It was only announced on Sunday, but Alexi Ogando will be a 2011 All-Star. The converted-outfielder, then a converted-reliever – was named a starting pitcher for the 2011 season. Originally slated to be in the bullpen, Ogando was the Texas Rangers choice when Tommy Hunter went down with an injury. No-one could have expected the breakout season he has had this year as a starter.
Ogando is currently 9 and 3 with an impressive ERA of 2.92. His strikeout to walk ratio is very impressive at 3.39. His WHIP is another great stat in his arsenal at 1.046 this season. Through 104.2 innings this season Ogando has only allowed 83 hits.
His fastball is fantastic, and his secondary options have been very good as well. All of this is a surprise, for a player who was drafted by Oakland as an outfielder. A.J. Preller the Ranger’s now scouting director was the one who saw him as a pitcher.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas had an excellent story about his arrival here – but here was a quote from what Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels said about Preller and Ogando –
“A.J. came to me and wanted to draft him,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “I said, ‘Let me get this straight. You want to draft a guy who is an outfielder, turn him into a pitcher and then hope we can get him in the country?’ So we did.”
He also referenced Ogando’s issues entering the country as a result of a human trafficking ring. It was a situation where he was paid to marry someone, to get her a visa to enter the country. Many players were involved including another Rangers prospect Omar Beltre. Ogando and Beltre both worked hard to educate other young Dominican baseball players about the consequences.
Through all of this – Ogando has emerged an excellent starting pitcher in Major League Baseball, and was rewarded with an All-Star bid.
Second Half Predictions:
Ogando will top out around 15 wins in total but will keep the Rangers in the race. Another benefit will also be that Ogando pitched in the World Series last year, and should have an idea of what to expect in the postseason. With the bullpen strengthening up he shouldn’t need to go back to the ‘pen. He will be fun to watch for years to come!