Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 29 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, at Salt Lake (LAA) 5
Round Rock: 8 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 14-8, 1 G up

SP Kohei Arihara: 6 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 84 P / 58 S, 3.38 ERA
RF Zach Reks: 2-4, 2B, .283/.387/.415

Zach Reks has been quietly effective for the Express since surviving the 40-man maneuvers to get Matt Bush, Greg Holland and Charlie Culberson on the active roster.

Bubba Thompson (0-3) drew his first walk.

AA: Frisco 7, at Midland (OAK) 5
Frisco: 13 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 13-6, 3 G up

SP Cody Bradford: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 85 P / 62 S, 8.84 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.38 ERA
CF Josh Stowers: 3-4, 2 HR, (2), HBP, .340/.407/.532
2B Justin Foscue: 3-3, 3B, .294/.324/.559
RF Kellen Strahm: 1-4, HR (1), .167/.353/.278

The archetypal Cody Bradford start: excellent control, not especially hit-averse, modest damage. Nine more identical starts will pull his ERA below five. That ten-run outing from last week left a mark.

Much of Justin Foscue’s power vanished when he jumped from Hickory to Frisco last summer, but in 2022, six of his ten hits are for extra bases.

High-A: Hickory 6, Greenville (BOS) 1
Hickory: 9 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 10-9, 3 GB

SP Owen White: 6 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 9 SO, 69 P / 51 S, 3.44 ERA
RP Jesus Linarez: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.22 ERA
2B Frainyer Chavez: 1-2, 2 BB, .333/.429/.361
C Scott Kapers: 3-4, HR (2), .238/.304/.524

Two so-so outings and two dominant ones for Owen White. In a season where wildness has reversed a years-long trend of higher SO/BB ratios, White has 24 strikeouts to just five walks. Opponents are hitting .212/.268/.409 against him.

Scott Kapers (2018, 17th round) isn’t known for power, maxing out at four homers at Valpo and two as a professional, but he’s gone yard twice in six games in 2022.

Low-A: Down East 5, Carolina (MIL) 6 (Monday rainout makeup)
Down East: 6 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 8-10

SP Gavin Collyer: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 5 SO, 47 P / 33 S, 7.20 ERA
RP Damian Mendoza: 3 IP, 3 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3.65 ERA
DH Alejandro Osuna: 2-3, HR (1), .333/.426/.471

Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa wasn’t great (one double, one walk, one wild pitch in 1.2 IP), but of seven balls in play, three were marred by Derwin Barretto throwing errors, resulting in three runs. Down East committed five errors in the opener and two in the nightcap.

Low-A: Down East 5, Carolina (MIL) 6 (7)
Down East: 7 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 8-11, 5 GB

SP Josh Stephan: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 1 SO, 41 P / 29 S, 4.91 ERA
RP Nick Lockhart: 3.1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3.95 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 7.04 ERA
DH Brady Smith: 1-3, HR (1), .250/.344/.429
CF Yosy Galan: 2-3, HR (3), .255/.340/.468

Having lost a 4-1 lead late in the first game, the Woodies took a 5-0 lead in the 1st only immediately surrender six runs. Nick Lockhart and Theo McDowell gave Down East a chance, but the offense didn’t do much after the opening onslaught. Like Kapers, Brady Smith (2020, undrafted out of Florida) catches sporadically. Last night’s first professional homer was a grand slam.

Today’s Starters
AAA: TBD (AJ Alexy’s turn)
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: Englert TBD
Lo-A: TBD (Larson Kindreich’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Walk-prone but intriguing righty CD Pelham issued just one free pass in three scoreless innings as Hickory mounted a comeback to win 9-8. Pelham hasn’t pitched since 2019 but is still a Cub, sitting on their AA squad’s injured list. Pelham was born in my father’s small hometown of Lancaster, SC, so I always had an affinity for him.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 28 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 0, Salt Lake (LAA) 2
Round Rock: 1 hit, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 14-7, 2 G up

SP Jake Latz: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 87 P / 54 S, 4.30 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA

Leody Taveras singled in the 1st, Elier Hernandez was hit by a pitch in the 2nd and reached on an error in the 8th. There’s your offense.

I’m waiting for last September’s version of Yerry Rodriguez to reappear. Aside from one messy outing, he dominated as a reliever in his first stint in AAA. The April 2022 version has allowed 20 runners in 6.1 innings. His rates of swinging strikes and hard hits are among the team’s worst.

Bubba Thompson (0-4) was back in the lineup after colliding with the ball and wall last Saturday. Per local reports, x-rays on Cole Winn’s foot were negative.

AA: Frisco 6, at Midland (OAK) 1
Frisco: 11 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 12-6, 2 G up

SP Justin Slaten: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 71 P / 49 S, 2.57 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.59 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-4, 2B, BB, SB (8), .316/.409/.561
2B Ezequiel Duran: 1-4, BB, .239/.299/.408
LF Dustin Harris: 3-5, 2B, HR (2), .316/.369/.474
C David Garcia: 1-4, HR (1), .226/.226/.387

Down a run in the 9th, Frisco scored six, primarily on homers from David Garcia and Dustin Harris.

David Garcia has almost never hit well when introduced to a level. A walk would be nice, but otherwise, we’ll just have to wait him out.

