Just two more left! In my never ending quest to make the off-season never ending, I bring you my 28th Minor League preview of the season, The Texas Rangers. A system with lots of mid-level pitching talent and scattered positional talent. Over Jon Daniels tenure the Rangers have done well in the international market, and quite a few of the players in this list came through that pipeline. Most notably my controversial number one Leody Taveras. Now, it’s true, if this post came out two months ago (when it should have LOL) Willie Calhoun would be a consensus number one. BUT, and that’s a big butt, if Willie wants to pout, sulk, and loaf I’m going to take that into consideration. I was one of your biggest fans kid. Get it together. Enough of my self righteous soapboxing. The Rangers have a decent system overall, with some players that are helping in the present (Ronald Guzman), some that are close (Willie, Yohander Mendez), and a lot of future mid-level MLB talent with some exciting bright spots in Anderson Tejeda, Pedro Gonzalez and Hans Crouse. Let’s get into it! It’s the 2018 Top Texas Rangers Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.


1. Leody Taveras, OF | Age: 19 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .249/.312/.360, 8 HR, 50 RBI, 20 SB

One of the most exciting talents in the Minor leagues, though he’s a tough leap to take for many box score scouts. What doesn’t jump out from the box score is his combination of bat speed, athleticism, loose wrists, physical projection, and baseline hitting acumen. He’s a 19 year old switch-hitting centerfielder with a five plus tool ceiling. The floor might be more Ender Inciarte, but there’s a fantasy viable prospect for all dynasty formats in Leody. Looks improved in 2018 despite being a 19 year old at High-A Down East. ETA: 2020

2. Willie Calhoun, OF | Age: 23 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .300/.355/.572, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 4 SB

I’m hoping this is the last time I cover Willie as a prospect. A player I first fell in love with following the Dodgers selecting him in the 4th round of the 2015 draft. Few players combine plus hitting with plus power like Calhoun. It’s even more remarkable when you consider his small, pudgy build, and lack of athleticism. Calhoun lacks a position and it’s been the biggest road block between a call up this season, much less a full time major league job. There’s been some attitude issues of late that have caught headlines, let’s hope Willie overcomes those and starts hitting again. My feeling is this is a rough patch personally and professionally for Calhoun, and he’ll get his head straight in the coming weeks. ETA: 2018

3. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF | Age: 22 | Level: RK | 2017 Stats: Did Not Play

The top international signing for the Rangers, and the biggest get on the market after Shohei Ohtani signed. Martinez was one of the top young players in Cuba the last few years contemporaries with Luis Robert and Victor Victor Mesa. He combines plus plus speed and baserunning ability with above average power and feel to hit. From what I’ve read the ceiling is A.J. Pollock. ETA: 2019

4. Bubba Thompson, OF | Age: 19 | Level: A- | 2017 Stats: .257/.317/.434, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 5 SB

One of the most impressive athletes in recent memory, Thompson was a two sport star that chose baseball. His toolsy upside has drawn comps to former Rangers farmhand Lewis Brinson (in the complimentary way). A plus plus runner, with a rifle arm, Bubba is more projection than polish at the plate. He does however have above average raw power. It’s going to take awhile with Thompson, but three years from now he might be one of the best prospects in baseball. So far this season Thompson is killing it in the Low-A Sally league slashing .279/.347/.485. ETA: 2021

5. Ronald Guzman, 1B | Age: 23 | Level: MLB | 2017 Stats: .298/.372/.434, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 4 SB

You’re watching this young monster blossom at the MLB level presently. I’ve never been as gaga for Guzman as others in the industry, but he continues to grow into more power, and has always had a good combination of contact and approach. I see an average everyday first baseman, but not a .280, 30 homer guy, more a .270, 20 homer type with some decent counting stat years. ETA: 2018

6. Hans Crouse, RHP | Age: 19 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: 0-0, 20 IP, 0.45 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 30 Ks, 7 Bb

One of the more exciting arms from the 2017 draft class, Crouse was used in two inning stints during his pro debut, and flashed one of the nastier fastballs in the Arizona League. His slider is plus and nasty, mixing in a fringe/average changeup. His mechanics and delivery are funky, but haven’t seemed to impact his strike throwing ability. Many see an injury risk due to his style, but we should reserve judgement. Might find his way to the majors quickly if he progresses as a reliever. ETA: 2020

7. Anderson Tejeda, SS | Age: 20 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .247/.309/.411, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 10 SB

A toolsy shortstop with a ton of raw power, but also a ton of swing and miss. Tejeda is a player that has long intrigued fantasy players since he launched 8 homers with Spokane in his 2016 short season debut. So far in 2018 he has improved his walk rate, and has already surpassed his 2017 Low-A homer total of 8 with High-A Down East. His quick hands, upper cut swing, and bat speed combine to produce serious power. He’s still improving his pitch recognition, but he should always come with some strikeout drag. He has a big leg kick, and the swing is long, but the results have been there since the second half of last season. Worth an add in leagues with 200+ prospects. ETA: 2021

8. Pedro Gonzalez, OF | Age: 20 | Level: A- | 2017 Stats: .294/.364/.475, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 11 SB

