Baseball is back and in preparation for a shortened season the Texas Rangers released their 60-man player pool that features top prospects.
After the most arduous, baseball-less summer of many of our lifetimes, America’s Pasttime will return to the diamond this year. The Texas Rangers and the rest of the league as slated to start their 2020 season in mid-to-late July after lengthy negotiations between the league and the Player’s Association finally came to a close. As part of the plan for the 2020 season, each of the teams around the league put together a player pool comprised of 60 players who will participate in preseason training as well as be on the initial pool of players available during the season.
As with many big league clubs, the Texas Rangers opted to include some prospects on their 60-man pool, some of which are the top prospects within the organization. While these players may not feature for the club in 2020, who makes the list is a decent indication of who the Rangers think could play big roles for the club in the next season or two.
Among the notable young names on the list is the club’s top prospect Josh Jung. The 2019 draft pick, taken eighth overall by the club, was tipped as a potential quick mover through the organization and is considered by most prospect ranking systems as a Top 100 prospect in baseball. Jung spent his first season in pro ball at the Single-A level and posted a respectable .287 average and .752 OPS in 40 games. Jung fits the bill of a player who would benefit from the experience of the 60-man roster but isn’t likely to play much of a role for the team once the season begins. However, Texas clearly views him as an important piece of their future puzzle.
Joining the club’s top prospect is perhaps their second-best talent in Sam Huff. The catcher who has shown an incredible bat in his time in the minors has one of the most impressive hit tools for a prospect catcher in baseball. Huff’s 2018 season put him on the radar of prospect services and Rangers’ fans, but 2019 was when Huff really broke out. Producing 28 home runs and a .278 average in 127 games. Like Jung, Huff should feature as a key piece of the Texas Rangers future.
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Unlike the first tow on this list which are unlikely to play much of a role for the Rangers this season, Leody Taveras is a top prospect who is on the cusp of making his first real foray into the big leagues. The 21-year old center fielder is an elite defender could show up in Arlington today and be recognized as one of the better defensive outfielders in the league. The question is how well will Taveras’ bat play at the big league level with just a .694 OPS in Double-A. Taveras had an outside shot at opening the year in the big leagues during the standard Spring Training but is a virtual lock to patrol Globe Life Field at some point this season.
Right-hander Alex Speas is one of the pitching prospects on the list who should provide a bit of excitement. The 22-year old is a flamethrower who has less than 50 minor league appearances under his belt but could be the next in a long-line of hard-throwing relievers produced by the Rangers. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News put together a write up on Alex Speas earlier this week in which he noted that Keith Comstock of the Rangers organization said Speas was hitting 102 MPH. Speas was a surprising name to join the player pool list but it isn’t out of the question that he could get time in the Majors this season.
Other notable prospects on the 60-man player pool include Sherten Apostel, Anderson Tejeda, Demarcus Evans and Andy Ibanez.