Texas Rangers 2020 Top-25 Prospects
Times have been tough for the Rangers over the last few years. After a seven-year stretch from 2010-2016 which brought five playoff appearances, two world series appearances, and five 90-win seasons, the Rangers have now missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, never finishing closer than 23 games back. As the Astros rose, the Rangers fell. But don’t fret Rangers fans, help is on the way as you’ll see below in my top-25 Texas Rangers prospects for dynasty leagues. And all you fantasy diehards out there should be excited too as there is a ton of talent and depth in the system, especially offensively.
Overall System Grade: B+
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Nashville – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Frisco – Texas League
Advanced Single-A: Down East – Carolina League
Low Single-A: Hickory – South Atlantic League
Short Single-A: Spokane – Northwest League
Rookie: Arizona League (1), Dominican Summer League (2).
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Baseball Podcast weekly with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney!
Top-25 Texas Rangers Prospects – 2020
1. Josh Jung, 3B
A few different players could make a strong case to be #1 in this system. But in my eyes, the prospect with the best combination of ceiling and floor is Josh Jung. The Rangers selected Jung with the 8th overall pick back in June out of Texas Tech and promoted him to the Single-A South Atlantic League after just four games in the Arizona League. Jung certainly held his own in the Sally, hitting .287 with 13 doubles, four steals, and an 8.9% walk rate. Sure, Jung only launched one home run in 40 games at the level and two total in 44 games, but he showed above-average to plus raw power during his time at Texas Tech and still hit 14 doubles in 44 games. Plus, it’s hard to hit a ton of home runs with a 26.4% flyball rate.
At the plate, Jung has a very simple swing and balanced setup. He uses a smaller leg kick to time pitches and is quick to the ball with a smaller load before exploding through the zone with his quick hands generating plus bat speed. If you watch his swing in slo-mo below, you’ll see how Jung is able to keep his hands inside the ball and really whip the bat head through the strike zone.
Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung swings in slow motion. pic.twitter.com/wELOfRBKLG
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 15, 2018
With his above-average contact skills, sound plate discipline, and ability to hit the ball to all fields consistently, Jung should be able to hit for both a solid average and 25-plus homers annually. And while he’s far from a speedster, Jung has enough speed and instincts on the bases to add a handful of steals to that as well. The upside here might not be elite, but Jung has a high floor with the upside to develop into an above-average offensive third baseman with the arm and enough range to stick at the hot corner longterm.
2. Bayron Lora, OF
In my opinion, the 2019 international crop had a first-tier of four players starting with Jasson Dominguez and ending with outfielder Bayron Lora. The Rangers signed Lora for $3.9m out of the Dominican Republic, which was the third-biggest signing bonus of the period behind the $5.1m that both Dominguez and Robert Puason received from the Yankees and Athletics respectively. If you’ve ever seen video of Lora, it’s not difficult to see why the Rangers shelled out so much dough to acquire his services.
Bayron Lora officially signed with the Rangers yesterday, agreeing to a $3.9 million bonus.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 26, 2019
First and foremost, Lora is strong and athletic, already growing from 6’3/190 when he signed to 6’5/230 currently. Hot damn. He’s already shown 70-grade raw power and he might not be done growing yet, which is freaking scary. For a big kid that is still very raw as a prospect, the simplicity and fluidity of Lora’s right-handed swing impress me. Outside of a small bat wiggle, there’s minimal noise in his pre-pitch setup, remaining balanced with hands a little higher behind his head. All movements through load into his swing are direct and fluid with a smaller leg kick used to time pitches. Plus bat speed is very apparent when watching Lora at the plate and his swing produces plenty of natural loft.
I honestly believe we’re looking at a 55 to 60-hit, 70-raw type of hitter when he’s done developing, giving Lora the upside to hit for both a high average and plenty of power. And while he’s not a speedster, Lora has above-average foot speed now and projects to have average speed after bulking up. Add in 10-15 steals to his AVG/HR upside and you have a fantasy star in the making. Let me end with this: If I ranked this strictly on upside or offensive ceiling, Lora would be #1. If that doesn’t give you that tingly feeling deep down inside, I don’t know what will.
