Outfielder Steele Walker has been promoted from AA Frisco to AAA Round Rock, the Rangers announced today. Replacing Walker at Frisco is outfielder Miguel Aparicio, who was promoted from high-A Hickory to AA Frisco.
Walker, who turned 25 last week, came to the Rangers in the 2019-20 offseason from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Nomar Mazara. His getting moved up is mildly surprising, as he has slashed just .255/.323/.439 this year for Frisco.
Moving Walker up may have been more about getting Aparicio to Frisco however. Signed to a $550,000 bonus as part of the same international signing class as Leody Taveras, Aparicio is your classic pre-2018 Ranger prospect, a terrific defensive outfielder with lots of potential who hasn’t had things click with the bat.
Aparicio has teased in the past, and frequently been identified as one of those guys who could break out — someone scouts see as someone who could have it all click at some point. Aparicio has never hit, however, and when he ended May with a 413 OPS in 43 plate appearances, I quit paying attention to him.
But Aparicio put up an 886 OPS in June, then a 1349 OPS in July. He’s been slowed by a rolled ankle in recent days, but after getting back on the field for a couple of games, he’s now heading to Frisco.
I had thought Aparicio was a minor league free agent after the season, but having looked and checked against some others, I think he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season. He is Rule 5 eligible, however, and I suspect spending the final two months in Frisco is in part to better guide the decision about whether to protect him.