MiLB Announces Ranger’s Organizational All Stars

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Aug 7, 2014; Frisco, TX, USA; Frisco Rough Riders right fielder Nomar Mazara (9) laughs during warmups before the game against the Springfield Cardinals at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Springfield beat Frisco 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday MiLB.com announced their organizational All Star team for the Texas Rangers. Each year the writers at MiLB select the prospect who performed most admirably at each position and name them to this All Star team. This year there were a few surprises, including the 2014 draft pick Seth Spivey. Here are your 2014 Texas Rangers organizational All Stars.

Catcher: Jorge Alfaro. Jorge had a great 2014 season and earned a late season promotion to Frisco. Alfaro is one of the farm’s top prospects and has the most potential out of any catcher in the system.

First Base: Preston Beck. Beck quietly had a very solid all around 2014 campaign for the Pelicans. While Joey and Jorge and Nick were loudly mashing Preston kept on chugging away. The 24 year old Bishop Lynch product ended the year with 45 extra base hits and 80 walks. Beck spent a good amount of time in right field where he can more easily showcase his absolute cannon of an arm.

Second Base: Seth Spivey. Drafted in the 10th round this June Spivey spent his 2014 in Spokane with the Indians. This young second baseman finished 3rd in his league in batting average at .332 and first in walks with 39. Seth put up decent power numbers for a young middle infielder with 12 two-baggers, 4 triples, and 3 homers. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start 2015 in Hickory. I’m going to keep a special eye on Seth since he might fly under the radar without all the hype of many of his peers.

Short Stop: Hanser Alberto was the only farm hand to win a gold glove this year and did it at one of the more important defensive positions. When I saw Hanser in person his hands were very smooth and his bat looked under control. Between Frisco and Myrtle Beach Alberto cranked out 32 extra base hits, swiped 16 bags, and only struck out 42 times in 120 games.

Third Base: Joey Gallo as the least shocking news since it was announced Madison Bumgarner won the World Series MVP. Gallo put up stupid good numbers in 58 Myrtle Beach games. He had a slash line that I still can’t comprehend of .323/.463/.735 with 21 bombs with both the Pelicans and RoughRiders. Joey finished one bomb short of tying his childhood friend Kris Bryant for the MiLB lead for home runs and leading the minors for consecutive years. Joey was incredibly fun to watch this year and I truly can’t wait to see what he will do next year.

Outfield: Nomar Mazara is still 19 years old until April of 2015 and he’s already raked at the AA level. The kid’s batting average and slugging percentage were both more than 40 points better in Frisco than two levels below in Hickory. The front office highly regarded Nomar’s character and maturity which led to the two level promotion. Young Mazara proved that their faith in him was not unfounded smashing 11 extra base hits in 24 games slashing .304/.381/.518. Maz’s poise in many facets of baseball and of life is as impressive as Gallo’s power or Alfaro’s arm. This kid is incredibly impressive, and I can say Kid because he is younger than myself. This is a heck of a dude who I’d love to have a chat with some day soon.

Outfield: Nick Williams has a heck of a tool set. He’s quick with a strong arm and barrels up many more pitches than someone with his plate discipline should. After his August promotion to Frisco Nick struggled quite a bit batting .226 and slugging under .300. The promotion was I believe in part to force Williams to be more selective with the pitches at which he swung and to make him put inself into more hitters counts. All of the home runs I have seen him hit in the Arizona Fall League, only 1, have all been on hitter’s counts. I’ve believed this for a while: if Nick Williams becomes a selective hitter he will be an incredibly dangerous offensive force. Keep eating carrots Nick because your eyes are incredibly important to your success.

Outfield: Jared Hoying is another farm hand without high prospect status that had an impressive 2014 season. He put up a 20+ homer 20+ steal season, the first in the Ranger system since Lewis Brinson in 2013. I’ve written about Hoying’s 2014 campaign and all of its under the radar splendor. The high points include only 1 error in 292 chances and 26 home runs which was second in the whole organization only to Joey Gallo.

Utility: Ryan Rua although he spent a decent chunk of time in the bigs Rua made the cut for this selection. He hit over .300 at both Frisco and Round Rock finishing with 47 extra base hits and just 97 strikeouts.

Right-handed starter: Chi Chi Gonzalez was the clear cut best starting pitcher in the system. Chi Chi demolished Carolina league hitters and earned a June call up to Frisco. I chatted with him about a month after his call up which you can read here. His success continued through the year finishing up with a 2.66 ERA in 25 starts and 138.2 innings between the two stops.

Left-handed starter: Andrew Faulkner is going to be a starting pitcher because that is what the organization wants regardless of what others say. Mr. Faulkner had a heck of a season in Myrtle Beach to start off the year. In 21 games Andrew only allowed 1 homer to Carolina league batters. His 2.07 ERA in 104.1 innings earned him a promotion to Frisco where he struggled a bit. A 4.99 ERA in 7 Frisco games wasn’t as stellar as at his previous stop but Faulkner still had flashes of dominance. Andrew was told to shelve his best pitch for the year when he became a starter to force him to work off of his fastball and other pitches. His best pitch is a filthy splitter that makes good hitters look like Josh Hamilton swinging at a slider in the dirt. I can’t wait to see what this man can do as a starter once he is given back his favorite toy.

Relief pitcher: Phil Klein had a phenomenal season in the minors this year. He was one of two Ranger prospects up for a MiLBy award. MiLBy award winners are nominated by writers and voted on by the fans online. Phil was nominated for relief pitcher of the year and finished second in the voting. The other Ranger farm hand was Joey Gallo who was nominated for offensive player of the year and best home run. Joey won neither of these awards. Phil went the entire year in the minors (33 games and 51.2 innings) without giving up a single extra base hit. He was greeted in the majors by his first opposing hitter Lonnie Chisenhall smacking a pitch over the fence for a home run. This award isn’t about that though. Through 33.1 Frisco innings Phil allowed just 3 earned runs to pair with 42 strikeouts and 15 hits. This sat him with a .81 ERA which is stellar. After this stretch, Phil gets promoted to Round Rock where in 18.1 innings he doesn’t give up a single run. In those 9 games, Klein allowed an impressive 7 hits to compliment his 28 K’s. Klein ended up with a WHIP in Round Rock of .709. Wow. Phil did great stuff this year and I’m sure that he will be back in the Arlington bullpen to start 2015.

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