers
Texas introduces top five Draft picks -- all taken out of high school
ARLINGTON -- There was a point during a Tuesday news conference at the Ballpark in Arlington when Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg used a well-known phrase that has been employed with other highly regarded collections of talent."Fab Five." That's a hefty label, but nobody was shying away from it on Tuesday, when the Rangers introduced their top five picks from last week's First-Year Player Draft. These were the players taken during a Draft in which the Rangers had five of the first 93 picks overall. They are outfielder Lewis Brinson (29th overall), third baseman Joey Gallo (39th), pitcher Collin Wiles (53rd), outfielder Jamie Jarmon (83rd) and outfielder Nick Williams (93rd). They have all passed their physicals, agreed to contract terms just one week after the Draft and will report to Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday. Brinson signed for $1.625 million, the bonus recommended for a No. 29 selection, a source confirmed.
"This is a chance for all of us to start playing, move up the system and chase our dream," Wiles said."We have a great group here and a chance to be special," Jarmon said. "We did a lot of work on these five players," Fagg said. "Obviously we want to take the best players, but also wanted to dig deep on these guys and look at their makeup. Not only do we like the players, but they are also exceptional people." All five were drafted out of high school and all five turned down scholarships to top four-year baseball schools. Brinson, who hit .394 with four home runs and 21 RBIs at Coral Springs (Fla.), turned down the University of Florida to sign with the Rangers. "Just to be a Texas Ranger, that's what drove me," Brinson said. "I knew I was going to the University of Florida, and that's the top school in the state. It was hard to turn down, but I couldn't turn down the Texas Rangers." Gallo was the 2012 Nevada State Player of the Year after hitting .509 with 21 home runs, 66 runs scored and 80 RBIs, and walked away from a scholarship from LSU. There were rumblings that he might be a tough sign under the new rules, but he was up on the podium with the rest of the Draftees on Tuesday. "The more I learned about the Texas Rangers, I wanted to be a Ranger more and more," Gallo said. "I'm excited to be here." Wiles, who had a scholarship waiting at Vanderbilt, was the Kansas High School Player of the Year after going 8-0 with a 0.10 ERA at Blue Valley West High in Overland Park. Jarmon was the Delaware Player of the Year in both football and baseball. Jarmon was going to the University of South Carolina to play baseball after hitting .491 at Dagsboro-Indian River High, but he also had over 3,300 total yards of offense as a quarterback. Williams hit .422 with 25 stolen bases at Galveston Ball this season and had a scholarship waiting at Texas A&M. But he jumped at the chance to play in his home state for the Rangers. "That's the best thing that could happen to me," Williams said. Brinson, Williams and Jarmon are all outfielders who were described in the same way by Fagg: athletic, five-tool players who can play center field and hit in the middle of a lineup. There is going to be some serious competition coming through the system. "I view it as a chance to get better and to push each other to get to the big leagues," Brinson said. The Rangers had 13 picks through the first 10 rounds and were allocated $6,567,400 to sign them. The only one not signed is catcher Patrick Cantwell from SUNY Stony Brook. His team is playing in the College World Series. But the Rangers expect to have all 13 signed, and they expect to get it done within the money allocated without being penalized by taxes or loss of future Draft picks. "That was something that had to be in play, and we were very much aware of," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It was important to get these guys signed, out and playing. We're excited about the whole Draft, but it's unique to have five highly desirable athletic kids who want to sign and get their careers going."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.