Texas Rangers: David Paisano
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.
OF Engel Beltre, Bakersfield - Beltre’s harmonic season continues. With eight hits over the last four days, his May line is an impressive .333/.397/.471. The power is not consistent (.398 SLGfor the season in a good hitting environment), but he’s making strides, and, most encouraging, his effort to mature as a hitter is much more evident than in previous seasons.
RHP Guillermo Moscoso, OKC - Moscoso was strong Wednesday, making his longest and best start of the season: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 K. The four walks were the only blemish, and though he has been solid at the Triple-A level, he has regressed from a 60:15 BB:SO ratio there last season to 33:16 this spring. He is a nice insurance policy, particularly since he is viable as a starter and reliever, but with the addition of Ogando and Tanner Scheppers to the Redhawks staff, he has work to do in order to maintain his spot in the pecking order.
LHP Robbie Ross, LHP Robbie Erlin, RHP Braden Tullis, Hickory - These three recent draftees have been among the Rangers’ most promising arms so far this season, and they combined for one of the most impressive performances in baseball Monday. In a nine inning shutout, they struck out ten and walked none. They allowed four hits, but just five balls left the infield all day, and 13 of their 16 outs in play were groundballs. Their combined ERA for the season is now under two.
SS Leury Garcia, Hickory - Garcia can really fill up a stat page. Through five weeks he has 17 stolen bases, 12 errors, 13 walks, and even two home runs (only one all last season). Though the power is still modest and likely always will be, Garcia has made offensive strides this season. That 13BB:16SO ratio represents major improvement in controlling the strike zone from his 18:64 ratio last season in Hickory, and he has nearly matched his extra-base hit total from last season. The error total is still way too high, particularly for a player whose primary value is defensive wizardry.
RHP Tanner Scheppers, OKC - The PCL appears to be a whole different deal for Scheppers so far, as he’s still had success - nine strikeouts and one run in six innings - but has seen his efficiency dip. He has allowed five hits and five walks, and Thursday needed 44 pitches to complete two innings. After watching him pitch in Frisco, I suspected that he was ready for the majors immediately, but this level of competition appears to be serving him well.
LHP Kasey Kiker, Frisco - More ugliness Thursday with five more walks, 32:31 ratio for the season
RHP Wilfredo Boscan, Bakersfield - Best start of the year Wednesday: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
OF David Paisano, Bakersfield - Still hitting for average (.306) but indicators dropping: 9BB:27SO, .413 SLG
OF Miguel Velazquez, Hickory - Still hitting lights out, now at .331/.403/.583 for the season - when will promotion come?
RHP Wilmer Font, Hickory - Struggled of late but returned to form Wednesday: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K
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
LHP Derek Holland, OKC - Now pitchers on the other hand...Holland made his third start Sunday, and, though he was a tad less dominant, he seems to have a handle on the Triple A level. Holland completed six innings for the third time and allowed seven hits and two walks but no runs, striking out six. His season line: 19.2 IP, 17 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 15 K, 0.49 ERA. As I've said repeatedly already this season, it must be comforting for Rangers brass to have this guy waiting in OKC.
C/1B/DH Max Ramirez, OKC - Speaking of waiting in OKC, Ramirez came into this season with a growing list of concerns. He hit his way through the minors, topping out with an excellent 2008 in Frisco, but, although the samples have been short, he hadn't yet hit above the Double A level. Injuries have played a part in that, but injuries themselves have become a concern. He was all but traded in the offseason for Mike Lowell, but reports this spring were that even the Sox had soured on him. While he capped his weekend with a four strikeout game Sunday, four hits in the previous two days leave him with a strong .355/.447/.419 line for the season. He isn't hitting for much power, with just two doubles among his eleven hits, but this is a positive offensive start for a guy one step away from a club who needs hitters.
RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - The Rangers had five picks in the first and supplemental rounds in 2007, and the results have been positive. Julio Borbon and Tommy Hunter both played well for the major league club in 2009 and figure prominently in the future. Blake Beavan reached AA less than two years after signing, and Michael Main is in his second year at High A Bakersfield despite an illness that wiped out much of his last season. The other guy is Ramirez. He had a nice summer in 2008 for advanced short season Spokane, but full season hitters were a challenge for him in 2009. Ramirez was homer-prone (8 in 66 innings) and struggled with his command (56 K/41 BB). Still just 20 years old, Ramirez is repeating the Low A level and had one of his best days as a professional Saturday, going six innings and allowing three hits and no walks while striking out five. For the season his 11/2 K/BB ratio is a big improvement over 2009.
3B Matt West, Hickory - West was the second round pick in that 2007 draft, and, like Ramirez, he is repeating Low A. Now in his fourth professional season, West has not been able to set himself apart. In 231 pro games he has homered just nine times. His career OBP is a solid .353, but that is due more to his penchant for the HBP (47) than his control of the strike zone (89 BB, 225 SO). But with a current five game hitting streak, West is off to a nice start in 2010, with a .294/.400/.441 line. West's emergence would be a nice boost for an organization short on third base prospects.
RHP Tanner Scheppers, Frisco - Two more dominant innings Saturday, now two hits, no walks and nine strikeouts in his three two-inning stints
RHP Joe Wieland, Hickory - As good as anyone in the system so far, 9 K / 0 BB performance raises his season ratio 16/2, one run allowed total in three starts
OF David Paisano, Bakersfield - Encouraging .400/.438/.667 start for the excellent defender
RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Another solid start Sunday, dominating AA: 18 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 10 K
OF Joey Butler, Frisco - Nine hits over the weekend bump his line to .432/.523/.703
1B Justin Smoak, OKC - Stat to watch, his splits: vs RHP - .391/.576/.696, vs LHP - .267/.313/.467
OF Mitch Moreland, OKC - The one AAA prospect not yet hitting, 5-30 on the season
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.