Rangers nation has a reason to be concerned with Tigers and Giants, but unfortunately it has nothing to do with the current MLB World Series. Why then, you may ask, should I be concerned with Tigers and Giants then? Well, six Ranger players are playing in the Dominican Winter League and after ten days, I wanted to give an update on how these six players are doing and give you the fans a heads up on names which most likely will come up over the winter as either trade bait or for roster consideration if someone else is traded.
Los Tigres de Licey
The Tigers currently have four of six Rangers prospects on their roster for the winter season. They are: LHP Chad Bell, 1B/3B Mike Olt, OF Engel Beltre & OF Leonys Martin. These four will be joined by Jurickson Profar at some point in the next 10 days or so.
Bell has started one game, which was on October 17. He only went two-thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on three hits. He also walked three, but struck out two. This was not an optimal outing for Bell, but I believe he will continue to work hard and get ready for the 2013 season. He will most likely return to Frisco for 2013 and work his way back up to Round Rock, much like he did in 2012. Command problems were an issue in 2012, but he still managed to have 110 strikeouts in 142 innings pitched. He is not prone to the long ball, but it is possible for him to get tattooed for hits. If he can work on his consistency and command discrepancies, he will be a great asset to the pitching staff.
Olt is starting out well in the DWL, considering his plantar fasciitis was bothering him at the end of the season and delayed his arrival in Santo Domingo to play for the Tigers. His current slash is .417/.500/.833 and that is by no means a line to laugh at. He needs to continue to learn how to work an at bat and draw a few more walks (he only has two in twelve at bats); on the flip side, he’s only struck out three times in twelve at bats, so he is seeing the ball well over all. If he is to be a part of the MLB club and Magadan’s style, he’ll need to get used to small ball tactics to get success out of at bats.
“The Other Beltre” in the Rangers system plays outfield and is an intriguing player who could impact trades that are made this winter. His slash is an ok .333/.385/.583; however, he will probably not be a big time slugger in the MLB and is prone to the strike out. He does have speed, stealing thirty-six bases in forty-six attempts with Frisco in 2012. I see him as trade bait for a team who wants an outfielder to develop and will not be surprised if he is a part of a deal to acquire a needed piece this winter.
Martin has played in six games this season, and has been a bit disappointing in my opinion. I have argued that Martin is a player that needs consistency and time to grow, as his counter-part David Murphy did in 2012. I still stand by that, but with a slash of .227/.357/.409, he will need to step up his production if he wants to be in talks to help replace a potentially gone Hamilton. I feel that Martin’s production from now until the Hot Stove season officially opens will play a part in what the club does with Hamilton in resigning him. Martin has been compared to Boston’s Ellsbury, who could be a trade target, so if he can warrant a serious look at Spring Training, Magadan would probably have success in helping Martin further develop as a hitter.
Profar is set to be with the Tigers by the beginning of November. He and the last player I’m going to mention will be the two to seriously watch for the rest of the DWL season and could impact the team in a big way in 2013.
Los Gigantes de Cibao
Leury Garcia is the lone Ranger on the Giants squad this season. He currently leads the DWL in batting average; his slash is .444/.483/.667 so far. The most concerning thing is he only has one walk in twenty-seven at bats. Again, if he gets a look in Spring Training, he’ll have to learn patience and continue working on his ability to work an at bat when needed. He is a dual threat because he played both second base and short stop for Frisco in 2012 and could be seen as a potential utility man for the MLB squad in 2013. If his numbers stay even remotely close to where they are now in the DWL, I can imagine he’d at least be promoted to Round Rock and start 2013 on the 40 man roster.