Tracking Progress of Rangers Prospects in Arizona Fall League
Following the end of the 2013 season, the Texas Rangers sent seven players from the minor league organization to participate in the Arizona Fall League.
The Arizona Fall League is a chance for some of an organization's top prospects to get a little extra work in. In other cases, it's a chance for a few players to make a name for themselves from October to November.
Here is a look at the players who Texas sent to the Arizona Fall League to play for the Surprise Saguaros.
Track the games of the Surprise Saguaros right here.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro
Fall League Stats: .423/.414/.952, 1 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBI, 8 R
Jorge Alfaro is the top prospect in the Rangers' organization and is performing like a top player for the Surprise Saguaros.
Through seven games this season, Alfaro leads all Saguaros with a .423 average and has the third most RBI with six.
With only 31 games on the schedule, the Saguaros have to find time to get Alfaro and fellow catcher Michael Ohlman a shot to play, which is part of the reason Alfaro has played in seven of the team's 12 games this season.
Check in on the Saguaros throughout the remainder of the season to see how Alfaro fares through the remainder of the fall league.
First Baseman Brett Nicholas
Fall League Stats: .130/.167/.384, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R
Through six games and 19 at-bats, Nicholas has registered just three hits and one RBI while striking out five times. He has been unable to produce at the high level that the Rangers saw out of him while with the RoughRiders, but there's still time for him to turn it around before season's end.
Nicholas has a lot of talent and is a bit of a veteran as a 25-year-old minor leaguer. He'll likely get a chance to earn a spot with the Rangers in spring training regardless of how his time in the fall league turns out, but a jump in his numbers before the brief season ends would be a pleasant sight.
Second Baseman Ryan Rua
Fall League Stats: .115/.233/.349, 2 RBI, 6 R
Ryan Rua had a number of highs and lows last season, splitting time with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads and Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. He had a career-high 32 home runs last season and 91 RBI, but he struggled to hit for average, in large part due to his high strikeout rate.
Rua hit .247 last season in the minors with a .347 on-base percentage, striking out a total of 115 times. Unfortunately, Rua has seen his average fall off drastically through his first seven games, while maintaining his high strikeout rate.
Like Nicholas, Rua has done little to contribute to the Saguaros early on this fall and could improve in just about every area of his game right now. He has just three hits in 26 at-bats and has reached base a grand total of six times.
Ironically enough, it seems like just about every time Rua does get on base, he manages to score. His six runs scored are good for the second most runs scored of any player on the Saguaros right now.
Hopefully Rua will improve on his numbers before his time with the Saguaros is up. A display of some home run power would be a good start for the hard-hitting second baseman.
Pitcher Keone Kela
Fall League Stats: 1 G, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 1 SO, 1 BB
Keone Kela made his first appearance for the Surprise Saguaros on October 22, leaving little to be said about how he has performed this fall.
Once 2013 came to an end, his numbers between all three clubs totaled 27 relief appearances, a 5-4 record and a 3.46 ERA. In addition to his decent record and ERA, Kela is also a strikeout machine. Through 39 innings, Kela struck out 52 batters, good for a ratio of 12 strikeouts per nine innings.
He walked only 15 batters last season but could look to cut down just a bit on his average of 3.5 walks per nine innings.
Check back in on Kela at the end of the fall season to get a better gauge on his offseason performances.
Pitcher Will Lamb
Fall League Stats: 2 GS, 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 5.1 IP, 6 SO, 5 BB
The start to the Arizona Fall League hasn't been too kind to pitcher Will Lamb. In both his starts, Lamb failed to pitch past the third inning and has given up eight earned runs.
Lamb can't seem to get anybody out at this point. Opposing hitters are hitting .393 off him right now, and when he isn't giving up hits, he's walking almost one batter per inning.
It's no surprise that he's struggling right now given that his 2013 season with the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans was less than impressive.
He made 39 appearances for the Pelicans last season, starting only one game, which could be part of the reason he has struggled thus far. With the Pelicans, Lamb went 5-3 with a 5.17 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 69.2 innings while walking 39.
Right now Lamb looks like one of those guys who Texas sent to the fall league with the hopes of him working out some issues in his game. Here's hoping he can turn it around before the Saguaros break camp and head home for the winter.
Pitcher Nick McBride
Fall League Stats: 4 G, 1-0, 10.13 ERA, 5.1 IP, 6 SO, 4 BB
Nick McBride is another pitcher who has struggled with the Saguaros this fall. Through four games, McBride has struggled to the tune of a 10.13 ERA, posting one win in four relief appearances.
His best appearance so far came in his last outing where he pitched two innings in relief, striking out three hitters while giving up two hits and no runs.
McBride is due for something good to come his way. His 2013 season was one to be forgotten to say the least. He went 2-12 last year, spending time with the Triple-A Round Rock Express, Double-A Frisco RoughRiders and Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
After starting 2013 with the highest minor league team in Texas' organization, McBride backtracked all the way to Single-A. Hopefully he can improve on his numbers this fall and work his way back to the Triple-A club for the start of 2014.
Pitcher Matt West
Fall League Stats: 4 G, 4.91 ERA, 3.2 IP, 4 SO, 3 BB
In three of his appearances, West pitched one scoreless inning each time, allowing just one hit while striking out three. He gave up two earned runs on October 17, when he pitched just 0.2 innings, striking out one hitter while walking two and giving up a homer.
After originally being drafted as a third baseman out of high school in 2007, West turned to pitching in 2011, leaving a lot of room for the young righty to develop. For now, just look to see if West can stay healthy this offseason before heading into the 2014 campaign.
Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZacharyKrueger
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