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Player Reports

  1. 1. Josh Jung | 3B
    Josh Jung
    Born: Feb 12, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215
    Drafted: Drafted: Texas Tech, 2019.
    Signed By: Josh Simpson.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 50. Run: 40. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Jung was one of the best hitters in college baseball during his three seasons at Texas Tech. He was a first-team Freshman All-American in 2017, then a second-team All-American in both 2018 and ‘19. The Rangers drafted Jung with the No. 8 overall pick in 2019 and signed him for $4.4 million. After a quick tuneup in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Jung went to the low Class A South Atlantic League in mid-July and helped Hickory capture the second-half crown in the Northern Division.

    Scouting Report: Jung’s bat is his calling card. He’s calm and under control at the plate, staying inside the ball well with a short stroke and a straightaway hitting approach. He drives the ball well to the middle of the field and right-center field. He’s a patient, disciplined hitter who walked more than he struck out in each of his final two college seasons. He recognizes pitches well and puts himself into favorable counts, though when he does fall behind he’s comfortable hitting in those situations because of his bat-to-ball skills. Jung has a chance to develop into a plus hitter, though the question is how much power he will have. Some scouts think he could have average power, but it’s a hit-first profile, with Jung’s approach geared for line drives and spreading the ball around the park rather than trying to turn on the ball for extra-base damage, and he hit only one home run in 40 games with Hickory, a team that plays its home games at power-friendly park. While a lot of teams had Jung stacked up as a middle of the first-round pick on their draft boards, the Rangers took him as high as they did in part because of their belief in his ability to develop more power. Defensively, Jung draws a split camp among scouts, but he should be able to provide average defense at third base. He moved from third base to shortstop his junior year at Texas Tech, but he went back to third base in pro ball. A below-average runner, Jung needs to improve his agility in the field, but his hands work well, he’s good on the slow roller and he has a plus arm with the ability to make accurate throws on the run.

    The Future: The Rangers have Sherten Apostel one level ahead of Jung at third base, so Jung should open 2020 at one of the Class A levels and could finish the year at Double-A Frisco. He has a chance to develop into a solid-average regular at third base with the upside for more if he can make the adjustments to unlock more game power.
  2. 2. Sam Huff | C
    Sam Huff
    Born: Jan 14, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 230
    Drafted: HS--Phoenix, 2016 (7th round).
    Signed By: Josh Simpson.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 45. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Huff raised his profile in 2019, stamped with an MVP trophy from the Futures Game. The Rangers had him repeat low Class A Hickory to open the year, but he hit 15 home runs in his first 30 games to earn a bump to high Class A Down East, where he continued to show a power stroke.

    Scouting Report: Huff is a tall, physical catcher with two loud tools between his power and arm strength. It’s 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale, with Huff having the strength, bat speed and leverage in his swing to drive the ball out to any part of the park. He has the raw power to hit 30-plus homers if everything clicks, but he’s susceptible to chasing off the plate and has trouble covering the inner third. As a result, he doesn’t walk much and his strikeout rate is high. Where Huff made significant strides in 2019 was behind the plate. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he’s a big man for a catcher, but he frames pitches well and improved his footwork and blocking. He did an outstanding job of shutting down the running game with his plus arm, throwing out 48 percent of basestealers.

    The Future: Now that Huff looks like a true catcher, there’s less demand on his bat, though he will still need to improve his plate discipline. He heads to Double-A Frisco in 2020.
  3. 3. Leody Taveras | OF
    Leody Taveras
    Born: Sep 8, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 171
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Willy Espinal/Gil Kim/Thad Levine.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 40. Run: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Taveras was one of the elite international prospects in 2015, when he signed with the Rangers for $2.1 million. A cousin of former major league center fielder Willy Taveras, Leody has moved quickly through the Rangers’ system to reach Double-A as a 20-year-old.

    Scouting Report: Taveras plays plus defense at a premium position. He’s a plus runner with a quick first step who reads the ball well off the bat with good range, both to the gaps and running down balls hit over his head. His strong arm is another plus tool. While Taveras’ defense grades out well, there are more questions about his bat. He has always been one of the youngest players at his level and has solid bat-to-ball skills, though his strikeout rate jumped from 17 percent in 2018 to 21 percent in 2019. Taveras has strong hands and the frame that suggests more power could come, but it hasn’t yet, and so when he does connect, it’s often light contact. He’s still entering his age-21 season, so there’s time for Taveras to grow into more juice, but it’s the biggest risk factor in his profile right now.

