Minor League Rosters Breakdown

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The Rangers announced the minor league rosters yesterday morning. It mostly went as expected, but a few surprises including a top prospect are starting the year in Frisco. Note that the starters/relievers are in certain cases, educated guesswork from me as the rosters weren’t released with these distinctions and a few pitchers could easily be fit into either category. Also, Myles Jaye, assigned to Round Rock, was then traded later in the evening possibly creating some shifting within the pitching assignments prior to Opening Day. These rosters do not include probable AAA bound pitchers Cesar Ramos or Phil Klein and catcher Michael McKenry.

AAA Round Rock:

SP Chi-Chi Gonzalez

SP Nick Martinez

SP Anthony Ranaudo

SP Nick Tepesch

SP Chad Bell

RP Chad Smith

RP Francisco Mendoza

RP Jesus Pirela

RP Alex Claudio

RP Carlos Fisher

RP Jefri Hernandez

RP Jimmy Reyes

RP Michael Roth

A rotation (once Ramos and/or Klein arrive) full of capable spot starting big league pitchers, headlined by Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez. Gonzalez will certainly be working on his off-speeds as he tries to miss more bats. It wouldn’t shock me if at some point the Rangers tried Ranaudo out in the bullpen. He’s on his last option this year. The bullpen has a few interesting arms with the inconsistent Francisco Mendoza and Jesus Pirela, both of whom show big league stuff if you catch them on the right day and much less if you catch them on the wrong one. Jefri Hernandez boasts premium velocity but a less-than-premium slider. Jimmy Reyes and Alex Claudio could each have big league futures as lefty pen-men, the latter of which has already had a couple major league stints. Smith, Fisher and Roth all have big league experience. Once healthy, Luke Jackson should join the mix.

C Brett Nicholas

INF Doug Bernier

INF Jurickson Profar

INF Joey Gallo

INF Patrick Kivlehan

INF Drew Robinson

OF Jared Hoying

OF Nomar Mazara

OF James Jones

OF Ryan Strausborger

Some big names here, most notably Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo, and Nomar Mazara. But you guys know about them. Brett Nicholas is a catcher who can hit a bit. Patrick Kivlehan, acquired in the Leonys Martin trade, can play all over the field and is a good athlete with some pop. Drew Robinson plays all over the field as well, with a good eye at the plate and a high strikeout rate to compete with the walk rate. He had a good spring in big league camp. Doug Bernier, who the Rangers apparently signed at some point, has some big league time as does Ryan Strausborger. Jared Hoying and James Jones can both play a quality center field.

 

AA Frisco:

SP Frank Lopez

SP Sam Wolff

SP Connor Sadzeck

SP Reed Garrett

SP Jose Leclerc

SP Victor Payano

RP Cody Buckel

RP Adam Parks

RP Jose Valdespina

RP Ryne Slack

RP Richelsen Pena

RP Matt Bush

RP Juan Grullon

The starting rotation here could be formed a number of ways. There’s six pitchers who have been starters before this year, and I could see five of them being moved to the pen. My guess is that Jose Leclerc and Victor Payano tandem start as they did early in 2015. Connor Sadzeck has the ability to throw triple digits and should be a dangerous pen arm down the road. Leclerc could be as well though he doesn’t throw as much gas. Sam Wolff, out all of 2015, is one of the more interesting arms in this group with a mid-90s fastball and a good curve. Adam Parks has a legit swing and miss off-speed and could break out if his command is improved. Frank Lopez posted stellar numbers in the lower levels before putting up a 4.21 ERA in 117 Frisco innings. He has above average control but the command needs to match that if he will make it without a plus pitch. The biggest name on the roster is former number one pick Matt Bush. Get out to Frisco early if you want to see him.

C Alex Burg

C Pat Cantwell

C Kellin Deglan

1B Ronald Guzman

INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa

INF Luis Marte

INF Luis Mendez

INF Alberto Triunfel

OF Preston Beck

OF Lewis Brinson

OF Zach Cone

OF Ryan Cordell

OF Joe Jackson

Just like with Bush, if you want to see Lewis Brinson, better do it early. If you’ve been to Frisco much over the past couple of years you’ve likely seen Pat Cantwell – good defensive backstop. Both Kellin Deglan and Ronald Guzman are former top prospects who haven’t hit enough to this point. The difference is, Deglan is a catcher while Guzman is a first-baseman. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is an under the radar guy who can hit a bit (.296/.356/.341 in A ball last year). I wish he was a shortstop as opposed to a second-baseman though. The Rangers tried him some at catcher in the spring but not sure if that will continue into the season. Luis Marte can pick it at short but the bat needs work. 2013 5th rounder Joe Jackson has put up good numbers the past couple years with Hickory and High Desert, but I couldn’t tell you much past that.

