Q&A with Rangers 1st Round Pick Kellin Deglan

The Texas Rangers selected 18-year-old catcher Kellin Deglan with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft on Monday night, and the British Columbia native has already signed a contract with the Rangers. Lone Star Dugout caught up with Deglan after he was picked.

The Texas Rangers selected catcher Kellin Deglan with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft on Monday evening.

And just about as quickly as Deglan was picked––he was signed.

Before the first round had even come to a conclusion, Deglan had signed a deal with the Rangers for a below-slot $1 million bonus, making him the first player in the '10 draft to sign on the dotted line.

"We're quite proud that Kellin was the first first-rounder to agree to terms," said agent Joshua Kusnick. "We're glad he can go out and get his career started relatively quickly."

While some first-round talents choose to hold out until the mid-August deadline in hopes of a better signing bonus, Kusnick says Deglan's goal all along has been to get on the field and begin his career.

"It was a goal of Kellin the entire time to go out and just play," he said. "We're glad he was able to keep his word, sign quickly, and get a deal that was fair for both sides."

As Deglan prepares to finalize his deal with the Rangers, he is set to become one of the more high-upside players in the organization. The left-handed hitting backstop has a sweet swing, and he projects to hit for plus power as he adds muscle to his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame.

Most scouts believe Deglan will stick behind the plate even after he matures. The 18-year-old has a quick release to go with plus arm strength––he certainly has the tools to play the position.

The British Columbia native was not only the first high school catcher selected in Monday's first round, but he also became the second highest-drafted Canadian position player in baseball history.

Deglan will be in Arlington on Wednesday evening to take his physical, finalize the contract, and attend the Rangers' game against the Seattle Mariners.

Prospect Video: Deglan takes BP during a workout in Arizona

Jason Cole: What were your thoughts on getting drafted by the Rangers in the first round today?

Kellin Deglan: I'm really happy to be drafted by the Rangers. They're a great organization. They develop from within the minor leagues, which is good. I'm really looking forward to getting in the system and trying to work my way up.

Cole: It seemed like after the first few picks, this draft was about as unpredictable as ever. Coming into today, did you have any idea what was going to happen to you?

Deglan: Yeah, I did have an idea. I did think I was a possibility at 15 or 22 to the Rangers. And there were some teams later––in the 20s––that were showing a lot of interest. I was thinking maybe there. But I thought if I fell down into the 30s, there were a lot of teams around there that were probably going to take me. I knew I could go anywhere in there.

Cole: You've already pretty much signed with the Rangers at this point. How important is it for you to get into the system quickly and get to work?

Deglan: It's important. That's what I wanted to do in the first place––sign out of high school. I wanted to get ahead of the college guys who spend three years in college before coming out.

I wanted to get ahead, and I wanted to work with professional coaches so I can get the best coaching right away. The Rangers have probably one of the top catching coordinators in Scott Servais. I'm looking forward to working with him and polishing up some of my game.

Cole: It's obvious that you already know a little bit about the Rangers' system coming into it. Overall, how much knowledge do you have of the organization?

Deglan: I do know a little bit about the Rangers. They have got a lot of good arms in the system. For the last five years, I think they've had one of the top organizations in baseball. They have a lot of talent in the minor leagues, and all these guys are starting to graduate to the big leagues it seems like. I know quite a bit about them.

Cole: Who was your area scout up there?

Deglan: The area scout was Gary McGraw. He was great throughout the process. He really informed me on everything and was straight up. There was no lying––he just told me the truth.

I met with Kevin Bootay, the west coast crosschecker. He was great too. All the scouts with the Rangers were great with me. I was pretty excited when I got the call saying I was getting picked by the Rangers.

Cole: I know you got around quite a bit this year, whether it was with your British Columbia travel team or Team Canada. How much contact did you have with the Rangers throughout this past season?

Deglan: Once in awhile, I talked to Gary McGraw. He would call and check in. They were scouting me a lot, the Rangers. 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 Dominican Summer League teams, I saw a few Rangers scouts down there too. They had been following me pretty good.

Cole: Tell me a little bit about the experience of going down to the Dominican Republic and playing some of the DSL teams in those complexes.

Deglan: Playing in the Dominican––that was a good eye-opener for me. I saw that those guys give up their personal lives. They have to leave their families and live at the complexes. They're doing everything they can to get to North American and get to the big leagues.

