Prospect Profile: Kanekoa Texeira

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Kanekoa Texeira | RHP

Born in Maui and raised in Honolulu, Texeira attended Kamehameha High School, which has produced two fringe big leaguers: ex-Yank Bronson Sardinha and his brother Dane. His high school career was plagued by inconsistency – after flashing premium arm strength as a junior his stock took a hit when he was merely ordinary as a senior. Baseball America rated Texeira the second best talent in the state for the 2004 Draft, but he lasted until the 34th round of the draft (916th overall), when the Brewers grabbed him. He didn’t sign and instead headed to Saddleback College in Orange County, CA, a two-year institution.

Texeira served as a swingman as a freshman, going 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and a 4.72 Kper9 over thirteen appearances (four starts). He struggled mightily with his command, posting a 14-22 K/BB ratio in his 26.2 IP. Saddleback went 8-13 in conference play and 20-14 overall, and did not qualify for the California Community College postseason. Although he was eligible for the 2005 draft, Texeira went undrafted and returned to Saddleback for his sophomore season.

Working almost exclusively out of the rotation, Texeira was the Gauchos’ number two starter as a sophomore. He went 6-1 with a 4.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a 5.57 Kper9. He was second on the team in wins, starts (11), innings (63), and strikeouts (39), and more importantly he cut his walk rate from 7.42 BBper9 to 3.43. Saddleback went 1-2 in the Orange Empire Conference Tournament and again failed to qualify for the postseason. Because he was an underwhelming prospect and was relatively unrecruited by a four-year universities, Texeira turned pro when the White Sox selected him in the 22nd round of the 2006 draft, 675th overall.

Pro Career
The White Sox assigned Texeira to Bristol of the Rookie level Appalachian League after he signed, where he dominated out of the bullpen. He worked 23.2 IP over 19 appearances, allowing just 15 hits and 5 walks against 29 strikeouts, and posted a microscopic 0.76 ERA thanks to a stretch of eleven consecutive scoreless outings. Bumped up to Low-A Kannapolis to finish up the year, Texeira allowed eight hits and three runs in six mop-up innings.

Texeira showed up to Spring Training overweight in 2007 and was placed in a conditioning program affectionately known as Fat Camp in the ChiSox organization. He was sent back to Low-A Kannapolis after camp and served as the Intimidators’ closer all year, racking up 16 saves for a team that finished 19.5 games out of first. He allowed 49 hits and 22 walks in 53.2 IP (39 appearances), striking out 58 (9.73 Kper9). Texeira joined the Honolulu Sharks of Hawaii Winter Baseball after the season as an injury replacement, pitching an additional 22 innings (3.71 ERA).

Bumped to High-A Winston-Salem in 2008 , Texeira had a breakout year by notching twenty saves, second in the league. He threw 38.2 IP over 36 appearances, putting up a 1.09 WHIP and 0.93 ERA, and picked up the win in the Carolina League All-Star Game by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. The White Sox bumped him up to Double-A Birmingham in the second half, where he pitched to a 1.12 WHIP and 2.01 ERA in 22.1 IP. All told, Texeira’s 2008 season line was 61 IP, 46 H, 21 BB, 60 K, 2.13 GB/FB and 1.33 ERA.

Texeira was traded to the Yankees along with 1B/OF Nick Swisher on November 13, 2008 in exchange for RHP Jeff Marquez, RHP Jhonny Nunez and IF Wilson Betemit.

Scouting Report
Texeira is a classic sinker-slider reliever. His best offering is a slider that dives away from righties with hard two-plane break, which explains why they hit just .186 with a 2.38 GB/FB rate off him in 2008. His fastball generally sits in the 89-91 mph range, although he can hump it up to 93 if he puts everything into it. Texeira is most effective in the upper 80’s, when he gets the most movement out of his heater. The White Sox had him work on a changeup earlier in his career, but it’s nothing more than a show-me pitch. He does an excellent job of keeping the ball in the park, allowing just three homers total in the last three years.

Working from a low three-quarters arm slot, Texeira isn’t too far off from being a sidearmer. That arm slot is what makes his slider so good, and so far he’s been durable as a pro. His control needs work, and although he had no issues in 2008 he has to work diligently to keep his weight in check. As a dominant reliever he hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity to work on holding runners.

2009 Outlook
Texeira will start the year as a key cog in Double-A Trenton’s bullpen, and could be in line for a midseason promotion to Triple-A Scranton. Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season, Texeira could be trade bait at the deadline given the Yanks’ crowded 40-man roster.

My Take
The Yankees have more relievers in the uppers levels of their farm system than they know what to do with, and Texeira just adds to that crop. I’m a huge JB Cox fan and that’s who Texeira reminds me of, albeit with less control and without the impressive track record at an elite college program. In reality, he’s just another young and cheap relief option with good stuff that’s near Major League ready. With all do respect, I’m glad he’s only the second best Tex the Yanks picked up this offseason.

Photo Credit: Carl Kline, Baseball America

Pettitte and the Feds talk Clemens
Leyritz, jailed Friday, now released
  • A.D.

    Not bad for what seems to be a throw-in in this deal. I would have been happy if it was just Swish for those 3, so worst case little Tex gets picked in the rule 5 and we get 50K for him.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    He was a starter in college? Perfect; switch him back to starting which frees up Joba to move the bullpen.

    Mike Francesa


    Seriously, though, thanks, great writeup. Seeing as how Texiera needs to be protected this coming year, what would you say are the odds he earns a 40-man spot sometime between now and then? If he’s unprotected, what are the odds somebody takes him?

