Rangers' Font Gets The Good Feeling Back
ARLINGTON—As most who have had their ulnar collateral ligament operated
on would say, it typically takes 18 months to get the pre-operation
Righthander Wilmer Font
hit that deadline this season after having Tommy
John surgery in October 2010 and performed like the highly rated
prospect the Rangers believed they had signed in 2006.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Venezuelan found his stride at high Class A
Myrtle Beach, jumped a level for the final month, and by the 18-month
mark had made his major league debut.
Font, 22, surprised even himself.
"Last year, I had surgery. This is a big step for me," Font said. "At
the all-star break, I felt no problems and my arm felt good. My
velocity, my command, my secondary pitches were all there."
Font worked primarily in the Myrtle Beach rotation, logging 19 starts
but only 83 innings. But in that body of work, which included four
relief stints, Font fanned 109 while walking just 37.
He jumped to Double-A in August, joining the Frisco bullpen for the rest
of the season. He continued to fill up the strike zone (29 strikeouts, 7
walks) and entered the Texas League playoffs with 3.00 ERA in 15 games.
The RoughRiders were bounced by Springfield in the final series, and
Font was in Arlington the next day. He made his major league debut Sept.
18 at Los Angeles, working a scoreless inning, and made two more
appearances during the Rangers' final regular season homestand.
The club sees him as a reliever going forward, and they like what they see.
"His arm has come all the way back," general manager Jon Daniels said.
"He's got the big fastball with real good angle, and his changeup has
gotten better. He's still improving, but he's got a chance to fight for a
job with us next year."
• Double-A outfielder Engel Beltre
went from the Texas League playoffs
to the World Baseball Classic qualifier as the leadoff man for Spain.
Beltre, who was born in the Dominican Republic and lives in the U.S.,
went 6-for-14 with a triple, three RBIs and three steals in four games
as Spain advanced to the main draw in March. Frisco teammate lefthander
pitched for Israel, and 2010 first-round pick Kellin
was a catcher on the Canadian team.
• Outfielder Preston Beck
, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, was
selected as the organization's top defender for the final month of the
season. He finished second in the short-season Northwest League with 12
outfield assists. Beck went to Texas-Arlington, which is a 10-minute
drive from Rangers Ballpark.