It’s not easy building a strong farm system, and the Texas Rangers are well aware of that. There are potential prospects in every corner of the world, and it’s a talent-hungry industry with fierce competition across the globe.The Rangers, though, have become one of the best at finding that talent through all venues, including the First-Year Player Draft, international free agency and trades. That’s only one part of the equation, of course, as the development staff then turns that raw talent into legitimate prospects.“We’re proud of the talent we have in our organization,” said Jake Krug, the Rangers’ director of minor league operations. “There’s a lot of people involved and a lot of work involved. We certainly don’t take it for granted, but we do have a lot of talent in the system.” The Rangers have the player widely considered to be the top prospect in the game, Jurickson Profar. They also boast an elite power-hitting prospect that is an above-average third baseman defensively who is now playing the outfield, Mike Olt. Their other top prospects include a hard-throwing left-hander who projects as a frontline starter, Martin Perez, as well as a possible everyday center fielder, Leonys Martin.Profar, Olt, Perez and Martin have all played in the big leagues and are on the verge of graduating full time to that level. But there’s another wave of highly regarded prospects behind them and another wave after that.Assuming the top four drop the “prospect” label this year, the Rangers are still in good shape.Jorge Alfaro projects as an elite catching prospect both defensively and offensively, and could be the team’s top prospect next year if he continues to progress.“Catching is the hardest thing to find,” Krug said. “With Alfaro, the sky’s the limit as far as talent but he still has a lot of work to do.”The Rangers have also stockpiled power bats at the corner positions in the lower levels of their system. Joey Gallo, a third base prospect who was a supplemental first-round pick last year, set the Arizona Rookie League record with 18 home runs in 43 games last season.Ronald Guzman, an 18-year-old from the Dominican Republic, is a promising first baseman who batted .321 with 33 RBIs in 52 rookie-league games.At the corner outfield spots, the Rangers have 17-year-old Nomar Mazara, who batted .264 with six home runs and 39 RBIs last season in the rookie league, and 18-year-old Jairo Beras, who signed on Feb. 29 but is ineligible to participate in official games until July 1.Lewis Brinson, a center fielder who was the Rangers’ first-round draft pick last season, is another high-ceiling player. The 18-year-old batted .283 with 22 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs in the rookie league last year.“They’re all big men and all bring power to the table,” Krug said.The Alfaros and Gallos and Brinsons are the players who are projected to make the biggest impact at the next level down the road. But others within the system can just as easily impact the big-league team in the future, and they come from all walks of life.There’s C.J. Edwards, a 48th-rounder in 2011 from the backwoods of South Carolina, who put himself on the map by posting a 1.48 ERA during stints in the rookie league and Short A Spokane last season. There’s 17-year-old outfielder Todd McDonald, an Australian whom the Rangers signed this spring. And there’s even local talent, including UT Arlington product Preston Beck, a fifth-round draft pick last season with arguably the best outfield arm in the system.The Rangers’ farm system is talented and deep and poised to stay strong for the long haul. As Chuck Ross says, however, thousands and thousands of players die in the minor leagues.Chuck was a second-round pick himself that never made it to the big leagues. But his son, Robbie, is one of the Rangers’ homegrown success stories who developed into a big leaguer.Nobody knows if Brinson and Gallo will be franchise players in the future, or if an injury or another unforeseen setback wrecks their big league dreams. But they have that potential and are among the Rangers’ top 10 prospects, according to the Star-Telegram.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison