While Rangers fans patiently await the arrival, and emergence, of Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson, the question most ask is: will that come this season or next?
We don’t ask if they will be good.
But while all indications are they are the real things, the fact is, if they do pan out and make an impact on the Rangers big league roster, they will be the exception rather than the rule under the Jon Daniels regime.
This is a farm system that has always had the benefit of a much better public relations director than a player development director. The perception is bigger than the reality.
We think we picked up Anne Hathaway at the bar but when we turn on the lights at home, it’s Jane Hathaway.
Drafting is an inexact science in the major leagues. Finding that gem, developing it, and bringing it to market is as reliable as an internet connection in a Motel 6.
The Rangers track record under Daniels for drafting position players that eventually make an impact on the big league roster is spottier than a dalmatian.
To date, in the ten years of the Jon Daniels-era, since 2006, seventeen position players Daniels has drafted have debuted in the major leagues with the Texas Rangers. The names read less like a who’s who and more like who?
Chris Davis, 1B, debuted in 2008.
Craig Gentry, CF, 2009.
Julio Borbon, CF, 2009.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, 2010.
Luery Garcia, IF, 2013.
Tomas Telis, C, 2014.
Justin Smoak, 1B, 2010.
Joey Butler, OF, 2013.
Jurickson Profar, IN, 2012.
Luis Sardinas, IN, 2014.
Hanser Alberto, IN, 2009.
Mike Olt, 3B, 2011.
Ryan Strausborger, OF, 2015.
Leonys Martin, CF, 2011.
Rougned Odor, 2B, 2014.
Ryan Rua, CF, 2014.
Joey Gallo, 3B, 2015.
By position, it looks like this:
C: Tomas Telis
1B: Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, Mitch Moreland
2B: Rougned Odor, Leury Garcia, Luis Sardinas
3B: Mike Olt, Joey Gallo
SS: Jurickson Profar, Hanser Alberto
LF: Ryan Strausborger, Ryan Rua
CF: Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin, Julio Borbon
RF: Joey Butler
Three things jump off the page right away.
One, the best position player no longer plays for the Rangers.
Two, the Rangers are totally inept at developing catchers.
Three, the Rangers are brilliant at developing fourth outfielders.
Assuming Mazara and Brinson come up with the Rangers, neither has that high of a bar to jump in order to be the best outfielders Daniels has ever developed. It’s the tallest midget phenomenon.
Of course, the jury is still out on Profar, who had his career derailed by injury. And Gallo has such a high ceiling—if he could just somehow see that ceiling above that low floor he also possesses. And, to be fair, some of the position players the Rangers have developed have been used to attract guys like Cole Hamels.
Last year the Rangers won the West with just two starters they developed: Mitch Moreland and Rougned Odor. The Royals had four. They won the World Series. With a payroll that was $30 million less.
The reality is, though, that the Rangers cannot develop their own players. That is why, if they want to compete, they have to give big contracts. Since they cannot develop talent, they have buy it on the open market. And that’s a more expensive way to go.
The Rangers could stand to get some great cheap talent that is here for the long run.
There’s no denying there is talent in the Rangers pipeline. But how much of that is high octane? And how much of that is sludge?