AAA: Round Rock 11, El Paso (SDG) 3
Round Rock: 16 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 1-3, 2 GB
SP Cole Winn: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 SO, 2.25 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 3 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 13.50 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-5, SB (3)
LF Leody Taveras: 5-5, 2 2B, 2 SB (2)
RF Zach Reks: 1-2, 3 BB
DH Sam Huff: 3-4, HR (1), BB
2B Ryan Dorow: 2-3, 2B, BB
Leody Taveras had a perfect day, reaching all five times and scoring all the way from first on an errant throw during a steal attempt. Bubba Thompson also flashed the wheels. Sam Huff homered to left-center (just under 400 feet, modest by his standards) and hit a single even harder.
The hardest-hit ball of the night was a double off Luis Liberato’s bat against Cole Winn’s first pitch. That and another hit scored the only run off Winn, although he did walk two straight in the 2nd. Winn dealt his fastball (91-95), slider (82-85) and changeup (83-87) in nearly equal amounts plus ten curves (75-79).
Tyler Thomas offers a sinker/slider mix augmented with changes, all of which have a healthy amount of horizontal movement. Thomas, now 26, was the return for Jesse Chavez back in 2018. Yerry Rodriguez’s fastball velocity slumped to 92-95 in his second appearance. He threw a ton of sliders and several changes, the latter a pitch I don’t recall seeing Tuesday. Even if Rodriguez is permanently in relief, his change is decent (usually better than his slider last year) and he need not discard it.
AA: Frisco 5, Arkansas (SEA) 4
Frisco: 7 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 8 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0, 1 G up
SP Cody Bradford: 4.1 IP, 3 H ,2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.15 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-4, HR (1), SB (1)
SS Ezequiel Duran: 1-4, 2B
C Matt Whatley: 2-3, 2B
Doubles by Josh Stowers and Ezequiel Duran in the 8th reversed a one-run deficit. Duran was 0-3 to that point, so his first hit in AA scored the go-ahead run. Earlier, Frisco scored three in 4.2 innings off George Kirby, a top-100 prospect. Chase “The Viper” Lee fanned two in a 1-2-3 9th. Last year’s 5th rounder was aggressively assigned to AA for his pro debut. Cody Bradford allowed one liner (caught by 3B Diosbel Arias) and one fly; everything else was on the ground or a strikeout.
RHP Kevin Gowdy is listed at Frisco after being announced on Hickory’s opening roster. Gowdy was part of the return for Kyle Gibson.
High-A: Hickory 5, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 7
Hickory: 10 hits, 12 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 0-1, 1 GB
SP Owen White: 3 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.00 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 1.1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 1-5, 2B, BB
RF Aaron Zavala: 0-2, 3 BB
SS Frainyer Chavez: 2-3, BB
2B Thomas Saggese: 1-3, 2 BB
1B Cristian Inoa: 3-5, 2 2B
MiLB.tv is a good product overall, but not without its problems. It is seemingly always caught off guard by the start of the season, with multiple feeds either absent, subject to frequent buffering, or, in the case of Winston-Salem last night, audio-only. That is to say, my hope of seeing Owen White’s high-A debut was dashed. The two opposing homers matched his total from last year’s 35 innings.
Winston-Salem walked twelve and flung two wild pitches, but Hickory couldn’t capitalize, stranding 14 and losing another four on the bases. Frainyer Chavez had a great night. The downside is he entered as a replacement for SS Luisangel Acuna, who departed after hurting his lower leg crossing first on a grounder. Hopefully, it’s not serious. DH Chris Seise walked twice in his first action since last year’s injury.
Incidentally, if you do get MiLB.tv, you’ll see all the games of Round Rock and Frisco, road games for eight of Hickory’s 11 league opponents, and all of Down East’s road games. Unfortunately, Rangers-owned Down East is the only Carolina League team without video.
Low-A: Down East 3, at Carolina (MIL) 6
Down East: 5 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 0-1, 1 GB
SP Josh Stephan: 4 IP, 5 H ,3 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 4.50 ERA
Undrafted South Grand Prairie righty Josh Stephan threw plenty of strikes in last year’s 12 low-A innings, but four homers vaulted his ERA to 8.25. Last night, the ball stayed in the park. Beyond that, well, LF Alejandro Osuna’s double was the only extra-base hit, nobody reached more than once, and relievers Luis Tejeda (3 IP, 2 R) and Gavin Collyer (1 IP, 1 R) were fairly nondescript.
AAA: Glenn Otto
AA: Jack Leiter
Hi-A: Mason Englert
Five Years Ago Yesterday
331 games into his minor league career, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit his first professional homer.