Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 16 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Tacoma (SEA) 13
Round Rock: 6 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 20 hits, 8 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 33-35, eliminated

SP Adrian Sampson: 2.1 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 51 P / 32 S, 4.80 ERA
3B Josh Jung: 2-3

In his first rehab outing, Josh Jung had a lined single, bloop single, and a very hard GIDP. As it stands, his eventual return won’t require a 40 move, since the Rangers designated Jesus Tinoco yesterday to make room for Cole Winn.

Josh Sborz was less fortunate, surrendering two runs on to hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Like earlier this year, the pitch velocities were 1-2 MPH below last year’s averages.

Since peaking at 26-20, Round Rock is 7-15. In that recent span, the offense has scored 3.5 runs per game with a slash of .212/.314/.314, and a host of several players (Crim, Huff, Knapp, Hauver, Harris) suffer from whatever afflicted Hickory in April and May.

AA: Frisco 12, Amarillo (ARI) 0
Frisco: 12 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 43-20, 8 G up, division champion!

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 SO, 68 P / 47 S, 1.88 ERA
LF Aaron Zavala: 1-3, BB, HBP, .212/.332/.311
3B Cody Freeman: 2-5, 2B, 3B, .269/.325/.433
RF Abi Ortiz: 1-4, HR (5), .181/.250/.324
2B Max Acosta: 3-4, 2B, SB (11), .259/.322/.348

The magnanimous Midland Rockhounds granted Frisco the first-half title Sunday afternoon by losing 6-0 to Wichita in a scant two hours and four minutes. Furthermore, the Riders don’t play today, so there will be no hangover game. They should send the Rockhounds a gift card.

Frisco didn’t relax last night, scoring three in the 1st and and least one in five other innings. Abimelec Ortiz has homered on consecutive days. There’s no sugar-coating his season to date, but he’s at least displaying better plate discipline and power this month after a nearly empty May.

Emiliano Teodo fanned 11 of 17 batters. A high K totals often means a high pitch count, but Teodo breezed through five innings on just 68 pitches. Sunday was his second outing this season with fewer than two combined walks/HBPs, and in seven of 11 starts including yesterday, he hasn’t allowed an extra-base hit. Most of the positive news on the farm this season has involved pitching, and Teodo might be the headline.

Hi-A: Hickory 12, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 15
Hickory: 17 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 12 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 28-35, eliminated

SP Aidan Curry: 4 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 82 P / 43 S, 8.58 ERA
RP Adrian Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H (4.37 HR), 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Cam Cauley: 1-5, BB, SB (12), .219/.274/.323
SS Sebastian Walcott: 4-5, .234/.343/.383
1B Luis Mieses: 3-6, 2 2B, .338/.359/.465
LF Quincy Scott: 3-5, 2B, .193/.270/.260

Yipes. Hickory led 8-0 and 12-6. Aberdeen batted 11 and scored seven in the 7th featuring by two doubles from ex-Ranger Randy Florentino. Texas lost him in the minor phase of the 2022 Rule 5 draft. The next inning, 3B Jayce Easley looked askance at two strike calls from home ump Christian Argueza, called time, and then was rung up for not entering the box punctually. As you might guess, Easley expressed his feelings and was given the rest of the day off. That kind of day.

Hickory’s offense, historically poor in the early going, has been amazing of late, scoring at least four runs in 17 of the last 18 games.

Luis Mieses is an offseason signing formerly with the White Sox. He spent most of 2022-2023 in AA.

Lo-A: Down East 0, Charleston (TAM) 4
Down East: 3 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 34-28, 4.5 GB, eliminated

SP Kolton Curtis: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 60 P / 37 S, 2.72 ERA
RP Willian Bormie: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 3.79 ERA

The official standings claim Down East’s elimination number is one, but I’m pretty sure they’re eliminated. The upcoming series at Fredericksburg (like Down East, a quasi-contender until recently) won’t have any divisional importance. Still, the Woodies took four of six from Charleston.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
High-A Down East completed the first half with a 50-20 record, best by a Texas full-season affiliate since at least 2005 (when modern record-keeping commenced).

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 15 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 0, Tacoma (SEA) 4
Round Rock: 4 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 33-34, 11.5 GB

SP Max Scherzer: 4.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 79 P / 55 S, 4.91 ERA
RP Aidan Anderson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1.64 ERA
2B Jonathan Ornelas: 1-2, BB, HBP, .254/.319/.347

Max Scherzer allowed more runs than you’d like in a Triple A game, but they don’t really matter. He looked like Max Scherzer to me. The only potential concern is velocity, and most of his offerings were below 2023 velocity.  Here’s his 2023 averages (left) compared to last night (right):

FB: 93.7, 92.1
CT: 88.4, 86.4
SL: 84.0, 84.3
CH: 83.8, 81.9
CB: 75.4, 74.1

The difference could be a combination of ongoing recovery, simply being who he is (not a young man, relatively speaking), and just being one of those days. The question is whether Texas decides another rehab outing is worthwhile.

The Joshes Jung and Sborz will rehab in Round Rock tonight.

Texas released reliever Chasen Shreve (again). The next steps are for him to throw a few innings for the Red Sox, get released again, and become a credible starter for Tampa Bay.

