Texas Rangers: Top 10 Prospects

1. John Danks, lhp
2. Eric Hurley, rhp
3. Edinson Volquez, rhp
4. Thomas Diamond, rhp
5. John Mayberry Jr., of
6. Joaquin Arias, ss
7. Kasey Kiker, lhp
8. Nick Masset, rhp
9. Jason Botts, of/dh
10. Josh Rupe, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Joaquin Arias
Best Power Hitter John Mayberry Jr.
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Tug Hulett
Fastest Baserunner Freddy Guzman
Best Athlete John Mayberry Jr.
Best Fastball Eric Hurley
Best Curveball John Danks
Best Slider Josh Rupe
Best Changeup Edinson Volquez
Best Control Danny Ray Herrera
Best Defensive Catcher Taylor Teagarden
Best Defensive Infielder Joaquin Arias
Best Infield Arm Joaquin Arias
Best Defensive Outfielder Freddy Guzman
Best Outfield Arm John Mayberry Jr.
Catcher Gerald Laird
First Base Mark Teixeira
Second Base Ian Kinsler
Third Base Hank Blalock
Shortstop Michael Young
Left Field John Mayberry Jr.
Center Field Brad Wilkerson
Right Field Nelson Cruz
Designated Hitter Jason Botts
No. 1 Starter John Danks
No. 2 Starter Eric Hurley
No. 3 Starter Kevin Millwood
No. 4 Starter Edinson Volquez
No. 5 Starter Thomas Diamond
Closer Akinori Otsuka
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Danny Kolb, rhp Brewers
1998 Ruben Mateo, of Out of baseball
1999 Ruben Mateo, of Out of baseball
2000 Ruben Mateo, of Out of baseball
2001 Carlos Pena, 1b Red Sox
2002 Hank Blalock, 3b Rangers
2003 Mark Teixeira, 3b Rangers
2004 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b Padres
2005 Thomas Diamond, rhp Rangers
2006 Edison Volquez, rhp Rangers
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Jason Romano, 3b Devil Rays
1998 Carlos Pena, 1b Red Sox
1999 Colby Lewis, rhp Tigers
2000 Scott Heard, c Out of baseball
2001 Mark Teixeira, 3b Rangers
2002 Drew Meyer, ss Rangers
2003 John Danks, lhp Rangers
2004 Thomas Diamond, rhp Rangers
2005 John Mayberry Jr., of Rangers
2006 Kasey Kiker, lhp Rangers
Mark Teixeira, 2001 $4,500,000
John Danks, 2003 $2,100,000
Vincent Sinisi, 2003 $2,070,000
Thomas Diamond, 2004 $2,025,000
Drew Meyer, 2002 $1,875,000
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Texas Rangers

In his first year as Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels proved he wasn’t afraid to take risks. He also wasn’t willing to compromise his vision for the future of the franchise. That vision began to materialize in 2006, just perhaps not as quickly as Texas hoped.

With a potent offense, the Rangers hung around in the American League West race until the middle of the summer. They finished 80-82, good enough for third place, 13 games behind the division-winning Athletics. Afterward, Daniels fired manager Buck Showalter and replaced him with former Oakland bench coach Ron Washington.

As usual, Texas was undone by its lack of pitching. Kevin Millwood, who signed a five-year, $60 million free agent contract before the 2006 season, gave the Rangers a reliable workhorse at the front of their staff for the first time in years. Fellow Daniels acquisitions Vicente Padilla and Robinson Tejeda were solid for 47 starts between them, but the rest of the rotation was riddled with question marks.

Adam Eaton, acquired to be the No. 2 starter in a deal for Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez, was a major disappointment with a finger injury and departed for the Phillies as a free agent in November. Two other trade acquisitions, John Koronka and John Rheinecker, couldn’t get the job done. Edinson Volquez, No. 1 on this list a year ago, couldn’t adjust to the majors, and Kameron Loe couldn’t make the transition from reliever to starter.

If the Millwood and Padilla signings were a success and the Eaton trade a failure, the jury is still out on the two biggest deals Daniels made in his first year. Prior to the season, he shipped free-agent-to-be Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and minor league righthander Armando Galarraga. Soriano became the fourth member of the 40-40 club while Wilkerson and Galarraga were busts.

Just before the July trade deadline, Daniels picked up another pending free agent, Carlos Lee, and outfield prospect Nelson Cruz from the Brewers in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix and minor league righty Julian Cordero. Lee couldn’t put Texas over the top and signed with the Astros in November. Cruz could become the Rangers’ everyday right fielder in 2007.

Despite his willingness to make moves, Daniels refused to mortgage Texas’ pitching future. He did dangle some of his top pitching prospects in front of the Marlins in a potential Josh Beckett deal in November 2005, only to have his offer trumped by the Red Sox. Afterward, Daniels held on to John Danks, Eric Hurley, Volquez and Thomas Diamond. They continued their steady development under first-year farm director Scott Servais, though all four struggled at different points in the season.

It wasn’t a great year for Texas’ farm system, as several of its most heralded prospects (especially its position players) leveled off and the six U.S. affiliates combined for a .423 winning percentage-the worst mark in baseball. But a number of the Rangers’ 2006 draftees made impressive pro debuts, including lefthander Kasey Kiker (first round), shortstop Marcus Lemon (fourth) and outfielder/first baseman Chris Davis (fifth). Led by international scouting director A.J. Preller, Texas brought in another impressive haul in Latin America, highlighted by promising 16-year-old hurlers Wilmer Font and Geuris Grullon and 17-year-old third baseman/catcher Emmanuel Solis.