Mark Anderson's Top 20 Rangers Prospects

Each year, Senior Minor League Analyst Mark Anderson ranks the game's top 300 prospects in the FOX Sports Fantasy Baseball Guide. In this guest feature, Mark chimes in with his personal ranking of the Texas Rangers' top 20 prospects.

1. Martin Perez, LHP – Any nonsense about Perez's prospect star taking on some tarnish in 2010 is just that, complete nonsense. At various times in the last couple of years, Perez has showed three above-average to plus pitches and exceptional makeup. He has number two starter potential, and easily tops this list for me. Another tour through Double-A should yield better results in 2011 and by this time next year, Perez could be a lot closer to the big leagues.

2. Tanner Scheppers, RHP – Though there is much debate about his ultimate big league role, there is little doubt about his raw talent. As a starter, he needs some polish and could fit nicely in the middle of the Rangers rotation, but as a reliever he is big league ready and could fit nicely with Neftali Feliz, throwing bee-bees at the back of the bullpen.

3. Jurickson Profar, SS – Tons of "now" tools with a teenager can almost be alarming at times, and it takes extreme focus to keep from dreaming too big. Profar's game doesn't have a ton of projection remaining, but it is hard to envision a scenario where he doesn't morph into a solid big leaguer up the middle. His full-season debut will be highly anticipated and by the end of 2011, a clearer picture may be presented about what he is actually capable of becoming.

4. Engel Beltre, OF – Maybe the highest ceiling of any position player in the system, Beltre just has to turn raw tools into results. He should stay in the middle of the outfield, which takes some pressure off his bat, but his approach must improve if he is going to realize even a fair fraction of his potential. He could be an outfield regular once he adds polish to his game.

5. Robbie Erlin, LHP – It's absolutely impossible to argue with the early results that Erlin has posted, and when looking into the crystal ball it's all a matter of what he can do to keep improving his game. With spectacular command of three average or better pitches, he has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, but he will have to prove that the combination works against more advanced hitters.

6. Jake Skole, OF – Skole's game centers on the explosive potential of his bat. He shows good defensive skills but he is unlikely to maintain his already fringy speed, which will force him to a corner long term. While that will put added emphasis on his bat, he has the potential to reach an offensive ceiling befitting either outfield corner. The big question for him will be improving pitch recognition to get into situations where he can unleash on the ball.

7. Michael Kirkman, LHP – Starter or reliever? That is the question that remains to be answered with respect to Kirkman. He has the arsenal to start, but he lacks the command of any of his pitches to truly excel in the role; something that would become less of an issue in relief. He has two above-average to plus pitches in his fastball and slider, along with two more usable pitches and a delivery that provides added deception. He could be a number three/four starter or quality seventh inning guy.

Olt has a good glove and raw power.
8. Mike Olt, 3B – Olt is an aggressive hitter that will always have some swing-and-miss in his game, but he understands the strike zone and has enough power to potentially hit 25 home runs at his peak. He is a positive in the field where he can make all the plays and has more than enough arm for third base. There isn't much that Olt is going to add to his game at this juncture, and he could move quickly through the system.

9. Miguel de los Santos, LHP – Though he's a little late getting started up the ladder, De Los Santos offers an intriguing three-pitch mix and enough ceiling that if you dream you can see a mid-rotation starter. His fastball is an above-average pitch, sitting at 90-92, though he lacks the ability to command it consistently. His change-up is a true weapon with sink and fade and it is effective against both lefties and righties. If the art of pitching clicks for him, he could see multiple levels of the system in 2011.

10. Luis Sardinas, SS – A bit of a boom or bust type, Sardinas has the potential for four average or better tools, lacking only the ability to hit for power. He is a true burner that could be a weapon at the top of a lineup. Though he makes some mistakes in the field, he shows the instincts, quickness, and overall actions to be as much as a plus defender at shortstop.

11. Luke Jackson, RHP – Far more athlete and thrower than pitcher right now, that doesn't mean there isn't reason to keep an eye on Jackson. He has arm strength to spare and can reach as high as 96 at times. Though he throws both a curveball and change-up, neither pitch rates better than below-average right now. He is a premium athlete with a good frame that oozes projection.

12. Robbie Ross, LHP – Constantly knocked for his relatively small frame, Ross continues to show solid stuff and exceptional command. Some scouts knocked him for not working down in the zone enough but they did not feel it was a long term concern. His ceiling maxes out as a number three starter, with a higher likelihood he fits in the back of the rotation or bullpen.

13. Matt Thompson, RHP – Thompson has come on strong since signing for a six-figure bonus in 2008, and he could be on the verge of a monster breakout in 2011. His numbers don't tell the complete story right now, as he has the makings of a very nice three-pitch repertoire. His fastball can be a bit true at times, but at least one scout I spoke with was optimistic that he could add something to it to help him out. His curveball is a potential out pitch, and his change-up shows promise as a potential average third offering.

14. Roman Mendez, RHP – Mendez tends to fly a bit under the radar of many prospect watchers, particularly after he missed much of the second half of 2010 due to injury. If healthy in 2011, his mid-90s heater and slider that shows as a plus pitch at times should get him more attention. If you dream big you can see a number two starter or an electric closer, but he has a lot of development remaining to realize that ceiling.

Perez should develop big-time velocity.
15. David Perez, RHP – Speaking of players with a lot of development remaining, Perez is a long way from the big leagues, but he made some big strides in 2010 that should have him on the radar going forward. The tall, teenaged right-hander showed a fastball that reached as high as 94 mph in 2010, and his breaking ball begin to show increased sharpness and potential.

16. Wilmer Font, RHP – Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2010 season clouds Font's future quite a bit, but it is hard to completely write him off at this point. The massive right-hander has shown true plus-plus velocity in the past, along with a curve and change-up that could make him a stalwart in the middle of the rotation. It may be 2012 before he's truly back to form, at which point he could start climbing this list again.

17. Fabio Castillo, RHP – Yet another Rangers pitching prospect with a live arm and a potential plus to plus-plus fastball, Castillo works consistently at 93-94 and can ramp it up to 97 when he needs a little extra. His slider made huge strides in 2010 and became a reliable second pitch. Despite his big time velocity, Castillo's middling command and only solid second pitch might restrict him to more a seventh or possibly eighth inning role at his best.

18. Eric Hurley, RHP – Hurley's career has been filled with a myriad of injuries, and it may be a bit bold to put so much stock in his strong finish in the Arizona Fall League. However, he did show an above-average fastball to go along with his slider and change-up, and according to scouts he was mixing well and showing more refinement than he has in the past. Hurley could reach the big leagues as a reliever in 2011, and that change in role could actually help him stay healthy long enough to contribute.

19. Jorge Alfaro, C – Alfaro's hand injury caused him to have a bit of a lost year developmentally, but the scouts that did see him in 2010 were still very impressed with his raw tools. He has a great catcher's frame with a strong arm and he has taken to the position quickly. He has the potential to have true plus power down the line, and some scouts even felt he showed enough of a feel for hitting that he could be an average hitter. It will take a while for Alfaro to turn his tools into game useable skills, but he just might be worth the wait.

20. Justin Grimm, RHP – Grimm is not a typical polished college pitcher; quite the opposite actually. There are many relatively minor flaws that Grimm will have to improve on as a pro if he is to get the biggest benefit out of his lively fastball that can work in the 92-93 range and touch 95. Many scouts believe he is a reliever long term.

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