Once a perennial top 10 farm system, the Rangers currently rank as one of the lesser systems in baseball. In recent years prospects such as Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Jurickson Profar, and Ryan Rua have graduated to the majors. This, coupled with high profile trades for Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Beltran, and Cole Hamels have left the Rangers without an arsenal of high profile prospects.
The Rangers have always been highly active in the market for international amateur talent. They would routinely outspend the majority of other MLB teams for young Latin ball players. Spending limits implemented in recent years have impacted their ability to out muscle other teams with their wallets. Additionally, in recent years they’ve been poached of their top international front of personnel and evaluators. Padres GM, AJ Preller was the Rangers International Scouting Director before he left for San Diego. One only needs to look at what the Padres did on the international scene this past year to recognize how the Rangers used to operate. Though they are not able to have the same impact that they once had around the globe, they still manage to find gems.
Drafting well has also been a hallmark of the Rangers. They have a tendency to target high upside athletic types. Their draft classes always end up producing an out of nowhere prospect that shoots up rankings. It’s only a matter of time before we determine which recent draftees deliver on their promise.
Though the minor league system is not at the heights it once was, the ultimate purpose of the minor leagues is to help the major league team win, and the Rangers are a contender at the major league level as a result of the strength of their minor league system. Prospects become useful major league pieces, and trade chips help acquire stars. With their knack for finding and developing young talent, the Rangers should be in good shape for years to come.
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
1. Leody Taveras, OF
Age 18 (DOB 9/8/1998)
Young athletic outfielder with 5 tool upside. Was the prize of the Rangers’ international spending spree in 2015. Still a long way off and home run power isn’t present yet. Demonstrated a good eye and extra-base pop. Has the most upside of anyone in the system. Will be ready for a full season assignment this year and it will be interesting to see how he progresses. If things go as expected, this time next year he could be a top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Boom or bust.
2. Yohander Mendez, LHP
Age 22 (DOB 1/17/1995)
Another international signing that has worked his way through the Ranger system reaching the majors in 2016. Has a solid fastball-changeup repertoire. His fastball sits in the low 90’s but can touch the mid 90’s. Change up is a plus pitch that keeps batters off balance. Working on establishing a solid third pitch. Needs more time in AAA to continuing developing his arsenal in order to stay in the rotation long term.
3. Ariel Jurado, RHP
Age 20 (DOB 1/30/1996)
Yet another product of the Rangers international system, Jurado is a panamanian southpaw who reached AA in 2016. Throws a heavy fastball in the low 90’s that leads to extreme groundball rates. Commands the ball well and will likely end up in the back of a rotation when he ascends to the majors. A solid, if not spectacular contributor.
4. Anderson Tejeda, IF
Age 18 (DOB 5/1/1998)
The Rangers like versatile defenders. Tejeda is another prospect that they are trying to maximize value for by moving around the dirt. Has surprising pop, registering double digit triples, doubles, and homers in 2016. Also demonstrates good contact and on base potential. Definitely a player to keep an eye on in 2017.
5. Cole Ragans, LHP
Age 19 (DOB 12/12/1997)
Left handed, 2016 first rounder out of High School in Florida. Shows a solid fastball- change up mix. Working on solidifying his command and repeating his mechanics. Has a big pitchers body and there is room for projection. Could start the year in Low A.
6. Ronald Guzman, 1B
Age 22 (DOB 10/20/1994)
Yet another high profile international signing out of the DR in 2011. Received huge money up front and huge expectations came with the bonus. It has taken a while but he has turned into a solid prospect. He is a batting average first, first base prospect with only minimal to moderate power. He doesn’t fit the profile of a typical first baseman. He’ll get his chances, but I suspect they will be with another organization. Probably begins the season in AAA.
7. Joe Palumbo, LHP
Age 22 (DOB 10/26/1994)
A strong showing in 2016 shot Palumbo up prospect lists. He started the year in the pen but transitioned to the rotation and became even more effective. In 96 innings pitched he racked up 122 strikeouts. He benefits from some deception in his delivery which keeps hitters unbalanced. He’ll move up to High-A this year and look to build on his 2016 break out.
8. Andy Ibanez, 2B
Age 23 (DOB 4/3/1993)
Versatile defender who doesn’t excel with the glove at any one position. Projects to be a bat first utility type. Not a star, but a useful player. That said, he was signed out of Cuba in 2015, so there is still an element of the unknown. Performed so well in his first assignment to Low A he was skipped to AA midseason.
