Texas Rangers 2022 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: Josh Jung (Photo by Zachary Lucy/Four Seam)

Following today’s release of our new Rangers Top 10, Josh Norris answered your questions below. 


Josh Norris: It’s chat time. Let’s chat.

Kyle Weatherly (Timmonsville, South Carolina):

     How likely do you think it is that Leiter reaches his potential as a frontline SP?

Josh Norris: I think he has a good shot at it, especially given the pedigree that usually comes with pitching at Vanderbilt. There’s a long way to go, obviously, but he’s got a really good chance to be near the top of the rotation in Texas.

Warren (New London):

     How worried are you about Evan Carter’s back injury? Do you buy the comparison that has been made to Brandon Nimmo (by me, in a BA chat with Ben Badler back around June, but I’ve seen it elsewhere since then)? If not, is there someone else that you think works better?

Josh Norris: Carter at last check was working out with other Rangers prospects in a camp at the spring training complex in Arizona, so I expect he’ll be ready to go come spring training. Back injuries are always somewhat tricky, but it sounds like he’s come through it OK. As for the second part of your question, I am just not a person who does comps.


     Can you please explain why Evan Carter is ranked 8th but has a 55 grade and the 4 guys ahead of him have 50 grades. I am guessing it is based on injury and risk, but shouldn’t that be factored into the 55 rating? So shouldn’t he be 4th overall not 8th? I like this list a lot, especially excited about Harris and Carter

Josh Norris: Extreme grades in our system come with 15 points of risk adjustment. High grades come with 10 points of risk adjustment. Thus the 50/Highs ahead of Carter are equal in grade to the 55/Extreme. The Rangers are quite high on Carter, and his selection is looking like quite a steal and a phenomenal job by the amateur scouting department.


     Hi there, I was a little surprised to see Maximo Acosta missing from the top 10. I know he had health issues, where are you at on him now? Do the Gleyber Torres comparisons still seem apt?

Josh Norris: Yeah, it’s the health issues for me. That surgery is scary, and he’s also got a ton of really talented players above him right now, including a host of middle infielders and the fast-rising Owen White.


     Who should we keep an eye on for a break out in 2022?

Josh Norris: Ricky Vanasco. The righthander is coming off of Tommy John surgery but showed huge stuff in instructional league and the Texas PD/FO is very, very excited about what he could do next year. I also love Tekoah Roby. He can spin a breaking ball like nobody’s business, has a really excellent fastball and the kind of attitude on the mound that his fans will love and his opponents will hate.

Micah (Sacramento, CA):

     I noticed Spencer Howard wasn’t in your projected 2025 starting rotation. Is he a lost cause in your opinion? He’s been a major disappointment, what’s been plaguing him?

Josh Norris: No, I do not believe Spencer Howard is a lost cause. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him there, but the dudes in front of him—Gray, Leiter, Winn, White and Dunning—all have pretty good cases, too. Like the Marlins, there’s a lot of really intriguing choices ahead as far as the rotation is concerned.

Ted (NC):

     Bubba Thompson had a terrible 2019 with a wrist injury, otherwise he seemed to be back on track this year. Do you think he gets a chance with Texas in the next 2 years?

Josh Norris: I love the tools, but he really needs to cut his strikeouts. The 4-to-1 K-to-BB he showed this year will hold him back without further improvement.

Jacob T (Tempe, AZ):

     Is Cam Cauley a name that can jump into the T10 next year? How do the Rangers see his bat going forward?

Josh Norris: I’d be surprised if he is in the T10 next year based on the number of prospects in front of him and their relative youth (which means they’ll still be prospect-eligible next season). Also, scouts who saw him this year were a bit concerned that his body is mostly filled out and ultimately won’t be able to help him generate a ton of power.

Steven C (Austin, TX):

     Danyer Cueva and Yeison Morrobel were among some of the youngest players invited to instructs. Any buzz relating to two of the big $ signings from last class? Thanks!

Josh Norris: Both of those dudes made my T30, and I’m especially intrigued by Morrobel, who walked more than he struck out in his pro debut (always a sign that raises my eyebrows). The Rangers may tweak his swing a little bit, but there’s plenty of upside remaining and he should be one to watch next year in the ACL.

John (NJ):

     Thanks for the chat! Coupled with his career numbers and lost 2020 season, what was the deciding factor in ranking Harris #5? What clicked for him?

Josh Norris: Dude can really freaking hit. Even the Rangers were surprised by what he showed, and some admit that he wasn’t even the primary player in the Minor deal. He’s got a swing geared for contact, a knack for finding the barrel and showed a really intriguing combo of contact and burgeoning power.

Erik (Chicago):

     Midseason update had Ronny Henriquez at 29th in Rangers system and said he could maybe become a back of the rotation guy. Is this still the outlook for him or did his 2021 performance push him out of the Rangers top 30?

Josh Norris: He’s still in the Top 30 on the strength of an arsenal (especially his fastball) with really enticing analytical traits. He needs his offspeed pitches and overall command and control to come forward, but that fastball kept him in the 30.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Hi Josh. Thanks for the chat. Duran and Dustin Harris both appear to be bat first prospects. Thinking it was pretty close as to who was 4 and 5 ranked? Looking at Harris’ stats, he has always hit. But his stock rose out of nowhere last year with his performance in A ball leagues. If he continues to hit like he did in 2021, how high does he rise in the Top 100? Just how good do you see him for the future? He is blocked at 1B & 3B. Will the Rangers find a place for him in their OF sooner than later? I really like him. But I’m not a scout nor do I work for BA.

Josh Norris: Duran has more defensive value and power than Harris, but in earlier iterations of this list I had Harris above Duran. He should start getting outfield reps since he’s not likely to stick at third base and a first base-only profile puts even more pressure on his bat to be even better than it already is.

