Texas Rangers Midseason Top 50 Prospects

It’s no secret. It has been a rough 2018 in Arlington. Sure, you see the last place team that gets trotted out in Globe Life Park night in and night out, but the challenges haven’t just been at the big league level. Down on the farm there have been under performers, injuries, and every single full season Rangers affiliate has a losing record this season. Yet, here we are six months removed from my Texas Rangers preseason top 50 list and there are still a ton of positives to focus on (it’s kind of in my nature). The Rangers had a solid draft, some young players are making names for themselves and moving through the system, and a couple of guys from our preseason list are now making impacts with the big league club. A lot has changed since the last time we ranked prospects prior to pitchers and catchers reporting and we’re here to break it all down.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:

1. Leody Taveras, OF, Age: 19 (Preseason #1)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats:  .233/.308/.314 3 HR, 32 RBI, 13 SB
Our Rangers preseason number one has struggled at the plate so far, but Taveras is more than three years younger than the average player in the Carolina League. The tools are still there, the stats will catch up.


Tier 2:

2. Willie Calhoun, OF, Age: 23 (Preseason #2)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Triple-A Stats: .306/.360/.444 8 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB
Calhoun struggled on the field and seemed like he may be butting heads with Rangers top brass due to his start with the Triple-A club. After getting benched for not running out of the box on a ground ball, the most consistent hitter in the Rangers organization is back to his original form. Currently with the major league squad, Calhoun has 55 career AB and just hit his first MLB HR this week.

3. Bubba Thompson, OF, Age: 20 (Preseason #6)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .276/.328/.419 4 HR, 27 RBI, 19 SB
I was higher on Thompson than most in the preseason and after getting more looks at the 2017 first round pick, I’m even higher on him than ever before. I think the ceiling is astronomical for this young man, especially when he grows into some more power.

4. Hans Crouse, RHP, Age: 19 (Preseason #4)
Highest Level: Short Season
2018 Stats: 3-1, 2.77 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 29 SO, 9 BB
Crouse has taken over Ragans as our top pitching prospect. Crouse and his electric delivery are giving Northwest League hitters fits so far in 2018. Opponents are batting just .160 against him.

5. Cole Ragans, LHP, Age: 20 (Preseason #3)
Highest Level: Short Season
2018 Stats: Has not pitched
Ragans has drawn comps to Cole Hamels in the past. Unfortunately for the Rangers top left handed pitching prospect, he has been on the shelf with Tommy John this season and will not be back until 2019.

6. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF, Age: 22 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Short Season
2018 Stats: .262/.394/.500 7 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB
A great international signing for the Rangers, Martinez is living up to the hype so far. Granted he has a little bit more experience than those at his level, it is still always great to see a guy come state side and produce.

7. Pedro Gonzalez, OF, Age: 20 (Preseason #8)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .242/.296/.442 10 HR, 39 RBI, 7 SB
With the Rangers farm depth in the outfield, Gonzalez gets overlooked from time to time. He has solid all around tools and may be one of the better power hitters in that outfield group.

8. Cole Winn, RHP, Age: 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Has Not Pitcched
2018 Stats: Has Not Pitched
The Rangers first round pick in the 2018 draft, Winn has the potential to move up this list quickly. The 18 year old already has some pretty developed pitches and I can’t wait to see how he fares in his pro debut.


Tier 3:

9. Kyle Cody, RHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #5)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats (Rookie): 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits Allowed, 9 SO, 1 BB
Cody went under the knife with Tommy John just over a week ago. He had battled elbow issues his entire career and only appeared in two games this summer in rookie ball. Unfortunately, the elbow issues came back and now Cody will be out until 2020.

10. Joe Palumbo, LHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #12)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: 0-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 19 SO, 2 BB
Another victim of Tommy John surgery, Palumbo is now back with High-A Down East in a very limited innings role. He has struck out 19 and walked just two over 17 innings. Things look like they are progressing for the lefty.

11. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #19)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: 6-5, 3.62 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 103 SO, 42 BB
Hernandez has made a big jump in our Rangers list since the preseason and that has a lot to do with how much closer to the majors he is than most in this extremely young farm system. I’d still put a late 2019 ETA on him though. While he hasn’t flown through the system, his fastball/changeup combo may help him progress a little quicker.

12. Chris Seise, SS, Age: 19 (Preseason #11)
Highest Level: Short Season
2018 Stats: Has Not Played
A 2017 first round pick by the Rangers, the Florida native had rotator cuff surgery in May and has missed the entire 2018 season. He’s young and injured, but the offensive tools are very good for the position, so he is staying high on this list.

13. Owen White, RHP, Age: 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Has Not Pitched
2018 Stats: Has Not Pitched
The Rangers second pick in the 2018 draft opted out of a University of South Carolina commitment to sign with Texas.

14. Anderson Tejeda, SS, Age: 20 (Preseason #15)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: .254/.315/.435 14 HR, 58 RBI, 9 SB
A 20 year old shortstop in High-A with a .750 OPS and 14 homers in nothing to scoff at. There is no question Tejeda is talented offensively, if he can stay at short he will be even more valuable.

15. Alex Speas, RHP, Age: 20 (Preseason #15)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 2-0, 2.20 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 49 SO, 21 BB
A pure bullpen arm, Speas is being groomed to be a late inning guy. He is having his best year so far in his go at full season ball at just 20 years old.

16. Ariel Jurado, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #16)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (Triple-A): 5-3, 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 58 SO, 17 BB
Jurado made his big league debut this season. He allowed four runs over 4.2 innings. The righty has dominated at Double-A so far.

17. Michael Matuella, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #10)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: 3-5, 8.24 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 44 SO, 21 BB
The oft-injured righty got shelled in the rotation early on in the season and has since moved to the bullpen where he has turned things around.

18. Jose Trevino, C, Age: 25 (Preseason #14)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (Triple-A): .234/.284/.332, 3 HR, 16 RBI
Trevino made his major league debut earlier this year and it was a memorable one. A walk off on Father’s Day as a new Father himself and with his Dad watching over him has been one of the highlights of the Rangers season.


Tier 4:

19. C.D. Pelham, LHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #30)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 43 SO, 21 BB
After performing extremely well in High-A and racking up 11 saves with Down East to start the campaign, Pelham earned a promotion to Double-A and also moved up a few spots on our list. Pitched in the 2018 Futures Game (1 BB).

20. Mason Englert, RHP, Age: 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Has Not Pitched
2018 Stats: Has Not Pitched
The Texas native has opted out of his scholarship offer with Texas A&M and has signed with his childhood favorite team.

21. Jason Bahr, RHP, Age: 23 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: 8-6, 2.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 111 SO, 26 BB
The Rangers recently acquired Bahr from the Giants and he has been a steady contributor in 2018. He pitched very well in Single-A and is off to a decent start in High-A.

22. Scott Heineman, OF, Age: 25 (Preseason #22)
Highest Level: Triple-A
2018 Stats: .308/.381/.450, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 17 SB
Heineman is knocking on the door of the majors, but the front porch is crowded. The 25 year old has handled the highest level of minor league pitching extremely well and should get a shot in the majors soon.

23. Andy Ibanez, 2B, Age: 25 (Preseason #21)
Highest Level: Triple-A
2018 Stats: .288/.355/.415, 8 HR, 38 RBI
Ibanez and Heineman have always kind of gone hand in hand with me, so it is no surprise they find themselves grouped together again. Ibanez had a successful career before defecting from his native Cuba and has adjusted well to the game stateside.

24. Jonathan Ornelas, SS, Age: 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Rookie
2018 Stats: .287/.381/.437, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 11 SB
I loved the first five rounds of the Rangers 2018 draft and the only reason these next two guys aren’t higher on the list is because of how far away they are. I am comfortable sliding them both up the list as things move around at the top.

25. Jayce Easley, SS, Age: 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Rookie
2018 Stats: .368/.455/.408, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 13 SB
See the Ornelas breakdown above. Too read more of a scouting report on these two guys, check out the write up I did on the Rangers Top 5 draft picks.

