Texas Rangers: Jon Daniels

HOUSTON -- In the search to find a closer for 2015, Neftali Feliz continues to have more questions about his abilities for the Texas Rangers.

Sunday afternoon, manager Ron Washington asked Feliz to escape a jam that was created by setup man Neal Cotts.

Cotts lost a 2-1 lead, so with the game tied, Washington needed Feliz to get one out.

Feliz, coming back from Tommy John surgery, didn’t have much velocity while facing three hitters. He allowed a go-ahead, eighth-inning RBI single to Jose Altuve, a man who had four hits on Sunday and has a major league-leading 189 on the season.

The Rangers lost to the Houston Astros 3-2 at Minute Maid Park not so much because the hitters didn’t do enough -- though you have to give credit to Houston starter Dallas Keuchel for his efforts -- but the bullpen struggled.

When Washington lifted starter Nick Martinez after 5⅓ innings on Sunday, he told him he did his job.


Not so much.

"It wasn’t as crisp," Washington said.

Feliz’s velocity is up and down since his return from surgery.

"I feel good [physically]," Feliz said of his outing. "When I take too many days off, my arm doesn’t feel too good."

Feliz last pitched Monday in Seattle.

He entered the game in the eighth inning against the Astros and walked the first man he faced in Robbie Grossman. Feliz’s 3-1 pitch, a fastball, fell into the dirt.

"I tried to throw my pitch down, and I missed my spot," Feliz said of ball four to Grossman.

Washington said the game was lost right there.

Altuve was next, and he hit a 91=mph fastball to center, breaking the tie.

"We shouldn’t have been there," Washington said of the drama. "We should have got Grossman. You don't get beat right there. Grossman has to beat you, not Altuve."

Feliz reiterated his shoulder is strong but he needs to pitch to continue building it up. At times, Feliz is dominant, throwing in the mid- to high-90s, and reminds you of what he once was before the surgery and the switch from bullpen to starting rotation.

General manager Jon Daniels needs answers for 2015, and he watches this team closely every day.

He doesn't want to worry about the closer, who regained the gig when Joakim Soria was traded to the Detroit Tigers. It's a difficult situation to be in for Daniels. Monday in Seattle, Feliz gave up a one-out single in the ninth before retiring the next two hitters on fly outs, including Robinson Cano to end the game. Feliz pitched four days before that, Aug. 20, and allowed two home runs in the ninth inning of a save situation in Miami. Feliz, however, was able to get the save in a 5-4 victory.

So, do Daniels and Washington still want to deal with Feliz and his inconsistency with velocity?

"Still trying to figure it out," Washington said.

Derek Holland feels better, ready to go

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
videoHOUSTON -- On Thursday night, Rangers left-hander starter Derek Holland made his sixth and final rehab start at Triple-A Round Rock.

Holland pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs -- three earned -- against Nashville. Holland, who threw 98 pitches, gave up two, two-out home runs in his outing.

Holland missed his last outing with back spasms, which he said didn't pose a problem for him Thursday night. He's missed the entire season while recovering from left knee surgery.

The knee hasn't been a problem for Holland, who has been moving well toward first base when he needs to field his position, and now he's ready to pitch with the big club.

"I felt good," Holland said. "I think the big thing was to just test my back and make sure everything was OK with that from there. I felt good and continue to pound the zone and just getting myself ready, that's the main thing. Just to get back to make sure I'm ready to go."

When Holland will pitch for the Rangers hasn't been determined. He will be with the Rangers on Friday when they continue their 10-game road trip through Houston and he could be on the mound when the club visits Kansas City for three games early next week.

There is no rush at this stage for Holland to pitch, other than to prove to the front office that he's healthy after major knee surgery. It's just one more thing GM Jon Daniels can cross off his list of things to worry about heading into the offseason.

"This is what I've been working for," Holland said of returning. "I wanted to show people I can get back up there and I'm ready to go and I've been working my butt off to get back there, whether the season has been good or not, my main focus is just being a part of the team."

Derek Holland pitches final rehab start

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
HOUSTON -- In his sixth and final rehab outing, Rangers left-handed starter Derek Holland pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday night against Nashville.

Holland, who threw 98 pitches, gave up two two-out home runs, a solo shot to Jeremy Hermida and a two-run blast to Matt Pagnozzi.

