What Could Have Been
As I noted in my Rangers top 50 last month, Texas’ minor league system has been thinned out in recent years by a number of a high profile trades that helped bolster the major league team. The additions of Cole Hamels, Carlos Beltran, and Jonathan Lucroy, among others, have helped the Ranges maintain the status quo at the major league level. However, a number of the prospects they dealt making those acquisitions would have ranked highly on the Rangers top prospect list.
So here is a look at some of the recently traded, with some insight into where they would have stacked up on my Rangers top 50 list.
Cole Hamels traded to Rangers with Jake Diekman and cash for Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jared Eickhoff, Jorge Alfaro, and Nick Williams. (7/31/15)
This was a huge deal at the time. Hamels has pitched well for the Rangers and Diekman has been a solid bullpen weapon. Nick Williams is a free swinging outfielder with tools to spare. He is on the verge of cracking the majors and is universally considered a top 100 prospect in baseball. He checked in at number 85 on our composite list released last week. He would have ranked in the top 5 on my Rangers list if he were still in the system. Catcher Jorge Alfaro has long been hyped as the next great catching prospect. He debuted in Philly last summer and is noted more for his defense and potential, than for his actual production with the bat. He checked in at number 67 on our top 100 list and would have been right behind Williams on my Rangers list. Thompson started 10 games for the Phillies last year with mixed results. He walked nearly as many as he struck out. He surpassed 50 innings and therefore is not prospect eligible.
Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress from the Brewers for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named later (Ryan Cordell) (7/31/16)
Big trade deadline deal last summer that brought the Rangers a power arm in the pen and an all star catcher. Lewis Brinson would have been the top name on my Rangers list if he were still with the organization. Collectively, we placed him at number 20 on our prospect list. The toolsy outfielder was a steep price to pay for Lucroy. Ortiz, a power pitcher with solid potential, slots in at number 76 on our group list. If he were still a Ranger he’d be my second ranked pitcher slotting in behind Yohander Mendez. Definitely a top 10 prospect in my ‘what could have been list’.
Rangers acquire Carlos Beltran from the Yankees for Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson, and Nick Green. (7/31/16)
This group of players was a steep price to pay for a few months of Carlos Beltran. Tate is the headliner of this deal. The fourth overall pick in the 2015, has a ton of potential. The promise he displayed as an amateur pitching for UC Santa Barbara hasn’t quite translated to professional ball yet. Still has plenty of time to put it all together. The Yankees will allow him the time he needs to hone his skills. Tate would have slotted into the back end of my Rangers top 10.
Overall, the talent the Rangers have traded away in recent years is quite impressive. It’s a nice mix of toolsy, athletic position players and high upside arms. Although these deals have thinned out the minor league system, they have bolstered the major league squad and put the Rangers in a position to win. And that, after all, is the purpose of a minor league system, to help supplement the major league squad and put the organization in a position to win.
Article’s featured image of Dillon Tate (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)