First Round Update: While most talk about how the organization re-stocked their minor league system with a flurry of 2007 trades, the Rangers also had five picks in the first 54 last June to bolster the minor league corps even more. Here’s a brief update on how the quintet is doing:
Blake Beavan, RHP, 17th overall, $1.4975 million bonus
The Rangers are taken it very easy with their 2007 class of young pitchers, anticipating a workload of no more than 120 innings for them. After beginning the year in extended spring training, Beavan made his pro debut last week, firing six shutout innings against Great Lakes while giving up just three hits and not walking a batter. One scout in attendance was surprised by the six-foot-seven righty's lack of velocity, as he sat in the mid to upper 80s, but he also noted that Beavan’s command and location were impeccable, and he looked like he was throwing a bullpen session and had much more velocity in his back pocket. In his second start of the year on Monday, Beavan again didn’t walk anyone, but allowed four runs over six innings, including a pair of homers--so that velocity needs to start showing up in games.
Michael Main, RHP, 24th overall, $1.2375 million bonus
Main’s pro debut last year was the most impressive of any Texas draftee, but his full-season debut has been delayed by a fractured rib. His timetable currently projects a late-May/early-June return to the mound.
Julio Borbon, OF, 35th overall, $800,000 bonus
Borbon was arguably the top college center fielder in last year’s draft, which says as much about that position’s weakness as Borbon’s talent. After a strong showing this spring, Borbon has made some adjustments to his game, showing a more patient approach and being less pull-conscious. A current ten-game hitting streak (17-for-47) has brought his season totals at High-A Bakersfield up to .295/.340/.358 in 22 games, and his outstanding speed has allowed him to display good range in center while swiping 10 bases in 11 attempts. Scouts are mixed as to whether he’s a starter or good fourth outfielder in the end.
Neil Ramirez, RHP, 44th overall, $1 million bonus
Another young arm the Rangers are being very cautious with, Ramirez has reportedly been outstanding in extending spring training, up to 94 mph with his fastball, and will likely be joining the staff at Clinton soon.
Tommy Hunter, RHP, 54th overall, $585,000 bonus
The only college pitcher selected early, the Rangers have challenged him with a full-season assignment at High-A Bakersfield, and he’s responded fairly well to it, with a 3.95 ERA. He makes up for giving up 48 hits in 43 1/3 innings by walking only five. He provides a unique physical presence on the mound--standing six-foot-three and tipping the scales at somewhere between 250 and 260 pounds--but he’s not a pure power pitcher. He adds and subtracts from his fastball, which generally sits in the 88-94 mph range with a lot of sink and he pounds the strike zone with it, as well as a solid curveball. His ceiling isn’t tremendous, but he has what it takes to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.