Texas Rangers Add Top Prospects to 60-Man Player Pool
By Kenneth Nash
A trio of the Texas Rangers top prospects have been added to the club’s 60-man player pool and are headed to their Alternate Training Site.
On Tuesday the Texas Rangers continued their efforts to develop some of their young talent when they added a trio of their top prospects to their 60-man player pool and assigned them to their alternate training site. The club had already added pitching pair Cole Winn and Ricky Vanasco to the player pool.
The newest prospects added are OF Steele Walker, OF Bubba Thompson and INF Davis Wendzel. All three are now eligible to play for the Rangers this season if they are added to the club’s standard 40-man roster. At this moment in time, none of the three are on the 40-man roster.
OF Steele Walker
Steele Walker is a recent addition to the Texas Rangers organization having joined the club this past offseason as the return in the trade that sent Nomar Mazara to the Chicago White Sox. The versatile outfielder ranks 12th in the Rangers’ farm system per MLB Pipeline and 20th per FanGraphs.
He hasn’t played above High-A in his pro career but between Single-A and High-A last year in the White Sox organization he hit an impressive .284 in 120 games. Walker has good contact skills at the plate is an average defender. Long-term he looks to profile as a left fielder.
OF Bubba Thompson
Thompson is arguably one of the best athletes in the Rangers organization but injuries have regularly delayed his development. MLB Pipeline has Thompson as the #15 prospect in the system but regularly had him in the top 10 prior to this season. FanGraphs has Thompson has the 33rd prospect in the organization. Texas took the outfielder in the first round of the 2017 draft but he has yet to play above the High-A level.
Last year with Down East the speedy outfielder hit just .178 in 57 games and was likely going to repeat that High-A level before the minor league shutdown. Thompson still has a high ceiling based a lot on his physical tools but he needs a lot of refinement before he hits the big league level.
INF Davis Wendzel
One of the Rangers first picks of the 2019 MLB Draft, Wendzel joined Texas after a standout collegiate career at Baylor. The 41st overall pick, Wendzel has the ability to play throughout the infield although a lot of his time in baseball has been spent at third base.
MLB Pipeline has Wendzel as the #11 prospect for Texas while FanGraphs has him 18th. He has above average fielding grades and a good hit tool though power will remain a question mark with him. He made his pro debut for Texas last season but a thumb injury limited him to just seven games. Getting him to the alternate training site will allow the Rangers more hands on development with the 23-year old.
Could We See Any In The Majors This Year?
Never say never but it seems unlikely any of this trio cracks the Majors in 2020. None are on the 40-man roster so a spot would have to be created before they could be added. Going against any of this group being added to the 40-man this year is the fact that none of them are Rule 5 eligible meaning they don’t have to be protected on the 40-man.
If one of these three did see playing time with the Rangers this year it would likely be Steele Walker who of the three seems the most advanced. He’s had the most playing time at the highest level of the trio. Thompson still needs work and development and wasn’t likely to make it Double-A this season. Wendzel could have been a quick mover but was still not going to start the year above Single-A in a normal season.