Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 18 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Sugar Land (HOU) 5
Round Rock: 9 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 34-31, 7 GB

SP Cole Winn: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 89 P / 49 S, 5.43 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.06 ERA
RP Tyson Miller: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.76 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 1-4, HR (6), BB, .290/.316/.434
LF Nick Solak: 1-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (2), .263/.385/.438
DH Willie Calhoun: 2-4, 2B, .225/.264/.425

Last week’s one-walk outing became a blip, not the beginning of a trend, as Cole Winn once again struggled with control. The pitch chart reveals the plan — out, out, out to the seven righties in the lineup — but not enough pitches hit the mark. The fastball in particular was essentially a 50/50 proposition for strikes, and per usual he tended to miss high.

Winn allowed just his second homer during this eight-start stretch of negativity, and it wasn’t hit that hard, but any airborne knock to left on a hot night with the wind blowing out has a fighting chance at the Dell Diamond.

Chase Lee’s first two AAA outings have been trying. Last night, he retired one of five batters and was pulled with a high pitch count. Lee’s swinging strike rate in AA was 12.2%, a smidge above the league median, but after 56 AAA pitches, he’s still looking for that first miss.

Pitching much better lately, if still walk-prone: Yerry Rodriguez.

From 2019-present in MLB, nobody has homered at 95 MPH and 22 degrees off the bat. It’s a speed-angle combo that sounds nice but actually results in a surprisingly high percentage of outs. Those balls are caught unless they find a gap. In Bubba Thompson’s case, he homered by finding the gap between what the outfielder tried to do (catch) and what he actually did (belly-flopped).

Seeing lots of discussion about a replacement for Taylor Hearn. The choices aren’t great. The 40-man options are AJ Alexy and Spencer Howard. Alexy is out of the question right now. Howard has two scoreless outings in his last three, but I saw one in person and a fair portion of another on MiLB.tv and was underwhelmed. He struggled with control (8 BB in 10 IP) and was largely a two-pitch guy (FB, SL) with two others tagging along (CB, CH).

The non-40 choices: Winn (no), Kohei Arihara, Tyson Miller (a better pitcher than what he’s shown, but still), Jake Latz (on the IL at present), Cole Ragans (like Winn, I don’t want the short-term needs of a sub-.500 parent club dictating his debut).

Howard is probably the best choice, although I don’t know if he’d be any better than Hearn. When on, he looks like a decent back-end starter. When off, well, get the bullpen ready.

AA: Frisco 5, Midland (OAK) 6
Frisco: 14 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 31-31, 3 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 5 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 86 P / 49 S, 5.44 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.17 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, BB, HBP, .257/.366/.456
LF Dustin Harris: 3-5, SB (14), .264/.348/.473
DH Kellen Strahm: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .263/.404/.376

Jack Leiter’s 1st was elongated by LF Dustin Harris’s drop of a short two-out fly, after which Leiter allowed a walk and three-run homer. In the 4th, catcher’s interference and a walk put two aboard, and a deep two-out double brought them home. So, if a catch is made, or couple of pitches turn out differently, Leiter has a scoreless outing. But regardless of the run total, it was another labored outing. Leiter has walked and/or hit 12 in his last three starts covering 14.2 innings (ignoring the one-inning outing from last week).

Justin Foscue’s potential go-ahead grand slam curled just foul. He reached down to pop a low curve and didn’t even get all of it. He’s got some power. I’m banking on more second-half homers than his current four.

High-A: Hickory 5, Greenville (BOS) 6 (10)
Hickory: 6 hits, 7 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 36-26, 1.5 GB, elimination number 3

SP Owen White: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 SO, 97 P / 64 S, 3.99 ERA
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, .268/.311/.435
2B Thomas Saggese: 1-3, 2B, BB, .293/.342/.434

A tough one. The Crawdads haven’t exactly squandered the division lead because they’ve never held it outright, but if they end up a half-game short, this game will be the reason. Hickory led 4-1 in the 8th, but Greenville scored three on two singles, a walk (that would score), a hit batter (ditto), and a two-out strikeout/passed ball that plated the tying run. Greenville took the lead in the 10th when a single to left eluded Trevor Hauver, allowing both the gift runner and batter to score.

Thomas Saggese and SS Luisangel Acuna collided trying to reach a grounder up the middle in the 9th. Both stayed in, and Saggese doubled off the wall in the bottom half, but he was then pulled for a pinch-runner (Jayce Easley, subsequently thrown out at the plate).

Owen White has three walks and 30 strikeouts in his last 19 innings. He’s been occasionally homer-prone and less occasionally walk-prone, but on the whole he seems to have achieved his high-A goals.

Low-A: Down East 2, at Lynchburg (CLE) 4
Down East: 10 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 30-32, 3 GB, elimination number 2

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 60 P / 34 S, 2.79 ERA
LF Marcus Smith: 3-4, 2B, 2 SB (23), .167/.305/.276
3B Junior Paniagua: 2-3, 2B, .238/.281/.363

Another tough one. Down East’s elimination number dwindled form five to two as Lynchburg rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the 6th while division-leading Carolina swept a doubleheader in Columbia. The Wood Ducks do get to face Carolina next week, but their plight is compounded by two other teams ahead of them (Salem and Fredericksburg) playing each other, meaning Down East can make up ground on one team but not both on any given day.

Mitch Bratt was effective, if not flashy. I believe the strikeout came on a change. He’s thrown as many as 83 pitches before, but the tandem role with Larson Kindreich presumably prevented additional innings. Unfortunately, Kindreich (3 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 R) had an off night, as did the defenders behind him. Down East has used just four pitchers the last two nights, almost unheard of in 2022.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Howard
AA: Brennan
Hi-A: Englert

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Low-A Hickory finished the first half 27-43, ending an amazing streak of 14 winning half-seasons. High-A Down East’s 24-45 record ended six straight years of first-half winning records.

