With the regular season over for the Texas Rangers’ minor league clubs, we are taking a look at the performance of each of the U.S.-based minor league teams. Spokane made it to the playoffs, but was eliminated on Friday night in the Northwest League Semi-Finals.
The star of the Spokane pitching staff was Ricky Vanasco, a 20 year old righthander who, after two injury-shortened seasons for the AZL Rangers, generated buzz this spring, and broke out in a big way for the Indians. Vanasco earned a promotion to Hickory near the end of the season, and has put himself on the map as a legitimate starting pitching prospect for the Rangers.
Two guys that flew under the radar some this year but are worth keeping tabs on are Teodoro Ortega and Joshua Javier. Both pitchers came over in deals for relievers last year — Ortega in the Cory Gearrin trade, Javier as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman trade — and both had solid seasons for Spokane. They, along with Vanasco, seem slated to head to Hickory to start 2020.
Ryan Garcia and Justin Slaten were the 2nd and 3rd round picks of the Rangers in the 2019 draft, and each got brief looks for Spokane. Garcia will, I would imagine, be in Down East to start 2020, while Slaten could be with the DEWDs or could start in Hickory.
One other guy worth noting is Daniel Robert. A 2017 21st round pick as a senior sign out of Auburn, Robert was a first baseman in college but the Rangers converted him to pitching. He missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, but came back strong this year as a reliever, and could be one of those “where did this guy come from?” guys we are talking about in 2020.