2014 Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: February 12, 2014
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Update: The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual finally hit e-book shelves. Check it out!!!

After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and working through alphabetically. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Rougned Odor, Position: 2B, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

425

129

.305

.369

.454

6.1%

15.8%

.149

33

4

5

27/35

AA

144

147

.306

.354

.530

6.3%

16.7%

.224

8

2

6

5/7

Profile: The unfortunately named Odor – just imagine the headlines, “There’s a Foul Odor in the Ballpark,” or “Smelling like Roses, Odor Drives Home Winning Run” – ascended up the prospect charts last season, going from fringy, interesting lower level middle infielder to potential above-average big league second baseman.

After hitting .305/.369/.454 with solid-average power and 27 stolen bases in high Class A, the organization promoted Odor to Class AA where he continued his onslaught against all things pitchers (.306/.354/.530). He finished the year with a combined .305/.365/.474 triple-slash line, with 41 doubles, six triples, 11 homeruns and 32 stolen bases.

Analysis: The power grades out as solid-average right now with the shot to develop into 20 to 22 homeruns down the line. The only thing lacking for Odor, besides a new surname, is a subpar walk rate. Potential All-Star second baseman.

Ceiling: 4.5- to 5.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Joey Gallo, Position: 3B, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

446

163

.245

.334

.610

10.8%

37.0%

.365

19

5

38

14/15

Profile: Lasted until the 39th pick two year ago due to concerns about some contact issues, Gallo has lived up to the billing thus far – a power bat that can change a game in a swing with a strong eye and huge strikeout problems.

Last season, he paced the minor leagues in homeruns with 40 en route to finishing with sixth best offensive performance among MiLBers with at least 400 plate appearances.

Analysis: The best power – both in-game and raw – in the entire minor leagues and in the outer fringes of the conversation for all of baseball. Great size (6-foot-5 and 205 pounds), handles fellow southpaws well, and good patience. Of course, he swings-and-misses more often than I do when asking a pretty girl out. For his career, Gallo is sporting a 34.4% K-rate. Russell Branyan-type floor with a significantly higher ceiling.

Ceiling: 5.5- to 6.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

3. Luke Jackson, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

101.0

2.41

3.67

9.27

4.19

24.9%

11.3%

0.53

42.6%

AA

27.0

0.67

3.19

10.0

4.00

29.1%

11.7%

0.00

45.9%

Profile: The club’s top pitching prospect continued to take minor strides in the walk rate department. After averaging 5.8 BB/9 as a rookie in the Sally in 2011, Jackson cut that number down to 4.5 the following season and 4.1 in 2013. He finished the year with 134 punch outs and 59 walks in 128.0 innings.

Analysis: The most important thing to note: Jackson’s maintained his strikeout rate as his control has improved, meaning he’s not sacrificing anything in order to improve his control; it’s improving his skill set. Number 2/3-type starting pitcher.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

4. Nick Williams, Position: LF/CF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

404

148

.293

.337

.543

3.7%

27.2%

.250

19

12

17

8/13

Profile: Taken in the same draft that added Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, and Alec Asher, Williams quietly put together one of the more impressive seasons in 2013. The second round pick hit .293/.337/.543 with 48 extra-base hits, eight stolen, and a wRC+ total of 148.

Analysis: Similar to that of many of the other organization’s top prospects, Williams comes with a flaw or two. He walked just 3.7% of the time last season, one of the lowest marks in the minors, as well as fanning over 27% of the time, also approaching red flag territory.

With that being said, Williams is brimming with tools – speed, power, and defensive prowess. The comp that jumps is Baltimore’s Adam Jones, maybe with a touch more power with less defensive value. Williams should put up something like .290/.340/.520 during his peak.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Alec Asher, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

133.1

2.90

3.20

9.45

2.70

24.9%

7.1%

0.68

37.9%

Profile: A 23rd round pick of the Giants in 2010, San Francisco opted not to sign the 6-foot-4 right-hander due to concerns about a pre-existing elbow issue – a bone spur. Instead he bounced around a bit, first with a year at Santa De College and then a season at Polk County where he was drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round.

Analysis: Asher has offered up a promising combination of high strikeouts and low walks thus far into his professional career. He finished his first full stint in high Class A with 139 punch outs and just 40 walks in 133.1 innings. Another #2/3-type ceiling.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Michael Choice, Position: OF, Age: 24

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

600

125

.302

.390

.445

11.5%

19.2%

.143

29

1

14

1/3

Profile: Acquired from Oakland along with Chris Bostick for Chris Gentry and Josh Lindblom. After a bit of a disappointing, albeit injury-shortened, season in 2012, Choice rebounded nicely during his debut in the PCL, hitting a robust .302/.390/.445 while topping the offensive-friendly league’s average by 25%.

