A.J. Alexy Takes Step Forward At Instructs
Unlike a year ago, the Rangers didn't have a glut of talent that needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to shield them from the Rule 5 draft.
Nevertheless, the Rangers found three players to add—catcher David Garcia and righthanders Yerry Rodriguez and A.J. Alexy. Neither pitcher has played above Class A and Garcia has never played for a full-season affiliate.
But the Rangers, in the midst of a rebuild and short on pitching, didn't want to risk losing any key arms. They saw more than enough good from the 22-year-old Alexy during instructional league to protect him.
The Rangers have had the 6-foot-4, 195-pound righthander since 2017, when he was one of three Dodgers prospects acquired at the trade deadline for Yu Darvish. Alexy, an 11th-rounder in 2016 from Twin Valley High in Elverson, Pa., was only 19 at the time.
In the years since, and through a 2019 lat strain that limited Alexy to just five starts at high Class A Down East, the Rangers have seen a pitcher who has grown and been coveted by other teams in trade talks.
"He's still just 22 years old, and he's really matured a lot, on and off the field," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's getting married this winter. He's made, I think, some real positive adjustments on the mound, and maybe more importantly he's gone through that natural maturation process. He's really driven."
To that end, Alexy remained in Arizona for much of the summer after the minor league season was lost to the coronavirus pandemic. He worked through some mechanical adjustments and studied the craft of pitching.
The results were evident at instructs.
"He was the guy who our people came back consistently that stood out as a guy who took a step forward," Daniels said. "It's hard because you're evaluating off of instructional league games, but we know the work that he's put in. On that piece, we've very confident."
—The decision to protect Garcia is also a reflection of the Rangers' shortfall of depth at catcher. Garcia, 20, is the Rangers second-best catching prospect behind Huff and ahead of Randy Florentino. Garcia will likely open 2021 at low Class A.
— Rodriguez was one of a handful of prospects, arguably the most prominent one, who struggled to find adequate workout conditions during the shutdown while in the Dominican Republic. The rust showed early at instructs, but he was up to speed by early November.