The Farm Report -- 10/29/2012

Happenings

Texas re-signed infielder Guilder Rodriguez, 2B/OF Alejandro Selen (a potential six-year minor-league free agent), and RHP Daniel Lopez.

OF Eduard Pinto just turned 18, not 19.  In my defense, Baseball-Reference.com preemptively adds a year to players' ages when their birthdays are impending. 

The Dominican League lost 10 of 12 weekday games to Sandy, including all four by Ranger-heavy Licey.  Mike Olt (.316/.458/.632 in six games) spent the weekend in right field and went 1-7 with a double and three walks.  On Sunday, Engel Beltre was 4-4 with a triple and caught-stealing.  Middle infielder Leury Garcia (.400/.447/.714 in eight games) tripled, homered and walked over the weekend. 

Lefty Chad Bell ameliorated his very rough introduction to the Dominican League with two nearly spotless innings on Saturday.  Lefty Joe Ortiz has 3.1 scoreless innings and three strikeouts over the past week.  Both are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster before the mid-November deadline.  By my count, Texas has seven open spots (assuming Scott Feldman's team option is declined) plus at least a couple more than can be opened if needed.

OF Joey Butler is .250/.314/.406 in eight games with Mazatlan of the Mexican Pacific League.  His first at-bat was a pinch-hit homer.

In the Arizona Fall League, two more scoreless outings have increased lefty Jimmy Reyes to seven innings without a blemish.  Joe Van Meter is done, replaced by righty Ben Henry (another Myrtle Beach alum), who started last Wednesday and was scoreless in two innings despite three walks.  Ryan Rodebaugh tossed a couple of scoreless frames that day. 

Catcher Kellin Deglan collected two hits on Thursday after starting the season 1-for-11.  Infielder Hanser Alberto has seven singles in his last three games.  Infielder Luis Sardinas, the youngest player in the league, collected a single and double last Wednesday, after which an 0-for-4 dropped him to a still-impressive .308/.333/.462. 

I'm sad to say that Larry Little will be leaving his position as Round Rock's Director of Communications/Baseball Operations at the end of November.  He'll be missed.  

Rangers' pre-game/post-game radio host Bryan Dolgin will not be returning in 2013, per Dolgin himself.  Frisco manager of broadcasting and media development Alex Vispoli is seeking an assistant (http://bit.ly/RiY3bd).  

And now…

Full-Season Position Players of the Year (based on a combination of performance, level, position, age, and prospect stature)

1. 3B Mike Olt (Age 24, AA, .288/.398/.579, 46 XBH, 14% BB rate, 4 SB) 

2012: Olt led Texas's minor leaguers with 28 homers in a mere 95 games, drew a ton of walks, and played excellent defense at third.  His brief MLB campaign was far more subdued.  Hampered by plantar fasciitis, Olt barely played down the stretch, but his failure to hit well immediately probably would have marginalized him anyway, under the circumstances.

Prospect Status: Despite the disappointing conclusion, Olt confirmed his status among baseball's best prospects during the course of the season.  He's going to be a solid Major Leaguer.

Next year: In what ought to be a busy offseason, Olt's status is as undefined as anyone in the organization.  He won't be Texas's starting third baseman in 2013.  Beyond that, who knows.  Lately, Texas hasn't used Spring Training as a tryout camp except for role players, so Olt will probably know his short-term future no later than March 1st. He could be in Texas, Round Rock, or another franchise.

2. SS Jurickson Profar (Age 19, AA, .281/.368/.452, 47 XBH, 12% BB rate, 16 SB) 

2012: Awesome

Prospect Status: Elite

Next year: Rangers

3. CF Leonys Martin (Age 24, AAA, .359/.422/.610, 32 XBH, 9% BB rate, 10 SB)

2012: Statistically, Martin pummeled the opposition.  If not for a meager 55 games played, he'd be my hitter of the year.  Martin missed six weeks with a thumb injury after an ill-advised head-first slide but hit as well as ever upon return. 