Yesterday was the first time Frisco walked fewer than three batters. Frisco leads the entire AA classification with an even 100 free passes.

High-A: Hickory 4, Greenville (BOS) 3
Hickory: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 9-9, 4 GB

SP Nick Krauth: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 68 P / 45 S, 6.28 ERA
RP Triston Polley: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.19 ERA
RP Marc Church: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Aaron Zavala: 0-0, 3 BB, HBP, SB (5), .189/.403/.302
DH Chris Seise: 1-4, HR (4), .212/.281/.462

Chris Seise’s 9th-inning homer turned a one-run deficit into victory.

I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve written up Aaron Zavala despite zero hits. He swung at one of 18 pitches, and 15 of other 17 were balls. Not that he’s at the wrong level — he’s 21, not even a year out of college — but I wonder how much we’re going to learn about his bat before he reaches AA.

Polley, Church and Joe Corbett (who pitched the day before) have a combined six walks and 45 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.

Low-A: Down East 2, Carolina (MIL) 0
Down East: 6 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 8-9, 4.5 GB

SP Jose Corniell: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 50 P / 36 S, 4.22 ERA
RP Robby Ahlstrom: 2.2 IP, 3 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 8.31 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 1.1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-3, BB, SB (7), .318/.434/.409
DH Marcus Smith: 1-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (6), .162/.367/.270

Three Wood Ducks combined for a shutout aided by CF Daniel Mateo throwing out a runner at home in the 1st. Since going hitless with 12 strikeouts in his first four games, Marcus Smith is batting .240/.424/.400.

Today’s Starters
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: White
Lo-A: officially TBD but Josh Stephan has been the Friday starter

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Frisco overcame a two-run deficit in the 9th. Visiting his hometown of Corpus Christi for the first time as a professional, Jose Trevino homered on the first pitch of his first at-bat.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 27 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Salt Lake (LAA) 2
Round Rock: 4 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 14-6, 2 G up

SP Tyson Miller: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 69 P / 43 S, 1.20 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.79 ERA
RP Nick Tropeano: 2 IP, 2 H ,1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.65 ERA
RP Dan Winkler: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1.69 ERA
C Meibrys Viloria: 2-3, 2B, HBP, .290/.436/.516

Round Rock scored three in the 1st and made it stick.

Swingman Tyson Miller has posted five consecutive strong outings. He throws a low-90s sinker that tops at 94, a change and slider. Statcast categorizes him with a slider and curve, and that may be. He comes in at a low slot from the third-base side, so it’s hard to tell. Regardless, hitters aren’t squaring him up. After a few rough outings since being claimed and re-run successfully through waivers last June, Miller has pitched very well. He’s a free agent after the season unless he returns to the Majors, and he should have some suitors.

Dan Winkler’s 22% swinging strike rate (on all pitches) is the highest on the team.

Jonah Heim is hitting the paternity leave list (congrats to him), so Sam Huff will join the Rangers in his absence. Huff is batting .241/.302/.431 with three homers, two walks and 23 strikeouts in 15 games. He’s actually been unlucky on balls hit hard and at the best angles, so his line perhaps undersells him a bit. Generally, he remains as advertised: not necessarily swing-happy but very prone to strikeouts, easily the hardest-hitting member of the Express when he makes contact. Huff has 7% of the team’s balls in play but 40% of the balls hit at least 106 MPH. He’s not ready per se, but as a temp, sure, and he’s already on the 40.

AA: Frisco 10, at Midland (OAK) 5
Frisco: 17 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 11-6, 2 G up

SP Avery Weems: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 75 P / 50 S, 10.13 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1.2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 4-5, 2B, SB (1), .381/.391/.460
CF JP Martinez: 3-4, HR (4), SB (7), .321/.410/.566
DH Sandro Fabian: 3-4, 2B, HR (), .303/.439/.636
C Matt Whatley: 2-5, SB (1), .208/.240/.292

We’re still in April and JP Martinez is one shy of last year’s five homers. Martinez hit 15 during 2019 and eight at short-season Spokane, so 2021 is the outlier. It’s nice to see the power return. Martinez is also drawing the vast majority of CF starts, unlike last year when Bubba Thompson was a teammate. He was among Texas’s better prospects a few years ago, albeit during a lull in the system.

Through August 2021, Avery Weems had a combined BB/HBP rate of just 6%. In his last three starts of 2021 and first four of 2022, it’s 19%. No idea what that’s about.

High-A: Hickory 11, Greenville (BOS) 0
Hickory: 13 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Record: 8-9, 4 GB

SP Ben Anderson: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 69 P / 40 S, 1.54 ERA
RP John Matthews: 3 IP, 2 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 4.15 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.68 ERA
CF Aaron Zavala: 2-5, HR (1), SB (4), .189/.368/.302
1B Cristian Inoa: 3-3, 2B, .298/.390/.468
DH Chris Seise: 1-4, HR (3), .208/.283/.417
C Cody Freeman: 2-4, SB (1), .222/.314/.289

Hickory plated seven in the 2nd, during which Aaron Zavala knocked his first homer. In the past decade, Joey Gallo and Drew Robinson’s 87 walks are the most by any Texas minor leaguer in a season. Zavala has 15 in 15 games. Three of Chris Seise’s ten hits have left the yard.

