By:  J. Daniel Pearson

If there was any question how bad the Texas Rangers wanted to get sixth round draft pick and former Harmony pitcher Caden Scarborough under contract, it was answered late last week.  The Rangers reached contract terms with Scarborough – signing him to agreement that included a $515,000 bonus.

Scarborough became just the second of Texas’ 18-draft picks to reach agreement.  Texas released the Scarborough signing moments after they announced that they came to terms with first round draft pick Wyatt Langford – a former University of Florida star who received a $7.69 million signing bonus.

Reached by phone on Wednesday night, Scarborough said he was not sure where or when the Rangers would assign him to his first professional location, but that he “was excited to start his professional baseball journey.”

“It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but I’m glad it’s over and happy to officially be a Texas Ranger,” Scarborough said.  “Wherever they want me to go, is fine – I’m just ready to go.”

The 6-5, right-handed Scarborough was not high on the radar of many professional or college scouts early, as he was injured for part of his junior season.   But the stock of the Hillsborough Community College commit rose dramatically during his senior year — where he sported a 1-1 record with a 2.19 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched.  He helped the Longhorns to an Orange Belt Conference championship, was named All-OBC, All-County, Player of the Year and All-Region by the Orlando Sentinel.

He gained additional notoriety with his performance at the FHSAA All-Star game in Lakeland, where he faced the best high school seniors in the state and struck out four batters in two innings. Scarborough was later offered by Dallas Baptist, a Division-1 baseball power.   The San Diego Padres then flew him out to Petco Park for a private workout, where he struck out several college players that were also brought in for draft evaluations.

Harmony head coach Heath Williams said he was not shocked that Scarborough went to so high in the draft.  “As a pitcher, Caden has ‘swing and miss’ stuff and that’s something that major league teams are always looking for.  On top of that, he is one of the most focused athletes I have ever met.  He sets goals and then works his tail off to get there.”  

Scarborough’s selection in the sixth round matched the draft position of Osceola High’s Edwin Rios, who was also selected in the sixth round of the 2015 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Florida International.  Rios made his major league debut in 2019 and is currently playing AAA baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization. 

The last county player to be drafted in an earlier round was Osceola High’s Alex Burgos, who went in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.  A pitcher, Burgos retired in 2019 after a nine-year career in the minor leagues.