Texas Rangers’ 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Nate dives into the talented and tattered Rangers system.

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

The oddity 2020 was, the Rangers fit right in regarding their farm system; head-scratcher decisions during June’s draft, calling up a slew of prospects with no upper-level minors experience.

The Rangers tend to move players quickly, which could be great for dynasty owners.  They also have a reputation for it not working so well.  Justly so, their player development has drawn ridicule, but some of the failures were just plain bad luck too.  A look through the ranks here and you will see a theme of injury-interrupted development.  A LOT of it.  You will also find riches of raw talent.  It is simultaneously an exciting and heart-breaking list.

For as frustrating it can be for dynasty owners, their system also offers a potentially rich ground for plucking forgotten or abandoned talent.  Their MLB roster is fairly young with a lot of unproven commodities, which could lead to opportunities for young players in 2021.  Chris Young, the former MLB pitcher, was hired as GM in December and he has already been very busy; acquiring Dane Dunning from the White Sox, Nate Lowe from the Rays, and acquiring some teenage prospects in trades.

The following list is my best thoughts on how a dynasty owner should go about valuing investments in these players, considering all I can.  Josh Jung may not have the highest ceiling of potential as anyone here, but he may have the least avenues of possibility it could go wrong.  Davis Wendzel may not have the greatest fantasy appeal, but his shot at making the bigs may be higher than most.

Assess talent, consider proximity, paint a picture of a path to the bigs, know nothing is certain.  Lists like these can sometimes be comparing apples to oranges to pineapples to rocks, but they are extremely helpful if used correctly.  I cannot recall where I heard it, some GM in another sport, but it may be the wisest thing I’ve heard about prognosticating athletes’ futures; make informed mistakes.  I like that.  That is the best we can do.  I have offered brief opinions on how I would go about investing in these players while also trying to paint you a picture of who they are and could be.  Welcome to Texas, where everything is big: upside, change, and medical reports.

(Players asterisked are currently on the 40-man roster)

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly.

 

1. CIF Josh Jung

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

The eighth overall pick in 2019 out of Texas Tech had a monster college career and settled in nicely that same year in LoA (.287/.363/.389).  Jung’s stock takes a knock from fantasy owners because questions remain about his power, and that can be a tough investment for a player suited for CIF duty.  Jung did play some up the middle in college and tried his hand at 2B during instructs but the reviews didn’t seem so hot.  The hit tool is his greatest asset; a selective hitter with a patient eye and contact skills to hit behind in the count.  It will be interesting to see if the Rangers try and alter his line-drive approach to tap into more power, which some instruct reports claimed.  Only one homer at Hickory but he did hit 15 homers his senior season.  On one hand, Jung may currently be an under-valued fantasy prospect, on the other, he may be lacking a tool important to his position.  Either way, the answer may come sooner rather than later.

ETA: 2021

 

2. MIF Maximo Acosta

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

One of Texas’ two big international signings in 2019 (Bayron Lora), Acosta has an all-round package drawing praise.  Possessing a strong arm, sure glove, fluid defensive motions, plus speed, high contact swing, and a 6’1″, 170-pound build capable of plus torque, this foundation of an across-the-board solid to plus player has prognosticators excited for a pro look.  Likely to debut state-side in 2021, Acosta put some quiet instructional work in this fall.  It’s very early, but the young Venezuelan righty has a potential five-tool game sticking at SS and one of the organization’s more exciting profiles.  An investment here will require patience and a risk nothing ever comes of it, but a big fantasy payday could be had.  Acosta is not comparable to many other organizations’ #2, but he is one of my favorite high risk/high reward profiles.  Proceed with caution.

ETA: 2025

 

3. C Sam Huff*

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

Huff was one of the prospects debuting without upper-level experience for the Rangers in 2020.  Huff went 11-for-31 with three HR, struck out 11 times, walked twice.  A large catcher at 6’5″ and 240 pounds, Huff’s proven he can stick behind the plate as a serviceable receiver with a plus arm, and an offensive profile fantasy owners may covet.  Power is the name of Huff’s game, which he showed during 2019, belting 19 of them, including a All-Star Futures Game shot on national TV.  Strikeouts are also the name of Huff’s game, having struck out at a 30% clip in the minors.

Definitely a power-over-hit profile, but at a position with a very low bar where fantasy is concerned, Huff has a chance to be an asset.  Some upper-level seasoning may be needed before Huff sticks in the bigs, but a power threat behind the plate producing soon presents itself for fantasy owners and he’ll have a shot to make the team this spring.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

4. CF Leody Taveras*

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Barely qualifying as a prospect after his 119 MLB ABs in 2020, the rangy CF shed light on the questions following him since signing in 2015.  The defense never concerning, but rather how much pop and offensive production the switch hitter possesses.  His K-rates have jumped along the way, yet he has always been young for his level, which can often coincide.  Some have thought the lean 6’1″, 175-pound frame could produce more pop. He did hit four HR in 2020, which is a much higher clip than his five HR in 2019’s 519 A+/AA AB.  Not definitive in any way, but maybe the start of a trend.  The .227/.308/.395 line leaves much to be desired though.  Not to put too much weight into 2020 MLB appearances which substituted for what could have been his AAA season, there is a chance his D gets some everyday run on a young 40-man roster.  (A AAA start to 2021 with some newfound MLB confidence may be the best choice.)

