Sunday, May 31, 2009

DSL Update

The DSL1 box score is not up at MiLB. It looks like they are posted about 12 hours after their games.

A couple of updates for the DSL2 Roster. Three new 2009 signs have appeared as of today: Randol Rojas, RHP, 6-0/160, 18.5yo; Roberto Perez, RHP, 6-4/150(!!), 17.1yo; and David Herrera(LH), SS, 511/165, 17.2yo.

I also failed to note that Jose Mavare, RHP, was a new sign as well on the DSL2 roster but his DOB is not included.

I'm not sure if any of these guys are legit prospects but there are always a few suprises in the sub 50k signing bonus zip code - where these guys assuredly signed - that emerge down the line.


I will post a summary of all the 2008/2009 international free agent signs as soon as the rosters fills out in the next week. As it stands now, the Rangers had quite a large hall this year: 22 International free agent signs from July 2, 2008 through, let's just say, May 30th, 2009.



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Minor Moves/Notes

AAA
Omar Poveda was promoted to AAA with Mendoza being placed on the DL with strep throat. In my affiliate preview, I predicted that Poveda was likely to be the first starter promoted to AAA from AA based on his excellent spring in the big league camp. Moscoso could be close behind but really doesn't need to be promoted to AAA before he is permanently promoted to the TX bullpen. Emerson Frostad was promoted from AA to take up backup catcher duties with Max now on the DL. Esteban Duran was activated from the DL when Vallejo was placed on it yesterday. Bryan Corey has been sent to extended.

AA
Schlact was activated from the DL and had predictable results today in his start. Hyatt was also activated from the DL. Fox was sent back down to AA.

A+
Eddie Garcia was inexplicably assigned to the Blaze. He hit well for the DSL1 club last year, has some speed and defensive chops for an 18yo. Why Kaase or Hollander were not promoted is completely beyond me. EG probably will only be there for a short time. I will say this. It is a complete disservice to Biannucci, Morrison, Kaase and Hollander that TX wasting their talent at a level lower than they merit just to keep the Hickory offense afloat. Losing builds as much character as winning and the young fella's should learn from it too. I just hope that these guys are not allowed to wallow in low A for the whole season like Smith and Moreland were last year. If you remember, the Rangers were trotting out the completely inane mantra that they wanted to build a "winning" mindset and wanted to keep all of the low A guys together to experience winning together. If I have ever heard a more ridiculously simplistic pop psychology, that would be it.

A
Paisano was placed on the DL and Pimentel activated from extended from his inexplicably short stay. Pimentel might be on a 75 pitch limit from here on out, just a guess based on his effective 5 inning outing today...


Finally, Moscoso looked good in his ML debut on Saturday, no? Hopefully, that will be the end to all of the talk that his breaking ball is below average...



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Smoak, Max to DL

Justin Smoak and Max Ramirez have been placed on the DL for AA and AAA respectively. Smoak has been unable to work through an oblique strain while Max has a strained wrist. Let us all collectively cross our fingers that Max's continued slide in AAA can be attributed to a bad wrist. Otherwise, he's just having a inexplicably bad year. Not sure he has much trade value at the moment to turn him into something at the trade deadline. It might be best to hang on to him and dangle him as winter meeting bait."

"Macumba" de los Santos has been activated off the DL for Hickory while Zach Zaneski was once again yo'yo'd back to AZL extended.



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DSL Notes

The DSL rosters have been posted though they are somewhat incomplete. I believe the roster limit is 35 players in this league. I have updated the MM system roster in the sidebar to reflect the updated info so please refer to it when considering the observations below.

1. 6 Venezuelan and 1 Mexican FA sign from 2009 have yet to appear on either the DSL 1/2 rosters. 6 of the 7 appeared on the DSL extended rosters posted by Jason Cole over at lonestardugout.com ni'gh 2 months ago so I think if their delay is merely administrative or logistical.

2. Hector Martinez, a Dominican OF and 2009 FA sign, did not appear on Cole's roster and I feared that he might have been caught up in "age-gate" but he is now on the DSL2 roster so no worries.

3. There are about 12 guys unaccounted for who appeared on Cole's roster but not on the rosters posted at Milb.com. Probably admin/logistics-related problems I presume.

4. Pitchers Ben Henry, A. Thompson (aus), and Mark Stanford (aus)did not show up on the DSL rosters as of yet. They were there on Cole's roster so they still could make their way to the DR. They were rumored to be headed there to get 3 more weeks of pitching in before the short-season schedule started state-side.

