Updated Top 10 Prospects (2016): Texas Rangers: Where Does Patrick Kivlehan Fit?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you trade a significant amount of talent at the deadline you would think that we’d find a barren system.  OF Nick Williams and C Jorge Alfaro were the main pieces shipped out, but they weren’t alone in the package sent to Philadelphia to bring in Cole Hamels.  While there are questions, there are still significant pieces left behind.  Who is the best of the group?  Let’s take a look:

1) Lewis Brinson – Outfielder
ETA – 2016
Grade – A-

Could his emergence have made it easier for the team to include Williams in the Hamels trade?  He’s not the flashiest name in the system, but he’s taken steps in the right direction and could offer the most overall upside.  Brinson reached Triple-A last season, hitting .332 with 20 HR and 18 SB in 398 AB across three levels.  The big development was in his strikeout rate, which was 21.59% overall, as it took a significant step forward after posting a 25.1% mark at High-A in ’14:

  • High-A (258 AB) – 21.5%
  • Double-A (110 AB) – 23.3%
  • Triple-A (30 AB) – 16.2%

He clearly has a good command of the strike zone (with a 9.69% walk rate in ’15), and also could see his power continue to grow (he added 31 doubles and 8 triples).  He may not be a .300 hitter (.393 BABIP), but the 2012 first round pick has the makings of a .280ish hitter with 20/20 upside.  In other words, there’s a ton to like overall.

2) Nomar Mazara – Outfielder
ETA – 2016
Grade – A-

You could easily argue that this is a 1 and 1A situation, as both Mazara and Brinson bring significant upside and appeal to the future of the Rangers outfield.  Mazara spent the bulk of 2015 at Double-A (409 AB), hitting .284 with 13 HR.  Like Brinson he too showed an improved approach at the plate (19.6% strikeout rate) and has power, though he doesn’t have the speed potential.  There are also questions regarding his ability to hit southpaws, though he improved in that regard as well:

  • Single-A (2014, 112 AB) – .214/.279/.330
  • Double-A (2015, 77 AB) – .260/.359/.429

He’s big (6’4”) and the power should continue to grow.  If he continues his improvements at the plate in regards to the strikeouts and hitting left-handed pitching he could easily become the top prospect in the system.

3) Joey Gallo – Outfielder/Third Baseman
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – B+

Most are going to have him ranked in the top spot of the system and, given the immense power, it makes sense.  However the absurd strikeout rates at every level, not just in the minors, is ultimately going to limit his value:

  • Double-A (121 AB) – 33.6%
  • Triple-A (200 AB) – 39.5%
  • Majors (108 AB) – 46.3%

Of course he’s the same player who hit 42 HR in ’14 and had 29 last season, including 6 in the Majors, so there is no question just what he brings to the table.  However he profiles more like Adam Dunn at this point, and there could be even more strikeout to his game.

4) Luis Ortiz – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+

The 30th overall pick in 2014, Ortiz flashed just how good he is over 50.0 IP at Single-A last season posting an 1.80 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.  He showed strikeout stuff (8.28 K/9) and impeccable control (1.62 BB/9), though we’d love to see him increase his groundball rate a touch (0.96 GO/AO).  He may not have the overall upside of Dillon Tate, but he also doesn’t have the same questions.  At 6’3” and 230 lbs. he has the size and also brings the stuff, now it’s simply a matter of him building up innings.

5) Dillon Tate – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+

The fourth overall selection in 2015, Tate had been working out of the UC-Santa Barbara bullpen (he was the closer) before transitioning to the rotation for his final season.  He brings three pitches to the table, which could lead to him sticking as a starter, though he needs to prove that he can ultimately hold up to the workload (especially when he’s listed at 6’2” and 165 lbs.).  There’s significant upside, but far too many questions at this young stage of his career.

The Next Five:
6) Michael Matuella – Right-Handed Pitcher
7) Ryan Cordell – Outfielder/Shortstop/Third Baseman
Note: Hitting 18 HR with 20 SB across High-A and Double-A is going to grab our attention, but seeing his strikeout rate jump to 30.2% upon reaching Double-A is a significant red flag.  Time will tell if it’s simply an adjustment period or if it is indicative of things to come.
8) Patrick Kivlehan – First Baseman/Third Baseman/Outfielder
9) Yohander Mendez – Left-Handed Pitcher
10) Eric Jenkins – Outfielder

Keep an Eye On:
Ariel Jurado – Right-Handed Pitcher
Note: He put himself on the map last season by posting an 8.64 K/9, 1.09 BB/9 and 3.13 GO/AO over 99.0 IP at Single-A.  Not a hard thrower, if he can continue to prove capable of generating swings and misses his value is going to quickly climb.  Consider him the potential breakout prospect in the system, though this ranking is definitely aggressive.

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs

Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 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

One comment

  1. chris says:

    Jairo Beras is also a name I would watch in Dynasty Leagues.

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