Evaluating the Development of the Texas Rangers' Top 5 Prospects
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The second half of the season is coming to a close very quickly and it's about time for teams to make closer evaluations of their prospects. Once the season hits September 1, teams are permitted to expand their roster to 40 players as opposed to the 25-man roster they have had since Opening Day.
With so many good players in their minor league system, Texas could call up a number of guys to help their push in the final month of the season. That being said, here is a look at the Rangers' top five prospects, how they are performing this season and their chances of making an impact late in the season.
All stats and info courtesy of MLB.com, ESPN.com, MiLB.com, BaseballReference.com
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No. 5 Prospect: 3B Joey Gallo, Single-A Hickory Crawdads
2013 Stats with Hickory: .228/.316/.859, 17 2B, 2 3B, 27 HR, 55 RBI
Last 10 games: .216/.275/.843, 1 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 17 K
Third baseman Joey Gallo of the Hickory Crawdads is nothing short of a perennial power hitter. He possesses the ability to mash one homer after another, but as is stereotypical with many power hitters, he also strikes out at a high rate.
This season, Gallo is second on the team in homers (27) and third on the team in RBI (55).
But, he is also second on the team with 141 strikeouts, making him one of four players on the Crawdads with 100 strikeouts or more this season.
Over his last 10 games, Gallo has managed to do what he has done most of the season—hit for a low average while still managing to drive in one run after another.
His power numbers make him a likable player for September call-ups, but the fact that he is only in Single-A and doesn't hit for much of an average hurts his chances. I would be surprised to see Gallo get a call to the majors this season.
No. 4 Prospect: Relief Pitcher Wilmer Font, Triple-A Round Rock Express
Having already seen some time in the majors throughout his young career, Wilmer Font will likely be a September call-up.
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2013 Stats in Minors: 36 games, 44 IP, 1.02 ERA, .129 BAA, 62 K, 31 BB
Last 10 Games: 12.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 17 K, 8 BB
If there is one player on this list who I would pick as a lock to join the Rangers this season, it would be relief pitcher Wilmer Font. Should Font join the Rangers this season, it would actually be his second stint with the team this year after time with both Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.
After his stellar performances in the minors this season, Font was called up by the Rangers in June. He made just two appearances for Texas during his brief time with them, but didn't allow a run. He gave up one hit and walked two batters over just 1.1 innings pitched.
The 23-year-old pitcher has dominated all season long, and his last 10 games are no exception. Texas would love to add another guy like Font to their bullpen if he can maintain his success in the minors at the major league level.
Font hasn't had much time in the majors to give us an adequate look at what he can do at the highest level. While his experience in the majors is minimal, the small sample that we do have looks pretty good. He has made only five appearances in the majors thus far, posting a 5.40 ERA with one strikeout and six walks.
He has been too solid in the minors this season to not get called up. Font should find himself in the majors by September at the latest, but should Texas need an arm in the bullpen before then, Font will likely get the call.
No. 3 Prospect: 2B Rougned Odor, Double-A Frisco RoughRiders
Odor with the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans earlier this year.
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2013 Stats in Minors: .307/.370/.845, 37 2B, 5 3B, 8 HR, 61 RBI, 28 SB
Last 10 Games: .326/.383/1.057, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Rougned Odor has done a fantastic job in the minors this season between Single-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco. He had an impressive 99 games with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans this season where he hit .303 with five homers and 58 RBI, and is making the organization look smart for promoting him when they did.
The last 10 games that Odor has played in are also the first 10 games he has played this season with the Frisco RoughRiders. He has already hit three homers in those 10 games, nearly matching his home run total that he had with the Pelicans in 99 games.
The fact that he has elevated his game since being promoted to the RoughRiders could bode well for Odor when September 1 comes around. With Texas having Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar healthy, Odor could find it difficult to see the field at all should he be called up.
The most likely scenario in which we could see Odor make an appearance with the Rangers this season is if he is called up and brought in to pinch run for somebody late in the game.
No. 2 Prospect: Shortstop Luis Sardinas, Double-A Frisco RoughRiders
Shortstop Luis Sardinas has posted solid numbers in the minors this season.
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2013 Stats in Minors: .290/.349/.695, 15 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 27 SB
Last 10 Games: .222/.271/.493, 10 H, 1 RBI, 1 SB
There is probably no position in the Rangers' organization that is more crowded than at shortstop. Texas already has Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar at the major league level. For a while it was thought they could look to deal Profar due to their overwhelming surplus at shortstop, but that never took place.
Luis Sardinas will eventually find himself in the crowded Rangers' infield should they not trade Profar or another player to make room for him.
His numbers this season—between Myrtle Beach and Frisco—have been phenomenal, and are certainly worthy of a call-up some time in the near future. Unfortunately for Sardinas, the talent that Texas has on their big league club will likely keep him in the minors even in September.
Like Rougned Odor, I suspect that Sardinas would only receive a call to the majors if they want to have added speed on their bench for the last month of the season.
No. 1 Prospect: Catcher Jorge Alfaro, Single-A Hickory Crawdads
Catcher Jorge Alfaro has posted nice numbers with the Hickory Crawdads, but won't be seeing a promotion this season.
2013 Stats with Hickory: .266/.344/.786, 20 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 12 SB
Last 10 Games: .294/.429/.811, 10 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 SB
Jorge Alfaro looks like the real deal as the Rangers newly—promoted top prospect. He's hitting .266 on the season, which is more than respectable for a catcher, and has 11 homers while stealing 12 bases.
The fact that he has as many stolen bases as he does while playing catcher is pretty incredible.
Nearly half of his hits this season are extra-base hits. He is slugging at a nice .442 clip this season and looks like a real catalyst on the basepaths, at least for now.
While his numbers are impressive, it would be shocking to see Alfaro receive a September call-up. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has been doing a nice job for Texas this season, and has improved defensively after struggling to throw out baserunners earlier this year.
As if Piersynski's success isn't reason enough for Alfaro to remain in the minors, consider the fact that he is playing with a Single-A team. It is highly unlikely that Alfaro would make a jump to the majors in September with no need at the position and his lack of experience at higher levels.