Texas Rangers

Rangers’ best player in minors this season isn’t a top-10 prospect, but stock is rising

Here’s some good news about the Texas Rangers farm system:

It is filled with more talented players than it was a year ago, and more of them inched closer to the major leagues this season. Some of them made it to the majors this season.

The Star-Telegram has again embarked on ranking the Rangers’ top 10 prospects, and unlike last year, a bigger group of prospects just missed the 2019 cut.

Maybe they’re a bit too unproven (Baryon Lora, Luisangel Acuna). Maybe they have been held back by injuries (Chris Seise, Taylor Hearn). Maybe they have just broken through for consideration.

That’s the case for Curtis Terry, who the Rangers selected as their Minor League Player of the Year. They consider him a better prospect than a year ago after he hit his way through Class A but also played better defense at first base.

He needed to be more well-rounded, but if he reaches the Rangers, it won’t be on the strength of his glove.

“Ultimately, he hit,” Down East manager Corey Ragsdale said. “It was eye-opening for me seeing when he got to Down East. We thought he could hit. I didn’t know he would hit like that. It was an ability to put the barrel on the ball. He hits the ball hard, and he can put together a good at-bat as well.”

Terry opened the season at Low A Hickory, where he collected 15 homers and 24 doubles for a .560 slugging percentage over 62 games. He played 67 games after a promotion to High A Down East, and got better.

His slugging percentage dipped to .515, with 10 homers and 12 doubles, but his average jumped 59 points to .322 and his on-base percentage jumped 67 points to .395.

“When I first got there, I was 0 for 11 to start off, and I was like, ‘All these dudes are throwing different pitches for strikes, so I’ve got to change my approach,’” said Terry, a Georgia native who turned 23 on Saturday.

“I learned how to adjust. I changed my approach to whatever pitch they were throwing over the plate, I could handle it and I could hit it. I just kept working on my approach every day like this. How they were attacking me made me think as a hitter.”

He started taking defense more seriously to the point that he looked forward to playing the field more than hitting in some games. Terry knows he can’t be a one-dimensional player.

“Not only have I gotten better, now I want to do it more,” he said.

Terry was one of the 40 players who spent two weeks in Frisco and Arlington at the inaugural Futures Camp. The roster included top prospects who will be in the Star-Telegram’s top 10 as well as others at the advanced levels of the minors who just missed the cut.

Among the near-misses are right-handers Tyler Phillips, Demarcus Evans and Jason Bahr, the Rangers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. All three have a chance to pitch for the Rangers in 2020.

Being in the camp with the best prospects was a nice reward for Terry, but also served to motivate him to perform against the best of the best.

“We all compete against each other, but at the end of the day we all love each other,” Terry said.

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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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