Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Track Record:Pitching for USA Baseball's 18U national team as a high school senior in 2016, Crouse fired seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts in Team USA's gold-medal game victory against Cuba in the COPABE Pan American Championship in Mexico. It was the beginning of a dominant senior campaign for Crouse, whom the Rangers drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft . Soon after signing, Crouse quickly looked more like a first-round pick when he reported to the Rookie-level Arizona League and picked apart hitters. The Rangers handle their high school pitching prospects with extreme caution, so Crouse opened 2018 with short-season Spokane. A cut on his thumb sidetracked his first outing, but Crouse quickly showed why he has the most upside of any pitcher in the organization, highlighted by a July 13 outing with 12 strikeouts and only one hit allowed in seven scoreless innings. By August the Rangers promoted him to low Class A Hickory. Scouting Report: Crouse is a power pitcher who can overwhelm hitters with an electric fastball that sits in the mid-90s. It ranges mostly from 92-97 mph and has reached 99. His fastball combines excellent velocity with a high-end spin rate, giving him the ability to throw frequent strikes and dominate all quadrants of the strike zone. He generates empty swings when he elevates. Crouse's slider also flashes plus, coming out of his hand on the same plane as his fastball before breaking late to dive underneath barrels. He has flashed a good changeup at times, but right now it's still a tick below-average pitch that he hasn't needed to throw much, so using and improving that offering will be a focal point for his development. Crouse has traditional stuff for an elite pitching prospect, but his delivery is atypical. He'll mix in the occasional shimmy and wiggle, a la Johnny Cueto, leading to a high-effort, herky-jerky motion that finishes with a head whack. That gives some scouts concerns about Crouse's future command and whether his fiery, high-energy style might fit better in relief, though others think he should be fine as long as he can maintain his body control despite the effort. The Future: Crouse is likely to return to Hickory to open 2019. He has several levels to climb, but he has the raw stuff to develop into a frontline starter.
Track Record: Martinez excelled in Cuba's junior national leagues as a teenager, then progressed to Cuba's top league, batting .333/.469/.498 in 264 plate appearances in his final season in Serie Nacional. After leaving Cuba, he signed with the Rangers in March 2018 for $2.8 million. The Rangers brought him along slowly to get him acclimated to a new country and professional baseball, so he spent most of 2018 at short-season Spokane, but he performed well after the season when they sent him to the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Martinez didn't play any competitive baseball for a while, so early in the season he was just getting his timing back. When he's at his best, he blends power and speed at a premium position. He has a smaller build, but his strong wrists help generate plenty of bat speed and a tick above-average raw power to knock the ball over the fence from left-center over to his pull side. He handles pitches down in the zone well, though with his bat path there is some swing-and-miss, especially in the upper half. Martinez is a plus runner with an average arm in center field. His outfield play improved as the season went on and he got back to game speed, and he projects to stick at the position as at least an average defender. The Future: Now that he's had an acclimation period, Martinez could take off in 2019. He might start 2019 at one of the Rangers' Class A levels, though the club also has to figure out where to assign fellow center fielders Leody Taveras and Bubba Thompson.
Track Record: Taveras ranked as one of the premium prospects in a stacked 2015 international class, signing that year on July 2 for $2.1 million. The Rangers have pushed Taveras aggressively, so while he didn't do much damage at the plate in 2018, at 19 he was also one of the youngest players in high Class A. Scouting Report: A cousin of former major leaguer Willy Taveras, Leody is another speedy center fielder who shines in the field. Taveras reads the ball well off the bat with a quick first step to get to his plus speed, gliding around the outfield with excellent range. He backs it up with a plus arm and projects as a plus defender, with some scouts saying he's plus-plus. While Taveras' defense still drew praise, there was growing skepticism among scouts about his future hitting ability. He is a patient hitter with good bat-to-ball skills, but the contact he made often lacked any impact. Some of that comes down to pitch selection and learning to hunt his pitch swinging at pitches he can do damage with rather than simply making light contact. Getting stronger will be crucial for Taveras, both to drive the ball with more force and to maintain better swing position from both sides of the plate. The Future: A repeat of 2018 would drop Taveras' stock considerably, so 2019 will be key for him to show that he's enough of an offensive threat to hit toward the top of the lineup. He is a good candidate to return to the Carolina League, though the Rangers will have to manage fellow center fielders Julio Pablo Martinez and Bubba Thompson as well.
