2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Texas Rangers

Ronald Martinez

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Texas Rangers

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago

Houston

Atlanta
(12/5)

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland

Los Angeles

Miami
(12/9)

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York

Detroit

Oakland

New York
(12/12)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay

Kansas City

Seattle

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto

Minnesota

Texas
(Today)

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

While the Rangers fell just short of the playoffs this year, losing in the tiebreaker game for a wild card spot to Tampa Bay, they have had a prolonged period of success, winning at least 87 games in each of the last five seasons, making the playoffs three times, and going to the World Series in back to back seasons in 2011 and 2012.

They have become known for not only recognizing top amateur talents, but also developing them into productive major leaguers. Over the past few seasons, we have seen players like Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus all turn into solid to above average starters. The trade of Ian Kinsler helped to solve one of their potential opportunities (first base, LH power) by dealing from a strength, as last year's top prospect Jurickson Profar is expected to step right in at second base now.

The key difference for me with Texas from most organizations has been their ability to bring in these talents from multiple avenues. The team has brought into top prospects from the Dominican Republic (Guzman, Mazara), Venezuela (Odor, Sardinas), Curaçao (Profar), and even Colombia (Alfaro), and continues to have a very strong presence across Latin America. They've also done well to draft high ceiling types despite picking near the back end of the first round on a consistent basis. Prospects like Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson could turn into high-end talents at key positions if everything breaks right, and 2013 1st rounder Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez could move quickly toward the major league rotation as well.

In addition, the team has also done a great job of finding up the middle talents (catcher, middle infield, center field) over the years, and it remains a strength of the organization. The team is set on the middle infield with Andrus and Profar, but also have two of the top middle infield prospects in Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas available as well. Having these types of players will allow the team to acquire players they need this offseason.

Overall, the organization remains extremely strong, both at the major and minor league levels, and the farm system is strong enough to allow the team to make a trade to go out and acquire any pieces that they have not been able to develop. The Rangers continue to be rumored to have interest in the Rays' David Price, and could absolutely put together a highly competitive package of young talent without hurting the depth of the system overall.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Jurickson Profar (at bats), Engel Beltre (service time), Martin Perez (innings), Nick Tepesch (innings), Tanner Scheppers (innings), Justin Grimm (innings), Joe Ortiz (service time), Ross Wolf (innings pitched)

Major League Opportunities in 2014
By Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)


Following the acquisition of Prince Fielder, the Rangers still have two and potentially three spots in the lineup which might be in need of an upgrade. Last year's backstop, A.J. Pierzynski, is currently a free agent, which has left Geovany Soto as the de facto starting catcher at the moment. The team had been rumored to have interest in Brian McCann, but with his signing in New York, they'll need to look elsewhere if they want an upgrade at the position.

The current depth chart over at MLBDepthCharts is projecting Craig Gentry as the starting left fielder, and while he is a solid option given the rest of the lineup, corner outfield is one of the spots that free agency could potentially provide an upgrade. Top-tier free agents like Shin Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, and Curtis Granderson are available, and all could potentially provide another big left handed bat to the Rangers.

The acquisition of Fielder likely shifts Mitch Moreland into a DH role primarily, with him taking up the time at first base when Fielder is the DH instead. (It could go the other way as well, with Fielder DHing more.) Moreland showed improved power totals this year (23 home runs, 24 doubles), but came at the cost of batting average (.232). I would imagine that with Fielder and Beltre, they'd also like to be able to use the DH spot to give some of their more injury-prone position players some rest while still in the lineup.

Rumors that the Rangers could go out and sign top free agent Robinson Cano persist at this point, which could be a precursor move to allow the team to trade either Andrus or Profar as a part of a David Price deal. I don't know if I view this as particularly likely given the payroll commitments the team already has, but they have the roster flexibility to do something like that if they really want to.

The starting rotation is pretty well set at this point, although it remains possible that the team will go out and try to acquire a staff ace like David Price to pair with Darvish. The team also lost free agent closer Joe Nathan, but is well set up to potentially replace him with either Joakim Soria or Neftali Feliz. It's likely that the team is not done making moves, and has the potential to use their deep farm system to make additional improvements in the Majors.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
By Brian Creagh(@briancreagh)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

20131115_mjr_su5_060.0
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

#1 Jorge Alfaro (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.265

72

18

61

18

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

459

0.346

0.463

7.0%

26.6%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A, A+

In a system as loaded as the Texas Rangers you would expect to find the top prospect to be a game-changer, and boy does Jorge Alfaro deliver. 25 HRs, 15 SBs, quality R + RBI upside and league-average BA is solid at any position, but put that behind the plate and it becomes an almost inconceivable package of fantasy gold. Alfaro runs circles around his prospect positional colleagues and the closest competitor, Gary Sanchez, might never come within 3 rounds of Alfaro's peak ADP. There may be better real-life baseball prospects in the Texas organization, but from a fantasy standpoint Jorge Alfaro is king of the hill.

