Texas Rangers: Cody Eppley

Lineups set for intrasquad games

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
10:21
AM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There will be game action Thursday as the Rangers will break off into two teams and play an intrasquad game starting at noon out here after workouts. That meant lineups had to be submitted too. And here they are:

HOME
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Michael Young
C Mike Napoli
DH Nelson Cruz
1B Brad Hawpe
CF Craig Gentry
RF Engel Beltre

VISITOR
CF Julio Borbon
C Luis Martinez
RF David Murphy
1B Mitch Moreland
LF Conor Jackson
3B Mike Olt
DH Leonys Martin
SS Luis Hernandez
2B Greg Miclat

Here are the scheduled pitchers:

HOME
Colby Lewis
Derek Lowe
Greg Reynolds
Kelvin De La Cruz
Cody Eppley
Jake Brigham
Roman Mendez
Justin Miller

VISITOR
Scott Feldman
Michael Kirkman
Mitch Stetter
Sean Green
Robbie Ross
Miguel De Los Santos
Ben Snyder
Fabio Castillo

Surprise positional outlook: Long/mid relief

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
11:00
PM CT
The Rangers are fully stocked when it comes to starting rotation candidates. That has a ripple effect in that the pitchers who don’t make the rotation can slide into the bullpen and help there.

[+] EnlargeScott Feldman
Kim Klement/US PresswireScott Feldman has a starter's mindset and has the ability to pitch multiple innings in relief for the Rangers.
Today's position: Long/middle relief

As spring training begins, we can take some pretty good guesses at what might happen should the pitching staff stay healthy (a big if when you consider some of the injuries in spring the last few seasons). Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish certainly appear locks for the rotation. The club is committed to giving Neftali Feliz a chance to start. That leaves one spot open.

It seems likely that Matt Harrison would keep his spot there and Alexi Ogando would head to the bullpen. That scenario would not impact long relief, as Ogando would be more of a late-inning weapon like he was in the postseason. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he won’t pitch in the sixth inning. The beauty of Ogando, as the baseball world discovered in the 2011 playoffs, is that he can pitch in just about any inning in relief.

So what about long relief options? The No. 1 candidate is Scott Feldman. First, he’s making a hefty sum of $6.5 million in 2012 thanks to the contract he signed after winning 17 games in 2009. He had microfracture surgery on his right knee after a disappointing 2010 season and missed the first half of the 2011 season. The Rangers wanted Feldman to agree to pitch in the minors once he was healthy enough to return, but he had enough service time to make his own choice and decided to stay in the majors. He said he wanted to help the big league club, and to his credit, he did. He made two spot starts to help give some pitchers some extra days of rest down the stretch and also pitched in relief, though a blister hampered him a bit. Feldman gives the Rangers someone who can certainly handle multiple innings and has the mindset of a starter.

RANGERS POSITION OUTLOOK
Jan. 23: Catcher
Jan. 24: First base
Jan. 25: Second base
Jan. 26: Third base
Jan. 27: Shortstop
Jan. 30: Left field
Jan. 31: Center field
Feb. 1: Right field
Feb. 2: DH/Utility
Feb. 3: Bench
Feb. 6: No. 1 starter
Feb. 7: No. 2 starter
Feb. 8: No. 3 starter
Feb. 9: No. 4 starter
Feb. 10: No. 5 starter
Feb. 13: Middle/long relief
Feb. 14: Late-inning relief
Feb. 15: Coaches
Feb. 16: Manager
Feb. 17: Front office
Michael Kirkman is another option. He began the 2011 season in the Triple-A Round Rock rotation (after spending some time with the big league club in spring training), but was 0-3 with a 6.40 ERA in seven starts and moved to the bullpen. Once there, Kirkman was 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in 20 relief appearances. The Rangers come into spring trying to sort out their left-handed relief options, and Kirkman figures into the mix. But he’s also a multi-inning guy and could help in that middle relief role.

That left-handed spot will be one to watch this spring. The Rangers had Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez last year, but neither is on the roster now. Oliver will pitch for Toronto and Gonzalez, who had knee surgery, is still on the market. The Rangers have signed a couple of lefties to minor-league deals with invitations to big league camp. Among those are Joe Beimel and Mitch Stetter, who have major league experience.

