Here's a quick look at players linked to the Rangers in various mock drafts. Understand that I’m summarizing other sources, mostly Baseball America and MLB.com. I have no firsthand knowledge of these guys.
RHP Sam Carlson, Burnsville, MN, Age 18, 6’4”, 195 (John Manuel, Baseball America)
(#21 draft prospect per Baseball America, #15 per MLB.com)
Minnesota’s best prep prospect since Joe Mauer. A feel guy whose velocity improved to the mid-90s over the past year, Carlson has good control and an unusually solid changeup for someone his age. His slider rates well, too. The reviews on Carlson intrigue me more than Tanner Houck (see below), although Houck’s fastball appears to be better than anything Carlson offers. Carlson also appeared in an older mock by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.
RHP Tanner Houck, Missouri, Age 20, 6’5”, 215 (John Manuel, Baseball America)
(#22 BA, #20 MLB.com)
Houck’s money pitch is a fastball with considerable sink along with speed, 90-94 MPH per one source and 92-96 by another. Delivered from a low slot, it obliterates right-handed hitters. That low delivery and cross-body action concern some observers, and neither his sweepy slider nor changeup rate better than average. He could excel in late innings if starting doesn't pan out.
In his previous mock, Manuel had high school OF Austin Beck falling, falling, falling to the Rangers, but now he’s joined most other experts in projecting Beck as a top-ten pick.
RHP Nate Pearson, College of Central Florida, Age 20, 6’6”, 240 (MLB.com’s Jim Callis, ESPN’s Keith Law)
(#13 BA, #35 MLB.com)
Pearson would fit in with Texas’s recent predilection for behemoths. His fastball runs mid-90s all day and has touched 102 per Baseball America. It’s the real thing. As for the rest of his four-pitch mix, BA also rates his change as a potential plus, while nobody seems fond of his curve. His stock has risen immensely over the past year. Pearson was ignored out of high school and ranked as the 41st-best college prospect by Baseball America entering the season.
OF Bubba Thompson, Mobile, AL, Age 19, 6’2”, 180 (Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com)
(#25 BA, #26, MLB.com)
A gifted quarterback, Thompson has warded off football offers and will focus on baseball, even in the unlikely event he attends college. Unlike Tristan Lutz (see below), he’s expected to stick in center, where his blazing speed will carry him while he refines his defense. He also has the arm for right. Thompson’s hitting is more of a work in progress; he projects as average overall with the potential for decent power.
OF Tristen Lutz, Age 18, 6’3”, 215, Arlington, TX (MLB.com’s Jim Callis)
(#35, BA, #34 MLB.com)
Arlington Martin, represent! In recent years, Texas has drafted several young outfielders more noted for athleticism than baseball prowess. Lutz isn’t that type. Already filled out physically, he’s shown impressive power in wood-bat showcases and projects as a slugging right fielder, although he’s occupying center at present. Lutz is committed to the Longhorns but is expected to sign if drafted in Texas's range.
SS Jeter Downs, Miami Gardens, FL, Age 18, 5’11”, 180 (Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com)
(#54 BA, #37 MLB.com)
A young man named “Jeter.” Congratulations, you (you, the reader) are old. Downs has moved up draft boards with a terrific spring and has a good all-around set of tools. Baseball America expressed more concern about his ability to stay at short, but all reviewers love his feel for the game, both in the field and at the plate.
SS/3B Mark Vientos, Plantation, FL, Age 17, 6’4”, 190 (Eric Longerhagen, Fangraphs.com)
(#40 BA, #67 MLB.com)
Vientos won’t turn 18 until December. Nobody I’ve read thinks he’ll stick at short, but his arm is ample for third or right. Scouts are much more fond of his bat, especially his burgeoning power, to which Longerhagen applies the "monster" tag. He’s a poor runner.
Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 8 June
AAA: Round Rock 14, at Col. Springs (MIL) 10
Record: 30-31, 6.5 GB
SP Tyler Wagner: 3.1 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 8.73 ERA
2B Drew Robinson: 1-3, triple, 3 walks, SB (6), .283/.400/.533
3B Will Middlebrooks: 1-3, double, 2 walks, .276/.382/.566
C Brett Nicholas: 2-5, 2 doubles, .355/.403/.546
LF Peter O'Brien: 2-4, HR (4), walk, .158/.228/.278
1B Ronald Guzman: 2-5, double, .302/.365/.432
SS Jason Martinson: 2-5, double, HR (5), .242/.373/.500
The Express allowed six in the 1st and scored six in the 2nd. After falling behind again, the Express pinned another six on the board in the 8th. Round Rock outscored the Sky Sox 41-32 in the four-game series and batted .354/.426/.621 as a team. That's pretty good.
Drew Robinson led all comers with a .471/.591/1.412 line that included four homers, three other extra-base hits and five walks. Again, that's in a four-game span. Both Brett Nicholas and Travis Snider collected nine hits in the series.
Jurickson Profar is in Washington, although the Rangers haven't adjusted their roster as of 2pm CDT. Hanser Alberto has missed a couple of games with a sore arm.
Despite all the runs allowed, the Express surrendered only one homer in the series and are on the verge of losing the league "lead" to Albuquerque. Thank goodness.
AA: Frisco 6, at Corpus Christi (HOU) 11
Record: 26-33, 7 GB
SP Collin Wiles: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3.38 ERA
LF Michael O'Neill: 1-4, HR (9), walk, .389/.577/.722 (in Frisco)
C Isiah Kiner-Falefa: 2-5, double, .294/.361/.422
DH Andy Ibanez: 4-5, HR (4), .303/.361/.515
3B Juremi Profar: 1-5, HR (6), .271/.294/.411
After a breezy 1st, Wiles threw 36 pitches without retiring a batter in the 2nd. Reliever David Ledbetter's line wasn't especially pretty (5 IP, 5 R), but he did strike out seven and strand all three of Wiles' bequeathed runners.
Keep hitting like that, Andy.
High-A: Down East 0, at Potoman (WAS) 10
Record: 21-38, 13.5 GB
SP Wes Benjamin: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 5.94 ERA
Low-A: at Hickory 3, Greenville (BOS) 5
Record: 23-37, 11.5 GB
SP Sal Mendez: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 5.06 ERA
LF Franklin Rollin: 2-4, .262/.293/.407
RF Jose Almonte: 1-3, HR (4), .193/.254/.304
2B Anderson Tejeda: 2-3, double, .208/.281/.360
Per on-the-scene Mark Parker, Sal Mendez located poorly toward the end of his night and was punished, but he missed bats with an effective change. Almonte hit his fourth homer but hasn't come close to matching last year's performance at the same level (.278/.343/.444).
Hickory was eliminated from first-half division contention with the loss. Texas sent 18-year-old OF Miguel Aparicio to Spokane.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Fresh-off-the-DL Leonys Martin hit his fourth homer for Round Rock. Frisco's middle infield of Jurickson Profar and Leury Garcia tripled and singled.
AAA: Tyson Ross
AA: Yohander Mendez
High-A: Richelson Pena
Low-A: Matt Ball
"Predilection for behemoths." Sorry. Email unsubscribe requests to Jamey.