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November 11, 2013

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects

by Jason Parks

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Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Rangers list

The Top Ten

  1. 2B Rougned Odor
  2. C Jorge Alfaro
  3. RHP Alex Gonzalez
  4. SS Luis Sardinas
  5. LF Nick Williams
  6. 3B Joey Gallo
  7. RHP Luke Jackson
  8. RF Nomar Mazara
  9. CF Lewis Brinson
  10. 1B Ronald Guzman

1. Rougned Odor
Position: 2B
DOB: 02/03/1994
Height/Weight: 5’11” 170 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Venezuela
Previous Ranking: On The Rise
2013 Stats: .306/.354/.530 at Double-A Frisco (30 games), .305/.369/.454 at High-A Myrtle Beach (100 games)
The Tools: 7 future hit; 5 future power; 5 arm; 6 potential glove; 5 run

What Happened in 2013: As a 19-year-old, Odor crushed in High-A and finished the season with an impressive 30-game run in Double-A, hitting a combined 58 extra-base hits over the two stops.

Strengths: Natural bat-to-ball ability; shows impressive bat speed and the ability to make quick adjustments at the plate; can barrel velocity and track/stay back on off-speed; baseball instincts are elite; has the raw pop to drive the ball into the gaps; will develop average home run power over time; glove at second base should be plus; arm is average but strong on turns; at least average run, but plays up in game action; plays with extreme confidence and swagger; big-league competitor.

Weaknesses: Can get overly aggressive on all sides of the ball; tendency to bring bad batting practice habits into games; will drop shoulder and try to be a power hitter; has the actions and the arm to play shortstop, but doesn’t always play in control and can get sloppy; emotions can take him out of game.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division player/chance for all-star level

Realistic Role: High 5; above-average player

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The top fantasy prospect at the keystone, Odor is the kind of player who won't dominate any individual categories, but can offer reliable all-around production. And with the dearth of high-impact second basemen both in the majors and minors, his fantasy value is even higher than it appears, particularly in deeper leagues. Heck, Daniel Murphy was top five at the position this year and Odor can do that.

The Year Ahead: As of this writing, Odor doesn’t have a clear path to the majors, as both Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar are ahead of him in the keystone queue. But as far as the skill set is concerned, Odor will be ready for a big-league taste in 2014, and his emergence could allow the Rangers to get aggressive in this offseason’s trade market. Regardless of what happens, Odor is going to hit the baseball, and he’s going to bring a very particular brand of intensity to the field, which can often alternate between a positive and a negative attribute. He has a chance to develop into a .300 hitter with gap power, coming from an above-average defensive profile at an up-the-middle position. That’s an all-star if everything clicks.

Major league ETA: 2014

2. Jorge Alfaro
Position: C
DOB: 06/11/1993
Height/Weight: 6’2” 185 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Colombia
Previous Ranking: #4 (Org), #76 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .182/.308/.182 at High-A Myrtle Beach (3 games), .258/.338/.452 at Low-A Hickory (104 games), .429/.500/.810 at complex level AZL (6 games)
The Tools: 8 arm; 6+ power potential; 5 glove; 6 run

What Happened in 2013: After an injury-plagued 2012 campaign, Alfaro played in a career-high 113 games, not counting his breakout performance in the AFL.
Strengths: Plus athlete; plus strength; arm is 8; routine sub-1.9 pops; catch-and-throw weapon; raw power is 7;could play over plus; above-average run; sub-4.2 times to first; glove improving; could develop to solid-average; hit could play to average.

Weaknesses: Torque-heavy swing limits bat control; highly susceptible to off-speed offerings; aggressive approach; hit tool is below average; could limit power utility; glove can get sloppy behind the plate; rushes footwork; needs more receiving refinement.

Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; dual threat development/yet to play at Double-A level.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There’s not a single catching prospect in baseball who can match Alfaro’s fantasy upside, and frankly it’s not particularly close. Even though he’s full of risk, the evil temptress that is a catcher who can hit 25 homers and steal double-digit bases can be irresistible. If it all clicks for him, he will be the top fantasy catcher in baseball.

