Written by: Jake Tweedie
Follow him on Twitter: @MLBUKAnalysis1
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
**Right below is the Rangers Top 20 list simplified. Scroll further down for FULL Present/Future Grades, FV, ETA and summaries on EACH PLAYER ranked in the system! Tons of Statistics on each player as well! Some player highlights, future outlooks and more, enjoy!**
If you like Podcasts, Click here to take a listen to the Rangers Top 20 Pod where you can hear our prospect Analysts discuss the Top 5 prospects, and 5 others they find interesting in the system! Who doesn’t like more prospect analysis?
|1||Josh Jung||3B||1st Round: 8th Overall – 2019 Draft|
|2||Sam Huff||C||7th Round – 2016 Draft|
|3||Nick Solak||2B/3B/OF||Trade with Rays|
|4||Maximo Acosta||SS||International FA Signing 2019|
|5||Leody Taveras||OF||International FA Signing 2015|
|6||Sherten Apostel||3B/1B||Trade with Pirates|
|7||Hans Crouse||RHP||2nd Round – 2017 Draft|
|8||Justin Foscue||2B||1st Round: 14th Overall – 2020 Draft|
|9||Cole Winn||RHP||1st Round: 15th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|10||Bayron Lora||OF||International FA Signing 2019|
|11||Heriberto Hernandez||OF/1B/C||International FA Signing 2017|
|12||Anderson Tejeda||SS||International FA Signing 2014|
|13||Luisangel Acuna||SS/2B||International FA Signing 2018|
|14||Ricky Vanasco||RHP||15th Round – 2017 Draft|
|15||Joe Palumbo||LHP||30th Round – 2013 Draft|
|16||Yerry Rodriguez||RHP||International FA Signing 2015|
|17||Bubba Thompson||OF||1st Round: 26th Overall – 2017 Draft|
|18||Ronny Henriquez||RHP||International FA Signing 2017|
|19||Tekoah Roby||RHP||3rd Round – 2020 Draft|
|20||Steele Walker||OF||Trade with White Sox|
1. Josh Jung 3B – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A full)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’2″ 215lbs – ETA 2022
The standout guy in the Rangers’ organization, Jung has the hitting tools to be an offensive force when he gets the opportunity in the Big Leagues.
One of the best pure hitters in the organization, Jung showed his quality by getting 10 hits from just 17 ABs at Rookie-level before heading to Hickory. He wasn’t expected to continue with a .588 BA, but he still managed to maintain an average of just under .300. He disappointed slightly by only getting 1 HR, but he picked up 13 doubles and had a strikeout rate of just 16%. This showed his impressive plate discipline and ability to control the strike zone.
He barrels the ball well and looks to the gaps rather than going long, as well as having decent bat speed and good strength. Defensively, he is reliable and has strong hands, whilst also having the height and range to be an average third baseman. He won’t standout defensively but his bat and his ability at the plate has huge upside and makes him the number 1 Rangers prospect. He is part of the set-up for the Summer Camp ahead of the 2020 season and recorded his first hit as shown below.
2. Sam Huff C – Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers A Adv)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’5″ 240lbs – ETA 2022
His size and frame say it all. He has solid power and is a big presence behind the plate. He has the potential to be used as a catcher or as a DH and could be called-up in the near future.
His raw power is high, he has the strength and frame to be a big hitter and he is aggressive at the plate. Although this may make him more susceptible to strikeouts when he makes contact with the ball he can make it fly with extreme exit velocities. He will have to improve this discipline as he rises through the system, but he could be dangerous if he gets that right.
He started to show glimpses of this in 2019, hitting 28 HRs compared to 2018’s total of 18. This came against better competition when he stepped up to A+ and showed his abilities to handle the improved pitching.
Defensively his large frame would generally make it difficult behind the plate but he moves well for his size and although he needs to work on his receiving he has the base of a good defender.
After his breakout year in 2019, he has solidified himself as one of the Rangers’ best prospects. If he can continue to improve then he could be the number 1 catcher very soon.
