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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by ...WTX...?!?!, Apr 8, 2015.
fucking find a way to trade odor
Are we thinking Jung gets called up some time this year?
I’d like to see Jung have some success above the Sally League before coming to Arlington
I wasn't saying opening day roster, i meant if he proved it by August or something
Right. I’d like to see him get a full season or two in the minors first. We aren’t contending any time soon, so I’d prefer to be patient with him.
I know I’m a shitty fan, but god damn it’s hard to root for the team with ownership that is just treating it as an investment to flip for a profit
yeah he will
I’m thinking he does at least 8 weeks at Corpus and then we’ll see
cool another shitty pitcher
just what this franchise needs
my room got a little dusty just now
I’m at the new ballpark for the tech Arkansas game.
holy shit this place is worse than the pictures. It’s absolutely my least favorite ballpark
worse than Minute Maid?
yeah it sucks
but at least it’s indoors
Absolutely. And I hate minute maid
I know it’s not economically viable, but putting a circus tent over The Ballpark would have ruled
We could have even had clowns.....well, off-field clowns
I get that it’s too hot in the summer months, but I hate watching any kind of baseball indoors.
Prospect report from the Rangers backfields: The battles and developments to watch
The great Rogers Hornsby set a tone for fellow baseball-dependent Texans when he issued his how-to guide on getting through an offseason with a remarkably simple tip: Find a window; look through it.
Hornsby’s nearly century-old advice wasn’t issued with the winter of 2020-21 in mind, a stretch over which many of us were staring through windows, literally and otherwise, as a pandemic, a general election and a local power grid failure occupied our thoughts and made us realize — maybe more than ever — we really, really needed baseball back.
When Rangers pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona for the start of spring training last week, what typically feels in my household like a national holiday almost escaped notice — we were still in the midst of having no power for almost 48 hours, with temperatures outside in the teens and, inside, not a whole lot warmer. But now? We’re powered back up, the weather is perfect, the Rangers who neither pitch nor catch have arrived in Surprise and the first spring training game is just two days away.
As things stand, this will be the first spring training at which I won’t roam the backfields in 33 years. But I’m no less preoccupied with what might unfold on Fields 3, 4, 5 and 6 over the next five weeks. Though I’m forced to take camp in through a window this year, baseball is decisively back and these are the storylines I will be watching closely.
As rebuild cycles typically dictate, Texas added a considerable number of prospects to its farm system over the last 12 months, even with an amateur draft that was trimmed down by the league from 40 rounds to five. Those 2020 draft picks — infielders Justin Foscue and Thomas Saggese, outfielder Evan Carter and pitchers Tekoah Roby and Dylan MacLean — each participated in the Rangers’ Fall Instructional League program, so this isn’t their first Surprise assignment (or their first camp). But it is their first spring training, and there’s naturally an added anticipation once a new draft class gets the chance to fully assimilate and compete.
But there are a couple other subsets of minor leaguers who, for all intents and purposes, are getting their first opportunity in front of the entire organization for the next month. Some could be key components of the rebuild.
The injured list
When the Rangers drafted left-hander Cody Bradford in the sixth round in 2019, he was recovering from a thoracic outlet syndrome procedure that cost him virtually all of his junior season at Baylor University and would delay his pro debut until 2020. Of course, there were no debuts in 2020 (at least at the minor-league level).
That day should finally come for Bradford in May, when three of the four levels of the minor leagues will kick off 120-game schedules. (Triple-A seasons will instead begin on April 8 and include 144 regular-season games.) But the 23-year-old’s wait will not have been nearly as excruciating as it has been for right-handers Owen White and Mason Englert, a pair of 21-year-olds who last threw an official pitch nearly three years ago — in high school. White (second round/2018) and Englert (fourth round/2018) went into the Rangers’ “de-load” program after landing seven-figure signing bonuses. The next spring, well before they would have thrown their first official pro pitch, each tore an elbow ligament and needed Tommy John surgery.
White and Englert are healthy now. Both touched 97 mph with their fastballs at Fall Instructs, with White exhibiting better command while the 3,047 rpm on Englert’s curveball led the three dozen pitchers in camp by a considerable amount.
Texas doled out only five pro innings to 2019 second-round pick Ryan Garcia after a heavy UCLA workload that spring, but he needed Tommy John surgery in March 2020 and won’t return to action before mid-season.
