Texas Rangers 2021 Top 50 Prospects

Graphic design by John Stewart, @jonance on Twitter

The Texas Rangers are in a transition stage right now. They’ve had a few decent seasons, but the majority have been less than .500. The past 3 seasons alone saw a 67-95 record, 78-84 the year after, and a 22-38 record in a COVID hit season. There has been a small influx of prospects making their way into the Majors roster over the past couple of years. A new GM, some trades likely to come up, and a few FA signings could see things change dramatically for the 2021 season.

I hope you all enjoy our dive into the Top 50 for the Rangers! Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@MLBUKAnalysis1), or my colleague (@CaseyKrish), if you want to talk about the rankings, baseball, or just sports in general. Also, follow (@Prospects1500) for all things Minor League Baseball and prospects, and be sure to give the other 29 Top 50 lists a read as they roll out this month!

Many longtime readers should be familiar with the tier system for our prospect rankings. They are as follows:

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 a 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. Josh Jung, 3B
Age: 22 (02/12/98)
Highest Level: MLB

The standout guy in the Rangers’ system, Jung hit .316 in his debut season in 2019. He was drafted in the 1st Round, and quickly showed his advanced tools with some solid hitting at Rookie-level. Plenty of development left but he has shown himself to be a power-hitter with physical growth and strength still to be added. Received a Majors call-up in 2020, and although he didn’t make an appearance, this could show some signs that it is possible in 2021.

Tier 2

2. Sam Huff, C
Age: 22 (01/14/98)
Highest Level: MLB

Drafted back in 2016, he made steady growth and progression up until his Majors debut in 2020. Renowned for his HR hitting ability, he is susceptible to being struck out on a regular basis. He did show a better level of discipline with a .355 average and 3 HR in his 10 appearances in the Majors. Standing at 6’5, he is a powerful catching prospect who is remarkably agile despite his size behind the plate. If he can refine his aggressive approach and reduce his SOs on a year-to-year basis, then he could be used more regularly come 2021 and beyond.

3. Leody Taveras, OF
Age: 22 (09/08/98)
Highest Level: MLB

The most-used prospect in the Rangers’ Top 3 in the Majors in 2020, Taveras showed some glimpses of his potential. Although he wasn’t highly productive, an average of .227, he hit 4 HRs and made 33 appearances in total. The switch-hitter shows more effectiveness from the left side but repeatedly holds his own against older pitchers, albeit without posting big numbers. His above-average to plus defensive tools made him an intriguing option for the Rangers in the outfield last season, and they will look to develop him further come 2021.

4. Dane Dunning, RHP
Age: 26 (12/20/94)
Highest Level: MLB

Acquired in the trade that saw Lance Lynn head to the White Sox, I covered Dunning’s potential effectiveness in Texas on Prospects1500 last month. He has MLB experience and proved himself to be one of the most effective pitchers for the White Sox in 2020. There are some concerns about his injury history and the fact he’s missed a tonne of games, but when he’s healthy he is dangerous on the mound. He may not have the most velocity in his pitches, but he is consistent and uses this effect to cause hitters problems. Likely to be a starter for the Rangers in 2021.

5. Cole Winn, RHP
Age: 21 (11/25/99)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

Drafted in 2018, he didn’t make his pro debut until the following season. Although this was to deload him after a heavy 2018 season, it affected his productivity and saw him hit about whilst with Hickory. There was some rustiness but he improved as the season progressed and ended up turning in a 4.46ERA season despite the poor start. His 4-pitch arsenal shows some flashes of stuff that made him a 1st Round pick. He has a mid-90s fastball with running action and a true 12-6 breaking curveball. Despite missing a lot of baseball in 2020, he will look to pick up that momentum again in 2021.

6. Maximo Acosta, SS
Age: 18 (10/29/02)
Highest Level: 2019 International FA

Signed for a $1.65m bonus in July 2019, his Gleyber Torres comparisons have the Rangers high on his development. There is still a lot to do considering he is so young, but he shows advanced tools at the plate and the ability to read off-speed pitches. Working towards being a contact hitter, he possesses the capabilities to hit for power and be aggressive both at the plate and between the bases.

