I haven’t slept since Red Dead 2 came out, so I’m probably going to confuse these Ranger prospects with actual Texas Rangers galloping around with Litchfield repeaters, shooting deer, and antagonizing passersby. There’s something about virtual cowboying that brings me joy. It’s all of the glory and none of the chafing! I’m rocking a $300 bounty in Strawberry, but we have business to take care of here and I’m willing to risk my hide for my tens of readers. We’ve reached the border of the AL West, and this Rangers system features a trio of Grade A outfield prospects inching their way closer to the bigs. After that, it gets a bit pitching heavy. So down a pint of whiskey, grab your revolver (aka PS4 controller), mount your horse (aka couch), and let’s ride through the 2019 Texas Rangers minor league preview!

Grade A

1. Leody Taveras, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
The numbers from High-A don’t look anything spectacular, but Taveras still possesses the tools to hold this top spot in the Rangers’ system. He earns plus grades for both his hitting and speed, and there’s at least average power to round out the offensive profile. I especially like that he’s a switch hitter with a solid approach from both sides. If he grows into more power, I could see him as an eventual OF2.

2. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Martinez isn’t that different from Taveras, except he hits exclusively from the left side with a bit less power and a bit more speed. He put together a 9/13 season this year – his first year with the Rangers after leaving Cuba and spending some time in independent leagues. I’m curious to see what he does in the upper levels stateside because a positive year in AA/AAA could earn him some time in the majors as soon as 2019.

3. Bubba Thompson, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
Thompson hit .289 with eight homers and 32 steals at Hickory in 2018, which is enough to get excited about him. He’ll probably need more time to cook than Taveras and Martinez though. Based on how the tools continue to develop, his ceiling could be either 10/30 or 20/20 – the upper levels should reveal more.


Grade B

4. Cole Winn, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2021
This is a pretty quick ETA for a high school arm, but there’s more polish on Winn than your typical prep hurler. The plus pitches include a fastball and curve, but it’s his feel and control that allow everything to play up. I considered bumping him into the A tier out of the gate, but we’ll have a better idea of his potential ceiling next year. So for now let’s call it a B+.

5. Hans Crouse, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
Crouse’s calling card is his double-plus fastball, which he pairs with a plus slider and average control. His 2018 was about as good as could be expected, with a 2.47 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 across two levels as a 19-year-old. In a system with a lot of arms, this is one of the stocks I’m most interested in, especially if the change can become a reliable third offering.

6. Anderson Tejeda, 2B/SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
Tejeda had a fabulous 2018 campaign – hitting .259 with 19 homers and 11 steals in High-A. I love the offensive profile for fantasy and it’s likely he’ll stay on the dirt. He’s a left-handed hitter who could contribute in all five categories if things shake out.


Grade C

7. Cole Ragans, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
This lefty’s plus fastball and plus change-up make him an interesting upside play. Unfortunately he’s currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, so there’s not much to say about his 2018 performance. I like the strikeout potential though.

8. Taylor Hearn, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Hearn sports a 70-grade heater from the left side. Everything else in his profile is average, so I fear there’s a trip to the bullpen in his future. He’s the Rangers’ return from the Keone Kela trade and figures to be in the mix early this year.

9. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019
Hernandez has a three-pitch mix (fastball/slider/change), with the heater sitting around 93-95. He should be pitching in the majors by the end of the year, so he makes for a decent depth piece in dynasty leagues where back end starters/innings-eaters have more value.

10. Joe Palumbo, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2020
Palumbo is a little lefty with average stuff but who put together a decent 2018 across three levels. He’s still working his way back from TJS, so 2019 will be a big year for his development. There’s a chance he could see time in the rotation in 2019, but more than likely he’ll serve as a left-handed option in the pen.


2019 Index

  1. Ante Galic says:
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    Mike!!

    Great write-up.

    a. Yawn!! So a little bit more intriguing but still yawnstipating.

    b. Man, there is a big dropoff after the top 6! That #10 guy, woof! Sorry, he has a mother somewhere who is very proud of him.

    c. Run into any Amish lately? I already gave you my Amish-who-migrated-to-Canada story, ‘member?

    d. Started watching the Watergate tv series (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4063606/)…Don’t know if it’s good or not because no one has seen it yet and it’s not rated yet on IMDB. Ga, help me!