Track Record: Winn transferred from Colorado to Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High as a high school senior to play in one of the country's top high school baseball conferences. He dominated to earn the BA High School Player of the Year honors. The Rangers drafted him No. 10 overall in 2018 and signed him for $3.15 million. The Rangers shut down their top prep pitching picks after signing, so Winn threw only briefly during instructional league. Scouting Report: Winn has a promising combination of stuff and polish for a high school draft pick. He has an easy, compact and repeatable delivery, which helps him locate his 92-96 mph fastball well to both sides of the plate. Winn's out pitch is his mid-70s curveball, and while he had trouble landing it for strikes at instructs, it's a plus pitch with sharp 12-to-6 break that can change eye levels and miss bats. He introduced a slider as well with average potential to his repertoire. While his changeup hasn't been a focal point, it shows good sink when he does throw it. The Future: Winn is advanced for a high school pitching prospect, but The Rangers have been conservative when assigning young pitchers, so Winn could follow Hans Crouse's path and start in extended spring training in 2019 before reporting to short-season Spokane in June. He could develop into a mid-rotation or better starter.
Track Record: Signed for $100,000 in 2014, Tejeda has flashed big tools with spurts of performance to match. In 2018, he took a big leap forward both offensively and defensively at high Class A Down East. Scouting Report: Coming into 2018, Tejeda once faced questions on whether he would stick at shortstop, but the Rangers emphasized developing his first-step quickness and footwork, both of which made major progress in 2018, with Tejeda now projecting to remain a shortstop. He showed better reactions off the bat and cut down on his throwing errors with a better understanding of how to use his feet, which kept his throws more online. That helped him take advantage of his 70-grade arm one of the game's best infield arms, which grades as at least a 70 tool. Tejeda's offensive profile is one the Rangers have experience with: big power and a lot of strikeouts as he works to develop a better plan. He has plus raw power to go deep to all fields, giving him 25-plus home run potential, but he also had a 27 percent strikeout rate. Tejeda's bat control, strike-zone discipline and understanding of how opposing pitchers are trying to attack him will all have to improve against upper-level pitching. He also had large platoon splits and will have to hit better against lefties. The Future: Some scouts now prefer Tejeda to Leody Taveras because he has more power to do damage on contact, while Taveras has better bat control and strike-zone discipline. Tejeda will start 2019 in Double-A and could develop into a power-hitting regular at shortstop.
Track Record: Hernandez opened 2018 by picking apart high Class A Carolina League hitters, prompting the Rangers to promote him to Double-A Frisco in June. He had a difficult time adjusting to the new level, posting a 7.14 ERA in his first eight starts. His results were better in August, when Hernandez settled in with a 1.14 ERA over his final four starts. Scouting Report: Hernandez pitches off a lively fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and tops out at 99. The pitch has good armside run and plays up because of its high spin rate and his ability to get extension out front. Hernandez's improved slider was a separator for him to start the season. It flashed as a plus pitch with good tilt and helped him get a lot of swinging strikes down and away. At times his changeup flashes average with good fade, though that's still an inconsistent pitch. He flips over an occasional show-me curveball. Hernandez ran into trouble when his fastball command (especially to his glove side) and sometimes just ability to find the strike zone deserted him, leading to too many walks and hitters sitting in advantageous counts. The Future: Hernandez has a history of taking time to adjust to a new level, so tightening his fastball command will be key for him against better hitters. If he does, he could develop into a mid-rotation starter with a chance to pitch in Texas by the end of the 2019 season.
