Can you name the last Rangers prospect who exceeded expectations?

Sorry to cut to the quick, but it feels like something of an unreported secret that Texas is trouble for top prospects. 

Can go with Gallo, if you want to give your brain a break. I think he’s more or less lined up with expectations, for what it’s Weurtz. 

Elvis Andrus came from Atlanta in the Teixeira trade, and I guess he counts. Kind of. 

I know they’ve had environmental issues, but can you recall the last time they developed a fantasy-relevant starting pitcher? 

Remember when Martin Perez was a top ten prospect? 

I went digging through 40-man rosters year over year for the past decade or so as I was composing this piece, and it’s not inspiring, especially through the lens of internal development. 

Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Tanner Scheppers, Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar (injury exception), Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Keone Kela, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Mike Olt, 

I think it’s Ian Kinsler, by the way: a Rangers prospect who exceeded expectations. Michael Young. They had a good run. 

But it’s a new dawn, kind of. Chris Young has been hired because he is a former player who is extremely tall and probably possesses other traits that make him a good face for the organization’s transactions. I say such only because his first trade occurred within 12 hours of his hiring: Lance Lynn for Avery Weems and Dane Dunning. Hard to imagine he did much more than agree with the guy who’d just hired him, Jon Daniels, President of Baseball Operations. 

Anyway, I feel good about the talent in this system but have reason to doubt the development team. If Young is being hired to re-imagine that aspect of the organization, I can lean in and hope for the best. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Compiling this piece as Billy Beane’s tenure in Oakland reportedly draws to a close, I could not help but wonder what his career would have looked like had Jeff Lunhow never come to Houston. The rest of that division has not been formidable these past few cycles. Do the A’s win the division and skip the Wild Card game every year? Does that help them get over the hump? I realize this sort of speculation is all but useless to the functioning of a society, but when we were tallying up the tab on trashcan gate, I don’t think we stopped to measure the cost of that scandal on the memory of Billy Beane. We didn’t know his days in baseball were numbers in the hundreds at the time, but now that we do, I’m thinking his legacy was more impacted by the banging in Houston than just about anyone’s. Makes me think a lot of fans, myself included, would like to see this team catch all the lucky breaks some October, is all I’m saying. 

Perhaps these prospects can help.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Despite a huge investment in Anthony Rendon and a smart trade for Dylan Bundy, the Angels couldn’t overcome the Astros or A’s in the AL West. I think most baseball fans want to see them build a winning team around Mike Trout, and I think most baseball fans suspect they’ll fail to do so. I know I do. What they need more than anything is a breakout two-way season from Shohei Ohtani during which the lineup makes sense on a day-in, day-out basis. I’m not saying everyone has to be in the same spot everyday, but they need to hang some successful bats on either side of Rendon and Trout if they’re going to have any chance of contending. The top two guys on this list could certainly help their cause. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

2020 turned out okay for the Astros, all things considered. 

This week’s ball-doctoring story that mentioned Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander might have otherwise grabbed some eyeballs but wound up buried beneath the seesawing fate of America’s democracy. 

All in all, the trash-bang scandal of 2019 got lost in much bigger conversations, so the traveling circus that would’ve been Houston’s 2020 playing on the road in front of fans that hated them never got out of the garage. Despite season-ending injuries to Justin Verlander and Yordan Alvarez and mostly silent bats from Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel (curious), the Astros remained a force to be reckoned with when it mattered most, striking fear in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere when they pushed the Rays to game 7 of the ALCS. 

2021 will be even more challenging. Though Yordan Alvarez is running again after surgeries on both knees, Houston will likely be without free agent outfielders George Springer and Michael Brantley. The system offers some possible help on the mound, but the bulk of their position prospects are too young to contribute anytime soon. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another early playoff exit has Minnesota fans melancholic, but few organizations are as well positioned for success over the next few seasons. Cleveland is in danger of taking a step back, Detroit and Kansas City are building, and Chicago is pushing to win now, but Minnesota remains atop this mountain heading into 2021. The system looks a little less stocked than it has the past few years but still contains plenty of prospects to anticipate. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a baseball universe flickering with intentional losing, the Royals employ a bold strategy: trying. They haven’t seen much success of late, but that’s largely due to the natural contention cycling of a small market club. Also due in part to the death of young fireballer Yordano Ventura, whose innings could’ve gone a long way toward bridging from one cycle to the next. This group of prospects isn’t quite as promising as the Hosmer Moose crew that brought home a title, but it’s not overly optimistic to compare the two. Brighter times are coming to Kauffman Stadium. 

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Been a few big trades over the holidays, so it can’t hurt to take a quick jaunt around the league and update the lists for the teams involved. 

On Sunday Night, Tampa Bay doubled down on its “decision” in game six of the World Series to pull its best pitcher after surrendering one hit in 73 pitches, selling that pitcher for minor league parts to a Padres squad with whom Blake Snell’s style should fit nicely. Might be weird for him to play for a human manager after working for TI-84 graphing calculators these past few years, but he’ll adjust. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For this system, the script gets a bit flipped. First, no pitching stone should go unturned in Cleveland. Whereas we’re typically ignoring teenage arms in our quest to stock dynasty systems with power-speed bats, we want all the arms we can hoard in Cleveland. I’m trying to think of another system that operates similarly for our purposes. In Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, we want the arms, too, but we want all the bats just as badly. Plus, those clubs bounce their pitching prospects around between the rotation and bullpen and minors even after they’ve demonstrated they can retire major league bats in order. Cleveland might be the last place you can count on a young pitcher to get a shot at six innings every time out. Take Aaron Civale for example. A third round pick in 2016 and not an elite prospect by any means, Civale lasted six innings or more in 11 or 12 starts in 2020, falling short in only his final turn, a four-inning, eight-run blowup that devastated his season-long statline and dropped him down some draft boards. It’s beautiful to get the sparkling ratios that come alone with the quick analytic hook, but we need Wins in our game, and despite their typically anemic offense, Cleveland is one of the few places to find double digit winners throughout the rotation. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?