Rangers Winterball Roundup – 10/5

Third baseman Mike Olt kicked off the Arizona Fall League campaign with two round-trippers and five runs batted in on Wednesday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action in the Texas Rangers' system.

Arizona Fall League: Surprise 10 – Scottsdale 1
1-0, 0.5 GB

After being rained out on Tuesday, the Surprise played its first game of the season on Wednesday and turned in an all-around dominant effort. The Fall League is certainly a hitter-friendly environment, but Surprise pitching faced just three batters over the minimum in the game.

Third baseman Mike Olt, who batted cleanup, did his fair share of damage. The 23-year-old prospect was 2-for-5 with two home runs, five RBI, and two strikeouts in the game.

Olt's first round-tripper was the third of back-to-back-to-back shots from Rays prospect Tim Beckham, Royals slugger Wil Myers, and then Olt. His second homer––in the eighth––was a grand slam off Angels prospect David Carpenter, who had a 0.57 ERA between High-A and Double-A this season.

A supplemental first-round pick in last year's MLB Draft, Olt has quickly emerged as one of the organization's top all-around prospects. He is an easy plus defender with excellent range, hands, and arm strength. As a hitter, the UConn product flashes plus power to all fields.

The primary drawback in Olt's game at this point is the strikeout total. He whiffed 70 times (albeit with a strong 48 walks) in 69 games for Myrtle Beach this season. Olt has some issues to shore up, but with his excellent bat speed he should develop at least an average hit tool to go along with the good walk rate, plus power, and plus defense.

Sidearming right-hander Johan Yan also worked an inning for Surprise on Wednesday. The Dominican Republic native tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning, throwing nine of his 13 pitches for strikes. Yan got a groundout, a lineout, and a flyout.

He featured a heavy 87-89 mph sinking fastball––about his normal velocity, if not a bit higher––to go along with a breaking ball at 75 mph and a 78 mph changeup. Yan's breaker normally works in the 72-75 mph range––it's not quite a slider, and it's not quite a curveball. He rarely uses the changeup in games but threw a pair on Wednesday.

Because Yan began his career as a position player, he is set to become a six-year minor league free agent if the Rangers don't either re-sign him or place him on the 40-man roster. After the 23-year-old surrendered only eight earned runs in 68 innings (1.06 ERA) between High- and Double-A this season, he may have earned himself a 40-man roster spot. Yan had a 0.34 ERA in 26.2 frames for Frisco.

Baseball World Cup

In an 8-4 loss to Puerto Rico on October 4, designated hitter Chad Tracy batted fifth and went 1-for-4 with a base on balls. Seven-hole hitter and third baseman Tom Mendonca had one single in five trips.

Tall right-hander Adalberto Flores worked 1.2 scoreless innings to finish the game and earn the victory for Puerto Rico. He gave up one hit, walked one, and fanned one.

On the next day (October 4), the U.S. trounced Chinese Taipei by a 15-1 score in seven innings. Mendonca was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his first of the tournament. Chad Tracy, who hit cleanup, went hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.

The Americans defeated Japan, 7-3, in a makeup of a rainout game on Thursday. Mendonca had a single and three strikeouts in five trips. Tracy did not appear in the game.

Mexican Pacific League

Begins October 11.

Venezuelan Winter League

Begins October 12.

Dominican Winter League

Begins October 14.

Puerto Rican Winter League

Begins November 4.

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