Texas Rangers: Top 10 Prospects For 2013
After back-to-back American League pennants, the Texas Rangers saw an early exit from the AL playoffs last October. This season, the club will have a different look without outfielder Josh Hamilton and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, but optimism is high in Texas because of an array of promising prospects, including 19-year-old shortstop Jurickson Profar, 24-year-old corner infielder Mike Olt, and 24-year-old Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin.
The Rangers have resisted trading 24-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus to make room for Profar, who made his Major League debut late last season. With Adrian Beltre entrenched at third base was thought the team might move second baseman Ian Kinsler to another position or trade him, but that has not happened.
Texas has also rejected offers for the power-hitting Olt, instead dealing longtime Rangers infielder Michael Young to Philadelphia earlier in the offseason.
Here are the top 10 prospects in the Rangers farm system:
1) Ranked No. 1 on the Baseball News Source Top 10 Prospects List for 2013, Jurickson Profar saw 17 at-bats with the Rangers after he was summoned from Double-A Frisco, where he hit .281 with a .820 OPS, 14 home runs 62 RBI and 16 stolen bases. A plus defensive shortstop, Profar can also play second base and third base.
2) A supplemental first rounder (49th overall) in 2010 out of the University of Connecticut, Mike Olt is a run-producing bat who hits for average and power. He batted .288 with 28 home runs, 82 RBI and a .977 OPS at Frisco last season before making his Major League debut (33 at-bats, .152 average)
3) A plus defensive outfielder with power, Leonys Martin can play all three outfield spots. He hit .359 with 12 home runs, 42 RBI and a 1.033 OPS in 260 plate appearances at Triple-A Round Rock in 2012. Martin hit .174 in 52 plate appearances with the Rangers last season.
4) Over three minor league seasons, 20-year-old right-hander Cody Buckel has averaged 10.5 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings. A second round pick out of high school in 2010, Buckel throws strikes and has strong command of four pitches.
5) Martin Perez, a 21-year-old left-hander out of Venezuela, sometimes struggles with command as his 5.45 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 12 games (including six starts) in 2012 with the Rangers suggest. With a plus fast ball, curve ball and change-up, Perez has upside, even though he has a marginal 4.23 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over five minor league seasons.
6) A fifth round pick out of the University of Georgia in 2010, 24-year-old Justin Grimm logged a 2.81 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP between Frisco and Round Rock last season before making five appearances for the Rangers.
7) With a mid-90s fast ball, Luke Jackson has frontline starter potential if he develops his curve ball and change-up. The 21-year-old right-hander has averaged 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings over his first two minor league seasons.
8) The Rangers signed Luis Sardinas as an international free agent the same time they inked Profar. The 19-year-old Cardenas is a switch-hitter with power potential, and he also has plus speed, stealing 32 bases in the lowA South Atlantic League last season. With Andrus, Profar and Cardenas, the Rangers have depth at a key position.
9) At 18, Rougned Odor was tested with an assignment in the South Atlantic League. The Venezuelan second baseman posted respectable numbers, hitting .259 with 10 home runs, 47 RBI and 19 stolen bases. A solid defensive second baseman, the left-handed hitting Odor has an advanced approach at the plate and in the field.
10) A supplemental first rounder (39th overall) out of high school last summer, 19-year-old Joey Gallo is a left-handed hitter with raw power. The corner infielder is patient at the plate but also is prone to striking out. He blasted 18 home runs in 150 at-bats in the Arizona League last year before belting four home runs in 56 at-bats in the Northwest League.