Other Names to Know in Rangers Organization
Earlier this week, top Rangers prospects Jorge Alfaro and Joey Gallo played in the Futures Game and Gallo, currently at Double-A Frisco, socked the game-winning home run for the U.S. Team and earned game MVP honors. But Alfaro and Gallo aren’t the only two names to know in the organization. Here’s a look at a few names to know from each affiliate:
TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK
Jared Hoying OF—Sure, he is 25 and technically not a prospect, but this Ohio native was Round Rock’s lone representative at the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, at least he was until the Rangers acquired reliever Spencer Patton from the Royals’ organization for Jason Frasor earlier that day. Hoying was hitting .255 with 15 HR and 50 RBI for the Express in his first full season in the Pacific Coast League. Despite his age, he has an outside shot at being a September call-up to Arlington.
Luke Jackson P—The first-round pick from 2010 was a beast in Frisco, going 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 15 games, 14 of which were starts to earn a well-deserved promotion to Round Rock. Thus far, he has made three starts in Triple-A, and is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA early on in the PCL. But Jackson is a top candidate for a September cameo with the Rangers no matter what his numbers are in Round Rock.
Phil Klein PâKlein spent much of this season as Frisco’s closer and was 3-0 with a 0.31 ERA and 10 saves in 24 appearances for the RoughRiders, where he was a Texas League All-Star. He was recently promoted to Round Rock and has made five appearances thus far for the Express with a 0-0 record and a 0.00 ERA. Klein is all of 6-7 but is 25 and has been in the organization since 2011. But if the Rangers need a bullpen arm down the stretch, he could get the call.
Ryan Rua 3B—Rua and Jackson were also teammates in Frisco prior to them both being promoted. A 17th-round pick in 2011, Rua was a Texas League All-Star earlier this year, hitting .306 with 10 HR and 38 RBI in 71 games with the RoughRiders. And since he plays third, it was his promotion that cleared the way for Gallo to move up to Double-A in early June. Rua too has to be a candidate for a look in September.
Tomas Telis C-–Telis has been a Texas League All-Star in each of the past two seasons and he was promoted to Triple-A earlier this week, which was good to see. He is just 23 and hit .303 in 70 games for Frisco this season prior to his promotion. The young Venezuelan backstop has earned rave reviews from Hector Ortiz, the Rangers Minor League Catching Coordinator who is a former big-league backstop himself. Telis too has to be on the list of potential September call-ups.
Hanser Alberto SS—Another player who has recently been promoted to Frisco, Alberto hit .271 with 5 HR and 43 RBI in 70 games at Myrtle Beach prior to the move. In the field, the 21-year-old shortstop had eight errors in 305 chances for the Pelicans. To date, he has played 11 games in Double-A, and was hitting .186. However, the young Dominican talent had no errors through his first 51 chances with the ‘Riders.
Alec Asher P-–Asher too was a Texas League All-Star earlier this year and through 19 starts, the Florida native was 7-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 107 innings pitched. Just 22, this right-handed starter is just 26 innings from matching his total from all of last season with High Single-A Myrtle Beach, where he led the Carolina League with 139 strikeouts. The Rangers are surely aware of that but will they be limiting Asher’s innings the rest of the way?
Alex Claudio P—Young Puerto Rican southpaw was Rangers 2013 Reliever of the Year. He started 2014 with Myrtle Beach but earned a promotion to Double-A after going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA and four saves in 17 appearances, including two starts for the Pelicans. With Frisco, he has made four appearances thus far and has a 1-2 record and a 1.80 ERA. Claudio is all of 22 and is a young intriguing bullpen arm who could be on the verge of getting his chance in the show.
Alex Gonzalez P—The 23rd pick in the June 2013 draft, Gonzalez is 3-3 with a 2.97 ERA in his seven starts with Frisco since being promoted from Myrtle Beach in early June. With the Pelicans, the current and former teammate of Gallo was 5-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 11 starts. Frisco appears to be in no rush to overload "Chi Chi" and that’s not a bad thing. After all, this is his first full year of pro ball and letting him get his legs under him while Double-A is still new to him is a rather wise course of action. But there’s little doubt about what an immense upside this young righty from Florida possesses.
HIGH SINGLE-A MYRTLE BEACH
Lewis Brinson OF—After spending all of last season at Low Single-A Hickory, Brinson, a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, started the 2014 season with the Crawdads and he didn’t disappoint. The five-tool outfielder hit .335 with 10 HR and 28 RBI before earning a promotion to High A. Brinson has appeared in just eight games with the Pelicans thus far, but he has hit .286 in his rather short time in the Carolina League. He’s been compared to the likes of Dexter Fowler or Cameron Maybin.
Cody Buckel P-–It wasn’t all that long ago that Buckel, 22, was a top-level pitching prospect in the Ranger organization. However, after a 2013 where he started the year in Frisco but was sent back to extended spring training to get the mental side of his game together, he is now back in High-A and in 21 games with Myrtle Beach, he has made just three starts and is 2-5 with an 8.62 ERA. Buckel is still trying to get his command back and if he can, the second-round pick in 2010 could regain his once-lofty status among Texas farmhands.
Victor Payano P—Only 21, Payano remains quite raw, which is why he is in the Carolina League for a second straight year. But on the plus side, he has great size at 6-foot-6 and is also a lefty, two things which always work in any pitcher’s favor. In 20 starts with the Pelicans, he is 4-7 with a 5.02 ERA. Many feel Payano, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010, is a diamond in the rough, but how much more polish does he need, especially in terms of his mechanics?
Nick Williams OF—This Galveston native was a second-round pick in 2012 and was a South Atlantic League Postseason All-Star with Low Single-A Hickory, where he hit .293 with 17 HR and 60 RBI. With the Pelicans, he was hitting .324 with 10 HR and 57 RBI. There are few if any serious questions about his offensive game, but there are some concerns about him in the field. Still, this 20-year-old has the makings of a rock-solid outfielder for years to come.
Sam Wolfe P—A sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft out of the University of New Mexico, Wolfe has earned favorable reviews from Rangers Minor League Pitching Coordinator Danny Clark. In 17 games with the Pelicans this year, he is 7-4 with a 3.38 ERA, solid numbers for the 6-foot-1, 190-pound righty. He is definitely a lesser-known commodity to keep an eye on going forward.
LOW SINGLE-A HICKORY
Jairo Beras OF—After playing 74 games last season with Hickory, Beras 19, returned to the Crawdads again in 2014. In 74 games, the young Dominican outfielder is hitting .251 with 4 HR and 20 RBI. Beras has spent the bulk of this season in left field, playing 41 of his 65 games there, so that might very well be where this raw yet talented youngster sticks.
Travis Demeritte SS—Demeritte was the 30th pick in the 2013 draft and this 19-year-old can play all over the infield. With the Crawdads, he has played 64 games at second base, 11 at third and one at shortstop. The Georgia native has 14 errors in 306 chances between second and third, so it will be interesting to see whether he ends up at short or at third long term.
Ronald Guzman 1B—Signed in 2011 as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Guzman, now 19, has already switched from the outfield to first base. The 2014 season is his second straight year at Hickory and while Guzman is reputed to have a great bat, but this season is hitting just .214 with 5 HR and 57 RBI in 79 games. Still, he has an immense upside, one which is too big to ignore.
Nomar Mazara OF—Power is Mazara’s calling card and with 15 HR and 64 RBI in 92 games with Hickory, Mazara, 19, hasn’t disappointed in this, his second full season of pro ball. Right field is where the Rangers envision him playing in the future and if his power continues developing, he could provide a nice blend of great offense and solid defense in that corner spot.