The 2014 Future Rangers Showcase

Published: Mar 30, 2014 22:23pm EDT
By shaunmerritt, Entertainment/Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 30, 2014 @ 10:51pm EDT


In front of a crowd of 9,236 fans at the Dr Pepper Ballpark, the Frisco Rough Riders defeated the Round Rock Express 8-5 in the “Future Rangers Showcase.”

Frisco starting pitcher Luke Jackson showed why he is the Texas Rangers’ top pitching prospect by striking out three batters in three no-hit innings. He walked the first batter he faced, but retired the next nine batters in order. While his stuff was not overpowering, he did show he has the stuff to develop into a good front-end rotation pitcher. He reminded me a lof of current Rangers pitcher Derek Holland.

Rougned Odor wasted no time showing why he is the Rangers’ top prospect when he scored on a fielder’s choice in the first inning. The Rough Rider second baseman would finish his impressive day by getting two hits (one for a double), collecting three RBIs, and stealing one base. If he keeps his play up, he might see some action at the major league level later this year.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was that of the performance by Drew Robinson. The right fielder who was drafted by the Rangers in 2010 out of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, had an RBI triple, a stolen base, and a three-run home run in the seventh inning.  While he might not see the majors this year, look for him to raise some eyebrows next spring.

For everything Frisco had going for them, Round Rock seemed to be heading the opposite direction. Former Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Tepesch gave up 5 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander walked two, struck out two, and hit one batter.

One player that caught my eye was Phil Klien. The 6’7" right-hander pitched a solid 6th inning for Frisco getting two fly outs and a strike out. His fastball was clocked around 90 mph and hitters had trouble with his slider. If he can keep the walks down that have plagued him in the past, he could be someone to look out for in the future.

The 7th would not go well for the Rough Riders though. Relief pitcher Alex Claudio walked the bases loaded and then hit Bryan Petersen to force in a run.  The Express would go on to score a couple of runs on single by Andy Parrino, cutting it to 5-4. Relief pitcher Matt West came in for Frisco, ending the Round Rock threat by getting a ground ball double play on his first pitch.

Just when Round Rock was making things interesting, Neftali Feliz came in for the bottom of the seventh and things did not go well for the former Rangers closer. Feliz would give up an infield single and then a three run home run to Drew Robinson, all in one inning of work.  While he did manage to strike out a batter, it is clear the former star closer is nowhere near major league ready. After a horrid spring, I would not expect to see him with the Rangers anytime soon.

After Round Rock added a run in the 8th to get Express within three runs, Martire Garcia was called upon in the 9th to close out the game.  The left-hander nailed down the save with an impressive two strikeouts. Luke Jackson was credited with the win and Nick Tepesch the loss.   

Frisco and the Express will play again on Tuesday night in Round Rock. Frisco will then have Opening Day at Dr Pepper Ballpark when they host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals next on Thursday.

If there is one thing to take away from this exhibition game it is that Frisco is nowhere near short on talent.  Top prospects Odor and Jackson will get all the main media attention, but players like Robinson, Klien, and Garcia should show fans that first year manager Jason Wood has a lot of talent to work with. If anything, this game has shown that Frisco is on track to have a very successful season and more importantly, the Rangers future looks very promising.




Comments (1)

  • Anonymous   Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:22PM
    Dear Editor-in-Charge,

    Please have the writer of the article make an apologic correction to this piece; there was 9,237 people in attendance at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark. In addition, they were not all "fans", some of us didn't have anything better to do.

    Yours truly,
    Trollofyournightmares -

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