The following rankings come from a mixture of my personal observations and conversations with a number of scouts and player development officials, to whom I owe much gratitude for their time and input. I have personally seen and scouted every player on this list aside from offseason acquisitions Lisalverto Bonilla and Coty Woods.
1. Jurickson Profar, SS – Arguably baseball's top prospect, the 19-year-old Profar has the complete package of raw ability coupled with beyond-his-years maturity and game awareness, which could make him a perennial All-Star up the middle. While Profar doesn't quite match incumbent shortstop Elvis Andrus in elite defensive tools, he still projects as a plus defender with above-average range, arm strength, and instincts. Offensively, the switch-hitter has a mature swing and approach to go along with a future plus hit tool and solid-average power. At full maturity, Profar could be a .300 hitter who socks 15-20 home runs, steals 15-20 bases, and provides a rock-solid glove.
2. Mike Olt, 3B – A constant subject of trade rumors over the last two seasons, Olt is currently blocked at his natural third base position by Adrian Beltre. The UConn product projects as a plus defender at the hot corner, with good athleticism, reflexes, and an excellent arm. But for now, he may have to find somewhere else on the diamond for his offensive skills to play. Olt began working at both first base and right field last season. At the plate, the 24-year-old's biggest asset is his plus power. He'll likely always have some swing and miss in his game despite his patience and elite bat speed. However, it shouldn't keep him from becoming a solid big league power bat.
3. Martin Perez, LHP – The 21-year-old Perez is coming off an interesting 2012 season, to say the least. Although his strikeout rate diminished, he began showing a better feel for pitching with his impressive arsenal. The southpaw has two definite plus pitches: his lively low-90s fastball––reaching up to 94-96 mph––and deceptive changeup. He also mixes in a mid-70s curveball and the occasional (relatively new) slider. While Perez may not become the top-of-the-rotation force the Rangers had once hoped, he still has a good chance of becoming a solid mid-rotation starter. He must continue to refine his command and pitchability, but he's getting close to making an impact in Arlington.
|Brinson shows all five tools. b>|
5. Jorge Alfaro, C – The 19-year-old Colombian may have the highest ceiling of any catching prospect in the minors; he's also miles away from reaching that ceiling. An excellent athlete and good runner for a backstop, Alfaro shows true 80-grade arm strength from behind the dish. As a hitter, the 6-foot-2 righty flashes plus-plus raw power. Hitting .261/.320/.430 at Hickory last season, Alfaro must improve his approach at the plate. He likes to swing and gets by more on pure strength than having a plan at present. The potential is tantalizing, and 2013 will be an intriguing year for him.
6. Leonys Martin, OF – Since signing a five-year, $15.5 million deal in May 2011, Martin has split his time between Double-A, Triple-A, and the major league bench. With this offseason's departure of Josh Hamilton, Martin could get his first crack at extended big league playing time in 2013. Projecting as a solid-average regular in center field, the 24-year-old Cuban import grades out with average to solid-average tools across the board. While Martin may be major league-ready, his base running skills and routes in the outfield still have room for development.
7. Luis Sardinas, SS – Sardinas' talent is obvious, and he's consistently performed well when healthy. In 96 games with Hickory last season, he posted a .291/.346/.356 slash line with 32 stolen bases in 41 tries. The issue has been keeping the thin shortstop on the field; he's appeared in just 136 regular-season games over three professional seasons. Coming off his healthiest campaign yet, Sardinas entices scouts with his mixture of elite defensive tools and advanced skills, fantastic speed, and promising hit tool. The switch-hitter doesn't figure to be much of a power threat, but his quick bat and mature all-fields approach should enable success at the plate.
8. Nomar Mazara, OF – The Dominican Republic native headlined the Rangers' massive July 2 haul during the summer of 2011, signing for a record $4.95 million bonus. Despite his easy plus-plus raw power from the left side, Mazara entered pro ball as an extremely underdeveloped all-around talent. He made massive strides in his first season, however, reducing his big leg kick at the plate and hitting .264/.383/.448 in rookie ball. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound slugger still has a ways to go, but he showed elite talent and improved more than any young player in the system during the course of last year.
9. Ronald Guzman, 1B – Signing in the same class as Mazara, Guzman earned a $3.5 million bonus. The 18-year-old has also lived up to expectations thus far. As a pair of tall, lanky Dominican lefty hitters, the duo will likely often be compared as they move up the ladder. The two have different profiles, however. While Mazara is more of a raw power bat, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Guzman has a mature approach and a line-drive stroke that enabled him to hit .321 in rookie ball last summer. Guzman's bat also packs some punch; the question is whether that power will ultimately be more of the gap-to-gap or home run variety.
10. Justin Grimm, RHP – Grimm, 24, has gradually progressed since joining the professional ranks as a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft. Already armed with a plus fastball-curveball combination out of college, Grimm improved his mechanics and command during his first full season in 2011. Last summer, he focused on developing his changeup, and he now flashes three plus pitches, though the change remains inconsistent. If Grimm develops his third offering and continues to improve his command, he could become a mid-rotation starter. If not, his swing-and-miss fastball-breaking ball combo should play in a late-innings bullpen role.
|Gallo's raw power is elite. b>|
12. Cody Buckel, RHP – The Rangers' second-round pick in the 2010 draft, Buckel earned the organization's Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor for his performance between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last season. Polished beyond his years on the mound, the 20-year-old righty has an impressive arsenal that includes four- and two-seam fastballs, a cutter, slider, curveball, changeup, and even the occasional ‘reverse slider.' With his fastball, Buckel most often works between 89-92 mph, reaching the mid-90s in bursts. He could settle in as a back-end rotation starter (with a mid-rotation ceiling) within the next couple years.
13. Rougned Odor, 2B – Odor opened the 2012 campaign as the youngest player in a full-season league, though it was difficult to tell from his performance. The 18-year-old posted a .293/.357/.482 slash line during the first half before appearing to tire and scuffling down the stretch. Regardless, Odor is an advanced all-around player with quick hands and some strength in his 5-foot-11, 170-pound body. While he profiles as a second baseman, he's already a sound defender there and has the upside to become an everyday big leaguer at the position. Odor could see Double-A at some point in 2013.
14. Jairo Beras, OF – Last season's Jairo Beras saga ended with a bit of a compromise, but it was one the Rangers were happy to take. In the end, Texas got their $4.5 million man with a stipulation––he'd be suspended from official games for one year. However, Beras is still eligible to play in unofficial complex league games, including instructs, spring training, and extended spring. Profiling as a right fielder with plus arm strength, the 18-year-old prospect has gargantuan raw power but struggled in game action at instructs. His mid-summer 2013 destination is up in the air; the short-season Arizona or Northwest Leagues seem most likely.
15. Leury Garcia, SS – Added to the 40-man roster this offseason, the 5-foot-7 Garcia is an undersized-but-toolsy prospect. An extremely rangy middle infielder, Garcia has an easy plus arm and 70-grade speed. Some scouts believe he'll hit enough to be a defense- and speed-centric everyday big league shortstop; others remain unsold. With the Rangers, though, Garcia projects more as a super-utility type. The 21-year-old is a shortstop by trade but played lots of second base in 2012. He's also seen action at third base, center field, and right field while playing winterball in his native Dominican Republic. Even if he's not an impact player with the bat, Garcia can contribute with his glove and wheels.
16. Roman Mendez, RHP – The 22-year-old Mendez had a disappointing year in the High-A Myrtle Beach rotation before finishing with a strong stint in the Double-A Frisco bullpen. Almost certainly a reliever long-term, Mendez is at his best in short spurts out of the ‘pen. When working in relief, he features a 93-97 mph fastball with a splitter-slider mix. Mendez doesn't use the splitter when he's starting. Both of his secondary offerings flash swing-and-miss potential but are inconsistent. The Rangers may slot Mendez into the Double-A rotation to start 2013, as the club looks to iron out his offspeed stuff.