Sydney did not care.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 17 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, Sugar Land (HOU) 6
Round Rock: 6 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 33-31, 7 GB

SP Kohei Arihara: 5 IP, 9 H (1 HR), 4 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 82 P / 58 S, 5.63 ERA
RP Spencer Patton: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.86 ERA
RP Josh Sborz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
C Meibrys Viloria: 1-1, 2B, 2 BB, HBP, .336/.464/.475
LF Willie Calhoun: 1-4, HR (5), .211/.253/.408
1B Josh Sale: 2-4, HR (4), .375/.444/.813

Josh Sale hits the ball hard, and he hits the ball in the air.

Josh Smith has played three straight games on rehab, twice at DH. He’s 2-12.

Willie Calhoun has his first post-DFA homer.

AA: Frisco 1, Midland (OAK) 0
Frisco: 10 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 31-30, 2 G up

SP Cody Bradford: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 SO, 90 P / 61 S, 6.06 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.30 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, SB (4), .352/.394/.498
2B Trey Hair: 2-4, 2B, HR (12), .245/.304/.551
RF Kellen Strahm: 3-4, .254/.392/.362

Cody Bradford fanned 11 of 21 batters, including six in a row after the first two batters reached in the 1st. He needed 29 pitches to get through that first frame but never more than 15 thereafter. Bradford, as you know, isn’t world’s hardest thrower, but when he’s successfully aiming multiple pitches and multiple spots, he’ll make hitters look silly.

Tai Tiedemann (0.2 IP), Triston Polley (1.1), Joe Corbett (0.2) and Nick Starr (1) combined to limit the RockHounds to a walk and HBP.

Jonathan Ornelas missed a homer by a couple of inches. Manager Jared Goedert thought the ball had rebounded off the railing just over the yellow stripe and got tossed for expressing his umbrage. I thought so, too, at first, but replays showed the umps got it right.

Raise your hand if you had Trey Hair tied for the organization lead in homers in June. Put your hand down, Trey. The former Ray hit 13 homers in 66 games at Hickory last year, so he’s got some pop, but this was unexpected. Notably, he’s hit nine of 12 on the road including five during a series at notorious Amarillo. (During 2021-2022, Amarillo and its opponents have his 352 homers in Amarillo and 192 on the road.)

High-A: Hickory 4, Greenville (BOS) 0
Hickory: 8 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 36-25, 0.5 GB, elimination number 5

SP John Matthews: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 65 P / 38 S, 2.94 ERA
RP Jesus Linarez: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.94 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-2, BB, HBP, SB (3), .271/.426/.385
SS Chris Seise: 1-3, 3B, BB, .262/.309/.433
C Scott Kapers: 1-3, HR (6), .263/.318/.525
CF Jayce Easley: 1-3, HR (3), .260/.370/.416

13 different times in the past month, Hickory opened the day one-half game out of first. They’re 7-6 on those days but have never taken the division lead after any of those seven victories. In the six losses, half have maintained the deficit while three have worsened it.

Whatever happens, it’s a huge improvement on last year, when Hickory carried a sub-.200 batting average well into the season’s second month, lost 16 straight down the stretch, went 9-22 in one-run games and had three of the final five games cancelled to weather and/or covid.

Contra last year, Hickory is batting a stout .287/.382/.455 in June, with only Evan Carter (.154/.327/.179) having a bad month among regulars, and even he’s reaching at a decent rate.

Low-A: Down East 3, at Lynchburg (CLE) 1
Down East: 7 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 30-31, 1.5 GB, elimination number 5

SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 66 P / 44 S, 3.95 ERA
RP Bradford Webb: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 4.41 ERA
C Efrenyer Narvaez: 2-3, HBP, .222/.279/.333
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-4, .261/.351/.353

The last time the Wood Ducks were within two games of the division lead was after their Opening Night loss. They’ve been as many as 6.5 back and never at or above .500, yet they’ve got a chance at the first-half title. They host division-leading Carolina (31-29) next week. Three other teams are one-half game back.

Down East took advantage of an inexperienced and shaky Lynchburg reliever in the 9th to score twice. Both teams had one double and one walk. Webb threw 44 of 59 pitches for strikes.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: White

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Hickory’s Kyle Cody tossed a career-best eight scoreless innings but got no support, and his Crawdads lost 2-1 in extras. Two of his four runners reached on strikeout/WPs.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 16 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Sugar Land (HOU) 4
Round Rock: 7 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 33-30, 6 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 7 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 8 SO, 81 P / 60 S, 2.57 ERA
RF Josh Sale: 2-4, HR (3), .357/.438/.750

Cole Ragans handled his first AAA start with aplomb, lasting seven innings on just 81 pitches. No previous Round Rock starter had reached seven innings. Ragans delivered 40 fastballs and a whopping 34 changeups, getting 11 swinging strikes with the latter. Ragans leads the organization with 58.1 innings and 73 strikeouts.

The homer came courtesy of Lewis Brinson.

AA: Frisco 6, Midland (OAK) 4
Frisco: 10 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 30-30, 3 GB

SP Avery Weems: 4 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 78 P / 47 S, 7.44 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.05 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-2, 3 BB, SB (22), .292/.404/.491
1B Blaine Crim: 1-5, HR (12), .284/.355/.522
3B Jax Biggers: 3-4, 2B, .348/.412/.478

Jonathan Ornelas’s two-run single capped a comeback from an early 4-0 deficit. Tyler Thomas, Grant Anderson and Fernery Ozuna limited the RockHounds to a lone hit over the last five innings.

High-A: Hickory 3, Greenville (BOS) 6
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 35-25, 0.5 GB, elimination number 6

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 3 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 5 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 54 P / 32 S, 9.00 ERA
RP Marc Church: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2.64 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-4, BB, SB (13), .324/.420/.598
CF Evan Carter: 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, .259/.350/.407

Marc Church threw a career-high three innings and 44 pitches. The first half ends next Thursday, after which, who knows, maybe Church’s services will no longer be needed in high-A. We’ll see. Church has struck out 53 of 119 batters faced and walked only five.

