Most notable is Julio Pablo Martinez, the Cuban center fielder signed this past offseason by the Rangers to a $2.7 million bonus. Martinez started the year with the club’s Dominican Summer League team, and has been playing with Spokane of the Northwest League the past couple of months. This is a jump up in talent level for Martinez, as AFL rosters generally have AA caliber players, and the 22 year old Martinez will get an opportunity to show how he can handle the more advanced pitchers.
Other position players from the Rangers organization on the surprise roster are Josh Morgan, who is listed as a catcher, Charles Leblanc, and Yanio Perez. Leblanc started off great for the high-A Wood Ducks this season, but cooled off as the season went on, while Perez and Morgan both missed significant time with injuries.
The Rangers are also sending a pair of Hickory relievers to the AFL — Demarcus Evans and Joe Barlow. As with Martinez, both pitchers will be getting an opportunity to face much better competition than they have so far this year.
Evans, as we have discussed, has been terrific this year — he has a 1.80 ERA in 55 IP over 34 games, with 101 Ks against 27 walks, and has been particularly dominant as the season went on, allowing just two runs in 33 innings since June 16, with 66 Ks against 8 walks.
Barlow, meanwhile, a 22 year old who the Rangers drafted in 2016 and converted to pitching, has gotten less attention but has also been great for the Crawdads, putting up a 1.71 ERA in 58 IP over 36 games, with 89 Ks against 41 walks. Since a 0.1 IP, 5 run outing on May 24, Barlow has put up a 0.88 ERA in 41 IP, striking out 63, walking 26 and allowing opponents a .095/.248/.135 slash line. Barlow has not allowed a run since July 8 — he’s out 21 scorless innings over 13 appearances since then.