AAA: Round Rock 7, at Albuquerque (COL) 8 Round Rock: 8 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts Record: 29-19, 1 G up
SP Kolby Allard: 5 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 69 P / 45 S, 4.96 ERA RF Leody Taveras: 2-4, HR (6), .299/.330/.500 1B Zach Reks: 4-4, 2B, 2 HR (2), .337/.427/.629
Trainer Carlos Olivas was a common sight, tending to both Spencer Patton (hip or thereabouts) and Dan Winkler (thumb) during the last four innings. Patton left immediately after hurting himself throwing a pitch, while Winkler stayed in but was replaced after a hit-by-pitch and walk. In the former case, the loaded bases would clear before Yerry Rodriguez could record the final out of the 6th. Conversely, Daniel Robert stranded all three of Winkler’s runners in the 8th but surrendered a single and game-ending double in the 9th.
Reks batted .500 with four homers in the series.
AA: Frisco 9, San Antonio (SDG) 7 Frisco: 15 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts Record: 25-20, 2 G up
The top six in the order reached 16 times and collected seven extra-base hits. Foscue has among the organization’s lowest swinging strike rates (7%) and strikeout rates (16%), a continuation of his time at Mississippi State, where he drew 67 walks against just 57 strikeouts.
Nobody in pro ball exceeds Ezequiel Duran’s 21 doubles. There might be something in the water: three of the top four and six of the top 14 in doubles in all of MiLB are from the Texas League.
Yesterday I suggested a 3/4/5 line from Luisangel Acuna wasn’t a reasonable expectation going forward. Not exactly bulletin board material, but in any case he homered again to boost his slugging percentage to .633. Fine by me.
Jayce Easley has doubled last year’s homer total.
Low-A: Down East 5, Fayetteville (HOU) 1 Down East: 7 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 5 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts Record: 21-24, 5 GB
SP Winston Santos: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 SO, 80 P / 63 S, 3.75 ERA RP Jose Corniell: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 8.20 ERA SS Cam Cauley: 2-3, BB, 2 SB (8), .167/.242/.183 2B Maximo Acosta: 2-4, .250/.346/.348 1B Tucker Mitchell: 1-4, HR (2), .179/.319/.321 LF Yosy Galan: 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 SB (7), .252/.352/.459
Down East took five of six and allowed only 2.9 runs per game against Houston’s affiliate. Victor Santos is the first Wood Duck starter to reach double-digit strikeouts.
Marcus Smith managed to steal three bases without a hit (0-3, walk, reached on fielder’s choice), tying him with Maximo Acosta for the team lead. Yosy Galan is batting .100/.229/.233 with a 40% strikeout rate in nine games since I touted him two weeks ago.
Today’s Starters off
Five Years Ago Yesterday Round Rock outhomered Nashville 4-0 but lost, and I wrote about Tyson Ross’s rehab start because this is the life I’ve chosen.
AAA: Round Rock 14, at Albuquerque (COL) 3 Round Rock: 18 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts Record: 29-18, 1 G up
SP AJ Alexy: 5.1 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 93 P / 54 S, 6.39 ERA CF Josh Smith: 4-6, 2 2B, 3B, .277/.380/.428 LF Steele Walker: 5-6, 3 2B, .297/.375/.500 1B Zach Reks: 1-4, HR (3), BB, .306/.404/.529 DH Nick Solak: 1-5, HR (3), .290/.333/.419 SS Ryan Dorow: 3-4, 2B, BB, .259/.338/.397
Josh Smith had a double, triple and single by the 4th. In a last chance at a cycle, Smith settled for a 393-ft. double. Smith doesn’t generate top-tier velocity. Of the team’s 106 balls off the bat at 104 MPH or better, Smith has just one. (Leody Taveras has 16, Bubba Thompson 10.) Smith compensates with a heavy dose of line drives and low flies at medium-high velocity. That and a keen eye have him succeeding in AAA despite only 111 pro games entering 2022.
Steele Walker was 5-5 with three doubles but flared out to left in his bid for a sixth.
In this environment, my only concern with AJ Alexy is his walk/HBP total, and he was… okay.
AA: Frisco 10, San Antonio (SDG) 6 Frisco: 12 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Opponent: 14 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts Record: 24-20, 1 G up
SP Zak Kent: 5 IP, 10 H (2 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 89 P / 63 S, 6.75 ERA RP Jose Leclerc: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA CF JP Martinez: 1-3, HR (7), BB, SB (13), .304/.420/.539 1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, 2B, .308/.372/.564 C Matt Whatley: 2-4, 2 HR (2), .205/.225/.410 LF Kellen Strahm: 3-4, .182/.339/.239
After two outs to start the 7th, Frisco scored five to reclaim the lead. A loss would have removed them from first place for the first time all season.
JP Martinez has my support in his quest for a 20/20 season. Last year he was 5/20. I hold my faith that Kellen Strahm is not a .182 hitter.
