Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 6 May

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 19, at Reno (ARI) 5
Round Rock: 23 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 18-10, 1 G up

SP AJ Alexy: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 5 BB, 2 SO, 90 P / 55 S, 5.04 ERA
RP Jason Bahr: 3 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.91 ERA
RF Bubba Thompson: 2-5, BB, SB (11), .355/.371/.505
SS Josh Smith: 2-6, 2B, .261/.320/.402
CF Leody Taveras: 2-6, 3B, .363/.394/.608
2B Ryan Dorow: 3-5, HR (1), .256/.318/.410
CF Leody Taveras: 2-6, 3B, .363/.294/.608
DH Yohel Pozo: 4-6, HR (2), .301/.329/.466
C Meibrys Viloria: 5-6, .386/.493/.544
1B Sherten Apostel: 4-6, 2B, 2 HR, (3), .225/.262/.525

Round Rock applied the most damage yet to Reno’s staff despite an off-day for Sam Huff, who’d homered four times in the series’ first three games.
48% of Sherten Apostel’s swings have drawn air, far above the team average of 27%, but when he connects, the ball’s moving hard the opposite way.

AJ Alexy stayed true to his frustrating course. He had a decent strike rate and delivered first-pitch strikes to 17 of 22 batters, yet he walked five and reached 90 pitches in just four innings. Batters have tended to wait him out, resulting in the highest pitches per inning among Round Rock’s starters by a fair margin.

Willie Calhoun was 1-5 with a walk. As for his return to AAA, I have mixed feelings.

In his favor:
1) Atrocious luck with injuries. Not just the time missed, but the type of injuries that may cause emotional damage.
2) Atrocious luck on balls in play. Last December, I reviewed the hard-hit stats of all the presumed 2022 Rangers and wrote the following: “Among current Rangers, [Corey Seager] had the highest hard-hit rate (35%) and the highest walk rate (13%) in 2021. Incidentally, the name that stands out to me in this exercise is Willie Calhoun. Calhoun walked at an acceptable rate in 2021 and hit the ball hard. How did he bat only .250/.310/.381? The answer, best as I can tell, is a higher proportion of grounders and low liners than the average hitter, resulting in a relatively poor .705 slugging percentage on hard-hit balls, second lowest among Rangers with at least 20 in play. Seemingly, if Calhoun could elevate that contact a little, he’d be a force.” He’s suffering the same fate so far in 2022. Using a slightly different representation of “hard-hit,” I see 10 balls in play that are usually hits and often for extra bases in 2022. The expected batting and slugging averages on those balls are .669 and 1.168, respectively. He’s actually hitting .400 and slugging .900 on those balls. Tack, say, two singles and a double onto his line and he’s hitting .204/.340/.363, not a good line but perhaps good enough to avoid demotion.
3) Eight walks and just six strikeouts in 2022. He’s not just up there hacking.

In his disfavor:
1. A .241/.300/.407 line in a not-insubstantial 927 trips to the plate across 253 games.
2. A .234/.306/.365 line in 2021-2022.
3. No appreciable platoon split, quashing the idea of playing him exclusively against righties.
4. Because of the deadened ball, hitters as a whole are hitting and slugging considerably worse than the expected figures provided by Statcast. So to some extent, Calhoun’s “unluckiness” isn’t any worse that anyone else’s.
5. Regarding the “elevate his contact” comment above, I certainly made that sound easier than it is. Hitters can’t change their launch angles at will any more than they can automatically hit against the shift. If they could, they’d be batting .400.
5. He’s 27, an age by which potential is typically reached, or isn’t.
6. There’s no need to discuss other factors of his game because they don’t contribute to his value.

Hopefully, something clicks with Round Rock. It’s disheartening that Calhoun hasn’t become a productive player, particularly during a period of historic awfulness by the Texas offense.

