When and how the Texas Rangers will return to World Series contention

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Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON, TX – JUNE 16: (L-R) Bubba Thompson from McGill-Toolen High School, Chris Seise out of West Orange High School and right-handed pitcher Hans Crouse out of Dana Hills High School pose for a photo after the Texas Rangers announced the signings of several of the club’s top selections in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 16, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Pitching is deep and on the way

I came across a 2009 article written by ESPN’s Keith Law, titled “Rangers’ farm system second to none“. The Rangers were only a snippet within the article as the article in its entirety ranked each Major League Baseball farm system at the time. Though, guess which system was ranked #1? The Texas Rangers.

In his very first sentence regarding the Rangers, Law wrote:

"“The Rangers have far and away the best farm system in the game right now, with impact prospects, lots of depth (particularly in very young pitching) and plenty of prospects close enough to the majors to help the big league club in 2009 and 2010.”"

And further down, he wrote:

"“GM Jon Daniels has implemented a clear and consistent philosophy for baseball operations, centered on building pitching depth with an emphasis on upside, a tacit acknowledgment that pitching in Arlington requires better stuff or a stronger constitution than pitching in Seattle or Oakland.”"

Anything sound familiar? Perhaps the parts mentioning pitching depth? Pitching depth has been an obvious focus for Jon Daniels over the past two seasons. He realized (probably a little too late) how depleted the farm was of pitching prospects and he’s acted on it.

28 of the team’s 40 picks were pitchers in the 2017 MLB draft. In the 2018 draft, the Rangers selected 27 pitchers among their 40 picks. Furthermore, Texas stacked more pitching prospects prior to this year’s trade deadline. In trading Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and Keone Kela, they acquired five young arms, and two players from those trade returns have yet to be named, so there could be more.

Six of Texas’ top 10 prospects are pitchers and 15 of their top 30 are pitchers. Taylor Hearn, acquired in the Kela trade from Pittsburgh, slots in as the organization’s #7 prospect.

Daniels is employing a fail-proof plan: load the farm system with so many pitchers that at least a couple handfuls of them develop to be very good major leaguers.