Rangers Winterball Roundup – 10/17

Garcia had a three-hit effort

Gigantes del Cibao leadoff hitter and shortstop Leury Garcia contributed to his team's victory on Wednesday with two singles and a double. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action in the Texas Rangers' system.

Arizona Fall League: Surprise 7 – Phoenix 3
5-3, 0.0 GU


Playing on his 20th birthday, DH Hanser Alberto helped lead the Saguaros to another victory behind his perfect day at the plate. The Dominican Republic native produced a triple, two singles, and a hit-by pitch in four plate appearances. He also stole a base and scored two runs.

Through four Fall League games, Alberto is 4-for-13 (.308) with a triple, a walk, and a strikeout.

Talented prospect Luis Sardinas got the start at second base and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a base on balls. He is 4-for-12 (.333) in three games.

Featuring his usual 88-91 mph fastball, righty reliever Ryan Rodebaugh yielded a run on three hits in 1.2 innings. He struck out two without issuing a walk.

While Rodebaugh pitched mostly with his fastball and 79-82 mph slider, he mixed in one big-breaking 72 mph curveball. Both of his punchouts on Wednesday came looking on 90-91 mph fastballs.

Although the 23-year-old Rodebaugh doesn't have an overpowering fastball or a wipeout secondary pitch, his deception and ability to locate three pitches down in the zone intrigues some scouts. During the regular season this year, Rodebaugh posted a 2.44 ERA and fanned 62 batters (while walking 10) in 51.2 innings at Double-A Frisco.

Southpaw reliever Jimmy Reyes closed out the game with a blank ninth inning, working around one hit and striking out one. His fastball ranged between 90-92 mph, per the Surprise Stadium pitch f/x data.



Dominican Winter League


In true winterball fashion, Wednesday's nine-inning game between Licey and the Estrellas Orientales featured 21 pitchers and took four hours and twenty-seven minutes to complete.

The contest pitted a pair of 2012 Round Rock Express hurlers against each other in the Estrellas' Derek Hankins and the Tigres' Chad Bell. But the starters weren't long for the night, as they combined to cough up nine runs in two total innings.

The 23-year-old Bell was unable to command his upper-80s fastball, constantly missing up and away to right-handed hitters. As a result, he threw 40 pitches while recording only two outs in the first inning. Bell gave up four runs (three earned) on three hits while walking three and striking out two.

Hankins, who is set to become a minor league free agent, was tagged for five runs on six hits in 1.1 innings.

Licey centerfielder Leonys Martin, another regular-season member of the Round Rock Express, launched a two-run homer off Hankins in the first inning. Overall, the Cuba native was 2-for-4 with that home run, a walk, and four runs batted in. He also picked up his second outfield assist in three games by gunning down a runner at home plate.

Engel Beltre, who got the start in right field, added a single and a hit-by pitch in four plate appearances.

Slugging Rangers prospect Mike Olt made his winterball debut as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. With Licey trailing 9-8, Martin drew a one-out walk but Olt bounced into a game-ending double play.

According to Dominican sportswriter Daniel Rufenacht, Olt is expected to play with Licey until November 21. Listed on the Tigres' roster as an outfielder, Olt will likely play both in the corner outfield and at first base with the Dominican club.

Gigantes del Cibao leadoff hitter Leury Garcia set the table in his team's 4-1 victory by going 3-for-4 with a double. He also committed his second fielding error at shortstop in as many games.

The switch-hitting Garcia is 5-for-9 with a double and a home run in two winterball contests. He hit the double as a right-handed hitter and the homer as a lefty.



Venezuelan Winter League


Young outfielder Eduard Pinto, who recently finished playing at the Rangers' fall instructional league in Arizona, made a ninth-inning pinch-hit appearance on Wednesday. The 17-year-old prospect struck out in his only at-bat.

While Pinto is extremely young and somewhat small at 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, he's an intriguing prospect with an advanced feel for hitting. Pinto was the Dominican Summer League's 2012 batting champion, hitting .396 with 13 doubles, a triple, and a home run in 56 games. He also drew 31 walks and struck out just 13 times.

It will be interesting to see if the Rangers allow Pinto to continue playing winterball in Venezuela. He could be set to attend the club's Dominican instructional league, which kicks off later this month.



Liga Paralela (Venezuela Minor League)


Caimanes leadoff hitter and centerfielder Diego Cedeno went 0-for-3 but drew two walks, was hit by a pitch, stole a base, and had an RBI in his team's 6-4 victory.

The 20-year-old Cedeno played this past season with the DSL Rangers, his third campaign in the Dominican Summer League. A left-handed outfielder, he posted a .256/.365/.322 slash line in 69 contests.

Another DSL Rangers veteran, La Guaira second baseman/centerfielder Alex Gonzalez, also batted leadoff for his team. Gonzalez was 1-for-4 with a hit-by pitch, an RBI, and three stolen bases.

Tiburones first baseman Jhonny Gomez had a single and a walk in four trips. He also committed an error. Through five Liga Paralela games, Gomez is 8-for-18 (.444) with a double, two homers, two walks, and one strikeout.

Playing against Gomez's Tiburones club, shortstop Edwin Garcia (0/3, BB) and catcher Tomas Telis (0/4) both went hitless while getting the start for Caracas. Santiago Chirino appeared as a late-inning defensive replacement (at shortstop, a position he hadn't played since 2009) for Garcia and singled in his only plate appearance.



Mexican Pacific League


No Rangers appeared in Mexico on Wednesday.



World Baseball Classic Qualifiers


Qualification for the 2013 World Baseball Classic began on September 19, when two of the four qualifying round groups were played. Spain and Canada each won their respective group and earned a spot in next year's Classic.

The Spanish and Canadian squads each feature one Rangers prospect. For Spain, it's outfielder Engel Beltre, who was actually born in the Dominican Republic and lived in the United States for a period while growing up. Regardless, Beltre is eligible to play for the Spanish side. Playing as the club's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, the 22-year-old prospect went 6-for-16 (.375) with a triple in four games. He also drew four walks, was hit by a pitch, and stole three bases.

Rangers catching prospect Kellin Deglan is the youngest player on Team Canada's squad by two and a half years. Working as the club's backup catcher, Deglan appeared in one game as a defensive replacement but didn't get a plate appearance.

Left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier made two appearances for Israel, who finished as runners-up to Spain in Qualifier 1. Bleier tossed one hitless, scoreless inning between the two games, working around a pair of walks.

In other international baseball news involving Rangers prospects, infielder Nick Urbanus recently competed in the 2012 European Baseball Championship. Although Urbanus played well, his Dutch side fell to Italy in the title game. But over nine games, Urbanus was 11-for-28 (.393) at the plate with a double, two triples, three walks, and eight runs batted in. He saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base during the tournament.



Puerto Rican Winter League


Begins November 8.



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