Rangers top prospects Leury Garcia and Luis Sardina, ranked ninth and 15th, respectively among the club's tops prospects
, are considered the two fastest runners in the system, but outfielder Chris Garia is making a run at them.
Garia, who signed with the Rangers out of Curacao along with shortstop Jurickson Profar on July 2, 2009, continues to impress the staff at extended spring training with his speed.
"If he puts it in play and it's not right at you, then there's a good chance that it's a hit," Arizona Rookie League Rangers manager Corey Ragsdale said. "That's the thing with him, even if he is not barreling up balls, he will still be able to bunt and get on base and do those things."
Garia, who played for The Netherlands Antilles' Little League World Series championship team in 2004, has spent the past two years playing in the Dominican Summer League. The club likes his athleticism but also understands he needs more game action.
Garia, competing for a spot in the system, is mastering the fine art of the well-placed bunt.
"He is still learning how to be a baserunner and basestealer but he's so fast right now that he can get [stolen bases] when he wants to," Ragsdale said. "He's come so far from two years ago."
Ragsdale said several other players at extended spring training are also "turning a corner." Specifically, he mentioned the progress of infielders Luis Marte, Alberto Triunfel and Smerling Lantigua, who all played in the Dominican Summer League last year.
"Triunfel has really good hands but he's just too good sometimes and we have to slow him down," the manager said. "He's also come a long way with the bat. Marte makes all the routine players, which is good because a lot of times those are the plays the young players struggle with."
Ragsdale added that Lantigua has shown his power in Arizona but he's also displayed a need to work on his footwork.
"He's a big kid and he will have a chance to be a corner guy in the future," he said.