2014 Texas Rangers

C – Jose Trevino –  Short Season Spokane – 21 yo;  – (2014 – 6th round)  –
  • .257 – 9 HR – 49 RBi – 58 R –  .313/.448/.761 slash   –   PAG: 3.63
  • BA-NR  –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
  • I can’t sit here and try to honestly compare Trevino to organizational catching mate Jorge Alfaro. The 21 yr old Alfaro has blazed his way through the system since his debut in 2010 and has earned every bit of praise thrown his way. He’s a brute with raw power, plus defense and nearly primed to make an impact in Arlington. However, the Rangers are a prospect juggernaut and continue to churn out the best they can and Trevino is no slouch.  The 5’11 – 195 pounder came to the Rangers from Oral Roberts University where he played shortstop. Even though Texas sees him as a catcher, the Oklahoma native was asked to bring many gloves to the stadium. He’s seen time at catcher, second base, third base and shortstop. Trevino can swing the bat too folks. He shows power, should post solid average and he logged a respectable 1:2 BB:K rate. His debut PAG of 3.63 ranked highest among regular catchers in the system, he posted a 46% extra base percentage and nailed 38% of would be base stealers. Don’t put all your eggs in Alfaro’s basket. Trevino is for real.  
1B – Preston Beck – HiA Myrtle Beach  – 23 yo;  – (2012 – 5th round) –
  •  .255 – 11 HR – 77 RBi – 66 R –  .376/.411/.787 slash  –   PAG: 3.39
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • One of the great things about UTR is Jim and I can use PAG and TPS and compare any player regardless of prospect status or age.  Even though the Rangers tabbed 19 year old Ronald Guzman their top 1B prospect, one trend I’ve noticed is an offensive decline since his debut in 2012. His 2012 PAG of 3.46 dropped nearly a whole point to 2.47 in 2013. Guzman repeated LoA Hickory in 2014 and held steady with a 2.53 PAG. Now, the former Texas Longhorn, Beck has experienced the opposite. His production has slowly progressed for the most part. He debuted with a 2.59 with short season Spokane, logged a csPAG of 2.50 in 2013 and spiked with a 3.39 this season with HiA Myrtle Beach. However, age plays a factor here. Beck heads into 2015 at 24 years old. Guzman will be 20. Time is definitely playing different roles for these two 1B. 

2B – Chris Bostick  –  HiA Myrtle Beach  –  21 yo;  – (drafted 2011 – 44th rd/OAK; Dec. 2013 – traded to TEX; Dec. 2014 – traded to WAS)

  • .251 –  11 HR – 62 RBi – 81 R – 24 SB  –  .322/.412/.734 slash   –  PAG: 3.22
  • BA-x  –  MLB Pipeline-x  –  BP-x  (‘x’ = not current with Texas rankings) 
  • One of the perks of becoming, being the”Under the Radar” guys (as we’ve heard) is that Jim and I are now asked fantasy baseball questions. It’s humbling I have to say. In fact, just yesterday a friend I used to compete with asked me to scan over his roster, give him my thoughts. I noticed that he housed several major league as well as minor leaguers from his favorite team. My advice was, “Try your best to avoid being a homer.” This situation reminded me of my choice of Chris Bostick as my Texas O.A.S. second baseman. You see, for those who may not know, Bostick and I both call Rochester, NY home; and even though I didn’t grow up here, it’s still where I live; and I’m proud that the 5’11 – 185 lb. righty can claim he’s the only player ever from the Aquinas Institute to be drafted to the major leagues. Nevertheless, Bostick’s stats certainly can talk. Hard to believe that a kid with his skills: plus bat control, plus plate approach, gap-to-gap hitter with pop, and growing defense lasted until the 44th round. He owns a career PAG score of 3.35. I love this kid. Not only because he’s a hometown boy, but he can flat out play. Let’s hope the Washington Nationals can be kind to us UTR folk and give Bostick an aggressive assignment to AA Harrisburg; a stones throw away from where Jim calls home. 
 
