The Texas Rangers future is made up of the prospects currently in the organization. Which prospect continues the rankings at #10?
As we continue this offseason into Spring Training, we’re looking at the Top 25 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization. These are the players that have performed through the 2018 season and offer the most for the club moving forward.
#10: LHP Taylor Hearn
Taylor Hearn jumpstarts the Top 10 portion of our Top Prospects list. The native Texan is one of the most highly touted prospects in the Rangers system after being acquired as the headliner in the deal that sent Keone Kela to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hearn is one of the more experienced pitchers in the Rangers organization coinciding with how high expectations are for the young starter. Hearn was drafted 3 times before finally being selected by the Washington Nationals in the 5th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
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Minor League Performance
Hearn’s first year in the minors began in 2015 when he spent time between Rookie Ball and Short-Season in the Nationals organization. Hearn made a combined 11 starts, 12 appearances in total and threw 48 innings striking out 45 hitters. A fairly successful debut in pro ball saw him post a 3.56 ERA and a strikeout rate just under 1 per inning.
In 2016 Hearn once again saw some time in Rookie Ball but also made the jump to Single-A spending time with both the Nationals and Pirates Single-A clubs. All together Hearn made 18 appearances, 7 of which were starts. His strikeout rate skyrocketed to 13.1 per 9 innings and posted a 2.44 ERA in 51.2 innings. In 2017 Hearn jumped to the Pirates High-A affiliate making 17 starts in 18 appearances. He racked up 106 K’s in just 87.1 innings and showed an improving ability to miss bats with a 1.168 WHIP.
Last season for Hearn is likely the one Rangers fans care about however as it’s the year many fans heard about the Royse City HS alum for the first time. Hearn spent all of 2018 at the Double-A level mostly with the Pirates affiliate but also got 5 starts in Frisco. In total, he made 24 starts throwing a career-high 129 innings. With the Pittsburgh affiliate, Altoona, Hearn managed a 1.087 WHIP and a 3.12 ERA. His time in Frisco was a bit rougher with a 5.04 ERA and a WHIP over 1.500.
Hearn is most noted for his overpowering fastball from his 6’5″ frame that sits mid-90’s. MLB Prospect Watch notes however that he still is working on developing his offspeed and breaking ball with neither being much above average. His changeup gains effectiveness purely because of how dominant his fastball is against minor league hitters.
Hearn did get some work in Spring Training this year making 3 appearances in relief and throwing 4 innings. He struggled giving up 5 earned runs on 5 hits a couple of which were home runs quelling any thoughts that he could be on the fast track to the big leagues. He’ll start the 2019 season with Triple-A Nashville as a part of the Sounds rotation which is where Rangers management and fans alike hope he’ll stay. There are questions about his long-term ability as a starter lacking a great arsenal of pitches but more time in the minors will give him more time to develop.