The stock continues to rise for one of the top prospects in the Rangers organization.
Yohander Mendez got into a rhythm on the mound Tuesday night for Double A Frisco in his longest start of the young season. The 22-year old lefty from Venezuela allowed only one hit and one unearned run while striking out seven in seven innings down in San Antonio. The Roughriders would score three runs in the top of the 12th inning and go on to win 5-2.
The key to Mendez’s success might be contributed to the growing confidence and trust in his fastball. The young lefty may not have the command that he would like at this point but the trust is growing with the pitch. It’s a big step forward considering how establishing the fastball helps with the nasty off-speed stuff Mendez has, allowing him to keep hitters honest while going deeper in games.
It was also a nice bounce-back effort when talking about control. Mendez allowed only two walks against the Missions, compared to five walks in six innings in his start against Corpus Christi last week.
Mendez is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the Rangers organization and another member of the Class of 2011 international group that includes outfielder Nomar Mazara and second baseman Rougned Odor, along with Triple A Round Rock first baseman Ronald Guzman. Mendez is also on the Rangers 40-man roster.
The young lefty was impressive last season in the minors. Mendez was a combined 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA while climbing the ladder through the organization. He started the year at Class A High Desert before making the move to Frisco, where he went 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 46.2 innings for the Roughriders. Mendez was then sent to Round Rock and went 4-1 with a 0.57 ERA before getting the call to join the Rangers late in the season.
He did have a rough debut in relief against the Seattle Mariners, giving up five runs in an inning of work when facing major league hitting for the first time. However, there’s no need for concern as he’ll get more chances at The Globe in the future.
The only question will be whether Mendez will be a starter or reliever once he returns to Arlington. As for the here and now, Mendez takes the bump in Frisco with growing confidence in an arsenal that seems to be getting better with every start.