Texas Rangers 2013 Top 15 Prospects
The rest of Bullpen Banter’s 2013 Top 15 Prospects can be found on the 2013 Team Prospect Lists Bar on the right side of your screen. Thanks for reading! -BB
Bullpen Banter Texas Rangers 2013 Top 15 Prospects
Jeff Reese: Over the past half decade, the Texas Rangers have been amongst the most aggressive teams in pursuing amateur talent, particularly that from the international pool. The Yu Darvish signing can technically be classified as such, but that was a fairly unique scenario of an elite talent going from one professional league to another; Jurickson Profar is the true gem of the stratagem. The Rangers went against consensus by signing the 16 year old as a short stop rather than a right handed pitcher; within twelve months it was obvious to everyone that the Rangers made the correct evaluation. That’s how it goes in Latin America — even with the consensus top prospects, there can be a wide variance in how teams view them. Profar stands out defensively at short stop and continues to impress as a hitter against much older competition. He has impact upside. Others from their international crop have similar upside but cannot approach the certainty of Profar. Jorge Alfaro has the tools to excel offensively and defensively behind the plate with two plus-plus tools in his raw power and arm strength. The hit should be good enough to allow the power to shine through if he can improve his approach, while the athleticism is there for him to improve his defensive work. Luis Sardinas was signed in the same class as Profar but has been limited by a string of injuries. The defensive work could be even better than Profar at short stop, but he does not project to have the same kind of offensive profile. Ronald Guzman & Nomar Mazara are less defensively valuable, but bring loud offensive tools that will play in COF & 1B. Leonys Martin was signed later in his development after defecting from Cuba. As a very good defensive center fielder, he should provide value even if his bat never quite comes around. Jairo Beras is the most recent addition; his signing was heavily contested — ultimately upheld with a one year suspension for falsifying his age — as most teams thought his birthday made him ineligible when the Rangers made their move.
The group of position players have better prospects, but Texas also signs their share of pitching prospects from Latin America. Martin Perez has been near the top of the Rangers prospect list since 2009; he finally saw some major league time in 2012 and should graduate next season. No longer considered to be quite on that elite level, Perez’s stuff remains good enough for him to profile as a number two if everything can come together. The command, mound presence, and inconsistency have stalled him in the PCL. Beyond Perez, the pitchers are mostly power arms that are learning how to become pitchers.
In the summer draft, the Rangers have not had quite as much success. That doesn’t mean they have not hit on a number of their draft picks, just that it is not at the same rate as with the international free agents. Mike Olt has been a clear win. Coming out of UConn, Olt was well regarded for his power and defensive abilities at third base, but the amount of contact he’d make at the next level was in doubt. That doubt has been eased as he’s progressively mastered each level. In the draft the Rangers’ focus is generally on quality athletes both on the mound and in the field. The position players are often those raw with loud tools (Zach Cone, Jordan Akins, Nick Williams) where the hope is that they can develop them into MLB products. Lewis Brinson is just that. With tremendous athleticism in center field and projectable offensive tools, the Rangers made him their first selection in the 2012 draft; much polish is still needed for him to reach his very high ceiling. The pitchers have more varied profiles — some take the form of smallish athletes who command their fastball (Robbie Erlin, Cody Buckel), others are more raw throwers who need to be shaped into pitchers (Justin Grimm, Luke Jackson).
Texas has the impressive combination of elite level talent and quality depth in their farm system. It remains one of the best in the league; the only thing that may slow this train down is the new IFA rules put in place by the MLB.
Al Skorupa: The Rangers certainly did a great job recognizing the talent in Jurickson Profar. They’ve really been excellent at identifying and acquiring amateur talent under the tenure of Jon Daniels. The fruit of their efforts stretches far beyond having the best prospect in the game. Texas also has three major league ready talents in Mike Olt, Martin Perez and Leonys Martin. All three players project as average or better regulars. The team’s embarrassment of riches is such that Profar and Olt are actually blocked by very good major leaguers. Were the merits of this farm system to stop there it would still be impressive, but the Rangers also boast some impressive depth. The org. is extremely deep in both potential impact players and useful pieces. The major league squad may take a step back with the loss of Josh Hamilton, but help is definitely on the way.
This was a very difficult list to piece together after the top 4. Just a lot of similar talent that was difficult to sort. I’m a believer in Luke Jackson, though I understand the reservations some talent evaluators have. There’s a lot of mechanical adjustments that need to be made and Jackson’s game lacks refinement. Even if he’s a pen arm he’s someone who is going to help a major league team. If everything clicks with Jackson then he’s a long term piece in a good rotation. I could probably write the same sort of thing about a whole lot of the next group of pitchers on this list. The rest fall into the useful-but-flawed mid rotation types. Justin Grimm is likely to be the best of that group. Cody Buckel has his issues, but do I agree with a solid amount of what the Texas Baseball Ranch teaches. C.J. Edwards is the prospect who could really fly up prospects lists in 2013. He showed scouts some premium velocity and filthy stuff in short season ball. The position players in this group also have worts and high ceilings. I’m too concerned about how much of Joey Gallo’s power is usable to rank him highly, but if I were a Scouting Director I’d be delighted to have him in the fold and let my player development guys get thier hands on him. Jorge Alfaro, Ronald Guzman, Nomar Mazara, Jairo Beras, Rougned Odor and Odubel Herrera stand as a testament to the great job the Rangers have done in Latin America recently. All of those prospects are long term projects but the tools are undeniably exciting.
This really was a difficult system to sort through at this time. It’s not only a crucial juncture for the organization, but its also like most of their prospects have come to a fork in the road. We’re almost guaranteed to see a very different looking Rangers top 15 next year. I have no doubt that the system will remain one of the best in baseball.
SS Jurickson Profar (Steve Fiorindo)
3B Mike Olt (Steve Fiorindo)
RHP Martin Perez (Steve Fiorindo)
C Jorge Alfaro (Steve Fiorindo)
3B/1B Joey Gallo (Steve Fiorindo)
OF Nomar Mazara (Steve Fiorindo)
1B Ronald Guzman (Steve Fiorindo)
C Pat Cantwell (Al Skorupa)
RHP Roman Mendez (Steve Fiorindo)
2B Odubel Herrera (Steve Fiorindo)