 3B – Joey Gallo  – HiA Myrtle Beach/AA Frisco – 20 yo;  – (2012 – 1st round) –
  • .271 – 42 HR –  106 RBi – 97 R – 19 2B   –  .394/.615/.1.009  slash   –  csPAG: 4.50
  • BA/#4  –  MLB Pipeline (mid-season)/#1  –  BP-10
  • If you haven’t had a chance to read my Houston Astros O.A.S. post, click here to read my analysis of shortstop Carlos Correa. Trust me, it won’t take long. My point is, other than different positions, the same can be said about Joey Gallo. Before brainstorming Gallo’s bio ideas, I scanned through the current edition of the Merriam Webster dictionary looking for as many adjectives I could to help describe him and I couldn’t find enough.  He’s a stud, plain and simple and some scouts say his immense  power is trumped by only Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton. Gallo should reach the majors very very soon and could become the next face of the Texas Rangers. You’re welcome Dan Godfrey!
SS – Hanser Alberto  – HiA Myrtle Beach/AA Frisco – 21 yo; – (2009 – International FA/DR) –
  • .273 – 7 HR – 58 RBi – 60 R – 16 SB  –   .306/.386/.693  slash   –  csPAG: 2.67
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline(mid-season)-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Other than Elvis Andrus and Luis Sardines at the major league level, I have to say shortstop is the only real weak position in the organization. That’s not to say Alberto isn’t worthy. Oh no. He’s holding his own, yet he lacks the flare that other prospects in this loaded system have. It’s obvious Alberto isn’t being rushed, but he isn’t making the system’s shortstop decisions difficult either. Entering his sixth year in the organization, he carries a five year csPAG of 2.60. Again, it’s respectable, but I believe either a full season in HiA or AA Frisco would do him good. Plus, at every stop along the way, he’s always played with competition at least two years his senior. 
LF – Ryan Cordell  – LoA Hickory/HiA Myrtle Beach –  22 yo; –  (2013 – 11th round)
  • .318 – 13 HR – 59 RBi – 65 R – 21 SB  –  .385/.530/.914 slash  –   csPAG: 4.01
  • BA-NR   –  MLB Pipeline (mid-season)-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Much like I did in Joey Gallo’s bio above, let’s again refer back to the Houston Astros O.A.S. post. As you’d read, you’d notice I chose outfielder Teoscar Hernandez as my O.A.S. centerfielder for Houston. Why is this relevant you ask?  Because left fielder Ryan Cordell and Teoscar Hernandez share the distinction of being Breakout Player of the Year choices over at MLBDepthCharts prior to the 2014 season. Cordell posted a 2.84 PAG in his 2013 pro debut with short season Spokane. Very respectful debut, but the Liberty University grad was just getting started. The 6’4 – 205 lb. righty began 2014 with LoA Hickory and registered a 4.01 PAG. He posted a 34% extra base percentage and provided plus-plus defense in all outfield positions. Cordell earned a mid-August promotion to HiA Myrtle Beach and much like you’d expect, he went off to the tune of a 5.06 PAG score. In 16 games he belted five home runs, drove in 12 and didn’t commit an error. A full year with HiA Myrtle Beach could force everyone to notice, which is bittersweet to UTRMinors because Cordell’s production proves he’s no fluke. 
CF – Evan Van Hoosier – LoA Hickory  –  20 yo; – (2013 – 8th round) –
  • .268 – 11 HR –  58 RBi – 79 R – 14 SB  –  .339/.442/.780  slash  –  PAG: 3.50
  • BA-NR   –  MLB Pipeline(mid-season)-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Upon running my PAG numbers for all the affiliates in each organization, the next phase is running side-by-side comparisons of all the position prospects within said organization. It’s tedious, yes, but it’s this phase where we get to see the real, true tale-of-the-tape, how 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounders match up to kids like Chris Bostick (listed above) who was a 44th round pick.  And it’s incredible what Jim and I see. What’s more incredible (and this is the backbone behind the creation of UTR) is what some choose not to see. “Said player wasn’t” drafted during the 1st-through-3rd rounds.  Now our goal here isn’t to pick on top prospects, stating they aren’t as good as their lower drafted organizational mates, but based upon on-field production, our job is to say, “These guys produce just as well.” I bring you Lewis Brinson vs. my CF O.A.S. Evan Van Hoosier. Brinson is a toolsy CF with plus bat speed with power to every inch of the ballpark, but has huge swing-and-miss and has trouble with off-speed stuff. However, he’s a true gem with the glove and speed to spare. He carries a three year csPAG score of 3.55 which is pretty damn good. Now Van Hoosier, is no sluggard by any stretch. The Southern Nevada alum debuted in 2013 and posted a 46 game PAG of 2.39. Not much to write home to grandma about, but he showed promise. This past season, the speedy Van Hoosier showed what 8th round pick can do by logging a full-season PAG of 3.50 for LoA Hickory. He ranked in the Sally League top 10 in runs scored (79) and triples (8). The internal competition between Brinson and Van Hoosier will be fun to watch. Both 20 year olds prove that the prospect depth in Texas is incredible. 

