Texas Rangers Top 43 Prospects

Eric Longenhagen

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Texas Rangers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Rangers Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Josh Jung 25.4 MLB 3B 2023 55
2 Evan Carter 20.9 AA CF 2025 50
3 Sebastian Walcott 17.3 R 3B 2029 50
4 Luisangel Acuña 21.3 AA SS 2024 50
5 Tekoah Roby 21.8 AA SP 2025 50
6 Justin Foscue 24.4 AAA 2B 2023 50
7 Jack Leiter 23.2 AA SP 2024 50
8 Brock Porter 20.1 A SP 2027 45
9 Abimelec Ortiz 21.4 A+ 1B 2025 45
10 Owen White 23.9 MLB SP 2023 45
11 Cody Bradford 25.4 MLB SP 2023 45
12 Cameron Cauley 20.4 A SS 2026 45
13 Dustin Harris 24.0 AAA LF 2024 40+
14 Alex Speas 25.3 AAA SIRP 2023 40+
15 Jesus Lopez 18.1 R C 2027 40+
16 Aaron Zavala 23.0 AA RF 2025 40+
17 Thomas Saggese 21.2 AA 3B 2025 40+
18 Aidan Curry 21.0 A SP 2025 40+
19 Justin Slaten 25.8 AA SIRP 2023 40+
20 Marc Church 22.3 AAA SIRP 2024 40+
21 Kumar Rocker 23.6 A+ SIRP 2026 40+
22 Jonathan Ornelas 23.1 AAA SS 2023 40
23 Mitch Bratt 20.0 A+ SP 2026 40
24 Echedry Vargas 18.4 R SS 2027 40
25 Antoine Kelly 23.6 AA SIRP 2023 40
26 Josh Stephan 21.7 AA MIRP 2025 40
27 Winston Santos 21.2 A+ SP 2025 40
28 Joseph Montalvo 21.2 A SP 2025 40
29 Emiliano Teodo 22.4 A+ SIRP 2024 40
30 Ismael Agreda 19.8 R SIRP 2027 40
31 Davis Wendzel 26.1 AAA 3B 2023 40
32 Cole Winn 23.6 AAA MIRP 2023 40
33 Tommy Specht 19.0 A RF 2026 35+
34 Geisel Cepeda 25.5 A+ LF 2026 35+
35 Grant Anderson 26.1 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
36 Chase Lee 24.9 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
37 Yerry Rodríguez 25.7 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
38 Ian Moller 20.7 A C 2026 35+
39 Jake Latz 27.3 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
40 Ricky DeVito 24.9 AA SIRP 2023 35+
41 Daniel Robert 28.9 AAA SIRP 2024 35+
42 Luis Valdez 20.0 A SP 2025 35+
43 Adrian Rodriguez 22.1 A SIRP 2024 35+
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55 FV Prospects

1. Josh Jung, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Texas Tech (TEX)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 60/60 50/60 40/40 55/60 60

The gist of Jung’s offseason report was that we were staying on him as an upper-echelon prospect because his 2022 performance was compromised by injury and rust. That has been correct to this point, and Jung is having a huge season despite somewhat scary peripherals.

His pre-season report: Jung was an elite college performer at Texas Tech — he posted a .348/.455/.577 line with more walks than strikeouts throughout his career — but didn’t hit for huge home run power there, in part because he tended to work the opposite field. Of the 71 extra-base hits Synergy Sports has on tape from Jung’s time at Tech, 51 were to center or right field. This cemented confidence in his feel to hit and also generated pre-draft conversations about whether there was a path for Jung to get to more power in games by pulling the ball more often, and whether that would hurt his ability to make contact. It has been tough to truly find out even though Jung is now 25 and has set foot in the big leagues. There was no 2020 post-draft minor league season, and each of Jung’s last two campaigns have begun with prolonged IL stints due to severe injury. His 2021 season got off to a delayed start because of a stress fracture in his left foot (he slashed .326/.398/.592 across about 80 upper-level games thereafter), and Jung spent most of 2022 on the shelf rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn left labrum. At times Jung looked totally lost late in 2022 when he finally returned from the shoulder surgery. His propensity to chase and lunge at pitches nowhere close to the zone led to a 38% strikeout rate during his September call-up. That isn’t consistent with his career performance: Jung’s 2021 chase rate, per Synergy, was just 24%, and that exploded to 37% in 2022. Our interpretation of this is that it’s a result of rust from the prolonged layoff rather than an actual indication that Jung suddenly has terrible feel for the strike zone. Jung is still a strong, bendy, explosive third base athlete with all-fields pop, a hit/power combination above the everyday bar at third base, and an above-average glove.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Elizabethton HS (TN) (TEX)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/50 35/45 60/60 45/50 45

At a time when everyone has a camera (and access to the internet) in their pocket, it’s almost impossible for an early-round prospect to be hidden in a true sense, though the 2020 shutdown contributed to Carter’s lack of notoriety. Many other teams knew of Carter, but did not know his prospectdom in a thorough sense; some thought he was unsignable, others were entirely unaware of him, as I was. The Rangers took him 50th overall and he signed for $1.25 million.

Carter has put up video game numbers (.291/.411/.471 through Double-A at age 20 as of list publication) and he is very a good player, but his visual scouting report doesn’t really jive with his surface-level output in a way that makes me comfortable projecting him to be a great player. Carter’s game is much more about soft skills than premium tools. Defensively, Carter does some things very well in center field and some other things not so well. He’s great at running down balls in the gaps, and at finding the wall and then the baseball again as he approaches the warning track. His reads on balls hit in front of him aren’t as crisp (he’ll make some diving plays in front of him that other center fielders make standing up), and his hands and ball skills are below-average. His arm plays above its raw grade because Carter’s exchange is so quick — he knows his best chance to hose someone is to get rid of the ball quickly and accurately, so he does. He’s definitely a fit in center field but he isn’t a Gold Glover or anything like that, and he might not even be as good as Leody Taveras is on defense, which probably means Carter will be one hell of a left field defender when he ultimately debuts.