It’s a near-certainty that Texas will also delay the pro debuts of teenagers Maximo Acosta, Bayron Lora, Yeison Morrobel and Danyer Cueva — all of whom signed as part of the club’s last two international free agent classes — as well as Jose Corniell, acquired from Seattle in December, until the Rookie-level Arizona League and Dominican Summer League start play in the summer. A year ago, there was some thought that Acosta (signed in July 2019) was advanced enough that he could make his full-season debut in 2021 but given that he didn’t have a particularly strong Fall Instructs showing after not playing in 2020, assigning the 18-year-old to Low-A Down East may no longer be a safe bet. Acosta is probably looking at an extended spring training stint along with the rest before the complex leagues open in June or July.
Among the prospects who will look to make their Rangers debuts in 2021 after arriving from other organizations, right-handers Dane Dunning (Lance Lynn trade), Corniell (Rafael Montero) and Fernery Ozuna (minor-league free agent), left-hander Avery Weems (Lynn), catcher Jonah Heim (Elvis Andrus) and outfielders Steele Walker (Nomar Mazara) and Marcus Smith (Mike Minor) stand out from a deep group. Dunning is a strong candidate to earn a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day staff. The reliever Ozuna isn’t, but there’s a real chance that the 25-year-old, whom Texas is converting to the mound after five seasons as an infielder in the Diamondbacks system, will ride a triple-digit fastball and wipeout slider all the way to Arlington at some point in 2021.
Though he’s not changing uniforms, 20-year-old Cody Freeman is at least changing his gear. The 2019 fourth-rounder arrived as a high school infielder and had an interesting debut, racking up more walks (26) than strikeouts (23) and playing both middle infield positions for a club that won the AZL championship that summer. But Texas is moving Freeman behind the plate — and not partially as the organization did in recent years with Isiah Kiner-Falefa (2016) and Josh Morgan (2017), both of whom played more infield than catcher. Freeman had a strong Fall Instructs at the plate, hitting .303 with the highest walk percentage (24 percent) in camp. But Rangers coaches want to talk more about how he’s taken to the demanding position after last donning a catcher’s mask at age 12.
Josh Jung has triggered massive expectations with the progress he made behind the scenes in 2020, first at the Rangers’ alternate training site and then at Fall Instructs. But once the 2019 first-rounder’s first full spring training concludes, he’s a virtual lock to play his 45th pro game on the farm, either with Triple-A Round Rock or Double-A Frisco. Aside from Freeman and Bradford, fellow 2019 draftees infielder Davis Wendzel (supplemental first round) and right-hander Justin Slaten (third round) will be turned loose after limited debuts two summers ago.
Players like Foscue and Carter (just drafted), White and Englert (returning from injury) and Acosta and Walker (2019 pickups) will be ramping up in camp to make their Rangers debuts. Another key pair of hitters and two pitchers, on the other hand, are no less eager for the lights to turn on but for a much different reason. Shortstop Chris Seise and outfielder Bubba Thompson need to play. Right-handers Hans Crouse and Alex Speas need to pitch.
Neither Seise nor Thompson, selected three picks apart at the back of 2017’s first round, has played a full minor-league season. Their pro debuts were encouraging. Seise (who took $2 million to forgo a commitment to the University of Central Florida) quickly played his way out of the Arizona League, hitting .336 with a .904 OPS for a month. Thompson (paid $2.1 million to choose pro baseball over DI college opportunities to play quarterback, center field or both) surprised even the Rangers themselves with the polish and feel for the game that the frontline two-sport athlete showed up with.
But the 22-year-olds have only shown flashes of their high-end promise since then, and at this point, the profile for each is headlined by a series of injuries and a resulting lack of any developmental momentum or rhythm.
Seise missed what would have been his first full pro season in 2018 after needing rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder. A year later, he tore a muscle in his other shoulder, ending his season after only one month.
Thompson was held back in Surprise for a month after his first spring training ended, after which an assignment to Low Class A saw him play roughly two of every three days — and play well, as he hit .289 with a .790 OPS despite being just 19 when his season began. But that was in only 363 plate appearances; 2019 was to be the year when the reins came off. Instead, a broken bone in Thompson’s wrist two weeks into that season sidelined him for two months, and just a week after coming back, he injured his foot in a collision with an outfield fence, costing him another three and a half weeks. His offensive numbers for the year were miserable.
Neither Thompson nor Seise had the opportunity to play official games in 2020, of course, but both had very good runs against Fall Instructional League pitching. Thompson, maybe the top athlete in the system, tied Seise for the club lead in home runs and lapped his teammates in stolen bases. Seise — not only an elite athlete himself but also a player some Rangers player development officials have called the club’s most talented prospect — hit .358/.388/.556 (.944 OPS) at Instructs, and not once in the club’s 44-game schedule did any Rangers hitter match a 111.1 mph home run that came off his bat.
There might be nothing I’d look forward to more at Rangers camp than a healthy five weeks for the former first-rounders, followed by a full year on the field. Thompson and Seise will be eligible for next winter’s Rule 5 Draft, and the Rangers would be thrilled if 40-man roster protection is a slam dunk for both.
Crouse will be draft-eligible as well, and while he hasn’t missed the extended chunks of time that Thompson and Seise have, workload restrictions in his draft summer and first full season were followed by a 2019 campaign that was marred by a bone spur in his elbow. Crouse pitched through the injury before shutting things down two weeks short of Hickory’s playoff run, finishing with 87 2/3 innings pitched (and only 162 1/3 total frames over three seasons). Personal commitments in 2020 kept the 22-year-old away from alternate training site and instructional league assignments. Crouse has the stuff and mentality to be an impact starting pitcher or late-inning weapon, but if his options clock is going to start in 2022, the Rangers would feel much better if he were to add a dash of durability to his profile in 2021.
At this time a year ago, Speas was considered a strong candidate to make the leap to the majors even though he’d logged fewer than 30 innings at the Low Class-A level. But then the 2016 second-round pick not only failed to seize the big-league opportunity that Kyle Cody, John King, Demarcus Evans and Wes Benjamin earned in 2020, he also found himself exposed to the Rule 5 Draft at season’s end. It was an unthinkable outcome just months earlier, given that the 22-year-old had registered 103 mph on his fastball and offset it with a wipeout slider. Pronounced command issues at the alternate training site foiled any chance for Speas to make his Rangers debut, and though he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster in November, he slid through the Rule 5 Draft unselected. It’s undeniable that Speas has major-league stuff that would stand out even in this age of unprecedented bullpen velocities. But he needs to throw strikes before he’ll get that shot.
Other prospects of interest
Ronald Guzman’s MVP turn in the Dominican Winter League has resuscitated the idea that, despite being out of minor-league options, his Rangers career might not end in March after all. But two prospects who made their major-league debuts in September are generating some early buzz as well, at least internally.
Eli White would be the Rangers’ third elite defender in the outfield if he and Joey Gallo were to flank Leody Taveras, which happened with some regularity at the end of the 2020 season. The converted middle infielder hit just .188 with a .460 OPS in 52 plate appearances for Texas, but his metrics were kinder analytically, and more than one player development official has singled out the 26-year-old out since camp got underway. One coach raved about the “sick adjustments” White has made in the batter’s box, another adding that he’s simplified his approach at the plate with “a look in his eye of renewed confidence and a sense that he belongs.”
Though White’s days at shortstop are probably behind him, he’s a versatile enough outfielder that he can make an impact at all three spots on the (imitation) grass. Delino DeShields is probably the favorite to land the club’s fourth outfielder spot (unless the Rangers are comfortable with David Dahl in center field on days Taveras is out of the lineup). But White is in the mix — and I’m reminded of Ian Desmond’s one camp with the Rangers, five years ago, when he would pull infield coach Tony Beasley aside at the end of most days’ workout and ask to take fungoes at shortstop juuuust to stay fresh at his old position.
Sherten Apostel is another player who drew attention the moment he reported to camp. Of the five Texas prospects who made the leap from Class A to the big leagues last summer, the corner infielder was visibly the most overmatched on both sides of the ball. Though Apostel is not a candidate to remain with the big club when camp breaks, he arrived in Surprise in even better shape since the 2020 season ended and has the type of upside that could put him right back in the thick of things if he can rediscover his gear offensively. On defense, the 21-year-old could be looking at a wholesale shift from third base to first base, where reps would be more readily available at the upper levels of the system — and where he might be best suited, anyway. Corner outfield has been discussed as well.
I’ll throw in one prospect who is working much further off the radar. The Rangers’ modern version of Kevin “The Catcher” Brown could be Luis “The Pitcher” Ortiz, their onetime first-round pick (2014) who has been traded once (2016) and traded again (2018), then outrighted after clearing waivers (2020) before he opted for minor-league free agency. Texas brought him back in December on a minor-league deal, extending the right-hander a non-roster invite to major-league camp. He’s quietly turning heads, brandishing the swing-and-miss stuff and command that made him a coveted prospect earlier in his career. Ortiz is probably headed for a Triple-A rotation slot but could enter the big-league picture at some point in 2021.
If Apostel earns an assignment to Round Rock, he’s going to get real used to facing off against Houston right-handers Forrest Whitley and Luis García. If tooled-up outfielder Pedro León starts his Astros career at the Double-A level, it could kick off years of matchups against a Frisco rotation featuring Crouse, Cole Winn, Ronny Henriquez, Jake Latz and Tim Brennan. With the minor leagues realigned for 2021 and the foreseeable future, a whole lot of Rangers prospects are going to be tired of seeing Astros prospects as they make their respective marches through the system. Round Rock will play a full quarter of its games this season against Houston’s Sugar Land affiliate, and the two organizations’ other three farm clubs all share a division as well, meeting an average of 18 times out of 120 games, or 15 percent of their schedules.
But the more interesting thing about minor-league roster decisions at the end of March involves the extinction of the Short-Season A leagues, which teams tended to stock with older draft picks and younger, more experienced prospects not necessarily ready for full-season assignments. In past years, for example, a pitcher in White or Englert’s situation or an advanced teenager like Carter or Acosta might have been earmarked for a summer assignment in Spokane. That’s no longer an option. Players who fit those profiles are either going to be held back in what could be a crowded audition for Arizona League reps or aggressively deployed to the Rangers’ Down East affiliate in the Low-A East League. There’s no middle ground anymore.
Would Texas really ask Luisangel Acuna or Tekoah Roby to jump straight to Low-A as teenagers with zero stateside pro experience?
Could the Rangers’ catching depth force Freeman and Randy Florentino to repeat the AZL?
On the flip side, the Rangers wouldn’t rush Seise or Thompson to Triple-A despite a combined 78 games of Class A experience just so they can start their seasons a month early and get badly needed at-bats … would they?
These are questions that all 30 clubs are having to sort through this spring, but I’ve only got enough energy to focus on one of them. Our house isn’t exactly lousy with bay windows.
lol i’m not reading all that shit
we have one good player who can’t hit at the major league level and zero elite prospects
i’m not gloomy dumbass i hope they lose every game instead of being woefully mediocre
gotta restock the shitty farm
Are we cursed or what, fuck
yes we are
really unfortunate that the season is about to start
finally a reason to watch
no, no it's not
I would too
I’m only interested in drafting Jack Leiter
I want Kumar Rocker
Back in my day, the racists were the ones who wanted a pitcher named Rocker
please draft him. Thanks.
Starting rotation announced
G1: Kyle Gibson
G2: Kohei Arihara
G3: Jordan Lyles + (TBA tandem)
G4: Mike Foltynewicz (home opener)
G5: (TBA tandem + TBA tandem)
the fact that dunning isn’t in the rotation is criminal
even if i were full vaccinated with zero chance of getting covid i wouldn’t pay to watch this team
Kyle Gibson will start Thursday’s season opener in Kansas City against the Royals. After Friday’s off day, he will be followed by Kohei Arihara on Saturday and Jordan Lyles (as part of a tandem starter setup) for Sunday’s series finale.
Monday afternoon’s home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays will feature Mike Foltynewicz as the starter. Dane Dunning, like Lyles part of a tandem setup, will start against the Jays on Tuesday, April 6, and then Wednesday’s “Nolan Ryan Beef Dollar Hot Dog Day,” set for a 1:05 p.m. start, will presumably see Gibson return to the mound.
I've never heard of Foltynewicz or Dunning
Folty was good for the braves. Dunning was a good prospect for the white sox.
folty was good and now he sucks ass
dunning is the pitcher we got for lynn. he’s pretty good
Guys! This team is incredible!
they’re going to win just enough games not to get the first pick
World Series champs
Theres still hope!
fascinated to see how bad we can be this year
also new thread title
what should the new thread title be