Before the game, manager Ron Washington told Holland he expected him to dominate.

Holland, who is expected to join the Rangers on Friday, most likely will be activated to the big league roster next week in Kansas City. It's still uncertain if he will pitch when the Rangers head to Kansas City.

Washington said a discussion with GM Jon Daniels and pitching coach Mike Maddux needs to occur before any announcements can be made.

Darvish could've handled saga better

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
Yu Darvish AP Photo/Brandon WadePerceptions of Yu Darvish's situation might be different had he not gone directly to the DL.
Yu Darvish has described the inflammation in his right elbow as mild, and it is unclear if the right-hander could pitch through it if the Texas Rangers were involved in a pennant chase.

While a pitcher's arm is a precious commodity, position players deal with issues as well. Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios have played through sprained ankles of late. Choo has dealt with that ailment since April. Choo also played through a bone spur in his left elbow; the pain finally became too great, so he’s set to undergo season-ending surgery.

You should have seen Elvis Andrus on Sunday before the Rangers headed for Seattle. The Rangers' starting shortstop had both wrists wrapped in ice. Pitchers regularly walk around the clubhouse with ice packs strapped to their arms -- it's all a part of baseball.

Darvish could have handled things differently regarding his stint on the disabled list.

Instead of electing to go on the DL, he probably should have asked for some rest -- because the Rangers would have given it to him. General manager Jon Daniels made the correct call in sitting Darvish, but perhaps the ace should have delayed the DL process a little bit.

Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts before being asked to do anything. If he was still having issues, then he would have been placed on the DL.

Darvish going on the shelf without waiting to see how he felt after a little time off raises some questions and some perception issues.

I look at left-hander Derek Holland's situation and his comments.

Holland could have taken the year off as he recovers from left knee surgery. But Holland has been consistent in his statements that he wants to pitch for his teammates, regardless of how the Rangers' season is going.

“I want to be out there for them,” Holland said.

Pitching injured and pitching through discomfort are two different things. Darvish is not injured. He’s got discomfort, and the Rangers are being cautious with the 28-year-old.

No problem with that.

I just wish Darvish had waited a little while before going on the DL, because you don’t want to come across as quitting on your team.

You could say the season doesn’t mean anything, so what’s the big deal?

You would be correct.

Manager Ron Washington disagrees with you, because the games will go on. Yes, you want to get a handle on younger players such as Tomas Telis, the rookie catcher who picked up his first big league hit Monday night in Seattle, but you also want to make sure the core of your team is committed long term.

Washington himself created a stir about Darvish when he said that everybody encounters inflammation, and that he expected the ace to return. Washington has backed tracked on these statements in recent days and Daniels says everybody is on the same page. Daniels said Monday if anybody had a problem with Darvish wanted to move to the DL they should have spoken up, then, not now.

Darvish is the best pitcher on this team and among the best in baseball. You don't want to place him at risk for further injury.

Darvish, I believe, is committed to the Rangers. I just wish his approach had been a little different.
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels stressed Monday that staff ace Yu Darvish might not return in 2014 from the 15-day disabled list, where he sits with elbow inflammation.

Speaking to ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Daniels said it doesn’t make sense to bring the right-hander back given the Rangers’ place in the standings and the amount of time it would take for him to get back up to speed.

[+] EnlargeDarvish
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesYu Darvish's Aug. 9 start in Houston could turn out to have been the right-hander's last of the season.
“I think it’s the function of the calendar,” Daniels said. “At this point, he has shown a lot of improvement. We’ll probably get another [MRI] to see where it’s at soon. But if we get to a point where he’s been down for too long -- and that’s probably coming up here in the beginning of September -- I’m not sure if it makes sense to ramp him back up for a couple of starts at the end of the month.”

Darvish hasn’t pitched since Aug. 9 in Houston, where he lasted just four innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits.

A few days later, Darvish complained of discomfort in his throwing elbow and a MRI exam revealed inflammation. The Rangers placed Darvish on the DL on Aug. 13, retroactive to Aug. 10. He was eligible to return Monday at Seattle, but didn’t make the trip.

Darvish’s status for this current 10-day road trip is uncertain, and it’s doubtful he’ll see a game the rest of the season.

The only thing keeping it from being official is an announcement from the Rangers.