Just-promoted Robby Ahlstrom couldn’t contain the Drive. Division-leading Bowling Green also lost.

Low-A: Down East 5, at Lynchburg (CLE) 2
Down East: 8 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 29-31, 2 GB, elimination number 5

SP Ryan Garcia: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 49 P / 31 S, 1.69 ERA
RP Jackson Leath: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.30 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SO, 2.45 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, HR (4), SB (12), .263/.325/.366

Ryan Garcia went on the IL soon after his first real game since 2019, which had me feeling a little sick, but I was told his situation wasn’t serious, and now he’s back. Garcia’s 5.1 innings in 2022 are already more than 2019-2021 combined.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans nervously pitched four innings in the opener for short-season Spokane. Ragans was managed by Matt Hagen in 2017, and they’re rejoined in Round Rock.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 15 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, Sugar Land (HOU) 10
Round Rock: 8 hits, 7 walks, 16 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 33-29, 5 GB

SP AJ Alexy: 5 IP, 6 H (4 HR), 6 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 89 P / 59 S, 7.51 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.40 ERA
RP Jose Leclerc: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.40 ERA
DH Josh Smith: 1-5, .271/.378/.416
LF Nick Solak: 2-4, 2B, HR (3), BB, .270/.379/.459

Josh Smith is in Round Rock on rehab? In this economy? Certain injuries (hamstrings, obliques) always have me adding two weeks to the projected recovery. I guess his particular shoulder injury requires a subtraction.

AJ Alexy allowed homers 15 through 18 on the season. He’s thrown 56.1 innings. One of the dingers came off the bat at a leisurely 87 MPH but caught the right wind gust and cleared the fence by a foot. Still, what a season so far for Alexy. He’d taken several big steps forward last year, but 2022 has been a struggle.

AA: Frisco 0, Midland (OAK) 4
Frisco: 3 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 29-30, 3 GB

SP Zak Kent: 6.2 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 10 SO, 98 P / 68 S, 6.29 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 1.1 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 6.75 ERA
RP Josh Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA

The Riders are below .500 for the first time since… the end of 2019? I’m away from my usual writing place and missing some files, but I think that’s right. They started the season 10-2. Last year, Joe Corbett was terrific in low-A and got mauled upon promotion to high-A. This year: great in high-A, not so great in his first AA action.

High-A: Hickory 13, Greenville (BOS) 6
Hickory: 19 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 35-24, 0.5 GB

SP Ricky Vanasco: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 80 P / 54 S, 5.63 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, BB, .270/.426/.389
DH Luisangel Acuna: 3-6, 2B, SB (12), .327/.421/.612
CF Evan Carter: 1-3, 3 BB, .262/.344/.412
LF Trevor Hauver: 3-6, 2B, .245/.414/.442
3B Cody Freeman: 2-5, BB, .260/.343/.429

2B Thomas Saggese and SS Keyber Rodriguez also had two hits, and C Randy Florentino was 3-4 with a walk. Every starter reached at least twice.

So yeah, I did say Luisangel Acuna wasn’t really a 3/4/5 slash hitter. Perfectly happy downplaying expectations only to be shown up.

Low-A: Down East 4, at Lynchburg (CLE) 13
Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 8 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 28-31, 3 GB

SP Emiliano Teodo: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 69 P / 41 S, 3.51 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 1 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 7.82 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 3-4, SB (19), .305/.408/.471

Fresh off his no-hit bid, Emiliano Teodo held Lynchburg to an unearned run and no walks in four innings.

I’ve seen Jose Corniell in person and feel there’s a much better pitcher than his 7.82 ERA would suggest. In his first appearance since a brief IL visit, Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa gave up four runs on three walks, a hit batter and a single.

Catcher Xavier Valentin pitched the 8th. Position players on the mound became so commonplace during the past few years that it had turned from an entertaining diversion to an annoyance, but I’ve seen far less of it from the Rangers in 2022.

Today’s Starters
Hi-A: Anderson

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Yohander Mendez allowed two homers. In 2017, his rate quadrupled over his career to date.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 14 June

Up to Round Rock: LHP Cole Ragans, RHP Chase Lee

Up to Frisco: LHP Josh Smith, LHP Triston Polley, RHP Joe Corbett

Back to Hickory: IF Frainyer Chavez (had been helping out in Round Rock)

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Sugar Land (HOU) 6
Round Rock: 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 33-28, 4 GB

SP Spencer Howard: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 80 P / 54 S, 4.91 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 9.00 ERA
RP Spencer Patton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 4.32 ERA

Spencer Howard retired 17 of his final 18 batters. And one of his first eight. Howard pitched in Round Rock last night, and Tyson Miller is pitching in Arlington tonight, if you need a quick summary of where Howard stands.

Davis Wendzel (1-4) is back, as is outrighted Willie Calhoun (0-4). Bubba Thompson (1-4) stole his 30th base.

AA: Frisco 3, Midland (OAK) 6
Frisco: 7 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 29-29, 2 GB

SP Tim Brennan: 3.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 53 P / 34 S, 1.20 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, 2B, HR (7), .347/.386/.500

Dustin Harris (0-3, BB) and JP Martinez (0-4, BB) stole their 13th and 21st bases, respectively. Jonathan Ornelas is one homer shy of last year’s total.

High-A: Hickory 10, Greenville (BOS) 6
Hickory: 13 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 34-24, 0.5 GB

SP TK Roby: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 95 P / 60 S, 5.77 ERA
RP Deston Dotson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3.00 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, BB, .260/.420/.367
2B Luisangel Acuna: 3-5, 2B, SB (11), .299/.408/.598
SS Chris Seise: 2-4, .255/.301/.425
CF Jayce Easley: 2-3, HBP, SB (8), .239/.353/.366

Bowling Green lost, so Hickory has returned to the tiniest of division deficits with eight to play. They won’t finish tied until more rain is forthcoming. Opponents are slugging .487 against TK Roby, as he’s been quite homer-prone, but in other respects he’s been strong.

