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It comes as no surprise that Cowart is the most notable of the eight prospects the Angels are sending to the Arizona Fall League.
Cowart spent time in both the Midwest League and the Cal League in his age 20 season, and succeeded at both levels. Amazingly, Cowart had the same exact number of at bats at both levels (263). Cowart hit .293/.348/.479. with nine home runs and nine stolen bases in the MWL, and then went on and hit .259/.366/.426 with seven home runs in the California League.
While it's a bit surprising to see Cowart's power numbers dip as he went to the homer-happy A+ league, Cowart's eye improved dramatically. Cowart managed just 22 walks in the MWL, but drew 45 walks after his promotion to the California League.
Between the two levels, Cowart hit a combined 16 home runs, while hitting .276/.358/.452.
As a switch hitting third baseman, Cowart has quite a bit of value as a prospect, and he should only improve over the next few years. Though Segura was unquestionable the better prospect in July, I think there's little doubt that Cowart had the highest ceiling all along between the two.
Though he's least a year and a half away from making an impact in Los Angeles, Cowart could actually give the Angels a run producer at third base at some point in 2014, or more realistically, 2015.
It's no secret that the Texas Rangers boast a strong farm system, and that it's still one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. The Rangers are sending eight prospects to the Arizona Fall League this year, and perhaps no prospect is more notable among them than shortstop Luis Sardinas.
Sardinas spent the entire 2012 season in the South Atlantic League, and he put up very respectable numbers as a 19 year old. Sardinas hit .291/.346/.356 in 374 at bats, while walking just 29 times, but only striking out 52 times. Sardinas was an asset on the bases as well, stealing 32 bags while only being caught nine times.
The Rangers signed Sardinas in 2009, around the same exact time the club inked now-uber prospect Jurickson Profar. Needless to say, Profar's rise has certainly overshadowed Sardinas' play, but that's not to say Sardinas isn't an intriguing prospect -- he most certainly is.
How Sardinas fares this year in the Arizona Fall League isn't of too much consequence. Sure, the Rangers will get to evaluate him against other top prospects, but let's also remember that 2012 was Sardinas' first taste of full-season ball. Sardinas' previous career high in professional games played was 26 in 2010, in the AZL.
Still, Sardinas could very well put himself on the map in 2013 as one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball. He's a plus defender, and if he hits just enough, he'll be a very, very hot prospect. With Elvis Andrus and Profar already blocking him, it wouldn't shock me if Sardinas is used in a package this winter, if the Rangers try to go after a superstar player, such as David Price or Justin Upton.
We've repeated it over and over here at SB Nation Dallas, but it bears repeating again: it's a great time to be a fan of the Texas Rangers.
Not only are the Rangers going to clinch a third straight AL West title in the coming days, but they still boast one of baseball's top farm systems.
Last month, we reviewed Texas' top ten prospects coming into the year, and how they fared in 2012. Unsurprisingly, on the whole, they fared really well, with at least one future superstar in Jurickson Profar among them.
The good news on the farm doesn't stop there. The Rangers will be sending eight prospects to participate in the Arizona Fall League this year. Kellin Deglan, Leury Garcia, Chris McGuiness, Luis Sardinas, Miguel De Los Santos, Jimmy Reyes, Ryan Rodebaugh and Ben Rowen will represent the Rangers this fall in Arizona.
It's certainly worth noting that none of the prospects headed to the AFL for the Rangers were among the top 10 prospects coming into the season, as per Baseball America.
Teams often send lesser prospects to the AFL to get a better feel for their status as a prospect, and to try out new positions or mechanics, and to better evaluate the prospect going forward. I tend to agree with Adam Morris over at Lone Star Ball that the most intriguing prospect on this list is Luis Sardinas, primarily for the reasons he cites. Sardinas is one of the top defensive shortstop prospects around, and if he can come around with the bat, he'll be a very, very valuable commodity.
Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas throughout the week, as we'll break down Texas' prospects headed to the AFL, as well as other notable prospects in the AL West.
We take a look at Texas' top ten prospects headed into the 2012 season, and where they are now.
