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2012 AL West Prospect Watch: Rangers Hold On To Young Talent

Texas refused to dip too deep into their impressive slate of prospects on the farm in the month of July, as Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt and Martin Perez were all essentially off-limits in trade discussions.

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LA's Kaleb Cowart is headed to the AFL

When the Los Angeles Angels traded away shortstop prospect Jean Segura to land Zack Greinke, Kaleb Cowart immediately became the best prospect in Los Angeles' system.

It comes as no surprise that Cowart is the most notable of the eight prospects the Angels are sending to the Arizona Fall League.

Cowart spent time in both the Midwest League and the Cal League in his age 20 season, and succeeded at both levels. Amazingly, Cowart had the same exact number of at bats at both levels (263). Cowart hit .293/.348/.479. with nine home runs and nine stolen bases in the MWL, and then went on and hit .259/.366/.426 with seven home runs in the California League.

While it's a bit surprising to see Cowart's power numbers dip as he went to the homer-happy A+ league, Cowart's eye improved dramatically. Cowart managed just 22 walks in the MWL, but drew 45 walks after his promotion to the California League.

Between the two levels, Cowart hit a combined 16 home runs, while hitting .276/.358/.452.

As a switch hitting third baseman, Cowart has quite a bit of value as a prospect, and he should only improve over the next few years. Though Segura was unquestionable the better prospect in July, I think there's little doubt that Cowart had the highest ceiling all along between the two.

Though he's least a year and a half away from making an impact in Los Angeles, Cowart could actually give the Angels a run producer at third base at some point in 2014, or more realistically, 2015.


Luis Sardinas is headed to the Arizona Fall League

It's no secret that the Texas Rangers boast a strong farm system, and that it's still one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. The Rangers are sending eight prospects to the Arizona Fall League this year, and perhaps no prospect is more notable among them than shortstop Luis Sardinas.

Sardinas spent the entire 2012 season in the South Atlantic League, and he put up very respectable numbers as a 19 year old. Sardinas hit .291/.346/.356 in 374 at bats, while walking just 29 times, but only striking out 52 times. Sardinas was an asset on the bases as well, stealing 32 bags while only being caught nine times.

The Rangers signed Sardinas in 2009, around the same exact time the club inked now-uber prospect Jurickson Profar. Needless to say, Profar's rise has certainly overshadowed Sardinas' play, but that's not to say Sardinas isn't an intriguing prospect -- he most certainly is.

How Sardinas fares this year in the Arizona Fall League isn't of too much consequence. Sure, the Rangers will get to evaluate him against other top prospects, but let's also remember that 2012 was Sardinas' first taste of full-season ball. Sardinas' previous career high in professional games played was 26 in 2010, in the AZL.

Still, Sardinas could very well put himself on the map in 2013 as one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball. He's a plus defender, and if he hits just enough, he'll be a very, very hot prospect. With Elvis Andrus and Profar already blocking him, it wouldn't shock me if Sardinas is used in a package this winter, if the Rangers try to go after a superstar player, such as David Price or Justin Upton.


The Rangers are sending eight players to the AFL

We've repeated it over and over here at SB Nation Dallas, but it bears repeating again: it's a great time to be a fan of the Texas Rangers.

Not only are the Rangers going to clinch a third straight AL West title in the coming days, but they still boast one of baseball's top farm systems.

Last month, we reviewed Texas' top ten prospects coming into the year, and how they fared in 2012. Unsurprisingly, on the whole, they fared really well, with at least one future superstar in Jurickson Profar among them.

The good news on the farm doesn't stop there. The Rangers will be sending eight prospects to participate in the Arizona Fall League this year. Kellin Deglan, Leury Garcia, Chris McGuiness, Luis Sardinas, Miguel De Los Santos, Jimmy Reyes, Ryan Rodebaugh and Ben Rowen will represent the Rangers this fall in Arizona.

It's certainly worth noting that none of the prospects headed to the AFL for the Rangers were among the top 10 prospects coming into the season, as per Baseball America.

Teams often send lesser prospects to the AFL to get a better feel for their status as a prospect, and to try out new positions or mechanics, and to better evaluate the prospect going forward. I tend to agree with Adam Morris over at Lone Star Ball that the most intriguing prospect on this list is Luis Sardinas, primarily for the reasons he cites. Sardinas is one of the top defensive shortstop prospects around, and if he can come around with the bat, he'll be a very, very valuable commodity.

Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas throughout the week, as we'll break down Texas' prospects headed to the AFL, as well as other notable prospects in the AL West.


Jurickson Profar: The Rangers' Most Untouchable Player

The 19-year old SS is the most valuable asset in the Texas organization and he should be completely off-limits in any mid-season trade negotiations.


MLB Trade Rumors: Brewers Send Scout To Watch AA Frisco

It's no secret that there are two top prizes this year at the trade deadline: Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. Personally, I believe that Greinke is a top five pitcher in all of baseball and should be considered the top prize, but I digress.

It appears that the Rangers think highly of Greinke, too. According to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, the Brewers sent a scout to watch AA Frisco -- Texas' AA affiliate, which is chalk full of prospects.

If the Brewers are serious about dealing Greinke, and they should be, then the Rangers are as good a bet as any team in baseball to land him -- if they want. Coming into the season, the Rangers had the top-ranked farm system, per Baseball America.

Naturally, the Rangers have some prospects worth watching at AA. First and foremost is Jurickson Profar, who might very well be the top prospect in baseball. As a 19 year old in AA, Profar is hitting an absurd .293/.371/.479, with nine home runs, nine stolen bases, and a slick 39/49 BB/SO ratio.

Though some (delusional) Brewers fans likely covet Profar, the bottom line is this: he's not being traded. There are probably two players in all of baseball that the Rangers would trade Profar for (hint: one of them plays for the Angels, the other, the Nationals), and a two-month rental of Greinke is not going to cut it. Profar will not be traded.

There are plenty of arms in AA, but the hot topic of discussion is likely Mike Olt, who is ranked as the No. 11 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America's midseason top 50 ranking. Olt has taken a major step forward with his bat, hitting .300/.406/.590, with 22 home runs in 75 games.

The problem is, however, that the Rangers have an All-Star third baseman of their own for a few more years in Adrian Beltre. It's a good problem to have too much talent, and this is one of those cases. If Olt's bat truly is this good, then, unlike what I said in the spring, it should be able to play at first base, if the Rangers want to go that route.

Still, with the Brewers desperate for a third baseman, it seems likely that they will target Olt in a trade. Is that unreasonable for two months of one of the very best pitchers in baseball? I'm not sure that it is unreasonable, but I'd understand if the Rangers held onto Olt, instead of having two months, with no guarantee of an extension, of Greinke.

The Rangers have plenty of worthy pitching prospects in AA, too. Cody Buckel could easily be seen as expendable, as could Barrett Loux.

There's lots of talent on Frisco's roster, but my money is on saying the Brewers insist on Olt, at least until the end of July. They're in no rush to deal him, and they're probably going to (rightfully) ask for the sun, the moon and the stars until they have to deal Greinke.


Martin Perez Joining Rangers On Tuesday

Martin Perez will be with the Rangers prior to Tuesday night's game against the Tigers.

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