We continue our countdown of the Top 20 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization.
Once again we remind everyone of the criteria. No prospect can have made their major league debut yet. That leaves off some of MLB’s top prospects like Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke or Kolby Allard.
This week we look at numbers 10 thru 6.
10) Davis Wendzel, IF
Wendzel was not that highly regarded coming out of high school in San Juan Capistrano, CA. He did, however, develop into the Co-Big 12 Player Of The Year in 2019 at Baylor, hitting .367/.484/.610. A third baseman for the Bears, he played SS and 2B for the Rangers in their fall instructional league. He is considered an exceptional third baseman but the logjam at that position is what forced the Rangers to move him around the infield. Davis is a good athlete who could be a future second baseman in the big leagues.
Wendzel is probably destined for Hickory at the beginning of the 2020 season. He is 22 heading into April. If he starts out well he could progress quickly.
9) Maximo Acosta, SS
Signing out of Venezuela in 2019, there is no player causing as much of a stir as Acosta. His J2 partner Bayron Lora was more highly regarded, but Acosta has turned heads faster. He draws comparisons to the Yankees Gleyber Torres. He just turned 17 in the fall. He apparently is playing well above his age. He is an excellent SS who should be able to stay at that position.
Acosta’s spring will decide where he plays in 2020. A 17-year-old would be a prime candidate to play in the Dominican Summer League to start 2020. There are some in the Rangers organization saying he is ready to start in the states this year.
8) Bubba Thompson, CF
A first-round pick in 2017 Thompson turned down offers to play QB in college to become a professional baseball player. He played 30 games for AZL Rangers after being drafted and hit .254 with a .751 OPS and 3 HRs. In 2018 he really stepped up, Playing a full season in Hickory he ended the season hitting .289 with a .790 OPS and 8 HRs. He also stole 32 bases.
It was easy for the Rangers to move him up to Down East to start 2019. Injuries, however, kept him out of games for most of the season. He broke his hamate bone in the first two weeks of the season. After a couple of months off, he returned to Down East and went down again with a foot injury. Texas sent him to the AFL to get him some more AB’s. He played in 20 games and had a .732 OPS.
Thompson should return to Down East in 2020. But he will be a quick mover if he gets his groove back.
7) Ricky Vanasco, RHP
No doubt that Vanasco has made an enormous jump on everyone’s prospect list. Why wouldn’t he? He was a 15th round pick in 2017 who didn’t log many innings his first two seasons as a pro. That was helped by the freak injury when Sam Huff drilled him in the back of the head while attempting to throw out a baserunner in an AZL Rangers game in 2017. Concussion symptoms kept him out the rest of the season, although there wasn’t much left of the season. He talked about it during an interview on Rangers Nation Podcast.
In 2018 he was back and healthy. He started in AZL again. He started the year very well until a late July start against the AZL Dodgers. He came out after 5 innings with his elbow sore. The Rangers shut him down for the season to protect his arm. Enter 2019. Vanasco arrived in camp heavier, stronger, and hitting 99 on the radar after sitting low 90″s the first two seasons. He was outstanding. He started the season in Spokane making 9 starts with a 1.85 ERA over 39 innings. He also struck out 59 batters. He was promoted to Hickory to end the season. He started two games in the playoffs and struck 13 hitters while allowing no earned runs.
Vanasco will most likely be the opening day starter for Hickory in 2019. He is 21 and could easily jump to Down East if he keeps up numbers like that. Frisco? I doubt it. Imagine this year would be about getting some innings on that arm. But I would never say never.
6) Cole Winn, RHP
You can’t look at Winn’s numbers to make assess why he is this high on the list. Winn was part of the now-infamous “De-load” program after being taken in the first round of the 2018 draft. He didn’t make his pro debut until midway through the 2019 season. It was expected that he would play for the AZL Rangers or Spokane Indians after staying in Arizona for extended spring training. However, Texas saw enough that he made his pro debut in Hickory even though he was three years younger than most players in the South Atlantic League.
He started out rough but rallied at the end of the season.
He made 18 starts going 4-4 with a 4.46 ERA over 68.2 innings. He struck out 65 hitters while being one of the youngest players in the league. Winn will not be 21 until after the 2020 season. He was a Parade All American in high school and Baseball America’s High School Player Of The Year. Scouts agree he is legit and he is often mentioned in the Arenado trade as a likely target.
Winn could start the 2020 season in Down East. I imagine he most likely begins at Hickory. But he won’t be there long if the end of 2019 carries over to this year.
NEXT WEEK!! The Dallas Sports Nation Top 5.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News