Despite being one of the smallest leagues in the minors, the Texas League was loaded with talent from the second the rosters were announced in April. That made picking the Pre-Season All-Prospect Team a snap, and led to a Post-Season team with a lot of the same names showing up.
Catcher: Jason Hagerty (San Antonio) – This borders on a mercy pick. I’m just picking someone so I don’t leave it blank in the pre-season and the post-season. Hagerty is a very marginal prospect that’s shown some offensive promise in the past but nothing to get truly excited about. The only other option here was Tulsa’s 26-year old backstop Lars Davis, who is in no way a prospect. (Pre-Season Pick: N/A)
First Base: Jonathan Singleton (Corpus Christi) – Singleton was the pre-season pick and did more than enough to keep his spot on the roster. As scouts waited for his tremendous raw power to begin showing in games, Singleton finally gave them a glimpse of the future with his debut performance at Double-A as a 20-year old. In 131 games for the Hooks, Singleton blasted 27 doubles and 21 home runs while sporting a solid .284 average and 88 walks, giving him a healthy .396 on-base percentage. Singleton is the first-baseman of the future in Houston and he could arrive sometime next year. (Pre-Season Pick: Jonathan Singleton)
Second Base: Kolten Wong (Springfield) – Similar to Singleton, Wong makes both the pre-season and post-season rosters. His first full season wasn’t nearly as impressive as his debut in 2011, but he also managed to skip a level and jump all the way to Double-A Springfield. Playing in 126 games, Wong knocked 23 doubles, six triples and nine home runs. His .287/.348/.405 line is bolstered by his heady play on the field. He’s not a tools monster, but he can hit and he has a bunch of solid tools that play up in many situations. He should be a solid big league player. (Pre-Season Pick: Kolten Wong)
Third Base: Mike Olt (Frisco) – I, right along with a lot of other prospect prognosticators, were really excited about Nolan Arenado entering the year. He had a solid season, but Mike Olt was absolutely dominant in the Texas League en route to a promotion to the big leagues to help a championship-caliber club. Olt is a very strong player, both offensively and defensively, and his .288/.398/.579 line hints at his offensive potential. He has the ability to hit for a decent average with plenty of power and walks, but also a lot of strikeouts. If not for the defensively brilliant Adrian Beltre at third base, Olt would be more frequently flashing his leather there as well. Olt’s ceiling is a perennial All-Star and now the Rangers just have to figure out where to play him. (Pre-Season Pick: Nolan Arenado)
Shortstop: Jurickson Profar (Frisco) – Jurickson Profar entered the season as one of the elite prospects in baseball, making him an easy choice for the Pre-Season Team. Jurickson Profar will arguably end the season as the best position-player prospect in the game while finishing the year in the middle of a pennant race in Texas. As a 19-year old wunderkind, Profar hit .281/.368/.452 in the Texas League and showed an array of tools that include excellent defense, a good arm, ability to hit for average, good pop and running ability, all topped off by an exceptional feel for the game. (Pre-Season Pick: Jurickson Profar)
Outfield: Michael Choice (Midland), Wil Myers (Northwest Arkansas), Oscar Taveras (Springfield) – This is getting boring. Yet again my pre-season picks held true in the post-season. Taveras ended the year as what I would consider the best pure offensive prospect in the game today and he hit .321/.380/.572 in 124 games. Myers quickly moved on to Triple-A and made the Pacific Coast League Post-Season Team as well, but his ridiculous .343/.414/.731 line in 35 games leaves no choice but to put him on this roster too. While Choice’s numbers took a dive from the high-octane environment of the California League, he still managed an OPS near .800 with 15 doubles and ten home runs in 91 games. He’s not the star-level prospect that Myers and Taveras are, but he’s a really solid prospect in his own right. (Pre-Season Pick: Michael Choice, Will Myers, Oscar Taveras)
Pitcher: Jarred Cosart (Corpus Christi), Carlos Martinez (Springfield), Dan Straily (Midland) – Finally, some changes from the pre-season team. John Hellweg pitched well this year but there was no way he was usurping a spot on this team from one of the three pitchers above. He’s still far more potential than substance. Odorizzi was dynamic in his seven starts, but the Royals quickly moved him to Triple-A where he made the PCL team. In 15 starts for Corpus Christi, the ultra-talented and often enigmatic Cosart posted a 3.52 ERA and continued to flash the elite-level stuff that makes scouts drool. There are still open questions about his command and control, which leave some to project him in the bullpen. A bullpen projection is also familiar to Carlos Martinez who has 80-grade velocity and is still searching for the ability to locate and miss bats with that raw stuff. Martinez was strong in the Texas League, posting a 2.90 ERA in 71 1/3 innings. The surprise member of this pitching staff has to be a guy that was arguably the surprise prospect in all of baseball this year. Oakland’s Dan Straily burst on the scene and blew through Double-A with a 2.02 ERA in eleven starts, combined with just 5.4 hits and a whopping 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Straily continued his rise by blowing through Triple-A and arriving in the Major Leagues where he owns a 3.42 ERA in four starts. (Pre-Season Pick: Jarred Cosart, John Hellweg, Jake Odorizzi)