3. Nick Solak 2B/3B/OF – MLB
25 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 5’11” 185lbs
Already proving himself in the Big Leagues, Solak has the offensive ability to get on base and make plays, despite his weaknesses in the field.
He showed his offensive abilities in the Majors, averaging just under .300 with 5 HRs in 33 appearances. This followed a .347 at AAA, hitting 10 HRs. Although his strikeout rate is quite high (19.5% AAA, 21.5% MLB), he makes up for it by getting on base regularly.
He is athletic and quick, despite his lack of stolen bases, and turned himself into a power hitter. After just 15 HRs in his first 2 years in pro ball, he followed this with 51 HRs in his last 2 seasons, showing his quality contact ability and his pop off the bat. Defensively, he has yet to find a true position, largely in part that he lacks the skillset to solidify one position. He hasn’t got the arm strength for 3B, whilst he lacks the fluid actions to be a 2B/SS.
Despite these defensive flaws, his offensive abilities make him the intriguing player he is and has made him a regular in the Rangers roster.
4. Maximo Acosta SS – DSL Rangers 1 (Rangers ROK)
17 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1″ 170lbs – ETA 2024
No professional stats
Signed for a $1.65m bonus in the International Signings period in July 2019, he has well-rounded tools and is advanced at the plate. With his huge upside and solid physical qualities, he is an exciting prospect for the future.
He didn’t make a single professional appearance in 2019, but his abilities at the plate and his projectable power at amateur level show he has the potential to be a quality player.
With his athletic build, smooth swing, and good barrel control, he looks comfortable with his fluid actions and is an exciting player for the next minor league season. There will be a lot of focus when he finally makes his pro debut but for now his huge upside and potential slides him into 5th.
5. Leody Taveras OF – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers AA)
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: S – 6’2″ 195lbs – ETA 2021
The young Dominican was signed in the International Signing Period in 2015 for $2.1m. He has the ability to post big numbers against older competitors, as well as being dangerous in the field and between the bases with his speed.
The switch-hitter looks far more accomplished against RHP, as shown by 18 of 19 career HRs coming against them. His BA throughout his career has been good, thus showing his quality making contact with the ball, but he needs to turn more hits into HRs and really utilize his quick bat speed and projectable strength.
Another player call-up to the Summer Camp leading into the 2020 season, he has looked comfortable at the plate but struggled slightly in the field. His speed and solid arm strength get him out of most jams, but his poor reading of the game in Summer Camp could just be the jump up to playing with established pros.
Overall, he has the offensive ceiling to be a 10-15 homer hitter. His speed has seen him steal bases all the way through the farm system, so he should be a threat from that perspective also. This alongside his arm strength makes him a solid defender when he is on form.
6. Sherten Apostel 3B/1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers AA)
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4″ 235lbs – ETA 2022
The right-handed hitter was signed by the Pirates in 2015 for $200k in the International Signing Period. The corner-infielder from Curacao came to the Rangers in 2018, and has the frame and build to expand on his already strong arm and his above-average raw power.
He has a projectable 6’4 frame with solid power. He moves well but will more than likely slow down as his body bulks up. There were signs of his improved power when he smashed 19 HRs in 2019, compared to 8 in 2018.
Although his BA has steadily decreased as he rises through the system, he has shown his ability to get runs on the board and go long when needed. This has earned him a spot in the Rangers’ Summer Camp for the 2020 season.
As shown by the video in the tweet above, Apostel uses his body to generate significant power and stays upright throughout his swing. His front leg pushes through the ball with force and the way his body follows shows how clean his action is. One to watch as he makes solid progression through the organization.
7. Hans Crouse RHP – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A Full)
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: L – 6’4″ 180lbs – ETA 2022
When he is fit his fastball sits between 92-97mph, peaking at 99mph with riding life. The fastball is his best tool and is an above-average pitch. He mixes this with his other above-average pitch, his slider. This stays around the mid-80s mark with some movement.
