While many of us may have believed the Toronto Blue Jays to have been the most charitable of draft selectors when they took Andrew Chin in the fifth round, only a month after the right handed pitcher had Tommy John surgery, the Texas Rangers went out and selected a player who is paralyzed.
Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor was selected in the 33rd round of the draft today by the Rangers despite being partially paralyzed after an outfield collision with Zach Cone, another Texas draft pick, back in March. Technically, Taylor is considered a tetrapalegic, and since his spinal cord wasn’t severed, the hope is that his condition will continue to improve, even if it is unlikely he’ll ever walk again.
According to Kip Fagg, the Rangers director of amateur scouting:
We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do. We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach’s draft status. Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player.
A few weeks ago, myself and a couple other members of our department visited Zach Cone in Georgia in the course of normal pre-draft activity. We presented Zach with a Rangers jersey for Johnathan that had been signed by the entire club, and asked if Zach could deliver it to his teammate.
As an organization, I think all of us are always trying to do the right thing in any situation. Taking Johnathan in the draft today, it was something we felt was right.
This is a very classy move by an increasingly impressive franchise.