Zak Kent had nine swinging strikes. His miss rate for the season is 8.4%, less than half of his 2021 figure. He’s also already five walks short of his total from last year.
SP Owen White: 6 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 91 P / 57 S, 4.99 ERA RP Destin Dotson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1.13 ERA SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-4, HR (3), BB, .283/.389/.545 2B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, 2B, .299/.336/.418 3B Cody Freeman: 2-4, 2B, .239/.319/.405
Acuna briefly held a 3/4/5 slash line after homering in his first at-bat. That’s too much to ask going forward, I think, but he’s off to a fine start despite a hamstring injury.
Owen White’s walk rate is decent. His strikeout rate is strong. His homer rate is… not great. White has allowed two homers in three of eight starts. Several Hickory starters had multi-homer issues in 2021, and that trend has continued into this season. Hickory is a homer-friendly park, but not that friendly. Opponents are hitting .223/.297/.460.
Low-A: Down East 4, Fayetteville (HOU) 3 Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts Record: 20-24, 5 GB
SP Mitchell Bratt: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 64 P / 38 S, 3.60 ERA RP Larson Kindreich: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 2.06 ERA RP Leury Tejada: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 5.40 ERA 1B Tucker Mitchell: 2-4, 2 2B, .176/.322/.284 LF Daniel Mateo: 1-4, HR (2), .234/.291/.328
I don’t usually list ordinary, scoreless one-run outings, but congrats to Leury Tejada for a boring 9th after so many wild comebacks by the Wood Ducks and their opponents lately.
Tandem starters Bratt and Kindreich combined to strike out 15 of 34 batters.
Five Years Ago Yesterday Deja vu: Rehabbing in Frisco, Jose Leclerc threw a scoreless 5th.In the 6th, Frisco allowed a team-record 13 runs. Both Shane McCain and Joe Filomeno gave up six without retiring a batter.
After three days of relatively few runs, at last a score worthy of the location. Round Rock led 4-0, trailed 7-4, retied the game at nine, and then allowed three in the 8th. Bubba Thompson homered twice, but the altitude receives no credit, as he hit both balls 105 MPH at angles just below 30 degrees. Those will leave any park. True to form, Thompson also stole third, collected another bunt single, and did not walk.
Josh Smith’s homer was only the 15th-hardest of the night, but he angled it perfectly. Smith can get a hold of a pitch, but his expertise is softer liners that are nearly always hits, if not the extra-base variety. By my count, he has a team-leading 26 balls in play of that type with an .808 average.
Every reliever (Ryder Ryan, Tyson Miller, Hever Bueno, Demarcus Evans, Nick Snyder) had his issues. All but Bueno were walk-prone. Bueno was victimized by a difficult but arguably playable fly that Willie Calhoun turned into an unsightly triple.
AA: Frisco 2, San Antonio (SDG) 8 Frisco: 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 16 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts Record: 23-20, tied for first
SP Cole Ragans: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 79 P / 52 S, 3.15 ERA RP Nick Starr: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1.74 ERA DH Dustin Harris: 2-4, .250/.241/.431
Just after I’d written up Grant Anderson’s near-perfection since allowing three homers in Jack Leiter’s pro debut, he gave up four runs on his first homer since then plus several other hits. On Thursday, Chase Lee surrendered his first runs of the year.
SP Nick Krauth: 7 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 79 P / 56 S, 4.62 ERA SS Keyber Rodriguez: 2-3, BB, .292/.331/.408 DH Chris Seise: 2-3, .224/.286/.405
Enlisted to protect a 2-0 lead in the 9th, Marc Church surrendered a homer after a single and rare walk. He’d worked the 8th without incident. Church has a 41% strikeout rate in May but has allowed five homers, one per nine batters faced.
Low-A: Down East 4, Fayetteville (HOU) 3 Down East: 5 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts Record: 19-24, 5.5 GB
SP Josh Stephan: 7 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 9 SO, 83 P / 63 S, 4.42 ERA RP Jackson Leath: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 4.50 ERA RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3.06 ERA SS Maximo Acosta: 1-3, BB, .242/.342/.344 1B Abi Ortiz: 1-3, HR (3), BB, .192/.252/.303 2B Jose Acosta: 1-3, HR (2), .224/.318/.431
Drama in Kinston. Down a run with a runner on first, two out and a 2-1 count, Abimelec Ortiz fouled off three pitches and then connected on a game-ending homer. As a 19-year-old last summer, Ortiz led the Dominican Summer League with 11 homers and ranked second with a .581 slugging percentage. Last year, he had many more walks plus HBPs (42) than hits (30), but his walk and strikeout rates have moved the wrong directions so far in 2022.
Jackson Leath, heavily victimized early in his pro career, tossed a blissfully quiet 8th.
Today’s Starters AAA: Alexy AA: Kent Hi-A: White Lo-A: TBD
Five Years Ago Yesterday Texas claimed Pete O’Brien off waivers from Cincinnati. Not the 59-year-old ex-Ranger. Younger Pete didn’t hit well and was lost on waivers three weeks later.
AAA: Round Rock 3, at Albuquerque (COL) 5 Round Rock: 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts Opponent: 9 hits, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts Record: 28-17, 1 G up
SP Spencer Howard: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 82 P / 48 S, 6.28 ERA RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 7.02 ERA 3B Josh Smith: 1-3, 2B, BB, .262/.369/.376
Howard’s changeup was his worst pitch in 2021. He dumped it this season and hasn’t attempted to revisit it in AAA. Fastball, cutters, curves.
Daniel Robert (1.2 IP, 4 R) collapsed in a second inning of work, walking four and unleashing two wild pitches. In the entirety of 2021, Robert walked five batters and had no wild pitches.
AA: Frisco 3, San Antonio (SDG) 7 Frisco: 6 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 11 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts Record: 23-19, 1 G up
SP Jack Leiter: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 92 P / 54 S, 5.90 ERA 1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, HR (10), .307/.366/.567
Leiter needed 29 pitches to complete the 1st and surrendered two runs on two two-out hits, one of which never left the infield. Thereafter, he retired 12 of 13. The 92 pitches were a season high. Opponents are hitting just .235/.326/.313 against him, but the hits have come in concentrated spots, leading to the inflated ERA. Leiter’s strand rate of 43% is the worst in the system by a wide margin.
Crim has three more homers than anyone in the system. If Sam Huff is going to spend substantial time in the Majors, Crim is likely to lead the organization in homers for a second straight year.
Five Years Ago Yesterday The Express won their sixth straight. They “were 17-26 just a few days ago, and let me tell you, old and bad AAA teams are no fun at all.” Round Rock had the second-oldest hitters and third-oldest pitchers in the 16-team league. Triple A can be that way sometimes, and I’ve been very appreciative to watch the younger, prospect-heavier squads in 2021-2022.
AAA: Round Rock 7, at Albuquerque (COL) 3 Round Rock: 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts Record: 28-16, 0.5 G up SP Cole Winn: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 9 SO, 95 P / 58 S, 5.31 ERA LF Zach Reks: 3-4, HR (2), .301/.400/.507 DH Willie Calhoun: 2-4, HR (2), .224/.278/.347
Cole Winn carried a no-hitter into the 5th, struck out nine of 24 batters, The one, cheap run occurred resulted from a three-hit span in which two came off the bat at less than 70 MPH. Winn also walked four of the first 12 batters and had a fastball strike rate of 44% in that span.
Willie Calhoun’s batted ball stats in AAA are worrying, but his homer was not a product of Albuquerque’s thin air. Calhoun didn’t play in the previous three games.
Round Rock IL’ed infielder Davis Wendzel, who was pinch-run for in Sunday’s game.
I think 12 games over .500 is the most by Texas’s AAA squad since 2015.
SP Avery Weems: 3 IP, 5 H (3 HR), 5 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 59 P / 43 S, 7.62 ERA RP Tai Tiedemann: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 5.56 ERA RP Jose Leclerc: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 9.00 ERAIn his first post-TJ action, Jose Leclerc allowed a firm double on an elevated cut-change and a soft fly single on a high fastball. He also fanned two on those same pitches.
AA: Frisco 6, San Antonio (SDG) 1 (7) Frisco: 6 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts Record: 23-18, 2 G up
SP Cody Bradford: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 80 P / 50 S, 8.73 ERA RP Grant Anderson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.54 ERA RP Tim Brennan: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA 1B Blaine Crim: 1-3, HR (9), .301/.363/.548 3B Ezequiel Duran: 1-3, HR (7), .305/.355/.571 C David Garcia: 2-3, HR (4), .254/.312/.479 CF Josh Stowers: 1-2, 2B, SB (9), .240/.342/.360
Can’t say enough about Ezequiel Duran’s great start. He’s never hit this well outside of the Dominican Republic, and since last summer’s trade he’s spent most of his time at short. He won’t be playing there as a Ranger, of course, but competence at the position aids most courses the Rangers could take with him.
Blaine Crim has now played more games in Frisco (74) than Hickory (73) post-2020. He’s batted .295/.348/.537 in AA, a very slight dropoff from his .300/.372/.559 in high-A. His walk/HBP has dipped a little, and a couple of the high-A homers have turned into doubles. He’s still homering at nearly twice the league rate.
David Garcia has usually needed time to acclimate to a level and was hitting .193/.258/.316 just over a week ago. Whether he’s settling in or is just on a heater, he’s suddenly sporting a slugging percentage 40 points higher than his previous best.
Cody Bradford didn’t walk anyone, but three three-ball counts and 36 pitches in the 4th ended his night a little early. Since giving up three consecutive homers in relief of Jack Leiter’s pro debut, Grant Anderson has surrendered zero homers and two runs in 22 innings.
High-A: Hickory 2, Winston-Salem (CHW) 9 Hickory: 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 13 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts Record: 24-18, 0.5 GB SP Ricky Vanasco: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 9 SO, 73 P / 55 S, 5.92 ERA SS Thomas Saggese: 1-4, HR (3), .263/.313/.401
Winston-Salem knocked a few hard hits off Vanasco, but he fanned a season-high nine and reeled off a second-straight walk-free five innings.
Low-A: Down East 3, Fayetteville (HOU) 2 Down East: 3 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts Opponent: 4 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts Record: 18-23, 5 GB
SP Emiliano Teodo: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 61 P / 38 S, 2.86 ERA RP Bradford Webb: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 4.97 ERA RP Leury Tejada: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.63 ERA
Emiliano Teodo has allowed two extra-bases hits all season, and opponents are hitting .171/.323/.224. Down East scored two runs on a walk, a fielder’s (incorrect) choice, an error and a balk.
Today’s Starters AAA: Howard AA: Leiter Hi-A: Anderson Lo-A: TBD
Five Years Ago Yesterday Ariel Jurado had a quintessential Ariel Jurado start: 6 IP, 5 runners, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts, 12 grounders vs. four flies. Battery mate Jose Trevino was 3-4.
We recorded a podcast this morning. We led with some discussion that you might disagree with or perhaps just don’t want to hear right now, but we’re three dads with five kids ranging from four to eleven years old. Plenty of baseball, too. Link in signature.
Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 24 May Box Scores
AAA: Round Rock 8, at Albuquerque (COL) 3 Round Rock: 11 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts Record: 27-16, tied for first
SP Kolby Allard: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 68 P / 47 S, 3.97 ERA RP Demarcus Evans: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.38 ERA LF Bubba Thompson: 3-5, 3B, 2 SB (23), .329/.340/.445 SS Ryan Dorow: 2-3, BB, .238/.319/.386
Bubba Thompson’s 23 steals are the most in AAA by a wide margin and fifth-most in the minors. Thompson is also still sitting on two walks. He’s never been walk-inclined, but this is something else. He’s swinging at 57% of pitches, not Yohel Pozo territory (64%) but far above average. The extra swings aren’t creating weak contact, however, and also he has nine bunt singles.
SP TK Roby: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 80 P / 55 S, 6.40 ERA RP Destin Dotson: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1.50 ERA 1B Cristian Inoa: 1-2, HR (2), .274/.331/.395
No middle ground for TK Roby: three starts with one run or none, four with four or more. Roby hasn’t been nearly as effective as last year, but 2021 was limited to six short low-A outings and a lengthy rest to (successfully) avoid TJ surgery. That plus a 2020 lost to covid have pushed Roby into high-A with only 22 pro innings.
High-A: Hickory 5, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 0 (7) Hickory: 8 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts Opponent: 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts Record: 24-17, tied for first
SP Juan Mejia: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 9 P / 6 S, 5.51 ERA RP John Matthews: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2.70 ERA CF Jayce Easley: 2-4, .250/.314/.344 DH Trevor Hauver: 1-2, BB, .245/.406/.429 C Scott Kapers: 2-3, 2 HR, (5), .286/.321/.612
This was the makeup of a rainout at Winston-Salem, where the teams don’t meet again, so the Crawdads played as the road team in their own stadium. Trevor Hauver’s three-game homer streak ended, but he reached three times in six trips to the plate. Jayce Easley led the minors last year with 70 steals. In 2022, he has one and has been caught twice. He’s only played eight games.
Low-A: Down East 4, Fayetteville (HOU) 3 (10) Down East: 9 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts Record: 17-23, 5.5 GB
SP Gavin Collyer: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 SO, 80 P / 46 S, 4.13 ERA RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.24 ERA RP Nick Lockhart: 1 IP, 0 H (1 HR), 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 5.40 ERA 2B Cam Cauley: 2-5, .152/.204/.174 CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, .233/.295/.310 C Efrenyer Narvaez: 2-4, .194/.255/.301
Jackson Leath, who allowed last week’s walk-off grand slam, gave up two 9th-inning runs before recording an out. The gift-runner would also score off him in the 10th, but Down East plated two via a bases-loaded walk from Alejandro Osuna and single from Cam Cauley. Control has always been an issue for Gavin Collyer, but giving up hits has not, and he worked around four walks.
AAA: Round Rock 9, El Paso (SDG) 4 Round Rock: 12 hits, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts Opponent: 6 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts Record: 26-16, tied for first
SP AJ Alexy: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 92 P / 55 S, 6.57 ERA RP Ryder Ryan: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.18 ERA RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 7.63 ERA CF Bubba Thompson: 2-5, SB (21), .319/.331/.426 3B Josh Smith: 3-3, 2B, BB, SB (7), .277/.383/.394 C Yohel Pozo: 2-3, 2 BB, .337/.378/.462
Round Rock scored seven after having two outs and none on in the 5th, aided substantially by El Paso’s sloppy defense. Josh Smith led off with a single, stole second, and was tagged trying to get a head start toward third during Leody Taveras’s at-bat. Smith redeemed himself with a two-run double later in the inning.
