Top 38 Prospects: Texas Rangers by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel March 25, 2019 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Texas Rangers. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2019 2018 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Rangers Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Cole Winn 19.3 R RHP 2021 50 2 Leody Taveras 20.5 A+ CF 2020 50 3 Bubba Thompson 20.8 A CF 2022 50 4 Anderson Tejeda 20.9 A+ SS 2021 45+ 5 Hans Crouse 20.5 A RHP 2021 45 6 Joe Palumbo 24.4 AA LHP 2020 45 7 Cole Ragans 21.3 A- LHP 2021 45 8 Owen White 19.6 R RHP 2022 45 9 Taylor Hearn 24.6 AA LHP 2019 45 10 Julio Pablo Martinez 23.0 A- CF 2021 45 11 Jonathan Ornelas 18.8 R SS 2022 40+ 12 Chris Seise 20.2 A- SS 2022 40+ 13 Sherten Apostel 20.0 A- 3B 2022 40+ 14 Yerry Rodriguez 21.4 A- RHP 2022 40+ 15 Keithron Moss 17.6 R SS 2023 40+ 16 Brock Burke 22.6 AA LHP 2020 40+ 17 Tyler Phillips 21.4 A+ RHP 2021 40+ 18 Pedro Gonzalez 21.4 A CF 2022 40 19 Jonathan Hernandez 22.7 AA RHP 2020 40 20 Ronny Henriquez 18.8 R RHP 2023 40 21 Emmanuel Clase 21.0 A- RHP 2020 40 22 C.D. Pelham 24.1 MLB LHP 2019 40 23 A.J. Alexy 20.9 A RHP 2022 40 24 Eli White 24.7 AA UTIL 2020 40 25 Brett Martin 23.9 AA LHP 2019 40 26 Brendon Davis 21.7 A+ 3B 2021 40 27 David Garcia 19.1 R C 2022 40 28 Demarcus Evans 22.4 A RHP 2020 40 29 Jeffrey Springs 26.5 MLB LHP 2019 40 30 Alex Speas 21.1 A RHP 2022 40 31 Kyle Cody 24.6 A+ RHP 2020 40 32 Diosbel Arias 22.7 A- UTIL 2021 35+ 33 Michael Matuella 24.8 A+ RHP 2019 35+ 34 Jayce Easley 19.6 R SS 2023 35+ 35 Frainyer Chavez 19.8 R SS 2021 35+ 36 Yohander Mendez 24.2 MLB LHP 2019 35+ 37 Yohel Pozo 21.8 A C 2021 35+ 38 Jose Rodriguez 17.5 R C 2024 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 50 FV Prospects 1. Cole Winn, RHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Orange Lutheran HS (CA) (TEX) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 45/50 50/60 45/50 45/55 92-95 / 97 Before his senior year in high school, Winn moved from Colorado to Orange Lutheran, a powerhouse program in southern California. He steadily crept up boards in the spring as his stuff and command kept impressing, overriding concerns that he didn’t have much projection or plus athleticism. Winn works 92-95, and hits 97 mph, with a flat-planed, rising fastball that fits well up in the strike zone and he mixes in a plus-flashing curveball that pairs well with it down in the strike zone. He also has an average slider and changeup, though there’s a chance the change grows into a plus offering at some point. His command projects to be above average, as he already uses his smooth delivery to deliver pitches to fine locations rather than just over the plate. He was largely seen as the safest pick amongst the 2018 prep pitchers, a notoriously risky demographic. Texas has a deliberate approach to developing prep pitching with an onboarding process that includes a pro debut in instructional league, so Winn’s actual regular season pro debut will come in 2019. He was throwing hard in the fall and could move quickly through the minors. 2. Leody Taveras, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (TEX) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 50/55 30/40 60/60 45/55 55/55 It’s growing more difficult to reconcile Taveras’ obvious physical tool with his complete lack of performance, even though he has been young for his level since his pro debut. He put on a show during Futures Game BP (though, somewhat suspiciously, everyone did), he has visually evident feel for contact supported by his lower strikeout rates, he runs well-enough to stay in center field. But in three pro seasons now he’s hitting a collective .253/.315/.351 and it’s starting to make teams antsy. When we passed around initial drafts of our Top 100, all but one source providing feedback on Taveras’ ranking told us to move him down, some indicating he should be off, entirely. We still think he’d go somewhere in the first round were he draft eligible and that he has everyday tools, but so far as his stock throughout the industry is concerned, the clock is certainly ticking. 3. Bubba Thompson, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from McGill-Toolen HS (AL) (TEX) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/55 30/50 70/70 45/55 50/50 Thompson played through some nagging lower body issues during his pro debut, which somewhat masked the physical tools that had so enamored amateur scouts during the spring. He got to camp early the following spring. It was assumed that Thompson, who was a pretty raw baseball player due to his two-sport high school background, would stay in Arizona during extended spring training, then head to an advanced rookie affiliate in the Northwest League. Instead, Texas sent him to Low-A and he had a surprisingly strong statistical year (.289/.344/.446) with an unsurprisingly high strikeout rate (29%). Like many of the power/speed center fielders on this list, Thompson is a high-risk prospect with big upside if he hits enough. Unlike several of them, he has a good statistical season on his resume. 45+ FV Prospects 4. Anderson Tejeda, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TEX) Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/60 40/55 55/55 45/50 60/60 It’s helpful to use the draft as a way of gauging where pro prospects fall on the FV continuum, and it’s easier to do that when the player in question is of the appropriate age. On the brink of 21, Tejeda is the age of draftable college players. Coincidentally, this year’s draft has a similar type of talent who is similarly aged in UNC-Wilmington shortstop, Greg Jones. Both Tejeda and Jones are speedy shortstops with rare power for the position who also have issues making contact. Tejeda is rangy and athletic, and has good defensive footwork and plenty of arm for the infield’s left side. His hands are just okay, so evaluations of his defense can vary depending on what individual scouts think is important to play the position, and