Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 29 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 10, Las Vegas (OAK) 1
Round Rock: 14 hits, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 38-36, 8 GB

SP Cole Winn: 6.2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 91 P / 55 S, 5.01 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.82 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.50 ERA
DH Nick Solak: 1-4, HR (4), BB, .248/.352/.429
C Sam Huff: 1-5, HR (10), .274/.367/.611
LF Steele Walker: 3-4, HR (4), .265/.361/.431
3B Andy Ibanez: 2-4, HR (1), .178/.260/.267
RF Josh Sale: 2-4, HR (5), .311/.400/.607

In nine starts after April 26, when a comebacker off his heel ended his night early, Cole Winn posted a 6.70 ERA with 34 walks (18% rate) and just 32 strikeouts (17%). Coincidentally, I didn’t see any of that stretch in person, being in Michigan or Mexico for the only two home starts in that span. Last night was my first look at this worrying version of Winn.

First pitch: fastball high. Third pitch: hit batter. Okay…

And then the 2021 version of Winn returned. Winn struck out the next three in order and needed only nine pitches to complete the 2nd. He opened the 3rd with a 3-0 count and eventual walk, but he delivered four strikes between balls three and four, and he retired the next three on just eight pitches. Las Vegas didn’t register a hit until the 5th. In the 6th, Winn shook off catcher Sam Huff and offered a slider than Skye Bolt turned into a souvenir. Still, after six innings and 77 pitches, the bullpen did not stir. In the 7th, Winn allowed a hard double with one out and a walk after a 1-2 count, the only serious control lapse of the night.

Winn had 18 swinging strikes: six fastballs, six curves, four changes, two sliders. The change was erratic, varying between outstanding and flat-out misthrown. Winn only threw 15 of them, fewer than I expected given a very lefty-heavy lineup. He instead brought the curve to bear after the 1st, using it frequently as a first pitch and getting plenty of calls and misses. The slider didn’t measure up to he best of the other two secondaries but was useful. Credit Bolt on that homer, as the slider nailed the low-inside corner. Critically, Winn’s fastball control returned; 30 of 43 were strikes. Winn’s secondary control has usually been respectable during his bad stretch, but he’s sometimes thrown fewer than 50% of his heaters for strikes.

One game is not a trend, but at least he’s in position to start a trend. For what it’s worth, Las Vegas has a mediocre offense, poor at slugging but decent at getting on base. Winn needs to buy dinner for Ryan Dorow, who was outstanding at second.

Jonathan Hernandez’s rehab assignment is nearly over. At the halfway point, when he struggled to throw strikes, I wondered whether he might be optioned to get up to speed rather than head straight to Arlington. I guess that’s still possible, but lately he’s pitched much better, and last night put a bow on the improved stretch. He was utterly dominant, striking out two in an eight-pitch 8th, inducing five misses with his sinking fastball (98 MPH), change (90) and slider (87-89).

Yerry Rodriguez was strong again. Since righting the ship, his control hasn’t been great (eight walks in 16.2 innings, 17% rate) but he’s fanned 40% of his opponents while allowing a .109 batting average.

Round Rock hit five homers, four off the very homer-prone Parker Dunshee. Andy Ibanez’s appeared to tip off LF Skye Bolt’s glove. The others were never in doubt.

AA: Frisco 0, Corpus Christi (HOU) 5
Frisco: 7 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 0-2, 2 GB, 36-35 overall

SP Cody Bradford: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 82 P / 58 S, 6.44 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 2-4, 2B, .286/.406/.473

Bradford only allowed four hits, all singles, but they came consecutively in the 2nd and were followed by a WP / E / WP sequence.

High-A: Hickory 4, Greensboro (PIT) 6 (10)
Hickory: 6 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 16 hits, 3 walks, 16 strikeouts
Record: 2-3, 2 GB, 40-31 overall

SP Ricky Vanasco: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 SO, 92 P / 63 S, 5.01 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-4, BB, SB (20), .305/.406/.511
2B Frainyer Chavez: 1-3, 3B, BB, .269/.353/.345

Ricky Vanasco reached double-digit strikeouts for the first time post-surgery. Between his first six and most recent six outings, he’s greatly improved his strikeout rate while issuing fewer walks. That said, he’s still been hittable, and Hickory still feels like the right location for him from my limited perspective.

Low-A: Down East 2, Kannapolis (CHW) 4
Down East: 10 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 3-2, 1 GB, 36-35 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 74 P / 47 S, 3.32 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 5.94 ERA
2B Maximo Acosta: 2-4, 2 SB (20), .254/.339/.338
C Ian Moller: 1-3, HR (2), BB, .147/.290/.253
LF Alejandro Osuna: 3-4, 2B, SB (25), .319/.413/.473

Jose Corniell is unscored upon in five of his last six outings. The outlier (1 IP, 5 R) and the one preceding this stretch (0 IP, 4 R), explain the high ERA. Cam Cauley (1-5) is back after a short IL stint.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Howard
AA: Tiedemann
Hi-A: Ahlstrom
Lo-A: TBD (maybe Ryan Garcia)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Philadelphia promoted OF Nick Williams, who became the last of the five prospects traded for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to reach the Majors. Now 28, Williams is batting .403/.483/.805 for Tijuana in the Mexican League.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 28 June

Per the Rangers, Jack Leiter is headed to the development list for a week because of “mild arm fatigue.” That would put him on a schedule to pitch next in San Antonio.

Texas promoted righty Marc Church to Frisco. Good.