The Los Angeles Angels didn't have a strong farm system coming into this year. They did, at the least, have one of the top prospects in all of baseball in the form of Mike Trout. Trout, of course, is no longer a prospect, and instead is now the American League MVP and maybe the best story in all of baseball in 2012.
After Trout, Los Angeles' top prospects, per Baseball America:
One of the more surprising stories so far in 2012 has been the success of the Oakland Athletics -- especially after they held yet another firesale over the winter, trading away Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey to the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox, respectively.
The moves by Billy Beane were supposed to signal yet another rebuilding era in Oakland. The A's, however, signed Yoenis Cespedes to a contract. Cespedes has been worth every penny spent by the A's, and is one of the many reasons for Oakland's success, batting .307/.367/.517 with 14 homers and 10 steals in 290 at bats so far.
Oakland's success isn't limited to Cespedes of course. Tommy Millone, who came over in the Gio Gonzalez trade, has pitched very well for Oakland, with a 9-9 record and 3.91 ERA. Millone also has a 1.22 WHIP to go along with 101 strikeouts against just 28 walks.
Of course, there's also Josh Reddick, who was part of the Andrew Bailey trade. Reddick is hitting .260/.333/.516, with 25 home runs and 10 steals on the season.
Andrew Bailey, meanwhile, hasn't thrown a pitch for the Red Sox, and Ryan Sweeney, who was also sent to Boston, is now out for the season.
Parker has been very good for Oakland, with a 7-6 record to go along with a 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and .244 BAA.
Ryan Cook was Oakland's representative at the All-Star Game, and he's pitched very well out of Oakland's bullpen. Despite having seven blown saves, Cook has recorded 12 saves and 11 holds, while striking out 49 in 48 and 1/3 innings and posting a 1.03 WHIP.
The A's also have promising young pitchers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock to show for their winter trading as well, and that's in addition to Miles Head and Derek Norris -- two solid offensive prospects.
Billy Beane took a lot of flack for his moves in the offseason, but those moves are a large reason for Oakland's success in 2012.
Hellweg, who was traded to Milwaukee with Segura and Ariel Pena in exchange for Zack Greinke, struggled mightily in his second start in AA for the Brewers. Hellweg lasted five innings and only gave up three runs on five hits, but he walked seven and struck out just three.
In 129 and 2/3 innings in AA between two organizations, Hellweg has issued 69 free passes and has only struck out 98. To Hellweg's credit, he's only given up 111 hits in those innings.
Still, it's tough to consider Hellweg an excellent prospect. There's no doubting that his stuff is electric, but the soon-to-be 24 year old will have to establish better command, otherwise he'll likely end up as a reliever.
Though Segura, Hellweg and Pena were undoubtedly three of Los Angeles' top prospects, there's little doubting that the Angels paid a more-than-fair price in exchange for one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Segura was given just 30 at bats in Milwaukee's farm system prior to the call up. All Segura did was hit in that small sample, batting to the tune of .433/.500/.533, with four steals and four walks against four strikeouts.
Overall in the minors this year, Segura has hit .304/.358/.413 with 37 steals in 102 games. Segura, though, has drawn just 27 walks, but has only struck out 61 times.
Segura was traded along with Ariel Pena and John Hellweg by the Angels in exchange for ace Zack Greinke. It's not in the least bit surprising that Segura is the first to reach Milwaukee, as the Angels had recalled Segura for a brief (read: one game stint) prior to trading him.
I still maintain that the Angels struck gold with this trade, though Segura should prove to be a quality major league piece. I just don't see superstardom in his future, but he should at the least provide the Brewers with a quality shortstop for years to come.
When the Texas Rangers acquired Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs, they shipped off third base prospect Christian Villaneuva and right handed pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks. Dempster didn't exactly have a stellar debut for the Rangers, but one player in the trade did: Christian Villaneuva.
On the same night Dempster was torched by the Los Angeles Angels for eight runs on nine hits in four and 2/3 innings, Villanueva shined in the Florida State League. Villaneuva went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk. Those two hits, however, were home runs, giving Cubs fans some hope for the future.