I would be surprised if he comes out producing offensively at a high clip, but at only 22, I wouldn’t be surprised to see gains made at the plate, albeit most likely a slower maturation as the Rangers have pushed him.  With eight SB in 33 games, the speed will play.  If the bat comes along, the young Dominican has an exciting fantasy upside, but owners should proceed knowing a bottom of the lineup bat may be all they ever get.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

5. RHP Dane Dunning*

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

The White Sox acquired Dunning when they dealt Adam Eaton to the Nationals, and this winter, he was traded again, this time to the Rangers as part of the Lance Lynn deal.  Dunning got his first taste of MLB action in 2020, posting a 3.97 ERA in 34 IP as a starter. His FIP and xFIP were mostly in line, at 3.99 and 4.16 respectively, and Dunning showed an ability to punch batters out with a 24.6% strikeout rate. His slider was his best pitch and earned a 43.5% Whiff rate.  If he features his slider more than its 21.7% usage in 2020, Dunning could further solidify himself as a reliable arm.

The 6’4″ 225-pound righty’s fastball has below-average vertical and horizontal movement, and it’s the pitch batters had the most success against. A reliable heater isn’t a requirement to be successful in the bigs, but it may limit Dunning’s upside. It will also be important to see how Dunning does deeper in games, as the White Sox only had him throw more than five IP in two of his seven starts.

Dunning will be moving to a more pitcher-friendly environment in Globe Life, and is a young pitcher just starting to crack the bigs which is always interesting to dynasty owners, but know upside may be limited here.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

6. RHP Kohei Arihara*

 

Age: 28

Highest Level: NPB (Japan’s highest pro level)

Young continued to overhaul his roster signing the Japanese pro in late December.  Arihara, a six-year NPB pro, is expected to slot into the Ranger’s rotation right away.  Per usual with Japanese pitchers, it is hard to tell how many IPs they will handle stateside.  Arihara has logged the most IPs in the NPB over the last two seasons though, but that’s only around a 132 IP pace.  He features a large arsenal like a lot of the star Japanese pitchers do, including a low-90s fastball, splitter, change, slider, cutter, and curve.  Considered by some underrated in his league, the shortened 2020 season was not his best statistically, going 3.46 ERA with a 1.168 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9.  The previous two seasons he dominated hitters more impressively.  An instant starting pitcher should always be considered in FYPDs by dynasty owners.  A lot of pitchers drafted will not get to where Arihara will start off fantasy-wise.  He does get a nice park to pitch in, but there is always the unknown of how his stuff will play stateside.  I would still feel very safe selecting him and giving it a run… just as “safe” as selecting a second-tier college P prospect in a FYPD.

ETA: 2021

 

7. IF Anderson Tejeda*

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Tejeda went from an early 2019 HiA exit (shoulder) to an MLB debut HR on 8/6/20.  Slashing .253/.273/.453 in 75 MLB AB, the young Dominican struck out 30 times and walked twice, which has been his knock.  Tejeda teased his potential power/speed skill set hitting three HR and swiping four bags in 2020.  A switch hitter as an amateur, he abandoned hitting from the right side turning pro, but went back to switch-hitting in 2019 where he had his most successful season against LHP.  Hitting lefties is a hurdle he must clear to become an everyday major leaguer.  A quick bat with power to all fields, he has the raw makings of a power-hitting, base-stealing, cannon-armed, slick defensive player, but the Ks and lefty problems have to be solved.  If it comes together, I think a fantasy owner could enjoy a sneaky nice investment here.  With a new regime and a previously split opinion on him in the organization, there is lots of uncertainty.  When and how much playing time will be had is a question throughout this roster, but with proximity, offensive potential, and a license to work on things at the plate because of the defense, Tejeda is one of my favorite speculative adds in 2021 as he will be very cheap and there is enticing talent.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

8. 2B Justin Foscue

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

The first of a few surprising choices by the Rangers this June draft was taking the Mississippi St. All-American 14th overall (signed under slot).  Foscue has power from the right side without huge K concerns.  He does tend to be pull happy, so perhaps a more all field approach is in order to hit for average as a pro.  A nice-sized 6’0″, 205-pound frame, unremarkable arm, and average range, he is probably limited to 2B in the infield and may get pushed to COF/LF.  Foscue doesn’t project to offer much in way of stolen bases, but he isn’t slow.  The high side being a 2B option with some pop and a decent average.  Foscue will have a higher floor than a lot of players taken before him in FYPDs and is in an organization with an unsettled 2B future.  Foscue could be one of the better buys this FYPD season.

