The Rangers entered the 2012 season with one of the top rated farm systems in baseball. While that designation should have encouraged Rangers fans, several of the top prospects that helped them earn it have been disappointing thus far.
The Rangers top two arms at AAA Round Rock, Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez, have struggled and had ugly starts to the season. Conversely, Leonys Martin was off to a hot start before being sidelined with a thumb injury over a month ago. It’s a small window, and the prized assets of the Texas system still have tons of potential, but the important takeaway is that it is critical to stockpile as many prospects as possible throughout the system, as so many fail to fulfill the promise we hope they’ll achieve.
The Rangers re-engaged that mission last night by drafting the first three of their five total picks for the first two rounds of the Rule 4 amateur draft. Each of the five picks will come before the Angels hit the board at 114.
With the 29th pick, the Rangers selected Florida high school outfielder Lewis Brinson. According to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, Brinson may have the second-highest upside in the draft. Brinson is considered to be an athletic centerfielder with some question marks around his ability to hit offspeed and breaking pitches.
With the 39th pick, Texas drafted Nevada high school third baseman Joey Gallo. As with many top high school talents, Gallo also spent time on the pitchers mound blowing away hitters with a mid-90s fastball.
The Rangers strayed from their recent approach of drafting slightly built pitchers in the early rounds by selecting 6’ 4” Collin Wiles out of Blue Valley West High School in Kansas with the 53rd overall pick.
In all likelihood, the Rangers will have a similar, but not necessarily welcome, opportunity this time next year. Current Rangers who could net the Rangers draft picks next year include:
Of course, unlike the Oliver situation, exchanging these players for the lottery tickets which are prospects is not ideal. But, given the uncertainty surrounding the future of amateurs, Texas’ ability to continue filling their prospect pipeline should keep their farm system and Major League club at the top of the game.