Texas Rangers Top Pitching Prospects | Touch’em All 2012

Thanks for stopping by today.  Dare I say, business is good in baseball and there’s so much to discuss that we have to work over time to keep track of it.  With the draft over and the signings rolling in by the hour, we will get to take a look at this 2012 in our Touch’em All reports very soon.  In the meantime, lets take a look at the Texas Rangers organizational pitching report.  The Rangers are wealthy in talent and are a lot of fun to report on.  Lets get right to it.

AAA – Round Rock Express

Martin Perez LHP – Age 21 –  The young Venezuelan has been the victim of timely hitting more than anything.  The last time we reported on him, he was  3-3 with  5.27 ERA and a 27/18 K/BB ratio over 42.2 innings. He’s now 4-5 with a 4.90 ERA and a 45/36 K/BB ratio over 75.1 innings.     Up and down from start to start this season, command is still troubling Perez.    He’s a very talented lefty that can be brilliant and frustrating at the same time.  In his last outing he pitched 7 innings of 1 hit 0 run ball and had 5 strikeouts, however it did come with 5 walks.

Neil Ramirez RHP – Age 23 – The 44th pick from the 2007 draft has had his moments in 2012, but for the most part it’s been a real struggle for Ramirez and it’s gotten worse since we last talked about him.  At the time he was 4-3 with an ugly 6.21 ERA and a 32/13 K/BB ratio over 37.2 innings. He’s now 6-7 with an 8.02 ERA to go with a 55/29 K/BB ratio over 67.1 innings.  He’s another bright rising prospect that currently is getting himself into trouble early and throwing way too many pitches.  He’s given up 55 earned runs over his last 10 starts and I think he may need a trip to AA to break the cycle and get back on track.

Tanner Scheppers – Age 25 – Scheppers was 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA and 9 saves to go with  27/4 K/BB ratio over 29 innings at AAA before getting promoted to the Rangers.  In his major league debut, Scheppers is 0-0 with a 12.46 ERA and has a 4/1 K/BB ratio 4.1 innings.  The line isn’t as bad as it appears though.  He made a couple bad pitches that resulted in HRs.  Someone forget to tell him that you can’t hang pitches to major league hitters.  He should be a fine addition to the Rangers bullpen going forward.

AA – Frisco RoughRiders

Justin Grimm RHP  – Age 23 – When we last took a look at the 2010 fifth round pick, he was 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a 32/6 K/BB ratio over 33.1 innings in 2012.  Since then he’s improved that mark to 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA and a 67/14 K/BB ratio over 77 innings on the season.  His performance sparked the Rangers to promote him right past AAA and into the majors.  In his big league debut he picked up a win by striking out 6 and walking 0 over 6 innings of 3 run ball.

Barrett Loux RHP – Age 23 – Loux was 6-0 with a 2.20 ERA and a 33/9 K/BB ratio over 32.2 innings on the season when we last took a closer look at him.  He’s now ran that to 11-0 with a 3.03 ERA and has a 63/25 K/BB ratio over 71 innings.  He doesn’t project to be a big time K guy, but could still be productive in the back-end of a rotation.  It will be interesting to see if the Rangers bump him up to AAA this summer and possibly give him a start or 2 in the majors.

Wilfredo Boscan RHP – Age 22 – Boscan is 2-3 with a 3.76 ERA and has a 32/14 K/BB ratio over 38.1 innings for the RoughRiders in 2012.  He’s had a couple rough patches this season, but most of the time he pitches 2-3 innings very effectively.  It won’t be long before you can add his name to the Rangers bullpen.

Carlos Pimentel RHP – Age 22 – It was bound to happen to the lanky Dominican and it did.  After being a starter for the 1st 5 seasons of his pro career and the start of the 6th, Pimentel has been moved to the bullpen and has been pretty effective there.  He’s 6-2 with a 2.61 ERA and has a 48/29 K/BB ratio in 5 starts and 11 relief appearances on the season.  The move to the bullpen makes it more likely that he will reach the majors at some point.

High A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Cody Buckel RHP  – Age 20 – The Rangers 2010 2nd round pick continues to show no fear with his aggressive pitching style.  When we looked in on him a little over a month ago, he was 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 33/9 K/BB ratio over 27.1 innings on the young season. He’s now 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA and has a 91/25 K/BB ratio over 75.2 innings.  Buckel  was ranked in our Baseball Instinct 360 preseason prospect list, is off to another great start and will be big climber on our updated list that comes out shortly.

Kyle Hendricks RHP – Age 22 – Records can be deceptive and Hendricks 1-7 mark is no exception.  He has a 2.72 ERA and an excellent 67/8 K/BB ratio over 82.2 innings.   The run support just hasn’t been there.  The good news is that we, nor the Rangers care about his minor league record.  He’s not dominating hitters, but he pitches smart.  He very will could have a future at the end of a rotation.

Roman Mendez RHP – Age 21 – Like teammate Cody Buckel, we have high expectations for Mendez for the 2012 season.  Unlike Buckel, Mendez got  off to a rough start and started the season 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA and a 27/9 K/BB ratio over 30 innings.  He had a pretty good 5 game stretch from April 29th to May 24th, then had 2 awful games before landing on the DL June 4th.  He was 3-5 with a 5.17 ERA and had a 53/23 K/BB ratio over 54 innings.  He’s got the potential to be a mid-rotation starter or better, but could fall back as a power arm out of the pen.  The Pelicans hope to have him back soon.

