As those trade winds heat up this summer, it’s a good idea to have as much information as possible about each organization’s prospects. When the news broke that the Texas Rangers were scouting Zack Greinke, I am sure I was one of many Brewers fans that went rummaging through the Rangers’ system. During my search, I learned that not only do the Texas Rangers have one of the game’s legitimate dynasty claims for this new century, and one of the best organizations in baseball, but they also have a solid group of writers following their team.
Adam J. Morris writes for Lone Star Ball, covering Rangers news, stats, and prospects. His prospect writing efforts included a massive, informative series on the Rangers’ very best prospects, published this previous offseason. Adam was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Rangers’ farm system, and I thought this would be a nice, informative bookend to Greinke trade speculation.
Enjoy! And be sure to check out Lone Star Ball.
Looking at the Rangers’ roster this year, do you consider pitching to be a need?
Is pitching, in general, a need? No, the Rangers have a fair amount of pitching depth, and while there are numerous pitchers on the disabled list right now, their injured pitchers are all expected back in July, which will put the Rangers in a situation of having quite a few quality pitching options to sift through.
Now, as in 2010, the Rangers could definitely use a legit #1 starter…however, the addition of Roy Oswalt means that the Rangers’ budget is already being strained to near the breaking point, and unless a starting pitcher gets hurt, the Rangers would probably have to include either Matt Harrison or Derek Holland in a deal for a legit #1 starter to make room in the rotation for one.
A lot of people argue that certain prospects are more likely to be traded because they are blocked. Are there any Rangers prospects that are legitimately blocked from the big league club?
The top two positional prospects in the Rangers system right now are Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. Profar, a SS, is blocked by Elvis Andrus, and Olt, a 3B, is blocked by Adrian Beltre. That being said, even with All Star caliber players in front of them, Profar and Olt still seem to factor into the Rangers’ future.
Profar and Olt are both in AA, and while they could challenge for major league jobs in 2013, 2014 may be a more realistic timetable for them to be in the majors fulltime. Profar could move to 2B, with Ian Kinsler going to the outfield, or Elvis (who is a free agent after 2014) could be dealt to make room for Profar, although that option makes me sad to even think about.
Olt’s situation is a little trickier, as much of the value both he and Beltre generate comes from their being plus defenders at third base. Olt’s bat is promising, but if he moves to 1B — as some have suggested — he’s a much less exciting prospect. That said, Olt could end up at 1B, Beltre could move to 1B, Olt could break in as a four-corners player while the Rangers figure out what to do with him and Beltre long-term, or Beltre or Olt could get moved.
Between the two prospects (Olt and Profar), I’d say Olt is much more likely to be moved…Profar is about as close to untouchable a prospect as the Rangers have.
Jon Daniels has noted that he thinks the Rangers’ returning pitchers will be more valuable than turning to a deadline trade. How would you rate this on the spectrum between “true statement” and “GM Poker Face”?
Jon Daniels is good at talking to the media without really saying anything, and I’d put this statement in that same category. That being said, the Rangers aren’t going to be shopping for a middling rotation arm at the deadline…Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Koji Uehara, and Alexi Ogando are all due back in the days leading up to the deadline, and so getting an “innings eater,” or even another Roy Oswalt, isn’t going to be an issue.
If the Rangers are going to make a move at the deadline for a starting pitcher, they would, I believe, set their sights on landing either Greinke or Hamels, or standing pat.
What’s it like watching one of baseball’s best dynasties of this new century? What are fan expectations in Texas?
As someone who has been watching the Rangers for as long as I can remember (and as someone who can remember back to the mid-70s Rangers teams), this is an incredible time to be a Rangers fan. I feel like this is the reward we are getting for being patient and following the team for all these years. After two years of getting to the World Series and not getting over the hump, I think there’s a certain amount of thinking among fans that anything less than a championship is a failure this year, but personally, I just want to enjoy this ride as long as it lasts.