Tanner Scheppers was a consensus first-round talent who fell to the Rangers in the second round of last week's draft because of concerns about the health of his shoulder and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports that two teams passed on him because they believe he has a 50-percent labrum tear that will eventually require surgery.
Here's what Texas general manager Jon Daniels had to say about Scheppers' status:
I'd prefer not to discuss specifics of Tanner's medical situation for two reasons: One, he's not our player until he's signed; and two, I'm uncomfortable doing so in general. The best I can put it is this: He was examined by Dr. [Keith] Meister before the draft. He was cleared to be selected, with the understanding that there may be a heightened level of risk versus other pitchers of a similar age and experience level. We took him with eyes wide open and hope to sign him this summer.
This isn't the first time that Scheppers' shoulder has been an issue. In fact, he went through a very similar situation last year when he fell from likely first-round pick to the Pirates at No. 48 overall after being diagnosed with a stress fracture.
Rather than sign for below-market money Scheppers opted to follow in J.D. Drew's footsteps by playing for the independent league St. Paul Saints, where he stayed healthy and reestablished himself as a top-notch prospect by flashing a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball.
As Mayo notes, "the Rangers clearly felt comfortable enough to select Scheppers" while "others concluded the injury was too severe and decided to pass." He has until August 17 to sign this time around and the Rangers seemingly wouldn't have used a second rounder on him without being willing to pony up above-slot money, but obviously that would all change if he indeed needs to go under the knife.
Ironically, the Rangers received the No. 44 pick that they used to select Scheppers as compensation for losing the oft-injured Milton Bradley as a free agent.