2018 Texas League Top 20 Prospects
For the first time since 2013, a team other than the Midland Athletics claimed the Texas League championship. Breaking up Midland’s streak of four consecutive TL titles was Tulsa, which lost last year’s best-of-five championship series in five games after jumping out to a 2-0 series lead.
This year, the Drillers once again established a 2-0 series lead, this time on San Antonio, before finishing off the sweep with a 5-2 win over the Missions in Game 3 of the championship series. It was Tulsa’s first TL title since 1998, which ended the league’s longest championship drought.
While Tulsa’s late-season triumph brought home the hardware, it was the Corpus Christi Hooks who were the Texas League’s best team during the regular season. Led by top Astros prospects such as Yordan Alvarez, Corbin Martin and Cionel Perez, Corpus Christi went 82-56 during the regular season, eight and a half games better than Tulsa’s 74-65 mark.
In terms of prospects, the Texas League stood out for its talented youth in 2018. The top two position prospects in the league—shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and catcher Keibert Ruiz—were also the only two 19-year-olds on Opening Day rosters in the TL, while Jesus Luzardo established himself as the top lefthanded pitching prospect in the minors at just 20 years old.
Just one year ago, righthanders Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty ranked among the top five prospects in the Texas League before establishing themselves as two of the top rookies in the majors this season. A similar path could be on the horizon for the likes of Tatis Jr. and Luzardo, both of whom rank inside the top 15 on Baseball America’s current Top 100 Prospects list.
This season also marked the final year of San Antonio’s relationship with the Texas League, as the Missions—which will no longer be affiliated with the Padres—will compete in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League beginning next season.