3. Sherten Apostel, 3B
The date was August 18th, 2018. The Rangers and Pirates completed a trade deadline move that sent reliever Keone Kela to Pittsburgh, by naming third base prospect Sherten Apostel as the PTBNL in the trade. No offense to Kela at all, but the Pirates might regret this one. The Pirates originally signed Apostel out of Curacao in the 2015 J2 period for $200K. He produces solid numbers, especially with his strong walk rates, during his time in the Pittsburgh organization, but the real breakout happened in 2019, his first full season in Texas’ system. Wait, a .251 average and 19 home runs is a breakout, Eric? Okay, maybe his numbers weren’t dominant, but Apostel really began flashing the one tool we had all been waiting for: His mammoth raw power.
At 6’4 and 200 pounds, the 20-year-old Apostel is still growing into his frame with some physical projection still remaining. He’s already begun flashing his immense raw power and could end up as a 70-raw type once he’s done adding bulk. To fully unleash that raw power, Apostel will need to add some loft to his swing though. That’s something he began doing in 2019, raising his flyball rate from 27.1% to 35.2%. With continued added loft, 30-plus homers annually are very attainable for Apostel.
He’s not just a one-dimensional masher either. Apostel has a clean swing from the right side with no big mechanical flaws. Quick and strong hands/wrists give him exceptional bat speed and really allow him to turn on the ball. SLowly but surely, Apostel is improving as an overall hitter, which is something John Calvagno of Notes From The Sally noticed in his live looks this past season.
“Sherten Apostel is my dude, Long and strong with excellent bat speed and double-plus raw power. Some of the best exit velo’s I saw all year. Started slow but made an in-season adjustment becoming less aggressive and using the big part of the yard and took off. Upside for .270 ish (.370)-25+. More with lift. Looked OK at 3rd for now but he’s a big man, future home could be 1B/LF.”
The arrow is firmly pointing up here with Apostel. Buy now in dynasty while the price tag is still reasonable. This offensive profile should allow him to stand out at either first base or the hot corner.
4. Nick Solak, 2B/OF
It’s time Nick Solak got the respect he deserves as a prospect. Seriously, all the guy has done every season is produce across the board offensive goodness as evident below.
Average, power, speed, plate approach, it’s all there, and has been year in and year out. You don’t just post an .850 OPS across 435 games by being lucky. You do it by being a damn good hitter, which is exactly what Solak is. Although he’s not a big guy at 5’11/190, Solak packs a punch from the right side with a quick and compact swing that doesn’t have any real holes in it. His swing is fluid with a quiet/balance pre-pitch set up, moderate load and incredibly quick hands that great that bat speed. You wouldn’t expect the ball to jump off his bat with as much authority as it does, but Solak has proven time and time again that his raw power is legit.
Assuming he starts running like he did before 2019, Solak has the potential for some 20/20 seasons in his career with a .275-plus batting average to go along with it. The fact that his profile isn’t the sexiest around cause some to overlook him for more flashy options. Don’t be one of those people. Solak is as solid as solid can be.
5. Cole Winn, RHP
Once the 2018 MLB Amateur draft was in the books and I was putting my rankings together, Cole Winn was my #2 ranked pitcher in the class behind top overall pick, Casey Mize. With his combination of size, stuff, and projectability, it was hard not to. The Rangers, as they’ve become accustomed to, held Winn out of game action, instead, giving him some work during fall instructs. So we didn’t even see Winn make his professional debut until May of this year and the results out of the gate weren’t overly impressive, to say the least. Winn posted a 7.59 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, and 6.3 BB/9 through his first seven starts in which his command seemed to have run off and hid somewhere that Winn couldn’t find.
After that though, Winn began to settle in, posting a 3.04 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over his final 10 starts including a seven-inning shutout gem in his second to last outing of the season. Yes, the walk rate was still a bit inflated at 4.6, but Winn has shown better command in the past and has a clean and repeatable delivery, giving hope he can straighten out his command and control woes moving forward. If he can, his dynamic arsenal could allow him to flourish as a #2 starter.
