The Texas Rangers minor league system is loaded with young talent for the future.
The Texas Rangers have long been known for having one of the best minor league systems in baseball. Producing talented, young players has become a part of the Rangers’ identity.
16. Luke Jackson/RHP/Age: 24/Debut: 2015
Luke Jackson was signed by the Rangers in 2010 as a supplemental first rounder. Jackson already made his major league debut at the end of the 2015 season but only appeared in 7 games where he posted a 4.26 ERA and 6 strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Though Jackson has made is major league debut, he still is a young pitcher in development. He has a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 90’s and has a hard curve as his secondary pitch. Texas is still deciding on whether Jackson will be in the bullpen of a starter however he’s struggled in the Round Rock rotation so it’s looking like he’ll find himself in the bullpen. Jackson is still a few years away from his full potential but he seems to show promise moving forward into 2016.
17. Patrick Kivlehan/3B/Age: 26/Projected Debut: 2016
The Texas Rangers acquired Patrick Kivlehan in the deal that sent Leonys Martin to the Seattle Mariners. Last season, Kivlehan spent time with Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate where he hit .256 with 22 homers. His bat is a high point for the young player as he continues to develop his swing and approach to the plate. Right now, Kivlehan is a third baseman however most scouts think he’ll end up in left field or at first base. He has average speed for his size and slightly below average arm strength which would lead to his transition away from third. Kivlehan will be at Spring Training for Texas this year and fans can expect to see him with the big league club at some point during the 2016 campaign.
18. Pedro Payano/RHP/Age: 21/Projected Debut: 2018
Pedro Payano is a solid right-handed pitching prospect for the Rangers. He started 2015 in Dominican Summer League but quickly jumped up to Rookie Ball. He went 6-0 in 8 games in Rookie League posting a 1.55 ERA with 46 strikeouts. He made 4 starts in his time there so he’s getting experience as both a starter and reliever. After 8 games in Arizona he jumped to Single-A Hickory where he went 3-1 over 5 starts. His ERA stayed low at 1.10 and he added 31 strikeouts through 32.2 innings. Payano has a low-90’s fastball with a good breaking curve and solid changeup.
19. Jose LeClerc/RHP/Age: 22/Projected Debut: 2017
Jose LeClerc was signed by the Texas Rangers out of the Dominican Republic back in 2010. In the Rangers’ system he’s spend a chunk of his time as a reliever although in 2015 he made most of his appearances as a starter. He has a mid-90’s fastball that he can ramp up to 96-97 mph and a curveball that has a sharp downward break. In 2015 he posted a high 5.77 ERA in 103 innings with 98 strikeouts. Despite the elevated ERA, LeClerc shows promise especially if he can increase his command moving forward.
20. Yeyson Yrizarri/SS/Age: 19/Projected Debut: 2018
Yrizarri spent the majority of 2015 in A Spokane where he posted a .265 average and .290 OBP in 62 games. He also played 9 games up with AAA Round Rock where he hit .273/.294/.364. Yrizarri was signed by the Rangers back in 2013 and has improved to the point that he made his US debut at 17. He’s split time between shortstop and second base although currently, signs point to him staying at shortstop. He has a good bat but could still stand to develop some power at the plate. He has an above average arm which is why he makes sense at shortstop. Scouts say his swing is mature for his age as well as his approach at the plate. This is a talent Texas is fortunate to have and fans should keep an eye on his progress as he fights his way into the big leagues.
Check in tomorrow for rankings 11-15.
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