Rangers Farm Report: Day 4 in Surprise

Three of Emiliano Teodo’s eight fastballs I charted reached triple digits, and an earlier one touched 102 per the board operator. The curve ran 85-87. I’ve seen it referenced as a slider lately, but it looks more curvy to me, and it’s more fun to say he throws a mid-to-upper-eighties curve. In any case, after some early control issues, Teodo (video) snapped off three stellar benders in a row, one swinging, the other two viewed in helpless despair. Teodo does tend to be wild within the zone with the heater sometimes, and even A-level hitters can line it up. Still, the makings of a quality Major Leaguer are there.

Regarding my commentary on Brock Porter earlier this week, it’s worth a reminder that that one outing does not make the man. For example, Teodo was a wreck when I saw him last March: velocity down, already-dubious control even worse, some pitches I couldn’t even categorize. Six months later, he was the talk of the Arizona Fall League, receiving not-totally-facetious discussion of joining Texas’s playoff roster. I love watching these guys, but I’m only getting snapshots.

Lefty Mitch Bratt (video) is a control/command type. The latest Baseball America review listed his fastball at 89-91, but on Wednesday it ran 92-93, augmented by an 83ish slider, upper-70s curve, and an 87 change. Neither the heater nor the slider heater has a ton of movement, but he mixed and spotted both well and missed a few bats with them. I saw two effective changes (called strike, foul tip) and curve (ball, tailed outside). The statcast data doesn’t wow, but he knows how to pitch.

Kyle Larsen. Not a household name. Honestly not a name even to me when I saw the jersey. I originally assumed he was an undrafted free agent, but in fact the righty Larsen (video) was Texas’s 18th-round pick in 2021, and furthermore, the Rangers delivered $575,000 to his front porch to dissuade him from his Florida commitment. But Larsen has pitched only 2.2 innings across three seasons. I assume Tommy John and maybe more, but I haven’t checked. Larsen offered a 93-94 MPH fastball, a mid-80s slider, and I believe an upper-80s change. He missed several bats with both the fastball and slider. So, we have some understanding of that signing bonus, and hopefully we’ll be seeing much more than 2.2 innings in 2024.

I already reported on Echedry Vargas, but I saw more of him Wednesday (video), and I again liked what I saw. It’s just two days, but his ability to make consistent, firm contact stands out.

Last year, Gleider Figuereo (video) was one of several Rangers hitters who didn’t really build on impressive complex league campaigns from 2022. Possibly, his first full season took a toll, as sometimes happens; he batted .205/.264/.267 during the last three months at Down East last summer. I expect he’ll rejoin the Woodies at least for a little while. He loves to pull and elevate, but contact can be an issue. He singled up the middle and drove a fly to the CF track for a triple yesterday.

Catcher Jesus Lopez hasn’t played much while I’ve been here, or I’ve missed him. I only saw the tail end of his first two plate appearances Wednesday (both swinging strikeouts), after which he lined a single to left. Lopez signed for around $350,000 out of the Dominican Republic in early 2022 and posted a .289/.396/.644 line in 13 complex league games last year.

Signed in 2019 and stateside for the first time last summer, 23-year-old righty Victor Simeon (video) deals a 97-98 fastball and 84 slider. His control is poor; if you watch the video, you’ll see a pitch nail the backstop. When he gets near the plate, opposing batters haven’t much hope.

2022 signing David Davalillo popped up at Down East late in 2023 and fanned seven against zero walks in 4.2 innings. Now 21, Davallilo displayted a 91-94 fastball and a bender that ran 76-83. The slowest ones still looked slidery with plenty of horizontal movement. He didn’t have a good showing Wednesday but has some promise.

I didn’t see enough of 2023 7th-round pick Julian Brock to form an impression, other than to say he was playing. The catcher was the only of four signed position players from that group not to receive any game action last summer.

At 6’3” and a listed 200 pounds, OF Tommy Specht (2022, 6th round) isn’t quite hulking but is in the vicinity. At Down East last year as a 19-year-old, he had a 26% strikeout rate (not good but not terrible), a solid 24% line drive rate, a decent fly rate, and he somehow slugged .288. I don’t know what’s to become of him, but he surely has more to offer than that. I didn’t get a great look yesterday but did see a firmly lined single.

Texas signed RHP Michael Lorenzen. More later. Have one more game to catch.