The Year Ahead: After a strong Arizona Fall League showing, Alfaro will be ready to tackle the biggest professional challenge of his career, a likely start back in High-A before eventually arriving at the Double-A level. Pitchers with a plan can exploit the aggressive hitter, so a more refined approach at the plate could do wonders for the five-tool catcher. If everything comes together, Alfaro is a superstar, a middle-of-the-order bat with impact defense at a premium spot on the diamond. I’ve been hyping Alfaro since he was first stateside at age 16, and with each year, he takes another step toward that exceptional eventuality. He still comes with a high risk, but the ceiling makes him one of the most valuable prospects in the minors.

Major league ETA: 2015

3. Alex Gonzalez
Position: RHP
DOB: 01/15/1992
Height/Weight: 6’2” 195 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, OK)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: 2.84 ERA (19 IP, 15 H, 15 K, 9 BB) at High-A Myrtle Beach, 4.56 ERA (23.2 IP, 30 H, 20 K, 7 BB) at short-season Spokane
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 SL; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2013: The 23rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, Gonzalez started nine games in the Northwest League before finishing the season with five starts in High-A.

Strengths: Plus-plus fastball; velo in low-mid-90s; three-way life; natural cut; can run and sink it as well; true slider is second plus offering; 85-88 with tilt and bigger shape than cutter; plays well off the FB; changeup flashes above-average potential.

Weaknesses: Delivery can get stiff; command needs refinement; not a consistent strike thrower; changeup at 85-87 can get too firm and flat.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: High 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; two plus pitches; ready for Double-A level

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: A great fit for his likely future home in Arlington, Gonzalez should be able to put up strong fantasy numbers there despite its offensive tendencies. In a small sample, he’s been able to keep the ball on the ground at a 60 percent rate in the minors, and it is backed up by the reports. He could put up Matt Harrison ratios with Derek Holland strikeout totals.

The Year Ahead: Chi Chi Gonzalez might like a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, but he’s a safe bet to develop into a mid-rotation starter. On the back of an extremely lively fastball—one that often features natural cut to the glove side—Gonzalez can challenge hitters in the zone, forcing weak contact on the ground. His slider is a second plus offering, one that shows a bigger shape than the harder cut fastball, thrown in the mid/upper 80s with tilt. He can turn over the changeup and several sources think it eventually becomes a solid-average to plus offering, giving Gonzalez more than enough to find success in a rotation. He shouldn’t have a long stay in the minors.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

4. Luis Sardinas
Position: SS
DOB: 05/19/1993
Height/Weight: 6’1” 150 lbs.
Bats/Throws: B/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2009, Venezuela
Previous Ranking: #5 (Org), #86 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .259/.286/.311 at Double-A Frisco (29 games), .298/.358/.360 at High-A Myrtle Beach (97 games)
The Tools: 7 run; 6 arm; 6 glove; 6 potential hit

What Happened in 2013: After several years of developmental setbacks and struggles, Sardinas was finally able to build on a strong season with another strong season, finishing the year in Double-A and flashing all the tools that made him one of the premier signings back in 2009.
Strengths: Slick defender at shortstop; arm is easy plus; actions are smooth and easy; impact potential; run is plus-plus; contact ability from both sides of the plate; excellent bat-to-ball ability; good plan of attack at the plate.

Weaknesses: Limited physical projection (strength); narrow hips/shoulders; injury history leads to durability concerns; well below-average power; slick defender, but lack of focus can lead to casual errors; work ethic and intensity have been questioned.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: Low 5; second-division player/utility

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; injuries to both shoulders on resume

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The speed is the distinguishing factor here, but despite a strong fantasy profile, his lack of any semblance of pop (four homers in 262 career minor-league games) will keep a bit of an anchor on his upside. He’s also slightly team dependent as his profile is way more valuable at the top of a lineup than the bottom.

The Year Ahead: Sardinas held his own in his 29-game Double-A sample, and a return trip to the level will answer more questions about the overall quality of his bat. Based on conversations with other teams, Sardinas is a highly coveted prospect, mostly on the back of his legit plus defensive profile at short. Add to the mix his plus-plus speed and his contact ability from both sides of the plate and you get a promising player, one who could become a 1980s throwback type, a la Tony Fernandez.

