Top 10 Prospects (2018): Texas Rangers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Rangers have two potentially impact prospects, one of which could rise into the “A-” grade range, though there are questions hovering over both of them.  After we get past those two, though?  There’s talent, but is it truly “impact” talent?  Unfortunately not necessarily, though there are a few intriguing arms.  Let’s take a look at the names you need to know:

 

1) Leody Taveras – Outfielder
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

His numbers from last season won’t blow you away, having hit .249 with 8 HR and 20 SB over 522 AB at Single-A.  Remember that he played the year as an 18-year old (he turned 19 in September) and it’s easy to put the numbers into perspective.  As it is, considering his age the plate discipline is impressive:

  • Strikeout Rate – 15.9%
  • Walk Rate – 8.1%
  • SwStr% – 9.0%

You couple the approach with future power (he should mature and develop) and impact speed and the switch-hitter has the upside of an across the board performer.  Let others look at the numbers and lose some hope, but he remains among the best prospects in the game.  Taveras will likely open the year at High-A, and a rebound season should be in the cards.  Don’t be surprised to see him as an “A-“ grade by year’s end.

 

2) Willie Calhoun – Second Baseman/Outfielder
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

Listed at 5’8” it would be easy to write off Calhoun’s power, though over the past two years he’s consistently proven it’s for real:

  • 2016 (Double-A) – 27 HR
  • 2017 (Triple-A) – 31 HR

He’s paired the power with an ability to make consistent contact, with a 7.1% SwStr% in ’17 (11.4% strikeout rate), helping to support the .300 average he posted last season.  There are going to be concerns that he becomes a little bit too home run centric, with a 45.0% fly ball rate last season, and without speed that could lead to a suppressed BABIP (and in turn at least some issues with his average).  The ability to make contact is going to help, but would a .260-.270 average surprise anyone?  It’s something to keep in mind, but it’s not a significant red flag.

 

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3) Cole Ragans – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

A first round pick in 2016, the southpaw appears to be projectable as he’s currently listed at 6’4” and 190 lbs.  In 57.1 innings at Low-A last season he showed impressive strikeout stuff, with a 13.66 K/9 courtesy of an 18.0% SwStr%.  The problem is, for now, that’s the only skill that he’s shown:

  • Walks – 5.49 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 40.0%

With time and development he has the potential to figure it out, but patience is going to be the key.  If he doesn’t find his control there will be the potential for him to slide to the bullpen, where he could arrive in 2019 and become a late inning weapon.  That’ll be a last resort and the Rangers should continue to develop him as a starter.

 

4) Ronald Guzman – First Baseman
Grade – B-
ETA – 2018

Guzman is supposed to bring power to the table, though he’s yet to show it (12 HR in 470 AB at Triple-A last season).  He was able to post a 16.1% strikeout rate last season, but his 10.7% SwStr% and history (19.7% strikeout rate at Double-A in ’16) tell a little bit of a different story.  It’s easy to envision the strikeouts rising, and if the power doesn’t start to translate the results will be disastrous.  The upside remains, but entering the year as a 23-year old the time is now to start living up to the hype before the value completely disappears.

 

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5) Kyle Cody – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B-
ETA – 2019

Cody split time between Single-A and High-A in ’17, showing enough of the three skills we look for from a pitcher:

  • Strikeouts – 9.71 K/9
  • Control – 3.07 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 46.1%

He did play the year as a 22-year old, so it would be easy to argue that he was old for the levels and took advantage of it.  He does have impressive size, standing 6’7”, and the fact that he’s already shown solid control is promising.  Still the pure stuff isn’t as high as Cole Ragans, which is why he finds himself lower on the rankings.

 

The Next Five:

6) Yohander Mendez – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
7) Bubba Thompson – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
8) Hans Crouse – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
Note – A second round selection in 2017, while the Rangers are currently using him as a starter many feel he ultimately profiles best as a reliever due to his delivery.  It’s something to watch closely, and it downgrades his spot on the rankings for now.
9) Chris Seise – Shortstop (Grade – C+)
10) Yaino Perez – First Baseman/Outfielder (Grade – C)

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

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