We’ll have a new podcast later today. Link in signature.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, Las Vegas (OAK) 6
Round Rock: 6 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 37-36, 9 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 89 P / 57 S, 1.59 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 5.50 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3.56 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 7.36 ERA

I witnessed what was probably the worst of Cole Ragans’ three AAA starts, and it was still pretty good. Ragans walked only one batter, but four additional three-ball counts, some other elongated at-bats and questionable fielding conspired to make yesterday his shortest outing since April 10. Ragans dealt a 90-94 fastball, 85-89 cutter (usually 87-88), 80-84 changeup and 73-75 curve. Ragans doesn’t ignore the top of the zone with the fastball but isn’t really trying to ride above bats with it like so many these days. He tends to work lower and move it horizontally. The changeup was his best secondary, actually his best pitch, period. Its locations formed a backwards “L” from the catcher’s view, running across the bottom of the zone and then up the outer edge. He can place it well enough to get calls and run it inside a little to righties. Best as I can tell, he didn’t offer a single one to a left-handed batter, and given his command, I wish he would. The cutter wasn’t amazing on its own but pairs well with the fastball. The curve appeared very sparingly, just three times (all balls) after the 1st.

Not much was hit hard. The first run scored after an error, two fairly soft singles, and Ragans’ own too-delicate throw to third after snaring a liner with the bases loaded. Only two balls reached the outfield via air, both landing in front of an outfielder.

In a trying half-season for many would-be Texas starters, Ragans has stood out, and I’m hopeful he reaches Arlington this season. He’s not going to be a #2 starter, but could he fill out a rotation? He’s looking like he could.

Incidentally, Ragans has been a Ranger since mid-2016, but yesterday was only the second time I’ve seen him in person. The first was a live batting-practice session in Surprise in March 2017. In 2018, he injured his arm as I was driving to Arizona.

I also saw reliever Chase Lee for the first time. Two of Lee’s first three AAA outings were, to be blunt, very poor, and Tuesday was no better, with five of seven batters reaching safely. Lee throws a side-armed upper-80s fastball and upper-70s slider. Both have a ton of movement, and the successful version of Lee involves hitters not knowing which direction the ball will break until it’s too late. The problem is neither pitch had any vertical break, and both tended to arrive at the same height (medium low), so last night’s hitters had a good idea of where the ball would be. Four of five balls in play were at least 101 MPH off the bat, and overall, opponents are hitting .526/.609/.842 against him in AAA. Lee began the season with 15 scoreless outings and didn’t allow any extra-base hits in 24 AA innings, so he’s in AAA on merit, and I have to believe there’s a better version of Lee than what’s appeared so far.

Daniel Robert hasn’t had a fun season, with two IL stints and unprecedented control issues. Last night, he threw an MLB-worthy inning, striking out the side in order on 13 pitches. Prospect Shea Langeliers and vet Matt Davidson were among the victims. Robert threw a 95-96 MPH fastball that is on the straight side but can be placed effectively and a 79-80 slider that can both come in the back door and induce helpless swings as it cuts outside.

Ezequiel Duran’s AAA debut was memorable, after a fashion. He reached on an error, was picked off but stole second when the first baseman double-pumped his throw, and then stole an unmanned third base. He also committed two errors at third.

I saw Josh Sale in person for the first time. He donned the golden sombrero.

AA: Frisco 2, Corpus Christi (HOU) 4
Frisco: 2 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 0-1, 1 GB, 36-34 overall

SP Avery Weems: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 83 P / 50 S, 6.26 ERA
DH Dustin Harris: 1-4, HR (13), .259/.347/.469

Avery Weems was the converse of Ragans, reaching five innings on a reasonable 83 pitches despite three walks.

Frisco was retired in order five times.

High-A: Hickory 4, Greensboro (PIT) 5
Hickory: 6 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 2-2, 1 GB, 40-30 overall

SP TK Roby: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 81 P / 54 S, 5.61 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 1-3, BB, .274/.377/.447
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, BB, .225/.392/.407

A 9th-inning homer off Destin Dotson provided the margin. TK Roby pitched pretty well, although he did allow a homer for the fifth straight start. He’s given up 14, most in the system aside from AJ Alexy’s 19.

Aaron Zavala drew three walks for the fifth time. In those games he’s hitless (0-9) with a .600 OBP and four runs scored.

Low-A: Down East 1, Kannapolis (CHW) 5
Down East: 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 3-1, tied for first, 36-34 overall

SP Gavin Collyer: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 90 P / 58 S, 3.49 ERA
RP Dylan MacLean: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.63 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, 2 SB (23), .281/.336/.400
RF Marcus Smith: 1-3, 2B, BB, .160/.320/.263

21-year-old Gavin Collyer has a 2.49 ERA and .180/.281/.285 opposing line in his last ten starts, without a single disaster (more runs than innings) in the bunch. 2020 4th-rounder Dylan MacLean continues to pitch sparingly, tossing one or two innings every three to five days.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: Vanasco
Lo-A: Teodo

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans no-hit Tri-City for four innings and struck out six but walked five.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 26 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 2
Round Rock: 6 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 36-36, 8 GB

SP AJ Alexy: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 SO, 89 P / 55 S, 7.03 ERA
C Sam Huff: 3-4, .276/.370/.609

The good news is Round Rock held OKC to the second-fewest runs in the league last week, just 22 in six games. The bad: Round Rock itself had the fewest, plating just 19.

AJ Alexy was walk-prone per usual, albeit in the opposite way of Cole Winn. He tended to hit his fastballs but was close to 50/50 on other pitches. He also threw harder than usual, averaging 96.9 MPH with a season-high of 98.7 compared to a season-long average of 95.0.

Round Rock RISP: 0-for-8

AA: Frisco 4, at Arkansas (SEA) 8
Frisco: 8 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 36-33, 3 GB, first half over

SP Tim Brennan: 3 IP, 5 H (3 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 65 P / 41 S, 3.27 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, 2B, BB, .339/.379/.471
DH Kellen Strahm: 1-4, HR (4), BB, .266/.394/.380
3B Trey Hair: 1-4, HR (13), .232/.291/.524

On May 13, I suggested Kellen Strahm was better than his .136/.329/.220 line. Not exactly a bold observation, but in any case I’m happy to say he’s hitting .343/.440/.475 since then.

