Texas Rangers Prospect Countdown: #1 Yohander Mendez
Left-handed pitcher Yohander Mendez has quickly moved through the Texas Rangers farm system. Becoming the #1 Rangers prospect and one of the best pitching prospects in the entire league.
In 2011 the Texas Rangers signed Yohander Mendez out of Venezuela for $1.5 million. He started his minor league career at the age of 17. He excelled through the minor leagues and reached the Major Leagues in 2016.
Mendez only pitched in two games for the Rangers in 2016. He pitched three innings, giving up six earned runs, and walked two batters. Too small of a sample size to judge Mendez, but he should be back with MLB club in 2017.
Pitching at three different levels in 2016, Mendez reached both Double-A and Triple-A. He went 12-3 2.19 ERA in 24 games (21 starts) with 113 strikeouts in the minors. He only allowed four home runs in 111 innings pitched.
Mendez pitched mainly as a starting pitcher during his five minor league seasons. He could see more time in the bullpen in 2017 as the Rangers have a crowded rotation currently. Mendez does have five minor league seasons under his belt, but only one season with over 100 innings pitched. The Rangers could look to convert Mendez into a bullpen pitcher.
Right now Mendez has three strong pitches he can count on. His fastball that is consistent with good command and can hit around 90-94 mph. Mendez has a sinking changeup that is arguably his best pitch. Tough for any right-handed bat to get a hold of it. Mendez also throws a curveball that needs work, but could be another plus pitch for him once it’s developed.
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Currently Mendez is ranked #7 on MLB.com top 10 left-handed pitching prospects. He is also ranked #56 in the top 100 prospects according to MLB.com. Mendez is only 22-years-old and could be seeing plenty of Arlington in 2017.