“That’s how we’re looking at it,” Daniels said. “Admittedly, it’s playing it on the cautious side, but I think with the season we’ve had with the injuries, as important as he and other guys are to us, I just don’t see pushing a pitcher out there when you've got a known injury in the elbow -- and he’s obviously an important piece to us going forward.”

There is some concern that Darvish, 28, has upset some in the clubhouse or in the front office with the stint on the disabled list.

Daniels disputed that, saying it was his call to place the pitcher on the DL and that his manager, Ron Washington -- who expressed a desire for Darvish’s return this week -- was of like mind.

“We’re all on the same page,” Daniels said. “Everyone in the same room. If there had been a desire to challenge Darvish or question his intent, it would have been right there, and Wash was 100 percent on his side and in his corner and wanted to protect him.”

Alex Rios trade value moves up and down

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
Alex RiosJesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsMonday's MRI showed that Alex Rios won't need to go on the disabled list for a sprained ankle.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The good news for Rangers right fielder Alex Rios is that he won't go on the disabled list for a sprained right ankle.

The bad news is that his trade value is slipping due to the injury and the longer he remains on the Rangers' roster, the fewer contending teams will be available to acquire his services.

Rios underwent a MRI on Monday afternoon that revealed nothing more than a painful sprained ankle, something that’s bothered him after he swung the bat in Toronto July 19.

After that, Rios had treatment and did some light running from time-to-time to prepare to play.

The Rangers need Rios in their lineup for so many reasons. He gives manager Ron Washington something to work with, given he only has four players in his everyday lineup that are proven.

Rios also needs to play to be able to display his skills for opposing scouts and general managers, so Jon Daniels can make a move.

Each passing day, it becomes harder and harder for Daniels to do anything with Rios, especially when he doesn't play.

(Read full post)

Insider: Bowden grades Daniels a B

August, 3, 2014
Aug 3
The trading season isn't officially over, because teams can still push players through waivers -- that's how the Rangers obtained outfielder Alex Rios last season and could be a way he's dealt this summer.

But with the non-waiver trade deadline in the past, former GM and ESPN's Jim Bowden ranked all the GMs across baseball and graded their moves.

Here's what Bowden said about Rangers GM Jon Daniels: "The Rangers were not able to move Alex Rios by the deadline, but they did extremely well in their return for (Joakim) Soria."

To read more on what Bowden said about the Rangers and the rest of baseball check out his column here.Insider
The Oakland Athletics made a daring move, one Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels wished he could have made, but couldn't due to injuries and ineffective play, on Thursday afternoon.

The Rangers own the worst record in baseball, so making a trade to upgrade the current roster is pointless.

Needing more pitching for the pennant chase, the Athletics acquired one of the best pitchers in the game in Boston's Jon Lester and gave up a young outfielder in Yoenis Cespedes. The small-market Athletics most likely are renting Lester for the stretch run to cement themselves as baseball's best team.

Even Seattle made a move, acquiring outfielder Austin Jackson from the Detroit Tigers.

The AL West was all about moves at the deadline with the exception of the Rangers. All Daniels could do was watch the proceedings without reaching deals to trade outfielder Alex Rios and reliever Neal Cotts.

Daniels did point out the Rangers made two trades in acquiring minor league pitchers who should compete for roster spots within a year or so.

As for the Athletics, Daniels' club will face them seven more times, including a four-game set at Globe Life Park to end the 2014 season. Those games, at least the seven with the AL West leading A's, are meaningless for the Rangers from a standings perspective. All that's left is to evaluate the young talent Daniels plans to give manager Ron Washington.

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New closer could be the old one

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
NEW YORK -- Joakim Soria is gone.

Soria, the Texas Rangers' closer, was traded Wednesday night to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects expected to make a big-league roster soon.

With Soria now becoming a setup man in Detroit, manager Ron Washington could turn to Neftali Feliz as the closer again.

[+] EnlargeNeftali Feliz
AP Photo/LM OteroNeftali Feliz, who has been a bit of a forgotten man on the Rangers' pitching staff, could have a new role after the trade of Joakim Soria.
You remember Feliz?

Over a two-year stretch, he saved 72 games and was named AL Rookie of the year in 2010 for a 40-save season that also earned him a trip to the All-Star Game.

Tommy John surgery, a move to make him a starter and confidence issues made Feliz a forgotten man.

