With the 50th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Texas Rangers selected Evan Carter, an outfielder from Elizabethton High School in Tennessee.
Carter, 17, is committed to Duke University and is also a right-handed pitcher. He has a big frame at 6-foot-4 and weighs 210 pounds. He's a two-sport athlete who also played football during his freshman year where he was a wide receiver and safety.
Evan Carter plans to sign with the Rangers over going to Duke, calling the decision a "no-brainer."
"It's a great organization," Carter said via Zoom call on Thursday night. "I'm truly blessed to be a part of their family and I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of it."
Duke head coach Chris Pollard has this to say about Carter:
"He's a really athletic kid, and a really good runner for his size. He's a big guy, 6'4, 210, but he really utilizes speed in his game. I think he's really starting to grow into some power and has also been an upper 80s guy on the mound."
This pick definitely took many people by surprise. Carter was not ranked in MLB.com's Top 200 prospects nor Baseball America's Top 500. However, the Rangers had been in communication with Carter throughout the day about the possibility of drafting him on Thursday.
"Earlier today, we had been talking back and forth," Carter said. "You have your hopes. You never know until your name is called, but I was fortunate enough to hear my name called."
Carter also stated he plans to play the outfield over pursuing being a pitcher. He cites his passion for hitting as his reason.
The Rangers potentially went the safe route with their first round pick by selecting Mississippi State's Justin Foscue with the 14th overall pick, who has a pretty high floor. Taking a player that was off a lot of people's radar in the second round could easily be viewed as a bit cavalier.
However, the Rangers were very interested in Carter from the get go.
"He's an unbelievable kid," said Rangers Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Kip Fagg. "We saw him last summer. We saw him in the fall. Actually, the last game I saw this spring before the pandemic, I was in Elizabethton, Tennessee. I was in front of the family a couple of times. Unbelievable family. Unbelievable kid. He was the valedictorian of his high school. It's incredible. He's a five-tool player. We feel like we beat a lot of teams."
Fagg specifically mentioned the Royals and Pirates as teams who were interested in Carter. He also said this is the player the organization is most excited about landing on the second day of the draft.