Injuries could clearly alter what happens in the bullpen, but so could the fact that a slew of folks will be in camp with a chance to show something. One guy to keep an eye on is Tanner Scheppers, who is hoping to prove that he can become a solid reliever. He comes to camp knowing that’s the role the club sees for him, rather than starting right now. Cody Eppley, who appeared in 10 games last year, will also be in Surprise, as will some of the club’s high-level prospects who might not quite be ready for the majors yet. Yoshi Tateyama, who could have a big impact on Yu Darvish and his transition, can also pitch multiple innings, though he needs to get better against left-handed batters.

Watching how it all shakes out will be part of the fun of spring.

Notes: Cody Eppley, Seth McClung

July, 13, 2011
7/13/11
11:23
PM CT
SEATTLE -- Rangers pitcher Cody Eppley represented Round Rock in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday and pitched a scoreless inning for the Pacific Coast League. Eppley, a submariner, came in for the seventh inning and induced three ground balls (two to third base and one back to the mound) on eight pitches (six strikes).

Also, the Rangers released RHP Seth McClung and RHP Manny Delcarmen from Triple-A Round Rock. Other transactions: LHP Yoon-Hee Nam was promoted to Class A Hickory from Arizona. INF Jimmy Swift was promoted to Double-A Frisco from Arizona and INF Tommy Mendonca was placed on the temporary inactive list at Frisco.

Chris Davis among 3 sent to AAA

May, 23, 2011
5/23/11
5:06
PM CT
The activation of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz from the disabled list required the Rangers to make some roster moves.

Not only did they add the two injured sluggers to the active roster, but they called up right-handed reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from Triple-A Round Rock.

To make room for the three players, infielder Chris Davis, catcher Taylor Teagarden and right-handed reliever Cody Eppley were optioned to Round Rock.

Tateyama, 35, signed with Texas in the offseason after 11 seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japanese Pacific League. He has never pitched in the majors.

Davis started the season at Round Rock and hit .250 with three homers and four RBIs in 20 games since being called up to the Rangers on April 13.

Eppley made 10 appearances, allowing eight runs in nine innings, for the Rangers after being called up April 23.

Rapid Reaction: Royals 2, Rangers 1 (10)

May, 19, 2011
5/19/11
10:20
PM CT

Jeff Francouer's line drive up the middle off Cody Eppley gave the Royals a 2-1 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Rangers on Thursday.

Rangers starter Derek Holland was an inning short of a complete-game shutout, but Neftali Feliz blew a save for a second straight night and kept Texas from earning a two-game road sweep.

Holland threw 113 pitches, striking out five and walking just one batter. Eric Hosmer lined sharply to center to lead off the ninth, ending Holland's night.

*Francoeur welcomed Feliz in the ninth with an opposite-field single to right field, placing two Royals on base with no outs. Feliz then got Billy Butler and Wilson Betemit to pop out before allowing a single up the middle to Mike Aviles that tied the score, 1-1. A passed ball earlier in the at-bat allowed the runners to advance to second and third.

*The Royals had 14 hits off Rangers pitching. The Rangers managed just six and left seven on base.

*Holland entered the game tied for most "blown wins" in AL with two -- meaning he left with the lead before the bullpen blew it. Make that three.

*The Rangers kept Royals starter Luke Hochevar an out short of a complete game. Yorvit Torrealba knocked him out with a single to center after Mitch Moreland reached on an infield hit. Hochevar allowed six hits and walked two while striking out four. David Murphy lined out to center off Greg Holland to end the Rangers threat.

*Chris Davis improved his average to .255 with two hits and the Rangers' only offensive strike, a home run leading off the second. Davis was in at designated hitter for Michael Young, who rested for the first time this season.

*The Rangers' outfield situation became even more worrisome when leadoff hitter Endy Chavez left in the fourth with a tight right hamstring. Andres Blanco made his first appearance in the outfield. Blanco did have an assist from right field when Jeff Francoeur tried to extend a single into a double.

*Elvis Andrus committed his 10th error of the season.

