The Rangers have selected the contracts of six players who’d otherwise have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Infielders Luisangel Acuña and Jonathan Ornelas, outfielder Dustin Harris and pitchers Cole Winn, Owen White and Zak Kent have all gotten added to the 40-man roster, which is now at capacity.
Acuña, the younger brother of Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr., is a solid prospect in his own right. A right-handed hitter, Luisangel Acuña plays the middle infield. Baseball America credits him with plus defense at shortstop and considers him the #6 prospect in the Texas organization. Despite not turning 21 years old until March, he’s already played his way to Double-A. Acuña split the season between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco, combining for a .277/.369/.426 line through 409 plate appearances. He struggled in Double-A after an excellent showing in High-A and looks likely to start next year in Frisco.
Texas drafted Ornelas in the third round out of an Arizona high school in 2018. A righty-swinging infielder who’s played each of shortstop, second base and third base, he spent the whole season in Frisco. Ornelas had a solid .299/.360/.425 mark through 580 plate appearances, collecting 14 home runs and stolen bases apiece. He’s not among Texas’ top 30 prospects at BA but has shown decent contact skills and an ability to play the infield.
Harris was an 11th-round pick of the A’s in the 2019 draft out of a Florida junior college. Oakland dealt him to Texas in the Mike Minor trade in 2020. A left-handed hitter, he’s played mostly first base and left field in the minors. Harris is a bat-first prospect who’s coming off a .257/.346/.471, 17-homer showing in 85 games with Frisco. BA slots him 10th in the organization, praising his contact and power combination.
Winn was the 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of a California high school. The right-hander was regarded as a possible big league rotation piece heading into this year after a strong Double-A performance. He scuffled during his first extended crack with Triple-A Round Rock, allowing a 6.51 ERA with a massive 15.2% walk rate over 28 starts. He’ll try to right the ship next season and get back into the MLB rotation picture, but there was never much doubt he’d secure a 40-man roster spot this winter.
White, a 2nd-round pick in the 2018 draft out of a North Carolina high school, has surpassed Winn on the prospect radar. The 23-year-old righty didn’t throw a professional pitch until 2021 because of Tommy John surgery and the cancelation of the 2020 minor league season, but he’s performed well to make up for lost time. He put up a 3.59 ERA in 80 1/3 frames between Hickory and Frisco, striking out 31.7% of opponents. He placed fifth in the system on BA’s midseason update and could factor into the MLB rotation at some point next year.
Kent was a ninth-rounder in 2019 out of VMI. He started all 24 of his appearances in the upper minors last season, working to a 3.94 ERA through 109 2/3 innings. He punched out a decent 23.8% of batters faced against a 9.3% walk rate. He’s 25th in the system at Baseball America and could be a back-of-the-rotation option in the near future.
Jeff Wilson was first to report the moves.