7. Kumar Rocker
The Rangers shocked all of the analysts in the 2022 MLB Draft when they took Kumar Rocker with the number three pick. They rested him the rest of the season and then let him start his career in the Arizona Fall League. He pitched fine out in Arizona. He really got his start this spring and he was assigned to High-A Hickory out of camp. Since then he has looked like the top-of-the-rotation pitcher they imagined he would be. He has a 1-1 record and a 3.63 ERA. The ERA was much lower until his last start when he allowed four runs in the fifth inning of his last start. He has 29 strikeouts to four walks on the season. He even won South Atlantic League pitcher of the week award after his first week in Hickory. Right now he just needs to work on mixing up his pitches the second and third times through the order. His slider and fastball generate swings and misses, but he has to find a way to be able to keep hitters guessing deep into games.
8. Max Acosta
Acosta has had a bumpy developmental ride the last two seasons. Prior to 2021 he was looked at as the future shortstop of the Texas Rangers and was one of their top prospects. 2022 he was assigned to his first full season assignment at Down East. It was not a bad season, but it also did not live up to expectations. He did hit, he had a .262 batting average, but hit with very little power. He had four home runs in 107 games. His slugging percentage was at just .341 for the season. The Rangers decided to challenge him this season by moving him up to Hickory. He has certainly responded. In 19 games played, he has a .353 batting average, a .936 OPS, eight stolen bases, two home runs, and he has even walked eight times. At 20 years old he has started to tap into that potential the Rangers scouts saw when they signed him back in 2019.
9. Josh Hatcher
I have to say, Hatcher is not someone that I was regularly following coming into the season. He was a 10th round pick in the 2022 draft out of Kennesaw State University. He is already 24 years old. So he is pretty old for a players in his first full season. He also is in position to move fast due to his age and collegiate experience. He struggled in Hickory at the end of the 2022 season. He has really been one of Hickory's better hitters so far in 2023. In 20 games he has a .319 batting average, has hit three home runs, and driven in 15 runs. He started off his season with hits in the first 12 games of the season and in six of those games he had multiple hits. He has just continued to hit since that streak ended. He now has a three-game hitting streak leading into Thursday night's game. The one thing I see that Hatcher needs to improve upon is cutting down his strikeouts and increasing his walk rate. Right now it is upside down as he has 22 strikeouts to six walks. Improve upon that and a call to Frisco will come soon after.