Three Crawdads completed the shutout on just 108 pitches.

Low-A: Down East 6, Carolina (MIL) 8
Down East: 7 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 7-9, 5.5 GB

SP Emiliano Teodo: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 55 P / 35 S, 1.04 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 3 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 1-3, 2B, BB, HBP, .213/.315/.319
RF Marcus Smith: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .143/.333/.257

Down East’s hitters completed a circuit without putting a ball in play. Three walks and a hit batter (plus three strikeouts) plated a run in the 1st, and another strikeout and walk preceded leadoff hitter Alejandro Osuna’s 2nd-inning double. 45 pitches, no contact except for four fouls, no fielders involved. Not the prettiest brand of baseball.

Starter Emiliano Teodo was sharp, and Destin Dotson has continued his fine form from late last season at the same level.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Latz
AA: Slaten
Hi-A: Krauth

Five Years Ago Yesterday
“In his second pro appearance since being drafted nearly two years ago, Mike Matuella retired five of nine batters via strikeout.  Matuella allowed a double in each inning and a run-scoring single, and he threw 30 of 46 pitches for strikes.  Per reporter Mark Parker, his fastball ranged from 94 to 96 MPH.” Matuella’s production included a K of Tim Tebow, who was early into a baseball career that ended up being much more successful than I expected.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 26 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, Salt Lake (LAA) 3
Round Rock: 8 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 13-6, 2 G up

SP Cole Winn: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 48 P / 36 S, 2.20 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 2.2 IP, 1 H ,1 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.13 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Jesus Tinoco: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1.69 ERA
CF Josh Smith: 2-4, .286/.351/.457
2B Ryan Dorow: 2-4, 2B, .180/.226/.240

The good: Winn has appeared to emphasize different offspeed pitches in each of his three starts. Last night’s assignment was “sequencing fastballs and changes to maximize hitter futility.” The Bees drew air on 15 of their 36 swings against him, including seven of 10 swings on changeups. As I’ve mentioned, it’s usually a firm offering, giving the appearance of a screwball or simply a softer fastball, but he convincingly sells it as a heater. Winn largely shelved his slider. He saved his first curve of the night for game’s ninth batter, registering another swinging strike three. He then whiffed the last batter of the 3rd on another curve.

The bad: In the 4th, the third-hardest hit off Cole Winn this season (105.9 MPH) connected with the inside of Winn’s left heel or ankle, forcing him from the game. Winn walked off without  assistance but was limping. Hopefully, it’s only a bruise.

AA: Frisco 3, at Midland (OAK) 4
Frisco: 5 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 10-6, 1 G up

SP Zak Kent: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 59 P / 37 S, 8.10 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 3.1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3.52 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 3-4, 2B, HR (3), SB (6), .286/.375/.490

Midland scored the winner in the 9th without a hit when Kyle McCann hit a deep-enough fly following three walks. Lucas Jacobsen was ordinary for the first time this season, issuing two 9th-inning walks after a clean 8th. Jacobsen’s last pitch wasn’t actually thrown, as he was penalized with the first automatic ball I’ve seen called on a three-ball count.

Outfielder-in-training Dustin Harris made a nice catch against the short wall in left to rob extra bases. I think an average outfielder makes that play, but it was far from a gimme. Harris wasn’t going to catch it without running into the wall at a decent pace, and he accepted that fate without easing up when his spikes first touched the warning track.

Justin Foscue and Blaine Crim both reached on a single and walk.

High-A: Hickory 10, Greenville (BOS) 6
Hickory: 13 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 7-9, 4 GB

SP Ricky Vanasco: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 54 P / 36 S, 4.50 ERA
RP Eudrys Manon: 2.2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 4.15 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 3-5, 2B, .167/.365/.229
2B Thomas Saggese: 3-5, .281/.339/.421
SS Keyber Rodriguez: 1-4, HR (1), .306/.346/.388
C Cody Freeman: 3-4, HR (1), .195/.298/.268

Per Mark Parker, Vanasco’s fastball velocity improved to 94-97 in contrast to the 89-93 range previously observed by Parker and The Athletic’s Keith Law. Also per Parker, Vanasco missed 12 bats: seven on heaters, four changes and a slider.

Low-A: wet
Two Friday.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Miller
AA: Weems
Hi-A: Anderson
Lo-A: Teodo

Five Years Ago Yesterday
“Kiner-Falefa has reached safely in 15 of 17 games and improved his OBP to .382. He’s started seven games at catcher, five at second, one at third and three at short.  At this pace, he’ll catch 50-55 games, well above last year’s 31.”

IKF would end up starting 31 games at catcher, same as 2016, as the Rangers tapered his use to roughly one per week around the middle of the season. He would make only ten starts at short all season and spend the plurality of his time at third.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 24 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, Albuquerque (COL) 9
Round Rock: 8 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 16 hits, 9 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 12-6, 1 G up

SP AJ Alexy: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 6 SO, 82 P / 50 S, 4.20 ERA
SS Josh Smith: 1-4, HR (3), .273/.342/.455
3B Davis Wendzel: 1-3, HR (4), .271/.343/.525
C Meibrys Viloria: 1-3, HR (1), .250/.400/.464

AJ Alexy fanned six and missed plenty of bats but finally walked himself out of the game in the 4th after narrowly escaping trouble in previous innings. Alexy’s strike rate for the season is a just-fine 64%, so I’d describe his control issues as patchy rather than perpetual, but with 13 walks in 15 innings, that distinction matters little. 16 of his 30 offspeeds were called balls.