ETA: 2022-23

 

9. COF Bayron Lora

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

The Rangers’ most expensive 2019 J2 signing, the young Dominican is believed to have the most raw power of the class.  Conservatively listed at 6’3″, 190 pounds, Lora is probably athletic enough to handle COF.  Folklore of his exit velocities as a teenager exist, and he is considered a power to all fields prospect with a potential plus hit tool.  Termed an aggressive hitter, fantasy owners should proceed with the same caution as most young slugging profiles.  The bat will have to be elite and carry him to the bigs, and at only 18 years old, lots of patience will be needed before a potential fantasy payday, but the stories of power are enticing.  I don’t advise paying a price for him you can’t afford a total loss on.

ETA: 2024

 

10. CIF Sherten Apostel*

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: MLB

Initially signed out of Curacao in 2015 as a pitcher, Apostel has turned himself into a power-hitting CIF prospect.  Average at best as a fielder, he does possess a big arm.  I questioned his ability to play a big league 3B, but with the acquisition of Nate Lowe, perhaps he is in the mix for the 3B job?  In 20 MLB AB down the stretch in 2020, he went 2-for-20, striking out nine times.  Another promotion to the majors without any upper-level experience from the Rangers, Apostel may need more upper-level seasoning to start 2021.  He has a strong 6’4″, 235-pound frame capable of a lot of power, and he hit 19 HR in 418 AB in Single-A ball.  Apostel will have to prove the hit tool and plate discipline are there to be a real slugging threat at the highest level, as his bat will be his carrying tool, which is riskier a proposition for dynasty owners than most profiles.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

11. RHP Cole Winn

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

Selected 15th overall in 2018 out of HS (sandwiched between Logan Gilbert and Matthew Liberatore), he was the fourth prep arm selected.  Lauded for consistent improvement his senior year, a mid 90s FB, and a plus CRV, he won Baseball America’s High School POY.  Tommy John delayed his debut until 2019 where he threw 68.2 innings in the SAL.  Reports from 2019 claimed his velocity seemed back, the curve wasn’t as sharp as high school, the slider, which was always raw, was still that, but he had gained a better feel for a changeup.  A short pro career at this point, and lots of questions to be answered, Winn may be worth a cheap add in dynasty, as his owners may be fatigued and there isn’t any more or less risk here as most pitchers you’d take in a FYPD.  Expecting anything more than a back-end rotation type may be unwarranted, but Winn is young, talented with a pedigree, and in a young organization with opportunity in front of him.

ETA: 2022

 

12. OF Evan Carter

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: N/A

The Rangers surprised (again) in the 2020 draft when they chose Carter in the second round (50th overall) and making another under slot signing.  The prep OF (TN) was a relatively unknown prospect.  Young for his class, deprived of a senior season because of COVID (having grown physically during that time), not a lot of national exposure, Carter caught enough of their attention to pull the trigger early in a deep draft.  6’4″, 190 pounds, strong arm, above-average speed, a smooth left-handed stroke with loft and pop, the Rangers felt they got one under the radar at 50th.  Reports from instructs were Carter more than belonged, showing off all the skills they were after, more than eager to work.  Mature, smart (valedictorian), well-spoken, the former Duke commit may have a future as a five-tool player.  A mysterious prospect for dynasty owners, if the reports are true, Carter could be a great consolation for missing out on the other prep hitters with five-tool upside this FYPD season, like Zac Veen and Robert Hassell, and much cheaper.  Carter is as wild as a wild card investment may get, but I’m taking shares late whenever I can.

ETA: 2025

 

13. RP DeMarcus Evans*

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

Texas’ 2019 ML Reliever of the Year struck out 43% of the batters he faced between HiA and AA, primarily with a 2500+-spun four-seamer he throws up, in and out of the zone and over bats.  Evans is a strong 6’5″, 265-lb righty who could be well-suited for late innings if he can command and improve secondary offerings.  The former 25th round prep pitcher (MS) throws a slurvy breaking ball far from polished.  His four MLB IP in 2020 is a very small sample, but one representative of what he did in the minors; four-seamer 66% of the time, 22% of those times in the high chase zones where he gets a swing rate of 50% with the propensity to make a hitter look silly.  The breaking ball finds too much plate at times, but so far, hasn’t been hit very hard.  That could change as the level of competition improves.  Evans has a unique skill set and approach living on the edge, but a potential future closer could be had for dynasty owners at a very nice cost.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

14. RHP Kyle Cody*

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

What a wild ride to the bigs for Kyle Cody.  A northern prep player (Chippewa Falls, WI) who went to Kentucky, considered a first-round talent heading into junior year, lost his rotation spot, got it back, drafted second round by Twins, went back for senior season, ended up drafted in the sixth round, a nice 2017 between LoA and HiA, TJ after just five 2018 IP, MLB debut 8/21/20.  A long 6’7″ who can get on hitters quick with a four-seamer and sinker which both sit 94 but have been known to hit 97 pre-TJ.  Perhaps his best offering, a SLD with six inches of run, seams better than pre-TJ.  His 2020 CHG lacked both movement and velocity differential.  With essentially no looks for two seasons and then 22.2 MLB IP with 18 K, 13 BB, 1.59 ERA, and a 1.24 WHIP later, there isn’t a ton to go off of.  After a few relief appearances, Cody started five games in September, his best of which was a 5 IP, 5 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 1 ER win against LAA.  With a chance to bid for a rotation spot and having come out of nowhere later in the season, Cody could be a sneaky speculative add.  With no upper-level minor league experience and a potentially different repertoire post-TJ, Cody is a fantasy wild card I can’t imagine would cost an owner much.

