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Texas Rangers Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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Checking in on the Rangers pre-season prospect list

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Ronald Guzman
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Texas Rangers Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published December 23rd, 2016.

1) Yohander Mendez, LHP, Grade B/B+: Age 22, signed out of Venezuela in 2011, 3.55 ERA in 119 innings in Double-A, 105/40 K/BB, 94 hits; erratic early but has had several high strikeout starts lately, seems clearly ready for Triple-A to me and could be in majors later in the year.

2) Ariel Jurado, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 21, signed out of Panama in 2012; 4.84 ERA in 115 innings with 71/27 K/BB, 136 hits; too hittable, and I ranked him too highly here; he’s young and I still like him long-term but this ranking was too enthusiastic.

3) Andy Ibanez, 2B-3B, Grade B: Age 24, Cuban signed in 2015; hitting .279/.346/.421, 20 walks, 35 strikeouts in 197 at-bats in Double-A; missed a month with injury but back now and hot lately, .351 in last 10 games; has played well with the glove; I still like him.

4) Leody Taveras, OF, Grade B-: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $2,100,000; hitting .251/.302/.359 with 14 steals, 28 walks, 66 strikeouts in 379 at-bats in Low-A; middling performance but extremely young for full-season ball, tools draw constant praise; certainly should have had him ahead of Jurado.

5) Anderson Tejeda, INF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000; hitting .232/.302/.373 with 28 walks, 105 strikeouts in 292 at-bats in Low-A; like Taveras, Tejeda is young for the level but his approach is much more aggressive.

6) Josh Morgan, INF-C, Grade B-: Age 21, third round pick in 2014 from high school in California; hitting .263/.314/.393 in High-A, repeating the level; hit .300/.367/.394 at the same level last year but the only real difference is the switch in affiliates from High Desert in the Cal League to Down East in the Carolina League; being converted to catcher.

7) Ronald Guzman, 1B, Grade B-: Age 22, hitting .312/.384/.474 with 11 homers, 35 walks, 61 strikeouts in 346 at-bats in Triple-A; enormous progress with swing mechanics and general consistency over the last three years; defense has improved this year as well; looked overmatched in Triple-A in ‘16 but much better in ‘17; grade was too low.

8) Cole Ragans, LHP, Grade B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Florida; performing well so far with Spokane in the Northwest League, 2.18 ERA in 33 innings, 49/22 K/BB, just 20 hits; K/IP and H/IP stand out as big positives but needs to cut down on walks as he moves up.

9) Brett Martin, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2014 from Walters State Community College; 5.58 ERA in 50 innings for High-A Down East, with 53/22 K/BB; history of elbow problems and needs sharper command.

10) Alex Speas, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia; 19 innings over seven starts with Spokane, resulting in 10.86 ERA, 0-6 record courtesy of command problems, 16/17 K/BB; can hit 96 but raw.

11) Joe Palumbo, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, 30th round pick in 2013 from high school in West Islip, New York; breakthrough season in ’16 but made three starts in 2017 before going down with Tommy John surgery.

12) Jose Trevino, C, Grade C+: Age 24, sixth round pick in 2014 out of Oral Roberts; hitting .267/.297/.361 in 277 at-bats in Double-A; excellent defensive catcher drawing raves from Texas League observers for throwing, receiving, and leadership; shows flashes with the bat but could use more patience.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Jose Leclerc
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

13) Jose Leclerc, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2010; 3.26 ERA in 30 major league innings, 46/20 K/BB, 18 hits; a solid bullpen debut though fewer walks would help in the long run.

14) Connor Sadzeck, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 11th round pick in 2011 from Howard Junior College; huge 6-7, 240 pounder with fastball in mid-90s, touching 100 at his best; 6.00 ERA in 81 innings in Double-A, 93/29 K/BB, 93 hits; can burn the radar but remains maddeningly inconsistent.

15) Yeyson Yrizarri, SS, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1,350,000; was hitting .264/.287/.390 in Low-A, traded to Chicago White Sox on July 15th for international bonus pool money.

16) Mike Hauschild, RHP, Grade C+: Age 27, drafted by Astros in 33rd round in 2012 from University of Dayton; selected by Rangers in Rule 5 draft; made MLB team out of spring training but posted 11.25 ERA in eight innings and was sent back to Houston in late April. Currently has 4.92 ERA in 57 innings in Triple-A.

17) Andrew Faulkner, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, sold to the Baltimore Orioles in early April; has 3.20 ERA in 25 innings in Triple-A but spent much of the spring on disabled list.

18) Pedro Payano, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; 4.50 ERA in 102 innings between High-A and Double-A with 84/54 K/BB, 95 hits; he’s better than these numbers but needs tighter command, could end up in bullpen.

19) Kole Enright, 3B, Grade C+: Age 19, third round pick in 2016 from high school in Florida; hitting .230/.292/.310 in 126 at-bats for Spokane, nine walks, 28 strikeouts; got off to a poor start but has hit better over the last 10 days, very young of course.

20) John Fasola, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 25, out with April Tommy John surgery; one of my favorite relief sleepers when healthy.

OTHERS GRADE C+:

Jairo Beras, OF: Converted to pitching, too early to know how this will go.
Kyle Cody, RHP: 2.78 ERA with 90/31 K/BB in 91 innings in Low-A, fine season.
Michael De Leon, INF: Hitting .223/.254/.284 in Double-A; good glove at least
Demarcus Evans, RHP: 4.73 ERA in 27 innings in Low-A, 40/21 K/BB; high k-rate is promising.
David Garcia, C: Hitting .195/.299/.263 in Dominican Summer League, good glove
Michael Matuella, RHP: 5.13 ERA in 40 innings in Low-A, 38/9 K/BB, erratic but recovering from Tommy John
Yanio Perez, 3B-OF: Hitting .298/.366/.471 between Low-A and High-A, intriguing Cuban.

Ask about anyone not written up pre-season including 2017 draftees in the comments section and I will answer. I made some mistakes on this list, under-ranking Guzman and over-ranking Jurado in particular.