Smith and Wendzel homered again. Both have maintained their selectivity in AAA, swinging at a lower rate than their teammates. Smith’s 7% swinging strike rate is the lowest on the squad by far.

Round Rock IL’ed reliever Daniel Robert, who hasn’t pitched since the 12th. He was in uniform and hanging out in the pen Sunday, so we can probably rule out a splenectomy. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.

AA: Frisco 3, NW Arkansas (KAN) 4
Frisco: 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 10-5, 2 G up

SP Cole Ragans: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 80 P / 48 S, 2.13 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 1.2 IP, 2 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1.13 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1.1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 1-4, HR (1), .370/.382/.444
LF Dustin Harris: 1-3, 2B, BB, .306/.357/.408

Dustin Harris has an 11-game hit streak and 12-game on-base streak.

Two days after I described Ornelas’s 2022 as “power-deprived” compared to last season at Hickory, he clubbed his first homer.

Cole Ragans doesn’t have the lowest ERA in the rotation, but he’s the staff ace so far: a 32% strikeout rate, plenty of grounders, and, to be blunt, the only decent walk rate of any starter. As a group, they’re not especially walk-prone, so I’d expect some improvement. The Riders as a whole have the worst rate in the league, 14.8%, but they’re still second best in runs allowed at an even five per game. Scoring is way up in the Texas League so far.

High-A: Hickory 1, at Wilmington (WAS) 0
Hickory: 3 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 6-9, 5 GB

SP TK Roby: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 65 P / 42 S, 5.54 ERA
RP Marc Church: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 3.24 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.76 ERA
SS Thomas Saggese: 2-4, SB (2), .250/.316/.385

Wilmington couldn’t convert premium scoring chances in the first two innings, after which Hickory didn’t allow another runner until the 8th. Roby has pitched well in two of three starts despite the lofty ERA.

2019 18th-rounder Marc Church has 62 strikeouts and 10 walks in 36 pro innings. Sometimes pitchers with one MLB-quality offspeed and nothing much backing it up can dominate at this level. Church isn’t that type; the lively fastball rides 95-97, and I’ve seen breakers and changes work for him.

Low-A: Down East 12, at Columbia (KAN) 13
Down East: 13 hits, 8 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 13 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 7-8, 3.5 GB

SP Victor Santos: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 SO, 61 P / 33 S, 9.31 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-3, 2 BB, .188/.204/.188
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, BB, HBP, .273/.368/.364
1B Abimelec Ortiz: 2-4, HBP, .200/.243/.314
2B Derwin Barreto: 2-3, 2 BB, .267/.333/.533

The Woodies were something less than crisp, issuing 13 walks and four wild pitches, committing five errors and allowing six steals. Still, despite trailing 10-2 after the 3rd, Down East made a game of it.

Today’s Starters
AAA: off
AA: off
Hi-A: off
Lo-A: off

Five Years Ago Yesterday
A slow day between the lines. Michael Mateulla was to make his second pro appearance that week. The 2015 3rd-rounder appeared in one game for short-season Spokane but departed with elbow soreness. It didn’t require surgery but did shelve him for about half the length of a TJ recovery.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 23 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, Albuquerque (COL) 2
Round Rock: 13 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 12-5, 1 G up

SP Kohei Arihara: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 87 P / 57 S, 4.00 ERA
RP Dan Winkler: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1.23 ERA
SS Josh Smith: 3-5, 2B, .274/.348/.419
LF Bubba Thompson: 2-2, 3B, HR (2), .387/.387/.565
C Sam Huff: 2-3, BB, .259/.322/.463

Bubba Thompson homered and tripled in his first two at-bats. In the top of the 4th, he attempted to catch a foul against the wall and it hit him in the eye. The walls along the deeper part of the foul line are very tall and block the view from the press box, so there’s no video. There is an intragram shot of him with his left eye swollen shut. Given that he was in the clubhouse after the game and posing for a photo with a half-smile, hopefully he’s dealing with no worse than an ugly bruise and cut. Injured List minimum’s are just seven days in the minors, if that’s where he’s headed.

Arihara’s 87 pitches were the most by a Texas minor league starter in 2022. Such are the times.

AA: Frisco 4, NW Arkansas (KAN) 12
Frisco: 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 10-4, 2 G up

SP Jack Leiter: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 68 P / 37 S, 1.86 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2.1 IP, 1 H ,1 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.89 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 2-5, HR (2), SB (5), .244/.346/.378
SS Ezequiel Duran: 1-5, HR (1), .255/.305/.473
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, 2B, .380/.392/.400
RF Josh Stowers: 2-3, BB, .324/.400/.412

Jack Leiter matched the form of his first two starts until the 3rd, when a two-out error by Justin Foscue open the floodgates. A single, two doubles and a walk ended his night with four runs scored and still minus that third out. None of the runs was earned, but “unearned” runs are often at least partly the pitcher’s responsibility, and that’s the case here. Leiter struck out the side in order in the 1st and has yet to allow a homer.

25-year-old Josh Stowers has quietly strung together some nice games. He’s part of the return for Rougned Odor and had a 20 HR / 20 SB season in 2021. He’s repeating at Frisco.

High-A: Hickory 2, at Wilmington (WAS) 3
Hickory: 7 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 5-9, 5 GB

SP Mason Englert: 6 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 78 P / 54 S, 5.14 ERA
CF Angel Aponte: 2-4, 2 2B, .345/.367/.448
C Randy Florentino: 2-3, .235/.235/.294

Mason Englert became the first pitcher below AAA to reach six innings.

Now 21, Randy Florentino drew notice for his uncommon power in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 (.309/.454/.550, 29 extra base hits) but hasn’t found near that success stateside and is on the lesser end of a three-way job-share at catcher.

Low-A: Down East 10, at Columbia (KAN) 1
Down East: 15 hits, 9 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 7-7, 3 GB

SP Larson Kindreich: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 9 SO, 83 P / 49 S, 1.80 ERA
RP Luis Tejada: 3 IP, 3 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.38 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 10.13 ERA
RF Marcus Smith: 0-1, 2 BB, SB (4), .094/.275/.188
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-4, 2B, 3B, HBP, SB (4), .231/.302/.333
1B Jose Rodriguez: 1-3, 3 BB, .176/.333/.176
LF Yosy Galan: 3-5, HR (2), .290/.389/.516
C Brady Smith: 3-5, 2B, .286/.400/.381

Prior to Thompson’s injury, RF Marcus Smith knocked his head against a padded rail chasing down a fly in the corner. He remained in the game after a delay but eventually left.

Kindreich struck out nearly half the batters he faced. He walked four but didn’t have any other three-ball counts.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Alexy
AA: Ragans
Hi-A: Roby

Five Years Ago Yesterday
My daughter’s first chance to run the bases at Dell Diamond was thwarted when the Express blew a five-run lead in the 9th and extended the game to multiple extra innings. By the time it finished, we had a half-full cart at Costco. Frisco’s Connor Sadzeck carried a no-hitter into the 8th.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 22 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, Albuquerque (COL) 10
Round Rock: 9 hits, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 11-5, tied for first

SP Jake Latz: 4 IP, 9 H (4 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 83 P / 57 S, 4.74 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1.80 ERA
SS Josh Smith: 1-3, .246/.328/.386
C Yohel Pozo: 2-3, HR (1), HBP, .279/.326/.395

Round Rock trailed 6-0 early but made a game of it, even putting the winning run at the plate with one out in the 9th, but Sam Huff and Sherten Apostel both struck out. Huff, in fact, struck out in all five at-bats. Weirdly, he had only three swinging strikes, but the majority of pitches he stared at were called strikes. Huff has a 40% strikeout rate.

Bubba Thompson singled twice, and Davis Wendzel reached on a single and walk.

AA: Frisco 2, NW Arkansas (KAN) 11
Frisco: 8 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 10-3, 2 G up

SP Cody Bradford: 2.1 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 10 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 67 P / 37 S, 10.80 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 3.27 ERA
RP Lucas Jacbosen: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, .348/.362/.348
DH Blaine Crim: 1-3, HR (1), BB, .326/.380/.465

Me, two weeks ago: “Sometimes a single terrible outing can wipe out a reliever’s ERA. My favorite example is John Smoltz back in 2002. He allowed eight runs in 0.2 innings in early April and needed three months of quality outings (including 37 saves!) just to drag his ERA below 4.00.” Cody Bradford isn’t a reliever, but he’s in this predicament.

My memory of Jonathan Ornelas’s 2021 was faulty. I would have described his season in Hickory as up and down, but in fact he batted .300/.356/.485 during the final three months in Hickory, and he’s off to a similar if power-deprived start in Frisco.

Blaine Crim has his first homer. Crim had a stretch of 25 homerless games at Hickory last year, during which he, Ornelas, and his pals were one of minor league ball’s worst-hitting teams. That I remember correctly. Point being, Crim went deep 29 times last year despite the arid patch, so I wouldn’t worry about his lack of power at present.

High-A: Hickory 3, at Wilmington (WAS) 10
Hickory: 8 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 5-8, 4 GB

SP Owen White: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 70 P / 44 S, 4.38 ERA
1B Jake Guenther: 2-3, 2B, HR (2), .276/.400/.517

For the first time since last August, Owen White had trouble throwing strikes. His season walk rate is still a hair below 10%, which in 2022 qualifies as better than average. Guenther, part of the Nate Lowe trade, is 25 next month and mostly a 1B, so games like this are exactly what he needs.

Low-A: Down East 6, at Columbia (KAN) 2
Down East: 12 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 6-7, 3 GB

SP Josh Stephan: 4 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 81 P / 49 S, 2.77 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Destin Doston: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Teodoro Ortega: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 11.57 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 4-5, 2 SB (6), .273/.368/.364
CF Yosy Galan: 1-4, BB, SB (2), .231/.333/.385
2B Junior Paniagua: 2-4, 2B, .172/.273/.241

Down East scored four on four hits in the 10th. Yosy Galan plated two with a single up the middle. He’s known mostly for power, but Galan has 18 steals in 59 pro games and has played CF sparingly.

Abimelec Ortiz threw out two runners at the plate from right field, and catcher Eferenyer Narvaez picked off a runner at first. .

Today’s Starters
AAA: Arihara
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: Englert

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock’s Tyler Wagner and Iowa’s Jake Buchanan combined for 6.2 innings, 23 runners allowed and 158 pitches. It wasn’t pretty. Ronald Guzman improved to .349/.388/.476 with two hits.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 21 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, Albuquerque (COL) 1
Round Rock: 10 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 11-4, 1 G up

SP Tyson Miller: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 61 P / 36 S, 0.90 ERA
RP Nick Tropeano: 3 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.00 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.25 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-4, 2B, .421/.441/.702
1B Matt Carpenter: 2-4, 3B, HR (2), .306/.390/.583

Josh Smith singled twice. So far, he’s started five times at short, five at third, and three in center.

Tyson Miller pitched well in place of Glenn Otto, who was recalled to start for Texas tonight. Miller hadn’t pitched in six days, so I suspect he was prepped for 2-3 innings regardless.

Hever Bueno entered with none out and the bases loaded in the 8th. After a a soft fly dropped in for a run, Bueno retired the side with no further damage and worked a clean 9th.

OF Joe McCarthy signed with Orix in Japan, concluding his odd weeks-long limbo. We’ll always have Surprise, Joe. Reliever Greg Holland elected free agency after clearing waivers.

AA: Frisco 12, NW Arkansas (KAN) 2
Frisco: 13 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 9 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 10-2, 3 G up

SP Justin Slaten: 4 IP, 2 H (2 HR), 2 R, 5 BB, 5 SO, 72 P / 39 S, 4.00 ERA
DH Ezequiel Duran: 2-5, 2 2B, .289/.347/.489
2B Justin Foscue: 2-4, 2B, HR (1)
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, .317/.333/.317
3B Diosbel Arias: 2-4, 2 HR, (2), .241/.353/.483

Back fully healed, Justin Foscue knocked a pitch just over the fence to score Ezequiel Duran, Dustin Harris (1-4) and Blaine Crim (1-3, BB). Unlike last year, Jonathan Ornelas hasn’t played in the outfield, so he’s sharing short with Duran, who’s also splitting time with Foscue at second. Duran hasn’t played at third yet.

Justin Slaten allowed two solo homers. Long balls were a problem for him last year: a system-high 17 in 82 innings, just shy of one per two times through the order.

High-A: Hickory 5, at Wilmington (WAS) 2
Hickory: 8 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 5-7, 4 GB

SP Nick Krauth: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 68 P / 43 S, 6.75 ERA
RP Triston Polley: 3 IP, 2 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 2.89 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 5.79 ERA
DH Evan Carter: 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2 BB, HBP, .342/.458/.500
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-1, 2B, 2 BB, .158/.472/.368

Evan Carter reached safely four times. Keith Law of The Athletic saw the Crawdads on Tuesday. His review of Carter wasn’t outright negative, but he did note that both of Carter’s singles could have been outs with better defense, and his one walk was solely on a wild pitcher. He did describe Carter’s approach as “passive.” More disconcertingly, Law reported Ricky Vanasco’s fastball velocity was in the 89-93 range, well below his pre-surgery level. We’ll see how that develops.

Lefty Triston Polley is one of those guys picked in 2019 who I still don’t know much about because of covid and my absence from Arizona. Statistically, he’s all over the map: extremely walk-prone at Indiana State, then extraordinarily precise at short-season Spokane in 2019 (2 walks, 32 strikeouts), wild again last year, solid in 2022.

Trevor Hauver and Aaron Zavala (0-4, BB) co-lead the league with 13 walks.

Low-A: Down East 1, at Columbia (KAN) 10
Down East: 5 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 5-7, 3 GB

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 3.1 IP, 5 H ,5 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 53 P / 38 S, 12.00 ERA
C Tucker Mitchell: 1-3, BB, .273/.467/.318

Down East has used eight starters in 12 games with an average of 56 pitches and 3.1 innings. I imagine personnel will dictate the decisions, but given the large rosters, we could be looking at a small subset of genuine “starters” plus a slew of guys who just happen to be getting the ball first and will give 3-4 innings.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Latz
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: White
Lo-A: Stephan

Five Years Ago Yesterday
OF Leody Taveras hit his third homer and IF Anderson Tejeda his second in a 15-6 thrashing of Kannapolis. I’ve not seen any word of Tejeda finding employment since St. Louis released him on the 4th.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 20 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 14, Albuquerque (COL) 1
Round Rock: 16 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 10-4, tied for first

SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 75 P / 47 S, 1.38 ERA
RP Jason Bahr: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 11.81 ERA
RP Dan Winkler: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1.69 ERA
3B Josh Smith: 2-4, 2B, HR (2), .220/.291/.380
LF Leody Taveras: 2-5, HR (3), .415/.436/.660
C Sam Huff: 2-3, 2B, HR (3), 2 HBP, .261/.320/.500
SS Davis Wendzel: 3-5, HR (3), .286/.364/.531
1B Matt Carpenter: 3-5, 2B, .281/.378/.438

On an Education Day special, the wind was blowing hard out to left, Albuquerque’s pitchers were of, shall we say, varying quality, and Round Rock put on a show for the youngsters.

