Hey Ranger fans, remember back in 2011 when the Rangers had the most feared lineup from top to bottom in all of baseball? When they were one pitch away from a World Series? Well, not all hope is lost. The Rangers only have a few players left from that last World Series run, but Jon Daniels, as he often does, has filled in the holes and put a team together that has that same potential.
If the Rangers are to get to that same potent lineup then it will have to improve in a few places. Now, Jon Daniels and the Rangers ownership team has more money to throw at big name free agents, but the easiest and most effective way to improve the team, long term, is to build it through the farm system. Luckily, the Rangers still have one of the strongest in all of baseball.
So here is a short list of the most important prospects that the Rangers need to develop into everyday players in order for the team to become another offensive juggernaut while staying financially flexible enough to hold onto their current players that are in line for a payday in the coming years. This list is based on potential and impact at the player’s respective position and not who can turn into the team’s biggest trade chip.
I’ll begin with those who missed the cut.
He is widely regarded as the system’s top prospect, but he is restricted to second base. A position that we should all hope is manned by Jurickson Profar for years to come.
A player with a huge ceiling and my personal favorite prospect. Unfortunately, he seems to be restricted to left field, a position that Choo will presumably occupy for the rest of his contract.
Sardinas is a switch hitting speedster with gold glove potential, but Sardinas is another one of the Rangers’ middle infielders who will be blocked by both Andrus and Profar for years.
The following prospects are both top prospects and are at positions that aren’t occupied by a current Ranger star.
Most people have heard of Alfaro, for those who haven’t, I’ll sum it up; 20-20 potential, cannon for an arm, 20 years old. He doesn’t come without his flaws of course; he is still extremely young and unpolished, but Alfaro will have the benefit of working with both Pudge Rodriguez and Bengie Molina. Having a catcher whom can do damage from the plate is a huge advantage. Teams that have an offensive threat at catcher often take it for granted, as many rangers fans did when we had Napoli.
Gallo has perhaps the most power in the minors. You may hear that and discount it, but, seriously, the kid has crazy pop. With that power comes a large aptitude of striking out. He is also a youngster and still has time to grow but will need to develop a much more consistent approach if he is to survive against big league pitching. The corner infielder bats from the left side and has the glove to stay at third but would be perfect for the Rangers at first. Allowing Prince to slide into the everyday DH role, which should happen sooner rather than later. He would add improved defense, added pop, and another left-handed bat. I’m sure Ron Washington would be all over that.
I was looking for a right handed pitcher to slot here and was faced with a tough decision. Luke Jackson or Alex Gonzalez? Both were high draft picks and will hopefully develop into quality players for the Rangers. Here I went with potential, so I chose Luke. He seems to have the higher ceiling and would slot in somewhere behind Yu and Perez. He was drafted out of high school in 2010 by the Rangers and is beginning to show what they saw in him to make him a top pick. He could show the rest of us later this summer.
These three prospects, while not the highest ranked, are the players Rangers fans need to develop into starters if the Rangers want to get back to the dominant roster that should’ve won it all in 2011.