Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (9) | 2013 (3) | 2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [67-95] AL West
AAA: [70-74] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [80-59] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [82-56] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach (2015: High Desert)
A: [80-59] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss): [40-36] Northwest League – Spokane
This system is full of risk/reward prospects with big ceilings. It’s also deep, and I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10 to be honest. Fringe top ten guys like Keone Kela could help the major league bullpen as soon as 2016, and Kela’s triple-digit heater looks like the stuff of a closer. Then there’s Delino DeShields Jr. who was a Rule 5 selection from the Astros. DeShields hit 11 homers and stole 54 bases in Double-A last season. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a fantasy relevant prospect on this farm. Heading into 2015, Rougned Odor will get another extended look at second base while Jurickson Profar continues to battle shoulder issues. For what it’s worth, I still like Profar in dynasty leagues and at just 22 years old he still has plenty of time to get things back on track.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Joey Gallo, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Obviously Gallo brings elite raw power to the table, and that is going to have massive appeal in fantasy. With an improved approach in 2014 (lowered his K% with the move to High-A), the 21-year-old third baseman shot up prospect rankings and earned a promotion to Double-A. Adrian Beltre is set to become a free agent in 2017, at which time Gallo should be ready to take over the role. He could be ready before then as either a DH or even an outfielder if the Rangers decide to got that route. While there’s big time potential here, it’s important to remember that there’s also some swing-and-miss in his game and only 291 plate appearances in Double-A so far (where his K% shot back up). For this year, look for him to continue to refine his approach between Double-A and Triple-A. He may be in line for some MLB time this September.
2. Nomar Mazara, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2016
Mazara is a solid right field prospect with 25+ homer potential. At 19, he earned a promotion to Double-A Frisco for just under 100 plate appearances. That made him the youngest player at the level and brought some attention to the former J2 signee. He won’t leave you wanting for average either, since his hit tool grades as above average to plus (.270-.280). Mazara will likely head back to Double-A for 2015, but he could be knocking on the door in Arlington as soon as mid-2016 if he keeps hitting. Mazara is a great example of what a J2 prospect can become with some patience. If he’s available in your prospect drafts, scoop him up before his stock climbs any higher.
3. Lewis Brinson, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Brinson doesn’t have the same pop as Mazara, but the center fielder makes up that ground with plus speed. There’s potential for contributions in both home runs and steals, but the approach needs refinement and there are questions about whether he can hit enough to be a major league regular. It’s your classic high-risk/high-reward profile and the Rangers’ system is full of them. The risk might be too much for some, and Baseball America didn’t even put Brinson in their top ten this year. I’m willing to roll the dice on this one and ranked him in my Top 50 overall. The power/speed combos are gold in fantasy.
4. Jorge Alfaro, C | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Catching prospects aren’t always a good bet in fantasy, but Alfaro’s offensive game is good enough to warrant top five in this strong farm system. He’s also relatively close to contributing at the MLB level. There’s 20-homer power in his bat and he’s fast enough to chip in the occasional steal. He might still be a little raw and will certainly benefit from more seasoning at Double-A on both sides of the ball, but after Blake Swihart and Kyle Schwarber are off the board this is your best fantasy catching option right here.
5. Chi-Chi Gonzalez, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Hopefully I can get through this blurb without confusing Gonzalez with Chi-Chi the golfer. One strategy in dynasty leagues is to go for prospects who are close to the majors and can feed your MLB roster for a championship run in the short term. Gonzalez is one of those prospects. He doesn’t have huge upside (#3 starter) and the home park isn’t ideal for pitchers, but this is a talented arm with a double-plus fastball that can help your team soon. He’s a great target after some of the sexier names are off the board and you’re trudging through the middle rounds of a dynasty draft. He’s also a good target for redraft league streaming in the second half of 2015.
6. Jake Thompson, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Like Gonzalez, Thompson’s upside is limited to a #3 starter and he’ll have to navigate the unfriendly confines of the Rangers’ home ballpark. But that will also help dynasty owners land him at a slight discount. Thompson has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider with an average changeup. The 21-year-old righty was originally drafted by Detroit in the 2nd round, but came to Texas in the Joakim Soria deal. Thompson has seen his prospect stock rise considerably in the last year and earned a promotion to Double-A at just 20. He’ll return to Double-A in 2015 with a chance to see the majors as soon as next year.
7. Nick Williams, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Here’s another toolsy outfield prospect that has a high ceiling but also a lot of risk attached. There are some lists that rank Williams ahead of Brinson, but it’s not worth pulling your hair out trying to decide between the two. Like Brinson, there’s the chance Williams just doesn’t hit enough for it all to come together. But if it does, the plus power and speed makes for another outfield prospect in this system with 20/20 potential. Williams also saw a promotion to Double-A in 2014, and that’s where he’ll likely return to start this year.
8. Ryan Rua, 3B/OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
Rua gets a boost from his ability to contribute in the short term, and while he may not end up being more than a utility player, he’s got above average power that could translate into 15-20 homers at the MLB level. Rua makes a solid grab for depth in leagues that have deeper reserves or if you’re looking to use your farm to stash MLB-ready help as opposed to the far away guys we typically like to dream on. With Jake Smolinski currently penciled in to play left field in 2015, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rua got some playing time there in 2015. AL-only players should have him on their radar in drafts this year as well.
9. Travis Demeritte, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018
Let’s focus on the homers and not the strikeout potential because that’s way more fun. Even though it was at Low-A Hickory, Demeritte’s 25 homers were impressive for a 19-year-old. The stats took a nose dive in August and the strikeouts are obviously a major concern, but Demeritte still holds the potential to be a 20-homer threat from the middle infield at the major league level. He’s a fun one to dream on even though he’s a long way from contributing to your MLB roster.
10. Luis Ortiz, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
The Rangers took Ortiz in the first round of the 2014 draft, and the 19-year-old impressed in his professional debut between the rookie level Arizona League and Low-A. He has a big fastball and his slider has plus potential as well. While he’s more of a flier at this point and should be reserved for deeper dynasty formats, you can also snag him much later than the other first-round high school pitchers from the 2014 class like Toussaint and Kolek. He’ll likely head back to Low-A to start the 2015 season.