*Meanwhile, Scott Feldman made his second rehab start Thursday, allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings for Triple-A Round Rock. He threw 81 pitches.

Cody Eppley focused on getting lefties out

April, 26, 2011
4/26/11
2:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Right-hander Cody Eppley found it interesting that in his two debut innings Saturday against Kansas City, the two batters that got hits off him were right-handed.

That's because he spent most of spring training trying to fine-tune his approach to left-handed hitting batters.

"I worked on my changeup and the ability to use the high part of the zone against lefties," Eppley said. "I was able to use the change and get some ground balls the other day."

Manager Ron Washington wanted to get Eppley in a game as quickly as he could, so hours after his arrival in Arlington on Saturday, Washington had him in for the late innings. Eppley was called up because Neftali Feliz (shoulder inflammation) was placed on the disabled list.

"I was glad to get in and get that over with," Eppley said. "I want to build on it."

Lefties were 0-for-4 against Eppley on Saturday and he said he had success against them at Triple-A Round Rock, as well. He knows a key to his ability to perform at the major league level is getting hitters on both sides of the plate out.

Bullpen: The young and the ageless

April, 23, 2011
4/23/11
10:51
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- On the night 40-year-old Darren Oliver became the oldest Ranger ever to record a save, 25-year-old rookie Cody Eppley made his major league debut with two shutout innings. Meet the latest incarnation of the Texas bullpen.

Manager Ron Washington praised the work of both his relievers in Saturday night's 3-1 win over Kansas City, while maintaining that the closer-by-committee plan hasn't deviated.

"Ollie did a good job tonight," Washington said. "We'll see where we go tomorrow if the opportunity presents itself."

Eppley pitched two scoreless innings starting in the seventh, working around two hits. Called up from the Triple-A Round Rock Express, the side-armer struck out the first big league hitter he faced, former Rangers catcher Matt Treanor. That helped quiet the butterflies.

"After that first strikeout I was able to get across, I think my nerves calmed down a little bit," Epply said. "I was able to drop down and make some pitches."

Oliver, pitching in the 602nd game of his 18-year career, actually admitted to the butterflies churning some in his stomach when he went out for the ninth. He worked a perfect inning, getting a strikeout, fly ball and ground out for his fourth career save.

Oliver also staked a place in the franchise's record books for recording a save at the age of 40 years and 199 days. The previous record holder was Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, who was 40 years and 18 days old when he picked up his last save for Texas in 1991.

Oliver's record might not last long. Arthur Rhodes, 41, will no doubt have his chance to seal a win in the near future as Washington puts a closer committee to work.

"I figure if you're 40 years old, you're probably going to be in a lot of history books on something," Oliver cracked. "This is probably just one of them. Just think if Arthur saves it tomorrow, then he'll be the oldest guy."

Ogando exits with lead, Eppley debuts

April, 23, 2011
4/23/11
9:16
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas --Alexi Ogando's solid night is done after allowing a home run to Kila Ka'aihue to lead off the seventh, cutting the Rangers' lead to 3-1. Ogando leaves in position to improve to 3-0.

He threw 114 pitches (70 strikes) in six-plus innings, allowing five hits and one run, while striking out five, walking one and hitting a batter.

Ogando was relived by rookie righty Cody Eppley, who made his Major League debut. Ron Washington showed plenty of confidence in Eppley, who was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Round Rock.

Intrasquad: CJ Wilson sick, but pitches well

February, 24, 2011
2/24/11
3:49
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- C.J. Wilson clearly didn't feel well Thursday.

"He sounded like he was under water," said pitching coach Mike Maddux, who thought it was a bronchial infection.

But Wilson's pitches louldly reminded everyone that he's getting in shape for the season. He got Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton in order in the first inning and didn't allow any of them to hit a ball out of the infield. He threw his fastball, a few cutters and some changeups and was hitting 91-92 mph on one of the radar guns. He threw 14 pitches, nine of them strikes.

"He's going to stay on schedule," Maddux said. "He's not going to give up a chance to compete."

Other notes:

* OF Chad Tracy was the offensive hero of the game. He hit a solo homer of Yoshinori Tateyama, which meant Tracy was asked some questions by some of the Japanese media in town to cover Tateyama. He also had a double. It was a good showing for Tracy, who strained his left oblique in July and missed the rest of the season when he pulled a rib cage muscle rehabbing in Arizona.

