D&F Report: The Ones That Got Away

In part two of this two-part feature, Rangers Insider looks at this year's draft-and-follow prospects that the Rangers were unable to sign.

The Rangers' current class of draft-and-follow candidates is about to become the last of its kind. Major League Baseball's new Collective Bargaining Agreement has stated that all players taken in the first year draft, except college seniors, must be signed by August 15.

There are often high school prospects that clubs like, but would rather see more of before committing the money to sign them. Under the old rules – which last until the 2007 draft in June – teams could convince a player to go to Junior College, where they could evaluate the player's progress and sign him before the next draft. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is designed to lessen players' leverage, will eliminate this aspect.

Rangers Insider takes a look at the players who elected to attend a Division I school in part two of this two-part feature.

The Candidates

Brandt Walker, RHP
Round: 21st
DOB: November 9, 1987
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Austin native Brandt Walker was one of the top high school prospects in the state of Texas one year ago. The 21st round draft pick, who fell because of his strong commitment to Stanford, throws his fastball in the low-90's with a good curveball and a solid changeup.

With advanced stuff and clean mechanics, Walker was known as a polished high school arm who could contribute immediately. But he has not done so at Stanford, as Walker has struggled to find playing time this year. In seven innings, he has allowed five earned runs on ten hits, walking seven and fanning seven.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2007 Stanford 0-1 7.0 10 7 7 6.43

Lance McClain, LHP
Round: 24th
DOB: March 26, 1987
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

McClain, who helped lead Walters State College to a JUCO national championship as a freshman last season, was taken by the Rangers in hopes that he would remain at Walters for one more year. The southpaw was 9-0 with 95 strikeouts in 91 innings and a 3.07 ERA last season.

The Rangers were unable to pull the native of Knoxville, Tennessee, away from his hometown school, as he ended up becoming a Tennessee Volunteer. McClain works in the mid-to-upper 80's with his fastball and has a very good changeup to go with a slow curveball. He has become Tennessee's Sunday starting pitcher in his first season with the Vols, but has struggled. McClain currently has a 5.15 ERA in 12 appearances, eight of which have been starts.
Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2007 Tennessee 5-4 50.2 60 28 24 5.15

John Lambert, LHP
Round: 37th
DOB: October 11, 1987
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 210
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

A gigantic left-handed pitcher, Lambert chose to attend Division I Wright State instead of signing with the Rangers.

Lambert's fastball is typically in the mid-80's, but it figures to add velocity as he continues to build his strength. The native of Indiana uses a three-quarters arm slot and uses a slurve as his out pitch. He has struggled in six appearances with the Raiders this year, as Lambert has allowed 20 hits and 12 walks in just 14.1 innings.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2007 Wright State 1-2 14.1 20 12 12 8.79

Shawn Sanford, RHP
Round: 43rd
DOB: August 28, 1988
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 182
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Rangers selected Sanford in the 43rd round after a phenomenal high school season, in which he was named to the New Jersey High School All State team. The right-hander, who played quarterback, free safety, and punter on his high school football team, features a curveball as his strikeout pitch.

Sanford has been outstanding in his freshman campaign, as he leads the team with a 2.08 ERA in 34.2 innings. The righty, who has held opposing hitters to a miniscule .190 average, leads the team with nine saves.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2007 South Florida 1-0 34.2 23 14 25 2.08

Clint Stubbs, OF
Round: 49th
DOB: September 7, 1987
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 177
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

The brother of 2006 first round pick Drew Stubbs, the Rangers were unable to pry Clint away from his commitment to the University of Texas.

Like his brother, Clint is known for his blazing speed and outstanding athleticism. However, the younger Stubbs is a bit of a project with the bat. The speedy left-handed hitter has recorded just six at-bats as a reserve outfielder for the Longhorns this year.

2007 Texas .333 6 1 0 1 2 1 1 2 .429 .833

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