Name: Rangel Ravelo
Height/Weight: 6’2’’, 220
How Acquired: Acquired from the Chicago White Sox along with Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley and Chris Bassitt in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa
Thanks to a wrist injury, Rangel Ravelo didn’t get to make the first impression he had hoped to make with his new organization last season. However, a solid second half and a standout winter in Venezuela have Ravelo poised to make a push to the big leagues in 2016.
Ravelo was the least well-known member of the package of players the A’s received from the Chicago White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija deal before the 2015 season. A native of Cuba, Ravelo was the White Sox 6th-round pick in 2010 out of a Florida high school. Ravelo rose steadily through the White Sox’s system, but didn’t receive much national attention as a prospect.
Rangel Ravelo 2015 stats
The A’s liked what they saw from Ravelo offensively, however. At age 22, Ravelo hit .309/.386/.473 in 133 games for Double-A Birmingham. Ravelo reached double-digits in homeruns (11) for the first time and posted a 56:77 BB:K.
The plan had been to send Ravelo to Triple-A for his age-23 season, but he started experiencing wrist pain early in spring training. Before camp even ended, Ravelo had surgery on his wrist. He missed the first half of the season. When he was finally healthy in June, there wasn’t an immediate opening for Ravelo in Nashville. The A’s sent him to Double-A Midland, where he saw regular at-bats in July. He hit .318/.378/.477 with two homers in 22 games for the RockHounds before earning a promotion to Nashville for the remainder of the season.
Ravelo didn’t hit for much power during his first stint in Triple-A. In 28 games, he batted .277/.324/.376 with a homer. His K-rate rose while his walk-rate declined with the Sounds. He finished the year with a combined .304/.377/.439 slashline in 214 games for the A’s Rookie League team, Midland and Nashville.
Ravelo was able to make-up many of the at-bats he lost to the wrist injury with a stint in the Venezuelan winter league. He was one of the top players in the VWL, posting a .354/.480/.562 slashline in 178 at-bats for the Cardenales de Lara. Ravelo dominated the league, homering eight times and posting a 41:32 BB:K. He even overcame a dislocated finger that he suffered during a fight that broke out after he was beaned.
When the A’s acquired Ravelo, there had been some talk of having him split his time defensively between first base (where he had played the majority of his innings while in the White Sox system) and third base (where he began his career). With the wrist injury cutting into his development time, Ravelo remained at first and DH throughout the 2015 season and split his time between first and DH this winter.
There is no question that Ravelo’s value lies mostly with his bat, regardless of whether he ends up playing some at the hot corner or remains exclusively at first base. He has outstanding bat control and the ability to hit for average. His power has yet to emerge fully, but he is starting to show signs that he can reach the seats on a more regular basis. If one combines his 2015 minor league and winter league seasons, Ravelo collected 11 homers in 392 at-bats while batting .327.
“Rangel is definitely a good hitter. He is a good prospect who is off-the-radar a little bit,” A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens said. “Rangel has a very efficient swing. He uses the whole field. He is strong enough to eventually have power. He’s definitely a hitter, first and foremost.”
Where Ravelo fits into the A’s long-term picture remains to be seen. He is part of a logjam of top prospects in the upper-levels of the A’s system that play the corner infield positions. Of that group, Ravelo is the least likely to settle in anywhere other than first base, which puts him at some disadvantage. However, Ravelo’s bat is advanced enough that he might be the first of the group to force his way to the big leagues this season. Despite being a right-handed hitter, Ravelo has always hit right-handed pitching well, so he doesn’t need to be platooned.
On a team without veterans Billy Butler and Yonder Alonso set to receive the bulk of the playing time at first base and DH, Ravelo would have a strong chance of making the A’s roster out of spring training. With those two on the roster, however, Ravelo’s chances are fairly slim at the outset of the season. This will be Ravelo’s second option year. The A’s will be juggling a lot of players at first, third and DH in Nashville to start the 2016 season, but Ravelo will be one of the main cogs in that mix.