* Denotes that player will begin season on disabled list
Three surprises: The 2008 Frisco roster is most likely going to be the least surprising of any Rangers affiliate. Perhaps the biggest surprise on the roster is the addition of 37-year-old lefty Chris Michalak, who appeared in 24 games for the Rangers in 2001 and 2002. Michalak, who was signed to a minor league contract, made 16 starts with Triple-A Columbus [Washington Nationals] in 2007.
Even though it has been known for a couple of weeks, most fans were surprised to hear that righty Scott Feldman would be converted into a starting pitcher. Feldman will undergo that conversion in Frisco, where he will pitch in the team's rotation. He tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Rangers last Saturday.
The final minor surprise is yet another move across the diamond for Emerson Frostad. After playing third base in 2005, catching in 2006, and playing first base in 2007, Frostad will probably see most of his time in the field at third base this season. With Chris Davis making the move to first, Frostad will split time at third base and designated hitter.
Three stories to follow: The Rangers' top three position player prospects – Chris Davis, Elvis Andrus, and Taylor Teagarden – will start their season in Frisco. Fans in the Metroplex got a glimpse of Davis and Teagarden last summer, but they will be getting their first look at 19-year-old Elvis Andrus. The Venezuelan will be playing a full season at the Double-A level even though he will not turn 20 until late-August. After batting just .244 with Atlanta's High-A affiliate last season, Andrus hit .300 with High-A Bakersfield and .353 in the Arizona Fall League. It will be interesting to see if Andrus' hot-hitting continues in 2008.
He may not be on the opening day roster, but former first-round pick Thomas Diamond figures to join the Frisco rotation once he recovers from Tommy John surgery. It will be the first game action Diamond has seen since pitching with Frisco in 2006. The hurler is reportedly armed with a new-and-improved curveball to complement his low-to-mid-90s fastball.
Powerful relievers Brennan Garr and Warner Madrigal each have just one full season of pitching under their belts, but both have already advanced to the Double-A level. Garr and Madrigal each work in the low-to-mid-90s – though Madrigal has the ability to touch the upper-90s – with above-average sliders. Garr figures to work the eighth inning this season while Madrigal does the closing. The two hurlers are undoubtedly the top two relief prospects in the Rangers system.
One to watch: Kendy Batista. The 26-year-old Venezuelan came out of nowhere to post strong numbers with High-A Bakersfield last season. Batista, who will move to the bullpen this season, could feasibly reach the Majors by the end of the year. The right-hander has a low-90s sinker, generally sitting in the 91-93 MPH range, and a plus slider. Batista is still somewhat raw, as last season was his first in the States, but he has big league stuff.
Frisco opens their season at Springfield on Thursday, April 3 at 7:10 p.m. Central. Their home opener will be on Thursday, April 10, also against Springfield, at 7:00 p.m.
Subscribe to LoneStarDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on LoneStarDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.