Trey Hair leads the organization outright with 13 homers. I assumed Blaine Crim would claim that title as long as Sam Huff spent significant time in the Majors, but Crim has only two dingers and a .205/.292/.337 line in the last month.

Tim Brennan had allowed eight homers in 169 pro innings entering the contest.

San Antonio (SDG) and Tulsa (LAD) are the first-half division winners.

Frisco RISP: 1-for-8

High-A: Hickory 1, at Rome (ATL) 7
Hickory: 7 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 2-1, 1 GB, 40-29 overall

SP Mason Englert: 4.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 85 P / 54 S, 3.75 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2.91 ERA
DH Evan Carter: 1-3, BB, SB (14), .275/.375/.449
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-3, 2B, BB, .318/.419/.538

A frustrating day for the good guys, who managed nearly as many runners as the opposition. Still, Hickory took four of six on the road. Evan Carter, quiet during the previous four weeks, batted .455/.571/.909 in the series with five extra-base hits, six walks and four steals.

Hickory RISP: 0-for-10

Low-A: Down East 7, Carolina (MIL) 5
Down East: 12 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 3-0, 1 G up, 36-33 overall

SP Winston Santos: 5 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 87 P / 55 S, 3.99 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.79 ERA
RF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, 2B, BB, 2 SB (24), .317/.415/.472
LF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, SB (21), .277/.333/.398
DH Jose Rodriguez: 2-4, 2 2B, .193/.273/.262
C Ian Moller: 1-2, 2 BB, SB (8), .139/.281/.208
3B Junior Paniagua: 2-4, SB (7), .237/.284/.362

Down East swept the six-game series by an aggregate score of 27-9. Winston Santos carried a no-hitter into the 5th, a day after Carolina went into the 6th without a hit. Carolina did make a game of it, pulling to within two runs in the 6th and then the 9th, but I don’t think the tying run ever came to the plate. Down East only batted .230/.320/.360 in the series but strung together hits at the right time and stole 18 bases. The Woodies also limited Carolina to just 24 hits, and their six starters combined to allow just four runs and 14 hits in 29.2 innings while striking out 39.

Down East RISP: 7-for-11

Rookie Recap: Games of 20-25 June
Scores: 5-4 (Reds), 5-13 (Guardians), 3-14 (Brewers), 5-3 (Giants), 4-6 Royals
Record:10-5, 2 G up

RHP Joseph Montalvo (20): 4.0 IP, , HBP, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RHP Kai Wynyard (20): 5.1 IP, 3 R, 6 H, BB, 9 SO, 5.93 ERA
RHP Eury Rosado (21): 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 H (HR), 5 SO, 11.25 ERA
RHP Aidan Curry (19): 4.0 IP, 3 R, 4 H, BB, 7 SO, 2.89 ERA
RHP Ismael Agreda (18): 2.0 IP, , 4 SO, 0.00 ERA

OF JoJo Blackmon (19): 7-18, 2 2B, 2 HR (3), BB, 2 HBP, SB (4), .293/.420/.561
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 5-12, 2B, 2 BB, HBP, SB (2), .389/.488/.583
IF Andres Mesa (19): 9-23, 3 2B, 3 SB (4), .327/.362/.491
C Liam Hicks (23): 7-18, 2B, HBP, .450/.531/.600
IF Miguel Villarroel (20): 5-14, 2 BB, .333/.455/.389

The Rangers lead the league in average (.283) and OBP (388), and three of the top six in the league in OPS are Rangers (Liam Hicks, Gleider Figuereo, Danyer Cueva). 2021 11th-round pick Jojo Blackmon climbed to 13th with his stellar week.

Aussie Kai Wynward ranks sixth in the league with 21 strikeouts and has only three walks in 13.2 innings. Last year at the same level he issued 31 free passes in 28.1 innings.

Righty Kelvin Gonzalez made his first appearance since 2019. On a roster that included Nick Snyder, Lucas Jacobsen and Grant Anderson, Gonzalez was the 9th-inning mainstay during low-A Hickory’s playoff run, appearing in four of six games. An ill-timed elbow injury cost him all of 2021 and much of this season. Texas acquire him from the Royals for international slot money in 2018.

Today’s Starters
AAA: off
AA: off
Hi-A: off
Lo-A: off

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Jonathan Hernandez fanned eight in seven scoreless innings for high-A Down East.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 25 June

Active: OF Steven Duggar, RHP Glenn Otto, RHP Josh Sborz
IL: RHP Matt Bush, with right forearm soreness. A short-term concern per local media, but you know the history.
Optioned: LHP Taylor Hearn, IF Ezequiel Duran
Designated for Assignment: RHP Demarcus Evans
Outrighted: RHP Spencer Patton

I’m sad about Evans, but the day was coming. Honestly, I expected this move during the offseason. Evans never had elite velocity, usually sitting 94-95 at his peak and touching 98, but combined with a high spin rate and a hammer curve, he was often untouchable in the minors. He ranged from 87 to 93 in Round Rock, averaging 91, and his control was poor. He was still hard to hit, but the hits were hard.

I forgot to link to this yesterday: my video of Owen White’s mid-May start in Hickory. White made his AA debut last night.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 3
Round Rock: 10 hits, 10 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 36-35, 7 GB

SP Spencer Howard: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 86 P / 57 S, 4.35 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.66 ERA
DH Sam Huff: 1-4, HR (9), BB, .253/.354/.602
RF Josh Sale: 2-4, 2B, BB, SB (2), .333/.414/.627

Another solid outing from Spencer Howard. Contra the modern trend, Howard emphasized the fastball, which accounted for 70% of his pitches. The curve and change weren’t in abundance but not ignored either, and both were effective. Howard had 13 swinging strikes (9 FB, 2 CB, 1 CH, 1 SL), and his median fastball velocity was 95.5, topping at 96.9.

Sam Huff retook the team lead with his ninth homer.

