The Spokane Indians of the short-season A Northwest League begin play tonight, and Hans Crouse, the Rangers’ second round pick from 2017, will be getting the ball as the Indians’ Opening Day starter.
Crouse, 19, is a hard-throwing righthanded pitcher who turned heads in the Arizona Rookie League and the Instructional League last season, and he’s generally considered one of the Rangers’ top pitching prospects. The local paper in Spokane has a story on him in advance of tonight’s game, and its worth reading, as he’s one of the more colorful, and confident, players the Rangers have in their minor league system.
You can check out Spokane’s roster here, though there will likely be additions in the coming days. Julio Pablo Martinez, the Rangers’ big J-2 signing out of Cuba earlier this year, is not listed on the roster, but he’s been promoted to Spokane from the Dominican Summer League. One has to think the hope is that Martinez will not be long for Spokane — his skills are seen as being at the high-A or AA level, and the Rangers are playing him in short season ball right now to help get him acclimated to playing baseball again after a long layoff — but for the time being, Martinez will be patrolling center field for Spokane. Several of the Rangers’ draft picks out of college who just signed, or who will sign when the College World Series is over, will also likely be assigned here.
A few other guys to keep an eye on...Seth Nordlin was a 13th round pick out of an Arizona Junior College in 2017, and the 20 year old struck out a lot of batters in the AZL last year in his pro debut. Royce Bolinger is a 27 year old former outfielder in the Rangers’ system who has converted to pitching, and is starting his career as a pitcher back up from the rookie league level. Obie Ricumstrict is a very toolsy infielder who was an above-slot signee as an 11th rounder in 2017. And Curtis Terry — the Big Rig, as Tepid has dubbed him — is a huge, righty-swinging 21 year old first baseman with big time power who is back at Spokane after slashing .258/303/.467 in his first go-round last year.