Rangers stocked and ready for future

Rangers stocked and ready for future

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big-league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

Chris Davis could just be the beginning for the Texas Rangers. Think about that.

Davis' arrival in Arlington was an enormous bright spot this season for Texas, especially when you consider that he accomplished what he did in only half a season. But if Davis wasn't enough to whet your appetite -- please have your taste buds checked if he didn't -- then take a gander at what Texas has coming up through the system.

We touted the Rangers as being deep before the season began, and this season certainly didn't do anything to diminish that notion. From dominating young pitchers to offensively gifted players to some wonderful additions in this year's Draft, there's plenty to be excited about as 2009 approaches.

Here's a closer look at what some of the Rangers' prospects did this season, good, bad and indifferent.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Chris Davis, 1B: Chalk one up for us because we picked Davis as the preseason Player of the Year and had he stayed in the Minors all season, he would have been a unanimous choice. As it is, he still could be the pick if you decide to include the half-season he spent in Texas. Davis combined to hit .333 with 23 homers and 73 RBIs in 77 games between Frisco and Oklahoma City before getting bumped up. He hit .285 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 295 at-bats for the Rangers. Overall, he batted .309 with 40 homers and 128 RBIs in 2008.
Davis hits first big-league homer

Neftali Feliz, RHP: While he didn't win the award, Feliz certainly made a good case for it after going 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA while splitting 27 starts between Clinton and Frisco, leapfrogging over the California League.
Feliz fans 11th batter

MLB.com Postseason Selections


•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

Nelson Cruz, OF: Cruz put forth one of the most dominant efforts in the Minor Leagues this season while at Oklahoma, hitting .342 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs. He also had a 1.123 OPS, yet another stat that contributed to his winning the MVP Award in the Pacific Coast League. He continued to hit well when he got called up, batting .330 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 115 at-bats for Texas.
Cruz's four-RBI night

Derek Holland, LHP: Holland pitched on three levels this season, excelled at each stop and seemed to get better each time he moved up. He began the year in Clinton, stopped at Bakersfield and finished in Frisco, going 13-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 26 games. He was 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA in four starts for the RoughRiders.
Holland's 10th K

Climbed the Ladder

Blake Beavan, RHP: Last year's top pick got his first taste of action and enjoyed it during his 23 Midwest League starts. Beavan went 10-6 with a 2.37 ERA while holding the opposition to a .234 batting average. He had a WHIP of 1.03 and walked only 20 in 121 2/3 innings. Beavan was particularly effective down the stretch, going 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA over his final 10 starts.
Beavan fans his ninth

Elvis Andrus, SS: Andrus finally made it out of his teen years, turning 20 in August. He celebrated the beginning of his third decade by leading the organization with 54 steals for Double-A Frisco. He also hit .295 with four homers and 65 RBIs. Andrus only had 25 extra-base hits, so getting a little more bang is something that needs to be addressed. He's still young and will spend most of next season in the PCL before he's old enough to buy a beer. So just sit back and watch him climb the ladder.
Watch Elvis' interview

Neftali Feliz, RHP: Feliz drew rave reviews from several scouts to whom MiLB.com spoke. He was third in the organization in ERA, second with 153 strikeouts while holding the opposition to a .201 batting average. He was kept on a short rope for much of the year, but should have fewer restrictions next season, whether he begins the year back in Frisco or is up in Oklahoma City.
Feliz's rain-shortened no-no

Max Ramirez, C: Ramirez was having a pretty special season before a hip-flexor injury derailed him during the summer. Normally an injury-shortened season would keep a player from occupying a spot in this category, but Ramirez was exceptional with Frisco (.354, 17 homers, 50 RBIs in 243 at-bats) before getting promoted all the way to Texas. He appeared in 13 games during the month-plus that he was with the Rangers, hitting .243 with two homers and six RBIs. But when he was sent back down -- this time to Oklahoma -- he injured his hip flexor in his first game and was forced onto the DL. He ended up hitting .243 in 10 games for the RedHawks.
Ramirez rips grand slam

Tommy Hunter, RHP: A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Hunter tied for the organizational lead with 13 victories and was seventh with a 3.41 ERA while making stops in Bakersfield, Frisco and Oklahoma. He went 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in eight starts with the RedHawks and even made three starts for the Rangers, going 0-2.
Hunter goes seven strong

Nelson Cruz, OF: Cruz may have finally had the breakout year that will land him a full-time Major League gig. He's had good years in the Minors before while meandering through the system in Oakland, Milwaukee and Texas, but nothing of this caliber. When he was called up to the Major Leagues in the past, he never cashed in on the opportunity. This time, he did.
Cruz's big-league blast

Kept Their Footing

Kasey Kiker, LHP: Kiker experienced the California League in all its glory at Bakersfield. He was 5-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 23 games (21 starts) and averaged a little over five innings per outing, striking out 106 over 117 innings. Kiker added five strikeouts in 4 2/3 relief innings. His overall WHIP was 1.40. Texas isn't inclined to rush him, but he needs to show a bit more next season at Double-A.
Kiker strikes out seven