Low-A: Down East 7, at Lynchburg (CLE) 4
Down East: 9 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 28-30, 2 GB

SP Gavin Collyer: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 92 P / 52 S, 3.88 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.35 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, BB, SB (11), .257/.321/.345
RF Marcus Smith: 2-4, BB, 3 SB (21), .149/.297/.257
DH Tucker Mitchell: 1-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (5), .212/.350/.376

The Woodies are two games under .500, in fifth place and trending sideways over the last ten games but find themselves just two games back with eight to play. Carolina leads with a 30-28 record and -8 run differential. Meanwhile, in the other division, either Myrtle Beach (41-17) or Charleston (40-18) will not qualify the postseason in the first half.

Gavin Collyer began 2022 with a so-so relief appearance and two faulty starts. Since then, he been good or inning-chewing or both in nine straight outings. Collyer was drafted in 2019’s 12th round out of high school in Georgia.

Marcus Smith has nearly as many steals (21) as hits (22). Smith’s 59% strikeout rate leads the minors by a wide margin. Last year I wrote about Adolis Garcia and strikeouts, saying that they didn’t matter much as long as the overall production was solid, but that at some point, too many strikeouts would make quality production nearly impossible. That strikeout rate was in the high 30% area, as I recall.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Alexy
Hi-A: Vanasco

Five Years Ago Yesterday
The announced front four of short-A Spokane’s rotation were Cole Ragans (2016 / 1st round), Tyler Phillips (2015/16), Alex Speas (2016/2) and Reiver Sanmartin (Colombia). To date, only Sanmartin has reached the Majors.Ragans isn’t on the doorstep, but he’s on the sidewalk leading to the doorstep.Phillips and Speas haven’t pitched in 2022.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 12 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, at Tacoma (SEA) 6
Round Rock: 8 hits, 8 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 33-27, 4 GB

SP Cole Winn: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 64 P / 42 S, 5.33 ERA
RP Demarcus Evans: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.48 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 1-4, 2B, BB, SB (29), .299/.321/.441
LF Nick Solak: 1-3, 2 BB, .257/.366/.400

Cole Winn broke a string of six starts with at least two walks (usually more). He allowed several hard-hit balls including three doubles at 100+ MPH, but let’s just enjoy the control today. He’s given up a fair share of doubles, but through this rough stretch, most of which has taken place in hostile territory (Salt Lake, Reno, and the like), Winn has surrendered only one homer.

Ryder Ryan gave up two runs in the 9th. The Express surrendered 17 late-inning leads in the six-game road trip. Okay, not that many, but seeing leads disappear out west is common. Tacoma isn’t far above sea level but sure likes to pretend it’s Albuquerque when it comes to scoring.

Jose Leclerc threw his first consecutive outings in real games. He faced three batters on only four pitches (groundout, single, catcher’s interference).

AA: Frisco 3, at Amarillo (ARI) 9
Frisco: 10 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 14 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 29-28, 2 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 18 P / 12 S, 5.75 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 3 SO, 7.06 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3.10 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, 3B, .341/.382/.479
LF Kellen Strahm: 1-3, HR (3), BB, .236/.384/.350

Jack Leiter threw a planned single inning per local reports. He’d started on Tuesday and was facing Amarillo a second time. Like last year around this time, Texas is shortening or skipping scheduled starts for several pitchers.

The teams scored 97 runs in the series, over eight per team per game. Amarillo’s application to the western division of the Pacific Coast League is forthcoming.

High-A: Hickory 4, at Bowling Green (TAM) 5
Hickory: 5 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 33-24, 1.5 GB

SP Mason Englert: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 88 P / 58 S, 3.47 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-3, BB, 2 SB (10), .299/.408/.598
1B Cristian Inoa: 1-4, HR (4), .302/.358/.453

A tough one. Hickory was two runs up and six outs from leaving town with the division lead, but a walk, two doubles and an out-less fielder’s choice plated three in the 8th. The Crawdads host 23-34 Greenville this week before heading to Rome, where the first half will end midway through that series.

Mason Englert walked one or fewer for the sixth time in ten starts. Not long ago, the league rate hovered between 9% and 10%. Now it’s 12%, so his 7% rate stands out. He’s issuing one fewer free pass per start than the average pitcher.

Low-A: Down East 5, at Kannapolis (CHW) 12
Down East: 12 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 27-30, 3 GB

SP Winston Santos: 5.2 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 7 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 79 P / 58 S, 4.44 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-5, 2 SB (18), .297/.406/.467
DH Daniel Mateo: 2-5, SB (10), .251/.314/.341
SS Maximo Acosta: 1-2, 2 BB, SB (18), .266/.359/.361

A flaky series. Kannapolis scored more in the finale than the first five games combined. Maximo Acosta had a busy day, committing two errors in addition to the production above. Acosta’s line is similar to last year in terms of average and power, but he’s drawing more than twice as many walks.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas drafted OF Bubba Thompson (Round 1, pick 26) IF Chris Seise (1/29), and RHP Hans Crouse (2/66) in the opening day of the draft. A few days earlier, I’d previewed everyone linked to the Rangers’ opening round in mock drafts. Here’s a “where are they now” in order of where they were actually selected:

RHP Tanner Houck (1st round/24th pick, BOS) — The book on the Mizzou hurler contained a terrific fastball and iffy secondaries. After a 2020 MLB debut, and more seasoning the following spring, Houck appears to be successfully entrenched in a swing role.

OF Bubba Thompson (1/26 TEX) — Thompson is hitting well in AAA, albeit with persistent concerns about his batting eye and ability to hit bendy stuff. An elite baserunner and athleticism-oriented CF.

