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Some Notes And Thoughts On Roman Mendez

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The Rangers finally gave up on Jarrod Saltalamacchia today, and, unless we are in for a surprise in the player to be named, the key to the return package is Class A pitcher Roman Mendez. Mendez, a Dominican, was one of Boston's 2007 international signees, signing one year after Rangers prospect Engel Beltre was a high profile Red Sox pickup from about 30 miles down the coast.

Here are a few quick reactions on Mendez from prospect experts today:

Kevin Goldstein:

Nice pickup by Texas for Salty, Mendez can bring the heat.

Keith Law:

Roman Mendez has a big arm - scout told me last week he had him 96+ prior to this year.

Jim Callis:

Though he struggled in low Class A to start the season, prompting a demotion, Mendez had one of the best pure arms in the Red Sox system. Signed for $125,000 out of the Dominican Republic three years ago, he's still growing into his 6-foot-4 frame and could have a plus-plus fastball when he matures physically. He already can hit 98 mph on occasion. He's still refining a hard slider and a changeup, but they show promise.

Baseball America ranked Mendez as the #12 prospect in a talented Gulf Coast summer rookie League in 2009:

Signed for $125,000 two years ago, Mendez has good control for a young pitcher and promising secondary pitches. His slider has nice tilt and sits in the low 80s, while his changeup is more of a work in progress.

"The slider is a strikeout pitch," Mauer said. "He sets it up with his fastball. It has good bite with good arm speed."

He entered 2010 as a popular sleeper pick after dominating the GCL and winning a spot on Greenville's (full season low Class A South Atlantic League, a two level jump) rotation, but he struggled there in six starts and was sent to the college level NY-Penn league to start the summer. He hasn't dominated that league like he did rookie ball, which indicates slowed progress with his secondary pitches and command. 

He will not be ranked among Texas' top prospects this winter, and he is no sure thing, but that isn't really the point. The key with Mendez is the combination of upside and hints that the lagging parts of his game will progress. The Rangers under Jon Daniels have sought power right-handed pitchers with undeveloped but existent secondary packages in trades, draft picks and international signings, picking up guys like Alexi Ogando, Ovispo De Los Santos, Wilmer Font, Neil Ramirez, Neftali Feliz, Carlos Melo, Pedro Strop, Tanner Scheppers, Danny Gutierrez and Mendez and not surrendering any of those arms in recent trades to upgrade the big league club. Mendez might be one of those who realizes his promise, but the stockpiling of players with this sort of package gives the organization hope for a dominating staff and enticing trade options.

While Mendez is most likely the key to the deal, the more obscure Chris McGuiness also has some promise, according to Jim Callis:

McGuiness stands out most for his on-base ability, though that's not his only skill. He led NCAA Division I with 65 walks and ranked 12th with a .520 OBP as a junior at The Citadel in 2009, when the Red Sox drafted him in the 13th round and signed him for $100,000...McGuiness also has a chance to develop average power from the left side of the plate, and he's a slick fielder at first base.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.