Texas Rangers' 2014 All-Prospect Team
Injuries have ravaged the roster, forcing the club to make so many moves that they set a record for most players used in a season (60). That happened on Sept. 2 when Derek Holland made his first MLB start of the year.
However, many of the team’s best prospects provided bright spots elsewhere in the organization. Their High-A affiliate Myrtle Beach finishes the Carolina League Championship Series on Sept. 9. The Pelicans have had a relatively stacked roster for most of the season.
With so much success in the minors, we are going to put together the Rangers’ All-Prospect team. This team will be based mostly off of individual statistics. There will be one player for each position, including one starting pitcher and one reliever.
SP: RHP Alex Gonzalez, Double-A Frisco
25 GS, 12-6, 2.66 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 113 SO, 41 BB
Alex Gonzalez was arguably the most consistent starting pitcher in the entire organization this season.
The 22-year-old started the season with Myrtle Beach, going 5-2 and allowing 19 earned runs in 65.1 innings. Opponents hit just .222 off the right-hander during his time in the Carolina League and went deep only three times.
Not much changed when he was promoted to Double-A Frisco, but Texas League hitters were slightly more successful than Carolina hitters. They hit .245 off Gonzalez and drew nine more walks in just eight more innings. After posting a 2.62 ERA in High-A, the righty had a 2.70 ERA in his 14 Texas League starts.
Gonzalez went nine straight starts without losing a decision in July and August.
The Oral Roberts University product was particularly effective against left-handed hitters, striking out 28 in 34.2 innings. Lefties were only able to hit .220 off Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is one of the best pitching products in the organization, and he showed it this season. He may have even earned an invite to spring training and a chance at the Rangers' starting rotation.
C: Tomas Telis, Texas Rangers
106 G, .318/.352/.431, 23 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 50 RBI, 49 R, 41 SO, 23 BB
Often overlooked with fellow backstop Jorge Alfaro in the organization, Tomas Telis had the best season of his young career.
He played so well throughout his time with Double-A and Triple-A that he made his MLB debut on Aug. 25. The 23-year-old hasn’t stayed hot in his first nine games as a big leaguer but has posted nine hits in 37 at-bats, provided five runs and scored six times.
Telis lacks the power that Alfaro has but is a better all-around hitter. He hit .303 with 16 doubles in Frisco before earning a promotion to Round Rock. He proved that he deserved the move, hitting .345 in 36 games.
Not only is he a solid hitter, but Telis is also one of the more patient prospects in the Texas system. Out of all the hitters on this list, he will have less than half the strikeouts than most of them.
The other reason he earned his spot on the All-Prospect team was for his fielding. The Venezuelan committed just five errors and allowed three passed balls in 65 games behind the plate. Compare that to 13 and 18 for Alfaro.
This is a position of need for the Rangers. He was called up in late August and very well may be auditioning for a roster spot next year.
1B: Preston Beck, High-A Myrtle Beach
121 G, .255/.376/.411, 33 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 77 RBI, 66 R, 93 SO, 80 BB
There were limited options at first base, but Preston Beck did enough to earn the award.
The 23-year-old played his second season with Myrtle Beach this year, putting up much better numbers this season than he did in 2013. He was a much bigger part of the offense and even led the Pelicans with 77 RBI.
While his batting average didn’t improve much, that is the only statistic that didn’t. Beck hit eight more homers and 17 more doubles in 2014 and earned 80 walks en route to a .376 OBP. He is one of the only players on the team who did not exceed 100 strikeouts throughout the campaign.
This was Beck’s second full season as a pro after getting drafted in 2012. He is a big reason that Myrtle Beach’s season is not over yet, as the team will be playing in the Carolina League Championship this week.
2B: Odubel Herrera, Double-A Frisco
125 G, .315/.383/.388, 19 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 53 RBI, 73 R, 91 SO, 52 BB
Young talent in the middle infield is something the Rangers are not short on, and Odubel Herrera is a perfect example.
He played for both Myrtle Beach and Frisco this year, earning a promotion shortly after Rougned Odor made the big league roster. Herrera was hitting .297 in 29 games for the Pelicans before moving to the Texas League and didn’t stop hitting when he got there.
In 96 games with Frisco, the 22-year-old posted a .321 batting average with 16 doubles, four triples and two homers. He led the RoughRiders in steals (12), and his 118 hits were the second-most on the club.
Compared to the other second basemen in the organization, Herrera lacks the power and ability to hit the gaps. However, his speed and good baserunning help make up for it when looking for extra bases.
3B: Joey Gallo, Double-A Frisco
126 G, .271/.394/.615, 19 2B, 3 3B, 42 HR, 106 RBI, 97 R, 179 SO, 87 BB
This spot was a difficult one to choose, but Joey Gallo gets the nod.
His power is making him a household name after leading the minors in home runs in 2013 and coming in second this season. Gallo followed his 40-homer performance last year with 42 in 2014, finishing one behind Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant.
