formerly known as Argenis Benitez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 195 lb.
Alexi Ogando was signed by scouts Raymond Abreu and Juan Martinez for the Oakland Athletics in March 2002. He debuted with the DSL Athletics West that summer, hitting .189 and slugging .274. In 2003, he improved significantly, batting .342/.379/.532 with 33 runs and 36 RBI in 48 games for the AZL Athletics. He tied for 8th in the Arizona League in average and was named the AZL's #5 prospect by Baseball America.
Ogando began 2004 with the Vancouver Canadians and went 3 for 20 with a homer, 6 RBI and 4 walks. He was then demoted to the AZL A's and hit .267/.340/.450. His 6 homers were second in the AZL behind Miguel Vega. Baseball America still rated him the loop's #18 prospect (3rd among outfielders), right ahead of another Alexi, Alexi Casilla.
Ogando got involved in a major marriage-for-money scandal that off-season, as were many other players, such as Omar Beltré and Maximo Nelson. The players were offered cash in return for marrying women, enabling them to come to the US on the player's visas. When the scheme was discovered, the players involved were denied visas for 2005.
As a result, Ogando spent 2005 with the DSL Athletics, where he slumped to .246, though he did steal 22 bases in 25 tries. The A's left him unprotected, assuming they would never see him in the US again, and he was picked in the AAA section of the 2005 Rule V Draft by the Texas Rangers, who were hopeful visas would eventually be given to the players being denied visas.
Ogando was converted to pitching in 2006 and was excellent, going 5-0 with 2 saves and a 0.52 ERA. He struck out 48 and walked 4 in 34 2/3 IP and held opponents to zero homers in 121 AB. He was also 4 for 16 with 3 walks and a double at the plate. Had he qualified, he would have led the Dominican Summer League in ERA. The Rangers added him to their 40-man roster that winter.
Texas tried to get a special visa for Ogando and Omar Beltré in 2007 but failed. Returning to the DSL Rangers, Alexi was 6-1 with 3 saves and a 0.96 ERA, striking out 35 in 28 innings. Had he qualified, he would have been 3rd in the DSL in ERA.
Alexi did not pitch in 2008. In 2009, he was 0-2 with 2 saves and a 2.45 ERA for the DSL Rangers 1 with 31 strikeouts in 18 1/3 IP. In 2010, Ogando and Beltré were finally reinstated. Ogando began the season with the Frisco RoughRiders and was unhittable (4 hits, 2 runs, 21 K in 15 2/3 IP). Promoted to the Round Rock Express, he was also very good (10 H, 21 K, 3.00 in 15 IP, Sv). He was then called up to the majors to replace the injured Rich Harden. He walked four in his first 3 1/3 innings in the bigs but allowed just one hit and no walks and won both games. For the season, he was 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA and .208/.286/.258 opponent batting line. He allowed one run and fanned six in eight postseason innings as Texas won the 2010 ALCS but lost the 2010 World Series.
In 2011, Ogando was moved into the rotation. He was 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA after 17 starts and was a late addition to the AL roster for the 2011 All-Star Game. he finished the season with a record of 13-8, 3.51 in 31 games, including 29 starts. He pitched 169 innings and struck out 126. In the postseason, however, he went back to the bullpen. He made three scoreless appearances against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, then gave up one run on three hits in 7 2/3 innings while striking out 10 against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. In the World Series however, facing the St. Louis Cardinals, he struggled badly, as he pitched on 2 233 innings in 6 appearances, while giving up 7 hits and 7 walks, for an ERA of 10.13.
The Rangers then made a strange decision in 2012, which was to move him back to the bullpen, even though the conversion to a starter had gone as well as anyone could have hoped. He pitched 58 times that year, with only start, logging 66 innings. His record was 2-0 with 3 saves and he struck out exactly a batter per inning. It was good, but not nearly as valuable as his performance had been the previous season. So the Rangers turned around again in 2013, and sent him back to the starting rotation. He pitched well while healthy, but was limited to 23 outings, including 18 starts. In 104 1/3 innings, his ERA was 3.11 with a record of 7-4. He allowed only 87 hits, but fell to 72 strikeouts. In 2014, however, he was back pitching in relief and struggled, as his ERA was 6.84 in 27 appearances. He made his last appearance on June 3rd, after which he was sidelined by elbow inflammation, and only pitched 25 innings, with a record of 2-3 and a save as the Rangers set a record for the number of pitchers used in one year.
Having been literally jerked around between the starting rotation and bullpen for five years without Texas ever settling on a role for him, Ogando decided to leave the team following the 2014 season. He signed with the Boston Red Sox, inking a one-year contract laden with potential bonuses, although it was not clear what his role would be with his new team, the potential bonuses kicking in both for starts or relief appearances.
Ogando has been timed at 100 mph.
- AL All-Star (2011)
- Dallas News story on Ogando
- 2009 Rangers Media Guide
- Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database