Matt (Oklahoma):

     What player currently not in the top 10 would you say is the most likely to be there this time next year?

Josh Norris: 1. Ricky Vanasco 2. Tekoah Roby 3. Yeison Morrobel 4. Aaron Zavala

Raul (Mesa, Az.):

     Hi Josh, what have you heard about Emiliano Teodo? I saw him in one rookie ball game and a scout told me he was throwing 101 MPH. Is he a dude to watch out for? A future closer, maybe?

Josh Norris: Oh, he has a very mouth-watering arsenal. That is, if you like guys who can sit in the upper 90s with their fastball and nearly 3,000 rpm of spin on his curveball. The FB has a ton of spin, too. I am very much looking forward to seeing that young man next year.

Matt (Oklahoma):

     How close was Aaron Zavala to the top 10?

Josh Norris: Very close for that #ProDuck

Stace (Ft. Worth):

     How does TK Roby look? Had some great starts before being shut down for the year, but came back in some exhibition games at the very end of the season. I’ve heard good stuff about his spin rate, but he seemed to come out of nowhere early. How did you like him going into the draft and what’s his outlook now? Seems like the 2020 draft for the Rangers (Foscue, Carter, Roby) could be sneaky good, no?

Josh Norris: Yes it could. I do almost nothing with the draft, but Roby stuck out on video I was editing leading up to the draft night. The spin on his curveball is real and his stuff was overpowering when got to watch him this year for myself (obligatory #NotAScout) and I was disappointed to not get to see him again.

Patton (Berwyn):

     Is Maximo Acosta still considered a highly regarded prospect after an injury-filled 2021 season? With the signing of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien is Acosta more likely to end up in the outfield. Thanks

Josh Norris: He is still highly regarded, but there’s so much variability with that phylum of player in general even without surgery. As to the second part of the question, it is going to be fascinating in general to see what the Rangers do with a metric ton of middle infield talent sitting behind half a billion dollars in free agency up the middle in Arlington. That kind of depth could allow them to do very intriguing things on the trade market when the lockout is lifted.

Warren (New London):

     Yonny Hernandez made it to the major leagues at 23 years, 3 months, despite the missing 2020 season and never making a Rangers top 30 list. Is there an under the radar player in the organization now that you particularly like?

Josh Norris: Righthander Dane Acker is a guy to watch. (He made the list but is under the radar right now). Acker had TJ this season but showed huge stuff before the injury. Once he makes it back, he could open some eyes in the same way Ricky Vanasco did in instructional league.

John (NJ):

     How close was Trevor Hauver to making the top 10?

Josh Norris: Not particularly. There are concerns surrounding his hittability given the way his swing works (though he should draw plenty of walks to offset what could be a lower batting average) and his defense is not going to add much to his overall value.

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi Josh, thank you for the chat today and Happy Holidays!! I was wondering what your thoughts and the reviews were on Dustin Harris. Where do you think his ceiling could be and what position do you think he’ll end up at?

Josh Norris: As I’ve mentioned earlier in the chat, I love Harris’ ability to hit. If he proves himself again in 2022 at the upper levels, he could work his way into an everyday role. Where he lands defensively, however, is up for debate. Personally, I think he winds up in the outfield.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Josh, love the way you predict which minor league level prospects may start the 2022 season on. So who is the most highly rated Ranger prospect you expect to see on the Downeast opening day roster?

Josh Norris: Hmmmm. That might be lefthander Mitchell Bratt, whom the Rangers popped in the fifth round in this past draft. Decent combination of a low-90s fastball, promising changeup and a pair of breaking balls to round out the arsenal. He could have a ceiling in the back end of a rotation.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Let’s go down deep in the minors for a position player sleeper – from Down East (Kingston) or Arizona complex teams.

Josh Norris: Yosy Galan has an absolute ton of power. Now he needs to cut down on the swing and miss to access it more often.

James (North Carolina):

     I am a lifelong Rangers fan here going back to days of Buddy Bell. Please tell me that the good stuff we are seeing from Foscue, Jung, Winn, and hopefully Leiter is a good sign that the Rangers have finally learned how to draft. I feel like we used high picks on a 100 pitchers in the last dozen years and all of them flopped or got hurt and then flopped. I am so excited about the future of this team, but am trying to force myself to temper my expectations.

Josh Norris: The results of these drafts look quite good, albeit in the early stages. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all of the players you named become big leaguers of some stripe for a long while.

Kelly (Arlington):

     After a 3 year hiatus due to injuries, Cole Ragans was back this season and seemed to produce pretty well given the lay off. What does his future projection look like at this point?

Josh Norris: Better than they did coming into this year, for sure. His story was among the best in the minor leagues all season long. He and Jake Burger (White Sox) being named to the Futures Game rosters was outstanding. As for his future, he could fit as a pitchability lefty in the back of a rotation.

Stace (Fort Worth):

     How far has Huff fallen? Is he destined to be a 1B/DH?

Josh Norris: They still believe in his ability to catch, and I do too. He’s just outside the T10, because I will not give up on someone with that kind of power.

Lance Luther (DFW):

     What are the chances that Josh Smith starts to get reps in CF? His advanced approach and and plus hit tool need to be in the lineup.

Josh Norris: Wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of their middle infield guys move around next year and get exposed to the outfield as a way to enhance their versatility. Also, there’s something to be said about having a glut of positions up the middle when shopping the trade market.

Jeff (Duluth):

     I heard newly acquired Kevin Gowdy’s stuff ticked up in 2021, is there hope for a big-league role someday?

Josh Norris: His stuff ticked way back up and now has the FB-SL look of a guy who could fit in a bullpen role at some point.

Josh Norris: Thanks, all. Happy holidays.

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