While lot of what Jason sees in Arizona doesn't matter, and some of it's just shadows, there's still a lot to report from Surprise.
Day 8: 10:40 PM
It’s late, Patricia, and I’m sorry for not putting fingers to these keys earlier. The sun was magnificent today, like a big, glowing ball of headaches, disorientation, and fire. My eyes starting stinging early, and by noon I realized I was nearing collapse. After the morning workouts and the 1PM game at the big boy stadium–which I will tell you about in a minute–I bypassed a late lunch in order to cool my thoughts in a long shower. I rushed through step three of the showering process because the symptoms of heat stroke were still present and I didn’t feel confident standing in a slippery basin with my eyes closed while negotiating bouts of dizziness. It’s important to avoid cracking your head open.
Day 8: 11:00 PM
I had to drink a glass of flat water with a slice of cucumber gently floating on top. I would have preferred sparkling, but I’ve become particular about my sparkling water and I’m not about to rush into a sloppy water consumption decision just because the selection is limited and my body needs to fight off dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, with style when possible. I watched the Royals earlier today, as I tend to do out here in Surprise, and one player in particular caught my eye, as he has every spring since he was drafted. I sat in the scout section behind home plate, allowing the waves of Americana blasting from the stadium P.A. system to crash into my eardrums, waiting to have my eyes opened by a spectacular play or a spectacular player, when from the sky a heroic figure emerged and slowly lowered his human form onto the playing field and picked up a baseball bat. It was Eric Hosmer, and his face was bronze, and his body draped with the cloth of kings, and his skin was wet with the tears of innumerable virgins. His swing was delicious, with a robust finish that was assertive and aggressive, yet tender and passionate.
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Profiling five former top prospects in the AL who have to make a move this season or risk being busts.
Following the development of baseball prospects can be a heart-wrenching addiction. The can’t-miss wunderkinds miss, the overlooked organizational soldiers earn major-league roles out of nowhere, and players you’ve grown fond of slowly fade out of the top 10s, top 20s, and top 100s as the years pass.
The five players highlighted below were all, at one time or another, considered potential major-league stars. Ineffectiveness, failure to make adjustments, and injuries have contributed to their collective fall from grace, and all five now face a make-or-break summer that will either re-establish them as prospects or push them into non-prospect territory.
The Rangers prospects are blue-chip talents with rough edges, but will 2011 see them get sanded or beaten down?
Not so long ago, the Rangers' farm system put the sex in sexy, ranking as the top organization in baseball thanks to an assembly line of talent that ran from the lowest complex leagues all the way up to Triple-A. After a few seasons of major league promotion, attrition, and stagnation, the system has lost some of its mainstream shine. As we head into the 2011 season, the overall depth remains impressive, but depth is a drug without immediate effect. However, if you prepare yourself for the developmental hurdles, embracing a system stacked at the lower levels can be a more rewarding high, assuming of course that following the development of minor-league baseball players gets you high, which—believe me—it does.
For this article, let’s move away from the dreams associated with low-level depth, and take a look at the top five prospects in the Rangers’ system, and how their 2011 seasons might end up breaking a few hearts.
Jon Daniels reseeded the farm this past July, trading veterans for five of the team's top 11 youngsters and making the Rangers system much more formidable.
1. Neftali Feliz, RHP Four-Star Prospects
2. Eric Hurley, RHP
3. Elvis Andrus, SS
4. Engel Beltre, OF
5. Michael Main, RHP
6. Chris Davis, 3B Three-Star Prospects
7. Taylor Teagarden, C
8. Blake Beavan, RHP
9. Matt Harrison, RHP
10. Max Ramirez, C
11. German Duran, 2B