some teams want to see him tried in center field. Tejeda has plus-plus bat speed and his hands work in a tight, lift-friendly circle, but he’s so explosive that at times he’s out of control (this is where the strikeouts come from). He managed to get to the power at Hi-A in 2018, when he homered 19 times, and if he can stay at shortstop and continue to mash like that in games, he’ll be a good everyday player. We have Greg Jones in the 45 FV tier of the 2019 draft, which puts him in the mid-to-late first round; we like Tejeda a bit more than that and think he’d be in the 10-15 range on a draft board. He’ll move into the top 100 with continued statistical success at Double-A. 45 FV Prospects 5. Hans Crouse, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Dana Hills HS (CA) (TEX) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/70 45/55 40/45 94-97 / 102 Slowed by biceps tendinitis in the spring, Crouse’s stuff was fine when he returned. He was touching 99 while throwing live BP, and sitting 92-96 during his starts in extended spring training. His 13-start Northwest/Sally League tour, during which he walked just 19 in 54 innings, was the first step toward quelling concerns about his viability as a starter, though we’re still somewhat apprehensive here at FanGraphs. Crouse’s repertoire depth is not the issue. Based on his pitch usage during instructional league, his changeup seemed to be a developmental priority, and he has indeed made progress with it. It now comfortably projects to average, while Crouse’s fastball/breaking ball combination has been excellent since he was a high school underclassman. He incorporates all kinds of crafty veteran wrinkles into his delivery’s cadence on occasion. An extra shoulder wiggle, a Travoltaian gyration of the hips, the occasional quick-pitch — all sorts of things designed to take hitters by surprise. Scouts often sentence quirky, visibly fiery and emotional hurlers to late-inning duty, and we do think Crouse would thrive in such a role, but view these traits as positives. Crouse has a unique build and delivery, and is a very short strider whose 5-foot-4 extension sucks some of the perceived velo out of his fastball. This, plus the lower slot, might make him unusually vulnerable to lefties despite his velocity. This, his brief injury history, and still fringy command all contribute to a bundle of relief risk in our opinion. 6. Joe Palumbo, LHP Video Drafted: 30th Round, 2014 from St. John The Baptist HS (NY) (TEX) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 168 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 97 The start of Palumbo’s 2017 season sounded the alarm of re-evaluation as he struck out 22 hitters and walked four in his first 13.2 innings. Then he blew out his elbow and was on the shelf until the summer of 2018 to rehab from Tommy John. When he returned, his stuff was back. His fastball sat 92-95 for most of his outings, dipping into the low end of that range later during his starts. It has some wiggle, as does a solid changeup that could be above-average with increased reps. But Palumbo’s curveball is his best pitch. It’s a timeless, rainbow curveball that arcs in at about 80 mph. It freezes hitters and garners swings and misses in the dirt to Palumbo’s glove side. He has No. 3 or 4 starter stuff, we just haven’t seen him hold it for a full season yet, and Palumbo is a 24-year-old with a surgery on his resume. There’s a chance he’s up at some point this year, but an innings limit might push his debut to 2020. 7. Cole Ragans, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from North Florida Christian HS (FL) (TEX) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 40/50 60/65 40/50 91-94 / 96 After an uncharacteristically wild 2017, Ragans tore his UCL during the spring of 2018 and, though he’s thrown off a mound as this list goes to press, he likely won’t be back in game action until the middle of 2019. Assuming his stuff returns, Ragans projects as a changeup/command lefty in the mold of young Cole Hamels. His low-90s fastball has bat-missing angle in the zone and he perfectly mimics his fastball’s arm speed when he throws the changeup, which was already consistently plus before he got hurt. Ragans’ curveball is not good, but there are several instances of pitchers having success with a playable fastball, elite changeup, and command of both, with Chris Paddack ascending for those reasons as we speak. Ragans projected as a No. 4 starter prior to the injury and is now just a little bit behind the developmental curve because of it. 8. Owen White, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Carson HS (NC) (TEX) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/60 45/50 40/55 92-95 / 96 Texas’ new approach to pitching development shelves their recent draftees for the summer, which is why White still hasn’t played an affiliated game yet. He did throw during instructional league in the fall and looked fantastic, sitting 93-95 with his fastball, locating a consistently above-average curveball, and displaying nascent feel for a mid-80s changeup. He has a big, projectable frame, is an above-average on-mound athlete, and his arm action is loose and mechanically efficient. There are several significant components already in place (velocity, fastball movement, breaking ball quality) and White’s other traits (changeup proclivity, athleticism, and feel for location) indicate he’s poised to grow and develop into a well-rounded arm. He’s a mid-rotation pitching prospect who is likely several years from the majors. 