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Rangers Prospects


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From an SI article on the best prospects to change hands this trade deadline.

 

Engel Beltre, CF, Rangers

Acquired via Red Sox for Eric Gagne

One of the top talents on the international market a year ago, the Red Sox paid $600,000 (the equivalency of an early second-round draft selection) for Beltre's rights. His debut in professional baseball began this summer in the Gulf Coast League, where he has shown good power potential (11 extra-base hits in 33 games) and lackluster contact skills (42 strikeouts). Beltre has a cocky attitude, and while he has yet to blossom as a prospect, he now represents the highest upside of a position player in the Rangers' system. Learning to develop against southpaws and breaking pitches will ultimately be what separates Beltre from being a star or a bust.

 

David Murphy, OF, Rangers

Acquired via Red Sox for Eric Gagne

The Red Sox selected Murphy in the first round of the 2003 draft for his diverse skills set, ignoring a lack of any particular strength. Murphy has good contact skills, but he has never had a good enough Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) to post a good batting average. He would have enough power for center field, but his footspeed doesn't supply the range for the position. Murphy is now entering an organization that has proper expectations for his future, somewhere between the value they have received from Brad Wilkerson and a far blander fourth outfielder.

 

Neftali Feliz, RHP, Rangers

Acquired via Braves for Mark Teixeira

It seems pitching has forever been a weakness in the Rangers organization, and while Rangers fans will need to exercise patience, GM Jon Daniels has done as much in the last 14 months to add pitching to the system as can be done, adding Kasey Kiker and Jacob Brigham in the draft last year, five pitchers in the first three rounds this season, and now Feliz. There's no denying Feliz's tools -- a 6-foot-4 frame with mid-to-upper 90s heat and a developing breaking ball. While he might end up as a reliever, Feliz is the exact kind of arm the Rangers should have been gambling on in each of their major trades the last decade.

 

Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers

Acquired via Braves for Mark Teixeira

Two things excuse lackluster performance in the minor leagues: tools and youth. When those are put together, numbers become an afterthought. Andrus came into the Braves organization gaining praise for his developed defensive skills and mature approach to the plate. However, quickness has been his only discernable strength in two years of full-season ball. Andrus will go from the pitcher's parks that define the Braves system to hitter-friendly environments with Texas, but it's unlikely to make a difference if Andrus doesn't begin hitting the ball in the air with more force. Shortstop Michael Young's presence will give Andrus the proper time to grow in the Rangers system, but there must be concern that, like Joaquin Arias (once acquired for Alex Rodriguez), he will never develop offensively.

 

Max Ramirez, C/DH, Rangers

Acquired via Indians for Kenny Lofton

The Rangers' biggest haul in July was Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a slugging catcher who is slowly developing his defensive skills. In Ramirez the Rangers received a poor man's Saltalamacchia, a catcher with a little less impact in his bat and a little less likely to stay behind the plate. However, Ramirez had a .924 OPS in the Carolina League and has shown positive offensive skills at every stop. Perhaps Ramirez will follow in Salty's footsteps and try his hands at the infield corners, attempting to create something of his defensive shortcomings like Josh Phelps and Eric Munson have tried for years.

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