AA: Frisco 6, Amarillo (ARI) 1
Frisco: 6 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 42-20, 7 G up, magic number 1

SP Dane Acker: 6 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 5 BB, 1 SO, 91 P / 52 S, 2.81 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.32 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.70 ERA
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-3, HR (4), .179/.250/.310

Dane Acker walked five and allowed a homer, but only one batter crossed the plate.

Midland lost again, so the only way Frisco won’t be the first-half champion is to lose today while Midland wins, and then get swept at Midland next week. Unlikely. Midland will play this afternoon, so Frisco will either be the division champ before taking the field tonight or will have the chance to clinch in front of the home crowd.

Hi-A: Hickory 4, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 3
Hickory: 9 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 28-34, 7 GB

SP Winston Santos: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 SO, 89 P / 63 S, 2.43 ERA
RP Jackson Kelley: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.65 ERA
RP Skylar Hales: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.74 ERA
CF Alejandro Osuna: 2-5, 2B, HR (8), .257/.321/.472
C Ian Moller: 2-4, .201/.325/.269

Winston Santos: AA pitcher, 40-man member. That’s not the reality, but it’s not just a dream, either. Let’s revisit in a few months. 

Lo-A: Down East 1, Charleston (TAM) 2
Down East: 5 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 34-27, 3.5 GB, elimination number 2

SP Alejandro Rosario: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 83 P / 58 S, 1.49 ERA

Trailing 2-0 in the 9th, the Woodies put themselves into position for yet another walkoff. Gleider Figuereo doubled, Arturo Disla singled him home, and a hit-by-pitch put the winning run aboard. The fun ended there, unfortunately.

Once again, Alejandro Rosario was virtually unhittable. Even though he’s been a professional for under a year, I’d think he more than anyone else at Down East is ready for the next level. For the A levels, the first half ends the middle of next week, and next Sunday for the AA and AAA squads.

One could eye the stat sheet and decide promotions are due for Rosario, Jose Gonzalez, David Davallilo, Kohl Drake, and Brayan Mendoza. Maybe some others as well. That won’t happen because of Newtonian physics. (Newton was a big baseball fan.) Every action has an equal and opposed reaction. Promoting five starter-worthy (or at least tandem-worthy) pitchers requires the removal of a roughly equal number of pitchers from Hickory, either via promotion, demotion, or release. Likewise, Down East would need many new pitchers. Does the rookie squad have several ready to jump, and are there a few in the Dominican Summer League ready to advance to replace the rookies? And would promoting players from the DSL run afoul of the 165-man domestic roster limit?

Anyone can play Pretend GM. If you want a real challenge, play Pretend Farm System Coordinator.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Sampson
AA: Teodo
Hi-A: Curry
Lo-A: TBA (Bormie and/or Curtis)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Nashville’s Wes Benjamin allowed a run in five innings. Two starts ago, his ERA stood at 7.81, but he was beginning to put things together, and from then on he posted a 4.04 ERA. In 2020-2021, Benjamin reached the Majors, admittedly as a fringe pitcher for some bad teams, but a Major Leaguer nonetheless, and now he’s in his third year as a starter in Korea.

Ten Years Ago Yesterday

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 14 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, Tacoma (SEA) 6 (10)
Round Rock: 8 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 33-33, 10.5 GB, eliminated

SP Owen White: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 94 P / 60 S, 5.01 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 1-3, 2 BB, .223/.327/.382
2B Jax Biggers: 2-2, HR (1), 2 BB, .275/.419/.362

Owen White tallied a season-high 16 misses. Unfortunately, they didn’t produce a better result, primarily because two walks to start the game would score on a balk and single.

OF Derek Hill returned to the Rangers on a new contract. He’d been a free agent for three days according to the transaction wire.

Justin Foscue walked twice and played first with the rookies last night. He’d missed a few days in his ongoing recovery from his oblique injury.

Max Scherzer will start for Round Rock tonight, opposing Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel hasn’t been his old self for a long while, but this is still almost an unheard-of matchup in minor league ball.

AA: Frisco 4, Amarillo (ARI) 3 (10)
Frisco: 7 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 41-20, 6 G up, magic number 3

SP Nick Krauth: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 80 P / 47 S, 4.94 ERA
RP Robby Ahlstrom: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.25 ERA
RP Tyler Owens: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.61 ERA
CF Kellen Strahm: 2-4, HBP, SB (12), .286/.372/.386

Amarillo tied the game in the 9th, but Keyber Rodriguez’s bases-loaded single in the 10th ended it. Combined with Midland’s loss, Frisco’s magic number has fallen to three with eight to play in the first half. Frisco scored everything with singles. In addition to Strahm, Cody Freeman had two singles including one to lead off the 10th. 

Hi-A: Hickory 4, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 6
Hickory: 6 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 26-35, 8 GB, eliminated

SP Jose Montalvo: 5 IP, 6 H (3 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 8 SO, 93 P / 56 S, 2.68 ERA
3B Sebastian Walcott: 2-4, 2B, 3B, .224/.341/.380

The difference in run-scoring between Texas’s high-A and low-A leagues isn’t gigantic, but homers are about 40% more frequent. If Jose Montalvo didn’t know that, he does now, having allowed three dingers last night. He’s up to seven after his final first-half start compared to nine for the entirety of 2023 in low-A. Suddenly, his opposing slugging percentage is a lofty .391, but he’s still having a fine year with five times as many strikeouts as walks.

