Nick Williams (OF, Frisco RoughRiders)
The first thing to notice when watching Nick Williams is the insane velocity at which his bat moves through the zone. The second thing is his speed on the basepaths. The third thing is that he's not as graceful in the outfield as his speed would suggest he could be.
Williams is an interesting case. His raw talent is evident every time he sets foot on the field, and he's been able to maintain sterling lines at all his stops, but watching him in person reveals the work still needed to get him to the major leagues. His bat is so quick, and his hands so fast, that he can catch up to almost anything, but this can work against him if he triggers too quickly against breaking and offspeed pitches. He's also bad about being overly aggressive at the plate, striking out swinging at three consecutive pitches multiple times in his first few games in Frisco. He hasn't had to change this approach yet, though, because he's been able to hit enough to succeed with his current setup in all his previous stops, despite being fifth in the organization with 135 strikeouts.
In the field, Williams still looks fairly raw, taking circuitous routes on fly balls and showing a strong but inconsistent arm. His speed allows him to get to balls that some other defenders wouldn't be able to, but he's also prone to hesitations and stutter-steps not seen in advanced outfielders.
Williams will likely spend most of 2015 with the RoughRiders, refining his approach both in the field and at the plate.
Cody Buckel (P, Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
Buckel came into 2014 having put up one of the most depressing performances ever in 2013, losing the strike zone early in the season and being unable to pitch competitively for the rest of the year. The Rangers assigned him back to Myrtle Beach to begin this season, where he had a few rocky outings early, went on the DL, and then slowly improved every appearance after coming back. In fact, Buckel has a 1.93 ERA over his last 23.1 innings, striking out 32 and walking 16.
During those early season appearances, Buckel had only a shadow of his former pitches, according to an observer. In the second, much more successful half, the stuff has come back and Buckel looks like a pitcher again, someone able to get outs in his level without walking more than he strikes out.
Of course, many dedicated Rangers followers will be wanting to know if Buckel can move back up into the ranks of prospect-dom after such a disastrous sidetrack to his career. While it's certain that Buckel has returned to being an effective MiLB pitcher this season, it's unlikely that he'll be able to work his way up into the upper echelon of Texas prospects. He doesn't, however, look like someone whose invitation to Spring Training next season is in doubt. Depending on his performance in the spring, Buckel could return to Myrtle Beach or make it back up to Frisco in 2015.
Andrew Faulkner (P, Frisco RoughRiders)
Though Faulkner has struggled some in his brief time with Frisco, he's shown flashes of the form that propelled him through the Carolina League with a 2.01 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
The 21-year-old lefty has been projected by many as a reliever, due to the effort and style of his delivery, but Faulkner is currently working on expanding his pitching repertoire as a starter. Most of his successes in Myrtle Beach came courtesy of his split-finger, a pitch that few high-A hitters knew what to do with. As of right now, Faulkner's shelved the splitter, working in a slider that often has slurvy break. It occasionally is effective, but still looks as though he's improving it. His fastball, which comes in at an awkward angle for hitters, usually sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and Faulkner also throws the occasional changeup. Both his current offspeed pitches need further development, if Faulkner is to remain a starter. However, with his fastball and splitter, Faulkner could soon be an effective major league reliever.
Like Williams, and potentially Buckel, Faulkner likely breaks camp in 2015 with the RoughRiders, giving Frisco yet another exciting team.