Prior to being traded, Villanueva hit .285/.356/.421 for Myrtle Beach, with 10 home runs in 375 at bats. Ranked as Texas' eighth best prospect coming into 2012 by Baseball America, there is certainly some upside to Villaneuva. Baseball America gave him a grade of 60 high, meaning, he has the potential to be a very good player (60 grade), but is a high risk of reaching that potential, since he's still fairly raw and still has to advance to class AA.
This isn't to say Jon Daniels made a mistake trading Villaneuva. Dempster's numbers prior to being traded are very, very similar to Colby Lewis' numbers. Lewis, as you may already know, is out for the year, leaving a rather gaping hole in Texas' rotation.
Still, Villaneuva could prove to be a nice piece for Theo Epstein and the Cubs.
The 19-year old SS is the most valuable asset in the Texas organization and he should be completely off-limits in any mid-season trade negotiations.
It's no secret that there are two top prizes this year at the trade deadline: Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. Personally, I believe that Greinke is a top five pitcher in all of baseball and should be considered the top prize, but I digress.
If the Brewers are serious about dealing Greinke, and they should be, then the Rangers are as good a bet as any team in baseball to land him -- if they want. Coming into the season, the Rangers had the top-ranked farm system, per Baseball America.
Naturally, the Rangers have some prospects worth watching at AA. First and foremost is Jurickson Profar, who might very well be the top prospect in baseball. As a 19 year old in AA, Profar is hitting an absurd .293/.371/.479, with nine home runs, nine stolen bases, and a slick 39/49 BB/SO ratio.
Though some (delusional) Brewers fans likely covet Profar, the bottom line is this: he's not being traded. There are probably two players in all of baseball that the Rangers would trade Profar for (hint: one of them plays for the Angels, the other, the Nationals), and a two-month rental of Greinke is not going to cut it. Profar will not be traded.
There are plenty of arms in AA, but the hot topic of discussion is likely Mike Olt, who is ranked as the No. 11 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America's midseason top 50 ranking. Olt has taken a major step forward with his bat, hitting .300/.406/.590, with 22 home runs in 75 games.
The problem is, however, that the Rangers have an All-Star third baseman of their own for a few more years in Adrian Beltre. It's a good problem to have too much talent, and this is one of those cases. If Olt's bat truly is this good, then, unlike what I said in the spring, it should be able to play at first base, if the Rangers want to go that route.
Still, with the Brewers desperate for a third baseman, it seems likely that they will target Olt in a trade. Is that unreasonable for two months of one of the very best pitchers in baseball? I'm not sure that it is unreasonable, but I'd understand if the Rangers held onto Olt, instead of having two months, with no guarantee of an extension, of Greinke.
The Rangers have plenty of worthy pitching prospects in AA, too. Cody Buckel could easily be seen as expendable, as could Barrett Loux.
There's lots of talent on Frisco's roster, but my money is on saying the Brewers insist on Olt, at least until the end of July. They're in no rush to deal him, and they're probably going to (rightfully) ask for the sun, the moon and the stars until they have to deal Greinke.
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the All-Star Game is the always-interesting Futures Game, which falls on the Sunday prior to the Home Run Derby. This year, the Texas Rangers will have two players represent them in the Futures Game -- and one on each team. Third base prospect Mike Olt is on the U.S. Team, while Jurickson Profar, who may very well be the single best prospect in baseball, will be on the World Team.
Olt is having a phenomenal year, and will likely be at the center of trade talks if the Rangers choose to pursue Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels. Jon Daniels will likely have a difficult time surrendering Olt for a rental, even if the Rangers would be receiving an ace back in the deal.
Through July 3, Olt is hitting .302/.409/.597 with 22 home runs in just 278 at bats. Olt has drawn 48 walks and struck out 81 times as well.
Though he's blocked at third, the Rangers might be able to use him at first base -- which would give Texas a bit more leverage in trade talks.
As for Profar, well, there's not really enough superlatives for him. At just 19 years of age, Profar is hitting .293/.371/.479 in AA. Just think about that.
Profar is showing pretty good power, as evidenced by his slugging percentage. He's socked nine homers, 18 doubles and six triples so far this year, and has drawn 39 walks against just 49 strikeouts.
Again, he's 19. And he's probably the best prospect in baseball. And there's also no way he will be traded.
So, if you're a Rangers fan and you were looking for a reason to watch the Futures Game on Sunday, there you have it. You'll get to see two of the very best Rangers prospects, who just happen to be two of the very best prospects in baseball.
Martin Perez will be with the Rangers prior to Tuesday night's game against the Tigers.
Olt is hitting .308 (78-253) with 20 home runs, 13 doubles, and 58 RBI in 67 games for Frisco (AA) this season.
Profar has batted .318 (77-242) his last 61 contests since April 14. ESPN's Keith Law says Olt is one of the players he sees making his way up to the major's pretty soon:
Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco): With Mitch Moreland on the DL, there would appear to be an opening for Olt at the big league level, especially since third base is rather occupied at the moment. As classy as he may be, Michael Young isn't the answer at first.
The injury bug just keeps striking the Texas Rangers -- even if it's not in Arlington. This time, Leonys Martin has been hit with it, as he'll be out six-to-eight weeks with a torn thumb ligament, according to Evan Grant.
Leonys Martin out 6-8 weeks with torn thumb ligament— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) May 2, 2012
This isn't devastating news, but it's certainly bad news. Martin has been mashing in AAA, hitting .347/.423/.520 in 98 at bats -- doing his best to quiet the critics who have been down on his hit tool. Martin has shown solid discipline as well, walking 12 times while striking out 16 times. Martin also has notched 11 extra base hits -- three home runs and eight doubles.
With Josh Hamilton ailing in Texas, some speculated that Martin could be called up to replace Hamilton for the short term. Unfortunately, Martin will need a replacement in AAA for the next six to eight weeks.
For more on the Rangers, head over to Lone Star Ball and join the discussion.
Jurickson Profar didn't get off to he best start in AA this year, but he's proving to the Rangers and scouts that he's capable of handling the challenge at AA. The 19 year old shortstop has recorded at least one hit in each of his last 10 games -- and has drawn four walks in those 10 games as well.
Profar hasn't just been getting on base, he's been slugging the ball. Eight of Profar's last 13 hits have gone for extra bases, as he's notched five doubles and three triples in his last 10 games.
The recent hot streak has Profar's season line up to .253/.323/.483. Though the average and OBP remain a bit low, Profar has clearly adjusted to the challenge of AA pitching, and his numbers have been rising steadily over the last half of April.
Interestingly, Profar hasn't hit well on the road this year. In 51 home at bats, Profar is mashing, hitting to the tune of .314/.397/.608, but on the road in 36 at bats, Profar is hitting a paltry .167/.220/.306. This is something that will correct itself over time, but it's still a massive difference -- and for now, it can likely be chalked up to a small sample size.
Regardless, it's tough not to get excited over Profar, especially when you consider he's just 19 years old an in AA. He's still a couple of years away from being entrenched in Arlington, but it's already exciting following the young shortstop's progress through Texas' system.
Well, the Los Angeles Angels are shaking up their roster. The Angels announced after Friday's loss that they have released outfielder/designated hitter Bobby Abreu, and are replacing him with uber-prospect Mike Trout.
#Angels have released Bobby Abreu and will call up Mike Trout from Salt Lake.— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) April 28, 2012
Abreu, who turned 38 in March, only received 24 at bats in 2012 with the Angels, appearing only in eight games.
Trout, though, could kick start Los Angeles' offense. Through 77 at bats in AAA, Trout hit .403/.467/.623 with 11 walks and 16 strikeouts. Trout's speed was showcased as well, as he hit four doubles, five triples and stole six bases.
It's unknown how the Angels will utilize Trout, but he could very well start in center immediately. Peter Bourjos, excellent range aside, has been struggling mightily, hitting a paltry .178/.245/.267 through his first 45 at bats, with three walks and 12 strikeouts.
As long as Trout is getting at bats, he will immediately upgrade Los Angeles' offense -- which certainly needs it. We'll see how the club uses him going forward, but the Angels have just added a massive talent to their active roster.
