There's quite a few reasons why the Rangers are the two-time defending American League champions. Undoubtedly, one of the central reasons is Texas' farm system, which has produced excellent players, and also enabling the team to go out and trade for major assets -- such as Cliff Lee in 2010.
Anyway, in Monday's Ask BA column, Jim Callis was asked about the top power and speed prospects, requiring the prospect to grade out as at least a 60 on both the power and speed scouting scales.
Needless to say, guys that rate as a 60 on both those categories are very, very nice prospects. Here's Callis list:
Best Power/Speed Prospects
1. Mike Trout, of, Angels
2. Bubba Starling, of, Royals
3. George Springer, of, Astros
4. Yoenis Cespedes, of, Athletics
5. Rymer Liriano, of, Padres
Just missed the cut: Jordan Akins (Rangers), Joe Benson (Twins), Brett Jackson (Cubs).
Missed with 55 power: Jake Marisnick (Blue Jays), Brandon Nimmo (Mets).
Missed with 55 speed: Bryce Harper (Nationals), Tim Wheeler (Rockies), Christian Yelich (Marlins).
Clearly, and unfortunately for Rangers fans, Trout is the class of that list, and is a cut above Starling, Springer, Cespedes and Liriano. There's no doubting that.
Still, it's very encouraging to see Jordan Akins on this list as just missing the cut. The five guys ahead of them all ranked in Baseball America's top 100 prospects, as Trout was No. 3, Cespedes No. 14, Starling No. 24, Liriano No. 49 and Springer No. 59.
Then there's Akins, who "just missed" the cut. Akins hasn't done much in the minors yet, but he still hasn't turned 20, and has only spent time on the AZL. Akins is a very, very raw prospect who didn't focus on baseball in high school. Still, according to Baseball America's handbook, Akins shows flashes of "five plus tools."
He's not a top prospect yet, but Akins has the potential to jump into the spotlight this year if he puts his tools together into a productive season.