Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Top 26 Rangers' Prospect Rankings 26-21

I have been working on this list for a long time now. Not quite as long as it's been since the Rangers went to the playoffs. Not quite as long as it's been since a homegrown starting pitcher has done anything of note at the major league level. Not quite as long as it's been since Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Ruben Sierra, Dean Palmer, Kenny Rogers and Kevin Brown came bursting onto the scene. No, I haven't been working on it quite that long. But I've been working on it for a while.

It's always interesting to see someone's prospect rankings. Different people use different criteria. Some people favor how close a player is to the major league level. Some people are in love with power prospects, both on the mound and at the plate. Some people are impressed with physical prowess. Some people draw names out of a hat. There are just so many factors that play into trying to predict the unpredictable. But, for some reason, tons of people still try and do it. And, for now, I am one of those people.

So here is the first part of "All Things Rangers' 2008 Prospect Rankings"

26.) RHP Paul "Kea" Kometani: He went through AA at an advanced age last year, and his numbers don't look great at first glance. But, the key in his development was his move to the closer's role. Kometani flashed great poise out of the pen as the season wore on. His strong showing in the Winter Arizona Fall League helped reinforce what was seen in Frisco. At 25 years old, he should start the season at AAA Oklahoma and perhaps move into the pen for the big club late in the season.
Est. Arrival Time: 2009

25.) RF/1B John Mayberry, Jr.: Drafted in 2005 ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, and Colby Rasmus, Mayberry, Jr. has disappointed thus far. He has shown that he has major league power potential, but his contact rate and plate discipline have not improved. He hit 30 home runs between Hi-A Bakersfield and AA Frisco last year. But he also compiled a .235 BA and a .311 OBP. Mayberry plays an acceptable RF but may benefit from a move to 1B depending on the organization's plans for Chris Davis. Mayberry's power alone will not carry him to the major leagues and this year will be a pivotal one for him. If all goes well, Mayberry will spend the last part of this season at AAA Oklahoma.
Est. Arrival Time: 2010

24.) RHP Josh Rupe: It doesn't seem like he should be a "prospect" anymore as he spent parts of 2005 and 2006 with the Rangers. But, an injury in 2007 kept him from continuing his progress and he comes into Spring Training as a bit of an enigma. Rupe was a candidate for the fifth starter in 2007, but the 2008 rotation looks to be tentatively set. Rupe has also pitched out of the pen for the Rangers. He has a shot to make the big club out of Spring Training with a solid showing. If he doesn't he will probably move to Oklahoma's bullpen and be one of the first call ups of the year for the Rangers.
Est. Arrival Time: 2008

23.) 3B John Whittleman: Some people have up and down seasons. John Whittleman had an up, then down 2007 season. He was tearing up MWL pitching for the first half of the season. He was getting on base nearly every game and stroking the ball to all fields. Then, he met what most people call "the wall." Whittleman's number's declined and he hit only .240 after his promotion to Hi-A Bakersfield. Whittleman will have two things to focus on this year. He has committed 34 errors in each of his first 2 full league seasons. And, his endurance waned at the end of last year. At 20 years of age, Whittleman has time to mature. He could finish the season at AA Frisco with a big year.
Est. Arrival Time: 2010

22.) RHP Luis Mendoza: What a gem of a deal the Bryan Corey trade is turning out to be. Jon Daniels and co. plucked this pitcher out of Boston's system and it has clearly worked in the Rangers' favor thus far. Mendoza started the season at AA Frisco and put together a 15-4 record before being called straight to Arlington. Mendoza then put on 6 strong performances for the big club and picked up his first major league win. Mendoza got better as the year went on and the wins piled up. At 24, he has matured into what you might call "a gamer." When he steps on the mound all he does is win. The Rangers hope he continues to "just win" and becomes a solid starter for the major league club. Mendoza will likely start the year in the Rangers' bullpen or the RedHawks rotation. It would probably be best for him to continue starting games and start the year at AAA. He will definitely be back in Arlington, barring injury, at some point in the 2008 season.
Est. Arrival Time: 2008

21.) RHP Tommy Hunter: Apparently the Rangers were looking for a middle linebacker when they selected Tommy Hunter from Alabama. Hunter is 6'3" and 255 pounds and put together a nice 17 inning run for Short Season Spokane. By all accounts, the Rangers envision Hunter as a future closer, or at least bullpen arm. He doesn't deal fire like you might think, but he is a smart pitcher likely to progress quickly through the Rangers system. Look for him to hit both levels of A ball this year as he continues to learn how to become a major league closer.
Est. Arrival Time: 2010

Look for numbers 20-16 sometime in the next few days.

tommy hunter photo courtesy of
luis mendoza and josh rupe photos courtesy of
all other photos courtesy of