It seemed everything came crashing down on Feliz, 26, after he blew the save in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, giving up a two-run triple to St. Louis' David Freese with two on, two out with two strikes. The Cardinals would win the game in 11 innings and then clinch the World Series in seven games.

The next season, Feliz was moved to the starting rotation and it just didn't work. In May 2012, Feliz was put on the 60-day disabled list because of a sprained UCL. Rehab didn't help and he underwent Tommy John surgery that summer.

He was a late callup last season as he recovered from surgery and while he couldn't get the closer's job back, the Rangers didn't believe he could start either.

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NEW YORK -- In Tuesday's 14-inning loss, manager Ron Washington used all seven relief pitchers and was left to summon Friday’s scheduled starter, Nick Tepesch, in the last inning. Washington said Roman Mendez, who threw 34 pitches Tuesday, would be unavailable for Wednesday’s game and that lefty Ryan Feierabend (20 pitches Tuesday) might not be an option either.

Feierabend, a starter in the minors, hasn’t pitched full-time out of the bullpen since his days in Seattle. Feierabend said he might need an extra day before pitching again. If that’s the case, it leaves Washington just one left-hander in the bullpen: Neal Cotts.

Washington's use of the bullpen Tuesday night was the subject of some second-guessing.

Washington inserted Scott Baker in the 13th in relief of Feierabend instead of closer Joakim Soria. The thinking is should Washington have replaced Feierabend with Soria, and if the game -- which was tied at the time of the switch -- remained that way, he would have Baker available for at least two or maybe three innings.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a J.P. Arencibia home run in the 13th. Soria blew the save and Washington used Tepesh in bottom of the inning 14th, and he ended up losing it.

“Last night I was trying to hold onto my closer,” Washington said. “I got to the position I wanted to get into to. He don’t always get an opportunity to come in with a two-run lead or a three-run lead. He saves one-run games too. I feel like I worked it to the best of my ability and got the guy in the game at the time I needed him in the game and it didn’t get done.”

Martin's catch: CF Leonys Martin said he loves playing in Yankee Stadium because of its expansive gaps -- 399 in left-center and 385 in right-center and 408 feet to dead center. Martin made a leaping catch of a Brian McCann drive against the wall in Tuesday’s game. Martin crashed into the wall, lost the ball momentary and then was able to snag it out of the air.

Washington thought Martin misjudged where he was along the warning track and probably didn’t need to make a leaping catch.

“I saw the ball and I didn’t know the wall was there,” Martin said. “I was running hard to get the ball and the wall is there, and you see what happened.”

In the 12th inning of Tuesday’s game, a popup by McCann fell with three fielders near it in shallow left center. Elvis Andrus backed off the play and said he thought he heard somebody yell, “I got it!”

“Confusion, man,” Martin said of the play. “We need better communication. We need to make those plays in those situations.”

Base Hits: Despite using his bullpen for an extended period on Tuesday, Washington said the club won’t bring up anyone from the minors. ... LF Jake Smolinski (bruised left foot) was scheduled for a full workout prior to Wednesday’s game and could play Thursday. ... Washington said Tepesch is still on target to start Friday. Tepesch threw 12 pitches in 1/3 of an inning while taking the loss Tuesday. ... The Rangers have allowed just four runs in the last 22 1/3 innings in the first two games of this series, lowering the team ERA to 4.85, it's lowest since July 9 (4.82).

Rangers brass meets to address issues

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The timing of Thursday’s meeting of the Texas Rangers brass couldn’t have come at a better time.

Heading into the evening, the Rangers had lost a season-high seven consecutive games and were trying to avoid being swept by the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park.

It’s been a season filled with injuries and inconsistent play. Hitting and pitching have been inconsistent.

Ron Washington said the meeting was held to make sure everybody is on the same page.

“We haven’t thrown in the towel,” the manager said.

“Just making sure that we stay the course that’s all,” Washington added. “Nothing changed; making sure we stay the course. And we all wanted to know what we’re thinking, that’s what this is.”

Washington said the Rangers will continue to play young players because ... well, let’s be honest, there isn’t anybody else around.

Washington’s roster is limited.

Prince Fielder isn’t returning this season. Derek Holland won’t return until July. Matt Harrison is done for the year. Jurickson Profar is getting ready for winter ball.

