Despite graduating former top prospects Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez to the major leagues in 2013, the Texas Rangers’ farm system remains stacked with young, high-ceiling talent at premium positions.
In fact, half of the team’s top 10 prospects—all of them currently 20 years old or younger—have a realistic chance to play an up-the-middle position at the major league level.
Replacing Profar at the top of the list is second baseman Rougned Odor, who posted an .839 OPS with 58 extra-base hits and 32 stolen bases last year and reached Double-A as a 19-year-old. He’s one of the more advanced and underrated pure hitters in the minors, and he could conceivably make an impact with the Rangers next season in the event of an injury to shortstop Elvis Andrus or Profar.
Meanwhile, Jorge Alfaro emerged as one of the most exciting catching prospects in the game last season thanks to a breakout performance at Low-A Hickory. The 20-year-old has the potential to be an absolute monster at maturity, as he possesses the above-average speed and offensive upside to emerge as a legitimate dual-threat backstop.
Beyond Odor and Alfaro, 2013 first-rounder Alex Gonzalez ranks as the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, and it might not take the right-hander long to reach his realistic ceiling as a mid-rotation starter. Former A’s first-rounder and recent acquisition Michael Choice should see considerable time in the major leagues next season, and he could conceivably carve out a role as corner outfielder/designated hitter. Switch-hitting shortstop Luis Sardinas, 20, lacks the lofty ceiling of the team’s other middle infielders, but his strong defense could get him to the majors in 2014 in a reserve role.
A slew of high-risk, high-reward prospects rounds out the Rangers’ rankings, including prodigious slugger Joey Gallo (40 home runs, 172 strikeouts in 2013) and toolsy outfielders Nick Williams, Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara. While all four players have All-Star-level ceilings, they each will require significant refinement in the minors and are likely several years away from reaching the major leagues.
Here’s a look at the Texas Rangers’ top 10 prospects for the 2014 season.