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Before becoming eligible to sign on July 2, 2010, Odor had already demonstrated his advanced offensive ability while representing Venezuela at international tournaments. He spent time in Florida training with Miguel Nava, the former Diamondbacks scout who signed Venezuelan outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra when he was with Arizona. While Odor stood out for his sweet swing, game performance and baseball savvy, his small stature, ordinary-at-best speed and the consensus that he would have to move off shortstop turned off some teams. Those who liked him balked at his seven-figure asking price, which kept Odor unsigned months after the international signing period opened. Mike Daly, who at the time was the Rangers' international scouting director, went to Florida in December 2010 to see Odor again. After he showed he had shaved his 60-yard dash time down to 6.7 seconds, the Rangers signed him for $425,000 in January 2011. Odor has rocketed through the system, reaching Double-A Frisco in August 2013 and hitting .306 with six homers in 30 games as a 19-year-old. The nephew of Indians high Class A Carolina hitting coach Rouglas Odor, Rougned has the swing, quiet hitting approach and instincts to develop into an all-star second baseman. His lefty swing is easy, compact and fluid, with quick hands and plenty of bat speed to catch up to premium velocity. He has good hand-eye coordination and can manipulate the bat head, which helps him drive breaking pitches. Odor has surprising power for his size with the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He'll likely top out at slightly-above-average power, with the potential for 15 home runs or more per year. Focusing on nutrition and strength helped keep him strong toward the end of the 2013 season despite his youth, helping him to flourish when he got to Double-A. Odor is an average runner who reads pitchers well, which makes him a more prolific basestealer than his raw speed would suggest. He isn't an average defender yet but should become one in time. He's adept at turning the double play, with a quick exchange, average arm strength and a fearless attitude with runners barreling in on him. He's still smoothing out his footwork and learning to cut down on mental lapses--often stemming from pre-pitch preparation--that will make him better at making the routine play. Rangers officials frequently talk about the hard-nosed Odor playing with a chip on his shoulder. With Elvis Andrus cemented at shortstop and Jurickson Profar expected to take over at second base, Odor's path to the majors isn't clear. The offseason trade that sent Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for Prince Fielder helped alleviate some of the congestion, but with two young impact middle infielders ahead of him, Odor's future could be with another organization. He likely will open 2014 back in Frisco, with a chance to move up to Triple-A Round Rock quickly.
Alfaro worked out for teams as a shortstop and third baseman in Colombia, but he moved behind the plate and started training in the Dominican Republic before signing with Texas for $1.3 million in January 2010. Alfaro caught just 29 games in 2012 due to hamstring and shoulder issues, but he spent most of 2013 behind the plate while repeating at low Class A Hickory, though he did miss about a month in July with a broken left hand. He has a 70 arm and is an outstanding athlete for a catcher, producing pop times as low as 1.8 seconds. Alfaro's blocking and receiving remain raw. His footwork and lateral movement improved last season, as did his in-game focus, but they still need work after allowing 28 passed balls in 86 games. He doesn't have a prototype catcher's body and is one of the fastest catchers in baseball, a legitimate 50 runner. Alfaro has good bat speed and plus power, though he's a free-swinger whose stroke can get long, resulting in low contact and walk rates. He has the upside to be a low on-base, power-hitting catcher with the arm strength to shut down a running game, and he thrived in the Arizona Fall League. He'll head back to high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2014.
Williams slid to the second round of the 2012 draft after an inconsistent senior season. After missing a month early in 2013 when he hurt his shoulder making a diving catch, Williams finished third in the low Class A South Atlantic League in slugging (.543). He has natural hitting actions, an easy lefthanded swing and lightning hand speed. While his swing doesn't generate a ton of loft, Williams produces above-average raw power with his strength and bat speed, clubbing an equal number of home runs to left and right field. He seldom pops up a ball and makes consistently hard contact when he connects, but he has a high strikeout rate and rarely walks. He's a free-swinger easily fooled by soft stuff, which throws off his balance and causes his swing to get long. Williams' home-to-first times don't reflect it, but he's a plus runner and led the SAL with 12 triples. With Lewis Brinson in center field, he played left and will probably stay there, though the Rangers could experiment with him in center. He has an average arm. Williams has the physical gifts to be an everyday corner outfielder, but he'll have to become a more selective hitter. He'll jump to high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2014.
