The Rangers are promoting top left-handed pitching prospect Yohander Mendez as part of their first wave of September call-ups, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. The 21-year-old is already on the 40-man roster and thus won’t require a corresponding move to accommodate his addition to the Major League roster.
Mendez received a $1.5MM signing bonus during the same international signing class that brought the Rangers Nomar Mazara and will be making his Major League debut the first time he gets into a game for Texas. While he began the season at Class-A Advanced, he’s sliced through minor league competition with relative ease, dominating his way to a big league audition. Mendez has a 2.19 ERA on the season as a whole, having worked to a 2.57 mark at High-A, 3.09 in Double-A and a lustrous 0.57 mark in 31 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. In 111 minor league frames, Mendez has allowed just 72 hits, walked 41 and struck out 113 with a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate. Mendez has dominated right-handed hitters (.558 OPS) and left-handed hitters (.484 OPS) alike and could factor into the Texas rotation as soon as next season, even if he’s more of a bullpen/spot start consideration in 2016.
The Venezuelan southpaw saw his name land on a number of midseason top prospect lists, ranking 47th, 49th and 59th, respectively, on the lists of Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com and ESPN.com. All three of the linked reports praise Mendez’s three-pitch mix, with his changeup regarded as the best of his offerings. He sits 90-94 mph with a fastball and has at least an average breaking pitch as well. Keith Law calls him a “potential mid-rotation starter, if not better,” with the primary question at this point being how well Mendez can shoulder the workload of a full season’s worth of innings. Mendez tossed 78 1/3 innings between the minors and the Arizona Fall League last season, but that modest sum represented his career-high in innings pitched prior to this season’s count of 111. Listed at 6’5″ and 200 pounds he’s still fairly lanky in build, and considering his youth, there’s room for him to continue growing and fill out that frame, as noted in MLB.com’s report on him.
As a reminder, readers can head over to Roster Resource for a full list of transactions thus far since Sept. 1 roster expansion.