Rangers Farm Report + High-A & Low-A Roster Previews

Let The Games Begin
Round Rock commences the 2024 season tonight at home. The other teams will start next Tuesday. Owen White draws the opening start, followed by Jack Leiter Saturday (albeit potentially as a reliever in favor of Michael Lorenzen’s rehab outing), and Adrian Sampson.

Something I noticed in writing the roster previews is a relative lack of players advancing to higher levels to start the season. At first I wondered if that was a reflection on quality, but I think it’s more the staggered schedules. Last year, the complex league ended with about two weeks remaining in the A schedules, which ended a week before AA, which ended a week before AAA. The Rangers often push selected players up a level to finish their seasons, so we have players like Jack Leiter, Sebastian Walcott, Echedry Vargas, and others who have a small handful of innings or plate appearances at a level they wouldn’t have reached under the old format in which all full-season leagues ended on Labor Day.

Missing Players
40-man pitcher Jose Corniell and hard-throwing reliever Izack Tiger from last year’s 7th round are out with elbow inflammation per local reports. Neither requires surgery (although I suppose there’s always a chance, eventually) but will miss several weeks and then need to get back into game shape. Sad to say, I didn’t even notice how long Corniell had been missing. Too many folks to keep tabs on. He threw a couple of early spring games, was pulled from the Prospect Game roster, and hasn’t appeared since to my knowledge.

A sizable number of pitchers and several hitters, some of whom I saw in games last week, have yet to receive assignments. That said, best as I can tell, the Rangers don’t have any immediate worries in terms of the limit on domestic minor leaguers under contract. However, they also have an understaffed rookie team, and play starts in early May instead of the traditional mid-June.

Missing Primer
Every year I have a primer on the minor leagues games: how they’re played in comparison to MLB, how I cover them, what stats to focus on or ignore. I’ll probably have part one on Monday and part two on Tuesday, when all four teams will be playing.


Players reaching the level for the first time are in italics. In parentheses are age and how acquired. IFA = international free agent, NDFA  = non-drafted free agent, meaning they weren’t drafted but signed originally with Texas, FA = free agent, someone who was released or became a free agent after playing for a different club). Rosters are subject to change.

Mitch Bratt (20, draft)
Bryan Chi (25, IFA)
Seth Clark (24, NDFA)
Gavin Collyer (22, draft)
Aidan Curry (21, NDFA)
Josh Gessner (23, trade)
Skylar Hales (22, draft)
Jackson Kelley (23, draft)
Larson Kindreich (24, draft)
Dylan MacLean (21, draft)
Jacob Maton (24, draft)
Joseph Montalvo (21, draft)
Yohanse Morel (23, trade)
Brock Porter (20, draft)
Luis Ramirez (22, draft)
Adrian Rodriguez (22, draft)
Winston Santos (21, IFA)

Maybe the most interesting rotation of the four. Candidates include Porter, Bratt, Chi, Curry, MacLean, Montalvo, Ramirez, and Santos. And a couple of others conceivably. At this level, almost anyone can be a swingman. Five of the listed nine are new, headed by top pitching prospect Porter, who didn’t look so good when I saw him in person last week, but it’s nothing to fret about. His control is erratic, and on off days he runs into basic strike-throwing problems. On good days, he’ll steamroll the opposition. I’m sure consistency is a focal point in 2024. Everything he throws is worthy.

Bratt is repeating the level despite a 28% strikeout rate against just a 6% walk rate and a 3.54 ERA. He did so as a 19-year-old and was limited by injury to 61 innings, so no rush. Assuming he pitches well, I’d guess he’ll spend a good portion of the season in AA, perhaps the majority. Curry moved to Hickory late after manhandling the Carolina League. Like AA starter Josh Stephan, he’s an undrafted 2020 signing.

Santos drew attention in last year’s camp but at Hickory had a line that suggested too many hittable fastballs: 117 hits, 19 homers, 88 strikeouts in 98.2 innings. He’s better than that and will attempt to prove so with the Crawdads again.

Hales is new to Hickory in terms of the regular season but actually joined last year during the high-A playoffs. Assuming adequate control, I expect him to dominate this level. I’ve bestowed similar praise on Adrian Rodriguez in the past, and he led last year’s Wood Ducks with nine saves, but his control disappeared, as did his placement in high-leverage situations by year’s end.

Ian Moller (21, draft)
Konner Piotto (26, NDFA)
Tucker Mitchell (23, draft)

If anything, Moller hit slightly worse in 2023 than 2022 in Down East. He nonetheless advances to high-A rather than threepeat. Moller can catch, and he even received Arizona Fall League placement despite his low-A level and lack of hitting prowess. I didn’t get a good luck last week, but I’ve seen in him a better hitter than last year’s .190/.325/.295 line, and he deserves more time to improve.

