Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 15 May

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Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 15 May

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 14, Oklahoma City (LAD) 13
Round Rock: 16 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 16 hits, 7 walks, 18 strikeouts
Record: 21-15, 1 GB

SP Spencer Howard: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 71 P / 43 S, 7.11 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.50 ERA
RP Spencer Patton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-6, SB (18), .325/.339/.447
DH Yohel Pozo: 4-5, .333/.370/.471
1B Matt Carpenter: 2-3, HR (5), .263/.374/.566

Round Rock led 9-4, trailed 13-9, and scored three in the 9th to win. Even with the new pitch clock that has dramatically reduced game times, this one took three hours and 48 minutes. Singles by Yohel Pozo and Matt Carpenter followed by one-out walks from Nash Knight and Jack Kruger plated one and loaded the bases. Bubba Thompson then reached on a fielder’s choice, and Josh Smith’s fly single ended it. Thompson has reached safely 16 times and stolen 11 bases in his last nine games.

Five of six balls in play against Howard were medium-hard or harder and at angles conducive to damage. Production from Yerry Rodriguez (1 IP, 3 R, homer, walk) hasn’t improved. Rodriguez wasn’t on the cusp of a call-up entering the season, in my opinion, but six weeks of solid pitching would have put him in that position. As it stands, he’s not remotely under consideration.

AA: Frisco 18, at Tulsa (LAD) 4
Frisco: 17 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 19-14, 1 G up

SP Cole Ragans: 5 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 85 P / 53 S, 2.79 ERA
RP Lucas Jacobsen: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.31 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.20 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 2-5, 3B, BB, .321/.424/.548
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-6, HR (4), .355/.391/.479
2B Ezequiel Duran: 4-4, 2 2B, 2 HR, (5), BB, .302/.343/.558
3B Trey Hair: 3-5, 3 HR, (4), .231/.275/.492
1B Blaine Crim: 1-4, 2 BB, .287/.351/.522

No need for a comeback. Frisco scored in every inning but the 5th. Ezequiel Duran swatted four extra-base hits for the first time in his career. He’d hit three as a Yankee a couple of times. Duran is hitting as well as could be hoped in AA, producing a lot of hard, airborne contact while striking out much less than usual. Highly encouraging.

27-year-old Trey Hair has been a handy addition since signing out of indy ball in June 2021. Tampa Bay released the 2017 34th-rounder in November 2018 despite a respectable low-A line.

Fernery Ozuna has a strong 29% strikeout rate but one of the lowest swinging strike rates in the organization, just 8.3%. Highest in AA/AAA are Dan Winkler (19.1%), Lucas Jacobsen (18.7%), and Cody Bradford (16.2%).

High-A: Hickory 3, Greensboro (PIT) 4
Hickory: 9 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 17-15, 3 GB

SP Mason Englert: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 83 P / 57 S, 3.23 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.08 ERA
1B Cristian Inoa: 2-4, .282/.347/.388
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-4, .278/.328/.380
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, .299/.337/.392
C Scott Kapers: 2-4, 2B, .282/.310/.462

Before the game started, I applied sunscreen and laid a towel over a hot seat. By the 5th, I had an umbrella over my head, a poncho over my backpack, and that towel over my camera. Rain afflicted four and delayed two of the six games i saw, but all were played to completion. The joke in Texas is to wait a minute if you don’t like the weather, but North Carolina had me changing clothes and switching gear in the middle of the day multiple times.

Mason Englert doesn’t eschew the high fastball, but it certainly isn’t a point of emphasis like most starters I saw in NC. It ranged from 91 to 93 plus a single pitch at 90. Englert tends to throw across his body a little. I don’t mean in an uncomfortable or out-of-sync way; it’s just his style. As such, all of his pitches including the fastball tended to lean glove-side, regardless of the handedness of the batter. However, one quirk is he sometimes spins his slider into a corkscrew shape, creating the unusual sight of a right-handed pitcher whose fastball drifts away from righties while the slider runs inside. Usually, the slider moved typically, and with his body action, it and the change often operated along similar paths and were hard to me to differentiate. Best as I could tell, the slider ranged from the low to mid 80s, the change squarely in the mid 80s. Like TK Roby, Englert delayed the intro of his curve but then frequently led the at-bat with it, grabbing four called strikes and a groundout out of six thrown.

Englert finished with 12 swinging strikes. Of the ten I categorized, five were fastballs, and every pitch was represented. In the 1st, Greensboro was happy to see him, collecting four lined hits in the 1st, two for extra bases, although Englert did fan the side in that inning. Thereafter, most balls in play were grounders. No pitch was what I’d call dominant, but everything worked, a rarity in high-A. Only three batters reached a three-ball count. Englert’s control has always been above average.

During a hard drizzle that I thought would force a delay, Marc Church was effective, if not quite so dominant as when I saw him earlier in the week. At odds with his pro and college careers, Triston Polley allowed homers by consecutive batters in the 8th to reverse a one-run lead.

Scott Kapers had the only extra-base hit, and Aaron Zavala, Evan Carter and Luisangel Acuna were hitless. Carter and Acuna did draw walks, and Zavala and Carter lost hits on hard shots to good outfield defense. As a group, Hickory makes contact but isn’t power-oriented.

Low-A: Down East 11, Lynchburg (CLE) 2
Down East: 14 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 14-19, 5.5 GB

SP Winston Santos: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 86 P / 56 S, 3.76 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1.46 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 3-4, BB, SB (9), .333/.409/.510
2B Cam Cauley: 2-5, .095/.136/.095
1B Tucker Mitchell: 2-4, HR (1), HBP, .216/.394/.333
C Ian Moller: 2-3, 2 BB, .167/.313/.167
3B Junior Paniagua: 2-3, HBP, .186/.245/.279

2021 picks Cam Cauley and Ian Moller have their first full-season hits after multiple games without, including those I saw in person. Tucker Mitchell (2021, 14th round) hit his first full-season homer.

Winston Santos fanned a career-best eight. Dylan MacLean and Theo McDowell also threw scoreless innings. Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa’s 21.4% swinging strike rate is the highest in the system, shared with Church.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Kyle Cody fanned ten and walked one in seven scoreless innings. Still an outfielder, Jairo Beras made his first pitching appearance and touched 98 despite an all-arm delivery.