01/25/11 10:00 PM EST
Two Rangers pitchers land in Top 50 Prospects
Lefty Perez ranks at No. 23; righty Scheppers in 43rd spot
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
That very notion can be seen through the likes of hurlers Martin Perez and Tanner Scheppers, both of whom have landed among MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects.
The baby-faced Perez, just 19 and already drawing comparisons to Johan Santana, grabbed the No. 23 spot after using the 2010 campaign to prove he's well ahead of the curve. Following the challenge of a Double-A promotion at the end of the 2009 season, the left-handed Perez put together a 5-8 mark with a 5.96 ERA in 24 games, 23 of which he started.
His rather forgettable ERA came as a result of command struggles, but Perez is expected to use his three plus pitches -- an above-average changeup, low-to-mid-90s fastball and potentially devastating breaking ball -- to transform into a big league rotation leader some day.
Scheppers, meanwhile, ranks No. 43 on the list and recently received his second straight non-roster invite to big league camp this year. The invitation came on the heels of a 2010 campaign that saw him split time between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The 24-year-old righty pitched 11 innings and allowed one run on three hits while fanning 19 in six games for the RoughRiders before moving on to Oklahoma City, where he was 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in seven starts and 23 relief appearances. Scheppers allowed 82 hits and 30 walks while striking out 71 in 69 innings at Oklahoma City.
The Rangers still plan to stretch out Scheppers as a starter but have not ruled him out as a possible bullpen addition if the need arises.