The Texas Rangers season wrapped up this past weekend. It was an uneventful wrap up, unlike some seasons and teams when the last few regular season games mean a playoff clench possibility. No excitement for that this time around. I lost a little steam following the action on the field in Arlington this year, if I’m being honest. Weirdly enough though, I’m eager to get tickets for Opening Day 2022 already.
Our RoughRiders had some excitement this season and worthy of recognition. In fact, the Texas Rangers recognized Cole Winn, Nick Snyder and Bubba Thompson as part of their Minor League Award Winners for the 2021 season.
• Cole Winn: Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year
• Nick Snyder: Reliever of the Year
• Bubba Thompson: Co-winner of the True Ranger Award
Winn spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign with the RoughRiders before being promoted to Triple-A Round Rock after the conclusion of the Double-A season. With the RoughRiders, the Longmont, Colorado native was one of the best pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball, going 3–3 with a 2.31 ERA over his 19 starts, striking out 97 to 26 walks over 78.0 innings. Winn is the No.3 overall prospect in the Rangers system by MLB.com while also placing No.60 on MLB.com‘s top 100 rankings. Winn is the 14th player to have pitched for the RoughRiders in the same season as being named the Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award, joining the most recent recipient, Jason Bahr, in 2019. Winn’s 19 starts with Frisco are the most by any winner of the award with the Riders since Kameron Loe won it in 2004 with 19 starts as well.
Snyder began the season with High-A Hickory before being promoted to Frisco on June 16th. The Florida native dazzled over his 13 outings in a RoughRiders uniform, allowing just three earned runs over 16.1 innings (1.65 ERA) while striking out 25 batters and just walking one. He was then promoted to Triple-A Round Rock for five outings and then made the jump to the Rangers, making his major league debut on August 21st in Fenway Park. Snyder is the ninth RoughRiders player to win the Reliever of the Year Award, alongside 2019’s Demarcus Evans.
Thompson was named the co-winner of the True Ranger Award – an award that highlights players who represent the core values of the Rangers organization – along with Keyber Rodriguez. On the season, Thompson had the best year of his minor league career, slashing .275/.325/.483 with Frisco. Thompson did his damage primarily from the leadoff spot in the Riders order, and played more games in center field than any player at any other position — except Matt Whatley at catcher (69 games to Thompson’s 65). Thompson also found himself all over the Double-A Central leaderboards. He finished the year first in the league triples (nine), tied for first in extra-base hits (48), second in hits (118), tied for fourth in runs (73), fifth in doubles (23), seventh in steals (25) and 10th in slugging percentage (.483). Thompson ended the season as the Rangers No.28 prospect per MLB.com. The centerfielder is the second RoughRiders player to win the award – which was established in 2019 – joining pitcher James Jones.