The roster general manager Jon Daniels put together in the winter is vastly different at this stage of the summer.

“The challenge for us, we can’t keep talking about the injuries. We can’t focus on that,” Daniels said. “There are a lot of things we need to do. The story of the year can’t be the injuries; it’s very real.”

Daniels is right about forging ahead with the season.

In terms of a trade, Daniels said his staff has fielded calls but nothing solid is going to occur right now.

Whom do you trade, anyway?

Adrian Beltre, who has a limited no-trade clause?

Alex Rios?

Elvis Andrus?

Yu Darvish?

Joakim Soria?

Daniels said the season has been hard to watch. Both he and Washington like the effort from this club and said that after the success the Rangers have achieved the past few years, this down period is strange.

“Listen, we’ve struggled the last week or so. And I think every day you dig deeper into the season, you have more information,” Daniels said. “But we don’t have to declare anything; we don’t have to go down that path.

“At the same time, we’re going to use the next month or so to evaluate where we are, and we have to do our due diligence and understand what are options are, too. But like any other team, we’re talking to teams right now to get a layout [and] understand the landscape of where the possible fits might be. Whether we choose to act on that, I don’t know.”

Next week in Baltimore the Rangers will reach the halfway point of their season. It’s a season that has tested the patience of their manager, coaching staff, front office and, of course, ownership.

At some point things must change for the better; if not, their playoff run will come to an end.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler said he's over it.

He spent eight seasons with the Texas Rangers and in some ways he expected more. Maybe he thought he would have been dealt with differently, maybe on a personal level instead of a professional level.

Ian Kinsler
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarIan Kinsler says he has no hard feelings toward Jon Daniels and also nothing to say to him.
But the Rangers traded Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason and it sparked a series of comments from Kinsler in an ESPN The Magazine story that said he hoped his former team goes 0-162.

It seemed as if Kinsler was being serious. He was joking and Tuesday night, as a steady rain poured down at Globe Life Park, Kinsler talked about the man who made the deal to trade him, general manager Jon Daniels.

"I haven’t talked to JD since last season," Kinsler said. "Never talked to him through the trade process, through anything that was going on, never given a heads up or maybe, 'this might happen or we’re possibly thinking about trading you.' Nothing like that, no communication. I have nothing to say to him. He probably has nothing to say to me. No reason to talk to the guy."

Sports is a business and few players get to finish their careers with the teams they love. Kinsler didn't sound too bitter about the trade yet wished it were handled differently.

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Greenberg-led group to buy RoughRiders

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
Former Texas Rangers general managing partner Chuck Greenberg has led a group of local investors who now have an agreement to purchase the Frisco RoughRiders, the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate located in a suburb of Dallas.

Greenberg, who lives in the Dallas area, will own the club with current RoughRiders’ president Scott Sonju, purchasing the franchise from Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC. Greenberg is Chairman, CEO and managing partner of RoughRiders LP, a group of local investors who are acquiring the team. Sonju will continue to oversee the daily operations of the club.

Baseball America, in a story from April, estimated that the Greenberg group would end up paying more than $30 million for the team. The final terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It means that Greenberg will have ownership stake in two of the Rangers’ franchises as he also owns Class A Myrtle Beach.

“I love baseball and everything that goes into creating an affordable, enjoying family environment,” Greenberg said. “It’s why I’ve had so much fun with all the teams I’ve been involved with before. The fact that I live right down the road from Frisco made it extremely appealing. It’s a great franchise. Once Mandalay decided to sell their franchises involved, I was all over them seeing if we could work out a deal.”

Greenberg put together the ownership group, headlined by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, which bought the Rangers out of bankruptcy court in August 2010. Greenberg’s group outbid Jim Crane and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban the same season the Rangers made their first World Series appearance. Greenberg served as general managing partner until he departed during spring training in 2011, citing “somewhat different styles” with Ryan and co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson.

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Extra Bases: GM frustrated, not giving up

June, 12, 2014
Jun 12
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It seems that Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is briefing the media on injury news an average of twice a week these days. And it's not something he particularly enjoys.

"When was the last time my update was good?" Daniels asked, before announcing yet another round of injuries Wednesday.

The disabled list tally reached 20 as Tanner Scheppers was put on the 15-day DL for the second time this season. Jim Adduci also refractured his left pinkie finger and is out three to four weeks.