For the first time this season, Sebastian Walcott is above the league average in both OBP (him .341, league .329) and slugging (.380 vs. .369). Hickory’s stadium is playing close enough to league average that you needn’t bother with park factors. He’s 18. A young 18. If you see him in Surprise early next March, you’ll be looking at an 18-year-old.

Lo-A: Down East 3, Charleston (TAM) 2
Down East: 5 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 34-26, 3.5 GB, elimination number 3

SP Jose Gonzalez: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 83 P / 57 S, 1.41 ERA
RP Ivan Oviedo: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 5.40 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, HR (11), .250/.360/.480
DH Arturo Disla: 2-4, .267/.364/.400

Why stress myself with the need for new material when I can just rerun yesterday: “Several Down East pitchers would appear ready for the next challenge, although one can’t just charter a bus to Hickory without knowing who’ll replace them.” Although he isn’t repeating the level and doesn’t even have a huge number of lower-level innings to his credit, Jose Gonzalez will be 23 in six weeks. Moving up to Hickory at some point wouldn’t be a surprise, but sticking around wouldn’t be a disappointment.

Down East scored single runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, to walk off victorious a third straight night. Two HBPs and a single preceded Arturo Disla’s game-winning grounder to left.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Scherzer
AA: Acker
Hi-A: Santos
Lo-A: TBA (Rosario’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Ricky Vanasco threw four scoreless innings and fanned seven on Spokane’s Opening Day, a 9-1 victory. Frisco defeated NW Arkansas 5-1 to snap a seven-game losing streak. The 2019 version of the squad never had as large a division lead as the current bunch, but they were poised to claim a title until sliding into a tie for third (which, in a four-team division, was also a tie for last) at 33-36.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 13 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Tacoma (SEA) 0
Round Rock: 8 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Record: 33-32, 9.5 GB, eliminated

SP Johnny Cueto: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 87 P / 57 S, 5.91 ERA
RP Gerson Garabito: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1.78 ERA
CF Dustin Harris: 2-4, .259/.351/.382

Johnny Cueto was okay. He’s been better than his 5.91 ERA, but enough to supplant any of the six active Rangers who could start now, plus an on-the-way Max Scherzer? I think not. A relief role? Still hard to see. Having 40-member Gerson Garabito reel off four scoreless immediately after him doesn’t help.

Cueto has another opt-out arriving shortly. My guess is Texas would like him to stay, because AAA depth and reliability is valuable, but that’s not the type of value Cueto sees in himself, I suspect. If he departs, I’m sure he’ll latch on somewhere. The worst-case scenario is a few decent starts for some club’s overstretched AAA staff. Dallas Keuchel still has a job and in fact will be starting against the Express on Saturday. The teams should have rigged their rotations to have Cueto and Keuchel face each other.

Combined with Sugar Land’s victory, Round Rock was eliminated from first-half title contention.

AA: Frisco 5, Amarillo (ARI) 3
Frisco: 4 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 40-20, 5 G up, magic number 5

SP Ben Anderson: 5 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 80 P / 53 S, 4.28 ERA
RP Steven Jennings: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.45 ERA
RP Ricky DeVito: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 3.92 ERA
DH Liam Hicks: 1-4, HR (4), .281/.393/.391
C Cooper Johnson: 1-3, HR (5), .244/.347/.463

Down 3-0 in the 6th, catchers Liam Hicks and Cooper Johnson homered to plate three, and with two out and two strikes in the 8th, Cody Freeman lined a two-run single. Hicks is batting .444/.556/.778 with six extra-base hits in June. He had seven extra-base hits in April and May combined. He’s improved his slugging percentage 90 points in that time, an amazing feat this far into the season.

The win dropped Frisco’s magic number to five with nine to play. Second-place Midland’s path to a title involves something like taking two of three this weekend while Frisco loses twice, then winning five of six against Frisco next week. Both teams would have 42 wins, and Midland would advance based on an 8-4 head-to-head record.

Hi-A: Hickory 6, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 8 (10)
Hickory: 7 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 26-34, 7 GB, eliminated

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 79 P / 53 S, 4.60 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Sebastian Walcott: 2-4, 2B, HBP, SB (8), .218/.338/.362

Yesterday, I mentioned Down East trailing from the 1st until the 9th but coming out ahead. The reverse befell Hickory last night. The Crawdads scored a run in the 1st and led 4-1 with three outs to record, but normally reliable Jackson Kelley allowed three runs for the first time all year. In the 10th, Yosy Galan drove in Cam Cauley (the gift-runner) and Sebastian Walcott (who’d been hit), but Adrian Rodriguez surrendered a walk, double, and three-run homer in the bottom half. Rodriguez has a live arm and iffy-or-worse control, and lately it’s been the “or worse,” consisting of a sub-50% strike rate and 18 walks or HBPs in his last 8.1 innings.

Mitch Bratt was unscored upon for the first time this season.

Anthony Gutierrez was 0-4 with an HBP and three steals. Cauley (1-4) stole a couple of bases.

Hickory is eliminated from first-half title contention.

Lo-A: Down East 6, Charleston (TAM) 5
Down East: 11 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 16 strikeouts
Record: 33-26, 4.5 GB, elimination number 3

SP Kohl Drake: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO, 87 P / 53 S, 1.95 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 3-4, 2 HR (4), BB, .265/.326/.406
1B Arturo Disla: 3-4, BB, .262/.362/.398
LF Tommy Specht: 1-3, 2 BB, .184/.278/.234

Down East also lost a 9th-inning lead but recovered to post a second-straight walkoff. Down a run in the bottom of the 9th, Arturo Disla and Marcus Smith walked, and with two out, Tommy Specht and Chandler Pollard singled them home.

19-year-old Echedry Vargas posted his third two-homer day and first at Down East. He led last year’s rookie circuit with 11.

Kohl Drake pitched well yet again. Several Down East pitchers would appear ready for the next challenge, although one can’t just charter a bus to Hickory without knowing who’ll replace them. Paul Bonzagni, Drake’s tandem partner, unfortunately had one of his lesser days, throwing 30 pitches and failing to complete an inning.

Down East and first-place Carolina have played and will end up playing a different number of games (weather permitting), so the magic number math is funky. The Mudcats have two makeup doubleheader scheduled early next week. If the Woodies win their last six to finish 39-26, Carolina would surpass them with a 3-5 finish and a 40-26 record. Even if I’ve miscalculated somewhere, odds are slim.

Today’s Starters
AAA: White
AA: Krauth
Hi-A: Montalvo
Lo-A: TBA (Gonzalez, maybe)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
With a 1-0 victory, 48-19 Down East secured the best first-half record of any full-season Texas affiliate since at least 2005 (the beginning of the “modern” era in terms of record-keeping). Ricky Vanasco was named short-season Spokane’s Opening Day starter.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 12 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Tacoma (SEA) 2
Round Rock: 9 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 33-30, 8.5 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 7 SO, 91 P / 55 S, 4.24 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 9.49 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.49 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 3.45 ERA

Wednesday featured fine efforts from a quartet of pitchers, two with limited MLB experience and two seeking their debuts. Jack Leiter recovered from back-to-back subpar starts. Four walks aren’t great and would obviously be an issue more often than not, but he wasn’t fighting himself as has happened in the past, and the Rainiers offered little evidence that they’d be able to do much damage on contact. Only three balls were hit at serious velocity, two of them grounders. He missed 17 bats, mostly with fastballs and sliders per usual.

Antoine Kelly took care of the last two outs of the 6th to strand a runner. A single/steal/groundout sequence in the 7th finished his night, and Daniel Robert struck out one batter and induced a pop to strand Kelly’s runner at third. Kelly’s control was fine and his fastball averaged 94.6, below is season-long average but better than some of his recent, confusing outings. Robert threw five changes according to Statcast. I’m missing some recent outings because I’m rebuilding my spreadsheet, but through May he’d only thrown one, although I’ve seen more in the past. A combination of management philosophy and manager Doug Davis’s experience and preference is producing far more mid-inning pitching changes than in years past.

I’d completely forgotten about Brock Burke when I floated the idea of Cole Winn returning to the Rangers yesterday. And Burke had pitched on consecutive days! That’s the tell! Regardless, Winn upped his scoreless streak to five outings and eight innings. After a leadoff single putting the tying run on base, he ably handled attempted sacrifice to force the runner at second. Next, he, catcher Andrew Knapp and 2B Jax Biggers combined to catch the bunter stealing. Finally, Winn got Nick Solak to stare at a top-of-zone slider for strike three.

AA: Frisco 11, Amarillo (ARI) 2
Frisco: 14 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 39-20, 5 G up, magic number 6

SP Ryan Garcia: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 90 P / 55 S, 4.53 ERA
RP Bryan Chi: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 4.20 ERA
CF Kellen Strahm: 3-5, .286/.369/.389
C Liam Hicks: 1-3, 2 BB, .282/.396/.378
1B Josh Hatcher: 3-5, 2B, HR (6), SB (8), .311/.351/.480
SS Max Acosta: 3-5, HR (1), .255/.319/.345

A paddlin’. Frisco scored in six of eight innings. Watcher Acosta and Hatcher do their thing.

Second-place Midland lost, leaving the Rockhounds a narrow path to a division title. Depending on results over the next four days, Frisco could clinch before next week’s series at Midland even begins, and under no circumstances would the Riders need to win more than three of six.

Hi-A: Hickory 2, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 8
Hickory: 8 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 26-33, 7 GB

SP Ryan Lobus: 4.1 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 5 R, 5 BB, 1 SO, 90 P / 48 S, 3.33 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 3-4, BB, SB (9), .226/.284/.336
RF Yeison Morrobel: 3-5, .264/.332/.388
3B Sebastian Walcott: 1-4, BB, SB (7), .212/.332/.353

So Ryan Lobus is human. What a disappointment. Lobus walked five after having issued only ten all season. No walk advanced a runner and only one would score (after his departure), but he clearly wasn’t his usual self.

With seven to play in the first half, Hickory’s elimination number is one.

Lo-A: Down East 5, Charleston (TAM) 4 (10)
Down East: 10 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 32-26, 5.5 GB

SP Josh Trentadue: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 38 P / 21 S, 5.05 ERA
RP Kai Wynyard: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 3 SO, 1.54 ERA
RP Bryan Mendoza: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2.28 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 3-5, 2B, .252/.311/.358
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, 2 BB, SB (1), .246/.361/.472
CF Marcus Smith: 2-4, HR (4), SB (16), .179/.294/.304

The Woodies trailed 3-0 before they swung a bat and stayed there until the 9th, when a Marcus Smith solo homer and two-out singles from Chandler Pollard and Echedry Vargas forced extras. A Julian Brock sac fly retied the game in the 10th, and Tommy Specht’s single brought in Smith with the winning run. Brayan Mendoza fulfilled the task of pitching at starter’s length through some reliever-like leverage situations, something Kohl Drake pulled off in late May when Down East tied the game in the 9th and won in the 10th.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Cueto
AA: B. Anderson
Hi-A: Bratt
Lo-A: Drake

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Tulsa’s Gavin Lux homered twice off Frisco starter Jonathan Hernandez, including on the game’s first pitch. Hickory had played only 15 of the last 54 scheduled innings due to rain.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 11 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, Tacoma (SEA) 8
Round Rock: 7 hits, 7 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 32-30, 8.5 GB

SP Adrian Sampson: 5.2 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 91 P / 63 S, 4.41 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.37 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, 2 2B, BB, SB (6), .263/.321/.358
LF Dustin Harris: 2-3, BB, 4 SB (18), .255/.350/.382

Tacoma scored five in the 8th off Yerry Rodriguez, who suffered his third straight multi-run game. Four were unearned courtesy of a would-be 3-6-1 or 3-6-3 GIDP that ended up an error with everyone safe, but Rodriguez was definitely not on point, walking two and committing two balks. Cole Winn hasn’t pitched since Saturday, and after last night’s mess out west, the Rangers might need an arm. No word on that as of 3pm CDT.

On Monday, I’d speculated on twitter that Justin Foscue might be headed outside Arizona, as the rookies were off Sunday but he wasn’t in Monday’s lineup. Not so, as he wasn’t reassigned and didn’t play in Surprise last night, either. We’ll see. The rookies are off again today.

Jonathan Ornelas is .318/.412/.455 in his last 11 games. A cherry-picked sample, yes, but I still contend he can be a better hitter than his all-season line of .263/.321/.358.

AA: Frisco 4, Amarillo (ARI) 1
Frisco: 6 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 38-20, 4 G up, magic number 8

SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 7 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 82 P / 50 S, 5.26 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.48 ERA
RP Tyler Owens: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.75 ERA
DH Liam Hicks: 2-3, BB, .281/.391/.378
RF Josh Hatcher: 2-3, 3B, BB, .302/.344/.453

Josh Hatcher drove in all four runs. June has actually been his worst month (.250/.294/.344), but a few more days like yesterday will rectify that. Hatcher was already on the older side of 23 when signed in the 10th round as a redshirt senior out of Kennesaw State (following several years at Mississippi St with teammate Justin Foscue). He signed with Texas in 2022 for the grand sum of $1,000, less than any other pick that round. He’ll be in AAA at some point, perhaps this season.

Second-place Midland also won.

Hi-A: Hickory 5, @ Aberdeen (BAL) 2
Hickory: 8 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Record: 26-32, 6 GB

SP DJ McCarty: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 66 P / 46 S, 3.71 ERA
RP Skylar Hales: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.94 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 1-4, 2B, BB, .268/.333/.480
2B Cam Cauley: 1-4, 2B, BB, .211/.266/.316
RF Yeison Morrobel: 3-4, HR (6), BB, .255/.326/.383

DJ McCarty completed six in a ridiculous 65 pitches, but the next throw would carom off his ankle (or thereabouts) via the bat of Douglas Hodo III. At first seemingly ready to shake it off, he shook his head after one warmup pitch and departed. Hopefully not a serious issue. Tied at two in the 9th, Alejandro Osuna knocked an RBI double, and Sebastian Walcott (1-5) snuck a bases-loaded grounder under the third baseman’s glove after an intentional walk to Yeison Morrobel. The mighty Hickory offense rolls on.

Lo-A: Down East 5, Charleston (TAM) 0
Down East: 8 hits, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 31-26, 5.5 GB

SP David Davallilo: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 71 P / 46 S, 1.66 ERA
RP Justin Sanchez: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 6.07 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-5, .245/.355/.474
1B Beycker Barroso: 0-1, 2 BB, HBP, SB (3), .367/.512/.667
2B Chandler Pollard: 2-3, BB, SB (22), .250/.303/.289

David Davallilo walked three but recorded five innings with a light pitch count. If 21-year-old Beycker Barroso plays semi-regularly the rest of the way, he’ll finish with nearly as many plate appearances as the previous three seasons combined. He signed as a 16-year-old in late 2019 but hasn’t played a ton because of covid, intermittent injuries, and being a catcher much of the time. In the complex league, where he’s spent at least portions of 2022-2024, catching duties might be split by three or more players, so unless you’re a standout prospect, collecting PAs can be tough.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Leiter
AA: Garcia
Hi-A: Lobus
Lo-A: Trentadue

Five Years Ago Yesterday
The 2019 Pacific Coast League was on pace to surpass the previous year’s homer total of 2,097 by mid-July. The actual date would be July 12, about 65% of the way through the season. 43 players would hit at least 20 homers including Nashville’s Matt Davidson (33), Patrick Wisdom (31), and Andy Ibanez (20).

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 9 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 1
Round Rock: 6 hits, 7 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 32-30, 8.5 GB

SP Max Scherzer: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 53 P / 37 S, 4.26 ERA
RP Brock Burke: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.68 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 1-4, HR (7), .228/.329/.388
CF Jose Barrero: 2-3, BB, .189/.263/.396

Max Scherzer dispatched the Baseball Club without much trouble, generating 14 whiffs on 28 swings, spread evenly among fastballs and other pitches.

Brock Burke has pitched on consecutive days, an exceptionally rare occurrence nowadays. It’s sometimes a tell that the pitcher is being prepped for the parent club. We’ll see. Burke has ample time remaining on his rehab assignment. His return (or an optional assignment) would require a 40 move. Both the Express and Rangers are off today. Burke reached 97.3 MPH and missed three bats.

Justin Foscue is 4-10 with a double, homer, walk, and no strikeouts in three Complex League games. The team was off yesterday.

AA: Frisco 2, @ Corpus Christi (HOU) 1
Frisco: 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 37-20, 4 G up

SP Emiliano Teodo: 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 75 P / 44 S, 2.08 ERA
RP Steven Jennings: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.61 ERA
RP Robby Ahlstrom: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.36 ERA
1B Josh Hatcher: 1-3, BB, .296/.335/.438

Emiliano Teodo had a typical outing: plenty of strikeouts, limited extra-base power, one more walk than you’d prefer.

Frisco has a magic number of nine with 12 games remaining in the first half. The Riders host Amarillo (26-30) next and then visit second-place Midland to conclude the first half.

Hi-A: Hickory 9, Greenville (BOS) 10
Hickory: 8 hits, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 25-32, 7 GB

SP Aidan Curry: 6 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 86 P / 51 S, 8.08 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 3-4, 2B, BB, 3 SB (8), .209/.261/.310
3B Sebastian Walcott: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .211/.333/.360

Cam Cauley and Sebastian Walcott combined to go 5-7 with two doubles, three walks, and three steals, and Aidan Curry had his best start of the season, as the Drive defeated the Crawdads 10-9. That is Hickory’s version of the “‘Tungsten Arm’ O’Doyle” tweet.

Hickory led by as many as seven and held a 10-4 advantage entering the 8th. Greenville scored three off Adrian Rodriguez (one walk, three wild pitches, three hits) to halve Hickory’s lead. In the 9th with a runner on first and two out, SS Cam Cauley fielded a grounder to his left and tossed to 2B Devin Hurdle for the final out, except Hurdle had his back turned to watch a nonexistent throw to first. E4. After a run-scoring single reduced the lead to two, G’ville’s Bryan Gonzalez watched two outside 0-2 pitches and smacked the next for a three-run homer.

The loss prevented a six-game sweep, but Hickory has scored at least four runs in nine straight games and averaged 6.7 in that span, good enough to climb out of last place in the league runs column. Wilmington has six fewer and is worse in average, OBP, and slugging. Walcott batted .348/.400/.696 on the homestand, Cauley .350/.409/.550.

Lo-A: Down East 2, @ Salem (BOS) 5
Down East: 4 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 30-26, 5.5 GB

SP Willian Bormie: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 59 P / 36 S, 3.71 ERA
3B Beycker Barroso: 1-3, 2B, BB, .379/.486/.690

Replacing Willian Bormie in the 5th, Kolton Curtis permitted just one runner through the 7th but lost the handle in the 8th, issuing two walks and two wild pitches before two hits that plated three. Down East trails by 5.5 with nine to play; division leading Carolina will play 11.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Peter Fairbanks threw two scoreless innings and struck out three in his MLB debut. AAA Durham 2B Nick Solak was 3-4 with a double at Gwinnett to improve to .285/.372/.495. Solak will visit the Dell Diamond this week as a member of the Tacoma Rainers.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 8 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 9, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 10
Round Rock: 10 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 15 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 31-30, 8.5 GB

SP Peter Solomon: 2.2 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 9 R, 4 BB, 2 SO, 84 P / 45 S, 9.15 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 10.32 ERA
RP Brock Burke: 1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.38 ERA
CF Dustin Harris: 2-5, .254/.349/.386
1B Blaine Crim: 1-3, 2B, BB, .228/.331/.376
SS Jose Barrero: 2-4, 2 HR (6), .175/.246/.388

The Express trailed 10-1 after three but plated eight more through the 6th, after which both sides fell quiet. Antoine Kelly had most of his velocity in the tank, although he used it to pull off an unasked-for Wilmer Font impression by dealing 23 fastballs in 24 pitches. The one slider was missed. Maybe throw two next time.

In El Paso, the Chihuahuas trailed 15-1 in the middle of the 4th but won 17-16. Ex-Ranger Tyler Ferguson walked home the tying run for El Paso in the 7th and surrendered a two-run double that placed the Chihuahuas ahead for good. Catchers Yohel Pozo (another ex-Ranger) and Chander Seagle were ejected in the middle of the 8th.

AA: Frisco 1, @ Corpus Christi (HOU) 4
Frisco: 4 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Record: 36-20, 4 G up

SP Dane Acker: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, HBP, 4 SO, 83 P / 54 S, 3.00 ERA
RP Reid Birlingmair: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.86 ERA
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-3, BB, .179/.251/.304

Errors contributed to three of Corpus Christi’s four runs. Abi Ortiz broke a 23-at-bat hitless streak. Unfortunately, he peaked in the season’s first week and has been trending downward since. Plenty of baseball to be played, though. Ortiz hit 36 homers amongst the two lower levels and Arizona Fall League last year.

