Huff, Bahr headline Rangers prospects
Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each system and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. Click here to locate your favorite club.Next year is going to be a big one for the Texas Rangers. Brand new Globe
Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each system and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. Click here to locate your favorite club.
Next year is going to be a big one for the Texas Rangers. Brand new Globe Life Field is set to open, it will be the franchise's 60th anniversary and Chris Woodward will try to right the ship in his second year as manager.
The future looks bright for the Arlington-based club, with three players --
From power hitters to speedsters, dominant relievers to quality starters, the Rangers are loaded with talent.
Rangers Organization All-Stars
The pop was shown early in the season as the 21-year-old homered for Hickory in nine of 11 games from April 20-May 1. Included in that stretch was a four-game dinger streak.
What stands out about Huff was apparent to Mintz.
"The first thing is the big power that he possesses," the coach said. "He can hit a baseball a long way. He's a physical specimen and that sound the bat makes when he hits the baseball hard is unique."
Mintz still wants to see Huff improve defensively though.
"The biggest thing for him is game management and being able to recognize swings. The improvement he made behind home plate, being able to better call games and take game plans and get pitchers deeper into games," the coach said. "His throwing to bases also improved quite a bit, also."
First baseman --
"He was happy to make that jump and he was going to make the most of it," Mintz said. "He's a very aggressive swinger in the zone and able to drive in runs. He hit in the middle of our order pretty much all summer long. He has the potential to be a 20-homer guy with the power he possesses. He was able to be healthy all year, so I think that was a huge step in the right direction for him."
July was Terry's most productive month as the 2015 13th-round pick hit .370 to earn the Carolina League Player of the Month honors. In total, he set career highs in homers (25), RBIs (80), doubles (36), runs scored (74) and total bases (253).
MiLB.com Organization All-Stars: Team by Team
Second baseman --
The Rangers' No. 14 prospect finished the season with 27 Minor League dingers and put up a .289/.362/.532 slash rate with 74 RBIs. As for being traded for a second time, Solak just keeps going with the flow.
"I always want things to be a little better," he said in August. "I think it doesn't really matter at what point of the season, where I'm at, I'm always trying to be better. But I think it's just taking care of business every day, getting my work in, preparing to play in the game and having that confidence to play my game. There are a lot of things you can't control in this game, so I continue to remind myself of that. The numbers take care of themselves."
Third baseman --
Able to play both middle infield positions along with the outfield, the Clemson product made 92 appearances at short and committed 13 errors in 357 total chances (.964 fielding percentage) while helping turn 55 double plays.
But he wasn't just a highlight reel at the plate. In what was one of the best plays of the season, Heineman was chasing a blooper off the bat of Memphis'
"I saw him barreling down on it, so I didn't want to get in his way, but I thought I had a chance as I got closer. But then he dives and it skipped off his glove and I could hear him say, 'Get it, Lopey.' I saw it pop right up and went out and got it," Lopes said. "Afterwards, we just looked at each other and laughed. Like, 'What the heck just happened?' But it was pretty cool for that play to develop like that."
Hernandez also wasted no time getting going. In the AZL season opener against the Reds on June 17, he homered, doubled, drove in four runs and scored three times.
While Taveras has played only 65 games above Class A, his glove could be Major League-ready.
"[He] glides through the outfield with little effort. There's nothing he can't do out there," Rangers field coordinator Corey Ragsdale, who managed Taveras at Down East this season, told The Athletic. "He goes back on balls very well, which is hard for a lot of young outfielders, if not all outfielders. He gets good jumps and runs clean routes. The arm is good, but the accuracy is even better. The scary part is that he's only going to get better with more reps under his belt."
Right-handed starting pitcher --
Before his callup to Frisco, the University of Central Florida product was 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA to earn Carolina League midseason All-Star honors with the Wood Ducks. Mintz, his pitching coach with Down East, said it was about settling into the organization after coming over from the Giants in a July 2018 trade.
"This year, he was much more comfortable," Mintz said. "He is a great teammate. What he possesses with his fastball and what it does ... when he started throwing the split, that is what turned the corner for him. He was able to get the swings and misses at this level. Once he went to Double-A, he pitched well there, hit a couple of bumps here and there, but he started figuring it out."
Left-handed starter --
That run included throwing six hitless innings on Aug. 15 against Omaha in his last appearance before getting called up to the Rangers. He was named PCL Pitcher of the Week for the performance.
Overall, Palumbo put up a 3.01 ERA and .196 opponents' batting average in 17 appearances in the Minors, notching 108 strikeouts over 80 2/3 frames.
"Obviously, he has some jump on his fastball and he's able to get it by hitters, but when he has that curveball going with it, he's tough because he can throw both of those of those pitches, get them to the same place and they go different ways and that makes it tough on hitters," Mintz said. "When he's able to throw that curveball for strikes and then get it out of the zone and use his fastball, he becomes a very special guy coming out of the bullpen. When you need that big strikeout, you feel like he can get it for you."
Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.