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January 25, 2009

Texas Rangers Prospects 55-63

In parentheses are position, age as of 4/1/09, highest level attained, and ranking by Jamey Newberg:

63. JUAN POLANCO (OF, 18.7, Dominican Summer, Jamey’s #69) – As a 17-year-old, Polanco slugged .455 and hit eight homers in a league where precious few show much power. Polanco spent most of his time in right with a smattering of games in center. Another intriguing youngster with a long way to go. Bound for: Rookie league.

62. MICHAEL SCHLACT (RHP-starter, 23.3, AA, Jamey’s #67) –Schlact pitched a little better than his 5.23 ERA, but not enough to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. Many of his starts ended badly (4.96 Run Average in Innings 1-4, 7.38 afterwards), but in 2007 the reverse was true. It’s money time for the 81st pick of the 2004 draft. Bound for: I’d say Frisco again, with the opportunity to advance to Oklahoma City.

61. EVAN REED (RHP-starter, 22.0, AA, Jamey’s #57) – Reed earned some buzz with two fine starts in Clinton and five scoreless innings in Frisco to begin 2008. Then, Bakersfield happened. Reed struggled with his control all season and never enjoyed an extended stretch of success. That said, he was a 3rd-rounder from 2007 and will be given time to grow. Bound for: To start the season, probably his least favorite locale. Later, Frisco.

60. COREY YOUNG (LHP-reliever, 22.3, short-A, Jamey’s #36) – Texas used the former Seton Hall starter out of the bullpen. He walked or plunked over 20% of opposing batters through July, nearly as many as he struck out. Thereafter, he issues only two free passes and fanned 16. Lefties hit .105/.244/.132 against him. Bound for: Maybe Bakersfield. Certainly no lower than Hickory.

59. ZACH PHILLIPS (LHP-starter, 22.5, high-A, Jamey’s #37) – Even at his best, Phillips has been hittable. His .339 opposing average on balls in play during 2007 is his career low to date. Phillips is always stingy with the long ball, so when he limits his walks (as he did in ’07 but not last year) he’s still tough to beat. Phillips finished 2008 with some dubiously effective numbers: just one earned run in 17.2 innings but also 12 walks. Bound for: He already repeated Clinton. Will he repeat Bakersfield? Not the full season, but some of it, probably.

58. JARED HYATT (RHP-starter, 24.9, AAA, Jamey’s #41) – In two seasons, Hyatt has made 22 starts and 16 relief appearances and pitched at every affiliate but Spokane. I watched his lone AAA start, which was a microcosm of his season: a barrage of soft flies and pop-ups. He’s oddly effective and has shown dramatically better control out of college. Bound for: Can hang in Oklahoma City, but the volume of upper-level pitchers could put him in Frisco for a while longer.

57. JOEY BUTLER (COF, 23.1, short-A, Jamey’s #56) – Noted by Baseball America as one of Texas’s best late-round selections and athletes from 2008, Butler enjoyed a solid debut at the plate (.301/.417/.434) while roaming the outfield corners. He’s got some Johnny Whittleman in him: 36% of his plate appearances ended with a walk or strikeout. Bound for: Likely Hickory, outside shot at Bakersfield.

56. JOSEPH ORTIZ (LHP-reliever, 18.6, low-A, Jamey’s #42) – Only four 5’7? pitchers have appeared in the Majors during the past 20 years. Two were Rangers for a while: Fabio Castro and Danny Ray Herrera (who reached the summit with Cincinnati). Ortiz more closely resembles the harder-throwing Castro. Bound for: A repeat of low-A. Certainly there’s no need to rush him.

55. RENNY OSUNA (MIF, 23.9, high-A, Jamey’s #33) – After a lackluster 2007, Osuna hit .360 with 21 doubles in just under three months in Clinton. He relinquished some of his newfound power and patience in Bakersfield but remained impressive. Osuna has played first and third on occasion. Bound for: Well… depending on what happens to Elvis Andrus (and to a lesser extent, Joaquin Arias), he could begin 2009 where he finished ‘08. He’ll see plenty of Frisco, though.

Posted by Lucas at January 25, 2009 11:31 AM