Bubba Thompson has been singles-heavy of late and isn’t walking at all, but he’s still reaching at a solid pace. He’s also running at will. By my imperfect count, Thompson has reached first 19 times in his last 13 games, and he’s stolen 14 bases in that span. (I’m using reaching first safely as a very loose proxy for stolen base opportunities; the actual calculations are too onerous to deal with right now.)
My daughter waved at Ryder Ryan and he waved back. A few minutes later, Ryan sent down three Chihuahuas on 13 pitches. Be nice to my daughter and success will follow.
I wasn’t watching AJ Alexy carefully, but the stats matched what I saw.
Nomar Mazara collected three singles and a walk for El Paso. He signed with San Diego in mid-March after spending eight months without a job. Mazara’s hitting .340/.442/.576, which has to be downgraded in the context of where he plays, but on the other hand, he’s also hitting well in the PCL’s small number of pitcher-friendlier parks. Perhaps he’ll get another shot, as the Padres aren’t getting much from their outfield and DH spots right now. Had potential been achieved, Mazara would be in his walk year as a Ranger, gearing toward a free agent contract at the age of 27, or perhaps he’d already signed to an extension. Mazara is younger than Willie Calhoun and Nick Solak.
AA: Frisco 7, Corpus Christi (HOU) 6 Frisco: 14 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts Opponent: 12 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts Record: 22-17, 2 G up
SP Zak Kent: 1 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 21 P / 16 S, 5.82 ERA RP Justin Slaten: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 4.57 ERA RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA 3B Jonathan Ornelas: 4-5, 2B, 3B, SB (2), .362/.399/.497 1B Blaine Crim: 3-5, .300/.364/.536 SS Ezequiel Duran: 2-4, 2B, .304/.356/.561 RF Josh Stowers: 2-3, BB, SB (8), .235/.333/.347
Listed starter Justin Slaten entered after an opening inning from Zak Kent, who’d started Tuesday. Opponents are hitting .091/.206/.091 against Chase Lee, who’s allowed five singles and seven walks as May draws near a close.
In the last two weeks, Frisco has scored 7.4 runs per game (and allowed 7.3). Scoring is up nearly a run per game versus 2021. Ezequiel Duran’s team-leading .561 slugging percentage is only 13th-best in the league, and JP Martinez’s .441 OBP ranks 9th. Jonathan Ornelas’s .362 average does top the league list.
SP Mason Englert: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 88 P / 56 S, 3.60 ERA RP Spencer Mraz: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.79 ERA RP Eudrys Manon: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.91 ERA RF Aaron Zavala: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .275/.442/.400 LF Evan Carter: 2-4, BB, .308/.381/.508 DH Trevor Hauver: 1-3, HR (5), 2 BB, .237/.402/.430 2B Thomas Saggese: 2-4, 2 2B, .268/.321/.394 1B Frainyer Chavez: 2-4, 2B, SB (3), .319/.410/.389
Trevor Hauver batted .500/.609/1.278 with four homers in six games at Greenville. A good reminder not to place too much stock in any small number of games, even those you see in person. Imagine if I’d seen those games from Hauver instead of the .154/.313/.154 line he produced while I visited Hickory.
Hickory took five of six against the Drive, scoring 7.6 runs per game. Aaron Zavala batted .435/.500/.565, Evan Carter .360/.385/.640.
Brought in with a runner on second and a four-run lead in the 5th, Marc Church was unusually hittable, giving up a double and homer to cut the lead to one.
Low-A: Down East 5, at Carolina (MIL) 3 Down East: 9 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts Record: 16-23, 5.5 GB
SP Larson Kindreich: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 62 P / 41 S, 2.03 ERA CF Alejandro Osuna: 2-5, 2B, HR (5), SB (11), .348/.420/.539 RF Marcus Smith: 1-5, HR (4), .160/.331/.330 SS Maximo Acosta: 1-3, 2B, BB, .235/.336/.339
Pitching on Sunday for the first time, Larson Kindreich dominated again. Aside from some control lapses, the 22-year-old has been virtually untouchable. Opponents are hitting .151/.266/.208 with no homers.
Two days after losing a four-run lead with two out in the 9th, the Woodies found themselves in a similar situation. Up 5-0 in the final frame, Winston Santos surrendered two singles and a walk to start the inning. All would score and more would reach, forcing Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa’s entrance with two out and the winning run at the plate. A swinging strikeout prevented another amazing comeback by the Mudcats.
Today’s Starters AAA: off AA: off Hi-A: off Lo-A: off
Five Years Ago Yesterday Jurickson Profar was 4-5 with two doubles. I was confused as to why he was appearing so frequently in the 2017 reports until I realized I was off on my years. I thought 2016 was Profar’s last lengthy spell in AAA, but no. Profar had been optioned in late April and would spend only about ten more days in MLB in 2017. He was pointedly not recalled in September, leaving him seven days short of another full year of service time and extending Texas’s control through 2020. Offhand, it’s the only prominent example I can recall of the Rangers handling someone’s service time in such a fashion, and even then, this wasn’t a Kris Bryant situation. Profar had received two years of time during 2014-2015 without a single MLB plate appearance, as injuries limited him to a few minor league games. He was Super 2 arbitration-eligible after 2015 despite only 94 MLB games. (Incidentally, Nomar Mazara was on pace to reach the required six years of service for free agency in six years flat, until his hitting troubles prevented it. Texas brought him up less than a week into the 2016 season, and he was never subsequently optioned.)
AAA: Round Rock 3, El Paso (SDG) 4 Round Rock: 7 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts Opponent: 11 hits, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts Record: 25-16, tied for first
SP Jake Latz: 3 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 59 P / 36 S, 4.79 ERA RP Daniel Robert: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 7.36 ERA RP Demarcus Evans: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 9.00 ERA RP Dan Winkler: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 3.78 ERA 3B Davis Wendzel: 1-4, HR (6), .208/.293/.377 CF Josh Smith: 1-4, BB, SB (6), .261/.369/.373
Not to detract from his success, but Davis Wendzel hit one of the softest homers possible: 90 MPH off the bat at an angle of 30 degrees. Computer error crossed my mind, but MLB hitters have 28 homers at that speed during 2019-2021, although none at a 30-degree angle. It’s not impossible, just very rare.
Demarcus Evans is back. Evans had pitched during spring training but spent the first six weeks of the season without an assignment. His fastball was in the 90-92 range, significantly lower than his peak but actually a tick or two higher than what I saw last September and heard in March. The curve (75-78) has returned as the primary breaker. These are velocity ranges necessitating better command than Evans has traditionally shown, so we’ll see how this transpires.
AA: Frisco 8, Corpus Christi (HOU) 2 Frisco: 9 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts Record: 21-17, 2 G up
SP Cole Ragans: 6 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 9 SO, 99 P / 57 S, 2.83 ERA RP Grant Anderson: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1.61 ERA RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 2.89 ERA 1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, 2B, BB, .289/.357/.533 2B Ezequiel Duran: 2-4, 2B, .299/.352/.556 LF Dustin Harris: 3-4, 2 HR, (7), SB (8), .268/.362/.472
Dustin Harris had a day. He’s now homering at a slightly better pace than 2021 and drawing more walks/HBPs. In the other direction are his average (.268 vs. 327) and strikeouts 22% vs. 15%).
SP Owen White: 5.2 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 8 SO, 95 P / 61 S, 5.08 ERA LF Trevor Hauver: 3-4, 2 2B, HR (4), BB, .233/.393/.400
Hickory mostly singled Greenville to death: two from Aaron Zavala, Evan Carter, Frainyer Chavez, and Cody Freeman. Trevor Hauver is getting his name in the report more frequently, and not for drawing walks. Hauver’s slugging percentage was a lowly .227 just a week ago. Since then: three homers, two doubles, three singles.
Owen White had a mixed night. Plenty of strikeouts, hard to hit, but three of four hits were triples or homers.
Low-A: Down East 1, at Carolina (MIL) 2 Down East: 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts Record: 15-23, 6.5 GB
SP Mitch Bratt: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 53 P / 35 S, 4.09 ERA RP Damian Mendoza: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2.08 ERA RP Dylan MacLean: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.25 ERA CF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, .345/.421/.509 DH Marcus Smith: 1-4, HR (3), .157/.336/.303
Dylan MacLean is Texas’s 4th-round pick from 2021, assigned to Down East late last week. I didn’t mention it previously because I mixed his name with the similarly named DJ McCarty, an undrafted signing who pitched alongside MacLean last summer with similar, walk-heavy results. MacLean was the last of the five 2020 picks (Foscue, Carter, Roby, MacLean, Saggese) to reach full-season ball and was exceptionally wild in rookie ball, with 19 walks, three hit batters and six wild pitches in 17 innings). Conversely, in four innings with Down East, his totals in those three negative stats are zero, zero and zero.
Five Years Ago Yesterday In a 5-0 victory for Round Rock, Jurickson Profar drove in the final run on a ten-pitch, bases-loaded walk. Oft-clobbered Allen Webster threw seven scoreless. My daughter cheered for the correct team (instead of her favorite uniform color), ate a grilled cheese sandwich and ran the bases after the game.
AAA: Round Rock 8, El Paso (SDG) 3 Round Rock: 11 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 7 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts Record: 25-15, 1 G up
SP Spencer Howard: 4 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 67 P / 48 S, 6.10 ERA RP Jason Bahr: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 6.65 ERA RP Hever Bueno: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.79 ERA DH Zach Reks: 1-4, 2B, BB, .292/.395/.477 SS Davis Wendzel: 1-3, BB, .206/.295/.357
Every Express batter had a hit. Exactly one, save two for 1B Elier Hernandez and 2B Nash Knight.
