August 2007

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 22, 2007

Righthander Edinson Volquez took the hill last night in New Orleans rather than in Baltimore, and to his credit he responded well to a situation in which a young player whose head wasn’t right with ball might have cratered, improving his AAA record to 6-1, 1.60 as he shut the Zephyrs out on two singles (one of which was bunted) and three walks in seven innings, punching out eight. His groundout-to-flyout rate was a misleading 7-to-6; four of the “flyouts” were popped up to the mound or the catcher. In other words, two of his 21 outs left the infield.

I think Erik Bedard had a dozen or two strikeouts in that game, too.

P.S. There are actually four offenses in the American League whose OPS against left-handed pitching is lower than that of the Rangers. Even more astounding is the fact that two of them belong to Baltimore and Minnesota, given the fact that they get a reprieve from having to face one of Bedard or Johan Santana.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 20, 2007

I wrote this back on January 27, 2006:

=============================================

You might argue that it’s unfair for that the local press to make a story out of the fact that Juan Dominguez missed a flight to Rangers mini-camp this week, especially since he still managed to make it to Arlington on schedule, and that he was carrying 15 pounds more than the organization wants him to, given that the games won’t count for another 10 weeks.

You might instead argue that Dominguez, based on his track record, has waived the right to have stories like that overlooked by the media.

I have moments where I fall into each camp. But it doesn’t change the fact that a development like this makes me mad.

It makes me mad because I want Dominguez to get it right. He’s as skillful as any pitcher on the staff, among the most talented pitchers this organization has ever developed. I want him to recognize how gifted he is and realize how tragic it would be if he didn’t do everything he could to make the most of his gifts.

It makes me mad because I’m afraid the club might run out of patience with Dominguez — and I’m not suggesting they should — and give up on him.

It makes me mad because it feels almost inescapable at this point that Dominguez is going to disappoint us, one way or another. Either because he won’t fulfill his potential, or he’ll fulfill it in another uniform.

It upsets me a lot, because I want Dominguez to be dependable, to be focused, to want to be as good as I want him to be. I don’t know if it’s an issue of emotional maturity or genetic wiring, and I wonder whether, in either case, he can change. And don’t get me wrong — missing a flight this week isn’t why I feel this way, or why I’m writing this today. Neither is the weight issue. Those two matters surfacing in the paper this week simply serve as a reminder that the greatness that Dominguez is capable of — at least in my opinion — seems to be something we all want for him much worse than he wants it. I don’t know — maybe we want it more than Dominguez can want it for himself.

=============================================

Here’s where the above is inapplicable as far as Edinson Volquez is concerned.

Volquez hasn’t tried anyone’s patience to nearly the extent that Dominguez did.

And I don’t get the sense that Volquez is bound to disappoint us.

But a lot of the rest of it applies. The talent is there. The accountability has been all season, a key component of the organization’s unconventional program for him in 2007, a program that he had bought into with the flyingest of colors, but on the doorstep of a return to the big leagues that might even be considered triumphant, it lapsed. And that’s inexcusable. Showing up late for work two months into a four-month rebuilding would have been bad enough. Doing so knowing he was two days away from his first big league appearance of the year is just about unthinkable.

I was as excited as anyone to see Volquez continue the progression in Baltimore tomorrow night. But what kind of message would it send to John Rheinecker and Kameron Loe, not to mention Eric Hurley and Armando Galarraga and Michael Schlact and Evan Reed and Neftali Feliz and Wilmer Font and a hundred others, if the Rangers overlooked Sunday’s incident and put a big league ball in Volquez’s hand on Tuesday?

Volquez pitched right behind Dominguez in the Rangers rotation for a brief period in 2005. This is no time for him to follow Dominguez once again, and I don’t think he will. Volquez has earned a ton of credit for what he has accomplished since March, buying into the organization’s unusual, gutsy program. He has taken a lot of hard lessons this year and accepted them, learned from them, and capitalized on them, in a professional manner.

For the Rangers’ sake, for Volquez’s sake, and for yours and mine, I sure hope he responds well to this lesson too, without having to reflect like this on the indignity with which Juan Dominguez treated his own career.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — AUGUST 20, 2007

According to multiple local reports, RHP Edinson Volquez has been scratched from tomorrow’s start in Baltimore for breaking a team rule. Volquez reportedly arrived late for his side work yesterday in New Orleans, claiming he overslept, and as a result the Rangers, despite acknowledging the righthander’s remorse, are delaying his recall, likely until September.

Jamey

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 18, 2007 — The Harold Carmichael Edition

Some quick hits today.

Nice line for Jamey Wright, but a signal outage due to the rain prevented me from seeing the game, and since I still can’t bring myself to watch Wright pitch under even ideal conditions, it’s just as well.  Just hearing the game’s final pitch was grueling enough.

Kason Gabbard?  Now that’s a guy I can watch pitch.  Twelve groundouts and four flyouts coaxed from a guy who was fighting through less-than-ideal health.

Eric Gagné: Unbelievable.  At this point, isn’t the question of whether he makes Boston’s post-season roster a legitimate one?

Jarrod Saltalamacchia sits at .193/.233/.298, with some rough spots defensively.  Am I worried?  Not really.  One-third of the 30 players the Rangers signed from this summer’s draft are older than Saltalamacchia is.

Eager to see better?  Yes.  Concerned?  No.

Will Carroll on Brandon McCarthy’s injury: "There’s not a lot in the way of comparables when it comes to scapula fractures in pitchers.  You have your good comp in Jarrod Washburn, and your bad comp in Kurt Ainsworth.  Brandon McCarthy’s injury will wind up somewhere on that scale, though most indications we’re getting from the Rangers say that this was caught early.  In what’s been a disappointing season for both team and player, this injury is almost symbolic.  It’s a singular, freakish injury that couldn’t be anticipated or prevented, and one for which we have little or no guidance going forward.  The Rangers are playing for next year already, so they have no reason to push anything this season.  McCarthy’s likely done for the year, unless he pushes to get in a psychological victory."

It’s dangerous thinking, but does Texas have the firepower in prospects at this point to start a casual dialogue with Minnesota or Cincinnati about Mr. Santana or Mr. Dunn?  As long as Eric Hurley (in the Twins’ case) and Saltalamacchia or Gerald Laird (in the Reds’ case) are open for discussion, isn’t there now enough depth in legitimate prospects behind them to at least have a conversation-starter?   

I don’t want to see Hurley in Arlington in September.  The upside would be getting him acclimated to the big league culture, traveling with the team, getting plenty of dugout chalk talk in during games, and so on.  And I’m not worried about the workload, because that could be managed (Michael Young came up in 2000 and got two at-bats; Ben Kozlowski came up in 2002 and got two starts, spanning 10 innings).  But there’s simply no sense taking up another spot on the off-season roster, since Hurley can’t be drafted via Rule 5 this winter.  Especially with the roster spot given to Julio Borbon this week.

There’s no pitcher in the system I’m more excited about, but let’s have him in camp in February on a non-roster invite, and look forward to his debut in Texas sometime next season.

Righthander Edinson Volquez (5-1, 1.89 with Oklahoma and 13-6, 4.03 for the season, 150 strikeouts and 55 walks in 131.2 innings) is unofficially slated to make his first big league appearance of the year on Tuesday, when he should get the start in Baltimore.

Chris Davis (31) and John Mayberry Jr. (30) are third and fifth in all of minor league baseball in home runs.  Taylor Teagarden has 22 homers, German Duran 21, Nate Gold and Mauro Gomez 20 each.  Saltalamacchia was going deep every fourth game for AA Mississippi before being called up to Atlanta in May.  Max Ramirez has 15 jacks in just 95 games between the Cleveland and Texas systems.  With another three weeks of play to go, the Rangers’ farm system has amassed nearly 40 more homers than it did last year (514 to 476), but more importantly, there’s a larger group of potential bombers coming up than the Rangers have had in a while.

Righthander Armando Galarraga (9-6, 4.02, 114 strikeouts in 127.2 innings with Frisco) was promoted to Oklahoma, replacing the DL’d Robinson Tejeda (quad injury).  He was solid last night (one run on seven hits and three walks in 6.2 innings, striking out eight as he earned the win over Channel 8 sports reporter Erin Hawksworth’s brother Blake), as were Frisco’s Michael Schlact, Clinton’s Kasey Kiker, Spokane’s Fabio Castillo, and AZL phenom Carlos Pimentel.

I can’t wait these days to open Scott Lucas’s farm reports, which is, in equal parts, a credit to his outstanding writing and the confidence I have that there are going to be half a dozen pitching and hitting performances that will get my day started on a good note.