Once upon a time, Choice, the tenth pick in the 2010 draft, looked destined for potential stardom. The former University of Texas at Arlington slugger swatted 30 homeruns in high Class A. Since then, however, he’s hit 24 in over 1,000 plate appearances.

Analysis: Taking Choice at face value, he’s a solid better-than-average everyday player. He shows positional versatility, a solid eye at the plate, and 15- to 20-HR power. Think Coco Crisp, circa 2004-2005, where he hit .299/.345/.456 while averaging 16 HR; though Choice is not likely to approach his counterpart defensive or base stealing prowess.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

7. Jorge Alfaro, Position: C, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

80

159

.386

.438

.500

6.3%

21.3%

.114

6

1

0

2/5

A

420

128

.258

.338

.452

6.7%

26.4%

.194

22

1

16

16/19

Profile: Signed to a $1.3 million deal in January 2010, a record for a Columbian prospect, Alfaro more or less toed the company line last season, posting numbers close to his career norms: .265/.346/.463. He did set career highs in doubles, homeruns, and playing time.

Analysis: He’s bordering on over-hyped right now. Alfaro has spent the last two seasons in the Sally, and his repeat barely bests the original go-round. Twenty-HR power and some value behind the plate, he should settle in as a better-than-average MLB regular, not a star.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

8. Cody Buckel, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

1.1

27.00

8.00

27.00

47.25

33.3%

58.3%

0.00

0.0%

AA

9.1

20.25

8.78

8.68

27.00

13.6%

42.4%

1.93

38.5%

Profile: I was incredibly high on Buckel entering the season, writing at the time: “There’s an off chance Buckel could eke out a few “ace” quality seasons during his big league career, but he’s more of a really good number two right now, something along the ceiling of Dan Haren or so.”

That was, of course, before Buckel went all Steve Blass on my ass. The former 2010 second round pick tossed must 10.2 innings last season, but somehow managed to walk 35 – 13 fewer than he walked in 2012 when he tossed 144.2 innings.

Analysis: Look, 20-year-old pitchers that post a 9.9 K-rate with a 3.0 BB-rate in high Class A and Class AA don’t exactly grow on trees. His struggles last season appear to be all mental, and as G.I. Joe can confirm, that’s half the battle. Whether or not he regains his wherewithal is completely up in the air. I’m still sticking by the Dan Haren-type ceiling. It just seems like a longshot now – a BIG longshot.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low – Really, Really Low

 

9. Alex Gonzalez, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A-

23.2

4.56

N/A

7.60

2.70

19.05%

6.67%

0.40

N/A

A+

19.0

2.84

N/A

7.10

4.30

19.23%

11.54%

0.50

N/A

Profile: The Rangers bucked the trend of taking high risk/high reward players in the first round by grabbing Gonzalez, a safe polished collegiate hurler, last June. The Oral Roberts University ace capped off a successful college career by finishing with a 1.83 ERA, 10.01 K/9, and 2.14 K/9. 

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “Gonzalez is a decent grab somewhere around the middle of the first round, but he’s not going to be a star. He may not even make it to the big leagues right away, either. His K-rate will definitely regress once in the professional ranks, and his future will largely depend upon the amount of groundballs he generates – something he’s shown a strong tendency of doing now. Gonzalez is another one of those low ceiling/high floor-types, sort of like Cincinnati’s Mike Leake.”

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

10. Frank Lopez, Position: LHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

73.1

4.79

3.67

9.70

4.30

24.0%

10.6%

0.25

42.2%

Profile: The then-19-year-old southpaw fanned 79 and walked 35 in 73.1 innings of work in the Sally last season.

Analysis: Lopez has totaled just 156.1 innings in his career – albeit 156.1 pretty damn good innings. He’s been hampered by some crap luck, but the strikeouts and average-ish control are definitely promising. He could be one of the system’s biggest breakouts in 2014.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Rob

    February 15, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Really?? Choice higher than Alfaro??

    • JMWerner

      February 21, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      I know there’s a ton of hype surrounding Alfaro, but he really hasn’t justified it. Last year, his second in low Class A, he topped the league average offensive production by 28%, a nice number but hardly top prospect-esque.

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