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November 20, 2004

Four added to 40-man

Texas added outfielder JASON BOTTS, pitcher JOSH RUPE, and pitcher NICK MASSET to the 40-man roster. Texas also signed pitcher AGUSTIN MONTERO to a minor-league contract, then added him to the 40-man roster.

Botts, who turned 24 in July, struggled in AA in 2003 but turned on the jets last season, batting .296/.401/.573 and walking more than once every eight times to the plate. He likewise shredded pitchers in the recently completed Arizona Fall League. He'll probably start in AAA next April, but if Texas enters Spring Training without an answer at DH, Botts could enter the equation. Botts is not known as a defensive wizard.

Rupe came to Texas as part of the Carl Everett trade. Injuries limited his 2004 campaign to 73 innings split among low-A, high-A adnd AA. Rupe cooks with gas but control is a real problem.

Masset he has pitched well but not especially so and has only ten innings above high-A in his career. John Sickles rated 36 prospects in last year's Scouting Notebook and Masset was not among them. He struck out only 114 batters in 210 innings over the last two years.

I must be missing something very basic because I really don't understand why former Dodger prospect Agustin Montero requires a position on the 40-man roster. Quality aside, he was not on LA's 40-man roster, so I don't know why he needed more than a non-roster invitation. Quality not aside, Montero has accomplished nothing above AA and turned 27 in August. Why protect him? I doubt another team would claim him in the Rule 5 draft, but if one did, would it matter?

What about who didn't make the cut?

I'm flabbergasted that pitcher Erik Thompson didn't make the roster, and I'd be amazed if he survived the Rule 5 draft. Thompson has done nothing but pitch well over the last three years, all at levels in which the typical player is older than him. In 288 innings over three years, Thompson has a 2.93 ERA, 231 strikeouts and a miniscule 36 walks. While he isn't expected to strike out as many batters at higher levels, his command is tremendous. Thompson did miss the last seven weeks of the season with a sore shoulder. Perhaps his shoulder is worse than reported. If not, the thought process of Ranger management confounds me. Travis Hughes and Ruddy Yan merit roster spots but Thompson doesn't? Incomprehensible, and an ill tiding for the future.

Juan Senreiso's non-promotion seems more justifiable. Senreiso turned 23 in August and mostly split the season between low-A Clinton, high-A Stockton with a cup of coffee (and a bagel) at AA Frisco. Previously underwhelming statistically, he batted .313/.371/.468 for the year with 28 steals and an improved BB/K ratio. Unfortunately, Senreiso flopped in the Arizona Fall League, batting a dire .189/.274/.289 in a league where teams average 6.5 runs per game. The Rangers are probably betting that nobody will spend a Rule 5 pick on him with that performance, and they're probably right. If so, Senreiso should start 2005 in AA.

Texas also left 2002 1st-round pick Drew Meyer on the table. Meyer missed significant time due to injury and struggled in AA. Meyer has a career minor-league line of .273/.323/.381 and has slowly devolved to fringe prospect status.

UPDATE: The local papers have suggested that Thompson's injury is worse than it appeared and that Thompson may not be ready for Opening Day. Jamey Newberg had mentioned that Thompson was throwing on the side in August, so I'd assumed his rehab was progressing well. Nevertheless, I'd rather see his name on the 40 than Ruddy Yan.

Posted by Lucas at November 20, 2004 08:21 AM