Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 30 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 10, Sacramento (SFO) 7
Round Rock: 10 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 8 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 53-45, 5 GB

SP Kolby Allard: 4.2 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 87 P / 50 S, 3.99 ERA
RF Bubba Thompson: 3-5, HR (13), .301/.353/.470
LF JP Martinez: 1-2, HR (3), 2 BB, .316/.480/.842
3B Andy Ibanez: 3-5, 2B, .261/.313/.420
C Matt Whatley: 2-4, HR (1), .278/.409/.500

Bubba Thompson will finish July with the most doubles (4, to date), homers (5), and walks (11) of any month. As to whether that translate to a promotion… I don’t know. I feel room on the active roster is available, and a 40 spot could be cleared with a trade. Thompson’s having a fine year, albeit with some concerns that I’ll discuss later.

JP Martinez seems to have acclimated to Round Rock successfully.

AA: Frisco 4, at Springfield (STL) 1
Frisco: 7 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 14-12, 4 GB, 50-44 overall

SP Jack Leiter: 5.2 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 80 P / 50 S, 5.80 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, HR (11), BB, .318/.364/.457
2B Justin Foscue: 2-5, 2B, .274/.361/.433

Jack Leiter was better, and for three innings he was ideal statistically, needing just 28 pitches to retire nine straight, two on strikeouts. The 4th presented the first troubles, as Leiter worked around two walks. Julio Rodriguez (not that one) hit a solo homer in the 5th, and another walk and the only other hit ended his night in the 6th.

Texas’s top two 2021 picks are teammates, as the Rangers promoted OF Aaron Zavala to Frisco. In his first AA action, Zavala predictably walked twice in four trips to the plate. At Hickory, he batted .278/.424/.441 with a league-leading 68 walks.

High-A: Hickory 4, Rome (ATL) 5 (11)
Hickory: 7 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 13-16, 6 GB, 50-44 overall

SP Ricky Vanasco: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 76 P / 45 S, 5.16 ERA
RP John Matthews: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 4.58 ERA
RF Evan Carter: 2-5, 3B, .268/.366/.465
CF Jayce Easley: 2-4, 2B, BB, SB (12), .241/.364/.371

Rome inched to victory with single runs in the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th. Ricky Vanasco missed plenty of bats but had four three-ball counts in addition to the two walks.

Evan Carter’s nine triples lead the organization and rank fourth across the full-season minors.

Low-A: Down East 7, at Charleston (TAM) 8 (10)
Down East: 11 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 14-14, 6.5 GB, 47-46 overall

SP Josh Stephan: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 87 P / 59 S, 3.47 ERA
2B Maximo Acosta: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 SB (27), .276/.354/.385
RF Daniel Mateo: 2-5, 3 SB (35), .279/.322/.417
SS Cam Cauley: 1-4, BB, 2 SB (24), .195/.286/.272
C Liam Hicks: 1-5, HR (1), .257/.413/.400

Attempting to close the 9th with a 7-3 lead, the usually reliable Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa allowed four runs on five hits, three for extra bases. Another double in the 10th ended the game.

Down East stole eight bases.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Weems
Hi-A: Ahlstrom

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 29 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, Sacramento (SFO) 3
Round Rock: 6 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 52-45, 6 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 6 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 88 P / 50 S, 3.32 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-3, HR (2), BB, SB (4), .294/.429/.706
3B Andy Ibanez: 1-3, 2B, BB, .248/.303/.406

Runs allowed in Ragans’ AAA starts: 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 7. Not in that order.

Yerry Rodriguez was pulled after just three batters (including two outs) and 17 pitches in the 7th. That worried me, but then I noticed he’d thrown 36 pitches two days ago. That intrigued me. He’s thrown on one day of rest three previous times, never dealing more than 28 in the opening game of each group and never more than 41 combined. As I tweeted last night, this isn’t akin to back-to-back outings (sometimes a tell that promotion is imminent), and it could well be nothing, but… it caught my eye. Rodriguez is on the 40-man roster and yearns for his MLB debut. My thought is the Rangers would want some clarity on his outlook heading into 2023, as 40-man spots are so precious, and the club has many tough decisions in the offing.

