Major League Baseball’s offseason is underway, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.
Of course, that doesn’t mean every team has an equally good farm system — some, as you’ll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next couple of months examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2024 season, so if a young player is missing that’s likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There’s also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it’s fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 25 list by clicking here.
With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting the Texas Rangers.
1. Evan Carter, CF (21 years old)
Top-25 ranking: No. 3The short version: Uber-disciplined outfielder with feel for barrel.
MLB ETA: Debuted in 2023
Carter, who didn’t partake in many showcase circuit events as an amateur, was a relative unknown when the Rangers selected him in the second round of the 2020 draft. Initial criticism gave way to fast-and-furious mea culpas once area scouts who saw him that spring started to spread The Word. Carter has since introduced himself to the world on a national stage during the postseason. He has an excellent command over the strike zone (if anything he could stand to be more aggressive) and feel for making solid contact. He’s also a speedy runner who can play all three outfield positions. The main question left about his game entails his power potential. Whatever the resolution, he’s going to remain an important part of the Rangers lineup for years to come.
2. Wyatt Langford, OF (22 years old)
Top-25 ranking: No. 4The short version: The No. 4 pick is already knocking on MLB’s door.
MLB ETA: Spring 2024
CBS Sports ranked Langford as the No. 2 player in the draft class last summer, noting that he would’ve been a quality No. 1 pick most years. It’s to be seen how his big-league career pans out, but he validated our belief in him as much as he possibly could have in 44 minor-league games. Langford hit .360/.480/.677 with 10 home runs, 12 stolen bases, and two more walks than strikeouts split across four levels, including a five-game cameo in Triple-A. He has unorthodox swing mechanics — he barely loads his hands and he steps in the bucket — yet scouts have felt confident giving him plus offensive projections even before he took a pro at-bat. Langford also possesses sneaky speed, and there was some thought he would be able to begin his big-league career in center. He’s unlikely to receive that opportunity with the Rangers, though it’s possible he gets the chance to make the team out of camp.
3. Sebastian Walcott, SS (18 years old)
The short version: Dream upon a future power-hitting third baseman.MLB ETA: Summer 2027
Walcott, who joined the Rangers in January for more than $3 million, won’t be able to legally drink until March 2027. (We’ll give you a moment to let those existential pangs settle.) He’s already an imposing figure with a swing that bodes well for him developing well-above-average power. Defensively, Walcott seems likely to outgrow the shortstop position as he adds muscle and subtracts speed. We’ll see since the future is unwritten. The moonshot outcome here is something like a middle-of-the-order thumper who provides good third-base defense.