These fast-rising Rangers prospects deserve attention after hot start

Some of the Rangers top talent are crushing it at the outset of the 2024 season.
A view of a Texas Rangers baseball hat and Wilson glove
A view of a Texas Rangers baseball hat and Wilson glove / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers took some of the organization's top prospects with them to Arlington this season. Both Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford were part of the Rangers Opening Day roster and have been making their presence felt on the big league club. But there are still several talented young players down on the farm.

According to MLB Pipeline, the Rangers have the seventh-best farm system in baseball. Of course those rankings include Carter and Langford, so the Rangers will surely drop a bit once those two players "graduate" from their current prospect status.

Several Rangers' prospects have gotten off to a hot start this season. While newly cemented starter Jack Leiter is set to make his MLB debut on Thursday, a number of talented young players still remain in the Rangers farm system.

These fast-rising Rangers prospects deserve attention after hot start

Winston Santos, Rangers RHP prospect

Santos has taken the ball twice for High-A Hickory. The right-hander has a 0.84 ERA through 10.2 innings of work and has been doing so with an increased number of swings and misses. Santos has always been able to command his pitches, but relied more on pitching to contact than strikeouts.

That seems to have changed a bit during the early part of the 2024 season. Santos' ground ball rate has dropped about 10% this season from year to year, and his strikeout rate is almost 10 points higher. If this trend continues, Santos could steadily rise up through the Rangers farm system.

Gleider Figuereo, Rangers 3B prospect

Figuero is still just 19 years old, but the Rangers infield prospect does one thing very well -- gets on base. No, this isn't a scene out of Moneyball, Figuero does a great job of getting on base consistently. Walks have been Figuero's friend through the first several games of the 2024 season, as the left-handed hitting third baseman has drawn a walk in over 25% of his plate appearances.

This season, Figuero is hitting just .229, but has a .429 on-base percentage. Figuero has more walks (11) than strikeouts (8), and is trying to right the ship after a down year in 2023. He's off to a hot start in 2024, and is hoping to ride that wave of momentum to a promotion later this season. Figuero spent all last season at Low-A Down East, so the progress is real.

Aaron Zavala, Rangers OF prospect

Zavala is one of the Rangers top prospects. The 23-year-old was Texas' second-round draft pick in 2021 out of the University of Oregon, and if feels like he has been in Frisco forever, it's because he has. Zavala has spent parts of the past three seasons on the Rough Riders' roster, in part because of the arm injury he suffered in 2022.

This season, Zavala is reaching base at an unreal clip (.463 on-base percentage), but he's also striking out more than the Rangers scouts would prefer. Those strikeouts have a been problem the past two seasons, but the increased number of walks are certainly helping to mitigate the disparity.

The Rangers may want to see those strikeout numbers come down before promoting Zavala to Triple-A, but his .892 OPS despite hitting just .250 is hard to ignore. Zavala has come out of the gates hot, and the Rangers' brass is hopeful that it continues.

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