Major league ETA: 2015

5. Nick Williams
Position: LF
DOB: 09/08/1993
Height/Weight: 6’3” 195 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2012 draft, Ball HS (Galveston, TX)
Previous Ranking: On The Rise
2013 Stats: .293/.337/.543 at Low-A Hickory (95 games)
The Tools: 7 potential hit; 7 run; 6 raw

What Happened in 2013: On a Low-A team absolutely stacked with seven-figure talent, Williams’s offensive prowess and potential pushed him to the top of the class.

Strengths: Innate bat-to-ball ability; can put the barrel on velocity and can track spin; hit tool could end up a plus-plus tool; raw power is plus; good chance to play to that level in game action; 7 run; would play CF in most orgs.

Weaknesses: Outside of natural hitting ability, lacks baseball skills; approach is very aggressive (see ball, hit ball); plus-plus run but below-average baserunner; arm isn’t a weapon; reads and routes in outfield can be head scratchers.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division/all-star

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; lacks baseball skills outside of hitting

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Yawn, just another Rangers prospect with the potential to be a fantasy monster. If there are better tools-based bets for your fantasy farm system, there’s probably not enough to count on both hands. Williams is a better prospect in this realm than real life, as we don’t care if he’s a centerfielder or (to an extent) can draw a walk.

The Year Ahead: Williams is a hitting freak, meaning he just stands in the box and squares up baseballs like he was born to do it. Unfortunately, his other baseball tools are far from developing into usable skills, as his overall feel for the game is lacking. But his hit tool is so good that it might not matter all that much if his other skills are unrefined; he could hit .300 with 20 bombs and look like a complete mess on the field and most teams would take that profile with a smile. If Williams can add to his baseball acumen, this could be a star-level player. But even if he falls short of tool refinement, the natural feel for hitting should carry him all the way to the majors.

Major league ETA: 2016

6. Joey Gallo
Position: 3B
DOB: 11/19/1993
Height/Weight: 6’5” 205 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Bishop Gorman HS (Las Vegas, NV)
Previous Ranking: #10 (Org)
2013 Stats: .245/.334/.610 at Low-A Hickory (106 games), .368/.429/.895 at complex level AZL (5 games)
The Tools: 8 raw; 7 arm; 5 potential glove

What Happened in 2013: Gallo hit 40 delicious bombs in 2013, which paired nicely with a slightly chilled bottle of 172 whiffs.

Strengths: Grotesque raw power; elite; great extension; shows impressive bat speed/not just raw strength; arm is plus-plus weapon; glove has improved and could play to average; shows necessary work ethic to improve in the field.

Weaknesses: Huge swing-and-miss in his game; struggles against spin; extreme hip rotation allows for bat speed but limits his ability to maneuver the barrel after he launches; contact ability could limit his elite power potential; footwork at third still needs refinement; arm is extremely strong but not accurate.

Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player

Realistic Role: High 4; Quad-A player

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; the swing-and-miss is 80-grade

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The inherent problem with power hitting prospects that have questionable hit tools is if the contact never shows up, their value becomes slim-to-none. Gallo could be a future fantasy first rounder if the hit tool allows the power to play at a 40-plus pace, but the odds are more likely that he’s a Russell Branyan type—which while not a dead spot, would be a huge disappointment.

The Year Ahead: Gallo’s future profile is often compared to Adam Dunn’s, and on the surface, it makes some sense: both have huge left-handed power, huge swing and miss, and the ability to take a walk. Three-outcome types. The problem is that people often confuse the realities of what Dunn has accomplished at the major-league level with what Gallo accomplished in Low-A. For reference, at the same point in his career, Dunn hit over .300 in his first stop in Low-A, striking out around 17% of the time. Gallo’s k-rate was 37% in 2013.Pitching doesn’t get any easier as you climb the ladder, so Gallo is facing long odds if he wants to develop into Adam Dunn. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a minor leaguer with such raw power, but the swing and miss rate is just as extreme, and without contact improvement, I don’t see the power living up to its massive potential.