After Gallo set a Nevada high school record with 65 career home runs, the Rangers drafted him with the No. 39 pick in 2012 and signed him for $2.25 million. In his pro debut, he set a Rookie-level Arizona League record with 18 homers and was named its MVP. In his first full season in 2013, Gallo led the minors with 40 home runs despite missing most of July with a groin injury. He has one of the most extreme skill sets in baseball. Scouts gush about him having the best raw power in the minors, with veteran scouts and managers consistently remarking that Gallo hits balls unlike anyone they've seen at his age, with tremendous backspin, loft, leverage and quick-twitch bat speed. He has the potential for another 40-homer season, but the question is whether that's going to come in the majors or in Japan. Gallo struck out in an alarming 37 percent of his plate appearances at low Class A Hickory, with long arms and a long swing that create serious contact issues, especially against high heat or soft stuff off the plate. He walked in 11 percent of his trips to the plate, so he's not a total hacker. Despite below-average speed, Gallo is a smart baserunner who goes well from first to third. He has a plus arm and solid hands, so the Rangers want to keep him at third base. But with his lack of range, first-step quickness and footwork issues, his future more likely is in an outfield corner or first base. Gallo could become anything from Mike Hessman to Russ Branyan to Chris Davis, with a high-risk, high-reward skill set that makes him one of the game's most fascinating prospects. He'll continue at high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2014.
An unsigned Orioles 11th-round pick out of high school in 2010, Gonzalez's draft stock jumped after a dominant junior season at Oral Roberts, becoming the school's best prospect since righthander Mike Moore went No. 1 overall to the Mariners in 1981. With two first-round picks in 2013, the Rangers' used their top selection (No. 23 overall) on Gonzalez, who signed for $2.215 million. He reached high Class A Myrtle Beach in his pro debut, though he looked a little run down at the end of the year. Gonzalez is a strike-thrower with a sound delivery who uses both sides of the plate with two above-average pitches, including a lively 90-94 mph fastball. He can cut and sink his fastball, resulting in an abundance of groundballs. Once Gonzalez gets to two strikes, he uses his plus slider as a put-away pitch. He can manipulate the speed of his slider, cranking it up to 87 mph with sharp bite to finish hitters or dialing it down for a strike earlier in the count. His changeup has improved, flashing average at times, and he'll sprinkle in an occasional show-me curveball as well. Gonzalez has the makings of a potential No. 3 starter who shouldn't need too much time in the minors. He'll likely start 2014 at high Class A Myrtle Beach, but he has a chance to be in Double-A quickly and reach Texas by 2015.
The Rangers signed Jurickson Profar from Curacao and Sardinas from Venezuela on July 2, 2009, with Sardinas commanding a $1.2 million bonus. While Profar zipped through the system, a slew of injuries cut Sardinas' 2010-12 seasons short. After adding strength to his skinny frame, Sardinas stayed healthy in 2013 and reached Double-A Frisco in August as a 20-year-old. He has spent the last two seasons moving through the system with double-play partner Rougned Odor. While Odor has more offensive upside, Sardinas is the superior defender. A 70 runner with good range and an above-average arm, he's light on his feet and is adept at charging balls and making the instinctive play. He has all the tools to be an above-average defender, though like many young shortstops he still tends to lose focus and make errors on routine plays. Sardinas has minimal power, so he plays a contact-oriented game at the plate, hitting line drives to all fields and keeping the ball on the ground. He has good bat-to-ball skills and solid plate discipline, so he could hit for a high average. Sardinas was in over his head when he got to Double-A, so he should return to Frisco to start 2014. He has the defense and contact skills to be an everyday shortstop, but the development of his plate patience and strength will determine whether he hits at the top or bottom of the lineup, or whether he fits better as a utility man.
