Tag: Texas Rangers

Trade Report: Steele Walker – OF – Texas Rangers

Trade Report: Steele Walker – OF – Texas Rangers

There are plenty of big signing going down at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, but plenty of quality trades taking place as well. The latest, Nomar Mazara headed to the South Side to play for the Chicago White Sox in exchange for outfield prospect Steele Walker.

In the 2018 draft Oklahoma had two highly touted outfield prospects and there was some debate on who would be the better pro. I was on the Steele Walker side of the argument as I felt he was a more polished baseball player, and there was a guarantee he would stick with baseball. That other outfielder no longer plays baseball because he is busy on Sunday’s quarterbacking the Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray.

The best tool for Walker is one that is tough to teach, and that is pitch recognition. He demonstrates a plus aye at the plate that has allowed for an OBP better than 70 points higher than his batting average. He has a low stride that allows him to keep his balance well and adjust to off-speed. The hands are quick allowing the bat speed to translate to at least average power.

He is a quality athlete but is no burner, however he has quality instincts that allow him to play a serviceable center field, although left is a better fit. Don’t give up on the idea of him staying in center though, as plenty within the organization are confident he will be able to stick there long term.

In the end, I see him as a fringe-average everyday outfielder or a high-quality number four that can hold his own at all three spots, although the arm is really his lone below average tool. He has the upside of a .275 hitter with 15-20 home run power that provides quality ABs near the bottom of a lineup.


Prospect Call Up – Texas Rangers – Taylor Hearn – LHP

Prospect Call Up – Texas Rangers – Taylor Hearn – LHP

Taylor Hearn is a rare story as he grew up just East of Dallas and dreamed of being a rodeo star like his father and grandfather, not necessarily a baseball player. He went on to shine at a small town in Royse City where he was drafted in the 22nd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates but decided to go to San Jacinto College, a JuCo in the Houston area. He was drafted the next year by the Cincinnati Reds in the 36th round but went back to San Jacinto and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 25th round. Still not happy with where he was being drafted he went to Oklahoma Baptist University and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 5th round, and finally signed.

Just one year later the Pirates went after Hearn again, trading for him and fellow LHP Felipe Vazquez (then Felipe Rivero) in exchange for Mark Melancon. Then just two years later the Pirates went and got Keone Kela from the Texas Rangers and sent Hearn and a PTBNL to the Rangers. On Thursday Hearn will make his big league debut on the road in Seattle but will be wearing the jersey of the team that plays its home games less than an hour from where he starred in high school.

As for the kind of pitcher Hearn is, he ranked number 6 on our preseason ranks, he is a long lefty a fastball that gets up to 97 on the radar gun. The arm comes from a slightly low 3/4 slot with good extension that allows that fastball to be a true plus offering. He also slider that can be mistaken for a curve as it can get rather slurvy, but at its best it is a solid average pitch. His best secondary offering is his change that flashes plus but sits more average as he delivers it from a good arm slot and speed that plays well off the fastball.

The command is spotty as he can fall off towards the third base side a bit much leaving the arm lagging behind the body, making mistakes up in the zone too often. The stuff is still good enough too prevent too many hard hit balls when left up in the zone and he does get swing-and-misses even when he misses his spots, but elite hitters at the highest level will be able to take advantage.

There is no reason to believe Hearn isn’t here to stay as he is one of the five best starters throughout the Rangers organization, and could develop into a solid number three or very good number four starter.

2019 Preseason Top 150

Carter Kieboom
Carter Kieboom. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

Before I even got this posted Alex Reyes exhausted his rookie eligibility (needed a single out to do so and pitched an inning on Friday) so I updated my top 150 before it went live. Reyes was at 22 but is now removed making room for Ryan Weathers, giving the Padres two more than any other team with 12 players making the top 150.  15 players on the list open the season in the big leagues, with 14 of those in the top 80 and the Padres and Mariners both starting with two players in the big leagues.