Winn arsenal runs four deep with all four projecting as Major League average or better and both his fastball and curveball projecting as plus. He’ll sit in the low to mid-90’s with life on his fastball and mix in a hammer curve with big 12-6 break. Both the slider and changeup are behind, but Winn has shown a feel for both and the slider has flashed above-average at times. Let’s hope Winn can improve his command and control because this is a very talented arm with substantial fantasy upside. Sending a buy-low offer to the Winn owner in your dynasty league is highly recommended. This is very likely the lowest his value will ever be.
6. Luisangel Acuña, SS/2B
Yes, Luisangel Acuña is the little brother of Atlanta Braves superstar, Ronald Acuña Jr. Let’s just get that out of the way right now so we can move on. After signing with the Rangers for $400K out of Venezuela, Acuña started his professional career in style, slashing .342/.438/.455/.893 with 17 steals and more walks (34) than strikeouts (26) in 51 Dominican Summer League games. I’ll spare you my DSL stats disclaimer, but it’s very encouraging to see a performance like this from the 17-year-old Acuña, especially his plate discipline.
At the plate, Acuña has a quick swing and has shown a good feel for hitting for his age with solid barrel control. He used a bigger two-piece leg lick to time pitches and takes a bigger stride than normal towards the pitcher. He sometimes can load a little too high with his hands, but his quick hands can make up for it when he does. Not much game-power showed up for Acuña in 2019, but he’s projected to add more bulk and power as he fills out his slight 5’10 frame. Just don’t expect him to get on the same level power-wise as his big brother.
I post a lot of prospect thoughts and videos on my IG page, like this one of Ronald Acuña’s little bro, Luisangel Acuña.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) September 27, 2019
That last sentence is key. With the last name Acuña, expectations will undoubtedly be high for Luisangel (or Jose, which some say he’s going by). While he has some intriguing offensive tools, especially in his hit tool, plus speed and approach, he’s not the same type of hitter that his brother is. Keep that in mind and enjoy the ride.
7. Maximo Acosta, SS
As usual, this year’s international class was littered with toolsy shortstop prospects. Nothing new there. One of the most intriguing in the second tier behind Robert Puason is Maximo Acosta. Signed for $1.65m out of Venezuela, Acosta wasn’t one of the bigger prospects in this year’s class, listed at 5’9/145 at the time, but is now listed at 6’1/170 around 5.5 months after signing. However, the skillset he brings to the table gives him intriguing upside that can stand toe to toe with any 2019 J2 SS prospect not named Puason. And on top of that, his floor is higher than most in this class.
The reason for that is Acosta’s plus hit tool. He’s shown exceptional contact skills and a great feel for hitting for someone his age. He can use the whole field with a quick and compact swing that generates plenty of hard contact, albeit, without much loft. As he matures and adds bulk, he has enough raw power to turn into a 20-homer type, but it’s the potential to hit at of over .300 that makes him an interesting prospect. That and his above-average speed that should translate to 20-plus steals longterm. Throw it all together and a .300/20/20 shortstop sounds pretty damn nice.
8. Leody Taveras, OF
Over the last couple of years, Leody Taveras has slowly been slipping down my overall rankings. The raw tools have always been intriguing, but the hit tool hasn’t progressed as anticipated and his plus speed has been limited some by inefficiency on the base paths. Plus speed has always been Taveras’ most notable tool, which has helped him develop into a strong defender in center field that can cover a ton of range. On the bases, however, he converted on only 71.1% of his 45 attempts in 2019 and 70.1% total for his minor league career. That’s not terrible, but it’s not going to get you the green light as often in the Majors either.
At the plate, Taveras is a switch-hitter that has shown a good feel for hitting from both sides of the plate. Although, nearly all of his power is from the left side. In 2019, that was on full display as Taveras only mustered up three extra-base hits in 126 at-bats as a righty. Power itself has never been and will never be a major part of Taveras’ game. He’s able to generate plus bat speed from both sides, but with a swing path that is mostly linear and lacks loft. There’s a tad more raw power in the tank here, but even at peak, Taveras is probably a 12-15 homer type at best.
It will all be about the contact skills and development as a base stealer that will determine if Taveras settles in as a dynamic top of the order type, or one that hits in the bottom third of the order. If the contact skills develop, the top of the order is likely as Taveras has shown he can work walks consistently with an 8.5% walk rate for his career.