7. Justin Foscue, 2B
Age: 21 (03/02/99)
Highest Level: College

Signed for under-slot in last year’s Draft, he surprised a few people when the Rangers picked him in the 1st Round. Despite his consistency and multiple tool potential, he wasn’t seen as a 1st Round pick until a solid 2019 season. This boosted his chances from a 3B with not much power, to a hard-hitting yet consistent 2B. The shift in defensive positions is based on his underwhelming power potential with the bat and his average arm. He can turn plays well and has quick hands that work the double play with effect.

Tier 3

8. Sherten Apostel, 3B/1B
Age: 21 (03/11/99)
Highest Level: MLB

Despite a less than impressive debut season in the Majors, Apostel shows plenty of potential and projection with his big frame and loud power tool. He has made steady progression over the past few years, but nothing that has seen him explode with impressive numbers. He hit 19 HRs in 2019, but this form couldn’t be replicated in his MLB debut. There needs to be some big improvements in 2021, as he could see himself slip further down the Rangers’ ranks.

9. Hans Crouse, RHP
Age: 22 (09/15/98)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

There was plenty of hype around Crouse when he was picked up in the 2nd Round in 2017. Since then there have been a few injury problems that have hampered his progression. When healthy he reaches 99mph with his riding fastball and mid-80s with his two-plane break slider. Bone spurs in his elbow shut him down in 2019, so he is yet to reach more than 90 innings in a season. Although this is quite concerning for a potential starting pitcher, he has the tools to work himself into that role if he can keep himself healthy.

10. Bayron Lora, OF
Age: 18 (09/29/02)
Highest Level: 2019 International FA

Signed alongside Acosta, he demonstrates more power potential with his quick bat speed and ability to produce high exit velocities off his bat. Standing at 6’3, the $3.9m FA Signing is an aggressive hitter, with some swing-and-miss concerns. However, if he can continue his development and continue to grow into his big frame, he has the potential to be an exciting player for the Rangers in a few years.

11. Anderson Tejeda, SS
Age: 22 (05/01/98)
Highest Level: MLB

The switch-hitting infielder showed glimpses of his potential with a solid debut season in the MLB. He hit 3 HRs, and averaged .253, but struck out 30 times. There are some concerns his aggressive mentality could lead to regular swings-and-misses, but his potential power tool could see him continue to try and hit HRs. Defensively he shows his ability with his strong arm and making plays from different angles. An all-around solid prospect.

12. Luisangel Acuña, SS/2B
Age: 18 (03/12/02)
Highest Level: DSL Rangers (ROK)

The younger brother of Ronald Acuña shows plenty of upside, albeit far less ceiling than his well-established sibling. He had an impressive start to Rookie ball in 2019, hitting .342 with a couple of home runs. Although he can show some aggression with his approach, he has the ability to control the strike zone with his quick swing and make hard contact into the gaps. There needs to be more focus on getting under the ball a bit more as he develops but he makes regular contact, a solid base-runner, and has plenty of room for physical growth. Defensively he doesn’t have a regular home but his plus arm and quickness should allow him to slot in where needed.

13. Ricky Vanasco, RHP
Age: 22 (10/13/98)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

Despite being plagued with injury problems since being drafted in 2017, he still turned in an impressive 2019 season with Hickory before TJ Surgery shut him down in September 2020. He picked up a huge 75 strikeouts in 49.2 innings, with an ERA of just 1.81. When healthy his fastball reaches 99mph, whilst having a curveball and a changeup as his off-speed pitches. His 3-pitch mix shows some inconsistencies due to his lack of game exposure but he has the potential to be a future starter if he can stay healthy. He certainly is a high-risk pitcher, but 2019 showed glimpses of why he may be worth that risk.