RHP Nate Pearson (1/28 TOR) — Pearson established himself as the best prospect on this list, but injuries and illness have delayed MLB success. Still promising.

SS Chris Seise (1/29 TEX) — My recollection is that most saw him as a second-round talent, but opinions varied widely. After years of injuries, opinions still vary, ranging from Jamey’s persistent optimism to “who?”

SS Jeter Downs (1/32 CIN) — Downs has been traded twice and is hitting .196/.320/.412 for AAA Worcester, not great but far better than his 2021 intro to the level. He’s Boston’s #7 prospect per Baseball America.

OF Tristen Lutz (1/34 MIL) — Lutz peaked pre-2020 as one of Milwaukee’s top three prospects, albeit in a weaker system. A lesser 2021 showing in AA dropped him from top-30 rankings.

RHP Sam Carlson (2/55) – After a brief appearance in his draft year, Carlson didn’t pitch again until 2021 because of elbow problems and covid. He’s Seattle’s #30 prospect.

SS Mark Vientos (2/59) – Vientos is the Mets’ Jorge Alfaro, a top-ten prospect year after year after year. He ranks fourth in their system at present and is hitting pretty well for AAA Syracuse. The expectation was he wouldn’t stick at short, and he moved the 3B and occasional LF after just one season.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 11 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 14, at Tacoma (SEA) 11 (10)
Round Rock: 12 hits, 11 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 12 walks, 18 strikeouts
Record: 33-26, 3 GB

SP Yerry Rodriguez: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 39 P / 25 S, 5.63 ERA
RP Jose Leclerc: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.75 ERA
LF Leody Taveras: 1-4, 2 BB, .294/.335/.485
RF Josh Sale: 3-5, 2 HR (2)

Nick Snyder injured his arm and left the game during Tacoma’s game-tying five-run 9th. After his 21st pitch, a missed slider, Snyder shook his arm. He threw four more pitches before leaving, still shaking his arm or letting it dangle limply at his side. Hopefully the news is better than what I saw. Snyder’s fastball was 97-99 two days ago in Las Vegas. Last night it ranged 95-97 early before dropping to 93-94 on his last two heaters.

In better news, Josh Sale had an unforgettable night, connecting on a three-run homer in the 7th and grand slam in the 10th. He’d last homered in affiliated ball in July 2014. The seven RBI were a career best. The dingers were slower off the bat than an earlier single at 107 MPH.

16 pitchers combined for 23 walks and 438 pitches. The game was four minutes shy of four hours, longest for Round Rock in the pitch-clock era by 36 minutes.

AA: Frisco 16, at Amarillo (ARI) 12
Frisco: 19 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 16 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 29-27, 1 GB

SP Cody Bradford: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 96 P / 65 S, 6.80 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.88 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 3-5, 3B, BB, HBP, .299/.402/.516
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, HR (6), .333/.375/.464
1B Dustin Harris: 3-6, 3B, HR (11), .269/.354/.500
DH Josh Stowers: 1-5, HR (3), .203/.335/.312
C Jordan Procyshen: 4-5, 2B, 2 HR (4), .262/.364/.477

Frisco entered the bottom of the 8th ahead 13-0. 13 batters, 45 pitches and untold minutes later, Chase Lee entered a save situation. He would give up a two-run single before recording the final out in Amarillo’s 11-run inning.

The Riders scored three in the top of the 9th, but Amarillo threatened again with three straight one-out singles off Lee. CF JP Martinez caught a fly at the edge of the wall for the second out. The game ended on an appropriately bizarre note when runner Jorge Barrosa interfered with 2B Jax Biggers as he attempted to field a chopper.

The losing team is averaging 7.2 runs scored per game in the series.

High-A: Hickory 3, at Bowling Green (TAM) 1
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 2 walks, 15 strikeouts
Record: 33-23, 0.5 GB

SP Owen White: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 SO, 96 P / 61 S, 4.27 ERA
RP Marc Church: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.93 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-4, HR (7), .298/.404/.607
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-4, 2 2B, .232/.406/.428
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, HR (6), .262/.308/.436

Owen White and Marc Church offered their best in a critical road match against the division leader. White has 21 strikeouts and two walks in his last two starts. Church has two scoreless outings of two innings and four strikeouts in the series, both while maintaining late leads of one or two runs.

Chris Seise has started four of his last seven games at short, once in consecutive games but not on consecutive days.

Hickory has claimed no worse than a split and will either be half a game up or 1.5 back with nine to play in the first half.

Low-A: Down East 1, at Kannapolis (CHW) 2
Down East: 4 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 27-29, 3 GB

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 82 P / 59 S, 3.00 ERA
RP Damian Mendoza: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 1.47 ERA
CF Alejandro Osuna: 1-3, 2B, BB, .294/.406/.469

Alejandro Osuna and Yenci Pena walked to start the 9th down a run. Marcus Smith bunted them over, but Ian Moller and Daniel Mateo couldn’t bring anyone home. I’m not fond of sac bunts in this situation, but in this case one might be warranted, as Smith is a .137 hitter and strikes out an unreal 58% of the time when he doesn’t walk, reducing the likelihood of a “productive out” (or, on the other hand, a GIDP). Conversely, Smith’s primary production in 2022 is a 17% walk rate, the previous two batters walked on ten pitches, and he started the at-bat with a ball. Maybe wait on a strike?

Texas’s full-season teams combined for a season-high 55 strikeouts.

