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Two strike-throwing pitchers to watch in the Rangers system

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20-year-old right-handers Tyler Phillips and Yerry Rodriguez bear close examination

MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mid to late September seems like a quiet time prospect-wise: September promotions have already occurred and there’s only so many times you can rehash them. The Arizona Fall League hasn’t started yet, the minor league season is winding down with playoffs, trade season hasn’t begun.

Yet there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, as September and early October are filled with preliminary research for 2019 prospect lists. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll highlight some prospect tidbits that stand out in the early research.

I was checking out reports on the Texas Rangers this morning and there are two young pitchers who haven’t received much attention on a national basis yet but are names to watch closely heading into 2019: right-handers Tyler Phillips and Yerry Rodriguez.

Both stand out for ridiculous K/BB ratios. Here’s a quick look.

Tyler Phillips: The Rangers drafted Phillips in the 16th round in 2015 from high school in New Jersey. He had a breakout season in 2018, posting a 2.64 ERA in 133 innings between Low-A Hickory and High-A Down East, with a spectacular 127/16 K/BB ratio. He gave up just four homers all year with a 1.62 GO/AO.

Scouting reports credit the 6-5, 200 pound 20-year-old with a low-90s fastball and a greatly improved curve and change arsenal this year.

Yerry Rodriguez: Rodriguez is from the Dominican Republic, signed by the Rangers in 2015. He opened 2018 in the Arizona Rookie League with a 3.52 ERA in 38 innings and a 55/3 K/BB. Promoted to the Northwest League in early August, he posted a 1.82 ERA in 25 innings with a 27/5 K/BB, overall coming out with an excellent 82/8 K/BB in his United States debut.

The 20-year-old Rodriguez is quite different than Phillips physically, listed at 6-2, 180. His delivery is also quite different as you can see below, with a lower-angle arm slot adding an unusual look to his low-to-mid-90s fastball. He uses a slider instead of a curve and also has a workable change-up.

We need to see Rodriguez at higher levels but the early indicators are quite interesting.