Texas Rangers MiLB Preview: Hickory Crawdads

Sherten Apostel - Photo and video via Jason Pennini, @JasonPennini on Twitter

The Texas Rangers have announced their 2019 Minor League rosters and fans of the Single-A Hickory Crawdads may have one of the most exciting teams in the entire South Atlantic League to open the season. In all, there are 12 players from our Rangers Preseason Top 50 on the roster. The Crawdads will be anchored by a talent filled infield and one of the best pitching staffs in the league.


Pitchers

RHP Hans Crouse (#2 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

The ace of what should be a pretty solid rotation, Crouse is the top pitching prospect in the system. Crouse not only has electric stuff, but he will be a fan favorite thanks to his fiery nature on the mound. He certainly has the makeup to keep even the most casual of baseball fans engaged. As for his fantasy profile, he is easily one of the top pitchers in the lower minors to own. Check in on Crouse in your dynasty leagues and buy now before he begins his ascent through the system.

RHP Yerry Rodriguez (#31 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

A thrower more than a pitcher at this point, Rodriguez brings a pretty good fastball to Hickory. The key thing we will be looking for early on from Rodriguez will be seeing what kind of work he did with his secondary stuff in the offseason. If he shows improvement in a breaking ball, and maybe flashes the addition of an offspeed pitch, he can move up the midseason update.

LHP Jake Latz (#38 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Of the 16 pitchers on this roster only three are lefties and Latz is the most promising one.

RHP Tai Tiedemann

Tai Tiedemann did not make our Rangers Preseason Top 50, but he is certainly a candidate to crack that list if he gets off to a good start with Hickory. A 6’6, 185 pound former eighth round pick, the right hander will need to locate the strike zone better than years past during his first stint of full season ball.

RHP Dylan Bice, RHP Tim Brennan, RHP Hever Bueno, RHP Jean Casanova, RHP Sean Chandler, RHP Scott Engler, LHP John King, RHP Abdiel Mendoza, RHP Wes Robertson, RHP Nick Snyder, RHP Cole Uvila, LHP Grant Wolfram


Catchers

Sam Huff (#19 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Huff will be a force in the middle of the order with a power swing that will be a threat to drive in the top part of the order everytime he steps into the box. 6’4 catchers are few and far between, but Huff uses his size to his advantage and will put on a power show in Hickory.

Matt Whatley

Isaias Quiroz


Infielders

3B Sherten Apostel (#8 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Speaking of power, potentially the best power hitter in the system will be calling Hickory home to start the 2019 season. Apostel flew onto the prospect radar this offseason thanks to a combination of a plus hit tool and double plus raw power. I imagine he will hold down the hot corner for Hickory in a stacked infield.

3B Jonathan Ornelas (#10 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

He will be just 18 years old to star the 2019 season, but Ornelas shouldn’t miss a beat at the plate. An advanced hit tool for his age, it will be interesting to see how the Arizona native fares against full season pitchers. He went on an offensive tear during his pro ball debut in 2018 and will be a threat to steal some bases for the Crawdads.

SS Chris Seise (#16 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

An athletic middle infielder who missed 2018 after rotator cuff surgery, Seise has a chance to breakout and have his name once again mentioned with the Rangers top prospects if he can tap into his upside.

INF Frainyer Chavez (#30 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Another threat to steal bases, the defensive ability in the infield is the carrying tool for Chavez.

1B Curtis Terry (#43 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Okay, the Crawdads are going to hit a lot of home runs in 2019 and Terry may lead the way. He may strikeout a lot, but when he makes contact, he makes CONTACT.


Outfielders

Julio Pablo Martinez (#5 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

JPM is more than likely considered to be the best position player prospect on this roster and while he is no Bubba Thompson, Crawdads fans will get to watch a pretty great centerfielder for another season. The Cuban product had a pretty strong showing in the AFL last year and will now get his first taste of full season ball. Hickory is getting a well-developed player in JPM as he was a star in his home country’s top league prior to coming stateside.

Pedro Gonzalez (#24 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

6’5 190 with superb athleticism, Gonzalez will spend his second season in a Crawdads uniform. The 21 year old brings power/speed upside, but at this point is more known for his defensive ability. It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez or JPM gets more playing time in center.

Miguel Aparicio (#42 in Rangers Preseason Top 50)

Another name Hickory fans are familiar with, Aparicio just turned 20 two weeks ago and will be on his second stint in the South Atlantic League.

Jose Almonte




About Jake Berry 43 Articles
I reside in Carrollton, Georgia and love everything baseball. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. I have a passion for the minor leagues and have high hopes of visiting as many minor league parks as I can. I enjoy the statistical side of the game, especially sabermetrics. I am also an avid baseball card collector and fantasy baseball player.

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