1) Neftali Feliz, RHP, Grade A: I don’t give out Grade As lightly, especially to pitchers. I might go down to A-.
2) Justin Smoak, 1B, Grade A-: I like him better than Alonso and Hosmer, and frankly I can’t believe the Rangers got him.
3) Elvis Andrus, SS, Grade A-: Should I go with B+ here? Athletic, very young for Double-A, I think the Renteria comparisons are apt and Andrus could be better.
4) Derek Holland, LHP, Grade B+: He’s great, but I worry that sometimes a step backward can follow such a breakout. Can he maintain late-season velocity?
5) Taylor Teagarden, C, Grade B: Excellent glove with power, could hit anywhere from .230 to .280 though.
6) Julio Borbon, OF, Grade B: I was too hard on him last year, and I buy into the idea that he can refine his game.
7) Engel Beltre, OF, Grade B: Read the comment below.
8) Michael Main, RHP, Grade B: Impressive Midwest League performance, and if instructional league reports are accurate he is primed for a huge breakout.
9) Max Ramirez, C-1B, Grade B: I love this bat. Glove might not be QUITE as bad as everyone says, but it isn’t good enough for him to rank higher.
10) Martin Perez, LHP, Grade B-: Very young, very high ceiling, will need time.
11) Kasey Kiker, LHP, Grade B-: Almost reduced to C+ but something is holding me back. Not sure what, need to think about it.
12) Neil Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+: Almost a B-. Another young pitcher with breakthrough potential. Another changable grade.
13) Guillermo Moscoso, RHP, Grade C+: Nice pickup from the Tigers. Durability and role are issues.
14) Kennil Gomez, RHP, Grade C+: Breakthrough candidate if his arm is OK. I think he is right up there with some of these other guys who get more press.
15) Blake Beavan, RHP, Grade C+: Loss of velocity is disturbing, but other skills got better.
16) Wilfredo Boscan, RHP, Grade C+: Yet another breakthrough candidate. Low-A is gonna be loaded in '09.
17) Tim Murphy, LHP, Grade C+: Nice pick from 2008 draft, could advance quickly as an inning-eater if his command is there.
18) Wilmer Font, RHP, Grade C+: Huge upside, could easily rank as high as 12 if you prefer youth. Worried about injury nexus and command.
19) Tommy Hunter, RHP, Grade C+: He was rushed, but could still be a nice strike-throwing inning eater. Could rank as high as 12th if you want guys close to the Show.
20) Eric Hurley, RHP, Grade C+: Worried about health here. I held onto him too long as a higher-ranked prospect, but could do better with a change of scenery.
21) Robbie Ross, LHP, Grade C+: Young high school pick with no pro track record yet.
22) Omar Poveda, RHP, Grade C+: In danger of getting lost in the shuffle, but still interesting.
23) Joe Wieland, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper high school arm from ’08 draft, breakthrough candidate.
24) Jose Vallejo, 2B, Grade C+: Speedster added some pop this year, good glove at second.
Others: Joaquin Arias, INF; Mike Bianucci, OF; Joey Butler, OF; Greg Golson, OF; Marcus Lemon, SS: Warner Madrigal, RHP; Clark Murphy, 1B; Renny Osuna, 2B; Carlos Pimentel, RHP; Timothy Smith, OF; Pedro Strop, RHP; Matt West, 3B; Johnny Whittleman, 3B; Corey Young, LHP.
This is a very deep system and some tough decisions had to be made about who to include. I have room for ONE more player. WHO SHOULD IT BE?? Rangers fans are extremely knowledgeable, so give me your input.
As usual, don’t sweat so much about where the Grade C+ types rank exactly on this list. I'm concentrating on the book right now, and don't spend a lot of time on exact rankings here once I get past the Top 10.
SYSTEM IN BRIEF:
The Rangers have three of the best prospects in baseball, several others who project as major league regulars, and a whole bevy of Grade C+ type guys, some of them breakout candidates for higher grades next year. I love the way they have run this farm system in recent years: they have mixed raw and polished talent in the draft, and have made a big push in
Reports on these guys and over 1,000 others can be found in the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book. Pre-order for January 31st shipping now!