Name: Wilfredo Boscan
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: October 26, 1989
Acquired: 2006 International Free Agent
When Wilfredo Boscan signed with the Rangers in 2006, he wasn't regarded as a major prospect. He didn't garner a big signing bonus, and there was no media coverage of his signing, a la Fabio Castillo, Wilmer Font, or Martin Perez.
But it didn't take long for Boscan to make himself a prospect.
Pitching with the Dominican Summer League Rangers in 2007, the right-hander showed improved velocity and excellent sink on his fastball. He posted a sparkling 1.75 earned-run average in 56.2 innings, allowing just 42 hits, walking 13 and striking out 61.
Boscan earned a trip to Fall Instructional League in the U.S. after the '07 season, and he was deemed advanced enough to skip the rookie-level Arizona League in 2008.
The Venezuela native went straight to short-season Spokane, where he continued to impress. Boscan proved to be one of the top pitchers in the Northwest League, logging a 9-1 record and a 3.12 ERA in 15 games [12 starts]. He pounded the bottom half of the strike zone with a promising three-pitch repertoire, including his solid fastball and advanced changeup.
Boscan continued his progression in '09, going to Single-A Hickory out of Spring Training. He got off to an absolutely incredible start, yielding just one earned run over his first 22.2 innings [8 hits, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts] before being placed on the disabled list.
?After his return, the 6-foot-2 hurler wasn't quite as dominant, but he was still performed well. Boscan finished the season with a 3.59 ERA, allowed a hit per inning, and issued just 19 free passes in 105.1 innings.
Boscan has run into a couple minor injuries during his short career thus far. He had one short disabled list stint with Spokane, he missed over a month [April 21-May 27] last summer, and he dealt with a minor ailment in instructs this past offseason. But none of the injuries have been major.
Although Boscan doesn't have dominant stuff, there is a lot to like in the strike-throwing righty. He has an excellent feel for pitching and solid stuff that should continue to progress as he matures.
Also See: Top Prospects, Top Tools (February 11, 2010)
Sizing up the right-handed starters (December 16, 2009)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 19, 2009)
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball: Boscan throws his fastball anywhere between 88-92 mph, but like fellow '09 Hickory Crawdad Carlos Pimentel, he generally works best in the upper-80s, where he has better command and late movement. On the whole, Boscan commands his fastball very well down in the zone, and the pitch is heavy with quite a bit of sink. Although he doesn't have too much projection, he should sit a tick higher velocity-wise as he matures. The still very young Boscan pounds the zone with all of his pitches and he throws quality strikes. He is an intelligent player on the mound with an advanced feel for pitching.
Other Pitches: The right-hander has an excellent changeup that projects as a future plus big league offering. Boscan's arm action on the changeup helps create good deception, and the pitch also sinks and dives, much like his fastball. The change helped him limit lefties to just a .225 average in Hickory last season. His curveball still needs work, as it is currently a below-average pitch. Boscan often fails to get on top of his breaking ball, causing it to flatten out and look more like a slider at times. The pitch can show some promise, but it is inconsistent and he typically struggles to throw it for strikes.
Projection: Boscan doesn't have a particularly high ceiling and he isn't overpowering on the mound, but he knows how to pitch and he has one of the system's better changeups. Because Boscan isn't flashy, he may be a prospect that doesn't get a lot of buzz until he reaches the upper levels–much like fellow Venezuelan righty Omar Poveda. Boscan has a legitimate chance to be a big league starting pitcher in the future. He may profile as more of a back-end guy–with a mid-rotation ceiling–but he could also fly through the system without much trouble as long as he remains healthy.
2010 Outlook: Though he wasn't nearly as dominant after the All-Star break last season [2.25 first-half ERA; 4.41 second-half], Boscan will almost certainly land a rotation spot at High-A Bakersfield when Spring Training breaks next month. Boscan commands his fastball well and he has an advanced changeup, but he still has plenty of improvements to make before he can handle the Double-A Texas League. Because of that, he'll more than likely spend the entire season at Bakersfield, where he should continue to build on his innings total [69.1 in 2008, 105.1 in 2009]. As long as he continues to command his stuff well and down in the zone, he should have success, even in the hitter-friendly Cal League.
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