Rangers prospect update - Friday edition

Note that today’s report includes ten players; six of them are relievers, and four of those are in Double-A or Triple-A. While the Rangers bullpen has thrown way too many innings, the club is cultivating enough depth in the upper levels to absorb a number of those late season innings. Tanner Scheppers should lead that charge.

RHP Tanner Scheppers, OKC - Scheppers threw his first three inning game Thursday. It went…let’s just say that it went well - he struck out seven, walked one and didn’t allow a hit, while throwing a season high 55 pitches. The pitch count was a bit high, but he did fight through an error, and when seven of your nine outs come via strikeout, you’re going to throw a few pitches. Scheppers exhibited control issues in his first three games in Triple-A, walking five in six innings. In his last three, spanning seven innings, he has walked two. For the season Scheppers has struck out 41 in 24 innings.

RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Beavan dominated his fourth straight Double-A outing Wednesday, completing seven shutout innings and allowing just four hits and no walks, while striking out five. The strikeout totals are still not high (42 on the season), but he has walked just nine all season in 63.1 innings. That ratio of almost five strikeouts per walk paints a picture of an extreme control pitcher who has enough stuff to miss bats - in other words, a legitimate starter. Beavan will pitch this entire season at age 21, and he may need a promotion to Triple-A to be challenged.

OF Engel Beltre, Bakersfield - Beltre is still hitting (.340/.373/.456 for May), but he’s stopped walking again - he last walked on May 9, 19 games ago. He also has just two extra base hits in his last 11 games. Progress has been made here, but this will still be a process for Beltre, improving his approach over time and putting his game together slowly. Fortunately, he is still just 20 and won’t require a first of three options until next season.

LHP Miguel De Los Santos, Hickory - This guy hasn’t received the fanfare that Alexi Ogando and Omar Beltre saw this spring, but he could be just as important. De Los Santos last appeared in the U.S. in 2008, pitching for the Rangers’ rookie league club in Arizona and piling up 54 strikeouts but also 18 walks in 34.2 innings. The lefty had shown enough stuff - including a blistering fastball - to excite, but visa issues kept him out of the country in 2009. The Rangers pitched him in their Dominican summer league entry, where he had pitched in his first pro season in 2006, and he posted a startling 70 strikeouts in 32 innings. He allowed just eight hits, but even at the lowest level in organized ball, he walked 22. He was allowed into the country once again this spring, and his season with an unspectacular inning last Wednesday. His second outing on Monday was more intriguing, as he struck out five in two innings and allowed a hit and a walk. Now 21, he is still quite raw, but this is a talented arm.

LHP Matt Harrison, Frisco - Working his way back in Frisco’s pen: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K so far

RHP Josh Lueke, Frisco - Getting his feet on the ground, struck out four of the five batters he’s faced this week in 1.2 perfect innings

RHP Cody Eppley, Frisco - Developing story here, hasn’t slowed down ( 9 K, 1 BB) after jumping from Low A to AA in less than a season

LHP Joseph Ortiz, Hickory - Another precocious Venezuelan lefty, repeating Low A for a third season at age 19, opened his season Monday (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K)

SS Leury Garcia, Hickory - Still filling up the stat sheet - 26 SB, 15 E - but hasn’t been walking or getting on base

LHP Robbie Ross, Hickory - Solid again Thursday: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K