AA: Frisco 6, at Springfield (STL) 12
Frisco: 5 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 19 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 13-12, 5 GB, 49-45 overall

SP Tim Brennan: 3.1 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 74 P / 49 S, 3.77 ERA
RP Josh Smith: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 345.00 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, HR (10), .316/.361/.448
DH Trey Hair: 2-4, 2 HR (17), .238/.294/.524

Justin Slaten allowed two homers and five runs in 1.2 innings. Since a three-week IL stint, he’s surrendered 13 runs in five innings and has more walks than strikeouts. The 2019 3rd-rounder is among a host of potential 40 candidates come November.

Trey Hair homered twice and pitched the 9th. Who needs Ohtani?

High-A: Hickory 3, Rome (ATL) 5
Hickory: 6 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-15, 5 GB, 51-43 overall

SP TK Roby: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 80 P / 59 S, 5.17 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
DH Luisangel Acuna: 1-3, BB, SB (27), .321/.419/.495
2B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, 2B, .267/.320/.353

TK Roby was fine, As was Theo McDowell, but Destin Dotson (1.2 IP) allowed three runs for the first time in 22 appearances as a Crawdad. Thomas Saggese and Aaron Zavala couldn’t extended hit streak of nine and eight games, respectively.

Low-A: Down East 2, at Charleston (TAM) 8
Down East: 4 hits, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 14-13, 5.5 GB, 47-46 overall

SP Gavin Collyer: 2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 54 P / 35 S, 4.34 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 8.56 ERA
LF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, 3B, .277/.320/.418

Daniel Mateo tripled last night and has 32 steals, but he’s also sitting there with more homers (9) than doubles (7) like he’s Rob Deer or something.

Regularly a starter in the DSL, Juan Mejia threw four innings for the first time in 52 US appearances.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Allard
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: Vanasco

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans suffered his worst pro outing to date, allowing six runs in 3.1 innings. Ten years ago yesterday, a healthy Kyle Hendricks was skipped in the Myrtle Beach rotation.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 28 July

Josh Jung was 1-3 in his 2022 debut with the rookies. Fellow rehabber Davis Wendzel drew a walk in three plate appearances.

If you’ve got an Athletic subscription, please check out Jamey Newberg’s piece on how a Texas acquisition of Juan Soto might be negotiated, and Lindsey Adler’s perceptive story on Joey Gallo’s struggles in New York. Texas has officially signed its top 12 picks plus 14th-round RHP Andrew Owen and 18th-round lefty Justin Sanchez.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, Sacramento (SFO) 6
Round Rock: 10 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Record: 51-45, 6 GB

SP Kohei Arihara: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 78 P / 53 S, 5.31 ERA
LF Bubba Thompson: 2-4, 2B, HBP, SB (47), .297/.351/.462
CF JP Martinez: 2-4, BB, 2 SB (3), .286/.412/.571
C Sam Huff: 2-3, HR (14), HBP, .274/.354/.575
1B Josh Sale: 1-1, HR (8), .273/.371/.512

Down 6-4 in the 8th, Josh Sale clubbed a pinch-hit two-run homer. Steele Walker singled in Bubba Thompson in the 9th.

Sale has a homer per 17.5 plate appearances, approximate to Anthony Rendon, Cal Raleigh, Jose Altuve, Corey Seager. He’s had a good year and was a clever signing. Good enough for MLB? Tough to say. Sale has a 28% strikeout rate, not awful by modern standards but certainly elevated and indicative of what to expect at a higher level. Sale is selective at the plate, but his 35% miss rate when he swings is the highest on the team.

