Breaking down the Rangers' farm system

November 19th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON -- For the past few seasons, the Rangers have steadily built one of the best farm systems in baseball thanks to a combination of high Draft picks, savvy trades and an underrated international scouting group. 

For the first time in 2023, the Rangers dipped into that deep farm system to trade to big league talent at the Deadline, propelling them to the first World Series title in franchise history

Despite a number of Top 30 prospects being involved in trades for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery, the Rangers' farm is as deep as ever with players that can help at the big league level sooner rather than later. 

3 players who forced their way onto the radar this year

Sebastian Walcott (Rangers’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, MLB No. 62)
At just 17 years old, Walcott has already firmly established himself as one of the best prospects in Texas’ system. He burst onto the scene this summer with his Arizona Complex League debut and proceeded to slash .273/.325/.524 in 35 games at shortstop. He was rewarded with a late promotion to High-A Hickory, where he went just 2-for-13 in four games as the youngest player on the team by far. He’s still got a long way to go before he’s a consideration for the Rangers' big league club, but he’s clearly a player that the player development staff believes can move quickly through the system.

Abimelec Ortiz (Rangers’ No. 14)
A 6-foot, 230-pound first baseman, nobody did as much to improve their stock in the Rangers' system as Ortiz this season. He was named the club’s Minor League Player of the Year and the South Atlantic League MVP after slashing .294/.371/.619 with 33 homers, 20 doubles and 101 RBIs in 109 games between Single-A Down East and High-A Hickory. He led all Texas farmhands in home runs and RBIs. Ortiz doesn’t have much defensive value at first base, but he played left field in the Arizona Fall League in an attempt to diversify himself on that side of the ball. That being said, his raw power is enough for him to be on everybody’s radar. 

Jose Corniell (Rangers’ No. 23)
In a system filled with pitchers that were first-round picks or Top 100 prospects, the 20-year-old Corniell outperformed all of them. The right-hander posted a 2.92 ERA (33 ER/101 2/3 IP) with 119 strikeouts against just 31 walks in 23 appearances (17 starts) with Single-A Down East and High-A Hickory in 2023. His career-high 119 strikeouts were the second most among Texas farmhands, and he was named the Rangers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

2 possible breakout players to watch in 2022

Brock Porter (Rangers’ No. 4, MLB No. 91)
Texas' 2022 fourth-round MLB Draft pick, Porter is a Top 100 prospect but never quite got the chance to show it off in ‘23. In his debut professional season with Single-A Down East, the right-hander posted a 2.47 ERA in 21 starts, but that translated to just 69 1/3 innings as Texas attempted to manage his workload. With the reins off in '24, Porter could propel himself on the national stage as he begins to move through the system. 

Jack Leiter (Rangers’ No. 5)
Leiter’s professional career hasn’t gone exactly how he or the Rangers have expected it so far. In his debut season in 2022, the right-hander posted a 5.54 ERA in 92 2/3 innings with Double-A Frisco. His '23 season was even more of a roller coaster as he repeated the Double-A level. He posted a 1.67 ERA with 33 strikeouts in five May starts but wound up with a 5.51 ERA in 15 starts before the Rangers placed him on the Development List on July 15.

Leiter was activated more than a month later on Aug. 27 and posted a 3.31 ERA with only four walks, 25 strikeouts and a .186 batting average against in his final four starts for Frisco. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A on Sept. 24 and made just one start, pitching 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts. It’s yet to be seen if Leiter has righted the ship to put himself in a position to succeed down the line, but the Rangers are confident that the process have never looked better for him.

1 big question for next season

When will Wyatt Langford debut?
With Evan Carter making his MLB debut on Sept. 8, Langford is the most big league-ready of the Rangers' prospects at this point. Less than six months after Texas selected the outfielder at No. 4 overall out of the University of Florida in the 2023 MLB Draft, he finds himself knocking on the door of the big leagues. 

Langford, MLB Pipeline’s No. 13 overall prospect and No. 2 for Texas, crossed four levels of the Minors and finished hot in Triple-A to end the regular season. In total, he slashed.360/.480/.677/1.157 in 44 Minor League games. 

He’s shown he has no fear, and that, combined with an elite recognition of the strike zone and solid outfield play, puts him in prime position to be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Texas is set in the outfield as it stands with Carter, Leody Taveras and Adolis García, plus utility men Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith coming off the bench, so the Rangers don’t need to rush the 22-year-old Langford. But if he’s ready, there’s no doubt they’ll promote him.