Keith Law of MLB.com put out his annual Top 100 MLB prospects rankings. Good news. The Rangers had four players make the list.
Here they are, along with his synopsis of each player. The future looks promising.
26. Jack Leiter, RHP, Age 22. The top pitcher in the 2021 draft class, Leiter went second overall to the Rangers, coming off a spring with some incredible highs (a no-hitter that was part of a twenty-inning streak where he gave up zero hits) and lows (a three-week stretch where he gave up five homers in two starts, then had to miss an outing). The son of longtime big leaguer Al Leiter and former high school teammate of Anthony Volpe, Leiter is a command right-hander with a fastball that misses bats even at average velocity, although he can top out at 95 to 96 mph. At Vanderbilt, he got a ton of swings and misses on his slider, although his curveball looks like it’ll be the better pitch. He has plus control and should end up with at least above-average command, thanks to a delivery he repeats with ease. Leiter is maybe 6-1 and doesn’t offer a lot of projection, so the odds of him adding much velocity are not very high (but it’s still possible). He looks more like a solid No. 2 starter at his peak, one who gets it done without a clear plus pitch because he throws everything for strikes and can miss enough bats with his fastball.
32. Josh Jung, 3B, Age 24. Jung mashed his way through Triple-A last year, hitting .326/.398/.592 at the top two levels of the minors, even though it was his first full pro season since the Rangers made him the eighth overall pick in 2019. Jung hurt his foot in spring training and had a late start, but answered the one remaining question about his bat by hitting 19 homers and 22 doubles between two stops last year in just 78 games. The Rangers left Jung at third base after trying him at some other spots in 2020 at their alternate site, and he’s a solid-average defender there, although his bat is going to carry the day. He hits the ball hard, consistently, and makes contact at an above-average rate. A .300/.360/.520 season is well within reach once he’s established himself in the majors.
42. Cole Winn, RHP, Age 22. Winn was the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2018, didn’t pitch that summer due to his workload in the spring, then threw 65 innings in Low A in 2019, which constituted his entire pro career prior to 2021. Texas still promoted him two levels to Double-A Frisco this past year, making his across-the-board improvement even more impressive—he cut his walk rate by a third, boosted his strikeout rate by 50 percent, and then earned two late-season starts in Triple-A. Winn is a four-pitch guy who works 93 to 95 with a plus changeup that he’ll work to both sides of the plate, while both breaking pitches have improved since we last saw him in 2019, with the curveball ahead of the slider. He was more of a command guy (rather than a big stuff guy) in high school, and now he’s regained that touch and feel while working with a better repertoire. It all looks like a No. 2 starter upside, someone who’s consistently better than league-average for a long time, especially since Winn has such a good feel for pitching for his age.
92. Dustin Harris, 1B, Age 22. Harris was Oakland’s eleventh-round pick in 2019 out of St. Petersburg College, then went to Texas along with outfielder Marcus Smith in a trade for Mike Minor in August of 2020. So, I think it’s fair to say nobody quite anticipated the year he had in 2021, where he hit .301/.389/.483 in Low-A, moved up to High-A Hickory at the start of August, and hit .372/.425/.648 at the higher level. Harris has a simple, strong, direct swing that produces a lot of hard contact (obviously), having made several subtle adjustments to his approach that unlocked his power—he had two homers through July 5, then hit 18 more the rest of the way. He’s played first and third, neither of them very well, and may try some left field next year, but this kind of bat should play anywhere on the field.