2021-22 International Reviews: Texas Rangers

Image credit: Jose De Jesus

The Rangers looked like they were going to bring in a solid class this year. It got even better when they were able to add one of the top players in Latin America who originally looked like he was headed elsewhere, along with a mix of intriguing hitters deeper down their class. 

Top Of The Class

Venezuelan outfielder Anthony Gutierrez became eligible to sign when the 2021-22 international signing period opened on Jan. 15, 2022, but the initial plan was to wait another year for the bonus pools to reset and sign with the Nationals, who had already committed most of their 2021-22 pool space to Cuban outfielder Cristhian Vaquero. Instead, Gutierrez chose to sign in January 2022, making him the headliner of the Rangers’ international class. Gutierrez is an athletic, power-hitting outfielder with an impressive package of tools across the board. Power is his best tool, showing flashes of plus raw power, with plenty of space to fill out his lanky, broad-shouldered frame to add more strength. While there was some length to Gutierrez’s swing early on, scouts highest on him liked his ability to recognize spin, square up good velocity and think he could be a fast mover. He’s an athletic mover in center field with slightly above-average speed underway and a good gait, though as he fills out he likely will slow down and slide over to a corner. With good defensive instincts and a plus arm, Gutierrez has the attributes to develop into a plus fielder in right field.

A wiry 6-foot, 165-pound center fielder from the Dominican Republic, Jose De Jesus is a good athlete with the plus-plus speed and strong gait that lends itself to good range in center field. He could develop into a plus defender in center fielder, with an arm that has improved but is still below-average. De Jesus got faster and stronger over the scouting process. He’s not a slugger, but he is a switch-hitter who has started to drive the ball better, with a little more impact from the right side. There was a split camp on his hitting ability, with some scouts noting swing-and-miss risk, though others thought his feel for the strike zone would enhance his chances for things to click at the plate. 

Names To Know

Daniel Bruzual, C, Venezuela: Bruzual was an offensive-oriented shortstop who didn’t have much speed or range to project at the position, but he moved behind the plate in a transition that looks like it will stick. Bruzual’s greatest strengths, though, are in the batter’s box. He’s 6 feet, 170 pounds with a short swing that stays inside the ball well. He has an aggressive approach and excellent bat control, making contact in and out of the strike zone, driving the ball well to all fields with strong game performance as an amateur. On defense, Bruzual has a strong arm and the work he has put in on his catching is evident as well. 

Jesus Lopez, C, Venezuela: While Bruzual stands out for his hitting ability, Lopez is more of a defense-first catcher. He’s agile and flexible behind the plate, receiving pitches well with soft hands to go with an above-average arm. He’s a lefthanded hitter with solid path through the zone and occasional doubles power.

Marcos Torres, OF, Venezuela: Torres is a lefthanded outfielder who can whip the barrel through the zone with impressive bat speed. He’s 6 feet, 165 pounds with a loose, snappy swing to drive the ball with impact for his age. Torres could see time in center field, though with his build he could migrate to a corner.

Wady Mendez, OF, Dominican Republic: Mendez is a true center fielder, turning in a 6.5-second time in the 60-yard dash with good range and instincts to go with an above-average arm. He’s a line-drive, contact-oriented hitter with gap power. 

Sleeper Watch

Dominican infielder Echedry Vargas was only a $10,000 signing, but his offensive ability is advanced enough where he could be hitting in the middle of a lineup this year in the Dominican Summer League. He shows hitterish tendencies with natural feel for the barrel and a chance to hit for more power down the road. Where he plays is still to be determined, but he has improved in the field and has a chance for third or second base.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone