OF Engel Beltre, Bakersfield & SS Leury Garcia, Hickory - These two are great examples of the meaninglessness of very early season results for position players. I talked Friday about both players, Beltre for his poor start and Garcia for his nice start. Beltre went into the weekend walkless, hitting .174, and with just one double for the season. Over the weekend he more than doubled his hit total, walked for the first time, tripled and homered to raise his line to a semi-respectable .257/.297/.429. Garcia went into the weekend hitting .333, but a combined 0-12 dropped him to .238 and a 552 OPS. It's a long season.
LHP Derek Holland, OKC - Now pitchers on the other hand...Holland made his third start Sunday, and, though he was a tad less dominant, he seems to have a handle on the Triple A level. Holland completed six innings for the third time and allowed seven hits and two walks but no runs, striking out six. His season line: 19.2 IP, 17 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 15 K, 0.49 ERA. As I've said repeatedly already this season, it must be comforting for Rangers brass to have this guy waiting in OKC.
C/1B/DH Max Ramirez, OKC - Speaking of waiting in OKC, Ramirez came into this season with a growing list of concerns. He hit his way through the minors, topping out with an excellent 2008 in Frisco, but, although the samples have been short, he hadn't yet hit above the Double A level. Injuries have played a part in that, but injuries themselves have become a concern. He was all but traded in the offseason for Mike Lowell, but reports this spring were that even the Sox had soured on him. While he capped his weekend with a four strikeout game Sunday, four hits in the previous two days leave him with a strong .355/.447/.419 line for the season. He isn't hitting for much power, with just two doubles among his eleven hits, but this is a positive offensive start for a guy one step away from a club who needs hitters.
RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - The Rangers had five picks in the first and supplemental rounds in 2007, and the results have been positive. Julio Borbon and Tommy Hunter both played well for the major league club in 2009 and figure prominently in the future. Blake Beavan reached AA less than two years after signing, and Michael Main is in his second year at High A Bakersfield despite an illness that wiped out much of his last season. The other guy is Ramirez. He had a nice summer in 2008 for advanced short season Spokane, but full season hitters were a challenge for him in 2009. Ramirez was homer-prone (8 in 66 innings) and struggled with his command (56 K/41 BB). Still just 20 years old, Ramirez is repeating the Low A level and had one of his best days as a professional Saturday, going six innings and allowing three hits and no walks while striking out five. For the season his 11/2 K/BB ratio is a big improvement over 2009.
3B Matt West, Hickory - West was the second round pick in that 2007 draft, and, like Ramirez, he is repeating Low A. Now in his fourth professional season, West has not been able to set himself apart. In 231 pro games he has homered just nine times. His career OBP is a solid .353, but that is due more to his penchant for the HBP (47) than his control of the strike zone (89 BB, 225 SO). But with a current five game hitting streak, West is off to a nice start in 2010, with a .294/.400/.441 line. West's emergence would be a nice boost for an organization short on third base prospects.
RHP Tanner Scheppers, Frisco - Two more dominant innings Saturday, now two hits, no walks and nine strikeouts in his three two-inning stints
RHP Joe Wieland, Hickory - As good as anyone in the system so far, 9 K / 0 BB performance raises his season ratio 16/2, one run allowed total in three starts
OF David Paisano, Bakersfield - Encouraging .400/.438/.667 start for the excellent defender
RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Another solid start Sunday, dominating AA: 18 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 10 K
OF Joey Butler, Frisco - Nine hits over the weekend bump his line to .432/.523/.703
1B Justin Smoak, OKC - Stat to watch, his splits: vs RHP - .391/.576/.696, vs LHP - .267/.313/.467
OF Mitch Moreland, OKC - The one AAA prospect not yet hitting, 5-30 on the season