Track Record: The Nationals drafted Hearn in 2015, then traded him and Felipe Rivero to Pittsburgh one year later for Mark Melancon. Hearn spent two years with the Pirates, who traded him to the Rangers in July 2018 in the Keone Kela deal. Scouting Report: Hearn pitches off a fastball that can overpower hitters. It sits in the mid-90s and reaches 98 mph. His premium velocity from the left side is particularly uncomfortable for opponents because of his angle and long arms that create good extension out front, with the ability to get swings and misses up in the zone. After the 2017 season, Hearn went to the Arizona Fall League, where he changed the grip on his slider. It's still inconsistent, but it now flashes above-average. He has a solid changeup, too, that at times is an average offering. Hearn can pile up strikeouts--he had 9.8 per nine innings in 2018--but improving his command and pitch sequencing are focal points for his development. The Future: If Hearn can tighten his fastball command and refine his pitchability, he has the makings of a mid-rotation starter. If not, he has the stuff to pitch high-leverage relief innings. He's ticketed for the Triple-A Nashville rotation to open 2019.
Track Record: Palumbo didn't do much to distinguish himself as a 30th-round pick in his first three seasons with the Rangers, but he had a breakout season in 2016 to emerge as a legitimate prospect. After three starts in 2017, however, Palumbo went down for the year with Tommy John surgery. He returned in June 2018 and by the end of the season looked like same pitcher he was before TJ. Scouting Report: As the season progressed, so did Palumbo's fastball. It started at 90-92 mph early in the season and ramped up to touch 95 with more frequency later in the year. Palumbo throws frequent strikes with his fastball and it gets on hitters faster than they anticipate with his short arm stroke and cross-body delivery adding deception. His curveball was erratic in early outings coming back from surgery, but by the end of the year it was a more reliable, swing-and-miss offering that graded as plus. Palumbo has shown good feel for a changeup that has the potential to be an average pitch as well, although coming back from surgery he went with a fastball-heavy approach. The Future: Likely ticketed for Double-A to open 2019, Palumbo could make his major league debut by the end of the season. If he proves to be durable enough to handle a starter's role, he has a chance to develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Track Record: Thompson was an all-state quarterback who had offers to play Division I football, but he opted to sign with the Rangers for $2.1 million as the No. 26 overall pick in 2017. Thompson was old for his high school class--he turned 19 right before the draft--and has shown promising physical upside and considerable risk as a pro. Scouting Report: Thompson fits a familiar profile for Rangers draft picks as an explosive athlete with loud tools and raw baseball skills. His best tool is his plus-plus speed, which makes him a threat to steal 30 bases and is an asset for him in center field. His defense is unrefined--his first-step reads and routes will need to get better--but his closing speed helps him make up ground. His arm is average. At the plate, Thompson has quick hand speed and a tick above-average raw power that could be a plus tool as he gets stronger. Thompson's swing and plate discipline leave him with holes, with chase tendencies that led to a 29 percent strikeout rate. The Future: Thompson's raw tool set is as good as any player's in the organization, giving him a has a ceiling to rival any player in the organization--if he can improve his approach to make more contact. Scouts highest on Thompson believe he has the athleticism to help make those adjustments and turn into an above-average regular in center field.
Track Record: When the Rays drafted Burke, they were spending nearly $1 million to get a pitcher with a lot of work to do. Burke rarely bumped above 90 mph and his control was shaky. The Rays put him on a weighted ball program and watched him grow into a stronger pitcher with much-improved control. Scouting Report: Burke has grown into an impressive, well-rounded starting pitcher, mixing four pitches. While no pitch is plus, Burke's fastball and changeup are both above-average and both breaking balls are at least fringe-average. Burke now sits 92-94 mph and touches 97 (up a tick from 2017). The fastball helps set up an above-average low-80s changeup that has plenty of separation, some deception and some late fade. There are scouts who believe Burke should pick the slider or the curve and focus on refining one breaking ball. At its best the slider is a 2-to-7 breaker with late tilt, but it and his loopier curveball often blend together. Burke has shown average control and command. The Future: Burke was added to the 40-man roster after the season. He'll likely begin 2019 back in Montgomery, but should reach Triple-A Durham in 2019. He projects as a No. 4 starter.
