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Mar. 15, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Neil Ramirez throws in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers Top 20 Pitching Propects

The Texas Rangers really take pride in having one of the best, if not the bestfarm-systems in baseball. You could argue that the Rangers have the best hitters from the Dominican Summer League to AAA by far. With names like Profar, Olt, Sardinas, Odor, Brinson, Gallo, Garcia, Mazara, Williams, Guzman, Beras, Alfaro….etc. The hitting prospects are as deep as it gets for Jon Daniels, but pitching isn’t nearly as deep. After Perez, Buckel, Font, Jackson and Grimm… the Rangers have average pitching depth.

In the past couple of years the Rangers have lost Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin, Kyle Hendricks, Barret Loux and Wilfredo Boscan. All of those pitchers could have made this list. Wieland and Erlin, who were traded to San Diego for Mike Adams, would have both been in the top five for Texas. Kyle Hendricks was traded along with 3B Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster at last year’s trade deadline. He would’ve probably fit nicely into the top 10 for Texas.

With all of that said, I would think half of the Top 20 pitching prospects for the Texas Rangers profile more as late inning relievers than as middle to back-end rotation pieces. Here is a look at some of the better young hurlers in the Texas Rangers farm-system:

Jun 27, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Martin Perez (33) throws a pitch during the eighth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers beat the Tigers 13-9. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

 

1. Martin Perez – 21 – LHP – MLB

Perez has been the prospect we have all waited to turn into the next Johan Santana for the past few years. At the moment it seems like that more than likely won’t be happen. But honestly, what do we really know about Perez in the bigs? He was thrown in as a Swiffer, at random times with no structure or regularity. If he has a chance to get comfortable, confident and mature in a constant role he may end up being a pretty dang good ballplayer. By the way… he is only 21… still.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: Graduated

 

2. Cody Buckel – 20 – RHP – AA

Buckel is the twin of Luke Jackson, basically (not literally). The difference in the two is that Buckel has less talent than Jackson but is more mature. Cody knows how to attack the strike zone and get batters out with average stuff. Jackson gets by on his pure, but raw, talent. Buckel has moved quickly to AA and I think he is going to keep moving as long as there is room for him.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2014

 

Sep 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Wilmer Font (53) throws a pitch during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark. The Angels beat the Rangers 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports3. Wilmer Font – 22 – RHP – AA

3. Wilmer Font – 22 – RHP – AA

After Tommy John Surgery forced Font to miss 2011, the big 6’4″ Venezuelan hurler was stuck into the bullpen in July of this last year. Font made hitters in the Texas League look stupid in 10 relief appearances striking out 29 over just 15 innings. In September, Wilmer was called up to Arlington for a few appearances where he gave up a couple of runs over two innings. I honestly don’t know where Font will begin 2013, but he may return to the starting rotation. Font has the best fastball in the the Rangers’ farm-system and he has been known to hit triple digits on the radar gun every once in awhile.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: mid to late 2013

 

4. Luke Jackson – 21 – RHP – A+

Jackson has some of the best stuff in the system but he hasn’t quite strung together an impressive full season of baseball. Last year Luke threw 129 innings split down the middle between Single-A Hickory and High-A Myrtle Beach. Jackson showed that he could make hitters swing and miss with 10 strikeouts per nine innings but he didn’t prevent runs from being scored. If Jackson can learn how to pitch like Buckel, he will easily become a better prospect than his 2010 draft-mate.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2015

Jun 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (51) throws a pitch during the fifth inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

5. Justin Grimm – 24 – RHP – MLB

Grimm will come into 2013 Spring Training as a candidate to join the Texas Rangers rotation to begin the year. If he doesn’t win that spot, he may join the bullpen as a Scott Feldman type replacement. In that role Grimm would make a couple spot starts and come into long-relief. Justin won’t strike out a ton of batters like Font and Jackson but he also won’t walk a ton of batters, that is a pretty fair trade off for a guy with one of the best curveballs in the organization.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: Graduated

 

6. C.J. Edwards – 21 – RHP – A-

Edwards may be a guy many are afraid to list as one of the best pitching prospects in the Rangers’ system, but this guy dominated batters last year and there is no reason he won’t continue growing. Edwards stands at 6’2″ but only weighs 155 lbs soakin’ wet. Edwards has a chance to fill out his body this off-season and come back to camp as a beast on the mound. After signing late out of the 2011 MLB draft, C.J. began his professional career this year with three scoreless starts in Rookie ball. In Spokane, Edwards threw 47 innings with 60 strikeouts and a 2.11 ERA.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2016

 

7. Neil Ramirez – 23 – RHP – AAA

Ramirez had what you call a “Down Year” that is all that needs to be said. But for the purpose of this, Ramirez threw OK in Frisco for the Roughriders with a 4.20 ERA. He was just inconsistent with his secondary pitches all season. Neil stopped throwing his above-average curveball at one point in time and went to a new slider. This coming Spring Training may bring a time for Ramirez to relax and become confident with both pitches along with his above average fastball.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2014

 

8. Roman Mendez – 22 – RHP – AA

With Mendez being a part of the Rangers’ 40-man roster this past year, Mendez was moved to the bullpen late in the season to see how his fastball reacted. Mendez showed pretty good stuff in Frisco in his five relief appearances for the RoughRiders. Roman allowed two earned runs in 12 innings with nine strikeouts. If Mendez can learn to repeat his motion with more regularity, he may be able to harness his fastball and lower his walks this year.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2014

 

9. Nick Tepesch – 24 – RHP – AA

Last year at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, Tepesch showed he could be a really good pitcher. He looked more like the pitcher the Red Sox drafted in 2007 out of high school. Tepesch was looked at as a possible top three rounder but his signability forced teams to take a late flier on him out of H.S. Now that the Rangers have him in their farm-system, they are hoping Tepesch makes huge strides this year. He is reaching an older age for a “prospect” at 24 and he has shown that his floor may be as low as his ceiling is high.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2014

 

10. Kevin Matthews – 20 – LHP – A

Matthews was the Rangers top pick of the 2011 MLB draft. With that pick comes huge expectations and although Matthews has shown flashes of being worthy of that pick, he still has a lot of room to grow. The small-framed lefty started all year at Hickory and he struck out eight batters per nine innings. One big problem that can be fixed is Matthews’ control. The southpaw walked seven batters per nine innings, that needs to be fixed for the young kid to keep growing into his own.

MLB Estimated Time of Arrival: 2016

 

Other pitching prospects in the Texas Rangers’ farm-system that could turn into very good pieces for the Rangers in the future….

Lisalverto Bonilla – 22 – RHP – AA

Jake Brigham – 24 – RHP – AA

David Perez – 20 – RHP – A-

Yohander Mendez – 17 – LHP – DSL

Collin Wiles – 18 – RHP – Rk

Will Lamb – 22 – LHP – A

Joe Ortiz – 22 – LHP – AAA

Jimmy Reyes – 23 – LHP – A+

Alec Asher – 21 – RHP – A-

Keone Kela – 19 – RHP – Rk

Tags: Prospects Texas Rangers

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