AA: Frisco 4, at Springfield (STL) 9
Frisco: 10 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 13-11, 5 GB, 49-44 overall

SP Zak Kent: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 86 P / 48 S, 4.92 ERA
1B Dustin Harris: 2-4, 2 HR (17), .266/.357/.490
2B Jax Biggers: 2-4, 2 2B, .287/.353/.369

With a wild weekend, Dustin Harris could become a 20/20 hitter by the end of the month. Notably, he’s started five of his last eight games in the field at 1B. Prior to that, he’d made just one appearance there.

Springfield SS Masyn Winn, who could be a National if the Cards land Soto, had a homer and double.

High-A: Hickory 6, Rome (ATL) 1
Hickory: 10 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 12-15, 4 GB, 50-43 overall

SP Mason Englert: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 95 P / 61 S, 4.12 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.55 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 3-4, 2B, BB, SB (26), .321/.418/.497
1B Cristian Inoa: 2-3, HR (8), .298/.360/.463

Mason Englert held the opponent scoreless for the second time this season. He’d pitched only one inning last time out, presumably a workload decision.

Luisangel Acuna missed a few games over the past week-plus, but he has a hit in all of his 13 July games and 19 total for a .388/.464/.490 line.

Low-A: Down East 1, at Charleston (TAM) 3
Down East: 2 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 14-12, 4.5 GB, 47-45 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 55 P / 37 S, 3.39 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 6.12 ERA

Jose Corniell extended his season-long trend of being either really good or really something else. Corniell has nine scoreless outings, five with at least four runs allowed, and just two in between.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Ragans
AA: Brennan
Hi-A: Roby

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Uh oh. “The [rookie league] Rangers played their first extra-inning game, meaning the first time to test MLB’s awful new rule in which a runner is placed at second base before the inning begins. The Rangers barely avoided trouble in the top half, letting the runner reach third on a pickoff error during the leadoff plate appearance. But Israel Cruz struck out the next two followed by an inning-ending grounder. In the bottom half, Kevin Mendoza singled home gift-runner Ryan Dorow with one out.”

Once I saw the rule in person, I had a change of heart. In the minors, the outcomes aren’t as important, the emotional investment isn’t as strong, and many extra-inning minor league games were already “faux baseball” because managers were increasingly inclined to employ position players on the mound rather than potentially wear out relievers or disturb the upcoming rotation.

That’s the minors. In the Majors, the rule is grotesque. I’d genuinely rather have games end in a tie after 11-12 innings.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 27 July

Sean Bass of The Ticket, Michael Tepid of Lone Star Ball and I have a new edition of Diamond Pod. Link in signature.

I omitted a critical piece of news yesterday. RHP Owen White has been IL’ed with right forearm fatigue. The stated expectation is 7-10 days of rest, as was the case with Jack Leiter earlier this month, but you’re forgiven for feeling nervous.

Texas released righty Jason Bahr from Round Rock. Acquired along with OF Austin Jackson and RHP Cory Gearrin in 2018 for cash, Bahr was the unlikely centerpiece despite being listed third. The Rangers essentially accepted about two thirds of Jackson’s two-year, $6 million contract for Bahr and a decent reliever. Bahr didn’t develop as hoped. Pre-covid, he was a back-of-the-rotation candidate, but during 2021-2022 he missed several chunks of time in Round Rock, and opponents were reaching against him at over a .400 rate. As you might recall, Texas DFA’ed and then released Jackson immediately, and incidentally, Jackson’s departure from the Giants freed more playing time for one Steven Dugger, now with the Rangers in AAA.