I understanding choosing Sborz, who’s looked very good lately, but I like to think Yerry Rodriguez has pitched well enough to at least put himself back under consideration. Rodriguez’s first six weeks were trying (.371/.431/.597 oppo line, 13 runs in 12 appearances), but he’s been outstanding recently (.098/.217/.196, 2 runs in 12 appearances).

AA: Frisco 6, at Arkansas (SEA) 3
Frisco: 10 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 36-32, 2 GB, eliminated

SP Owen White: 5.1 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 90 P / 56 S, 3.38 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.41 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, BB, .259/.348/.464
C Matt Whatley: 2-4, 2B, .237/.268/.344

Owen White had a solid AA debut. He needed only five pitches to retire the side in the 1st. A protracted top of the 2nd that plated five of Frisco’s runs didn’t cause him any trouble in the bottom half. Arkansas didn’t put anything together until the 4th, when Jake Scheiner hit a solo homer and two others reached before the third out. White started the 6th on a reasonable 78 pitches, but a single and seven-pitch walk ended his night. One of those runners would score. By my observations, three of the strikeouts were on fastballs (two swinging, one called), one on a called curve, and one swing at a 3-2 change. Per media man Zach Bigley, White’s fastball sat 95-97 and touched 98. When I saw White last month, the heater was in the 93-96 range.

High-A: Hickory 9, at Rome (ATL) 5
Hickory: 7 hits, 9 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 2-0, tied for first, 40-28 overall

SP Larson Kindreich: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 5 SO, 72 P / 40 S, 2.25 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 1-3, 3B, 2 BB, .272/.373/.451

Larson Kindreich was a little wild but reasonably effective in his high-A debut. He’d hit only one batter in 42 low-A innings but was walk-prone.

Frainyer Chavez (2-5) was the only Crawdad with two hits. Jayce Easley, Chris Seise and Cristian Inoa were hitless but walked twice.

Low-A: Kinston 5, Carolina (MIL) 0
Kinston: 12 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 1 hit, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 2-0, +1 G, 35-33 overall

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 68 P / 50 S, 2.38 ERA
RP Bradford Webb: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 3.96 ERA
C Efrenyer Narvaez: 3-4, .224/.274/.432
1B Abi Ortiz: 3-4, HR (5), .204/.271/.329

The Collard Greens have shut out Carolina thrice in five days. The Mudcats led off the 7th with their one and only hit. Carolina has 20 hits and four runs in the first five games of the series. Opponents are hitting .202/.283/.307 against Mitch Bratt.

The Greens are 20-10 since a 15-23 start despite scoring a modest 3.9 runs per game in that stretch. They’ve allowed only 3.4 and are 8-3 in one-run games.

Alejandro Osuna and Jose Rodriguez had two hits.

Collard Greens, you say?

Today’s Starters
AAA: Alexy
AA: Brennan
Hi-A: Englert
Lo-A: Santos

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Bubba Thompson walked twice and stole two bases in his pro debut. OF Jairo Beras officially converted to pitching. He’d batted .259/.310/.426 in 452 games.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 24 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 4
Round Rock: 4 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 2 walks, 15 strikeouts
Record: 35-35, 8 GB

SP Kolby Allard: 4.1 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 68 P / 41 S, 4.35 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 19.29 ERA
C Sam Huff: 1-3, HR (8), BB, .253/.352/.582

There’s a batting zone in which homers were nearly certain in MLB during 2019-2021: a tight 27-31 degree angle at 100 MPH and fanning out to 19-42 degrees at 112 MPH or better. Round Rock is hitting .820 with a 3.148 slugging percentage on balls hit in that range. Sam Huff is 16th on the team in plate appearances but still leads the team with nine balls in play and eight homers in this grouping. He doesn’t hit like other people.

After a rough AAA introduction and even worse follow-up, Chase Lee had his first strong outing, striking out the side around a decently hit grounder and a softie. Lee has yet to reach 90 MPH with the Express. There was talk of him touching 95 at his peak, but velocity has never been and never will be his forte.

AA: Frisco 7, at Arkansas (SEA) 3 (10)
Frisco: 12 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 35-32, 2 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 89 P / 50 S, 5.36 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 7.27 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 2-5, 2B, .274/.370/.471
LF JP Martinez: 2-2, 3 BB, SB (8), .286/.409/.479
C David Garcia: 2-4, 3B, .244/.292/.456
CF Josh Stowers: 2-3, 2B, BB, .230/.347/.358

Jack Leiter walked two of the first three batters, both of whom scored on a subsequent double. In innings 2-4, Leiter retired the first two batters, only to issue a walk before collecting the final out.

I wouldn’t mind seeing JP Martinez in Round Rock, but finding space won’t be easy. Even with Willie Calhoun’s departure, the Express have five OFs (Reks, Solak, Walker, Thompson, Sale) and might gain another when Steven Duggar is activated.

High-A: Hickory 8, at Rome (ATL) 1
Hickory: 13 hits, 12 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 1-0, tied for first, 39-28 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 56 P / 35 S, 5.40 ERA
RP John Matthews: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2.87 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 3-5, 2B, BB, SB (12), .271/.368/.443
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, 2 BB, SB (9), .274/.428/.396
3B Cody Freeman: 2-3, 2 BB, SB (4), .256/.339/.412
LF Angel Aponte: 1-3, 2 BB, 2 SB (6), .300/.383/.420

Rome employed a bunch of walk-prone pitchers against a patient offense with predictable results. 2B Luisangel Acuna drew three walks and stole his 19th base. Evan Carter has reached safely 11 times in four games at Rome, reversing a four-week dry spell.

Low-A: Kinston 6, Carolina (MIL) 0
Kinston: 4 hits, 9 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0, tied for first, 34-33 overall

SP Josh Stephan: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 93 P / 62 S, 3.56 ERA
RP Jackson Leath: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 6.75 ERA
C Ian Moller: 1-4, 2B, BB, .129/.259/.200

Kinston collected all its runs in a three-hit, four-walk 5th. Marcus Smith drew two free passes and stole his 26th base. Ian Moller’s double came earlier to no consequence. Moller has an acceptable strikeout rate (25%) and is among the system’s most fly-prone hitters, but he’s batting only .183 with a .286 slugging percentage when he makes contact.