Rookie: 5-2 (SEA), 3-1 (SEA), 5-7 (KAN)
Record: 4-1

SP Josh Gessner: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 SO
SP Jose Gonzalez: 2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
SP DJ McCarty: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
RP Michael Alfonso: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 SO (2 games)

C Jesus Moreno: 4-8, 2B, 3B, BB, 2 SB
3B Gleider Figuereo: 3-10, 2 2B, 3B, 5 BB, 3 SB
OF Zion Bannister: 3-7, 2B, BB
C/1B Liam Hicks: 3-9, 3B, 3 BB
2B Andres Mesa: 4-16, 2B, HR, 2 BB, SB
SS Danyer Cueva: 4-13, 2B, 3 BB, SB

Listed are the starting pitchers for games 3-5 and the week-long stats for Michael Alfonso and the hitters. MiLB’s stat coverage of the rookie leagues is (deep sigh) even more irksome than last year: walled off from other teams and leagues, missing some basic pages. I’ve figured out how I’m going to handle it so I don’t punt the rookie coverage like last year, but I don’t have the time this morning to set up my system. 

Gessner was part of the Kyle Gibson trade. Gonzalez singed in 2019. McCarty was a free-agent signing in 2020. Alfonso, 19, is last year’s 17th-round pick.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: Englert

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down 4-3 in the 9th, Round Rock’s Will Middlebrooks put the Express ahead with a two-out grand slam, but OKC scored six in the bottom half to win.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 10 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, at Tacoma (SEA) 6 (7)
Round Rock: 13 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 32-26, 3 GB

SP Kohei Arihara: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 69 P / 43 S, 5.40 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 12.00 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 4-4, 2B, .295/.330/.490

The Express arrived late to Tacoma, leading to a 9:47 PM local start time and an agreement to play just seven innings.

Jonathan Hernandez worked the 6th on just seven pitches, so he returned to close out the 7th with a two-run lead but issued three straight walks, after which Demarcus Evans surrendered a game-ending grand slam to Alex Blandino.

Josh Sale (1-4) tripled.

OF Willie Calhoun cleared waivers and was outrighted to Round Rock. He had an option, so any claiming club could have given him a while in AAA to see what he could do, but there were no takers. Texas’s AAA roster is in flux at present but has been crowded in the outfield at times, and Calhoun was already down the depth chart before being designated for assignment, so I’m wondering about how much time he has left in the organization.

AA: Frisco 10, at Amarillo (ARI) 11 (10)
Frisco: 8 hits, 10 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 28-27, 1 GB

SP Avery Weems: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 78 P / 47 S, 7.28 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 7.20 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 3-5, 2B, SB (12), .261/.350/.472
DH Kellen Strahm: 1-3, HR (2), 2 BB, .235/.387/.330
3B Jax Biggers: 2-5, HR (1), .333/.412/.467

Up 4-1, then down 8-5, Frisco tied the contest in the 8th on two hits, a balk, walk, HBP and wild pitch. Two more scored in the 10th on a Jax Biggers single and Jonathan Ornelas sac fly. In the bottom half, Nick Starr gave up an RBI double and two-run homer.

We are done with the walk-off homer portion of today’s report.

Dustin Harris has 10 homers and 12 steals in 46 games.

Grant Wolfram was the best of the relief corps, although he did load the bases in the 9th (HBP, single, walk) before making Lyle Lin look silly on three straight sliders.

High-A: Hickory 2, at Bowling Green (TAM) 6
Hickory: 9 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 32-23, 1.5 GB

SP Nick Krauth: 4.1 IP, 8 H (1 HR), 4 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 80 P / 54 S, 5.91 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, 2B, BB, .263/.422/.374
2B Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, .300/.411/.588
3B Cody Freeman: 2-4, 2B, .261/.344/.442

A win would have given Hickory the division lead. After Sunday, Hickory will be somewhere in the range of one-half game ahead to 3.5 behind. 

Bowling Green’s 4-5-6 hitters were 3B Osleivis Basabe (.310/.365/.460), 1B Alexander Ovalles (.292/.392/.417), and RF Heriberto Hernandez (.224/.327/.459), the three prospects traded from 1B Nathaniel Lowe. They’re ranked 18th, 29th and 22th, respectively, by Baseball America in Tampa Bay’s top 30.

Low-A: Down East 9, at Kannapolis (CHW) 2
Down East: 14 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 27-28, 3 GB

SP Josh Stephan: 8 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 9 SO, 91 P / 73 S, 4.17 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-5, .263/.351/.359
C Efrenyer Narvaez: 2-5, 2B, .207/.260/.331
DH Yosy Galan: 3-5, 2B, HR (8), .248/.335/.467
1B Abi Ortiz: 3-3, 2 2B, BB, .192/.271/.300

Josh Stephan is the first Texas minor leaguer to reach eight innings. A rare feat nowadays. Even if the starter has a low pitch count, there’s often multiple relievers scheduled to throw that night. When I saw him last month, he threw an 88-91 fastball and a billion sliders.

Yosy Galan had his first multi-hit game in over a month; he batted .134/.237/.254 between them.

The Woodies have won 11 of 16, and despite remaining in fifth place in the six-team division, they’re their closest to first place in seven weeks.

Today’s Starters
AAA: TBA (Tyson Miller listed)
AA: Bradford
Hi-A: White

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans was announced as Spokane’s Opening Day starter. At Midland, Connor Sadzeck amassed 43 pitches before being pulled in the 1st. He reached a positive count (usually 1-2) to seven batters but only retired two.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 9 June

Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs published his updated prospects list for the Rangers. Longenhagen’s rankings are typically among the quirkiest (not a criticism, just an observation), but his top ten seems very conventional: Jung, Leiter, Winn, Duran, Smith, Carter, Huff, Foscue, Harris. Some quick impressions:

He’s very down on Justin Foscue’s defense (30 grade).

He’s much higher on March Church (#13) than anyone. Church doesn’t appear in the top 30 at either Baseball America or MLB.com. That’s understandable, because 1) Church is almost certainly a reliever, and even the best relievers provide limited value, and 2) Church hasn’t even reached AA.Longenhagen loves his stuff and sees late-inning potential.
#18 Jonathan Ornelas, and #30 OF Yosy Galan. Ornelas has drawn attention this spring, and Longenhagen has bought in. Galan was a personal fave from my NC trip.