9. Bubba Thompson, OF
Bubba Thompson is a plus athlete through and through. He might even be the best athlete on this entire top-25. With easy plus speed, bordering on double-plus, Thompson has been an asset both on the bases and in the outfield. Thompson swiped 12 bags in 15 attempts last season and has racked up 49 in just 171 career games. As a 2017 draftee though, the 171 games played is a tad concerning. In 2019, hand and ankle injuries limited Thompson to just 57 Carolina League games where he never really was able to get any momentum going, hitting just .178 for the season.
— William Boor (@wboor) September 21, 2019
While his speed and defense are his carrying tools, Thompson has some nice potential at the dish as well. A righty swinger, Thompson has an easy and fluid swing with electric bat speed. He really keeps things simple with a fluid hand load and a minor leg kick which is more of a stride. He’s a much better hitter than he showed in 2019 with at least average contact skills to go along with above-average to plus raw power. If his power continues to develop and Thompson can keep his strikeouts in check, there’s .270/20/25 upside here. Don’t let the rough 2019 deter you. If anything, buy low where possible.
10. Hans Crouse, RHP
For me, Hans Crouse is one of the most interesting pitching prospects in baseball. To start, it’s both exciting and tiring to watch him pitch. His delivery is full of quirks and is maximum effort on every pitch with a violent finish. I’m surprised his head doesn’t just fly off. Seriously. All the bells and whistles help throw off the batter’s timing, but you got to wonder if it’s all a bit much. For now, it hasn’t affected his control, but Crouse’s command is behind. Definitely control over command presently.
As for the arsenal, Crouse lives off his electric mid-90’s fastball and plus curve. Both pitches feature plenty of movement and grade as plus or better. Crouse also works in a changeup and slider, with the changeup flashing above-average with both fade and drop. If he can gain consistency with the offering, it would be a third weapon for him, especially against left-handers. The slider is more of a complimentary fourth offering than a weapon.
The arsenal is dynamic, no doubt about it. But with his inconsistent command and all the effort in his delivery, I do question the longevity of Crouse as a starter. If he can clean some of that up, there’s #3 starter upside. If not, Crouse has the arsenal to flourish in a late-inning bullpen role.
11. Heriberto Hernandez, C/1B/OF
With what we’ve seen from Heriberto Hernadez over the last two seasons, the Rangers signing him for a mere $10K looks like more of a steal than their Corey Kluber heist yesterday. After posting a 1.099 OPS in the DSL in 2018, Hernandez followed that up with a 1.079 OPS in 50 Arizona League games before earning a late-season promotion to the short-season Single-A Northwest League. It’s a good thing he’s got the bat working as that is what is going to carry him to the Majors some day. His defense is suspect at best and he doesn’t look great at catcher, first base, or in the outfield. Out of all those spots, I’d say a corner outfield spot is most likely with first base as the fallback option. Not really envisioning him playing behind the plate for much longer.
Who knows, maybe Hernandez a DH longterm. He’s got the bat for it, that’s for sure. Easy plus raw power is Hernandez’s calling card offensively with a powerful frame and a quick right-handed swing that generates natural loft. You don’t luck into back to back 1.000-plus OPS seasons folks. This bat is legit, especially in the power department. While I’m not quite as all-in on his contact skills (yet), I’m willing to at least throw a 50 or 55-grade on them for now and will be keeping a close eye on Hernandez as he advances into Single-A full time in 2020. This is a prospect firmly on the rise that could finish as a 55-hit, 60-power corner outfielder. He’s also shown the ability to work the count and draw walks at a high clip while keeping his strikeouts manageable. It’s time to get excited.
12. Sam Huff, C
Sam Huffed and he puffed and he blew his way straight onto the prospect scene with a breakout 2019 season. In 127 games between the South Atlantic League and Carolina League, Huff belted 28 home runs with 22 doubles and a .278 batting average. That’s nice and all, but it also came with 154 strikeouts to only 33 walks. This after an even worse 140/23 K/BB ratio in 2018. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that plate discipline isn’t one of Huff’s strong points. Two areas that are, however, are his plus power and plus throwing arm from behind the plate. As long as he can continue to improve his receiving and framing skills, Huff should be able to stick at catcher longterm.
