Rangers' Taveras, Mendez make Top 100 Prospects

Rangers' Taveras, Mendez make Top 100 Prospects

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Leody Taveras and left-handed pitcher Yohander Mendez are the Rangers' representatives in MLB.com's annual ranking of the Top 100 prospects.

Taveras jumps up to No. 55 this year after being ranked No. 101 last year. Mendez is ranked at No. 56 for the second straight year.

The Rangers have just two players in the Top 100, a reflection of the number of prospects traded away over the past few years or -- in the case of Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar -- who have reached the Major Leagues.

• MLB Pipeline's 2017 Top 100 Prospects list

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2017 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Taveras, 18, has a chance to be the next big impact player to start making his way through the Rangers farm system. The Rangers signed Taveras to a $2.1 million signing bonus in the 2013-14 international signing period, and he came to the United States last summer at the age of 17.

He began by playing in the Rookie-level Arizona League, hitting .278 with one home run, 15 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 33 games. He was promoted to Class A Short-Season Spokane against older and more advanced prospects. He hit .228 in 29 games.

Taveras is a switch-hitter with excellent speed and some power potential. He was used mostly in center field. The Rangers may continue to push Taveras through their farm system by having him start the season at Class A Hickory in the South Atlantic League.

Top Prospects: Mendez, TEX

Mendez was the Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016 while advancing from Class A High Desert to Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. All combined, he made 21 starts and three relief appearances, finishing with a record of 12-3, a 2.19 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He averaged 9.2 strikeouts, 5.8 hits and 3.3 walks per nine innings. He pitched in two games for the Rangers in September.

Mendez was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. He came out of the same international signing class as outfielder Nomar Mazara and first baseman Ronald Guzman. Mendez will be in big league camp this spring, but is expected to start the season at Triple-A Round Rock.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.