The Rangers minor league system has continued its improvement the past few years on the heels of several trades and successful draft picks. Adding two top-10 prospects with their first two 2022 draft picks has further deepened the system. And with the team holding the 4th overall pick this upcoming June, it looks to get even deeper.
Traditionally lacking pitching prospects, the 2023 outlook appears brighter with 5 of the top 10 picks being starting pitchers. New GM Chris Young’s spending spree on free agent pitchers this Fall has bought those players some additional development time as none of them should be rushed to the majors. Adding a manager with the credentials that Bruce Bochy has won’t hurt either.
Tier 1 of this group of prospects features two incredibly talented hitters, one of which should be a full-time starter at 3B in 2023. Tier 2 is loaded with pitchers and features a pair of 2022 draft picks who will be making their long-season debuts. The remaining tiers feature an interesting mix of draft picks, trade acquisitions and international signings who are all looking to move up the rankings with improved performances this season.
Texas Rangers MiLB Affiliates:
Round Rock Express (@RRExpress) – Triple-A
Frisco Roughriders (@RidersBaseball) – Double-A
Hickory Crawdads (@HickoryCrawdads) – High-A
Down East Wood Ducks (@GoWoodDucks) – Single-A
Arizona Complex League Rangers (@ACLRangers) – Rookie
Dominican Summer League Rangers – Rookie
Here is the Prospects1500 tier system explained.
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 minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster
* signifies member of 40-man roster
Levels listed for each player are the highest levels the player reached in 2022.
1. Josh Jung, 3B*, 24, MLB
Bucking the trend of prior first round disappointments, Jung appears on the cusp of becoming a regular at 3B in 2023. After recovering from left shoulder surgery, Jung made his MLB debut in September and displayed impressive power by hitting 5 HRs in 98 AB. He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, but he should be a stalwart in the Rangers’ lineup barring additional injuries.
2. Evan Carter, OF, 20, Double-A
A lot of pundits laughed when the Rangers drafted the relatively unknown high school outfielder in 2020, but Carter has rewarded their confidence by skyrocketing up the Rangers’ prospect rankings. Showing a nice combination of power and speed, he earned a late call-up to Double-A Frisco and should likely begin there again in 2023. He also won a Gold Glove in 2022, so he definitely has all the tools to make an impact in the majors.
3. Jack Leiter, RHP, 22, Double-A
Making the jump from college to Double-A proved to be a tough one for the former Vanderbilt standout. Despite a healthy 10.6 K/9 ratio, Leiter was plagued with control issues to the tune of 56 walks in 92.2 IP. Still, there’s too much to like in his makeup and delivery so expectations are that he’ll make major strides in his second year in pro ball.
4. Owen White*, RHP, 23, Double-A
White, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 Draft, had an outstanding season logging over 80IP in High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco. After the promotion, he pitched even better posting a stellar 2.49 ERA in 4 starts. With the Rangers signing basically an entire new rotation in the off-season, the pressure for White to perform now has lessened somewhat. Expect him to start at Double-A Frisco with a promotion to Triple-A by mid-season.
5. Brock Porter, RHP, 19, High School
Shrewd draft-day maneuvering ended up allowing the Rangers to select the projected first-round pick in the 4th round due to signing concerns. The Michigan right-hander was 21-0 with a .52 ERA in his final two years of high school and led his team to a national championship while earning the MaxPreps Player of the Year award. In other words, he’s good. Really good.
6. Luisangel Acuna*, SS/2B, 20, Double-A
Splitting time at 2B and SS, Acuna appears to have the makings of a solid, albeit not spectacular, Major League infielder. He definitely needs to cut down on the strikeouts but his double-digit power and 40+ stolen base ability should continue to give him opportunities to shine.
7. Kumar Rocker, RHP, 23, Independent/AFL
After failing to sign with the Mets in 2021 after medical concerns, the Rangers seemingly “reached” by taking the former Vanderbilt ace with the third overall selection in the draft and quickly signing him to a below-slot deal. Rocker’s pro debut came in the Arizona Fall League where he started off shaky but improved as the short season progressed. He’s got big league stuff with ace-potential. The question will always be about his health.
— MLB’s Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 9, 2022
8. Justin Foscue, 2B, 23, Double-A
The 14th overall pick in the 2020 draft spent the entire 2022 season in Double-A Frisco where he slashed a solid .288/.367/.483. His glove is solid too as he had a .978 fielding percentage while playing his preferred position of second base. He might be blocked at the big league level with all the Rangers free agent signings in 2021, but should still find himself in some major league ballpark by 2024 at the latest.