A patient, discerning hitter, Carter’s breaking ball recognition and feel for the strike zone is excellent. He’s chasing at a 17% clip and his overall swing rates are closer to average, which means Carter’s feel for the zone is legit, and elite. No other aspect of his offense is exceptional. A downward cutting swing and middling rotational athleticism limit Carter’s power, and even though he’s young and has a huge, rectangular frame, this isn’t the sort of premium rotational athlete for whom I’m inclined to project big long-term power. In fact, the stiffness in Carter’s swing/body and his injury history (especially the stress fracture in his back) kind of concern me. He’s going to hit a lot of infield choppers and grounders and swing over the top of a lot of breaking balls (especially back-foot jawns) with his current swing. His contact rates are about the big league average (76%), while his 2023 hard-hit rate (33%) is comfortably below it. Carter is dangerous against pitches at the top of the zone, but you can both get him to whiff and limit his damage by attacking him with soft stuff at his knees. Again, I’m not saying he’s a bad player. He’s a viable center fielder with elite plate discipline and a solid average hit tool. I just don’t think he’s a star. If he turns into the second coming of Brandon Nimmo, then I’ll have been light.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Bahamas (TEX)
Age 17.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/70 25/70 60/50 35/60 60

Walcott was seen some in the U.S. during the fall of 2021 and leapt off the field because of his physicality and power. The Rangers were originally connected to Camilo Diaz for $3 million but seemingly diverted to Walcott around this time (Diaz signed with Houston). Walcott signed in January and spent a big chunk of spring training in Arizona, where he looked amazing. He went to the D.R. for the start of the DSL season but was quickly promoted to Arizona and is currently lighting up the backfields.

He looks like a future NFL tight end in his uniform and has the kind of pull power you’d expect from a prospect built like that. This is still a young 17-year-old with elite hand speed and lots of physical projection remaining. He has some crude-looking but effective feel to hit and can bend at the waist to poke outer-half stuff the other way, but Walcott’s bat isn’t in the hitting zone for very long and his breaking ball recognition during those stateside games was poor. There is hit tool risk here, as all of Walcott’s best swings are against pitches in the down-and-in portion of the zone. He is, however, very good at turning around big velocity so long as it’s in that area.

Walcott is a balletic and graceful infield defender, which is incredible to watch at his size, and he might be a plus third base defender at peak if he ends up moving off of shortstop. His ceiling is immense and scouts have been all over Texas ACL games the last couple of weeks getting a look at him in advance of the deadline. He moves into the Top 100 on this update and could elevate himself into the 55 FV tier if he hits like this against a better collection of arms during Instructional League in the fall.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TEX)
Age 21.3 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 50/55 30/50 60/60 40/50 55

Were Acuña a draft-eligible college player, he’d easily be the first infielder off the board, as no college shortstop in the 2023 class can match his level of athleticism and explosiveness. His swing has a load and leg kick similar to his brother’s before Luisangel takes a gargantuan stride toward the mound and whips his entire torso around in the blink of an eye. His hands are lightning-quick and direct to the ball, though he struggles to make contact in front of the plate, often over-swings, and tends to chase.

Acuña’s epicurean approach to hitting hasn’t yet led to excessive strikeouts. Instead, the knock-on effects of his desire to swing at most anything is more evident in his middling home run output and high groundball rate. He has adjusted to the quality of pitching at Double-A and, after struggling there at the end of last season, is slashing .315/.372/.450 as of list publication. Big league pitchers will likely figure out that they can get him to chase whatever (Acuña has a 50% swing rate) and start junk-balling him to death, and Acuña should be considered a high-variance prospect who’ll likely need to make adjustments once his talent alone is insufficient for him to rake.

Defensively, he has spent most of his time at shortstop, and while he isn’t technically polished, he does have the twitch and arm to project there with additional refinement. He is one of the many upper-level prospects in this system who makes sense as a trade target for other teams at the deadline because they’re blocked by great big leaguers but are still proximate to the majors.

5. Tekoah Roby, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Pine Forest HS (FL) (TEX)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 70/70 50/55 50/55 93-96 / 97

Roby would be stuffed even higher on the Top 100 if not for his current shoulder injury, which shelved him in early June. Before he was shut down, Roby was consistently working with four plus pitches. He was sitting 94-95 with riding life, bending in one of the nastier curveballs in the minors, tilting in a similarly shaped slider in the mid-80s, and turning over a tailing low-80s changeup. He looked like a contender’s four-pitch mid-rotation starter, like a less physical Hunter Brown. Roby’s delivery does have some violence, but he’s always thrown strikes anyway. He is slightly undersized at a well-made 6-foot-1 and he has now had arm injuries in two of his three pro seasons. From a stuff and pitch execution standpoint, Roby was where it was expected Jack Leiter would be when Leiter was drafted. He looked like a slam dunk impact starter and one of Texas’ better deadline trade chips before the injury. The 2024 season is his 40-man evaluation year, so unless he comes back this year and kicks the door down, we’re more likely looking at a 2025 debut.

6. Justin Foscue, 2B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Mississippi State (TEX)
Age 24.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
70/70 45/45 35/40 30/30 30/30 30

Foscue is a prospect of extremes, some good and some bad, and his data profile is profoundly weird. As he’s bulked up and gotten stronger since college, he’s lost a fair bit of his mobility and athleticism. He’s slid down the defensive spectrum and has begun to see time at first base, in addition to his usual second and third (where he’s not good, but is passable).

By far Foscue’s most exceptional skill is his bat-to-ball ability. He has a 94% in-zone contact rate as of list publication, which, compared to big league first baseman, would comfortably rank first. Foscue crowds the plate and works the middle of the field, his pull side, and that’s it. His short levers help him stay on time and connect with just about everything in the strike zone, and after he went through a phase of passivity at the plate, Foscue has dialed in a very measured approach that has him walking more than he’s struck out at Triple-A so far this year. His paltry 2% barrel rate would easily be last among big league baseman, however. Even though Foscue has gotten beefier, his power output is still south of the big league average, let alone what is typical at a corner infield position. He doesn’t have quite as extreme of a groundball profile as Yandy Díaz, but in virtually every other way, Foscue and Díaz have similar core skills and flaws; if not for early-career injuries that prevented him from playing more than 80 games in a season until 2021, Díaz would pretty comfortably be performing like a 50. Foscue slides up toward the back of the Top 100 along with other high-probability bats.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Vanderbilt (TEX)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 50/50 30/40 35/45 93-97 / 99

Leiter is struggling with walks for a second straight year at Double-A Frisco. In many ways, the things he’s dealing with are a less theatrical version of what MacKenzie Gore went through not long ago. Leiter’s feel for location has backed up and his delivery looks less fluid, more deliberate and uncomfortable. He has always had a relatively inefficient, power pitcher’s style, but at peak he wasn’t this erratic. Also like Gore, the type of fastball Leiter has gives him significant in-zone margin for error and letter-high bat-missing ability. Bryce Miller and Emmet Sheehan are having their success largely because of fastballs that play like Leiter’s, and little else.

