The Rangers have one of the deepest systems in the majors and it’s packed with upside for fantasy. Even after trading away three good prospects in the Cole Hamels deal, it’s still a beast. The appeal for our game is the type of player – toolsy, power bats, power arms…all good stuff. One of the pleasant surprises on the MLB roster was Delino Deshields, who the Rangers selected as a rule 5 pick from the Astros organization. If you’re like me, you threw Deshields on your farm for some depth and by the end of the season it was all like ‘whoa this is a solid player right here’ and then Grey’s writing a sleeper post on him and next thing you know he’s got an ADP in the teens. Grey is influential like that. Coincidentally, the Rangers also lost Odubel Herrera in the rule 5 draft to Philly, and that young man had a hell of a season too. Just goes to show that this whole prospect game isn’t always easy to peg, and you have to stay on your toes and roll with it. Back over to the Texas farm now, which features three top 50 fantasy prospects.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Joey Gallo, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 374 PA, .240/.342/.520, 23 HR, 2 SB, 14% BB, 37% K
I believe the term is “donkey”? Gallo’s raw power might be the best in the minors, but his strikeout rate is enough to keep him nestled in the back half of the top ten instead of among the super elites. It’s still a profile to get excited about in fantasy leagues though. Maybe Chris Davis-type seasons are in his future, and that kind of power is hard to come by. He’s close to the bigs, although his defensive home in the short term is a bit up in the air with both third base and outfield possibilities.
Nomar Mazara, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 558 PA, .296/.366/.443, 14 HR, 2 SB, 9% BB, 18% K
Mazara did a lot to cement himself at the top of prospect lists in 2015. Not only did he tear through Double-A as a 20-year-old, he also hit .358 in 88 plate appearances at Triple-A. That’s where he’ll most likely start the 2016 season, but he should be in line for a call to the majors at some point in the second half. It’s a pretty typical right field profile – more power-driven than speed-driven. The ceiling is .280/30 and that’ll play in every format.
Lewis Brinson, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 456 PA, .332/.403/.601, 20 HR, 18 SB, 10% BB, 21% K
I’m not usually the type to blow my own horn (if I could I’d never leave my house) but in Brinson’s case I’ve always liked him. I put him 33rd on my 2015 preseason list despite some concerns about his approach. While some of those question marks are still there, he’s a toolshed with the kind of upside we target in fantasy, which is what drew me to him in the first place. With some more seasoning in the upper minors, Brinson could vault himself into the top half of some top 50 lists if he’s not there already. It’s a power/speed profile with 20/30 upside.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Dillon Tate, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A(ss)/A
2015 Stats: 9 IP, 1.00 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
Tate is one of the more exciting arms from the 2015 draft, with a fastball and slider that both grade as plus or better pitches. He should move relatively quickly, and it would be easy to see him following the path of some other first-round talents who got their feet wet in the bullpen before transitioning to the rotation. We’ll have a better idea once he gets some upper-level innings under his belt in 2016, but for now it looks like a #2 starter ceiling.
Ryan Cordell, SS/3B/OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 561 PA, .270/.327/.444, 18 HR, 20 SB, 7% BB, 22% K
The Rangers are one of those teams like the Cubs and the Astros, with quality prospects converging on similar positions. Cordell coasted through High-A, but hit just .217 in his first 56-game taste of Double-A. I’d expect him to adjust and his versatility should help him find his way to the bigs. The tools aren’t up there with Brinson and Mazara, but 15/20 upside on the left side of the infield is solid.
Patrick Kivlehan, CI/OF | Age: 26 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 518 PA, .256/.313/.453, 22 HR, 14 SB, 7% BB, 22% K
Kivlehan came over from the Mariners and at 26 he’s a little long in the tooth for prospect lists. He’d be a solid choice for a competitive dynasty team looking to use their farm for depth. In real life, he’ll likely fill a utility role thanks to his power and ability to play just about any corner infield or corner outfield position. Solid Triple-A numbers and a hint of speed mean he could do some damage with an opportunity. Give him a full season of at bats and he could flirt with 20 homers. Honestly I was a little surprised he was the PTBNL in the Martin deal.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Eric Jenkins, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk/A
2015 Stats: 224 PA, .262/.348/.349, 0 HR, 28 SB, 11% BB, 27% K
Jenkins is the classic plus-speed center field profile, but at 18 years old there’s room for some pop to develop as well. The ceiling is a .275/15/30 type but that’s still a long ways off. The Rangers selected Jenkins 45th overall in the 2015 draft, but in fantasy first-year player drafts I could see him going in the 30s thanks to his offensive upside. He struck out a bunch, but also showed he could take a walk, so there’s a lot to like.
