Texas Rangers: Top 10 Prospects

Texas Rangers

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

1.John Danks, lhp
2.Eric Hurley, rhp
3.Edinson Volquez, rhp
4.Thomas Diamond, rhp
5.John Mayberry Jr., of
6.Joaquin Arias, ss
7.Kasey Kiker, lhp
8.Nick Masset, rhp
9.Jason Botts, of/dh
10.Josh Rupe, rhp
Best Hitter for AverageJoaquin Arias
Best Power HitterJohn Mayberry Jr.
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineTug Hulett
Fastest BaserunnerFreddy Guzman
Best AthleteJohn Mayberry Jr.
Best FastballEric Hurley
Best CurveballJohn Danks
Best SliderJosh Rupe
Best ChangeupEdinson Volquez
Best ControlDanny Ray Herrera
Best Defensive CatcherTaylor Teagarden
Best Defensive InfielderJoaquin Arias
Best Infield ArmJoaquin Arias
Best Defensive OutfielderFreddy Guzman
Best Outfield ArmJohn Mayberry Jr.
CatcherGerald Laird
First BaseMark Teixeira
Second BaseIan Kinsler
Third BaseHank Blalock
ShortstopMichael Young
Left FieldJohn Mayberry Jr.
Center FieldBrad Wilkerson
Right FieldNelson Cruz
Designated HitterJason Botts
No. 1 StarterJohn Danks
No. 2 StarterEric Hurley
No. 3 StarterKevin Millwood
No. 4 StarterEdinson Volquez
No. 5 StarterThomas Diamond
CloserAkinori Otsuka
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Danny Kolb, rhpBrewers
1998Ruben Mateo, ofOut of baseball
1999Ruben Mateo, ofOut of baseball
2000Ruben Mateo, ofOut of baseball
2001Carlos Pena, 1bRed Sox
2002Hank Blalock, 3bRangers
2003Mark Teixeira, 3bRangers
2004Adrian Gonzalez, 1bPadres
2005Thomas Diamond, rhpRangers
2006Edison Volquez, rhpRangers
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Jason Romano, 3bDevil Rays
1998Carlos Pena, 1bRed Sox
1999Colby Lewis, rhpTigers
2000Scott Heard, cOut of baseball
2001Mark Teixeira, 3bRangers
2002Drew Meyer, ssRangers
2003John Danks, lhpRangers
2004Thomas Diamond, rhpRangers
2005John Mayberry Jr., ofRangers
2006Kasey Kiker, lhpRangers
Mark Teixeira, 2001$4,500,000
John Danks, 2003$2,100,000
Vincent Sinisi, 2003$2,070,000
Thomas Diamond, 2004$2,025,000
Drew Meyer, 2002$1,875,000
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Texas Rangers

In his first year as Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels proved he wasn't afraid to take risks. He also wasn't willing to compromise his vision for the future of the franchise. That vision began to materialize in 2006, just perhaps not as quickly as Texas hoped.

With a potent offense, the Rangers hung around in the American League West race until the middle of the summer. They finished 80-82, good enough for third place, 13 games behind the division-winning Athletics. Afterward, Daniels fired manager Buck Showalter and replaced him with former Oakland bench coach Ron Washington.

As usual, Texas was undone by its lack of pitching. Kevin Millwood, who signed a five-year, $60 million free agent contract before the 2006 season, gave the Rangers a reliable workhorse at the front of their staff for the first time in years. Fellow Daniels acquisitions Vicente Padilla and Robinson Tejeda were solid for 47 starts between them, but the rest of the rotation was riddled with question marks.

Adam Eaton, acquired to be the No. 2 starter in a deal for Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez, was a major disappointment with a finger injury and departed for the Phillies as a free agent in November. Two other trade acquisitions, John Koronka and John Rheinecker, couldn't get the job done. Edinson Volquez, No. 1 on this list a year ago, couldn't adjust to the majors, and Kameron Loe couldn't make the transition from reliever to starter.

If the Millwood and Padilla signings were a success and the Eaton trade a failure, the jury is still out on the two biggest deals Daniels made in his first year. Prior to the season, he shipped free-agent-to-be Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and minor league righthander Armando Galarraga. Soriano became the fourth member of the 40-40 club while Wilkerson and Galarraga were busts.

Just before the July trade deadline, Daniels picked up another pending free agent, Carlos Lee, and outfield prospect Nelson Cruz from the Brewers in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix and minor league righty Julian Cordero. Lee couldn't put Texas over the top and signed with the Astros in November. Cruz could become the Rangers' everyday right fielder in 2007.

Despite his willingness to make moves, Daniels refused to mortgage Texas' pitching future. He did dangle some of his top pitching prospects in front of the Marlins in a potential Josh Beckett deal in November 2005, only to have his offer trumped by the Red Sox. Afterward, Daniels held on to John Danks, Eric Hurley, Volquez and Thomas Diamond. They continued their steady development under first-year farm director Scott Servais, though all four struggled at different points in the season.

It wasn't a great year for Texas' farm system, as several of its most heralded prospects (especially its position players) leveled off and the six U.S. affiliates combined for a .423 winning percentage-the worst mark in baseball. But a number of the Rangers' 2006 draftees made impressive pro debuts, including lefthander Kasey Kiker (first round), shortstop Marcus Lemon (fourth) and outfielder/first baseman Chris Davis (fifth). Led by international scouting director A.J. Preller, Texas brought in another impressive haul in Latin America, highlighted by promising 16-year-old hurlers Wilmer Font and Geuris Grullon and 17-year-old third baseman/catcher Emmanuel Solis.