Texas Rangers 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Josh Jung, Hickory Crawdads, July 20, 2019 - Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future on Facebook.

The Texas Rangers midseason rankings have not changed drastically since the beginning of the season, and with the big league team exceeding expectations, the arrival of some of the higher level prospects could come in meaningful September baseball.

The Hickory Crawdads and Down East Wood Ducks have had tremendous success in terms of record, both holding some of the best records in all of MiLB.

Many of the top rated prospects in the system are at the lower levels, and the Rangers usually aren’t quick to rush players through the system if they aren’t ready. With that being said, they have some players who certainly deserve the test at the higher levels, and with the Texas still in playoff contention, the “rebuild” might be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

I’ve listed Jake Berry’s rankings from our preseason 2019 Rangers Top 50 Prospects next to each player’s name and current rank.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years.
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor.
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor.
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimum impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster.

 

Tier 1:
1. Hans Crouse, RHP
(preseason #2)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
Crouse has had an interesting season to say the least. The Opening Day starter for Class-A Hickory, Crouse has been on an innings limit that makes it difficult to assess his talents. Despite only making 13 starts, Crouse has allowed only 53 hits across 56 innings and boasts a 3.30 ERA. The 20-year old has struck out 53 against 12 walks. With a fastball that approaches 100 and a nasty breaking ball that has undergone a year of development, Crouse still stands at the top of the list.

2. Leody Taveras, OF (preseason #3)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
Tavares was once the highest touted prospect in the system, but in my opinion shouldn’t be written off just yet. After hitting around.250 each of the past two seasons, Tavares has gotten a recent promotion and is batting .283 across A+ and AA. The strikeouts have been increased this year, but that is to be expected with the job in levels. Tavares might not have completely flipped the script, but there are still signs that he still has the possibility of a big break out.

3. Josh Jung, 3B (preseason N/A)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
It has only been nine games at the time this blurb is being written, but the .474 average through 38 pro AB’s says enough that the No. 8 overall pick out of Texas Tech has the talent and ability to be a pro for a long time. At 3B, living up to the legendary Adrian Beltre might be tough, but if anyone can do it, it might be Jung. After a long college season in which he slashed .322/.471/.609/, he has multi-hit performances in three of his first five non-domestic games.

Tier 2:
4. Bubba Thompson, OF (preseason #1)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
The first round pick from 2017 has had a season riddled with injuries, and therefore his stock has dropped. It is unfair to completely write off a player who has not had the chance to prove themselves on the field, but now that Thompson is back healthy, the time to put up numbers is now. Through 74 AB’s in 2019, the .189 average is a concern, but with a young player coming back there needs to be some time to get back into the grind of baseball. I personally love this kid, and was impressed with the athleticism he has shown in CF. 2020 will be a big season for him.

5. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF (preseason #5)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
JPM had a short stint with Hickory to open the season. As an older player, the 23-year old made a quick jump to advanced-A ball and has flashed potential. The offense is near where it has been at previous levels, but the slight increase in nearly every stat line at the higher level is promising. JPM might also be the most athletic player in the system.

6. Cole Winn, RHP (preseason #4)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
The stats don’t look promising on the surface, but Winn is a player that still has unlocked potential. The 2018 first rounder out of HS is 1-4 and sports a 6+ ERA, but with only 11 appearances of pro ball behind him, it shouldn’t be time to write him off yet. The mechanics look smooth and effortless, and once he fully adjusts to the pro level, the results will come.

7. Sam Huff, C (preseason #19)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Huff is the first player on this list that might not have been in the spotlight at the start of the season. He hit .333 with 15 HR in just 108 AB’s with Low-A Hickory before getting a much deserved promotion to High-A. The power numbers are nearly a repeat in Down Wood, where Huff has hit 10 out of the park in just over 200 AB’s.

8. Jonathan Ornelas, 3B (preseason #10)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
Call this a personal pick, but Ornelas sits in this spot because I really like this kid. He doesn’t get a lot of praise in the system and now with Jung in the ranks, I wouldn’t be surprised if he slips even more. Ornelas is a solid 3B with a bit of pop and really good bat to ball skills.

9. Taylor Hearn, LHP (preseason #6)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: Texas (MLB)
Here is a guy that has been known for a upper 90’s fastball and a tall dominating presence on the mound. Acquired in 2018 in a trade with the Pirates, Hearn had dominated in AA, but this season has just 20 innings of work in AAA. He did make his MLB debut, giving up four runs while recording one out. It might have been ugly, but the debut is another step toward being a contributor to the big club.

10. Sherten Apostel, 3B (preseason #8)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Apostel continues to show the raw power he displayed the first few years of his professional career. The 15 home runs fit in nicely with a Hickory lineup that has produced the power numbers up and down the lineup. The strikeout numbers are not particularly troublesome for a power heavy hitter at his level, (25%). The only question with the eye test will be the ability to stick it at third base. I could see a potential DH or first base move in the future.

