BEST PLAYER: Triple-A Round Rock third baseman Joey Gallo entered the season as the system’s top prospect and has stayed true to the ranking with his first-half performance. He has also stayed true to his career track record, which shows that he has always fared better in his second season at a each level.
He struggled at Triple-A in 2015, batting .195 with 90 strikeouts in 200 at-bats after being optioned from the big league club. This season, though, Gallo said he understands how he is going to be pitched to—or not pitched to. He hit .256/.391/.583 with 14 homers through 48 games this season.
Gallo, the 2012 sandwich pick from high school in Las Vegas, is also playing more first base, which could be his big league position in 2017. Adrian Beltre is under contract through 2018, blocking Gallo from third base, but Gallo could find an opening on the other infield corner.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: Double-A Frisco righthander Connor Sadzeck was hardly unknown entering the season. He had a spot on the 40-man roster and a 102 mph fastball. Unknown, though, was how he would handle another a return to Double-A after posting mostly poor results in 2015 in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
What Sadzeck, an 11th-round pick in 2011 from Howard (Texas) JC, has shown has impressed the Rangers to the point that he was considered for a spot start in late June when Yu Darvish hit the disabled list.
Sadzeck has learned how to pitch. He still has upper-90s velocity he can call upon, but he has been working in lower registers to better help him throw strikes. He went 6-2, 3.51 with 72 strikeouts through 82 innings.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Frisco center fielder Lewis Brinson has been a victim of two injuries in the first half and by the successes of Gallo and Nomar Mazara.
Gallo, Brinson and Mazara have been together since 2011, and each excelled during spring training. Brinson, though, hasn’t been able to keep pace. He remains highly regarded for his tools and upside while still only 22.
The 2012 first-rounder from high school in Coral Springs, Fla., hit just .219/.273/.417 in 52 games before he hit the DL again in mid-June, but at least he produced plenty of power with 20 extra-base hits. His strikeout rate wasn’t alarming, but he had drawn just 13 walks.