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Down East Wood Ducks

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  • Down East Wood Ducks

    The Down East Wood Ducks open the season on the road this Thursday and have their home opener at Grainger Stadium next Monday, April 10th.

    Murphy says, "Baseball's been synonymous with the city of Kinston for about nine decades. It's going to have a major impact on our hotels, our restaurants, the coffee houses."

    The Texas Rangers and Down East Wood Ducks announced the first roster to break minor league camp in Surprise, AZ and join the inaugural season in Kinston.

    Among the roster are four prospects featured on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list for the Rangers farm system. Those four are left-handed pitchers Brett Martin (No. 5) and Joe Palumbo (No. 6), infielder Josh Morgan (No. 13), and outfielder Jairo Beras (No. 16).

    Martin and Palumbo are just a bit of the strong pitching staff entering the Carolina League with the Woodies. Martin earned a late call-up to Advanced-A High Desert in the California League and was MVP of the league finals after throwing seven shutout and hitless innings while collecting 15 strikeouts in game two of the series against Visalia. Palumbo was a model of consistency last season, leading the South Atlantic League with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings with the Hickory Crawdads.

    Offensively, the Wood Ducks bring proven hitters Josh Morgan and Jairo Beras the “pitchers’ league.” Morgan is a career .300 hitter in his three minor league seasons and finished with the fourth-best average on High Desert’s championship roster. The Dominican-born Beras enjoyed a breakout power year with career-highs in home runs (22), runs batted in (78), and doubles (28) with High Desert.

    Two Cuban League signees will make their American debuts with the Wood Ducks as well. Yonder O La and Arturo Lara joined the Rangers in the offseason and are both listed as infielders.

    Arturo Lara: SS, Age: 26 (February 22, 1991); Bats/Throws: R/R Ht: 5' 10" Wt: 185

    Luis Yander La O: 3B, Age: 25 (December 9, 1991); Bats/Throws: R/R Ht: 6' 0" Wt: 178

    Frandy De La Rosa, 2B: Age: 21 (January 24, 1996)

    The Rangers traded relief pitcher Spencer Patton to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Frandy De La Rosa in 2015

    Signed by the Cubs from the Dominican Republic in 2012, De La Rosa earned a bonus of $700,000. At the time he drew notice as an athletic switch-hitter with a good measure of baseball polish but a lack of physical strength. He showed middle infield range but not the arm strength for shortstop, leading scouts to project a move to second base. The positional issue probably hurt his bonus stock a bit but the bat projected well and his makeup was considered excellent.

    Which of the new team names for 2017 is your favorite?

    The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Southern) took the early vote and held off the Down East Wood Ducks (Carolina) down the stretch.

    A rotation of Bass, Benjamin, Martin, Palumbo and Payano – if that’s what transpires – should keep the Wood Ducks in nearly every game. Martin probably would have earned a Frisco assignment if not for an injury-filled 2016, and I expect him to finish the season there. Palumbo was the most impressive pitcher I saw in person last week, showing an effective change in addition to his already noteworthy curve and mid-90s fastball. Strike-throwers Payano (returning from a broken arm) and Benjamin should thrive in the pitcher-friendly climate.

    Carlos Garay, 22
    Chuck Moorman, 23

    Josh Morgan is also expected to play backstop on occasion. Morgan caught last spring, also, but the experiment was shelved during the regular season. Although he hit well enough for an assignment to AA Frisco, keeping him in high-A should ease his positional transition. Moorman caught the majority of Hickory’s games last year. Garay played sparingly in Spokane during 2014-2015.