ETA: 202o debut

 

15. RHP Hans Crouse

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A (SAL)

Crouse is one of the more entertaining pitching prospects to watch work.  A lot of arms and leg coming at the hitter and plenty of tactics to try and disrupt timing, including the Johnny Cueto shimmy (Crouse will tell you that is exactly what it is).  Drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft out of HS (CA) with a mid-90s FB, late-breaking SLD, and developing CHG, his early pro success brought top of the organization praise.  He gave up trying to pitch through a bone spur in 2019.  Healthy now, with a starter’s repertoire and 6’4″, 180-pound frame, 2021 could be his shot at a debut, especially given the Rangers’ past approach and young roster.  A dynasty share is a gamble he regains his FB command and late action slider which made him a former top prospect in the organization.

ETA: 2021

 

16. MIF Luisangel Acuña

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: R (DSL)

Ronald Acuña Jr.‘s younger brother got plenty of attention after an All-Star debut in the 2019 DSL, hitting .342 and looking like a good buy at 425K in 2018.  Luisangel has a smooth line-drive approach, good eye, and perhaps above average pop for a player his size.  Listed very generously at 5’10, 155 pounds, there is debate how much power could be had after his two-HR debut.  Defensively, he’s very raw.  He could stay up the middle, either MIF or CF.  A plus runner, but not a burner, it is hard to project if SBs will be a part of his game as he advances.  Luisangel is far from a finished product, and investing thinking you’re getting his brother part II is unwarranted, but a very nice career may be in store for the young Venezuelan if the hit tool proves itself along the way.  I am waiting for such proof before I pay what he’s currently going for.

ETA: 2024

 

17. UT Davis Wendzel

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

The co-Big 12 POY his junior season at Baylor was selected 41st overall in 2019.  Wendzel spent more time at 3B in college, but also played MIF and some OF.  The Rangers plan to give him looks at several spots, but his glove and arm grade out well for 3B.  He hit .326 with 24 HR during his three years in Waco.  Patient at the plate, there is debate over power from the right-handed hitter, with some thinking there could be more to have in his 6’0″, 205-pound frame, if he took a more pull approach.  His 2019 pro debut was just seven games across R/SS due to thumb injury.  A chance for an everyday role at 3B may rely on his ability to hit for more power, if it doesn’t happen, Wendzel could fit the role of a nice utility player.  If he starts to put up power numbers, he could become a desired asset for dynasty owners.

ETA: 2022

 

18. LHP Brock Burke*

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

The third-round prep (CO) selection from the 2014 draft made six MLB starts in 2019 after having a breakout 2018 season between HiA and AA, gaining top-100 buzz.  Those six 2019 starts; the first three were great, going six every time and only giving up three runs combined; the last three, not so great, giving up 19 R in 8.2 IP.  Expected to compete for a rotation spot in 2020, Burke had labrum surgery February 2020.  The lefty doesn’t have one outstanding offering, but relies on a 4FB/SNK/CHG/CRV package he tries to mix well. At 6’4″, 180 pounds, and with a track record of handling innings, Burke will get another crack at starting in the bigs (assuming health), but when is yet to be determined.  Given his profile and current status, he is only worth a roster spot in very large leagues, but he could be a useful free asset when he returns from injury.

ETA: 2019 debut

 

19. RHP Yerry Rodriguez*

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A (SAL)

An older signee from the Dominican in 2015, Rodriguez has always been a little older than his competition.  A couple of shortened seasons, one due to elbow and one for a banned substance suspension, development has been slowed.  An addition to the 40-man roster this November exuded the Rangers’ intent of keeping him in their plans.  Yerry’s best pitch is his high-spin fastball that can ride or sink.  In 2019 as a 21-year-old in LoA, he went 7-3 with a 2.08 ERA, striking out 85 and walking 21 in 73.2 IP, which was the most he’s thrown in any season.  His breaking ball flashes plus and a CHG has gotten better, so a possible starter’s arsenal and size (6’2″, 198 lb) are there, but reliever risk exists for dynasty owners if he cannot prove he can handle the load.  I imagine 2021 will be that test, and if RP is the future, I don’t think that kills all his fantasy value.

ETA: 2022

 

20. CF Julio Pablo Martinez

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: HiA (Car)

Signed in March of 2018 for 2.5M as an almost 22-year-old out of Cuba, the speedy prospect has had growing pains but adjusted to produce through every level.  In 2019, as a 23-year-old in HiA, he slashed .293/.362/.467 after a rough first half.  A real threat on the base bath, raw power exists in his 5’9″, 174-pound frame, but he has the reputation of getting long in his swing.  The power/speed combo profile exists for fantasy owners, but he needs to prove himself against higher levels/more age-appropriate competition and answer questions about the hit tool before they can get too excited.

