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Prospect Profiles: Texas Rangers

Prospect Profiles: Texas Rangers Image via Sportsgraphics36


A look at the farm system of the Texas Rangers

The 2016 season for the Texas Rangers was a season full of hope and optimism culminating in a division title. Texas finished the year 95-67 under manager Jeff Banister. The Rangers would eventually be swept in the ALDS by the Toronto Blue Jays, ending their season and calling into question the makeup of the organization. How did a team with all the perceived pieces fall short of the World Series? It’s now or never for these Rangers, but what does the future hold? We will be taking a close look at the Texas Rangers farm system by examining the top 10 prospects in the organization.

Yohander Mendez, LHP

Yohander Mendez was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for 1.5 million dollars. Yohander compiled a 12-3 record in 2016 with a 2.19 ERA. His fastball sits in the 90-94 MPH ranged and his change-up has great sinking action making it virtually impossible to hit for right-handed hitters. He’s added velocity recently and that trend should continue as he improves. Mendez is well on his way to cementing a spot in the Rangers rotation. The only question posed at this point is whether Mendez can handle a starters role. With his consistent ability to throw strikes, command certainly isn’t an issue.

ETA: 2017

Ariel Jurado, RHP

Ariel Jurado was signed in 2012 by the Texas Rangers. The Panama native came into the system with very little fan fair until exploding onto the scene in 2016. Jurado registered a 12-1 record and a 2.45 ERA in Low-A. His fastball doesn’t wow the radar guns, coming in at 89-92 MPH, but it’s late sinking action and his ability to command the pitch has made it a very effective weapon. He complements his fastball with a breaking ball and change-up that is well on its way to becoming a plus pitch. Jurado’s command for the strike zone and ability to pitch have caused the Rangers to take notice. He’s progressing through the system faster than expected and is on pace to make his major league debut at age 22.

ETA: 2018

Andy Ibanez, 2B/3B

Andy Ibanez was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2015. The Cuban infielder hit .324 in Low-A ball and stumbled following a promotion to Double-A, hitting .261. The jury is still out on what Ibanez will become. His quick compact swing has yielded power to the gaps and he does possess discipline at the plate. The downside on Ibanez stems from an average arm in the field, and below average speed which basically designates him as a future second baseman. His glove has proven to be more than adequate and if he can continue to produce offensively, there may be a spot for him in the Rangers line-up in the future.

ETA: 2018

Leody Taveras, OF

Leody Taveras was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2015 and received a 2.1 million dollar signing bonus. Highly regarded as one of the best international prospects in recent years, Taveras possesses great speed and base-running instincts to go along with his switch hitting ability. He projects as a 15-20 home run per year hitter, but a small sample size in Low-A ball saw him hit a disappointing .228. He also possesses the capability and range to play all three outfield spots, making him a very versatile option for the future. While his offensive numbers have caused many to speculate what the future will hold for him, no one can argue that a full season in the minor leagues will be a better measuring stick for what Taveras’s future will hold. If Taveras can make the necessary adjustments at the plate, the skies the limit as to what he can do.

ETA: 2021

Anderson Tejada, INF

Anderson Tejada is an intriguing prospect that possesses surprising raw power for a middle infielder. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 by the Rangers, Tejada exploded in 2016, hitting .277 with eight home runs and 19 RBI’s in just 19 games at Low-A Spokane. His numbers indicate he could play anywhere in the infield although he is currently not considered a great defensive player. Tightening up the strike zone and hitting more to all fields have been problems for Tejada, but there is hope within the organization that he can make the necessary changes. His productivity at this point has been offensively driven, and if he continues to progress defensively, he could be a mainstay in the Texas Rangers line-up.

ETA: 2021

Josh Morgan, INF/C

Josh Morgan was drafted in the third round, 95th overall by the Texas Rangers in 2014. In his first two pro seasons, he has shown great discipline and hitting ability at the plate. Morgan is able to square the baseball up on a consistent basis, and hits the ball hard off the barrel, producing line drives to all areas of the diamond. Power number projections indicate that as he develops and matures, he could be a 20-25 home run hitter. Defensively, there’s nothing that really jumps off the page at you when it comes to Morgan, but his ability to play multiple positions will prove to be a vital asset in the Rangers system.

ETA: 2019

Ronald Guzman, 1B

Ronald Guzman was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2011 and is widely considered one of the organizations prized prospects. Guzman had a great 2016 campaign, hitting .274 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI’s. He has progressed nicely, becoming a very solid hitter who makes solid contact on a consistent basis. Overall, raw power is a plus and he projects to be a first baseman given his lack of athleticism. One downfall offensively is his tendency to expand the zone. Guzman doesn’t have great speed in the field or on the base-paths.

ETA: 2017

Cole Ragans, LHP

Cole Ragans was drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Texas Rangers. His arsenal consists of a fastball, curve and change-up. His fastball hovers in the 89-93 MPH range but could add more velocity as he matures. His curveball has great downward movement, but he has had issues with command partly due to his youth. Ragan’s change-up will improve as he gains trust in his mechanics. While the sample size on Ragans is small at this point, the Rangers are extremely high on this young prospect, comparing him to the likes of Cole Hamels.

ETA: 2021

Brett Martin, LHP

Selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, Brett Martin registered a 4-4 record with a 4.41 ERA in 2016. Martin possesses a fastball in the mid 90’s and a curveball that stays down in the zone. His change-up features great sinking action and Martin’s delivery is so deceptive, hitters have a hard time picking up the ball coming out of his hand. The one knock on Martin has been his control and command, but he has made improvements since signing and projects as a middle of the rotation starter if he continues to progress.

ETA: 2018

Alex Speas, RHP

Alex Speas was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. He features a plus fastball in the 92-96 MPH range with late life that causes it to explode through the zone. His curveball complements his fastball as an out pitch when he can deliver it with accuracy and control, which has been a problem of late. Speas has drawn comparisons to Dwight Gooden. Although extremely raw, Speas possesses the arm ability and talent to pose problems for hitters in the big leagues. He will need to show the ability to command the strike zone and mix his pitches if he wants to advance to the highest level.

ETA: 2022

Just Missed:

Joe Palumbo, LHP, 2.24 ERA, 122 strikeouts, and 36 walks in 96.1 innings pitched in Single-A last season.

Jose Trevino, catcher, .303 batting average, nine home runs, and 68 RBI’s in 109 games at Single-A Advanced in 2016.

The Texas Rangers were one of the best teams in baseball in 2016. They have many stars in the majors that have graduated from this system. For that reason, it is one of the weakest systems in baseball right now. That is not a big concern because the Rangers are set at the major league level.

Many of the prospects in this system are about two to four years away from the big leagues. Combine some of these guys listed above with the guys already in a big league uniform, and you get a Rangers team that will be good for many years to come.