Two Pelicans get top honors, invites to big-league camp

Myrtle Beach Pelicans received two of the Texas Rangers organization’s highest honors after having successful years on the Grand Strand last season.

Pelicans ace Robbie Ross was named the Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year and outfielder Ryan Strausborger was named the Defender of the Year.

Strausborger batted .270 with eight home runs and 57 RBIs last season, but it was his defense and speed that set him apart. He had 31 stolen bases and made several diving catches and putouts at home plate from deep center field.

Ross went 9-4 with a .226 ERA last season, striking out 98 while walking only 28 with the Pelicans. He anchored Myrtle Beach’s run to the Carolina League Southern Division playoffs.

As the Rangers’ No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, he was one of two Pelicans to earn invitations to Major League Spring Training, where Ross is expected to compete for a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Also invited to next month’s big league spring training was tird baseman Michael Olt, who batted .267 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs despite missing two months with a broken collarbone.

Olt, the Rangers’ No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America, will make the switch from third to first base this spring in hopes of moving him to the majors without having to sit behind All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre.

The Pelicans could see Olt return to Myrtle Beach to work on his first base skills. The full roster for the Pelicans will be set at the conclusion of spring training in late March or early April.

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