Sam Huff hit the longest homer I think I’ve ever seen in person, exactly 500 feet per Trackman. The blast rebounded off the scoreboard behind the home bullpen and concourse about 20-30 feet up. Huff leads the team with 11 balls hit in excess of 101 MPH. He’s striking out in 34% of his plate appearances and has walked only twice, so it’s all or nothing, but the all is truly something. Huff had been plunked in his first two trips to the plate, emphatically tossing his bat aside after the second one. He followed that with a scorched double and the homer. It’s not wise to upset a Wookie.

Later on, Davis Wendzel hit his hardest ball of the season (107 MPH) in the same direction, if not quite as far. Wendzel also turned an exceptional 6-3 force on a grounder deep to his left. Josh Smith, who like Wendzel started slow, had two of his better swings that resulted in a homer and double.

Leody Taveras homered just beyond the 407 sign in right-center. Taveras is making an ample amount of solid contact, and even a goodly number of his softer swings have been driven just over the infielders’ heads for singles. I don’t foresee an immediate promotion despite the situation in Arlington. Unless he’s going to play regularly, better to keep on trucking in AAA.

Cole Winn was fine, if not as scintillating as Alexy the day before. I hadn’t seen him in person this season until yesterday. He’s switched the majority of his non-fastballs in each start: sliders on the 8th, curves the 14th, and changeups on the 20th. Winn threw 13 righty-righty changes, including three of his six swinging strikes. Only seven MLB starters have thrown more of that variety in a single outing during 2022. Winn’s change is often firm and the quality varies. Sometimes he pulled the string and induced a silly-looking swing. Sometimes he planted it firmly on the low-outside corner; it’s effectively a low-and-away fastball at 84 instead of 93. In those cases, the pitch has nothing but the speed differential working for it, but when he sells it, that’s enough. Righties swung at eight, put three in play and collected one hit. Much more than the average AAA pitcher, Winn appears to be workshopping pitches and sequences. His righty–righty change on a 3-1 count might be less common than a 500-ft. homer. He got a call on that pitch and followed with another change for a swinging strikeout.

Farewell to Andrew Felts, employee of the Round Rock Express for seven years and primary media man since March 2018. Aubrey Losack takes his place.

AA: Frisco 2, NW Arkansas (KAN) 7
Frisco: 4 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 9-2, 3 G up

SP Avery Weems: 3 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 64 P / 39 S, 14.29 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 3 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 3.86 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, HR (1), .308/.333/.410

Dustin Harris had three hits (.143 average) in his first five games and nine hits (.500 average) in his last five games.

High-A: Hickory 0, at Wilmington (WAS) 3
Hickory: 2 hits, 2 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 4-7, 5 GB

SP Ben Anderson: 4 IP, 4 H ,2 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 70 P / 38 S, 2.70 ERA
RP John Matthews: 3 IP, 0 H ,1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 6.35 ERA
2B Frainyer Chavez: 2-3, .364/.462/.364

Frainyer Chavez’s two singles were the only hits, and the last 13 went down in order.

Ricky Vanasco did not hit nine batters yesterday as indicated in my report. My copy editor is a perpetual disappointment.

Low-A: Down East 7, at Columbia (KAN) 0
Down East: 9 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 7 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 5-6, 3 GB

SP Bradford Webb: 4 IP, 3 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 67 P / 41 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Emiliano Teodo: 2.2 IP, 0 H , 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Luis Tejada: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.24 ERA
DH Tucker Mitchell: 2-4, 2B, SB (1), .263/.462/.316
3B Derwin Barreto: 2-4, 2 HR, (2), .273/.360/.591

Derwin Barreto hopped as needed between Frisco, Hickory, and the rookie complex last year. He hit well in Arizona (.324/.490/.514 in 13 games) but isn’t known for power.

Bradford Webb, last year’s 7th-rounder out of Virginia Commonwealth, pitched well on his 24th birthday.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Otto
AA: Slaten
Hi-A: Krauth

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Joe Palumbo was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and would undergo surgery. I remember listening to the game on the radio when he was pulled mid-batter. By my unofficial calculation, the Rangers and all four of their full-season squads had a losing record for the first time in nearly 11 years.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 19 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Albuquerque (COL) 2
Round Rock: 9 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 9-4, tied for first

SP AJ Alexy: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 78 P / 53 S, 3.75 ERA
RP Jesus Tinoco: 2 IP, 2 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
1B Sherten Apostel: 2-4, HR (1), .250/.250/.625
C Yohel Pozo: 3-3, 2B, .250/.289/.306

Last time out, I’d mentioned that AJ Alexy wasn’t going to hasten his return to Arlington by walking a batter per inning. Last night just might. Showing his best control of the season by far, Alexy carried a no-hitter into the 5th. Against a lineup with just one lefty, Alexy unleashed a slider nearly one-third of the time, generating misses with the down/out version and getting several favorable calls with a sweepy type. The lone run came on a homer off a first-pitch curve. Alexy uses the curve to grab an early strike, as many batters let the pitch pass once they see some bend. Albuquerque’s Taylor Snyder thought differently and found a curve higher in the zone than Alexy probably intended.