9. Taylor Hearn, LHP Video Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Oklahoma Baptist (WAS) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/50 50/55 40/45 93-96 / 98 Hearn has been part of two very strong prospect return packages for relievers. First, he and Felipe Vasquez were sent from Washington to Pittsburgh for Mark Melancon. Then he and Sherten Apostel were traded to Texas for Keone Kela last year. After dealing with severe injury issues as an amateur — he suffered from a strained UCL in high school and had a screw put in his elbow as a college freshman after suffering two humeral fractures — as well as more minor maladies as a pro, Hearn was healthy for all of 2018 and threw more innings in a single season than at any point in his career. He struck out 140 hitters in 129 innings at Double-A. He remains a fairly spotty strike-thrower, but his three-pitch mix should enable him to continue to start, though probably as a 120 or 130-inning type rather than a true workhorse, which also makes sense considering Hearn’s health history. He has rare lefty starter velocity and generally sits 93-96. A 95 mph average fastball would rank third among southpaw starters in baseball, just behind James Paxton and Blake Snell. Hearn can dump in his average curveball for strikes and his changeup has slowly turned into an average pitch, too. The cambio may yet have some developing to do as Hearn worked more heavily off his breaking ball early in his career and has lost a lot of reps due to injury. He profiles as a fastball-centric No. 4 or 5 starter for us, though there’s a large subset of teams who think he ends up in the bullpen. 10. Julio Pablo Martinez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (TEX) Age 23.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/50 35/40 60/60 45/50 50/50 The timing of Martinez’s exit from Cuba led to a fairly limited market for his services since most teams had already spent their international bonus space on other players. He became the fallback option for clubs who were in pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, one of which was Texas, and he signed for $2.8 million in early-March of 2018. The timing of the deal, Martinez’s age relative to other first-year prospects, and the lack of game action he had seen since defecting made his early-2018 developmental path tough to anticipate. The Rangers ended up starting him in the DSL (government processes and paperwork probably had something to do with that) and then skipped him over the AZL and sent him to the Northwest League for the final two months of the summer. His Fall League stint, though, was more telling. At that point, he had played enough to be sharp again, but not so much as to be gassed, and the opposing pitching in Arizona was an age-appropriate challenge while the NWL was arguably not. And Martinez’s showing in the AFL was fine. He has all sorts of tricks for trying to reach base; he’ll bunt for hits, he’ll show bunt and then try to poke liners over the heads of approaching infielders, he’ll occasionally walk toward the front of the batter’s box during the pitcher’s delivery and try to slash awkward contact somewhere while giving himself a head start down the line. Martinez’s bat head drags into the zone a little bit and while he can adjust his lower half to alter the vertical placement of his barrel, he can also get tied up by velo inside. He projects as a middling offensive player with plus speed, and a capable defender in center. He may be a second division regular but is probably a platoon or fourth outfielder on a contending team. He’ll get his first taste of full-season ball in 2019. 40+ FV Prospects 11. Jonathan Ornelas, SS Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kellis HS (AZ) (TEX) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 45/50 30/50 55/50 45/50 55/55 Ornelas’ age on draft day likely buoyed his stock among teams that rely heavily on models to build their draft board, as models tend to move younger players up the pref list. Not only was Johnny O younger than most of his high school prospect peers, but potential shortstops with plus bat speed aren’t often available past the draft’s first few picks. Though his swing — both the bat path and his footwork — may need tweaks in pro ball, Ornelas is capable of clearing his hips and unloading on pitches on the inner half. He struggles to make impact contact on pitches in other parts of the strike zone, but his hands have promising explosion and could yield all-fields doubles power with refinement. On defense, Ornelas has plus infield actions, he’s a 55 runner with sufficient middle infield range, and he has a chance to be a 50 glove at shortstop. His bat would play everyday at second and short if the Rangers get the swing dialed in. If they don’t, he profiles as a good utility infielder. 12. Chris Seise, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from West Orange HS (FL) (TEX) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/60 30/55 50/45 40/50 55/60 The Rangers backfields are full of big, projectable frames. Seise is a 6-foot-2 scale model of Carlos Correa’s build, with square shoulders wide enough to use as a field goal crossbar. He missed all of 2018 due to rotator cuff surgery but was taking healthy hacks during 2019 spring training. Seise has power and he’ll occasionally show it to the opposite field in games, though his feel to hit is generally a little raw. He’s a plus runner underway, but it takes him a few strides to really get going, and that lack of first-step quickness is also why some teams think he’ll move off short, though players like this are more frequently staying there. Assuming it’s fine returning from the surgery, Seise has the arm for anywhere on the infield. Staying at short takes some pressure off of what might be a suspect contact profile, as the power gives Seise a great chance of playing there everyday even if he whiffs a lot. Of course, if all of his issues are remedied then the ceiling is enormous, but until there’s evidence of that, Seise is a risky tools/frame bet coming off a serious injury. 