Player Position Team Rank
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B Toronto Blue Jays 1
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS San Diego Padres 2
Eloy Jimenez OF Chicago White Sox 3
Forrest Whitley RHP Houston Astros 4
Victor Robles OF Washington Nationals 5
Jo Adell OF Los Angeles Angels 6
Royce Lewis SS Minnesota Twins 7
Wander Franco SS Tampa Bay Rays 8
Nick Senzel 2B/3B Cincinnati Reds 9
Jesus Luzardo LHP Oakland Athletics 10
MacKenzie Gore LHP San Diego Padres 11
Bo Bichette SS/2B Toronto Blue Jays 12
Kyle Tucker OF Houston Astros 13
Taylor Trammell OF Cincinnati Reds 14
Keston Hiura 2B Milwaukee Brewers 15
Brendan Rodgers SS/2B Colorado Rockies 16
Sixto Sanchez RHP Miami Marlins 17
Cristian Pache OF Atlanta Braves 18
Carter Kieboom SS Washington Nationals 19
Luis Urias 2B/SS San Diego Padres 20
Casey Mize RHP Detroit Tigers 21
Joey Bart C San Francisco Giants 22
Austin Riley 3B Atlanta Braves 23
Keibert Ruiz C Los Angeles Dodgers 24
Pete Alonso 1B New York Mets 25
Brendan McKay LHP/1B Tampa Bay Rays 26
Michael Kopech RHP Chicago White Sox 27
Hunter Greene RHP Cincinnati Reds 28
Mitch Keller RHP Pittsburgh Pirates 29
Andres Gimenez SS New York Mets 30
Brent Honeywell RHP Tampa Bay Rays 31
Nick Madrigal 2B/SS Chicago White Sox 32
Jonathan India 3B/SS Cincinnati Reds 33
Sean Murphy C Oakland Athletics 34
Alex Verdugo OF Los Angeles Dodgers 35
A.J. Puk LHP Oakland Athletics 36
Matthew Liberatore LHP Tampa Bay Rays 37
Mike Soroka RHP Atlanta Braves 38
Nolan Gorman 3B St. Louis Cardinals 39
Ian Anderson RHP Atlanta Braves 40
Francisco Mejia C/OF San Diego Padres 41
Luis Robert OF Chicago White Sox 42
Dylan Cease RHP Chicago White Sox 43
Chris Paddack RHP San Diego Padres 44
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pittsburgh Pirates 45
Vidal Brujan 2B Tampa Bay Rays 46
Touki Toussaint RHP Atlanta Braves 47
Brusdar Graterol RHP Minnesota Twins 48
Justus Sheffield LHP Seattle Mariners 49
Kyle Wright RHP Atlanta Braves 50
Yordan Alvarez OF Houston Astros 51
Alex Kirilloff OF Minnesota Twins 52
Jesus Sanchez OF Tampa Bay Rays 53
Yusei Kikuchi LHP Seattle Mariners 54
Yusniel Diaz OF Baltimore Orioles 55
Khalil Lee OF Kansas City Royals 56
Jarred Kelenic OF Seattle Mariners 57
Triston McKenzie RHP Cleveland Indians 58
Danny Jansen C Toronto Blue Jays 59
Jazz Chisholm SS Arizona Diamondbacks 60
Adrian Morejon LHP San Diego Padres 61
Griffin Canning RHP Los Angeles Angels 62
Dustin May RHP Los Angeles Dodgers 63
Luis Patino RHP San Diego Padres 64
Alec Bohm 3B Philadelphia Phillies 65
Estevan Florial OF New York Yankees 66
Jon Duplantier RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 67
DL Hall LHP Baltimore Orioles 68
Nate Pearson RHP Toronto Blue Jays 69
Josh James RHP Houston Astros 70
Drew Waters OF Atlanta Braves 71
Bryse Wilson RHP Atlanta Braves 72
Nolan Jones 3B Cleveland Indians 73
Gavin Lux SS/2B Los Angeles Dodgers 74
Travis Swaggerty OF Pittsburgh Pirates 75
Matt Manning RHP Detroit Tigers 76
Oneil Cruz SS Pittsburgh Pirates 77
Luis Garcia SS/3B Washington Nationals 78
Garrett Hampson 2B/SS Colorado Rockies 79
Adonis Medina RHP Philadelphia Phillies 80
Ryan Mountcastle 3B Baltimore Orioles 81
Kristian Robinson OF Arizona Diamondbacks 82
Brady Singer RHP Kansas City Royals 83
Monte Harrison OF Miami Marlins 84
Logan Allen LHP San Diego Padres 85
Nico Hoerner SS Chicago Cubs 86
Michel Baez RHP San Diego Padres 87
Isaac Paredes SS/2B Detroit Tigers 88
Victor Victor Mesa OF Miami Marlins 89
Trevor Larnach OF Minnesota Twins 90
Brandon Marsh OF Los Angeles Angels 91
Heliot Ramos OF San Francisco Giants 92
Brandon Lowe 2B/OF Tampa Bay Rays 93
Ronny Mauricio SS New York Mets 94
Will Smith C/3B Los Angeles Dodgers 95
MJ Melendez C Kansas City Royals 96
Dane Dunning RHP Chicago White Sox 97
Ronaldo Hernandez C Tampa Bay Rays 98
Hans Crouse RHP Texas Rangers 99
Jonathan Loaisiga RHP New York Yankees 100
Corbin Martin RHP Houston Astros 101
Cole Winn RHP Texas Rangers 102
Luiz Gohara LHP Atlanta Braves 103
Leody Taveras OF Texas Rangers 104
William Contreras C Atlanta Braves 105
Seuly Matias OF Kansas City Royals 106
Lucius Fox SS Tampa Bay Rays 107
Corey Ray OF Milwaukee Brewers 108
Spencer Howard RHP Philadelphia Phillies 109
Jahmai Jones 2B Los Angeles Angels 110
Jordyn Adams OF Los Angeles Angels 111
George Valera OF Cleveland Indians 112
J.B. Bukauskas RHP Houston Astros 113
Justin Dunn RHP Seattle Mariners 114
Michael Chavis 3B Boston Red Sox 115
Mark Vientos 3B New York Mets 116
Daz Cameron OF Detroit Tigers 117
Bubba Thompson OF Texas Rangers
Josh Naylor 1B/OF San Diego Padres 119
Colton Welker 3B Colorado Rockies 120
Daulton Varsho C Arizona Diamondbacks 121
Evan White 1B Seattle Mariners 122
Peter Lambert RHP Colorado Rockies 123
Taylor Widener RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 124
Julio Pablo Martinez OF Texas Rangers 125
Kevin Smith SS/3B Toronto Blue Jays 126
Miguel Amaya C Chicago Cubs 127
Andrew Knizner C St. Louis Cardinals 128
Tyler Nevin 1B Colorado Rockies 129
Hudson Potts 3B/1B San Diego Padres 130
Sandy Alcantara RHP Miami Marlins 131
Shane Baz RHP Tampa Bay Rays 132
Tyler Stephenson C Cincinnati Reds 133
Eric Pardinho RHP Toronto Blue Jays 134
Franklin Perez RHP Detroit Tigers 135
Jordan Groshans 3B/SS Toronto Blue Jays 136
Dakota Hudson RHP St. Louis Cardinals 137
Nate Lowe 1B Tampa Bay Rays 138
Elehuris Montero 3B St. Louis Cardinals 139
Luis Oviedo RHP Cleveland Indians 140
Tony Santillan RHP Cincinnati Reds 141
Triston Casas 1B/3B Boston Red Sox 142
Adbert Alzolay RHP Chicago Cubs 143
Ethan Hankins RHP Cleveland Indians 144
Beau Burrows RHP Detroit Tigers 145
Brice Turang SS Milwaukee Brewers 146
Brent Rooker 1B/OF Minnesota Twins 147
Alex Faedo RHP Detroit Tigers 148
Deivi Garcia RHP New York Yankees 149
Ryan Weathers LHP San Diego Padres 150