Texas announced the signing of 4th-round righty Brock Porter.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Sacramento (SFO) 10
Round Rock: 10 hits, 12 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 7 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 50-45, 7 GB

SP Tyson Miller: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 78 P / 54 S, 4.79 ERA
RF Josh Sale: 2-4, .267/.367/.483
2B Dio Arias: 2-4, BB, .313/.385/.466
SS Ryan Dorow: 1-4, HR (3), BB, .232/.321/.338
C Matt Whatley: 1-2, 2B, 3 BB, .214/.389/.286

Round Rock lost an early 8-0 lead. Following Tyson Miller’s strong start, Sacramento chipped away at the lead with increasing ferocity. Spencer Patton (1 IP, 1 R), Hever Bueno (0.2 IP, 3 R), John King (0.2 IP, 5 R), and Yerry Rodriguez (1.2 IP, 1 R) were the victims. Bueno looks like a Major Leaguer sometimes, but his down periods flout the norms of polite society. In June and July, Bueno has a .339/.460/.814 oppo line and 13.81 ERA.

Dorow can man short and hit well enough last year to reach the Majors briefly as a covid replacement. He hasn’t been able to build on that success, but his current line sells him short. He’s hitting only .264 when he doesn’t strike out, and I think some of that is bad luck.

AA: Frisco 5, at Springfield (STL) 2
Frisco: 5 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 13-10, 4 GB, 49-43 overall

SP Seth Nordlin: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 46 P / 35 S, 2.89 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.33 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 5.63 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 1-4, HR (5), .274/.360/.426
CF Josh Stowers: 2-3, 2B, HR (6), .226/.268/.322

On the podcast, we talked about Justin Foscue having four homers in nearly four months of play. Now, he’s at five. Unlike say Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran, Foscue isn’t going to play the left side of the infield or bolster his WAR with defensive highlights. Texas doesn’t have to worry about 40-man eligibility until November 2023, but it would be nice to see some progress down the stretch.

High-A: Hickory 14, Rome (ATL) 6
Hickory: 15 hits, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 11-15, 5 GB, 49-43 overall

SP Larson Kindreich: 2 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 R, 5 BB, 3 SO, 67 P / 30 S, 3.60 ERA
RP Leury Tejada: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.75 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, BB, SB (25), .312/.409/.487
3B Thomas Saggese: 3-5, 2B, .320/.368/.516
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, HR (12), BB, .227/.382/.424
1B Cristian Inoa: 4-5, .293/.354/.448

Hickory has taken the first two of six against the division leader. Larson Kindreich has been a mess since the no-hitter, to be frank, retiring only 14 of 31 hitters and allowing three homers in his last two starts. It’s a long season.

I said I wanted Trevor Hauver to “turn on the jets” in these final weeks, and he immediately rewarded me with a grand slam.

Thomas Saggese is batting .526/.550/1.026 with ten extra-base hits and two strikeouts in his last nine games. If you ever run into him, you’ll have the reaction people did to Dalton in Road House — “I thought you’d be bigger” — but don’t say that out loud, it’s rude. He’s Joe Average physically, 5’10” and 175, more or less, but he’s not an average hitter.

Low-A: Down East 10, at Charleston (TAM) 3
Down East: 11 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 14-11, 3.5 GB, 47-44 overall

SP Winston Santos: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 71 P / 48 S, 3.87 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.79 ERA
2B Maximo Acosta: 3-5, 2B, .274/.355/.380
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, 2 SB (32), .274/.318/.409
DH Alejandro Osuna: 1-4, BB, SB (32), .311/.396/.456
3B Miguel Villarroel: 3-4, SB (1), .421/.476/.474

Down East reversed the previous night’s drubbing. Maximo Acosta is hitting .300/.373/.410 since a chilly April.

Another five steals brought the team total to 217, 27 more than any other low-A squad. Down East’s success rate is 75%, slightly below the league rate of 79%.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Arihara
AA: Kent
Hi-A: Englert

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down East defeated Houston-affiliated Buies Creek 5-2 in the first of a three-game set to improve to 40-63 overall and 15-18 in the second half, eight games behind the 23-11 Astros. That seemingly nondescript win commenced an extremely unlikely romp to the Carolina League title. Down East would win 23 of 37 down the stretch including eight of ten against the Astros to eke out a second-half division title. An impending hurricane shortened the four-team playoff to two best-of-three sets to determine co-champions. Down East swept Myrtle Beach to claim the title.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 26 July

Texas’s .179 winning percentage in one-run games is the worst in MLB since 1886 and worst in the divisional era by a wide margin.

