Name: Wilfredo Boscan
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: October 26, 1989
Acquired: 2006 International Free Agent
When Wilfredo Boscan signed with the Rangers during the summer of 2006, he wasn't initially regarded as a big-time prospect. But it didn't take long before he was on the radar.
Boscan turned heads in '07 with his phenomenal performance in the Dominican Summer League. He posted a 1.75 ERA over 56.2 innings, yielding 42 hits, walking 13, and striking out 61. His sinking fastball induced nearly 3.8 groundouts per flyout.
The right-hander's impressive debut summer showed the Rangers that he was polished enough to skip rookie ball. Making his state-side debut with short-season Spokane in '08, Boscan logged a 3.12 ERA with only 11 walks and 70 punchouts in 69.1 frames.
He continued the success over 105.1 innings at Single-A Hickory the following season.
Last season, Boscan became a bit of a workhorse during his first crack at High-A Bakersfield. He logged 163.2 innings over 27 starts––an average of over six innings per outing. While Boscan had his share of peaks and valleys, he averaged nearly 6.2 innings per start after the Cal League's All-Star break.
Overall, the 6-foot-2 hurler finished the year with a 9-14 record and a 4.67 ERA. Opponents hit him at a .291 clip, though he continued to throw strikes (5.7% walk rate) and missed bats at a higher rate.
Perhaps Boscan's biggest improvement between the '09 and '10 seasons was his strikeout rate. After fanning 59 batters in 105.1 innings (13.3%) with Hickory the prior season, Boscan punched out 130 (18.4%) last year.
As detailed in the following scouting report, Boscan had his share of issues in an overall rocky 2010 campaign. However, he was among the youngest prospects in the Cal League last season and still has an opportunity to right the ship.
Also See: Rangers Minor League Notes (March 15, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 19, 2010)
Scouting the Bakersfield Blaze (May 12, 2010)
Top Prospects, Top Tools (January 14, 2011)
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball: While Boscan has worked between 88-92 mph at times in the past, his fastball velocity dipped into the 85-90 mph range last season, often sitting around 86-88. He throws a two-seamer with some sink and fade. Boscan fills up the strike zone, but he still must refine his command and learn to throw quality strikes down in the zone. His margin for error in the mid-to-upper 80s is minimal, and he was home run-prone when elevating last season, surrendering 11 round-trippers over his last 11 starts.
Boscan could go a long way in resurrecting his prospect status if he's able to rediscover the upper-80s, low-90s velocity in 2011. At average velocity, his fastball can be plenty effective due to the natural movement. But he's a fringy prospect with the below-average velo he flashed last season.
Other Pitches: The Venezuela native's low-80s changeup can be among the system's best offspeed pitches. The offering has great movement and plenty of deception, with similar sinking and tumbling action as his fastball. Boscan shows confidence in using the pitch to both left- and right-handed hitters. However, his changeup wasn't as effective last season, as he pitched much of the year with decreased velocity. If his fastball gets back into the 88-92 mph range, the added velocity separation should make the pitch more deceptive and lead to more swinging strikes.
Boscan's improved curveball was arguably the biggest factor in his increased strikeout rate last season. He got on top of the pitch with more consistency, leading to much improved command and more depth. Thrown mostly between 69-72 mph, the curve has good depth and late break. The pitch is fringe-average overall and could be effective early in counts, but it probably won't put upper-level hitters away. Boscan may be best served to eventually add a slider, which could play off his fastball better against advanced hitters.
Projection: If Boscan develops, he projects as a strike-throwing, innings-eating number four or five starter. While he's still young (he'll be 21 next season), Boscan must improve his velocity to have a chance of success at the upper levels. He throws plenty of strikes––though he's still learning to command within the zone––with a sinking fastball and one of the system's best changeups.
2011 Outlook: Between 2007 and 2010, Boscan has steadily progressed one level each season, even skipping the rookie Arizona League. The 2011 campaign will likely be the first time Boscan repeats a level, as he should begin the year in the High-A Myrtle Beach rotation. The prospect could reach Double-A at some point, but he'll probably need to show improvement in more than just numbers––the Rangers would certainly like to see Boscan's velocity improve before they let him tackle the Texas League.
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