Calling up top prospects this time of year usually means that major league teams are licking their wounds after a lost season.
Do not count the Texas Rangers among this group.
The talent that is rapidly ascending through the Texas farm system affords the Rangers a chance to glimpse at a bright future even as they continue their quest for a world championship.
With an aging group of core players, there’s a good chance many of these players will be called upon sooner rather than later.
Three prospects whom most Ranger fans should be familiar with are 19-year-old Jurickson Profar, 23-year-old Mike Olt, and 21-year-old Martin Perez. All three rank among the top 50 prospects in baseball (via mlb.com). There’s no guarantee they will be stars, but for now, the Rangers’ current track record with player development is enough to instill confidence.
In terms of having players to carry on the torch of recent success, Texas has the right pieces in place if all: a power-hitting corner infielder in Olt, a star shortstop in Profar (or second base depending on Elvis Andrus’ situation) and a middle-/top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher in Perez.
Some youngsters—like Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross in the bullpen—have already proven their worth this year and, along with centerfielder Leonys Martin, should only see their playing time increase going forward.
The depth of the Rangers’ farm system is perhaps its greatest strength. Rougned Odor, Neil Ramirez, Cody Buckel and Lewis Brinson are just a handful of players who, when they develop, could be in the same situation as Olt, Perez, and Profar.
The sheer number of promising prospects is what makes the future so exciting for Texas and its fans.
All these prospects are in their early 20s or younger, and they are under team control for a number of years. This gives the Rangers the flexibility financially to sign or re-sign the right players to improve the team.
The division rival Angels, on the other hand, may not have this luxury, since they invested a truckload of cash in players on the other side of 30.
The value of many of the Rangers prospects is very high right now and this makes them potential players in any trade talks; the front office can perhaps package their talented (but unproven) players for an already established star.
Whichever path the Rangers choose, it appears that their commitment to the farm system is serving them well. The team is winning on the major league level, while a collection of potential stars wait their turn down below.