Over the last few seasons the Texas Rangers have been rebuilding their farm system after blockbuster deals drained them of their depth. Which top prospects should fans expect to see in Arlington in 2018?
According to MLBPipeline.com, the Texas Rangers top prospect is outfielder Leody Taveras. The 19-year-old switch hitter is not expected to reach Arlington until 2020. Although, the man right now behind him, Willie Calhoun is expected to be a huge part of the 2018 campaign.
The Rangers acquired Calhoun in the Yu Darvish deal with the Dodgers last season. He played in 13 games with Texas, hitting .265 with one home run and four RBIs. Calhoun hit .300 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI in Triple-A last season.
The 23-year-old should get an opportunity to earn a spot on the 25-man roster in Spring Training. After looking at his stats in the minors, Calhoun doesn’t need anymore time to develop in Round Rock. He’s expected to be a key piece to the Rangers 2018 roster.
The Rangers No. 3 prospect Ronald Guzman, shouldn’t be too far behind Calhoun. The 23-year-old hit .298 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs in 125 games in Triple-A last season. His bat is ready to take the next step, but the Rangers aren’t quite ready yet.
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Throughout his career in the minors, Guzman has played all first base and a few games in left field. Finding playing time for Guzman would be difficult with Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, and Adrian Beltre all locked down for everyday roles.
The good news is, Guzman is on the 40-man roster, but injuries and his performance in Spring Training may determine if he plays in 2018. Guzman looks ready to take the next step, but the Rangers roster might not be ready until 2019.
Another player that will likely need to earn his role in Spring Training is No. 4 prospect Yohander Mendez. The Rangers have been patiently waiting for the 23-year-old lefty to earn his spot on the big league roster.
Both his short stints to Arlington have ended in disaster, but 2018 might be his best opportunity yet. After another strong performance in the minors, the Rangers know Mendez is ready to take the next step. Finding a spot for him is going to be the hardest part.
The Rangers rotation looks locked up with veteran starters heading into 2018. One spot is open right now with Martin Perez heading to the disabled list. Perhaps, Mendez joins the rotation out of camp and forces the Rangers to find a roster spot for him.
Those three, Calhoun, Guzman, and Mendez have the most potential and likely the best chance of joining the Rangers in 2018. Other prospects such as Ariel Juarado, Jose Trevino, Connor Sadzeck, and Carlos Tocci should see time in Arlington this upcoming season as well. All four are on the 40-man roster, now they just need to earn their spot on the roster.