01/10/12 6:51 PM EST
Rangers invite eight Minor Leaguers to camp
Third-base prospects Olt, Mendonca to try new positions
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Prospects Perez, Ross could crack Texas 'pen
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' need for left-handed relief could open up a spot for top Minor League prospects Robbie Ross and Martin Perez this spring. General manager Jon Daniels acknowledged that it's something the Rangers could consider in Spring Training.
"Both Ross and Perez are going to work as starters, but you never know," Daniels said. "We have people who believe they can start long term, but as we've seen, we've had success with guys getting experience in the bullpen and moving to the rotation. They are going to work as starters, but if that's where we have the biggest need, we'll look at it."Perez (No. 2) and Ross (No. 7) are among the Rangers' top 10 prospects, according to MLB.com. Perez is ranked eighth overall.
Right now, Michael Kirkman is the only reliever on the 40-man roster with Major League experience. Miguel De Los Santos, who was 5-0 with a 3.26 ERA in the Arizona Fall League, is another relief candidate.Darren Oliver and Michael Gonzalez were the Rangers' two left-handed relievers in the playoffs last October. Oliver has since signed with the Blue Jays and Gonzalez remains a free agent. Perez was 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 17 games at Double-A Frisco and 4-4 with a 6.43 ERA in 10 games at Triple-A Round Rock. Ross, 22, split last season between Class A Myrtle Beach and Frisco, combining to go 10-5 with a 2.34 ERA and 134 strikeouts against 33 walks over 27 games (26 starts). Ben Snyder, who will be in camp on a non-roster invitation, is another left-handed relief candidate after going 11-5 with a 3.87 ERA at Double-A Frisco.
Profar, Ross take Rangers' top Minors honors
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have announced that shortstop Jurickson Profar is the 2011 winner of the Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year Award and Robbie Ross is the Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year.Justin Miller is the Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and outfielder Ryan Strausborger is the Defender of the Year. All four will be honored Thursday night at the Dr. Pepper Awards Show at the Arlington Convention Center. Profar is ranked as the Rangers' top prospect, according to MLB.com; Ross is No. 7.
Profar, 18, was the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player after batting .286 (123-for-430) with 37 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs, 65 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for Class A Hickory.Miller, 24, spent the entire 2011 campaign with Double-A Frisco, going 9-1 with a 1.81 ERA, 13 saves and 77 strikeouts over 48 relief appearances. He is on the 40-man roster and will come to Spring Training with a chance to win a spot in the bullpen. Strausborger, 23, was selected as the best defensive outfielder in the Carolina League in a Baseball America survey of league managers and was the Rangers' Defender of the Month for May. He ranked tied for third in total chances in the Carolina League (258) and had 11 outfield assists, tied for the fourth most.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.