AA: Frisco 2, Arkansas (SEA) 6
Frisco: 6 hits, 9 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 15-10, 2 G up

SP Cody Bradford: 3.1 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 5 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 66 P / 50 S, 9.45 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 4.2 IP, 3 H ,1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2.74 ERA
SS Ezequiel Duran: 4-5, 2B, .268/.311/.454

Statcast has changed how we view players, but the immutable fact is that fewer strikeouts mean more balls in play which usually means more hits. Such was Cody Bradford’s Friday. He was also atypically fly-prone, leading to two homers and two doubles out of the seven hits.

Ezeuqiel Duran’s strikeout rate:
2018: 28%
2019: 28%
2021: 28%
2022: 18%

High-A: suspended

Rain halted the contest with Hickory leading 1-0 in the 3rd.

Apologies for saying Luisangel Acuna was active but on the bench yesterday. He did play and went 0-4 with a walk. I’d looked for him in the box for Down East, where he played in 2021. Not coincidentally, the person in the hotel room above me yesterday morning awakened at 4:45 AM and made absolutely sure everyone adjacent to him knew about it. I was a little tired.

Low-A: suspended

The Woodies lead 6-2 in the 4th.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Leiter (vs. Seattle’s George Kirby)
Hi-A: Englert
Lo-A: officially TBD, maybe Kindreich / Bratt

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock’s Ronald Guzman improved his average to .351 with two singles. I’d written about his good luck on grounders, but lately he’d been hitting more liners. Guzman is batting .183/.333/.300 for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 5 May

Greetings from Chicago Midway, one of America’s many airports.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, at Reno (ARI) 8
Round Rock: 10 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 9 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 17-10, 1 G up

SP Kohei Arihara: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 28 P / 12 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 1.2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1.84 ERA
DH Sam Huff: 2-3, HR (7), .258/.329/.561
SS Ryan Dorow: 3-4, 2B, .203/.276/.319

Reno + escape-velocity-level power + who knows, maybe a little extra incentive from that one appearance in Arlington = a .455/.571/.1.544 with four homers in three games for Sam Huff.

Spencer Howard was a late scratch for reasons unknown to me. Maybe it’s out there, but I’ve been out of pocket. Kohei Arihara took his place and couldn’t escape the 1st inning. Nick Tropeano aided with 3.1 innings of one-run ball.

LF Willie Calhoun was 0-3 with a walk. Josh Smith hasn’t played in the Reno series. You know what I know about that. He’s not on the IL, but unlike years part, the larger roster and sizable taxi squad prevent the need to immediately IL a player for what is hopefully a minor owwie.

AA: Frisco 6, Arkansas (SEA) 1
Frisco: 9 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 15-9, 2 G up

SP Justin Slaten: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 68 P / 37 S, 2.12 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2.13 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.70 ERA
DH Justin Foscue: 2-3, 2B, .319/.389/.574
2B Ezequiel Duran: 2-4, 2 2B, SB (5), .239/.286/.424
1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, BB, SB (2), .274/.330/.429

Not to bag on Foscue’s defense, but his future largely runs through his bat, so keep it up, Justin. And, like a good many Texas prospects, he’s facing a position change if he’s going to be a starter with the Rangers. Left field is just sitting there, waiting for someone to claim it.

High-A: Hickory 7, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 4
Hickory: 10 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-11, 2 GB

SP Nick Krauth: 4.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 71 P / 38 S, 5.58 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 3 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 6.55 ERA
CF Aaron Zavala: 3-3, 2 BB, SB (6), .250/.449/.333
2B Frainyer Chavez: 1-2, 3B, SB (2), .357/.460/.429
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-5, .183/.365/.250

Once again, not to suggest Aaron Zavala already needs to be in AA, but I’m more-or-less waiting until then to see what he can do. Or put another way, the swinging part of his bat needs to be at this level (some more power would be nice), but his zone control is “too good,” especially with so many pitchers lacking control. His 23 walks lead high-A and are second in all of minor league ball. Trevor Hauver’s line continues to be Zavala Lite.

A couple of earlier bad outings sabotaged Spencer Mraz’s line, but he corrected that to the extent possible with six strikeouts in three perfect innings. Mraz fanned the last five batters in a row.

