Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects Updated

Amateur player identification and development has long been a strength of the Rangers organization but trades and promotions have thinned out the system badly. And an inexplicable onslaught of injuries has made matters much worse.

Click here for the pre-season Top 10

1. Willie Calhoun | DH/LF | AAA —> The book on Calhoun remains the same: He could be an everyday hitter in the big leagues right now but he can’t play defence. He should be up this summer if Texas can find a place to play him — perhaps after the trade deadline.

2. Leody Taveras | CF | A+ —> Just 19, Taveras is already in high-A ball, although I’m not really a fan of how quickly the Rangers have been moving him. He has yet to dominate at any minor league level. The raw tools are there, though, and he should be a plus center-fielder with above-average speed and at least line-drive pop. He could grow into 15-20 homer pop.

3. Bubba Thompson | RF | A —> A multi-sport star in high school, Thompson is quickly ironing out the wrinkles in his game on the baseball diamond. He’s raw but I see a potential impact right-fielder here. He also reportedly has good makeup, which should help him realize his full potential.

4. Hans Crouse | SP | SS —> One of my favorite prep arms in the 2017 draft, Crouse gets knocked down a bit by talent evaluators for the lack of a third pitch and a questionable delivery (and an ugly arm action). I’m not sure I buy him as as starting pitcher — the arm action just isn’t going to produce even average control as is — but there’s at least a small chance that he irons things out and throws more strikes without losing the nastiness on his offerings.

5. Cole Winn | RHP | R —> The Rangers first round pick in 2018 is considered an advanced prep pitcher so he could be ready for full-season ball at the start of 2019 (if healthy — a big caveat in this system). I’m less bullish on him than most but there is mid-rotation potential here is everything goes well.

6. A.J. Alexy | RHP | A —> This right-hander’s fastball-cuveball combo has overpowered A-ball hitters so far this year. He’s struck out 74 batters in 57.2 innings but his control leaves something to be desired, as witnessed by his 37 walks. If he can find the strike zone more consistently and iron out his changeup, there is No. 3/4 starter potential here. If not the Rangers may have another high-leverage arm for the bullpen.

7. Cole Ragans | LHP | SS —> A 2016 first rounder, Ragans looked similar to Alexy with lots of Ks and questionable control back in 2017 (but from the left side). Unfortunately, he blew out his elbow this spring and will be lost until early 2019.

8. Yohander Mendez | LHP | AAA —> It’s been an ugly year for Mendez. With all the club’s injuries, he should be a big league starter right now but question decisions/makeup caused him to be demoted all the way to high-A ball. It will be interesting to see how he responds to this hurdle. He has No. 4 starter upside.

9. Pedro Gonzalez | OF | A —> I’m a big Gonzalez fan but 2018 has been a disappointment so far. Just 20, he stands 6-5 and taller prospects often take longer to iron out their swings. When he makes contact, Gonzalez can send balls a long way.

10. Jonathan Hernandez | RHP | AA —> Hernandez has the enviable mix of velocity and the ability to induce an above-average number of ground-ball outs. His control is still a work in progress and his secondary offerings need polish so it remains to be seen if his future is in the bullpen or the starting rotation.

Just Missed:

Julio Pablo Martinez | OF | SS —> Other people have Martinez ranked much higher due to his athletic ability but he’s raw for a 22 year old and has yet to put up good numbers (although the sample size is very small). Once (if?) things click, he could move quickly.

C.D. Pelham | LHP | AA —> Pelham could be a dominating big league reliever within a year. He throws from the left side, has above-average velocity and a nasty cutter. The big knock against him is the inconsistent command/control.

Chris Seise | SS | INJ —> An advanced prep hitter, Seise looked good after being drafted in the first round back in 2017. Unfortunately, his 2018 season has been wiped out due to rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder. The injury now puts him behind the eight ball in terms of his development and clouds his future. Rotator cuff injuries are notoriously difficult to come back from and it could force a move to second base or the outfield.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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4 years ago

Did you guys consider Julio Pablo Martinez’s cuban stats ? .967 ops at age 20 in 2016. For reference, victor mesa’s (age 20) ops that year was 939, and luis robert’s was a league leading 1.213 at age 18, Lourdes gurriel’s in 2015 at age 21 was .967. Most recent estimates compare the difficulty of the Cuban league to high A, although it’s possible it’s more like low A (clay davenport’s 2015 translation treats it as such)

4 years ago
Reply to  jarjets89

Wow so insightful Jarjets89. I totally agree how can JPM be outside of the top 10. He is widely considered a top 100 prospect. I personally like Cole Winn, but prep pitchers are far too risky. I would have JPM at least ahead of him.