Prospect update: Friday edition

RHP Blake Beavan, Frisco - Beavan was at it again Thursday, completing eight innings and allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk. He has allowed just three runs in his last three starts, spanning 22 innings, and his WHIP is now south of one (0.92). The two statistical issues that only Beavan’s performance in Triple-A and the major leagues will answer are his relatively low strikeout totals (37 in 56.1 innings) and his middling ground ball rate. Together these beg the question: will his stuff be strong enough to induce outs at the highest level, despite high contact rates and an average percentage of fly balls?

RHP Alexi Ogando, OKC - Ogando threw three more nearly perfect innings (one hit) this week out of the Redhawks pen. In six Triple-A innings he’s allowed four hits and has posted a fine 8:0 K:BB. His combined season line: 21.2 IP, 8 H, 1 HR, 5 BB, 29 K, 1.25 ERA. The Rangers appear to be waiting for him to perfect his slider, but he will be in the majors before long.

OF Engel Beltre, Bakersfield - There are eleven prospects mentioned here today and one is a position player. Such is the state of the Texas system in 2010. It took him a while, but Beltre is now conquering High A. His five hit game Thursday night raises his season line to .295/.354/.418 and his May line to .351/.393/.494. He still sits at just two home runs and he hasn’t walked since May 9, so the full game still isn’t there on a consistent basis. Still, his line drive rate has jumped from 7% in April to 20% this month, and his ISOP is up 42 points. He seems to be figuring some things out.

LHP Robbie Erlin, Hickory - Erlin replaced Wilmer Font in the Hickory rotation Tuesday and celebrated by throwing five perfect innings and striking out nine. His overall numbers are surreal: 25.1 IP, 11 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 31 K, 0.36 ERA. That’s one run allowed on the season, a solo home run on April 23. Erlin has been written up several times since his breakout game, but Jason Parks’ scouting report still provides the best breakdown. He appears to be too advanced for the SAL, but since he is essentially making his professional debut (he threw just 4.1 innings in rookie ball last summer), he likely won’t throw a lot of innings late in the summer.

RHP Matt Thompson, Hickory - This guy is getting easier and easier to like as a prospect. He has walked eight batters in eight starts and struck out 52. He induces groundballs at a solid rate (58%). The only statistical knock is that he’s been hit fairly well, allowing a .272 average against and four home runs in 43.1 innings, though a .372 BABIP against helps explain the former. His curveball ranked third (behind Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez pitches) on Jamey Newberg’s recent list of top secondary pitches, and he does feature a solid fastball. Thompson was held back last season for short-season ball, rather than starting in Hickory, so the Rangers might consider jumping the 20-year-old to Bakersfield this summer.

RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - Mr. Inconsistency hit a major high point Thursday: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K

RHP Tommy Hunter, OKC - Bit of a hiccup Thursday: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

RHP Wilmer Font, Bakersfield - Struggled mightily in his High A debut: 2 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 2 K

RHP Josh Lueke, Hickory - Toying with Low A: 16:1 this month, may be ready to jump to Frisco

RHP Tanner Scheppers, OKC - Six walks in 8 AAA innings but still showing dominant stuff

LHP Martin Perez, Frisco - Not controlling the strike zone, had possibly his worst start as a pro Wednesday: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 6 K