Minor League Teams
Prospects On Deck: 2B Andy Ibanez – Rangers
When thinking about Cuban ball players, a few big names that are active today come to mind like Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Kendrys Morales and Yoenis Cespedes.
These are just a few of the many that have played or are still in the majors today. But there is always going to be that next future star waiting his turn and that player is Andy Ibanez.
The young infielder left his Cuban National team and his native land in October 2014. At that time he was 21-years old and ranked No. 8 by Baseball America on their International Prospect list.
In July 2015, for $1.6 Million, the Texas Rangers signed Ibanez, who started his career with the Cuban National team at 18 and in three seasons hit .283, with 13 home runs and 97 RBI’s.
The Rangers placed the 5’10” infielder on their Class-A Full Season squad, the Hickory Crawdads, for the 2016 season and in just 13 games he is batting .456 (26 for 57), with 10 runs, nine doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI’s.
In his first ever game for the Rangers affiliate, the organization’s No. 16 prospect, went 4 for 5, with a triple, and four RBI’s.
For his stellar play from April 7th – 17th, where he hit .439 (18 for 41), he was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week. In his last ten games, he is hitting .465 (20 for 43), with a home run and six RBIs, with six multi-hit games in that span.
So far this season, he has hit safely in 10 of 13 games with his most productive game on the young season coming on Tuesday against the Greenville Drive, when he recorded five hits (5 for 7), with two doubles, launching a home run, and driving in three runs, and the latter double, a walk-off hit to seal a 5-4 victory in the 17th inning.
Ibanez also leads the SAL with 26 Hits, nine Doubles, 43 Total Bases, a .456 Batting Average, .500 OBP, .754 SLG, and a 1.254 OPS.
It’s only 13 games into the Crawdad’s season, but really not sure what else Ibanez needs to prove. Possibly by mid-season, he will be taking his enormous talents to the Class A Advanced team or even Double-A. But where ever the Rangers decide to promote him, it sure looks like they have found a diamond in the rough and sure enough he too will be gracing the big league roster.
Cuba has produced some amazing stars over the years, and Andy Ibanez will be the next. Stay tuned.
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