Almost always, a bad one-run record simply punctuates a bad team. Arizona last year. Recent Baltimore entries. Several Kansas City squads during their long fallow period before the mid-2010s resurgence. Texas is an almost unprecedented anomaly. The Rangers are 38-30 with a +23 run differential in games decided by two or more runs. In the divisional era, I found only two teams with sub-.333 one-run records that had winning records in other games: the 2008 Braves (11-30 in one-run games, 61-60 in others) and 1973 Twins (12-27 in one-run games, 69-54 in others). The best one-run record? The 2016 Texas Rangers at 36-11, and 95-67 overall despite outscoring their opponents by only eight runs.

The good news is there’s no reason for this to continue. The expectation should be that the Rangers’ one-run record will roughly coincide with their overall performance. At their current pace, the Rangers will have 19 more one-run games this season. If so, 8-9 wins is more likely than 3-4. Not guaranteed, but more likely.

Whatever you think of Chris Woodward in general, this particular predicament isn’t his fault. Entering 2022, the Woodward-helmed Rangers were 50-48 in one-run games, amazing given their overall performance. The Banister-led Rangers, so adept at winning one-run games in 2016, fell to 13-24 the following season. Crazy how Banister lost his aptitude at managing close games so suddenly.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, Sacramento (SFO) 5
Round Rock: 6 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 50-44, 6 GB

SP Cole Winn: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 72 P / 39 S, 6.11 ERA
DH Josh Sale: 2-4, 2B, .259/.358/.474

Appearing for the first time in 16 days, Cole Winn didn’t improve much from what I called a “low point.” The defense cost him a run and an extra nine pitches in the 1st, but on the whole, his control and command were lacking, again.

As I’ve mentioned, velocity is not the issue, and I double-checked that last night. During his strong April, his heater averaged 93.2 MPH with a 2,220 spin rate. Since then, those figures are 93.3 and 2,260, both very slightly faster. His horizontal break has declined from 6.6 to 6.4 inches, which I wouldn’t think is enough to cause trouble. Speed and movement aren’t the issue. Location is. His fastball strike rate has fallen from 65% in April to 54% since, with a larger proportional decline in swinging strike rate.

AJ Alexy (2.2 IP, 2 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO) had his moments but surrendered two homers. I will say the stark difference between him and Winn right now is that Alexy is attacking hitters, even if the results are mixed. With Winn, the batter is almost superfluous to the proceedings. Winn’s battle is with the strike zone.

Winn’s silver lining through all this is only five homers all season, and only three batted balls of the velocity and angle that are nearly certain to leave the yard. His opposing slugging percentage since the beginning of May is .405, very good relative to the league.

IF Davis Wendzel is on rehab assignment in Arizona.

AA: Frisco 10, at Springfield (STL) 6
Frisco: 15 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 12-10, 4 GB, 48-43 overall

SP Cody Bradford: 4.1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 5 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 83 P / 49 S, 6.19 ERA
1B Dustin Harris: 4-5, HR (15), SB (18), .266/.355/.475
DH Blaine Crim: 2-3, 2 BB, .272/.339/.450
RF Kellen Strahm: 2-5, 2 2B, .283/.414/.407
CF Josh Stowers: 3-5, 2B, HR (5), .220/.318/.341

Frisco hadn’t visited Springfield since August 2019. I saw a game in that series while conducting business in the the northeast corner of Oklahoma. Feels longer than three years, what with the events of the world.

Dustin Harris is five homers and two steals from joining Jared Hoying in the back-to-back 20/20 club.

Only one of Cody Bradford’s three walks scored, but those plate appearances chewed up 20 of his allotted pitches.

