The list of candidates for the best Rangers minor leaguer in the first half was a short one. Not because the organization lacked talent, but because their best player would be a unanimous selection.
First baseman Curtis Terry has been that good, and he was knocking on the door for his major league debut.
Drafted in the 13th round in 2015 out of Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga., Terry hit for the cycle June 18 for Triple-A Round Rock to reinforce the Rangers’ internal thinking that he will be in the majors this summer.
“One, he is killing at the plate,” Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said. “He’s gotten better defensively. Just overall, from the professionalism and maturity standpoint, he’s probably grown as much as anybody in the system.”
To that end, Terry has started to call others in the Rangers’ system just to check up on them and maybe give them some encouragement. He’s doing that on his own, not because a coach or executive thought it might be a good idea.
Terry, 24, was fitting that in around the work he was doing at the plate, but especially on defense.
Terry’s righthanded bat has always been there, as it was in 2019 when the Rangers selected him as the organization’s minor league player of the year. This season he led Round Rock in just about every major offensive category.
It is his defense that has held him back. Terry is regarded as a good picker of balls in the dirt, but even in spring training this year, his first appearance at big league camp, he seemed to struggle ranging to balls.
He has improved his footwork under Round Rock manager Kenny Holmberg, who doubles as the minor league infield coordinator.
“You look at year in, year out, month in month out, he just produces, gets the job done,” Daniels said. “And the areas that we’ve challenged, he’s continued to work on. He’s really self-driven.”
— Righthander Joe Barlow, an 11th-round pick in 2016 from Salt Lake JC, became the latest reliever to get a chance at the majors. He tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in his big league debut on June 23. The 25-year-old was the Triple-A West saves leader when called up.
— Shortstop Maximo Acosta, the Rangers’ No. 7 prospect to start the season, missed all of minor league spring training with a nerve issue in his right arm, but he closed out extended spring training healthy and ready for the beginning of the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League season.