Rangers tab OF Skole with 15th pick

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers selected high school center fielder Jake Skole with the 15th overall pick in Monday's MLB Draft.

Skole, from Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell, Ga., signed with Georgia Tech to play football and baseball. He injured his right ankle, an injury that limited his season, but returned and performed well.

In 14 playoff games, Skole hit .452 with six homers and 21 RBIs. He also had a pair of hits against Kaleb Cowart, a top pitching prospect who was drafted 18th by the Los Angeles Angels.

Skole is a left-handed hitter and throws right-handed. His brother, Matt, was an all-ACC third baseman for Georgia Tech this past season.

With their second selection of the first round -- the 22nd pick overall -- the Rangers chose Kellin Deglan, a high school catcher from British Colombia who is considered Canada's top prep player this year.

The next step for the Rangers will be to sign their players by the Aug. 16 deadline.

"It's an exciting, up the middle, premium position, premium athlete," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said about Skole's selection. "He's a football player and has a great mentality. He's a gamer."

Daniels said the club is not concerned about Skole's ankle, saying "he's 100 percent and will be ready to go." The Rangers drafted Julio Borbon in 2007 when there were concerns about his ankle, which he broke. Daniels said Skole's ankle wasn't broken and that he was full strength while playing in the playoffs.

The Rangers were careful to consider signability before making their picks. It's something scouts paid attention to as they evaluated players.

"The sense we get with Jake is that he wants to commit to baseball and go out and play and get his career started," Daniels said. "This is about the player that we really like that was one the board. Signability is something we look into heavily. But this was about the best player on the board when our pick came up."

As for Deglan, Daniels said he has all the tools the club wants in a catcher. He likes his arm and left-handed bat. The club saw him play all over, including at Surprise, Ariz., and in the Dominican Republic at a tournament.

"He's very athletic behind the plate for a big man," Daniels said. "He's got plus arm and plus power. We like the package."

The Rangers selected right-hander Luke Jackson with their first compensation pick, No. 45 overall. Four picks later, they chose UConn third baseman Mike Olt. None of Texas' four picks ranked in Baseball America's top 50.

Texas drafted left-handed pitcher Matt Purke with the 14th overall selection last year and could not come to an agreement. Purke is pitching for TCU, which will play Texas this weekend in a super regional with the winner going to the College World Series. Because the Rangers didn't sign Purke, they received the No. 15 pick this year. But if they can't sign Skole, they won't get that additional pick next year. Texas did sign Tanner Scheppers, pitching at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, with the No. 44 overall selection.

The Rangers have the No. 22 pick in the first round and two supplemental first round selections at Nos. 45 and 49. The last time they had this many picks this early in the draft was 2007, when the club had five selections in the first 54 picks. Two of those draftees -- outfielder Julio Borbon (32nd overall) and starter Tommy Hunter (54) -- are on the major league roster.

Prominent Ranger first-round picks the last decade include Justin Smoak (11th in 2008), John Danks (3rd in 2003) and Mark Teixeira (5th in 2001).