The Rangers tend to be aggressive with their prospect assignments, but Jackson has moved along at a steady pace since signing out of high school in 2010 as the No. 45 overall pick. He didn't log an ERA under 4.00 in either of his first two seasons, but he broke out in 2013, reaching Double-A Frisco in August shortly before his 22nd birthday. Jackson challenges hitters aggressively with his best pitch, a fastball that sits at 90-95 mph and reaches 97 with downhill angle. He throws a hard curveball that is inconsistent but got better toward the end of the season. His gets short with his breaking ball at times, and when he overthrows it can come out looking like a slider. His changeup was a point of emphasis this season, as it's still his No. 3 pitch and usually below-average, though it will flash average at times. Jackson has long arm action, which hinders his secondary pitches and his control, evident in his walk rate of 4.1 per nine innings in 2013. Jackson likely will return to Double-A to open 2014, where he'll focus on bringing along his offspeed stuff and throwing more strikes to reach his potential as a back-end starter, though some scouts see him better suited for bullpen work.
The Rangers had two first-round picks in the 2013 draft, including the No. 30 overall pick as compensation for losing free agent Josh Hamilton to the Angels. Texas used that pick on Demeritte, who pitched and played shortstop for his Georgia high school team, and signed him for $1.9 million. His bat is his calling card, with extremely quick hands that enable him to buggy-whip the bat through the zone. He's a quick-twitch athlete with excellent bat speed, so he could grow into average or better power once he gets stronger, though for now he mostly stays gap to gap. Demeritte draws plenty of walks, though for a player whose bat is supposed to be his carrying tool, he struck out at a surprising 28 percent clip in his debut. A shortstop in high school, Demeritte also played third base in about one-third of his games in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He doesn't profile as a true shortstop, so during instructional league the Rangers had him focus on second base. He's an average runner with an above-average arm. The Rangers like to give their infielders the opportunity to move around the diamond, but Demeritte probably will take most of his reps at second in 2014. He's in the mix to open the year at low Class A Hickory.
When the Rangers signed Guzman for $3.45 million on July 2, 2011, several teams had him as either the top prospect or the top hitter available that year in Latin America. Surgery in March 2013 to repair a torn right meniscus in his knee delayed his low Class A Hickory debut for two months, and a pitch that struck him on the right hand ended his season on July 30. Guzman has a polished hitting approach for his age. Despite his long arms, he stays inside the ball well with a simple approach and minimal unnecessary movement in his setup. His head stays locked in, which helps him recognize pitches and stay within his strike zone. He has good hand-eye coordination and a direct, line-drive swing to all fields, which leads to a high contact rate. Guzman can take the ball over the fence in batting practice, but he's more content with a hit-first, power-second approach in games. More strength should lead to a power increase, though he's not a quick-twitch guy and doesn't have the bat speed some scouts would like from a first baseman. Signed as a lead-footed outfielder, Guzman immediately moved to first base, where his size gives infielders greater margin for error. He's limber and flexible, with the ability to pick balls in the dirt. He earns rave reviews for his makeup, aptitude and intelligence. If Guzman can grow into above-average game power, he has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order force given his contact and on-base skills. Due to the time he missed, Guzman probably will return to Hickory in 2014.