5. Notice that all of the Latin American players who are likely to play in short-season ball are all playing in the DSL. I presume that 6 or 7 of them will come stateside when short-season begins. Another 6 or 7 could come over to AZL from DSL at any time during the season. Up to 8 players who are restricted/suspended could also find their way over if their status is resolved.

6. Omar Beltre appears on the roster but not Alexei Ogando though both appeared on Cole's preliminary DSL roster. Haven't heard about any progress resolving their visa issues. Miguel Velazquez, removed from the inactive/suspended list last week, does not appear on either DSL roster at present. Not sure if we will see him this year or if he will be released.

7. Only 3 new players of note were apparently signed that were unaccounted for in previous reports: Sergio Zorillo, SS, 18.2yo; Christian Villanueva, 3B, 17.8 yo; and Jose Arias, SS, 18.8yo. Not sure if any are legit prospects, probably just roster depth. All three are on the DSL 2 roster and might get shoved around when some of the Venezuelan infielders get cleared to play.

8. Though there has been no official confirmation by the Rangers about which players have committed visa fraud or still under investigation, there are at least 4 players who seem likely candidates:

Miguel de los Santos (P): he should be in Hickory by now but was demoted to DSL extended once the season was underway.
Jairo Valdez (C/1B/OF): see above.
Juan Polanco (OF): he did not appear on Jason Coles AZL/DSL Extended rosters at the start of the season and he is not on either of the DSL rosters released yesterday.
Ace Ventura (OF): see above.

Two other possible candidates are Wilson Ventura (2b) and Chalas (SS). There could be others but they would all be fringe propects. Miggie was a favorite of mine last year so it would definitely suck if he wasn't cleared in the end.

9. As DSL coach Jayce Tingler indicated in an interview with Jason Cole, most of the 2009 FA signs should be playing for the DSL 2 club, in an attempt to keep the signing class together. 4 of the rookie OF signs are on the DSL 2 club while 1 MIF and a C are on the DSL 1 club. We'll see if they assign the VZ kids to the DSL 1club in the coming days I guess.


DSL 2 won it's debut today though their infield will probably look a bit different once the VZ kids get cleared to play. In addition, their roster only indicates that they have 6 active pitchers, 4 of whom pitched yesterday, so expect the roster to be up to full capacity by their next game on Monday.




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Friday, May 29, 2009

Tonight's OKC starter

Clayton Hamilton will get the start tonight for OKC coming up from Extended. This puts them one over the 24-man roster limit but no other move has been announced at this time.




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The Big O is up

One of my favorite players has finally made it to AA, where he should have been since the start of the season IMO. Renny Osuna has arrived. He will play SS for Frisco hopefully marking the end of Lemon's days as a shortstop in the system (and his 40-error paced seasons).

In addition, Carlos Dominguez has been reassigned from extended to the Blaze. I imagine that he was kept in extended to give his surgically repaired shoulder some added rest. His playing time last year was severly limited by this constraint as well I imagine (he played about 1x/week). One has to wonder if he is nothing more than an Org guy due to these limitations. Considering that he is the _third_ catcher on the roster at present, that seems likely.

Finally, Adam Fox has been promoted to AAA for some reason. They already have like 10 MIF so this might be a temp. thing unless there is an injury. With Hunter (and presumably Mathis as well, on the double-header taxi squad) up in Arlington today, he could be an emergency bullpen arm - stranger things have happened.

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that Wieland is activated this weekend for Hickory when his is eligible to come off the DL. Additionally, I would wager that Neil Ramirez will be reassigned to Hickory from extended next Tuesday, given that he has thrown in camp games on last saturday and yesterday in an attempt to get stretched out.




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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Miguel A. Velazquez

When making up my rankings in mid-December of last year, I hesitated when leaving off Miguel Velazquez. He was an excellent HS RF prospect drafted out of PR in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. All his tools projected as above average and he was already a well-built guy coming out of HS at 6-2 205. He didn't sign until March 2007 (not sure why) and made his debut for the AZL club that same year. In 24 games, at age 19, he put up this line: 24g/330/381/489/870/94ab/5db/2trp/3hr/21rbi/7bb/27so/3e/7-8sb

Sometime in July of that year he was suspended for undisclosed reasons. Whatever they were they must have been serious as he remained on suspension for all of 2008. As of December of 2008, I still had him on my rosters as "restricted" as I had never come across any info that the TX had released him. So I assumed TX still had his rights. Well it appears they still do.

Per Baseball America's transaction list, he has been reinstated from the inactive list sometime in the last 2 weeks. It is probably no coincidence that his activation comes on the eve of the DSL season opener this weekend (or the short-season schedule that opens in a month). It is likely that TX will assign him to some squad in the next month, ranging from a DSL club to Hickory. However, it is also possible that he is being activated so that he can be released. I guess we might know something as soon as this weekend and I will post an update if he makes an appearance.

I lean toward a possible activation because the MiLB website shows that he is/has been enrolled at a PR JC, presumably still playing baseball, and played for the PR Fall League last year. I'm too lazy to see if I can find any stats right now. So maybe TX basically told him that they would consider activating him in 2009 if he stayed out of trouble in 2008. We'll see. If he has put his life in order, TX might have a nice RF prospect returning to the fold. He just turned 21 on the eve of the season, and should be considered a JC guy or college Jr when projecting him.


Update 5/28: It seems that Velazquez was on a taxi squad of sorts for the PR winter league team (along with fellow PR/Ranger's prospect Kevin Torres) and never saw game action. Having them on the team was probably only a way to get some young PR prospects some experience and exposure with other big league veterans. As for his JC status, I can't find any info on whether his school has a baseball team or not.



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Boscan activated

It looks like Fredo Boscan has _finally_ been activated from the DL after spending,what, about a month on it recovering from an oblique/rib strain. Very good news. Let's hope he returns as dominant as he left. A corresponding move has not been announced.

Shroomer over at Lonestarball.com says that Fredo should be starting tomorrow's early game at 930am CST.




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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Minor/Major Notes and July 2nd

Joe Torres replaces Kea Kometani on the AA DL with Kea moved to the active roster. Jason Cole suggested today that Boscan will be activated from the DL by 6/1 and that Neal Ramirez will make his 2009 debut by that date as well.

Per Jamey Newberg, Mitch Moreland has been promoted to AA and Ben Harrison cut. Too bad for Ben. I have to think that he was cut due to what I call the "Level Effect", that is a steep decline in performance due to a deap-seated disappointment at the level said player has been assigned to. Ben really had a stellar first 30 (of 40) games in winter ball and parlayed that into a hot start for the year but then suffered a pulled hammy and came back cold, eventually demoted and released. He may have simply given up on the org and the org gave up on him.

Speaking of the "level effect", I wonder if Arias, Ramirez, Steven Murphy (now promoted to AAA after heating up in May), Gentry (now having a hot may too), and Osuna are/were also suffering from disappointed expectations, all having hoped to make the team out of spring training or hoping for a higher assignment than they got and now wallowing in subpar starts thus far.

So who replaces Moreland on the Blaze roster? I'll take a stab on it. I'll say Morrison is promoted from Hickory to play 3b while Gomez is moved back to 1B. You could then see Ortiz or Puello brought up from extended AZL to replace him at 1B. According to an interview that Ortiz did with Jason Cole during spring training, Oritz had a nice instructs and spring training and appears ready to put a poor 2008 behind him and regain his prospect standing after a fine 2007 debut.

Other players whose status might come into play are Greene, Stonebruner, Podraza and Gac, either being released sent to Hickory or Extended. Bianucci and Kaase and perhaps Hollander should be promoted soon as all 3 are player at a level below their capabilities.

Willie Eyre experienced groin soreness while pitching a bullpen recently and his rehab has been put on hold for now. It might be another couple of weeks before he is sent down for a rehab assignment.

DSL begins this weekend while the ML draft is only 2 weeks away!

In the next week or so I will be posting a worksheet (I love them as much as Scott Lucas) summarizing the top ~40 international free agents eligible to sign on (or after) the July 2 signing date. A brief capsule Dx will be included for each as well as rumored teams of interest (and front-runners) and the salary range they are likely to sign for. The info that I have come up with has been culled from team fan blogs across the interwebs as well from other free sources.



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Monday, May 25, 2009

Benson released?

Doug Mathis just got pulled in the middle of his AAA outing. It is possible that he is being called up to the TX pen. If so, Kris Benson may have been released. Hopefully, there has not been an injury that merits sending someone from the staff to the DL. Mathis should be able to pitch better than Benson in a middle relief role due to his good control and sinker. The trick is not to let him go through a lineup more than once. It is also possible that Madrigal is being sent down so that the bullpen won't be 2 relievers short for Tuesday's game, given that both Benson and Mags went 2 or more innings.

