Ranking the Texas Rangers' Best Prospects as Bargaining Chips
It was once thought that Jurickson Profar could be a top bargaining chip for the Rangers this year by the time the trade deadline rolled around. While anything can happen and Profar could still be dealt, his name seems to have died down in trade talks as of late.
Texas still has some needs that could be met at the deadline. The team entered the All-Star break with four of its five preferred starters on the disabled list and has struggled in the designated hitter spot.
What the Rangers are looking to do as the deadline approaches remains unknown, but a move of some sort appears inevitable. With teams' prospects tending to play a big role in trades during the deadline, who are some of the Rangers' top prospects who could serve as good bargaining chips for them this year?
*All stats and info courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com, MiLB.com, MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com and ESPN.com.
No. 5: Brett Nicholas, 1B, Double-A Frisco
When looking for a productive hitter in the Rangers' minor league system, look no further than first baseman Brett Nicholas of the Frisco RoughRiders. Nicholas has been an absolute stud for the RoughRiders this season and could be a coveted player for a team looking to make a deal with the Rangers.
If the season ended today, Nicholas would be the Triple Crown winner on the team, with a .312 average, 17 home runs and 63 RBI. To be perfectly honest, nobody on the team is even a close second to his numbers.
The 24-year-old is still a pretty young prospect, and he could even be ready for the majors should he be acquired by the right team. As with just about all the players on this list, Nicholas likely wouldn't be dealt for a player who wouldn't remain with the team for at least a few seasons.
Texas has Mitch Moreland at first right now, and he seems to really be coming into his own. While Nicholas is a great player, he isn't ready to step in for Texas just yet. Nicholas, who isn't even considered a top-20 prospect, could be dealt.
No. 4: Engel Beltre, OF, MLB Club
Engel Beltre has only played in nine games with the Texas Rangers so far. While he is with the major league club right now, he could be another prospect on the move at the deadline.
In his first nine games with the Rangers, Beltre has hit a solid .294 with one RBI and one stolen base. He displays a good glove in the outfield and would be another player who could start for the right team if traded.
Here's another reason Beltre could be traded: If there is one telling sign that Texas is looking to keep Profar, it could be the fact that it has tested him out in the outfield. The Rangers already boast a very good outfield, with Nelson Cruz, Leonys Martin and David Murphy. Should they look to move Profar to the outfield for any of those three players, Beltre could find himself on the bench.
While Cruz is in the final year of his deal, his All-Star-caliber numbers are helping him make a case for the Rangers to re-sign him this offseason. If they think they can retain Cruz and choose to move Profar, or possibly Kinsler, to the outfield, Beltre could be traded.
What Texas chooses to do with their talented young players will be interesting to see, but don't be surprised if Beltre's name comes up in trade talks.
No. 3: Wilmer Font, RHP, MLB Club
Most baseball fans would agree that Texas has one of the top bullpens in the league right now. Through 94 games this season, Texas' relievers have combined for a 3.10 ERA while holding hitters to a .232 average. While Wilmer Font is a nice addition to the bullpen, he hasn't been with the team long, making just two appearances so far.
Teams are always looking to solidify their bullpens before making a postseason run. With the Rangers already boasting one of the stronger bullpens in the league, Font could be expendable.
Between his time in Double-A and Triple-A, Font has been stellar this season. Through 30 appearances in the minors, he has posted a 1.27 ERA while recording 11 saves and holding hitters to a .136 average.
Font has a lot of upside, which would make him very valuable on the trade market. He could certainly be part of a deal that could bring in a talented player to fill a position with less depth for Texas.
If the Rangers were to trade an arm out of the bullpen, there is a very good chance that Font would not be dealt. But for argument's sake, he makes the list.
No. 2: Luis Sardinas, SS, Single-A Myrtle Beach
Luis Sardinas is considered the second-best prospect in Texas' minor league system right now, but he plays a position that the Rangers won't need to address anytime soon.
At the big league club, Texas is already crowded at shortstop with Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. Andrus was just signed to an eight-year extension this offseason, and Profar is only 20 years old. If Texas is looking to keep Profar this season, he will become the long-term option for the Rangers somewhere in the field.
On the season, Sardinas is hitting .293 with one homer and 28 RBI. He has also swiped 24 bases while being caught only seven times, and he has hit in seven of his last 10 games.
You can't help but love what he has done this season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, but his high production could bring in another great player for Texas' immediate future.
If Texas does make a splash during the deadline, it will likely bring in a big-name player, which would require the Rangers to give up some high-profile prospects. Sardinas has the numbers and the potential to be a guy on the move before the deadline passes.
No. 1: Mike Olt, 3B, Triple-A Round Rock
Mike Olt has had his share of struggles this season in the minors. After recently being named the top prospect in the organization, he has been unable to live up to the accolade.
This season, Olt is hitting just .217 with a .313 on-base percentage. Though he's touted as a power hitter, he has just 10 home runs and 28 RBI through 64 games this season. His numbers this year will be way off from his 2012 season, when he hit .288 with 28 homers and 82 RBI in 95 games at Double-A Frisco.
There was talk that Texas had considered trading Olt last season at the deadline, but he ultimately remained with the club. The Rangers could use a big hitter right now, and he doesn't appear to be ready to make the big league team yet. It wouldn't be surprising to see Olt traded to bring in a player who can help them in their postseason push this year.
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