Diplan trained with Luis Polonia in the Dominican Republic, where he separated himself as the top pitcher on the international market for 2013 after throwing two perfect innings with three strikeouts at an MLB showcase in January. When he became eligible to sign on July 2, the Rangers signed him for $1.3 million. At 17, Diplan already flashes three average or better pitches. Before signing, he sat at 89-92 mph and peaked at 94, then at instructional league he hit 96. While Diplan has a small 5-foot-10 frame, he has terrific arm speed, so there could be more velocity coming. His curveball has good depth and rotation, giving him another potentially above-average pitch. He hasn't needed to use his changeup much, but it's flashed average at times. Diplan has some effort and herky-jerky action in his delivery, which leads him to lose his release point and causes inconsistent control. His size leads some teams to question whether he may fit better in the bullpen, but he has the arsenal to remain a starter. He earns praise from scouts for his hard-nosed, competitive attitude. Diplan is the most exciting Latin American pitcher the Rangers have signed since Martin Perez. They expect him to make his pro debut in 2014 in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
A three-sport athlete in high school with athletic bloodlines, Bostick's cousin Brandon plays tight end for the Green Bay Packers. Scouts considered Bostick a raw project coming out of high school, but he had a strong pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League after signing with the Rangers for $520,600 in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2013 draft. His athleticism and long, lanky frame offer plenty of physical projection, with a fastball that sat at 90-94 mph before the draft and tickled 96 in the AZL. Bostick is fairly polished mechanically with good balance in his delivery, which contributes to him having good control of his fastball. He delivers the ball with downhill angle and has deception, making it a challenge for hitters to square up his fastball. The key for Bostick will be the development of his secondary pitches. He's shown improved ability to spin a breaking ball over the past year and he'll snap off some average ones at times, but he's still working to define the pitch. He never threw his changeup much in high school, so it's still a work in progress. Bostick should graduate to low Class A Hickory in 2014.
Primarily a shortstop during his three years at Fordham, Martinez pitched just 26 relief innings in college, but the Rangers saw a future on the mound when they took an 18th-round flier on him in 2011. After showing inconsistent velocity early in 2013, Martinez sat 89-94 mph by the summer and touched 95 with sneaky life, as it runs in on righthanders. He throws a solid-average curveball from 76-80 mph with 12-to-6 action, and his high arm slot makes it challenging for hitters to recognize the pitch out of his hand. Martinez entered the season with a fringy changeup but showed more feel for it in 2013, developing it into an average pitch with good sink and deception to become a swing-and-miss pitch at times at 82-84 mph. Martinez has a short stride and his delivery isn't the smoothest, but it's repeatable and he's a good athlete who fills up the zone with plenty of strikes. His solid three-pitch mix and knack for generating groundballs could make him a No. 4 starter with an outside chance to reach Texas in 2014, though he's probably destined for Double-A Frisco to begin the year.
Though Yrizarri was born in Venezuela, he was raised in the Dominican Republic, where he trained before signing with the Rangers for $1.35 million on July 2, 2013. His uncle is Deivi Cruz, who served as regular shortstop for four different teams in a nine-year big league career, and his aunt played on the Dominican national softball team. Yrizarri's older brother Deibi is a righthander in the Nationals system. Coming into 2013, Yrizarri wasn't expected to be one of the premium prospects available, but his stock shot up after a handful of teams took strong interest in him. Yrizarri sets his hands up a little lower than most players and has a quick, loose swing with good bat path. Scouts highest on him saw him hit in games and use the middle of the field with a solid approach. He has big hands, strong forearms and puts the ball in play with gap power and occasional home run pop to his pull side, though that can get him in trouble at times when he gets to his front side too early and becomes pull-oriented. Yrizari has a wide, athletic physique and lacks the first-step quickness for shortstop, though he'll probably start his career there. He has a 70 arm and he's an average runner. He could fit at either second or third base, with a pro debut likely to come in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014.
The Giants selected Asher out of high school in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft and had him signed for $80,000 before voiding his contract due to a bone chip in his elbow. So he went to Santa Fe (Fla.) JC in 2011 and transferred in-state to Polk County JC in 2012, where he helped the school to its first Junior College World Series appearance before signing with the Rangers for $150,000 as a fourth-round pick. Asher's full-season debut at high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2013 was a success, as he led the Carolina League in strikeouts (139) and ranked fourth in ERA (2.90). He has the repertoire of a starter, with a 90-96 mph fastball he throws for strikes and can drive downhill to both sides of the plate. His secondary pitches coming out of college were a work in progress, but his mid-80s slider has developed into an out-pitch and he's shown feel for an average changeup with solid sink. Asher has a fair delivery, a big, durable frame and is equally effective against righties and lefties, but his medical history, which includes Tommy John surgery when he was 14, is a concern. He has a ceiling as a No. 4 starter and will move up to Double-A Frisco in 2014.
