Rookies on the Playoff Teams: Texas Rangers
Here is a look at rookies and prospects who played for the Texas Rangers in 2012
Yu Darvish, RHP: Age 26, Japanese pitching star went 16-9, 3.90 ERA with a 221/89 K/BB ratio in 191 innings, allowing 156 hits. Command can be erratic and he had a few rough games, but he was excellent in September and overall his transition from Japan is a success. Assuming continued good health, I think the best is yet to come with Darvish.
Wilmer Font, RHP: Age 22, now recovered from Tommy John surgery, posted 4.03 ERA with 138/44 K/BB in 98 innings between High-A and Double-A, allowed just 67 hits. Threw two innings in the majors, walking four. Font has superior stuff but is still working to refine his command. He likely fits better in the bullpen than starting, but either way I think he would benefit by some Triple-A time. Signed from Venezuela in 2006.
Justin Grimm, RHP: Age 24, went 11-6, 2.81 with a 103/30 K/BB in 135 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with 123 hits allowed. Posted 9.00 ERA with 13/3 K/BB but 22 hits in 14 innings in the majors. Works in low-90s, mixing with curve and changeup, effective when his control is on. Possible number four starter or a reliever. Drafted in the fifth round in 2010 from the University of Georgia.
Michael Kirkman, LHP: Age 26, posted 5.25 ERA with 48/31 K/BB in 48 innings for Triple-A Round Rock, plus 3.82 ERA with 38/17 K/BB in 35 innings for the Rangers. 90+ fastball and a good slider, but has been held back by spotty command throughout his career. Could be a fine reliever if he makes more progress with that. Drafted in the fifth round in 2005 from high school in Lake City, Florida.
Leonys Martin, OF: Age 24, Cuban defector, hit .359/.422/.610 with 12 homers, 24 walks, 39 strikeouts, 10-for-19 in steals in 231 at-bats in Triple-A. In the majors, hit .174/.235/.370 in 46 at-bats with 12 strikeouts. Good glove with strong throwing arm, has shown line drive hitting ability and surprising power in the minors, but has been ineffective so far against major league pitching. Is he really worth the $15,600,000 contract the Rangers gave him? Too soon to tell.
Luis Martinez, C: Age 27, minor league vet and defensive specialist, hit .270/.350/.386 in 65 games in Triple-A, went 2-for-18 in the majors. Fringe guy, won't hit enough to stick as anything but a backup. Drafted by the Padres in the 12th round in 2007 from Cumberland University.
Mike Olt, 3B: Age 24, hit .288/.398/.579 with 28 homers, 61 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 354 at-bats in Double-A. Promoted to majors and rode the bench, hitting .152/.250/.182 in 33 at-bats, with 13 strikeouts. There's a lot of Ks in his game, but the power is real and he has a very impressive glove at third base. Drafted in the supplemental first round in 2010 from the University of Connecticut.
Martin Perez, LHP: Age 21, posted 4.25 ERA with 69/56 K/BB in 127 innings for Round Rock, 122 hits. Pitched 38 innings for the Rangers, posting a 5.45 ERA with a 25/15 K/BB and 47 hits allowed. Impressive raw talent, but his performance often fails to match his press clippings. That's not fatal at age 21, but he's got a lot of work to do, and ultimately may end up in the bullpen. Drop in strikeout rate is disturbing. Signed out of Venezuela in 2007.
Jurickson Profar, SS: Age 19, hit .281/.368/.452 with 14 homers, 16-for-20 in steals, 66 walks, and 79 strikeouts in 480 at-bats in Double-A. Promoted to majors for stretch reinforcement, went 3-for-17 (.176) with four strikeouts and a homer (in his first at-bat). Superior defensive shortstop, with rapidly improving hitting, good plate discipline, shows pop, the works. A clear Grade A prospect, and opens up a nice dilemma about how to get him in the lineup. Signed out of Curacao in 2009.
Robbie Ross, LHP: Age 23, jumped to major league bullpen after just 38 Double-A innings in 2011 and no Triple-A experience at all. Thrived, posting a 2.22 ERA with a 47/23 K/BB in 65 innings, allowing 55 hits with a 2.07 GO/AO. Low-90s fastball, good slider, very effective when his command is on, very tough on left-handed hitters but got right-handers out, too. Drafted in the second round in 2008 from high school in Lexington, Kentucky.
Tanner Scheppers, RHP: Age 25, posted 3.48 ERA with 31/4 K/BB in 31 innings in Triple-A, nailing down 11 saves. In the majors, posted 4.45 ERA with 30/9 K/BB in 32 innings, but 47 hits allowed. Gets up close to 100 MPH and has a good curve, too. Has made significant progress with his command over the last two years, but seems a better fit in the bullpen than starting. Drafted in the supplemental first round in 2009 from independent St. Paul, formerly pitched college ball at Fresno State.
Brandon Snyder, 1B-OF: Age 25, former Orioles prospect was purchased last January, hit .253/.286/.402 in 23 Triple-A games, but .277/.309/.446 in 65 major league at-bats, fanning 26 times. Jack of all trades defender, best at first base but can play all the corner slots if necessary. Fringe depth guy. Drafted by the Orioles in the first round in 2005 from high school in Centreville, Virginia.
The Rangers didn't get much from rookie position players, as neither super-prospect Profar nor Olt got enough at-bats to make an impact. Pitching was more interesting, with Yu Darvish (5.1 WAR) leading the way. Robbie Ross contributed 1 WAR out of the bullpen, while Scheppers, Grimm, Kirkman, and Font can all help in 2013.