Major League Baseball's owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn't mean we're letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 20 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the Texas Rangers' farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
1. Jack Leiter, RHP, No. 18 on the top 20
Leiter was the first pitcher to come off the board in July's draft, and for good reason. In addition to having big-league bloodlines and an SEC certification, he possesses many of the traits teams seek in their pitchers these days, including an electric fastball and a release point that creates tough angles up in the zone. Leiter needs to find greater consistency with his secondaries and his command, but talent evaluators believe he's capable of making those gains in short order; to wit, a veteran scout told CBS Sports that Leiter's pre-draft interview was one of the best he's experienced.
2. Josh Jung, 3B
Jung, the eighth pick in 2019, has long elicited comparisons to former Padres third baseman Chase Headley because of his hit-over-power profile. He challenged that perception last season, lifting the ball more frequently en route to 19 home runs (and a .326/.398/.592 slash line) in 78 games across the upper-minors. For reference, he'd previously homered twice in his first 44 professional games. Jung is considered to be an average defender at the hot corner, and he's not going to contribute much on the basepaths. The totality and complexion of his offensive output, then, will go a long way in determining if he becomes a first- or a second-division starter. Jung should begin to answer that question at the big-league level early this spring.
3. Cole Winn, RHP
Winn betrayed his reputation as a safe, strike-throwing prep arm during his first professional exposure, walking more than a batter every other inning back in 2019. Fortunately for him and the Rangers, he showed far more control last season, walking a batter about once every third inning. Overall, he posted a 2.41 and a 3.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 86 frames across the upper minors. Winn has an arsenal full of average or better pitches, but none project to be certain outpitches. Unless he can that one reliable offering, he's probably looking at a future as a mid-rotation arm.