ARLINGTON, Texas -- This time, the Texas Rangers made sure their top draft picks didn't get away.
The Rangers agreed to terms Wednesday with both of their first-round draft picks and assigned them to the Arizona League. Outfielder Jake Skole was picked 15th overall and catcher Kellin Deglan was chosen 22nd in the first round Monday night. Both of the 18-year-old players are left-handed hitters from the high school ranks who throw right-handed.
Skole signed for $1.557 million and Deglan agreed to a $1 million deal.
"It's a testament to Jake, Kellin, their families and our scouts that these guys are ready to go out and play right away," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We love their passion and drive to win."
Texas was unable to sign left-handed pitcher Matt Purke after picking him 14th overall from a Houston-area high school in last year's draft. The Rangers were compensated with the 15th pick this year, which they used to get Skole. Their original selection was No. 22.
Daniels said contract talks with both players didn't drag on because the young prospects were eager to launch their pro careers.
"It says a lot about these two players that there was no holding out for whatever reason," Daniels said. "These guys wanted to play baseball. They want to compete. They don't want to sit home this summer. They have the inner drive and motivation. Our scouts did a great job as far as evaluating that aspect of it."
Skole was a two-sport standout from Blessed Trinity High in suburban Atlanta. He committed to play football and baseball at Georgia Tech, where his brother is the starting third baseman, but said baseball has always been his priority and called his signing "almost a no-brainer."
Skole said Rangers scouts have been following him for years and "this is definitely the place I want to be."
Skole played only three regular-season games his senior season because of an ankle sprain, but returned to hit .452 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 14 playoff games for Blessed Trinity.
Deglan attended R.E. Mountain Secondary School in Langley High, British Columbia, which didn't have a baseball program. Instead, he played on a travel squad in the British Columbia Premier Baseball League, which counts among its alumni Minnesota's Justin Morneau and Rangers pitcher Rich Harden.
Deglan also was on Canada's junior national team, getting international experience and earning attention from major league scouts. He quit hockey at age 10 to concentrate on baseball, and was the highest-rated position player from Canada according to Baseball America.
He said offseason workouts with Morneau and other Canadian-born major leaguers increased his desire to launch a pro career.
"I realized I wanted to be living a life like that," Deglan said. "But I also knew I had to work hard to get there."