With the Minor League Baseball season being canceled for 2020, the Texas Rangers’ draft picks were unable to make their competitive bows for their respective teams. However, the return of Minor League Baseball in 2021 has allowed for their picks to make their competitive debuts and each has had contrasting parts to play in the season so far. As a refresher of the 2020 MLB Draft that took place back in June 2020, the Texas Rangers picked Justin Foscue, Evan Carter, Tekoah Roby, Dylan MacLean, and Thomas Saggese. Let’s take a look and see how they have begun their competitive Rangers’ careers.
Justin Foscue, 2B (Hickory Crawdads, High-A)
A regular starter for the Crawdads at 2B, Foscue has struggled in his early pro ball career. Averaging .182 at the time of writing, Foscue has yet to hit the heights that saw him picked as 14th Overall in 2020. He has managed to show some of his power with 2 home runs and 8 RBI, but will be hoping for some improvements as we head into June. As a whole, the Crawdads have started slowly, despite picking up a couple of wins on the bounce towards the end of the month.
The opening round pick for the Rangers will certainly have plenty of pressure on him to produce due to the faith the Rangers have shown in him, but he has the tools to develop quickly, and will no doubt come into his own with more game exposure and more plate appearances against better pitchers. He possesses a projectable power tool, whilst being able to make regular contact. Defensively he can make big plays and could become an integral part of the system if he can make everything click. His aggression, alongside his strength and bat speed, should see him become a consistent hitter with the ability to hit 15-20 home runs a season. If that projection can be matched, he could be in the Majors come 2023.
‘DADS TAKE THE LEAD!! 2020 first rounder Justin Foscue puts the Crawdads ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the 5th! pic.twitter.com/NU9qmaH5Sc
— Hickory Crawdads (@HickoryCrawdads) May 12, 2021
Evan Carter, OF (Down East Wood Ducks, Low-A)
One of the surprise packages of the 2020 Draft, Carter has fitted in well at the Wood Ducks so far. Averaging .231 at the time of writing, he has a sole home run, plus showing his speed between the bases with 8 stolen bases. Usually leading off for the Wood Ducks, he has started predominantly at CF but has taken on the role of designated hitter a couple of times as well. The Wood Ducks have had a solid start to the 2021 season, and Carter has been a key part of that with his consistency at getting on base, whilst producing problems for the pitching teams with his base-running.
Carter’s tall, lean frame saw him come out of the 2020 Draft as one of the most exciting and projectable prospects. Although he is yet to turn 19, he has the make-up to have at least average grades in all 5 of his tools. A nice blend between contact and power, he could end up having a consistent average, whilst hitting double-digit home runs, in his progression to the Majors around 2023/24. The speed between the bases has been showcased, he just needs to start reducing his strikeout rate and focus on making contact with the ball more in his early pro ball career.
WATCH: 🔔🔔🔔DINGER TIME🔔🔔🔔We didn’t have to wait long for fireworks at the @ChasRiverDogs game tonight. @GoWoodDucks 18-year old Evan Carter hit his 1st professional HR on the 1st pitch of the game tonight @Live5News pic.twitter.com/Bj30aXCo5O
— Kevin Bilodeau (@KevinLive5) May 19, 2021
Tekoah Roby, RHP (Down East Wood Ducks, Low-A)
Joining Carter in Down East, Roby has 2 losses against his name already, despite pitching fairly well considering. The 19-year-old has shown some impressive stuff in the early parts of the 2021 season, and the Rangers’ front office will be happy with what they have seen so far. In his first 3 starts, he has 10 strikeouts in 8 innings. Although he is yet to work deeper than the 3rd inning so far, the young pitching prospect has made the most of the transitional stage into pro ball.
Roby’s 3-pitch mix has always been impressive, despite his 6-foot-1 frame. He extends his arm well and is consistent with his delivery. His mid-90s fastball combined with his advanced feel for his changeup, and downer break curveball should see him continue to progress, especially with his Low-A assignment. The pitching prospect is young and isn’t heavily exposed as of yet. This will see him exposed more as the season progresses, so we will see how his pitches develop deeper into innings.
First pro strikeout here for TEX 2020 3rd rounder Tekoah Roby. Went with a couple elevated fastballs to set up a breaking ball to freeze the hitter. pic.twitter.com/S318xHAnWG
— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) May 8, 2021
Dylan MacLean, LHP (AZL Rangers, Rookie)
Yet to make his pro ball bow yet, MacLean will see himself start with the Rangers’ rookie affiliate in the AZL when their season starts on June 28th. The left-handed prospect will be looking to progress after being signed heavily above slot in the 2020 Draft. Watch this space to see how he develops come July.
Thomas Saggese, SS (AZL Rangers, Rookie)
Much like MacLean, Saggese will be making his pro ball debut towards the end of June in the Arizona League. The young shortstop was also signed out of High School so will be exciting to see how these young guys will start their careers within the Rangers’ organization.
With 2 of the 5 picks yet to make their competitive debut for the Rangers, we will have a better idea of where they are at come summertime. The AZL Rangers will be an exciting team to keep an eye on, even more so due to MacLean and Saggese joining them.
Foscue, Carter, and Roby have made slow starts to their careers, but they certainly have enough talent to continue to develop and impress as the season progresses. It is still early in the season so will be interesting to see how they get on when we check back on them in a few months’ time.