Friday, we took a look at what the players in the top half of the LSB Offseason Community Prospect Rankings had done to begin the year. Today, we're going to check in on numbers 16-30, and see how they've started off 2016.
16 -- Yeyson Yrizarri. A big dollar signing out of the Dominican Republic a few years back, Yrizarri has a quality glove at shortstop and a good arm, but up to this year has struggled to hit. Sent to low-A Hickory to start 2016, the 19 year old started off well but as slumped some at the plate, putting up a .259/.279/.400 slash line, with 37 Ks against just 5 walks in 199 plate appearances..
17 -- Connor Sadzeck. Sadzeck, a big righthanded pitcher who missed all of 2014 and much of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery, was added to the 40 man roster this past offseason after hitting triple digits in the AFL last fall. Although there's some thought he could move quickly as a reliever, the Rangers have started him in the Frisco rotation this year, and he's performed well so far, putting up a 3.56 ERA in 60.2 IP, with 50 Ks, 20 walks and 7 home runs allowed. Sadzeck's fastball and curve are both impressive pitches...if he can improve his command and get his changeup up to serviceable, he could be an intriguing starting pitching option, and if he doesn't, he still appears to be a potential weapon out of the bullpen.
18 -- Brett Martin. Martin, a lefty who turned 21 in April, returned to Hickory to start the year, with instructions to work on his secondaries and repeating his delivery. Its been up-and-down for him so far, as he's struck out an impressive 48 batters in 43.2 IP, with just 14 walks and only 3 home runs allowed, but he's also given up 58 hits, resulting in an ugly 4.53 ERA (and an uglier 5.98 RA/9). Some of that is due to being a groundball pitcher throwing in front of a low-A infield defense, but not all of it. On the positive side, he's allowed just 5 earned runs in his last three starts (over 17.2 IP), and the organization appears to still be optimistic about his future. Martin is someone who is going to require patience, but for whom the payoff for that patience could be significant.
19 -- Ariel Jurado. Jurado, a 20 year old righthander out of Panama who was Martin's teammate in Hickory last year, earned a promotion to high-A High Desert, and has continued to do work. 49 Ks against just 12 walks in 51.1 IP, and remarkably, just one home run allowed. He has a 3.33 ERA on the year, and probably the main hurdle to him joining Yohander Mendez and Luis Ortiz at Frisco is the lack of a vacant rotation spot.
20 -- Patrick Kivlehan. A versatile righthanded bat who came over from Seattle in the Leonys Martin trade, Kivlehan has gotten off to a slow start to the year, then ended up getting designated for assignment to clear a 40 man roster spot for Jared Hoying. Kivlehan was sent back to Seattle for cash considerations.
21 -- Leodys Taveras. One of the Rangers' big dollar signings from last year's J-2 class, Taveras is playing in the Dominican Summer League, which just kicked off over the weekend.
22 -- Ledarious Clark. The streaky 22 year old outfielder, selected in the 12th round of the 2015 draft by Texas, has gotten off to a slow start at low-A Hickory. He's currently slashing ..217/.268/.378, with 53 Ks in 153 plate appearances.
23 -- Ronald Guzman. Guzman, 21, was signed in the same J-2 class as Nomar Mazara, and has largely been overlooked as Mazara has rocketed to the majors. Guzman showed signs of turning a corner last year, however, and has been one of the breakout players in the minors this year, with a .317/.385/.538 slash line, and 43 Ks in 209 plate appearances. As a pure first baseman, Guzman is going to have to mash to stay on the prospect map, but he's doing that so far this year.
24 -- Jake Lemoine. The 2015 4th round draft pick is not assigned to a full-season roster, as he continues to try to work his way back from a shoulder injury. There appears to be some question as to whether he will pitch this season in organized ball.
25 -- Jose Leclerc. Leclerc, 22, was moved back to a relief role after starting last season (and at the outset of the 2016 campaign), and has excelled since doing so. Since moving back to the pen, Leclerc has a 1.71 ERA in 21 IP between AA and AAA, with 27 Ks and 8 walks. Leclerc is a hard-thrower who profiles as a possible back of the pen arm, and given the bullpen issues the major league club has had, I would expect to see him up in Arlington at some point this year.
26 -- Drew Robinson. The versatile, lefthanded-hitting Robinson got some extended time in the major league camp this spring. He stumbled out of the box, but when I did the last top 30 prospect check-in, I wrote: "Robinson's history is that he tends to be streaky, so hopefully, we'll see a hot streak from him soon." And that's come to pass, as he has slashed .297/.368/.543 since April 26, and has an overall .256/.351/.463 line on the year. Robinson swings and misses a lot -- 48 Ks in 186 plate appearances -- and as someone who is defensively versatile and performing in AAA, he's a prime candidate to be selected in the Rule 5 draft this offseason if he's not protected, which makes him someone I could see the Rangers using as a trade chip this summer.
27 -- Sam Wolff. Wolff, a 25 year old righty who missed all of 2015 with an Achilles injury, is in the Frisco rotation, with a 4.83 ERA in 50.1 IP, with 39 Ks and 31 walks. Wolff throws hard and could end up in the pen, but for now, I think the Rangers want to get him innings and help him shake off the rust after the lost year of 2015.
28 -- Jose Trevino. Trevino, 23, was the catcher for last year's championship Hickory team, and moved on to High Desert with the bulk of that squad this year. He's off to a slow start with the bat -- ..295/.339/.373 in 180 plate appearances plate appearances -- but has earned praise for his leadership and ability behind the plate.
29 -- Ti'Quan Forbes. Forbes, 19, was the Rangers' 2nd round pick in 2014. He struggled in the Northwest League in 2015, and is also off to a slow start with Hickory this year, putting up a .228/.299/.289 line while mostly playing third base.
T30 -- David Perez. Perez, 23, had a breakout year in 2015, working mostly out of the pen for Hickory and High Desert. The righthander started the season in High Desert, and earned a promotion to Frisco after allowing a single run in 12 IP. In Frisco, he's allowed 10 runs in 14.1 IP, with 16 Ks and 8 walks. Like Robinson, he's Rule 5 eligible after the season and is the type of player teams tend to snag in the Rule 5 draft, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's sent out in a deal this summer.
T30 -- Travis Demeritte. Demeritte had a disappointing 2015 season, as he got suspended, didn't hit much, and then didn't have a great winter ball campaign in Australia. He's performing in High Desert so far this year, though, with a .255/.342/.559 slash line and 14 home runs, although he's cooled down after a red-hot start to the year. He's still got a lot of swing and miss (77 Ks in 237 plate appearances), but in what is a critical season for Demeritte, he appears to be getting his career back on track.