Texas Rangers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Texas Rangers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

This list was originally published December 18, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. I'm not doing new grades or lists until I start working on the 2010 book.

1) Neftali Feliz, RHP, Grade A: 3.49 ERA with 75/30 K/BB in 77 innings for Oklahoma City, 0.55 ERA with an amazing 21/1 K/BB in 16 innings in the majors so far. An outstanding young pitcher.

2) Justin Smoak, 1B, Grade A-: Excellent in Double-A (.328/.449/.481), not so good in Triple-A (.240/.359/.350). Hampered by a strained oblique. I think he'll be fine.

3) Elvis Andrus, SS, Grade A-: Hitting .269/.334/.384 with 24 steals in 26 attempts for the Rangers. Looks like he'll be an excellent player to me.

4) Derek Holland, LHP, Grade B+: 4.95 ERA with 86/35 K/BB in 109 innings for the Rangers, 118 hits allowed. He was rushed, but is holding his own.

5) Taylor Teagarden, C, Grade B: Hitting .194/.263/.375 in 144 at-bats for the Rangers. I think if he got regular playing time that he'd do a lot better than this.

6) Julio Borbon, OF, Grade B: .307/.367/.386 with 25 steals for Oklahoma City, hitting .415/.478/.537 with nine steals in 14 major league games. That won't last, but he's made a lot of progress refining his tools.

7) Engel Beltre, OF, Grade B: Hitting .227/.281/.317 with 17 steals in 24 attempts for Class A Bakersfield. Great tools, but still very very raw.

8) Michael Main, RHP, Grade B: 7.33 ERA with 45/36 K/BB in 54 innings for Bakersfield. On rehab assignment in rookie ball right now. Disappointing season.

9) Max Ramirez, C, Grade B: hitting .234/.310/.332 for Oklahoma City, hampered by a wrist injury all year.

10) Martin Perez, LHP, Grade B-: 2.31 ERA with 105/33 K/BB in 94 innings for Class A Hickory. Promoted to Double-A at age 18, pitched poorly in his first two starts but well in the third.

11) Kasey Kiker, LHP, Grade B-: 3.86 ERA with 120/66 K/BB in 126 innings for Double-A Frisco, 108 hits. Very good stuff, command is still erratic.

12) Neil Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+: 4.33 ERA with 47/36 K/BB in 60 innings for Hickory, 50 hits. I thought he was a breakthrough candidate, but it hasn't happened. Components aren't too impressive at this point.

13) Guillermo Moscoso, RHP, Grade C+: 3.27 ERA with 90/29 K/BB in 107 innings between Frisco and Oklahoma City. I think he can be a useful swingman type.

14) Kennil Gomez, RHP, Grade C+: 5.71 ERA with 118/63 K/BB in 123 innings for Bakersfield, 140 hits. Not exactly a great season, but still has interesting potential.

15) Blake Beavan, RHP, Grade C+: 4.42 ERA with 28/11 K/BB in 79 innings for Frisco, 102 hits. He throws strikes and is just 20 years old, but his K/IP is very low and he gives up a huge number of hits.

16) Wilfredo Boscan, RHP, Grade C+: 3.35 ERA with 58/16 K/BB in 97 innings for Hickory, 95 hits. Good command, strikeout rate is low, just 19 years old.

17) Tim Murphy, LHP, Grade C+: 7.24 ERA with 82/53 K/BB in 123 innings for Bakersfield, 175 hits. I thought he'd do a lot better than this. Even considering California League environment, this is pretty dismal.

18) Wilmer Times New Roman Font, RHP, Grade C+: 3.32 ERA with 92/53 K/BB in 95 innings for Hickory, 80 hits. Just 19, loads of potential but sneeds to sharpen command.

19) Tommy Hunter, RHP, Grade C+: 2.85 ERA with 41/22 K/BB in 66 innings for the Rangers. Can't complain about that.

20) Eric Hurley, RHP, Grade C+: His arm fell off.

21) Robbie Ross, LHP, Grade C+: 2.98 ERA with 68/16 K/BB in 63 innings for short-season Spokane. Looks like a breakthrough guy for 2010. Note 3.41 GO/AO ratio.

22) Omar Poveda, RHP, Grade C+: 4.45 ERA with 59/46 K/BB in 115 innings for Frisco, 119 hits. Don't like the low strikeout rate.

23) Joe Wieland, RHP, Grade C+: 5.52 ERA with 63/21 K/BB in 73 innings for Hickory, 91 hits. Throws strikes, gets some grounders, just 19, could still develop.

24) Jose Vallejo, 2B, Grade C+: hitting .248/.291/.324 between Frisco, Oklahoma City, and Round Rock, just traded to Astros.  Not too impressive this year with the bat, but a slick glove.

The Rangers entered 2009 with an outstanding farm system. Andrus has been terrific all season, Feliz and Borbon have been awesome since being promoted, and Holland is coming along nicely considering that he was rushed pretty fast. I still think Teagarden could be a very good player if given a full opportunity. Injuries have hampered the development of Smoak, Ramirez, and some of the pitchers, but there is still a lot to like here even with the graduation of Andrus and Holland beyond rookie status. The failure to sign Matt Purke in the 2009 draft hurts, and I'm not sure what is going on with Tanner Scheppers, with rumors that he could end up in Japan. The club needs to resolve its financial problems, but clearly the baseball development personnel know what they are doing if given the resources.

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