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Raising Arizona 2023 V. 1

The Weather Interrupted, But Dudes Were Seen!

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
It’s that time of year!
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It rained in the desert. Seriously. I was there. It was lovely, but also a bummer. Wiped out 2 of the four days I designated for backfield glory. Nonetheless, I got a good look at a pack of Rangers youngsters, so let’s get right into it.

One of my faves is 3B Gleider Figuereo. He’s good and I think he stays at the hot corner. But I’m not sure how much physical projection you can give the dude. As you can see, he’s already a strong, thick guy for an 18 year old. But the bat is quick, he’s strong and can hit the ball all the hell over the diamond. And that plays.

Mitch Bratt rather famously stared down Team USA’s Murderer’s Row and blinked. The 19 year old was much better against a lineup that didn’t feature a half-dozen future Hall of Famers. He’s not a big kid, but he’s strong and he’ll get stronger. FB was 93-94, SL was 87mph and his CB was 75mph. Here he is in a lengthy battle with San Diego’s 16 year old unicorn Ethan Salas. You can see the funk in Mitch’s delivery, but it works well for him.

I got to see Winston Santos pitch and the FB is as good as you’ve heard. He was 96-97 with some heavy sink. It misses bats. He threw a CH around 87mph and a slurvy thing that was 80-84mph. The offspeeds are significantly behind the FB, but it’s still a FB game, so this kid has a shot.

Lefty Larson Kindreich continues to look like a guy who’ll pitch at the upper levels, at least. Nothing is overpowering, but he changes speeds well with a 92-94mph FB, a 75mph CB an upper 80s cutter and a mid-80s SL. He had a problem with walks in Hickory, and he’ll need to cut that down, but any lefty with a healthy repertoire and mechanics this pretty will get a lot of looks.

Danyer Cueva looks small on the field, but is quite stocky and strong when you get up close to him. Kinda like Elvis Andrus looked his first few years in the bigs. The 18 year old shows an advanced ability to put the bat on the ball. Is he a shortstop? Not sure. 2B may be more likely, but that will put more pressure on the bat, so I hope the kid keeps hitting.

I don’t think we talk enough about Yeison Morrobel. I really like this dude. He looks noticeably stronger than last Spring and that bodes well for a player who could be destined for a corner OF job. He seems to pick up spin well and has enough strength to drive the ball at age 19. He’ll be part of a very talented and precocious crew headed to low-A Down East for 2023 and I wouldn’t be surprised if more people are talking about him this time next year.

Here’s a potential slowburn prospect for 2023. OK, maybe it’s just a kid I personally like a lot because I’ve seen him flash some mojo. It’s Chandler Pollard, Texas’ 5th rounder last summer. The kid is raw, so we’re gonna have to give him a bunch o’ time. I think Chandler can hit. And I think he can hit for power. I actually know he can because I saw him smash a 400’+ homer a few days ago. I think he’s gonna be given every opportunity to play SS, but 3B might be a more likely outcome, in part because he has a really strong arm. But if you ask me, I’m in favor of him getting reps in CF, because he’s crazy fast and twitchy enough to learn the gig. Regardless, I’m not expecting gaudy numbers or a meteoric rise, I’m just here to tell you I think the kid has a lil’ sumpthin’. Here he is booting a fungo alongside Sebastian Walcott.

Bonus! Here’s Chandler from a game at Globe Life in October against TCU. What can I say, the rain really cramped my style in Surprise.

So let’s call it a wrap on Part I. I’ll be back with Part II very soon and that’ll include some clips of Anthony Gutierrez, whom you may have heard is very good. Can confirm.

As Always, Enjoy Baseball!

Love Ya!