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Texas Rangers Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

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How did the pre-season list turn out?

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Texas Rangers.

This list was originally published February 17th, 2018

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Willie Calhoun, INF-OF, Grade B+/A-: Age 23, fourth round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 from Yavapai Junior College, traded to Rangers in Yu Darvish deal; hit .306/.360/.444 in Triple-A, promoted to majors last week, 3-for-18 with a home run so far; nothing left to prove in the minors, just needs to play regularly; full time outfielder now.

2) Leody Taveras, OF, Grade B+: Age 19, signed by Rangers from the Dominican Republic in 2015 for $2,100,000; hitting .236/.309/.323 with four homers, 13 steals, 39 walks, 68 strikeouts in 365 at-bats in High-A; performance undistinguished on paper but continues to draw praise for overall toolset; quite young for the level; stock holding.

3) Yohander Mendez, LHP, Grade B: Age 23, signed out of Venezuela in 2011; has bounced between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors this year, 4.77 ERA with 72/32 K/BB in 89 innings, 92 hits, not as sharp as 2017 though the moving around hasn’t helped matters; issue was caused by a “overindulgence” leading to a violation of team rules; seems like the biggest problem is himself at the moment.

4) Kyle Cody, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 23, sixth round pick in 2016 as a senior from University of Kentucky; out with Tommy John surgery.

5) Cole Ragans, LHP, Grade B/B-: Age 20, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Tallahassee, Florida; out with Tommy John surgery.

6) Hans Crouse, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Dana Point, California; activated in June at short-season Spokane, impressive thus far with 2.77 ERA, 29/9 K/BB in 26 innings, just 15 hits; stock moving upward.

7) Ronald Guzman, 1B, Grade B-/B: Age 23, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 for $3,450,000; hitting .244/.317/.420 in the majors with nine homers, 23 walks, 79 strikeouts in 238 at-bat; not outstanding but solid overall, should continue growing from here.

8) Bubba Thompson, OF, Grade B-: Age 20, first round pick in 2017 from high school in Mobile, Alabama; hitting .280/.333/.425 with 19 steals, four homers, 15 walks, 63 strikeouts in 214 at-bats in Low-A; speed obvious, hitting for average thus far, would like to see more isolated power and patience but overall a good start.

9) Matt Whatley, C, Grade B-: Age 22, third round pick in 2017 out of Oral Roberts University; hitting .175/.255/.280 with two homers, 12 walks, 48 strikeouts in 143 at-bats in High-A, defense has been very strong but hitting quite disappointing; recently went on the disabled list with undisclosed injury.

10) Chris Seise, SS, Grade B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2017 from high school in Winter Garden, Florida; will miss all season due to shoulder injury.

11) Anderson Tejeda, INF, Grade B-: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic for just $100,000 in 2014, hitting .259/.319/.439 with 14 homer, 31 walk, 108 strikeouts in 351 at-bats in High-A; some contact issues but switch-hitting power from a middle infielder is always interesting, stock moving up.

12) Miguel Aparicio, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of Venezuela in 2015; hitting .225/.274/.382 with 12 walks, 41 strikeouts in 204 at-bats in Low-A, six homers; scouting reports remain ahead of the numbers; all aspects of his game including defense need lots of work.

13) Pedro Gonzalez, OF, Grade B-: Age 20, signed by the Colorado Rockies for $1,300,000 from the Dominican Republic in 2014, traded to Rangers in Jonathan Lucroy deal; hitting .245/.298/.449 with 10 homers, 20 walks, 89 strikeouts in 274 at-bats in Low-A; impressive in person with long arms, legs, raw power and speed, still refining swing and approach; high ceiling, stock holding.

14) Joe Palumbo, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, 30th round pick in 2013, had a breakthrough campaign in ’16 but blew elbow and had Tommy John; rehab progressing, has 4.24 ERA with 19/2 K/BB in 17 innings between rookie ball and High-A so far, will be interesting to see in the second half as pitch counts/innings rise.

15) A.J. Alexy, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 20, drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round in 2016 from high school in Elverson, Pennsylvania; came over to Texas in the Darvish trade; 4.34 ERA with 88/43 K/BB in 75 innings in Low-A, 63 hits; note high strikeout rate; making transition from thrower to pitcher, making steady progress.

16) Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, son of Fernando Hernandez; excellent in High-A (2.20, 77/17 in 57 innings) but command failed after promotion to Double-A (5.97, 26/25 in 35); throws quite hard but still working out command issues against hitters who won’t chase outside the zone.

17) Ariel Jurado, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, signed out of Panama in 2012; 3.28 ERA in 102 innings in Double-A, 58/17 K/BB, 107 hits; made one major league start; strikeout rate continues to decline but control continues to improve at the same time; I’m starting to think he will be better off in the bullpen.

18) Brett Martin, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2014 from Walters State Community College in Tennessee; 7.17 ERA in 69 innings in Double-A, 77/24 K/BB, 105 hits; good stuff but results aren’t there, always bad to have the ERA in the Boeing range; whiff rate remains good so all hope is not lost.

19) Jose Trevino, C, Grade C+: Age 25, sixth round pick in 2014 out of Oral Roberts; hitting .234/.284/.332 in 184 at-bats in Double-A, appeared briefly in the majors, eight at-bats over three games; profile hasn’t changed, excellent with the glove and makes contact as a hitter but without much power, projects as backup; out for season for surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

20) Andy Ibanez, 2B, Grade C+: Age 25, Cuban defector signed for $1,600,000 in 2015; hitting well in Triple-A, .287/.354/.413 with eight homers, 35 walks, 59 strikeouts in 334 at-bats while providing steady glove at second and third; not sure why he doesn’t get more notice.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Edgar Arredondo, RHP; 3.63 ERA in 84 innings between High-A, Double-A; 85/19 /BB, interesting guy, keep track of him, stock moving up.

Clayton Blackburn, RHP; Tommy John surgery.

Noah Bremer, RHP; 4.56 ERA in 47 innings in Low-A, 44/16 K/BB; might be better in pen.

Adam Choplick, LHP; 6.08 ERA in 37 innings in Double-A, 42/22 K/BB, just went on DL.

Brendon Davis, INF; Hitting .244/.323/.369 with five homers, 33 walks, 71 strikeouts in 295 at-bats in High-A; young with good tools, could improve.

Ryan Dease, RHP; 5.58 ERA in 31 innings in Northwest League, 22/7 K/BB, too soon to tell much

Nick Gardewine, RHP; reached majors briefly then went on DL with “forearm tightness”

Scott Heineman, OF; Hitting .308/.381/.450 with 10 homers, 17 steals in 360 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; looks ready for a trial.

Ronald Herrera, RHP; out all year with labrum inflammation.

Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, INF; holding his own in major league trial, .252/.320/.350 in 246 at-bats, not spectacular but could have a nice career as a role player.

Michael Matuella, RHP; 8.24 ERA in 51 innings in High-A, 44/21 K/BB, 67 hits; shifted to disabled list last week, nothing good going on here.

Josh Morgan, INF-C; hit .226/.305/.321 in 190 at-bats in Double-A, on disabled list.

C.D. Pelham, LHP; successful in High-A (1.95, 34/13 in 28), weak in Double-A due to command troubles (9.82, 9/8 in 7), does have a good arm.

Yanio Perez, 1B-OF; limited to 95 at-bats by injuries, hitting .232/.311/.274 between High-A and Double-A, can’t tell much from that.

Yohel Pozo, C; .250/.302/.397 with eight homers, 21 walks, 38 strikeouts in 300 at-bats in Low-A; glove has improved and he’s got some power, plus he’s been able to stay healthy.

Tyreque Reed, 1B; .263/.326/.456 with eight homers, 17 walks, 71 strikeouts in 217 at-bats in Low-A; obvious power but contact issues at higher levels will need work.

Connor Sadzeck, RHP; 3.90 ERA with 32/14 K/BB in 30 innings in Triple-A until going on disabled list in June.

Alex Speas, RHP; 2.20 ERA with 49/21 K/BB in 29 innings in Low-A until going on disabled list in June.

Jeff Springs, LHP; unlike everyone else, did not go on disabled list in June; 4.28 ERA with 96/18 K/BB in 55 innings between Double-A and Triple-A; note excellent strikeout rate, has left lefties to .167 average, could get a trial soon.

Carlos Tocci, OF; sitting on Rangers bench, hitting .143/.234/.190 in 42 at-bats.

*************

Injuries have taken a buzzsaw to this list.