Texas Rangers Top Prospects Prior to the Deadline: 11-20
By Kenneth Nash
20. RHP Kyle Cody
Cody was the 6th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers back in 2016. He entered the season as one of the top arms in the Rangers system but dropped due to injury struggles. At 6’7″ and 245 lbs. Cody has a strong body that allows him to generate velocity. He sits in the mid-90s predominantly but can reach back and hit the upper-90s from time to time. In 18 starts in 2017, he posted a 2.83 ERA and struck 101 through 95.1 innings. He’s developed a slider that makes for an impressive strikeout pitch and increases his versatility on the mound. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential of a middle of the rotation starter for Texas. Cody currently is assigned to the Rangers Rookie league affiliate.
19. RHP Mason Englert
The Rangers seemed to have gotten a good value with their 4th round pick in this year’s draft. Mason Englert, 18, was a standout pitcher at Forney high school before the Rangers took him this year. Texas offered him well over slot value to get him to sign but he has loads of potential. His 6’4″ frame helps him increase his velocity. With a good secondary pitch in his slider, he could stand to work on his curve and changeup which are just average at this point. If he can continue to improve his motion and command, he could become a middle of the rotation starter. Currently Englert hasn’t been assigned to a minor league level.
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18. RHP AJ Alexy
Alexy, 20, gets forgotten a bit, but he came to the Rangers as part of the Yu Darvish deal that brought Willie Calhoun to Arlington. A 2016, 11th round pick, Alexy has shown quick development since arriving to the Texas system. Sporting an above average fastball and an equally impressive curve, Alexy is fairly fresh as a pitcher as he didn’t start full-time pitching until late high school. In 2018 for Single-A Hickory, Alexy has appeared in 17 games, 15 of which were starts. He has a 4-7 record with a 4.29 ERA and 94 strikeouts through 79.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .241 against him. His development will take time, but he has the makings of a back-end rotation pitcher or a solid bullpen piece.
17. LHP Yohander Mendez
Mendez has already made headlines this season as he cracked the big league roster, but was subsequently sent down for disciplinary reasons. A 23-year old, Mendez is probably the most big league ready pitcher on this list. At 6’5″ and just 200 pounds, he still could stand to add some muscle which could help with velocity on his fastball. He’s fallen drastically in prospect rankings this year as he’s struggled. Across three minor league levels in 2018, Mendez sports a 1-8 record with a 4.87 ERA which is evidence of his fall. Currently he’s in Double-A Frisco and despite a 6.75 ERA in 2 starts, opponents are hitting just .233 against him. Hopes are that he can be a middle rotation quality starter but I think he tops out as the 5th starter in the rotation.
16. SS Jonathan Ornelas
Ornelas, 18, was the 3rd round draft pick of the Rangers in this year’s draft out of Arizona. A high upside infielder, the Rangers were able to keep him from going to Tennessee after high school. Already assigned to Rookie ball, Ornelas has impressed at the plate with a .286 average through 27 games. Of his 28 hits, 11 are for extra bases which is promising as he might have the potential to be an okay power hitter. He lacks speed which puts his career at short in jeopardy but I view him as more of a third baseman in the upper levels of baseball.