    The Future: Scouts continue to want to see more offensive impact from Taveras to feel comfortable with him realizing his upside. He could return to Double-A Frisco to open 2019, but should be in Triple-A by the end of the year.
  4. 4. Nick Solak | 2B
    Nick Solak
    Born: Jan 11, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 190
    Drafted: Louisville, 2016 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Mike Gibbons (Yankees).

    BA Grade: 50. Risk: Medium
    Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 60. Fielding: 40. Arm: 50.

    Track Record: Solak has been traded twice in his career, first from the Yankees to Rays, then in July 2019 to the Rangers for reliever Peter Fairbanks. He made his big league debut with the Rangers on Aug. 20 and performed well the rest of the season.

    Scouting Report: Solak has major defensive questions, but his track record of hitting is impressive. He has a short swing with a level path that stays on plane with the pitch for a long time, with solid bat-to-ball skills. He has a good eye for the strike zone and makes good swing decisions with consistent quality at-bats. He has solid-average raw power but hit a combined 32 home runs last year, with his contact frequency and the baseball in Triple-A enhancing his power numbers. Solak is a plus runner, but his infield defense is rough. He’s a well below-average defender at second base, where he has an average arm but stiff actions and footwork. He played fringe-average defense in left field with the Rays, though the Rangers mostly used him at second and third base.

    The Future: Even if Solak goes to left field, his ability to create runs might be enough to carry him as a league-average player there.
  5. 5. Maximo Acosta
    Maximo Acosta
    Born: Oct 29, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 170
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela, 2019.
    Signed By: Carlos Gonzalez/Jhonny Gomez/Rafic Saab.

    BA Grade: 60. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: The Rangers gave Dominican outfielder Bayron Lora more money in 2019, but Acosta has trended up so much that he has surpassed Lora as the team’s best international signing so far in the 2019 class.

    Scouting Report: Acosta combines plus tools in a well-rounded skill set. He plays with a calm, controlled style and easy actions on both sides of the ball, drawing comparisons to Gleyber Torres both physically and in his all-around game. He has a short, fluid swing with good rhythm, balance and timing. He recognizes spin, controls the strike zone and is a high-contact hitter who barrels pitches in all areas of the strike zone with an all-fields approach. Acosta has a chance to be a plus hitter and has at least average power now that should be above-average soon. His feel for the barrel should allow that power to translate in games. Acosta has a thicker lower half than some other shortstops his age, but he should stay at the position. A plus runner with a plus arm, Acosta has a good internal clock at shortstop with good footwork, range and athleticism.

    The Future: Acosta is advanced enough that he should make his pro debut in 2020 in the U.S., most likely in the Rookie-level Arizona League. His upside makes him one of the most exciting players in the organization.
  6. 6. Hans Crouse | RHP
    Hans Crouse
    Born: Sep 15, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 180
    Drafted: HS--Dana Point, Calif., 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Steve Flores.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: The No. 1 prospect in the organization a year ago, Crouse pitched through a bone spur in his pitching elbow in 2019 that hampered his stuff. He missed a month in the middle of the season, then had surgery after the season.

    Scouting Report: Crouse didn’t have the same electricity to his stuff in 2019 than he showed the year before as he pitched through the bone spur. Even with it, though, he still threw 92-96 mph with his fastball. At his best, Crouse has shown a plus slider that looks like a fastball out of his hand before diving late. In 2019, the nagging elbow issues took a toll on his slider, leading to a drop in his strikeout rate. He still got swings and misses with his slider, but he had trouble landing it in the zone, and it often was softer without the same finish it showed in 2018. He throws a fringe-average changeup that he shows enough feel for to tick up with more development. There’s some violence to Crouse’s energetic, herky-jerky delivery, so some scouts think he might end up in the bullpen, but he has the stuff to start and control to develop as a starter.

    The Future: Crouse is headed to high Class A Down East in 2020. If he returns healthy and showing the stuff he did in 2018, he has a chance to be a No. 2 or 3 starter, but the stuff he showed in 2019 adds more risk to him reaching that upside.
  7. 7. Joe Palumbo | LHP
    Joe Palumbo
    Born: Oct 26, 1994
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 168
    Drafted: HS--West Islip, N.Y., 2013 (30th round).
    Signed By: Takeshi Sakurayama.

    BA Grade: 45. Risk: Medium
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: Palumbo didn’t generate much attention during his first few seasons in the minors after signing for $32,000 as a 30th-round pick. But he broke out as a prospect in 2016, and after missing most of the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery, he returned in 2018 and got his first taste of the major leagues in 2019.