14. Bubba Thompson, OF
Age: 22 (06/09/98)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

A disappointing 2019 season dampened his progression somewhat after a potential breakout year in 2018. He has all the ability to be a base-stealing, HR-hitting outfielder but it is hasn’t quite clicked yet due to injury problems and a lack of plate discipline. His strikeout rate reached 32% in 2019, following on from 104 strikeouts in 2018. It certainly has been a mixed few seasons for him in the Rangers’ organization but with a few tweaks to his swing and approach, he should show a more disciplined plate presence, thus resulting in better numbers.

15. Joe Palumbo, LHP
Age: 26 (10/26/94)
Highest Level: MLB

Palumbo has taken a bit of a drop from recent rankings. He appeared in two games with Texas in 2020 and struggled in both outings. At this point, expect Palumbo to be a middle inning guy who might be given some later innings in a pinch. Last year I thought he might develop as a back of the rotation piece, but I’m not too confident in that now unless he develops another pitch. I think he starts the season in AAA but could be the first man up if there is an opening in the pen. (CK)

16. Ronny Henriquez, RHP
Age: 20 (06/20/00)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

You have to worry a little bit about how a year off will impact a guy like Henriquez. His best season statistically came in 2018, before making his debut stateside in 2019. Last year would have been a crucial season for him, and the year off is a big question mark over his development. Henriquez is only 20 and will most likely slot in High-A this season. (CK)

17. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP
Age: 23 (10/15/97)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

Here is a case where a year off could help a prospect. Rodriguez had a solid year in Low-A in 2019 before spraining his UCL; an injury that limited him to 13 starts. I had a live look at him that season, and while he pitched well, it just seemed that something was a bit off mechanically. I still think he has the potential to fill in as a back of the rotation piece, and if worst comes to shove as a middle inning guy out of the pen. (CK)

18. Demarcus Evans, RHP
Age: 24 (10/22/96)
Highest Level: MLB

Evans was a nominee for Prospects1500 2019 RP Prospect of the Year and has always been a personal favorite of mine in the system. After posting a sub-1 ERA over 37.2 innings in 2019, it is time to push him up the rankings. I have also been skeptical of his walk rate, which remained an issue in 2019. Let’s hope that the walks go down a little more this season. If they do, we could be looking at the future closer in the Texas bullpen. (CK)

19. Steele Walker, OF
Age: 24 (07/30/96)
Highest Level: Winston Salem Dash (A+)

I mentioned last year that Walker is a guy that everyone wants to root for, but can’t because he isn’t on their team. Walker is 5’11 190, but he looks bigger than that. He has shown power with 10 homers in 2019, but the most impressive feature is his ability to hit .284 while showing that power. If he can repeat a similar stat line in 2021, expect Walker to be a guy pushing for a big-league spot as soon as 2022. (CK)

20. Davis Wendzel, 3B
Age: 23 (05/23/97)
Highest Level: Spokane Indians (A-)

Wendzel takes a hit in the rankings this season, and unfortunately to no fault of his own. Losing last season hurts the 23-year-old. I personally can see Wendzel as a future trade piece at the deadline next summer. He has never played in full-season ball yet, and while he is an advanced college hitter from Baylor, he is still blocked at 3B by Jung and Apostel. Due to his age, don’t expect him to stay in the lower minors for very long. If Texas decides to keep Wendzel or even move his position, he could move up the latter aggressively. (CK)

21. Tekoah Roby, RHP
Age: 19 (09/18/01)
Highest Level: High School

Roby was taken in the third round of the shortened 2020 draft. The recent high school graduate was verbally committed to Troy before being taken by the Rangers. He’s 6’1 with a high leg kick but is very consistent with his delivery from the video I saw. That is impressive for someone so young. His fastball is already hitting mid-90s with the potential to add some velocity in the future. His curveball and changeup still need some work, but given his age, he is at a great point in his career already. (CK)