 

RF – Luke Tendler – Short Season Spokane – 22 yo; – (2014 – 29th round) –

  • .316 – 11 HR – 57 RBi – 48 R  –  .390/.531/.921  slash  –  PAG: 4.16
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Tender is a good example of how a solid systems worth of top prospects allows us to be more bold with our choices. It doesn’t take a genius to know that 19 year old Dominican Nomar Mazara is a stud and by far the organizations top right field prospect. Which is why choosing the 5’11 – 190 lb. lefty makes for more than solid choice. A smidge old for the level, the North Carolina A&T State alum debuted with short season Spokane and posted a sticky sweet 4.16 PAG.  He led the Northwest League in home runs (11), ranked third in RBi’s (57), second in SLG% (.531), OPS (.921) and third in total bases (136.) But again, much like many of the American League prospects Jim and I have highlighted since we began our Organizational All-Stars back in September, the low draft status black cloud looms overhead and Tendler is no exception. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers aggressively push Tendler to LoA Hickory or even HiA Myrtle Beach. With a debut like that, what do you have to lose. 
 
 
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Mention Points/TPS
 
1. LHP Andrew Faulkner – (11) cSR/TPS .083
  • 21 years old – (HiA Myrtle Beach / Double-A Frisco)
  • 14th round – 2011
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 20thMay 31stJune 26th)
  • Few teams back in this division, I mentioned that utilizing the TPS  and actually crunching and comparing it to all the pitchers that I tracked in American League, that Im continually learning something new with whole process. I described how Im finding that starting pitchers scoring between .100 and .115 were the ones most likely to project from UTR to solid prospect. Faulkner may have shown me that though he didn’t put wondrous stats in 2013, he was able to score just outside that range with a .118 and then improved it by .035 points this season. His name appears on both lists here, thus solidifying his UTR status as 14th round draft pick. Now the waiting game for the 2015 season, if he holds near his current TPS….then he becomes a true prospect and the touting of his name begins. In the UTR world, even if he regresses but is still able to put up a TPS in the above mention range, then he becomes that fantasy nugget that could be mined off a draft board and stashed in your roster. It these types of players that can fill your roster holes and win championships. This is where I want to take the TPS once I have the opportunity to work on it full-time. Back to Faulkner, he turned it on this year while with HiA Myrtle Beach going 10-1, 2.07 ERA with 100 K’s and 31 walks. He saw action at Double-A Frisco and should start the 2015 season there. He throws a low 90’s fastball, a really good splitter, and decent curveball. His jerky delivery worries some, as it causes him to throw across his body.
 