Track Record: The Rangers drafted prep arms with three of their top four picks in the 2018 draft and signed them for seven-figure bonuses, including Englert, who got $1 million as a fourth-rounder. They shut all three of them down from official games after signing, but at instructional league, Englert made a loud impression. Scouting Report: Going into the draft, Englert had several positive indicators between his tall, projectable frame, easy mechanics, athleticism and arm speed suggesting more in the tank. At instructs, that projection started to manifest. He went from throwing mostly upper 80s in the summer of 2017 to low 90s in the spring of 2018 and then topped out at 96 mph with good extension after signing. Englert reached that velocity without much effort in his delivery, which is calm and repeatable, helping him locate his fastball to both sides of the plate. He has shown feel to spin both his slider and curveball, both flashing above-average potential but inconsistent. Englert sells his changeup with good arm action, though he didn't throw it often. The Future: Englert has the components of a starting pitcher, and he could join fellow 2018 draft pick Cole Winn next season in the short-season Spokane rotation.
Track Record: Ragans was the No. 30 overall pick in 2016, then impressed scouts the next summer in the short-season Northwest League. Scheduled to make his full-season debut in 2018, Ragans never ended up throwing an inning during the year, as he had Tommy John surgery in March. He should be on a similar timetable the Rangers had fellow lefty Joe Palumbo on for his TJ rehab. Scouting Report: When healthy, Ragans was one of the system's top pitching prospects, pitching off a fastball that parked at 89-93 mph and hit 95. Ragans takes advantage of the high spin rate on his fastball by elevating for swing-and-miss up in the zone, then disrupts the timing of hitters with a plus changeup in the low-80s. The pitch has good speed differential off his fastball and the deception in his delivery helps that fastball/changeup combination play up even more. Ragans earned better grades on his curveball than he did in 2017, when it was a fringe-average pitch that needed tightening. The Future: Once healthy, he should be ready for low Class A Hickory.
Track Record: After missing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Rangers had extra bonus pool space available in December 2017. Part of their Plan B included signing Basabe, who received a $550,000 bonus. As an amateur, Basabe stood out for his premium speed and athleticism in the middle of the diamond, though several teams saw a lot of risk in his bat. However, Basabe didn't look raw offensively in his pro debut, ranking third in the Dominican Summer League in hitting with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Scouting Report: Basabe has quick hands and he uses them well in his swing to snap the barrel through the zone. He will chase pitches out of the zone with off-balance swings, but when he swings at strikes he doesn't miss much because he has good feel for the barrel. His power is mostly for doubles right now, though in a few years he could grow into 10-15 home run power. Basabe is a plus-plus runner, and while Basabe spent some time in center field as an amateur and a lot of scouts like him better as an outfielder, Basabe prefers to play shortstop and has shown enough to continue playing the position. His arm plays better in the infield and is now plus. The Future: A breakout prospect candidate, Basabe should jump to the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019.
Track Record: Pelham was a crude, under-the-radar pitcher when the Rangers signed him for $40,000 as a 33rd-round pick in 2015. It took a couple years, but Pelham broke through when he moved to the bullpen for low Class A Hickory in 2017, then in 2018 pitched at two levels, played in the Futures Game and made his major league debut as a September callup. Scouting Report: Pelham is a power pitcher who throws in the mid-to-upper 90s, reaching 98 mph with lively cutting action. The extension he's able to generate helps his fastball jump on hitters and he attacks them from a tall, downhill angle. When his slider is right, it's an above-average weapon that he can use to miss bats, though he's still working to master consistency of that pitch. Pelham has significantly improved his control from his early years with the Rangers, but it remains below-average. The Future: Pelham should figure into Rangers' big league bullpen mix in 2019, with the upside to become a closer.
