In the wild AL West, the competition is going to ramp up even more. Pending baseball gets to play, the Texas Rangers could be contenders again. Here we are after a $500 million spending spree that ended with the Rangers acquiring stud middle infielders, Cory Seager and Marcus Semien. In addition, veteran pitcher Jon Gray and veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun joined as well for an additional $61 million.
But we are not here to talk about this spending spree. No, we are here to hash out who the Rangers farm system has waiting for their turn. I can tell you right now this Rangers farm system is easily a top 10 system. A team that goes on a spending spree to fill their middle infield but also has three big-time prospects just on the cusp of the big time, is ready to win now.
The pandemic season definitely hurt the Rangers farm system as far as reps. However, this all but set up the Rangers to improve their farm system even further. In just one summer the Rangers made the right moves via the draft and free agency market to get their name back into the mix. That being said, there are three prospects for Texas that are far above the others. These three will be seeing the MLB level rather soon (MLB season pending). Let’s check out this loaded Rangers farm system, shall we?
Leiter is no stranger to the MLB draft process. Leiter first entered the draft after his senior year of high school. Unfortunately, Leiter fell to round 20 to the Yankees simply because he was set on playing college baseball for Vanderbilt. Fast forward and in 2021, Leiter emerged as the best pitching prospect in the 2021 Draft. After no-hitting South Carolina in his first SEC start, he tied teammate Kumar Rocker for the NCAA Division I strikeout lead with 179 across 110 innings. Lastly, Leiter finished it off by leading Vanderbilt to the College World Series finals.
Following his outstanding season, Leiter was drafted number two overall by the Texas Rangers. Texas is invested in Leiter considering he is signed for $7,922,000, a franchise record, and the fourth-highest bonus in Draft history. Leiter will have to hold off on playing until this MLB lockout is taken care of. He easily brings the most upside to the table in this farm system.
He is a bit small for a starting pitcher at only 6’1 but his 95 mph fastball backs him up. Besides the fastball, Leiter also brings a steady 12-6 curveball that generated plenty of strikeouts at Vandy. Leiter also possesses a slider sitting around 80mph as well as a changeup that could be deadly if groomed correctly. This amount of upside sitting around waiting for an MLB season to start sucks but the Rangers have a diamond waiting to be shown to the world at the pro level. Leiter will be a Rangers pitcher for a while if he gets the shot and produces and is easily the best prospect for Texas.
The Rangers used most of their money on their new star infielders and their farm system holds two of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. Next on the prospect list is right-handed pitcher Cole Winn. Winn is a high school product drafted 15th overall back in 2018 in the first round. Before being drafted, Winn is the only player to win Gatorade baseball player of the year in two different states (Colorado in 2017, California in 2018).
Following the draft and a $3.15 million signing bonus, Winn struggled for the first month in a farm program that was reloading and struggling. However, Winn has since become an easy choice for the “next guy up”. Winn finished with a 2.81 ERA in his final 12 starts in 2019. He can command any strike zone with an array of pitches. From a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 with running action to a curveball with a 12-6 break. He added a slider late in high school that now shows some wipeout potential and also shows a changeup with fade.
Winn is going to be an ace at the Triple-A level when baseball resumes. His command of a strike zone and ability to read hitters will likely end in a shot at the big show shortly into the season. Winn has a high ceiling of being the Ranger’s number two or three starter if he can reach that level as fast as he progressed last season.
Something that needs to be stated before I get into why Jung is on this list, is why he is at #3 in general. He would be at the #2 spot had it not been announced he tore his labrum in his left shoulder. As of five days ago, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum and won’t be available in any fashion for about six months. That being said, this is a big hit to the Rangers farm system but Jung will be a huge piece for the Rangers moving forward once he is back.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program. Jung was the best position player to ever see the diamond at Texas Tech. He was drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft, signing a $4.4 million bonus. Jung opened his career in low-class A but quickly moved up to Double-A. Should his recovery progress well, Jung is easily ready to get called up from Double or Triple-A pending he plays well.
Overall, Jung is an advanced hitter and that is his strong suit. He has the ability to quickly recognize pitches and get the barrel on the ball most of the time. A big improvement from Jung is his ability to hit the long ball. An improvement in hand speed can easily lead to an average of 20 homers per year. Jung is on the verge of being a pivotal piece for the Rangers for years to come. His strong arm, athleticism, and bat speed will see big money in the near future. Now, all that needs to happen is for the MLB season to actually start. Once Jung gets another shot to improve, he will be worth every penny.
It is tough to think the three guys on this list will not see the field until baseball resumes. Winn and Leiter are on a fast track to see MLB debuts and Jung will see MLB time once healthy. This Rangers farm system is easily a top ten system.
This level of talent waiting for a shot shows Texas is prepped for a long run of competing in the AL West. The Rangers have not been relevant in the AL West since 2016. Texas finished 95-67 but were swept in the ALDS. This farm system and big-money moves are purely to get the Rangers back to relevance. Keep an eye on this Ranger squad once baseball resumes because they are making big moves to win more games. Winn, Leiter, and Jung are the next generation of Rangers and they are ready to make an impact.
Who will the Rangers call up first from the farm system? Comment below and join the discussion!
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