When it comes to the Texas Rangers‘ farm system, the narrative seems to revolve more around quantity rather than quality in terms of prospects.
That’s not to say that the organization lacks top-end talent, they’ve got some real studs like Josh Jung, Cole Winn and 2021 draftee Jack Leiter, as well as less heralded prospects like Justin Foscue, Sam Huff, Luisangel Acuna and even the new guys like Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith and Trevor Hauver from the Joey Gallo trade.
However, the consensus still appears to be that the Texas Rangers still lack “star power” at the highest levels of their minor league pipeline. And while that may be right (for now) it’s really the depth of this farm system (the aforementioned ‘quantity’) that will shine through for the team and allow them to protect and develop their stars in the making.
Take Andy Ibanez, Curtis Terry, Joe Barlow and more recently, Yonny Hernandez, for example. Aside from Terry, who vaulted into the organizational top-30 prospect list this season, none of those names, or the raking Yohel Pozo down in AAA Round Rock, were names that even came up on most fans’ or analysts’ radar.
The depth of the Texas Rangers’ farm system is really standing out this season
And yet that didn’t take away from all of those guys having terrific minor league campaigns in 2021 to emerge as pieces that can help the big league club, as they’re doing now.
Players like Ibanez, Terry, Barlow and Hernandez may not necessarily be viewed as building blocks, but they’re exciting, relatively young talents that can fill holes right now and even going into 2022, when the team will still be rebuilding.
It’s all about giving these types of guys opportunities to prove themselves, because otherwise the 2021 season loses much of its meaning for the Texas Rangers.
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One could argue that calling up some of the big name prospects this season would add some meaning to this rebuilding campaign, along the theme of “see what they’re made of”. Truthfully, though, these reps from Ibanez, Terry and others are just as meaningful, and certainly more so than giving those reps to Brock Holt or Charlie Culberson.
Having these players emerge and become big league contributors eliminates the need to rush the star prospects up. Why yank a Cole Winn or Josh Jung from the minor leagues when they could be developed a little bit longer thanks to Ibanez, Terry, Barlow and Hernandez?
At the very least, this depth will serve the Texas Rangers’ top prospects well down the line, ensuring that their service time clocks begin when they’re ready, not when the team feels it has a need to fill.
And who knows, maybe one or a few of these depth pieces could turn into solid MLB players for years to come.