Mitchell has the bat to play first when not catching, posting a .282/.387/.454 line among the A levels last year.

Ben Blackwell (24, NDFA)
Cam Cauley (21, draft)
Jayce Easley (24, draft)
Devin Hurdle (23, NDFA)
Sebastian Walcott (18, IFA)

Walcott played four games here to conclude 2023, so technically he’s a repeater, but for practical purposes, he’s a newcomer skipping low-A. In intersquads, he was playing in a higher-level group than his age peers, so I’m not surprised at his assignment even though he turned 18 just two weeks ago. I’ve now seen firsthand his occasional troubles against breaking stuff, and at this level, sometimes he’s going to look silly. But he’s a special athlete, and I trust he has the fortitude to deal with adversity.

You’ve heard much about Cauley over the past year, including his Arizona Fall League stint and several spring games despite not turning 21 until last month. I thought AA was possible, but he’ll resume duties in Hickory for the time being. His aggressive bat generates more power than you’d expect from his physique but also a very elevated strikeout rate that is worth tracking.

Yosy Galan (22, IFA)
Anthony Gutierrez (19, IFA)
Daniel Mateo (22, IFA)
Yeison Morrobel (20, IFA)

Gutierrez is a year older than Walcott but perhaps more of a surprise in reaching Hickory to start the season. He was okay last year but had the kind of season that I expected would warrant at least a little additional time in low-A. Regardless, I expect more power from his reconstituted swing.

The same applies to Morrobel, who missed much of 2023 and was absurdly power-deficient when healthy. As best as I can tell, Morrobel only DH’ed during intersquads, so we’ll see whether he’s similarly limited in April. He appears to have spent every day of the winter adding muscle.  


Paul Bonzagni (21, draft)
Wilian Bormie (21, IFA)
Kolton Curtis (19, NDFA)
David Davalillo (21, IFA)
Kohl Drake (23, draft)
Jose Gonzalez (22, IFA)
Kyle Larsen (20, draft)
Ryan Lobus (23, NDFA)
Bryan Magdaleno (23, IFA)
Case Matter (22, draft)
Brayan Mendoza (20, IFA)
Alberto Mota (21, IFA)
Justin Sanchez (20, draft)
Luke Savage (22, NDFA)
Josh Trentadue (22, draft)
Luis Valdez (20, trade)
Kai Wynyard (21, IFA)

A bunch of new faces and several more with scant experience at the level. Two I saw approvingly in Surprise were Kyle Larsen, a finally healthy 2021 pick, and side-armer Luke Savage. I did not see undrafted Kolton Curtis out there, but obviously the Rangers liked what they saw because he’s the only teenager on the staff.

Bonzagni (12th round), Matter (10th), Trentadue (14th) are from last year’s draft, all from college. Bonzagni actually arrived in Down East late last season and immediately drew some critical relief situations.

Julian Brock (22, draft)
Jesus Lopez (18, IFA)
Jesus Moreno (22, IFA)

8th-round pick Julian Brock is one of only four position players from last year’s draft, and he didn’t play last season.

The younger Lopez was limited to 13 complex league games last summer but reached safely in 11 and batted .289/.396/.644.

Danyer Cueva (19, IFA)
Arturo Disla (23, FA)
Gleider Figuereo (19, IFA)
Chandler Pollard (19, draft)
Echedry Vargas (19, IFA)

Disla and Figuereo will man the corners, and for the most part the other three should mix in the middle. Figuereo is one of several who dominated the complex league in 2022 only to find full-season ball orders of magnitude harder. He repeats despite leading the team in plate appearances last year, but there’s room in Hickory if he gets off to a good start.

Among players I hadn’t seen before, Vargas excited me the most in Surprise. Congrats to the opposing pitchers who gave him a 25% strikeout rate last year, because contact was a certainty when I saw him. There’s questions about where he’ll eventually settle, but not because of any lack of assurance at any position. He played one game in low-A last season.

Cueva played 101 and will try to improve on last year’s .226/.273/.318. The 2022 5th-round Pollard started slowly at the complex last summer but improved as the season progressed despite a lofty K rate.

Disla is roughly the size of Cueva and Vargas together and could be a leading power source.

Wady Mendez (19, IFA)
Marcus Smith (23, trade)
Tommy Specht (19, draft)
Marcos Torres (19, IFA)

Torres played a little CF in intersquads and the 2022 DSL, but he’s generally been limited to the corners and first base. He stole 23 bases and knocked 20 extra-base hits in 48 games in Arizona preceding a shorter, less successful trip to Down East.

I mentioned Tommy Specht last week as a hitter who surely has more to offer than last year’s .221/.323/.288 line at the same level.

Eight of 12 Down East hitters are teenagers, and while everyone has to share the plate appearances, the youngsters aren’t there to sit and watch.