Brinson didn't have a great senior season, but the Rangers were so drawn to his tools and athleticism that they took him with the No. 29 pick in the 2012 draft and signed him for $1.625 million. His raw tools are as good as anyone's in the system, but his baseball skills remain unrefined. He has outstanding bat speed and plus raw power to all fields, and he beat out Byron Buxton in the finals of the home run derby of the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game. Brinson came into pro ball as merely an adequate defensive center fielder, but the Rangers felt he improved significantly in the second half at low Class A Hickory in 2013 to take advantage of his plus speed and above-average arm. There's still a long ways for Brinson to go at the plate. He struck out 191 times in 2013, finishing one behind the minor league leader in that category, with a whiff in 38 percent of his trips to the plate and a .209/.292/.374 batting line away from hitter-friendly Hickory. Brinson hit home runs to right field in games, but he doesn't cover the outer half of the plate or use the opposite field like he should, becoming extremely pull-conscious with an uphill swing. His awkward hitting mechanics, which by the end of the year had him in a crouched position and nearly standing over the plate, cause him to lose his balance, and he lacks the pitch recognition or plate discipline to resist chasing breaking pitches off the plate. Nevertheless, Brinson should move up to high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2014.
In June 2010 the Rangers signed Leclerc's older brother Angelo, who pitched for the organization's Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate the last two seasons. In December that same year, the Rangers signed Jose, who at the time was throwing 88-90 mph but with good arm action that made the Rangers think there was more velocity coming. His fastball crept up to 90-93 mph in 2012, when he spent his second season in the Dominican Summer League, and has continued to climb while pitching exclusively in relief. Pushed to low Class A Hickory in 2013, Leclerc's strikeout rate jumped along with his fastball, which parked at 94-97 mph with late life that can miss bats or get grounders at a high rate. He came to the U.S. with a good slider that's continued to improve to a plus pitch at 85-87 mph with sharp bite that he uses to finish hitters. His changeup and curveball can both occasionally flash average and gives hitters another look, though in the bullpen he often sticks to a two-pitch mix. Some scouts wonder whether Leclerc has the repertoire to transition to the rotation, and the Rangers have debated whether to let him start in 2014 or fast-track him in the bullpen. His next step will be high Class A Myrtle Beach.
Beras was at the center of one of the biggest controversies in international baseball when he signed with the Rangers for $4.5 million in 2012. Following news that massive signing restrictions for international amateurs were coming down the pike in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, Beras and his representatives presented teams with a new birthdate, making Beras one year older than previously advertised. That made him 17 and thus eligible to sign in February before the new $2.9 million bonus pools for international signings went into effect in July. MLB ruled that Beras' age was undetermined and made the unusual decision to suspend him for one year for lying about his age while allowing his contract to stand. After missing the first week of the Rookie-level Arizona League season in 2013 while on suspension, he played for just a few weeks before a broken hamate bone ended his season in July. The 6-foot-6 Beras shows plus raw power when he gets his long arms extended, though he's also an aggressive hitter prone to getting tied up inside and is still learning to get more lift and use the whole field. He runs well for someone his size, and his strong arm fits well in right field, though the Rangers may try him in center field in 2014. Much is still unknown about Beras, and the injury only adds to his high-risk, high-reward profile. The Rangers' recent track record with toolsy outfielders suggests he's destined for low Class A Hickory.
Kela spent his first three years of high school in California before moving to Seattle for his senior season. Rather than sign with the Mariners as a 29th-round pick in 2011, Kela went to nearby Everett (Wash.) CC, where he saw his fastball jump from 88-91 mph to 91-93 and touching 95. After signing with the Rangers for $100,000 as a 12th-rounder in 2012, Kela's velocity continued to climb. He's now one of the hardest throwers in the minors, sitting at 96-99 mph and touching 101 out of the bullpen. It's a fastball with both premium velocity and late life, which helps him rack up strikeouts and groundballs at an above-average rate. His breaking ball is inconsistent, with hard, slurve-like break. He hasn't used his changeup much, so it's still raw, but if his slider continues to mature he should be able to have success as a two-pitch reliever. Kela came into pro ball with a lot of effort in his mechanics, but he's done a nice job of smoothing his delivery to some degree, which has helped improve his controls. Kela, who missed a month in 2013 with arm tightness in the spring, has peaked at low Class A Hickory, but some promising outings in the Arizona Fall League and Venezuelan League could help accelerate his timetable.