Sam Huff ties the #FuturesGame! Down 2 in the bottom of the 7th with a man on, the #Rangers' prospect goes yard to level things up for the American League. Watch live: https://t.co/eys4mNSXZ9 pic.twitter.com/vBuC0mGOxL
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 8, 2019
But, of course, we really care about how much Huff is going to hit. As I mentioned, the power upside is plus with the potential for 25-homers annually moving forward. However, I question how much average Huff hits for due to his contact skills and atrocious plate discipline. Ultimately, I’m not sure I can project him to hit higher than .240-.250 or so with an OBP hovering around .300. And for that reason, I can’t shoot him too far up these rankings. At least Huff is a fairly athletic catcher and can add a handful of steals annually.
13. Jonathan Ornelas, INF
Jonathan Ornelas is one of the most interesting prospects on this list. Not due to a sexy upside, but more the fact that he doesn’t really have a longterm defensive home at the moment. After spending time at second base, third base, and shortstop in 2018, Ornelas manned all three spots again while also getting some reps in the outfield. It’s not that he’s necessarily bad at any spot, but Ornelas has the athleticism and versatility to play numerous positions which could be highly valuable to the Rangers down the road in a potential super-utility role.
On the offensive side of things, Ornelas doesn’t possess any standout tools, but is solid across the board with 50 or 55-grades on all his offensive tools. He uses a moderate leg kick to time pitches and his quick hands generate plus bat speed from the right side. Strong hips create plenty of torque in Ornelas’ swing, really allowing him to turn on the ball. However, he has been overly pull-happy so far in his professional career. If he can carve out everyday at-bats with the Rangers, Ornelas could post some .270/15/15 type seasons with the upside for a little more power/speed.
14. Joe Palumbo, RHP
After a strong showing in the upper minors, including six impressive starts in the hitter-friendly PCL, Joe Palumbo’s Major League debut wasn’t quite as rosy. Four starts and three relief outings later and Palumbo’s ERA finished at 9.18, albeit, with a 11.3 K/9. Although Palumbo isn’t the biggest southpaw around at 6’1, the extension he gets in his delivery creates a nice downhill plane on his fastball, which sits in the low to mid-90’s with some riding life.
It’s slow motion szn here’s Joe Palumbo pic.twitter.com/rqknu1yM4M
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) February 14, 2019
Palumbo’s secondaries consist of an upper-70’s curve and 86-88 mph changeup, with the curve being the better of the two, a plus pitch with good shape to it. The development of Palumbo’s changeup over the last year or two has gone a long way in his recent success and should help him settle into in as a #4 starter for the Rangers. That is, if he can find more consistency with his command. Not bad for a 30th round pick.
15. Osleivis Basabe, SS
Another Arizona League standout along with Hernandez, Osleivis Basabe made his mark in a much different way. The batting average was nearly as high at .325, but Basabe didn’t add a single home run and only has one to his name in 89 professional games thus far. He doesn’t project as a zero in the power department, but his hit tool and speed are going to be his carrying tools and what makes him a target in dynasty leagues. Both his hit tool and speed project as plus with his speed potentially grading as double-plus.
Basabe’s swing is very quick from the right side due to quick hands and fluid motions. As mentioned, his power is below average and limited even further by a linear swing path and the fact that he’ll get out on his front foot early in his swing at times. Still, the bat to ball skills and plate coverage are exceptional with .300-plus a real possibility for Basabe. Factor in 25-plus steals and any power he provides is gravy.
16. Steele Walker, OF
I’m trying to figure out if Steele Walker is a better baseball name or action movie star name. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s a great name for both. A career in Hollywood will have to wait as Walker the baseball player is making a name for himself in prospect circles. Now, not one single tool here will knock your socks off (as I sit here wearing no socks), Walker possesses solid across the board upside with the potential for a bunch of 50 or 55 grades on his offensive tools. The White Sox thought highly enough of him to acquire him in exchange for Nomar Mazara in early-December. Can you say Walker Texas Ranger part two? Even with a name like Steele, I’m still taking Chuck Norris. No one beats Chuck Norris.