However, due to his injury problems last year he reduced his use of his slider and instead focused more on upgrading his changeup. This improved significantly, showing fade and sink, as well as staying around the mid-80s. His curveball results from the manipulation of his breaking ball and produces decent results.
His mechanics seem to have improved as well, largely in part due to his injuries and forced changes. It seems more fluid, but there is still some slight head movement that could be worked on to be a more solid action.
He has also struggled with RISP and keeping teams from scoring, but overall, he has the ability to be a decent pitcher.
8. Justin Foscue 2B – Drafted 2020
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’0″ 203lbs – ETA 2023
No professional stats
Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2020 Draft, Foscue has all the makings of being a solid player in the future. There’s certainly a spot within the organization for a projectable 2B that can be a consistent hitter. If his defensive aspect can continue to improve, then there is decent growth.
His upside is his projectable power that comes from his unique stance and swing. He has the ability to barrel the ball cleanly and his timing is good. His big force through his front foot generates significant power and allows him to pull the ball effectively, however, the load through his front foot and wide stance could make him sustainable to injuries.
Defensively he has good hands and can make plays on the move. His arm strength isn’t significant but his accuracy and baseball IQ make up for this with how he positions his body.
9. Cole Winn RHP – Hickory Crawdads (A full)
20 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’2″ 190lbs – ETA 2023
Drafted in the 1st Round in 2018, the Rangers put him on a deloading program for the following season, before his pro debut in 2019. He has a high floor and has the ability to command his pitches effectively.
His fastball sits between 92-95mph, with highs of 97mph. He gets some running action with the pitch, as well as being able to play up because of its movement. He does however lack consistent command. His curveball on the other hand catches the plate consistently with an 11-5 movement.
He has also shown glimpses of improvements with both his slider and changeup. His slider was added to his pitching repertoire in his High School senior season, staying in the low-80s with plenty of life, whilst his changeup has good fading action that should improve the more it is used.
The 2019 season was his first in pro ball, and although he ended June with an ERA of 7.59, he found his line a bit more and picked up 4 wins, coinciding with a dramatic drop in ERA to 4.46. If he continues to work on his 4-pitch mix then he could be extremely useful for the Rangers moving forward.
10. Bayron Lora OF – DSL Rangers 2 (Rangers ROK)
17 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’3″ 190lbs – ETA 2024
No professional stats
Signed for a $3.9m bonus in 2019, he is built solidly and is one of the best raw power hitters from that class. He is still a long way from the Big Leagues but he has the ability to showcase his qualities when the Minor League seasons resume.
He has plenty of power, due to his size and frame, but there are risks that come with this. He is a typical corner outfielder, which could mean he becomes a consistent power-hitter, or he could end up struggling to regularly make contact with the ball and striking out often.
There’s certainly plenty of potential, mainly because of his bat speed and strong core, so it will be interesting to see how Rangers develop him.
11. Heriberto Hernandez OF/1B/C – Spokane Indians (Rangers A Short)
20 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1″ 180lbs – ETA 2024
Signed for $10k in 2017, the Dominican led the Arizona League in hits (66), extra-base hits (32), RBIs (48) and total bases (124). This led to a call-up to the Northwest League, where he homered twice in three playoff games.
There are question marks on where he settles defensively but his attacking threat certainly makes him an exciting player for the future. Originally a catcher, he struggles behind the plate receiving pitches, whilst he spent the majority of the 2019 season scattered around the park. He may end up being better off in the outfield to allow more focus on his offensive attributes rather than his defensive ones.
His offensive attributes have plenty of upside. The way he barrels the ball so cleanly leads to solid exit velocities, and his aggressive batting approach can see him go long, despite the risk of striking out. He will need to work on his gung-ho approach against better pitchers, but his loud contact and decent BA is hard to argue with.
One of the most exciting names in the Rangers’ organization, he has one of the best offensive ceilings, but there are slight tweaks needed in order to reach these.