22. David Garcia, C
Age: 20 (02/06/00)
Highest Level: Spokane Indians (A-)

Garica is smaller in stature for a catcher at 5’11, but he is overall a solid catcher defensively. I don’t see him overtaking Huff anytime soon, and being only 20 gives us a few more years before he receives consideration at the Major League level. Garcia is a solid player, but he still needs to develop the bat and prove he can produce at higher levels before he makes a significant jump in the rankings. (CK)

23. Kohei Arihara, RHP
Age: 28 (08/11/92)
Highest Level: Japan (JPPL)

The Japanese righty has plenty of experience in his native Japan, as well as possessing the unique ability of having 7 different pitches. His sinker sits low-90s, thus making him not an overpowering pitcher, but the way he controls his pitches and utilizes his extensive arsenal makes him an exciting and intriguing pitcher. Suited to slot into the middle-rotation starting role, he adds experience to a young team, whilst possessing the ability to strike out hitters, as well as inducing multiple ground outs. His 2020 stats saw him sit 3rd with his ERA (3.46), 2nd in innings pitched (132.2) and complete games (3) in the Japanese League.

Tier 4

24. A.J. Alexy, RHP
Age: 22 (04/21/98)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

I mentioned last year that Alexy had great stuff but just needed to have better control with it. I was able to watch Alexy pitch in person twice in 2019, and each time he went into a lot of three-ball counts that made his outings short. The breaking pitches are there, but the swing and miss ability isn’t. I would like to see Alexy get some starts in AA this year and if walks become a problem perhaps move him into a relief role. The potential as a middle of the rotation piece is high and I’m hoping that is the case. (CK)

25. Chris Seise, SS
Age: 22 (01/06/99)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

Seise was a first-round pick back in 2017, but he has yet to make a name for himself in the Rangers system. Seise has dealt with setback and injures since arriving, and with the pandemic taking away any development in 2020, Seise has only played 21 games in three full seasons. He turns 22 on Jan. 6, and his short showing in Hickory was successful. Let’s see if he can finally play a full season in pro ball. (CK)

26. Keithron Moss, 2B/SS/3B
Age: 19 (08/20/01)
Highest Level: AZL Rangers (ROK)

Moss will be an interesting case this season. He missed his 18-year-old season due to the pandemic after hitting over .300 at 17 in the Rookie Arizona League. He made good contact and had a high average, but it seemed to be a strikeout or hit for Moss. With the MiLB contraction doing away with short-season leagues, Moss might return to the AZL or stay in extended spring. We will have to see how the trends play out for players who should have been on the teams that are no longer affiliated. Regardless of where he ends up, if the strikeouts tick down, we could be looking at a great bat off the bench that can play anywhere on the diamond. (CK)

27. Kyle Cody, RHP
Age: 26 (08/09/94)
Highest Level: MLB

Yes, the age and highest level listed above are not typos. He underwent TJ surgery in 2018 which caused him to miss the 2019 season as well. Then, last year’s MiLB season was canceled by the pandemic, but Cody got the call to the major leagues and pitched in 22.2 IP in 8 games (5 GS). You’d have to say it was a successful return, as he only allowed 4 ER (1.59 ERA) and struck out 18. At 6’7 he is an intimidating stature on the mound, but we know that size makes it hard to repeat deliveries. Cody might be the most interesting prospect to watch this season. (CK)

28. Evan Carter, OF
Age: 18 (08/29/02)
Highest Level: High School

The Rangers drafted Carter out of high school with their second-round pick in the draft. Carter was verbally committed to Duke University before the Rangers took him. Looking at him makes you think he is a power-hitting corner outfielder who might project into a DH in the future. He is an incredible athlete for being 6’4, 210 as a high school senior. The shocking element is his speed, which might even make him a 15-25 steals guy who can give a range in CF. (CK)

29. Jose Corniell, RHP
Age: 17 (06/22/03)
Highest Level: Assigned to DSL

Corniell is the newest addition to the system and immediately plugs into the middle of these rankings. Corniell was acquired for Rafael Montero on Dec. 15 from Seattle in addition to a PTBNL. At only 17, he is still a long way away from making the big league roster. His fastball hits around 94-96 and his offspeed pitches are above average for his age. This is a trade that is building for a few years down the road. Only time will tell how it works out. (CK)

