So, lemme not bury the lede. Hans pitched on Wednesday and he wasn’t the best player on either of the 2 fields. Chris Seise was electric. Scroll alllllllll the way down to hear me tell you about that fella. As for Hans, it’s pretty damn visual when he’s on the mound. He’s taller and wider-shouldered than you’re probably thinking. It looks like he’s added some strentgth to his lower half, which of course, means- the butt. Mechanically, he’s wild-ass. It’s unconventional to say the least. But I’ve always been told by people way smarter at this sort of thing than I am, that when you slow it down and watch it, his delivery has all the right parts in all the right places at all the right times. I trust them. In the meantime, he’s hell on hitters. There’s herk, then there’s jerk, then there’s flames. He seemed to be taking some fuzz off the FB today and was generally 93-95. But he dialed up a 99 on a 2-2 count like it was nuthin’. Also, the SL is a frisbee and a legit potential double-plus pitch. We were even treated to at least 2 or 3 CHs. That offering is a work in progress, but hey, aren’t we all. Hans has one of the most unique walking gaits I’ve ever seen on an elite prospect, he’s got one of the quirkiest deliveries I’ve ever seen on an elite prospect, and he’s got one of heapin’est helpings of a (currently)2-pitch filth plate I’ve ever seen on an elite prospect. I assume he’s headed back to Hickory to begin his ascent. Stay healthy, and keep workin’ on that CHangepiece, Biggun. Love Ya!
The rest of Wednesday was filled with getting looks at the really young youngsters. This kind of stuff isn’t interesting to anyone other than diehard Rangers prospect nerds, the parents and families of these kids and the Rangers organization themselves. These neos are far, far away from the big leagues and many are experiencing their first taste of Spring Training and “being a professional”. Just look at these babies:
Yenci Pena (One of the kids the Braves signed, then lost cuz they were shady)
Jayce Easley (5th RDer last year. Listed at 5’8” 145lbs):
Keithron Moss (17 year-old from the Bahamas):
Alexander Ovalles (PTBNL in Cole Hamels trade):
Jonathan Ornelas (3rd RDer last year from nearby Glendale. I like him)
There were a few of the “older” fellas in action today as well. Here’s another peak at Bubba Thompson, Tyreque Reed, and Diosbel Arias:
Here’s Julio Pablo Martinez breaking his bat and still having enough strength to push a single through the 3-4 hole. He’s not tall, but he is strong and has a quick stick.
I’m including this clip of Tyree Thompson because he’s one of my favorite farmhands. He’s got hands down some of the most swagger on the farm. He’s listed at 6’4” 165lbs. He went to Edna Karr High (Google their marching band- then enjoy the show) in the Algiers section of New Orleans. That’s where jazz was born and that’s at least part of the reason he has so much swagger. I might not be rooting for any player on the Rangers farm as much as I’m rooting for Tyree. He’s got really great hair too, but it is NOT hat-friendly. It was mesmerizing on Wednesday just watching to see if his lid stayed on. Go get ‘em, kid.
Part of the reason I come out here is to find the unknown fellas. The guys who aren’t even on the radar enough to be under it. Chances are they don’t turn into dudes, but sometimes you see a flash that piques intrigue. Yesterday Peter Fairbanks wore that crown, Wednesday afternoon it was a couple of lefties. Francisco Villegas pitched for Spokane last year and in his final 10 outings, he threw 10.1 innings, walked 10 and struck out 10. Kid is into symmetry. I have no idea what he threw last year, but I know what I saw on Wednesday. He struck out the side, in order, by changing arm slots and dealing a 91-2mph FB that was missing bats and generating late swings. I got curious and peaked at the Trackman data and his FB was consistently tumbling in with RPMs of 2400 and the highest I saw was 2506. That’s prettaaayyy dang salty. The Mexican is only 21 and listed at 6’2” 175lbs. If he can add some beef to his frame and tick up his velo a tad, that might be a recipe for a lil’ sumpthin’ sumpthin’. Just a name to sock away. Another name like this is John King. He’s a late-bloomer if there ever was one. Some injuries and a Tommy John surgery have kept the now 24 year-old from pitching much lately, but he’s a big framed lefty and Wednesday I saw a pretty darn heavy sinker tripping in 92-94 T 95 and a bendy slurve thing that missed some bats at around 80mph. Lefties who can throw strikes in the 90s and keep the ball down tend to get a look or 10. Put the name John King in a drawer.
Chris Seise was the best player I saw on Wednesday. He might be the most impressive Rangers farmhand I’ll see this trip. He stood out in everything he did on Wednesday and I regret to inform you that I let you all down by not getting video of his magic. The good news is, my pal and yours Scott Lucas was recording Seise’s inside the park homer. Yeah, he did that. Smoked a gapper to the RCF wall and turned on his above-average wheels for what looked like a comfortable triple only to have the opposing fielders get just a bit lackadaisical in getting the ball back in, at which time Chris took the 3B coach’s advice and sprinted home, barely breaking stride around the hot corner. And that wasn’t his most impressive play. Snotty blooper off the end of the bat while Chris is at shortstop. Ball is floating and looks to be dropping in front of the oncoming left fielder, and well out of reach of the inquisitive 3B, when Seise appears out of nowhere, goes into a graceful, feet-first slide and backhands the blooper with his glove gliding across the top of the grass. On the scorebook it would go down as an F4. In person, it went down as a “holy shit.” He hit the ball hard, he hit it where they weren’t, he stole a base, and his surgically repaired throwing shoulder appears juuuussssst fine. He’s got a legit plus arm at short. His baseball instincts are obvious. He’s bouncy on his toes and he’s twitchy. I was incredibly impressed by him. I’m not sure where the folks who rank Rangers prospects rank Chris Seise, but if he plays this season (likely in Hickory) like he did today, they’re gonna rank him in the Top 10 of Texas’ prospects this time next year. Gotta be patient, cuz our man hasn’t played ball since 2017, and he’s gonna miss some pitches, but the mojo is there. Tell ‘em who ya are in 2019, Chris. Tell ‘em all.
Here’s a clip of Seise striking out on Tuesday. Contradictory, I know, but you get the picture.
** Bonus clip!!!** Here’s the weighted ball wall I was telling you about yesterday.
Flying home on Thursday night, but I’ll grab more clips and stuff and toss up the final installment of this year’s Raising Arizona before the end of the weekend.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!