Down at #39, Ricky Vanasco. So much depends on when you witnessed him. Keith Law of The Athletic saw a fastball that dipped into the upper 80s, Longenhagen reported 90-93, I saw 90-96 centered at 93-95. Nobody sees much command, but we’ll revisit that later in the season.

Davis Wendzel, #45. Another polarizing prospect, with Jamey Newberg placing him 12th, MLB.com 17th, and Baseball America outside the top 30. Wendzel has actually played fewer pro games than the oft-injuted Josh Jung, and his 2022 bat data has lagged so far.

Outside the top 50, Bubba Thompson. I feel I’ve been the low man on Thompson for much of his career, but I’ve warmed to him despite the issues (lack of walks, lots of swing-and-miss, defense leaning heavily on athleticism). The wheels are game-changing, and I’m hopeful that more power is coming.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 10, at Las Vegas (OAK) 15
Round Rock: 14 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 20 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 32-35, 3 GB

SP AJ Alexy: 2.2 IP, 8 H (3 HR), 7 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 70 P / 47 S, 7.19 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.77 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-5, 2B, .303/.318/.446
C Yohel Pozo: 3-5, 2 2B, HR (5), .349/.390/.537
LF Josh Sale: 2-4, BB
SS Frainyer Chavez: 2-4, 3B, .211/.211/.316

AJ Alexy avoided a walk for the first time in just over a year and 28 appearances. He also gave up a slew of hard-hit balls in an unfriendly environment. Alexy has made four of his 12 starts at Salt Lake, Reno, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. In those games, opponents are slugging .689 with eight homers. At home and pitcher-friendly Sugar Land,  the opposing slugging percentage is .419.

Confession: One of my first impressions on Round Rock’s opening night was “Pozo’s… uhhh… big.” That and a slow April (.241/.279/.328) had me wondering about the carry-over from his outstanding 2021. Since that slow start, Yohel Pozo is hitting .421/.461/.663. His average exit velocity (a dubious stat but informative here) was 86 MPH in April and 90 in May and June. He doesn’t exceed 100 often, but if you want hits in the 97-99 range, he’s your man. Pozo struck out 13 times in his first 14 games. Since then, six strikeouts in 24 games, a ridiculous 5.7% rate. All that said, I don’t know where you’d put him in Texas. His 21 games as a Ranger last year were lukewarm (.284/.312/.378), he’s more a DH / 3rd catcher, Texas has a perma-DH until further notice in the form of Mitch Garver, and Sam Huff is doing fine.

Round Rock scored 21 runs in the three-game series and lost two. Vegas!

AA: Frisco 10, at Amarillo (ARI) 11 (5)
Frisco: 12 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Record: 28-26, tied for first

SP Zak Kent: 4 IP, 10 H (2 HR), 9 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 78 P / 54 S, 6.69 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 2-2, HR (4), BB, .300/.409/.545
LF Dustin Harris: 1-2, 2B, BB, HBP, SB (11), .251/.343/.462
1B Blaine Crim: 1-2, HR (11), .295/.362/.532
SS Jax Biggers: 2-3, 2 SB (2), .320/.414/.360

The teams plated two or more runs in every half-inning save Frisco’s top of the 5th. The starters combined for 19 runs and 20 hits in seven innings, but neither took the “L.”

Justin Foscue is a .283/.384/.575 professional hitter. The bat has performed as hoped. He doesn’t have to be placed on the 40 until the end of 2023, although I’d hope his bat force the issue before then. Foscue lacks the versatility of a Smith or Duran, so finding a role in Texas will be trickier. He’s never played any outfield, and I don’t know how well that would play out. 1B might make the most sense. This all assumes he stays in Texas. Not everybody will.

High-A: Hickory 7, at Bowling Green (TAM) 3
Hickory: 10 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 32-22, 0.5 GB

SP Ben Anderson: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 80 P / 49 S, 3.51 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2.57 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 2B, HBP, .293/.411/.600
CF Evan Carter: 2-5, .266/.342/.428
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-5, 2B, .284/.330/.437

A four-run 6th featuring a two-run single from Cody Freeman put the Crawdads on top for good. Bowling Green lost a game at Wilmington, so (barring future rainouts) the teams can’t finish the first half in a tie.

2019 13th-rounder Ben Anderson has avoided the homers that have plagued many Hickory starters this year and last. He’s surrendered only two, and opponents are slugging a modest .322.

Luisangel Acuna’s batting average has dipped below .300 but he’s still slugging .600. Who am I to argue.

Low-A: Down East 1, at Kannapolis (CHW) 0
Down East: 6 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 26-28, 4 GB

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 90 P / 62 S, 3.55 ERA
RP Teodoro Ortega: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 5.54 ERA
RP Josh Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 3-4, .253/.316/.351

In the 9th, Down East broke a stretch of 26 non-extra innings without a run. Alejandro Osuna led off the 9th with a single, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a Daniel Mateo single. Down East has scored three runs in three days and won twice. Since getting knocked around in his first two starts, Robby Ahlstrom has a sub-2.00 ERA in 32 innings.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Arihara
AA: Weems
Hi-A: Krauth

Five Years Ago Yesterday
2B Drew Robinson’s mid-game ejection fostered a mess for the undermanned Express. C/1B Brett Nicholas played third for the first time since college, Will Middlebrooks switched to 2B for the only the third time in his career, and lefty swingman Jimmy Reyes pinch-hit later when Round Rock forsook its DH. Not only did the newly versatile Nicholas get to engage in some tongue-in-cheek bragging  —

— but he would draw two starts at the position in July.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 7 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 9, at Las Vegas (OAK) 6
Round Rock: 12 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 32-23, 1 GB

SP Cole Winn: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 52 P / 25 S, 5.44 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 5.73 ERA
RP Jake Latz: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 5.19 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.50 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-5, HR (7), .282/.317/.479
LF Bubba Thompson: 1-4, 2B, BB, .306/.323/.452
C Yohel Pozo: 2-4, 2 2B, BB, .340/.383/.500
3B Diosbel Arias: 2-3, HR (1), BB, .412/.474/.765

Extra days off were of no help to Cole Winn, who walked three of 13 hitters including one with the bases loaded. Winn retired the first two batters of the 3rd on just four pitches, but apparently a 30-pitch 2nd and sub-50% strike rate called for a quick hook. As ever, Winn’s velocity was fine. He missed up with the fastball and down/away with the change and curve. He is, at least, not missing in ways leading to hard hits; opponents are batting .255 and slugging .349 during this stretch.

