The Texas Rangers have built their farm system through investments in the International market and high upside draft picks. Texas prefers athletic players with loud tools as an organizational philosophy. Through the years, the Rangers have had a reputation for finding and developing sluggers, especially from Latin America, while struggling to develop starting pitching.
Though the system has been plundered recently through trades to help the big league club, the Rangers still have several enticing prospects we will be featuring through the coming days.
When most casual prospect fans think about who the next “big name” is in the Ranger’s system, Anderson Tejeda doesn’t usually come to mind. After a stellar campaign last year, Tejeda established himself as a name even the casual Ranger fan should stock away for later.
At 18, the Dominican shortstop hasn’t spent much time in professional ball in the states quite yet after he signed for $100,000 with Texas as a 16-year-old in September 2014. Even though he’s played second, third and short, Tejeda will spend most of his time as a shortstop. Tejeda is one of the few shortstops who hit lefty.
Last season Tejeda spent time at three levels: the Dominican Summer League for 11 games, the Arizona Rookie league for 32 games, and short season Spokane for 23 games to finish out the season. Across those three levels he put up a slash line of .283/.326/.520. That impressive debut in the states earned him a ranking in the top 100 (No. 95) on Baseball Prospectus' top prospect list.
This kid can mash. In 66 games Tejeda hit 14 doubles, ten triples, and ten homers. Of those ten dingers, eight of them came in those 23 games against the most advanced pitching. Defensively Tejeda has good instincts and a big arm, but is still fairly unpolished. On the basepaths he swiped seven bases without getting caught last year.
Though Tejeda has a lot of upside, it’s accompanied by more than a fair amount of risk. For starters, Tejeda is 18 and has yet to reach even low A. Pitchers are already able to take advantage of his over aggressive approach at the plate as he strikes out in 25.4% of his plate appearances.
As with most aggressive hitters, Tejeda’s walk rate leaves much to be desired. In 288 plate appearances last season Tejeda walked only 18 times. That is good for a 6.25% walk rate. It may not be Rougie Odor level but it still needs improving.
Last season Tejeda feasted largely on a diet of fastballs. As he faces more advanced pitching, Anderson will need to have the ability to adjust when he sees better and more frequent breaking balls.
Tejeda may be a long ways from the majors, but if things break his way, the whole baseball world will know his name before his spikes touch big league dirt.
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