Surprises: It may not qualify as a big surprise, but it appears that the Rangers are following through on their promise to be more conservative in promoting plays through the organization. Prospects Zach Phillips, Omar Poveda, Jose Vallejo, and John Whittleman, who each played the entire season with Single-A Clinton in 2006, will begin there in '07. But perhaps the biggest surprise is seeing Chad Tracy listed as an outfielder. A catcher throughout his collegiate career, Tracy was always much more known for his bat than his work behind the plate. The switch will be an interesting one to follow throughout the season.
Interesting stories to follow: Aside from Tracy's apparent move to the outfield, there are a few other stories to follow in Clinton this summer. John Whittleman, who struggled at the plate in 2006, will try to conquer the Midwest League in 2007. This upcoming season is an important one for the young third baseman, as he has a great deal of potential at the plate. The two youngest players on the club, shortstop Marcus Lemon, 18, and catcher Manny Pina, 19, will play with their first full-season team. Lemon was the Rangers' fourth round pick last year while Pina's defensive abilities have drawn comparisons to former Ranger Ivan Rodriguez.
Keep your eye on: Glenn Swanson. The polished southpaw reliever was a draft-and-follow signing as a fifth-year senior with California-Irvine last season. The lefty logged 17 innings with the L-Kings in 2006, yielding just 14 hits while walking four and fanning 25. Swanson could move through the organization quickly.
Clinton opens their season at home against Quad Cities on Thursday, April 5 at 6:00 p.m. CST