Claudio logged two innings in Puerto Rico
A pair of Rangers left-handers saw action for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League on Tuesday night, as they combined to surrender one run in three innings. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action.
Arizona Fall League: Surprise 5 – (@) Phoenix 3 (10 innings)
7-5-1, 0.5 GU
Less than 24 hours after Engel Beltre had a gigantic game for the Rafters, another Rangers prospect helped lead the Surprise offense in extra innings.
On Tuesday, the hero was catcher Jose Felix, who was 2-for-4 with his fourth double of the young Fall League campaign. Felix’s two-bagger came in the top of the 10th and help set-up Surprise’s two-run frame that eventually won the contest.
Through six games, the 22-year-old Felix is 9-for-25 with four doubles, zero walks, and a strikeout.
Beltre, the club’s centerfielder and leadoff hitter, followed up Monday’s excellent performance by going without a knock in five at-bats, dropping his average to .227.
Designated hitter Davis Stoneburner batted fifth and was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. The 25-year-old is also hitting .227 thus far.
Left-hander Corey Young picked up the hold by keeping Phoenix off the scoreboard in the seventh inning. The New Jersey native needed only six pitches (five strikes) to complete the frame, getting two groundouts and a lineout around a harmless infield single.
Venezuelan Winter League
Designated hitter Max Ramirez helped power La Guaira to a victory on Tuesday with his three-run homer off Magallanes starter Jose Sanchez in the first inning. Though Ramirez went hitless for the remainder of the day––going 1-for-4 overall––the damage had been done, as the Tiburones plated six runs in the initial frame.
Centerfielder David Paisano got his first start of the season, batting at the bottom of the order. He went without a hit in four plate appearances. Renny Osuna appeared as a pinch runner in the eighth and scored a run. The versatile player went to left field for the final inning.
Dominican Winter League
Only one of the three scheduled games was played, and no Rangers appeared in that contest.
Puerto Rican Winter League
• Left-hander Alexander Claudio is a project in every sense of the word. The Rangers’ 27th-round pick in this year’s draft, Claudio stands a rail-thin 6-foot-3, 160-pounds. He has plenty of room for growth, even after adding some strength during the Arizona League campaign this summer.
The 18-year-old was selected out of high school in Puerto Rico and posted a 6.60 earned-run average with six walks and 13 strikeouts in 15 innings with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers.
On Tuesday, Claudio got his feet wet against much older, much more experienced competition in the Puerto Rican Winter League. The hurler logged two innings, giving up one run on two hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Claudio faced players like Josh Fields, Jesus Feliciano, Jorge Padilla, and Rene Rivera. While perhaps not superstars, they are veterans with big league experience.
In an early summer outing with the Rookie Rangers, Claudio flashed an 83-85 mph fastball, a 66-68 mph change, and a 65-68 mph curveball. Though clearly slow, all three of his pitches had good action. Claudio could be an intriguing arm in a couple years if he adds strength and velocity to create some firmness to his stuff. He may not be much of a prospect right now, but he is a projectable arm worth keeping an eye on.
• A much more experienced Rangers southpaw also pitched for Ponce on Tuesday in 22-year-old Kasey Kiker. The former first-round pick logged a scoreless inning, working around a hit and a walk. He fanned two.
Kiker last appeared in an official game on July 28, when he walked five batters and surrendered six earned runs in one-third of an inning at Midland. He totaled one full inning over his final three outings with Frisco, walking 10 batters and yielding 10 earned runs.
The Rangers sent Kiker to Arizona for the remainder of the season to work out his issues. The hurler returned to action at Fall Instructional League, where he showed flashes of promise but was inconsistent on the whole.
Kiker threw his fastball between 87-92 mph in two early-instructs outings––his normal velocity when working in short stints out of the bullpen. His command of all three pitches––fastball, 74-77 mph curveball, and 77-80 mph changeup––was hit and miss.
When Kiker was able to stay back and explode to the plate, his fastball had a bit more jump and his curveball was much sharper. But at other times, he struggled and his curve didn’t show much break. The lefty’s changeup has plus deception and movement, but he has had trouble getting on top of it with much consistency.
Kiker still shows the stuff to be an effective big league reliever when things are going well, but that hasn’t been a common occurrence since Spring Training this past March. His stint in Puerto Rico––and whether or not he can right the ship––figures to be essential in determining his future with the organization.
Mexican Pacific League
The circuit has begun its 2010 campaign, but there will be no Rangers players participating this season.
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