9. Josh Morgan, 3B
Age 21 (DOB 11/16/1995)
Infielder with high contact and on base profile. Versatile defender who is being given a chance to add a catcher’s mitt to his collection. If he can stick behind the plate he becomes a more exciting prospect. Will be an interesting follow this year to see if he can add value to his profile.
10. Yanio Perez, 3B
Age 22 (DOB 8/10/1995)
A 2016 signing out of Cuba who has yet to make his debut in professional baseball. A bat first prospect who is said to have moderate pop and decent speed. His landing place on the defense side of the ball is yet to be determined. Some evaluators think he can stick at 3rd, others foresee a move to the outfield. At this point he is a bit of a mystery.
11. Luis Yander La O, OF
Age 25 (DOB 12/9/1991)
A recent signing out of Cuba, for a mere $110K, could turn out to be a bargain for the Rangers. Has been away from the diamond for a few seasons and rust will be apparent in 2017. At 25 will have to demonstrate his ability quickly. The range of outcomes is great for La O, but he is worth taking a gamble on.
12. Alex Speas, S=RHP
Age 18 (DOB 3/4/1998)
2016 2nd round draft pick out of high school in Georgia. Throws in the mid 90’s with occasional velocity bumps in the upper 90’s. Pairs the fastball with a power slider. Still working on adding a change-up as a different look to keep batters honest. Exciting package of pitches but more refinement is needed. Looking forward to catching him in Low-A Kinston (DownEast Wood Ducks) this year.
13. Jose Trevino, C
Age 24 (DOB 11/28/1992)
Transitioned to catcher as a pro and has taken to the position well. Is praised for his defense and will stick at the position. Was named the Rangers Minor League player of the year in 2016. Has doubles pop, on base skills, and rarely strikes out. Will likely start 2017 in AA.
14. Michael Matuella, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 6/3/1994)
Was a potential first overall draft pick going into the 2015 season, but got injured and required tommy john surgery. He fell to the third round as a result. The Rangers gambled on his upside and have waited patiently during his recovery. Before the injury had a mid 90’s fastball and plus secondaries. Has only made one pro appearance this past summer in the Northwest League. If he is recovered, could jump up rankings in 2017.
15. Eric Jenkins, OF
Age 19 (DOB 1/30/1997)
Speedy outfielder who swiped 50 plus bags last year. His legs are his only fantasy relevant tool at this point. Has struggled to make consistent contact and you can’t steal first base. Strikes out at a rate that may limit his ability to get to his moderate power. May develop into more but needs to put the bat on ball with more frequency.
16. Connor Sadzeck, RHP
Age 25 (DOB 10/1/1991)
Tall, 6-7, righthander with plus stuff who is trying to find health and consistency. Struck out 133 batters in 140 innings in AA Frisco in 2016. Could break out in 2017 or could end up in the bullpen where he could focus on unleashing his upper 90’s fastball in short bursts.
17. David Garcia, C
Age 16 (DOB 2/6/2000)
July 2 international signing this past summer, was viewed as the best catcher available in that market by international evaluators. Yet to debut, and a long way from the majors, but worth taking a flyer on in deep dynasty leagues.
18. Yeyson Yrizarri, SS
Age 19 (DOB 2/2/1997)
Young shortstop who tends to swing at everything. However, he tends to make contact with a lot of balls using that approach. Has okay pop and can steal bases. Needs to tone it down a bit and become more discerning at the plate. Should stick at short.
19. Brett Martin, LHP
Age 21 (DOB 4/28/1995)
A tall lefty who is working on consistency. He missed two months last season with elbow issues. Throws in the mid 90’s and has solid but not spectacular secondaries. Could develop into something more interesting, or could fizzle out in 2017.
20. Pedro Payano, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 9/27/1994)
Averaged more than a strikeout per inning in 2016 at Low-A Hickory. However he only pitched 74 innings as a result of getting hit in the head by a comebacker in July. He commands a low 90’s fastball and is more pitchability than stuff. Will be interesting to see if stellar numbers continue against advanced competition.
21. Jairo Beras, OF
Age 22 (DOB 12/25/1994)
Another big bonus international signing brought in by the previous leadership back in 2012. He is huge; listed at 6-6, and uses his size to generate plus power. Hit 22 HR last year in High-A. But with that power display came 121 Ks in just over 400 at bats. Still a bit of a lottery ticket, with plenty of time to continue to develop.
22. Scott Heineman, OF
Age 24 (DOB 12/4/1992)
A 2015 draftee out of college, Heineman put up impressive numbers in the hitter friendly California League, swatting 64 extra base hits. Also stole an above average number of bases. Already 24 years old, Heineman will have to keep demonstrating success to be considered a viable prospect in 2017.
23. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP
Age 20 (DOB 7/6/1996)
Hernandez had some buzz going into 2016 but looked mediocre during the season. He is still young at 19 and pitched the entire season in A ball. Doesn’t have overpowering velocity but has a good feel for secondaries. Wouldn’t be a surprise if he reclaims some of his prospect luster during 2017.
24. Michael De Leon, IF
Age 20 (DOB 1/14/1997)
Versatile infielder who can play both middle infield positions. Reached AA as a 17 year old on an emergency basis back in 2014. Light on the bat at this point but is a plus defender. Had 9 dingers last year while playing in the hitter friendly California League. May end up being a better real life player than fantasy option.
25. Jose Leclerc, RHP
Age 23 (DOB 12/19/1993)
Made Major League debut in 2016, registering an impressive 15 Ks in 15 IP. Unfortunately he also walked 13 during his short stint in the majors. Was able to command the ball slightly better in the minors, however he is very much a work in progress. Can light up the radar gun with upper 90’s heat in short bursts.
26. Kole Enright, 3B
Age 19 (DOB 1/21/1998)
Was drafted in 2016 in the 3rd round out of High School. He’s a switch hitter who shows ability from both sides of the plate. He is purely projection at this point, but the Rangers believe in the potential and will allow him time to develop.
27. Miguel Aparicio, OF
Age 17 (DOB 3/17/1999)
From same July 2 signing class as Leody Taveras. He’s noted for having no standout tool, but being solid across the board. Debuted in the Dominican Summer League this past season and had moderate success. A wait and see prospect at this point, but a name to keep in the back of your mind in case he shows more as he advances.
28. Mike Hauschild, RHP
Age 27 (DOB 1/22/1990)
Rule 5 draft pick from the Astros organization has had success in the upper minors in recent years. Nothing jumps out about his numbers, except that he has had sustained success. Will need to stick in the majors this year or be offered back to Houston. May have a chance to stick as a long relief/ spot starter type.
29. Kobie Taylor, OF
Age 18 (DOB 9/13/1998)
Sometimes the unknown is more exciting than the known entity. What the Rangers have in Taylor is a mystery at this point. Drafted in the 15th round out of high school in New Hampshire, Taylor appeared in just a handful of games his senior season due to suspension and injury. He is reported to be a five tool athlete who the Rangers bought out of a Vanderbilt scholarship. Could jump up this list with a good debut in 2017.
30. Hever Bueno, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 11/23/1994)
Bueno had scouts talking leading up to his final season in college at Arizona State, but was injured in his first game and is facing a long recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers grabbed him in the 9th round and hope he rebounds. Showed a mid 90’s fastball preinjury, with an above average changeup. Like Matuella, he is a high upside wait and see.
31. Andrew Faulkner, LHP
Age 24 (DOB 9/12/1992)
Has spent time in the majors the last two seasons accumulating 16 big league innings out of the pen. He’s a lefty with a good sinking fastball so he may find a career pitching out of a major league bullpen. Nothing too exciting to see here.
32. Sam Huff, C
Age 19 (DOB 1/14/1998)
Young backstop who has the raw tools to stick behind the plate if he continues to work on his craft. Batted .330 and reached base often with .436 OBP. Has power potential but didn’t tap into it during his debut in the Arizona Rookie League. Was a 7th round pick this past year and will be given plenty of time to translate the potential into reality.
33. Jose Cardona, OF
Age 22 (DOB 3/16/1994)
22-year-old Mexican outfielder put up stellar offensive numbers in the California League last year. Nothing truly stands out about any one tool, but he is greater than the sum of his parts. Batted .300 with a .371 OBP, rarely struck out, and had 37 extra base hits. Will try to replicate this success in AA in 2017.
34. Brett Nicholas, C
Age 28 (DOB 7/18/1988)
An older prospect at 28, Nicholas made his major league debut in 2016 and handled himself well in a limited role. Racked up 7 extra base hits in 40 ABs. Profiles as a backup catcher. A useful, but not exciting player.
35. Kyle Cody, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 8/9/1994)
Pitched four seasons for University of Kentucky and was selected in the 6th round of the 2016 draft. As a Wildcat he was known for his mid 90’s heat. Debuted this summer in the Northwest League and put up uneven numbers. While he showed decent control and struck out 53 in 47 innings, he got hit pretty hard to the tune of a 5.13 ERA. Some of this may be attributed to making his pro debut after a long college season.
