The Rangers are fielding what may be their best team ever. But will that stop us from discussing players who won't be relevant for another three to five years?
Parks, Cole and the Newberg are out at back field instructs. And they're tweeting, e-mailing and weaving stories that can really make the heart race.
Some of the notable stuff we've read so far. I'm not including any of the subscriber-only content unique to Lone Star Dugout.
Parks: #Rangers prospect Ronald Guzman with one of the more remarkable BP displays in recent back field memory. Great hands and easy power. #want
After a day of Ronald Guzman viewing, Im tempted to say something sensational like Guzman is the best 16 y/o hitter I've ever seen. #Rangers
Guzman: top 5 prospect in system. RT @wfaasports: @ProfessorParks Tempted.. but are you saying it? The people need something to obsess over!
@wfaasports The bat is crazy fast; the hands are special.
@jdh90 Not necessarily. The bat will carry him wherever he plays on the diamond. He's very raw in the field. Very raw.
@Tex2044 @basejaw Many sources had Guzman pegged as the top talent in LA market. Not really a surprise.
don’t want to get too crazy here, so I’ll just say that Guzman is the most impressive 16 year-old prospect I’ve ever seen. His hands at the plate are special; he has a calm load and lets his hands slowly drift into the hitting zone where they come alive. The swing is very easy and smooth, with a quiet explosion when the hips fire and the hands ignite allowing for crazy power. I need to see more before going into more detail, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d say the Rangers have something special. I’d already put him in the top 5 in the system, and it won’t be long before he’s the top position player in the system. He’s still quite raw in the field, and his body is obviously immature, but I’ve never seen a 16 year-old swing a bat with such beauty and efficiency. He is beyond special.
The swing itself is incredibly fluid, with good bat path and plane, without the swing exaggeration normally found in young power hitters. Like fellow lefty masher, Eric Hosmer, Guzman’s swing is easy and geared for drive to all fields rather than selling out for power. The pitch recognition skills are still very immature, which is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean Guzman is a free-swinger standing in the box hacking at everything.
In the field, Guzman is very raw, but not unauthentic. Standing close to 6’6’’, the long-limbed Dominican 1B can snatch throws from infielders directly from their hands, with a wingspan that the NBA would covet. Grounders have been a struggle so far in camp, as has footwork and positioning around the bag.
Overall, Guzman has the potential to be a special player, with hitting skills that aren’t often found in teenaged prospects. The ceiling is a superstar, but development doesn’t occur overnight, so keep that in mind. Physical skills will only take you so far, so makeup is vital to the developmental process. Judging by what I’ve seen so far, Guzman shows the work ethic and intelligence to push himself to the peak of his physical ability.
Cole: Ronald Guzman and Jordan Akins are knocking the hell out of the ball going back-to-back in BP. Fun to watch.
Newberg: Guzman was the one who knocked me flat. He could have been 22 years old and I'd have been blown away by his BP session.He's 16.
More imposing and physically mature than Mazara, and a very exciting hitter. It was an extraordinary exhibition of awesomeness.
Parks: It's early, but Akins looks awesome. (Other content on TFR. Subscribe to it).
Cole: Jordan Akins showing definite development in BP. WHen asked to go the other way, he can do it. Looking easier for him.
Ronald Guzman and Jordan Akins are knocking the hell out of the ball going back to back in BP. Fun to watch.
Newberg: Akins, whose physicality is the closest the organization has developmentally to a future Nelson Cruz...
Akins had.... hit another gear, it was unanimously suggested, a gear that most young baseball players aren't
His closing speed on fly balls demonstrated how a 6'3" kid could land a college scholarship as a cornerback, and an hour later, would crush a fastball over the 390-foot sign in left center field, despite not getting the good part of the bat on it.
I scribbled down a preliminary version of my Top 72 Prospects list for this year's Bound Edition a few weeks ago,
just after the minor league seasons ended. I had Akins somewhere around 25-30. That's twice as far down from
the top as it should be. At least.
UPDATE: More general post on Guzman and Akins, which everyone should see. The mental image and the indelible sounds of Monday afternoon's Jordan Akins/Ronald Guzman batting practice session were still stuck in my head when I got out to the back fields Tuesday morning, and there they were: Beast & Beast, at it again.
And I kid you not: Akins and Guzman were even better this time around. They were doing bad things to pitched baseballs with malicious intent, and it got to the point that coaches were joining teammates in the laugh track that followed each successive cannon shot ripping through a sky that was being pierced by the sonic roar of the Luke Air Force Base fighter jets getting in their own early morning training.
Akins from the right side, Guzman from the left. Crushed baseballs in all directions.
I found myself wondering what it sounded like when Josh Hamilton was hitting baseballs from the left side and Nelson Cruz from the right when they were 16 years old like Guzman, or even 19 like Akins, and whether it could have been any more spectacular.
Jordan Akins and Ronald Guzman will experience failure and adversity on their way up. Every player and every coach here who played the game is a testament to that indisputable fact. One club official suggested yesterday that there's enough talent in this organization that you could simply roll the balls and bats onto the field and five of the players here at Instructs would get to the big leagues.
@Tex2044 @basejaw Many sources had Guzman pegged as the top talent in LA market. Not really a surprise. More questions on Mazara
Parks: @basejaw I've seen Mazara; leg kick gone but power still there. Not on same level as Guzman, though.
@Tex2044 @basejaw Mazara clearly has elite power potential, but Guzman isn't a slouch in that dept and a better all-around hitter.
Newberg: There's loads of raw out there. Nomar Mazara's jagged outfield routes... understandably underdeveloped,
Mazara was the J2 player I was prepared to be more excited about, the Jurickson Profar to Guzman's Luis Sardinas. But, at least for one day, Guzman was the one who knocked me flat.
Parks: #Rangers RHP Carlos Melo showing nasty stuff today; he just hit 99 on the gun. Been sitting 93-96 w/ some natural weight.
The command is well below-average, but if he can refine without losing stuff, Melo is going to climb and climb quickly. Sitting 97-98 and touching 99? Yes, please.
Cole: RHP Carlos Melo at 93-96 mph for the second consecutive outing. Throwing more strikes. Saw him in Spokane at 90-93 throwing no strikes.
Melo still has a few issues but today was easily the best stuff I've seen out of him.
Parks: Gifted prospect, with above-average actions at the position and a very strong arm. I need to see more, obviously, but Marte looks as projectable at the plate as he does in the field, with contact and pop. Add his speed to the equation and you are looking at a five-tool talent with the makeup to reach his potential. If not for Guzman, I’d probably be calling Marte the next big prospect in the system. He’s another future top-tier talent.
Parks: With a fast arm coming from a ¾ slot, West looks like he is playing catch when on the mound, pumping fastballs in the 94-98 range and showing a plus slider at 79-81. The depth of the pitch is key, because hitters geek up to hit West’s plus-plus fastball only to discover the pitch on the fastball plane turns into a horizontal/vertical nightmare right before it reaches the plate. They don’t have a chance to touch it. It’s effective against both LH/RH and along with the fastball will push West to the major leagues in the near future.
I'll add to this as more content gets out.
Talk about these things. Moe already knows to talk about this.