Texas Rangers Prospect Radar: Cole Ragans

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 06: The Texas Rangers ground crew removes the tarp off the infield during a forty five minute rain delay before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 6, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 06: The Texas Rangers ground crew removes the tarp off the infield during a forty five minute rain delay before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 6, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images) /
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Despite Tommy John surgery, the buzz around Texas Rangers pitching prospect Cole Ragans continues to grow.

Throughout this series we’re taking a look at the Rangers top prospects according to MLB.com Prospect Watch. We’re working our way from the top to the bottom of the list. The Rangers have high hopes for pitcher Cole Ragans. Get to know Ragans here, on the Rangers Prospect Radar.

Background

The Texas Rangers drafted Cole Ragans in the 1st round, 30th overall, in the 2016 MLB Draft. The big left-hander was drafted directly out of high school and is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Rangers system. At 6’4″ and 190 lbs., Ragans has a tall lean frame that allows him to generate good power and movement.

Scouting Report

Cole Ragans is a pitcher with sound mechanics and high upside. At only 20 years old, the pitcher still has plenty of room and time for development. Ragans, a lefty, has a fastball that sits in the low-90s with plenty of movement. On the 20/80 scouting scale, Ragans has a fastball grade of 60 which means its a plus pitch. Additionally he has a plus changeup as well as an above-average curveball. The lone knock on Ragans as a pitcher is his control which is considered below average.

The consensus is that if he can develop more command, he could be a top of the rotation starter and a quality pitcher for years to come.

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Minor League Service

Ragans is missing the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery in his pitching elbow earlier this year. Prior to the surgery however, Ragans has posted two quality seasons in the minors signaling his possible future ability. He had a small sample size in Rookie Ball in 2016 appearing in 4 games with 2 starts. In 7.2 innings, Ragans posted 4.70 ERA and with 9 strikeouts.

He followed up 2016 with a good 2017 campaign in Single-A Spokane (Short Season). In 2017, Ragans made 13 starts and compiled 57.1 innings. With a 3-2 record, the lefty posted a 3.61 ERA holding hitters to a .234 average. Perhaps most impressively, Ragans struck out 87 batters in 57.1 innings. Prospect Watch mentions that he likely would have led the league in strikeout rate had he had enough innings to qualify for consideration.

Expectations

Despite Tommy John surgery, I wouldn’t expect Ragans to be delayed too much in reaching the Major Leagues. When he returns, he likely will spend most of 2019 at the Double-A level playing for Frisco. Following that, I think we can expect Ragans to start the 2020 season in Triple-A Round Rock but perhaps cracking the big league roster at some point during the season. Much like Hans Crouse who we featured last week, Ragans likely projects as a mid-rotation starter with the potential to grow into a number 2 role.

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