Heriberto has a chance to really fly up the ranks and is already picking up a lot of hype in the prospect world. If the bat continues to impress as it has, and he shows a consistent ability on the defensive end, we could be looking at a premium prospect ready to break through the Rangers system.
12. Anderson Tejeda SS – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers AA)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: S – 6’0″ 200lbs – ETA 2022
Signed for $100k back in 2014, the switch-hitting Dominican was making steady progression before being injured for a large chunk of the 2019 season. His biggest strengths are his plus-plus arm and his raw power (as shown below).
He missed the last few months of the season due to partially dislocating his non-throwing arm sliding between the bases. If he had stayed fit throughout then there could have been a lot more improvement.
Known for being aggressive at the plate, he sometimes gets too caught up in trying to go long, thus resulting in 200 strikeouts in the last 2 seasons. That being said he has the raw power to hit the ball out of the park, so will need to focus on his plate discipline and contact moving forward. Defensively, he has improved significantly with his instincts and range, culminating in improved defensive performances. His plus-plus arm is key to his fielding capabilities and makes tough plays with ease.
13. Luisangel Acuna SS/2B – AZL Rangers (Rangers ROK)
18 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 5’10” 155lbs – ETA 2024
The younger brother of Ronald signed for $425k in 2018 from Venezuela. Despite his small size he is deceptively explosive and has solid raw power.
A regular striker of the ball at Rookie-level, he also showed his speed. He managed to steal 17 bases last year, to add to his .342 BA. He also only struck out 26 times and walked on 34 occasions, showing his impressive plate discipline.
His spray chart shows his ability to drive the ball all around the park, and if he can bulk up in the future, he should be able to turn a lot of the singles into XBH.
Defensively, he needs work. He made 16 errors in 48 appearances, but his good arm strength and quick hands should help him in the future. He looked far more comfortable at 2B than SS, so that is something for the Rangers to bear in mind.
14. Ricky Vanasco RHP – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A full)
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’3″ 180lbs – ETA 2023
Drafted in the 15th Round in 2017, Vanasco has seen an improvement in fastball velocity but he will need to work on his command and his quality of his secondary pitches to be a starter in the Big Leagues.
He has developed his fastball to be significantly better than it has previously been. It now touches 99mph, whilst consistently being mid-90s. This has seen a big jump from the low-90s in High School.
His secondary pitches include a changeup and curveball. Whilst his changeup is developing and needs work, his curveball is more solid and has more power behind it. All 3 pitches need more command and control, but this comes with experience. He has pitched just 83.1 innings in pro ball so will continue to develop.
Despite his lack of experience, he is deemed as one of the best arms in the organization but will need to constantly improve and stay healthy to reach his true potential.
15. Joe Palumbo LHP – Nashville Sounds (Rangers AAA)
25 Years Old – Throw: L – Bat: L – 6’0″ 195lbs – ETA 2020
Drafted in the 30th Round back in 2013, the lefty became one of the Rangers’ top pitching prospects in 2016, before having to have Tommy John Surgery in 2017. He returned in 2018 and made his Big Leagues debut last year. He has the ability with his arm action and athleticism but he will need to show his durability in order to last a significant amount of innings.
His fastball sits between 91-94mph. It has decent carry and gets to the pitcher deceptively quicker than expected, whilst also showing high levels of spin. His delivery action and arm rotation allow him to throw strikes effectively and efficiently.
Although his secondary pitches have only shown a curveball and a changeup, he has added a slider to his arsenal over the quarantine period. He believes it to be ready and has been using it in Summer Camp. His curveball is by far his best tool. It usually sits around 80mph, showing 11-5 break and high spin rates. His changeup is usually around 86-88mph and he started to use it a bit more regularly last season.
If he can integrate the slider into his repertoire effectively, then it could give him that extra push to be a mid-back end s starter, but he will also need to stay healthy in order to do so. Likely looking at a bullpen role long term if not.
16. Yerry Rodriguez RHP – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A full)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’2″ 198lbs – ETA 2022
Signed for $60k in 2015, the Dominican missed most of the 2017 season through suspension before being able to showcase his talents in 2018.