Prospect Status: Martin did not affirm his status as Texas's 2013 CF.  His use of plus running and defensive tools felt short at times.  Like Olt, circumstances and lack of instant production relegated him to very intermittent use in September.  That said, I don't think additional AAA seasoning serves much purpose.

Next year: Would you settle for a Martin/Gentry platoon in center? Will Texas?

4. 3B Drew Robinson (Age 20, low-A, .273/.409/.444, 40 XBH, 17% BB rate, 10 SB)

2012: After a highly disappointing 2011 in Spokane, the lefty-batting Robinson again started slowly in April but He also hit 13 homers and spent a fair amount of time at 2B.  His platoon split was huge. 

Prospect Status: Robinson was drafted in 2010 as an uncommonly polished high-school hitter.  In 2012, the results matched the reputation. 

Next year: Myrtle Beach, then Frisco

5. RF Joey Butler (Age 26, AAA, .290/.392/.473, 49 XBH, 14% BB rate, 6 SB)

2012: Butler's rate stats dipped slightly from 2011, but I'd argue he had a better year.  2011 was built partly on his unsustainable .453 average on balls in play, while in 2012 he improved his walk rate, struck out less and smacked a career-high 20 homers. 

Prospect Status: He's a corner outfielder who turns 27 next March.  In a lesser organization, or with the Rangers during the early part of the previous decade, or in a world where teams employed 15 position players, he would have stepped onto a Major League field by now.

Next year: Round Rock or another organization. 

6. 1B Chris McGuiness (Age 24, AA, .268/.366/.474, 48 XBH, 13% BB rate, 0 SB)

2012: Following a lackluster, injury-plagued 2011, McGuiness showed why Texas wanted him in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade.  He ranked fourth in the Texas League in homers (23) and walks (69). 

Prospect Status: McGuiness helped himself, certainly, but he doesn't hit much for average, wasn't young for the level and plays a position that demands hefty offense.  He has to keep producing.  

Next year: Round Rock

7. 2B Leury Garcia (Age 21, AA, .292/.337/.398, 25 XBH, 5% BB rate, 31 SB)

2012: Following an impressive AFL, Garcia made incremental gains offensively and eliminated much of the inconsistency from his dazzling defense at second and short.

Prospect Status: Not too long ago, I wondered if Garcia would hit his way out of Hickory, where he spent two full seasons.  Slowly, steadily, Garcia has improved. 

Next year: 22nd birthday in mid-March, Round Rock two weeks later.

8. 2B Odubel Herrera (Age 20, high-A, .284/.335/.382, 33 XBH, 6% BB rate, 27 SB)

2012: Steady as he goes, solid if not scintillating.  Herrera roughly matched his 2011 production after adjusting for league and park. 

Prospect Status:  Mixed.  Herrera handled the level and will reach AA as a 21-year-old.  On the downside, another tryout at shortstop proceeded poorly.  Assuming he's done there, his future depends more heavily on his bat.

Next year: Frisco

9. SS Hanser Alberto (Age 19, low-A and high-A, .299/.327/.410, 39 XBH, 4% BB rate, 24 SB)
2012: Like Robinson, the contact-oriented shortstop improved greatly on his rather meek showing at Spokane in 2011.  In fact, he earned a promotion to the Carolina League while still a teenager and was the youngest hitter with at least 200 plate appearances in the league .  At mid-season, he simply stopped taking pitches, drawing only two walks in his last 78 games. 

Prospect Status: Up.  Again like Robinson, Alberto showed fans what Texas sees in him. 

Next year: Ordinarily, I'd say back to Myrtle Beach for a spell, but his AFL stint portends, if not guarantees, an immediate assignment to Frisco.  That said, don't view a repeat of the Carolina League as a setback.

10. CF Engel Beltre (Age 22, AA, .261/.307/.420, 47 XBH, 4% BB rate, 36 SB)

2012: Beltre realized his power potential and eclipsed his previous-best 31 steals.  He's a top-notch defender in center. 