The Dallas Morning News has a quote from manager Chris Woodward about the bullpen saying “I think our options are here, right now. I don’t think it’s a matter of replacing them.” That’s as may be, but barring rapid improvement by some of the current roster, changes are coming, and Alexy’s goal is to be atop the list as a starting or relieving option when the time comes. (I would reiterate that the state of the MLB staff isn’t material to Cole Winn’s eventual debut.)

In his first plate appearance since being outrighted, Sherten Apostel barreled through a Dillon Overton change for a homer. He later singled on the hardest-hit ball of the night by either side. CF Bubba Thompson (1-4) dropped in a surprising two-out, two-on bunt in the 7th to plate the go-ahead run.

Round Rock turned a rare 9-6 force-out. With runners on 1st and 2nd in the 9th, DJ Peterson’s shallow fly landed just beyond Thompson’s grasp, but RF Zach Reks was nearby to throw out the lead runner who couldn’t stray far from second for fear of being doubled off.

AAA: Round Rock 6, at Sugar Land (HOU) 3
Round Rock: 12 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts

SP Kohei Arihara: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 73 P / 56 S, 5.25 ERA
RP Nick Tropeano: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 7.50 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 3.00 ERA
LF Bubba Thompson: 2-5, 2B
CF Leody Taveras: 3-5
1B Matt Carpenter: 2-5, 2B, HR (1)

Everyone had Monday off, and only Round Rock played Sunday. I had some travel and catch-up work earlier this week, so here’s Sunday:

Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in the 9th to break the tie. Hever Bueno had one of those special days. Sugar Land’s best bet was to save their energy for the next series. Bueno mixed a 95-98 fastball and mid-80s slider. The heater is on the straight side, but when he’s locating it and the slider at the same time, the uphill/downhill tandem leaves hitters guessing badly.

“He’ll pitch in the Majors” and “he won’t get out of short-season ball” were both credible opinions of Bueno in 2017, the year after Texas picked him in the 9th round out of Arizona State. Now in his walk year, Bueno has thrown only 133 pro innings thanks to injuries, covid, and his own wildness. Bueno dropped his walk rate to a manageable 10.6% in 2021 at Frisco, and he’s issued a single freebie in six AAA innings. He and the staff deserve a lot of credit for how he’s progressed. Now, the goal is to pitch like that all the time. No easy task. Sunday was an MLB-worthy effort, but I’ve seen so many players look like Major Leaguers one-third to one-half of the time. Consistency is everything. What finally got Joe Barlow to the Majors last year was pitching like Bueno’s Sunday outing in virtually every appearance.

AA: Frisco 4, NW Arkansas (KAN) 3
Frisco: 9 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 9-1, 3 G up

SP Kevin Gowdy: 2.1 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 44 P / 26 S, 5.06 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 2.2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 5.14 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1.2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, SB (3), .286/.316/.314
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3
RF Josh Stowers: 2-3, 2B, BB, .375/.429/.500

Justin Foscue singled in his first game since being slowed by a back injury. Chase Lee and Fernery Ozuna (and Lucas Jacobsen, AND don’t forget catcher Jordan Procyshen) have yet to allow a run.

League-wide scoring is up a run per game in the early going; Frisco’s 3.9 allowed per contest is the best. The Riders haven’t surrendered an unearned run. They also haven’t thrown out a base-stealer (0-for-17).

High-A: Hickory 7, at Wilmington (WAS) 5
Hickory: 8 hits, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 4-6, 5 GB

SP Ricky Vanasco: 2.1 IP, 2 H ,1 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 53 P / 25 S, 9.00 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 2 IP, 1 H ,1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 4.26 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-4, BB, .344/.436/.438
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-4, 3B, BB, .172/.415/.241
2B Cristian Inoa: 1-2, 2B, BB, HBP, SB (1), .379/.486/.621
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, 2B, .269/.367/.538

Aside form a couple of starts at low-A Hickory to conclude 2019, Ricky Vanasco’s control has never been good, and the start of his post-TJ career hasn’t been any different. Patience.

Evan Carter is a teenager in high-A, and last year’s injury that limited him to 32 games doesn’t appear to have slowed his progress at all. Who knows where Chris Seise would be without all his injuries, but he too is off to a nice start.

Low-A: Down East 6, at Columbia (KAN) 4
Down East: 9 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 4-6, 3 GB

SP Gavin Collyer: 0.2 IP, 0 H ,2 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 34 P / 13 S, 14.40 ERA
RP Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 3 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 3.00 ERA
RF Marcus Smith: 1-4, HR (1), .091/.286/.227
DH Jose Rodriguez: 2-4, BB, .174/.296/.174
C Enfrenyer Narvaez: 1-4, HR (2), .185/.214/.519
LF Alejandro Osuna: 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 SB (4), .192/.276/.308

Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa retired nine straight and fanned eight on 38 pitches, 30 for strikes. Most impressive by far was a mid-90s fastball to which he applied ride or sink as desired. He also threw six tight curves, all strikes, three swinging. Least effective was his change, all four of which pushed too far outside to tease a swing.

Houston-affiliated Fayetteville’s pitching staff has a combined BB/HBP rate of 22%, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Weems
Hi-A: Anderson

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Not a terribly exciting day, the the system did have future Major Leaguers starting for every full-season squad: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Ariel Jurado, Pedro Payano and Jonathan Hernandez.