Top 10 Prospects in the Texas Rangers’ Farm System
Top 10 Prospects in the Texas Rangers' Farm System
The Texas Rangers are arguably the most exciting team in baseball. Steady second baseman Ian Kinsler provides sparks at the most unexpected times, savvy third baseman Adrian Beltre always seems to be in the right place at the right time, streaky outfielder Nelson Cruz can change the course of a game or series at any given moment, left-handed goofball pitcher Derek Holland provides comedy with his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations and polarizing slugger Josh Hamilton splits the fan base with his daily mood swings. The only question that remains is: Who will be the next household name to dominate the Ballpark in Arlington?
We've got a few guys who might fit the bill. They range from age 16 to 24 and these 10 youngsters are sure to bring lots of excitement to Rangers fans in the years to come. With that large of an age range, that time frame might be too far in the distant future for causal fans to see, but the die-hards are anxious to know who will be the foundation of the franchise after the current core group of players has moved on.
Naturally, this list contains everything from freakishly athletic young Venezuelans to tough, gritty, good-ol-boy-type players from the mountainous areas of the United States. That's what makes the world go round, right? Or as Rangers manager Ron Washington says, "That's the way baseball go," and that's not a typo.
So let's get right to it. Here are the 10 top prospects in the Rangers' farm system and everything you need to know about them.
10. OF Lewis Brinson
There's always excitement regarding athletes who are extremely athletic or play with what is often referred to as a "high motor," but rarely is there a player with both of these coveted traits. At 6'3" and 170 lbs. with incredible speed and aggressiveness, Lewis Brinson is the exception. The 18-year-old has incredible range in center field, but also possesses the wherewithal and arm strength to play in either right or left field.
9. 3B Joey Gallo
At 6'5" and 205 lbs., Joey Gallo is the ideal baseball prospect. He bats left and throws right, but his power at the plate is incredible. In fact, he set the Arizona League home run record with 18 in 150 at-bats through 43 games, earning Player of the Year honors.
Gallo was recruited as both a pitcher and infielder, which speaks volumes about his arm strength. With a little polishing on his corner defense, Gallo could be a very hot name in the Rangers' organization as early as 2014.
8. RHP Cody Buckel
At 6'1" and 170 lbs., Cody Buckel is undersized for a right-handed major league pitcher, but he shows incredible toughness and grit on the mound. His fastball is typically in the low 90s, but he's been clocked as high as 95 mph, which is a good sign considering he relies on the heater as the primary force of his arsenal.
Buckel recorded went 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA with High-A Myrtle Beach in 2012 and then 5-5 with a 3.78 ERA in Double-A play with the Frisco Roughriders. His super aggressive nature leads scouts to believe his major league debut could be pushed up as early as 2014.
7. LHP Martin Perez
At just 21 years old, Martin Perez has a bright future, but he'll need to become a more consistent left-handed pitcher to make a mark in the big leagues. Perez's fastball, changeup and curve can all be incredible at times, but he frequently struggles with his command, which has kept his stock from skyrocketing.
At Triple-A Round Rock, Perez went 7-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 2012, but just 1-4 in a brief majors appearance with a 5.45 ERA. He'll likely see plenty of big-league action in 2012 due to his potential, but he'll need to tighten the bolts of his game to remain there.
6. RHP Justin Grimm
When it comes to velocity, there are no questions about Justin Grimm. The fifth-round pick out of Georgia regularly hits 95 mph with his fastball and has a whip to his curveball that's not hittable when he's on. Despite being the most complete pitching prospect in the Rangers' farm system, Grimm still needs some polish to his game, which lacks command at times.
The upside to Grimm is he's often able to overcome the raw parts of his game with his athleticism, which can be a really good thing if he can learn to fix those areas through mechanics. However, it could be a bad thing if he begins to lean harder on this athleticism. His major-league debut was a gem, but his second outing was forgetful at best. Expect to see plenty of Grimm in Arlington in 2013.
5. OF Jairo Beras
At just 16 years old, Jairo Beras is already causing problems by providing a false birth date and thus won't be able to play in any Rangers farm system games until 2013. However, Texas doesn't seem to mind as Beras was eagerly brought into the Rangers' academy in the Dominican Republic.
At 6'5" and 178 lbs., Beras has the size to become an incredible physical specimen with some training and time to finish growing. He's incredibly fast and strong and those assets are only expected to even further improve as he gets older. Beras' raw talent has the Rangers drooling over what he could become in time. By 2017, he could be the next Mike Trout.
4. Jorge Alfaro
Another very exciting prospect in the Rangers' farm system is 19-year-old catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is already drawing serious comparisons to Ivan Rodriguez. Alfaro is extremely agile and aggressive behind the plate at 6'2" and 185 lbs., which makes him a prototype catcher prospect.
Alfaro's bat is extremely quick and a little undisciplined, but with some coaching at the major league level, he could be an All-Star very early in his big league career. As an 18-year-old in the Northwest League in 2011, Alfaro hit .300 with an .826 OPS. His numbers remained strong the following year in the South Atlantic League at .272 and .750. There's no "if" with Alfaro; he's the next big thing.
3. Luis Sardinas
At age 19, Luis Sardinas' strong development has been overshadowed by the No. 2 prospect on this list and the fact the Veneazuelan has battled through injuries every year since 2009 hasn't helped. However, Sardinas is an extremely solid hitter who can make contact in any part of the strike zone. He's only 6'1" and 150 lbs., so some training could turn Sardinas into a power hitter after he has more time to develop. A .291 batting average and 30 RBI in the South Atlantic League this season definitely doesn't hurt his stock.
2. SS Jurickson Profar
A lot of Rangers fans and baseball fans in general are wrinkling their noses right now, but as talented as Jurickson Profar is, he's still the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers' farm system. There's no knock against him whatsoever, but there is one prospect who's simply a tad bit better.
Profar is extremely athletic with a ton of polished talent across the board. He's as quick as any major league shortstop and that ability will only continue to improve as he makes his way into the Rangers' lineup.
A 19-year-old switch hitter, Profar has excellent bat speed and above-average power for a 165-pounder at just six feet tall. His first major league at-bat was a bomb if there ever was one which capped his .281 batting average, 14 home runs and 62 RBI at Double-A Frisco. Widely proclaimed as the top baseball prospect, Profar will be a surefire All-Star for the Rangers for a long time to come.
1. 3B Mike Olt
He may be the oldest of these soon-to-be stars, but Mike Olt is also the best prospect in the Rangers' farm system. Although literally everyone has Profar ahead of him as far as top prospects go, Olt is the surest thing in the Texas organization.
At 6'2" and 210 lbs., Olt's incredible raw power is the just beginning of his polished game. As a top prospect, he has literally no flaw.
Olt is dynamic at the plate, driving the ball with undeniable power and efficiency. He learns on the fly better than any other prospect and never allows an opposing pitcher to make a mistake. Olt was called up to the majors directly from Double-A Frisco in August and dazzled in his big league debut both at the plate and on the diamond.
The best part of Olt's defensive game is he's incredibly versatile. He's listed as a third baseman, but the Rangers have already used him at first and in right field as well. The result? More drooling by the Texas brass.
Olt is unusually quick for his size and is very aggressive with a confident first step and the natural instincts of a six-year major league veteran. He makes plays fluidly and efficiently, which makes him the top prospect. Exciting players are great, but talented, consistent ones are even better. To top it off, Olt has an unusual calmness and confidence in clutch situations, which might be enough to finally get the Rangers over the hump in November.