Bubba Thompson drew his third walk.

Balls hit at 102 MPH and a 20-degree angle are gimme doubles but cleared the fence only 5% of the time in MLB during 2019-2021, so be glad you were in Vegas last night, Mr. Taveras.

In his third rehab outing, Jonathan Hernandez found his slider control, although he did have a couple of them shipped the other direction pretty hard.

AA: Frisco 4, at Amarillo (ARI) 7
Frisco: 11 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 27-25, 1 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 5 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 7 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 94 P / 55 S, 5.90 ERA
RP Tim Brennan: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.79 ERA
3B Trey Hair: 2-3, 2B, HR (7), 2 BB, .240/.301/.479
DH Kellen Strahm: 2-3, 2B, BB, .229/.384/.295
2B Jax Biggers: 2-3, BB, .273/.385/.318

Another bunched-up collection of hits and walks for Jack Leiter, including the 2nd and 3rd homers allowed as a professional. 609 minor league pitchers have thrown at least 30 innings. Leiter’s strand rate of 52% is 12th worst. That is not to say he’d have a sub-3.00 ERA with an ordinary distribution of baserunners. Obviously, we want better from him, but I’m not worried about his ability to shrug off poor outings.

Frisco had more baserunners but stranded 11 and lost more on double plays.

High-A: Hickory 0, at Bowling Green (TAM) 6
Hickory: 6 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 1 walk, 14 strikeouts
Record: 30-22, 2.5 GB

SP TK Roby: 5.2 IP, 4 H (3 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 10 SO, 97 P / 62 S, 6.02 ERA
SS Chris Seise: 2-3, .255/.306/.416

Hickory entered down 1.5 games to Bowling Green with 15 to play in the first half, but their first of six battles was a dud. The Crawdads’ league-best offense went down on nine pitches in the top of the 1st, and TK Roby gave up solo homers to three of his first seven opponents. Singles by Cristian Inoa and Chris Seise to begin the 5th were in vain.

Roby did reach double-digit strikeouts for the first time as a pro and didn’t issue a walk.

Low-A: Down East 0, at Kannapolis (CHW) 6
Down East: 4 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 24-28, 4.5 GB

SP Gavin Collyer: 7 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 86 P / 61 S, 4.02 ERA

Down East generated more opportunities than Hickory but couldn’t convert. Catcher Ian Moller (0-3, BB) stole two bases, giving him six without a negative result in 14 games. On the flip side, Moller has thrown out nine of 21 runners (43%). No other Wood Duck exceeds 23%.

Rookie: Rangers 11, Dodgers 10
Rangers: 11 hits, 9 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeoutsSP Aidan Curry: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Kai Wynward: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 13.50 ERA
RP Michael Alfonso: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Alberto Mota: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Andres Mesa: 2-5, 2B, BB, SB (1)
CF Yeison Morrobel: 2-6
C Jesus Moreno: 3-5, 2B, SB (1)
SS Danyer Cueva: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB

Rookie: Rangers 4, Dodgers 2
Rangers: 10 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 2-0

SP Ivan Oviedo: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2.25 ERA
RP Joseph Montalvo: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Evan Elliott: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 9.00 ERA
CF Jojo Blackmon: 3-3, BB, 2 SB (2)
LF Yeison Morobel: 1-3, BB
C Liam Hicks: 2-3, 3B, BB
DH Zion Bannister: 3-4, BB

The rookies took two from the Dodgers to begin the rookie season. The season began in classic rookie fashion, as 2B Andres Mesa reached second on an error, advanced to third on a balk, and then was thrown out trying to score on a caught fly. Texas also once led 10-0. Games can be sloppy at times, the Rangers are splitting time amongst 38 youngsters, and MiLB.com makes getting info on this level a chore, part of why I’ve chosen non-daily coverage.

18-year-old OF Yeison Morrobel, Texas’s top 2020-2021 signing, started both games and collected three singles and a walk. Baseball America ranked him Texas’s #16 prospect, lauding his batting eye and contact skills. Signed at the same time, SS Danyer Cueva also has played twice. BA ranked him #27 in the Texas system.

19-year-old Jojo Blackmon was Texas’s 11th-rounder last summer. He swiped two bases in the second game and is on tap for many more. 9th-rounder Liam Hicks (23, Arkansas State) manned 1B in the opener and caught last night.

OF Zion Bannister was a 2019 international signing of some regard. His 2021 in Arizona wasn’t great (.227/.317/.320), but I thought he might draw an April assignment to low-A since he’s been around a while. Perhaps later this year.

Now 19, righty Aidan Curry signed after going unclaimed in 2020’s five-round draft. 2021 17th-rounder Michael Alfonso, 19 years old out of Key West, made his pro debut. 15th-round righty Evan Elliott fanned seven in three 2021 innings. 19-year-old Dominican Ivan Oviedo fanned 72 in 62.1 innings in last summer’s DSL.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Not much happened. Ten years ago, I saw Wil Myers hit a grand slam off Roy Oswalt in Round Rock. My link to the story no longer works, but I remember Oswalt complaining mildly about AAA hitters jumping on his first-pitch fastballs. “Welcome to every rehab/warmup start ever,” I said.