Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Jayce Tingler (Part 2)

Solis belted five home runs in July

In part two of this two-part feature, Lone Star Dugout chats with Rangers' Dominican Summer League manager Jayce Tingler about some of the system's most intriguing and under-the-radar prospects.

Jason Cole: Another guy that got a big signing bonus is Emmanuel Solis. How do you feel he has progressed this season in moving down to the Dominican?

Jayce Tingler: I think the number one thing is that we're running him out there every day. He should be close to around 200 at-bats and by the end of this year, it should be close to 250 depending on if we make the playoffs or not.

I think the one thing for Solis – as talented as he is – I think the best thing for him is having to compete every day. We run him out there and if he says he's sore, I'm like, ‘Hey, you've got to play at 85 percent.' That's part of the process of their maturing and learning how to play every day. The goal isn't to get our guys to play 72 games or 140. It's getting them to play 162.

Cole: Solis played in the Arizona League last year, but he's obviously down in the Dominican Summer League this season. Was part of that decision just trying to get him into a comfort zone by letting him play at home again?

Tingler: Yeah, I think so. I think there were some things where we needed to touch up on him. A couple of things in his development – just some fundamental stuff that he needed to work on and he understood that. It worked out with having a third baseman at Arizona – Yannie [Johan Yan] – and some other guys. I think they were worried about getting him the attention and the playing time that he needs. I think that was part of the process and he has handled it very well. We look forward to seeing what he does next year, no doubt.

Cole: I know last year, Leonel De Los Santos went to Arizona for about a week after playing in the DSL. Is there a chance that a player could make a similar move this year?

Tingler: We had Alejandro Selen, who is a second baseman. He went over there and he's doing ok. He was red hot for us at the time and I think they had an injury at second base, so Selen went over.

There is maybe another guy to go over for a playoff run. We have a Cuban pitcher – Reinier Bermudez – who has been outstanding. We've had him up to 96-97 [mph]. He's a guy, if we can get the visa passport situation straightened out, I would think he would have a chance.

I'd also say that since we're in the playoff hunt, I think the kids have worked hard to get to this point. I would think that we're going to try and keep that group together and see if we can win this thing.

Cole: You mentioned Bermudez. When was he signed? At 23-years-old, he's kind of an older guy for the DSL.

Tingler: We signed him – it was probably six or seven weeks ago. Now we're trying to get some visa passport stuff straightened out. If everything goes smooth, which I think it will, that will be a call of Scott Servais and Rick Adair and stuff like that. Scott Servais is down here this week getting to see some of our guys, which is outstanding. That will be their decision.

Cole: At this point, does the organization see Bermudez as more of a starting pitcher or is he likely to end up in the bullpen?

Tingler: We've used him as both this year. We have used him as a starter – we've got his pitch count up to 90 in two starts. Now we've moved him into the back end of our bullpen. Again, that will be a decision for Scott and them. We just want to make sure the kid has the experience in both so whatever is presented in front of him, he will be able to handle it.

Cole: The Rangers announced this season's international signees the other day. Are any of those guys going to see any time in the DSL before this season is over?

Tingler: I do not know if they will go over there for instructs. That will be a deal with A.J. and Scott Servais. But we have created a third team and those kids are playing three times a week. They're practicing every day and they are starting our weightlifting program, our long toss program. Our goal is to get these guys 15 to 20 games, make sure they understand our weightlifting program, what we expect from them, and make sure they understand the rules. When they fly into our instructional program down here in November, we want them to be really right in the middle of our experience and they aren't learning anything. We want it already learned.

Cole: One guy that has great numbers over there is outfielder Juan Polanco. Can you tell me a little about his game?

Tingler: This is a kid, 17 – I think he's going to turn 18 here in a month. This is one of the kids we're so excited about. He's a five-tool guy. He's a 17-year-old that hit his league leading eighth home run today. Like I said, five tools, he can really go get it in the outfield, he runs very well. I don't know how to compare him because, to be honest with you, I've only been doing this two years. But I have never seen a 17-year-old with the tools that he has.

When we got him, he was very raw. He had those tools. After his first 100 at-bats, our hitting coach made one adjustment with him after he was hitting about .175 with 100 at-bats. His next 100 have been outstanding with quite a few doubles. I think he got his average up to .280 or .285 after today's game. I said that he hit his eighth home run. He's just playing some really good baseball.

Cole: How rare is it to have a guy that young, especially in the DSL, that already has developed that much home run power?

Tingler: It's very rare. Some of the leaders on that home run list, they are 19- and 20-year-old kids. I love the fact that a 17-year-old has shown the ability to just be able to put the ball in play. He is drawing walks. He had a lot of strikeouts early. But one thing that is good to see out of a 17-year-old kid is after that 100 at-bats, he made his adjustment. It's tough to find a 17-year-old that will be able to do that. His at-bats are so much more competitive and it's exciting having him at the plate. Something big is usually going to happen once a game, whether it's a rocket at somebody, over the fence, a double, or whatever. He's one of our most exciting players.

Cole: Is there a chance that he could get a trip to U.S. instructs this year?

Tingler: I would think there would be a good opportunity for him after what he's shown he can do. I would think that would be a guy that Scott and A.J. would really be pushing for over there.

Cole: Ezequiel Rijo is another guy. He's 17-years-old and has great numbers this season. Can you talk about him as a pitcher?

Tingler: We signed him as a young 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, 178-pound guy. We put him on the long toss program here, put him in the weight room, and he's up to 197 now. He has got that V shape in the shoulders. Just a big kid.

He's just a strike-thrower, that's what he is. He throws three pitches – a fastball at 88-92, he has touched 93 or 94 one or two times. But he mixes three pitches well, which is nice to see a young pitcher be able to command a changeup and be able to throw a curveball for a strike. He does a great job of keeping batters off-balance.

Cole: Is there anybody we haven't discussed that you feel really deserves to be mentioned in an interview like this?

Tingler: I think our pitching staff. We have eight or nine guys that can really run the radar gun up. Anyenil Mendoza is another kid – he's an 18-year-old who has really come along nice. He may be our most talented pitcher out of all the young guys we have down here. He's 94-95 with a really good secondary curveball. He's working on his changeup right now. He is very explosive.

Guillermo Pimentel is an outfielder that played down here last year and took his lumps a little bit – learning. He has come along so much. I believe he's close to .300 and he's got a couple of home runs. He should have close to 20 stolen bases. The 20 stolen bases – he's not your typical base stealer. He's 6-foot-2, 200-pounds that has got some power.

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