9. Aaron Zavala, OF, 22, Double-A
A UCL injury derailed Zavala’s off-season and means he likely won’t be ready for Spring Training, but should be ready to go in May. He earned a promotion to Double-A Frisco where he posted a .284/.406/.495 line with five home runs, 20 RBI and four steals in 29 games. Still a bright future for this former 2nd round draft pick out of The University of Oregon.
10. Cole Winn*, RHP, 23, Triple-A
Following a terrific 2021 season, expectations were high for Winn going into the 2022 season. Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging. Winn logged a hefty 6.51 ERA across 121.2 IP and saw his BB/9 rate jump to 6.4. He’s only 23 years old, so he still has time to regain his form with another year at Triple-A.
11. Dustin Harris*, OF/1B, 23, Double-A
Harris had a successful first season at the Double-A level by slashing .257/.346/.471 while splitting time at 1B and OF. He mixes in legitimate 20 SB speed as well. His arrow is pointing up.
12. Anthony Gutierrez, OF, 18, Rookie (ACL)
Signed last January for just under $2M, Gutierrez isn’t your typical teenager. At 6’3” and 185lbs, he has the frame to support some big future power numbers. His first taste of pro ball went well and expect to see him shooting up the prospect ranks in the next few years.
13. Mitch Bratt, LHP, 19, Single-A
The 2022 Wayne Norton Award winner (awarded by the Canadian Baseball Network to the top Canadian pitcher in the affiliated minor league ranks) has the look of a solid left-handed starter. In his first season of full-season ball, he put up an impressive 2.45 ERA and 1.165 WHIP over 80.2 innings pitched. He’s young and anything can happen, but he’s on track to be a top 10 prospect for the Rangers in 2024.
14. Tekoah Roby, RHP, 21, High-A
While his 3-11 record certainly didn’t show it, Roby wasn’t nearly that bad in 2022. Allowing 95 hits in 104.2 IP in High-A Hickory, the 21 year-old also struck out an impressive 10.8 batters per 9 IP. Roby appears to still be headed in the right direction.
15. Thomas Saggese, SS, 20, Double-A
The 2020 5th round pick out of Carlsbad (CA) High School had an exceptional year in High-A Hickory sporting an impressive BA of .308 with 14 HR and 61 RBI. That performance was good enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Frisco where he continued the hot bat despite only playing in 5 games. With Texas loaded at the MLB level in the middle infield and other higher ceiling prospects in the system, Saggese might benefit from a trade.
🚨 WE ARE TIED 🚨
Down to the final strike, Thomas Saggese ties the game in the ninth!
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) September 28, 2022
16. Antoine Kelly, LHP, 23, Double-A
The knock on Kelly in Milwaukee was control; and after his trade to Texas, the knock on Kelly is still his control. But power arms, especially lefty power arms, can usually stick around. It just remains to be seen if that happens in a Rangers uniform.
17. Maximo Acosta, SS, 20, Single-A
Acosta’s game is predicated on speed. With 44 stolen bases in 2022, he’s a constant threat on the base paths. But thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last August definitely had Rangers’ fans worried. Reducing the amount of times he strikes out should be a priority, but there’s a lot to like in a young player like Acosta.
18. Yeison Morrobel, OF, 19, Single-A
Signed in January of 2021 for $1.8M, Morrobel should be in line for his first full season of pro ball this year. The hit tool is there, but he’ll definitely need to develop some additional power to be able to play OF at the Major League level. But at just 19 years old, there’s obviously time to develop that as he matures.
19. Ricky Vanasco*, RHP, 24, Double-A
Before Tommy John surgery in September of 2020, Vanasco looked dominant and well on his way to Arlington. Since then, the comeback trail has had a few bumps along the way. A 4.48 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over 84.1 innings in High-A Hickory leaves a lot to be desired, but if he can regain his pre-surgery form, he’s got the stuff to make it.
20. Gleider Figuereo, 3B, 18, Single-A
The Rangers liked what they saw in his first pro season. Figuereo slashed .280/.363/.616 with nine homers and seven steals in 35 games in the Arizona Complex League. He’s young, and that means likely growing pains are ahead, but so far so good for the young third baseman.