While he lacks any modicum of touch and feel, Leiter is still a premium athlete who takes a gigantic stride down the mound. He’s generating six-and-a-half feet of extension at 6-foot-1. Well-built, plus athletes like this tend to figure things out over time. Leiter won’t ever be surgical but, at least as far as his fastball is concerned, he doesn’t have to be. He needs to reclaim feel for his breaking balls, though. His slider is still getting whiffs, but he spikes a lot of them. Ideally he’ll develop some kind of arm-side weapon as a better way of dealing with lefties, but that’s a long way off. His 40-man evaluation year isn’t until 2024, so we’re a long way from Leiter being at risk of moving to the bullpen, unless the team thinks he’d be an asset in a role like that during their postseason chase. He still projects as a contender’s fourth starter.

45 FV Prospects

8. Brock Porter, SP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Orchard Lakes St. Mary’s HS (MI) (TEX)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/55 55/70 20/45 92-94 / 97

Porter was up to 99 mph and sitting 93-96 with explosive life in short outings prior to the 2022 draft. He hasn’t been quite that nasty in pro ball, instead sitting 92-94 a lot of the time. His best pitch is a tailing, plus changeup that induced embarrassing swings from high school hitters trying to cheat to catch his fastball, though pro hitters haven’t been as vulnerable to it because it sometimes has a nearly 20 mph gap from his fastball. It’s almost too different from his heater to fool hitters with a 76 mph changeup. Porter’s breaking ball doesn’t have consistent finish. A lot of them sail on him and some end up way out of the zone. Refining his control/command will be a big part of Porter’s development and not all scouts think it’s going to happen.

While the rest of his body is limber and powerful, Porter has a really nasty head whack during his delivery and his pitches scatter all over the place. He shares some mechanical similarities with Ubaldo Jiménez and (you might wanna sit down) Ashe Russell, especially his stride direction and head violence, and this creates some command risk. I’m more optimistic about him starting than most pitchers who exhibit this level of mechanical violence and effort, but few big league starters have this mechanical look. Refining his command is even more important for Porter if his current velocity is all he ends up with. I’m still projecting on his fastball here, he’s only 20, and Porter absolutely has the upside you want from a multi-million dollar draft pick (maybe not quite $3.7 million, for me), but he is arguably further from realizing it than he was when he was ripping upper-90s gas past high schoolers a little over a year ago.

Undrafted Free Agent, 2021 (TEX)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/60 35/60 20/20 30/50 50

The root words that make up the name Abimelec mean “father” and “king,” so in a sense Ortiz, who is annihilating A-ball in 2023, is already a sort of Big Papi. Ortiz presents a lefty-hitting Yermín Mercedes look in the uniform and has about as much bat speed. He’s posted a 180 wRC+ on the year combined between Low- and High-A. His classic low-ball lefty swing produces huge airborne power, and Ortiz’s build belies his remarkable rotational athleticism. He swings really, really hard, with a 50% hard-hit rate on the year at age 20. Often the way hitters who are Ortiz’s size at this age mature into their mid-20s wreaks havoc on their capacity for movement in the batter’s box, but Ortiz is so loose that in this case, I think he’ll sustain it. While his swing is geared for low-ball contact, Ortiz also shows the ability to get on top of high fastballs and hit them with power. He never gets cheated on a swing and is going to strike out a lot by virtue of how much effort he swings with, but there’s real feel for the barrel here. Ortiz is at least going to be some kind of lefty platoon stick as a 1B/DH and has a chance to be an everyday first baseman. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

10. Owen White, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Carson HS (NC) (TEX)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 199 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 50/50 45/50 60/60 50/50 92-94 / 96

White’s stuff is down a couple of ticks compared to last year. After his fastball averaged 95 mph in 2022, it’s been more in the 92-94 mph range so far in 2023. It’s a scary enough change to slide him off the top 100. Recall that White’s trajectory has been riddled with development-delaying injury, and he was shut down due to his innings limit and understandable arm fatigue in July of last year. He looked incredible up until that point, but it’s now been a year since we’ve seen that version of him. He still has lots of mid-rotation starter traits, mostly his deep, six-pitch mix. White’s upper-80s cutter has come to the forefront of his repertoire, but he is at his best when he’s mixing in a little bit of everything and keeping hitters on their back foot. He made his big league debut not long before list publication and I’m still enthused about his long-term future, but there has been clear regression here.

11. Cody Bradford, SP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from Baylor (TEX)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 60/60 70/70 87-91 / 93

Bradford missed his draft spring at Baylor due to thoracic outlet syndrome and then had no 2020 comeback for obvious reasons. He rocketed through the Rangers system, reaching Double-A in his first pro season and the big leagues in his third. Bradford is a classic pitchability lefty with a plus changeup and exceptional command. His upper-80s fastball plays up because of its rise and the nearly seven and a half feet of extension Bradford generates down the mound. He has dictatorial control over his entire repertoire, working his fastball up and to his glove side and then pitching off that with a mid-80s cutter/slider. Normally I’d 40 a guy like this and call it a day, but Bradford’s command and deception elevate his entire mix. He’s a big league ready no. 4/5 starter.

12. Cameron Cauley, SS

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Barbers Hill HS (TX) (TEX)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/55 35/50 80/80 45/70 50

Cauley runs 4.00 from home to first and has incredible range on defense, which is going to help him be an impact defender so long as he can get his throwing issues ironed out. Cauley’s little frame skips across the infield like a stone on a lake and he gets to grounders you assume are hits as they leave the bat. He’s an incredible athlete who often contorts his body to throw on the move because it’d take too long for him to slow himself down, set, and throw. As a result, too many of Cauley’s throws sail over first base. He checks literally every other box as a shortstop defender, many of them emphatically (his hands are plus and he has enough arm for short), and just needs to polish his throwing accuracy. He has a chance to be a Gold Glove shortstop.

The 20-year-old Cauley is also top 10 in the Rangers org in hard-hit rate, at about 44%. Cauley’s explosivity and athleticism is present at the plate. His has plus bat speed and the pop to do damage to the oppo gap. With all the effort it takes to generate that bat speed, Cauley is striking out roughly 30% of the time as a pro. His defense and power are going to enable him to play in the big leagues as a premium utilityman, probably for a while.