And that includes Spokane catcher Jonathan Greene, who is hitting .282/.387/.571 with 11 home runs (second in the Northwest League to teammate Ian Gac) and 42 RBI (fifth in the league) in just 43 games.  The Rangers’ eighth-round pick in June, Greene is second in the league in slugging and OPS, and he remains virtually anonymous, even in spaces like this one, which is basically a testament to how many good things are happening in this system right now.

Reliever Brennan Garr, in his first full pro season, has earned a promotion to Frisco.  Between Clinton and Bakersfield this year, the righthander has a 1.95 ERA with these ridiculous peripherals: 34 hits (.172 opponents’ average) and 22 walks in 55.1 innings, 70 strikeouts, three home runs, 80 percent of his pitches for strikes, twice as many groundouts as flyouts.

 

Bakersfield shortstop Elvis Andrus (.333/.382/.397 since arriving) not only has hits in 12 of his 15 Blaze games — the 18-year-old has multiple hits in six of his last 10 games (17 for 42), and has struck out just once in that span.

Arizona League 17-year-olds Pimentel, Wilmer Font, and Geuris Grullon: 83.2 innings, 73 hits, 41 walks, 111 strikeouts.

Nineteen-year-old outfielder Miguel Velzaquez (.330/.381/.489 in the Arizona League) hasn’t played since July 24.  According to Baseball America, the Rangers placed the 2006 19th-rounder on the suspended list.

The Rangers have signed Venezuelan lefthander Martin Perez ($580,000), Dominican shortstop Wilson Suero ($558,000), Venezuelan shortstop Tomas Telis ($140,000), and Venezuelan outfielder Edward Ceballo ($105,000).  According to Baseball America, the 16-year-old Perez was considered the top lefty on the international market this year.

I was trying to think of the most compelling way to describe what Houston accomplished with its draft this year.  No need; Scott says it all right here.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that Sammy Sosa has cleared revocable waivers, meaning he can be traded this month to any team.  There’s nothing surprising in that report.

Righthander Jake Rasner is now 5-9, 6.52 in 24 starts for Low A Kannapolis.  The Rangers sent him to the White Sox in the McCarthy trade.

Righthander Ryan Dittfurth is 6-5, 3.74 for the Sussex Skyhawks of the independent Can-Am League.  He’s third in the league with 98 strikeouts (in 110.2 innings).  In his last start he fired a two-single shutout, punching out 11 without a walk.

The Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the independent Northern League released righthander Reggie Rivard.

There.  That’s the equivalent of hitting Harold Carmichael on a quick out on the first play from scrimmage, cheaply keeping his consecutive-games-with-a-reception streak alive.

Eight straight days with a Newberg Report.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 17, 2007

Some things you should understand about the signing of Julio Borbon to a major league contract:

1. According to Major League Rule 11(c), a player who goes into a season having exhausted three options in less than five pro seasons gets a fourth option. Generally speaking, then, any player who signs a big league contract right out of school or Latin America (Mark Teixeira, Mark Prior, Josh Beckett, Wily Mo Pena) will have four options. Borbon fits that category.

2. Chances are Borbon won’t use up his first option in 2007. Even though he’s on the 40-man roster and his assignment to Spokane constitutes an optional assignment, there are two rules that I believe would give the Rangers the ability to avoid an option. First, if a player is sent down to the minor leagues but recalled before 20 days expire, the club doesn’t exhaust an option.

A couple examples: Texas purchased the contracts of righthanders Juan Dominguez (in August 2003) and Scott Feldman (in August 2005) when neither was previously on the 40-man roster. Both were then sent back to the farm later in the month but then recalled before 20 days had elapsed (and not returned thereafter during the season in question). Since their optional assignments lasted fewer than 20 days, no option was exhausted.

Spokane’s season ends on September 5 (though the division-leading Indians are heading toward a playoff berth). If the Borbon assignment was effective yesterday, he will be on the roster for a possible 20 regular-season days. When Dominguez was recalled in September 2003, he was pitching for a Frisco club that was in the midst of a playoff run. So don’t be surprised if Borbon is recalled in the first few days of September, even if he’s helping Spokane in its drive for the post-season.

There is a provision that allows a team to procedurally recall a player with instructions not to actually report. I’m not sure if this has ramifications as far as big league service is concerned.

3. The second mechanism that might come into play in terms of keeping the Rangers from burning an option on Borbon is also found in Rule 11(c), but I’m not actually sure whether it would apply in this case. The provision dictates that a player who is active for fewer than 90 days in a minor league season doesn’t actually accrue a season of service, which effectively wipes away any option that was used on him. Plus, I believe that a season spent solely in a short-season league doesn’t count as a year of service for purposes of that provision anyway, in which case Borbon’s time in Spokane would not trigger an option.

Also, by the way, a player on optional assignment to the minor leagues who is active for fewer than 90 days by virtue of an injury is not officially optioned. Lefthander John Rheinecker was active for fewer than 90 days in 2005 due to a finger injury, and so the option Oakland used on him that year didn’t count, and as a result he had one final option this year. Similarly, righthander Rob Bell missed most of the 1999 season due to injury while still in the Cincinnati system, which gave Texas an option to use on him in 2002.

4. If no 2007 option is used on Borbon, which is the likely outcome, he will therefore have options in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, and will need to be in the big leagues for good in 2012. Shouldn’t be prohibitive. Borbon will turn 26 during spring training 2012.

Stated another way: giving a big league contract to a 21-year-old college position player is dramatically different from giving a big league contract to an 18-year-old high school pitcher. If Borbon still needs farm time when he’s 26, he won’t be worth protecting any longer anyway.

5. One way in which giving a big league contract to any draftee impacts the organization is that it instantly turns the 40-man roster into a 39-man roster, essentially. There are usually a couple roster spots necessarily devoted to players who can’t reasonably be expected to help the big club that season (Armando Galarraga, for example), but in Borbon’s case there’s almost no scenario under which he can be envisioned to help for a couple years, and his occupancy on the roster conceivably exposes a prospect to the Rule 5 draft the next couple winters who would otherwise be protected. It shouldn’t be a factor this winter, relatively speaking, but there’s a deeper list of new roster candidates following the 2008 season.

6. The Borbon contract and requisite placement on the 40-man roster have no impact on his arbitration or free agency timetables. Those are based on accrued service time in the big leagues.

7. The Rangers and Borbon agreed to terms right up against Wednesday’s deadline and as a result didn’t go through the process of a physical exam. Teams can generally void deals with draft picks based on a failed physical, but that’s not allowed with a major league deal like Borbon got. Texas is confident, however, that there are no residual issues with the left ankle fracture he sustained in January, costing him two months before he got his junior season underway.

I’m on record saying that a plus defender in center field who can contribute something offensively is right at the top of my wish list for this winter. I’m also on record saying that I have my doubts as to whether Borbon projects to fit that description himself down the road. (June 2: “Not so crazy about the idea of Tennessee center fielder Julio Borbon, who has had issues at the plate this year, hasn’t worked enough deep counts for a leadoff prospect, and doesn’t throw well. Don’t mind taking a shot on someone like that, but I’d rather see 17 and 24 devoted elsewhere. Borbon probably isn’t around at pick 35, but if he is, then sure, take a chance there.”)

Having taken that chance at pick 35, the thing I like most about Texas getting a deal done with Borbon is that it might serve as one more exhibit supporting the case against devoting at least five years and maybe $15 million annually to 32-year-old center fielder Torii Hunter. I’d be a lot happier with a shorter term and fewer dollars given to 29-year-old Aaron Rowand, or even a contract for 34-year-old Mike Cameron, who would command only two or three years. Use the money saved in center field and instead earmark it for a better long-term offensive solution than Hunter elsewhere in the lineup, and for rotation help.

And then we can see whether Brandon Boggs has forced his way into the picture. Maybe Engel Beltre will be knocking on the door himself.

And within a couple years Borbon will be in the mix, unless he plays his way out of contention, as his options clock will start ticking this coming spring.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — AUGUST 16, 2007

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, Texas has come to terms with supplemental first-round pick Julio Borbon on a major league deal. Interestingly, Borbon, a center fielder out of the University of Tennessee, will reportedly get a signing bonus of $800,000 – which is actually less than his slot called for – and will receive an additional $500,000 over the four-year MLB contract. Callis suggests that the reason the deal hasn’t been announced is that it still awaits Players Association approval, which is considered a formality.

The consequence of it being an MLB deal is that Borbon will go on the 40-man roster and his options timetable options clock will begin running in 2008 (assuming he is not assigned to a minor league club so soon that he’d be on option for 20 days this season). By virtue of a wrinkle in the CBA, Borbon will have four options rather than three.