His fastball works between 92-96mph, with highs of 98mph. He can manipulate his delivery to have life up in the zone or tail when low in the zone. There’s the projection for his velocity to improve, but he will need to ensure he keeps himself healthy.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. It can be sharp like a slider in the mid-70s, or loopy like a curveball in the low-70s. His changeup needs a bit more work to be consistent, but low-80s pace with his 3/4 slot release could make it a prominent delivery in the future.
He is another Rangers pitcher that shows athleticism and ability with the ball in his hand but needs to show his durability in order to last the demands of Big League baseball. He showed real talent in short season and A last year but missed the end of the season with an elbow injury.
17. Bubba Thompson OF – Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers A Adv)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1″ 180lbs – ETA 2023
The Rangers’ 1st Round pick in 2017, he made 84 appearances for Hickory in 2018 before a step-up to A advanced saw his injury problems return and limit his action last year.
Although his game time has been severely hampered since he signed, he still has the potential and tools to come good if he can stay fit. This was evident when he hit a grand slam at the start of August as well as going long twice against Frederick Keys at the end of August in the same evening.
His plate discipline and rustiness will need to be worked on before there is any progression made. His strike rate was nearly 32%, whilst his BA was a measly .178.
He does still have significant pace between the bases, as well as being a competent outfielder with an average arm. Staying fit is key for him and would be interesting to see how he develops if he does.
18. Ronny Henriquez RHP – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A Full)
20 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 5’10” 155lbs – ETA 2023
Signed for $10k in 2017, the Dominican lacks real size and strength. He makes up for it with his ability to throw quick due to his arm speed. His success in Rookie-level led to a call up to A, and he dealt with the significant jump up in classes with real quality.
His fastball sits between 92-96mph, topping out at 98mph due to his quick arm action. Despite his speed, he is consistent with his approach, and commands his pitches with quality. He throws strikes with minimal effort, and his compact delivery allows him to generate decent velocity.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider stays around 84-86mph, which has depth and occasional hard bite to it, whilst his changeup stays straight in the upper-80s.
Due to his frame and size, he will need to get stronger to deal with the load needed to be a starting pitcher, but he has the ability to be a consistent starter or even a lively arm out of the bullpen.
19. Tekoah Roby RHP – Drafted 2020
19 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1″ 185lbs – ETA 2024
No professional stats
Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2020 Draft, Roby makes an appearance on the back-end of this list due to his interesting qualities. He’s not quite there yet, but he has a great 3-pitch mix and has the ability to pick up consistent strikes.
His fastball/curveball combo works extremely well, and he has the strength to utilize these to their full capacity, but there is some work needed on his changeup in order for it to be an effective 3rd pitch.
His delivery is interesting to watch, he can’t generate the power through his height, so he uses his fast arm action and slight whip out front to do so. His deception and the way he manipulates his body to create his speed are his biggest tools, whilst his pitching to LHH is his weakness. This is due to the inability to create a real whip, so he has to use more power to counteract this. It often leads to more wild pitches and a lack of control.
Despite this, he has shown good command over his pitches and has plenty of room to get stronger and become more powerful with his pitches.
20. Steele Walker OF – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers AA)
23 Years Old – Throw: L – Bat: L – 5’11” 190lbs – ETA 2022
Acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Winter Meetings for Nomar Mazara, Walker didn’t set the world alight with his 2018 and 2019 appearances, but there was certainly enough there to show he has the talents to do well.
He is more a player that goes for hits over power, as shown by his decent average last season, but he can still reach double-digit homers as well. He uses his quick bat speed and deceptive strength to launch fly balls into the outfield and beyond. His offensive capabilities are further enhanced by his ability to run between the bases. He picked up 13 stolen bases in 2019, despite not being the quickest.
Defensively he is a good outfielder with the ability to make plays and move his feet well to track the ball down. There are slight question marks with his arm strength but his accuracy is average and this could just mean a switch to left-field.