Farm Fishin’: Rangers in the Arizona Fall League


The Surprise Saguaros finished up the 2011 Arizona Fall League by losing to the Salt River Rafters in the championship game this past Saturday. That fact, however, should not take away from the fantastic season the Saguaros turned in. They easily finished with the league’s best record (26-10) by winning games at a 0.722 clip.

Given that the Saguaros roster was built from Rays, Braves, Royals, Marlins and Rangers prospects, their success should have been anything but a Surprise. We are talking about 4 of the top 10 farm systems after all and the Miami Marlins, while not elite like the other four, are solidly in the middle of the pack. There was a ton of talent on their roster, but for tonight’s purposes we’re only concerned with how the Rangers prospects fared.

  • LHP Miguel De Los Santos (23):  9 G (6 GS), 3.26 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 15 BB and 40 SO in 30.1 IP
  • RHP Ryan Kelly (24):  10 G (2 GS), 8.36 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 11 BB and 11 SO in 14.0 IP
  • RHP Johan Yan (23):  11 G, 3.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 2 BB and 8 SO in 12.2 IP
  • C Elio Sarmiento (25):  9 G, 0.216/.216/.297, 11 TB, 0 BB and 13 SO in 37 AB
  • SS Leury Garcia (20):  20 G, 0.361/.379/.590, 49 TB, 7 SB, 3 BB and 14 SO in 83 AB
  • 3B Mike Olt (23):  27 G, 0.349/.433/.764, 81 TB, 15 BB and 31 SO in 106 AB
  • OF Leonys Martin (23):  8 G, 0.290/.389/.516, 16 TB, 4 SB, 4 BB and 5 SO in 31 AB
  • OF Ryan Strausborger (23):  21 G, 0.329/.355/.507, 37 TB, 2 SB, 2 BB and 15 SO in 73 AB

The usual disclaimers on the above stats apply here. Just like Spring Training stats, AFL stats aren’t all that meaningful but they do have some value. If nothing else it is always better to have success than to not, and a strong fall league performance can go a long way toward building up a player’s confidence and jump start their 2012 career.

That’s real good news when it comes to the Rangers collective AFL performance which has to be viewed as an unmitigated success. Outside of Yan and Sarmiento anyway who were the only 2 of the 8 that failed to capitalize on the opportunity the fall league provides.

De Los Santos entered the 2011 season as the organization’s 10th best prospect according to Baseball America and just a couple of days ago was ranked as the 49th best prospect in all of baseball over on Seedlings to Stars. The command continues to be a little worrisome but there’s no doubting his stuff. Given the offensive environment that is the AFL his performance stands out for me. Of course the two 5.0 inning, 1 hit shutouts he threw certainly didn’t hurt his prospect reputation.

The Rockies Nolan Arenado was named the 2011 AFL MVP but it was Mike Olt that took home the league’s HR crown. He was also tops in the league in RBI, TB, SLG while finishing 2nd in OPS – right behind Jedd Gyorko – tied for 3rd in R and tied for 8th in OBP. Arenado had a fine season and may be the better prospect, but Mike Olt was better in nearly every meaningful statistical category and should have been the league MVP.

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the performance of the team’s 20-year old SS. After 4 minor league seasons Leury Garcia has a career line of 0.251/.301/.321 and spent the 2011 season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A+) in the Carolina League. Yes, the AFL inflates offense but it’s still stunning to me that the plus-defense speed-based prospect slugged 0.590 this fall while playing against competition generally 3-5 years older and with far more experience in the upper levels of the minors.


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