A 6’5 specimen that hit a growth spurt after signing with the Rockies as a shortstop. Due to this, he’s still a lot of arms and legs, but he’s added bulk and continues to show impressive all around tools. He’s got a wide stance with a bit of a toe tap, his swing is a little long, but has nice upward angle, pointing toward more in game power. So far in his full season debut it’s been rough, Gonzalez is striking out a ton. In fact at the moment he has an even number of strikeouts and total bases. No reason to give up, but Gonzalez has a long ways to go. A project player with power = speed upside. ETA: 2021

9. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP | Age: 21 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: 5-11, 111.2, 4.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 110 Ks, 44 Bb

Here’s what I wrote about Hernandez a few weeks ago, “Speaking of up and coming pitching prospects… the reports from Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser regarding Rangers righty Jonathan Hernandez have me drooling. High spin-rate two-seam fastball with velo that touches 98 MPH, on a pitch that features nice run as well. He mixes a trio of secondaries in two breaking balls, and an off-speed pitch. The best of which is his slider, routinely pairing with his fastball to generate wind power. Watching tape of Hernandez this morning, and it’s obvious why his strikeout numbers have been so robust. With the spin on his two seamer, he’s able to challenge hitters up in the zone. This is something teams are searching for more and more, with increased launch angles, many hitters have mastered elevating low balls in the zone. It’s becoming increasingly important for pitchers to be able to challenge hitters up in the zone. His season stats bear this out, as they are as eye-popping as his stuff. A 1.94 ERA, .176 batting average against, and a K/9 of 12.04 set the tone. Sure he’s doing this in high-A as a 21 year old, but the stuff is there, and I’m fully buying in.” ETA: 2019

10. Cole Ragans, LHP | Age: 20 | Level: A- | 2017 Stats: 3-2, 57 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 87 Ks, 35 Bb

It was a sad day in the Crab Army clubhouse the day Cole Ragans went down. As Crab Rob’s dreams of a future ace, backed by a Cali Kusiolek co-sign, were dashed, at least for now. The young lefty mixes a low to mid 90s heater that can pop 95 with an average bender, and a plus plus changeup. Advanced feel and pitchability are the name of Ragans’ game. As he shapes and commands his stuff phenomenally well for a young pitcher. On the shelf for the season, so there’s not much else to write for the next 12 months. I guess that means I can just cut and paste this into the 2019 Preview. Right? ETA: 2021

11. Brendon Davis, SS | Age: 20 | Level: A+ | .230/.341/.379, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 3 SB 

A projectable frame, above average raw power, and improving plate discipline make Davis a name to watch. So far the results haven’t translated to jump off the page numbers, but he has improved his strikeout rate dramatically in 2018. He needs to put the ball in the air more, to tap into more of his raw in games. He’s a shortstop at the moment, but many feel he’ll outgrow the position (he’s listed at 6’4 185), but his strong arm will keep him on the left side of the infield. ETA: 2021

12. Chris Seise, SS | Age: 19 | Level: A- | 2017 Stats: .284/.330/.400, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB

There’s a lot of debate regarding the long term projection on Seise’s bat. He’s broad shouldered, and fairly projectable physically, he packs as much raw power as any shortstop prospect in last year’s draft, but there’s some issues. First, he’s missing the entire 2018 season with rotator cuff surgery. Not a great way to start your first season of pro ball. Second, he’s got some timing, and swing issues. Lots of moving parts, and his hands get too far in front of his lower half. Other times, it clicks and he barrels something, but there’s a lot of growth needed. ETA: 2021

13. Yohander Mendez, LHP | Age: 23 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: 7-8, 137.2 IP, 3.79 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 124 Ks, 43 Bb

A control lefty with a low to mid-90s fastball, a plus changeup, and two fringe-average breaking balls. Menedez has seen some time in the majors already, and has proven durable over the last few seasons. He looks like a player that could factor into the pen or rotation this year, but since his meteoric rise to Arlington in 2016, he’s kind of just been hanging in the waiting room of AA/AAA. ETA: 2018

14. Kyle Cody, RHP | Age: 23 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: 9-6, 126 IP, 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 136 Ks, 43 Bb

Hey another injured player! Been a rough pre-season/season for Rangers prospects. He injured his elbow, and was shut down in the off-season, last I heard he was starting a throwing program. However, it’s been radio silence since. What we saw last season from the former Kentucky Wildcat,  was a three pitch mix lead by a plus fastball that sits 94-97. Due  to his large 6’7 frame Cody his heater as some nasty downhill bite. His best secondary is a plus slider that tunnels well with his fastball, fooling hitters, and contributing to Cody’s high strikeout totals. If not for the elbow injury Cody’s rank might be half of this. ETA: 2020

15. Tyreque Reed, 1B | Age: 20 | Level: A- | 2017 Stats: .350/.455/.617, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 3 SB

A beast of a man out of a Mississippi Juco, the 20 year old Reed is a plus plus raw power hitter, who has flashed good plate discipline. Just not in 2018… He’s a fun player to dream on but there’s a serious chance he’s just a battng practice all-star. ETA: 2021

Other Names:  AJ Alexy, Joe Palumbo, Miguel Aparicio, Michael Matuella, Keyber Rodriguez, Brett Martin, David Garcia

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus