Weekends With Toby: Hot Stuff
Toby’s Crystal Ball: The Rangers draft will be interesting next week. They remain loaded with pitching – see Myrtle Beach – but they still could use more offense. The Rangers seemed to lean toward offense early last season, but this frachise could use some power-hitting outfielders. If the Rangers have a need in the system, it would be offensive firepower in the outfield.
Two Off-Season Moves To Review: One move made this winter that didn’t get discussed much went down on Jan. 8 when the Rangers traded pitcher Guillermo Moscoso to the Athletics for right-handed reliever Ryan Kelly.
Kelly, 23, had never pitched above low-Class A but Rangers Minor League pitching coordinator Danny Clark said the right-handed reliever has been a big surprise this season at Class A Myrtle Beach. Kelly, who is looked at as a reliever, is 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 13 games for the Pelicans but has a 3.00 ERA for May after a five-game stint in the rotation. The Rangers moved him to the rotation to get him extra work on his delivery.
“No. 1 his velocity has been 94-96 miles per hour,” Clark said. “We took him into the rotation to get him to start repeating his delivery and pitches and since we flipped him back into the bullpen, there have been a lot of positives.”
Another minor off-season transaction was signing right-hander Barret Loux, who had been the Diamondbacks No. 1 draft pick last season (sixth overall) but failed his physical because of arm issues. The Rangers signed him and so far he is staying healthy and also pitching at Myrtle Beach.
He is 4-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 starts. In 50.1 innings, he has walked 15 and struck out 56.
“Obviously because of his history, we’re really protecting him,” Clark said. “He wasn’t used to our throwing program. He has had some good games but he is inconsistent from outing to outing.”
Toby’s Honor Roll
1. Steve Busby – When he went into broadcasting, he was a play-by-play game and did well. Listening to him with Eric Nadel, he could have been one of the best analysts around if he had gone that route.
2. Colby Lewis – One of his overlooked attributes is that he doesn’t get too excited or too upset about things. He may be the most even-keeled pitcher on the Rangers staff. That may be why he weathered some tough early outings and inane criticism about his paternity leave, and is now pitching brilliantly.
3. Josh Hamilton – He trying to kick the smokeless tobacco habit.
RHP Joe Wieland – 4th round pick 2008 Draft. Weiland currently at Advanced A Myrtle Beach was twice named Carolina League pitcher of the week in May. His stats for the month: Won 4 – Lost 1, 34 IP, 22 Hits, 0 BB, 42K – 0.79 ERA (that’s not a typo).
OF Joey Butler – 15th round pick 2008 Draft. He’s certainly enjoyed his promotion to AAA Round Rock hitting a healthy .300 in 110 AB’s, 10 extra base hits, 19 runs scored and 3 stolen bases
SS Jurikson Profar – signed as a free agent. After a slow start in April, the Hickory (Low A) shortstop hit .289 in May with 16BB, 12K, 3 HR, 9 RBI – .920 OPS
Birthdays: It’s all former Rangers this week. He was traded for Einar “hair on fire” Diaz - Travis Hafner is 34 on June 3rd. Tom Hicks called him the ace Ranger fans were waiting for: Chan Ho Park turns 38 today. As far as we know he still doesn’t believe in dinosaurs – Carl Everett is 40 years old also on June 3rd. Other birthdays coming up this week: does anyone remember his short stint as a Ranger?- SS Bud Harrelson turns 67. Does anyone know where he is right now? RHP Doug Mathis celebrates No. 28. Don’t kid yourself, he had some gritty outings that helped the Rangers get into the playoffs for the first time in 1996: RHP Kevin Gross is 50 years old this week. One of the great names to pass though the Rangers OF – Scaraborough Green turns 37.
Birthday of the Week: He had an 11 year career as a catcher in the majors with 4 different teams (Astros, Cubs, Giants and Rockies). His post-player career has been pretty sucessful too as the Texas Rangers Senior Director of Player Development – Scott Servais turns 44 this week.
Toby’s Reading List - Checking out the MLB Blogosphere:
Is the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman the first to be fired this season? asks MLB writer Bill Ladson
Orioles MLB blogger Brittany Ghiroli writes about Adam Jones and “the catch”.
One of Toby’s favorites, MLB Boston beat writer Ian Browne has some advice for Boston fans – enjoy the moment in Boston sports - it’s good advice that DFW sports fans should take to heart too.
“This thing is a life-saver. It gives me something to play with when I’m bored.” — LHP Darren Oliver, playing Monopoly on his I-Pad