"Tateyama has good secondary stuff and I was trying to get a fastball early in the count that I could drive," said Tracy when asked about the homer.

* C Matt Treanor was impressed with Tanner Scheppers' breaking stuff, which he was working on during his inning of work Thursday. But Scheppers' command wasn't consistent and he got some balls up in the strike zone. A throwing error didn't help his inning, either. Maddux did like the way Scheppers battled back after giving up some hits to start his inning. "When he's done in the zone, he's as good as anybody," Maddux said. Scheppers touched 95 mph, but was throwing mainly at 92 mph.

* OF Josh Hamilton had trouble with a fly ball in left field (it looked like he lost it in the sun). It is not easy to catch fly balls with a big Arizona sky. Hamilton, by the way, hit the ground on the play but was fine. One scout in attendance told me: Don't judge an outfielder's defensive ability in Arizona in February.

* RHP Cody Eppley continues to work on his submarine delivery. "He has good sink and a good breaking ball," Maddux said. "Delivery-wise, I like it."

* SS Elvis Andrus made the defensive play of the game, diving toward the second base bag on a sharp ground ball, scooping it with his glove and tossing it from his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler to start a double play.

Pitchers, catchers expected to report

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
12:30
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first wave of players that are due to report to spring training Wednesday (Feb. 16) for the Rangers are pitchers and catchers. Here's a look at that group:

PITCHERS

Omar Beltre: After a year in U.S., Beltre put up a 2.65 ERA in 85 innings (some as starter, some as reliever), but gave up seven runs in seven big league innings. What will his command look like this spring?
Dave Bush*: Trying to rekindle the success he had under Mike Maddux in Milwaukee and compete for backend starter or long relief role.
Fabio Castillo: Pitched for Surprise in Arizona Fall League after moving up to Double-A Frisco at the end of 2010.
Miguel De Los Santos (LHP): Finished 2010 in Class A Hickory and was 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 12 games (6 starts) in 38 1/3 innings.
Cody Eppley*: Likely starts season in Triple-A, but could see the majors in 2011 after getting taste of spring training.
Scott Feldman: How does he look after a disappointing 2010 and offseason knee surgery?
Neftali Feliz: He's stretched out to start and club will decide whether he stays the closer or goes into the rotation as camp progress (opening odds are he stays as closer...but we'll see).
Wilmer Font: Had Tommy John surgery.
Matt Harrison (LHP): Wants to show he can start again after finishing 2010 in the bullpen.
Derek Holland (LHP): Is he ready to claim one of the five starting spots?
Tommy Hunter: Got off to fast start in 2010 before cooling off. He's motivated to show he can pitch at a high level throughout the season.
Eric Hurley: Scouts have raved about how he's looked in limited innings since surgery. He's a darkhorse this spring.
Zach Jackson (LHP)*: Was in the Toronto organization last year; pitched in the majors some for Milwaukee when Mike Maddux was pitching coach.
Michael Kirkman (LHP): A candidate for a rotation spot this spring, he finished 2010 in the bullpen in the big leagues and was impressive.
Colby Lewis: Coming off solid postseason (he beat the Yankees twice in the ALCS), he's the No. 2 starter in the rotation.
Mark Lowe: Traded to Texas as part of the Cliff Lee trade, the hard thrower is healthy and ready to earn a late-inning relief job.
Seth McClung*: Hasn't appeared in big league game since 2009 after the Marlins let him go in spring training last year.
Darren O'Day: The sidearmer has a deceptive delivery and was a mainstay in the Rangers pen in 2010.
Alexi Ogando: He showed a fastball with life in 2010 and has some secondary stuff. He'll stretch out as a starter, but likely ends up in the pen.
Darren Oliver (LHP): The veteran is a leader among the pitching staff and a workhorse.
Zach Phillips (LHP): He threw 50 1/3 innings at Triple-A last year and sported a 3.22 ERA.
Arthur Rhodes (LHP): Another veteran that Ron Washington can use to get left-handed hitters out.
Tanner Scheppers*: Struggled at times in Triple-A last year, but has tremendous stuff. Can he push for a job this spring?
Pedro Strop: Appeared in 15 games with the Rangers in 2010 and allowed 12 runs in 10 2/3 innings and walked 11 and struck out 11. He did put up good numbers in Triple-A.
Yoshinori Tateyama: The 35-year-old sidearmer has been in Surprise for a few weeks now and right-handers hit .186 against him in Japan last year.
Mason Tobin: Rule-5 pickup that, should he make the bullpen, would have to remain on the 25-man roster for 2011 or be offered back to the Angels.
Ryan Tucker*: Picked up off waivers from Florida after Game 1 of the ALDS when Rich Harden was DFA'd.
Brandon Webb: If he can find his Cy Young stuff and stay healthy, could be a huge bargain.
C.J. Wilson (LHP): One year after starting spring as a reliever, he's the club's No. 1 starter after 15 wins in 2010.