If I were to give any tool of Walker’s a plus grade, it would be his raw power. Walker has a smooth left-handed swing with plenty of bat speed and natural loft due to a slight uppercut swing path. Although, that power is mostly to his pull side and I’d like to see him use the entire field more. Like with any prospect that performs well in the low minors while being old for the level (23yo in High-A), how Walker handles more advanced pitching as he advances into Double-A in 2020 will be interesting to follow. The potential ceiling with Walker is in the vicinity of .270-.280/20-25/10-15, making him a prospect worth rostering in moderately deep dynasty leagues where 300-plus prospects are rosters.
17. Davis Wendzel, 3B
Originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 37th round in 2018, Davis Wendzel returned to Baylor University for one more year and greatly improved his draft stock. A strong final collegiate season bumped Wendzel up to the 41st overall selection as the last pick of the 1st round (CBA). Got a nice chunk of change too, signing a $1.6m bonus, although, it was around $200K below slot value.
There are two reasons why Wendzel got drafted as highly as he did: He’s a plus hitter that plays above-average defense at the hot corner. He’s shown a great feel for hitting from the right side with exceptional contact skills and the ability to use the whole field. While the power isn’t on the same level, Wendzel has average raw power and could settle in as a 15-20 homer type down the road to go along with 8-12 stolen bases. The upside here might not make you rush to acquire him in dynasty leagues, but there’s a solid skillset to build off and a fairly high floor.
18. Ricky Vanasco, RHP
The road to making this top-25 has been a bumpy one for Ricky Vanasco. He’s tossed only 83.1 innings since being drafted in 2017 due to elbow inflammation in 2018 and a concussion caused by a Sam Huff throw in 2017. With all that behind him, Vanasco began to make waves in 2019 and could really be in store for a breakout 2020. He’ll sit in the mid-90’s with life on his fastball and can creep up into the upper-90’s when he needs to. A plus curveball is his main secondary offering, flashing plus with big vertical break. Vanasco will also mix in a changeup, but the pitch is less advanced and becomes overly stiff at times.
With a more developed changeup and better command, Vanasco has intriguing upside as a mid-rotation arm with high strikeout potential. We very well could see Vanasco pushing top-10 status in this top-25 next offseason.
19. Alexander Ovalles, OF
Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the 2018 Cole Hames trade, Alexander Ovalles is yet another Rangers prospect that raked in the Arizona League this season. In 25 games, Ovalles hit .377 with a 1.059 OPS, but struggled mightily after his promotion to the Northwest League (A-Short), hitting just .187. When the Cubs signed him back in 2017, he wasn’t considered a notable signing, but has the all-around offensive skill set to make an impact down the road. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen a ton of Ovalles, but from what I have seen, I like the bat speed from the left side and believe there’s more power here than he’s let on so far.
The 2020 season will be a very telling one for Ovalles prospect stock. It wouldn’t hurt to grab him in deeper dynasty leagues now (400+ prospects) to see if he can continue to hit as he advanced up the ladder.
20. Brock Burke, LHP
Every system has a pitcher like Brock Burke that projects as a fairly safe back-end starter that can eat innings. Burke’s arsenal is far from dominant, but with three 50 to 55-grade offerings and decent enough command and control, he has a real chance to settle into the back-end of a rotation for a long time. At 6’4, Burke pounds the strike zone with his low-90’s fastball (averaged 91.6 in MLB debut) and will mix in a sharp slider and fading changeup with around 6-7 mph of separation. Although his velocity doesn’t blow anyone away, Burke has solid extension in his delivery, creating a nice downhill plane on his fastball. With the addition of Kluber, the Rangers rotation is a bit crowded to start 2020, so Burke might find himself back in Triple-A or maybe pitching out of the Texas pen for now.
21. Anderson Tejeda, SS
Anderson Tejeda is a prospect I’ve tried to get myself to buy into more, but I just haven’t been able to do it. As a lefty-hitter turned back into a switch hitter following platoon split issues, Tejeda has displayed above-average raw power, but didn’t hit a home run from the right side in 2019 and I’ve yet to get a good sense for his right-handed power. And outside of 2018 when he hit 19 home runs, his raw power hasn’t consistently translated into game power. What has been there is plus bat speed from both sides, but an aggressive approach his limited his contact skills and led to a 28.9% strikeout rate over the last three years.