36. Tyler Phillips, RHP
Age 19 (DOB 10/27/1997)
Thick bodied, cold weather high school pitcher drafted out of New Jersey in 2015. Struggled in Short Season A ball in 2016 as an 18 year old, but managed to put up decent strikeout numbers and was young for the league. If he impresses during spring training he could find himself starting the year in the rotation in Low A.
37. Juremi Profar, 3B
Age 20 (DOB 1/30/1996)
Jurickson Profar’s little brother shares his defensive flexibility and bat to ball skills. Spent time at first, second, and third in 2016. Hits for a decent average and shows on base ability. Has been overshadowed by other prospects but has developed into an interesting follow. Should start year in AA in 2017.
38. John Fasola, RHP
Age 25 (DOB 12/12/1991)
Another relief arm who was promoted thru three levels in 2016, ending up in AAA. Impressively, he struck out more than a batter per inning at each stop. At age 25 there is not a ton of projection left and he may only be a middle relief type arm.
39. Tai Tiedemann, RHP
Age 20 (DOB 5/31/1996)
Pitched limited innings after being drafted out of Boston College in the 8th round in 2016. He’s a work in progress but has a nice frame and some projection left. Rangers will work on tightening up the mechanics and hope that he clicks in 2017.
40. Charles Leblanc, SS
Age 20 (DOB 6/3/1996)
Leblanc split time between SS and 3B during his debut in the Northwest League in 2016. Drafted in the 4th round out of Pitt this past summer, Leblanc excelled in his first taste of pro ball. He produced strong offensive numbers but isn’t expected to stick at short based on his tall frame.
41. LeDarious Clark, OF
Age 23 (DOB 12/27/1993)
Moderate power/speed combo who stands out more for athleticism than skill at this point. Stole 25 bases in 2016 while also hitting 12 homers. Will likely move up to High A in 2017. Will be a slow mover thru the system.
42. Max Morales, C
Age 19 (DOB 9/28/1997)
Catching prospect put up solid numbers in the Dominican Summer League as an 18 year old in 2016. The batting average looked putrid at .239 but he reached base at an astonishing .372 clip. He also showed developing power by hitting 9 long balls in 61 games. A name to remember for 2017. Could debut stateside or never be heard from again.
43. Drew Robinson, OF/3B
Age 24 (DOB 4/20/1992)
Drafted in 2010, before many current Rangers prospects were in their teens, Robinson has seen his share of up and downs. 2016 marked the third time he has seen time in AAA. While he put up quality stats, and was added to the 40-man roster, he doesn’t profile as much more than a utility player at the major league level.
44. Tyler Ferguson, RHP
Age 23 (DOB 10/5/1993)
Bullpen arm out of Vanderbilt has been in the system for two seasons with varying levels of success. He struggled in Low A in 2016 but pitched with more confidence in short season A ball. The Rangers hope this power pitcher can find the plate more often and develop into a useful relief option.
45. Pedro Brito, LHP
Age 21 (DOB 4/4/1995)
Had a standout season in the Dominican Summer League in his third time in the league. Struck out 40 in 42 innings. Moved up to the Arizona League for a few appearances. Once stateside he struggled a bit, but still managed to strike out more than a batter per inning. If he sticks with a full season club this spring, he will be an interesting follow.
46. Curtis Terry, 1B
Age 20 (DOB 10/6/1996)
Terry is a big man at 6’2 and 255 lbs. In his second attempt at the Arizona Rookie League, this 2015 13th rounder consistently put the bat on the ball. He led the league with 17 doubles and also chipped in 4 homers.
47. Blaine Prescott, 2B
Age 21 (DOB 7/28/1995)
Put up impressive numbers as a 20 year old in the Northwest League this past season. In his professional debut he posted a .345 OBP and a .447 SLG. Look for him to continue his career in Low A next year with a chance to build on his early success.
48. Jose Almonte, OF
Age 20 (DOB 9/9/1996)
Million dollar plus signing bonus out of The Dominican Republic in 2013. Since then he has moved slowly through the system. The promise he showed as an amateur has yet to materialize as a pro. Has shown bat speed and limited power but still a project at this point.
49. Felix Carvallo, LHP
Age 23 (DOB 10/5/1993)
Struck out a ton of batters in the tough California League. Unfortunately he also got hit quite a bit as well. Purely a relief arm. If he harnesses his control he may be ready for a shot at AA next season.
50. Ti’Quan Forbes, 3B
Age 20 (DOB 8/26/1996)
A quick twitch athlete who was a second round pick out of high school in 2014. Has put up bland numbers in his 3 pro seasons. It’s time for the potential to turn into baseball production. Still a prospect, but in danger of being passed by.