We continue our countdown of the Top 20 Texas Rangers prospects. Now we begin the Top 10.
A reminder of the criteria: No DSN Top 20 prospect can have played even one game in the Major Leagues so that we won’t see the likes of Sam Huff or Leody Taveras.
So, let’s get to it.
10) Hans Crouse // RHP
Crouse was the #1 prospect the first year we did this in 2019. He slid to #3 in 2020. Crouse was the top starting prospect in the organization in 2018 after two seasons of pro ball. He was drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Dana Point, California. He started 6 games and pitched 20 innings after signing. He had a 0.45 ERA and struck out 30 in those twenty innings. He followed that up in 2018 by starting 13 games and going 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA over 54 innings of work. He also struck out 62 in those 54 innings between Spokane and Hickory.
In 2019 Hans stayed in Hickory for the season. He started 19 games and went 6-1 with a 4.41 ERA. He was shut down late and had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs of his elbow. His strikeouts also went down with 76 in 87 innings.
When COVID hit in 2020, Crouse was essentially shut down like most of the minor leaguers. He didn’t go to the alternative camp along with most of the top prospects. He also left the fall instructional league roster early to deal with personal matters that were not injury-related. 2021 is an important year for Crouse. He should start at Hickory since it is High A now, with a chance to hit Frisco if he finds his groove.
9) Bayron Lora // OF
Lora signed for $3.9 million in the 2019 international signing class out of the Dominican Republic. The Rangers pulled off a trade with the White Sox to get $1 million in bonus pool money to sign him. Lora hasn’t really had an opportunity to play since signing, except this last fall in the instructional league. Lora has been compared to a right-handed Joey Gallo by some. He is 6’3 and has huge power. He was ranked second in the 2019 international class.
For 2021 he will be 18 and most likely starts at extended spring in Arizona before heading out to Down East which is not Low A.
8) Evan Carter // OF
Carter is the controversial second-round pick for the Rangers in 2020 out of Elizabethton, TN. He was committed to Duke University and passed it up to sign with the Rangers. The controversy came because he wasn’t on any of the scouting reports as a top 200 prospect, much less 50th overall. Rangers head of scouting Kip Fagg said he had potentially 5 tools and that COVID may have prevented other teams from discovering him. He signed for below slot money and opened some eyes this fall in the instructional league. One coach in player development said he was everything as advertised.
Carter will likely start 2021 in extended spring training before heading out to Down East.
7) Davis Wendzel // INF
Wendzel was the Co Big 12 player of the year in 2019, along with Rangers first-round pick Josh Jung. Wendzel was taken in the Competitive Balance Round between rounds 1 and 2. He only played in 7 games in 2019 but hit .319 with an OPS of .985 and a HR. Like most, 2020 was a setback. But only because there was no season, and he wasn’t a big leaguer. He did make it to the alternative site and was chosen to play in fall instructs.
Wendzel should start at Down East but will progress quickly if he performs. He is 23 entering the season and doesn’t need to progress slowly.
6) Justin Foscue // 2B
The first-round pick out of Mississippi State, Foscue was all SEC and taken 14th overall. He was drafted earlier than projected and signed below slot. But the Rangers were very high on him.
Foscue’s bat has always played well, and Kip Fagg was very excited to land him.
“We truly believe in this kid’s bat. He’s been a big performer in a big conference,” Fagg said. “He’s some kind of competitor… This kid, man, we talk about a lot the things we identify in players that kind of eat, breathe, sleep the game, and this guy’s, like, the epitome of that.”
Next week we break down the Top 5.
For the third straight year, there will be a new #1 since Sam Huff graduated by playing in the big leagues in 2020.
Featured Image: Shawn Millsaps/ASSOCIATED PRESS