    • A.D.

      Well JB wasn’t picked this year, and he’s better, but does have the injury concerns. Since Tex doesn’t have some huge upside & isn’t left handed, less chance he gets picked.

      My guess, he’ll be throw in trade bait

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      He did get the win in the Carolina League All-Star Game by pitching the 8th. If Francesa sees that, we’re in big trouble.

      Then again, he’s a minor leaguer, so Francesa won’t know anything about him. He thinks Wilkins de la Rosa is the WBC junior flyweight champion of the world.

      • Mike Pop


  • usty

    Wow. He looks like he just woke up from a 4 day coke and booze fueled bender in that picture.

    • Mike Pop

      Seriously. Looks like he knwos how to party.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        He woke up that morning and shit a squirrel. Literally.

        • Mike Pop

          Goes to SeaWorld, takes his pants off. WHAMMY!!! as in Gene Tenace at the plate…..WHAMMMY!!

  • Mike Pop

    Throw him in with Nady and Edwar for Schafer midseason.

    That’s what happens, bank on it.

    • A.D.

      But Griffey!!!!11!1 He can give you gold glove defense at all 3 outfield positions

    • usty

      You mean after Atlanta realizes that just because his name has a Jr. on it, it doesn’t mean he plays like he’s 25 anymore?

      • Mike Pop

        Platooning him with Diaz though, not a bad move.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Hmmm, shave off the beard stubble, and… BAM!

    • UWS


    • andrew

      This is similar to when Greg Oden’s first NBA career failed and he enrolled at Ohio St., The Blazers were the only team that didn’t realize he was actually 43 and could barely walk.

  • A.D.

    Realistically who is better Nunez or Texeira?

    • steve (different one)

      i think they are pretty comparable actually, but Nunez was going to have to be added to the 40 man THIS year and Texeira doesn’t have to until NEXT year. Nunez might be a hair better, but he needed a roster spot and the Yankees were already overexposed in the rule V. Nunez is currently on the ChiSox’s 40 man.

      it was really almost like a seperate transaction to the Swisher trade and a nifty bit of roster management by our GM, Mr. Magoo.

      • K.B.D.

        Nunez has more upside. Teixera has a higher floor. Between two guys who might never see the majors, I’d say Nunez is the better prospect, simply because of his potential.

  • Mike Pop

    Haha. Jeter, first and foremost, you cheat yourself.

    • Mike Pop

      Wrong thread, my bad.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        Happens to the best of us.

        • Mike Pop

          First of all, bear with me here, I’m a little nervous…or alot nervous. I was young and stupid, and when you are that young and naive, you make alot of dumb mistakes. I was ignorant.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

            I guess that was the only apology I missed yesterday.

            • Mike Pop

              Yep, I think so.

  • Tom Zig

    I was just excited to be getting rid of Wilson Betemit. I didn’t care what we got back, when I found out we got Swisher and little Teixeira, I thought we won the lottery.

    Good writeup, finally sheds some light on this mysterious other Teixeira. Hopefully we’ll get to see him in action this year.

  • Mike Pop

    I love how the Yankees have so many bullpen options. No more overpaid free agents for that part of the club. No more Krazy Kyle’s.

    • Tom Zig

      or Homer Happy Hawkins?

      • Mike Pop

        Well yeah but he was basically only signed to be a mop up guy. Cash wasn’t expecting much out of him.

    • Stryker



  • Spaceman.Spiff

    With all do respect, I’m glad he’s only the second best Tex the Yanks picked up this offseason.

    I think you meant due. Love Prospect Profiles, they make my day.

  • Bo

    How can anyone be a huge JB Cox fan? What has he ever done or even shown flashes of?

    • Mike Pop

      Geez, I don’t know. Maybe it was him dominating the minors pre-tommy john. Or maybe it was what he did in a Longhorn uniform?

      • Mike Pop

        Cox put together three excellent years in the NCAA’s storied University of Texas, pitching 185.2 innings, striking out 190, walking 53, and posting a 2.03 ERA.

        H/t to Pinstripe Potentials.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Bo = Debbie Downer

      Do you like ANYTHING!?!?!?!??!?!

  • Doug

    “Texeira showed up to Spring Training overweight in 2007 and was placed in a conditioning program affectionately known as Fat Camp in the ChiSox organization.”

    lol, fat camp

    • Matt

      Turk:How can you make love to your wife if she’s at fat camp?

      Dr. Kelso:The real question is, how can I make love to her when she’s not at fat camp? Fat camp. Six years she’s been going there, and the only thing getting thinner is my wallet.

    • Drew

      sounds like an Ozzie creation.. I like it. Britton should go there, stupid chunker.

  • Mike Pop

    Speaking of prospects, is Matt Cusiak any good?

  • Chip

    Great writeup Mike.

    I love the rediculous amount of depth we have going right now on our pitching staff. I mean we have Cox, little Tex, Steven Jackson, Robertson, Veras, Edwar, Dunn, Claggett, Melancon, ect all looking to be capable of holding their own in the ML bullpen over the next two seasons and Hughes, IPK, Aceves, Hacker, Coke, Kontos, Pope, Bleich, Brackman, Betances, De la Rosa, Nova (hopefully), McAllister plus the big-armed DSL guys coming up for the rotation. We’re going to have plenty of trade bait it looks like since there’s not going to be room for them all (and of course some will never make it but I’m a bit of an optimist)

    • Drew

      not to mention our rotation and kennebum.

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