    Scouting Report: Palumbo operates off a plus fastball from the left side, sitting 91-94 mph with the ability to reach 96. He has a short arm stroke and conceals the ball well his delivery, which helps his fastball sneak up on hitters. When Palumbo gets ahead in the count, he can put hitters away with his 77-80 mph curveball, a plus pitch that dives underneath barrels. He gained more confidence in his changeup in 2019 and it flashes as an average pitch. Palumbo has been a solid strike-thrower for most of his minor league career and projects to have average control. Entering his age-25 season, Palumbo has never topped 100 innings in a season, and given his medical history, there’s durability risk with him handling a starter’s full season workload.

    The Future: If Palumbo proves durable, he has the stuff and control to be a solid No. 4 starter. He will get a chance to hold down a spot in the back of the Rangers’ rotation in 2020.
  8. 8. Luisangel Acuna | SS
    Luisangel Acuna
    Born: Mar 12, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 155
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela, 2018.
    Signed By: Carlos Plaza/Rafic Saab.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 45. Run: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: A younger brother of Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., Luisangel signed with the Rangers out of Venezuela in 2018. He made the Dominican Summer League all-star team in his pro debut and has separated himself as the team’s best signing from that international class.

    Scouting Report: Acuña is small but packed with explosiveness and aggression. With swing mechanics patterned after his brother, Acuña goes up to the plate looking to do damage with a quick, whippy stroke. He swings so hard that at times he will drop to one knee, but he sees the ball well and makes a lot of contact. He’s a disciplined hitter with good barrel awareness who walked more than he struck out in the DSL. His power is mostly to the gaps but he has enough juice to pull one out of the park occasionally. He’s an athletic player with plus speed. When Acuña was an amateur, a lot of scouts figured he would move over to second base or possibly center field. That’s still a possibility, but he increased his chances to stay at shortstop in 2019 with his defensive improvements. He has a plus arm.

    The Future: Acuña has a chance to develop into an on-base threat who could hit at the top of a lineup and play somewhere in the middle of the diamond.
  9. 9. Bayron Lora | OF
    Bayron Lora
    Born: Sep 29, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 190
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Willy Espinal.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 40. Arm: 45.

    Track Record: Lora stood out as an amateur in the Dominican Republic for having the biggest raw power in the 2019 international signing class. He signed with the Rangers for $3.9 million, the third biggest international bonus of the class.

    Scouting Report: Lora is a massive, hulking slugger with the upside to be a 40-homer threat. He has 70-grade raw power, producing exit velocities up to 112 mph already, and there’s potential for his power to tick up to the top of the scale. Lora has plenty of strength and bat speed, but his power comes with high swing-and-miss risk. As an amateur, Lora would get pull-heavy and swing for the fences, causing him to fly open early. He has shown better at-bats since then in an attempt to shorten his swing and stay through the middle of the field. Lora is going to develop as a right fielder, where he’s still learning to improve his reads and routes. He’s so big already that there’s risk he might end up at first base.

    The Future: If Lora can draw walks and keep his strikeout rate in check, he has the potential to be a power-hitting force in the middle of a lineup, but it’s a profile with considerable risk. He’s expected to make his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League.
  10. 10. Ronny Henriquez | RHP
    Ronny Henriquez
    Born: Jun 20, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 155
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Willy Espinal.

    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: The Rangers saw Henriquez pitch as an amateur as a tryout arm in the Tricky League, an informal, unofficial league in the Dominican Republic that’s mostly for recent July 2 signings. He threw 91 mph and they ended up signing him for $10,000, which quickly proved a bargain when his velocity spiked and he dominated the Dominican Summer League. The Rangers pushed him in 2019 to low Class A Hickory, where he had a solid year.

    Scouting Report: Henriquez is a power arm who pitches off a fastball that’s mostly 93-96 mph and can crank up to 98. He has a smaller build and his fastball can come in on a flatter plane, but he throws a lot of strikes with it and he started to get more swinging strikes off his fastball in the second half when he elevated more up in the zone. Henriquez fills the zone and has the ability to generate swing-and-miss with both his slider and changeup. His slider has above-average potential and his changeup can miss bats, too, though it’s a hard, firm changeup and would benefit from more separation off his fastball

    The Future: Henriquez has a chance to develop into a midrotation starter. He’s headed to high Class A Down East in 2020.

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