Needless to say, we’re a bit lost here at The Prospect Times without baseball. That lets our minds get to wandering, and our fearless leader Heath mentioned the other day, “What would a Rangers lineup look like if you could only fill it with current minor leaguers?” Hmm. What if indeed!
The only stipulation was that they could never have played a single MLB game. Heath, Jeff and I got to talking, and we thought it might look something like this:
1st: Sherten Apostel The 21-year-old from Willemstad, Curacao, bats and throws right and is a good fit at first. He played 80 games at Hickory last year with a .258 batting average. He’s been optioned to the Frisco Roughriders for 2020. But his career best .935 fielding (while at third) in 108 starts stands out. He played 10 games at first for Hickory and that’s where we’d like to see this young man develop. Interestingly, his “little” brother Shendrick (who stands 6’5″ and weighs 245) is a first baseman in the Pirates farm system.
2nd:Jonathan Ornelas Drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft by the Rangers, Ornelas spent 2019 at Hickory where he played 113 games with a .257 batting average. He’s played both infield and outfield positions but shines at second, with a .974 fielding percentage. His throwing speed, clocked in the 90’s when he pitched in high school in Arizona, will be an asset when he turns two.
SS: Anderson Tejeda Tejeda and I actually share a birthday, but unfortunately for me not a birth year as he just turned 22. His power arm earns him the shortstop spot, but it doesn’t hurt to have a switch hitter in the lineup either. Rebounding from an injury, he still managed to hit .234 with Down East. His fielding average is a none-to-shabby .963 as well.
3rd: Josh Jung A no-brainer. Jung is one of the most exciting players to recently enter the Rangers farm system. Taken by the Rangers as the no.8 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Jung was hitting .343 for Texas Tech. He hits to all fields and has the power to be a home run producer. With only 17 at bats in the Arizona League in 2019, Jung hit .588 with a home run.
RF: Julio Pablo Martinez A 24 year-old prospect from Baracoa, Cuba, Martinez did struggle some at the plate in 2019. His .987 fielding average, though, lifts this prospect. He brings speed at a left-handed at bat. Assuming Taveras starts in Nashville, we could see Martinez in Frisco if we can begin the 2020 minor league season.
CF: Leody Taveras Teveras played well enough in Frisco we’d expect to see him in Nashville this year. While he needs some more work at the plate (he batted .265 for the RoughRiders) he is one of the best center fielders in the minors. The cousin of former big league base stealer Willy Taveras, Leody can bat some switch but is better as a lefty.
LF: Steele Walker Here as part of the trade that saw Nomar Mazara leave, Walker is still waiting for designation in the Minors. Walker is above average in his discipline at the plate, which makes up for limited power hitting. He adds another lefty to the lineup. And please- his name is Steele Walker. Absolute baseball name.
C: Sam Huff Again, who is going to argue with us? Probably the most exciting bat to come up through the system since Gallo. He had 28 home runs in the minors last year. At 6’4″ and 230 pounds he’s formidable behind the plate. He has good arm strength and frames well.
DH: Curtis Terry simply put, Terry cannot be left out of the line-up. He can put baseballs into orbit. He spent 2019 in Hickory and Down East where he mashed 25 home runs between the two levels. That is just part of the reason that Terry was selected as Texas Rangers Minor League player of the year.
Starting Pitcher: Cole Winn With a 97 mile-per-hour fastball and a great curve, we’re giving this spot to Winn. He hasn’t progressed as quickly as expected since he started in the Minors but we think this next season will be Winn’s year.
Middle Reliever: Josh Advocate Advocate pitched in 35 games for the Wood Ducks with a 2.64 ERA. Currently assigned to the Rangers we see Advocate making an appearance in Frisco this (hopefully please hopefully) season. Keeping him healthy is the key, and at 26 his time to advance is now.
Closer: DeMarcus Evans With an impressive 0.90 ERA in 2019 we’re giving the closing spot to Evans. Coming up on 24 this fall, Evans is setting pace at just the right time. Evans has been optioned back to the Sounds for 2020 but if the MLB expands their roster the way they have talked about in negotiations Evans may find himself ineligible for this spot next year after time in the bigs.
Here is the line-up:
- 1. Leody Taveras CF (S)
- 2. Steele Walker LF (L)
- 3. Josh Jung 3B (R)
- 4. Sam Huff C (R)
- 5. Sherten Apostel 3B (R)
- 6. Curris Terry DH (R)
- 7. Jonathan Ornelas 2B (R)
- 8. Julio Pablo Martinez RF (L)
- 9. Anderson Tejeda SS (S)
The line-up is heavy on the right hand side but that’s our Texas Rangers all Minor-league lineup. Share one of your own. And if you have something you’d like the gang to consider in the world of baseball, please feel free to send us a message in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.