High-A: Hickory 7, Rome (ATL) 3
Hickory: 11 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 11-14, 6 GB, 49-42 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 76 P / 49 S, 5.97 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.73 ERA
RP Kelvin Gonzalez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.25 ERA
DH Thomas Saggese: 2-4, HR (11), .315/.364/.511
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-4, HR (11), .226/.382/.413
1B Cristian Inoa: 2-4, 2B, HR (7), .282/.346/.440
SS Chris Seise: 2-3, BB, SB (2), .251/.309/.391

11 homers for Thomas Saggese and Trevor Hauver. The former is having a monster July (.383/.422/.733). I would love to see the latter turn on the jets during these last seven weeks. Because of the 2020, we still need to be graceful in judging hitters to be “old” for their level, but the fact is Hauver is among Hickory’s oldest hitters and a very bat-oriented prospect.

Texas released righty Tyree Thompson, picked in 2016’s 26th round. He had a 6.88 ERA in 17.2 innings at Hickory. Prior years were better and occasionally promising, but control and/or long balls were persistent issues. Thompson would have become a free agent after the season.

Low-A: Down East 2, at Charleston (TAM) 10
Down East: 5 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 13-11, 5 GB, 46-44 overall

SP Mitch Bratt: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 55 P / 30 S, 2.24 ERA

I think we’re good on this one.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Miller
Hi-A: Kindreich

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Hmm. I don’t have a report for 7/27/17. The day before, I listed Baseball America’s updated top-ten list: Taveras, Guzman, Bubba Thompson, Mendez, Ragans, Jurado, Miguel Aparicio, Crouse, Josh Morgan, Palumbo. Out of the preseason top ten were Ibanez, Alex Speas, and Brett Martin.

Rangers Farm Report (Off-Day)

Per the Rangers themselves, top pick Kumar Rocker has signed.

As you’ve probably heard, Texas signed lefty Dallas Keuchel to a minor league deal and assigned him to Round Rock. On the whole, Keuchel has been formidably dire for the White Sox and Snakes, but there’s a handful of respectable outings mixed in with the five disaster starts (more runs than innings). To the extent he might provide replacement-level output down the stretch and alleviate the constant scrounging for starter innings, he’s worth a shot, I suppose, especially if Martin Perez is traded.

Toronto released lefty Derek Holland from AAA Buffalo. He’d posted a 5.53 ERA in 27.2 innings. Sad to say, Holland hasn’t pitched well since 2018 with the Giants, inclusive of various minor league stints, and this could be the end. If so, he finishes with a 4.35 ERA in 1,466 MLB innings and the best World Series start in Texas’s history. The gap between my first mention of him (simply listed on short-A Spokane’s roster as a draft-and-follow sign) and his MLB debut was only 22 months. Not bad for the 748th pick of the 2006 draft. Seeing him and Neftali Feliz pitch on consecutive days for Frisco in 2008 was a career highlight. (For me, not them.)

Texas released 1B/OF Jake Guenther, part of the Nate Lowe trade. The 25-year-old TCU alum batted .181/.279/.333 in 36 games for high-A Hickory.

Rookie Recap: Games of 19-23 July
Scores: 5-3 (SDG), 10-6 (LAD), 6-5 (KAN)
Record: 26-7, 9 G up

RHP Ivan Oviedo (19): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 SO, 4.21 ERA
RHP Eury Rosado (21): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 4 SO, 6.16 ERA
RHP Aidan Curry (20): 3.0 IP, 2 H,1 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.33 ERA
LHP Brayan Mendoza (18): 2.0 IP 1 H, 4 SO, 1.80 ERA
RHP Dane Acker (23): 1.2 IP, 3 H (HR), 3 R, 3 SO, 2.45 ERA

OF Anthony Gutierrez (17): 6-13, 3B, SB (2), .345/.355/.586
IF Gleider Figuereo (18): 4-9, 3B, HR (6), 2 BB, .304/.418/.709
IF Andres Mesa (19): 5-12, 2B, BB, SB (9), .287/.339/.417
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 6-11, 2B, BB, HBP, .369/.425/.505
OF JoJo Blackmon (19): 2-9, 2B, 3B, SB (11), .269/.404/.538

The Rangers extended their winning streak to 16 on Saturday, definitely the longest in team history and quite possibly the longest by any Texas-affiliated squad. (I haven’t checked, but it stands to reason.) That streak ended with a 4-0 loss to the Dodgers last night, but the figures above are for last week’s games.

