MLB.com has released their newly updated Top 100 Prospects list, with four former Hickory Crawdads, and 5 total Texas Rangers prospects, listed among the MiLB elite.
Representing the 'Dads are 2013 South Atlantic League All-Stars Jorge Alfaro (No. 39) and Joey Gallo (No. 92), along with 2012 Hickory teammates Rougned Odor (No. 59) and Luis Sardinas (No. 76). Rounding out the Rangers contingent is newly acquired outfielder Michael Choice (No. 72), who came to the Texas organization from Oakland in a four-player trade in December.
The five total Rangers players are the same number the club placed on the 2013 list, and ties them with the Minnesota Twins for 5th among MLB clubs.
Alfaro, 20, played in 104 games at Hickory, six in the Arizona Rookie League on rehab assignment and three more at Class A Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. In 459 plate appearances, he hit .265 with 72 runs scored, 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 61 RBIs. Alfaro had a .346 on-base percentage and a .463 slugging percentage. He was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game, but the catcher was held out with a broken left hand.
Gallo, 20, spent all of last season with the 'Dads, except for five games on a rehab assignment for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers. He led the Minor Leagues with 40 home runs and had 88 RBIs in 467 plate appearances to go along with a .251 average, a .338 on-base percentage and a .623 slugging percentage. Gallo was also selected to play in the Futures Game, but he had to miss it because of a strained groin muscle.
Odor, 19, split time between Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco. In 569 plate appearances, he hit .305 with 85 runs scored, 45 doubles, 11 home runs, 78 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. He had a .365 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage.
Sardinas, 20, also split time between Myrtle Beach and Frisco. In 573 plate appearances, he hit .288 with 81 runs scored, 19 doubles, two home runs, 46 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. He had a .340 on-base percentage and a .347 slugging percentage.
Choice, 24, played in 132 games at Triple-A Sacramento and hit .302 with a .390 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage. He scored 90 runs in 132 games, while belting 14 home runs and driving in 89 runs. Choice was 5-for-18 in a September call-up for the A's before being traded to the Rangers, along with infielder Chris Bostick, for pitcher JoshLindblom and outfielder CraigGentry on Dec. 3.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, 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. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2014.
The Crawdads kick off the home portion of their schedule on April 10th against the Asheville Tourists, after beginning the season on the road in Greensboro on April 3rd. 2014 Season Tickets and Ticket Books are now on sale.
For more information, visit the 'Dads website at www.hickorycrawdads.com or call the Front Office at (828) 322-3000.
Hot Stove Banquet: A limited number of tickets are still available for the January 29th Crawdads Hot Stove Banquet featuring Texas Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine! Individual tickets are just $30 and 8-person tables are available for $200, with the ticket price including both a meal and the banquet! You can purchase your tickets here or call the 'Dads front office at (828) 322-3000.
Winter Warm Up Ticket Book Sale: The Crawdads want to help their fans fight off the winter cold by adding 2 FREE tickets to any 2014 Ticket Book! That's 12 total vouchers for only $70!
Stay Connected: Make sure to stay connected with the Crawdads during the off-sesason by visiting the 'Dads website at www.hickorycrawdads.com or by following us on Facebook and Twitter! The 'Dads will be releasing information on 2014 ticket plans, Crawdads Stadium renovations, and the All-Star Game throughout the off-season!
Photo Courtesy: Joey Gallo, Hickory Crawdads