Hi-A: Hickory 12, Greenville (BOS) 1
Hickory: 9 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 25-31, 7 GB

SP Winston Santos: 6 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 80 P / 60 S, 2.24 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Skylar Hales: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 5.16 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-3, 2 HR (7), BB, .277/.336/.496
SS Sebastian Walcott: 1-5, HR (5), .203/.322/.349
C Ian Moller: 1-3, 2B, BB, .207/.322/.281

Winston Santos had no carryover from last week’s first sub-par start of the season. Sebastian Walcott went oppo for his fifth homer in 50 games. Alejandro Osuna leads the team in homers despite missing April. Remarkably given the offensive woes for much of the season, Hickory stands alone in fourth place in the six-team southern division.

Lo-A: Down East 11, @ Salem (BOS) 7
Down East: 14 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 30-25, 4.5 GB

SP Alejandro Rosario: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 82 P / 57 S, 1.73 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 3-5, 2B, .265/.290/.360
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, 2 BB, .241/.354/.476
1B Beycker Barroso: 2-5, HR (2), SB (2), .385/.485/.692
C Julian Brock: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .244/.314/.343
2B Chandler Pollard: 2-5, 2B, SB (21), .244/.296/.285
LF Tommy Specht: 1-5, HR (1), .165/.255/.220

Alejandro Rosario allowed three runs for the firs time this season but declined to walk a batter for the third time in a row.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Scherzer
AA: Teodo
Hi-A: Curry
Lo-A: Bormie

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down East improved to 45-18 and clinched the first-half division title with a 5-0 victory over Frederick. Often control-averse Reid Anderson threw six walk-free innings, and Sam Huff, Yonny Hernandez, and Yohel Pozo led the offense.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 7 June

For the first time since mid-April, Sean Bass of The Ticket, Michael Tepid and I talked Rangers: the state of the big-league club, a rundown of top-30 prospects, deeper discussion of Jack Leiter, and more. Links here.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 5
Round Rock: 6 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 31-29, 7.5 GB

SP Owen White: 4.1 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 4 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 86 P / 52 S, 5.04 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.95 ERA

Cole Winn pitched well for the third time in four AAA outings. In Surprise, rehabbing Justin Foscue manned first base and homered in two at-bats.

AA: Frisco 8, @ Corpus Christi (HOU) 0
Frisco: 10 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 36-19, 4 G up

SP Nick Krauth: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 82 P / 57 S, 5.14 ERA
SS Frainyer Chavez: 3-5, 2B, .265/.362/.358
C Liam Hicks: 3-5, 2 HR (3), .278/.385/.381
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-5, HR (3), .295/.347/.500

Liam Hicks isn’t a power hitter and Corpus isn’t a hitter’s park, but here he is with two of his three homers on the season. Hicks is batting .550/.625/1.000in June. If I were manager, I’d tell him to keep doing that.

Frisco has the best record in AA and a season-high four-game lead with 14 games remaining in the first half.

Hi-A: Hickory 4, Greenville (BOS) 2
Hickory: 7 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 16 strikeouts
Record: 24-31, 7 GB

SP Joseph Montalvo: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 SO, 86 P / 62 S, 2.14 ERA
RP DJ Peters: 2 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 11.12 ERA
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-4, .296/.327/.418

Pitchers with 30+ innings and a SO-to-BB/HBP ratio of at least 4:
Jose Gonzalez: 7.4 (see below)
Alejandro Rosario: 7.0 (should pitch tonight)
Ryan Lobus: 4.6
Joseph Montalvo: 4.0

Montalvo was 19 when drafted and will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if unprotected. If the decision had to be made today, my feeling would be no because I don’t think he’d survive the massive jump to MLB, but if I were publishing a report on potential players to protect today, he’d be featured.

DJ Peters threw strikes in abundance for the first time at Hickory.

Lo-A: Down East 2, @ Salem (BOS) 6
Down East: 8 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 29-25, 4.5 GB

SP Kyle Larsen: 0 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 0 SO, 26 P / 9 S, 10.18 ERA
RP Luke Savage: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3.44 ERA
RP Jose Gonzalez: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 SO, 1.16 ERA
C Jesus Lopez: 2-4, 3B, .299/.353/.441
DH Julian Brock: 2-4, 2B, .237/.302/.331

Larsen’s up-and-down season reached a nadir last night, as he faced seven batters without recording an out (one reached via error) and added a balk and wild to his line. Tandem starter Jose Gonzalez remains as hot as anyone in the system, fanning a career-best 11 of 20 batters and raising his season total to 52 versus just seven walks in 38.2 innings. In nine at-bats off the IL, Jesus Lopez has hit for the cycle.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Solomon
AA: Acker
Hi-A: Santos
Lo-A: TBA (Rosario’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Whoops. The Josh Jung and Ryan Garcia College World Series notes from yesterday should have run today. The most interesting note from the day before actually involved Houston-affiliated Round Rock, which defeated Las Vegas 26-11 behind a 13-run 7th. Round Rock allowed catcher Oscar Campos to pitch the 9th with a 19-run lead, and he held the Aviators to four runs.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 6 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 6 (7)
Round Rock: 4 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