Then again, Mathis could just have a blister...:)



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Monday, May 18, 2009

Minor Moves, Major Notes

Joe Wieland had a nice debut today for Hickory: 4.2/4h/2r/0bb/5so. The Hickory announcer praised his curveball. On one sequence in the fifth he threw: 1st pitch strike to first batter with change; 2nd pitch strike with curve; strikeout on curve. Wieland's fastball command and curveball border on plus so look at him to have a nice year for hickory and work primarily on his change, command on his secondary stuff.

I am surprised that Wieland was activated before Neil Ramirez. Jason Cole over at Lonestardugout.com reported at least 2 weeks ago that NeRa was throwing bullpens. So I assume he is healthy and should be activated in the next week or so if he hasn't had a setback. If you remember, NeRa was sidelined by a nonpitching-related injury to his pitching elbow (no other details to date).

Springston was sent to extended to make room for Wieland. Springston is a bullpen guy, so I guess the coach decided that they didn't want to demote anyone else from the pen or that Springston had some particular homework to attend to in extended.

Tim Murphy was activated from the DL for the Blaze. It doesn't appear that Tim was injured, rather, he was working on some mechanical changes during his "injury". This per an interview with the pitching coach posted over at lonestardugout.com.

Ryan Tatusko was placed on the DL to make room for him.


Couple of major league notes:
1. FranFran pitched a bullpen today without problem. He will pitch a simulated game on WED and if he recovers nicely on Thursday, could be activated on Friday to start the Houston away series.
2. Willie Eyre pitched his second or third bullpen on Sunday without complication. He will go again on Tuesday, and could start his rehab program on Thursday or Saturday. Look for TX to leave him in the minors a little longer than his last abbreviated rehab stint in AA to make sure his groin is ok.
3. Nippert has been cleared to start a throwing program. He probably won't start a rehab assignment for at least 2 weeks, so look for him to be sent down the first week of June. He is eligible to come off the DL on 5/28.


The hot Yanks are in town next Monday. Should be a great series with A-Rod back and Tex finally heating up.



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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Macumba to DL

Leonel de los Santos was placed on the DL today with Zach Zaneski, the roving backup catcher this year, reassigned to Hickory from extended.



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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Minor Move Update

Rupe has been assigned to AAA from extended. Rupe will take Ballard's spot in the rotation, who in turn was reassiged to AA. In AA, both Hyatt and Gaetti were placed on the 7-day DL. In High A, Podraza and Lueke were added to the roster from Extended. For the Dads, Ogata was placed on the DL. I guess this means that Hollander will be playing the MIF rather than catcher, a least for now.I think Ogata got hit on the hand by a pitch a few days ago.

TX update: FranFran won't return until Sunday at the earliest.



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Minor Moves

Blaze OF Tim Smith was placed on the disabled list retroactive to 5/11. No word on what ails him. 2008 20th round pick Michael Hollander was reassigned from EXT to Hickory today with no corresponding roster move that we know of. He was being converted to catcher in ST so this might mean that Hogan is getting moved up to replace Sarmiento in High A, or it could mean nothing of the sort. Hollander was drafted as a shortstop and hit 353 in 9games with the AZL club in 2008. His TX debut was held up due to college postseason play I believe...



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TR Sullivan Player Updates

"Neftali Feliz will pitch for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday after being sidelined for 10 days with a strained shoulder. He'll be limited to 65-70 pitches. ... Josh Rupe, who was outrighted to Oklahoma City on April 28, has built his way up to five innings in extended spring training and is expected to join the RedHawks' rotation in the next few days. ... The Rangers have talked about moving first baseman Justin Smoak to Oklahoma City from Double-A Frisco but probably will wait until after the Texas League All-Star break. ... Willie Eyre, on the disabled list with a strained right groin muscle, threw in the bullpen on Wednesday without pain. He is scheduled to throw again on Friday. If that goes well, he could be assigned to the Minor Leagues on a rehab assignment."



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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frostad to AA

Emerson Frostad sent to AA to make room for Arias on the AAA roster. The makeup of the AAA roster continues to be a bit odd: No backup outfielders and 4 starting caliber MIF- German,Arias, Vallejo, Duran. Right now Huffman, Benjamin and German seem to be the ones giving the outfielders a day off.

Feliz is scheduled to take his normal turn in the rotation on Thursday after skipping his last start due to shoulder soreness.



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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Diamond to AA

Diamond to AA to fill their open roster spot. He had been healthy enough to pitch but there was no room in AAA. This could be a temporary move, especially considering that AA was in dire need of relievers in today's game, a game in which Diamond appeared in fact. He struck out the side in his first inning of work, and imploded in his second.