The rich are getting richer... at least, it appears that way. Texas Rangers prospect Cody Buckel made Baseball America's weekly hot sheet this week, after hurling yet another dominating start this week.
Not surprisingly, the folks at Baseball America lauded the Rangers and Buckel.
When the Rangers very publicly revamped their pitching development program a few years ago, they were bucking conventional wisdom by allowing pitchers to long toss at football-field length distances, emphasizing throwing between starts and letting pitching coaches-not pitch limits-determine when a pitching prospect would exit each start. Just a couple of years later, that approach is nearing closer and closer to being considered conventional wisdom thanks to a growing list of pitching success stories. Buckel is part of the next wave of young Rangers pitchers. On the heels of a dominant season in low Class A Hickory, Buckel has had no problems making the jump to high Class A-he's striking out more than a third of the batters he faces and he's yet to allow more than one run or two hits in any of his four starts this year.
Buckel likely needs a promotion to AA Frisco to be challenged -- and he'll probably get that sooner this year rather than later. On the young season, Buckel has pitched 21.1 innings, allowing just seven hits while issuing eight walks and striking out 29. Buckel's ERA on the year is microscopic as well, sitting at 0.84.
When the Seattle Mariners dealt Michael Pineda to the Yankees this offseason, they acquired Jesus Montero -- one of the game's very best young bats. With this trade, the Mariners were clearly attempting to address their offensive woes, as the club lacks offensive firepower. So far, though, Montero hasn't been hitting, and there's still not much behind him in the minors that will turn Seattle's offense around.
It's an extremely small sample size, but so far Montero is hitting just .241/.259/.370 through his first 54 at bats with the Mariners. Montero has drawn only two walks and has struck out 11 times -- a ratio that he'll have to improve on in order to become an elite major league hitter.
It's certainly likely that Montero will turn it around, and probably sooner rather than later. Seattle still will need to restock their system with hitters. Seattle's best hitting prospect behind Montero is Nick Franklin, who is having success in AA at age 21. Franklin is hitting .281/.343/.438 through his first 64 at bats. From a shortstop, those stats are perfectly acceptable, but they're far from impactful.
Vinnie Catricala, thought to be one of Seattle's better offensive prospects headed into this year, has struggled mightily in AAA. Through his first 66 at bats, Catricala is hitting a meager .182/.214/.212.
So, what conclusions can we draw from three, really small sample sizes? Not much, other than Montero will eventually hit, Franklin looks like he'll be a quality, though not impactful, player and that the Mariners will be desperate to add bats throughout their system in this year's MLB draft.
If the Mariners are looking to compete in the near-future, with Felix Hernandez and their stable of pitching prospects, they will likely have to sign a major free agent or two. It wouldn't shock me at all if Seattle became players in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes this winter.
Tommy Milone, SP, MLB: 2-1, 2.84 ERA, 19 IP, 1.05 WHIP, 8 SO, 6 BB
Milone is off to a solid start for the A's. While he doesn't profile as a top of the rotation starter, he's a capable back-end guy, and is pitching a bit above that so far. Still, Milone's SO/BB ratio indicates that he's a back-end starter. Those are plenty valuable, though, and Milone will likely churn out a few really quality seasons.
Derek Norris, C, AAA: 53 at bats, .321/.316/.604, 2 HR, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB, 11 SO
So, the knock on Norris throughout his minor league career has always been that he doesn't get enough hits, and that his OBP was carried solely by his plate discipline. Well, so far Norris has only drawn one walk in AAA, yet is hitting over .300. We'll likely see his eye come back and his BABIP go back down a bit, but if he can hit in the .260-.280 range, he's going to be a very, very good catcher.
Brad Peacock, AAA: 1-1, 1.42 ERA, 19 IP, .89 WHIP, 17 SO, 6 BB
Peacock has pitched very well in AAA so far, as his microscopic .89 WHIP through three starts would indicate. Six walks in 19 innings is a bit of a concern, but Peacock has mitigated that damage by allowing just 11 hits so far this year. He'll likely be pushing for a promotion around midyear if he keeps pitching well.
