Saab joined the Rangers in November 2006 and most recently served as the organization's Latin America Crosschecker. The Venezuela native played in the Phillies organization and spent time as a scout with that organization before joining Texas. Saab is credited with signing future big leaguers Freddy Galvis and Carlos Carrasco for the Phillies, along with Martin Perez and prospect Luis Sardinas for the Rangers.
ROUGNED ODOR, LUKE JACKSON, JAKE SKOLE, AND ALEXANDER CLAUDIO
SELECTED FOR RANGERS 2013 MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS
The Texas Rangers announced today the club's yearly minor league award winners for 2013. Infielder Rougned Odor was selected as the Tom Grieve Player of the Year, right-hander Luke Jackson was named the Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year, outfielder Jake Skole was picked as Defender of the Year, and left-hander Alexander Claudio was chosen Reliever of the Year.
Odor, who turns 20 next month, combined to bat .305 (156-511) with 41 doubles, 6 triples, 11 home runs, 78 RBI, 32 stolen bases, and 85 runs in 2013. The left-handed batter and right-handed thrower led all full season Texas farmhands in batting and tied for the 3rd-most doubles in Minor League Baseball. Odor was both a midseason and postseason All-Star selection in the Carolina League and finished the season ranked among the league leaders in batting (3rd, .305), doubles (T5th, 33), and stolen bases (T5th, 27). The teenager earned a promotion to Frisco in August and finished the season as the youngest player in the Texas League. Odor was signed as a non-drafted free agent on January 3, 2011 by Rafic Saab and Mike Daly.
Jackson, 22, combined to go 11-4 with a 2.04 ERA (29 ER/128.0 IP) and 134 strikeouts over 25 games/23 starts with High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last year. The right-hander posted the 7th-lowest opponent average (.202) and 8th-lowest ERA among all minor league pitchers in full season leagues. Jackson was the starter for the Carolina League in their annual All-Star Game versus the California League and was tabbed the 9th-best prospect on the circuit by Baseball America. The Florida native earned a promotion to Double-A Frisco in August and did not allow a run over his first 20.0 innings at the Double-A level. Jackson was selected by the Rangers in the supplemental first round (45th overall) of the 2010 June draft.
Skole, who turns 22 on Friday, rated statistically as the top defensive outfielder in the Carolina League last season. The Georgia native compiled a .996 fielding percentage (1 E/246 TC) with 10 outfield assists in 111 games, ranking 6th in the Carolina League in both assists and total chances. At the plate, Skole batted .211 (76-361) with 22 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs, 40 RBI, 69 walks, and 59 runs in 117 games with the Pelicans. Skole was selected in the first round (15th overall) of the 2010 June draft and signed by Ryan Coe.
Claudio, who turns 22 on January 31, combined to go 4-6 with a 1.83 ERA (16 ER/78.2 IP) and 91 strikeouts against 18 walks over 45 relief appearances with Low-A Hickory and Frisco in 2013. The southpaw held opposing batters to a .183 average (50-273) overall, including a .133 mark (12-90) by left-handed batters. Claudio allowed just two runs (1 ER) over a 21-game stretch with Hickory from April 17 to June 16 before earning a promotion to Double-A. The Puerto Rico native was selected in the 27th round of the 2010 June draft and signed by Frankie Thon.
The award winners will be honored at the 2014 Dr Pepper Awards Dinner on Friday, January 24 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine. The Dr Pepper Awards Dinner begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Net proceeds benefit the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. For tickets and more information, please go to texasrangers.com.
WINTER BALL UPDATE: Engel Beltre is batting .289 (11-38) with a homer, triple, 2 doubles, and 7 RBI in 12 games with Licey in the Dominican Winter League playoffs...he went 1-for-3 with a sac bunt in Licey's 4-1 win on over the Cibao Eagles yesterday...dating back to his last 9 games before the playoffs, Beltre is batting .324 (24-74) with a homer, 2 triples, 4 doubles, and 12 RBI his last 21 contests with Licey...Wilmer Font pitched a scoreless 7th inning for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs on Saturday...Robinson Chirinos has a .286 (4-14) average with a HR and 2 RBI in 5 games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan playoffs...Brad Snyder, a non-roster invitee to Rangers camp this spring, leads all players in the Mexican Winter League playoffs with 5 HR and 11 RBI over Mexicali's first 6 postseason contests.