Texas Rangers 2019 Preseason Top 10

Texas Rangers 2019 Preseason Top 10


Player: Hans Crouse
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’4” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: I ran into the area scout for a team that was targeting Hans Crouse in the 2017 draft but wound up going a different direction, and that scout gave Crouse one of the better compliments a prospect can get. “He is a capital D Dude and he knows it when he is on the mound too.” Translation, Crouse has full belief he is better than any batter that steps into the box, and he is usually right. His fastball sits mid-90s but regularly flirts with triple digits. The slider is a plus pitch while his change has shown really well at times but is very raw. The delivery has plenty of effort leaving some concern he may move to the bullpen in time, where he would be dominant, but he has enough command that he could stick in a rotation, and pitch near the front of one at that.



Player: Cole Winn
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: State player of the year in Colorado his junior year, then California his senior year, Winn was selected 15th overall last June, although he has yet to make his pro debut. He did throw some in instructs, where he showed off his plus fastball and curve while also mixing in a slider that has shown potential of getting to plus and a fading change that can play above average. His delivery is controlled and repeatable leaving little doubt he will stick in the rotation and could be a quicker moving high school draft pick thanks to his rare polish after spending most his high school career in a cold weather state.



Player: Leody Taveras
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: A lock to be able to stick in center, Taveras’ upside is only limited by his ability to hit, which isn’t much of a concern. He is more advanced from the left side of the plate than the right despite a slightly more exaggerated leg kick, but he gets bat-to-ball well from both sides. He does let go with one hand a bit early when hitting right handed, which saps any power that may be there. He has an approach at the plate and a frame that can definitely add strength. If he can get to the point where he is able to hit 15-20 home runs a season, he will be a valuable member of the big league club for a long time.



