Hello, LSB. Once again it’s your bff Coylio reporting some notes from the farm, as yesterday morning the ball dropped on what the Rangers’ minor league rosters will look like to start the 2017 season. There could still be some minor changes as the big league club prunes down to the final 25, but for the most part we learned where all our youngsters will head after breaking camp in Arizona. I’ll take you through some of the notables.
First, in case you missed it, Evan Grant tweeted out a nice little table for you to store in your Trapper Keeper.
Here are all full-season initial minor league rosters for Rangers. Still some tweaking based on final big league cuts: pic.twitter.com/M6jvBoszdE— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) March 28, 2017
Let’s just take it from the top down, shall we?
There’s really only one spot left open for position players on the big league club now that the team has announced that Delino Deshields has made the 25-man. And with Hanser Alberto likely to start the season on the DL (remember: 10-day, not 15) it looks like it’s going to come down to lefties Joey Gallo and Drew Robinson. Or they could use a three-man bench and take neither. Hell, they could use a four-man rotation for the first two weeks of the season and take both. I would guess that both will spend at least some time in Round Rock this year, as will fellow touted lefty bat Ronald Guzman. Guzman will start the year at the AAA level where he struggled in 25 games last year, but everyone’s looking forward to how an off-season full of diet change and weight gain will treat him. There will be other guys in Round Rock who are known names or are otherwise interesting, like Jose Leclerc, Jared Hoying or Bishop Lynch’s own Preston Beck (so many lefties), but the meat of all the Rangers’ prospects lists you’ve seen will be playing at the AA level or lower to start the season.
Eight of MLB Pipeline’s Rangers’ Top 30 will be sent to Frisco out of camp. Some are surprising: I would’ve thought that Yohander Mendez was due for some AAA seasoning after tearing through the PCL for 31.1 innings last year and then making his major league debut, but the Rangers appear to be showing some patience with the 22-year-old. The same goes for Connor Sadzeck, who spent all of 2016 with the RoughRiders and will return to Frisco with an eye on continued success and a possible 2017 ML debut. Some are not so surprising: RHP Ariel Jurado heads back to Frisco where he pitched 43 innings last year and was over four years younger than league average, and catcher Jose Trevino is 24-years-old, had a strong showing last year in High A, and is ready for a challenge. The one I’m most curious about is Juremi Profar, brother of Jurickson. Juremi turned 21 in January and had a great 2016 in the desert, slashing .300/.355/.473 and showing some pop with 13 homers. Some are quick to tap the brakes on the young man, and he hasn’t garnered near the hype that his brother did (by Juremi’s age, Jurickson had debuted with the big boys), but a strong showing in Frisco would definitely raise some eyebrows. Between Profar, Andy Ibanez, Michael De Leon, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the RoughRider infield will be the cause of many lookie-eyes emojis.
The newly-affiliated Down East Wood Ducks look to be quite exciting as well, also with a rotation that will be packed with prospecty goodness. Brett Martin, Joe Palumbo, Pedro Payano, and Wes Benjamin all spent at least the majority of their 2016 with Hickory in A-ball, and all were somewhere between “damn good” and “pretty damn good.” They’ll all move up (or Down) to the Wood Ducks in ’17. There will be a nice stock of maybe-someday major league relief arms on hand too, and also a guy named Ricardo Rodriguez that I’m fairly certain is not mid-aughts so-so Rangers’ starter Ricardo Rodriguez. Jairo Beras will be a Wood Duck as well, and he’s one that I have to repeatedly check how old he is because he’s been around for a while and seems like he should be older than he actually is (21). He signed as a
sixteen seventeen-year-old and has been steadily moving up through the system with widely-reported raw tools and widely-reported makeup questions. He’s working on two strong offensive seasons in a row, though, and a promotion to Frisco is likely if he starts the year with the same kind of bat.
Finally, that brings us to Hickory. While Tony Beasley was out kicking cancer’s ass in 2016, Spike Owen filled in for him as the Rangers’ 3rd Base Coach. This year Owen will return to managing the Crawdads, as he did in 2015, and he will have a plethora of young names under his arm. Anderson Tejeda, Jake Lemoine, Demarcus Evans, Tylers Phillips and Ferguson, Yeyson, Ti’quan, Jon Hernandez.... basically a who’s who of guys primed to take a step forward this year. But the shiniest toy Spike Owen will have to play with will undoubtedly be Rangers’ top prospect Leody Taveras. The month that the 18-year-old Taveras spent with Spokane last year could be the only time he ever sees in short-season ball, as he’ll head to Hickory and the Sally League where the average age was around 21-and-a-half last season. He’s been boosted by a great camp, including a walk-off, opposite-field grand slam that fearless leader Tepid posted to LSB last week. The centerfielder is still a long way off and comes with the usual caveats, such as some swing-and-miss and a general lack of polish, but he’ll mature both mentally and physically (he’s listed at 6’1”, 170) and he represents the highest upside of any Rangers’ prospect in the system.
It’s almost that time. We are five sleeps from Opening Day, eight from MiLB Opening Day. That’s assuming you’re able to sleep. I’ll be updating you guys with notes from the farm frequently, and I’ll say for the third time that I cannot wait to see these young’uns with my very own eyes. Much love. Get hype.
Here’s a video of Carlos Gomez making a girl cry.