OF Taveras heads new Top 30 Prospects list

July 26th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- With Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the Rangers will likely be looking to bolster their farm system as they enter a rebuilding mode.
There are four Rangers prospects currently listed in MLB Pipeline's updated Top 100 prospects list, which was released Thursday.
Outfielder Leody Taveras, the top-ranked prospect in Texas' system, is No. 43 in the Top 100. Taveras, who signed with the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015, is a switch-hitter with a plus bat and speed. Scouts love how he utilizes his speed in center field, noting that he gets good reads and jumps.
The other Texas prospects that landed in the Top 100 are outfielders (No. 49) and Julio Pablo Martinez (No. 62), and right-handed pitcher Cole Winn (No. 99). The Rangers are counting on this group for a big league turnaround.
The Rangers will especially be looking to develop big league pitching. Their 4.89 team ERA entering Thursday was third worst in the Majors.
Winn, Texas' top-ranked pitching prospect, was the 15th overall pick in the 2018 Draft. His fastball ranges from 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph, and he has a plus 12-6 curveball.
Right-hander Hans Crouse has impressed for Class A Short-Season Spokane. He struck out a season-high 12 batters in seven innings against Tri-City on Wednesday. Crouse is the Rangers' No. 5 prospect.
Righty Tyler Phillips made the biggest jump into the club's Top 30. He is now the No. 13 prospect after previously being unranked. Phillips' fastball ranges from 90-94 mph, and scouts have said his 6-foot-5 frame helps him create a downhill plane and induce groundouts. His curveball and changeup are becoming plus pitches, but lack consistency.
Martin throws bullpen session
Rangers right-handed reliever Chris Martin threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Thursday, and the next step for him will be a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.
Martin has been on the disabled list with a strained left groin since July 5. He's 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 28 games this season. The bullpen has struggled in Martin's absence. Entering Thursday, Texas relievers had allowed 38 runs in the six games since the All-Star break.
"It's baseball," Martin said. "It's hard being on the DL and not being able to contribute. I think that's the hardest part, but it's part of the game. You gotta stay a professional and get healthy and get back out there. If you rush, come back and get hurt again, that's not what you want."
Rangers beat
Manager Jeff Banister gave Keone Kela another day of rest Thursday. Kela threw a career-high 40 pitches and suffered his first blown save of the season in Tuesday's 13-10 loss to the A's.
The Rangers' 6-5 loss to the A's on Wednesday was their second straight loss when leading by four or more runs at some point. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Rangers have lost consecutive games when leading in the ninth inning or later since 2000.
Texas batters have hit at least one home run in seven straight games, going into Thursday. That is the second longest span by the club this season. The Rangers hit a home run in 13 straight from April 27-May 9.