Future looks bright for Texas Rangers

By sticking to the plan and staying patient, the Texas Rangers have ensured they'll be competitive for years to come.

ESPN asked three of their top baseball analysts -- Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney -- to rank all 30 teams in five different categories in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years.

For the first time, the Rangers didn't top these rankings, but they're right in the rear-view mirror of the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 2.

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While some may criticize them for allowing core players such as Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Mike Napoli to walk as free agents, they deserve credit for discipline and sticking to their philosophy of not overvaluing any one player. Even without Hamilton, this team will be competitive for years to come, though it might take a small step back in 2013.

To see the entire rankings -- and everything they had to say about the Rangers -- click here.

* That future is buoyed by phenom Jurickson Profar, who should be a mainstay for years to come. ESPN Insider Dan Symborski was asked to rank the top 30 players in baseball -- for 2018. He slots Profar at No. 8. Who's ahead of him? Check it out.

* Another piece of the puzzle, obviously, is Yu Darvish. But the Rangers won't have to wait long for him to reach his peak. In fact, ESPN fantasy baseball writer Mike Sheets says he just might be among the top five pitchers in the game this season.

It's hard to poke holes in any of ESPN's preseason top-five starting pitchers -- Justin Verlander, Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg and Price -- but consider that three hurlers who ranked outside the preseason top-10 last year (Price, Cain and R.A. Dickey) finished 2012 in the top five. That's what I'm counting on Darvish doing this year. You don't have to draft him in the top five. You can, however, draft him with reasonable confidence that he'll finish the season there.