Ledbetter became the first player ever drafted out of Division II Cedarville (Ohio) when the Rangers used their third-round pick (No. 99 overall) on him in 2013 and signed him for $350,000. The Rangers also drafted Ledbetter's identical twin brother Ryan, who also is a righthander, in the 19th round from the same program. The transition to pro ball didn't faze Ledbetter, who pounded the strike zone in his debut with short-season Spokane. He has sound, repeatable mechanics, which helps him throw strikes consistently with a 90-94 mph fastball. His heater has heavy sink that leads to a high groundball rate. He throws a hard, late-breaking curveball that's an average pitch, a sinking changeup that can be effective at times along with an occasional slider. Ledbetter is a good athlete who also played right field and DH in college. Despite his small college background, he has the command and savvy to move fairly quickly through the system, with his next step coming at one of the Rangers' Class A affiliates in 2014.
The Phillies signed Bonilla as an 18-year-old in December 2008, putting him on the older end of the spectrum for a Dominican signing. He moved steadily through the system, reaching Double-A as a reliever in 2012 before Philadelphia traded him and righthander Josh Lindblom to the Rangers in exchange for Michael Young and cash after the season. In his first year with the Rangers in 2013, Bonilla was nearly unhittable the first half at Double-A Frisco, but when he got to Triple-A Round Rock his command deserted him and he made too many mistakes, which he paid for in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Despite his second-half struggles, Bonilla has the attributes to be a high-leverage reliever, as he averaged 13.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 2013 and generates grounders at a high clip. Bonilla pitches off his 92-96 mph fastball and misses plenty of bats with a plus changeup, though his slider remains below-average. The deception in his delivery keeps hitters uncomfortable, though his mechanics have some effort and he finishes with a head whack, while his long arm action can impede his command. Bonilla most likely returns to Round Rock to open 2014, but he should make his major league debut at some point during the season.
When the Rangers signed Robinson for $198,000 out of high school in 2010, they thought they were getting one of the more advanced prep bats in the draft, but he floundered in short-season Spokane the next season. He rebounded with a solid season in 2012 and another steady campaign in 2013 at high Class A Myrtle Beach after a slow start. He rebounded to hit .275/.398/.454 in the second half while cutting his strikeout rate. Robinson has a sweet, compact stroke from the left side and a keen eye at the plate. He's a patient hitter--to the point of being passive in the view of some scouts--whose game is more about getting on base than hitting for power. He uses the whole field, though he'll still fall into the trap of pulling off the ball and rolling over for a grounder to second base. Robinson's power is below-average with some over-the-fence pop to his pull side, but some think he could grow into 15-20 homers in his prime. His position once was in question, but he made the biggest strides in the field in 2013. He started the year playing very tall and upright at third base, but he worked hard to get down into a more athletic fielding position, which helped his lateral range and his ability to charge the slow rollers. He's a below-average runner with a solid-average arm. He should reach Double-A Frisco in 2014.
Assigned to a low Class A Hickory team loaded with toolsy, swing-happy hitters in 2013, Rua stood out for his mature hitting approach, which should be expected from a 23-year-old in the South Atlantic League. Even with a hitter-friendly park in Hickory, Rua's breakout performance and 29 home runs there were a surprise, so the Rangers jumped him to Double-A Frisco in August. Added weight and strength in the offseason helped Rua, who showed plus raw power and hit home runs to all fields. He has solid plate discipline and did a better job last year of staying back and using his hands in his swing, though he still gets long to the ball sometimes. After playing primarily third base his first two seasons, Rua transitioned well to second base at Hickory before sliding back to third at the end of the year with Rougned Odor at second in Frisco. Rua is a below-average runner and doesn't have much range, but he's reliable when a ball is hit to him and has an average arm. His path to the majors may require him to spend time at second, third, the corner outfield spots and perhaps first base in an offensive-oriented utility role. He's headed back to Frisco for 2014.
