Rookie league ball at the team complexes generally isn’t something we spend a whole lot of time paying attention to, for a variety of reasons. Its short-season, the players are very young and a long way away, and its a controlled environment. When talking about prospect performance we generally focus mostly on the full season leagues, while occasionally checking in on Spokane in the short-season A Northwest League.
However, the hitters for the Rangers’ AZL team have been having a rather insane first month-plus of the season. The team itself is 23-10, which has them leading the West Division and gives them the second best record of the 21 AZL teams. The bats, however, have been putting up especially ridiculous numbers.
The AZL Rangers are leading the AZL in runs per game, at 8.09. One of the Padres’ teams is second, at 7.44, and the league as a whole is averaging 5.84 runs per game. Texas is also first in the league in batting average, at .302, first in OBP, at .389, and first in slugging, at .487, compared to league averages of .264/.347/.392.
Two players who were off to great starts, Alexander Ovalles and Derwin Berreto, were promoted to Spokane over the weekend. Ovalles, an 18 year old outfielder who is the only player remaining in the organization from last year’s Cole Hamels trade, slashed .377/.437/.623 with 10 walks and 18 Ks in 126 plate appearances before moving up. Barreto, an 18 year old switch-hitting infielder who has played SS, 3B and 2B this year, slashed .265/.386/.456 with 14 walks and 17 Ks in 83 PA before getting his promotion.
Keithron Moss, a well-regarded Bahamian infielder who turns 18 in August, is slashing .311/.419/.492, with 23 Ks against 12 walks in 75 PAs. Osleivis Basabe, an 18 year old infielder who has been appearing high on the prospect rankings the last year, is slashing .360/.395/.453 with 10 Ks and 5 walks in 86 PAs. Heriberto Hernandez, a 19 year old 1B/C who put up a 1099 OPS in the DSL last summer, is slashing .375/.474/.634 in 135 PAs with 31 Ks against 19 walks. Randy Florentino, an 18 year old catcher who put himself on the prospect map last summer, is slashing .289/.374/.395.
I’m going to put in the obligatory note here not to scout the stat line, and to keep enthusiasm tempered for any player who isn’t in full season ball yet. We shouldn’t be flooding BA chat sessions with questions about why these guys aren’t on top 100 lists or cracking the Rangers top 10 prospect lists.
But at the same time, its definitely an encouraging sign to see the progress being made.