Every year around this time, Baseball America releases its list of each team's top prospects, and the Texas Rangers' top 10 list has a bit of a surprise this year.
One thing that isn't surprising about the list is that Joey Gallo, the power-hitting phenom who took the minors by storm last season at 20 years old, is listed as the team's top prospect after finishing the 2014 season at Double-A Frisco. Next up on the list is where the surprise comes. It's not that Jorge Alfaro had a bad year, and he's still an elite prospect and one of the top catching prospects in baseball, but he was passed up as the Rangers' No. 2 prospect by a new face to the organization.
Remember when the Rangers waved the white flag in July and traded closer Joakim Soria away to Detroit only to see him fail miserably with the Tigers? Well, the return for Soria was a big one and it included starting pitcher Jake Thompson, who is the Rangers' new No. 2 prospect.
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Thompson passed up Alfaro not because of Alfaro's struggled, but because of Thompson's dominance and projection as a top-end starting pitcher.
The 20-year-old Rockwall-Heath graduate went to Double-A Frisco after the trade and racked up a 3-1 record with a 3.28 ERA while striking out 44 in 35 2/3 innings. That was his highest ERA in any of his five minor-league stops in his three seasons as a pro — not too shabby.
Frisco is going to be a fun place to watch baseball next season, and Thompson is just a small part of it.
Following Gallo, Thompson and Alfaro are outfielder Nomar Mazara, outfielder Nick Williams, starting pitcher Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, middle infielder Luis Sardinas, outfielder Ryan Rua, starting pitcher Luis Ortiz and middle infielder Josh Morgan.