1-2, 1.0 GB
Shortstop Hanser Alberto was the only Rangers farmhand to appear in Thursday's game for the Surprise Saguaros. The Dominican Republic native batted second and went 0-for-4 with a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Alberto, who turns 20 on October 17, is coming off a season in which he batted .299/.327/.410 in 128 games between Single-A Hickory and High-A Myrtle Beach. He socked 28 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs while stealing 24 bases in 31 attempts. A highly aggressive hitter who also makes a lot of contact, Alberto drew only 20 walks in those 128 games but struck out just 49 times.
Qualification for the 2013 World Baseball Classic began on September 19, when two of the four qualifying round groups were played. Spain and Canada each won their respective group and earned a spot in next year's Classic.
The Spanish and Canadian squads each feature one Rangers prospect. For Spain, it's outfielder Engel Beltre, who was actually born in the Dominican Republic and lived in the United States for a period while growing up. Regardless, Beltre is eligible to play for the Spanish side. Playing as the club's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, the 22-year-old prospect went 6-for-16 (.375) with a triple in four games. He also drew four walks, was hit by a pitch, and stole three bases.
Rangers catching prospect Kellin Deglan is the youngest player on Team Canada's squad by two and a half years. Working as the club's backup catcher, Deglan appeared in one game as a defensive replacement but didn't get a plate appearance.
Left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier made two appearances for Israel, who finished as runners-up to Spain in Qualifier 1. Bleier tossed one hitless, scoreless inning between the two games, working around a pair of walks.
In other international baseball news involving Rangers prospects, infielder Nick Urbanus recently competed in the 2012 European Baseball Championship. Although Urbanus played well, his Dutch side fell to Italy in the title game. But over nine games, Urbanus was 11-for-28 (.393) at the plate with a double, two triples, three walks, and eight runs batted in. He saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base during the tournament.
Left-handed reliever Joe Ortiz hurled a scoreless eighth inning in La Guaira's season opener on Thursday. The diminutive prospect retired all three batters he faced, getting two groundouts and a flyout.
Ortiz, 22, continues to show gradual improvement with each year in professional baseball. He made 51 appearances between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock this past season, posting a 2.15 ERA while walking nine and fanning 52 in 62.2 innings.
Other Rangers currently listed on rosters in Venezuela include RHP Wilfredo Boscan (Zulia), RHP Wilmer Font (Caracas), RHP Randol Rojas (Magallanes), and RHP Arlett Mavare (La Guaira).
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