11-7-2, 1.0 GB
Rangers outfield prospect Engel Beltre recently left the Arizona Fall League to participate in the Dominican Winter League for the Licey Tigers. Beltre was replaced on the Surprise roster by outfielder/first baseman Jared Bolden.
Bolden made a strong first impression in his AFL debut on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with a triple. The 23-year-old, who played in left field, picked up an infield single in his first at-bat before staying on an 83 mph changeup down and in for a triple to right field in the seventh inning.
The left-handed Bolden has impressive athleticism and coordination, making him a strong defender at all three outfield spots and first base. He has split most of his time in the Rangers system between first base and center field.
The former ninth-round pick has some intriguing offensive tools, though the results have been disappointing. Bolden opened the season at High-A Bakersfield but posted a punchless .219/.277/.278 slash line in 62 contests. He performed better after being sent back to Single-A Hickory––Bolden hit .294 with 12 doubles and seven home runs in 58 games.
Bolden attended Advanced Instructional League after the regular season concluded and began to show more promise as a hitter. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect has good bat speed to go along with some lift in his swing. He put on some impressive displays in batting practice and began to line the ball with more consistency in game situations. In a game against the Glendale club on September 27, Bolden was a perfect 4-for-4 with two singles, a double, and a triple.
Only time will tell whether Bolden is having a legitimate breakout or just a slight mirage. But regardless, he has more raw talent and potential than his career .255/.327/.353 line would suggest.
Before Wednesday's contest, right-hander Adalberto Flores had been walking on thin ice. Though he wasn't allowing many runs, he was putting plenty of runners on base and struggling with the strike zone.
All that caught up to Flores against Scottsdale, as he coughed up four runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. He struck out one.
Flores recorded a strikeout on a 93 mph fastball against the only hitter he faced in the fifth inning. However, the next frame was disastrous. After retiring the first hitter, Flores surrendered a double and walked two consecutive batters (including Bryce Harper) before giving up another double and a single.
Through 6.2 innings in six relief appearances with the Rafters, Flores has yielded 10 hits and walked eight batters while striking out just three.
Coming into Wednesday's contest, left-hander Martin Perez hadn't permitted an earned run in nine innings over his last three starts. But Wednesday's game proved to be a disaster, as he coughed up five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks in only 1.2 innings.
The 19-year-old prospect limited the first-inning damage to one run despite yielding four singles in the frame. Then he lost total control in the second. After retiring the first two hitters, he walked three batters and gave up a line-drive single. Perez exited the contest with the bases loaded, and all three runners eventually came around to score.
Perez now has a 7.50 earned-run average despite excellent performances in three of his five starts. The other two outings have produced 10 earned runs allowed over just three innings.
La Guaira catcher and cleanup hitter Max Ramirez (.302/.426/.442 in 12 games) singled once in four at-bats as the Tiburones dropped a one-run game to Margarita. Ramirez picked up his sixth RBI of the winter.
Liga Paralela is, essentially, the minor leagues of Venezuelan winterball. It is where the younger players craft their skill and older, more experienced players shake off the rust before going up to the big club.
Right-hander Jonathan Rojas, who appeared in 13 games and logged 18 innings for the rookie-level Surprise Rangers this season, has tossed 10 scoreless frames over three starts for the Anzoategui club. The 22-year-old has allowed three hits while walking two and striking out seven.
Centerfielder David Paisano led off for La Guaira on Wednesday and went 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, two RBI, and a stolen base. He last appeared for the big club as a pinch runner on Sunday. Shortstop Renny Osuna batted sixth and singled once in five trips.
More Rangers prospects will presumably appear in the league as the club's Dominican Instructional League comes to a conclusion.
No Rangers appeared on Wednesday.
No Rangers appeared in Wednesday's games.
The circuit has begun its 2010 campaign, but there will be no Rangers players participating this season.
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