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.