 

High-A High Desert:

SP Luis Ortiz

SP Ariel Jurado

SP Yohander Mendez

SP Collin Wiles

SP Cole Wiper

RP David Perez

RP John Fasola

RP Joe Filomeno

RP David Ledbetter

RP Ryan Ledbetter

RP Shane McCain

RP Austin Pettibone

RP Adam Quintana

RP Scott Williams

The rotation here is stacked. Luis OrtizYohander Mendez, and Ariel Jurado are all legitimate prospects. Mendez, I thought, may have skipped the level and started in Frisco, but the Rangers didn’t shy away from the hitter-friendly California League. Relievers John Fasola and Scott Williams are interesting arms who may see promotions early in the year.

C David Lyon

C Kevin Torres

C Jose Trevino

INF Michael De Leon

INF Travis Demeritte

INF Tripp Martin

INF Josh Morgan

INF Juremi Profar

OF Jairo Beras

OF Jose Cardona

OF Seth Spivey

OF Luke Tendler

Jose Trevino is a catcher with bat to ball ability and pop. The rest of the package is still under development. Michael De Leon plays a plus shortstop and added some good weight over the offseason. Josh Morgan is a good hitter who walks more than he strikes out. Like Kiner-Falefa he tried some catcher this spring, but for now that has been shut down and he will play second, third, and short. Big year for Travis Demeritte who really needs to break out after serving a suspension last year due to PED’s. Jairo Beras, who broke out in 2015, looks to continue that into his age 21 season. I didn’t see him this spring, but Seth Spivey impressed me a year ago before hitting just .250/.309/.366.

 

Low-A Hickory:

SP Dillon Tate

SP Brett Martin

SP Pedro Payano

SP Jonathan Hernandez

SP Wes Benjamin

RP Blake Bass

RP Adam Choplick

RP Tyler Davis

RP Peter Fairbanks

RP Johan Juan

RP Omarlin Lopez

RP Joe Palumbo

RP Jacob Shortslef

RP Jeffrey Springs

RP Erik Swanson

Dillon Tate leads the rotation a year after his #4 overall selection. Real good fastball, real good slider, and a changeup he’ll likely put a lot of work into this season. Brett Martin returns to the Sally league after putting up good numbers in 2015. He’s yet to turn 21, but I still wouldn’t expect him to hang around here past June or July. 2014 5th round pick Wes Benjamin, taken as a high upside injured pitcher much like Michael Matuella and Jake Lemoine in 2015, gets his first professional action (one 2015 inning aside). ESPN’s Eric Longenhagen has positive reviews on Jonathan Hernandez, who will see his first full-season action:

And now we’ve reached the limits of my farm system knowledge. Pedro Payano has put up good numbers and is 21 years old. Johan Juan’s name is backwards, but if he can pitch I’ll accept it. Adam Choplick was born in Denton. Omarlin Lopez has a plus name.

C Charles Moorman

C Tyler Sanchez

C Ricardo Valencia

INF Frandy De La Rosa

INF Dylan Moore

INF Yeyson Yrizarri

2B Andy Ibanez

3B Ti’Quan Forbes

OF Ledarious Clark

OF Jose Almonte

OF Darius Day

OF Eric Jenkins

OF Eduard Pinto

This group is loaded with prospects. Yeyson Yrizarri, a 19-year-old shortstop with a cannon for an arm and a projectable bat, receives his first full-season assignment. Fellow 19-year-old Ti’Quan Forbes, 2014’s 2nd round pick, will do the same following a good camp. Strikeouts have been an issue in the AZL and Spokane. Andy Ibanez will be a very interesting one to follow. Didn’t get to see much of him in Surprise, but he figures as a second baseman. Reports have him as a solid all-around player with good contact ability. The Rangers signed him for $1.6 million out of Cuba a year ago. Ibanez is 22, so if he succeeds early he may see a promotion. Frandy De La Rosa was the return from the Cubs for Spencer Patton.

The outfield is stock full of athletes, as a lower level Texas affiliate normally is. LeDarious Clark is a strong, fast, premium athlete who tore up short season ball early and struggled late. In 257 ABs, Clark managed 12 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 29 stolen bases, and 73 strikeouts. Under the radar guy with some serious potential. Not so under the radar is Eric Jenkins, 2015’s second rounder. A good defensive center fielder with serious speed, Jenkins hits the ball surprisingly hard given his 170-pound frame (generous number if you ask me). Even faster than Jenkins, Darius Day is an 80 runner, which in non-scouting terms means he’s really fast. The 21-year-old will see his first full season action. I’ll spare you the common phrases on speed, but if he can hit he’ll clearly have some value.

Now that you’ve read all about the names which probably won’t ever play for your team, you are free to return to the big league squad.

Grant Schiller
Grant is currently a student at the University of North Texas and long-term hopes to get into the world of scouting. He will spend many nights over the summer checking out the prospects around the Texas League in Frisco. When not around baseball, Grant will probably be dropping threes at the rec with no remorse.

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