26. Yohander Mendez, LHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #9)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A): 1-8, 4.77 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 72 SO, 42 BB
Mendez has been one of the biggest disappointments in the system so far. Not only is he struggling statistically, he has had some trouble off of the field as well that has earned him a demotion from the majors.

27. Tyler Phillips, RHP, Age: 20 (Preseason #35)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 8-5, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 91 SO, 11 BB
Phillips has made a huge jump this season and if he stays on this pace, he may find himself in the top 20 next season. The New Jersey native has dominated South Atlantic League hitters in his first full season at Single-A.

28. A.J. Alexy, RHP, Age: 20 (Preseason #20)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 3-7, 4.34 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 88 SO, 43 BB
Alexy has slid down the list due to no fault of his own. The draft, international signings, and trades have moved him down a couple of spots, but he has been performing well as a part of a good Hickory staff. His curveball can get a lot of strikeouts when it is on.


Tier 5:

29. Hunter Cole, OF, Age: 25 (Preseason #32)
Highest Level: Triple-A
2018 Stats: .302/.373/.491, 15 HR, 45 RBI
After a .926 OPS in Double-A, Cole earned a promotion and is playing well with Round Rock.

30. Miguel Aparicio, OF, Age: 19 (Preseason #25)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .229/.270/.373, 7 HR, 28 RBI
Aparicio is a defense first prospect and it has shown so far in his stat line. Still just 19, there is plenty of time to see if the bat can catch up to the glove.

31. Tyreque Reed, 1B, Age: 21 (Preseason #49)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .263/.326/.456, 8 HR, 21 RBI
Reed was so low on our preseason list because he is locked into a first base or DH role and frankly, I don’t see a lot of value in those types of prospects from a fantasy perspective. However, Reed continues to mash in his first full season stint and is worth checking in on from time to time.

32. Brendon Davis, SS, Age: 20 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: .247/.324/.373, 5 HR, 28 RBI
The third piece in the Yu Darvish trade, Davis didn’t make his way on to the preseason list due to mighty struggles in Single-A after changing organizations. Still, the Rangers decided to test him at High-A and he is on a much more impressive trajectory now. The depth of shortstops in the organization works against him as well.

33. Yanio Perez, 3B, Age: 22 (Preseason #13)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: .231/.314/.235, 1 HR, 7 RBI
The one tool Perez brought to the table was his power and an injury riddled season seems to have taken that away from him. Perez is the biggest fall in our rankings, but he shouldn’t be written off completely. His defense is good enough to where the Rangers will give him time and see if the raw power can translate to games once he gets healthy.

34. Charles Leblanc, 3B, Age: 22 (Preseason #50)
Highest Level: High-A
2018 Stats: .256/.327/.411, 10 HR, 56 RBI
Although I don’t believe he will be a major contributor in the big leagues, I do think he has a good shot at making it to the show. For that reason, and due to his impressive season, Leblanc has moved up a lot in our midseason list.

35. Michael De Leon, SS, Age: 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: .265/.297/.343, 4 HR, 35 RBI
De Leon has flown somewhat under the radar in his Rangers career, but is making a little bit of noise with Frisco this season. His numbers are much improved from last year in his first shot at Double-A.

36. Sam Huff, C, Age: 20 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .240/.299/.415, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 5 SB
A high slugging catcher who will move through the system at a methodical pace. With pretty good depth in the system at the position, it will likely be a long time before Huff makes any noise in the majors should he make it there.

37. Edgar Arredondo, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason #46)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: 5-4, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 85 SO, 19 BB
The righty has pitched in High-A and Double-A this season. Arredondo fared much better in High-A and is still adjusting to Texas League hitters, but it has only been 25 innings.

38. David Garcia, C, Age: 18 (Preseason #36)
Highest Level: Rookie
2018 Stats: .167/.191/.197, 0 HR, 5 RBI
Garcia isn’t known for his bat, but I don’t rule out good defensive catchers who have the opportunity to get better at the plate, especially not when they are 18 with just 75 games in their professional career and only 17 since coming over from a foreign country. His defensive abilities should carry him up in the system and hopefully the bat comes along with it.