A.J. Cole, SP, A+: 0-2, 4.80 ERA, 15 IP, 1.26 WHIP, 12 SO, 3 BB
Only 20 years old and into the Cal League, expectations probably need to be tempered a bit on what Cole's numbers will end up looking like. His ERA will likely end up fairly high (thanks, Cal League homers!), but Cole is off to a reasonable start with a 4:1 SO/BB ratio -- which is excellent.
All in all, the prospects Beane received for Gonzalez are off to good starts. Oakland will need their prospects to start panning out if they're going to be competitive as the team tries to move to San Jose.
Still, Oakland is still a long way off from competing with the Rangers, but Oakland's rebuild might finally be moving in the right direction.
If you're a fan of the Texas Rangers, then you have a lot to be giddy about in the early going of the 2012 MLB season. The two-time defending American League champions are off to an 11-2 start, which is the best in all of baseball, with a staggering +46 run differential through their first 13 games of the season. The Los Angeles Angels, who spent as much money as they possibly could over the winter, are already seven games out of first.
Still, there's plenty reason to be even more excited as a Rangers fan. Texas boasts the top farm system in all of baseball per Baseball America -- so the future is perhaps even brighter than the present.
Here's a look at how Texas' top prospects are faring, per BA's pre-season top 10 Rangers prospect list.
Yu Darvish, MLB: 2-0, 3.57 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 13 BB, 14 SO, 17.2 IP, 42.1% GB
Needless to say, Darvish has struggled so far through his first three starts...yet he still has avoided disaster. There's still no reason to think he won't blossom into an ace, but it's clear there is a learning curve in America for Darvish.
Jurickson Profar, AA: .205/.294/.409, 44 AB, 5 BB, 8 SO, 3 HR, 2 SB
Let's all remember that Profar is still just 19 years old. His BB/SO ratio is fine, and he's reached base safely in his last five games. Profar will come around and be just fine.
Martin Perez, AAA: 1-1, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 6 BB, 12 SO, 17.1 IP, 1.38 GO/AO
So far, so good for the 21 year old in lefty in AAA. Last year, Perez struggled mightily in AAA, so it's really nice to see him off to a good start. He's always been young for his age, but he's made adjustments -- see his 10/11 AA results.
Mike Olt, AA: .239/.327/.500, 46 AB, 6 BB, 16 SO, 3 HR, 0 SB
Well, the slugging percentage is nice, but everything else isn't particularly nice. The strikeout rate is quite alarming, and if Olt wants to succeed at the higher levels, he'll need to cut down on that K-rate. It's a small sample size, but it's certainly alarming thus far.
Leonys Martin, AAA: .362/.439/.534, 58 AB, 7 BB, 9 SO, 2 HR, 3 SB
Martin didn't play well enough in the spring to earn Texas' starting centerfield job, but he's certainly doing everything he can to prove that he's Texas' centerfielder of the future. All Martin has done is hit so far in AAA, but again, it's a small sample size. It's encouraging, but let's see where Martin is in another month or two before really raising expectations on what to expect from Martin.
Neil Ramirez, AAA: 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14 SO, 3 BB, 15 IP, 1.07 GO/AO
Ramirez is off to a nice start in AAA. Obviously, with a WHIP as low as 1.00, he's doing something right. Ramirez is missing bats as well, averaging just under a strikeout per inning while holding opponents to a .214 average against.
Cody Buckel, A+: 1-0, 0.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 21 SO, 3 BB, 15 IP, 4.50 GO/AO
It's pretty tough to be better than Buckel has been so far this year. Not even 20 years old, Buckel is mowing down Hi-A hitters for Myrtle Beach, holding opposing hitters to a meager .125 average. If Buckel continues to dominate into the middle part of the year, Texas will have no choice but to promote him to AA -- possibly around his 20th birthday in mid-June. It's only 15 innings, but it's a very encouraging 15 innings.
Jorge Alfaro, A: .250/.276/286, 28 AB, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Not a good start, but we're only talking 28 at bats here. Alfaro has a long way to go, and he's really going to need to improve on his BB/SO ratio of year's past -- and he's not off to a good start there yet. The strikeout rate is ugly so far, but again, we're only talking 28 at bats in his first taste of full-season ball.