Major league ETA: Late 2015

7. Luke Jackson
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/24/1991
Height/Weight: 6’2” 185 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Calvary Christian HS (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: 0.67 ERA (27 IP, 13 H, 30 K, 12 BB) at Double-A Frisco, 2.41 ERA (101
IP, 79 H, 104 K, 47 BB) at High-A Myrtle Beach
The Tools: 7 FB; 5+ CB; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2013: After a return trip to High-A to start the season, Jackson took a big step forward, finishing the season with a tremendous run in Double-A.

Strengths: Big arm strength; creates good angle to the plate; fastball routinely works in 91-97 range; often 93-96 with late life; CH offers good deception from FB; some sink; could develop into plus pitch; CB can flash plus; can show sharp vertical break and depth; SL could develop into promising secondary pitch; thrown with velocity and some tilt; high baseball IQ.

Weaknesses: Delivery has effort; tendency to miss arm-side and up; struggles to get over high front side in delivery; FB command is below average; CB/CH command is below average; lacks above-average command projection.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; late-innings reliever (setup/closer)

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited exposure to Double-A; stuff to pitch in big leagues.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Jackson has his share of upside, but there are causes for concern from a fantasy standpoint—and it all hinges on whether he can maintain an above-average breaking ball. Without it, he’s unlikely to post particularly strong strikeouts rates and becomes closer to replacement level in shallower leagues.

The Year Ahead: Jackson has nasty stuff, especially the lively mid-90s fastball, but the secondary utility comes and goes and the command is below average. Because of the effort in the delivery and his struggles repeating and working low in the zone, I think he is a better fit for the bullpen. But he has the arsenal and the arm strength to start, so if the command takes a step forward, Jackson has the potential to not only stick around in a rotation, but offer impact potential in that role.

Major league ETA: 2014

8. Nomar Mazara
Position: RF
DOB: 04/26/1995
Height/Weight: 6’4” 195 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #8 (Org)
2013 Stats: .236/.310/.382 at Low-A Hickory (126 games)
The Tools: 7 raw; 6 potential hit; 6 arm

What Happened in 2013: Mazara made his full-season debut as an 18-year-old, holding his own in an advanced league, racking up 38 extra-base hits.

Strengths: Excellent bat speed; good overall feel for hitting; raw power is plus-plus; game power has legit chance to play; tracks the ball well and is strong against right-handing pitching; moves well for his size; strong arm; prototypical right field profile.

Weaknesses: Swing can get hitchy; can limit bat control; struggles against arm-side stuff; lots of swing-and-miss in his game; hit tool receives mixed reviews; some question how much it effects power potential.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 5; second-division player

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; will play ’14 season at age 19; still unrefined.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: On one hand, Mazara could end up with more home runs at the major-league level than his teammate Joey Gallo. On the other hand, he has less fantasy upside than Gallo due to both his eligibility and because no one has Gallo’s raw. Rangers Ballpark would be a great place for him to showcase his skills.

The Year Ahead: Mazara is ready for the High-A level, but the bat might not be ready to take a huge step forward; developmentally speaking, Mazara could repeat Hickory for several years before he would fall behind the curve. The bat has always impressed me, and the raw power is a legit 7 on the 2/8 scale. It’s a middle-of-the-order corner profile if everything clicks, and I think Mazara has a good chance to put the swing together and allow the impressive power to play. He might not look the part (at the plate) for a few years, but a little extra patience is necessary when the ceiling is a first-division talent.

Major league ETA: Late 2016

9. Lewis Brinson
Position: CF
DOB: 05/08/1994
Height/Weight: 6’3” 170 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Coral Springs HS (Coral Springs, FL)
Previous Ranking: #6 (Org), #99 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .237/.322/.427 at Low-A Hickory (122 games)
The Tools: 6+ run; 6 power potential; 6 arm; 6 potential glove

What Happened in 2013: My biggest regret in 2013 was not dressing up like Lewis Brinson’s 38 percent K rate and scaring members of the Rangers’ front office on Halloween.

Strengths: Loud impact tools; plus athlete; plus raw power; plus arm; plus-plus potential glove; no doubt centerfielder at the highest level; plus run; feel for the game; hard worker/good makeup.

