Rangers' Ibanez continues stellar start to Minor League season

Rangers' Ibanez continues stellar start to Minor League season

Andy Ibanez continued his torrid start to his first stateside campaign Wednesday when he delivered a walk-off, RBI double in the bottom of the 17th inning to cap a 5-for-7 performance and push Class A Hickory past Greenville, 5-4.

Ibanez, the Rangers' No. 16 prospect, racked up a home run, two doubles, three RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. The 23-year-old second baseman is hitting a robust .456 with eight multi-hit performances and a Minor League-leading 26 hits through his first 13 games for the Crawdads.

Ibanez's second home run of the season, a solo shot in the seventh inning, and pair of doubles also gave him the Minor League lead in extra-base hits (12) and total bases (43).

When the Rangers signed Ibanez last July for $1.6 million, they knew they were getting one of the better young hitters in Cuba. He broke in to Cuba's Serie Nacional as an 18-year-old in 2011 and hit .278/.309/.383 over 88 games as a rookie for Isla de la Juventud. The following year, at 19, he was the youngest player on Cuba's 2013 World Baseball Classic team.

Ultimately, Ibanez hit .283/.348/.419 with 13 home runs and 60 doubles in 242 pro games in Cuba before defecting from the island in 2014.

Suffice it to say that Ibanez has lived up to his reputation during his time with the Crawdads, who are one game out of first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division with a 10-4 record.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.