Name: Kellin Deglan
DOB: June 3, 1992
Acquired: 2010 Amateur Draft, 1st round
The Texas Rangers selected catcher Kellin Deglan with the 22nd overall pick in last summer's MLB Draft. And just as quickly as Deglan was picked––he was signed.
Before the first round had even come to a conclusion, Deglan had already signed a deal with the Rangers for a slightly below-slot $1 million bonus, making him the first player in the '10 draft that signed on the dotted line.
Deglan wasn't alone. Just a few days after the draft, he and fellow Rangers first-round pick Jake Skole had signed contracts and traveled to Arlington for an introductory press conference.
As an amateur, the British Columbia native was able to showcase his talents all around with his travel club and Team Canada. Deglan made trips to Florida and the Dominican Republic with Team Canada, and his travel team visited Arizona last March.
All of the exposure gave the Rangers plenty of opportunity to scout the prospect.
"They were scouting me a lot, the Rangers," said Delgan after the draft. "They came up and watched me a lot in British Columbia, here in Langley. And they saw me in Orlando, with Team Canada. They had scouts watching me there. And then when I was in the Dominican Republic with Team Canada playing the Dominican Summer League teams, I saw a few Rangers scouts down there too. They had been following me pretty good."
When Deglan's British Columbia-based travel team visited Arizona during Spring Training last year, they scrimmaged a handful of professional clubs––including the Rangers.
"We played eight games against Spring Training teams," he said. "It was like Extended Spring Training guys––maybe more rookie players. We played the Rangers one of the days we were there. That was a good game."
The game gave Deglan an opportunity to go up against one of the Rangers' top pitching prospects, left-hander Robbie Erlin.
"I do remember him," he said. "The six-foot lefty. He broke my bat. I was swinging a big, heavy Rawlings bat and he got it off the end of my bat. Broke my bat, but I got a couple hits at the end of the game."
After the 18-year-old signed with the Rangers in June, he went back to that same complex in Arizona, as he worked with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers. Deglan appeared in 10 games with the club, going 8-for-28 (.286) with a triple, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
The left-handed hitter was slowed a bit by some inflammation in his triceps, causing him to miss about two weeks of game action. But just five games after he returned, the Rangers promoted him to short-season Spokane.
Playing against much older competition, Deglan struggled at the plate, batting .159 (13-for-82) with two doubles, a homer, seven walks, and 21 strikeouts. He showed some raw talent, though, and impressed with his advanced defensive skills.
Also See: Rangers Minor League Notes (March 15, 2010)
Q&A with Rangers 1st Round Pick Kellin Deglan (June 8, 2010)
Top Prospects, Top Tools (January 14, 2011)
Batting and Power: A left-handed hitter, Deglan has good natural strength out of his 6-foot-2, 188-pound frame, and he still has room to add some more bulk. His raw power potential––which borders on above-average––is his most intriguing offensive tool. The hit tool has average potential due to his quick hands and good leverage, although his swing currently has some length and will need to be tweaked. He appears to have a good eye for the strike zone. Deglan may need a couple years at the lower levels to refine his swing, and he may not produce much in the way of stats during that time. But he's earned praise as a hard-working player with plus makeup, and the potential for a solid bat is there.
Base Running and Speed: Delgan has fringe-average speed that will probably grade a little lower––perhaps around 40 on the 20-80 scouting scale––after his body fully matures. Though he'll never be much of a stolen base threat, he's also far from a base clogger.
Defense: With a strong arm and an advanced feel for receiving and game-calling, Deglan has the makings of a future plus defender behind the plate. There's still some room for mechanical improvement, as his long arms can lead to a long release, but that didn't stop him from gunning down a solid 15-for-42 (36%) attempted base stealers between the Arizona and Northwest Leagues last summer. He moves around well, showing good athleticism that should hold up even if he adds a little more muscle. Deglan shouldn't have any trouble sticking behind the plate.
Projection: There's plenty to like in Deglan's glove and power potential, but it's almost impossible to throw an accurate projection on an 18-year-old backstop that has only 32 games of professional experience. The prospect has the raw ability to become a first-division big league regular that can stand out both offensively and defensively. He has plenty of development remaining, though, and must refine his swing to have a shot at reaching his ceiling.
2011 Outlook: Deglan's early-season assignment may be predicated on his performance at Spring Training and (potentially) Extended Spring Training. After scuffling offensively with Spokane last season, Deglan could be headed back to the Northwest League in 2011. However, the catching crop at Single-A Hickory appears to be thin, and he might get an opportunity to land in full-season ball with a strong early showing. Either way, Deglan's bat may need a couple years of seasoning at the Single-A levels.
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