Notes from Spring Training


I spent most of the past week in Surprise, Arizona, to catch some Rangers Spring Training. While there I was able to get a good look at some of the Texas prospects during their morning workouts. Most of these notes come from batting practice, which can be good for scouting bat speed, swing paths and makeup but does not show whether a player can actually hit. With that in mind, take these for what they’re worth:

Timing issues are not uncommon for Spring Training. However, opening up the front side early can become a bad habit quick. Forbes, the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2014, has a very large and projectable frame and at just 18 is predictably raw. But with plus bat speed and what should become plus strength as well as a very high waist, the SS/3B showed exactly why he earned an early round selection.

Jairo Beras received a big signing bonus to ink with the Rangers a couple years back out of Latin America. After questions regarding his age, he was finally cleared to play in 2013. After a year and a half of struggling in the low minors (.243/.306/.355), the 20 year old has not done anything to answer the big question on him – can he keep his hands in tight enough to handle inside heat? Beras stands at 6’5″ with long arms. I didn’t see anything to answer that question over the week. Keep an eye on how he handles power arms in 2015.

Compared to the Brinson swing I saw a year ago, this one was noticeably shorter. This measures up with the former first-round pick’s development in 2014. Brinson was able to cut about 13% off  his 2013 K-rate and saw only a minimal bump following his mid-year promotion to High-A. Given the 20-year-old’s plus defense and plus to plus-plus speed (4.01 is a bit fast given other reports) and plus raw pop, if Brinson can continue to develop his bat-to-ball ability the upside is impressive.

The 2014 10th round pick played a bit of 3B, SS and C last year in his time at Spokane but is mainly a second baseman. While he doesn’t quite have the bat speed of now former Ranger 2B prospect Odubel Herrera, he does show the same level swing from the back of the plate to the front. This allows him to stay on top of and line balls to all fields in a similar fashion. While I was not able to catch Spivey in game action and can’t speak to his real hitting ability, the early returns in pro action were promising. The ACU product produced a .332/.424/.444 line in 305 plate appearances in Short-Season A ball. Look for him to start the year in Hickory and keep an eye on this 22-year-old.

Let’s take a look at some in-game action to provide an example:

At the first part of the video, De Leon is hitting as a lefty. Notice the slow lean back and the slow shift of power from his back leg to his front. This needs to be a quicker exchange as the way it currently sits from the left side doesn’t allow the SS to get any kind of leg strength into his swing. While power isn’t a part of his game, it is still never ideal to limit it. Later on in the video, De Leon swings from the right side. There’s not a huge difference, but his shift is quicker. The 18-year-old would benefit from matching his lefty swing to his righty swing.

Other Notes:

– RP Keone Kela still possesses the same nasty fastball and curve/slider thing he did at the end of last season. But now he has a usable changeup, something he didn’t possess at all in 2014. Good luck, hitters!

– Despite the massive addition of former Cubs farmhand Rock Shoulders to the system, I have decided I still like Yeyson Yrizzari as the best name on the Texas farm. Also, Yrizzari will hit.

– OF Ryan Cordell saw some time at short during an intrasquad game. This probably means nothing and was just a fun way to mix things up, but hey, it’s worth mentioning.

– Pitching prospect Jerad Eickhoff was optioned to Triple-A this week. With the amount of starting pitching depth in the organization, I had penciled Eickhoff in for a return to Double-A ball. This was an interesting move and may signal a brief return to Frisco for Chi Chi Gonzalez.

– Enjoy:

– Check out Kendrick Lamar’s new album if you haven’t already


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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