The stove of the 2019 Major League Baseball offseason is lukewarm.
Just three weeks removed from the Washington Nationals’ first ever World Series title, the division rival Atlanta Braves made the first notable move in the offseason by signing reliever Will Smith Friday. The Chicago White Sox followed suit by snagging catcher Yasmani Grandal Thursday.
Though the Texas Rangers likely won’t be big spenders in the offseason, they’ve been linked with big names like free agent third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson. Here are a few names who could see a promotion to the MLB roster, given Texas general manager Jon Daniels and co. choose a grassroots, farm system approach to piecing together the 2020 roster.
Roster hole: Third base.
Solution: Sherten Apostle.
Apostle is a quickly rising phenom in the Rangers’ system who rose in favor among media and team brass, so much so that he was added to Texas’ 40-man roster this week, and recently ranked as Texas No. 10 prospect according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. He could see plenty of playing time in Spring Training in February. Originally, the team signed him as a right-handed pitcher out of Curacao, and for a recent convert to batting, he pieced together a solid .251/.339/.779 slash line between two levels of A-ball this year.
Roster hole: Middle reliever.
Solution: Demarcus Evans.
Evans will likely break onto Texas’ opening day roster. His 2019 numbers (6-0, 0.90 ERA, 60-22 K-BB between High-A Down East and Double-A Frisco) are eye-popping no matter what level. He too was added to the 40-man this week, and has impressed scouts with his ability out of the bullpen. He hasn’t started a game since 2017, making him even more likely to crack Texas’ fluid rotation of bullpen arms.
Roster hole: Center field.
Solution: Leody Taveras.
Taveras is a name that has grabbed loads of attention since Texas signed him in 2015. He’s risen all the way to the No. 5 ranking in Callis’ Top-30 list after a strong offensive 2019 season between two minor league levels with a .279/.344/.719 slash line. Current MLB starter Delino Deshields cleaned up a sloppy start to his 2019 offensive season by finishing with a .275 batting average from June onward, but aside from his electric speed, hasn’t proven much offensively and could see the clock ticking on his starting spot if he gets off to a similarly slow start to 2020.
Roster hole: Starting pitcher.
Solution: Tyler Phillips.
Another recent add to the Rangers’ 40-man. He dominated six starts with Down East in 2019 before an early promotion to Frisco, where he grabbed 22 starts worth of experience, racking up a 3.71 total ERA between the two levels. He’s a pitcher Texas will likely starting off at Triple-A Nashville. Depending on what Texas does in free agency or on the trade market, the team could look Phillips’ way if it needs an extra arm early on in 2020.
Roster hole: Catcher.
Solution: Sam Huff– but not yet.
Huff rose all the way up to Texas’ No. 2 prospect ranking in Callis’ list. Get excited, Rangers fans: according to MLB.com, Huff’s 6-foot-4 frame helps him produce the highest exit velocity on batted balls of any prospect since Joey Gallo.
And now, reel it back in. Huff is just 21 and hasn’t seen a single pitch above A-ball. He certainly figures into the team’s future plans, especially in 2021, but likely not at all next year. As for 2020, Texas only has Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino on the 40-man roster, but Tim Federowicz saw MLB experience behind the plate for Texas this season and is still on the Triple-A roster. Frisco’s Alex Kowalcyzk is another less likely option for next year.
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