Baseball America has updated their top 30 prospect rankings for the Texas Rangers,
The top six in the Rangers rankings are no surprise, given that the BA top 100 update that came out had six Rangers in the top 100.
Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter are #7 and #8, after having been selected with the Rangers’ top two picks in the 2022 MLB Draft.
The most notable placement — and the first thing I looked for when I went to the updated rankings — is Cole Winn. Winn, who was a top 100 prospect at the start of the season in the BA rankings, and who was a consensus top three prospect in the system preseason, has fallen all the way to #13 in the BA rankings. He’s behind Cole Ragans and Aaron Zavala, among others.
Winn dropping is not surprising, given how he has struggled this year. However, a blurb in their update on Winn caught my eye:
Winn’s troubles this year have stemmed from a bit of bad luck. He was hit in the ankle by a comebacker and lost his mechanics in the following starts.
I have previously speculated that Winn’s mechanics may have been impacted by being hit on the ankle in that late April start. Even if Winn wasn’t injured such that he couldn’t pitch, he could have been favoring the ankle due to tenderness, soreness, what have you, and that could have altered his mechanics. Command is a function of repeating your mechanics, and if your mechanics get out of whack, well, you’re going to see something similar to what we have seen from Cole Winn since the end of April.
If BA is right and this is a matter of Winn losing his mechanics after the ankle bang, then this is potentially good news, since it means that Winn isn’t necessarily “broken”, isn’t suddenly terrible, but instead has mechanical issues that he needs to address.
However, this is also what kind of confuses me about Winn dropping to #13 in the BA rankings. If this is a matter of Winn losing his mechanics due to favoring his ankle after getting hit, then this would appear to likely be an acute, rather than a chronic, issue, and while it would justify dropping him from where he was preseason, it wouldn’t necessarily mean his stock has dramatically dropped, as would be suggested by the new ranking.
The flip side of that, of course, is that one can argue that the players ranked from #7 to #15 (where Sam Huff checks in) are all in more or less the same tier, and we shouldn’t be worked up about where exactly any one player fits in that particular tier.
I’ve argued before about not getting hung up on ordinalality in prospect rankings — it seems somewhat absurd to me when I see a player referenced as being “the #24 prospect on the MLB Pipeline rankings,” as that suggests a much greater degree of precision in regards to ordering and sorting than is warranted — and so I am now feeling a bit hypocritical about carping about Winn being #13 in the rankings.
But I did find it noteworthy that BA mentions the nexus between the ankle bang and Winn’s mechanics getting out of whack, and wanted to highlight that.
Otherwise...the middle ranks are full of guys in complex ball. I did a double take at seeing Chandler Pollard the top 20, as I didn’t even recognize the name at first. Pollard is the Rangers’ fifth rounder this year, a toolsy, projectable prepster out of Georgia (in a throwback to the old days of Ranger drafting) who signed for slot. Seems like an aggressive ranking, but what do I know.