The Texas Rangers announced Wednesday that they have added two of their top pitching prospects to their 60-man player pool.
As of Wednesday, the Texas Rangers have added two of their top pitching prospects to their 60-man player pool in Cole Winn and Ricky Vanasco. The club announced the move via John Blake on Twitter and the addition puts two of the most exciting young arms in the organization within a sniff of the big leagues.
Winn, the Rangers’ first round draft pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, is considered by many outlets to be one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. Considered a Top 100 prospect by MLB Pipeline last season, the 20-year old features strong potential and has a four-pitch mix which should solidify his future as a big league starter. Winn made his professional debut for the organization at the Single-A level with Hickory. In 18 starts Winn went 4-4 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He racked up 65 strikeouts in 68.2 innings and finished off the season in a strong stretch of form, posting a 2.81 ERA in his final 12 starts per MLB Pipeline.
Ricky Vanasco joined Winn among the upper echelon of the Rangers’ system after a stellar 2019 campaign. Last season Vanasco split time between Low-A Spokane and Single-A Hickory and was dominant at both levels. In nine starts with Spokane the 21-year old posted a 1.85 ERA and held opponents to a .173 average. Featuring a top end fastball, Vanasco racked up 59 strikeouts in 39 innings. He kept up that pace with with Hickory throwing 10.2 innings across a pair of starts. He limited opponents on the base paths posting a 0.75 WHIP and .143 batting average against.
These are interesting moves from Texas considering that neither of these pitchers have made it to the Double-A level yet. Both were candidates to open the season at the High-A level of the organization but were both considered at least a couple of seasons away from being in the mix for a big league spot. Their addition to the 60-man player pool does offer them the chance to get continued action against a range of organizational talent which will help their development.
What’s curious though, is that to be removed from the player pool list, players have to be either traded or released if they are not going on one of the various injury or restricted lists within baseball. That means the Texas Rangers are now locked into those spots being dedicated to Winn and Vanasco unless a trade occurs. There has been no inkling of a trade in the works so it’s not time for speculation, but it seems tough to imagine Winn or Vanasco getting a look in Arlington this season. Texas values these guys highly and rightly so. Throwing them in against Major League players when they’ve almost exclusively faced Single-A opponents doesn’t seem like a wise move for their development. This is something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.