Texas Rangers Top Prospects: #17, CD Pelham
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers future is made up of the prospects currently in the organization. Which prospect continues the rankings at #17?
As we continue this offseason into Spring Training, we’re looking at the Top 25 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization. These are the players that have performed through the 2018 season and offer the most for the club moving forward.
#17: LHP, C.D. Pelham
The hype around lefty reliever CD Pelham probably has dropped off a little since last year. The 23-year old entered the 2018 season as one of the dark horses in the Texas Rangers minor league system to become a real impact player. Featuring a high-powered fastball and a sharp cutter, Pelham has the sort of two-pitch combo that could make an electric late-inning reliever.
A 33rd round draft pick for Texas back in 2015, Pelham began his career in Rookie ball before jumping to Short-Season Spokane in 2017. The lefty made 16 starts apiece in those two levels and struggled posting a 5.40 ERA and a 6.16 ERA respectively. Pelham took a big leap forward in 2017 when he debuted at Single-A Hickory in his first full season. Pelham made 37 appearances, all out of the bullpen racking up 13 saves in 16 opportunities. Across 62.1 innings, Pelham struck out 75 and held hitters to a .204 batting average.
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In 2018, Pelham spent significant time at three different levels of the organization starting in High-A Down East, moving to Double-A Frisco, and eventually made his Major League debut late in the season. With Down East, C.D. was more than impressive in his 23 relief appearances. He converted all of his 11 save opportunities with the Wood Ducks and struck out 34 in just 27.2 innings. That earned him a promotion to Frisco where he saw his ERA spike from 1.95 to 6.16. He still maintained a strikeout per inning average opponents hit .270 against him and saw a 1.74 WHIP.
Pelham got the call-up to the big league club late in the 2018 season as Texas started the evaluation of their young talent with that season over in terms of postseason hopes. Pelham made 10 appearances for the Rangers all in relief. He threw 7.2 innings and struck out 7 but allowed hitters over 2 walks or hits per inning.
Despite a less-than-successful Major League debut, Pelham is still expected to compete for a bullpen spot this Spring Training. With the Rangers looking to make the transition to their future talent, Pelham is expected to battle it out as he hopes to cement himself as a late-inning guy for the Rangers in the long-term. If he is unable to nail down a spot, he likely starts the season with Texas’ new Triple-A affiliate Nashville although he could start in Frisco if the Rangers decide they want him close to Arlington.