13. Sherten Apostel, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Curacao (PIT) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 213 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 40/60 35/60 40/30 40/45 70/70 Apostel was pilfered from Pittsburgh as the PTBNL in the 2018 Keone Kela trade. Though he is a big-framed guy who has already begun to see time at first base, he’s athletic for his size and should remain at third — for a while, at least. The likelihood of this is bolstered by the polished nature of Apostel’s bat. His feel for the strike zone and his timing are both impressive for his age, and he is adept at attacking early-count pitches he can drive, while taking tough strikes. It helps him run deep counts and walk as well as hit for power. These traits are conducive to quick development, which means Apostel has a better chance of reaching the majors while he’s still limber enough to play third for much of his first six big league seasons. He could end up with a 50 bat, 60 power, high OBPs, and fine third base defense, which would make him a solid-average regular. 14. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (TEX) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 45/55 55/60 45/60 91-95 / 96 Rodriguez has a swing-and-miss heater that plays in the strike zone because of its spin and weird plane, plane caused by Rodriguez’s lowish arm slot. His breaking ball is blunt, but it has good pure spin, he commands it, and it plays up against righties because of his slot. The changeup is Rodriguez’s best secondary, and projects to plus, as does Rodriguez’s command, which is already advanced. The fastball/changeup/command concoction was poisonous to rookie-level hitters in 2018; Rodriguez struck out 82 and walked just eight in 63 innings of AZL and Northwest League ball. The lack of a visibly excellent breaking ball causes some apprehension, but if everything else is a 60 or better at maturity, Rodriguez could be a good mid-rotation starter. 15. Keithron Moss, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Bahamas (TEX) Age 17.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 40/50 20/45 60/60 40/50 50/50 Moss was 16 years old for all but the final few weeks of the 2018 DSL season and he likely stayed down there due to some combination of immature physicality and the presence of Jayce Easley and Frainyer Chavez on the AZL roster. Moss is the most impressive athlete of the three, a compact little bundle of lightning with surprising power from both sides of the plate, and a good chance of playing defense up the middle somewhere, largely due to his speed. Though both of Moss’ swings are fairly inconsistent (which should be expected for a switch-hitter this age), he’ll show you feel for both lift and contact at times, and he gets the most out of his little body without losing control of it. While there’s a large developmental gap between where Moss is as a defender right now and where he’ll need to be in order to stay on the infield, he’s a very athletic, very young player with tons of time to improve those things, and his physical gifts are so prominent that we anticipate he will. Up the middle switch-hitters with some pop, even if it’s just doubles power, are very valuable big leaguers, and not many prospects have a chance to become that kind of player. So while we acknowledge that Moss is very risky (he struck out 30% of the time in the DSL and any number of issues might befall him during his half-decade long trudge to the big leagues) there just aren’t many players in this system with that kind of ceiling. 16. Brock Burke, LHP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2014 from Evergreen HS (CO) (TBR) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 45/50 45/50 40/45 92-95 / 96 Burke got on a weighted ball program before the 2017 season and, perhaps more as a result of the physical conditioning aspect of the program, began improving. His ascent continued, and accelerated, during a 2018 that ended with a dynamite month and a half at Double-A Montgomery, during which he struck out 71 hitters in 55 innings. Burke’s fastball plays up because he gets way down the mound and generates a lot of backspin on the ball, creating perceived rise. Changeup development seemed to occur in 2018, as the pitch was much different last year (82-85 mph, at times with cut) than it was in 2017 (78-80 mph), and it’s fair to speculate that something like a grip change took place here. Burke has two breaking balls that are both about average, though he uses the curveball pretty sparingly. Glove-side command of his cutter/slider makes him tough on righties. One source considers Burke’s delivery fairly easy to time because of its pacing, so maybe we need to see more curveballs as a way of disrupting timing. He projects as a No. 4 or 5 starter. 17. Tyler Phillips, RHP Video Drafted: 16th Round, 2015 from Bishop Eustace HS (NJ) (TEX) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 55/60 45/55 90-93 / 96 Phillips walked a minuscule 2.7% of opposing Low-A hitters in 2018, and did so as a 20-year-old just a few years removed from New Jersey high school ball. His fastball approaches the plate at an awkward angle, enabling it to play in the strike zone despite fringe velocity. He throws a lot of right-on-right changeups — it’s his best put away offering, and also helps induce grounders due to its sink. While Phillips’ slurvy breaking ball is generic, he typically locates it off the plate where it can’t get hammered. On stuff, Phillips looks like a backend starter, but the ultra-efficient strike throwing could mean he has sneaky ceiling, even if the value comes from innings volume. 40 FV Prospects 18. Pedro Gonzalez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/60 30/55 50/45 40/45 55/55 Signed as a shortstop by Colorado, Gonzalez kept growing and growing and eventually became a lean, long-striding 6-foot-5, and was moved to the outfield. He’s grown into much more power than he had as an amateur and there’s still room on his frame for another 20 pounds or so, and with it might come monstrous power. That growth potential also creates risk that Gonzalez will eventually move to an outfield corner, which would make it imperative that his current strikeout issues, which stem from lever length, be remedied. Even as a below-average runner from home to first, Gonzalez’s long, bounding strides enable him to cover lots of ground in the outfield, and there’s a chance his instincts still improve out there since he hasn’t played those positions for all that long. After it appeared things were starting to click for PGon during 2017 instructs, his 2018 season was discouraging. He’s only 21, so we’re hopeful that the bat improves enough for him to be quite good, though those chances seem smaller than they did last year. 19. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (TEX) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 50/50 40/45 40/40 93-97 / 99 Hernandez has not, as of yet, corralled the velocity he suddenly found a few years ago. When he first arrived in the U.S., he was an interesting pitchability sleeper, but he later found a lot more heat and will now touch 99. His delivery is violent and tough to repeat and his changeup is still a bit behind the rest of the repertoire, so there’s sizable risk Hernandez ends up in the bullpen, but sizable ceiling if he can refurbish his early-career command. The changeup doesn’t even really need to improve so long as Hernandez is locating his breaking balls to lefties. 2019 is his second option year. 20. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TEX) Age 18.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops 50/60 45/55 45/55 40/50 90-95 / 97 There are always a few little toy cannon hurlers with light speed arm actions floating around, and Henriquez, who spent 2018 in the DSL, is the latest. Despite measuring in at maybe, maybe 5-foot-10 (maybe), his arm generates mid-90s velocity that he has relatively advanced command of. He’s not a touch and feel strike-thrower, but he comes right after hitters at the letters, and instructional league opponents couldn’t help themselves but swing at his fastball up there. He also has great feel for spin, his split/change has natural tumble, and he’s so athletic and well-balanced throughout his delivery that you can kind of go nuts projecting on everything. You could argue that Henriquez is a right-handed Tim Collins, and that we’re too aggressive with his placement in this system, but he has a special arm and body control, and a better chance to start than lots of the more established pitching prospects in this org. 21. Emmanuel Clase, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (SDP) Age 21.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops 65/65 50/55 55/55 40/40 96-99 / 100 Acquired from San Diego for catcher Brett Nicholas, Clase was throwing very hard late in the year, sitting 96-99 during fall instructional league. His fastball has nasty natural cut action, especially when he’s working to his glove side, and at times his upper-80s slider has bat-missing vertical action. It often does not, and he throws a lot of 40-grade sliders. Kenley Jansen dominated for years with a naturally cutting fastball. It’s overzealous to assume that future for Clase, but cutters this hard don’t exist often. If he develops a more consistent slider, he could be a set-up type of reliever, a least. He’s Rule 5 eligible after this year. 22. C.D. Pelham, LHP Video Drafted: 33th Round, 2015 from Spartanburg Methodist JC (SC) (TEX) Age 24.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Cutter Command Sits/Tops 70/70 60/60 40/40 94-98 / 99 There’s still hope that Pelham develops an extra grade of command in his mid-20s because he only began pitching as a senior in high school and was pragmatically moved to the bullpen in just his second full pro season, limiting his reps. If he does develop an improved ability to locate, he could be one of the better left-handed relievers in baseball because he has such a dominant fastball. Not only does Pelham throw really hard, at times sitting 97-99, but his size, arm slot, and cross-bodied delivery create unique angle on his fastball, and hitters struggle to square it up. In a small big league sample last year, 77% of Pelham’s pitches were fastballs, which would rank 13th among qualified relievers. His upper-80s cutter/slider doesn’t have significant length to it, and it also needs improved location if it’s going to miss bats. Once in a while, elite relievers with a single, tyrannical pitch emerge. It’s possible Pelham is one of those, but it’s more likely his issues limit him to single, middle-inning bullpen work. 23. A.J. Alexy, RHP Video Drafted: 11th Round, 2016 from Twin Valley HS (PA) (LAD) Age 20.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 93-97 / 99 One of the prospects acquired from Los Angeles in the 2017 Yu Darvish deal, Alexy has had two consecutive years of velo increase and now has a three-pitch mix, led by a mid-90s fastball and a good curveball. He has a grip-and-rip style of pitching that somewhat detracts from his command and creates a good amount of relief risk, but Alexy is working in the mid-90s as a starter and could have a monster fastball if he’s ever moved to the bullpen. He likely profiles as a three-pitch reliever, but he’s barely 21 and sometimes Northeast prep arms develop later, and there’s still changeup/command refinement to come here. 24. Eli White, UTIL Video Drafted: 11th Round, 2016 from Clemson (TEX) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 45/45 30/35 60/60 50/50 50/50 White hit .270 with a .340 OBP during each of his first two seasons, but hit for no power. Then he had a breakout 2018 (albeit at age 24), and hit .306/.388/.450 at Double-A Midland. He then went to the Arizona Fall League and hit well there while the industry properly evaluated his power. It’s below average, but White’s blend of bat control, hand-eye, feel to hit, and speed all make for a very favorable contact profile. White had really only played shortstop until last year, when he began seeing time at second and third base. He fits best at second, but is fine at all three spots, and his plus speed might enable him to one day run down balls in the outfield as well. He’s a near-ready, multi-positional utility man who should provide the kind of defensive flexibility teams are starting to prioritize. 