17. Wilmer Font, RHP – A big right-hander with serious velocity, Font is listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds but checks in closer to 6-foot-5, 265 lbs. After missing the entire 2011 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, he opened last season at High-A Myrtle Beach and finished it in Arlington. The 22-year-old Venezuelan relies primarily on his heavy fastball, which sits in the mid-90s and touches higher in short bursts out of the bullpen. Font's pedestrian secondary stuff and command should limit him to the bullpen long term, but his lively plus-plus fastball could make him a powerful force in the late innings.
|Jackson has swing-and-miss stuff. b>|
19. Hanser Alberto, SS – Led by his impressive hit tool, the 20-year-old Alberto is another of the Rangers' promising young middle infielders. Alberto opened last season at Single-A Hickory, where he posted a .337/.385/.463 slash line in 62 contests. He scuffled in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League during the second half but capped off his campaign by going 25-for-63 (.397) in the Arizona Fall League. Despite his highly aggressive approach, Alberto's solid pitch recognition and hand-eye coordination skills enable him to make lots of contact. When the dust settles, the 5-foot-11 prospect could have a solid-average to plus hit tool with a little gap-to-gap punch.
20. C.J. Edwards, RHP – As a 48th-round pick who signed just prior to the deadline in 2011, Edwards came out of nowhere last season, establishing himself as a legitimate prospect. He posted a 1.48 ERA between the two short-season levels in 67 innings, yielding just 32 hits and striking out 85. With long arms and legs, Edwards is a 6-foot-2 string bean who must add weight in order to maintain his velocity deep into games. He flashes legitimate stuff, including a lively fastball that worked anywhere between 89-96 mph last summer. The 21-year-old spins a potential plus curveball and showed the makings of a quality changeup at instructs.
21. Nick Williams, OF – The Rangers' second-round pick in last summer's draft, Williams is a unique prospect in many respects. Employing an up-the-middle approach with a line-drive stroke in games, the 19-year-old can be overly aggressive but shows a definite feel for hitting. His plus raw power––particularly to the pull side––comes out more in batting practice than it does in games at present. But the rest of Williams' game is very raw. Despite being a good athlete and a borderline plus-plus runner, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Texan is currently a well below-average defender and profiles in left field long term.
22. Nick Tepesch, RHP – Like Grimm, the right-handed Tepesch was an under-developed college arm who has made significant improvements since signing out of the 2010 draft. A tall, strike-throwing starter, Tepesch throws his fastball between 89-96 mph, often sitting in the middle of that range. His hard cut-slider is a plus pitch, and his curveball became a much more reliable offering last season. Still looking to find a consistent changeup, Tepesch is a high-floor prospect who projects as a number four starter. If that doesn't work out, his power fastball-cutter-curve combination could find a home in the bullpen.
23. Engel Beltre, OF – The enigmatic Beltre enters 2013 in an interesting position. While he made definite progress last year and appears to be a future big league contributor, the Rangers will almost certainly use his final minor league option this season. Time is wearing thin for the 23-year-old to make an impact in Arlington. That's not to say he can't do it, however. With outstanding range and a plus arm, Beltre is the organization's best defensive outfielder. He's also a good runner, clubbing 17 triples and stealing 36 bases in Double-A last season. His plus defensive and base running skills would play well in a reserve outfield role, though he has the talent to become more.
24. Neil Ramirez, RHP – Coming off a breakout 2011 campaign, Ramirez looked like a future second or third starter who could potentially contribute to the major league club in 2012. But the right-hander had his development slowed by a myriad of issues last season, including an inability to repeat his delivery, a slight velocity dip, and a loss of depth and bite on his once-plus curveball. After 15 Triple-A starts, the problems culminated in a 7.66 ERA––highest in the PCL at that time. There's still some hope for a rebound, as Ramirez looked healthy and showed power stuff late in the campaign at Double-A Frisco.
|Robinson is a promising left-handed bat. b>|
26. Lisalverto Bonilla, RHP – Acquired from the Phillies in the Michael Young trade, Bonilla is a relief arm with seventh- or eighth-inning potential in the big leagues. The 22-year-old isn't quite there yet, however; he'll need to refine his command and breaking ball. A Dominican righty, Bonilla posted a 1.55 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 46.1 frames between the High-A and Double-A levels last season. He features a lively 91-95 mph fastball (topping at 97) to go along with a potential plus changeup and a work-in-progress slider.