Arias optioned to AAA; No corollary move announced yet to make room for him.

UPDATE 5/13: Kometani sent to extended (again) to make room for Diamond. As system-wide promotions gain steam, expect Kometani to be released by the ASB.



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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Feliz cleared to throw; Garr to AA

Per Andro of the FWST, Feliz was examined by one of the Ranger's team Dr.s and cleared to begin throwing again Presumably he came to see the guy in DFW.

Brennan Garr has been promoted to AA to fill their open roster spot.

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T-Murphy to DL ; Flores and Gac reappear.

Per the Visalia announcer, T-Murph is headed to the DL with an unspecified problem while Flores and Gac were on the "backlist" during their brief disappearance. They both have reappeared on the Blaze roster as of toight. You have to love those flexible roster rules.

I suspect the 25th roster spot in AA is being reserved for whoever gets demoted when Arias is optioned back to AAA on Tuesday.



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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swanson assigned to Hickory

Glen Swanson has been reassigned from Extended to Hickory replacing Ryan Schlect. Schlect joins Ian Gac and A. Flores (both from the Blaze) as the three most recent players who have disappeared from their clubs assuredly swallowed up by the capacious roster in Extended. Given Schlect's difficulties since his recent activation, he may end up on the DL.

UPDATE: Per Hickory announcer, Ryan Schlect released. He had a great year in his rookie debut but had his problems once he was activated. Given his excellent performance last year and troubles this year, I can only assume that some other ssues must have come into play for the rangers to give up on him so quickly. After all, Ian Gac is still whiffing in A ball after 5 years so they can wait on a guy if they want too...



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Top 100 Prospects Monthly Review

I have updated the capsule profiles for all the top 100 prospects currently assigned to full season squads. The updates are basically an overview of the first month of the season for each player.

While the "top 100" worksheets are updated periodically, with the last update date indicated at the sidebar link, the system-wide rosters are updated daily.



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Minors' Updates, 5/8

Adalberto Flores and Ian Gac have disappeared from the Blaze roster. Bleier has been promoted to the Blaze from Hickory. Bolden has been activated from the DL for Hickory. Expect a demotion from AAA to AA for someone when Golson is optioned to Hickory on Tuesday, the day that Hamilton will be activated from the DL for TX. Candidates for reassignment or release include Huffman, Frostad, and Benjamin. Nate Gold was added to the AAA roster for offensive purposes. Not sure how much more he can help than the other options including Ben Harrison who was demoted to AA. Gold sucked last year and was just released by his Taiwanese team. Newberg reports that Sattler has been released by the organization. He was on the AZL EXT DL recovering from a blood clot in his shoulder. He would have been released in preseason had he not been injured.

TR Sullivan reports that Feliz is being shut down for 3-4 days with minor shoulder soreness and will skip his next start. Word has it that Boscan will be activated to Hickory in the coming days as he has apparently fully recovered from an oblique/intercostal muscle strain that shelved him for the last 2 weeks. A move will have to be made with a position player to accommodate him as they are currently playing with 13. In addition, I would think that Neil Ramirez will be activated in the next week, so expect another pitcher to be promoted or dropped from the roster. I would also expect Weiland to be reassigned from AZL EXT to the Hickory roster no later than the end of May. Josh Rupe is being stretched out in Extended and I expect him to be activated and assigned to the OKC rotation within the next week. This will necessitate a roster move with one of the pitchers, probably Bryan Corey or, perhaps, an underperforming AA reliever.

I expect Willie Eyre and Dustin Nippert to start their rehab assignements by around 5/15, Eyre a little earlier and Nippert a little later than that date. Eyre was eligible to be activated on 5/8 while Nippert is eligible on 5/28.


Cursory look at next round of promotions-

Extended to Low A:
James (ss), Koncel (3b/ss), Alfonzo (of), Ramirez (sp), Brader (rp)

Low A to High A:
Bianucci (of), Kaase (ss/inf), Morrison (2b/3b/rf), Tufts (rp), Castillo (rp)

High A to AA:
Kirkman (sp), Moreland (RF), Osuna (ss), Smith (lf), Reed (rp), Garr (rp), Falcon (rp)

Dropped from High A: Tatusko

Dropped from AA:
Laughter (rp), Kometani (rp), Hamilton (rp), Gaetti (of), Fox (inf)

AA to AAA:
Harrison (of)

Extended to AAA:
Rupe (sp)

Dropped from AAA:
Benjamin (inf), Huffman (inf/of), Corey (rp), Gordon (rp)



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