2. RHP Sam Wolff  – (11) cSR/TPS .121
  •  23 years old – (HiA Myrtle Beach)
  • 6th round – 2013
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • Here it is again, a pitcher that I named as a possible breakout as a RP, but ends up on the starters list. Thats OK…as its a hard call to make where a lower round arm might play out in the organization, as they usually get innings on the both ends. Getting his first opportunity to start as a pro, Wolff fared well by putting up a 3.37 ERA over 24 appearances (23 starts). He’s a power pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball which he is learning to draw contact and induce ground groundballs. During a June start, Wolff pitched six innings of two-hit ball and didn’t record a strikeout. 
3. RHP Akeem Bostick – (10) cSR/TPS .136
  • 19 years old – (LoA Hickory)
  • 2nd round – 2013
  • Ranked #11 by Baseball America / “On the Rise” by Baseball Prospectus
  • Marc has a true UTR hitter in Chris Bostick (44th round). There’s a Bostick on the mound for the Rangers and as a second rounder, Akeem’s performance in 2014 didn’t shine as a top pick. He pieced together some good outings, but statistically the 6’4″ 180 lb righthander had a rough go at LoA Hickory. He posted a 5.17 ERA and only struck out 64 over 92.1 innings. There’s time for Bostick to develop, as he will only turn 20 during the 2015 season. Just like Faulkner, Bostick has a deceptive delivery, but also throws across his body which sucks the life from his velocity. He throws low 90’s fastball and a 11-5 curveball that could be a plus offering. Once he straightens out his mechanics, look for the command issues to dissipate.
4. RHP Cole Wiper – (8) cSR/TPS .091
  • 22 years old – (LoA Hickory)
  • 10th round – 2013
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • UTR Mention (May 17th)
  • Two of my Rangers 2014 Breakout candidates make the top 4 mentions list, so I was on the right track. I chose Wiper because, though it was limited action, he posted a decent TPS rating after coming back from Tommy John surgery since being drafted. But his sophomore season as a pro looked more like it should have been in the first year back from the injury. He struggled mightily with his command (96:46 K:BB rate) and surrendered 13 homers in 101 innings. His TPS rate of .091 is a sign not to “wipe-off ” Wiper from the prospect boards, that the projection is there. If you research Wiper online, you will find that he’s one of the most intriguing prospects in the Rangers system. So the TPS must see the same thing that the Rangers organization saw when they took him in the 10th round as a redshirt freshman out of the U. of Oregon. He throws a low 90’s fastball, above-average curve, along with a slider and change-up.
5. RHP Pedro Payano – (8) SP/TPS .101
  • 19 years old – (DSL Rangers)
  • Undrafted – 2011
  • Marginal arm that completed his third year in the DSL. The Rangers spent alot of International dollars (in the $500,000 range) for Payano, so their hoping to get a return on the investment. He makes the list based on his outstanding starts which seemed to get better toward the end of the season. The 2015 season will tell the tale for the righthander as he should be assigned to the AZL Rangers.
 
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – Mention Points/TPS
 
 1. LHP Ryne  Slack – (11) cSR/TPS .074
  • 22 years old – (LoA Hickory)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • UTR Mention (April 22nd)
  • Tough to get a read on Slack, as the Rangers have used him in both long and back-end relief roles. The lefty continues to struggle with his command and one wonders if he would be suited best in short stints as a set-up guy. He struck out 94 hitters in 82.1 innings, but issued 42 walks.
 2. RHP Jose LeClerc – (6) RP/TPS .060
  • 20 years old – (HiA Myrtle Beach)
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • Ranked #16 by Baseball America
  • Another Rangers reliever that needs to tighten up his command, but when he does…he should rocket to the Majors. Already at HiA, the soon to be 21 year old (Dec 19th) throws with max effort that produces a fastball that can touch 98 mph. He creates a slight hitch in his delivery that keeps hitters off-balance. His numbers at Myrtle Beach were somewhat disappointing, as its known as a pitchers league. But no need to rush the young right-hander and we should see him back with the Pelicans in 2015.
3. RHP Abel De Los Santos – (6) RP/TPS .069
  • 21 years old – (LoA Hickory / HiA Myrtle Beach) 
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • UTR Mention (July 20th)
  • De Los Santos was sent to the Washington Nationals along with Chris Bostick in the Ross Detwiler deal.The Dominican native put up similar numbers over two levels in 2014 as he did during his time with Short-Season Spokane in 2013, his first year after being converted in the relief role.

***With De Los Santos off to the Nationals. LHP Cody Ege would slide into the vacancy. A 15th round pick in 2013, Ege went 4-1 and 3.88 ERA in 37 appearances. He had 76 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 62.2 innings.