30. Brett de Geus, RHP
Age: 23 (11/04/97)
Highest Level: A+
Picked up in the Rule 5 Draft, the Rangers may have found another potential piece to their 2021 bullpen.
Reaching mid-90s with his fastball with some running action, he complements this with a curveball and a slider.
The Dodgers crafted him nicely in the 2019 season, allowing to pick up more regular strikes and walk less hitters. This resulted in his ERA dropping to just 1.75 and he picked up 8 saves in a breakout year. He missed out on the opportunity to further showcase his improved arsenal due to the pandemic hit 2020 season but with the requirement that he stays on the Rangers’ majors roster for the year or risk being lost on waivers, there is potential he gets a regular reliever role.

31. Julio Martinez, OF
Age: 24 (03/21/96)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

Julio Pablo Martinez is another guy that we will need to see if missing the 2020 campaign impacts him. JPM signed at age 21 and has had fairly decent success since making his debut. The Rangers most likely start him at AA, but I think missing last season could make the organization feel inclined to rush him given the late signing. Too many questions surrounding JPM at this time. (CK)

32. Tyler Phillips, RHP
Age: 23 (10/27/97)
Highest Level: Frisco RoughRiders (AA)

Phillips struggled a bit in 2019 after a stellar season across A-ball the year prior. The struggles weren’t anything to worry about and can be accredited to the learning curve of AA. Phillips has great control and induces a lot of weak contact. He’s not going to blow it past guys like some other names on this list, but Phillips can be a long reliever or backend starter when you need someone to eat up innings. (CK)

33. Owen White, RHP
Age: 21 (08/09/99)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

White underwent TJ surgery early in 2019. The Rangers thought he could get some innings near the end of the 2020 season, but they weren’t going to rush him. Given that scenario, White hasn’t lost any potential development last year. He has a pick out of high school in 2018 and still hasn’t thrown a ball at the pro level. He’s a high draft pick with some promising stuff. Let’s see what he’s got. (CK)

34. Ryan Garcia, RHP
Age: 22 (01/24/98)
Highest Level: Spokane Indians (A-)

The former second-round pick should get his first taste of full-season ball this summer. After posting a 10-1 record at UCLA, Garcia only appeared in three professional games during his draft season. Given he has plenty of experience at a school like UCLA, Garica should quickly move up the ladder. We still need to wait and see how his pitches translate to pro ball, however. (CK)

35. Diosbel Arias, SS
Age: 24 (07/21/96)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

Arias, the Cuban player whom I profiled on Prospects1500 back in August, demonstrated some vast improvements in his hitting game. Averaging .270, there was a reduction in offensive output, but the way he made contact with the ball and adjusted his game to target certain areas in the field should help him rediscover his offensive numbers. One to watch in 2021.

36. Jonathan Ornelas, SS/2B/3B
Age: 20 (05/06/00)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

The versatile infielder played 5 positions in 2019. He stuck at SS for the most part, but also had spells in the outfield. Whilst not having major standout tools, he is a consistent hitter with the ability and versatility to play where he is needed. He shows some pop off the bat that helped him pick up 6 HR in 2019 and also stole 13 bases with his quick first step. There may be some need for him to move to the outfield as he develops but he slots into most positions easily.

37. Brock Burke, LHP
Age: 24 (08/04/96)
Highest Level: MLB

Despite jumping from team-to-team, the lefty showed some promise to warrant a Major League call-up in 2019. Although he didn’t showcase too much, his experience guided him into a starting role for the Rangers. There was little to be seen last season, but he was an experienced head on the list that could get a few starts here and there in 2021.

38. Dylan MacLean, LHP
Age: 18 (07/12/02)
Highest Level: High School

The lefty from Portland was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2020 Draft. Although his pitches do not show much velocity, he has solid control over his pitches and has a fluid delivery that allows him to be consistent. He has a high floor, but the Rangers will be hoping they can unlock his ceiling as he continues his development.