CATCHERS

Kevin Cash*: Played in 49 games for Boston and Houston in 2010 and has played in 246 career big league games.
Jose Felix*: A top prospect with huge upside who finished the season at Double-A Frisco last year.
Mike Napoli: Power bat off the bench more likely to play as 1B or DH against lefties.
Taylor Teagarden: He was No. 2 catcher last spring, now trying to prove himself again.
Yorvit Torrealba: Signed 2-year deal to be club's No. 1 catcher and must get to know a new staff.
Matt Treanor: A gritty, tough backstop that paired well with Wilson last year and is No. 2 catcher again this year.

* Non-roster invitees

Is Cody Eppley the next Darren O'Day?

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
12:00
PM CT
After talking with Cody Eppley some before the annual Mid-Winter banquet, I thought I'd check in with Scott Servais and Darren O'Day and get a better sense of who Eppley was before he arrives in Surprise for spring training. Eppley has been invited to big league camp. This should allow him to get a taste of things, but depending on what happens with injuries and if guys are struggling, Eppley could find his way to Arlington at some point in 2011.

Q: Describe Cody Eppley for folks that haven't seen him.

Servais: He has a very similar body style to what Darren O'Day is. He had a pretty good sinker, but he was 87-90 mph at three quarter arm position. So we took him lower and he became much more deceptive and continued to throw strikes. Last year, he even hit 91 mph, which is harder than most guys throw at that angle.

Q: What are his key pitches?

Servais: He has the big sinker and his other pitches came along as he made the transition to the new arm slot. We paired him with O'Day a bit during spring training last year and Cody took to it. He's a sharp kid. He's working on a changeup, which will be important since his sinker or slider can come in to left-handed hitters. The change would add effectiveness to left-handed hitters.

Q: What did you think of Eppley at spring training and as you heard some reports on him during the season?

O'Day: It's a big transition throwing sidearm and finding control. I just talked a little bit of strategy and my thought process when I was pitching. The credit goes to him for having confidence and figuring out what he's capable of doing.

Q: Do you anticipate helping him now that he's in big league camp with you in February?

O'Day: I'd love to help him. He's got talent. He's more talented than me, to tell you the truth. I think he throws a little harder than me and has some great movement, but there's something to be said to learning how to pitch.

Rangers prospect update: Nearing midseason

June, 11, 2010
6/11/10
10:30
AM CT
3B Chris Davis, OKC - Davis jumped into Triple-A after his demotion and went eight for his first 22, only to slump to a mediocre May, batting .280/.330/.439, 7:30 BB:SO for the month. This is his third season to spend some time in OKC, and that stretch was his first so-so period. He’s made the adjustments and caught fire this month. He is 16-33 (.485/.571/.758), but just as promising is his 8:5 ratio, as he has controlled the strike zone as well as any stretch in his career. I would think that his ability to sustain that trend would be the best possible sign that legitimate progress is being made.

RHP Michael Main, Bakersfield - Main has been predictably inconsistent in his overall results in Bakersfield as a fly ball pitcher in the Cal League, giving up 12 HR in 71.1 innings and allowing a lot of runs. However he has been very consistent in one regard, his K:BB ratio. A fantastic start Thursday (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 9 K) pushed his ratio to 20:2 in his last three starts and 56:15 for the season. A promotion to Frisco and a reunion with Blake Beavan, his first round counterpart in the 2007 draft, can’t be too far off.

