2018 Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects
|Rangers Top 10 Prospects|
|1. Willie Calhoun, OF/2B|
|2. Leody Taveras, OF|
|3. Hans Crouse, RHP|
|4. Cole Ragans, LHP|
|5. Yohander Mendez, LHP|
|6. Ronald Guzman, 1B|
|7. Kyle Cody, RHP|
|8. Miguel Aparicio, OF|
|9. Bubba Thompson, OF|
|10. Chris Seise, SS|
For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.
To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.
Notable Graduations: RHP Jose Leclerc (22).
SYSTEM OVERVIEWStrengths: While Willie Calhoun is ready to make an impact in 2018, the players in the system with the most upside are at the lower levels. Leody Taveras is a dynamic center fielder with exciting tools in the batter’s box and in the field. Righthander Hans Crouse, lefthander Cole Ragans, shortstop Chris Seise and outfielders Bubba Thompson and Miguel Aparicio are all Top 10 Prospects who have either little or no experience in full-season leagues.
Weaknesses: The Rangers have a promising young core of position players in Texas with Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, but they are light on prospects at the upper levels. Lefthander Yohander Mendez should help this year, but the arms with the highest ceilings in the organization won’t factor into the 2018 picture.
BEST TOOLS🔸Best Hitter for Average: Willie Calhoun. 🔸Best Power Hitter: Willie Calhoun. 🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Drew Robinson. 🔸Fastest Baserunner: Bubba Thompson. 🔸Best Athlete: Bubba Thompson. 🔸Best Fastball: Hans Crouse. 🔸Best Curveball: A.J. Alexy. 🔸Best Slider: Kyle Cody. 🔸Best Changeup: Yohander Mendez. 🔸Best Control: Collin Wiles. 🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Jose Trevino. 🔸Best Defensive INF: Michael De Leon. 🔸Best INF Arm: Anderson Tejeda. 🔸Best Defensive OF: Leody Taveras. 🔸Best OF Arm: Leody Taveras.
PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP
(Listed with 2021 season age)🔸C Matt Whatley (25) 🔸1B Ronald Guzman (26) 🔸2B Rougned Odor (27) 🔸3B Joey Gallo (27) 🔸SS Elvis Andrus (32) 🔸LF Miguel Aparicio (22) 🔸CF Leody Taveras (22) 🔸RF Nomar Mazara (26) 🔸DH Willie Calhoun (26) 🔸SP Hans Crouse (22) 🔸SP Cole Ragans (23) 🔸SP Cole Hamels (37) 🔸SP Yohander Mendez (26) 🔸SP Kyle Cody (26) 🔸CL Keone Kela (28)
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: SS Elvis Andrus (Rangers) | WAR: 28.8 🔸2009: RHP Neftali Feliz (Royals) | WAR: 7.5 🔸2010: RHP Neftali Feliz (Royals) | WAR: ** 🔸2011: LHP Martin Perez (Rangers) | WAR: 6.1 🔸2012: SS Jurickson Profar (Rangers) | WAR: 0.0 🔸2013: SS/2B Jurickson Profar (Rangers) | WAR: ** 🔸2014: 2B Rougned Odor (Rangers) | WAR: 4.2 🔸2015: 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers) | WAR: 3.3 🔸2016: 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers) | WAR: ** 🔸2017: OF Leody Taveras (Rangers) | Top 10
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: 1B Justin Smoak (Blue Jays) | WAR: 4.7 🔸2009: LHP Matt Purke (Did Not Sign, White Sox) | WAR: N/A 🔸2010: C Kellin Deglan (Yankees) | WAR: N/A 🔸2011: LHP Kevin Matthews (Braves) | WAR: N/A 🔸2012: OF Lewis Brinson (Brewers) | WAR: N/A 🔸2013: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (Rangers) | WAR: 0.4 🔸2014: RHP Luis Ortiz (Brewers) | WAR: N/A 🔸2015: RHP Dillon Tate (Yankees) | WAR: N/A 🔸2016: LHP Cole Ragans (Rangers) | Top 10 🔸2017: OF Bubba Thompson (Rangers) | Top 10
|1. Willie Calhoun, OF/2B 📹|
|BORN: Nov. 4, 1994|
|B-T: L-R| HT: 5-8 | WT: 195|
|DRAFTED: Yavapai (Ariz) JC, 2015 (4th round).|
|SIGNED BY: Dustin Yount (Dodgers).|
|MINORS (2 teams): .300/.355/.572 | 31 HR | 4 SB | 486 AB|
Scouting Report: Calhoun has a smaller, stocky frame, but frequent reminders he’s too small or too slow help fuel his motivation. Calhoun is one of the most talented hitting prospects in game, with an outstanding combination of barrel control and power. He has great rhythm and balance in the batter’s box, quick hands and powerful hip rotation. He has good hand-eye coordination and a compact swing that stays on plane through the hitting zone for a long time. He has great plate coverage, with little problem handling premium velocity or barreling breaking pitches. He seldom swings and misses and struck out just 11 percent of the time at Triple-A. He hit 32 home runs in 2017 and could be a 35-plus home run threat in the big leagues. Calhoun’s stature gives him a smaller strike zone to cover, and he doesn’t expand it by chasing much. He tried playing second base with the Dodgers, but he’s a well below-average runner with a below-average arm who didn’t show much range at the position and often struggled to make routine plays. Calhoun showed some signs of progress in 2017, but in June the Dodgers started getting him work in left field. After joining the Rangers, Calhoun played left field almost exclusively.
🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 30. Field: 30. Arm: 40.The Future: The Rangers still plan to give Calhoun reps at second base, but Rougned Odor will force him to develop into an adequate left fielder. Calhoun will either DH or give away some runs with his defense, but he will create plenty of them with his bat. He’s ready for an everyday job in Texas.
|2. Leody Taveras, OF 📹|
|BORN: Sept. 8, 1998|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 185|
|SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2015|
|SIGNED BY: Willy Espinal/Gil Kim/Thad Levine.|
|MINORS: .249/.312/.360 | 8 HR | 20 SB | 522 AB|
Scouting Report: Taveras has a chance for five average to plus tools at a premium position. He has a simple, balanced swing from both sides, uses his hands well to generate bat speed and has a clean swing path. Taveras makes frequent contact and stays through the ball well, which allows him to use the whole field, and he could develop into a plus hitter. His strike-zone discipline continued to improve in 2017, and he started to flash more pop, with a lean, projectable frame that should help him develop average power. Taveras glides around center field with plus speed, good instincts and quick reads off the bat to go with a plus arm that is accurate.
The Future: Taveras has more risk than Willie Calhoun and is still a few years away, but if it all comes together he has a shot to be a cornerstone player. His aggressive path will continue in 2018 at high Class A Down East.
|3. Hans Crouse, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Sept. 15, 1998|
|B-T: L-R| HT: 6-4 | WT: 180|
|DRAFTED: HS—Dana Point, Calif., 2017 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Steve Flores|
|MINORS (2 teams): 0-0, 0.45 ERA | 30 SO | 7 BB | 20 IP|
Scouting Report: Crouse has the most upside of any pitcher in the Rangers’ organization. He has great arm speed on a power fastball that sits 93-96 mph and can reach 99. His slider has tight spin, sharp bite and two-plane depth, giving him a putaway pitch. Crouse didn’t throw his firm changeup much in high school so it’s still below-average, but it shows promise with its late fading action. Crouse’s delivery certainly isn’t free and easy, with long arm action, a short stride and a violent finish across his body. However, he repeats his arm slot well and is able to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate.
The Future: Crouse has frontline starter potential, though he’s at least a few years away from reaching the majors. Low Class A Hickory is next.
|4. Cole Ragans, LHP 📹|
|BORN: Dec. 12, 1997|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-4 | WT: 195|
|DRAFTED: HS—Tallahassee, Fla., 2016 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Brett Campbell|
|MINORS: 3-2, 3.61 ERA | 87 SO | 35 BB | 57.1 IP|
Scouting Report: Hitters frequently find themselves off balance against Ragans, who throws off their timing with a promising fastball/changeup combination. He throws his fastball at 89-93 mph and touches 95 with solid velocity from the left side. Ragans’ fastball plays up because of its life, and his high spin rate allows him to get swinging strikes when he elevates. He fools batters with a plus changeup in the low 80s that has excellent separation off of his fastball. His curveball was more of a weapon in high school, but it’s now a fringe-average pitch that’s soft and sometimes loopy that he needs to tighten. Ragans creates good angle and hides the ball well in his delivery by keeping his front side closed, but he has to do a better job of repeating his mechanics because his control lags behind.
The Future: Ragans has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter if he can throw more strikes. He’s ready for his first full-season test at low Class A Hickory.
|5. Yohander Mendez, LHP|
|BORN: Jan. 17, 1995|
|B-T: L-L. | HT: 6-5 | WT: 200|
|SIGNED: Venezuela, 2011.|
|SIGNED BY: Rafic Saab/Pedro Avila/Mike Daly.|
|MINORS: 7-8, 3.79 ERA | 124 SO | 43 BB | 138 AB|
Scouting Report: Mendez’s bread-and-butter is his 80-84 mph changeup, a plus pitch he relies on heavily to catch hitters leaning out front for either a whiff or soft contact. For Mendez’s first 10 starts of the season, the Rangers told him he couldn’t throw his changeup until he got to a two-strike count. He already had good control, but the Rangers wanted to emphasize hitting his spots with his 90-95 mph fastball. The plan worked. Mendez threw more strikes and missed even more bats in the second half. He throws a fringe-average slider and an occasional curveball that is below-average.
