11:40am: The Rangers have formally selected Huff’s contract, per a team announcement. Outfielder Scott Heineman was optioned to the alternate training site to open a spot on the active roster.
10:40am: The Rangers are set to promote catching prospect Sam Huff to the Major League roster in the wake of Jose Trevino’s left wrist injury, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter). Manager Chris Woodward acknowledged last night that promoting Huff was at least something the team would discuss (Twitter link via T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com).
Huff, 22, entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 99 prospect at Baseball America — the infusion of 2020 draftees has since pushed him off the list — and currently ranks second among the organization’s prospects there. He ranks 75th overall at MLB.com. Other outlets, such as FanGraphs, aren’t as bullish given questions about his ability to stick behind the dish and his lofty strikeout rates. There’s no questioning Huff’s raw power, however, which draws 70 grades on the 20-80 scale in most scouting reports.
A seventh-round pick back in 2016, Huff split the 2019 season between Class-A and Class-A Advanced, where he hit a combined .278/.335/.509 with 28 homers, 22 doubles, a pair of triples and six steals (albeit in a dozen attempts). He’s been an average or better offensive producer at every minor league stop — well above average, in most cases — and boasts a career 34 percent caught-stealing rate thanks to a plus arm that generally receives 60 grades.
On the negative side of the coin, Huff has punched out in 29.7 percent of his minor league plate appearances to date and walked at just a 7.3 percent clip. MLB.com’s scouting report notes recent improvements in his framing and footwork but also observes that only five players as large as the 6’5″, 240-pound Huff have ever caught 300 games in the Majors. Given that lack of precedent, a broad range of outlooks is to be expected.
Huff has yet to play a game against Double-A pitching, so Major League opposition should present a particularly formidable test. Even if Huff returns to the minors at some point, the club is hopeful that he can emerge as a viable long-term piece of the puzzle. The Rangers have leaned heavily on 36-year-old veteran Robinson Chirinos since 2014 (last year’s one-year departure for the Astros notwithstanding), but Texas traded him to the Mets at the deadline.
The hope at one point may have been that Trevino could’ve been next in line, but he’s now 27 years of age and yet to produce in the upper minors or at the MLB level. Broadly speaking, the Rangers have lacked a top-tier catching prospect for quite some time. Huff is their most well-regarded young backstop in recent memory, and he’ll now get his first big league audition over the next few days. If he sticks in the Majors, he’d be controllable all the way through the 2026 season and wouldn’t be arbitration-eligible until the 2023-24 offseason, but further optional assignments could alter those timelines.
He is not on the 40 man so I think there will have to be a move of some sort.
Rangers are only at 37.
Originally the post had said he was on the 40 which he wasn’t, so after my comment they removed that part of the report.
Trevino I think is headed to the IL
Big power with a weaker hit tool- seems like the Rangers philosophy for a long time now. Hopefully he and Trevino can make a good cheap tandem as they try to rebuild.
Sam Huff Pro Football Hall of Fame Linebacker is making a comeback???!?!!??!
Nice to know you can still play Pro Sports at 86 years young!!!
He was a a heck of a player in his day.
So it’s a no brainer. He needs to be protected this winter anyway, and it’s not likely they’ll burn an option and send him back to “camp” in the remaining three weeks. In other words, the move has no economic or roster consequences, and makes sense from a developmental point of view.
Other teams should be doing similar things, especially if they’re out of the race. Pirates, e.g. can put Polanco on the 10DL for the rest of the reason; what does he care, his money is all set for next year. Then they can move somebody off their 40 (they have a lot of candidates), promote Oliva (who needs to be protected anyway this winter), and give the kid some exposure to the bright lights.
Pirates should be doing this with a lot of guys. Cruz could do well to see major league pitching for 2 weeks as well.
Would the last top tier catching prospect for Texas be Alfaro or am I forgetting someone?
Brett Nicholas was a decent prospect he got called up if I recall actually hit then retired in the off-season think he was like 25ish?
Nicholas wasn’t really a good prospect. Basically a career minor leaguer that got some time in the show. Alfaro was a serious prospect they had.
Disagree with the assessments. Trevino was performing admirable to reliable prior to injury. Alfaro was a top catching prospect when he was traded.
Trevino was also showing leadership. I disagree with this selection. I think the Rangers should be auditioning the back up cath her from their player pool. Huff could be the next Saltalamachia.
Nah you can always find backup catchers. Need to get him into some real games to see what he has. I think you let him stay the rest of the year and split some time at 1st when he doesn’t catch as a platoon with Guzman. He needs game reps not against his own teammates. Let him see what he’ll need to work on to get better.
Trevino is hitting .250/.280/.434 in 2020 and is a career .255/.274/.397 hitter. His production at the plate has regularly been poor.
On the Alfaro point, it’s been more than a half decade since he was traded. Perhaps “recent memory” wasn’t the ideal descriptor if you want to interpret literally, but in a baseball sense, going back five years is a pretty substantial period of time.
im really skeptical about the developmental effects of calling these guys up with no high minors experience. what’s so bad about Alternate Site reps? sure they’re not real games, but does that really nessicate promoting a guy from A+? heck, send the guy to an indy outfit for a bit. they’re taking affiliated prospects.
The Rangers have a lot of guys on their 40 man or about to be on the 40 man after the season that they need to see what they have. Tejada Huff etc. those are guys that probably would’ve been in the minors all year but getting them competitive MLB games is not a terrible idea. Not all teams should do it but a team like the Rangers that literally have no upper minors players that are impact guys. Getting these guys competitive at bats is important and better because you’re facing another team for something where as at the training site you’re not. Also helps them see what they need to improve on to stick in the majors.
you really dont need to “see what you have” with a guy this early in his pro career. and its just a personal concern over promoting prospects quickly. i feel like pushing guys up several levels tend to hurt rather then help their development, and with top prospects they should have the talent to improve their game in a “less competitive” environment. long story short i dont think forcibly getting prospects regulation games at all cost is the best way to deal with them in this situation.
HufftheMagicDragon’s emergence came on this day.