Three days ago, Texas’s full-season offenses collected a season-low 17 hits. The next day, a season-low eight runs. Last night, a season-high 28 walks. Baseball is funny.

Josh Stephan leads the Collard Greens with 70 strikeouts in 60.2 innings.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Howard
AA: White
Hi-A: TBD (White’s vacated spot, maybe Kindreich)
Lo-A: TBD (Mitch Bratt’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Connor Sadzeck worked in relief. Before then, he’d started 89 of 96 pro games, and most of the relief appearances were lengthy. Since the switch, he’s relieved in 148 of 152 outings, and all four “starts” were as an opener or on rehab. Sadzeck always carried a wheelbarrow full of reliever risk, but at times during 2017 I’d talked myself into thinking he might actually stick as a starter. Sadzeck threw a scoreless inning for Milwaukee-affiliated Nashville last night.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 23 June

The Rangers traded OF Willie Calhoun for 28-year-old San Francisco OF Steven Duggar, who’s recently completed a rehab assignment for a strained oblique. Duggar performed well during the Giants’ amazing 2021 (.257/.330/.437 as a busy role player) but was off to a slower start before his injury. I’d thought he was out of options, but per local media he has another. That may matter down the road, but for now it appears he’ll be joining the active roster.

Calhoun was completely superfluous to the Rangers at this point, basically taking up playing time in Round Rock that the Rangers would rather give to others, so that logjam is eased, and Calhoun has a chance to re-establish himself elsewhere. Duggar’s a better return than I expected.

Texas designated reliever Spencer Patton for assignment. Patton pitched capably overall in a handful of early outings, but his control problems have crept up. In 17.1 innings between Texas and Round Rock, he’s walked or hit 15.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 6
Round Rock: 6 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 7 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 35-34, 7 GB

SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 88 P / 51 S, 5.43 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.88 ERA
LF Zach Reks: 1-3, BB, HBP, .340/.440/.623
RF Josh Sale: 1-3, 2 BB, SB (1), .349/.429/.674

Unfortunately, I could recycle an old report for last night. Winn walked four, struggling in particular during a 33-pitch 1st. He threw only 19 of 40 fastballs for strikes, but 32 of 48 secondaries hit the mark or a bat. The Dodgers didn’t cause much damage with the bat (the one extra-base hit, a double, was a cheapie), but the park barely contained two deep flies.

Bubba Thompson stole his 36th base in 53 games, walked and was hit by a pitch. Billy Hamilton’s 75 steals in 2013 are in the most in AAA during the 2000s.

AA: Frisco 0, at Arkansas (SEA) 9
Frisco: 5 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 34-32, 2 GB, elimination number 1

SP Cody Bradford: 4.2 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 7 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SO, 95 P / 63 S, 6.71 ERA

Not Bradford’s day. He didn’t walk anyone but hit two batters in the 4th and allowed two homers in the 5th.

San Antonio recovered to win Wednesday night’s suspended contest and then lost its regularly scheduled game. Frisco needs three straight wins and three Missions losses to win the first-half division title.

High-A: Hickory 0, at Rome (ATL) 3
Hickory: 6 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 38-28, 3.5 GB, first half over

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 79 P / 53 S, 6.14 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.25 ERA
C Cody Freeman: 2-3, BB, .250/.329/.408

SS Luisangel Acuna singled twice, and Aaron Zavala walked twice. At the halfway mark, Zavala’s 50 walks lead all of high-A, and his .422 OBP ranks third.

Bowling Green (TAM) won Hickory’s division with a 41-24 record, and Aberdeen (BAL) ran away with the other first-half crown with a 43 wins and a 7.5-game cushion. Hickory has the league’s third-best record and second-best run differential at +76.

Low-A: Down East 3, Carolina (MIL) 2
Down East: 6 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 33-33, 2 GB, first half over

SP Ryan Garcia: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 59 P / 38 S, 2.08 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2.35 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.16 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 1-3, BB, SB (20), .274/.335/.401
LF Yosy Galan: 1-4, HR (9), .248/.331/.460
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-4, HR (4), .188/.259/.299

Abi Ortiz hit a solo walk-off blast. Yosy Galan’s team-leading ninth homer opened Down East’s scoring in the 5th.

Carolina led the division entering the series with Down East but fell to third by losing three straight. Salem held the crown for a little while, but Cleveland-affiliated Lynchburg swept yesterday’s doubleheader to finish 35-31 and take the first-half title on a tiebreaker.

Myrtle Beach (CHC, 47-19) held off Charleston (TAM, 46-20) for the other postseason berth.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Allard
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: TBD (Krauth’s turn but he missed last week, not on IL)
Lo-A: TBD (Stephan, maybe)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Kate Morrison, subbing for me: “The minors are funny. Every once in a while you’ll see something spectacular, and then that moment of ephemeral beauty turns out to be just that – ephemeral. One of the best minor league sliders I’ve ever seen in person was Jake Thompson, just after Texas traded for him. It was big, had incredibly two-plane break, and no one could get a bat on it. Since being traded to Philadelphia, Thompson, sadly, has proceeded to do not much, and the slider that once was so lovely is now harder, and yet easier to hit.”

Quite so. I could’ve written the same thing, and in fact I thought I did write this until I came across a different paragraph in that day’s report that didn’t sound like me. My experience with his slider was identical, except I saw it in San Antonio, not Frisco. Thompson is currently pitching for Yucatan in Mexico, sporting a 5.74 ERA, which sounds bad but is actually better than the league average.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 22 June

A tough day for the offense. Texas’s four full-season teams combined for a season-low 17 hits, six fewer than any other day, and a meager combined line of .140/.207/.198. Frisco was limited to four hits, Round Rock three, and Down East just one.

