Rangers’ prospects crowd into Top 100
Texas lands six in MLB Pipeline’s 2023 rankings
ARLINGTON -- As the MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects list debuted on Thursday, the Rangers continued to show they have one of the deepest farm systems in the league.
With six players ranked, the Rangers have the fourth-most in the Top 100, behind the Orioles (eight), the Dodgers (seven) and the Guardians (seven).
These are the Rangers’ prospects in the Top 100:
- 34: Josh Jung, 3B
- 41: Evan Carter, OF
- 66: Owen White, RHP
- 71: Luisangel Acuña, 2B/SS
- 78: Jack Leiter, RHP
- 94: Brock Porter, RHP
Jung remains the club’s top prospect after making his MLB debut on Sept. 9. The 24-year-old homered in his first big league at-bat but finished with a .204 batting average in 26 games.
After struggling through injuries during the past two Minor League seasons -- a stress fracture in his left foot in 2021 and a torn labrum in his left shoulder in ’22 -- Jung is expected to solidify himself as the Rangers’ third baseman of the future this season, maybe even compete for American League Rookie of the Year.
Carter burst onto the scene in 2022 with a slash line of .295/.397/.489, 21 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 28 steals and 73 RBIs in his first full-length season in the Minors, split between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco.
In addition to being named the Rangers’ Minor League Player of the Year, the 20-year-old Carter was also one of nine players across Minor League Baseball to win a 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Rounding out the position players on the list, Acuña, 20, has inched up Rangers’ prospect lists since he signed out of Venezuela in 2018 and now debuts on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. The middle infielder split time in ’22 between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco and posted a slash line of .277/.369/.426 to earn an invitation to the Arizona Fall League.
Acuña might not stick to the middle of the infield due to the long-term contracts of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien at the big league level, but he’s versatile and capable of moving around the field, much like his brother Ronald.
White, Leiter and Porter make up just the start of the deepest group of pitching prospects the Rangers have seen in a decade. With a new and improved rotation at the big league level, there’s no need to rush them through the system, either.
White, 23, has struggled with injuries since he was selected in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft, but he has produced every step of the way when on the field. In ’22, White posted a 3.59 ERA and had 104 strikeouts against 23 walks in 80 1/3 innings between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and is primed to make his MLB debut this season.
Leiter, 22, struggled in his first professional season, posting a 5.54 ERA with Double-A Frisco, which resulted in a drop from No. 48 in MLB Pipeline’s Midseason Top 100 to No. 78. The right-hander walked 56 batters, though he struck out 109 in 92 2/3 innings.
The Rangers are still confident in the 2021 first-rounder’s ability to rebound and put together a solid season, but he’ll need to take a large step forward to become the ace he was expected to be around Draft time.
Porter, 19, has yet to throw a professional pitch, but the Rangers got first-round talent in the fourth round of the 2022 MLB Draft. Porter was MLB Pipeline's top-rated pitching prospect in the Draft but was steadfast in his verbal commitment to Clemson University. The Rangers were able to pry him away with a $3.7 million signing bonus.
Porter is a polished high school arm who could move quickly through the system if he continues to refine his stuff. He has a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper 90s and has even touched triple digits, paired with a solid changeup and a promising slider.