Alfaro is 20 years old, hails from Colombia, and signed with the Texas Rangers in January 2010 for a $1.3 million signing bonus. Hyped as an absolute toolshed from the moment he stepped on a professional diamond, the question with Alfaro has always been whether the tools will materialize into a polished product. There are still some developmental steps needed, and we'll get into those in a bit, but Alfaro is starting to look more and more like the all-star catcher many have projected. This projection includes a high-average, plus-power, plus-speed, and plus-defensive capabilities that has the leadership skills to anchor a rotation.

2013 was spent by Alfaro repeating Low-A where he hit .258/.338/.452 to go with 16 HRs and 16 SBs. He earned rave reviews for his defensive prowess looking agile behind the plate, showing the ability to frame pitches, and displaying the cannon arm that will ensure his future as a MLB catcher.

The biggest red flag in Alfaro's profile is his hyper-aggressive approach at the plate resulting in a 26.4% K% in 2013. Paired with a lowly 6.7% BB% rate and it is obvious that Alfaro will need to adjust his approach before he reaches the big leagues. Luckily he still has 2 or 3 years before a promotion is in order so there is plenty of time for him to change.

A positive note on this issue is that Alfaro has made incremental changes every year going from 31.6% to 28.0% to 26.4% strikeout rate in the past three years and he almost tripled his walk rate over the past three seasons. His adjustments are promising, but for a guy repeating Low-A there is a lot left to be desired. Alfaro still looks like a future stud and I'm hopeful the hit tool/approach develop enough to let him make the most out of his 70 grade raw power.

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Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon - USA Today Sports

#2 Rougned Odor (2B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.305

85

11

78

32

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

569

0.365

0.474

6.2%

16.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A+, AA

Falling to number 2 in our rankings due to a lower ceiling, Rougned Odor stakes a claim to the highest floor on this list. Odor has been pushed quickly through the Texas system and he has responded positively at every stop. Since playing short-season A ball as a 17 year old in 2011, he has moved up a level a year and has always been among the youngest of his competitors. In 2013 Odor performed so well in Hi-A that he earned a late season promotion to AA at only 19 years old where he continued to rake for the final 30 games of the year. It's rare to find a player who performs so well against such older competition and it speaks to the confidence Rougned Odor carries. He feels he belongs at any level showing and is always going to compete at the highest level possible.

Odor's 2013 season was split between Hi-A and AA and his final stat line looks like: .305/.365/.474, 11 HRs, and 32 SBs. That is Top 7 numbers coming from 2B and there is no reason to not expect similar production when he ultimately makes the jump to the big leagues. There is a chance more power develops in his swing if he can become a more patient hitter. Many of Odor's in-game hacks look like he's teeing off in batting practice and selling out for power. He has an elite hit tool that is capable of masking this flaw, but at high levels he could get exposed and be forced to adjust. Odor also isn't considered a plus runner and I have doubts about seeing 30+ SB seasons, but he is instinctual on the basepaths and will most certainly steal double digit bases on a consistent basis.

Odor is the top overall prospect at the 2B position and should be knocking on the door of the Texas rotation by 2015. Profar and Andrus block his immediate path to playtime, so a trade could very well be in his future. Odor will slot near the top of any lineup so a trade to any other club won't alter his fantasy value much. His competitive streak and top-flight bat to ball abilities make Odor one of the safest fantasy prospects to invest in. He will be an across the board contributor for a long time.

#3 Nick Williams (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.293

70

17

60

8

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

404

0.337

0.543

3.7%

27.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A

You will notice a trend from this point forward. Texas' system is stocked with high-upside athletes who have the potential to be fantasy monsters if it all clicks. The ceilings vary a bit from each player, as does the player's likelihood of coming anywhere close to their ultimate potential. Nick Williams is the best of the bunch because of the high probability he's an MLB regular, paired with the high upside of his teammates below.

