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Friday, April 23, 2010
Rangers prospect watch: Friday edition

By Brett Perryman

1B/OF/DH Chad Tracy, OKC - Tracy was drafted out of Pepperdine in the third round in 2006, two rounds ahead of Chris Davis. Davis' quick rise overshadowed Tracy's development almost immediately, as Davis showed up on prospect lists after the pair's debut in short season Spokane. Davis then finished the 2007 season in Double A, while Tracy spent the entire season posting sputtering numbers in Low A Clinton. Tracy has seen more success in the upper levels, as he has hit 43 HR the past two years in Bakersfield and Frisco and bumped his OBP over .350 during that span. He opened 2010 in Triple A, overshadowed again by visible prospects Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland, but with Smoak now in the majors his .351/.413/.719 line may be hard to obscure. Tracy was considered an offensive catcher out of school, but he has played primarily outfield corners and first base for the Rangers and offers little defensive value at those spots.

RHP Tanner Scheppers, Frisco - He has only pitched two innings this week, but another dominant performance Thursday underscores Scheppers' potential value to the Rangers this season. For the season he has made four two-inning appearances and allowed just three hits, but his ratio of 13 strikeouts and zero walks is his most stunning statistic. So far, so good.

RHP Michael Main, Bakersfield - Main had his best start of the season Thursday, a six inning, three hit performance with six strikeouts and a pair of walks. His feet appear to be back on the ground, as he's healthy and handling the Cal League with much more ease the second time through. His fastball has reportedly settled in the low 90s this spring, but at least he once again resembles Michael Main.

RHP Josh Lueke, Hickory - Previously best known for a very unfortunate brush with the law while with Bakersfield in 2008, Lueke served time in jail in 2009 and pitched just 7.2 innings. He was just a 16th round pick in 2007, but his numbers have been consistently noteworthy, as he has averaged over ten strikeouts per nine innings for his career and walked just over two per nine. Despite those numbers and his big arm, Lueke entered 2010 as a 25 year old in Low A. He's making the most of that situation, reportedly showing an improved slider and dominating the level to the tune of 15 strikeouts and just two hits and two walks in seven innings. With 67 High A innings under his belt, Lueke will likely be skipped to Frisco, and that promotion may not be far away.

RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - His promising start took a nosedive Thursday, as he retired just two hitters and allowed four hits and three walks.
RHP Wilmer Font, Hickory - Another solid start Tuesday (5 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K) moves his K/BB ratio to 19/3 for the season.
RHP Omar Beltre, OKC - Hasn't set the world on fire, but decent start: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 10 K - can he withstand Scheppers and be first bullpen promotion?
RHP Alexi Ogando, Frisco - ...or will that be Ogando (who looked good in his second start, once again flashing upper 90s velocity and a slider with potential)?
LHP Zach Phillips, Frisco - One more upper level reliever of note, Phillips is showing much improved control (9/1 K/BB) in his second AA go-round.