There's a young pitcher in North Texas who is starting to cement front-rumner status for 2011 AL Rookie of the Year -- except I'm not sure if Alexi Ogando is eligible, after pitching 41.2 innings out of the bullpen last year.
When Neftali Feliz was temporarily moved to the Ranger starting rotation during Spring Training, the club felt they could make the move in part because Ogando was around as a dominant setup man who could close for a pennant-defending squad in Arlington.
Then, the Rangers re-thought that move, left the '10-dominant Feliz in the closer's role, and moved Ogando to the rotation instead. Monday night in Arlington, Ogando tossed a five-hit shutout against the White Sox to move to 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA and a 43/14 K/BB ratio over 59.2 innings in eight starts.
The Dominican Ogando, a native of the legendary San Pedro de Macoris, joined the Texas organization as a Ruele 5 draftee (from division rival Oakland) in 2005. He's 27, which is a little old for a Rookie of the Year candidate, even if he is eligible.
Maybe AO will have to settle for the 2011 AL Cy Young Award instead!
So who saw that coming?