Low-A: Down East 2, at Kannapolis (CHW) 5
Down East: 7 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 10-14, 5 GB

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 4.1 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 62 P / 43 S, 6.92 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-4, 2B, SB (8), .250/.349/.389
2B Jose Acosta: 1-3, HR (1), .278/.395/.500

Kannapolis scored single runs in five different innings but stranded only two runners the whole game. That’s hard to do. Four solo homers certainly helped.

Maximo Acosta has four consecutive two-hit games. IF Luisangel Acuna (hamstring) was activated but did not play. Always add two weeks to any hamstring prognosis. That’s not a knock against the Rangers. Just that hamstrings always take longer and are easy to reinjure.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Alexy
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: White
Lo-A: TBD, usually a Josh Stephan night

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Converted IF Josh Morgan threw out his first runner from behind the plate. Only seven had tried so far. Texas’s 3rd-rounder from 2014 is still a going concern, batting .167/.227/.333 in limited action for AAA Tacoma (Seattle). So far in 2022 he’s exclusively behind the plate, after spending the entirely of 2021 at second or third.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 4 May

My podcast partners were joined by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News this week. Link in signature. Yours truly is in Michiganon a federal takings case. I hope to be back next week, perhaps in a location more germane to Texas baseball.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, at Reno (ARI) 3
Round Rock: 14 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 17-9, 1.5 G up

SP Jake Latz: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 95 P / 65 S, 4.18 ERA
LF Steele Walker: 3-5, SB (1)
DH Sam Huff: 2-4, 2 HR, (6), .258/.329/.561
RF Elier Hernandez: 3-4, SB (3), .268/.342/.437

Ho hum, two more balls off the bat at 106+ for Sam Huff, who homered twice. (At 106 MPH, launch angle practically doesn’t matter in terms of getting a hit. Launch angle greatly affects the type of hit, of course.) Reno favors hitters like almost nowhere else, but those shots are leaving any park. Huff has 13 balls in play at this velocity. No teammate has more than four, and the entire rest of the team has 23. Duty requires me to point out that he’s also striking out in more than one-third of his plate appearances.

Steel Walker, injury free and also happy to be in Reno.

Following Latz, Hever Bueno, Yerry Rodriguez and Jesus Tinico threw scoreless innings on a combined 30 pitches.

AA: Frisco 3, Arkansas (SEA) 6
Frisco: 8 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 15-8, 1 G up

SP Kevin Gowdy: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 58 P / 35 S, 6.35 ERA
RP Avery Weems: 5 IP, 5 H ,3 R, 3 BB, 8 SO, 8.04 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 2-5, 2B, .295/.360/.545
SS Ezequiel Duran: 1-4, HR (2), .227/.277/.398
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, HR (2), .370/.386/.481

Duran has his second homer. He’s off to a fairly slow start, but there’s plenty of time. Duran his a more robust .278/.333/.611 in the Arizona Fall League, but 1) that was in Arizona, and 2) the pitching quality was relatively weak.

High-A: Hickory 8, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 2
Hickory: 12 hits, 9 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 12-11, 3 GB

SP Ben Anderson: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 68 P / 38 S, 2.16 ERA
RP John Matthews: 3 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 3.09 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-3, 2 BB, HBP, .217/.419/.304
3B Cristian Inoa: 3-6, .329/.393/.474
CF Evan Carter: 2-5, 2B, BB, .329/.432/.534
C Cody Freeman: 2-4, 2 HR, (5), .219/.301/.453
2B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-3, 2 BB, .306/.359/.361

A fiesta for Hickory’s hitters. Cody Freeman barely showed doubles power in a homerless 2019. Last year he went deep six times in 71 low-A games. Now, five in just 17 games at high-A. According to this progression, Freeman will hit nothing but homers once assigned to Frisco.

Trevor Hauver reached on a single and, yes, two walks.