Williams was selected in the 2nd Round of the 2012 draft out of Ball HS in Galveston, Texas. He went straight to rookie ball to finish the season where his plus-plus wheels wreaked havoc, swiping 15 bases in 48 games. Williams also showed a natural ability to barrel the baseball with an above-average hit tool that some scouts have put a future 70 grade on. At 6'3" 195 lbs. he has the size to develop some power as he started to show this year.

Nick Williams spent 2013 in Low-A Hickory, slashing .293/.337/.543 in 404 plate appearances. The power took a big step forward as he slugged 19 doubles, 12 triples, and 17 homers on the season. More power is on the way as the 20 year old fills out, but the hit tool is what really gets me excited. His speed and AVG will be enough to make him fantasy relevant as an OF3 type. Any power he develops will translate easily into in-game power since he will make a ton of contact.

A quick look at his stat line may raise some concerns with his 27.2% strikeout rate, but I don't see the high strikeouts impairing his development or affecting his production down the road. It is difficult to quantify in numbers, but Williams has an excellent batting eye and the quick hands that allow him time to wait for good pitches. Any time you watch a Williams AB, rarely will you see him swinging at balls way out side the strike zone. Instead, he uses an aggressive approach swinging at balls that are on the black of the zone and this often results in some swing and misses. He will learn to lay off these and he will learn to sit back and take these the other way, either way resulting in less strikeouts and better production. The bat-to-ball abilities are there to support a very productive left fielder.

#4 Joey Gallo (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.251

86

40

88

15

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

467

0.338

0.623

10.7%

36.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A

The last of a dying breed, Joey Gallo has unearthly raw power. An easy 80-grade tool, the rest of Gallo's fantasy profile projects to below-average and that's why he is found at #4 on this list. Still only 20 years old, Gallo was a 1st Round Pick in 2012 out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV. In 1 and a half minor league seasons spanning 170 games, Joey Gallo has hit an almost incomprehensible 62 HRs. Equally as inhuman are the 250 strikeouts he's racked up in the same timeframe. The power Gallo presents will tempt many a fantasy owner, but I have trouble piecing out how the package will come together.

Gallo generates his raw power from firing his hips extremely early in his swing and his hip rotation can best be described as controlled chaos. Once he starts turning, he leaves himself little room for mid-swing adjustments. This causes him to struggle against breaking stuff and off-speed pitches. The troubling part is that fixing it requires a reconstruction of the swing and his timing. If he can make the adjustment to stay loose and in control during his rotation, there's no telling how much this diminishes his power.

I'm sure there is a happy balance where Gallo finds a swing that lets almost all of his raw power play in-game, but I just don't see it at the present. At worst Gallo is an empty power contributor for fantasy purposes a la Adam Dunn with less walks. Gallo should find himself in Hi-A next year with an outside shot of seeing the big leagues late in 2015. It is also worth noting that Gallo has a plus arm over at 3B and his glove is developing. The power will play at 1B if he needs to shift over, but it's a game changer if he can stick at 3B long term.

#5 Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

0

0

3.84

1.45

35

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

42.2

0.43

2.83

8.7%

19.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A-, A+

We interrupt your string of high-upside bats for a solid mid-rotation starter in Alex Gonzalez. A right-handed college arm drafted in the first round of 2013 out of Oral Roberts, Gonzalez is a polished arm that should move quickly through the Texas system. He profiles as a number 3 starter with a monster fastball, plus slider, and a changeup that many believe will develop into an above-average offering. Like most college arms, he was thrown directly into Low-A and after 9 starts received a promotion to Hi-A to wrap up the season.

Gonzalez is a groundball pitcher that fits perfectly in Arlington. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s with natural sink and late glove-side run. It is already a polished weapon and one he can rely on for consistent weak contact. This limits the upside on his strikeout potential, but he does offer a plus slider in mid 80's with tilt that plays well off his cut fastball. The changeup is a work in progress. He throws it in the high 80's and the velocity difference isn't enough to throw the timing off hitters. If he can throw the changeup with some late fade, he would have three groundball-inducing offerings that should feed the slick-fielding gloves of Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar.

2014 could be a big year for Gonzalez. He appears ready for the AA challenge and if he succeeds there, he could find himself in Texas by the end of the season. The development of the changeup is something to watch for, but even if it doesn't become a 50-grade offering I still think he has a future as a starting pitcher because of his ability to induce weak contact. Gonzalez is a low risk investment, which is nice to see in the middle of all these risky offensive bats.

