Rangers prospects claimed two spots on Baseball America’s ranking of the top 20 prospects in the Short-Season A Northwest League. Based not only on performance but also on the input of NWL managers and scouts, 20-year-old Spokane righthanders C.J. Edwards and Jose Valdespina were ranked number eight and number 13 in the league, respectively.
Edwards, who was also pegged as the Arizona League’s number eight prospect, signed for $50,000 as the Rangers’ 48th-round pick in 2011, while Valdespina signed for a modest $27,500 out of the Dominican Republic in February 2011.
They were the third- and fourth-highest-ranking pitchers in the BA survey. The top-ranked hurler, Seattle righthander Victor Sanchez, was considered the best pitcher on the international market in 2011 and signed for $2.5 million. Second was San Diego righthander Joe Ross, who signed for $2.75 million (nearly double his slot) as the Padres’ first-round pick last summer.
Edwards, promoted to Spokane after making his pro debut with 20 ridiculous innings (zero runs, six hits, six walks, 25 strikeouts) in the AZL, went 2-3, 2.11 in 10 Indians starts, scattering 26 hits (.160 opponents’ average) and 19 walks in 47 innings while fanning 60 batters. One opposing manager, Pat Murphy of the Eugene Emeralds (for whom Ross pitched), said of the lanky Edwards: “He was the best pitcher we saw all year. He’s got something to him. The last five feet of his fastball, it’s going up like a rocket ship. There’s a lot of hop on it.”
Murphy’s Emeralds squad faced Sanchez three times this season.
Valdespina, who went 3-6, 5.58 in 15 Spokane starts (.290 opponents’ average, 34 walks and 54 strikeouts in 59.2 innings) but finished the season strong (1.59 ERA in his final three starts, .194 opponents’ average, five walks and 17 strikeouts in 17 innings), profiles as a short reliever with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a wipeout slider.
Joey Gallo, who also split the summer between the Arizona League and Northwest League, fell nine plate appearances short of qualifying for the NWL rankings. BA’s Conor Glassey said in a chat session on Friday that if Gallo had been eligible, “[h]e would have been an easy No. 2” in the league behind Seattle catcher Mike Zunino.
Here’s some awesome footage from Jason Cole of Lone Star Dugout of Gallo scoring on Ronald Guzman’s no-doubt blast in yesterday’s Instructional League game against the Dodgers FIL squad. I’ll be out there myself for a few days, starting tomorrow.
As you’ll notice, the 17-year-old Guzman and 18-year-old Gallo each stand a legitimate 6’5”. I’m not going to look up what the plural form of “specimen” is.
Be great today, Derek Holland.