But don’t stop reading now. All three teams won, as did Hickory. The starters combined for 17.1 scoreless innings and 22 strikeouts.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 0
Round Rock: 4 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 35-33, 6 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 78 P / 48 S, 1.38 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 6.43 ERA
RP Josh Sborz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA

Facing the league’s best offense, Cole Ragans was just as strong in his second AAA start. I’ll reiterate that pitchers like him should be on their own timetable, not called up just because the parent club is a starter short in a few days or whenever. That said, Ragans’ timetable and the needs of the parent club have significant overlap, yes? I don’t mean anything imminent, but more than just a late-September look-see.

Ragans threw nine swinging strikes, three on fastballs, six on cutters/sliders, and one on a change, by my interpretation. I add that qualifier because Statcast was drunk last night, categorizing some seemingly straightforward four-seam fastballs as sinkers and upper-80s cutters as four-seamers. Ragans upped his slider and cutter usage at the expense of the change, probably because OKC has more lefty hitters than last week’s Sugar Land. He will still throw changes to same-handed batters, but not to the extent of Cole Winn.

Spencer Patton produced a scoreless 8th between Hernandez and Sborz.

CF Bubba Thompson was 0-4 but reached on an error, stole second and third and scored on a Nick Solak sac fly for the game’s only run.

AA: Frisco 3, at Arkansas (SEA) 2
Frisco: 3 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 34-31, 1.5 GB, elimination number 3

SP Avery Weems: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 67 P / 41 S, 6.95 ERA
RP Kevin Gowdy: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 9.82 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 5.68 ERA
DH Sandro Fabian: 1-4, HR (9), .234/.329/.483

Avery Weems threw a lot of pitches in a short span, many with runners in scoring position, but he managed to escape unharmed.

Sandro Fabian’s two-run homer opened the scoring in the 7th, and Justin Foscue brought home Dustin Harris on a sac fly in the 9th.

Having used six relievers the night before, Frisco kept Grant Anderson on the mound in the 9th despite a 25-pitch, two-run 8th. Anderson allowed a one-out single followed by a surefire double-play grounder, but an errant throw from Foscue resulted in just one out. Arkansas then singled twice, but CF JP Martinez threw out Jack Larsen at the plate to end the game. Foscue owes Martinez a cold lemonade or whatever players drink after games nowadays.

Division-leading San Antonio’s game at Wichita was suspended with the Missions down a run in the 4th.

High-A: Hickory 9, at Rome (ATL) 3
Hickory: 9 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 38-27, 2.5 GB, eliminated

SP Ricky Vanasco: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 82 P / 54 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Luis Tejeda: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 5.06 ERA
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, 2 BB, .235/.405/.434
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, SB (18), .320/.411/.549
DH Evan Carter: 1-4, BB, SB (11), .264/.363/.438
RF Angel Aponte: 2-5, SB (4), .299/.373/.423

Statistically, Ricky Vanasco’s night mimicked Weems, with a surfeit of pitches and baserunners but no permanent damage. Vanasco stranded a leadoff double and two walks in the 1st, and another two runners were stranded by March Church in the 4th.

Church later allowed two solo homers and later took a comebacker off his ankle in the fashion of Cole Winn two months ago. Church was limping and immediately removed, but hopefully it’s not a serious injury.

Bowling Green won again, its fifth straight. Hickory now can’t finish better than 1.5 back, so that gutting late-inning loss last Saturday won’t be what decided Hickory’s fate. Not by itself, at least.

Low-A: Down East 1, Carolina (MIL) 0
Down East: 1 hit, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 32-33, 2 GB, eliminated

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 77 P / 44 S, 3.05 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 6.75 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 1-3, HR (5), .273/.332/.402

Daniel Mateo’s 4th-inning homer held up. The Woodies never batted with a runner in scoring position, and two of three walks were erased on the bases (Alejandro Osuna, twice caught stealing).

The Mudcats managed only six runners and five trips to the plate with a runner in scoring position, recording four outs and a walk. Jose Corneill hit a batter but was otherwise perfect in four innings. Since a 2.1-inning, nine-run debacle as June opened, Emiliano Teodo has permitted one run and fanned 20 in 14 innings.

Carolina fell into a tie with Salem and is one-half game ahead of rained-out Lynchburg. I have no idea who holds what tiebreakers. The powers that be kept the league’s geographically flawless three-division format for scheduling purposes but switched to a two-division format for playoff purposes, creating some stupefying outcomes such as division rivals Carolina and Salem not meeting a single time during the regular season. Tough to have a head-to-head tiebreaker if the teams don’t play, right?

Game time: one hour, forty-eight minutes.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: Krauth

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans threw five scoreless innings and struck out nine for short-season Spokane.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 21 June

Texas promoted RHP Owen White to Frisco. Among the 48 South Atlantic League pitchers with at least 40 innings, White’s 33% strikeout rate ranks 5th, his 16.6% swinging strike rate is fourth, and his xFIP of 3.16 is second. (The ERA-scaled xFIP is a more complicated form of Fielding Independent Pitching that includes likelihood of homers on fly balls.) As I coyly mentioned after his last start, he seems to have achieved his high-A goals.

His relative inexperience (122 pro innings including the AZ Fall League) makes him seem on the boyish side, but White will turn 23 in August. He’s older than Jack Leiter. He’ll also be Rule 5-eligible this winter if unprotected (an impossibility barring injury).

Replacing White in Hickory is lefty Larson Kindreich, last year’s eight-round pick. Kindreich fanned 55 in 38 low-A innings with a 2.37 ERA. Control has been an intermittent issue, not as a college sophomore or a rookie-leaguer, more so as a junior and in Down East, where he walked or hit 21 (13% rate).