Rowen's pure stuff might be the worst in the Prospect Handbook, but because of his submarine delivery, the raw stuff doesn't need to be there for him to make hitters top the ball into the ground. A reliever his entire minor league career, he has had success at every level, including at Triple-A Round Rock in 2013, because of his ability to throw strikes and get quick groundball outs. Rowen throws only in the low 80s, but the angle and sink he delivers the ball with make him one of the most extreme groundball machines in baseball. In fact, just five qualified minor league relievers bettered his 3.4 groundout/airout ratio in 2013. Rowen throws a frisbee breaking ball in the low 70s that grades out below-average, though with his delivery it's effective enough for him to give hitters a second look when needed. In November, the Rangers added Rowen to the 40-man roster to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. While his ceiling and future role are limited, he could very well carve out a career along the lines of former Ranger Darren O'Day or Brad Ziegler, with a chance to crack the big league bullpen in 2014.
The Rangers raised eyebrows around the industry on July 2, 2011, when they lavished a $4.95 million bonus on Mazara, in addition to $650,000 for righthander Pedro Payano and $200,000 for shortstop Crisford Adames, a $5.8 million package deal for three players from Dominican trainer Ivan Noboa. Mazara's bonus set a record for an international amateur player, but the move was seen throughout the industry as an overpay for a player no other team seemed to have as the top player available. Scouts' concerns--particularly about his hit tool--have been justified thus far. Mazara entered pro ball with an exaggerated leg kick that he's worked to tone down, but he still has a lot of movement in his setup and holes in his lefthanded swing that contribute to his tendency to swing and miss in the strike zone. Power was Mazara's calling card as an amateur and his swing still generates loft, but now most scouts give him average raw power with the ability to take balls over the fence to his pull side. The Rangers still consider his power plus. Though he has below-average speed, Mazara's biggest strides have come on defense, where he's gone from raw to adequate in right field and improved his arm strength to a tick-above-average tool. Just 18 at low Class A Hickory in 2013, he could stand to repeat the level in 2014.
Beltre signed with the Red Sox for $600,000 when the 2006 international signing period opened in 2006, then one year later went to the Rangers along with outfielder David Murphy and lefthander Kason Gabbard in the trade-deadline deal that sent reliever Eric Gagne to Boston. More known for his immaturity than his talent (he was suspended 15 games in 2011 after throwing a trash can into the stands while at Double-A Frisco), Beltre made his major league debut in June, bouncing between Texas and Triple-A Round Rock the rest of the 2013 season. His best tools show up in center field, where his plus speed gives him good range and his plus arm gives him another weapon. He's not as adept at using his speed on the basepaths, as he was only successful on 53 percent of stolen base attempts in 2013. Beltre lacks the bat to be an everyday player. He has a lefthanded stroke and occasional home run power to his pull side, but his swing path leads to a lot of balls on the ground, so he's not a power threat. He has a big leg kick, a long swing and impatient hitting approach, which cuts into his on-base ability. With an iffy bat and good defense, Beltre has a chance to stick around as an extra outfielder. He's on the 40-man roster and out of options, so if the Rangers don't keep him in the majors, he could end up in another organization.
When Font showed up in the Rookie-level Arizona League as a 17-year-old in 2007, his 98 mph fastball generated buzz, but injuries have sidetracked his career. After Tommy John surgery erased his 2011 season, Font became a full-time reliever and made his major league debut in 2012 with three appearances. He had a strong 2013 campaign split mostly between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, with a pair of major league relief outings in July. He went to Caracas to pitch in the Venezuelan League after the season. With an imposing, extra-large frame, Font leans heavily on a power fastball that he runs anywhere from 92-98 mph. His 80-84 mph slider has short, slurvy break that flashes as an average pitch, as does his changeup, but they're usually below-average. Font has a loose arm but his long arm action hampers his slider and his fastball command, as his arm tends to lag behind when he gets to his balance point and causes timing issues. The development of a more consistent offspeed pitch and better fastball location will be two keys for him going forward. Font will have a chance to compete for a bullpen job in 2014 as a middle reliever or else return to Triple-A.
