Rangers make Day 3 of the Draft a brother act
Club selects both Ledbetters in talent haul this weekend
David and Ryan Ledbetter couldn't have asked for a better situation in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. The twin brothers and right-handed pitchers both got drafted by the Rangers this weekend.
"It's a dream come true, literally," Ryan said. "That's funny. What are the chances? That's crazy."
Ryan was selected in the 19th round on Day 3 of the Draft on Saturday, while David was drafted in the third round on Friday. They were two of 41 selections made by the Rangers during the three-day Draft.
"We're very tired after three days of the long, grueling process we've been through up to this point," Rangers' director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said. "We got a lot of guys we identified early. All our scouts and cross-checkers knew the makeup, knew the ability, and we felt pretty good about the guys they identified and the guys we acquired."
The Ledbetter brothers still have college eligibility left at Cedarville University in Ohio, but their agent, Jonathan Maurer, said they plan to sign with the Rangers.
"There will be no challenges to signing, whatsoever," Maurer said. "We've discussed it. While things aren't official, we're excited to be Rangers. We've agreed in conversation, and both boys are ready to be in Texas."
David and Ryan came to Arlington for the Rangers' pre-Draft workout in May. Maurer said the organization "felt like a family" and the Rangers treated them as "what I felt like was royalty." They got an extensive tour of the ballpark and met with the Rangers' front office.
They also threw well during their workouts in Arlington. Fagg said they both showed the ability to manipulate the ball from both sides and the ability to spin a breaking ball.
"We were impressed with them," Fagg said. "I got around the kids a little bit and liked the makeup."
David expects to be used as a starting pitcher, while Ryan likely as a reliever. They both signed with Cedarville during their junior year of high school, despite interest from bigger programs like Butler and Indiana. David said they enjoyed their visit and loved the people on campus.
Ryan had to redshirt his first year due to Tommy John surgery, and called it a "patience builder."
"It felt like I got electrocuted in my elbow," Ryan said. "I thought it was just, 'Oh maybe I just threw that pitch weird.' So I threw another one and it hurt really bad. I just walked out and said I'm done."
Ryan went 10-4 with a 3.16 ERA in two years at Cedarville. He went 4-1 with a 3.34 ERA and six saves as the team's closer during his redshirt freshman season. Ryan was a Great Midwest Athletic Conference first-team selection as a redshirt sophomore with a 6-3 record in 13 appearances (nine starts) and a 3.05 ERA. He allowed 24 runs (19 earned) on 54 hits in 56 innings pitched. He had 59 strikeouts, 28 walks and a .257 opponents' batting average.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for him, and he wouldn't be where he is if it weren't for me," David said. "We're believers in Christ, and we think that God has a plan from the very beginning. It's just very funny to see it playing out and for us to be a part of that."
Ryan felt he didn't get to hone his skills as a pitcher this season because he mainly played second base. He said he's more aggressive than David on the mound, but he doesn't have David's command. Ryan said David hit 97 mph during his pre-Draft workouts with the Rangers. Ryan said his fastball sits around 93-95 mph.
"My stuff is a little more raw," Ryan said. "It's not as polished, but I'm excited to be able to just pitch with the program I'm on and have a routine."
In the Pipeline
The Rangers have drafted heavy on position players the last few years, but they've stocked up on arms this year. MLB.com has nine pitchers in the Rangers' top 20 prospects, including Martin Perez, Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch.
Master Tesfatsionis an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.