25. Brett Martin, LHP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from Walters State JC (TN) (TEX) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 45/50 45/45 45/50 90-93 / 95 Martin’s 2018 was his first injury-free full season as a pro, but he was used out of the bullpen in health-friendly two and three-inning stints separated by several days of rest. He was also crushed underneath a landslide .443 BABIP and had a 7.28 ERA at Double-A. He has back-end starter stuff but was part of the Rangers lefty bullpen competition during the spring. During that time, Martin worked in the 91-94 range; he can spot cutting and breaking stuff to his glove side, and his changeup is suitable for light usage versus righties. We still like him as a No. 4 or 5 starter type, though we could see justifying a bullpen move if the Rangers thought it was why Martin stayed healthy all last year. He seems likely to be a competent part of a pitching staff in some form, and had a good showing with the 2019 big club during spring training before being sent back to Double-A in late-March. 26. Brendon Davis, 3B Video Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Lakewood HS (CA) (LAD) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 45/55 30/50 50/40 45/50 55/60 Davis had a mediocre statistical 2018, his first full year with Texas after being part of the prospect package Los Angeles sent in the Yu Darvish trade. But Davis and the Rangers seemed to be tinkering with his swing since his acquisition and by 2018 instructional league, his stance had closed significantly and Davis had changed the way his hands set up. The drop in his ground ball rate since coming over from LA — 38% with Texas, after close to 50% with the Dodgers — seems to corroborate the visual evidence of tweaks, so there’s a chance Davis’ 2018 was just the product of developmental growing pains. Even at 21, Davis remains physically projectable and is likely to add more and more mass and strength to his giant frame as he enters his mid-20s. The lift and rotation in his swing appear suited for power production that might arrive in games when new muscle arrives on the body. Davis doesn’t track pitches well and he often appears imbalanced at the plate. We have him projected as a strikeout-prone third baseman who sells out for big power. He’ll need to improve a bit on defense to stay on the infield, but it’s unreasonable to expect most athletes this size to have total control of their bodies at this age anyway, so there’s cause for optimism on that end. We’re still on Davis despite a bad 2018, and think he has some dormant thump that will make him relevant eventually. 27. David Garcia, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (TEX) Age 19.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 40/45 20/40 40/30 40/50 50/55 Signed for $800,000, Garcia was a good catch-and-throw prospect with some feel to hit from both sides of the plate, but he was so physically immature early in his career that he struggled to catch pro-quality stuff. As such, he was handled pretty conservatively throughout his first two pro seasons despite his many polished attributes. He has thickened up a bit and made solid line drive contact from both sides of the plate last year, while appearing more able to deal with the physical grind of catching. He appears to be a promising backup catching prospect for now, though as he grows into his early 20s he may end up with some power, or such a strong hit tool that he profiles as an everyday player without it. 28. Demarcus Evans, RHP Video Drafted: 25th Round, 2015 from Petal HS (MS) (TEX) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 275 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 35/40 92-96 / 98 Evans has 40+ FV tier stuff and 35 FV tier control. He pumps easy mid-90s gas, his fastball has tough-to-hit, downward angle, and his breaking ball has vertical action, depth, and is consistently plus. When dialed in, Evans looks like an unhittable, high-leverage relief prospect, and he struck out a ludicrous 46% of his 2018 foes — nearly two batters per inning — last year. He’s a short strider who sometimes fails to clear his front side, causing his pitches to sail. His 2018 was much better from a strike-throwing perspective than 2017, but he still walked 12% of hitters faced, and he’s very fly ball prone due to where his fastball lives in the hitting zone. There’s some headwind, but also, utterly dominant stuff. Evans is a good bet to be a 40-man add after the 2019 season, so there’s about an 18-month window for player dev to impact him before he debuts. 29. Jeffrey Springs, LHP Drafted: 30th Round, 2015 from Appalachian State (TEX) Age 26.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 45/50 55/60 45/50 90-92 / 94 Springs is a changeup-heavy lefty reliever with a very average fastball/slider combo that plays against lefties due to his lower arm slot. Springs’ changeup’s spin rate is way down in the 1400 rpm range, creating bat-missing sink that enabled his change to have a 45% whiff rate last year. He was developed as a starter for a long time and only moved to the bullpen last season, when he broke out. He may be a candidate to be stretched out as a starter or multi-inning reliever during Texas’ rebuild. 30. Alex Speas, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from McEachern HS (GA) (TEX) Age 21.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/70 55/60 40/45 30/40 94-97 / 99 In high school, Speas was getting body and arm speed comp’d to Dwight Gooden. He would routinely work 93-97 and break off several plus breaking balls, so while most of the amateur side of the industry acknowledged that Speas’ wildness meant there was a strong chance he’d be a pro reliever, his perceived ceiling, were things suddenly to click, was enormous. The Rangers quickly moved Speas to the bullpen and he dealt with fastball inaccuracy for two years before succumbing to a torn UCL. He may be back for 2019 instructional league and is a long-term, high-leverage bullpen prospect. 