Texas Rangers: Top 10 Prospects

Texas Rangers




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

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Aaron Fitt
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Elvis Andruz, ss
2. Chris Davis, 3b
3. Eric Hurley, rhp
4. Taylor Teagarden, c
5. Neftali Feliz, rhp
6. Michael Main, rhp
7. Kasey Kiker, lhp
8. Blake Beavan, rhp
9. Julio Borbon, of
10. Engel Beltre, of
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average German Duran
Best Power Hitter Chris Davis
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Johnny Whittleman
Fastest Baserunner Jose Vallejo
Best Athlete Michael Main
Best Fastball Neftali Feliz
Best Curveball Neil Ramirez
Best Slider Eric Hurley
Best Changeup Kasey Kiker
Best Control Matt Harrison
Best Defensive Catcher Taylor Teagarden
Best Defensive Infielder Elvis Andrus
Best Infield Arm Elvis Andrus
Best Defensive Outfielder Julio Borbon
Best Outfield Arm Engel Beltre
PROJECTED 2011
LINEUP
Catcher Taylor Teagarden
First Base Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Second Base Michael Young
Third Base Chris Davis
Shortstop Elvis Andrus
Left Field Engel Beltre
Center Field Julio Borbon
Right Field Josh Hamilton
Designated Hitter Ian Kinsler
No. 1 Starter Eric Hurley
No. 2 Starter Neftali Feliz
No. 3 Starter Michael Main
No. 4 Starter Blake Beavan
No. 5 Starter Brandon McCarthy
Closer Kasey Kiker
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Ruben Mateo, of Brewers
1999 Ruben Mateo, of Brewers
2000 Ruben Mateo, of Brewers
2001 Carlos Pena, 1b Rays
2002 Hank Blalock, 3b Rangers
2003 Mark Teixeira, 3b Braves
2004 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b Padres
2005 Thomas Diamond, rhp Rangers
2006 Edinson Volquez, rhp Rangers
2007 John Danks, lhp White Sox
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Carlos Pena, 1b Rays
1999 Colby Lewis, rhp Athletics
2000 Scott Heard, c Out of baseball
2001 Mark Teixeira, 3b Braves
2002 Drew Meyer, ss Rangers
2003 John Danks, lhp White Sox
2004 Thomas Diamond, rhp Rangers
2005 John Mayberry Jr., of Rangers
2006 Kasey Kiker, lhp Rangers
2007 Blake Beavan, rhp Rangers
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Mark Teixeira, 2001 $4,500,000
John Danks, 2003 $2,100,000
Vicent Sinsi, 2003 $2,070,000
Thomas Diamond, 2004 $2,025,000
Drew Meyer, 2002 $1,875,000
RANGERS
LINKS
Rangers' Team Page
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2007 Draft: Rangers (Basic Database)
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Texas Rangers

As it became apparent the Rangers were going to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season in 2007, second-year general manager Jon Daniels faced some tough decisions, and he ultimately embraced a true commitment to rebuilding the organization from the ground up.

Texas limped out of the gates under first-year manager Ron Washington, finding itself in last place and 51⁄2 games back of the first-place Angels by the end of April. By the end of May, the Rangers trailed by 131⁄2 games, and when the deficit had stretched to 161⁄2 games by the end of June, Daniels had little choice but to look toward the future.

That meant trading franchise cornerstone Mark Teixeira to maximize the return for a player who faces free agency after the 2008 season. He did just that by shipping Teixeira to the Braves along with lefthander Ron Mahay for a bounty of five highly regarded prospects: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, righthander Neftali Feliz and lefties Matt Harrison and Beau Jones.

Texas went even further by moving Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton to the Red Sox and Indians, bringing back more prospects in outfielders Engel Beltre and David Murphy and catcher Max Ramirez, plus a young big league lefty in Kason Gabbard.

Those three deals highlighted the dramatic overhaul of the farm system, and what had been one of baseball's thinnest organization's is now one of its most talented.

The system's transformation was augmented by strong work in the draft by scouting director Ron Hopkins and his staff. The Rangers had five picks before the second round, which they used on a trio of high-upside prep righthanders (Blake Beavan, Michael Main and Neil Ramirez), a safe college righty (Tommy Hunter) and a college center fielder who could be the team's leadoff man of the future (Julio Borbon). And as usual, the Rangers were active in the Latin American market under international scouting director A.J. Preller, landing a solid crop led by Venezuelan lefthander Martin Perez.

The net result is greatly improved minor league depth, particularly on the mound. Developing impact pitchers long has been a challenge for the Rangers, whose 4.75 major league team ERA ranked 24th in baseball in 2007. Now a majority of their top prospects are pitchers, giving some reason for optimism. However, much of the high-ceiling talent remains in the lower levels of the minors, so it will take another couple of years before the Rangers will start seeing dividends in Arlington.

The Rangers expect to continue their rebuilding process in 2008, field a competitive team by 2009 and make a serious playoff run in 2010. In addition to the foundation in the farm system, Texas has whom it regards as a few core players to build around at the big league level, including outfielder Josh Hamilton (brought over in an offseason trade with the Reds for righthander Edinson Volquez), second baseman Ian Kinsler, righthander Brandon McCarthy, Saltalamacchia and shortstop Michael Young. The most significant major league bright spot from a gloomy 2007, Young recorded his fifth straight 200-hit season. Since 1940, only Young, Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki have accomplished that feat.

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