In terms of talent production, there truly may be no better time to be a Frisco RoughRiders fan than right now. Moreover, with just a few more home games scheduled before the 2014 Texas League Playoffs, time is running out to catch the next great Texas Ranger prospect in your own backyard.
Jorge Alfaro, Nomar Mazara join RoughRiders for stretch run
21-year-old Colombian catcher, Jorge Alfaro, has already made an impact since his promotion from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Frisco. After a slow start, Alfaro has gotten hot, batting .281/.395/.563 with three home runs and 8 RBI in just eight games. Baseball America’s second-ranked prospect in the Rangers’ organization likely will not see a big league promotion this September, but he won’t be a long shot come Spring Training 2015.
At just 19 years of age, Nomar Mazara’s explosive rise is even more impressive than Alfaro’s. Baseball America’s 24th ranked prospect in the Rangers’ organization, Mazara has been at least two-and-a-half years younger than his respective league’s average age. In Double-A, he’s a staggering five years younger than the average member of the Texas League. What has fueled his ascent is the maturation of his power potential. The 6’4” 195 pound native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has already homered 20 times this season over 106 games with Low-A Hickory and 9 games with Frisco.
Alex Claudio makes Texas Rangers’ debut; Phil Klein impresses
Long and lean and just 22 years old, Alex Claudio has used his devastating changeup to not only win the coveted “Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award” last season, but he’s also used it to get his first taste of major-league action.
Coming in anywhere from 62-67MPH, Claudio’s off-speed offering can only be described as “freakish.” Using a four-seam grip, Claudio uses this pitch to induce weak contact or swings-and-misses. Complemented by a fastball that can touch the high-80s, Claudio has been as difficult to hit in the big leagues as he has been in the minors. Over his two innings pitched with the Rangers, Claudio has yet to surrender a base runner.
Another former RoughRider has also had success out of the bullpen for the Texas Rangers. Phil Klein, a big right-hander (who uses far more conventional “stuff” to retire batters than teammate Alex Claudio), Klein has been a fast riser amongst the organizational ranks this season as well.
The 6’7”, 260-pounder from Columbus, Ohio was nothing short of dominant during his 2014 tenure at Double-A Frisco. As a RoughRider, Klein went 3-0 with a microscopic 0.81 ERA with 42 Ks and 10 saves. Now with the Rangers, he has shown flashes of that same dominance Double-A dominance. He’s currently 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA but has yet to walk a batter, while piling up eight strikeouts.