Bonus Rangers Prospects: Nos. 21-25
Our wall-to-wall Rangers coverage today at MLBPipeline.com includes an updated Top 20 Prospects list. As I’ve done for all the Top 20s I’ve written, I give you the next five prospects who would have made an expanded list, plus a sleeper:
21. Marcos Diplan, rhp. One of three seven-figure international signings by the Rangers last summer, he landed a $1.3 million bonus. He’s small for a starter at 5-foot-10, but he combines stuff (fastball to 96 mph, promising curveball) and polish like few 17-year-olds.
22. Chris Bostick, 2b. Acquired along with Michael Choice from the Athletics in exchange for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom in December, he’s a line-drive hitter who’s athletic and versatile. The big question with Bostick is whether his hands are soft enough for him to stay in the infield.
23. Jose Leclerc, rhp. He averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in low Class A last year, thanks to a lively mid-90s fastball and a nasty cutter. Leclerc also throws a curveball and changeup that can be average pitches at times, though his lack of command and feel likely will keep him in the bullpen.
24. Drew Robinson, 3b. While he has progressed slowly since signing as a fourth-round pick from a Las Vegas high school in 2010, he has the approach, left-handed swing and power potential to profile well offensively at third base. Robinson isn’t especially quick but gets the job done at third base.
25. Cody Buckel, rhp. He went from Rangers minor league pitcher of the year in 2012 to suddenly losing his control in 2013, when he walked 35 in 10 2/3 innings. Buckel looks like he has put those problems behind him this spring, showing a low-90s fastball to go with a solid curveball, slider and changeup.
My favorite deep sleeper: Roman Mendez, rhp. One of three prospects acquired from the Red Sox for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in July 2010, he became a full-time reliever in 2013 but missed most of the year with a stress fracture in his elbow. When healthy, Mendez has a 92-96 mph fastball with sink and backs it up with a slider and splitter.