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Andy Ibanez is off to a hot start

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Second baseman Andy Ibanez is off to a hot start in his first exposure to U.S. baseball

Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers' minor league teams have all gotten off to good starts to the season -- they are a combined 17-3 so far this year -- and as a result, there are several prospects who have put up impressive performances in the very small sample size that is the first week of the minor league season.  The emphasis, of course, is "very small sample size" -- it has been just five games, and so you don't want to get too up or down about what happens over that small a sampling.

That being said, I do think it is worth highlighting the performance of second baseman Andy Ibanez.  Ibanez, 23, was signed by the Rangers in July, 2015, to a bonus worth $1.6M -- an amount that was significantly less than what many prognosticators thought he would fetch.  The report on Ibanez was that he didn't have a standout tool, but was solid across the board, and had a quality glove at second base to go with a good approach at the plate.

Ibanez, who left Cuba sometime in 2014, didn't play in an organized affiliated league after signing last year, and thus, while he generally appeared in the 6-15 range on most rankings of the Rangers system, that ranking was a lot more speculative than that of most other prospects, since Ibanez had been out of action for so long.

The Rangers opted to start Ibanez at low-A Hickory in the South Atlantic League, where he has DH'd and played second base, and thusfar, Ibanez has had no problems adjusting.  He has a .571/.625/1.000 slash line in 24 plate appearances so far, and has earned praise for his approach and the solid contact he is making.  Ibanez obviously isn't going to continue to hit .571 or slug 1000, but for a guy who is coming off a long layoff and getting his first exposure to American pro ball, its a very positive sign.

What is going to be interesting will be to see what the Rangers do with him if he continues to perform well.  Travis Demeritte is currently playing second base at High Desert, but after a 2015 campaign that was essentially a lost season for Demeritte, I don't see the Rangers pushing him aggressively -- he seems like someone who the team will want to see get at bats at high-A and show sustained success before being promoted.  Ibanez, on the other hand, is old for the Sally League, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Rangers decide that, once he's shown the rust is gone, he should get moved to AA Frisco.