40+ FV Prospects

13. Dustin Harris, LF

Drafted: 11th Round, 2019 from St. Petersburg JC (FL) (OAK)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 40/50 40/45 50/50 45/45 30

His surface-level slash line looks fine, but Harris’ underlying power output has regressed substantially. He isn’t hitting the ball very hard, his exit velos are down across the board compared to 2022, and it’s tough to know what’s causing this and if it will cease. Harris’ swing has become stiff and stilted, and his hands don’t look as free and explosive as they once did. He’s still covering the whole plate and can spray liners to all fields. You’d think a hitter of Harris’ stature would be strong enough to have a conservative approach to contact like this and still hit for power, but that isn’t what’s happening under the hood. I hesitate to come off Harris a ton because even if this power regression is somehow permanent, he still has a contact/OBP combo strong enough to profile in a smaller role.

14. Alex Speas, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from McEachern HS (GA) (TEX)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 80/80 30/30 97-100 / 102

Speas stepped away from baseball for a year and, frustrated and constantly beset by injury, nearly hung it up at age 23. Now 25, he’s back and is pitching better than ever, utilizing a slider-heavy approach that to this point has been unhittable in 2023. As of list publication, Speas is generating nearly twice as many whiffs as he is allowing balls in play, and he was recently promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. None of his three pitches averages less than 90 mph and his fastball is once again touching 102. Speas’ slider is vicious and has absurd length for how hard it is. He’s throwing either a mid-90s cutter or his 88-92 mph slider a combined 85% of the time because he still struggles to locate his heater at all. With his promising stuff finally actualized, Speas looks like a late-inning reliever.

15. Jesus Lopez, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (TEX)
Age 18.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 50/60 25/50 20/20 30/45 50

After Sebastian Walcott, Lopez is the most exciting Rangers prospect on the complex, a physical lefty-hitting catcher with real barrel feel and all-fields power. I watched him spray 97 at the letters into the oppo gap during spring training, then dip and rip a low curveball to right field in his next at-bat. He is stocky and physically mature but quite powerful, and he’s capable of flattening his bat path, driving his top hand through contact, and generating huge pull power for a hitter his age. He needs to polish his receiving, but Lopez’s lateral agility behind the dish is exciting and commensurate with a viable big league catcher. There is strikeout risk here because Lopez’s approach is so geared for power, but if he’s even a 30 bat and getting to as much power as I think he will, Lopes will have a shot to be a primary catcher.

16. Aaron Zavala, RF

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Oregon (TEX)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 193 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/40 30/30 50/50 40/40 40

Zavala was an early second round pick on the strength of his bat-to-ball performance at Oregon, even knowing that he’d likely have to move off the dirt (which he did immediately) and lacked the power of a typical big league outfielder. Zavala hit his way to Double-A Frisco in his first pro season (he clubbed 11 bombs in 81 games at High-A prior to promotion) and ran an OBP comfortably over .400 all year. He went to the Arizona Fall League but his elbow blew out there, requiring Tommy John. He wasn’t back in 2023 until mid-May and he looks incredibly rusty, striking out nearly twice as often as he usually does, at a 36% clip as of list publication. This is extremely out of character for Zavala and I’m not inclined to believe he has lost all ability to hit because of his surgery. Let’s let things air out during the second half and re-evaluate following the season. Zavala doesn’t have the power to be considered a true everyday corner outfielder, but his feel for the zone and barrel make him a likely role player.

17. Thomas Saggese, 3B

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Carlsbad HS (CA) (TEX)
Age 21.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/50 35/45 45/40 40/45 50

Saggese has a very old school baseball vibe about him: no batting gloves, a simple, wristy swing that sprays fastballs the other way, and sound infield defense reliant on effort and feel more than athleticism. Saggese is best at recognizing and punishing breaking balls. A majority of his extra-base hits so far in 2023 have come against sliders, which he tracks and whacks with robot-like precision. Saggese can’t play shortstop; he’s best at third and can moonlight at second. We’re looking at something close to an average hit and power combo here, which isn’t a slam dunk everyday profile for a corner infielder, but should be plenty for Saggese to have a lengthy big league career as a righty-hitting part-time regular at second and third.

18. Aidan Curry, SP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (TEX)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/60 40/50 30/45 92-94 / 96

Most 2020 undrafted free agents were college prospects, but the super lanky Curry signed out of high school and has a stunning early-career strike-throwing track record for such a tall, young arm. Curry’s loose and whippy arm action generates 92-94 mph fastballs on average, and he’ll peak in the 95-96 range. As you’d expect for a pitcher his size, Curry generates big extension and his fastball gets on hitters with a little extra hop. He also has a long, promising slider, usually in the 79-83 mph range, with two-plane break and occasional bat-missing depth. It’s this pitch that Curry commands with surprising consistency for his age and size. Auto-pitch tagging will often label his changeup as a cutter, but Curry’s release of his cambio often makes that pitch cut on him it seems. Still just 21, there is very exciting raw material to work with here and Curry is having success as a starter at Low-A Down East. None of his pitches are plus just yet, but Curry’s extreme degree of projection and the way his limbs whip around gives him considerable long-term ceiling.

19. Justin Slaten, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from New Mexico (TEX)
Age 25.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 222 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
65/65 70/70 45/50 40/40 94-97 / 98

The Rangers have finally moved Slaten to the bullpen and he’s carving. He isn’t throwing any harder than he was in 2022, but Slaten has taken to a single-inning, air-it-out approach and isn’t walking anyone. He’s sitting 94-97 with plus-plus carry, bending in his usual knee-buckling low-to-mid-80s slider, and he’s also added a cutter. Slaten’s delivery is violent and he has a high-maintenance frame, so his prospectdom is a little less stable than a premium on-mound athlete’s, but he has late-inning stuff and seems to have taken a step forward from a control standpoint. He could be in Texas’ big league bullpen by the end of the year and, if not, is almost certainly a post-season 40-man add who’ll debut next year.

20. Marc Church, SIRP

Drafted: 18th Round, 2019 from North Atlanta HS (GA) (TEX)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/70 30/40 94-96 / 97

A 2019 18th-rounder out of North Atlanta High School, Church didn’t play an affiliated game until 2021 but has already ascended to Triple-A as a pure reliever. He has set-up man stuff that is playing down right now due to his inconsistent feel for release, which has him walking 5/9 IP so far in 2023. Church sits 95-97 mph for entire outings, and it is very difficult for opposing hitters to get on top of his heater when he’s locating at the top of the zone. That hasn’t been the case so far this year. His slider has missed bats at a more consistent clip in 2023. It looks just like his fastball out of the hand, bites late, and slips beneath the barrels of hitters trying to stay on top of his heater. There is a good bit of effort to his delivery and some violence about his head and shoulders, enough that you can see why he’s worked only in relief as a pro. Church was a 45 FV in my last Rangers update but slides here because his control has backed up. He still has better stuff than a stock middle reliever, though.