    Josh Altmann, 22 (everywhere, mostly at 1B based on his teammates)
    Frandy de la Rosa, 21 (2B, 3B)
    Luis Yander La O, 25 (3B, 2B)
    Arturo Lara, 26 (SS and elsewhere?)
    Luis Mendez, 24 (everywhere but 1B)
    #13 Josh Morgan, 21 (everywhere but 1B, plus C)

    La O is from Cuba, where he primarily played third base with some action at second and short. Like Andy Ibanez last year, he’s being eased into US ball after a fallow period and should reach AA during the season. Lara is also Cuban, and that’s that extent of my knowledge of him. Altmann played everywhere but catcher and even tossed two innings in low-A last year. De la Rosa, acquired last year for reliever Spencer Patton, has advanced from Hickory while some more highly regarded infielders will stay behind.

    #16 Jairo Beras, 22
    Ledarious Clark, 23
    Michael O’Neill, 24
    Eduard Pinto, 22

    Frisco has six outfielders, of whom at least four deserve regular action, so Beras will return to high-A despite 22 homers and a .511 slugging percentage (albeit in the hitter-friendliest park on the planet). Up from Hickory is Clark, who I think has a better season in him than last year’s .242/.279/.439. Eduard Pinto slides down from Frisco, where he served admirably after a host of trades, promotions and injuries gutted the squad last July.

    The newly-affiliated Down East Wood Ducks look to be quite exciting as well, also with a rotation that will be packed with prospecty goodness. Brett Martin, Joe Palumbo, Pedro Payano, and Wes Benjamin all spent at least the majority of their 2016 with Hickory in A-ball, and all were somewhere between “damn good” and “pretty damn good.” They’ll all move up (or Down) to the Wood Ducks in ’17. There will be a nice stock of maybe-someday major league relief arms on hand too, and also a guy named Ricardo Rodriguez that I’m fairly certain is not mid-aughts so-so Rangers’ starter Ricardo Rodriguez. Jairo Beras will be a Wood Duck as well, and he’s one that I have to repeatedly check how old he is because he’s been around for a while and seems like he should be older than he actually is (21). He signed as a sixteen seventeen-year-old and has been steadily moving up through the system with widely-reported raw tools and widely-reported makeup questions. He’s working on two strong offensive seasons in a row, though, and a promotion to Frisco is likely if he starts the year with the same kind of bat.

  • #2
    Down East Wood Ducks @GoWoodDucks
    Luis La O! He hits his first stateside home run! 6-1 headed to ninth!

    Luis Yander La O has been an infielder for the Santiago de Cuba Wasps.

    Luis played for Cuba in the 2008 World Junior Championship (when they won a Bronze Medal) and 2009 Pan American Junior Championship (when they got Silver). He made his Cuban Serie Nacional debut in 2009-2010, hitting .212/.271/.250 in 29 games, fielding .841 as a backup 3B-SS. In 2010-2011, he batted .271/.378/.329 in 38 contests, fielding .957 while splitting 3B with a couple other players. With the Wasps in 2011-2012, he became a starter and produced at a .335/.386/.418 clip with 55 runs in 72 games and 13 steals in 18 tries. He tied for fifth in the league with 14 sacrifice hits.

    Various sources announced that he had defected from Cuba in 2015 and established residence in Haiti in order to be recognized as a free agent by Major League Baseball, but he denied the rumor and was indeed included on Cuba's initial roster for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, ON but was a late removal before the Games. He did defect later that year, was eventually declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and on January 11, 2017, was reported to have signed a deal with the Texas Rangers that included a signing bonus of $110,000.

    Luis La O: 2h, 1R, 1RBI, 1HR
    Jairo Beras: 2H, 1R, 2 RBI, 1HR


    • #3
      2nd inning now
      Jairo Beras 2 for 2, 2B, HR, 2 Run, 6 RBI


      • #4
        Joe Palumbo: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 SO


        • #5
          Tepid Participation @TepidP
          Joe Palumbo is at it again for Kinston. 3ip, 0h, 0r, 1h, 4k so far today. He's very good and very left handed.


          Tepid Participation @TepidP
          Sonofabitch. I hate everything. Joe Palumbo grabs his left arm and is removed from the game.

