The Young Rangers: Evaluating Texas’ Top Prospects
The Texas Rangers took a complete turn around in the 2015 season, going from one of the worst teams in the American League West to the division winners ahead of the Houston Astros and the LA Angels, two teams who looked poised for the postseason.
With promotions of some of their brightest talent and now being recognized as one of the better Farm Systems, it looks as though the Rangers have the potential to remain one of the contenders in the West for seasons to come.
Third baseman Joey Gallo has quickly become a household name and definitely has the potential to become the face of he Rangers as he holds the top spot among the system’s prospects. Gallo made his Major League debut in June 2015 filling a roster spot for an injury filled lineup. The twenty-two year old had a good run for the month that he was with the Rangers, but there are some concerns that he is more of a power hitter instead of one that hits for average. Gallo was then optioned to Triple-A Round Rock when Rangers’ veteran outfielder Josh Hamilton returned from the DL.
Outfielder Lewis Brinson is also a prospect that Rangers’ fans will be familiar with sooner rather than later. The twenty-one year has aggressive speed which leads to stellar base running and power at the plate that led to his .332 batting average last season as he worked his way through Class A Advanced, Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. He has good defensive instincts in the outfield and all these factors will push the Rangers to promote him before the end of 2016.
Then, there is outfielder Nomar Mazara, the third part of the Rangers’ triumphant trio that is “Big League Bound”. The youngest member of the three, at just twenty years old, Mazara was promoted to Triple-A towards the end of the 2015 season and was then added to the Rangers’ 40-Man Roster this past offseason. Mazara shines at both the plate as well as the outfield and has a strong arm that helps make plays happen defensively.
The Rangers’ farm system doesn’t stop there though. There are also many other young farmhands who, although may not see Major League playing time in 2016 definitely have potential to do so in the future.
Cuban signee Andy Ibanez, a twenty-two year old second baseman, signed last season and will make his debut in the Rangers’ system with Class A Hickory in 2016. Ibanez played in Cuba’s World Baseball Classic in 2013 which caught the eye of several Major League teams.
Right-hander Michael Matuella who was drafted out of Duke is still rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery last season and will finally get some game time by the end of the 2016 season with hopes of a promising career in full swing starting next season.
Also look out for 2015 first-rounder RHP Dillon Tate who spent time at both Short-A Season Spokane and Class A Hickory last season. Patrick Kivlehan, a third baseman, will also make his Rangers’ system debut this summer since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners. And, let’s not forget international signee Leody Taveras who will be making a longer journey through the Rangers’ organization, because at juts seventeen years old he will spend this season with the Dominican League.