It just shows how many people you've got to beat out to get to the big leagues. It makes me appreciate living in Canada and North America. I am pretty fortunate up here with everything that I have.

Cole: You also came down to Arizona during Spring Training. If I recall correctly, you played in a game against one of the Rangers' minor league clubs.

Deglan: Yeah, we played eight games against Spring Training teams. 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.

Cole: You went up against left-hander Robbie Erlin in that game, who is quickly becoming one of the top arms in the Rangers' system. Do you have any recollection of facing him?

Deglan: Yeah, I do remember him. The 6-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.

Cole: You got a chance to play at the Rangers' complex in Surprise that day and got a first-hand look of the place you'll be reporting to in just a few days. What were your thoughts on being able to experience the place you'll now call your baseball home?

Deglan: It was good to see what I'm getting into. I've seen everything now. I know it's a state-of-the-art complex. I met Scott Servais and a few other coaches down there. It's nice knowing what I'm getting into and knowing that everyone down there is real nice and welcoming.

Cole: Obviously playing in Arizona, Florida, and the Dominican was a big showcase for you. How did you feel you were able to perform during those trips?

Deglan: I think my performance was pretty good. In Arizona, it was a better hitting performance and I was throwing the ball real well. My receiving, I felt, was just average. In Orlando, my receiving was pretty good––one game I had a rough game. But my hitting picked up the last half of the trip, and I hit a walkoff home run against the Houston Astros. Then in the Dominican, I played well. I caught real well and threw out some runners. At the beginning of the trip I wasn't hitting well, but during the second-half, I had some good at-bats and swung the bat pretty well.

Cole: How long have you been catching for? Has it been your whole life?

Deglan: Yeah, I've been catching my whole life. When I was younger––probably about 12––I would play like pitcher, catcher, and shortstop. But catching has always been my best position.

Cole: Are you a guy that is accustomed to calling your own game, or is that something you'll have to learn in pro ball?

Deglan: No, I've been calling my own game for pretty much my whole life. I think I'm pretty good at calling games. And I've been using a wood bat since I was 15.

Cole: Do you really ever use metal bats up there in British Columbia?

Deglan: No. We don't have high school baseball in British Columbia, so we play in the British Columbia Premier Baseball League. It's just a wood bat league all year-round.

Cole: Going back to your defensive game for a bit, can you tell me about some of your strengths behind the plate? And what areas are you looking to improve as you get into pro ball?

Deglan: My strengths, I think, are my catch-and-throw, my release times, and my arm strength. I'm looking to improve on quickness behind the plate––just getting down quicker and blocking balls. My receiving––I think my receiving is pretty good, but there is always room to improve on receiving, so I'll need to work a lot on my receiving too.

Cole: Switching to your offense, you're known as a guy with power potential. Can you describe your approach at the plate? What are you trying to do when you're up there?

Deglan: I'm always looking to square up the ball. I think I'm mostly a gap hitter––left-center to right-center. I have some long arms, so I can get some good extension and good leverage when I hit.

But I haven't filled out yet. I have some strength to get still as I mature. Once in awhile, I'll run into a ball for a home run. But down the road, I think I'll get a little more consistent in hitting for home runs.

Cole: I know you were just drafted, so I'm going to assume the Rangers haven't yet spoken to you about whether you'll be playing in the AZL or in Spokane, right?

Deglan: I'm not sure yet. I'm meeting with the Rangers' northwest area scout, Gary McGraw, tomorrow night for dinner. I think he's going to inform me on what's going on a little bit more tomorrow.

Cole: Were there any Major Leaguers you really looked up to or modeled yourself after while growing up, even if they weren't catchers?

Deglan: Yeah, I look up to Justin Morneau a lot. He is a great hitter––one of the best hitters in the game. He has a real simple swing. He just keeps everything simplified and stays consistent throughout the year. And Joe Mauer. I really like him as a catcher. He's so quiet and smooth. He's consistent every day. Those guys mostly, but I look up to almost all the big leaguers.

Cole: Rich Harden is currently with the Rangers, and he's from British Columbia as well. Have you ever gotten a chance to meet him?

Deglan: Yeah, I met Rich down in Arizona when we played the Rangers. He gave me his cell number, so I better shoot him a text here tonight just to let him know that I went to the Rangers.

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