11. Anderson Tejeda, 2B/SS (preseason #11)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Tejada is a guy I liked when I saw him in person with Hickory in 2017. Last year, the 19 long balls in High-A was impressive. The only flaw in his game was the high volume of strikeouts he gathered up. He was on pace to blow past his strikeout numbers from his first year in DW, but unfortunately he has missed time.

 

Tier 3:

12. Kolby Allard, LHP (preseason Braves #12)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Gwinnett (Braves AAA)
Recently acquired from the Braves in a deadline deal for Chris Martin, Allard is somebody that could make an impact in MLB as recently as a couple of weeks from now. The former first round pick might need to put a few ticks on his low 90’s fastball to find success in the majors, but the off speed pitches might be the best in the system from day one in the system.

13. Joe Palumbo, LHP (preseason #7)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: Texas (MLB)
Palumbo, like Hearn, had his sip of coffee in the big leagues. A three game debut didn’t lend itself with success, but the experience will help development. After a strong start in AA, Palumbo appears to be one step closer. After having TJ in 2017, the past year and a half has been a strong comeback.

14. Davis Wendzel, SS/3B (preseason N/A)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: N/A
It can be hard to rank guys who have yet to play a game of pro ball, but the supplement first rounder out of Baylor should slot in around the top-15. In three seasons with the Bears, Wendzel is a career .326 hitter. The stat that gives him this ranking is the strikeouts. In almost 700 trips to the plate, Wendzel has only been sent back to the dugout 99 times. Being a seasoned college bat, the debut could come in 2020 up in High-A.

15. Brock Burke, LHP (preseason #17)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
A third round pick from TB that was sent over in the Jurikson Profar deal, Burke has had some trouble in 2019. Many might find it shocking that he be placed so high on the list, but after watching some video, I really like his breaking pitch. If that can develop more, he might be able to stick as a lefty swing-and-miss specialist… here’s to hoping that doesn’t go extinct.

16. Nick Solak, 2B/OF (preseason Rays #15)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: Nashville (AAA)
Solak has been with the Rangers for two weeks. The former second rounder by the Yankees is now with his third organization in the past three seasons. The talk of Solak is his poor defense, but if that can improve, or if he can fan out into a DH role, his call up might come sooner rather than later. He has hit 39 home runs since the start of last season.

17. Curtis Terry, 1B (preseason #43)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Terry is a big towering 1B. Listed as 264 lbs, you would think that the athleticism is an issue. I was very impressed with the range he showed when I got a glance at him in person. After spending three years in rookie ball and short season, Terry is putting his name on the map by hitting a combined .289 across A-ball.

18. Chris Seise, SS (preseason #16)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level:
A slick fielding SS, the issue with Seise has been his ability to stay healthy. A first rounder in 2017, he has played only 21 games this season after missing all of 2018 with a torn rotator cuff.

 

Tier 4:
19. Ronny Henriquez, RHP (preseason #21)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
A guy on the smaller side of the spectrum, his swing and miss pitches and upper 90’s velocity makes him scary enough. After an impressive DSL debut last season, the stats aren’t as pretty stateside, but their has been much improvement in his game.

20. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP (preseason #9)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
Hernandez has been promoted in every season prior to this one so far. The mid-season change of scenery can be hard sometimes for players to adjust to, but Hernandez has been up to the task. He is approaching his third straight season of 100+ strikeouts.

21. Kyle Cody, RHP (preseason #15)
Age: 24
Has not played in 2019
Cody has only pitched in two professional games in the past two seasons after undergoing TJ in the summer of 2018. The missed time is of course a dent in the development, but the 2017 Pitcher of the Year in the system will need to use 2020 to make a big leap.

22. Joe Barlow, RHP (preseason NR)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Nashville (AAA)
Barlow rocketed up the system this summer, making only brief stops in Down Wood and Frisco before settling in Nashville. The stay in AAA so far has been brief and painful, but with the success this year, along with the quick movement, Barlow could be a major league piece faster than we expected.

23. Yonny Hernandez, 2B/SS/OF (preseason #44)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
This may be a personal pick, but this kid is flying under the radar in the system. A nearly .300 hitter across A+ and AA this season,  Hernandez does something that baseball needs to appreciate more. He has more walks (63) than strikeouts (63) on the year.

24. A.J. Alexy, RHP (preseason #14)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
With a season lost to injury, Alexy is another guy that is difficult to put stock on. The strikeouts were high across two seasons with Hickory. With his experiences, I would not be surprised to see Alexy be a breakout potential in 2020.

25. Eli White, SS/OF (preseason #22)
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: Nashville (AAA)
The average has been down a little bit, but in his first year in the Texas system, White has shown glimmers of power as well as speed.

26. Cole Ragans, LHP (preseason #12)
Age: 21
Has not played in 2019
Ragans is about to miss his second straight season due to TJ. It is hard to gauge anything on Ragans with the two years lost, but there is still hope he comes back strong, and I won’t write off a guy until he gets back on the mound.

27. Tyler Phillips, RHP (preseason #13)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
Phillips has struggled with Frisco this season compared to a nice stint with Down Wood as well. The 4/1 K/BB ratio is not up to par with the over 10 ratio he had last season.