Sean Bass of The Ticket and I recorded a new podcast this afternoon. Links in signature below.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 7
Round Rock: 4 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 34-33, tied for first

SP Glenn Otto: 2.2 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 55 P / 39 S, 2.79 ERA
RP AJ Alexy: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 7.31 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-3, HR (7), BB, SB (33), .300/.331/.454

Glenn Otto’s rehab start wasn’t a tidy affair: a homer and two doubles in the 1st, walks in the next two innings, a run scoring on his own error.

AJ Alexy needed one more out for four scoreless innings, but Michael Busch scotched that with a towering two-run homer. Alexy did prevent his control from getting away from him (one walk, five other three-ball counts) and fanned six.

I haven’t calculated park factors for 2022, but OKC almost certainly has the best offense in the league accounting for environment.

Bubba Thompson’s homer came off noteworthy prospect Ryan Pepiot, whose 1.74 ERA leads the league among pitchers with at least 40 innings. Thompson has a ten-steal lead on the rest of AAA. He’s also drawn six walks and been hit twice in 70 trips to the plate in June. Comparatively, he had two walks and one HBP in 169 PA in April and May.

AA: Frisco 9, at Arkansas (SEA) 6 (10)
Frisco: 12 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 33-31, 2 GB, elimination number 3

SP Tai Tiedemann: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 23 P / 16 S, 6.03 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 BB, .291/.411/.495
LF Dustin Harris: 1-4, HR (12), BB, .263/.347/.478
RF Josh Stowers: 3-5, 2B, SB (13), .226/.344/.352

On a bullpen night, Frisco squandered a 6-1 lead in the late innings but was saved by Josh Stowers’ three-run blast in the 10th. Frisco’s Dustin Harris, Blaine Crim and Trey Hair lead the organization with 12 homers.

Relievers: Josh Smith, Joe Corbett, Tyler Thomas, Nick Starr, Fernery Ozuna, Triston Polley. Corbett and Polley threw single scoreless innings.

High-A: Hickory 12, at Rome (ATL) 6
Hickory: 16 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 37-27, 2.5 GB, eliminated

SP TK Roby: 6 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 9 SO, 92 P / 62 S, 5.63 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 3-6, 2B, HR (5), .272/.421/.398
2B Luisangel Acuna: 1-3, BB, 2 SB (17), .316/.412/.556
CF Evan Carter: 3-3, 2 3B, HR (5), BB, .264/.362/.442
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-4, 2B, HR (8), BB, .233/.401/.436
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, 2B, .289/.348/.385

Hickory ran off Rome starter Roddery Munoz in the 1st and made life even worse for replacement Isrrael De La Cruz. Aaron Zavala led off the game with a long homer and collected a single and double by the 3rd. Evan Carter homered at about as low an angle as possible and collected not one but two triples, honestly a more impressive feat than hitting for the cycle. Trevor Hauver nearly hit two homers, settling for a double in the 1st on a fly off the very top of the fence in right.

Bowling Green’s win eliminated Hickory from first-half title contention.

Low-A: Down East 5, Carolina (MIL) 2
Down East: 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 31-33, 3 GB, eliminated

SP Gavin Collyer: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 84 P / 53 S, 3.66 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 4.00 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-3, 2B, SB (21), .312/.408/.473
CF Daniel Mateo: 3-4, HR (5), 2 SB (19), .272/.332/.387

Alejandro Osuna and Daniel Mateo accounted for all but one of Down Easts hits and RBI.

Anthony H-T retired five in order and stranded two inherited runners while Down East held a three-run lead.

Down East had already been eliminated from the division race, but the win prevented Carolina from clinching at least a tie for the title. The Mudcats lead three other teams by single game with two to play.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Ragans
AA: Weems
Hi-A: Vanasco

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Hamels was steady in a rehab start for Frisco. The other full-season teams had the day off.

Rangers Farm Report (Off-Day)

Today’s starters down the ladder are Glenn Otto, Tai Tiedemann (bullpen), TK Roby, Gavin Collyer

Major Moves
C/DH Mitch Garver and IF Josh Smith active.
C/1B Sam Huff and OF Zach Reks returned to AAA.
RHP Glenn Otto to AAA on rehab.
OF Eli White to the 60-day IL.
C Meibrys Viloria contract purchased and active.

I’d been meaning to write about Viloria. The 25-year-old offseason signing doesn’t offer much of an MLB resume (.216/.266/.287 in 67 games) but is having a whale of a season for Round Rock, batting .344/.471/.512 in 38 games. The batted data is legit: respectable home-run-level pop, plenty of line drives, more ground balls than you’d like but enough velocity to push a good number through the infield (.363 average and 90 MPH median velo on downward-hit balls). He’s drawn walks at a 17% rate and struck out only 20% of the time. In his career, the two places he’s hit exceptionally well are Round Rock in the Pacific Coast League and Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League. Not a coincidence.

Huff was hitting a powerless .111 in 13 games since his June 1 homer. I’m a fan of regular play for him, which means Round Rock. Can Viloria match Huff’s overall line of .282/.320/.352? I doubt it, but could he be a decent 2nd catcher for a while? Sure.

Rookie Recap: Games of 13-18 June

Scores: 5-4 (WSox), 6-3 (WSox), 1-7 (Pads), 20-1 (Pads), 15-14 (Royals)
Record: 8-2, +2 G

RHP Joseph Montalvo (20): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 6 SO, 0.00 ERA
RHP Ismael Agreda (18): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, HBP, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
LHP Luis Paulino (24): 5.0 IP, 2 R, 5 H, HBP, 6 SO, 3.60 ERA
RHP Kai Wynyard (19): 4.0 IP, 3 R, 2 H, BB, HBP, 7 SO, 6.48 ERA

IF Gleider Figuereo (17): 7-12, 3B, 2 HR (2), 2 BB, .455/.600/1.000
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 5-11, 2 2B, HR (1), BB, .375/.464/.625
OF Yeison Morrobel (18): 7-16, 2 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 2 SB (3), .333/.459/.400
C Liam Hicks (23): 8-13, HR (1), 2 BB, 2 HBP, .500/.600/.727
IF Zion Bannister (20): 2-8, 2B, 6 BB, .333/.545/.467

Courtesy of two weekend outbursts, the baby Rangers lead the league in runs (7.5 per game) and all the slashes (.295/.411/.459).

