Bleacher Report’s rankings of MLB teams with the best young cores right now only reinforced how much farther the Rangers have to go to rebuild their pipeline of young talent.
The Rangers, not surprisingly, didn’t make the B/R Top 10 (they didn’t even make the honorable mention). The Houston Astros did (No. 10), the only American League West team to make the Top 10. The Chicago White Sox were the No. 1 team on the list.
The B/R formula for ‘best young cores?’ Well, it is players that are on either the 26- or 40-man rosters, or the injured list, with an emphasis on those that have played this season. And the cut-off age is 25 years old. In fact, B/R noted that players needed to be 25 or younger for most of the season. B/R also used WAR (wins above replacement) and ZiPS projections to gauge the ‘quality’ of the young core, especially those players that are currently playing.
It left me to wonder. If the Rangers didn’t make the Top 10, where exactly does this young roster fall ‘right now?’
To gauge that, I had to go to the team’s roster and check it out.
Current 26-Man roster: LHP Kolby Allard (23), RHP Brett de Geus (23), 1B Nate Lowe (25, turns 26 on July 7), C Sam Huff (23, on IL).
Current 40-Man roster: RHP A.J. Alexy (23), LHP Brock Burke (24), RHP Demarcus Evans (24), RHP Tyler Phillips (23), RHP Yerry Rodriguez (23), IF Sherten Apostel (22), OF Leody Taveras (22), INF Anderson Tejeda (23), C David Garcia (21).
On 60-Day IL: RHP Jonathan Hernandez (24).
For a little perspective, B/R’s No. 2 team, Atlanta, has seven players on its 26-man roster that are 25 or younger, including outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., along with two more on the 40-man. The Rangers have four players on their 26-man roster. One, Huff, is hurt. Lowe barely qualifies, given B/R’s criteria.
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There are caveats, of course, the biggest being that the Rangers’ No. 1 prospect, third baseman Josh Jung, isn’t on the list because he’s technically not on the roster due to his stress fracture. That should change soon. Huff, considered the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect, is also hurt.
Beyond that, if you look at the Rangers’ Top 30 prospects on MLB.com, you’ll find many of the 40-man rostered players are currently in the minors (or the alternate site, as they’re calling it right now). That includes Apostel (No. 9), Tejeda (No. 10), Garcia (No. 13), Rodriguez (No. 19), Alexy (No. 23), and Evans (No. 27).
I’m not a data wonk when it comes to things like WAR and ZiPS, but I was at Tuesday’s game and, while the Rangers won, you can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that the on-field product won’t be that good this season. Sure, it will have its moments. But, those moments be sporadic.
That’s because the future is at the farm, and the only thing the B/R article did was confirm the obvious. Rangers fans will have to wait a bit longer for a winner.
Promo photo: Kelly Gavin / Courtesy of the Texas Rangers