Cole Ragans Gets Back To Work At Instructs
On his way back from Tommy John surgery, lefthander Cole Ragans was eager to get his career back on track in the spring of 2019.
He was close, too. Ragans' rehab had progressed to him throwing off a mound. The Rangers were excited with the progress the 2016 first-rounder was making.
Then his ulnar collateral ligament ripped again, and a second Tommy John was required. The Rangers said it was the first time they had ever had an elbow reconstruction fail.
Another 15 months later, and Ragans was back on a mound as the Rangers held their annual instructional league. The downtime has allowed his 6-foot-4 frame to fill out compared with his high school days in Tallahassee, Fla.
Ragans remains lanky, just not as lanky. And the 23-year-old still has a feel for how to pitch, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said after spending a week at camp in Surprise, Ariz.
"He threw the ball great, had a really good changeup," Daniels said. He always had a feel to pitch. If anything this time to rehab has allowed him to fill out physically."
Ragans, who peaked as Texas' No. 4 prospect and once had the best curveball in the organization, wasn't affected by the cancellation of the minor league season because he was still going through his rehab.
Instructs served as the first innings Ragans had put on his arm since just before his second injury. He hasn't pitched in a game since 2017, and that was for short-season Spokane.
Ragans was joined by other pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, namely 2018 draftees Owen White (second round) and Mason Englert (fourth round), a pair of righthanders.
"Knock on wood, these guys all look great, threw the ball well," Daniels said. "More important, they are all feeling good. Everybody is rooting for all of them, especially Cole Ragans and what he has been through."
— Daniels had high praise for 2020 second-rounder Evan Carter, the Elizabethton (Tenn.) High outfielder who did not rank among the Baseball American top 500 draft prospects. The lefthanded hitter made a favorable first impression, Daniels said, and had hit .313/522/.563 through his first handful of games.
— Another player who has been slowed by injuries since being drafted is Florida high school shortstop Chris Seise, the 29th overall pick in 2017. The Rangers continue to see a high upside in Seise, who had swatted three home runs early in instructs and was batting .435.