Low-A: Down East 4, at Kannapolis (CHW) 5
Down East: 8 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 11-12, 4.5 GB

SP Brandon Webb: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 72 P / 44 S, 6.14 ERA
RP Emiliano Teodo: 3.1 IP, 1 H ,1 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0.75 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-3, BB, .235/.342/.368
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, 2B, .229/.282/.286

Down East’s last six losses have been by one or two runs. An attempt to get Emiliano Teodo through four innings didn’t go as hoped, as a leadoff error and HBP put two on with one out. Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa struck out the next batter, but an 0-2 single ended the game.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Howard
AA: Slaten
Hi-A: Krauth
Lo-A: TBD, maybe a Corniell / Ahlstrom tandem

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Frisco’s Ariel Jurado walked four batters for only the second time in 75 starts but managed to keep San Antonio off the board. Round Rock had knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa. When he signed, I remember thinking how much fun I’d have seeing a knuckler from directly behind the plate. I had exactly zero fun, as Gamboa had a 6.49 ERA with even worse peripherals, and he was released in June.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 3 May

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 13, at Reno (ARI) 9
Round Rock: 14 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 16-9, 1 G up

SP Kolby Allard: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 51 P / 25 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Dan Winkler: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.82 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 3-5, HR (3), HBP, 3 SB (10), .349/.360/.518
LF Leody Taveras: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, SB (4), .374/.408/.626
C Sam Huff: 1-4, HR (4), BB, .242/.309/.468
2B Ryan Dorow: 3-5, .215/.292/.338

Reno is one of baseball’s most generous parks for hitters, and the Express took advantage.
Sam Huff lined the hardest ball in an Express game this season: 116.5 MPH. His reward was a lineout. Seemingly weakened from that effort, he followed with a an only 110 MPH shot, but lucky for him it traveled 439 feet. Huff has five of Round Rock’s six batted balls about 110 MPH, the other a single by Bubba Thompson. Thompson himself had three balls in play in excess of 100 MPH and his tenth steal.

Leody Taveras has drawn four of his six walks in the last two games.

AA: Frisco 2, Arkansas (SEA) 1
Frisco: 4 hits, 8 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 14-8, 2 G up

SP Zak Kent: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 2 SO, 82 P / 46 S, 6.00 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 2.03 ERA
RP Lucas Jacobsen: 1 IP, 0 H (1.04 HR), 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-3, BB, SB (10), .309/.405/.515
LF Dustin Harris: 2-3, SB (4), .315/.373/.452

Hard to say about JP Martinez. The Cuban has always been a little on the older side, 26 now, and has never quite measured up to the hopes when he signed. He was assigned to Frisco again this April while the younger Bubba Thompson moved on. Hitting like this will certainly warrant a promotion at some point. After a slow start, Dustin Harris has settled in to hitting much like he did last year.

Chase Lee subbed for Zak Kent in the 6th and walked two batters before completing the inning.

High-A: Hickory 9, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 11
Hickory: 13 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 11-11, 3 GB
SP Ricky Vanasco: 2.1 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 2 SO, 65 P / 39 S, 8.71 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.89 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 3-4, HBP, .212/.402/.303
1B Cristian Inoa: 2-5, 2B, .314/.386/.471
CF Evan Carter: 2-4, 3B, .324/.427/.529
3B Cody Freeman: 1-4, HR (3), .200/.279/.350

Evan Carter continues to delight and amaze. His four triples lead the organization; nobody else has even three. Aaron Zavala propelled his batting average above .200 for the first time. His walk-saturated OBP has always been around .400.

Nothing in Ricky Vanasco’s stats suggests he better than his 8.71 ERA right now. Well, his hit rate isn’t that bad. Just have to be patient.

Low-A: Down East 9, at Kannapolis (CHW) 3
Down East: 14 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 10-12, 4.5 GB

SP Gavin Collyer: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 51 P / 36 S, 5.14 ERA
RP Damian Mendoza: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.14 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 2 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.59 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 3-5, 2 HR, (3), .350/.429/.567
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-5, SB (7), .215/.320/.354
CF Yosy Galan: 5-5, 3B, HR (4), SB (3), .316/.400/.579
DH Jose Rodriguez: 1-4, HR (1), .207/.309/.293

Yosy Galan strikes out around 30% of the time, but when he’s clicking, he’s a force. 5-5 with a triple and homer is the best line by any Texas hitter this season. The 19-year-old Osuna is halfway to last year’s six homers and striking out much less. 20-year-old Joe Rodriguez was described as a catcher during the international signings in 2018, but he’s yet to actually catch a game.