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      a/b: yup!
      c: yeah, one parked their buggy on my street and the horse crapped all over the end of our driveway
      d: sounds interesting…currently working through Making a Murderer but it’s getting a little boring

      • Ante Galic says:
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        @Mike: Mike!

        a. Watched episode 1, it’s pretty good with some information that we didn’t know. He (Nixon) was angry that the ‘liberal media’ was attacking him! Sounds familiar.

        b. Sorry about the horse crap, that’s never fun. So, what did you do? Shovel into a box and mail it back? Just kidding, that’s awful.

        c. Haven’t started yet on Making a Murderer. It’s locked and loaded, it’s just that I need to find the Croatian subs so my wife and I can watch it together. It’s going to take a while.

        d. So far my list of potential redraft-relevant specs is:

        1. VGJ
        2. Eloi

        Not a very wide list.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          a. liberals always causing trouble
          b. it just kind of washed away with the rain
          c. finding Croatian subs sounds difficult
          d. 3. Robles?

          • Ante Galic says:
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            @Mike: Mike!

            Rain washes everything away! In Chad, which is a country built on hot rocks which have slowly disintegrated into the encroaching Sahara desert, 90% of the population doesn’t use a toilet (’cause they don’t exist). All is good during the 10 months of the year when there is 0 precipitation. But when they rain comes and the rain falls with its heavy rain drops all of that great stuff comes up to the top, spreading all the diseases with it into the ground water. That’s a great segue to your horse crap story, right?

            Yes, Robles. How about pitchers? I guess we’ll see as your work progresses.

            Croatian subs is available on a couple of sites. They are slow to the game – to wit, the subs for a movie from 2009 was recently uploaded – but hey, tramps like us baby we were born to run.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              I love cool facts like that about Chad.

              • Ante Galic says:
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                @Mike: Mike!!!

                Last fun fact about Chad for today!

                South Korea was BELOW Chad just after World War 2 on the poverty scale. Look at where both countries are now and you can see the reason why. Yes, you could counter-argue that the economy in Korea could collapse whereas the Chadian economy could not collapse any further but…

                I said last but I have a couple more. We had some journalists piggyback onto a mission from the European Union in 2017. And it was my job to take them around a bit, show them all the best. This is what I told them.

                1. The journalists left to themselves must have seen and felt how hot and dry it is in this part of Chad. Literally nothing on the terrain except disintegrating rock formation into sand. But lo! From the desert and parched terrain comes a beautiful pinkish flower. Yes, the journalists say! There is hope. But I dash that hope immediately ’cause that beautiful pink flower is toxic and even the dumbest of the dumbest animals even when they are little know that it’s poisonous. So, no hope for Chad.

                2. Chad, a great name for a country. Rhymes with sad, bad and anything but glad. Yeah, not a bad name for a sad country.

                Cheers,
                Ante

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  ha…very interesting. I take it you’re abroad? Watching the chess championship? I wish it was on TV here. Very pumped for it.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Willie Calhoun should get an honorary place in the top ten Rangers’ prospect list in perpetuity.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Doesn’t he already have a memorial bench in the Razzball Inc. food court? It’s next to Sbarro.

    • Ante Galic says:
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      @Grey: Grey!!

      Just the three of us, we could make a movie about that. All we need is a baby. You can play Tom Selleck’s part and Frank voila!

      Cheers,
      Ante

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I can do both, no problem

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Funny, that’s what I tell the grocery person when they ask me paper or plastic.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            You tell them about Willie Calhoun? Me too!

            • Ante Galic says:
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              @Grey: Grey!!

              #Metoo!

              Cheers,
              Ante

  3. Old School Brother says:
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    Lurve Hans Crouse, Cole Ragans is going to be a bust

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Me too…yeah it wouldn’t shock me one bit

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