Willie Calhoun (off Friday) is not yet hitting in a way to return him to Arlington in short order or draw opposing interest: .220/.289/.293. He’s swinging and missing at an extraordinarily low rate, but his combined rate of popups, grounders and softer-than-average contact is 66%, highest on the team.
Spencer Howard was what you see above. He wasn’t hit especially hard, but enough balls in play landed unfavorably. Opponents are hitting .304/.373/.478 in three AAA starts against him, including a .448 average on balls in play. Howard does have 16 strikeouts in 10.1 innings.
AA: Frisco 9, Corpus Christi (HOU) 11 Frisco: 12 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 12 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts Record: 20-17, 1 G up
SP Jack Leiter: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 83 P / 52 S, 6.38 ERA RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA RP Lucas Jacobsen: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.13 ERA SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, 2B, .360/.399/.482 CF JP Martinez: 3-4, 2B, HR (6), BB, .333/.445/.576 2B Justin Foscue: 2-4, BB, .309/.424/.543 1B Blaine Crim: 2-5, 2B, .280/.346/.515
Through three innings, Jack Leiter allowed a lone runner while striking out five, and I joked on twitter that “what happened last week in Tulsa [stayed] in Tulsa.” Control wasn’t great — Leiter reached a three-ball count on five of ten batters — but his fastball, slider and curve were menacing.
And then… Leiter hit a batter on a 2-2 count and allowed three consecutive singles. He recorded the next two outs, but a hard grounder up the middle that just eluded both his glove and Justin Foscue’s, a grounded double just inside the line, and a seven-pitch walk ended his night with four in and three on. And then… reliever Tyler Thomas surrendered a grand slam. Not that Leiter doesn’t deserve those runs, but the ERA difference between a third out and a grand slam is a whopping 1.17.
The nice thing about minor league ball is we can compartmentalize. Chase Lee and Lucas Jacobsen were great! The offense was terrific! Down 11-2 in the 6th, Frisco managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th and 9th.
I forgot to mention that Texas released Matt Carpenter. Carpenter was hitting just fine but not not forcing the issue. Arguably, he might offer more than Brad Miller or Andy Ibanez, but his 2020-2021 record calls that into question. Also, Miller’s not going anywhere, and Texas needs to find out whether Ibanez has a future. It was always a weird fit. Carpenter didn’t become a regular for St. Louis until 2021, so I can wish him well without underlying bitterness.
SP Nick Krauth: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 72 P / 55 S, 5.10 ERA RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, 2B, BB, .261/.434/.387 C Cody Freeman: 1-5, HR (6), .228/.319/.426 LF Trevor Hauver: 3-4, HR (3), .209/.376/.326 CF Angel Aponte: 3-3, HR (1), BB, .333/.403/.444
I’d mentioned that Destin Dotson’s control problems vanished while I visited Hickory. Last night he walked four of ten batters but managed to complete 2.1 innings with just one run allowed. Marc Church replaced him with one out and the bases loaded and managed to strand two.
Trevor Hauver is hitting .279/.415/.419 in May. At last, some hits are joining his prodigious walk total.
Low-A: Down East 6, at Carolina (MIL) 8 Down East: 6 hits, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts Record: 15-22, 6.5 GB
Trying to close out a 6-2 lead, Leury Tejeda struck out the first two batters. And then… (yes, we’re doing “and then” again, and this one is worse)… Tejeda allowed four straight runners to cut the lead in half. On came Jackson Leath, making just his second pro appearance. I happened to sit at my computer just as he entered and thought “nice time to get a first look at him.” Well, I don’t know if Leath was nervous or just had a bad day or both. We’re all human. Leath’s first toss bounced in front of the catcher’s circle, so, maybe a 50-ft. pitch. He then induced an easy comebacker but threw wide of first to extend the inning. Hendry Mendez swatted the next pitch the opposite way just inside the pole for a game-ending grand slam.
Ten Years Ago Yesterday How about Martin Perez? I’m thrilled he’s pitching so well.By coincidence, ten years ago yesterday I offered this gloomy assessment:
Martin Perez looked like a man defeated yesterday. I’ve never seen him throw worse. In three exhaustingly prolonged innings, Perez allowed seven runs on eight hits, four walks and four strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches to record nine outs, including 41 in his final inning. For most of his outing, Perez had no functional fastball. The velocity was present — he ranged anywhere from 89 to 95 in the 1st — but it mostly existed in a binary state of missing badly or running over the heart of the plate. In later innings, he appeared to pull back slightly in order to throw more strikes, to little avail. He was also throwing across his body. By far, his best pitch was his changeup, and by my rough count he threw 25 of them including at least eight of 14 pitches in the second. Three of his four third strikes were on changes. As is often the case, he suffered more than his fair share of misfortune. Several hits wafted lazily over the infield, and the defense didn’t provide all the support it could. He also committed his own error on an pickoff throw, but I’d pin that one firmly on 2B Yangervis Solarte, whose hesitation in covering the bag let Perez’s throw reach the outfield. But, once again, he responded poorly. After a soft single by Fresno’s Nick Noonan that plated two, Perez walked the next two batters. After his error, he immediately offered a pancake-flat changeup that Justin Christian ripped for a two-run single. Then, another walk. I always preach patience for the younger guys. Perez is the youngest pitcher in AAA. In fact, he’s younger than every active starter in Texas’s system except for Myrtle Beach’s Cody Buckel and Hickory’s Luke Jackson and Victor Payano. Development can be slow and fitful. For examples, you need look no farther than Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, two established MLB starters who still leave us scratching our heads sometimes. On the other hand, by the end of 2012, Perez will have logged three full seasons and close to 400 innings in the upper minors. I’m not worried now (well, not overly worried), but if he’s pitching in early September like he is now, I certainly will be. The Rangers advanced Perez extremely rapidly because they felt he could make the adjustments and handle adversity. Lately, he’s not, at all. This summer may be the most critical phase of his career.