Kannapolis avoided a shutout with five straight hits off the normally reliable Leury Tejeda in the 9th.

Today’s Starters
AA: Gowdy
Hi-A: Anderson
Lo-A: maybe a Teodo / Webb tandem

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Jeffrey Springs struck out a career-best ten in a 1-0 loss for Down East, then a high-A team. Connor Sadzeck allowed a run in six innings.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 1 May

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 9, at Salt Lake (LAA) 4
Round Rock: 11 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 9 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 15-9, tied for first

SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 2 SO, 83 P / 40 S, 3.38 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 1-3, 2 BB, .375/.402/.625
DH Yohel Pozo: 3-5, 3 2B, .270/.303/.397
RF Elier Hernandez: 2-4, 2B, HR (2), .222/.300/.365

Well, if you’re pitching at altitude and took a shot off your foot in your previous start, you’d like to avoid hard-hit balls. Winn achieved that, after a fashion, by issuing a career-high six walks. The hits were on a bloop and hard grounder. Going off the data, no pitch looked particularly effective, and he missed on 25 of 46 fastballs. Just one of those days.

Leody Taveras doubled his walk total. That’s been the only missing piece of his production so far.

More on Willie Calhoun later, I suppose. What a mess.

AA: Frisco 6, at Midland (OAK) 5
Frisco: 6 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 14-7, 3 G up

SP Cole Ragans: 5.1 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 87 P / 55 S, 3.00 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 1.2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 3.60 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, HR (3), .284/.329/.459
2B Justin Foscue: 1-2, 2B, 2 BB, .306/.366/.583

Ragans got a chance at six innings after completing five on just 77 pitches, but a single, double and walk ended his afternoon slightly early.

Justin Foscue had seven hits (four for extra bases) and four walks in the five games he played at Midland. Blaine Crim also had a nice series after hitting well at San Antonio, giving him an absurd split of .194/.257/.290 at home and .349/.380/.581 on the road. Doesn’t mean anything, though I’m sure he’d like a few more hits in front of people wishing him success.

High-A: Hickory 5, Greenville (BOS) 10
Hickory: 10 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 11-10, 3 GB

SP TK Roby: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 6 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 72 P / 40 S, 7.41 ERA
RP Josh Smith: 1 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1.17 ERA
DH Chris Seise: 1-4, HR (5), .233/.292/.533
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-4, .247/.304/.356

Seise has three homers in the past week, already equaling his best from any complete season. He’s played in 16 of Hickory’s 21 games, never more than three in a row and still exclusively as a DH.

Low-A: Down East 4, Carolina (MIL) 6
Down East: 6 hits, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 9-12, tied for first

SP Winston Santos: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 76 P / 56 S, 5.87 ERA
C Tucker Mitchell: 1-3, 3B, 2 BB, SB (2), .276/.488/.379
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-3, 2B, HR (1), SB (6), .200/.314/.350

Like last year in Arizona, Maximo Acosta’s production has been modest. What he needs is continued health; last year was limited to 17 games by a shoulder injury.

Last year’s 14th-round pick Tucker Mitchell is catching every third game a drawing a handful of DH assignments. Outside of the best prospects, that’s about the most a catcher can hope for in low-A, where three and sometimes even four catchers are splitting duty. Mitchell has been hit once every ten plate appearances, an effective if painful way to boost one’s OBP to nearly .500.

Santos rebounded nicely from last week’s career-worst four walks. His control is typically impeccable.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock baserunners allowed: 373 (most allowed among 8 eastern teams in PCL)
Frisco baserunners allowed: 318 (most in 8-team league)
Down East baserunners allowed: 341 (most in 10-team league)
Hickory baserunners allowed: 353 (most in 14-team league)

Fortunately, only Round Rock would remain such, and Down East in particular had a pitching-dominant squad by season’s end.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 30 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, at Salt Lake (LAA) 7
Round Rock: 11 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 14-9, tied for first

SP AJ Alexy: 6 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 84 P / 50 S, 4.71 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 7.36 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-4, HR (4), .376/.391/.635
1B Sherten Apostel: 2-4, 2B, .167/.219/.333
SS Ryan Dorow: 2-3, 3B, .190/.254/.276

AJ Alexy rectified the previous week’s control issues but surrendered homers on a change and slider. In his best outing of the season, Yerry Rodriguez needed just eight pitches to record three groundouts.

Leody’s two hits came off the bat at 109.9 and 105.2 MPH.

A few hours after I looked at Friday’s mundane box score and settled on praise of Zach Reks’ “quietly effective” performance, he joined the Rangers, started, and collected his first MLB hit and RBI. Leody Taveras has been the more impressive of the two, but with rosters decreasing from 28 to 26 soon, Reks might be a stopgap. I’d just as soon Taveras not return unless the intention is a longer stay with a defined role. The Statcast stats don’t shed any additional light on Reks; he’s been productive if unexceptional swinging the bat while drawing enough walks and HBPs to boost his on-base percentage to an impressive .387, highest among the regulars.

AA: Frisco 4, at Midland (OAK) 7
Frisco: 8 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-7, 2 G up

SP Jack Leiter: 3 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 76 P / 48 S, 2.84 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 3 IP, 3 H ,0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 2.53 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 1-4, HR (2), .268/.321/.408

Jack Leiter walked only one, the game’s leadoff hitter, but went to three balls against five other hitters and tallied an evening’s worth of pitches in just three innings. Following the walk, he allowed his first professional homer. Odds are you know this, but just in case: Double A is a much stiffer level of competition than top-level college baseball. Even for the #2 pick in the draft, Frisco is an aggressive (albeit not rash) assignment.

High-A: Hickory 9, Greenville (BOS) 1
Hickory: 12 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 11-9, 2 GB

SP Mason Englert: 6 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 10 SO, 68 P / 51 S, 4.05 ERA
RP Tyree Thompson: 2 IP, 0 H ,0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 3-3, 2B, HR (1), BB, .317/.425/.517
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, BB, .140/.344/.233
C Cody Freeman: 1-3, HR (2), .212/.288/.327
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, 3B, .232/.295/.500

Mason Englert is the first starter of the season to record double-digit strikeouts, and on a miserly 68 pitches. Evan Carter continues to be Evan Carter. Tough to argue with a 3/4/5 slash from a 19-year-old in high-A. No, he’s not headed to Frisco next week. Hauver has been an extreme form of Aaron Zavala, if that’s possible: only six hits in 15 games, but also 15 walks. He’s struck out only 13 times in 63 trips to the plate, so he’s not just a walk-or-strikeout hitter.

Low-A: Down East 2, Carolina (MIL) 0
Down East: 4 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 9-11, 5 GB

SP Mitch Bratt: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 39 P / 28 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Larson Kindreich: 6 IP, 1 H ,0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1.13 ERA
C Tucker Mitchell: 1-2, BB, .269/.472/.308

Two 2021 picks combined on a two-hit shutout. 18-year-old Mitch Bratt (5th round) made his full-season debut, while Larson Kindreich (8th round) became the first Ranger to surpass 90 pitches in an outing. No starter has thrown more than 87.

Today’s Starters
AAA: TBD (but it should be Winn)
AA: Ragans
Hi-A: Roby
Lo-A: TBD (Victor Santos has been starting on Sundays)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock’s Tanner Scheppers allowed homers to three consecutive batters in the 7th. The Express had surrendered 35 long balls, seven more than any other PCL team. Meanwhile, Frisco starter Yohander Mendez gave up four dingers (not consecutively), pushing his team’s total to 31, ten more than any Texas League competitor. At times, chronicling 2017 is going to be a labor of something other than love.