Gleider Figuereo was the youngest player on Texas’s 2021 instructional roster and retains that honor on this team. He’s the league’s hottest hitter, first in OBP and slugging, six extra-base hits in seven games more walks (7) than strikeouts (5). Listed as a shortstop when signed, he’s played exclusively at third professionally.

Catcher Liam Hicks is old for the level but was only drafted last summer (9th round) and would probably need someone in Kinston to come back the other direction to get a spot on the Wood Ducks right now. Zion Bannister co-leads the team in walks with Figuereo,

As a group the starters were nondescript. 19-year-old Ivan Oviedo walked one and struck out five while allowing three runs in four innings. Free-agent signing Aidan Curry tossed one scoreless, one-strikeout inning to start Texas’s 20-1 demolition of the Padres; he co-leads the team (along with Kai Wynward and Michael Alfonso) with 12 strikeouts. 19-year-old Michael Alfonso (2021/17th rd.) didn’t have a great start earlier in the week (3 IP, 6 runners, 4 runs, 4 SO) but came on to strand the gift runner in the 10th of Texas’s 15-14 win against the Royals.

Joseph Moltalvo has faced 21 batters without a walk.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 19 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Sugar Land (HOU) 3
Round Rock: 9 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 34-32, 6 GB

SP Spencer Howard: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 SO, 72 P / 49 S, 4.46 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 7.50 ERA
3B Josh Smith: 1-4, BB, .266/.370/.401
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-3, HBP, .295/.323/.438
C Meibrys Viloria: 2-3, HR (3), BB, .344/.471/.512

Spencer Howard appeared to put everything together on Sunday, avoiding both the control lapses that marred his two recent scoreless outings and the multi-run inning that marred his otherwise solid start from last Tuesday. Howard threw eight changes, a far cry from the 15 total in his previous seven outings, and six of them registered strikes including one swinging. The curve was also more prominent and effective. Howard induced 11 swinging strikes, one each on the aforementioned pitches plus four on heat and five on sliders.

AA: Frisco 5, Midland (OAK) 3
Frisco: 14 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 32-31, 3 GB, elimination number 3

SP Tim Brennan: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 61 P / 37 S, 1.42 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 6.40 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.98 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, SB (5), .347/.388/.487
2B Justin Foscue: 2-3, 2 2B, BB, .266/.376/.475
DH Mitch Garver: 2-4, 2B
1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, 2B, .282/.351/.517

Professional walk-avoider Tim Brennan helped Frisco salvage a split against Midland. Aside from last year, much of which he missed to injury, Brennan’s control has been impeccable. Texas drafted him in  2018’s seventh round. Justin Slaten followed with his best outing of the year.

Jonathan Ornelas has 26 multi-hit games, same as last year in 38 fewer games.

Six games remain in the first half, and Frisco’s dim division hopes are worse than I realized. Division-leading San Antonio lost two games to weather and covid, so the teams can’t finish tied. This not only dismisses Frisco’s tiebreaking 9-3 head-to-head advantage, it forces Frisco to win two more games than San Antonio to have a better winning percentage. So, the Riders need to win four more games than the Missions this week.

High-A: Hickory 1, Greenville (BOS) 3
Hickory: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 36-27, 2.5 GB, elimination number 1

SP Mason Englert: 6 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 92 P / 62 S, 3.58 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 4.44 ERA
RP Yohanse Morel: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 8.44 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.57 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, SB (15), .316/.409/.561
DH Chris Seise: 1-3, BB, .269/.315/.433

Mason Englert displayed his requisite control and reached eight more strikeouts for the third time, but he also suffered his first multi-homer game.

Both Spencer Mraz and Eudrys Manon pitched three times in a five-day span this week, the first such instances in Hickory this season as best as I can tell. My guess is the division run permitted some leeway in bullpen usage last week. In any case, both are experienced and 24.

Hickory’s first-half title hopes require three straight wins at Rome and three straight losses by Bowling Green at these same Greenville Drive.

Low-A: Down East 3, at Lynchburg (CLE) 4
Down East: 9 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 30-33, 4 GB, eliminated

SP Winston Santos: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 85 P / 57 S, 4.02 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, BB, 5 SB (17), .262/.324/.364
2B Xavier Valentin: 2-2, SB (3), .111/.219/.111

Unfortunately, this game concluded as disappointingly as Hickory’s loss from Saturday. Up 3-1 in the 8th, Jackson Leath hit a batter high with his first pitch, hit the backstop with his third, watched 2B Xavier Valentin heel a grounder, and then hit the next batter on the helmet. Lynchburg was calling for an ejection because of an earlier warning (to no avail), but Leath was summarily pulled regardless. Theo McDowell struck out his first opponent, but a double would clear the bases.

Combined with Carolina’s fourth straight win, Down East was eliminated from first-half title contention.

Winston Santos was strong, if walk-prone by his standards. In eight of ten previous starts, he’s walked one or none. Daniel Mateo stole five (5) bases yesterday, which might be some sort of record. It certainly is for him, personally. Jayce Easley, swiper of 70 bags last year, never stole five in a game. Alejandro Osuna, Marcus Smith and Valentin also stole bases. Like last year, the Woodies lead the league in this category with 136. During 2021-2022, Down East has stolen an absurd 426 bases in 183 games. Fayetteville is second with 313.

Today’s Starters
AAA: off
AA: off
Hi-A: off
Lo-A: off

Five Years Ago Yesterday
In a matchup against Cards prospect Jack Flaherty, Round Rock 1B Ronald Guzman walked, homered, and nearly homered again. In 2022, Guzman is having a srong June (.290/.421/.452) after a weak April and May.