With Spring Training set to open later this week (thank God), it's right around the time where Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and other publications begin producing their Top 100 prospects list. One of the first lists to come out in 2011 belongs to Frankie Pilliere of AOL Fanhouse.
The Rangers have three prospects in Piliere's list, and the first two are ranked within the top 50. Left hander Martin Perez is the first Ranger to appear on the list, coming in at No. 17. Said Piliere of Perez:
Martin Perez had a bad year in 2010, but a bad year doesn't make him a bad prospect. He still has some of the best stuff of any left-hander in the minors and he's only 19. I see 2010 as a bump in the road and nothing more. Perez is still an elite prospect.
More after the jump.
To say Perez had a poor year is an understatement: Perez posted a 1.67 WHIP in AA this year to go along with an ERA near six. Still, as Piliere said, there's not much cause for concern. He was extremely young for the level and still has some of the best stuff in the minors. Perez also did strike out 9.12 batters per nine innings, so it's not as though the year was an unmitigated disaster.
Jurickson Profar was the second Ranger listed on Piliere's Top 100, ranked at No. 33.
No player this young impressed me as much in 2010 as Profar did. Able to more than hold his own at the plate with older players in instructs, Profar is one of those rare toolsy young players that is already advanced in the bat department.
Profar only hit .250/.323/.373 for Short-Season Spokane this year, but he impressed many, including Piliere. Profar was only 17 at the time of the assignment, and he posted a 28:46 BB/SO ratio, which, again, for 17 is pretty darn good.
The last Rangers prospect to appear on this list is Tanner Scheppers, who was ranked 72nd.
Piliere is also high on the Rangers farm system as a whole - he ranked them ninth of the thirty organizations in baseball.
For most teams you'd have more doubts about lower-level talent. With the Rangers' recent track record of player development, though, it's easier to place more value on what they have toward the bottom of their system. They've graduated a lot of talent, but there appears to be another wave coming.
Needless to say, the future continues to be bright for the Rangers.