Christian Villanueva, A+: .262/.367/.381, 42 AB, 4 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
The power hasn't shown up yet in Villanueva's first 42 at bats, but, he's getting on base at a respectable clip, and the power will likely come. Nothing awful about his start this year, but nothing terribly notable either.
Rougned Odor, A: .302/.367/.509, 53 AB, 5 BB, 10 SO, 2 HR, 0 SB
Well, this is certainly a treat. Odor is 18 years old and in is
playing in the SAL crushing the ball in the SAL so far. Odor has recorded a hit in each of his last seven games, with four of those games being of the mult-hit variety. Odor has notched a double, two triples and two homers as well, so as seen in his slugging percentage, he's really driving the baseball so far. It's 53 at bats, but at 18 years old, it's a damn good 53 at bats, and worth starting to get excited over.
Ron Washington said during spring training that he wanted Leonys Martin to spend a full year in AAA. Martin, though, is doing everything he can to prove to the Rangers that he won't need a full year in AAA.
As I said yesterday regarding Engle Beltre, Jurickson Profar and Michael Olt -- it's still very early. Regardless, Martin is hitting, and hitting a lot in the early part of the season. Through 54 at bats, Martin is hitting .389/.468/.574, with four doubles, two home runs and seven walks against just seven strikeouts.
It's a small sample size, yet it's still encouraging that Martin has adjusted to AAA pitching. Following his promotion to AAA last year, Martin hit just .263/.316/.314, with no home runs, 11 walks and 24 strikeouts in 175 at bats.
Martin is going to spend a good chunk of the season in AAA, but he's doing everything he can to push for a promotion sooner rather than later. If he keeps hitting like this, he'll force Texas' hand.
For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out Lone Star Ball and join the discussion.
The Texas Rangers have won back-to-back pennants, thanks in large part to their revamped farm system under Jon Daniels. Once again, the Rangers are atop organizational talent rankings, as they have the best shortstop prospect in the game and a deep system. It's still early, but it's not too soon to start taking a look at how Texas' prospects are faring so far in 2012.
Expectations the past few years have been greatly tempered on Engle Beltre, as the talented outfielder has struggled in each of his stints at the AA level. Last year, Beltre hit a meager .231/.285/.300 in 437 at bats for Frisco, damaging his prospect status greatly.
So far, though, Beltre is off to a roaring start in AA. It is only 45 at bats, but through his first 12 games, Beltre is hitting .289/.360/.600, with three homers, four steals and four walks against 11 strikeouts. Four walks isn't a lot, but it's certainly progress. In 181 at bats at AA in 2010, Beltre walked just 10 times. Last year, in 437 at bats, Beltre drew just 28 walks.
Again, it's extremely early, and if Beltre wants to turn himself back into a very good prospect, he'll need to keep hitting for the entire year. It's certainly something to get slowly excited about, and certainly something worth watching.
Texas' top prospect has been struggling a bit in AA so far. Jurickson Profar is hitting just .200/.304/.425 through his first 40 at bats, but, does have three homers and five walks against eight strikeouts. It's still very early, and Profar is just 19, so there's no reason to be any less excited about him -- he still may just end up on top of top 100 lists headed into next year.
Mike Olt is struggling in AA as well so far. Through 43 at bats, Olt is hitting .209/277/.419, with four walks and 15 strikeouts. Again, it's still very early so we're dealing with small sample sizes, but Olt is going to need to put the ball in play much, much more often if he is going to succeed in AA, AAA or the MLB.
As it stands, Olt isn't really going to have a place to play in Texas. He's not going to hit enough to play first or left field, and he's a solid defender at third, where his bat plays best. He's a good prospect, and he's likely trade bait come July, but he certainly needs to cut down on his K-rate going forward if he's going to be a valuable trade chip. His strikeout rate is certainly worth monitoring all year long.
Mike Trout is hitting .435 through his first 11 games, and may soon force Los Angeles' hand to play him everyday in Anaheim.
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