21. Jonathan Ornelas*, 2B/SS, 22, Double-A
Though it seems like he’s been around for quite awhile, Ornelas is still just 22 years old and had his best season yet at Double-A Frisco. Putting up a .299/.360/.425 line has put Ornelas back on the prospect radar screen. Though his ultimate role might a utility infielder, there’s no reason to think he won’t have a long MLB career.
Jonathan Ornelas sends one out of sight! 💪@hootie_jon with a 451-foot homer for his 13th of the year!
B4 | SA 7, FRI 5 pic.twitter.com/aav4BkTEA0
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) August 15, 2022
22. Zak Kent*, RHP, 24, Triple-A
His role is likely a reliever, but his plus curveball can be a legitimate punch out pitch. He was added to the 40-man roster in November, so he should have a chance soon to contribute in Arlington as soon as this year.
23. Emiliano Teodo, RHP, 21, Single-A
Teodo followed up his solid debut season with another strong effort. Spending the entire season at Single-A Down East, the 21 year-old Dominican threw over 84 innings with another impressive season striking out batters at a rate of 12.3 K/9. Rangers appear to be taking it slowly with Teodo but a late promotion to Double-A would not be surprising.
24. Alejandro Osuna, OF, 20, High-A
25. Cole Ragans*, LHP, 25, MLB
26. Avery Weems, LHP, 25, Double-A
27. Dane Acker, RHP, 23, High-A
28. Josh Stephan, RHP, 21, High-A
29. Marc Church, RHP, 21, Double-A
30. Dylan MacLean, LHP, 20, Single-A
31. Danyer Cueva, 2B/SS, 18, Single-A
32. Yerry Rodriguez*, RHP, 25, MLB
33. Cameron Cauley, 2B/SS, 19, Single-A
34. Blaine Crim, 1B, 25, Triple-A
This tier is heavy on pitchers and features a few who have already made their way to Arlington. Ragans and Rodriguez both debuted in 2022 but still qualify for prospect status based on their IP. Ragans, in particular, has overcome quite a bit of injury trouble and still has a shot at being a 4th or 5th starter. The two teenagers in this tier, Cueva and Cauley, both spent time at Single-A Down East with mixed results. Utility infielders are the likely ceiling for both. Crim had a terrific year in Double-A before a late season promotion and probably deserves to be a little higher on this list. But at age 25 and seemingly blocked at the MLB level, his future might be with another club. Keep an eye on Alejandro Osuna. The younger sibling of former closer Roberto Osuna needs to add a little more power and get more efficient on the base paths (32 steals in 47 attempts), but is young and still improving his game.
35. Trevor Hauver, OF, 24, Double-A
36. Cody Bradford, LHP, 24, Double-A
37. Davis Wendzel, 3B/SS, 25, Triple-A
38. Chris Seise, SS, 23, High-A
39. Marcus Smith, OF, 22, Single-A
40. Chase Lee, RHP, 24, Triple-A
41. Justin Slaten, RHP, 25, Double-A
42. Daniel Mateo, OF, 21, High-A
43. Jake Latz, LHP, 26, Triple-A
44. Zion Bannister, OF, 21, High-A
45. Ian Moller, C, 20, Single-A
46. David Garcia, C, 22, Double-A
47. Chandler Pollard, 2B, 18, Rookie (ACL)
48. Josh Gessner, RHP, 22, Single-A
49. Yosy Galan, OF, 21, Single-A
50. Jordy Arias, RHP, 17, Rookie (DSL)
This tier features a mix of several highly drafted players, some expensive international signings and a few acquired by trade. Hauver, acquired in the Joey Gallo trade, got his first taste of the AFL with mixed results. Two 2019 draft picks and fellow Baylor Bears, Wendzel and Bradford, took steps back in the rankings this year. The Rangers still have hope that Chase Lee will regain his 2021 form and he still has an outside chance at a bullpen job in 2023. Galan has all kinds of power, but has to learn some plate discipline and improve his hit tool to have a shot at progressing in this system. Remember the name Jordy Arias. He’s young but has ace-potential.
Byron Cox covers the AA Texas League for Prospects1500. From his home in Mckinney, Texas, he is only minutes away from the home park of the Frisco Roughriders, giving him many opportunities to watch the top prospects from his favorite team, the Rangers, along with many other top AA players. Byron was an original founder of RotoJunkie.com and is an avid fantasy baseball player to this day. He can be found on Twitter at