Only one player remains in the organization from the 2018 trade of Cole Hamels to the Cubs, and it is the player to be named at that.
The Rangers took their time before deciding they wanted outfielder Alexander Ovalles to complete the deal. He was 17 at the time and had just finished playing in the Dominican Summer League, so he was barely a blip on prospect radar screens.
That’s not the case anymore.
Ovalles’ first U.S. season was a success, first with a productive stint in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he hit .377/.437/.623 in 25 games, before he finished the season on the upswing at short-season Spokane.
The Rangers liked what they saw from the lefthanded hitter.
“He’s a bat-first guy,” director of minor league operations Paul Kruger said. “He has a knack for finding the barrel and really doing damage when he makes contact.”
Ovalles, who signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, has the arm strength to play right field, but his hitting doesn’t yet profile for the position.
His power isn’t fully developed at age 18, which was evident after his promotion to the Northwest League. He hit .187/.250/.319 but eight of his 17 hits went for extra bases.
“It’s not a huge power look, but he has the ability to understand the strike zone,” Kruger said. “His bat-to-ball skills are up there with anybody in our organization.”
The Rangers have a generous supply of outfield prospects, a group that was upgraded with the addition of 16-year-old Dominican slugger Bayron Lora this July, and Ovalles could be on the verge of joining them.
— The Rangers held a two-week futures camp at Double-A Frisco and Globe Life Park that ended Oct. 6. Many of the Rangers’ top prospects, including 2019 first-rounder Josh Jung, taken eighth overall out of Texas Tech, spent the final week of the major league season around the Rangers to get a sense of big league life.
— Righthander Hans Crouse had surgery Oct. 2 in Arlington to have a bone spur removed from his right elbow. A second-round pick in 2017 out of high school, Crouse pitched a full season at low Class A Hickory. He logged 87.2 innings and posted a 4.41 ERA, but the bone spur prevented him from throwing his slider much.