Texas Rangers Minor League Update

by Josh Stevens
Texas Rangers Minor League Update

Welcome to our Texas Rangers Minor League Update!

Teams often take different paths to winning championships. Some “sell out” for the ring, sacrificing their future by trading away young stars. The 2018 Red Sox and 2019 Nationals are examples of this.

Other teams build teams to “win now” and prepare for the future. These teams always seem to stay at the top, as they bring in top prospects to replace any big names that may walk. The 2017/2021 Astros and 2020 Dodgers are great examples of this.

The defending champion Rangers have hopes of falling into the latter, more desired category. Although he has since graduated, Evan Carter, the three hole on the 2023 championship team, was a prospect to begin the 2024 season, a great sign for the Rangers.

However, the Rangers have fallen short of expectations so far in 2024. While a weak AL West has the Rangers just outside of first place despite hovering around .500, they desperately need  the bats of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis Garcia to wake up. Fortunately, Texas has a lot of promise in the Farm System.

Texas Rangers Minor League Update

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The Studs

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(All rankings next to players' names are their current consensus prospect rankings in the Texas system as well as overall.)

Wyatt Langford, OF, (1st in TEX/4th in MLB)

Langford, among the top outfield prospects on my preseason rankings, started the season in the mlb for the Rangers.

Langford had an amazing run at UF, capped off with leading his squad to the College World Series Finals. In 2023, Langford hit .357 while belting 21 homers in only 57 games, good for an OPS near 1.300.

This fantastic play vaulted him into the fourth pick of the draft, where he was scooped up by the eventual champs.

Langford’s experience sprung him straight into high-A ball, where he proved to be too good for the competition, hitting .333 with an OPS of 1.097, and stealing seven bases in just 24 games.

Langford made it all the way to AA after being drafted. He still excelled there, hitting an absurd .405 with four homers in just ten games

However, Langford has ran into some roadblocks this year. He is only hitting .224 with an OPS under .600. He also hasn’t seen a ball leave the yard yet, as his lone homer was an inside the Parker.

However, I’m an optimist (not to mention a gator), so it’s nowhere near time to panic with Langford yet. The Rangers are letting him go through growing pains at the big league level. Langford is talented enough to come out on the other side with a 20/20 season in the near future.

Justin Foscue, IF, (3rd in TEX)

Foscue is currently on the 60-day IL with an oblique injury, so don’t expect instant results. However, if you have a place to stash him, Foscue is a tantalizing middle infield prospect.

The Mississippi St product enjoyed a solid career in the SEC before rising through the ranks in the minors. Foscue went from rookie ball to AA in 2021. In a full season at AA in 2022, Foscue broke out with a .288 average, 31 doubles, and 15 homers. While there were expectations of Foscue advancing to AAA, the presence of Semien and Josh Jung let the Rangers take their time in his development.

It was more of the same production-wise for Foscue in 2023. Although his average dipped to .265, he once again drilled 31 doubles, while increasing his homer total to 18.

Even more impressive, Foscue, unlike many other young players, has a great eye at the plate. He drew 85 walks in 122 AAA games last year, good for an OBP 120 points higher than his batting average. My rule for a good, patient hitter is +100.

While it’s a little disheartening to have to wait until an age 26 season for a full season of Justin Foscue in the majors, it is clear that he has all of the tools to succeed.

How Long Can You Wait?

Sebastian Walcott, IF, (2nd in TEX/78th in MLB).

Sebastian Walcott isn’t expected to crack the big leagues until 2026 at the earliest, but the upside is so tantalizing.

Mlb.com declares  that “Some scouts believe Walcott could become the best player ever from the Bahamas, an emerging source of baseball talent.”

“He has a lightning-quick right-handed stroke with plenty of leverage, already can smoke balls in excess of 110 mph and could produce 30 or more homers per season when he adds some projectable strength and settles down his approach. He has the hand-eye coordination to make consistent contact but looks to pull and launch almost every pitch he sees.”

All of this potential and Walcott was born in 2006. I bet you feel old, don’t you? At just 18 (and 17 at the start of Spring Training), Walcott is already in A+ ball. While he’s struggling to the tune of a .176 average, he has plenty of time to learn and grow. Most Americans his age are seniors in high school!

If you have the patience to stash Walcott, it could be a great investment for you. The talented middle infielder could hit the MLB as just 20 or 21, making an impact at such a young age.

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Kumar Rocker, RHP, (4th in TEX).

There is no denying the talent with Kumar Rocker. He became one of college baseball’s biggest stars in recent memory back in 2021, where he struck out 179 guys in 121 innings at Vanderbilt.

Following that season, a medical mishap for Rocker scared the Mets away after they drafted him. Rocker ended up in Texas during the 2022 draft.

Rocker’s minor league career has been more of the same. When he’s healthy enough to pitch, he’s been fantastic, striking out 92 batters in 62 innings.

However, there lies the problem. 62 innings since 2022; and none so far in 2024. While it’s not time to label Rocker too injury prone to trust, it’s certainly heading in that direction.

However, if you’re patient enough, Rocker will pay out in the long run if he’s healthy. A healthy Rocker likely opens the season in Arlington by 2026, where he will showcase the electric stuff that made him a household name at Vanderbilt.

The Overachiever

Josh Hatcher, 1B/OF, (outside of Top 30 in TEX).

For a farm system as good as the Rangers, you’d assume the best player on their AA squad in Frisco would at least be in the Top 30.

However, Josh Hatcher, a 25 year old unheralded 1B/OF, has been tearing it up in Double-A.

Per milb.com, Hatcher was awarded the Rangers minor league player of the month for April.

“The 25-year-old Hatcher slashed .373/.403/.576/.979 over 15 games for Frisco in April with three doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs, 11 runs and three steals. He finished third in the Texas League in batting average (.373), tied for eighth in RBIs (16), sixth in slugging (.576) and sixth in OPS (.979).”

Hatcher hasn’t tapered off much in May, as he is still sporting an average just below .350, with a .905 OPS.

While the return of Nate Lowe will block Hatcher from playing first at the MLB level, his ability to play the outfield should earn him some looks, albeit it could very well be another  team via a trade. Keep an eye out for Hatcher.

The Underachiever

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Jack Leiter, RHP, (6th in TEX).

Leiter is easily the most recognizable name of the Texas Rangers Minor League Update. Now, Jack Leiter has been doing really well in AAA this year, sporting a 2.84 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 25 innings.

However, unless Leiter made a huge change in the offseason, this is an outlier compared to what we’ve seen with Leiter outside of his 2024 AAA numbers.

In 2022, Leiter’s first full minor league season, Leiter posted a 5.54 ERA, walking 5.4 batters per nine innings. This number didn’t get much better in 2023, as Leiter maintained a 5.2 walks per nine, with a WHIP around 1.5, and an ERA still over 5.

Despite this, Leiter was called up to the Rangers earlier this season, and in two starts has posted an ERA over 16. Ouch.

However, I still have extremely high hopes for the flame throwing right hander. He has electric stuff, striking out over ten batters per nine at each stop so far, including 12.1 last year.

Furthermore, his blazing start at AAA shows his upside. Leiter has even cut back on the walks, only allowing 2.1 free passes per nine.

As long as Leiter can keep his command in check, expect him to become a mainstay in the Texas rotation by the summer, turning in great performances with tons of strikeouts

That's all we have for the Texas Rangers Minor League Update! Be sure to check out our latest drop list for Fantasy Baseball!

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