Prospect Status: The power surge is nice, but to my eyes and per the statistics, Beltre's plate approach hasn't changed.  His percentages of pitches taken, swings-and-misses and other granular categories were essentially unchanged between 2011 and 2012. Including playoffs, Beltre has played 317 Double-A games. 

Next Year: Round Rock, if he's still with the organization.

My Monthly Winners (official team pick in parentheses if different)
April:  OF Chris Grayson -- .387/.482/.634 for Hickory
May: 3B Mike Olt -- .356/.445/.703 for Frisco
June: 1B Chris McGuiness -- .289/.381/.663 for Frisco (Mike Olt)
July: CF Engel Beltre -- .316/.362/.624 for Frisco (Alejandro Selen)
August: CF Leonys Martin -- .379/.426/.690 for Round Rock

Short-Season Position Players of the Year

1. 3B Joey Gallo (Age 18, .272/.412/.660, 35 XBH, 18% BB rate, 6 SB) – Gallo obliterated the Arizona League home run record and walked nearly every five trips to the plate.  Reports on his 3B defense weren't promising, but at least at present, his bat plays at any position.

2. CF Lewis Brinson (Age 18, .283/.345/.523, 36 XBH, 8% BB rate, 14 SB) – Brinson clubbed more extra-base hits than Gallo, albeit fewer homers.  Considered raw as a draft pick, he performed well above expectations.  It's just rookie ball, but after the tepid starts of Texas's highest picks in 2010-2011, his season was an endorphin rush.

3. RF Nomar Mazara (Age 17, .264/.383/.448, 22 XBH, 15% BB rate, 5 SB) – Mazara doesn't cut quite as striking a figure as the condor-like Ronald Guzman, but he posted excellent numbers while working to limit the massive pre-swing leg kick displayed in March.

4. IF Ryan Rua (Age 22, .293/.368/.432, 24 XBH, 9% BB rate, 4 SB) – The 2010 draftee spent another year in short-season but was a rare bright spot on Texas's worst farm club since the 45-94 Clinton Lumberkings of 2006.  He played in 74 of 76 games.

5. C Joe Maloney (Age 22, .243/.335/.436, 24 XBH, 10% BB rate, 0 SB) – Maloney matched Rua's secondary production in 100 fewer trips to the plate.  The 2011 10th rounder also spent a little time in Hickory.

6. OF Nick Williams (Age 18, .313/.375/.448, 17 XBH, 7% BB rate, 15 SB) – Another young, athletic outfielder.  This summer's 2nd rounder led the rookies in steals.

7. 2B Janluis Castro (Age 18, .350/.422/.467, 13 XBH, 10% BB rate, 4 SB) – Drafted in the 16th round out of Puerto Rico, Castro led the rookie squad in batting average.

8. 1B Ronald Guzman (Age 17, .321/.374/.434, 19 XBH, 8% BB rate, 7 SB) –  He didn't display quite as much pop as some of his peers but also didn't strike out nearly as often.  More power will come as he fills out his lanky, 6'5" frame.

The likeliest 2013 destination for all these players is Hickory.  Not everyone will play there immediately; people get hurt, traded, have exceptional Springs (in one fashion or another).  In any case, there's always a logjam on one team and position coming into the season.  Lately, Frisco's pitching staff (especially the rotation) filled that role.  Every year, I create a system-wide roster prior to Spring Training for my amusement, and for three years in a row, I struggled to cram 18-20 pitchers into 12-13 spots.  In 2013, it's Hickory's outfield.  I don't know where Texas is going to find room for all that talent. 

Monthly Winners
June: 3B Joey Gallo -- .256/.463/.692 for the rookies
July: 3B Joey Gallo -- .333/.430/.815 for the rookies
August: 3B Joey Gallo -- .238/.390/.538 mostly for Spokane

--

Scott Lucas

Newberg Report  (newbergreport.com)

rangers.scottlucas.com

twitter: @scottrlucas

 
title_authors

Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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