When Claudio signed with the Rangers as a 27th-round flier out of high school in 2010, he was a long-limbed, extremely skinny lefty with a fastball that maxed out at 87 mph. While the velocity hasn't ramped up, he's changed his arm slot and developed a Bugs Bunny changeup to become a legitimate prospect. A pure reliever, Claudio made his full-season debut in 2013 at low Class A Hickory and pitched so well that the Rangers skipped him in the second half to Double-A Frisco, where he didn't miss a beat. He throws just 82-87 mph with good tail, and he's now a siderarmer with plenty of deception caused by arms and legs flying at the hitter. Claudio's high-60s changeup is a devastating pitch, a plus-plus weapon with sink, fade and screwball-type action that gets hitters caught out in front routinely. He maintains his arm speed on his changeup and gets tremendous separation from his fastball, which plays up because hitters have to stay back for his changeup. Claudio's slurvy 72-76 mph slider gives hitters another look, but his changeup is his bread and butter. It's a repertoire that leads to plenty of strikeouts and a near 3-to-1 groundout/airout rate. Claudio's ceiling is low and his fastball leaves little margin for error, but he has a chance to work as a middle reliever.
Deglan's high school in British Columbia didn't have a baseball team, but scouts evaluated him on Canada's junior national team and saw him play well in spring-training exhibitions against pro players, which vaulted him into the first round in 2010. Since signing for $1 million as the 22nd pick that year, Deglan has flashed promising tools but without the performance to match. With a quick, lefthanded bat and above-average raw power, Deglan can hit home runs to any part of the park. He's not a total free-swinger, but he's still learning the strike zone and becomes pull-happy in games. He has a long swing, a low contact rate and tends to tinker by trying to make adjustments on the fly, never settling into a consistent approach. Deglan has a plus arm and good footwork that help him get rid of the ball quickly, but his throws can be erratic and he's never been great at throwing out basestealers, catching just 21 percent in 2013. His blocking and receiving remain works in progress. A big man who sets up more upright than most catchers, Deglan doesn't move well laterally. He can get careless at times with his receiving, but he earns consistent high marks for his work ethic and dedication.
Mendez originally signed with the Red Sox for $125,000 in 2007 and developed into one of the organization's best young international pitchers. When the Rangers traded Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston at the trade deadline in 2010, Mendez was the best prospect the Rangers received in return, along with first baseman Chris McGuiness and catcher Michael Thomas. After climbing through the minors as a starter, Mendez pitched exclusively in relief in 2013, but he lasted just two months before having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right elbow, ending his season. When healthy, he pitches off a 93-96 mph fastball that he can crank even higher at times. His best secondary pitch is an inconsistent slider that's average at times, while his below-average changeup doesn't get much use out of the bullpen. Mendez is a solid strike-thrower, though he does have a hook in his arm action that sometimes makes it tricky for him to repeat his release point. His delivery has a lot of torque and shoulder rotation that keeps hitters off-balance but may have contributed to his arm problems. Durability is less of a concern now that Mendez is no longer starting, and he projects as a middle reliever.
One month before the Rangers lavished seven-figure bonuses on Dominican outfielders Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman, they watched Vasquez, a converted outfielder, throw a bullpen session in the Dominican Republic and signed him for $30,000 as an 18-year-old. After Vasquez spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the Rangers threw him into the low Class A South Atlantic League to open 2013, but he was in over his head. By mid-May he had been sent back to extended spring training before he rebounded at short-season Spokane, where he led the Northwest League in ERA (2.13). Vasquez has a long, lanky frame, and his pitchability is understandably raw given his lack of mound experience, but he gets swings and misses from his lively 90-94 mph fastball with solid sink. He's still developing his secondary pitches, the most advanced of which is a slider that's average at times. He focused on throwing his changeup more often when he was demoted to Spokane, but it's still below-average. Vasquez generates his velocity fairly easily and has some deception in his delivery, but he needs to throw more strikes. He'll jump back to Hickory in 2014, with his future likely in middle relief.
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