27. Yohander Mendez, LHP – After signing for a reported $1.5 million bonus in the summer of 2011, Mendez dealt with some minor injury issues before making his debut in the Dominican Summer League last year. Listed at 6-foot-5, 175 pounds, the 17-year-old lefty may be the organization's best projection arm. Mendez has plenty of room to fill out and add velocity as he matures. During instructs, his fastball sat at 86-89 mph, and he's reached up to 92 since signing. A strike thrower with a feel for pitching, the Venezuelan already shows a potential wipeout offering in his highly deceptive mid-to-upper 70s changeup.
28. Luis Marte, SS – The 19-year-old Marte followed up a dreadful Arizona League performance (.187/.224/.263) with an excellent showing at instructs. Far from totally polished, Marte also isn't as raw as last season's numbers would suggest. He has one of the system's better up-the-middle skill sets, profiling as an above-average defensive shortstop with a borderline plus-plus arm. At the plate, the 6-foot-1 Dominican is an aggressive hitter with a line-drive stroke and some present gap-to-gap pop. Marte let a slow start last summer snowball into two bad months, but he played with more confidence during the fall.
29. Jerad Eickhoff, RHP – With a chance to become a mid-rotation starter, the 22-year-old Eickhoff was arguably the most promising arm on last year's Hickory Crawdads pitching staff. A 15th-round pick out of the junior college ranks in 2011, Eickhoff is a strike thrower with a feel for pitching. At 6-foot-4 and approximately 200 pounds, he's also got a starter's body and delivery. Eickhoff works between 90-94 mph with his fastball, and he mixes in a quality cutter/curveball combination while flashing a usable changeup.
30. Victor Payano, LHP – Payano was a shell of himself down the stretch last season, as he completely wore down late in his first crack at full-season ball. After posting a 3.36 ERA in the first half with Single-A Hickory, he was tagged for 34 runs in 38 innings after the All-Star break. Still, the experience should prove beneficial for the lanky 20-year-old lefty, who's listed at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds. At full strength, Payano features a 90-94 mph fastball with a promising big-breaking curveball. He projects as a back-end starter with a mid-rotation ceiling and may see Myrtle Beach in 2013.
31. Connor Sadzeck, RHP – The 6-foot-5 Sadzeck has some of the best raw stuff in the Rangers' system; he's also yet to fully harness it, walking 47 batters in 62 innings with Spokane last summer. Sadzeck's power fastball consistently reaches the upper-90s in short bursts and sits around 92-94 mph in starts. His upper-70s, low-80s curveball is a true plus hammer when he gets on top, and his changeup has its moments, as well. Likely profiling as a reliever, the 21-year-old had issues commanding all three of his offerings with much consistency last season, but he has the tools to become an impact arm.
|West had Tommy John surgery last August. b>|
33. Alec Asher, RHP – After working as a reliever in his debut summer, the 21-year-old righty should slot into the Single-A Hickory starting rotation this season. Asher was the Rangers' fourth-round pick in last year's draft and fanned 50 batters in 35 innings with short-season Spokane. His fastball has reached 97 mph, though he works most comfortably in the 90-94 mph range while showing command to both sides of the plate. Also armed with a potential quality breaking ball, Asher must refine his changeup, but he's a somewhat polished arm who could be a fast riser.
34. Kellin Deglan, C – Projecting as a plus defender from behind the plate, Deglan impresses scouts with his catch and throw skills. The former first-round pick couples his plus arm strength with receiving skills that have consistently progressed over the last two years. The left-handed hitter has added muscle to his 6-foot-2 frame, and he shows intriguing raw power. His swing still gets a bit long, however, and he hit .234/.310/.438 while repeating at Hickory last season. At present, Deglan looks like a future big league backup with a plus glove, though he's just 20 and has the talent to become more.