SP Jack Leiter: 3 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 72 P / 46 S, 4.63 ERA

AAA: Round Rock 11, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 10 (7)
Round Rock: 12 hits, 9 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 31-28, 6.5 GB

SP Johnny Cueto: 1.1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 7 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 52 P / 29 S, 6.06 ERA
RP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.42 ERA
CF Dustin Harris: 1-3, HR (6), .251/.351/.390
DH Davis Wendzel: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .286/.394/.519
RF Sandro Fabian: 2-3, HR (7), 2 BB, .318/.376/.536
2B Jax Biggers: 2-3, 3B, BB, .268/.408/.341

Three Jack Leiters pitched yesterday afternoon. Leiter One barely escaped the 1st, allowing four runs on six hits. His fastball tended to drift lower within the zone, an often dangerous area for him. Four hits (including one over the fence) came after 1B Davis Wendzel couldn’t quite snare a sharp two-out liner, but I wouldn’t pin anything on him. Although the bullpen was active, Leiter was permitted to face another batter with 31 pitches on his ledger, a point at which I think most in the system would be pulled. Leiter Two finished the 2nd on just eight pitches, fanning one and misses three bats (and for the evening, Leiter had six swinging strikes out of nine swings with his slider). Leiter Three needed 29 pitches in the 3rd and walked the bases loaded before inducing a final popup.

Consecutive iffy outings should scotch the idea of returning to the Majors for the time being. Obviously, I don’t want him to fail, but some level stability might suit him. Rediscover the early season success, build on that, then see what if any role might be available to him on a big league club that (I hope) will be contending for the postseason with several currently IL’ed pitchers back on the mound.

Johnny Cueto decided not to take free agency at the beginning of the month, giving Texas a few more chances to decide whether to bring him up. Last night won’t help. Three walks preceded a Trey Sweeney slam in the 1st, and three of four batters reached safely in the 2nd.

Opponents are batting .069/.191/.13 against 33-year-old Chasen Shreve. He’s yet to allow a hit on a grounder. He has the team’s best first-strike rate at an amazing 78%, but he’s walked nine batters in 19 innings. Best as I can tell, he hadn’t thrown a pitch harder than 91.7 MPH until last night, when he threw six exceeding that speed and topping at 93.3. Shreve had taken free agency at the end of April but re-signed two weeks later. I have no idea what any of this means.

AA: Frisco 3, @ Corpus Christi (HOU) 0
Frisco: 6 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 35-19, 3 G up

SP Ben Anderson: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 78 P / 52 S, 4.15 ERA
RP Steven Jennings: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.89 ERA
RP Tyler Owens: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.18 ERA
DH Liam Hicks: 0-2, BB, 2 HBP, SB (1), .269/.380/.339
2B Max Acosta: 2-3, BB, SB (10), .248/.311/.321

Ben Anderson and friends combined on a four-hit shutout. Liam Hicks didn’t have another multi-hit game but managed to get plunked twice. That’s a decent part of his on-base repertoire, but the Rangers don’t have anyone in the top 100 in the minors in HBP. San Antonio’s Ripken Reyes is second in the minors with 16 following last year’s unearthly 49.

Hi-A: Hickory 9, Greenville (BOS) 4
Hickory: 10 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 7 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 23-31, 8 GB

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 83 P / 52 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Luis Ramirez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.12 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, HR (2), .192/.242/.292
C Konnor Piotto: 2-3, BB, SB (5), .247/.308/.381
RF Anthony Gutierrez: 3-4, 3B, .287/.320/.415

Cam Cauley drilled his second homer, and Anthony Gutierrez tripled to the right-center gap for the second time in three days (if not quite so hard, and with some assistance from the CF).

Texas released righty Yohanse Morel, acquired in 2022 for reliever Albert Abreu. He’d spent his entire time with the Rangers at Hickory, showing improvement last year and even garnering some ink from Baseball America for his “breakout slider.” Control problems persisted, however, and two years after the trade he seemed no closer to promotion to AA. Morel would have been able to declare free agency after the season. He’s been replaced in Hickory by 2019 32nd-rounder Michael Brewer, who split between Frisco and Hickory last year.

Lo-A: Down East 3, @ Salem (BOS) 7
Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 29-24, 3.5 GB

SP Paul Bonzagni: 3.2 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 6 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 75 P / 50 S, 4.32 ERA
RP Kohl Drake: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2.25 ERA
C Julian Brock: 2-4, 2B, .230/.297/.321

Only half of the Bonzagni/Drake tandem found success last night, as the former allowed more than three runs for the first time. Last year’s 12th-rounder pitched mostly in relief for Southern Illinois and Weatherford College. Drake has 51 strikeouts and just seven walks in 32 innings. He’s a 2022 11th-rounder from Walters State Community College in Tennessee, where Brett Martin and Chad Bell are fellow alumni.

Today’s Starters
AAA: White
AA: Krauth
Hi-A: Montalvo
Lo-A: TBA (Gonzalez / Larsen due up)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas Tech SS Josh Jung was 2-5 with a solo homer in an 8-6 win over Oklahoma State. 2nd-rounder Ryan Garcia of top-ranked UCLA allowed three runs in a surprising 3-2 loss to Michigan. In the old days (2019), the college season didn’t end until after the draft.