Yeyson Yrizarri, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A(ss)/AAA
2015 Stats: 291 PA, .266/.291/.342, 2 HR, 8 SB, 2% BB, 18% K
Part of me wants these guys to make it just so I can hear Grey and JB pronounce their names on the podcast. This one I’m clueless on, but I bet it would win you some points in Palabras Con Amigos. Anythehoo, Yrizarri has the offensive skills to hit for power and steal some bags, with the defensive chops and arm to stick on the left side of the infield…maybe even, dare I say, shortstop. In the large majority of formats I’d bet he’s still available and you can take a flyer on him if you have a deep enough farm. Otherwise, it’s still a little early to get excited.
Ti’Quan Forbes, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 236 PA, .263/.315/.323, 0 HR, 2 SB, 6% BB, 23% K
Forbes was a second round pick for the Rangers two years ago, and it looks like he’ll chip in a little power and speed once he’s ready. The wait’s a bit too long and the ceiling isn’t really high enough to sweat him yet, and if he can’t stick in the infield it’ll hurt his value along the way. Despite that, the really deep dynasty league owners will want to roster him for his projectability, while most shallow leaguers can pass and scoop him later.
Travis Demeritte, MI | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)/A
2015 Stats: 220 PA, .232/.332/.384, 5 HR, 10 SB, 12% BB, 36% K
Demeritte reminds me of a poor man’s Baez now that he mans the keystone. It’s big raw power, which would be fantastic for his fantasy value in the middle infield, but there’s such an aggressive approach and propensity to strike out that it dims the whole package. He also lost some development time to a PED suspension and it’s one of those profiles that would take some time to cook in the minors anyway. He’s a solid – albeit risky – upside play in deep formats just in case things click.
Jairo Beras, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 350 PA, .291/.332/.440, 9 HR, 9 SB, 5% BB, 25% K
The big concern in the scouting reports I’ve read on Beras is his makeup. Not that I particularly care about makeup in fantasy, but it’s there. Performance-wise, in each of the last two years he’s been a guy who turns it on in the second half. It could be that he needs time to adjust to a level, which is certainly normal. He’ll hit High-A as a 21-year-old, and this is probably a make-or-break season for him in terms of his dynasty value, although I’m still cautiously optimistic he figures it out.
Leody Taveras, OF | Age: 17 | ETA: 2020 | 2015 Level: DNP
2015 Stats: N/A
Taveras is the furthest away of the names in this tier, and when it comes to his offensive profile he’s not all that much different than Jenkins. He’s a switch hitter who plays center and looks like he could develop some power down the road, but how much and when is another matter entirely. It’s hard to see so far into the future, but Taveras has some tools and the Rangers have had some success developing these kids.
Josh Morgan, 3B/OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 416 PA, .288/.385/.362, 3 HR, 9 SB, 11% BB, 13% K
Morgan looks more like a future floorbored than a superstar, but he can play both positions on the left side of the infield and there’s just enough power and speed to make him interesting in deeper leagues. His plus makeup and mature approach make everything play up and give him a good shot at making it, but he still hasn’t seen any upper level pitching yet either.
Ronald Guzman, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 556 PA, .283/.324/.434, 12 HR, 5 SB, 6% BB, 21% K
Guzman would be a lot more interesting if I felt he could hit 20+ homers, but he looks more like a 15-20 homer guy with a lot of pressure on his bat due to the fact that he can’t play anywhere but first base. There’s zippo speed as well, so at the end of the day it’s the type of player you don’t need to roster until he’s on the verge of the bigs, and that’s still a couple of years down the pike.
Luis Ortiz, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 50 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 8.3 K/9
Like Tate, “Lulu” has a frontline ceiling, but with a slightly longer ETA and some missed time with an elbow issue, he’s an even riskier bet. Ortiz is a big man and gets criticized for his conditioning. That could affect his durability and chances to start, but for now he has all the pieces in place to be in a rotation with two plus pitches and above average control. Personally I’d let somebody else take him in a dynasty but I also put ketchup on my eggs so I know nothing.