35. Jake Brigham, RHP – Coming off a whirlwind 2012, Brigham hopes to settle back in with the Rangers this season. After making 21 starts at Double-A Frisco last year, the right-hander was traded to the Cubs in exchange for Geovany Soto. He made just two starts for Chicago's Double-A affiliate before going down with a season-ending elbow injury. This offseason, Brigham was flipped back to Texas in a deal for fellow prospect Barret Loux. Still possessing good stuff that includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball and plus slider, Brigham should be healthy for spring training. The 24-year-old may find an eventual home in the bullpen.
36. Zach Cone, OF – Cone, 23, has never been short on physical talent. The former supplemental first-round pick ran hot and cold during his full-season debut at Hickory last year, hitting .262/.326/.461 in 112 games. A good athlete with a big league body, Cone too often becomes a front-foot hitter, sapping some of his natural power and hurting his timing against offspeed stuff. His swing showed development in flashes last season but remained inconsistent. Defensively, Cone can play center in a pinch but is best in a corner spot, where he's a potential plus defender with an average arm.
37. Joe Ortiz, LHP – Appropriately nicknamed "Mini-Me" by his teammates, the bowling-ball statured Ortiz stands just 5-foot-7 and weighs 175 pounds. What the southpaw lacks in height he makes up for by attacking hitters with an impressive fearlessness, wielding a low-90s fastball with a plus slider. He couples the good stuff with excellent command, as he walked only nine batters in 62.2 minor league innings last season. Ortiz was added to the Rangers' 40-man roster in November. After limiting Double- and Triple-A lefties to a .214/.222/.398 slash line with a 26 percent strikeout rate last season, the Venezuela native could force his way into the Rangers' lefty relief discussion at some point this year.
38. Jordan Akins, OF – The ultra-raw but supremely talented Akins is coming off a disastrous season at Single-A Hickory, hitting .199/.224/.323 with just 12 walks and a whopping 162 strikeouts in 120 contests. A former Division I football recruit, the 6-foot-3 Akins has outstanding physical tools across the board, including his athleticism. At the plate, he can put on impressive displays of power when he squares the ball up. That didn't happen often last season, however. The 20-year-old outfielder has impressed in flashes as a pro, but he too often appears lost at the plate. Akins may be a long-shot prospect, but given his talent, the Rangers will continue giving him chances to figure it out.
|Kela flashes big-time velocity. b>|
40. Justin Miller, RHP – Miller is something of a wild card prospect, as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery in 2013. Despite missing all of last season, the right-handed reliever is on the Rangers' 40-man roster because of his impressive 2011 campaign. That season, Miller flashed a 93-96 mph fastball that flirted with the upper-90s, in addition to a solid-average mid-80s slider. The 25-year-old hurler hasn't suffered any setbacks in his rehab, and is targeting a mid-to-late April return to game action. If he maintains the power stuff post-surgery, he could pitch in Arlington this season.
41. Eduard Pinto, OF – The 18-year-old Pinto may have been a bit of a bargain for the Rangers, who signed him for a reported $350,000 out of Venezuela in 2011. Listed at 5-foot-9, 164 pounds, Pinto lacks the upside of some of the system's top prospects, but he can flat-out hit. Pinto won the Dominican Summer League batting title last summer, hitting .396 in 56 games. He also drew 31 walks and fanned just 13 times. After continuing to impress with a strong performance at fall instructs, the outfielder could make the jump to Spokane this summer.
42. Nick Martinez, RHP – An infielder at Fordham University, Martinez was selected by the Rangers in the 18th round of the 2011 draft, and he converted to the mound full-time that summer. It's safe to say the switch has been beneficial. Listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Martinez isn't a big, projectable arm, but he does have a chance to stick as a starting pitcher. The righty is a good athlete with a clean, repeatable delivery and arm action. He shows an ability to locate and mix his four-pitch arsenal, which includes a low-90s fastball, slider, curveball, and a new changeup that flashed plus last season.