Mike Main, RHP: Main got off to a late start after fracturing two ribs in early March. The 2007 first-rounder came back in late June and split the season between the Arizona and Midwest Leagues. Overall, he was 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 65 in 58 2/3 innings. He allowed one earned run or fewer in seven of his 10 outings with Clinton.
Main matches career high

John Mayberry, OF: Mayberry had a solid season, spending the majority of it in Oklahoma City. He combined to hit .264 with 20 homers and 71 RBIs, including the 21 games he played at Frisco. While the numbers are fairly pedestrian for a former first-round pick, Mayberry has made a steady ascent. He did strike out once every 4.89 at-bats (expected from a slugger), but his .317 OBP needs to be higher if he's not going to be hitting 35 homers and driving in 100 runs.
Mayberry mashes a pair

Taylor Teagarden, C: Teagarden was a funny case this season. He was dealing with a few injuries during Spring Training, which contributed to his slow start at Double-A Frisco (.169 in 16 games). He got bumped up to Oklahoma anyway and didn't fare much better in the Pacific Coast League, hitting only .225 in 187 at-bats sandwiched around a stint with the United States Olympic Team, with whom he hit .188. When he did get called up to Texas, though, he hit .316 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 47 at-bats, all but six of which came in September. He keeps his spot based on simply making the Olympic team and the September performance and not for what he did during the Minor League season.
Teagarden tees off for Texas

Slipped a Rung

Cristian Santana, OF: The Rangers moved Santana out from behind the plate and into left field this season, hoping to capitalize on his offensive potential at a less-strenuous position. The 19-year-old, however, struggled at the plate during his initial season in the Midwest League. He hit .232 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs in 328 at-bats, striking out once every 2.7 ABs. It didn't help that he missed time in late May with an ankle injury.

Zach Phillips, LHP: Phillips has now sandwiched two mediocre seasons (2006, 2008) around one good one, leaving him with a bit to prove in 2009. After going 11-7 with a 2.91 ERA in 2007 at Clinton (his second season in the Midwest League), Phillips had trouble keeping up with the high-octane surroundings of the California League. He was 8-9 with a 5.54 ERA over 28 starts, and it was only in his final few August outings that he began to turn things around, posting an 0.52 ERA over his final 17 1/3 innings with Bakersfield.

On the Radar

Julio Borbon, OF: Borbon should have been on the radar simply because he was a first-round pick, but he was coming off a broken ankle suffered in school. So, he might not have been as high-profile as one might think heading into the year, but he is now. Borbon hit a combined .321 while splitting the season almost evenly between Bakersfield and Frisco. He had seven homers, 58 RBIs and 53 stolen bases.
Borbon blasts one

Derek Holland, LHP: The 25th-round selection in 2007 put up modest numbers in the Northwest League after signing out of Wallace State Community College. What he did this season, particularly as he moved up through the system, was remarkable. Everyone knows who he is now and next year he figures to be on the radar and on everyone's board of players to watch.

Wilfredo Boscan, RHP: Boscan is an 18-year-old free agent from the Dominican Republic who dominated this season at Spokane with his 95 mph fastball and big-league curve. He went 9-1 with a 3.12 ERA, striking out 70 and walking only 11 in 69 1/3 innings. He was 8-0 before dropping an Aug. 24 decision at Tri-City.
Boscan's seventh strikeout

Renny Osuna, 2B: Osuna split the season between the Midwest and California Leagues and did well at both stops. He combined to hit .338 in 526 at-bats, hitting four homers, driving in 66 runs and posting a .399 OBP. Osuna also stole 14 bases and scored 100 runs. So what's not to like?
Osuna delivers in 10th

2008 Draft Recap

1. Justin Smoak, 1B: Smoak was the 11th overall selection, and though he took some time to sign, he was able to get into some game action with Clinton. He hit .304 with three homers and six RBIs in 56 Midwest League at-bats and is currently playing for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League.
Justin smokes one

2. Robert Ross, LHP: Ross received a bigger bonus (in the neighborhood of $1.6 million) than several first- and supplemental-round selections. He signed at the deadline and didn't pitch during the regular season, instead reporting to the club's facility in Arizona.

3. Tim Murphy, LHP: Murphy appeared in 16 games between Spokane and Clinton, going 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA over 47 2/3 innings. He had a 0.71 WHIP and held the opposition to a .173 batting average.
Murphy makes his debut with Clinton

Others of Note: RHP Joseph Wieland (123rd selection) was 5-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 13 games (seven starts) for the Arizona League Rangers. He struck out 41 and walked eight in 43 2/3 innings. ... OF Jared Bolden (273rd selection) hit .263 with three homers and 28 RBIs in 243 at-bats for Spokane. He also had a .361 OBP. ... LHP Cliff Springston (333rd selection) was 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in 35 1/3 innings for Spokane. ... RHP Justin Gutsie was 4-0 in 16 appearances for Spokane, but he also sported a 4.91 ERA in 22 innings. He had a 7.30 ERA over his final 10 outings. ... 1B Dennis Guinn hit .253 with five homers and 34 RBIs in 198 at-bats for Spokane. Of his 50 hits, 21 went for extra-bases.

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.