21. Kumar Rocker, SIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Vanderbilt (TEX)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 70/70 40/45 30/40 95-97 / 98

Rocker looked like a first rounder for much of his high school career, but his stuff dipped as the 2018 draft approached while his asking price did not, so teams backed away and Rocker went to Vanderbilt. After some rocky starts early during his freshman year, something clicked for the right-hander and he was utterly dominant during the second half, culminating in a 19-strikeout no-hitter in a postseason game against Duke. That outing, and Vanderbilt’s run to a national title, made Rocker a household name even among casual baseball fans. He made just three starts (and had some command issues) as a sophomore before COVID-19 ended the season. Then Rocker came out in 2021 in what looked like the best shape he’d ever been in and with a slightly higher release point. He was fantastic early on, but his stuff slipped as the spring progressed (Rocker’s fastball averaged 95 mph in February, but 93 in June). His overall performance at Vanderbilt — 236 IP, 321 K, 39 BB, 2.89 ERA against mostly SEC competition — was incredible, especially when viewed in light of his stuff’s inconsistent quality.

Those fluctuations became inextricable from Rocker’s pre-draft profile, though. It meant most teams thought he belonged behind similarly talented, but safer-feeling prospects in the 2021 draft rather than being clearly in the top tier, but Rocker still fell a little further than expected on draft night, going 10th overall to the Mets. New York, whose rest-of-draft behavior indicated they had come to an overslot agreement with Rocker, was scared enough of his post-draft physical to squash his deal. He pitched in the independent Frontier League in 2022 and his velocity was mostly back, sitting in the mid-90s across five dominant starts, working four innings per outing. His arm slot had totally changed and was much lower than when he finished up at Vanderbilt. The change augmented the shape of his breaking balls as well, and they were more in a slider/cutter area than slider/curveball. The Rangers surprised everyone when they made Rocker, who was ranked 60th on my draft board and evaluated as a quick-moving reliever, a top five pick in the next year’s draft, albeit at an underslot amount.

Rocker pitched in the 2022 Arizona Fall League, where his slider looked incredible and his 95-97 mph fastball played down due to its tailing shape and his fringe command of it. He looked like he was projected: a quick-moving reliever who you want in the big leagues pronto, while he’s healthy. Sadly, Rocker’s elbow blew out in May of 2023 and he had Tommy John, shelving him until mid-2024. You could argue the injury history here is enough to drop Rocker’s grade even though it’s not typical for me to do so when the injury is a TJ, but his health track record was already priced into his grade, so he stays in the 40+ tier as a future third bullpen banana on a contender.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kellis HS (AZ) (TEX)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 45/45 30/35 60/60 50/50 50

Ornelas had a surprisingly powerful 2022 at Frisco, where he hit 14 homers and slugged a career-high .425. In 2023, he is back to his lighter-hitting ways, spraying grounders and line drives to all fields. He’s also chasing less. Not so much less that his 15% walk rate, which is double his career average, is sustainable, but enough to quell previous concerns that Johnny-O’s free-swinging ways put his overall offense at risk of bottoming out. Ornelas has one of the bigger, slower leg kicks in all of pro baseball, and it can be tough for hitters like this to get their front foot down in time to catch high fastballs, but a lot of Ornelas’ best contact comes against pitches in the top of the strike zone, so he should be okay. Ornelas plays all over the diamond and probably will in the big leagues, too. He isn’t a dynamic shortstop but he’s a sound, low-to-the-ground defender with enough arm for the left side of the infield. After he played a ton of center field in 2021, Ornelas has only seen a little bit of time out there during the last two years. If he could actually play out there, then we’re talking about a super utility guy. Right now he’s a solid bench infielder.

23. Mitch Bratt, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Georgia Premier Academy (GA) (TEX)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/50 35/55 89-91 / 94

Now 20, Bratt is pitching his ass off for the second consecutive year and is doing it without having experienced the velo spike that was hoped for when he was drafted. He’s walking just over 5% of opposing hitters and has a 4-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio for the second consecutive season. Can he sustain this while only sitting 90 mph? Bratt has a flat-angled sinker that batters are only hitting .154 against this year, at least during outings Bratt has put on tape as tracked by Synergy. His slider breaks late and Bratt has great feel for landing it in the zone. High-A hitters don’t seem to be able to parse his fastball and slider as they approach the plate and generally look uncomfortable against Bratt. He’ll often throw his changeup in fastball counts, so even though it isn’t a traditional, string-pulling changeup and sometimes cuts on him, hitters tend to be surprised by it and end up chopping it into the ground. Without big velo Bratt’s ceiling probably isn’t huge, but he’s tracking like a high-probability backend starter.

24. Echedry Vargas, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 18.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 40/45 20/40 55/55 45/60 60

The compact little Vargas is arguably the best defensive infielder in this farm system after Cam Cauley, a Yonny Hernández type with sure hands, plus actions, and enough arm for shortstop. Like a lot of hitters in this system, Vargas gets the most out of his smaller frame via a big, slow, athletic leg kick that incorporates his whole body into his swing. It has enabled Vargas to generate an absurd hard-hit rate so far in 2023 (about 47%) despite being a tiny teenager, but it’s costing him contact and he’s striking out almost twice as often as he did in the 2022 DSL. There is long-term hit tool risk here because of Vargas’ approach to hitting, but he also has a bench infielder’s floor because of his defense. The most likely outcome here is that of a utility infielder, but Vargas has abnormally high variance for an athlete of his ilk — the short-levered guys tend to be more stable than this.

25. Antoine Kelly, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Wabash Valley JC (IL) (MIL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 30/30 96-98 / 100

Kelly was a junior college draftee who struggled to stay healthy during his time with the Brewers, with his most significant health issue culminating in thoracic outlet surgery in the fall of 2020. He was traded to Texas as part of the 2022 Matt Bush trade. The Rangers allowed him to keep starting after the deal, which didn’t go well, as Kelly walked a batter per inning after the deadline. He was left off the 40-man and went unselected in the Rule 5 Draft, a sequence of events that feels hilarious now that he’s been put in the bullpen (a move that seemed likely from the day he was drafted) and things have gotten better. He’s still walking a lot of guys (14% BB% as of publication) but not nearly as many as last year, and Kelly is throwing extremely hard. He’s sitting 97, throwing his fastball 80% of the time, and generating a ton of groundballs in addition to having a 33% strikeout rate. It will probably be tough to trust him in high-leverage spots because he’s so wild, but Kelly is going to be a really nasty lefty middle-inning option, probably as soon as next year.