31. Kyle Cody, RHP Video Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Kentucky (TEX) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 55/60 40/45 93-96 / 98 Cody had a rocky career at Kentucky, always tantalizing scouts with stuff but struggling with health and control. The Twins made Cody their 2015 second rounder, but he didn’t sign and fell to the sixth round as a 2016 senior. Texas simplified his delivery in 2017, which probably contributed to a breakout year. He seemed likely to spend most of 2018 at Double-A and perhaps reach the majors in 2019, but he had elbow issues during the spring and didn’t break camp with an affiliate. His Arizona rehab was successful enough for Cody to get on a mound in games for a bit, but he felt continued discomfort and needed Tommy John. The mid-summer timing of the surgery means he’ll likely miss all of 2019, which means he’ll be back when he’s a few months shy of 26. The time crunch alone makes it likely that he ends up in relief, though Cody could move quickly and be a strong, late-inning piece when he returns. 35+ FV Prospects 32. Diosbel Arias, UTIL Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (TEX) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Arias signed as an under-the-radar, 21-year-old Cuban defector in July of 2017. The 2018 season was Arias’ first full year of baseball since the 2014-15 Cuban Series Nacional because his defection, international signing rules, and the 2017 offseason led to an eon between actual games for him. He was a college-aged player in the Northwest League in 2018 and had a mandatorily strong statistical season, hitting .366/.451/.548 with Spokane. He continued a strong bat-to-ball showing during instructional league, looked good at several different defensive positions, and was then firmly on the pro scouting radar. He got some reps with the big league team during ’19 spring training. For now, he looks like a possible infield utility piece with some contact skills, but it might behoove Texas to hit the gas on his development and promotion to see if there could be more here. 33. Michael Matuella, RHP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Duke (TEX) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Injuries have plagued Matuella since college. His back, his elbow, a Tommy John, more back, the shoulder, more elbow. The Rangers pared down his repertoire and transitioned him into a multi-inning relief role fairly early in 2018. He was shut down with injury in July. In the fall, his velocity was back in the mid-90s but his secondary stuff wasn’t as crisp. Betwixt injured list stints early in his career, Matuella would flash No. 3 starter stuff. There’s a chance that comes back, but the injury history is suppressing how he’s viewed compared to other prospects and will likely impact the way Texas develops him, as evidenced by the 2018 bullpen move. 34. Jayce Easley, SS Video Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from O’Connor HS (AZ) (TEX) Age 19.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ The middle infield exodus at Oregon State (Nick Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier were both going to be drafted high) made it seem logical that were Easley to matriculate to Corvallis, he’d start as a freshman. Because he lacks prototypical size, he’s exactly the type of prospect who teams would prefer goes to school and performs, to increase their collective confidence that he’s actually good. That Easley seemed likely to have the opportunity to do just that, and perhaps raise his draft profile considerably while in college, made it seem more likely that he would go. But, perhaps because he was seen so much by high-profile, draft-influencing executives due to high school teammate Nolan Gorman, teams felt strongly enough to pursue him now, and Easley signed as a fifth rounder. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm, he’s going to stay on the middle infield, he has fair feel to hit from both sides of the plate, and a little room for muscle on his frame. We have him just ahead of Chavez because Jayce has a little more room for physical growth, but they’re very similar. 35. Frainyer Chavez, SS Video Drafted: 22th Round, 2018 from Midland JC (TX) (TEX) Age 19.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Chavez’s family fled Venezuela when he was an adolescent and ended up in Texas, where Chavez went to high school and junior college. He was a late-round pick in 2018 and immediately became of interest to pro scouts covering Texas’ AZL club thanks to his advanced switch-hitting prowess and fundamentally sound infield actions. A shortstop as an amateur, Chavez saw time all over the infield last summer and looked comfortable at each spot. His frame limits his power projection and makes it less likely that he does sufficient offensive damage to profile as a regular, but he looks like a potentially valuable, switch-hitting bench piece, which would be a great outcome for a 22nd round junior college draftee. 36. Yohander Mendez, LHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela (TEX) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ At his peak, Mendez had mid-rotation stuff. He was sitting 94-97 at times during the spring of 2015, his changeup was plus, and his slurvy breaking ball was at least average. Since then his health and stuff have waxed and waned. In 2018, his stuff looked more like that of a fifth starter. Then he suffered a UCL strain during 2019 spring training. He’s now an oft-injured 24-year-old backend starter prospect who may benefit from a change of scenery. 37. Yohel Pozo, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (TEX) Age 21.