The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
This is the second round of updates in this series so I will not rehash why each player made my list but you can always go back and read previous installments of the series. While doing the installments by division worked the first time around, I’m going to go team-by-team from this point forward.
Texas Rangers (S2S 2012 Rangers Team Prospect List)
RHP – Nicholas Tepesch (23) – Rangers 2010 14th Round Pick
Notes – Tepesch needed just 12 starts in the Carolina League before he was promoted to Double-A in the middle of June. In his time with Myrtle Beach he had a 2.89 ERA, 59-18 SO-to-BB and allowed 68 H in 71.2 IP.
As you’d expect, the Blue Springs, MO native has found the sledding a little tougher in the Texas League but he’s still been solid. In 68.2 IP with Frisco he has a 3.93 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 47-20 SO-to-BB. Tepesch has turned in his share of strong outings along the way. In fact, he’s allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in 7 of his 10 starts and in a stretch from July 21st through the 31st he allowed just 1 ER with 3 BB and 12 SO in 20.0 innings pitched.
On the positive side of things, Tepesch has largely maintained or improved his stats across the board over what he did in 2011 despite pitching against more advanced competition. However he continues to give up too many hits, and more than you’d expect given his stuff. The same problem plagued him during his time at the University of Missouri and until he starts doing a better job limiting contact, he will be unable to reach his true potential.
C – Jorge Alfaro (19) – Signed out of Colombia as a NDFA on January 19th, 2010
Notes – Alfaro hit 0.290 in his first 8 games during April before he was on the shelf from 4/21 through 6/10 with an injured hamstring. Upon his return he hit 0.271 the rest of June and then 0.297 during the month of July. In each of the last two months his OPS was north of 0.830. In August his numbers have taken bit of a tumble thanks to a 6-35 stretch that has resulted in a 0.171/.237/.314 line so far this month.
Compared to last year he’s shown marginal improvement in his K% (from 31.6% to 26.8%) and has more than doubled his BB% (from 2.3% to 5.9%). These are positive signs given that he just turned 19 this summer and is holding his own in the South Atlantic League while spending a fair amount of time behind the plate.
There’s a reason Alfaro entered 2012 as one of the Rangers 10 best prospects and he’s done absolutely nothing to damage his stock this season. It’s been a very encouraging performance from a very raw but very talented prospect with his hamstring injury being the only real hiccup along the way.
LHP – Will Lamb (21) – Rangers 2011 2nd Round Pick
Notes – The last time I checked in on Lamb for this series, he had a 6.03 ERA and 1.60 WHIP after 31.1 innings of work. At that time he had allowed 7 HR and was getting hit hard in general.
Considering where his stats now sit on the year, he’s obviously pitched better of late and has given up “only” 6 HR in his last 63.0 IP. In terms of both ERA (2.45) and FIP (3.75) August has been his best month this season and he’s also held the opposition to a season best 0.649 OPS.
Lamb still has a ways to go in his development but he’s recovered nicely after a very rough month of May.
For more on the Texas Rangers, check out Nolan Writin’