Whittling Down The Camp
April 1st makes the unofficial end of Spring Training. On that date the Texas Rangers will break major league camp in Surprise and start the travelling exhibition circuit that will finally find them back in the regular season. With that goal in mind there has started being cuts in the major league spring training already some have been expected, some not as much.
Today the Rangers either assigned or optioned Leonys Martin, Engel Beltre, Chris Robinson, Ben Snyder, Mike Olt and Greg Miclat. They join other prospects that have already been assigned or optioned, Martin Perez, Jacob Brigham, Miguel De Los Santos, Cody Eppley, Roman Mendez, Justin Miller, and Neil Ramirez.
One thing can be said about the Texas farm system and that is the talent is starting to move up from the lower level teams to the level that can be viewed as viable to move players to the major leagues. Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels will have plenty of trade pieces available if he so chooses to use them in the vein of the move to get Cliff Lee that sent Justin Smoak and Blake Beaven to Seattle.
The move of the players back to the minors is not and should not be taken as a referendum on their ability based on Spring Training. It is simply recognition that these players have room to improve, and they can do this better in the minors than in the majors where they will be forced to perform daily. Some of them like Leonys Martin, Martin Perez and Mike Olt will likely have long and productive major league careers, but that time does not start now.
In the past two years the talent of the Rangers has been limited, with few exceptions to the A ball level teams. With the players that have already been assigned to Frisco and Round Rock it should be a requirement of Rangers fans to go see the stars of tomorrow in a more fan friendly environment.
It will be interesting to see where the Rangers decide to place their youngest and rawest talents like Jurickson Profar, Roughened Odor, Jake Skole and Jorge Alfaro. The ability to place correctly this young level of talent will ensure success down the road as the depth charts are filled at every position with in house talent. It is in no way a certainty that every prospect will work out to their ceiling. Having the biggest group of high grade prospects is the only way to ensure continued success and the best way to bring in the top level free agents.
Two prospects that Rangers fans should keep an eye on as Spring Training winds down are Robbie Ross and Mark Hamburger. Both of these pitchers have shown ability in the past and have had respectable spring trainings. They also both cheaply help fill out the 25 man roster. Ross is will be competing for the left handed reliever position while Hamburger goes for one the situational right handed pitcher positions.
As Always, Go Rangers!