While the 20/10 upside and his strong throwing arm from shortstop are all nice, I’m not sure I can project more than a .250 average or so from Tejeda moving forward. It will be interesting to see if he can take a step forward at the plate in 2020 with more reps from the right side. But don’t be surprised if the shoulder injury that ended his 2019 season in June limits his power in 2020.
22. Ronny Henriquez, RHP
This is an arm I’d love a lot more if he was a few inches taller and 30-plus pounds heavier. Currently listed at 5’10/155, Henriquez still has physical projection on his frame, but at 19, I’m not sure there’s more height on the way. Despite his small stature, Henriquez can really crank up the velocity into the mid to upper-90’s thanks to phenomenal arm speed and smooth mechanics. He’ll work in a plus curveball with good depth and a serviceable changeup with fade, rounding out a nice little three-pitch mix that he commands fairly well. Henriquez should be able to find some success in the Majors with the arsenal and command he possesses, but one has to wonder about longevity here.
23. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP
Can we combine Yerry Rodriguez’s size (6’2/200) with Henriquez’s stuff? Please? While Rodriguez has a more typical starter’s build, his arsenal isn’t quite as electric as Henriquez’s. He’ll sit in the low to mid-90’s with strong life on his fastball, but has yet to develop either of his secondary offerings (CB/CH) into an out pitch. Both project as Major League average pitches, but Rodriguez would really benefit from one developing into more of a weapon for him. For now, he projects as a #4 starter for me.
24. Keithron Moss, 2B/3B
Hey look, another AZL standout. After a rough showing in the DSL in 2018, Keithron Moss excelled in the Arizona League last season, hitting .308 with a .425 OBP and eight steals in 34 games. Defensively, Moss doesn’t stand out, but he certainly does at the plate with plus contact skills and a great feel for hitting for his age. He’s shown he can draw walks and has above-average foot speed on the bases with the potential for 20-plus steals annually. There’s not a ton of power potential at the moment, but Moss could develop double-digit power as he matures and adds a little bulk.
25. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF
This ranking brings two things to light. First, this Texas system is very deep with talent. Second, Julio Pablo Martinez has failed to live up to expectations thus far. Sure he put up a 15/32 season in 2019, but when you dig deeper, it becomes much less impressive. Here’s why. To start, Martinez was very old for the level as a 23-year-old in Single-A. Additionally, his slash line that went along with it was uninspiring and Martinez was only successful on 71.1% of his stolen base attempts. While his speed is considered plus, Martinez’s contact skills are below average, he doesn’t drive the ball much, and there are some swing and miss concerns here as well. As of now, I’m not sure I project him as a starting-caliber outfielder anymore.
Others To Monitor
Chris Seise, SS: A strong defender with plus speed, but I’m not sure if he hits enough to make an impact in the fantasy world.
Eli White, SS/OF: Does a lot of things well that will likely allow him to carve out a role with the Rangers. However, I’m not sure there’s enough offensive upside to make an impact in fantasy.
Pedro Gonzalez, OF: Possesses an enticing power/speed profile, but there are major contact and plate discipline concerns here that will need to be corrected if he’s going to make an impact at the Major league level.
Miguel Aparicio, OF: Has flashed a nice little power/speed mix, but his contact skills need work.
Jonathan Hernandez, RHP: With his nice-three pitch mix, it surprised me that Hernandez didn’t male my top-25. However, command and control issues have limited him recently and will continue to do so moving forward without some refinement.
Tyler Phillips, RHP: He’d probably make most top-25’s, but there’s so much depth here. Solid three-pitch arsenal with a plus changeup and above-average to plus command and control. Big 6’5 frame gives low-90’s fastball a nice downward plane. Definitely an arm to keep an eye on.
Owen White, RHP: Ditto here for White. Has the upside of a #3 starter with a nice three-pitch mix and solid command and control. Could be a big mover in 2020.
Taylor Hearn, LHP: Big fastball and solid enough secondaries, but command and health issues have plagued him and limit his long-term upside.
Cole Ragans, LHP: Basically, Tommy John won’t leave him alone. Displayed mid-rotation upside before getting hurt with three above-average or better offerings, but now hasn’t pitched since 2017 and is more risk than anything.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, J.J. Cooper, John Calvagno, Baseball-Reference, Baseball America, Ben Badler, William Boor, MLB Pipeline, Levi Weaver.
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