Texas takes pitcher, slugger in comp round
Hurler Jackson picked from Florida; 3B Olt selected from UConn
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers finally went pitching when they took high school pitcher Luke Jackson with the 45th overall pick of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft on Monday.
Jackson, who pitched at Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was one of two compensation picks the Rangers had for losing free-agent outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Ivan Rodriguez last winter to the Cubs and Nationals, respectively. With the 49th overall pick, the Rangers took third baseman Mike Olt from the University of Connecticut.The Rangers will resume drafting when the second round begins at 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday. Rounds 2-30 will be conducted on Tuesday, and the Draft will be completed on Wednesday. The Rangers will have the 21st pick in each round through the end of the Draft. Jackson, a right-hander, has a commitment to the University of Miami, but the Rangers are confident that they will be able to sign him. The Rangers already have an agreement with catcher Kellin Deglan, the 22nd overall pick, and are close to signing outfielder Jake Skole, the 15th overall pick. "We fully expect to sign all these guys," said Kipp Fagg, the Rangers' director of amateur scouting. Jackson, 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, went 8-0 with an 0.90 ERA his senior year, posting 87 strikeouts with three shutouts and two saves. He added two home runs and 21 RBIs at the plate as a shortstop while being named to first-team all-Broward County this season. He is also an outstanding soccer player. That kept him from pitching year-round, and he did not start pitching until he was in the ninth grade. "He's very athletic and has a fresh arm," Fagg said. "The ball comes out of his hand well and the breaking ball is there. By the time he gets to the big leagues, he'll be a horse." The Rangers also believe they drafted a premium defensive player in selecting Olt. Olt hit .318, with 23 home runs, 76 RBIs, a .659 slugging percentage and a .401 on-base percentage in 64 games for UConn. In 264 at-bats, he struck out 54 times and walked 34. He also set a career home run record for the Huskies and won the inaugural Big East Home Run Derby. But the Rangers were also attracted to his defense. Baseball America rated him as the third-best college defender in the Draft. "We feel like he is a premium defender at third base," Fagg said. "He profiles as a power bat, but his strength is big-time defense."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.