          Scott Lucas @scottrlucas
          Joe Palumbo pulled mid-batter in the 5th. 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO. Seemingly injured arm. That's all I know.


          • #6
            Originally posted by mingjungtc View Post
            Tepid Participation @TepidP
            Joe Palumbo is at it again for Kinston. 3ip, 0h, 0r, 1h, 4k so far today. He's very good and very left handed.

            Tepid Participation @TepidP
            Sonofabitch. I hate everything. Joe Palumbo grabs his left arm and is removed from the game.

            Scott Lucas @scottrlucas
            Joe Palumbo pulled mid-batter in the 5th. 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO. Seemingly injured arm. That's all I know.
            Ouch! Awful news ....


            • #7
              bad news. This guy was on the fast track.


              • #8
                Anything more definitive? Feel like they would have MRI results by now...


                • #9
                  Originally posted by saclare View Post
                  Anything more definitive? Feel like they would have MRI results by now...
                  Rangers pitching prospect Joe Palumbo diagnosed with torn UCL, Tommy John surgery an option



                  • #10
                    Brutal. Kid was really coming on. Hope he comes back strong.


                    • #11
                      Down East Wood @GoWoodDucks

                      Give a hand to Jeffrey Springs!
                      New career-high for strikeouts in his start: 6IP 5H 1R 1ER 1BB 10SO!
                      Last edited by mingjungtc; 05-03-2017, 06:01 PM.


                      • #12
                        Blake Bass was about 8 years old when the saw the Texas Rangers play in person for the first time in Arlington, Texas.

                        “For me personally obviously it is a dream come true. It is somewhere I wanted to be since day one,” said Bass, “Fortunately I have been able to live my dream so far.”

                        After pitching last season for low Class-A Hickory (NC) Crawdads in the South Atlantic League, Bass was promoted up a level to the Carolina League after going 6-3 with a 2.63 ERA last season in 36 games in 2016, with five starts.

                        “He developed a little bit more of a curve in spring training,” Mintz said of Bass after the game in Woodbridge against the affiliate of the Washington Nationals. “He has made some very good strides from last year to this year. He was able to make a few starts at the end of the season (in 2016) and did well.”

                        Bass said he throws a sinker, slider and change and has been working on the curve and four-seam fastball.

                        “This year I am focusing on throwing the majority of pitches for strikes, not singling out one pitch I can got to for a strike. That will make me more effective,” he said.

                        Bass began his college career at Texas Tech as a first baseman and transferred to Angelo State, where he played two years and was solely a pitcher as a senior.



                        • #13
                          Jairo Beras was able to hit over 100 mph on the mound last night on the stadium gun, admittedly a little fast. However, a team's gun had him at 98 mph. Pretty impressive.


                          • #14


                            • #15
                              Turns out the electrifying debut of prospect Jairo Beras wasn't just a case of a position player mopping up in a rout.

                              The Rangers have been considering moving the one-time mega prospect to the mound for some time. And his 1-2-3 inning for Class A Down East (N.C.) Tuesday, in which he hit 100 mph on some radar guns and 98 on others, may accelerate those conversations.

                              "We've talked about him pitching in the past, but had put it off to let him get more at-bats and a chance to hit," general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. "It's been an active discussion for a while now. When the Kinston staff was going to need a position player to throw, they took the opportunity to get a look at Jairo in that role. What was impressive more than the velo itself was how easily he got to it, and with literally zero coaching to this point. We're going to have further discussion about it now."

                              Beras' long, lanky body brings to mind another former outfielder the Rangers turned into a pitcher: Alexi Ogando. Ogando spent two seasons as an outfielder in the Oakland organization before being claimed by the Rangers in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. His major league debut was delayed by nearly five years due to issues related to an immigration scandal that blocked his entrance into the U.S. But he did reach the majors in 2010 and was an All-Star in 2011 before arm issues led to a decline.