#6 Lewis Brinson (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.237

64

21

52

24

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

503

0.322

0.427

9.5%

38.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A

No prospect took a larger step back in the Texas organization than Lewis Brinson (you could argue Jurickson Profar's wasted 2013, but that was outside of his control). Brinson gained a lot of momentum after a 2012 season that saw him hit for power and speed in Rookie ball. He signed quickly after being selected 29th overall and proceeded to hit 7 HRs and steal 14 bases in a brief 54 game stint. The 27.9% strikeout rate was a red flag, but nothing that would drastically impede his production at the next level. By all signs Brinson looked like another big win for the Texas scouting department.

Then the wheels fell off in 2013. Brinson spent the entire season in Low-A putting up impressive fantasy numbers including a 20/20 campaign, but it was marred by an atrocious 38.0% strikeout rate. Brinson lead the Sally league in strikeouts, and beat out the next on the list, Fred Ford, by 25 strikeouts (26 ahead of teammate Joey Gallo). He showed an all around ineptitude for hitting anything with spin on it. He looked uncomfortable in the batter's box and struggled with pitch recognition and reaction. There are legitimate concerns that Lewis Brinson's hit tool lags so far behind the rest of his tools that he will never have a chance to utilize his elite power and speed.

Still incredibly young, Brinson won't turn 20 until May of the upcoming season. He certainly hasn't earned a promotion to Hi-A and he has time to spend another season in Low-A if the Rangers choose. The tools are still there for Brinson to become a fantasy stud, but he's a lot further away from putting it all together.

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Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

#7 Luis Sardinas (SS)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.288

81

2

46

32

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

573

0.340

0.347

6.3%

13.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

B/R

On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)

A+, AA

In an embarrassment of riches, Luis Sardinas is another no-doubt SS prospect in the Rangers organization that has no clear path to major league playing time. A high profile signing in 2009, Sardinas has had a long development path to this point. He has finally strung together excellent back-to-back seasons and has entrenched himself as one of the games best middle infield prospects. However, the profile doesn't translate extremely well for fantasy owners. Lauded more for his speed and his glove, Sardinas is a quick-twitch athlete that will only make noise in fantasy circles with his legs.

Sardinas slashed .288/.340/.347 across Hi-A and AA in 2013 while displaying an advanced approach for a 20 year old. The key for fantasy owners is the 32 steals. The speed is real and translates well to the majors, and if the hit tool can sustain what he has shown so far in the minors, he's a top 10 fantasy SS in his prime. He offers nothing in the way of power having hit only 4 HRs during his entire 262 game professional career.

If Sardinas finds himself batting 8th or 9th in a lineup his value takes a bit of a hit, but if he can work his way into a leadoff role there is a lot of potential here. First Sardinas needs to find a clear path to PT and while that's likely through a trade, he still has some time to develop in AA next year. He should be ready for a major league role by 2015 and let's hope he is given the opportunity right away.

#8 Nomar Mazara (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.236

48

13

62

1

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

506

0.310

0.382

8.7%

25.9%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

L/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Nomar Mazara holds the record for the highest signing bonus by a Latin American amateur after the Rangers signed him for $4.95 million. He's a left-handed hitter with a corner outfielder profile, more specifically right field thanks to a plus arm. At 18 years old this season, he made his full-season debut along with many of the other prospect stars on the Low-A Hickory roster, and Mazara more than held his own against advanced competition.

The numbers aren't impressive as he finished with a .236/.310/.382 triple slash, but he struggled mightly early on, and his monthly splits paint a better picture:

MONTH

CLASS

G

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

GIDP

LOB

OBP

SLG

April

LoA

23

.172

87

6

15

4

0

3

13

7

31

2

31

.234

.322

May

LoA

28

.274

95

11

26

6

1

1

11

12

27

0

31

.378

.389

June

LoA

22

.289

76

13

22

5

0

3

11

11

18

0

27

.375

.474

July

LoA

25

.204

93

5

19

1

1

1

4

6

27

3

53

.260

.269

August

LoA

27

.255

98

13

25

7

0

5

22

8

27

1

35

.315

.480

Mazara is extremely unrefined and is a risky prospect at this stage in his career, but there's no denying the all-star caliber future that could await him if it all comes together. From a fantasy perspective, he's a slugging corner outfielder with the potential for 30 HR seasons at peak and .270-.280 AVGs to go along with it. He's a middle of the order threat and worth investing in now before his stock really blows up.

The common sentiment is that his bat is going to take some time to develop. He shows natural bat-to-ball ability but he's a little undersized at present standing 6'4" but only 195 lbs. As his frame fills out, the power will come and Mazara could be a year or two away from topping this list. There is some swing and miss in his game, but nowhere near the level of Gallo or Brinson. It shouldn't hinder his ultimate production much, but if it creeps much higher than it could start to affect the ultimate power utility.

#9 Akeem Bostick (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

4

1

2.85

1.31

33

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

41.1

0.00

1.65

6.9%

19.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2017 Season)

Rk

The Rangers 2nd Round pick in the 2013 draft, Akeem Bostick, is a high-upside pitcher that was seen as a high risk/high reward type draft pick. At 6'4" 180 lb. Bostick is a high school right-hander from Florence, South Carolina with a very undeveloped arsenal but the frame that fits the mold of a frontline starter. Coming into the draft, Bostick was viewed as a long-term development project who had little baseball experience due to a three-sport commitment in high school. A gifted athlete, Bostick has the long arms and athleticism to excel as a pitcher and the raw stuff that you simply cannot teach.

At present, Bostick has a fastball that sits in the low 90's but should gain a few ticks as he grows. His curveball received mediocre reviews in all of his pre-draft reports, but scouts who saw him during his 41 inning stint in rookie ball say it flashed plus from time to time and could develop into a legitimate out pitch. His changeup is nothing to write home about, which is common for high school pitchers.

Bostick will likely stay in extended spring training to start 2014 and move on to short-season A ball when it kicks off in the summer. It is still too early to feel overly confident about Bostick's ability to stick as a starter, but he has the body you can dream on and this far down the Top 10 that's enough to separate you.

#10 Ronald Guzman (1B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.272

17

4

26

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

191

0.325

0.387

5.8%

14.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Another young, international signing, Ronald Guzman is a big left-handed first base prospect. Standing 6'5" 205 lb. he looks the part of a hulking 1B slugger, but the swing tells a slightly different story. Guzman is a bit of a weird profile since his bat is impressive, but it lacks the plus-plus power you'd typically see out of a prospect designated as a 1B so early in his career. In 49 games in Low-A last season, Guzman managed only 4 HRs, but he did hit an impressive .272/.325/.387 for an 18 year old in a full season professional league. He did lose some development time early in the year thanks to a knee injury suffered during spring training.

The key to Guzman's ascension as a fantasy prospect is the development of the power. He has plenty of room to grow and fill out so the power could very well be on the way, but at present his swing is that of a controlled, contact hitter. It's an advanced approach that will play well if the power comes, but I would like to see more before fully investing.

There's a long road to go for Guzman's development and he's looking at an ETA somewhere in 2017. A spike in HR power in any future season could move him up this list in a hurry. I believe in the bat and it has a high probability of making it to the majors, but I'm not sure if it separates itself from the rest of the 1B sluggers to have a ton of value in fantasy leagues. It's a strange profile that needs time to sort itself out.

Other Interesting Prospects

By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Luke Jackson - A big, right-handed arm, Luke Jackson is likely destined for a life in the bullpen, which diminishes his fantasy value quite a bit. He has the plus-plus fastball to excel as a late-innings option so he should remain on your radar. A development of a curveball would be huge for his fantasy value since at present there isn't much of a put away pitch to speak of.

Cole Wiper - Wiper fell to the Rangers in the 10th round after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was a starter in college, but I wonder if the Rangers use him in a relievers role until he proves he can handle a larger workload. Wiper can post big strikeout numbers so keep an eye on how the Rangers handle him.

Drew Robinson - Robinson has been in the Rangers system for a long time and has since been overshadowed by the star power on the list above him, but he's an interesting 3B prospect in his own right. He has plus power and a developing hit tool and could turn into a major league regular in the next two years.

Jairo Beras - The center of a signing dispute last year, Jairo Beras has put that behind him and is starting to put it together. He still has an incredibly long road to go, but the 17 year old Dominican could develop into a fantasy monster, hitting for power and average.

Travis Demeritte - Yet another middle infielder of note, Travis Demeritte is the Rangers 1st Round pick in the 2013 draft. He showed a ton of swing and miss but a decent amount of pop in his short stint in rookie ball. Another player with above-average potential, Demeritte has an incredibly long way to go before realizing it.

For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out SBNation's Lone Star Ball. For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
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Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Matt Mattingly is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
Lone Star Ball
Vimeo
Youtube

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