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ There’s a whiff of Willians Astudillo to Pozo, who is also a big-bodied catcher who rarely walks or strikes out. While his peripherals aren’t quite as extreme as Astudillo’s (6% career walk rate, 8% strikeouts), Pozo has a better chance at actually catching. There’s also some off-field stink surrounding him, as Pozo was involved in the Rangers grotesque 2016 sexual assault/hazing scandal, which you should not search for if you’re reading this list at work or school. Dominican authorities and MLB investigated the incident, and Pozo was one of several players who were suspended for it. He may understandably be considered unacquirable by some teams for this reason, but this is where he falls in the system based solely on talent. 38. Jose Rodriguez, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TEX) Age 17.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Rodriguez signed for $2 million during the 2018 IFA signing period. He’s a loose, rotational, left-hitting catcher with the agility and hands to catch, though he needs some technical refinement to shave a few tenth off his pop time. The attrition rate for teenage catching is very high, but Rodriguez is a strong, long term developmental project. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Catching Depth Jose Trevino, C Matt Whatley, C Josh Morgan, C/INF Trevino and Whatley have big league gloves and leadership qualities but their bats might relegate them to third catcher duty. Whatley also has a hose. Morgan is a multi-positional player with some feel for contact and might be a bench contributor. First Base Mashers Sam Huff, 1B/C Tyreque Reed, 1B Curtis Terry, 1B Andretty Cordero, 1B Stanley Martinez, 1B Huff has 70 raw power and blasts balls out to all fields. We doubt he catches, but the Rangers should keep trying. The rest of these guys are R/R profiles and need to mash. Reed and Terry are both about 260 pounds and have big power, but strike out. Reed leapt over Terry last year and had a good year at Low-A. Cordero and Martinez are more balanced, average hit/power types who have a better chance than the other two at playing some other positions. Cordero has seen time in the outfield corners, Martinez at third base. They could be bench contributors. Bench Outfield Types Zack Granite, CF Miguel Aparicio, OF Granite was DFA’d by the Twins and acquired via trade. He’s an 80 runner with contact skills, his instincts in center field are not great, and he has to compensate for lack of strength in the batter’s box by using a very conservative swing. Aparicio has feel to hit and is fine in center field. His size and lack of power projection make a fourth outfielder ceiling a reasonable outcome, but probably not for a few years yet. Younger Bats Osleivis Basabe, SS Yenci Pena, 3B Keyber Rodriguez, SS Randy Florentino, C/1B Basabe was a 70 runner in the fall and he might grow into some pop, but he is concerningly raw with the bat. Pena might turn into a utility infielder with some pop if he can become a 45 middle infield defender. He fits best at third. Rodriguez is a switch-hitting middle infielder with fringe bat speed. Florentino is a pretty projectable catcher and first baseman who has a nice swing and who walked a lot in the DSL last year. Close Relief Types Kyle Bird, LHP Reid Anderson, RHP Yoel Espinal. RHP Jairo Beras, RHP Bird sits 90-92, has two good breaking balls, and 40 control. He could be a middle relief piece. Anderson was a shrewd pick out of Millersville University in PA. He was 95-97 during instructs and has an average breaking ball. Espinal sits 94-95 and has a power sinking changeup in the upper-80s. Beras is a conversion arm with plus-plus velo and little else, but it’s still fairly early in his on-mound dev. Deep Sleeper Arms Mason Englert, RHP Destin Dotson, LHP Leury Tejada, RHP John King, LHP Hever Bueno, RHP Tyree Thompson, RHP Englert is a kind of funky 3/4s righty whose low-90s fastball has some tail. He has a fringe four-pitch mix. Dotson is a big, projectable lefty with an arm slot conducive to vertical movement. Tejeda was a 10th rounder from the Bronx. He has big arm speed but is very wild. Those three are all teenagers. King is 24, his delivery is weird, he throws 93-95 with tough angle, and has a good curveball. Hever Bueno has an 80-grade pitcher’s name. While he was at ASU, he was 93-96 with a plus slider at times and hurt at others. He’s had a TJ and is perhaps a bounce-back sleeper. Thompson is purely a physical projection bet with fringe everything at present. System Overview How long might this Ranger rebuild take? There’s a fairly young contingent of quality role players who will either arrive shortly or be around for a while. Rougie Odor is under contract through 2022 or 2023 depending on whether the team picks up his option, Nomar Mazara’s arbitration years run through 2021, and Joey Gallo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ronald Guzman won’t reach free agency for four or five years. Most of the 22 through 24-year-olds on this list are likely role players who will be up during that window. But is there a tent pole star or two among them? Perhaps Gallo’s peak years will be of the four-plus WAR variety, but even the oldest among the potential homegrown stars — Taveras, Thompson, Tejeda, Seise — are probably a few years away, and not all of them are going to turn into that kind of player. The big league overlap of the short-term contributors and potential long-term stars may be fleeting. Should Texas be proactive about choosing a competitive timeline and if so, how proactive? They could use the younger layers of talent to trade for big names who fit into the current 24ish-years-old core, especially if the front office feels pressure to win sooner than later. That means holding on to most of the players on the big league roster who have real trade value, and also that any influx of minor league talent (aside from what veteran reclamation projects like Drew Smyly can fetch in trade if they play well) may need to come from the amateur scouting arm of the org. It also puts pressure on the new player dev group — Matt Blood, once the head of the 18U Team USA program, is the new Director of Player Development — to make what it can of the deep but somewhat homogeneous group above.