Callis also reports that the bonus Neil Ramirez agreed to yesterday was $1 million, which is a bit over slot, and that the Rangers did not come to terms with fifth-round LHP John Gast or 12th-round LHP Drew Pomeranz.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

Swapping Stories: The Gorman Thomas trades of 1977 and 1978

August 20, 1977: Texas trades first baseman Ed Kirkpatrick to Milwaukee for a player to be named later; October 25, 1977: Milwaukee sends outfielder Gorman Thomas to Texas to complete the trade; February 8, 1978: Texas sells Thomas to Milwaukee.

In 1979, the Texas Rangers traded reliever Ed Farmer and first baseman Gary Holle to the White Sox for third baseman (and Ranger-killer) Eric Soderholm, and the Dallas Cowboys traded two draft picks to the Baltimore Colts for star defensive lineman John Dutton.

I was an excited 10-year-old. Players didn’t change teams as often then as they do now. Soderholm and Dutton, suddenly, were not only trading cards I owned; they were on my teams.

It was that same year when I discovered what had to be a mistake: Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Gorman Thomas, who finished seventh in the American League MVP race on the strength of 45 home runs and 123 RBI, had been traded to the Rangers in 1977. And traded back to the Brewers in 1978.

Surely what I’d seen was a typographical blunder. Those Topps cards made it clear that Thomas had been drafted by Milwaukee (nee Seattle Pilots), developed by that organization, and played only for Brewers farm clubs and Milwaukee itself. After splitting the 1973 and 1974 seasons between AAA and the big leagues, he was with the Brewers all year in 1975 and 1976. He then spent all of 1977 with the Brewers’ AAA affiliate in Spokane, before returning to Milwaukee in 1978 and remaining a fixture until a 1983 trade to Cleveland.

The difference between Thomas before and after that 1977 season on the farm was staggering. In four big league seasons prior to 1977, Thomas hit .193 in 297 games, homering 22 times. In his five Brewers seasons that followed, he hit .245 with 175 homers in 716 games, more than three times the home run frequency.

So how did Texas figure in? If he never played for the Rangers, my 10-year-old mind wondered, was it really true that Texas traded for him at some point and then inexplicably shipped him right back without ever getting him in uniform? And if so, could I somehow take credit for my team turning Thomas’s career around?

Dan O’Brien Sr., who was the Rangers’ general manager from 1974 through 1978, recalls the impetus for the move, initiated by Brewers GM Harry Dalton, that made Thomas a Ranger. “Harry and I were good friends.

“And he needed a favor.”

The 1977 season was a breakthrough year for the Rangers. They won 94 games, a total they have surpassed just once (in their third playoff season in 1999). In mid-June, four games back and in third place, Texas sent seldom-used 35-year-old first baseman Jim Fregosi to Pittsburgh for seldom-used 32-year-old first baseman Ed Kirkpatrick. The move didn’t have much of an impact. Over the course of two months, Kirkpatrick got 48 largely unproductive at-bats.

The Brewers, for some reason, called Texas two months later and, in spite of being on their way to 95 losses, said they could use Kirkpatrick. On August 20, O’Brien (whose team had been in first place the previous three days, the first time in franchise history that the Rangers held a division lead after May) agreed to send him to the Brewers for a player to be named later. In what would be the final major league action of his career, Kirkpatrick managed to get 77 Milwaukee at-bats over the season’s final six weeks.

After the season, Dalton, who still owed Texas the player to be named, asked O’Brien to help him out. The two GM’s agreed that the Kirkpatrick deal didn’t call for a significant return, but Dalton nonetheless needed to clear a roster spot over the winter. He basically asked if the Rangers would stash Thomas on their roster for a few months.

“It was purely a friendship deal,” O’Brien says.

On October 25, 1977, the Brewers sent Thomas, a big league disappointment coming off a huge AAA season (.322 with 36 homers and 114 RBI in 143 games), to Texas.

On February 8, 1978, O’Brien sold Thomas back to Dalton. That year, the 27-year-old Thomas, whose biggest home run output in four big league seasons had been 10, would go deep 32 times. Kindly, however, he only trotted around the bases twice that year against Texas, the team that had owned him – on paper – for 106 days the preceding winter.

Was that three-and-a-half month off-season stint as a Ranger responsible for Thomas’s metamorphosis into one of the league’s top home run hitters? Not even a 10-year-old kid today would come to that conclusion, but maybe since O’Brien’s son, Dan Jr., who was briefly the Rangers GM himself between the tenures of Doug Melvin and John Hart, is now Melvin’s assistant in Milwaukee, perhaps the Rangers could prevail upon the younger O’Brien to return the favor that his father extended to Dalton and the Brewers 30 years earlier.