Perez would make his MLB debut five weeks later and has thrown over 1,100 MLB innings, but he never quite became what we’d hoped for a decade ago. Now, signed to a modest one-year deal to eat some innings for a rebuilding club, Perez is enjoying the most successful stretch of his career. May it stretch out for a long time.
AAA: Round Rock 5, at Sugar Land (HOU) 3 Round Rock: 7 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts Record: 24-15, tied for first
SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 94 P / 59 S, 5.94 ERA RF Zach Reks: 2-5, 2B, .295/.394/.475 C Meibrys Viloria: 1-2, HR (2), 2 BB, .342/.451/.513
A better if still odd performance from Cole Winn. Winn walked only two of 22 batters and threw 63% of his pitches for strikes, ending a three-game streak of alarming wildness. The strange part: Winn threw only 38% of his fastballs for strikes, but the rates for changes, curves and sliders were all between 75% and 78%. Likewise, 12 of his 13 swinging strikes were non-fastballs.
Willie Calhoun singled twice.
AA: Frisco 5, Corpus Christi (HOU) 9 Frisco: 9 hits, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts Opponent: 10 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts Record: 20-16, 1 G up
SP Cody Bradford: 4 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 84 P / 51 S, 9.62 ERA RP Tim Brennan: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA 3B Jonathan Ornelas: 2-5, 2B, .351/.392/.470 DH Blaine Crim: 1-4, HR (8), .276/.345/.512 LF Dustin Harris: 2-5, HR (5), .261/.357/.429 C David Garcia: 2-3, 2 HR (3), BB, .234/.300/.438
Cody Bradford’s walk/HBP rate has doubled from 2021, and he’s not the type to pitch his way around them. In the minors, Joe Barlow could say “my control’s not great but I’m unhittable, so ha ha.” Bradford will give up his share of hits, so those extra walks are a problem.
Blaine Crim overtook Sam Huff for the organization lead in homers. Dustin Harris has homered in three straight games. David Garcia homered twice for the second time in his career.
Tim Brennan (2018, 7th round) pitched for the first time this season.
SP Ben Anderson: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 76 P / 47 S, 3.16 ERA RP Joe Corbett: 2 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.93 ERA CF Jayce Easley: 2-4, 2B, 3B, .238/.273/.381 LF Evan Carter: 2-5, 2B, .300/.375/.517 RF Aaron Zavala: 3-5, .252/.429/.374 3B Thomas Saggese: 1-4, HR (2), BB, .272/.336/.395 2B Keyber Rodriguez: 1-4, HR (3), .296/.330/.407
So far in 2022, Thomas Saggese is hitting for slightly better average (.272 vs. 256 in 2021) but fewer extra-base hits and walks. Like last year, Texas’s 2020 fourth-round pick is moving between second, third, and short, but with a greater emphasis on shortstop this season. Aaron Zavala dumped his “walk to first or the dugout” style during the last week of April. He’s hitting .344/.488/.516 in 17 games since going hitless in a four-game span at Wilmington.
Low-A: Down East 2, at Carolina (MIL) 9 Down East: 3 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts Opponent: 10 hits, 10 walks, 9 strikeouts Record: 15-21, 5.5 GB
SP Robby Ahlstrom: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 72 P / 45 S, 6.00 ERA RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1.35 ERA
Jose Corniell, who I saw in person last week, couldn’t retire any of five batters and departed after 24 pitches and just ten strikes. Cam Cauley (1-4) stole two bases.
Today’s Starters AAA: Howard AA: Leiter Hi-A: Krauth Lo-A: Stephan
Five Years Ago Yesterday I watched Frisco’s Connor Sadzeck throw eight innings of one-run ball. Sadzeck barely offered any changeups, but the curve looked as good as ever. Given his style, a future relief role was likely, but at that moment I mused optimistically about him sticking as a starter. In fact, Sadzeck would start only four more games before moving to the bullpen permanently. Sadzeck is currently pitching well for Milwaukee’s AAA club in Nashville.