Texas Rangers

Some Rangers prospects aren’t in Arizona anymore. What are they getting from Futures Camp?

The final baseball game at Globe Life Park wasn’t Sunday’s second-ender between the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

Final MLB game? Yes.

But a group of Rangers prospects played TCU on Tuesday night in what was the official final game at Globe Life Park. That wasn’t lost on the players who played to a 3-3 tie over 12 innings.

The game, as well as one last week against Dallas Baptist at Globe Life Park and two this weekend against Texas Tech at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, was part of the inaugural Futures Camp for Rangers prospects.

In the past, all prospects asked to extend their seasons have done so in the instructional league in Arizona. But the players in the Futures Camp have maxed out the Surprise Recreation Campus, and the Rangers wanted to give them a taste of what could be their future.

And it tastes good.

“This is a true honor,” right-hander Ricky Vanasco said. “To be in this stadium, to be in the big-league clubhouse, this is as close to a dream come true as it can be without being in the big leagues. It’s an amazing experience. Stepping on that mound and throwing in our big-league stadium and seeing that third deck was awesome.”

The Rangers have brought almost all of their top prospect to town, save for outfielder Bubba Thompson and right-hander Hans Crouse. Thompson is playing in the Arizona Fall League after an injury-plagued season. Crouse was in Arlington on Wednesday, though to have a bone spur shaved off his elbow.

Third baseman Josh Jung and right-hander Cole Winn, the past two first-round picks, are part of the camps, and so are High A catcher Sam Huff and Double A center fielder Leody Taveras.

None of them was the Rangers’ Minor League Player of the Year. Curtis Terry was after pounding Class A pitching and improving defensively at first base. Like Vanasco, Terry looks at the Futures Camp as a tremendous opportunity.

“This is a really cool camp,” Terry said. “All the guys who had really good seasons or are top-prospect players are here. It’s nice being around people that want to compete and work as hard as can be. We all have one goal, and that’s to get to the next level. It’s nice being with an organizations that is keeping us together.”

The camp is the latest experiment the Rangers are trying as they look at different ways to develop players.

“The goal is for these guys to play at the major-league level and to try to expose them as much as possible to the major-league staff and to have the opportunity to see the closing of this ballpark and the new ballpark where they’re going to play,” assistant general manager Mike Daly said. “We’re trying to get them out of their comfort zone a little bit. We’re trying to get these guys a couple weeks in the community and expose them what the big leagues are going to look like.”

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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