ETA: 2022?

 

21. OF Steele Walker

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA (Car)

Traded last offseason from the White Sox for Nomar Mazara, the 2018 second round pick from Oklahoma is primed for some upper-level experience in 2021.  A strong 5’11”, 190 lb with average speed, it’s yet to be seen if he can handle CF.  Walker has a sound approach at the plate, doesn’t strikeout a lot, and with a lofted swing, taps into his average power.  Old for the levels he was playing, 2021 will give dynasty owners a clearer idea of how his profile plays amongst his peers, and if the hit tool is enough to carve out a push for an everyday role.

ETA: 2022

 

22. C David Garcia*

 

Age: 20-21

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

The top 2016 J2 C prospect from Venezuela impressed during a 2019 NWL All-Star season.  He added strength to his 5’10” frame and continued to make rapid gains defensively.  The strong-armed, switch-hitting, offensively capable Garcia is making a serious case for the Rangers catcher of the future.  Already on the 40-man roster, and with the propensity his organization has to move guys quickly, a debut may be sooner rather than later.  A quick line-drive stroke from both sides, added strength, and a budding hit tool, Garcia may be a desirable piece for dynasty owners wanting to invest at catcher.

ETA: 2022

 

23. OF Adolis Garcia*

 

Age: 27

Highest Level: MLB

Signed in 2017 from Cuba (via Japan) by the Cardinals and sold to Rangers in December 2019.  Garcia is a true power/speed threat with a cannon of an arm and very aggressive at the plate.  Toning down the strikeouts doesn’t seem to be on Garcia’s agenda.  The 6’1″, 180-pound right-handed hitter slashed .253/.301/.499 in the 2019 PCL with 32 HR and 96 RBI while striking out 159 times.  Having gotten a very brief appearance in 2020, and currently on the 40-man roster, he may get a chance to make the club this spring.  Dynasty owners on the prowl for some free power and speed may want to keep an eye on Garcia.

ETA: 2018 debut (StL)

 

24. RHP Mason Englert

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

The Rangers went heavy on prep arms during the 2018 draft, taking Englert (TX) when they took their third one in the fourth round.  6’4″, 205 pounds with a promising four-pitch mix including a mid-90s FB at the time, he could have gone to college and upped his draft stock more but he decided to go pro.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t debuted as a pro because of Tommy John.  Reports from 2020 fall instructs say he is healthy and has regained form.  Englert is mentioned in the same crowd as the rest of Texas’ healing young arms, so a dynasty owner may as well keep watch here as well.

ETA: 2024

 

25. IF/OF Keithron Moss

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R (AZL)

The 2017 signee out of the Bahamas improved immensely in 2019.  As a 17-year-old, his first time state-side he hit .308 and had a .425 OBP.  Listed at 5’11”, 165 pounds, and still growing, it is hard to see what the finished product might be here.  Raw as most defenders are at his age, he may not have the arm to play the left side of the infield, and his average speed may exclude him from CF.  He has a quick line drive swing from both sides of the plate.  If gains are made physically and this kind of plate production maintains as he advances, dynasty owners are going to want to pay attention.

ETA: 2024

 

26. 1B Curtis Terry

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: HiA (CAR)

The former 13th RD pick in 2015 won the Rangers’ Minor League POY award in 2019 after a .293/.328/.560, 25 HR, 80 RBI showing between LoA/HiA as a 22-year-old.  The 6’3″, 264-pound right-hand hitting first baseman generates top of the charts exit velocities, but may have a better than expected hit tool developing.  Terry has had to work to become a passable defensive 1B.  At 24 and yet to try his hand in the upper levels, dynasty owners will be hard-pressed to roster him, but there could be a potential path to 1B in Texas.  Terry is a slugging prospect to know, one the Rangers believe has made great gains and has the opportunity to become more than organizational depth.,

ETA: 2022/23

 

27. IF Jonathan Ornelas

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

A third-round pick in 2018 out of HS (AZ), Ornelas has more pop than his 6’1″, 178-pound frame suggests.  Slashing .270/.333/.373 across his first two pro seasons, his approach and once questionable swing has seemed to work fine for him.  3B or 2B may be better suited for him as he isn’t rangy enough for SS.  With some more physical development and refining at the plate, Ornelas could become a decent power threat that could hit for average as well.  He isn’t a burner, but may be able to chip in a few steals.  Dynasty owners might be hard-pressed to expect a payday here, but Ornelas is still developing and has some interesting potential.

ETA: 2022

 

28. SS Chris Seise

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

The Rangers selected the athletic 6’2″, 175-pound Seise in the first round (27th overall) of the 2017 draft out of HS (FL).  A true SS with range and a strong arm, injuries have slowed his development, but he does seem to have bounced back from shoulder and labrum problems.  Perhaps more power bat than hitter, not that his power has been displayed, but some think the makings of a power/speed threat is there.  He hasn’t hit a HR since rookie ball in 2017 but has stolen 12 bags in 72 pro games.  Some high praise was thrown his way this fall during instructs, gushes about his right-handed power, bat speed, sprint speed, arm, and glove work.  Dynasty owners may not want to forget Seise just yet.