39. Marcus Smith, OF
Age: 20 (09/11/00)
Highest Level: Rookie

The young outfielder was picked up from the Oakland Athletics in 2020. He demonstrates contact ability, averaging .361 in his debut season. Although he didn’t pick up too many XBHs, he has the plate discipline to draw walks, and find the gaps in the field. Defensively he has played in all 3 outfield positions, showing his versatility.

40. Curtis Terry, 1B
Age: 24 (10/06/96)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

The power-hitting first baseman had somewhat of a breakout year in 2019. He exploded for 25 HRs and an average of .293 across A and A+. He had a high K% but managed to drive in 80 RBIs and showed some dominance in a season that followed on from his solid 2018 season. At 24, he will need to develop through the organization quickly but if 2019 is anything to go by then he shouldn’t be far off AAA come 2021.

41. Avery Weems, LHP
Age: 23 (06/06/97)
Highest Level: Rookie

The lefty was recently part of the trade that saw Lance Lynn go to the Chicago White Sox. He showed promise in his first season in Rookie ball after being drafted by the White Sox in Round 6. He picked up 74 SOs in just 60.1 innings, with an ERA of just 2.09. There is plenty of potential and could be an underestimated move by the Rangers after acquiring Dunning.

42. Taylor Hearn, LHP
Age: 26 (08/30/94)
2020 Highest Level: MLB Call-Up

The righty came into 2020 hoping to make up for one poor appearance in the MLB in 2019. He ended up making 14 relief appearances, with an ERA of 3.63 and 23 Ks in 17.1 innings. This showed big improvements from 2019, identified by his more controlled approach on the mound, and ability to pick hitters off. Looks like he could be a regular bullpen arm for the Rangers in 2021.

Tier 5

43. Jose Acosta, 2B/3B
Age: 20 (03/20/00)
Highest Level: AZL Reds (ROK)

The switch-hitter from the Dominican was picked up in the trade that saw Heineman head to the Reds. Although he is yet to get past the Rookie levels, he demonstrates base-stealing ability and the consistency to get bat-on-ball. He picked up 17 doubles, 5 triples, and 3 HRs whilst averaging .395 in 2019. A player that needs to showcase his abilities within pro ball on a regular basis, but he has the raw tools to reach his overall potential.

44. Pedro Gonzalez, OF
Age: 23 (10/27/97)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

Traded from the Rockies back in 2017, he made some improvements in 2019 compared to 2018. His batting averaged increased, as did his power potential. Doubling his HR output from 2018 (12) to 2019 (23), he showed more consistency at the plate. There was also more effort in attempting to be more aggressive between bases, thus making him more of a threat when he did reach base. Defensively he played in all 3 outfield positions in the last couple of seasons, showing versatility and adaptability with a solid fielding percentage (.964).

45. Zion Bannister, OF
Age: 19 (09/09/01)
Highest Level: AZL Rangers (ROK)

The switch-hitting teenager from the Bahamas made his pro debut in 2019, splitting his time with games in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona League. He showcases a loud power tool, as well as the ability to make regular solid contact. There’s a lot to come from this young man so 2021 makes an intriguing watch.

46. Jake Latz, LHP
Age: 24 (04/08/96)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

His steady progression through the Rangers’ system continued in 2019 when he finished with a 7-1 record and an ERA of just 1.62 between Hickory (A) and Down East (A+). There are some concerns about how healthy he can stay, given that he has missed a lot of time through injury, but his mid-90s fastball and 4-pitch mix gives him a solid arsenal and one that could lead him to AA and beyond in 2021. He was invited to the Rangers’ Alternate Site at the end of the 2020 season, thus showing that the Rangers are interested in what he has to offer and could use him in the next couple of seasons.