Low A Hickory Crawdads

Luke Jackson RHP – Age 20 – He was the 45th overall pick in the 2010 draft and pitched well enough for a 19-year-old in the Sally in 2011.  His 2nd go around with the Hickory Crawdads saw him get off to a  2-0 start with a 1.31 ERA and a 29/7 K/BB rate over 20.2 innings for the Rangers Low-A team.  He’s now 5-5 with a 4.92 ERA and has a 72/33 K/BB ratio over 64 innings.  Tom Belmont described Jackson as an inconsistent raw talent in his Sally Preview recently, describing him as a high ceiling/low floor type player who will benefit psychologically from another season with Hickory.  I’d say that assessment is holding true.

Victor Payno LHP – Age 19 – The tall, skinny Dominican hurler is 4-3 with a 3.36 ERA and has a 57/39 K/BB ratio over 67 innings so far this season.  Reports say that he’s looking confident on the mound, which is good news because he looked like a scared kid when I saw him in the Northwest League in 2011.

Will Lamb LHP – Age 20 – After an excellent debut in 2011 for the Rangers 2011 2nd round pick, Lamb hasn’t looked too sharp this season.  He’s 0-6 with a 4.93 ERA and has a 27/21 K/BB ratio over 42 innings.  The command isn’t there and it doesn’t appear that he has the feel for his pitches right now.  Still, there’s plenty of upside there and the Rangers are cautiously giving him short doses of work right now.  He should be fine.

Jerad Eickhoff RHP – Age 21 – The 2011 15th round pick has decent movement on his fastball and throws a pretty mean slider.  From what I’ve seen, his command is very good as well.  He’s a little behind the curve however.  We would really like to see him at High-A soon.  He’s 7-4 with a 4.20 ERA and has a 60/19 K/BB ratio over 70.2 innings on the season.  The only thing holding him back right now is the longball, with 11 on the season he’s got to get that under control before the Rangers will promote him.

Kevin Matthews LHP – Age 19 – The 33rd overall pick in the 2011 draft was brought up to Hickory in late May from extended spring training.  He’s being brought along slowly, starting out with 2 innings at a time and recently has pitched 3 innings in each of his last 2 starts.  He’s 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA and has a 14/8 K/BB ratio over 12 innings on the season. Great stuff, unrefined command.  He’s a long ways from the majors.

Short Season – Spokane Indians

Abel De Los Santos RHP – Age 19 – The 6’2″ Dominican posted a 7-1 record with a 3.67 ERA and had a 61/8 K/BB ratio over 61.1 innings last year in the Arizona League after spending his 2010 debut season in the Dominican Summer League.  He’s 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA and has a 8/2 K/BB ratio over 5.1 innings on the very young NWL season.  He’s one to keep an eye on.

David Perez RHP – Age 19 – The 6’5″ Dominican was pushed harder than Santos in 2011.  He was an 18-year-old in the NWL and while I saw spots of potential, for the most part looked lost and his command was awful.  He’s got a pretty good 3 pitch mix and a good ceiling, but should have been in Arizona last season.  The Rangers have him back in the NWL and I look forward to seeing what a year has done for him.  He’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and had 6 Ks and 3 BB in his debut vs Vancouver.  This could be a fun season for Perez and he is definitely one you should keep an eye on.

Rookie Level – Arizona League Rangers

The AZL is set to begin play this week.  18-year-old LHP Aliangel Lopez from Venezuela makes the jump from the DSL to the AZL.  18-year-old 2011 3rd round draft pick 18-year-old RHP Kyle Castro will be on the AZL roster as well.  We also expect 2012 53rd overall pick RHP Collin Wiles to be in the AZL as well.

Rookie Level Dominican Summer League Rangers

Kevin Sosa RHP – Age 17 – The Venezuelan  is off to an impressive start.  He’s 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA and has a 12/0 K/BB ratio over 14 innings.  The DSL is a mixed bag, but a kid that just turned 17 a few months ago with no walks and a k per grabs our attention right away.

Felix Caravallo LHP – Age 18 – Another Venezuelan making his pro debut, Caravallo is 0-0 with a 1.86 ERA and has a 11/4 K/BB ratio over 9.2 innings.  He’s barely 6’0″, but has decent command and feel of his pitches.  He could be another Latin presence in the Rangers bullpen down the road.

Jorge De Jesus RHP – Age 19 – The 4th time may be the charm for the 6’0″ 205 pound Dominican.  After an ugly 2009 season of bad mechanics and horrible form in 2009 as a 16-year-old, De Jesus was brilliant out of the DSL Rangers pen in 2010.  Injuries cut short his 2011 season to 13 innings so the Rangers have decided to give it another go in the DSL before deciding to send him state side.  He’s 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA and has a 11/2 K/BB ratio over 7.1 innings of relief work.  He could head to the NWL shortly.

That’s it for the Rangers pitching report.  Check back soon as I will be taking an a look at the Rangers hitting report.

Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon for more Prospect coverage. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our top 360 prospects for 2012. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.

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