Track Record: The Rangers had a pitching-heavy draft in 2018, and after selecting righthander Cole Winn with their first-round pick, the Rangers drafted White in the second round. He signed for $1.5 million, though he didn't pitch after signing as the Rangers took it slowly with their high school arms. Scouting Report: A high school quarterback, White is an excellent athlete for a pitcher. He has clean arm action and fast arm speed that produces a fastball in the low-90s and up to 96. He's still skinny, with enough room on his frame that he might be able to throw harder once he adds more weight. He throws strikes with his fastball to get ahead of hitters and can miss bats with his curveball, which flashes above-average, and while he used a slider as well in high school, he didn't show that pitch after signing at instructional league. White has a changeup but hasn't needed to throw it much yet. White's bouncy athleticism shows in the way he gets off the mound quickly to field his position. The Future: White likely will follow the path of Hans Crouse and Cole Ragans by pitching in short-season Spokane in 2019.
Track Record: A third-round pick in the 2018 draft, Ornelas quickly boosted his stock with a strong showing in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he impressed pro scouts with his hitting ability. Scouting Report: Ornelas doesn't have a conventional swing, but it works for him with his ability to consistently barrel the baseball. He can get his body shifted to his front side early, but he's able to keep his hands back and fire with good bat speed and a short path to the ball to connect and do damage, especially against fastballs. Ornelas showed some chase tendencies in the AZL but mostly showed a good plan at the plate and walked at a 12 percent clip. He's wiry strong and projects to have at least average power. A high school shortstop, Ornelas spent more time at third base in pro ball and is likely to shift around between third, shortstop and possibly second base going forward. He has soft hands and a plus arm, but he's a fringe-average runner whose range is light for an everyday shortstop The Future: Ornelas has the defensive skill set and offensive profile to fit at either third or second base. He should jump to low Class A Hickory in 2019.
Track Record: Years ago, a pitcher like Evans would confound evaluators as to how he was able to get so many empty swings just on a fastball that seemed invisible to hitters. Today, that invisiball is better understood and more accurately measured as a high-spin fastball, which is Evans' strength. Scouting Report: Evans' velocity ticked up as the season went along as he better incorporated his lower half into his delivery, and his fastball at 92-96 mph quickly disappears on batters. Pitching primarily off that pitch, Evans struck out a whopping 47 percent of hitters with low Class A Hickory in 2018. He was even better in the second half once he started landing his above-average curveball for strikes. The Future: Evans has yet to play above low Class A, but he pitched in the Arizona Fall League and could rise quickly in 2019, with a chance to pitch high-leverage innings in the big leagues.
Track Record: Drafted in the late rounds out of both high school and as an eligible sophomore, White returned to Clemson for his junior year in 2016 but hit just .272 with limited power. Intrigued by White's athleticism, the Athletics selected him in the 11th round. He climbed to Double-A Midland in 2018 and began turning tools into skills. He led the Texas League in hits (154), on-base percentage (.388) and runs (81), while ranking second in average (.306), third in walks (62) and fifth in doubles (30). Scouting Report: White stands as the best pure hitter in Oakland's system and was regarded as the best defensive second baseman in the TL. Plus speed enables him to steal bases and also dabble in center field. The biggest player development challenges facing White are learning to pull the ball and improving his launch angle to hit more home runs. Even if he doesn't, his strong plate discipline and loose swing produce power to the right-center field gap, while an all-fields approach gives him a plus hit tool. A shortstop in college, White tends to be error-prone at the position and profiles best at second base with the requisite range, arm and actions. The Future: White shares some similarities with Chris Taylor as an athletic college shortstop who runs but isn't quite reliable enough to play shortstop every day. Like Taylor, White looks at home playing second base, third base or outfield, and his bat will determine his ultimate big league role.