26. Josh Stephan, MIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (TEX)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 60/60 45/55 55/60 90-92 / 94

Stephan is another of several good undrafted free agents in this system. He’s throwing his plus slider over 40% of the time and it’s pretty comfortably his most used pitch. He has precise east/west command of his fastball and slider, and he walked just 5% of opposing hitters at High-A in 2023, earning a second half promotion to Frisco. It’s plausible he could succeed as a starter with this slider-heavy approach, but he’ll need to find more consistent command of his changeup. It has bat-missing sink, but Stephan’s feel for locating it isn’t as steady as his slider/fastball feel. Here I have him projected as a multi-inning bridge like a Josh Fleming, a role I think is better suited for this kind of breaker-heavy approach.

27. Winston Santos, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 40/50 50/55 35/55 93-96 / 97

A stout, quick-armed righty, Santos has built a pretty impressive strike-throwing resume at the lower levels, and while his stuff is only fair and he isn’t all that projectable, he should still have a three-pitch mix on par with a big league backend starter at maturity. He’s sitting 93-96 with sink and is pitching off his power upper-80s changeup a ton, with both inducing a lot of groundballs. While Santos fills the zone with these two pitches, his slider command is not as good, and he’ll need to get better feel for locating it to his glove side if he’s going to stand any chance of missing big league bats at his current rate. I think it’s fair to bet that he will. Santos is a good athlete with an arm action that could stand to be cleaned up to make his stroke more consistent. This is his 40-man evaluation year, but the Rangers probably don’t have to add him. They can take things a year at a time until Santos is truly ready, which will more likely be after the 2024 season.

28. Joseph Montalvo, SP

Drafted: 20th Round, 2021 from Central Pointe Christian (FL) (TEX)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 45/55 45/55 35/55 90-93 / 95

Montalvo has a very athletic drop-and-drive delivery with big hip/shoulder separation that may portend more velocity. His fastball already punches above its weight because of its uphill angle, and Montalvo has feel for two good secondaries: a low-80s slider that flashes plus length and a mid-80s changeup that flashes bat-missing tail. While his entire repertoire is south of big league average at present, Montalvo’s capacity for movement and lower body athleticism is exciting and makes me want to project on his stuff quality into his mid-20s. He’s thrown a ton of strikes in the low minors and stands a good shot to be a backend starter. He’s currently at Low-A and 2024 is his 40-man evaluation year.

29. Emiliano Teodo, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 20/30 97-100 / 102

Teodo signed just before the 2020 season that never happened and only popped onto the radar in 2021 when we again had consistent minor league activity on the backfields. He spent 2021 on the complex in Arizona, then toured several of the Texas universities with the Rangers’ Instructional League group that was facing college teams in fall scrimmages. Those scrimmages were mostly scouted by folks in amateur departments who were there to evaluate Baylor and Texas Tech more than they were Rangers prospects. Teodo came out sitting 98-101 mph, blowing the minds of scouts sifting through an ocean of guys sitting 92.

In the last year and a half, he has continued to work as a starter, but Teodo’s lilliputian frame, violent delivery, and resulting scattershot fastball control all funnel him exclusively toward a relief projection. If he can finish his breaking ball more consistently, his ceiling in the bullpen could be substantial. He’s already sitting 98 as a starter. Teodo’s feel for release is crude enough to temper projections into the middle relief area, though as we’ve seen with Antoine Kelly and Justin Slaten, some of the guys in this system are working more efficiently once they’re ‘penned.

30. Ismael Agreda, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (TEX)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/55 40/50 20/40 94-97 / 98

The undersized righty Agreda has a blazing fast arm and perhaps the shortest arm action in the minors, unleashing 94-97 mph heat with regularity, up two ticks from last season. He’s a powerful on-mound athlete and has incredible present arm strength for a teenager his size, though Agreda doesn’t have good fastball control even though he has a haiku of an arm action. Agreda will occasionally turn over a nasty changeup and snap off a good vertical curveball, but these are inconsistent at present. At his size, Agreda is probably a relief-only prospect but he has a non-zero shot to end up with three bat-missing pitches and work toward the back of a bullpen. He’s too far from the bigs to stuff in an impact FV tier at this time, but he’s an exciting high-variance teenage arm to monitor.

31. Davis Wendzel, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Baylor (TEX)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 55/55 40/45 40/40 55/55 60

Wendzel has had many ups and down as a prospect dating back to college, but he appears to be in the best shape he’s been in since I’ve scouted him and once again looks like he’s going to be a solid big league infielder. Recall that he was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2018 and had a strong offensive season, but wasn’t drafted high enough to sign in part because of his conditioning and then had to swim upstream against models as a junior because he was over 22 on draft day.

Wendzel has dealt with health and conditioning issues since college, which, along with the pandemic, prevented him from playing more than 45 games at any single affiliate in a given season until last year, when he had an awful 66 wRC+ at Round Rock and was left off Texas’ 40-man roster. He looks trim right now and is crushing Triple-A pitching, having matched his previous single-season high in homers in just the first half of 2023. Wendzel’s swing has a more closed off stride now than last year and it has his hips rotating with greater explosion. He’s still geared to pull and struggles to stay on sliders away from him, a career-long issue, but from a contact and hard-hit rate standpoint, he’s performing like an average big league hitter, and his barrel rate is actually above the major league average.

He’s still playing a mix of three infield positions and is an above-average third base defender. Wendzel is 26, his window to perform is pretty narrow, and he needs to keep his frame in check to sustain this level of ability for any amount of time. He’s a great trade sweetener because he’s blocked by Seager/Jung, and the Rangers have other options behind those guys and can afford to lose some depth. What Wendzel needs as soon as possible is a big league opportunity somewhere like Oakland or Kansas City or Washington, to turn into the third base version of Lane Thomas.

32. Cole Winn, MIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Orange Lutheran HS (CA) (TEX)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 50/50 55/55 30/35 93-95 / 97

In a 2018 draft without a ton of college pitching, Winn was seen as a safe facsimile because of his deep repertoire and polish relative to most high schoolers. His career to this point has run counter to that evaluation, as he still has a mid-rotation starter’s mix but hasn’t consistently thrown strikes at any point in his career. Things have been so bad the last three seasons that Winn was recently shifted into a long relief role at Round Rock, where he’s had a one-tick velo bump airing it out three innings at a time. He’s still capable of missing bats with any of his four pitches, especially his slider, but is so often behind in the count that he doesn’t use his secondary stuff (his fastball usage is 68% when behind in the count). There’s probably still enough here for a multi-inning relief role, but only in low-leverage spots unless Winn finds another grade of control in his mid-20s.