28. Owen White, RHP (preseason #18)
Age: 19
Has not played in 2019
White has drafted in the second round back in 2018, but has yet to pitch in a professional game to this point. TJ surgery could keep him sidelined in 2020 as well.

29. Diosbel Arias, IF (preseason #27)
Age: 23
2019: Highest Level: Down East (A+)
.280/.358/.373, 3 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB

30. Randy Florentino, C (preseason NR)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: AZL Rangers
Signed two years ago out of the Dominican Republic, Florentino has a career .297/.429/.423 slashline in 84 minor league games.

 

Tier 5:
31. Scott Heineman, OF (preseason #29)
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: Nashville (AAA)
AAA: .380/.452/.593/, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 4 SB

32. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP (preseason #31)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
7-3, 2.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 10.5 K/9

33. Osleivis Basabe, IF (preseason #36)
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)
.397/.425/.476, 15 RBI,

34. Charles Leblanc, IF (preseason #23)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
.280/.340/.356, 3 HR, 37 RBI,

35. Reid Anderson, RHP (preseason #37)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
5-5, 3.84 ERA, 1.51 WHIP,

36. Mason Englert, RHP (preseason #20)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: N/A
Has yet to play a professional game

37. Alex Speas, RHP (preseason #26)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: N/A
2018 Stats with Hickory – 2-0, 2.20 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 15.6 K/9

38. Pedro Gonzalez, OF (preseason #24)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
.248/.308/.478, 19 HR, 47 RBI

39. Demarcus Evans, RHP (preseason #25)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
Stats in AA – 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 14.6 K/9
Stats A+/AA – 5-0, 0.97 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 15.4 K/9

40. Jake Latz, LHP (preseason #38)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
5-1, 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 4.9 H/9

41. Tyreque Reed, 1B (preseason #41)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Stats A/A+ – .263/.376/.496, 14 HR, 43 RBI

42. Miguel Aparicio, OF (preseason #42)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
.260/.306/.457, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 10 SB

43. CD Pelham, RHP (preseason #28)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: Nashville (AAA)
Stats AAA – 0-1, 11.81 ERA
Stats AA/AAA – 0-3, 13.69 ERA 31 G

44. Jayce Easley, 2B (preseason #39)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Spokane (SS)
Only 4 games played in 2019

45. Edgar Arredondo, RHP (preseason #32)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
6-3, 4.24 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3/1 K/BB

46. Frainyer Chavez, SS (preseason #30)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
.248/.316/.296, 13 SB, 10 BB%

47. Melvin Novoa, C (preseason NR)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Down East (A+)
Stats A/A+
.248/.307/.402, 7 HR, 38 RBI

48. Emmanuel Clase, RHP (preseason #34)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
3-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 5/1 K/BB

49. Brendon Davis, 3B (preseason #40)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Frisco (AA)
.202/.295/.273, 2 HR

50. Yohander Mendez, LHP (preseason #50)
Age: 24
Has missed the 2019 season after MLB debut in 2018

and one more:
51. Jax Biggers, SS
(preseason #46)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Hickory (A)
.271/.359/.368, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 6 SB

Plus a few top international signings from this past July you should be keeping an eye on:
Bayron Lora, OF (16)
Maximo Acosta, SS (16)
Zion Banister, RHP (17)




5 Comments

  1. Good stuff. When you said “the Rangers usually aren’t quick to rush players through the system if they aren’t ready” except Mazara, which when looking at how they treat their minor league guys, is certainly an outlier. Not sure what they saw 3 years ago, but he has consistently not improved, and it looks like another season of 20 homers. Is he what he is?

    • Hey Phil, I certainly would agree with the fact that Mazara was a bit of an outlier, but in terms of “rushing” a player; Mazara did get his fair time in the minors. He was also only 17 when he started playing stateside so we must take that into account. He skipped over A+ ball, but got nearly 2 full years in A-. You are certainly right that he was more rushed than others in the system, but some teams are crazy when it comes to getting the young guys up the latter.

      As for what he is now… a solid player who will get 20 homers and hit around .260, you really can’t go wrong with that production. Being only 24, I’d still give him about 3-4 years to really step up and produce some big power numbers… hopefully not at the cost of the average.

  2. As someone who lives in the DFW and is a huge Yankees/baseball fan…..I feel like you were pretty spot on. Only beef I had with this article was the lack of love shown for DeMarcus Evans. Size, MPH, overall statistics. Never seen him throw in real life but he seems like a better real life than fantasy type baseball player. All that being said, I feel like 39th best in the oddly Jon Daniels assembled farm system, is on the low side. Enjoyed the read tho

    • Thanks for the feedback Matt. Evans is a guy that I saw in person both in 2017 and 2018 in person. He is a great young prospect, and maybe I ranked him a tad bit too low. My real big concern with him is the walks to innings ratio is just too high. From my understanding, there is a lot of projection of him being a set-up or closer in the future. Don’t get me wrong, the stats are impressive and the stuff is filthy. I just would be cautious of better hitters at higher levels taking advantage of the free passes.

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