Player: Bubba Thompson
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: Texas loves their athletic outfielders, Thompson could have been an SEC quarterback had the Rangers not gone over-slot to $2.1M after drafting him 26th overall in 2017.  Being a two-sport star in high school leaves him somewhat raw, especially when it comes to his reads in the outfield, where athletically he should be a center fielder but he needs to improve his routes to stick there. He has a body that should add plenty of strength, so I anticipate a move to right in his future, where he has enough arm to be a plus defender there. At the plate, he has a line drive swing, but he takes big hacks limiting the amount he is able to barrel up the ball. When he connects the ball goes a long way, so some improvement to his approach at the plate and he can become a quality bat not only for power, but average as well.


Player: Julio Pablo Martinez
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: Short A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 5’9” Weight: 175 lbs.
Quick Report: For Martinez to remain this high a prospect, he has to prove he can stick in center, something I believe he can do. He has plus speed but the reads are currently well below average in the outfield, making up for them with his athleticism. He does not have the arm to play right, so if he slows too much or the reads don’t improve, he would become a left fielder where his profile simply won’t play as well. He has a smooth swing that gets long at times, but the bat control allows him to barrel up the ball often. He has an advanced approach at the plate that could see him jump to AA at some point this year despite not seeing any time in a full season league yet.


Player: Taylor Hearn
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’5” Weight: 210 lbs.
Quick Report: Possessing a mid-90s fastball that can touch triple digits is made even more difficult given the fact he can mix in a change that has shown signs of being plus. The question with Hearn is whether or not he will be able to make one of his breaking balls consistent enough to stick as a starter. He has dealt with injuries in the past but he has a solid delivery with a repeatable 3/4 arm slot that provides plenty of downhill plane along with run in both his fastball and change. If he does move to the bullpen, his two plus pitches could make him a dominant late inning guy, while an improved breaking ball could make him a mid-rotation starter.


Player: Jonathan Hernandez
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 175 lbs.
Quick Report: Hernandez walked more batters than you would like, but it wasn’t a terrible number, the real concern came with his misses within the zone that allowed him to be hit hard at AA last season despite his elite stuff. The fastball sits as high as 97 with run and his slider is a wipeout pitch. He also mixes in a solid curve and change that could allow one to argue he has the best stuff in the Rangers system. The concern comes in the command, previously mentioned, and delivery. There is a lot of head whip and effort in the delivery with a whipping low 3/4 arm slot. There is belief he will have to settle into a bullpen, but if he puts it all together, he does have the upside of a number two starter.


Player: Anderson Tejeda
Position(s): SS Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: I am probably lower than most but I just don’t have a great feel for his profile. His build is that of a middle infielder, but his game is one of a guy destined for a corner. He has a cannon arm and decent glove but takes a while to get the ball out and lacks the fluidity I like from a middle infielder. At the plate, he has a big leg kick and an all-or-nothing swing that works given his plus raw power. He has some trouble getting to the power in game action thanks to his inconsistent contact, which could hold him back from reaching his potential. If he can make better contact to get to his power and stick up the middle, he could be a top 100 prospect, but if he moves to third and the contact doesn’t improve, he may fall off my top 10 Rangers prospects.


Player: Joe Palumbo
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’1” Weight: 170 lbs.
Quick Report: Palumbo is unique in the aspect his curve is a true plus pitch despite it not being a big 12-6 breaker. Instead it has a mild bump in it but absolutely falls off the table in more a 1-7 breaking motion. Add to that a fastball with plenty of downhill plane out of a high 3/4 slot that can run up to 96, and you have a very good pitch combination. His delivery is repeatable allowing him to pitch with good command and the change has improved to be at least a league average pitch. He doesn’t have huge upside but could be one of the better number four type starters in the minors right now.


Player: Cole Ragans
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age:21 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’4” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: Out all of 2018 after Tommy John surgery, Ragans was sitting up to 95 with a plus change and above average curve before the surgery. He is proof that good mechanics don’t always prevent arm issues, as he has a very smooth and repeatable delivery that should allow him to improve his command now that he is healthy. The 3/4 slot delivery and long stride allows him to have the fastball play up even more and create some downhill plane on the fastball. If he is healthy all season and improves his command, he may be one of the top 2-3 pitchers in the Rangers organization, although I have seen too many Rangers pitching prospects lack development in recent years, so I remain cautious in my optimism.

Others of Note:

Tyler Phillips – RHP – 21 – High A
A.J. Alexy – RHP – 20 – Low A
Mason Englert – RHP – 19 – DNP
Brock Burke – LHP – 22 – AA