LHP Michael Kirkman, OKC - He’s shown flashes in a few of his starts, but Kirkman has struggled to maintain his control in Triple A, walking 38 in 65.1 innings. He turned that around in a June 3 start, striking out eight and walking just one, but allowing ten hits and seven runs in 4.2. Wednesday he put the rest of the puzzle together, completing seven innings and allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out nine. It was his fifth scoreless outing of the season but clearly the best.

LHP Beau Jones, Frisco - Still on fire since his activation: 14.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 20 K for the season
RHP Josh Lueke, Frisco - Has been hit a little (6 H, 3 ER, 2 HR in 7.2 IP) but 13:1 K:BB in Frisco, 49:6 overall
RHP Cody Eppley, Frisco - Third member of trio to succeed Tanner Scheppers’, Zach Phillips’ and Alexi Ogando’s dominance, not slowing down much in AA: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 13 K, 8.5 GO:AO
OF David Paisano, Bakersfield - Rough May (575 OPS) but .450/.488/.525 in June, still not showing secondary offensive skills
RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - Mr. Hyde was back Thursday (3.2 IP, 6 ER) but still a reasonable 5:2 K:BB ratio
RHP Danny Gutierrez, Hickory - Suspension is over, debuted with an inning in Hickory Thursday, should be in Frisco quickly
OF Jared Prince, Hickory - Late pick in last year’s draft, college athlete is still doing well: .287/.374/.450
OF Cristian Santana, Hickory - Possibly the system’s biggest disappointment for the past two years, has decided that he wants to play this season as a hot June has moved him to .272/.340/.522 overall

One more note: Scheppers is scheduled to make his starting debut Sunday. The organization has successfully limited his innings to 30 for the season's first two months. That is three more than Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.

Rangers Memorial Day prospect update

May, 31, 2010
5/31/10
10:30
AM CT
RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - Mr. Up And Down of the Texas system is up right now - way up. Another excellent start Sunday (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K) makes three in a row and gives him a composite line of 18.2 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 6 BB, 19 K during that stretch. For the season he’s improved his 2009 K:BB ratio of 56:41 to 51:18, almost three-to-one. He is repeating Low A, he just turned 21, and he’s going to have to do this for a good while before most will believe he’s turned a corner. But this is a former supplemental first round pick with a good arm and a curveball with a lot of potential, so there is reason to watch intently as he attempts to gain consistency.

LHP Martin Perez, Frisco - Perez began the season with six starts in which he never allowed more than two runs or five hits and allowed just one home run total. He had a few high walk games and didn’t always miss loads of bats, but things seemed to be generally going to plan for a 19 year old pitching at the Double-A level. He has really struggled in his last four outings, however, as he has been completely unable to miss bats or locate his pitches consistently. He’s given up 19 runs in 16 innings, allowed loads of base runners (27 H, 9 BB), and struck out more than two just once. His locally televised start Sunday was painful to watch in part because of the woeful defense played behind him but also because he was not fooling Tulsa hitters at all. The organization is taking good care of him by keeping his outings short (in good times and bad), and Perez has the personality to fight through his issues, but he is not taking a complete game to the mound right now.

RHP Michael Main, Bakersfield - Entering the 2009 season Main appeared to be the big mover in the system. His repertoire had seemed to improve by the month, and he was coming off of a fall instructional league in which he dazzled observers. But a difficult-to-diagnose virus sapped his energy and chewed up most of his season in Bakersfield. Back at the High-A level in 2010 he’s looked more like Michael Main. A 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 K game on Saturday was possibly his best of the season and moved his K:BB to a solid 43:14. Since Main does not keep the ball on the ground, the Cal League is particularly cruel to him, as he has allowed 11 HR in ten starts. He could see Frisco soon, and we will be able to read more into his ancillary numbers at that point.