39. Noah Bremer, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #38)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 3-3, 4.56 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 44 SO, 16 BB
In Rookie ball last year Bremer was coming out of the bullpen, this year he has been exclusively a starter in the South Atlantic League. He has struck out nearly nine per nine innings so far in 10 starts.

40. Ronald Herrera, RHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #18)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats: Has Not Pitched
When the Rangers traded for Herrera in the off season, they thought he was going to be able to help in the bullpen at some point in 2018. He has been sidelined all year with a shoulder injury, but could be returning to a rehab assignment at some point in the near future.

41. Demarcus Evans, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 2-0, 2.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 70 SO, 25 BB
Evans has been unhittable since transitioning to the bullpen full time. He has struck out 70 with Hickory in just 38 innings. Opponents are hitting .162 off of him this season.

42. Connor Sadzeck, RHP, Age: 26 (Preseason #27)
Highest Level: Triple-A
2018 Stats:3-3, 3.90 ERA, 32 SO, 14 BB
Sadzeck may come up in September to add some bullpen depth, not much value here.

43. Ricardo Rodriguez, RHP, Age: 25 (Preseason #24)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (Triple-A/Double-A): 1-1, 1.96 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 19 SO, 3 BB
Rodriguez was just recently sent back down to Triple-A from the big league club, but should be be back in September if not sooner. His career will be a middle reliever bouncing back and forth.

44. Tyree Thompson, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason #42)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 6-7, 4.77 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 46 SO, 29 BB
Thompson hasn’t blown hitters away in his Single-A debut, but that isn’t his game. He is a pitch to contact kind of guy, hopefully the stat line will look a little better in the second half.

45. Joel Urena, LHP, Age: 18 (Preseason #41)
Highest Level: Rookie
2018 Stats: Has Not Pitched
The jury is still out on Urena. He has a prototypical pitchers build, we just need to see him on the mound more.

46. Kole Enright, 2B, Age: 20 (Preseason #48)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: .231/.301/.333, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB
Not much pop in the bat, but Enright is holding his own in his first go at full season ball.

47. Ryan Dease, RHP, Age: 19 (Preseason #37)
Highest Level: Single-A
2018 Stats: 4-2, 4.79 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 25 SO, 7 BB
Dease made one start at Single-A this season where he threw five scoreless, but has otherwise gotten hit pretty hard so far in Short Season Spokane.

48. Josh Morgan, INF/C, Age: 22 (Preseason #34)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: .226/.305/.321, 3 HR, 23RBI
Morgan is very versatile on defense and can play anywhere in the infield. He is having his worst season at the plate so far, but it’s not time to give up on him yet.

49. Brett Martin, LHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #23)
Highest Level: Double-A
2018 Stats: 2-7, 7.17 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 77 SO, 24 BB
Martin has been injured often during his career and has struggled mightily so far in Double-A Frisco.

50. Sean Chandler, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level: Rookie
2018 Stats: 11 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP,13 SO, 2 BB
The Rangers 2018 sixth round pick finishes out our top 50. The 6’5 righty out of Iowa Western CC has held opposing hitters to a .244 average through his first 11 professional innings.

 

Featured image of Bubba Thompson – via Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr

About Jake Berry 12 Articles
I reside in Carrollton, Georgia and love everything baseball. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. I have a passion for the minor leagues and have high hopes of visiting as many minor league parks as I can. I enjoy the statistical side of the game, especially sabermetrics. I am also an avid baseball card collector and fantasy baseball player.

2 Comments

  1. Jurado is dominating, really? Those look like pretty average stats, even before you add the fact that those 58 Ks have come in 101 innings, giving him a whopping 5.1 K/9. This looks like a guy stagnating to me.

    • Fair enough, but have you watched him pitch or are you just looking at strikeout rate? In the era of feast or famine there are still guys that pitch to contact and do it well. He is one of them.

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