The experts talk. 9 comments

Gerry Fraley from the Dallas Morning News answered readers’ questions about the Rangers yesterday. Here are some of the more interesting points made.

When asked about the Rangers approach of stockpiling pitchers, as opposed to what the Cubs and Astros did of stockpiling offense and then buying pitchers, Fraley response with:

Q: When the Cubs and Astros tanked, they stockpiled talented position players to build their window of contention, then went shopping for the pitching they needed to complete the roster. Both teams won championships. The Rangers are doing the opposite, loading up on young arms with “high ceilings.” Do you have an opinion on which approach is better?

A: I’ll go with the Atlanta approach, which Bobby Cox installed in the 1980s. Get as many young arms as possible. The Braves added an extra minor-league club just to have more kids pitching. The Astros tried to go pitching but whiffed on No. 1 picks Mark Appel and Brady Aiken.The Rangers need more pitching in the system because the position has a high attrition rate. Going back to the Braves, some of the young pitchers they were highest on never made it because of injuries or a regression in performance. It happens.

Q:  I’ve read a lot of drum-banging about the Rangers’ current prospects. I know you’re allergic to all flavors of Kool-aid, but what’s your overall assessment of their farm system and how soon the MLB club will see any benefits?

A: You’re right. I’ll always believe in Jim Leyland’s belief that a prospect “is a guy who hasn’t done a thing.” That said, the Rangers have improved the depth in the system in the deals and probably rank about 10-15th after dropping into the mid-20s. RHP Hans Crouse and OF Bubba Thompson probably have the highest ceilings, with SS Anderson Tejeda and OF Leody Taveras a tick behind. All four are several years away. The club could see a few pitchers, such as RHP Jonathan Hernandez and LHPs Taylor Hearn and Joe Palumbo near the end of the coming season. I’d say 2021 is when the club could begin to feel a real impact from young arms.