The Future: Mendez showed promising signs that he can handle a starter’s workload. He should compete for a spot in the Rangers’ rotation in 2018 and could settle in as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
|6. Ronald Guzman, 1B 📹|
|BORN: Oct. 20, 1994|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-6 | WT: 220|
|SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2011|
|SIGNED BY: Willy Espinal/Mike Daly.|
|MINORS: .298/.372/.434 | 12 HR | 4 SB | 470 AB|
Scouting Report: Guzman has a huge frame but a hit-over-power profile. Earlier in his career, he got himself in trouble when he got away from his strengths and tried to yank the ball for power, but in 2017 he stayed with a balanced, all-fields approach. Gaining more hitting knowledge has helped, as has learning how to keep his long limbs in sync. Guzman has a big strike zone to cover but doesn’t swing and miss much and has a sound eye for discerning balls and strikes. Guzman has average raw power and has never hit more than 16 home runs in a minor league season. He has made significant defensive strides at first base, where he turns errant throws from his infielders into outs, but his range and mobility are limited.
The Future: Guzman could end up starting 2018 back in Triple-A but should make his major league debut at some point during the season.
|7. Kyle Cody, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Aug. 9, 1994|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-7 | WT: 245|
|DRAFTED: Kentucky, 2016 (6th round)|
|SIGNED BY: Mike Medici|
|MINORS (2 teams): 9-6, 2.64 ERA | 136 SO | 43 BB | 126 IP|
Scouting Report: Cody has an extra-large frame at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds and pounds the ball downhill with a lively fastball from 93-97 mph. He has a plus slider that comes out of his hand looking like a fastball until it snaps off at the end with late tilt and sharp action. Cody could lean heavily on his slider to get outs at the lower levels, but the Rangers instead forced him to pitch only with his fastball the first time through the order early in the season to help him improve his fastball command and learn how to attack hitters. They took off those restrictions in the second half, and Cody posted a 1.32 ERA with a 76-to-20 strikeout-to-walk mark over 61.1 innings in his final 10 starts. His changeup improved in 2017, but it’s still a fringe-average pitch.
The Future: Cody has the stuff to become a No. 3 or 4 starter. He likely will return to high Class A Down East to begin 2018, but he should be in the upper levels soon and be ready to help the major league club in 2019.
|8. Miguel Aparicio, OF 📹|
|BORN: March 7, 1999|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-0 | WT: 180|
|SIGNED: Venezuela, 2015|
|SIGNED BY: Jhonny Gomez/Rafic Saab.|
|MINORS (2 teams): .266/.315/.361 | 4 HR | 3 SB | 379 AB|
Scouting Report: Aparicio’s all-around game awareness is well beyond his years. His speed and arm strength are both fringe-average, but even without explosive athleticism he can handle center field because of his top-shelf instincts. Other center fielders have more closing speed, but Aparicio has a quick first step, gets excellent jumps off the bat and takes sharp routes to the ball. Aparicio is a high-contact hitter with good hand-eye coordination and a short, efficient swing. He gained more awareness of the timing with his leg kick as the season progressed and showed a line-drive, all-fields approach. His power mostly goes for doubles right now, with a chance to grow into 10-15 homers.
The Future: Aparicio is ready to return to Hickory in 2018. He could develop into an everyday center fielder along the lines of Gerardo Parra, albeit with less arm strength.
|9. Bubba Thompson, OF 📹|
|BORN: June 9, 1998|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-2 | WT: 180|
|DRAFTED: HS—Mobile, Ala., 2017 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Brian Morrison|
|MINORS: .257/.317/.434 | 3 HR | 5 SB | 113 AB|
Scouting Report: Thompson was a standout quarterback in high school who is now committed to baseball full-time. With broad shoulders and a high waist, he is a plus-plus runner with a plus arm who projects as a center fielder, though his reads and routes off the bat need improvement. Thompson has plus bat speed and average raw power, but he has a lot of work to do to smooth things out at the plate. He has an aggressive approach and will swing and miss, though he kept that manageable in his pro debut.
The Future: Thompson probably won’t fly through the system, but he has some of the best tools in the organization at a premium position—if everything clicks. He has a chance to see low Class A Hickory in 2018.
|10. Chris Seise, SS 📹|
|BORN: Jan. 6, 1999|
|B-T: B-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 185|
|DRAFTED: HS—Winter Garden, Fla., 2017 (1st round)|
|SIGNED BY: Brett Campbell|
|MINORS (2 teams): .284/.330/.400 | 3 HR | 6 SB | 215 AB|
Scouting Report: Seise is a gifted defender with quick feet, soft hands and a plus arm. A tick above-average runner, he is an instinctive shortstop with a nose for the ball and good range to both sides. There is more risk in Seise’s hitting ability, which he showed by striking out at a 26 percent rate in his pro debut. Seise has to improve his balance and timing at the plate to make more frequent contact, but he has good pop for the position. When he connects, it’s usually loud contact, with average raw power that could tick up with physical maturity.
The Future: If Seise can keep his strikeout rate manageable, he could develop into an everyday shortstop with good defense and power. He should make his full-season debut in 2018 at low Class A Hickory.
Baseball America Q&A: Cody Atkinson (Part 2)
We sent Atkinson video of three Rangers prospects -- Bubba Thompson, Sam Huff, Sherten Apostel -- and asked for his analysis.