6-5-1, 0.5 GU
Surprise Stadium played host to the Rafters and Peoria Javelinas in Monday's Arizona Fall League night game. The contest, which ended in a tie, lasted 11 innings and four-plus hours with 15 total pitchers used.
• Rangers prospect and Rafters leadoff hitter Engel Beltre helped give Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly an early exit. Kelly coughed up eight runs on eight hits in only two innings, with Beltre doing a good bit of the damage.
Overall, the centerfielder went 4-for-6 with a double, a three-run homer, and two stolen bases. Following the big performance, Beltre now has a .256/.356/.436 slash line through his first 46 plate appearances.
The 20-year-old certainly possesses the overall tools for success. He has bat speed, foot speed, a strong arm, and a 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame that is beginning to fill out.
Beltre matured as a hitter this regular season, as he batted .300 between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco. While still overly aggressive, he began laying off more pitches out of the strike zone, did a better job of using all fields, and learned to use his speed to get on base.
Beltre's style was well-defined in his first four plate appearances of Monday's contest. He saw four total pitches, putting all four in play. The results were a line-drive double to center (89 mph fastball away), a home run to right (82 mph changeup up), an infield single (92 mph fastball in), and a bunt groundout (88 mph fastball up).
His ability to stay back and knock the hanging changeup out of the yard is a promising sign of maturity. And while Beltre was aggressive, each of the first four pitches he swung at were within the strike zone. He will continue to develop as a hitter if he is able to become more selective with pitches in and around the zone.
The former Red Sox prospect is still extremely young, but his raw tools are slowly but surely developing into refined baseball skills. He could have an opportunity to overtake Julio Borbon as the Rangers' everyday centerfielder by 2012.
• While Casey Kelly was beaten up, Surprise starter Brooks Brown wasn't much better. He yielded seven runs in 1.2 innings, leaving Rangers right-hander Adalberto Flores to come on and put out the fire.
Flores logged 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits, walking two, and striking out one. He needed 36 pitches (20 strikes) to record the four outs.
Despite a 3.38 earned-run average through his first four appearances, the 23-year-old Flores is struggling with his command. He has surrendered seven hits and walked six batters in 5.1 innings.
• Hard-throwing righty Fabio Castillo was strong in extras, as he contributed 1.1 shutout innings. Castillo walked one without giving up a hit or recording a punchout. The Dominican Republic native threw his fastball between 94-96 mph with an 87-89 mph slider.
For the first time during the Fall League, Castillo mixed in a pair of changeups at 83-84 mph. He got a swinging strike from Jose Iglesias and threw one out of the zone to Dustin Ackley.
The Venezuelan League was dark on Monday.
There were no games on Monday.
Carolina and Mayaguez played Puerto Rico's only game on Monday evening, but no Rangers appeared in the contest.
The circuit has begun its 2010 campaign, but there will be no Rangers players participating this season.
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