ETA: 2022-23

 

29. OF Bubba Thompson

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: HiA (Car)

Drafted 26th overall out of HS (AL) in 2017, Thomspon was viewed more athlete over fine-tuned baseball player, and the refinement has been slow going.  Injuries (knees, hamate, ankle) have limited him to 647 AB across three seasons.  The plan was to mix the plus bat speed, plus-plus speed, and athleticism into a five-tool player, but the hit tool is not coming together; .249/.261/.312 as a pro with 204 Ks.  Bubba is a hard-working pro, and the Rangers are invested in his swing, so the story’s not over yet. However, a lot will have to go right for a dynasty owner to get that power/speed reward.

ETA: 2022

 

30. OF Pedro Gonzalez

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

Signed out of the Dominican in 2014 by the Rockies and traded for Jonathan Lucroy in 2017, Gonzalez has gotten taller and stronger, inducing a little slower development.  Listed at 6’5″, 175 pounds, he may even be a little taller now, definitely a little thicker.  Once considered an average runner, he now grades out with plus speed.  He also has a strong arm and is probably capable of playing anywhere in the OF.  There was speculation the bat speed and frame could lead to more power and that came to fruition as he settled into his new size, belting 45 HR his two LoA seasons.  Long-limbed and still unfinished at the plate, how much he’ll hit for average is a question.  If the bat continues to come as he moves up, dynasty owners are going to want to stay tuned.

ETA: 2022/2023

 

31. OF Zion Bannister

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R (AZL)

Signed during the 2019 J2 period out of the Bahamas (Zion did attend some high school in the states).  6’3″, 187 pounds, athletic, fast, strong with quick bat speed and a natural power stroke, Bannister has some exciting upside as a power/speed threat CF.  Still very raw at the plate, and considered a project, Bannister may be on par, or even ahead in terms of dynasty desirability, of a lot of the more touted 2020 signees, and has gotten buzz internally.  Dynasty owners can probably view him as an end of the minor roster dart throw in large leagues at this point, but definitely a name I will be watching.

ETA: 2024

 

32. C Randy Florentino

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

The left-handed hitting catcher was signed out of the Dominican in 2017.  At 5’11”, 180 pounds, the young backstop still needs to add some strength to handle the position, but he has made significant gains, looking like he will stick behind the plate.  Florentino had a great DSL debut with an OPS of 1.004.  Developing into a high contact, power threat from the left side, Florentino has a case for best young catching prospect in the system.  An offensive catcher could be an asset to a dynasty owner.  Probably still pretty far away, but a name worth keeping at the end of your watch lists.

ETA: 2025

 

33. LHP Joe Palumbo*

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

The 6’0″, 195-pound former 30th-round pick out of HS (NY) calling card is his 12-6 curveball.  Slowly but surely developing as a pro, his once mid-80s FB ticks up to mid-90s today and misses bats.  Called up in 2019 for four starts and a few relief appearances, he struggled to keep runs off the board (9.18 ERA) and the third offering, a lackluster CHG, may have been abandoned in 2020. With only a few IP logged, it’s uncertain.  With a bevy of young possibilities for the rotation in 2021, and a profile perhaps more suited as a lefty reliever (he does rack up Ks), Palumbo’s future as a starter looks questionable.  He will be vying for a spot on the 25-man roster this spring.

ETA: 2019 debut

 

34. LHP Taylor Hearn*

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

At an athletic 6’6″, 230 pounds and a big fastball touching 98, Hearn is a physical lefty presence on the mound.  His secondary offerings, a CHG and SLD are nowhere as effective as his fastball.  Hearn got to make his major league debut as a starter in 2019 but only lasted .1 IP before getting injured.  In 2020, Hearn made 14 relief appearances, 3.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 10.52 K/9, making it look like the bullpen may be his future or perhaps an opener role as his repertoire is not well suited for multiple turns through a lineup.  At this point, he’s a name to remember for dynasty owners looking for darkhorse late-inning stats.

ETA: 2019 debut

 

35. RHP AJ Alexy*

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: No pro debut

The Dodgers took the former prep pitcher (PA) in the 11th round, 2016.  A part of the Yu Darvish trade, Alexy has had steady progression through the lower levels.  6’4″, 195 pounds with two potential plus pitches, a high spin four-seamer sitting 97 and a 12-6 CRV, he may be a very effective bullpen arm, but does throw a CHG that flashes as well.  His future could go either way.  Added to the 40-man roster this November, he is in their future plans in some form.  Dynasty owners looking for some under-the-radar young pitching assets will want to pay attention to his spring.

ETA: 2022

 

36. RHP Alex Speas

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

Texas left Speas exposed to the Rule 5 draft this off-season, and he caught some buzz as a possible player taken highly in it, but no one bit.  Speas only has 71.2 pro IP under his belt as he needed Tommy John in 2018.  Returning in 2019, Speas’ once mid-90s FB jumped up to 100+ and the Rangers shut him down out of fear he was pressing too hard.  Summer of 2020, the velocity remained and reports are it seemed effortless.  An athletic 6’4″, 185 lbs, a bullpen role is probably the future, where he can let the heat fly.  When drafted in the second round in 2016, he was considered a project arm, banking on athleticism and the velocity to take big league form.  It may have happened, but with so little pro experience it’s hard to say.  Dynasty owners in the market for an electric bullpen piece may want to stay tuned to see if one comes to fruition in Speas.

ETA: 2022

 

37. CF Marcus Smith

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R (AZL)

Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft out of HS (MO) by the A’s, Smith showed well as an 18-year-old in the AZL, hitting .361 and getting on base at a .466 clip.  Acquired in the Mike Minor trade, Smith will make his debut in the Rangers system 2021.  5’11”, 190 pounds, considered very athletic, fast, strong, his left-handed stroke is still a raw groundball heavy approach, 1.5 GB/FB rate.  Young and a glove that will play, Smith will get his chance to find himself at the plate where raw skills exist to be successful as a possible top of the lineup speed threat.  Perhaps only roster-able in the deepest of leagues at this point, he’s worth watching.

ETA: 2023

 

38. RHP Ronny Henriquez

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

A small pitcher at 5’10”, 155 pounds, signed in 2017 out of the Dominican, the DSL as an 18-year-old was no match for him.  An easy FB that can get to high-90s with life, a highly spun SLD, and a developing CHG clicked to a tune of a 1.55 ERA 12.26 K/9.  Trying his hand in LoA as a 19-year-old,  he was less dominant, but also showed he could handle it.  He will have to get stronger to prove he can handle starting, and a move to the pen is a real possibility given his size and profile.  The combination of his electric arm and holding his own against older players bears watching from dynasty owners.

ETA: 2022-23

 

39. OF Yeison Morrobel (Yet to sign)

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Expected to be the Rangers’ top international signing this winter for an estimated 1.5-2M, he is listed at 6’1″, 170 pounds.  The young Dominican lefty has a quick left-handed stroke with plenty of room to grow into his body.  Maybe more projectability as a COF as the ceiling of his range n speed is hard to determine at this point.  Given the nature of this year’s international signing period and lack of rookie ball, most investments by dynasty owners in international signings will be nothing more than a shot in the dark, but a signing of this dollar amount assumes the Rangers covet something worthy of it.

ETA: 2025-26

 

40. RHP Tyler Phillips*

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA (TL)

The 6’5″, 195- pound Phillips was drafted in the 16th round 2015 as a prep (NJ).  In 2018, Phillips put up impressive numbers and started looking like a viable pitching prospect dominating LoA and HiA going 12-5, with a 2.64 ERA, 1.015 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, logging 133 IP.  Promoted to AA in 2019, he met some growing pains, but got praise these last instructs and was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.  His low 90s FB plays well because he commands well and sets up hitters with a plus CHG with late movement.  His future as a potential big league starter depends on the development of a third pitch and if he can command effectively enough to overcome lesser stuff.  He ditched a CRV for a SLD.  Sure to get a look this spring, deep-league owners may be interested in this potential under the radar future starter who may get a big league chance in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

41. 2B Jose Acosta

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R (AZL)

Signed in 2017 out of the Dominican by the Reds, and acquired this offseason by the Rangers, Acosta lit up the DSL in 2019 .403/503/.611 in 43 games. He walked nearly as much as he struck out, posted an ISO of .403, and made lots of contact just like another young Ranger prospect in the DSL who gets a lot more fanfare.  Acosta made a quick 10-game appearance in the AZL as well where he continued to hit, which can often be a struggle during first stateside appearances, finishing with a 139 wRC+. Rookie ball numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, and there is concern he will have swing and miss issues, like most at his level.  Acosta may be limited defensively, but he does have some speed and perhaps some more pop as he fills out his 5’10”, 170-pound frame.  Acosta doesn’t need to be any kind of priority for dynasty owners but is a name to know.

ETA: 2025

 

42. LHP Jake Latz

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: HiA (Car)

The Rangers’ 2017 fifth round pick out of Kent St. (via LSU) had a nice, albeit small showing in 2019 at HiA only giving up 10 R in 51 IP, 0.980 WHIP, including a stretch where he raddled off five straight wins.  Mid-90s FB with SLD/CHG/CRV secondaries flashing potential.  At 6’2″, 195 pounds, he has a starter’s build.  Will need to test himself against higher competition before dynasty owners take too much notice.

ETA: 2022

 

43. RHP Owen White

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

White was one of the top prep arms (NC) in the 2018 draft, but after taking it slow with him, bypassing pro ball his draft year, he tore his UCL spring of 2019.  Now at a strong 6’4″, 203 pounds, healthy and throwing at instructs, his FB sitting mid-90s and the slider regaining form, White is set to make his pro debut in 2021.  The former second-round pick still has a chance to grow into the frontline starter with the 3+ pitch arsenal that got many excited pre-draft, but his development is behind at this point.  Dynasty owners may find it worthwhile to keep an eye on the athletic White’s 2021.

ETA: 2023-24

 

44. UT Eli White*

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

An 11th-round pick out of Clemson by the A’s in 2016, White is athletic, fast and versatile, capable of playing all over the field.  Wiry at 6’2″, 175 pounds, the knock was he wouldn’t offer much in way of power.  White has steadily made gains in the power department as he has jumped up levels.  In 2019, he hit 14 HRs in the PCL, albeit in a league conducive to HRs.  For a hit over power profile, White has been a streaky hitter.  With such a profile, he may be best suited for a utility role at the big league level.  In 2020 he debuted, appearing in 19 games going 9-for-48 at the plate and playing all three OF spots.  White will compete for a 25-man bench spot in 2021.

ETA: 2020 debut

 

45. OF Migual Aparicio

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: LoA (SAL)

A 2015 J2 signing from Venezuela has been challenged to play against older competition from the get-go.  There aren’t any wowing athletic traits, but he’s an instinctual ball-player with a short contact-oriented swing.  Currently, around 6’0″, 195 pounds, 2019 glimpsed offensive potential.  Slashing .251/.297/.431 with 12 HR in 112 games as a 20-year-old in the SAL.  Perhaps nothing more than fourth-OF upside, he may be worth watching as a promotion to high levels is rumored to be coming.

ETA: 2023

 

46. MIF Jayce Easley

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

The son of a former big leaguer (Damion Easley) bypassed his commitment to Oregon St and signed after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.  A decorated prep player (AZ), he hit .287 in the AZL as an 18-year-old, but then played only four NWL games in 2019 because of injury.  A speedy switch hitter who has the glove and arm to potentially stick at SS, at 5’10”, 150 pounds, and a line-drive approach there may not be much power to be had.  There is more development needed before a dynasty owner feels good about investing.

ETA: 2023/24

 

47. LHP Cole Ragans

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

Ragans was selected 30th overall during the 2016 draft.  The 6’4″, 190-pound prep prospect out of Florida hasn’t pitched since an impressive 2017 SS because of two Tommy John surgeries.  Pre-injury, Ragan had the arsenal of a high spin FB, a diving CHG he controlled well, and a CRV that was progressing rapidly.  Ragans did participate in instructs this fall but was left off the 40-man roster and exposed to the Rule 5 draft, but went unselected as he is most likely far from major league ready.

ETA: 2022/23

 

48. RHP Jose Corniell

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Signed by the Mariners in 2019 out of the DR, Corniell was traded to the Rangers this offseason.  Listed 6’3″, 165 pounds, Corniell has probably gotten a little bigger.  Lauded for good control and an advanced approach for his age, he has some power to his game as well.  A mid-90s FB/CRV/CHG arsenal that shows promise, and I tend to pay a little more attention to prospects traded for as they can often get a little longer leash by the organization.  Yet to debut as a pro, there is a lot of unknown.  I don’t typically put much stock into J2 pitchers, but Corniell is one I will be keeping an eye on as he starts his pro career.

ETA: 2025+

 

49. 1B Blaine Crim

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

Rangers selected Crim in the 19th round of the 2019 draft out of Div II Mississippi College.  He went .335/.398/.528 with 8 HR in 212 NWL AB during his pro debut and was MVP of the NWL ALL-Star game.  At 5’11”, 200 pounds, he isn’t the prototypical sized slugger.  A strong lower half and a quick swing supply the pop and he was lauded by his manager as being a smart hitter. Crim will have to prove the bat is worthy of any promotions to come.

ETA: 2024

 

50. RHP Ricky Vanasco

Age: 22

Highest Level: LoA (Sal)

Drafted in the 15th round of the 2017 draft as a prep out of Florida, Vanasco was considered a project arm and not much has changed, other than a new UCL and some pro experience.  Vanasco’s best asset is a lively FB that can hit upper 90s, but control is an issue and his secondaries are a work in progress.  Due to TJ surgery, 2020, and development track, Vanasco has barely thrown over 80 pro IP.  He has a potential starter’s frame, having gotten bigger than his listed 6’3″, 180 pounds, but the skill may not follow.  Vanasco may be best suited in a bullpen role where his fastball can play up.  He sneaks into my list because of the fastball, but he is most likely nothing more than a name to know for dynasty owners.

ETA: 2025

 

51. RHP Justin Slaten

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: SS (NWL)

Rangers took New Mexico’s ace in the 3rd RD of the 2019 draft.  6’4″, 197 pounds, a four-pitch FB/SLD/CRV/CHG offering in college he may become a two-pitch FB/SLD pro.  His fastball can hit 96 and the slider shows some promise, but the other offerings are lacking.  He got 16 IP during his debut 2019 season.  He will most likely have to develop a third offering if his pro future is starting.

ETA: 2022-23

 

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Nate Handy

Nate enjoys picking up the prospect scraps, turning over rocks to share what muddy treats he can find. Residing high up the Rocky Mountains with his wife and children, trying to stay cool, getting a broader view. A fan of the underappreciated, overlooked and disregarded. A true mud person trying to make informed mistakes.

Account / Login
>