Jamey Newberg is a contributor to MLB.com. A Dallas lawyer, he has been an insane Texas Rangers fan since the days of scheduled doubleheaders, Bat Nights when they actually handed out a piece of lumber instead of a grocery store voucher, and Jim Umbarger. He has covered the Texas Rangers, from the big club down through the entire farm system, since 1998 on his website, NewbergReport.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 16, 2007

May 25, 2007 Newberg Report:

===============================
All teams make trades and draft picks. But these are unusual circumstances of strength in those two areas for Texas. The next decade could be shaped heavily by what happens in June and July. Jon Daniels talks occasionally of the importance of maintaining (and staying faithful to) both a one-year and a five-year plan. The middle third of this season stands to impact a lot more than that.

How Daniels and his crew handle this opportunity to restock and revitalize the organization’s assets will probably define his legacy, and will almost certainly impact the ball club’s foreseeable future more than any two months in memory.
===============================

So how did it go?

June 7: Drafted RHP Blake Beavan, RHP Michael Main, CF Julio Borbon, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Tommy Hunter, IF Matt West, RHP Evan Reed, CF Garrett Nash, and LHP John Gast.

June 8: Drafted another 45 players, including C Jonathan Greene, RHP Andrew Laughter, 1B Mitch Moreland, and LHP Ryan Falcon.

June 19: Signed Main and West.

July 3: Signed Reed.

July 16: Signed Hunter.

July 27: Traded Kenny Lofton to Cleveland for C Max Ramirez.

July 31: Traded Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for C-1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Elvis Andrus, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Neftali Feliz, and LHP Beau Jones.

July 31: Traded Eric Gagné to Boston for LHP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy, and OF Engel Beltre.

August 1: Recalled DH-OF Jason Botts.

August 14: Signed Beavan and RHP Kyle O’Campo.

August 15: Signed Ramirez. Outcome unclear at the moment with regard to Borbon, Gast, and LHP Drew Pomeranz.

(And if Borbon didn’t sign, Texas will get the 36th pick in next year’s draft as compensation — since Borbon is the highest unsigned pick from this draft.)

It will be years before we can say how much this summer’s work will have impacted the success of the big club, but the system, without question, has been emphatically restocked, and revitalized.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 15, 2007

According to local reports, Rangers first-round pick Blake Beavan got approximately $1.5 million to sign, which is about $100,000 over slot.  The 6’7" righthander will head to Surprise for a strength and conditioning program, and he’ll suit up for fall instructs next month.  His first official game action won’t come until 2008.

The club is optimistic that deals will get done with supplemental first-rounders Julio Borbon and Neil Ramirez before tonight’s 10:59 p.m. signing deadline.  Talks have broken off with fourth-rounder Garrett Nash, a Utah high school outfielder headed for Oregon State, but continue with Florida high school lefthander John Gast, who fell to the fifth round because he’s coming off Tommy John surgery.  Gast has committed to Florida State.

Stay tuned for news flashes as developments warrant today.

For now, a little music while you wait:

Player     IP     H     R     ER     BB     SO     HR     ERA
Volquez 7.0    4     1       1       1      11      0      1.89

He threw 113 pitches, an extremely efficient 77 for strikes.

Volquez’s AAA numbers after last night’s effort: 5-1, 1.89 in six starts, opponents’ line of .148/.247/.203, no home runs, 50 strikeouts and 16 walks in 38 innings.

That’s some player development.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — AUGUST 14, 2007

Eric Nadel just announced on the Rangers’ radio broadcast that the Rangers have come to terms with first-round pick Blake Beavan, as well as 13th-rounder Kyle O’Campo, a righthander from Riverside Poly High School in Corona, California.

Great news on both counts. Beavan, of course, was the Rangers’ top pick in June, after going 9-2, 0.19 for Irving High this spring, striking out 139 hitters in 73.1 innings and walking only four while scattering just 23 hits. The 6’7″ righty had commitments to both the University of Oklahoma and Navarro Junior College.

O’Campo was a Cal State Fullerton recruit, ranked by Baseball America as the number 123 prospect going into the draft. Standing a slender 6’3″, he works in the low 90s with the makings of a plus slider. O’Campo went 8-0, 1.83 in 10 appearances this season.

No additional news yet on Neil Ramirez, Julio Borbon, Garrett Nash, or John Gast.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers