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MLB Texas Rangers

5 Texas Rangers Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training

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Texas Rangers Prospects 2014

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The farm system is the long-term strength of any baseball team, and the Texas Rangers have one of the best farm systems in the game. The Rangers may not have a wunderkind like Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, but there is no shortage of guys who can step up and contribute in a very big way.

Top prospects are much more than roster-fillers and bench-warmers. The Rangers have a number of starters – Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez to name a few – who were prospects just a few years ago. Many of these guys are All-Star-caliber performers. Very often, a prospect comes up with a low salary and long-term contract. Translation: they are young and cheap and likely to stay that way for a while.

If a top prospect is not in the team’s plans, either because there is already an established player at the position or because the player is just not a good fit for the team, he can fetch a handsome price on the trade market. Some prospects are more developmental. Given time, these kids can become solid contributors to a championship-caliber team, either as starters or backups.

Scouting reports only tell so much, and predicting a player’s ability is more art than science. A major league team has two opportunities to see a number of prospects up close: spring training and, especially if the team is not in contention, the September roster expansion. There are a number of prospects in Surprise for Spring Training 2014, but there are several who are especially worth watching.

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5. Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson
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The Rangers selected Wilson in last year's Rule 5 draft, and although he is not in the team's short-term plans, Wilson will be in Surprise and is always worth watching.

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4. Rougned Odor

Rougned Odor
USA TODAY SPORTS-Kelly L. Cox

Second baseman Rougned Odor's time has not yet come - he is expected to start the year in Class AA Frisco - but when he is fully developed, scouts predict that he could be one of the best.

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3. Michael Choice

Michael Choice
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Mike Choice came over from Oakland in December and could challenge Alex Rios for the right-field spot.

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2. Luis Sardinas

Luis Sardinas
USA TODAY SPORTS-Kelly L. Cox

Some say Luis Sardinas is the next Elvis Andrus.

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1. Kensuke Tanaka

Kensuke Tanaka
USA TODAY SPORTS-Kyle Tejada

Although some fans may rather have seen another Tanaka in a Rangers' uniform, the San Francisco Giants may have given up on Kensuke Tanaka a bit too early.