43. Collin Wiles, RHP – The 18-year-old Wiles is all about projection. Checking in at 6-foot-4, 187 pounds, the native Kansan was the 53rd overall pick in last year's draft. He struggled in the rookie Arizona League last summer, as his 86-89 mph fastball too often lived around the belt. The Rangers believe his velocity will increase as he adds bulk to his tall frame. Despite his struggles, the right-hander spun a promising curveball with tight spin––his most developed pitch at this time––and featured an advanced changeup. The projection for strong secondary stuff is there, though his fastball will need to catch up as he matures.
44. Randy Henry, RHP – Henry finished last season in the Myrtle Beach starting rotation but ultimately profiles as a reliever. Acquired from Baltimore in the Taylor Teagarden trade last offseason, the 22-year-old Henry attacks hitters with a lively repertoire. Inconsistent changeup aside, everything he throws has cutting action, including his low-90s fastball and mid-80s slider. The 6-foot-3 righty toyed with a change and curveball as a starter last season, but he was at his best in relief while pitching aggressively off the fastball-cutter-slider mix. Henry should pitch at Double-A Frisco this season.
45. Kelvin Vasquez, RHP – A former outfielder, Vasquez transitioned to the mound in 2011 and broke out while pitching in the Dominican Summer League last season. With a 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame and a live arm, the 19-year-old hurler is one of the system's more intriguing little-known prospects. He ran his fastball up to 96 mph last summer and worked between 89-94 during the Rangers' fall instructional league. While at instructs, Vasquez threw strikes and flashed a promising 78-80 mph slider and displayed some feel for his changeup. He should make his state-side debut as a starting pitcher in 2013.
46. Jared Hoying, OF – Although Hoying hasn't posted big numbers since earning Northwest League MVP honors with Spokane in 2010, the 23-year-old performed well last season and could carve out a career as a fourth outfielder. A good athlete with an above-average arm, he can play all three outfield positions but is at his best on the corners. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound lefty hitter also has excellent bat speed with some raw juice. Hoying's stats haven't quite matched his raw talent, though he did make strides in improving his swing mechanics last summer.
|Valdespina is a big righty with a big fastball. b>|
48. David Perez, RHP – After undergoing Tommy John surgery late last July, Perez will miss at least a significant chunk of the 2013 campaign. Still just 20 years old, Perez has time to right the ship, but his developmental path has taken a significant nosedive since mid-season 2011. During extended spring that year, the 6-foot-5 righty looked like a front-line prospect, showing impressive command of a 92-96 mph fastball and future plus curveball. His myriad of issues since––injuries, inability to repeat his delivery, and the like––have led to decreased velocity and a sky-high walk rate. The problems have appeared to be as much mental as physical, and the Rangers hope their high-ceilinged prospect can sort things out while he's on the shelf.
49. Coty Woods, RHP – Selected by Texas in December's Rule 5 Draft, Woods must remain in the major leagues all season, otherwise he'll be offered back to the Rockies. Of course, the Rangers could always work out a trade for Woods, which would allow the club to option him to the minor leagues. The 24-year-old righty profiles as a middle reliever, attacking hitters from a deceptive low arm slot. He features good velocity for a sidearmer, working between 87-92 mph with some sink to go along with a slider and changeup. Woods will compete for a right-handed middle relief job this spring.
50. Chris Grayson, OF – A 13th-round pick from the NAIA's Lee University in 2011, Grayson is an outfield prospect with some intriguing tools, including plus-plus speed and a quick bat. The 23-year-old performed well between the Low- and High-A levels last season, hitting .249/.360/.423 with 34 stolen bases in 42 attempts. Grayson's quick, strong hands from the left side enable him to catch up with plus velocity. He's a pedestrian defender with a below-average arm, though he has the wheels and athleticism necessary to improve with more experience. Grayson profiles best in left field but has the ability to play all three outfield spots in a pinch.