Rangers Top 10 Prospects
By John Manuel
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 thrivedwhen 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 Americas 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: Teixeiras tools, approach and strength make him the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues. He has well-above-average power40 homers a year is no stretchand hitting ability from both sides of the plate, in part because hes 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 hasnt taken to the organizations take-a-strike philosophy, but his mindset stems from his success. Teixeiras 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: Teixeiras AFL stint was cut short by a muscle strain in his torso, but BA still rated him the leagues 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 hasnt played since the Cape Cod League in 1999) or DH.
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