Track Record: The Rangers had two first-round picks in 2017. They used their first to draft outfielder Bubba Thompson, then used the next to draft Seise at No. 29 overall. After getting an introduction to pro ball that summer in the Rookie-level Arizona League and short-season Northwest League, Seise was scheduled to make his full-season debut in 2018 with low Class A Hickory, but that never happened. Scouting Report: Seise suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder, requiring surgery in May and erasing his entire 2018 season. When healthy, Seise stood out in the field, where he showed a plus arm from shortstop with quick footwork and smooth hands. A slightly above-average runner, Seise ranges well to both sides with good reads off the bat. Seise is a defensive-oriented prospect who showed high strikeout tendencies in his pro debut, struggling at times with his timing and balance. He has a power-over-hit offensive profile, with average raw power that could increase once he gets stronger. The Future: Seise is expected to be ready to go again in spring training and take the field with Hickory.
Track Record: The 2018 season marked a major step forward for Phillips. In 2017, Phillips opened the year in low Class A Hickory, but after seven games his ERA swelled to 6.39, so the Rangers demoted him to short-season Spokane. He returned to Hickory in 2018 and flourished, finishing with a late-season bump to high Class A Down East. Scouting Report: Phillips has success by being an elite strike-thrower with a deceptive changeup that plays well off his fastball. He pitches off a four-seam fastball in the low-90s that moves more like a sinker, with the ability to pound strikes down in the zone and get grounders. He backs up his fastball with a plus changeup that looks like a fastball out of his hand but has late fade and tumble to get swing-and-miss or weak contact. He already has plus control, throwing a high percentage of strikes to both sides of the plate. Strike-throwers with a good changeup can often breeze through Class A hitters but run into trouble at higher levels. He throws a slurvy, below-average curveball, so developing a better breaking pitch will be important for Phillips against better hitters. The Future: Phillips is ticketed for Down East to start 2019.
Track Record: Florentino signed with the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic for just $25,000 on July 2, 2017, but he quickly broke through as one of the team's best lower-level prospects. Florentino debuted in the Dominican Summer League, where he ranked third in OPS (1.004). Scouting Report: Florentino has an encouraging mix of patience and power, especially for a player with a chance to stick behind the plate. Florentino has a discerning eye for his age, with his 53 walks tied for third in the DSL. He has plenty of thump in his bat too, with the potential to hit 20-25 home runs and a short swing with the ability to keep his barrel on plane with the pitch for a long time, helping him get to that power in games. The Future: Florentino could remain at catcher, but he's an offensive-minded player who will need more work to stay at the position. He has an average arm (he threw out 27 percent of runners) but has to improve his receiving and blocking. The Rookie-level Arizona League should be his next step.
Track Record: Alexy was an over-slot sign in the 11th round of the 2016 draft, with the Dodgers signing him for $597,500. In the midst of Alexy's first full season, the Dodgers traded him along with Willie Calhoun and infielder Brendon Davis to the Rangers for Yu Darvish at the 2017 trade deadline. Scouting Report: Switching from the Midwest League to the South Atlantic League, Alexy repeated the low Class A level in 2018, showing swing-and-miss stuff with erratic ability to harness it in the strike zone. Alexy pitches at 91-94 mph and can reach 96, with the movement to get empty swings up in the zone. His best pitch is a curveball that flashes plus, with a slight grip tweak in-season that helped. While the Rangers place a heavy emphasis on fastball command for their lower-level pitchers, the data they had on Alexy's breaking ball prompted them to encourage Alexy to throw it more often. He made progress with his changeup at the end of the season, and the pitch has average potential. Alexy struck out 31 percent of batters, but he also struggles to throw his fastball for strikes, leading to a high walk rate. The Future: If Alexy can improve his control, he has the potential to be a back-end starter or better, but his strike-throwing issues create significant risk of him moving to the bullpen. High Class A Down East is up next.
Track Record: Reed annihilated pitchers while playing junior college ball in Mississippi, leading NJCAA Division II in batting average, slugging and on-base percentage in 2017. He signed with the Rangers for $135,000 as an eighth-round pick after that season, then continued to mash when he got to the Rookie-level Arizona League. Scouting Report: The arrows were pointing up for Reed heading into the year, but he arrived at low Class A Hickory in May and hit a wall early, finishing the first half hitting .220/.287/.415 in 35 games. Reed had extraneous movement in his swing that he was able to get away with in the AZL, but he worked to simplify his swing and tightened his strike-zone discipline. He took off in the second half, batting .294/.373/.552 with a lower strikeout rate in 62 games after the all-star break. Reed has a strong, bulky build with plus raw power to take the ball out to any part of the park, though there are scouts with concerns that he generates his power more with strength than bat speed and question how that will play at higher levels. Reed doesn't have much speed or athleticism, though he has shown enough defensively where he might not just be limited to DH duties despite his size. The Future: If everything clicks, Reed could develop into a player similar to Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who also overcame 4-A labels as a prospect.He's ready for high Class A Down East in 2019.
Track Record: Garcia was one of the top prospects available for the in the 2016-17 international signing period, with the Rangers signing him for $800,000 out of Venezuela on July 2, 2016. In his U.S. debut, Garcia got off to a rough start offensively in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but he finished with a flourish, batting .426/.491/.617 in August. Scouting Report: Garcia projects to stick behind the plate, where he has an above-average arm and gets rid of the ball quickly with swift footwork and accurate throws. He blocks and receives well for his age, and while he's a passionate player, he plays even-keeled and under control, which helped him separate his defensive game during his early-season offensive struggles. Once Garcia made a swing adjustment to be able to better use his hands, his offensive performance spiked. He has a simple, direct swing and makes consistent contact, with doubles power now and enough projection to develop 10-15 home run power The Future: Getting stronger will be crucial for Garcia to be able to drive the ball with more impact against better pitching.
Track Record: One of the most aggressive teams on the international market, the Rangers were in early on Rodriguez and signed him when he became eligible on July 2, 2018. While a lot of teams didn't see much of Rodriguez leading up to July 2, the Rangers jumped on him because of his offensive potential. Scouting Report: Rodriguez puts himself in a good hitting position with his setup and stance in the box, then releases a smooth, calm swing. It's a compact stroke and he drives the ball to the alleys now with a chance to grow into average power in the future. Rodriguez is an offensive-minded catcher who will need a lot of work to be able to stay behind the plate. His arm is strong enough to catch but his receiving, blocking and throwing are all extremely crude, so there's considerable risk he could end up moving to either left field or first base. The Future: Rodriguez will in 2019 make his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League.
Track Record: Cody was one of the top breakthrough players in the Rangers' system in 2017, when he rose through two Class A levels and missed plenty of bats with a pair of plus pitches. The 2018 season, however, struck a significant blow to his future. Cody tried to rehab an elbow injury early in the season, but after a setback in that process, he had Tommy John surgery in July. Scouting Report: Due to the timing of the surgery, Cody won't pitch in a game against until the 2020 season, so with just five innings pitched in 2018 and none in 2019, the injury essentially wipes out two seasons. When Cody was healthy, he attacked hitters with a lively 93-97 mph fastball coming from a steep angle out of his 6-foot-7, 245-pound frame. His plus slider looks like his fastball coming out of his hand but breaks off with sharp, late tilt as it gets to the plate. His changeup is fringe-average, so the injury sets back much-needed development of his third pitch. The Future: Cody has the stuff to be a No. 3 or 4 starter, but his durability is questionable. Cody will be 25 when the 2020 season opens and under an innings limit that season, so a bullpen role may be in his future.
Track Record: When the Padres signed Clase out of the Dominican Republic for $125,000 in February 2015, he was an 18-year-old who had quick, clean arm action and an 86-89 mph fastball, which later that year ticked up to 93 mph in the Dominican Summer League. In April 2018, the Rangers traded catcher Brett Nicholas to the Padres for a player to be named, with Clase going to the Rangers a month later. Scouting Report: He dominated as the closer for short-season Spokane, posting an ERA of 0.64. Having added 30 pounds since signing, Clase now throws in the mid-to-upper 90s with a peak of 101 mph. His fastball has above-average movement, a blessing and a curse as he can miss barrels with his fastball but is still harnessing his command, though he's generally around the strike zone. Clase is a two-pitch guy but leans heavily on his fastball. His slider flashes as an average pitch with two-plane depth at its best, but it's inconsistent in part because he doesn't always throw it with the same arm speed as his fastball. The Future: Low Class A Hickory is the next assignment for Clase, who has the upside to be a high-leverage reliever, with the risk of being another fireballer who flames out in the lower levels.
Track Record: When Heineman was at Oregon, injuries limited his time on the field, with the Rangers signing him for $100,000 as an 11th-round pick in 2015. In three years of pro ball, Heineman has hit well at every level, including at Triple-A Round Rock in 2018, prompting the Rangers to add him to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Scouting Report: Heineman turned 26 in December and has never distinguished himself as much of a prospect among pro scouts, but his performance and hard-nosed, high-energy style could help force his way to the major leagues in 2019. There's some length to Heineman's swing, but he makes consistent contact with fringe-average power and manages his at-bats well. Heineman is an average runner with a solid-average arm, splitting time between all three outfield positions. His best defensive fit is on a corner, though his offensive production doesn't profile as an everyday player there. The Future: After playing winter ball for Escogido in the Dominican League, Heineman will likely return to Triple-A in 2019, but with a thin Rangers team in Texas, he could be up during the year as a fourth outfielder or up-and-down guy.
Track Record: In 2014, Arias played on a stacked Cuban 18U national team that also included outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez and first baseman/outfielder Hasuan Viera. He left Cuba, signed with the Rangers for $700,000 on July 2, 2017, then reunited with Martinez and Viera in short-season Spokane, where all three players made their U.S. debuts in 2018. Scouting Report: Arias never dominated against his peers in Cuba, but he put himself on the prospect radar by leading the Northwest League in on-base percentage, albeit as a 22-year-old in a college-heavy league. In Spokane, Arias consistently put together quality at-bats with a firm grasp of the strike zone. He has a simple, repeatable swing with good bat control and a line-drive approach, though his power is well-below-average. Arias is a below-average runner whose range and footwork won't play at shortstop. With a solid-average arm, Arias is a better fit defensively at third base, though his lack of power is a concern there, while second base could be another option. The Future: Skeptical scouts still see a fringy prospect, but Arias could change that if he continues to hit in full-season ball, with low Class A Hickory his next step.
Track Record: Huff helped his draft stock during his senior season of high school by leading the state of Arizona in home runs. Huff signed with the Rangers for $225,000 as a seventh-round pick in 2016, then showed big power with a crude approach the next year when the Rangers held him back in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Scouting Report: Promoted to low Class A Hickory in 2018, Huff showed the biggest raw power of any hitters in the organization, though his plate discipline still has a ways to go. Huff has 70 raw power, generating impact with a combination of leverage in his swing and strength in his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame. When Huff barrels the ball, he can hit it out to any part of the park, but he has holes inside and gets himself into trouble by chasing a lot of pitches outside the strike zone, leading to a 31 percent strikeout rate with a walk in just five percent of his plate appearances last season. Huff's defensive profile has risk as well. He has a plus arm and frames pitches well, but with his size he's going to have to improve his lateral agility, footwork and blocking to be able to stick behind the plate. The Future: His overall skill set has similarities to Marlins first baseman Peter O'Brien, a former catcher. High Class A Down East is next for Huff.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up