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Texas Rangers Minors: Top Prospects Update

If you're a fan of the Texas Rangers, then you have a lot to be giddy about in the early going of the 2012 MLB season. The two-time defending American League champions are off to an 11-2 start, which is the best in all of baseball, with a staggering +46 run differential through their first 13 games of the season. The Los Angeles Angels, who spent as much money as they possibly could over the winter, are already seven games out of first.

Still, there's plenty reason to be even more excited as a Rangers fan. Texas boasts the top farm system in all of baseball per Baseball America -- so the future is perhaps even brighter than the present.

Here's a look at how Texas' top prospects are faring, per BA's pre-season top 10 Rangers prospect list.

Yu Darvish, MLB: 2-0, 3.57 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 13 BB, 14 SO, 17.2 IP, 42.1% GB
Needless to say, Darvish has struggled so far through his first three starts...yet he still has avoided disaster. There's still no reason to think he won't blossom into an ace, but it's clear there is a learning curve in America for Darvish.

Jurickson Profar, AA: .205/.294/.409, 44 AB, 5 BB, 8 SO, 3 HR, 2 SB
Let's all remember that Profar is still just 19 years old. His BB/SO ratio is fine, and he's reached base safely in his last five games. Profar will come around and be just fine.

Martin Perez, AAA: 1-1, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 6 BB, 12 SO, 17.1 IP, 1.38 GO/AO
So far, so good for the 21 year old in lefty in AAA. Last year, Perez struggled mightily in AAA, so it's really nice to see him off to a good start. He's always been young for his age, but he's made adjustments -- see his 10/11 AA results.

Mike Olt, AA: .239/.327/.500, 46 AB, 6 BB, 16 SO, 3 HR, 0 SB
Well, the slugging percentage is nice, but everything else isn't particularly nice. The strikeout rate is quite alarming, and if Olt wants to succeed at the higher levels, he'll need to cut down on that K-rate. It's a small sample size, but it's certainly alarming thus far.

Leonys Martin, AAA: .362/.439/.534, 58 AB, 7 BB, 9 SO, 2 HR, 3 SB
Martin didn't play well enough in the spring to earn Texas' starting centerfield job, but he's certainly doing everything he can to prove that he's Texas' centerfielder of the future. All Martin has done is hit so far in AAA, but again, it's a small sample size. It's encouraging, but let's see where Martin is in another month or two before really raising expectations on what to expect from Martin.

Neil Ramirez, AAA: 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14 SO, 3 BB, 15 IP, 1.07 GO/AO
Ramirez is off to a nice start in AAA. Obviously, with a WHIP as low as 1.00, he's doing something right. Ramirez is missing bats as well, averaging just under a strikeout per inning while holding opponents to a .214 average against.

Cody Buckel, A+: 1-0, 0.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 21 SO, 3 BB, 15 IP, 4.50 GO/AO
It's pretty tough to be better than Buckel has been so far this year. Not even 20 years old, Buckel is mowing down Hi-A hitters for Myrtle Beach, holding opposing hitters to a meager .125 average. If Buckel continues to dominate into the middle part of the year, Texas will have no choice but to promote him to AA -- possibly around his 20th birthday in mid-June. It's only 15 innings, but it's a very encouraging 15 innings.

Jorge Alfaro, A: .250/.276/286, 28 AB, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Not a good start, but we're only talking 28 at bats here. Alfaro has a long way to go, and he's really going to need to improve on his BB/SO ratio of year's past -- and he's not off to a good start there yet. The strikeout rate is ugly so far, but again, we're only talking 28 at bats in his first taste of full-season ball.

Christian Villanueva, A+: .262/.367/.381, 42 AB, 4 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
The power hasn't shown up yet in Villanueva's first 42 at bats, but, he's getting on base at a respectable clip, and the power will likely come. Nothing awful about his start this year, but nothing terribly notable either.

Rougned Odor, A: .302/.367/.509, 53 AB, 5 BB, 10 SO, 2 HR, 0 SB
Well, this is certainly a treat. Odor is 18 years old and in is playing in the SAL crushing the ball in the SAL so far. Odor has recorded a hit in each of his last seven games, with four of those games being of the mult-hit variety. Odor has notched a double, two triples and two homers as well, so as seen in his slugging percentage, he's really driving the baseball so far. It's 53 at bats, but at 18 years old, it's a damn good 53 at bats, and worth starting to get excited over.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.