An MLB team’s farm system is their up-and-coming talent. For the Texas Rangers, their farm system is looking to help improve the Rangers standing from the 2021 season. After a rough 2021 season, the Rangers are looking to use their farm system to help them build on what they currently have. Some teams prefer to use the free-agent market or even trade players. but some teams should switch their focus to their farm system. The Rangers should have some of their prospects come up for the 2022 season.
The Texas Rangers finished the 2021 MLB season 60-102, second-worst in the American League, and third-worst in the entire league. According to MLB Pipeline, the Rangers are the 11th ranked farm system. Texas has five great prospects that can impact the league within the next three years. Being ranked the 11th farm system in MLB shows that the talent the Rangers have coming up can be instrumental in helping the Rangers get back into contention for the World Series crown. The Rangers’ farm system could be beneficial in helping the Rangers this upcoming season, but it may not be enough to get them into the playoffs this year.
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1. Jack Leiter, RHP
Leiter was drafted second overall in the 2021 draft. He also signed for $7,922,000, which was a Rangers franchise record and the fourth-highest bonus in draft history. Leiter currently has not played due to just being drafted in 2021. He played for Vanderbilt in 2020-2021. In 2021, he went 11-4, 2.13 earned run average, started 18 games, and had one shutout. He had 179 strikeouts, pitched in 110 innings, and averaged 2.45 runs allowed per nine innings.
His strikeout is one of his better pitches, where he has it topped off at 97. His curveball has a great 12-6 curve that breaks at the right moment. He stands at 6-foot-1 and has a decent sound delivery. Leiter did not have to throw his changeup much but will most likely have to incorporate more during his time in professional ball. He will still have to work on improving his cutter as well, but primarily his changeup will need to utilized more as well.
Leiter will most likely start out 2022 in either High-A or Double-AA. Getting drafted in 2021 will have him most likely getting to the majors by 2024. It takes about 2-3 years to make it to the majors and since Leiter was drafted second overall, he is closer to the league than most other prospects.
2. Josh Jung, 3B
Jung was one of the better hitters that came out of his draft class and is considered the best position player in Texas Tech baseball history. He was drafted eighth overall in the 2019 draft. Jung also has tremendous plate vision by recognizing pitches well. He is great with battling pitchers to have lengthy at-bats. He signed a $4.4 million deal with the Rangers. In 2021, Jung spent his time in Frisco and Round Rock.
He had a batting average of .326, a slugging percentage of .592 over 342 plate appearances and 304 at-bats. He also had 99 hits, 61 runs batted in, 19 home runs, and one triple in 2021. Jung started his minor league career in Hickory in 2019 with a .287 batting average, .389 slugging percentage, 45 hits, and one home run. The 6’2″ third basemen looks to make an impact with the Rangers sooner than later.
Jung will most likely make it to the MLB in 2022, but might start out in Triple-A come April. Jung could make it to the MLB come July-August, but the Rangers may not be in contention for a run in the playoffs so this would be a great opportunity for Jung to get some experience and get some solid at-bats.
3. Cole Winn, RHP
Winn was drafted in 2018 15th overall. He earned Gatorade Player of the Year in two different states (Colorado in 2017 and California in 2018). He was drafted out of high school and was one of the best pitching prospects coming out of the 2018 draft class. Winn has a lot of potential ahead of him to be one of the best pitchers to come out of the 2018 class. He signed for $3.15 million when he was drafted.
Unfortunately, he struggled during the first month after making his debut in May 2019. Winn finished the 2019 season strong and in 2021, he went 4-3 with a 2.41 ERA. He had 107 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched. The California native MiLB totals are an 8-7 record, 3.32 earned-run-average, 172 strikeouts, and 154.2 innings pitched. He only has two years of MiLB experience and looks to have another positive record come 2022.
Winn looks to make it to the majors in 2022. If he does indeed make it to the league in 2022, he could start out as the fourth or fifth starter in the rotation. He can make his way up slowly in the rotation if he shows that he has a strong start in the minors beforehand.
4. Justin Foscue, 2B
Foscue was the 14th overall pick in the 2020 draft to $3.25 million. After leading Mississippi State to the College World Series twice, his draft stock rose. Foscue has great strength and his bat speed has increased leading him to become a better batter. Known for being a pull-hitter, Foscue can become a consistent home-run hitter. He is not known for being fast around the bases but has great fielding ability. He looks to be an instant impact when he does indeed make it to the show.
One of the biggest challenges of being an infielder is having a great fielding ability, but Foscue is superb at turning double plays. Some of the great infielders are also solid hitters and Foscue can be a decent infielder just like Adrian Beltre. Obviously, it’ll take some time for Foscue to be at that level, but he can get there with the right mindset. It will take a few years to get to that sort of level.
Foscue can make it to the majors around 2023. He may get some playing time in September as most MLB teams call up players for their September call-ups. September is a great time for teams to get a look at what their future looks like. Foscue could get called up earlier, but it all depends on how the season goes for the Rangers.
5. Josh Smith, SS
Smith was drafted out of college in 2019. He was taken in the second round at 67th overall. Players drafted after the first round usually take longer to make it to the majors, but Smith can make it in the next few years. Spending two years (as the 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic) in the minors has helped Smith mature. He’ll most likely be one of the prospects to make the jump the earliest to the majors.
Yes, there are four other prospects higher than him, but Smith has the most time spent in the minors currently makes him the best prospect to make the jump the earliest. Smith had a decent year in 2021 with a batting average of .309 and .964 OPS. He also had 41 runs batted in and 13 home runs. He also tallied in 26 stolen bases as well in 2021. Smith is a solid batter and fielder, a great all-around player.
Smith looks like to make it to the majors in 2022. One of the most experienced prospects in the Rangers organization, Smith can be a solid addition to the Rangers bench. Being one of the Rangers’ top prospects will give him some playing time, but he may take time to jump into the starting lineup.
What Does The Future Hold?
Outside of the top five, the Rangers have a number of position players who could move up after the graduation of Smith and Jung. Some of those prospects are infielders Luisangel Acuna and Maximo Acosta, and outfielder Evan Carter. Ezequiel Duran is another name who should be in the majors this season. The infielder made his major league debut last year after being traded to the Rangers from the Yankees in the Joey Gallo trade.
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