“We’ve talked over the last six to eight months about how critical the development of this group is for the long term health here,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “What are some of the things that we can do to not accelerate it but to ensure that we get the most out of the group?
“Some of that is just patience and organizationally embracing that we are going to do things step by step and get these guys right. When I say that, I’m probably the one who needs that lesson most. . It’s more me and the front office group who want to tap the brakes and not ask for updates on a week to week basis. It’s going to take time.”
In 2015, the Rangers took right hander Dillon Tate from UC Santa Barbara with the fourth pick overall. He was an uncoachable disaster. The Rangers included him in last year’s deal with the New York Yankees for two months of hitter Carlos Beltran.
(The fourth overall pick is supposed to bring a bigger return than two months of Carlos Beltran.)
In 2016, the Rangers went with high school pitchers with the first two picks: left hander Cole Ragans and Alex Speas. Rather than let a college mold these pitchers, the Rangers can develop them with their own instructors.
It will be a go slow approach throughout the system, Clark said.
“We’re going to slow play some things with a lot of guys,” Clark said. “You’re going to see guys cheap authentic jerseys
repeating levels. You’re going to see guys taking one step at a time. It’s not going to be that they’re at Hickory [of the Low A South Atlantic League] because of where they came out in the draft. It’s going to be step by step.”
To that end, all pitchers in the minor league camp went back to the basics this spring. The emphasis was on repeatable deliveries and fastball command. Everything was about throwing fastballs for strikes.
The Rangers are close to creating a department of pitching. It starts two coordinator types, with Clark and Andrews, instead of the usual one.
“Danny Clark and Jeff Andrews, these guys are really good,” Daniels said. “If we give them time, we’re going to do well.”
The Rangers also have veteran Mark Connor in the role of special assistant guru and Keith Comstock handling rehabilitation at the club’s base in Surprise, Ariz. Connor and Comstock have a combined 75 years in the game.
Each of the eight minor league affiliates has a pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach. There are extra coaches at the academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.
The Rangers in the offseason added Todd Walthier as director of pitching research and development. Walthier will deal with the explosion of information related to pitching.
“The best way to put his job is to ask questions and start conversations,” Daniels said.
Pitcher Age Comment LH Yohander Mendez 22 Closest to being major league ready RHP Ariel Jurado 21 Should open season at Double A Frisco LHP Brett Martin 21 On the rise despite diabetes RHP Connor Sadzeck 25 Starter or reliever? LHP Joe Palumbo 22 Breakthrough at Low A level last season LHP Cole Ragans 19 First round pick in last year’s draft RHP Alex Speas 19 Rated one spot ahead of Ragans as amateur RH Edgar Arredondo 19 Had Tommy John surgery at age 16 LHP Kenny Mendoza 19 Late bloomer a 24th round draft pick in ’16 RHP Tyree Thompson 19 Highly recruited point guard in high school