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Rangers Top 10 Prospects

By John Manuel
December 30, 2002

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Prospect Handbook
Does 10 prospects per team only whet your appetite? How does 30 sound? If you want the more of in-depth information you're finding here on three times as many players, Baseball America's 2003 Prospect Handbook is for you.

1. Mark Teixeira, 3b

Age: 22. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Georgia Tech, 2001 (1st round). Signed by: Zachary Hoyrst.

Background: Under the prospect microscope since high school, Teixeira has always thrived–when healthy. He was expected to be a first-round pick out of high school in 1998, but fell to the Red Sox in the ninth thanks to perceived bonus demands. Teixeira had a decorated career at Georgia Tech, where he was Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in 2000. His junior season was interrupted by a broken right ankle. The injury, and again perceived bonus demands, contributed to his being available to the Rangers with the No. 5 overall pick in 2001. He signed a major league contract that guaranteed him $9.5 million, including a club-record $4.5 million bonus. A ruptured tendon in his left elbow and forearm sidelined him in spring training, but Teixeira bounced back to have a big season in his pro debut.

Strengths: Teixeira’s tools, approach and strength make him the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues. He has well-above-average power–40 homers a year is no stretch–and hitting ability from both sides of the plate, in part because he’s in tune with his abilities and has sound fundamentals. Powerfully built, he has a short swing with leverage from both sides, excellent pitch recognition and an advanced two-strike approach. Athletic and instinctive, Teixeira also works hard on the deficiencies in his game.

Weaknesses: Teixeira takes pride in not being a baseclogger, but speed is his weakest tool. Offensively, he can be stubborn and hasn’t taken to the organization’s take-a-strike philosophy, but his mindset stems from his success. Teixeira’s range at third is average and he had throwing problems in 2002, which the Rangers attribute to injuries and rust. He worked on getting his body back into his throws, and by the Arizona Fall League his arm was again a plus instead of a problem.

The Future: Teixeira’s AFL stint was cut short by a muscle strain in his torso, but BA still rated him the league’s top prospect. His major league ETA depends solely on his health. He figures to start 2003 in Triple-A but should get big league at-bats soon at third base, first base (which he hasn’t played since the Cape Cod League in 1999) or DH.

2002 Club (Class)

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

Charlotte (A)

.320

.411

.593

150

32

48

10

2

9

41

21

24

2

Tulsa (AA)

.316

.415

.591

171

31

54

11

3

10

28

25

36

3

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