In this week’s prospect look-In, we take a look back a few weeks at the members of the A-ball All-Star Teams, and what they did to earn the honor.
Evan Van Hoosier, CF (0-2, 1K)
The only fielder selected to the South Atlantic League All-Star game from the Crawdads, Evan Van Hoosier hit .294/.383/.490 before the break, impressive numbers even for a 20-year-old in class A. Van Hoosier’s cooled off a bit to start the second half of the season, but that could possibly be attributed to the rigors of his first full season of professional ball. Drafted as a second baseman, Van Hoosier has spent time there and in the outfield with Hickory, gaining positional versatility.
Cody Kendall (1.0 IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K)
The Rangers’ 2012 eighth round pick, Kendall ended 2013 with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, but started 2014 back with the Hickory Crawdads, possibly a victim of some pitcher shuffling that happened in higher levels. The righty responded to this by putting up a 1.02 ERA in his 29 games with the ‘Dads, earning himself both an All-Star berth and a later promotion back to high-A.
Ryne Slack (1.0, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K)
A non-drafted free agent signed in 2012, Slack put up a 2.95 ERA in the first half of 2014, his second stint with the Crawdads. Though he’s given up a few more runs in his innings since the break, he hasn’t given up many hard-hit balls for doubles or triples.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Jorge Alfaro, C (1-2)
One of the Rangers’ top prospects, Alfaro made his second consecutive All-Star team in 2014, after being named a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2013. The catcher hit .265/.321/.442 with eight homers in 63 games before the break while also throwing out 28 percent of would-be base stealers while behind the plate. Fast, and not just for a catcher, Alfaro also had three triples and 14 doubles, as well as five stolen bases. Alfaro will likely remain in Myrtle Beach for the rest of 2014, though the promotion of one of Frisco’s two catchers could lead to a level-jump.
Preston Beck, 1B (1-1, BB)
The owner of perhaps the best arm in the Rangers’ system, Beck has split 2014 between the outfield and first base while hitting .276/.386/.438 with six homers and 13 doubles before the break, numbers much improved from his 2013 campaign with the Pelicans. The 2012 fifth-round pick out of the University of Texas-Arlington has always been an asset, defensively, but wasn’t showing the ability to hit until recently.
Joey Gallo (promoted)
Though Gallo didn’t play in the Carolina/California League(s) All-Star game, it’s fairly obvious why he was picked. Gallo still leads the Carolina League in homers with 21, despite being promoted to Frisco before the All-Star game. With 10 Texas League homers in 29 games, he could have a good shot at picking up two league homer titles in one season. Though Double-A has proven to be the challenge for Gallo’s swing many predicted it would, the third baseman is already making adjustments.
Royce Bolinger (injured)
When someone is hitting .308/.366/.445, they’re an easy choice as an All-Star, and though Bolinger has cooled off since being injured and rejoining the Pelicans, with only 12 games as the sample size it’s not time to write him off as a one-hit wonder. Though he may not repeat that exact average, Bolinger will always hit, and could provide decent defense in right.
Nick Williams (injured)
After a fairly lackluster April, Williams found his swing and has hit ridiculously well in the following months. Sporting a pre-break average of .302/.352/.468 (even with a .229/.278/.361 April), Williams was selected to the All-Star team, though a hamstring injury kept him from participating. Since returning to Myrtle, Williams has hit a hot .360/.421/.663 through 21 games, and has a total of 10 homers and 23 doubles on the season.
Alex Claudio (1.0, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K)
Technically, Alex Claudio is a reliever, as he just won an organizational award as such. However, the 1.80 pre-promotion ERA he put together over 17 games, two starts, was more than enough to earn him a sport as a Carolina League All-Star. Currently starting in Frisco, Claudio has a 1.80 ERA in 20.0 innings, showing that his changeup and improved slider are every bit as deadly in Double-A as they were in high-A.
Alex Gonzalez (promoted)
One of Texas’ top prospects from his draft day, Gonzalez lived up to the press in Myrtle Beach, putting up a 2.62 ERA in 65.1 innings with the Pelicans while striking out 49 and only walking 16. Now in Double-A, Gonzalez is still using his moving fastball and solid assortment of offspeed pitches to force hitters into grounders, and working on bringing more consistency to his pitching.
Andrew Faulkner (1.0 IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K)
Proving that a splitter can be quite the effective pitch, Faulkner now leads the Carolina League in starter’s ERA with a mark of 2.08, improved from his pre-All-Star mark of 2.20. Though Falkner’s numbers in Hickory last season weren’t bad, by any means, the improvement he’s shown through this season have edged him closer to the spotlight. Aside from the fact that he hasn’t allowed a single home run in 99.1 innings with Myrtle Beach this year, Faulkner’s also increased his strikeouts while keeping his walk rate the same, striking out 23.1 percent of batters in 2014 to 17.1 percent of batters in 2013.
Chris Garia, RF (1-3, K)
Garia wasn’t originally on the Carolina League’s roster, but after a combination of injuries and promotions meant that the speedy outfielder was picked as a replacement, giving Myrtle Beach a total of nine All-Stars. In the first half of the season, Garia batted an astonishing .289/.351/.417 with one homer and nine triples while learning centerfield, numbers far higher than anything he’d previously done stateside. Since the break, Garia has shown no signs of stopping, pairing improved defense with his second and third homers of the year.