35+ FV Prospects

33. Tommy Specht, RF

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Wahlert HS (IA) (TEX)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/50 20/45 50/50 30/55 55

Specht was one of two six-figure high schoolers who the Rangers drafted on Day Two of 2022’s festivities and he’s progressing about as well as could have been hoped when he eschewed his commitment to Kentucky. Specht has a prototypical outfielder’s frame at a strapping 6-foot-3, his swing is geared for pull-side lift, and he’s performing better than anticipated from a bat-to-ball standpoint, with a 22% K% and 75% contact rate in A-ball this year. Surprisingly, Specht’s power hasn’t manifested on the field in pro ball, but his age and frame suggest more will arrive. Specht also runs well enough that he should be given more reps in center field than he has been to this point. He’s a nice low-level dev project with a reasonable shot to be corner platoon bat.

34. Geisel Cepeda, LF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Cuba (TEX)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/50 20/40 50/50 30/45 40

Cepeda was the only non-Walcott Ranger to receive a six-figure bonus in 2023. The 25-year-old Cuban outfielder played parts of five seasons for Sancti Spiritus before leaving for affiliated ball in the States. In his final season in Cuba, he walked 51 times and struck out only 15, though that was more an illustration of the pitching quality in Cuba’s pro league than anything else. But the 6-foot-5 Cepeda does have meaningful skill, superlative size, and he’s performing from a bat-to-ball standpoint at High-A Hickory. Yes, Cepeda is very old for A-ball, but he has as many walks as he does strikeouts so far in 2023, and this comes after he didn’t play organized baseball for a couple of years. He tracks pitches well and can move the barrel all over the place, and Cepeda’s best swings feature considerable bat speed and rotational athleticism. He has a big bat wrap and the way his hands work pushes a lot of contact to the opposite field. You can beat guys with swings like this in on their hands, but Cepeda hasn’t really been tested by velo yet. There’s enough happening here to consider Cepeda a long-term follow. He has a few years to develop and experience a three-ish year window of big league output if his feel to hit sustains through promotion(s).

35. Grant Anderson, SIRP

Drafted: 21th Round, 2018 from McNeese St (SEA)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 60/60 91-94 / 96

Traded from Seattle to Texas for Connor Sadzeck way back in 2019, Anderson has percolated in the upper minors for the last couple of seasons and made his big league debut just before list publication. He’s a sinker/slider sidearm reliever with stuff that is a little more curt than your usual side-armer, but also more firm. He’ll sit 93-94 with sink and tail, while his slider is arguably more of a cutter at 84-86 mph. His command of the slider is especially precise; Anderson locates it in a spot just off the zone, where it tempts hitters but isn’t really hittable. He’s evaluated here as an up/down reliever, but he was so dominant at Triple-A prior to promotion that he may just be an on-roster “look” reliever.

36. Chase Lee, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Alabama (TEX)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
40/40 60/60 50/55 87-91 / 93

Lee is a pretty standard sinker/slider sidearmer who’s posted strikeout rates up around 30% for his entire minor league career while keeping his walk rate lower than average. He doesn’t have precise fastball control — he lives in the zone but not always on the edge of it — and that might be a problem against big leaguer when you’re only sitting 88. But both Lee’s sinker and slider live in the bottom of the zone consistently enough to consider him a high-probability up/down look reliever.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 198 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 30/35 40/40 95-97 / 99

Rodríguez has continued to throw harder as he’s filled out and has gone from looking like a young, pitchability starting pitcher prospect to a sinker/slider reliever in the upper-90s. Rodríguez brings 95-97 mph heat from a low slot that helps his slider play against righties, but that pitch doesn’t have a ton of movement on its own and he struggles to get on top of it. Teams have found ways to lean into natural sink and tail, and develop sweepy sliders for guys with deliveries like Rodríguez’s, so perhaps there’s more meat on the bone here, but his stuff has tended to play below its visual quality for a while now. In fact, his stuff plays down enough that I now have Yerry in an up/down role.

38. Ian Moller, C

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Wahlert HS (TEX)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 45/55 20/40 40/40 30/50 60

Moller has improved as a defender. His arm and receiving/framing are both sound, though he may need to ditch catching on one knee in ball-blocking situations (runners on, two strikes) or improve his hands. Moller tends to mishandle balls in the dirt and can sometimes botch his exchange on throws to second, but he has a canon, and the build and athleticism to catch long-term. Moller is not hitting. He hit .201 in 2022 and is hitting .177 this year. His underlying contact rate isn’t quite that bad, but the hit tool risk that scared some teams off him in his draft year is creeping in. There’s enough power here to keep Moller in play as a developmental catching prospect.

39. Jake Latz, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Kent State (TEX)
Age 27.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/45 55/55 50/55 90-94 / 95

Latz has had a litany of injuries and ended up getting stem cell therapy late in 2019 to try to avoid surgery. He was then healthy for a few years before a shoulder issue popped up in 2022, and the Rangers moved him to the bullpen when he returned. Latz has experienced a two-tick velo bump with the move; his heater is averaging 94.5 mph so far in 2023. He’s still getting great results (a swinging strike rate over 20%) with his mid-80s changeup even though that pitch is now tending to sail and tail on him, rather than finish with sink. He’s a fine three-pitch up/down reliever despite being removed from Texas’ 40-man.

40. Ricky DeVito, SIRP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Seton Hall (ATL)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 45/45 70/70 20/30 94-96 / 97

DeVito was originally draft by Atlanta. He was traded to Pittsburgh as part of a package for Richard Rodriguez, then was sent to Texas as the PTBNL for Mark Mathias. DeVito’s walk rates have been trending up each of the last two seasons and, as he works back from injury in 2023, he’s struggling more than ever. His stuff was intact during my recent complex rehab look, when DeVito sat 94-97 with his usual nasty splitter and an above-average mid-80s slider. His stuff gives him a relief shot, but DeVito’s control needs to settle into a better place for him to reach Arlington.

41. Daniel Robert, SIRP

Drafted: 21th Round, 2018 from Auburn (TEX)
Age 28.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 40/40 95-97 / 99

Robert was a two-way player at Auburn but he mostly hit, throwing fewer than 16 innings in college. He only started pitching full-time in 2018 and has missed enough time due to the pandemic and injuries to consider him a late-bloomer candidate, even at age 28. He’s also totally remade his body in the last year or so and is now much more trim than when he was walking over 6/9 IP in 2022. His size creates downhill plane that detracts from the effectiveness of his fastball a little bit, but Robert is sitting 96, touching 99, and bending in a mid-80s slider with plus spin and break. He’s going to pitch in the big leagues in an up/down capacity.

