The Rangers announced they’ve recalled right-hander A.J. Alexy to start this evening’s game against the Rockies. It’ll be the 23-year-old’s major league debut. Alexy was already added to the 40-man roster last offseason to keep him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
An eleventh-round pick of the Dodgers out of a Pennsylvania high school in 2016, Alexy spent the first year of his career in the Los Angeles system. The Dodgers included him as part of a three-player package to land Yu Darvish at the 2017 trade deadline. Alexy pitched very well at Low-A the following season, but he missed much of 2019 to injury and obviously couldn’t log any minor league action last year.
Despite missing almost two full seasons, Alexy hasn’t shown much sign of rust this year. He’s split the 2021 campaign between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, pitching to a 1.66 ERA over 65 innings. Along the way, Alexy has struck out a whopping 29.8% of batters faced, although he’s partially offset that by issuing walks at a lofty 10.6% clip.
Alexy has been an inconsistent strike-thrower throughout his career. Both Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs and Baseball America suggest he’s likely to wind up in a bullpen role someday because of those control issues. Nevertheless, both outlets slotted him among the back half of the Rangers’ top 30 prospects thanks to the quality of his arsenal. Each of FanGraphs and BA suggest Alexy has a pair of plus offerings: a mid-high 90s fastball and a sharp 12-6 curveball, in addition to a passable changeup that serves as his third pitch.
The Rangers have almost no certainty in their starting rotation at the moment. Each of Spencer Howard, Dane Dunning and Mike Foltynewicz are on the COVID-19 injured list, forcing Texas to turn to a series of rookies in their place. Alexy becomes the third Rangers starter to make his MLB debut within the past week, joining Jake Latz and Glenn Otto. Amidst a larger-scale retooling effort, Texas figures to give continued chances to younger players over the season’s final five weeks as they look ahead to 2022.
Latz, however, has been returned to Round Rock after one appearance. Because he was selected as a COVID replacement, he needn’t be exposed to waivers to be removed from the 40-man roster. Latz will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter if he’s not re-selected to the big league roster before November.