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.
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.