This morning I was prepping myself for the first Spring Training game of the year when I saw a much anticipated message. Nathaniel Stoltz of the Fan Sided blog Seedlings to Stars which focuses on the minor leagues was posting his review of the Texas Rangers farm system. I have read most of his system reviews and for the most part have agreed with him. I have also read a lot of national system reviews and predominantly disagreed with them.
Before I go into Nathaniel’s list I was hoping he wouldn’t have the same issue that most of the other reviews had. Chief among the issues was the fact that it seems every single list was written by the same person and whoever was the next to use the list would simply rewrite the lists. Why this isn’t possible is that no two scouts see the same guy the same way, so how can this many lists be this similar. Most lists seem like lazy ground work at best.
I like Nathaniel’s approach to do the list like a line up, since after all the minor leagues are just an extended depth chart this list makes sense as a best of player at all position. My follow up will be using his choices, and then giving mind and the reasoning behind the selection.
Catcher: Jorge Alfaro. He is known as the Legend after all. I agree with this but only timidly mainly due to his limited amount of time in professional baseball. His two years have been in Rookie ball in the Dominican and at short season A in Spokane. I feel Elio Sarmiento and Kellin Deglan are right on his heels. But IF Alfaro can live up to his potential he is the best. However a C+ grade is too low I think he is a solid B with good defense and a solid bat.
First Base: Ronald Guzman. Disagree. Guzman comes in with a ton of potential, but having no experience with professional baseball I cannot agree with putting him in the top spot already. With the organizations decision to move Mike Olt to 1B because of the log jam at 3rd I think Olt becomes the clear choice there. His defense potential translates well to 1st, it saves his arm and allows him to stay in the lineup.
Second Base: Roughened Odor. Disagree almost completely. Odor is another player that is being viewed at with just talent level. He has the talent but has not shown it at the level one would think of while playing in short season A ball in Spokane. Davis Stoneburner and Odubel Herrera are showing better production and Santiago Chirino is showing as much production as Odor is currently. If Odor has a better 2012 season then he can move up.
Third Base: Mike Olt. Disagree only because of the decision to move him to 1st to open his path to the major leagues. With Tommy Mendacona also being moved from 3rd to catcher for similar reasons I would have chosen Christian Villanueva as the top 3rd baseman. Solid glove, plus power and can hit for average. He would come with a grade of B-. Also he broke into the Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects
Outfielder #1 Leonys Martin. Agree but believe the grade is too low. The Rangers have pushed him hard to the majors because of the investment behind him. This may have caused him to be in AAA too early and thus the challenges that he has faced in his AAA production. Another year going from AAA to the Rangers as needed will give him the AB he needs. Also I would have put his grade at an A-.
Outfielder #2 Nomar Mazara. Disagree with same reason as Ronald Guzman the lack of time in professional baseball. The outfield is too deep to put him in the top 3 without seeing him first. Also the move of Leury Garcia to the OF because of the shortstop log jam with Elvis Andrus and Profar I think Garcia becomes a prime outfielder with his bat and his plus arm. Grade of C+.
Outfielder #3 Jake Skole. Agree, but think year two a lot his questions will be answered. He has a lot of athleticism and talent but needs to work on his maturity which hurt his offensive production in 2011. As far as his grade goes I think based on potential he is a B-.
Starting Pitchers: Yu Darvish. Martin Perez, Cody Buckel, Neil Ramirez and Miguel De Los Santos. I agree with Yu, Perez, Buckel. I would have placed Robbie Ross and Justin Grimm on the list instead. However the pitching position is so stacked that it needs an article of its own to really do justice to the pure numbers of plus arms in the talent pool that will be available to bolster the Rangers or to use as trade pieces.
Be sure to follow me @RangerFanSteve for updates to the minor league rosters and players throught Spring Training and the minor league season.