Weaknesses: Elite level swing-and-miss; noisy feet in the box; inconsistent setups; recognition/reaction skills are lacking; hit tool is poor; could limit any/all of the power utility.

Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player

Realistic Role: High 4; fourth/fifth outfielder

Risk Factor/Injury History: Extreme risk; more than a two-grade jump from realistic role to OFP.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: It’s much tougher to see a road to Brinson being a fantasy stud, but it’s still there if you squint. In shallower leagues, he’s a player to target later on in drafts because his potential is something that is very tough to find on the waiver wire. But in points leagues, his strikeouts are a huge drawback.

The Year Ahead: I really love to watch Lewis Brinson, as he has everything you want to see in a young superstar talent: four tools with plus (or better) projections and very good makeup. But the swing-and-miss he showed in 2013 was historically bad, and the list of players with 38 percent K rates in Low-A that turned into quality major leaguers won’t cramp your hand to produce. Because of the skill set in center field, as well as the raw power and the plus run, Brinson is still a safe bet to reach the highest level, but without substantial improvement to the hit tool, Brinson won’t sniff the ceiling his raw physical gifts suggest is possible. I think he needs to repeat Low-A and find some consistency and comfort in his swing. Yet another player you can afford to be extra patient with in the developmental process. The end result is more than worth it.

Major League ETA: 2017

10. Ronald Guzman
Position: 1B
DOB: 10/20/1994
Height/Weight: 6’5” 205 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: International Free Agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #9 (Org)
2013 Stats: .272/.325/.387 at Low-A Hickory (49 games)
The Tools: 6+ potential hit; 6 potential power; 5+ potential glove

What Happened in 2013: Thanks to a minor knee injury suffered during camp, Guzman started the season in extended spring training before arriving in Hickory, where the 18-year-old had 47 hits in 49 games.

Strengths: Despite enormous size, he’s a very natural hitter with an easy swing; controls his swing length well; good overall feel for contact; hit tool could end up plus or better; raw power is good; will improve as he grows into his frame; could be a legit 6/6 hit/power type; footwork/glovework at first improve every day; good approach; big makeup guy.

Weaknesses: Immature body at present; extremely long limbs; lots of body to control in the swing and on defense; struggled against arm-side stuff in Low-A; will have coverage issues inside because of size/swing; limited on defense; arm is a 3; not a clogger but below-average run.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: Low 5; second-division player

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; knee surgery (meniscus) on resume; tough profile.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Guzman stood out among his Hickory teammates, when on the field, as his contact rate was strong. With being limited to first base, he doesn’t have the upside as most of his teammates in front of him on this list, but then again, this system has a ridiculous amount of upside. There’s nothing wrong with a player who could do Freddie Freeman-type things if it all comes together.

The Year Ahead: Guzman is an advanced player, and he should be able to hold his own in the Carolina League in 2014. You can’t escape the fact that he’s an enormous man, and the likelihood that his size could limit some of his functionality on all sides of the ball. I believe in the bat, and I think he will find a way to hit for a high average and I think the power slowly finds its way into games courtesy of the hit tool. He might end up being a Tony Clark sort of player, an abnormally large human that ends up packing a nice offensive punch at the plate.

Major league ETA: 2017


Prospects on the Rise:
1. RHP Akeem Bostick:
Second-round pick in the 2013 draft, the highly projectable righty arrived on the scene with a raw label as a high-risk/high-reward gamble. The 6-foot-4 18-year-old has a live arm and can already pump his fastball in the low 90s, and according to several reports, his nascent curveball was more advanced than advertised, giving him the arsenal to take a big step forward in 2014 and emerge as a top 10 prospect in the system.

2. RHP Cole Wiper: After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, the former Oregon starter fell to the Rangers in the 10th round, and signed for a cool $700K. Fully healthy, Wiper can show a low-90s fastball, a promising slider, and good feel for a plus potential changeup. He still has to put it all together, which means refining his command and holding his velocity in longer outings, but the combination of size and stuff could push Wiper through the system quickly and up prospect lists if he finds immediate success at the full-season level.

