Texas Rangers

May 24, 2014

Minor League Insider: Local players flourishing

Noah Syndergaard of Mansfield Legacy could be in the bigs soon.

The MLB draft is less than two weeks away and it’s safe to assume that Texas will be well represented.

It’s a baseball hotbed for high school and college players, and our area consistently has players selected in the higher rounds.

Some go on to flourish in the professional game and reach the big leagues, while some flame out. But that’s how prospects go.

Nobody knew what to expect from Noah Syndergaard coming out of Mansfield Legacy in 2010.

He was a tall right-hander who could light up the radar gun, but questions remained about how he’d handle the transition to professional baseball.

The Blue Jays rolled the dice on him with the 38th overall pick and that gamble has paid off. He helped land them reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the Mets before the 2013 season, and now the Mets have high hopes for him.

Syndergaard, 21, has become one of the top pitching prospects in the game and is 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 starts at Triple A Las Vegas. He could reach the big leagues at some point this season.

But he isn’t the only Tarrant County player impressing in the minor leagues. Here’s a look at a five more locals who are getting closer to their big leagues dreams.

LHP Hoby Milner (Fort Worth Paschal/ University of Texas): A seventh-round draft pick in 2012 by the Phillies, Milner is pitching for Double A Reading this season. The 23-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA over eight starts, including throwing 61/3 scoreless innings on Friday.

Milner is on a nice development track and is working on commanding the strike zone more. He has issued multiple walks in seven of his eight starts, and has a 24-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

1B Max Muncy (Keller High School/ Baylor): A fifth-round draft pick in 2012 by the A’s, Muncy has been one of the hottest hitters for Double A Midland this season. He is batting .314 with eight doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs over 30 games. He has also drawn 25 walks and struck out only 15 times.

Muncy did miss almost three weeks with a broken left middle finger, but returned to the RockHounds lineup on Friday.

RHP Austin Kubitza (Colleyville Heritage/ Rice): A fourth-round draft pick in 2013 by the Tigers, Kubitza is pitching well so far in his second pro season. He is 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA over his first eight starts and has been named the Midwest League pitcher of the week twice this season.

Kubitza, 22, has 57 strikeouts over 46 innings and would appear to be in line for a promotion at some point this season.

3B Jantzen Witte (Arlington Martin/ TCU): Witte, a 24th-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2013, is tearing up the South Atlantic League. He went into Saturday batting .353 with 20 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBIs.

Witte has especially heated up in May, batting .375, and took a seven-game hitting streak into Saturday’s game.

SS Paul Hendrix (Birdville/TCU): The Cleveland Indians have clearly liked Hendrix all along, taking him in the 32nd round of the 2012 draft out of Howard College and then in the 18th round out of TCU last season.

And Hendrix hasn’t disappointed. He has shown an ability to play anywhere in the infield and is batting .313 with nine doubles, six home runs and 20 RBIs in his first 37 games at Class A Lake County.

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