47. Alex Speas, RHP
Age: 22 (03/04/98)
Highest Level: AZL Rangers (ROK)

The reliever was showing decent promise in 2018 before TJ Surgery halted his development. He had an ERA of 2.20 with 49 Ks in 28.2 innings with Hickory (A) before his injury. Despite this surgery, he clocked 102mph in his rehab assignment with AZL Rangers, whilst going undrafted in the Rule 5 Draft in 2020. The Rangers took a gamble that he wouldn’t be drafted, and this risk should pay off in the long term. His electric 2-pitch mix shows some potential for an elite bullpen arm, but there will need to be some work on his control and keeping him healthy in 2021.

48. Cole Uvila, LHP
Age: 26 (01/30/94)
Highest Level: Down East Wood Ducks (A+)

Despite his age, the righty reliever showed signs of improvement in 2019 with an ERA of just 2.23 in 38 appearances. His K% rate was high, and he became a key part of the Down East relieving team. He also made some appearances in the Fall League in 2019, making 9 appearances, with 16 Ks in 10.2 innings.

49. Miguel Aparicio, OF
Age: 21 (03/17/99)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

The Venezuelan outfielder was signed back in 2016 before given the tough task of being chucked in at Hickory (A) in 2017. Unsurprisingly he struggled to adjust straight away and was sent back down to Spokane (A-) in both 2017 and 2018. Despite these setbacks, he started to show some of his potential in 2019, averaging .251 and reaching double-digit HRs (12) for the first time. His K% rate has always been solid, and he started to show some threat on-base with 12 SBs. If he can continue making regular contact, and proving himself to be a threat between bases, then he could see himself reaching A+ or beyond in 2021. He has been a slow-burner but is starting to show his potential.

50. Frainyer Chavez, SS
Age: 21 (05/24/99)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

The young Venezuelan was drafted in 2018 and showed the hitting tools to surpass a .300 batting average in his first taste of pro ball. He stepped up to Hickory in 2019 and performed fairly well in what was a tough task for him. He averaged .255 and continued to have solid discipline at the plate with just 76 Ks in 115 games. The versatile defender played 2B, 3B, and SS in 2019, whilst rarely making mistakes and showing his ability to play all 3 roles efficiently.

And a few more for your deep prospecting enjoyment…

51. Kelvin Gonzalez, RHP
Age: 23 (12/24/97)
Highest Level: Hickory Crawdads (A)

The righty reliever was traded from the Royals in 2018, and impressed in 2019 with his low ERA (1.99) and ability to pick up regular strikes (58 in 45.1 inns). Finishing the game in 23 of his 28 appearances shows his ability as a closer and he even picked up 6 wins in the process. Sitting in the upper-90s with his fastball, he has power threat coming out of the bullpen, making him an interesting prospect in 2021 dependent on where he finds himself.

52. Justin Slaten, RHP
Age: 23 (09/15/97)
Highest Level: Spokane Indians (A-)

Drafted in the 3rd Round in 2019, he struggled in his first season in pro ball. He had an ERA of 6.06, allowing too many hits and giving up too many runs. Although his stats don’t show much positivity, his 22 Ks in that time showed he was getting more comfortable on the mound and was integrating his 3-pitch mix with more effect. Reaching mid-90s with his fastball, his secondaries of a changeup and a slider can be decent pitches but lacks real control to cause regular problems. This was evident by his K rate, but his high ERA.

53. Jason Bahr, RHP
Age: 25 (02/15/95)
Highest Level: Frisco RoughRiders (AA)

Traded to the Rangers in 2018 from the Giants, Bahr dominated with Down East (A+), before a promotion to Frisco (AA). His ERA of 1.71 and 6-1 record showed how well he performed with Down East, but couldn’t quite match this in Frisco. He didn’t perform badly, but couldn’t dominate on the mound as he had done previously. He still shows some promise and flashes moments that could see him make an impact in the Majors, but will need to tighten up his pitches and become more commanding on the mound.


    • Sorry JD, we had a slight oversight on Acosta. Not necessarily a top prospect but he showed some potential in 2019 in the DSL. At 20 he needs to now replicate that into possibly A ball.

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