The 20-year-old was showing signs of improvement this year, hitting .323 in 58 games with Myrtle Beach before getting promoted to Double-A. He had more walks (51) during that span than he did during his entire 2013 campaign (50).
However, his promotion saw him struggle to the point of nearly tripling his strikeout total in just 68 games. Gallo had 64 K’s with the Pelicans and added 115 with the RoughRiders.
The Nevada native still managed to set career highs in multiple categories, including walks (87), RBI (106) and runs scored (97). He also pounded out 16 more hits than he did the previous year.
His immense power can be viewed in the video above. It will no doubt give him a shot in the big leagues, but the young hitter still has plenty to improve.
SS: Hanser Alberto, Double-A Frisco
120 G, .273/.306/.386, 21 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 58 RBI, 60 R, 42 SO, 16 BB
Hanser Alberto had a big rebound year after a disappointing 2013 demoted him to Myrtle Beach.
The 21-year-old played well enough at Myrtle Beach this year to get promoted back to Frisco. He played 70 games with the Pelicans, posting a .271 batting average with five home runs and 15 doubles. He also drove in 43 runs in High-A, nearly matching his entire total from last season.
The remainder of his season in Double-A was fairly similar, although his batting average was four points higher.
As mentioned earlier, there were only a couple other players who could match Telis’ ability to put the ball in play. Alberto is one of them, striking out just 42 times throughout the year. Although he can put it in play, he is still aggressive at the plate and drew only 16 walks.
Regardless, Alberto was one of the top middle infielders in the Texas farm system this year and gets the nod at shortstop.
OF: Nick Williams, Double-A Frisco
112 G, .283/.331/.462, 30 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 74 RBI, 68 R, 140 SO, 22 BB
Even though Nick Williams seems to refuse to cut down on his hacks and work the count, he is still one of the system’s best prospects.
The 21-year-old had another solid season, using the whole field and hitting for extra bases. He set career highs in RBI (74) and doubles (30) and matched his hit total from last year (2010). His home run total was down four from last season, but he still managed to swat 13 over the fence.
He earned a promotion to Double-A late in the year, playing 15 games but struggling during that span.
Williams managed just 14 hits in 62 at-bats while striking out 21 times. That was really the only tough stretch he endured.
The most impressive thing about the Texas native is his knack for being clutch. He hit .384 with runners in scoring position, including five homers, and drove in 56 runs in that situation. He was even 5-for-10 with the bases loaded.
Williams is going to be a good outfielder in the big leagues someday. He will need to cut down on his swings and show patience at the plate before he gets there.
OF: Ryan Cordell, High-A Myrtle Beach
89 G, .318/.385/.530, 20 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 59 RBI, 65 R, 66 SO, 34 BB
Ryan Cordell was an 11th-round pick in 2013 and is relatively unknown due to his quiet first season in Low-A.
This year, the Liberty product made some noise by being successful for Hickory and Myrtle Beach. Altogether, Cordell posted a .318 batting average with 13 home runs and swiped 21 bags while getting caught four times.
Out of all the Rangers’ outfield prospects, Cordell arguably had the best all-around season. Not only did he show power and a knack for hitting for extra bases, he showed off speed on the basepaths.
It will be interesting to see what he does next year. His 2014 campaign was impressive, and now people will be looking to see if he can improve on it.
OF: Nomar Mazara, Double-A Frisco
130 G, .271/.362/.478, 28 2B, 3 3B, 22 HR, 73 RBI, 68 R, 121 SO, 66 BB
Nomar Mazara was the only player selected that made the jump from Class-A to Double-A in the same season.
The organization must have felt that he didn’t need High-A, and they couldn’t have been more right. Starting with Hickory, Mazara was hitting .264 with 19 homers and 73 RBI in 106 games. He did a nice job hitting for power and bringing in runs.
Then a quick move to Double-A, and the 19-year-old doesn’t miss a step at all. He pounded out 26 hits in 86 at-bats, including seven doubles and three home runs. He brought in 16 RBI in just 24 games in Frisco.
It is a good start for Mazara, who may be able to start with the RoughRiders next season. If not, expect to see him in Myrtle Beach in 2015.
RP: RHP Keone Kela, Double-A Frisco
44 G, 2-2, 49 IP, 2.02 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 68 SO, 31 BB
Keone Kela had the best season out of the bullpen of any Ranger minor leaguer, and it wasn’t a close race.
Despite some control issues, Kela was practically unhittable in both of his stops with Myrtle Beach and Frisco. He gave up 11 earned runs during his campaign and was 10-for-13 in saves.
Opponents were only able to muster a .162 batting average against Kela in the Texas League. He gave up eight earned runs and 22 hits in 38.2 innings of work as a RoughRider. Although he did not always enter in a save situation, everyone had to get the feeling the door would be shut when he took the mound.
There are going to be some bullpen battles by the time spring training rolls around in 2015. It would be disappointing if the 21-year-old didn’t get an invite to at least compete for a job.
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