42. Luis Valdez, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Mexico (LAD)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 158 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/40 50/50 55/60 25/60 86-92 / 93

Valdez doesn’t throw all that hard, but he carved the Arizona Complex League by commanding a plus changeup and average breaking ball. The wispy southpaw might yet throw harder as his frame matures, but shape and angle might cap Valdez’s fastball effectiveness even if that happens. Lefties with plus command of plus changeups tend to pitch in the big leagues, and Valdez is ticketed for the back of a rotation at his current velocities. He was traded to the Rangers for Ricky Vanasco at the beginning of June.

43. Adrian Rodriguez, SIRP

Drafted: 39th Round, 2019 from Florida Virtual School (TEX)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 20/30 96-99 / 100

Drafted in the second to last round of the 2019 draft, Rodriguez didn’t pitch the summer after he signed, nor in 2020. In 2021, he walked more than a batter per inning on the complex. The condor-like righty re-established himself as a prospect when he got the walks under control and sat 94-96 in 2022 in a season split between the complex and Low-A. He’s had a velo spike out of the 2023 gates, sitting 97-99 with riding life at the top of the zone as Down East’s closer, but his control has regressed. Rodriguez can also bend in a mid-80s slider that flashes plus. He’s a relief-only prospect with well below-average feel for strikes, but it’s plausible he just needs more reps with this newfound velocity. If Rodriguez can command his gangly limbs over time, then he’ll be a big league reliever.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Famous Fallers
Chandler Pollard, MIF
Anthony Gutierrez, OF
Yeison Morrobel, OF
Max Acosta, SS
Danyer Cueva, SS

Aside from Pollard, this is a “why isn’t this guy on the list?” group. Pollard is twitchy, speedy, and athletic, but he’s still very raw for his age. He was a six-figure Day Two pick in 2022 who was signed away from a Washington State commit. Same as last year, I have just never really been on Gutierrez. I see why he got a big bonus — he has prototypical size and body projection — but his swing is so long and I don’t think he’s going to hit. Morrobel’s fall here is the biggest re-evaluation on the entire list. He looks stiff and his swing has become very strange. Acosta and Cueva are more 2B/3B types on defense and don’t have the hit tools to support a profile there.

Corner Bats
Marcos Torres, 1B
Blaine Crim, 1B
Diosbel Arias, INF
Trevor Hauver, 1B/LF
Alejandro Osuna, RF
Yosy Galan, OF

Torres is a complex-level first baseman and corner outfielder with precocious power and some strikeout risk. Crim and Arias are long-time performers in the minors. Crim is a short-levered 5 bat with 5 power, but that doesn’t profile at first base. He could be a stud in Asia. Arias still plays a few positions but his offense has keeled off a little bit. Hauver walks a ton and hits the ball in the air, but now he’s a 1B/LF after he was tried at second base early in his career. Osuna is a compact, young A-ball outfielder with great bat-to-ball feel but very little power and physical projection. Galan has 7 raw and a 2 bat.

Relief Prospects
Nick Starr, RHP
Leandro Lopez, RHP
Alberto Mota, RHP
Nick Bautista III, RHP
Aneudis Mejia, RHP

Starr, Lopez, and Mota are all relievers with a vertical fastball/breaking ball combo and 30 control. Each of them sits in the 93-95 mph range. Bautista and Mejia are complex-level arms who other scouts like, but both were very wild for me during in-person looks. Bautista will show you 94-97 with a good slider. Mejia sits 93-94 and will flash a good curveball.

Injured Arms and Depth Starters
Avery Weems, LHP
Scott Engler, RHP
Ryan Garcia, RHP
Dane Acker, RHP

Weems and Engler are recovering from TJ. Engler’s was over a year ago and I’m not sure why he isn’t back yet. Weems’ was more recent and he’ll miss all of 2023. Garcia (once a high draft pick out of UCLA) and Acker (part of the Jonah Heim/Elvis Andrus trade) are sitting 91-93 with vertical ride and a breaking ball that plays okay off of it. Acker leans a little more on a changeup and has good groundball rates this year. Garcia is a four-pitch guy who varies breaking ball shape.

System Overview

Even though any reasonable person would agree that the Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker picks have not been great to this point, this is still a very good farm system. The Rangers have enough depth to add to their playoff-chasing big league roster without literally selling the farm, and they have enough high-end talent to compete in basically any deadline discussion, especially if they’re willing to part with Sebastian Walcott, Luisangel Acuña, and/or Evan Carter. Texas’ minor league system has above-average overall depth, a much more robust high-end than all but a few other systems, and a nice balance of upside (Walcott, Acuña, Tekoah Roby) and floor (Cody Bradford, Carter, Justin Foscue). It’s easily a top 10 system and, even with Jung peeling off the top because of his graduation, will probably stay there after adding a top four draft pick.

The Rangers do have trouble developing command, though that’s an industry-wide issue. There are pitchers in this system who came with command already on board (Josh Stephan, Winston Santos, Mitch Bratt, etc.), but very few of the ones with huge stuff (Alex Speas, Emiliano Teodo, Leiter) have improved under the Texas dev umbrella. Again, like plate discipline for hitters, command may just be a skill one has or doesn’t, not really something that can be teased out.

It’s possible the Rangers international program hit it very big with Walcott, but their track record of late has been pretty mixed. As the club seemed to pivot away from the Chris Seise/Bubba Thompson types in the draft (they’ll spend $250,000-400,000 on risky, toolsy guys but rarely huge dollars anymore) and turned toward the Thomas Saggeses of the world, Texas’ international approach has remained the same. Weird, unpredictable stuff happened in Bayron Lora’s case, but hit tool risk is present in a lot of their guys, even the ones I like (including Jesus Lopez and Walcott). If even one guy becomes a Tatis-like talent, it more than makes up for having five years of Keithron Mosses, but unless you think Leody Taveras’ breakout is real, nobody like that has emerged from the Surprise backfields.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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9 months ago

Weird unpredictable stuff happened with Bayron Lora, you say? *googles furiously* Yeah I can see how completely losing control of a truck and crashing it, sending everyone on the scene to the hospital and killing Ketel Marte’s cousin would not be something you would predict.

9 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Josh Hamilton Matt Bush

9 months ago
Reply to  carter

Oscar Taveras too, although dying in the crash made it a bit more final.

And Yordano Ventura if we extend it to non-prospects.