3. 3B Drew Robinson: I’ve long been a fan of Robinson, mostly because he shows impressive bat speed and the ability to make hard contact with the baseball. I think the 21-year-old is ready to take the big step forward and put all the offensive tools together. This could be yet another role 6 player in the Rangers system, a left-side infielder with legit pop in the bat.


Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2014)
1. RHP Wilmer Font: Font is an abnormally large human with an abnormally large fastball, and if he finds his command and a reliable second pitch, he has closer potential. Until then, he’s an intimidating flamethrower who could carve out a late-innings role, most likely as a seventh/eighth-inning type.

2. OF Jared Hoying: It’s not a sexy profile, as Hoying lacks impact-level tools, but this is the type of player that not only finds his way to the highest level but finds a way to complete. He’s probably a fifth outfielder, a guy who hold his own in the outfield (better in a corner) and offer enough at the plate to keep a pitcher honest. That’s not a bad outcome for a 10th round pick.

3. RHP Keone Kela: A 12th round pick in the 2012 draft, Kela only has 19 innings of full-season experience, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he steamrolls his way to the majors in 2014. A physically strong and compact righty, Kela has been turning his this fall in the Arizona, pumping his fastball in the 98-100 mph range. Despite the limited professional experience in the upper minors, elite level velocity has a tendency to move fast, and with an intense late-innings mentality already built into the profile, Kela could find himself reaching triple-digits in the majors before the year is out.


Top 10 Talents 25 and Younger (born 4/1/1988 or later)

  1. Elvis Andrus
  2. Jurickson Profar
  3. Martin Perez
  4. Rougned Odor
  5. Neftali Feliz
  6. Jorge Alfaro
  7. Alex Gonzalez
  8. Luis Sardinas
  9. Nick Williams
  10. Joey Gallo

The Rangers feature two young, talented middle infielders at the top, who give a healthy portion of the strength to this list. It seems like Elvis Andrus has been around forever, but the 25-year-old shortstop takes the top spot in his last year of eligibility. Though Andrus was a bit off with creating consistent solid contact in 2013, the defense and impact on the bases were at their usual elite levels. Jurickson Profar might have the higher offensive ceiling and end up the better overall player, but the 85 games played in the bigs this past season show there is still some polish needed. Currently, not enough of a case to take this year’s top slot over Andrus. Let’s not forget, though, that Profar turns all of 21 years old before the start of next season, and is likely to headline this list until he’s too old to be included.

Left-handed starter Martin Perez went from last year’s no. 3 prospect in the system to a mainstay in Texas’ rotation down the stretch. Recently locked up for the next four years, Perez has a legit chance to become the middle-of-the-rotation starter that the Rangers envisioned the Venezuelan becoming after signing him in 2007. Rougned Odor is the first prospect on the list, checking in at no. 4. The 19-year-old infielder was tabbed as an “On the Rise” prospect in last year’s Top 10 and ended up rising all the way up to the top of this year’s list. The bat is going to be tested in an extended stint in Double-A this coming season, but Odor gives the Rangers yet another attractive middle-infield prospect.

The second half of the list features all prospects. Catcher Jorge Alfaro has the potential of an above-average-to-better regular, but has work in front of him to get more consistent with his swing and defense. It’ll be an interesting year to see how he adjusts to the next step up the ranks. First-round pick Alex Gonzalez gives the Rangers a potential fast-tracking starting arm, while shortstop Luis Sardinas’ glove and hit tool give him a shot at developing into a regular down the line.

Outfielder Nick Williams was another “On the Rise” guy who shot up this past season. The smooth swing and excellent bat-to-ball ability are impressive, with a lot of hard contact to all fields resulting when he’s in the box. Third baseman Joey Gallo rounds out the list. The high strikeout totals due to the extreme length and leverage in his swing are concerns, but the power is off the charts and there’s growth within his hit tool that can be unlocked by further slowing plate appearances down. –Chris Mellen

A Parting Thought: Despite the graduations of Profar and Perez, and the trade of Olt and Grimm, the Rangers system is still one of the deepest in the game, loaded with high-risk/high-reward talent.

***

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Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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Related Content:  Texas Rangers,  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

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