The list of players on the DL is stunning: Prince Fielder, Martin Perez, Derek Holland, Mitch Moreland, Matt Harrison, Jurickson Profar, Geovany Soto and even Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was playing like an All-Star when he got hurt. That's a handful of regulars, and it's not even close to the entire list of injured for this team in 2014.

"At this point I don’t really know what the word is to describe it," Daniels said. "Obviously we take every precaution we can and we’ve had a very good medical track record over the years. I’m not frustrated with anybody in particular, but I’m certainly frustrated with our inability to keep our players on the field. I think this league and division is challenging enough when you put your best team in the field out there and you feel like you have a chance to contend on Opening Day."

Daniels has vowed -- and continued to do so Tuesday -- that he and his staff are looking into why this is happening all at once to the club. But some of the injuries are freak ones that could happen to anyone (let's not forget that a dog tripped Holland, causing the knee injury, and that a motorcycle ran over Joe Ortiz's foot this offseason).

"I think we need to look at everything," Daniels said. "Some of the others we'll look at a little more closely. You can always get better. But this is the same medical staff, same processes, same programs that were in place in 2008 and 2009, beyond. Unfortunately, with 20 times we've used the DL, we're not in position to just say, 'Hey, it is what it is.' We owe it to ourselves and ownership and everyone to look into it. But it's going to take some time."

Daniels isn't giving up on the season and praised his manager for stressing a positive attitude and trying to limit excuses.

"Wash has done a tremendous job of being himself, keeping his spirits up and continuing to work with these guys and keep the expectations and belief system in that clubhouse where it is," Daniels said. "We're all human and know what the injuries mean. We have to keep working.

"We've been dealt a tough hand from the injury standpoint, but you do make your own luck. The injuries aren't the only reason we're in the spot we're in. We can play better. I can make better calls. It's all of the above. It's going to be a harder road, but some things change quick in the game and different guys step up. I'm realistic. But the team's not giving up and I'm not giving up."

Feliz not quite ready: The Rangers decided to bring up Ben Rowen, not Neftali Feliz, to replace Scheppers. Daniels said Feliz, who pitched two innings Tuesday, has remained inconsistent. His velocity and command are there in one outing and maybe not where they need to be in another. So right now, Feliz remains at Triple-A trying to find that consistency so he can return to the big leagues.

Message to baseball gods: Manager Ron Washington was asked, as he is most days, about the injuries. His answer? "At some point, we've got to get blessed by the baseball gods. But we've got to make that happen. They're not just going to come down and say, 'You all have been through enough.'"

GM pleased Luis Ortiz was still on board

June, 5, 2014
Jun 5
ARLINGTON, Texas -- If Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was putting together a mock draft, he'd have had right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz going long before the Rangers picked at No. 30.

"We were really happy he was there," Daniels said. "We expected him to be long gone."

Perhaps one reason Ortiz, who pitched at Sanger (Calif.) High School, slipped was that he missed a few starts because of a forearm strain. But he returned to the mound and pitched well.

"He was lights out at the end," Daniels said. "We did our due diligence and are comfortable with where he is. The strength of this draft was in its depth and it was as unpredictable a first round as there has been recently."

Various reports state he also lost some weight. Ortiz is committed to Fresno State, but Daniels said he's expressed a desire to play professionally and the Rangers are confident they can get a deal done, once they've completed a physical. He's slotted at $1,760,500 at that spot in the draft.

"He pitched on Team USA and has performed on all the biggest stages," Daniels said. "We liked him as a top-half, elite kind of talent. [He has] good pure stuff and is a strike thrower with a big fastball with life. His out pitch is a power slider. He has a repeatable delivery. He's a big-time competitor."

Ortiz was 5-3 with a 1.04 ERA with 72 strikeouts and just seven walks in 43 2/3 innings pitched this season. He was named World Cup MVP after serving as closer for the gold-medal-winning 18-and-under USA Baseball national team. He got a win and three saves in five appearances with that team.

ESPN.com's Keith Law had him ranked No. 10 on his top-100 prospects and had him going No. 27 overall to the St. Louis Cardinals in his mock draft.

The Rangers selected shortstop Ti'Quan Forbes with the No. 59 pick overall. Law had him ranked No. 41 on his top-100 list.



Adrian Beltre
.324 17 68 68
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 68
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .877
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182