Minor league baseball exists as a way to provide the major league with new talent that has been developed to such a degree than when they are called up there is no doubt they belong there. No one gets to the minors without showing an exceptional amount of talent in some level of baseball already. Players with a great deal of talent can be found in any number of levels of baseball; including but not limited to high school, NCAA, foreign teams and other major league teams. In the end these talented players either end up in the majors, having retired, or being traded. No one sits around one minor league team long.
Ian Kinsler, All-star and current Texas Ranger Second Baseman once gave a very plain yet extremely provocative look at the minor leagues. He said,” ‘Actually, it’s pretty enjoyable. Playing in a new place every year you get to experience something new, and in this game you definitely don’t want to go back to where you were the year before.’” It should be remember that before Kinsler was the star he is now he was drafted in the 17th round of the 2003 draft. Sometimes the talent goes unnoticed at first but the road to the show it the same.
Now I want to walk through the main lineup of second base talent that exists in the Rangers minor league system, the statistics that are posted will be the typical Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage as well as the At Bats and Runs Batted In. These stats will give a good look at the output by these rising second basemen as well as how much they provide to the team.
Starting in the Arizona Summer League is Netherlands native Nick Urbanus. He spent time playing in the Netherlands professional league before being signed by the Texas Rangers on Nov 30, 2010. Urbanus is 6’1” 175. Throws right and switch hits. His hitting numbers were .283/.349/.356 in 205 at bats with 30 RBI. He was promoted to the very end of the season to Spokane and it seems likely that he will split his time between Spokane and Hickory this year.
This season saw probably the most interestingly named player in the Ranger organization playing second for the short season A Spokane Indians. Rougned Odor was signed from Venezuela at the age of 16 and is now 17. He is 5’ 11” 170 and throws right and hits left. His numbers for the year are .262/.323/.352 in 233 at bats and scored 29 RBI. Odor is a highly touted talent and has a high ceiling.
For the Hickory Crawdads second base was played well By Odubel Herrera. This was Herrera’s third year in the Ranger organization having spent 2010 between Spokane and Arizona. He played the middle infield along with Jurickson Profar. His offensive numbers of .306/.349/.394 in 464 at bats and drove in 56 RBI.
Myrtle Beach has their second base played by Santiago Chirino the righty righty native of Venezuela. 2010 found Chirino splitting time between Spokane and Arizona. Chirino hit .263/.304/.339 in 422 at bats and drove in 41 RBI. Chirino stands in at 5’10” 154 pounds.
At the AA level in Frisco Davis Stoneburner has shown ability at second base. Stoneburner was selected in the 9th round of the 2007 MLB draft out of James Madison University. He is 6’0” 175 pounds, and throws and bats right handed. He spent the majority of 2010 in High A Bakersfield. His offensive production was .269/.341./.413 in 438 at bats and put up 47 RBI.
In Round Rock second base was played by Matt Kata. The 33 year old Ohioan was drafted originally in 9th round of the 1999 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The aging switch hitter joined the Rangers organization in the majors in 1997 and 2011 was his first time in the Rangers minor leagues. In 392 at bats he had 71 RBI and hitting numbers of .278/.330./.480 which is better in all three categories than his career totals.
While Ian Kinsler’s numbers are good and project to stay at his current level for some time, there should be some solace in the fact that the minors are stacked with talent at second base. Let’s just hope we don’t have to see them in the Bigs for a while longer.
As Always Go Rangers!