Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Texas Rangers top prospects 2023: Evan Carter leads list, but where are Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter?

Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.

Of course, that doesn’t mean every team has an equally good farm system — some, as you’ll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that’s likely why. 

These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There’s also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it’s fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 list by clicking here.

With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting the Texas Rangers.

1. Evan Carter, CF (2023 seasonal age: 20)

Carter was a well-kept secret by the Rangers heading up to the 2020 draft, and it’s already fair to call him a huge win by their scouting and development staffs. He’s shown an advanced feel for the game, hitting .287/.388/.476 last season against High-A competition that was more than three years his senior on average. Carter has a lanky frame that he should be able to add muscle to as he matures, improving his power projection, and he’s a good runner who ought to stick in center field. He’s a well-rounded player, in other words, with the potential for a few plus tools. Factor in how Carter has handled himself despite his relative youth, and there’s a lot to like about his profile.

2. Josh Jung, 3B (2023 seasonal age: 25)

Jung, the No. 8 pick in the 2019 draft, had his ascent to the majors slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and injuries, including a torn labrum that cost him much of last year. He made his debut anyway, hitting .204/.235/.418 with nearly 10 times as many strikeouts as walks in 26 games. It was not, to be kind, the best first impression. Even so, we’ll cut him some slack because of the circumstances surrounding his year. Jung at his peak was projected to be an above-average hitter and fielder alike. He’s entering his age-25 season, meaning that it’s about time for him to make good on that projection.

3. Owen White, RHP (2023 seasonal age: 23)

White earns the nod over his more famous peers, namely Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, in part because he’s produced better results. Last season, he appeared in 15 games in the upper minors, amassing a 3.59 ERA and striking out 104 batters in 80 innings. White pounds the zone with four average or better pitches and earns credit for his ultra competitiveness on the mound. (He struck out all six batters he faced during a playoff game.) Leiter and Rocker will continue to receive much of he attention, but don’t be surprised if White, with his additional polish, beats them to The Show. 

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