In recent years, the Texas Rangers have had one of the strongest farm systems in Major League Baseball. It is no coincidence that the team has won two AL pennants during that same stretch.
The Rangers began building up their present farm system in August of 2007, when they traded Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves. The trade was highly controversial at the time. Teixeira was affectionately known as “Big Tex” in these parts. He was a former number one draft choice, a homegrown prospect, and by far the best player on the roster. With Teixeira, the perennial doormat Rangers had shown some signs of improvement (at that time, the team was still trying to recover from the failed Alex Rodriguez experiment); without Teixeira, the Rangers quickly sank back to last place.
In exchange, the Rangers received catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor leaguers: infielder Elvis Andrus, lefthander Matt Harrison, righthander Neftali Feliz and lefthander Beau Jones. Saltalamacchia turned out to be a journeyman and Jones never really panned out, but the other three were key All-Star contributors on those pennant-winning teams of 2010 and 2011.
And the beat goes on. This season, Texas will rely heavily on three former top prospects: lefthander Martin Perez, second baseman Jurickson Profar and centerfielder Leonys Martin. There are a number of other guys who may contribute soon as well, either with the Rangers or after being traded to another major league team. The most common theme amongst these players is that they will not make big impacts in 2014, so for redraft leagues you can ignore most of these guys. However in dynasty leagues, you'll want to have your eye on many of them.
Top Texas Rangers Prospects for Fantasy Baseball
Rougned Odor, 2B
Talent: 9; Opportunity: 5
Thumbnail: Odor was the Rangers’ minor-leaguer of the year in 2013
Outlook: Odor has been tearing up the minor leagues, with a career line of .305/.365/.839. Scouts say he may someday be the next Elvis Andrus. But, given Profar’s struggles, “someday” may be this season if Profar can't put it together. Odor is in Spring Training with the big club as a non-roster invitee, and the Rangers’ website touts him as an everyday second baseman.
Jorge Alfaro, C
Talent: 8; Opportunity: 6
Thumbnail: The Rangers list Alfaro as their current top prospect.
Outlook: Alfaro has good raw power and raw arm strength, but lacks good baseball skills. He may not be ready for another year or two, but the Rangers are weak at the catching position and Alfaro should be a good fit in Arlington.
Luis Sardinas, SS
Talent: 6; Opportunity: 5
Thumbnail: Sardinas is not yet at Odor's level, but he’s getting closer.
Outlook: The Rangers are keeping Sardinas at shortstop, meaning that he is either the future replacement for Elvis Andrus or that the team may trade him. He is a better fielder than hitter and projects to be a slightly above average batter.
Joey Gallo, 3B
Talent: 8; Opportunity: 6
Thumbnail: Gallo was a two-way standout in high school, and is on nearly everyone’s radar.
Outlook: Adrian Beltre is not getting any younger. Fortunately for the Rangers, Gallo has some of the same physical tools: good power and good arm strength. On the bad side, his strikeout rate is atrocious and he may not have the instincts to play third base.