 
 Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
1. LHP Samuel Zazueta – cSR/TPS .067
  • 17 years old – (DSL Rangers)
  • Undrafted – 2014
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (June 14thJune 20thAugust 13th)
  • The top pitcher in the DSL led the circuit in strikeouts (91) and posted a 1.63 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts). Could be exciting to follow the now 18 year-old southpaw in 2015.
2. LHP Joe Palumbo – cSR./TPS .071
  • 19 years old – (AZL Rangers)
  • 30th round – 2013
  • UTR Mention (June 7th)
  • Drafted out of high school, Palumbo improved from his debut in 2013 where he was used exclusively from the bullpen with the AZL Rangers. He made seven starts in 14 appearances this past season and but his BB9 rate in half in repeating the AZL. Palumbo throws a mid 90’s fastball which he can spot down in the zone and a promising curveball. In 62.1 innings as a pro, the lefty hasn’t allowed a home run and a 6.9 H/9 rate. 
3. LHP Frank Lopez – cSR/TPS .077
  • 20 years old – (LoA Hickory / AZL Rangers / LoA Hickory)
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (May 3rdMay 10thAugust 9th)
  • Lopez was in consideration as my Rangers 2014 Breakout and started the season strong in posting a 1.35 ERA in April and receiving two early May UTR Mentions. For his career, he has posted decent K rates and has displayed average control. He throws a low’s 90s fastball and adequate curveball, both pitches have projection.
4. RHP Kelvin Vasquez – cSR/TPS .082
  • 21 years old – (LoA Hickory)
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • UTR Mention (May 2nd)
  • Ranked #30 by Baseball America 
  • Vasquez repeated LoA Hickory in 2014 after things didn’t go well in 2013 (6.49 ERA) and he got back on track, though posting pedestrian numbers. He has a live fastball in the 92-94 range, a good slider and a decent  change-up with is his out-pitch.
5.  LHP Andrew Faulkner – cSR/TPS .083

  • 21 years old – (HiA Myrtle Beach / Double-A Frisco)
  • 14th round – 2011
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 20thMay 31stJune 26th)
  • He turned it on this year while with HiA Myrtle Beach going 10-1, 2.07 ERA with 100 K’s and 31 walks. He saw action at Double-A Frisco and should start the 2015 season there. He throws a low 90’s fastball, a really good splitter, and decent curveball. His jerky delivery worries some, as it causes him to throw across his body.
 
 
 Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
 
1. LHP Roberto Liriano – RP/TPS .055
  • 20 years old – (DSL Rangers)
  • Undrafted – 2014
  • In his DSL debut, Liriano tacked a paltry 0.80 ERA in 20 appearances (4 saves)
2. RHP Keone Kela – RP/TPS .057
  • 21 years old – (HiA Myrtle Beach / Double-A Frisco)
  • 12th round – 2012
  • Ranked 18th by Baseball America / #14 by MLBPipeline / “Factor on the Farm” by Baseball Prospectus
  • Kela was recently clocked at 102 mph in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues. Still considered a raw talent, Kela’s has the drive and determination to be the Rangers closer of the future. 
3. RHP John Fasola – RP/TPS .059
  • 22 years old – (Short-Season Spokane)
  • 31st round – 2014
  • UTR Mention (July 10th)
  • Fasola had an outstanding debut with Short-Season Spokane by posting a 2.05 ERA and striking out 40, walking only 5 in 26.1 innings over 19 appearances. What’s more outstanding is that the right-hander didn’t pitch until his senior year in high school. The story of his travels to get to the Rangers is a UTR dream. He is still a very raw talent as a pitcher, but is athletic, as the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him back in 2010 as a shortstop. It was after his transfer to Kent State when he was teamed with a former major league pitcher, that Fasola really learned to be a pitcher and not a thrower.
 
 
 2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
SP Cole Wiper – Future is still bright for the righthanded Wiper. Suffered from control issues last season, but look for a bounce back year in 2015. Grade C
 
RP Sam Wolff – Having been a reliever in his debut in 2013, the Rangers tried Wolff in the rotation. This went well considering he pitched 120.1 innings and he did see time on the DL in July. He returned in August and didn’t miss a beat. Grade B-
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