Where will Rangers' top prospects begin '21?

May 1st, 2021

With the Minor League Baseball season on the horizon, the Rangers announced the preliminary Opening Day rosters for all their affiliates Friday, except for Triple-A Round Rock.

The Texas alternate training site roster will likely transition to the Triple-A roster, with a few players shipped out to other affiliates. The Rangers' top two prospects -- Josh Jung and Sam Huff -- will both likely start in Triple-A, but are rehabbing from respective injuries sustained in big league Spring Training.

Outfielder Leody Taveras, who entered the season as the club's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, started the season on the big league level and has since graduated from prospect status, but he was optioned last week. He’ll start the season at Triple-A Round Rock.

There was a change to two Minor League coaching staffs as well. Jordan Tiegs will now serve as pitching coach at High-A Hickory and Steve Mintz will serve as pitching coach at Low-A Down East. Originally, the two had been set to flip-flop their above duties.

Rangers big league manager Chris Woodward said that this Minor League season is vital for the development of the entire organization following a 2020 season that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It's critical for our organization because we need these guys to get not only a season under their belt, but experience in playing maybe at a higher level,” Woodward said. “Some of these guys are gonna basically have skipped a level because they should have been in 'A' ball last year and they're going to be in Double-A or Triple-A this year. They almost skipped a level. It's going to be a challenge I think a lot of teams are going to deal with."

Woodward emphasized that it’s vital to not hit the panic button too early on guys who are playing consistently for the first time in a year. 

Even for a few guys that made their big league debuts in 2020, like Taveras, No. 9 prospect Sherten Apostel and No. 10 prospect Anderson Tejeda, it’s going to be an adjustment for everybody to get back to normal. 

“It's gonna be interesting how we see that and if we're gonna have to make adjustments on where these guys are, whether we’re willing to send some guys down,” Woodward said. "I don't know, but I'm just excited to see them play. ... Guys struggle and there's probably a natural adjustment period they're gonna have to go through. We won't know until they start playing, but it's something we got to be aware of for sure.”

The full rosters are listed below: 

Double-A Frisco

Pitchers (13): RHP A.J. Alexy, RHP Noah Bremer, RHP Tim Brennan, RHP Hans Crouse, RHP Scott Engler, RHP Joe Gatto, LHP Jake Latz, LHP Sal Mendez, RHP Fernery Ozuna, RHP Tyler Phillips, RHP Yerry Rodriguez, RHP Alex Speas, RHP Cole Winn 

Catchers (3): Melvin Novoa, Jordan Procyshen, Matt Whatley

Infielders (4): Sherten Apostel, Jax Biggers, Ryan Dorow, Davis Wendzel 

Outfielders (4): J.P. Martinez, Josh Stowers, Bubba Thompson, Steele Walker 

The RoughRiders will have four of the Rangers' Top 30 prospects hold down the pitching staff, including No. 3 Cole Winn, No. 7 Hans Crouse, No. 19 Yerry Rodriguez and No. 23 A.J. Alexy

Infield prospects Apostel (No. 9) and Davis Wendzel (No. 8), as well as outfielder Steele Walker (No. 11), will also join the squad in Frisco.

High-A Hickory

Pitchers (17): RHP Grant Anderson, LHP Cody Bradford, RHP Jean Casanova, RHP Sean Chandler, RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Zak Kent, RHP Jesus Linarez, RHP Seth Nordlin, LHP Cole Ragans, RHP Daniel Robert, RHP Justin Slaten, LHP Nick Snyder, LHP Tyler Thomas, RHP Tai Tiedemann, LHP Avery Weems, LHP Grant Wolfram, LHP Triston Polley

Catchers (2): David García, Scott Kapers

Infielders (4): Blaine Crim, Justin Foscue, Jonathan Ornelas, Chris Seise

Outfielders (5): Ryan Anderson, Miguel Aparicio, Kole Enright, Pedro Gonzalez, Jake Guenther

Justin Foscue, a 2020 first-round Draft choice and the Rangers' fifth-ranked prospect, will make his professional debut at Hickory, headlining a number of other top prospects in No. 13 David García, No. 16 RHP Ronny Henriquez, No. 21 Chris Seise, No. 22 Jonathan Ornelas, No. 25 RHP Justin Slaten and No. 30 LHP Avery Weems.

Low-A Down East

Pitchers (17): RHP Dane Acker, RHP Ben Anderson, RHP Gavin Collyer, RHP Joe Corbett, RHP Mason Englert, LHP Joshua Javier, RHP Nick Krauth, RHP Nic Laio, RHP John Matthews, RHP Abdiel Mendoza, RHP Spencer Mraz, RHP Tekoah Roby, LHP Josh Smith, RHP Wyatt Sparks, RHP Nick Starr, RHP Leury Tejeda, RHP Owen White

Catchers (3): Cody Freeman (INF), Randy Florentino, Xavier Valentin

Infielders (6): Luisangel Acuna, Jayce Easley (OF), Dustin Harris, Cristian Inoa, Keithron Moss, Keyber Rodriguez

Outfielders (4): Antonio Cabello, Evan Carter, Marcus Smith, Jose Rodriguez (1B)

The Wood Ducks' Top 30 prospects include: infielder Luisangel Acuna (No. 6), outfielder Evan Carter (No. 14), right-handed pitchers Owen White (No. 17) and Tekoah Roby (No. 24) and infielder Keithron Moss (No. 28).