Jason Parks has his Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospect List up at Baseball Prospectus today. Its behind the paywall, but that shouldn't matter, because I'm sure everyone here has a subscription, right?
Parks has allowed me to excerpt this more liberally than I normally do for subscription content, so here's some highlights:
The Top Ten
- 2B Rougned Odor
- C Jorge Alfaro
- RHP Alex Gonzalez
- SS Luis Sardinas
- LF Nick Williams
- 3B Joey Gallo
- RHP Luke Jackson
- RF Nomar Mazara
- CF Lewis Brinson
- 1B Ronald Guzman
On Jorge Alfaro:
2. Jorge Alfaro
Height/Weight: 6’2" 185 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Colombia
Previous Ranking: #4 (Org), #76 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .182/.308/.182 at High-A Myrtle Beach (3 games), .258/.338/.452 at Low-A Hickory (104 games), .429/.500/.810 at complex level AZL (6 games)
The Tools: 8 arm; 6+ power potential; 5 glove; 6 run
What Happened in 2013: After an injury-plagued 2012 campaign, Alfaro played in a career-high 113 games, not counting his breakout performance in the AFL.
Strengths: Plus athlete; plus strength; arm is 8; routine sub-1.9 pops; catch-and-throw weapon; raw power is 7;could play over plus; above-average run; sub-4.2 times to first; glove improving; could develop to solid-average; hit could play to average.
Weaknesses: Torque-heavy swing limits bat control; highly susceptible to off-speed offerings; aggressive approach; hit tool is below average; could limit power utility; glove can get sloppy behind the plate; rushes footwork; needs more receiving refinement.
Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player
Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular
Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; dual threat development/yet to play at Double-A level.
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There’s not a single catching prospect in baseball who can match Alfaro’s fantasy upside, and frankly it’s not particularly close. Even though he’s full of risk, the evil temptress that is a catcher who can hit 25 homers and steal double-digit bases can be irresistible. If it all clicks for him, he will be the top fantasy catcher in baseball.
The Year Ahead: After a strong Arizona Fall League showing, Alfaro will be ready to tackle the biggest professional challenge of his career, a likely start back in High-A before eventually arriving at the Double-A level. Pitchers with a plan can exploit the aggressive hitter, so a more refined approach at the plate could do wonders for the five-tool catcher. If everything comes together, Alfaro is a superstar, a middle-of-the-order bat with impact defense at a premium spot on the diamond. I’ve been hyping Alfaro since he was first stateside at age 16, and with each year, he takes another step toward that exceptional eventuality. He still comes with a high risk, but the ceiling makes him one of the most valuable prospects in the minors.
Major league ETA: 2015
On Chi Chi Gonzalez:
3. Alex Gonzalez
Height/Weight: 6’2" 195 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, OK)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: 2.84 ERA (19 IP, 15 H, 15 K, 9 BB) at High-A Myrtle Beach, 4.56 ERA (23.2 IP, 30 H, 20 K, 7 BB) at short-season Spokane
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 SL; 6 potential CH
What Happened in 2013: The 23rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, Gonzalez started nine games in the Northwest League before finishing the season with five starts in High-A.
Strengths: Plus-plus fastball; velo in low-mid-90s; three-way life; natural cut; can run and sink it as well; true slider is second plus offering; 85-88 with tilt and bigger shape than cutter; plays well off the FB; changeup flashes above-average potential.
Weaknesses: Delivery can get stiff; command needs refinement; not a consistent strike thrower; changeup at 85-87 can get too firm and flat.
Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter
Realistic Role: High 5; no. 4 starter
Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; two plus pitches; ready for Double-A level
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: A great fit for his likely future home in Arlington, Gonzalez should be able to put up strong fantasy numbers there despite its offensive tendencies. In a small sample, he’s been able to keep the ball on the ground at a 60 percent rate in the minors, and it is backed up by the reports. He could put up Matt Harrison ratios with Derek Holland strikeout totals.
The Year Ahead: Chi Chi Gonzalez might like a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, but he’s a safe bet to develop into a mid-rotation starter. On the back of an extremely lively fastball—one that often features natural cut to the glove side—Gonzalez can challenge hitters in the zone, forcing weak contact on the ground. His slider is a second plus offering, one that shows a bigger shape than the harder cut fastball, thrown in the mid/upper 80s with tilt. He can turn over the changeup and several sources think it eventually becomes a solid-average to plus offering, giving Gonzalez more than enough to find success in a rotation. He shouldn’t have a long stay in the minors.
On Joey Gallo:
6. Joey Gallo
Height/Weight: 6’5" 205 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Bishop Gorman HS (Las Vegas, NV)
Previous Ranking: #10 (Org)
2013 Stats: .245/.334/.610 at Low-A Hickory (106 games), .368/.429/.895 at complex level AZL (5 games)
The Tools: 8 raw; 7 arm; 5 potential glove
What Happened in 2013: Gallo hit 40 delicious bombs in 2013, which paired nicely with a slightly chilled bottle of 172 whiffs.
Strengths: Grotesque raw power; elite; great extension; shows impressive bat speed/not just raw strength; arm is plus-plus weapon; glove has improved and could play to average; shows necessary work ethic to improve in the field.
Weaknesses: Huge swing-and-miss in his game; struggles against spin; extreme hip rotation allows for bat speed but limits his ability to maneuver the barrel after he launches; contact ability could limit his elite power potential; footwork at third still needs refinement; arm is extremely strong but not accurate.
Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player
Realistic Role: High 4; Quad-A player
Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; the swing-and-miss is 80-grade
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The inherent problem with power hitting prospects that have questionable hit tools is if the contact never shows up, their value becomes slim-to-none. Gallo could be a future fantasy first rounder if the hit tool allows the power to play at a 40-plus pace, but the odds are more likely that he’s a Russell Branyan type—which while not a dead spot, would be a huge disappointment.
The Year Ahead: Gallo’s future profile is often compared to Adam Dunn’s, and on the surface, it makes some sense: both have huge left-handed power, huge swing and miss, and the ability to take a walk. Three-outcome types. The problem is that people often confuse the realities of what Dunn has accomplished at the major-league level with what Gallo accomplished in Low-A. For reference, at the same point in his career, Dunn hit over .300 in his first stop in Low-A, striking out around 17% of the time. Gallo’s k-rate was 37% in 2013.Pitching doesn’t get any easier as you climb the ladder, so Gallo is facing long odds if he wants to develop into Adam Dunn. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a minor leaguer with such raw power, but the swing and miss rate is just as extreme, and without contact improvement, I don’t see the power living up to its massive potential.
And the Rangers' top players 25 and younger:
Top 10 Talents 25 and Younger (born 4/1/1988 or later)
Thanks again to Parks, and if you want to read everything, go subscribe to BP.