OF Mitch Moreland, OKC - All signs point to Moreland turning a corner at the Triple-A level. After an April in which he hit .221 and failed to control the strike zone for the first time in his pro career, he has posted a more recognizable .287/.367/.460 May with an 11:13 BB:SO. He is eight for his last 16, and eight of his last 12 hits are doubles. He has to hit enough to overcome his lack of defensive value, but two months into 2010 he finds himself in an organization that can use a quality bat - any kind of quality bat - at the major league level.

3B Chris Davis & C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, OKC - The two veteran demotees are in Triple-A for different reasons, but the offensive lines for each can be described as nice but somewhat uninspiring. Davis homered twice over the weekend, but after a sizzling start in Oklahoma City he’s slowed to a merely respectable May (.291/.342/.456). He also isn’t controlling the strike zone, as evidenced by his 9:33 BB:SO ratio. Ditto almost every word of that for Saltalamacchia. After lighting things up in 32 April at bats, his May line is .258/.290/.455. He also homered twice over the weekend, but those were his only hits in the past week, and his 7:22 ratio suggests the same issue with the zone. Both of these guys have hit in Triple-A previously, but Davis is not showing the kinds of improvements that Nelson Cruz did in his last stint before establishing himself in the majors, and even if Saltalamacchia puts his throwing yips behind him, he still needs to show maturity in his approach and the ability to make more consistent contact.

RHP Omar Beltre, OKC - Has made three starts in a row, culminating with his longest and best outing of the season Friday: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
RHP Alexi Ogando, OKC - In that same game Ogando had his worst outing of the season: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K
RHP Pedro Strop, OKC - Basically dominating AAA right now - after another nice game Friday his season line is 20.2 IP, 14 H, 1 HR, 6 BB, 24 K, 2.8 GO/AO
RHP Cody Eppley, Frisco - He keeps dominating, so I guess I’ll keep mentioning him - another perfect inning with 2 Ks Saturday.
LHP Chad Bell, Hickory - Rangers liked this guy enough to give him 450k late last summer, only issue so far out of the pen is a bit of a walk problem: 20 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 20 K but has settled that down after early struggles (4 BB in his last 17 IP)

Rangers prospect update - Friday edition

May, 28, 2010
5/28/10
10:30
AM CT
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

Prospect update: Monday edition

May, 17, 2010
5/17/10
10:30
AM CT
RHP Tommy Hunter, OKC - IF Rich Harden needs a replacement for whatever reason, Hunter appears to be nearly ready. Already on Harden's schedule, he pitched five innings (though only 68 pitches) Friday, allowing just three hits and a walk. He has not allowed a run in twelve innings for the Redhawks. His only issue so far is a 3:4 K:BB.

RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Beavan made his best start of the season Saturday: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. He’s an interesting case, because he’s only in his third professional season out of high school, and he’s essentially dominating the Double-A level, but most don’t consider him likely to impact the major league staff any time soon. That may change, as the TL isn’t hitting him well, and his current 35:8 is the best of his career, evidence of the gradual improvement his pitches have made.

RHP Joe Wieland, Hickory - Though they have their differences as pitchers, Wieland currently looks like a statistical clone of Beavan. With a strong start Saturday (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K) he sports a similar K:BB (38:9) and has similar hit, home run and ground ball rates. Promotion season has started, and Wieland could soon be a candidate to see Bakersfield.

C Vin DiFazio, Hickory - Speaking of candidates to join Bakersfield, DiFazio actually reached Hickory last summer after signing quickly as a 12th round draft pick. He had no trouble with the level, hitting five of his twelve home runs in just 62 AB and posting an OPS that Albert Pujols would be proud of. He battled injuries early this season and started slowly in April (.162/.347/.351) but has caught fire in May, hitting five more home runs in 52 AB and raising his season line to .270/.389/.551.

LHP Zach Phillips, OKC - Promoted to AAA, nice first game: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
RHP Cody Eppley, Frisco - Promoted to AA, nice first game: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
OF Joey Butler, Frisco - More 2B of late, still getting on base: .307/.385/.467
RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - Still not consistent, struggled Friday: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 HR, 3 BB, 2 K

Check out Bob Hersom's look at Tanner Scheppers' path to Triple-A and Jason Parks' latest installment of his scouting reports on the 25 players with the highest ceilings in the Rangers system: #13 Miguel Velazquez.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182