My top 72 Texas Rangers prospects.

 

My
top 72 Rangers prospects, as laid out (with detailed commentary on each player)
in the 2009 Bound Edition – which was released less than four weeks ago but has
already had more copies sold than any of the previous nine books, thanks to you
all:

 

 

1. Derek Holland, LHP

 37. Zach Phillips, LHP

2. Neftali Feliz, RHP

 38. Johnny Whittleman, 3B

3. Justin Smoak, 1B

 39. Manny Pina, C

4. Michael Main, RHP

 40. Tomas Telis, C

5. Elvis Andrus, SS

 41. Jared Hyatt, RHP

6. Taylor Teagarden, C

 42. Joseph Ortiz, LHP

7. Martin Perez, LHP

 43. Jake Brigham, RHP 

8. Max Ramirez, C

 44. Geuris Grullon, LHP

9. Engel Beltre, OF

 45. Joaquin Arias, IF

10. Blake Beavan, RHP

 46. Chad
Tracy,
1B-OF 

11. Julio Borbon, OF

 47. Andrew Laughter, RHP

12. Neil Ramirez, RHP

 48. Mark Hamburger, RHP

13. Wilfredo Boscan, RHP

 49. Mike Ballard, LHP 

14. Eric Hurley, RHP

 50. Mike Bianucci, OF 

15. Kasey Kiker, LHP

 51. Kyle Ocampo, RHP 

16. Wilmer Font, RHP

 52. Tim Smith, OF 

17. Omar Poveda, RHP

 53. Jose Felix, C

18. Jose Vallejo, IF

 54. Brennan Garr, RHP

19. Tommy Hunter, RHP

 55. Matt West, 3B

20. Joe Wieland, RHP

 56. Joey Butler, OF 

21. Mitch Moreland, 1B-OF-LHP

 57. Evan Reed, RHP

22. Tim Murphy, LHP

 58. Leonel De Los Santos, C

23. Kennil Gomez, RHP

 59. Glenn Swanson, LHP

24. Robbie Ross, LHP

 60. Miguel De Los Santos, LHP

25. Doug Mathis, RHP

 61. Ben Harrison, OF

26. Fabio Castillo, RHP

 62. Richard Bleier, LHP

27. Cristian Santana, OF

 63. Josh Lueke, RHP

28. Carlos Pimentel, RHP

 64. Ian Gac, 1B

29. Clark Murphy, 1B

 65. Steve Murphy, OF

30. Thomas Diamond, RHP

 66. David Paisano, OF

31. John Mayberry Jr., OF

 67. Michael Schlact, RHP

32. Marcus Lemon, 2B

 68. Emerson Frostad, C-IF

33. Renny Osuna, IF

 69. Juan Polanco, OF

34. Beau Jones, LHP

 70. Jared Bolden, OF-1B

35. John Bannister, RHP

 71. Tanner Roark, RHP

36. Corey Young, LHP

 72. Reinier Bermudez, RHP

 

 

A few notes:

 

Only players who still have rookie
eligibility were considered, which is why Chris Davis, Matt Harrison, and
Warner Madrigal, for example, don’t show up.

 

Free agents at the time I went to
print (examples: A.J. Murray, Brian Gordon, Bill White, and Kendy Batista) were
not considered.  Neither were Pedro Strop
or Greg Golson or Guillermo Moscoso or Carlos Melo, each of whom was acquired too
late to include in the book’s rankings. 
(Similarly, John Mayberry Jr. shows up on the list.)

 

Neither was 27-year-old righthander
Casey Daigle, the veteran of 20 big league appearances for Arizona whom
Baseball America
reports has signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.  If there wasn’t already enough pressure on the
two-year-old son of Casey and his wife – the Most Famous Softball Pitcher in
the World Jennie Finch – the couple named him
Ace Shane Daigle.

 

Twenty-three-year-old righthander
Ryan Tatusko was eligible, but he wasn’t mad enough about the snub to refuse to
carry the torch lit by Spike Lundberg in 2000 and later passed on to John
Hudgins, C.J. Wilson, Jason Andrew, and most recently Michael Schlact.  Ryan, who pitched for Spokane
in 2007 and Clinton
in 2008, has agreed to write a Minor Leaguer’s Diary for the Newberg Report.  He’ll kick it off as spring training gets
underway, and if you’ve ever met Ryan, you know this is gonna be good.

 

I was the only one among all the national
publications and local papers and blogs to have Chris Davis number one this
time last year (see http://rangers.scottlucas.com/site/08prospects.htm
for a rundown of everyone’s rankings).  I’m
not going to be alone having Derek Holland number one this year, but I’ll be in
the extreme minority. 

 

To me, the first tier of this group
goes seven deep.

 

And yet you could probably make an
argument that the players who sit at eight, nine, 10, and 11 could conceivably be
the number one prospect in some other organization.

 

There are lots of reasons to get
excited about the names on this list.  Here’s
one we don’t talk about enough: With the notable exception of Justin Smoak, who
one year from now could find himself on lists of the best 10 prospects in
baseball, notice that every player in the top 20 above fits the “strength up
the middle” model.

 

The biggest jumps from my Top 72 a year
ago are Martin Perez (from 55 to 7), Derek Holland (40 to 1), and Wilfredo Boscan
(39 to 13), three pitchers who didn’t appear on
BA‘s top 30
list or anyone else’s list this time last year. 
Who could make that dramatic a leap in 2009, moving from column two to
the top half of column one? 

 

Tough to predict, of course, since
not an inning has been played since I decided to put the column two players in
column two, but let’s go with Richard Bleier, Tomas Telis, Mike Bianucci, and
Tim Smith, plus two righthanders who weren’t on my list at all – Melo (who was
acquired in the Gerald Laird trade but probably would have landed somewhere in
the late 30’s for me) and Matt Thompson, the 2008 seventh-rounder whose
8.1-inning introduction to pro ball (11.88 ERA, .481 opponents’ average, seven wild
pitches) was rough but whose upside began to show itself at Fall Instructs.

 

Happy New Year to you and those
close to you.  Thanks for helping make
2008, for me, easily the most rewarding year yet for the Newberg Report. 

 

 

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

 


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