With two of the top prospects in all of baseball, and a few high-ceiling projects in the works, Texas' system remains strong.
My Top 10
1. Jurickson Profar SS
2. Mike Olt 3B/1B
3. Martin Perez SP
4. Lewis Brinson OF
5. Leonys Martin OF
6. Cody Buckel SP
7. Luke Jackson SP
8. Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF
9. Justin Grimm SP
10. Luis Sardinas SS
Jurickson Profar SS
Age by 4/1/2013: 20
Notes: What more can I say that hasn't already been said about Profar? At age 20, he'd be an everyday shortstop for most teams in the big leagues, but is blocked currently by Elvis Andrus. Profar has some power, some speed, an advanced idea of what he's doing at the plate, and above average defense that has room to be even better.
With my own eyes (video): Easy, fluid mechanics. He knows when to try to extend on a ball and when to shorten up.
Upside: He becomes the best all-around shortstop in baseball.
Downside: Maybe his bat just doesn't fully translate at the big league level and he's a .265 hitter who still draws a good amount of walks and adds value on defense.
Fantasy potential: Could be a perennial first rounder.
Mike Olt 3B
Age by 4/1 2013: 24
Notes: Power and plate discipline are two of Olt's best atributes, though he does swing-and-miss a bit too often and does not project as as having much value on defense. Then again, the Rangers had no issue running Michael Young out to the field, so you have that.
With my own eyes (live): The only criticism I have is that his swing can tend to get long at times. He really rotates his hips well and utilizes his big upper-body strength.
Upside: An above average on-base and power hitter at a premium position.
Downside: Swing length leads to too many strikeouts at the big league level and he isn't good enough defensively to stick at third, lowering his value even more.
Fantasy potential: Could be a top three round pick if everything comes together. If not, he should still hit enough home runs to find his way onto mixed league rosters.
Martin Perez SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 21
Notes: Look past the numbers for a second and think about why the Rangers gave Perez 38 big league innings this season at age 21. His pure stuff is still incredibly good, but he has a long way to go in terms of learning how to harness and maximize each offering. Think of it this way: on this day three years from now, he'll still only be 24 with all of that development time in between.
With my own eyes (video): I've heard some comps to Johan Santana, but I think Perez has better arm action.
Upside: If he learns to harness his pure stuff, he could be a very solid #2 starter.
Downside: He continues to put up unimpressive numbers and can't develop offspeed offerings, leaving him to the back-end of the rotation.
Fantasy potential: There is quite a gap between his upside and downside. He's still worth a keeper league investment if you have the roster space.
Lewis Brinson OF
Age by 4/1/2013: 18
Notes: Speed, power, good defensive instincts and plenty of time to develop. Brinson has an extremely solid base to work from and the overall projectability to be a star.
With my own eyes (video): From what I've watched, I must say that I am impressed with Brinson's swing. He keeps his hands high with only a slight load backward. At some point -- and this might have happened already -- the Rangers will likely work to lower his leg kick and keep his weight shift from being as exaggerated as it looks on film.
Upside: You like five-tool centerfielders?
Downside: Strikeouts continue to be an issue, limiting his impact.
Fantasy potential: While there is a long-long way to go, dynasty leaguers should give Brinson some serious consideration.
MLB Regular Potential
Leonys Martin OF
Age by 4/1/2013: 25
Notes: I'm not a huge Leonys Martin fan. To me, he has the potential to become an excellent outfielder, but without the offensive impact of a star. It's his defense and likelihood that he's a solid bet to be an everyday big leaguer that he is ranked where he is.
With my own eyes (video): HIs bat head points toward the pitcher's mound as he loads his hands into attack position. This causes his swing path to be a bit slower than is ideal for his skill-set.
Upside: .290/.345/.475 with around 20 homers and 20 steals per season while providing a ton of defensive value.
Downside: The hit tool ends up not being anything special: .270/.320/.440.
Fantasy potential: 20/20 potential is always intriguing, but I wouldn't bet too much money if I were in Vegas (and I'm not).
Cody Buckel SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 20
Notes: Buckel may not look the part (a slim 6 feet tall), but he has a tremendous feel for the strike-zone and knows how to use all four of his offerings.
With my own eyes (video): Good balance and mechanics that he can learn to repeat with ease. His follow through looks a bit exaggerated, but that probably has to do with his stature.
Upside: #3 starter that relies on excellent deception.
Downside: Size and effort in his delivery lead to some injury concerns. His lack of a plus fastball might hinder success at the higher levels.
Fantasy potential: It's all about whether or not he can maintain above average strikeout rates. I'll bet slightly against him maintaining his current level of strikeout performance.
Luke Jackson SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 21
Notes: Since I have not seen him throw, I'm basing this ranking off of the reports of trusted sources.
With my own eyes (video): Have not seen him pitch.
Upside: Reports indicate that if he develops his offspeed stuff and improves his control/command, that he could end up as high as a #2 starter.
Downside: Bullpen arm, albeit one that could work in the late innings.
Fantasy potential: Above average if his raw skills are developed properly.
Role Player Potential
Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF
Age by 4/1/2013: 18
Notes: The numbers Gallo put up in 43 Rookie-Ball games are impressive (18 homers and 37 walks in 198 plate-appearances). However, he also showed a propensity to swing and miss quite often. Reviews of his defense are not optimistic.
With my own eyes (video): Tends to get his hands started through the zone a bit late, as he looks like he is "muscling up" a bit before driving the bat through the zone. At least he's young enough to make the adjustment.
Upside: Youth and raw power help him translate into 30-plus home runs per season with above average on-base skills.
Downside: Too many swings-and-misses and struggles against advanced left-handed pitching keep him from making the big leagues.
Fantasy potential: 30 home run bats always find a home on a fantasy roster. However, there is plenty for Gallo to overcome before getting there.
Justin Grimm SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 24
Notes: Reports of his hard work ethic add to numbers that indicate a good sense of command of his three pitches. Grimm's curve could become a true out pitch, but so far he has not proven to have a ton of strikeout potential.
With my own eyes (video): Long arms give Grimm good extension and he doesn't need to max-out effort to throw 90-93 mph. I'd like to see more movement on his fastball though.
Upside: #3-4 starter with ERAs in the high 3s, low 4s.
Downside: Lack of strikeout ability leads him to a bullpen role, where he does not have late-inning potential.
Fantasy potential: Minimal in mixed leagues.
Luis Sardinas SS
Age by 4/1/2013: 19
Notes: Injuries have already been a major issue in the young career of Sardinas. When healthy, he has shown potential to be a big value on defense with speed to steal around 30 bases per season.
With my own eyes (video): Extremely level swing, but it's also not as quick as I would expect from his skill-set. He also lunges forward way too drastically, even when ahead in the count.
Upside: Great defense and enough contact ability to maximize plus speed and hit .300/.350
Downside: Over-aggressiveness at the plate leaves him as a defensive minded shortstop with little value at the plate.
Fantasy potential: 30 stolen bases from a shortstop will give him some value even if his bat doesn't translate.
About the author: Charlie Saponara is a former college baseball player who has coached at the high school and collegiate levels. He currently works for the Visalia Rawhide, high-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. You can find examples of his scouting reports from Project Prospect here (Mike Trout), here (Tyler Skaggs), and here (Billy Hamilton).
Rangers on TOC
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2013 Season Preview
You May Say I’m a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question
This Is My Nightmare
Top Ten Prospects