RHP Alexi Ogando, Frisco - Ogando might be the story of the Texas organiation so far in 2010. His fairy tale continues, as his return to the U.S. this winter was followed by a successful, prolonged stay in major league game action in spring training and now domination of the Texas League. With a fastball that sits in the 95-96 range and touches the upper 90s even in longer appearances and a surprising slider/changeup offspeed combo, Ogando has hardly been touched in three 3-4 inning starts. A four inning, eight strikeout performance Sunday raised his totals to 9.2 IP, 2 H, 0 HR, 2 BB, 14 K. Frisco opened the season with two of the most intriguing and unproven players in the system in Ogando and reliever Tanner Scheppers, and it is hard to imagine how things could be going any better. It is also hard to see how the TL will provide serious competition for the pair for much longer.
LHP Derek Holland, OKC - Holland was a tough luck loser Friday, as a pair of errors and three eighth inning hits led to two unearned runs and ruined another excellent start. Through seven innings, Holland had allowed just two hits and no walks. For the season Holland sports a 0.67 ERA and an equally impressive 27 IP, 22 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 21 K line, and he has averaged just shy of seven innings per start. Much was made over the weekend of Rich Harden's struggles and Holland's potential to replace him, but the important fact for Holland is that he keeps getting better.
RHP Brandon McCarthy, OKC - He's not a prospect, but how is McCarthy's overhaul going? While he is overshadowed in OKC's rotation by Holland, McCarthy has seen positive early results in his transformation into a ground ball inducing innings eater in Triple-A. He has completed at least seven innings in each of his four starts, allowed just 18 hits and one home run in 28.2 innings, and his 18/5 K/BB ratio suggests that he has maintained improved control of the strike zone. Taking a closer look, his BABIP against of .207 is not sustainable, so he can expect to yield more hits, but his 53% ground ball rate is up twelve percent from his rate in Texas last season and ten percent up from last summer's five start stint for OKC. He is a nice luxury as a 7th-8th starter that few organizations can match.
OF David Paisano, Bakersfield - I haven't said too much about Paisano's quick start (.370/.431/.543 in 56 PA) because it is not even approaching sustainable, as his .432 BABIP and single digit line drive rates disclose. But taking a step back from his over-the-top hit rate and extremely friendly hitting environment, his start is still a positive. Paisano and Jake Rasner, now a Double-A reliever, are the two remaining variables from the infamous John Danks/Brandon McCarthy deal, and if nothing else Texas may be able to boast the more promising of the final pair of prospects. Paisano is an excellent defender, arguably the best in the Texas system, but his bat has come slowly. His first modest success in the U.S. came last year, as he split his year between the two Class A affiliates and posted an evenly distributed .263/. 336/.372 line, a 33/105 BB/SO ratio, 4 HR, and an ugly 11-18 SB rate. As mentioned, the batting average will plummet, and his extra base rate is almost equal, but his very early 5/9 BB/SO and 4-4 SB rates do show improvement.
OF Miguel Velazquez, Hickory - Velazquez had one of his better days as a pro Sunday, homering (#2), singling and walking to raise his season line to .288/.347/.515. Those numbers don't quite qualify Velazquez for breakout status, but a successful transition from short-season ball to the SAL is always a positive. His power potential and contact ability make him one of the better hitting prospects in the system, and his athleticism has found him patrolling center field at times this spring. His five walk, 14 strikeout ratio in 72 plate appearances can be improved upon and will serve as a good measure for his progress at the new level as the season advances.
RHP Braden Tullis, Hickory - Extremely easy to lose in the Hickory pitching shuffle but posting good numbers, including a 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 5 GB/1 FB outing Saturday
LHP Michael Kirkman, OKC - Best AAA start Sunday, 8 IP (99 pitches) and only one hit, but can still improve on 6/4 K/BB
RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Faltered Saturday for the first time in his four starts, as his command let him down: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K