Time for the last dance.
Find your partner.
Sway with the Clapton.
You feeling wonderful tonight?
Then lean in. Hold close as we fade toward our disparate futures.
Sorry, I’m sentimental about endings, and I’m finally finishing this project. The Rangers find themselves last on the 30-team fantasy prospect rundown, and as fate would have it, Texas has a big old Longhorn of a system, though perhaps one without a lone star.
Player | Age on 5/1/2020 | Highest Level Played | ETA
1. 2B Nick Solak | 25 | MLB | 2019
2. 3B Josh Jung | 21 | A | Mid 2021
I realize Nick Solak is going to be ranked below the next guy on most (every) lists, but if you do a startup dynasty auction or draft, I’ll bet Solak costs more. Time is real, and Solak is ready now. Despite a cluttered look, the roster is ripe for Solak to pick up daily playing time and build a sleeper case for rookie of the year.
With their first pick in the 2019 draft, Texas selected Josh Jung out of Texas Tech, where he established himself as a power bat while walking more than he struck out. His defense makes him a legit 4-tool player and a nice blend of ceiling and floor for fantasy.
3. 2B Keithron Moss | 18 | R: AZL | 2023
4. 1B Heriberto Hernadez | 20 | R: AZL | 2023
5. SS Luisangel Acuña | 18 | R: DSL | 2023
Witness the transformation of Keithron Moss.
Note the extraneous, pre-pitch movements: March 16 2019 instructs via Fangraphs
Now five months later, note how synchronized his pre-pitch motions have become, all harmonizing perfectly at hip-snap. : August 7-12 in AZL via Prospects Live
I can’t think of another hitter I’ve seen morph so much in one season. Even his body is significantly different. Bahamanian players have been making physical and mechanical leaps after being signed due to improved physical training, nutrition, coaching and facilities than they’ve ever had. These are not the battle-worn types you find in the Dominican Republic, where kids like Wander Franco have been putting in 12-hour baseball days since before they were 12 years old. Anyway, Moss looks a bit like Aaron Bracho in the box, and that’s a sweet swing.
Speaking of sweet swingers, Heriberto Hernandez could have shared wives with the best of them. I’m not a believer in low-minors estimated flyball distances, but after seeing Hernandez atop all the leaderboards, I’ve had to reconsider because that evidence certainly matches up with the eye test. This is my bet for the next guy to score an 80 power grade from one of the scouting publications, and he’s already getting to that power in games. I’m trying to get him in every league, and because he’s not a good defender, the non-fantasy lists could always keep his costs a little suppressed for our game.
“Yes,” is the answer, in case you were wondering whether Luisangel is related to that Acuña. Probably weren’t. This guy’s already famous. Sure, that’s not really his doing, but he might have a hand in it before long. Looks like a plate skills, hit-tool and speed type who finds some power as his athleticism and experience work in harmony.
6. RHP Cole Winn | 20 | A | 2023
7. OF Leody Taveras | 21 | AA | Mid 2021
8. C Sam Huff | 22 | A+ | Early 2021
9. OF Bayron Lora | 17 | NA | 2025
10. SS Maximo Acosta | 17 | NA | 2025
Cole Winn survived an aggressive assignment pitching against hitters with much more experience than he, so the stat line does not say much about his ability. If it comes together for Winn, he’s going to reel off a string of low-walk, high strikeout games, and I’m not sure he’ll ever go back from there. His base mechanics are wonderful, and his four-pitch repertoire is dynamic. (Fastball, curve, slider, change).
Back in fashion after a decent 2019, Leody Taveras just doesn’t do it for me, but some of that might be confirmation bias. I’ve thus far been rewarded for fading and trading him away from a dynasty team I inherited. Perhaps I’ll regret it yet, but he helped bring back Vlad, and I won that league last year, so drinks are on me (and Leody), I guess!
2019 Futures Game MVP Sam Huff combines basically all the traits needed to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues, all the way down to the batter-by-batter game-planning. The job seems teed up for him to take in 2021 if he hits this year.
Bayron Lora’s path to stardom is littered with some high profile strugglers like Jhailyn Ortiz and ___, but Eloy Jimenez made it work. He was a little more lithe at age, but the conversation around Lora in fantasy circles seems focused on all the big bodied types who’ve failed, and that’s fair enough, but Lora wouldn’t be alone if he succeeded. Power is certainly not an issue. Everything else . . . well . . . we’ll see.
I’m not sure I really understand what’s happening with Maximo Acosta. I saw in fangraphs chat the other day someone asking if he’d passed Puason for second place on the 2019 J2 rankings. I mean I guess it’s happening because Ben Badler said the words “Gleyber” and “Torres” in the context of Acosta. I’m not trying to suggest he won’t be great–simply that the hype is loud at the moment for reasons that aren’t especially predictive.
I wound up with Sherten Apostel at 11, Davis Wendzel at 12, and a whole bunch of solid prospects just outside looking in. Among those dudes we find 2B Yonny Hernandez, for whom my friend Dylan White of Prospect361 has advocated in our conversations, astutely pointing out that Hernandez’s skill set isn’t that different from the kinds of guys we often rally around, such as Vidal Brujan. I like it.
Thanks for reading, everybody! I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and that it proves useful as a touchstone throughout the season!