Name: Marcus Lemon
DOB: June 3, 1988
The Rangers selected infielder Marcus Lemon in the fourth round of the 2006 amateur draft knowing full-well that he would be tough to sign.
Lemon, who had a baseball scholarship from the University of Texas, asked for a $1.5 million bonus before the draft. Because of his commitment to Texas and lofty asking price, most Major League organizations were driven away.
Since the Rangers did not have a second round pick in the 2006 draft, they had extra money to spend. The club used that money to sign their fourth round pick, Lemon, to a $1 million signing bonus, the largest for that round since 2000.
The son of former Major League All-Star Chet Lemon, Marcus was said to display maturity and polish beyond his age in all facets of the game. That proved true in the 18-year-old's professional debut with the Rookie League Arizona Rangers.
In 24 games with the little Rangers, Lemon hit .310 with four doubles and two triples. The shortstop walked 16 times versus just 10 strikeouts. He also swiped 11 bases in 13 attempts while playing well in the field.
Batting and Power: Though Lemon is probably never going to put up staggering power numbers, he figures to be a well above-avereage hitter. The infielder makes contact and works counts. Lemon has outstanding discipline at the plate, a rarity for a player his age. He should begin to show decent gap power in the near future.
Base Running and Speed: Lemon is a heads-up baserunner who knows how to use his speed to his advantage. The 18-year-old is not one of the fastest players in the organization, but he used his speed to steal 11 bases in 13 tries last summer.
Defense: The native Floridian is well above-average defensively. Lemon often shows very good range with an acceptable arm for the shortstop position.
Projection: Lemon is not likely to become a superstar in the Major Leagues, but all signs point to him being a solid regular. Though he does not have one exceptional tool, Lemon is above-average across the board with very little weaknesses. While he is currently playing shortstop, the Rangers might also elect to move him over to second base in the long term. Much of this depends on how the situations of Michael Young and Ian Kinsler play out over the next few years.
2007 Outlook: There is little doubt that Lemon will open the season as the starting shortstop for Single-A Clinton. Because he is advanced for his age, Lemon should have little problem in his first full season of professional baseball.
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