On the hitting side, all the youngsters I’ve mentioned previously were vital to the team’s continued amazing success. In Baseball America’s updated rankings, Gutierrez is listed 14th followed by Figuereo at 16 and Cueva 18th.

The staff is larded with rehabbers at present. Dane Dunning whiffed nine and allowed a run in five innings Saturday. Following him was Kyle Cody, who allowed a run in an inning. Cody was drafted back in 2016, so I believe he can walk at season’s end unless protected on the 40 or signed to a new minor deal. Next, James Jones fanned the side. Earlier in the week, Dane Acker had some trouble with the baby Dodgers, but I wouldn’t worry about anything statistically in a rehab outing other than perhaps control, which in this case was fine. My semi-educated guess is the Rangers have never had two Danes on the same roster. 

18-year-old Brayan Mendoza, successful if walk-prone in the DSL, followed the three more experienced pitchers with a two-inning save.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
Everyone else TBD

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 24 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Las Vegas (OAK) 1
Round Rock: 4 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 50-43, 5 GB

SP Kolby Allard: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 73 P / 45 S, 4.01 ERA
RF Bubba Thompson: 1-3, BB, SB (46), .299/.350/.466

Something I’ve never seen before in the minors, although I’m sure it’s happened previously: With one out, runners on second and third, and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, Las Vegas employed five infielders and two outfielders against Sam Huff. This makes sense, in a way. Huff’s grounder rate is actually slightly above average relative to other PCL hitters, and his flies tend to be deep enough to score a runner from third. If the goal is to maximize the chance of winning (often not the case in the minors, even in AAA), I’d be inclined to just walk Huff to set up a force and take my chances with JP Martinez and Dio Arias, but perhaps Oakland wants its minor leaguers to practice this situation. Regardless, Huff one-hopped the CF wall with a smoked liner to end the game.

Ryder Ryan, Nick Snyder, Spencer Patton, John King, and Josh Sborz threw scoreless innings.

AA: Frisco 0, at Arkansas (SEA) 3
Frisco: 4 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 11-10, 4 GB, 47-43 overall

SP Jack Leiter: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 65 P / 39 S, 6.24 ERA
RP Avery Weems: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 5.32 ERA
C David Garcia: 2-3, .245/.291/.410

Both runs against Leiter scored after he’d departed in the 4th. I watched the first three innings, through which Leiter had a reasonable 51 pitches and one walk, but that paints a prettier picture than what was on display, Per usual, often amazing stuff, highly inconsistent command.

Looking at the most recent nine of Avery Weems’ 18 appearances, he’s cut his recent homer rate nearly in half (although it’s still pretty high), nearly eradicated other extra-base hits, and struck out 30% of his opponents. Texas acquired Weems along with Dane Dunning for Lance Lynn. Now 25, Weems will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if unprotected.

High-A: Hickory 10, at Greensboro (PIT) 9
Hickory: 12 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 6 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 10-14, 7 GB, 48-42 overall

SP Mason Englert: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 11 P / 9 S, 4.44 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.86 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-4, HR (11), BB, .276/.423/.448
CF Evan Carter: 3-4, SB (16), .277/.375/.479
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-6, 2B, .313/.362/.500

The teams averaged 8.7 runs per game during Greensboro’s Tribute To High Desert weekend. Thomas Saggese collected seven hits, four for extra bases, in the three-game set. In roughly the same number of plate appearances as last year’s total, Saggese has 23 more hits but 21 fewer walks. He’s also cut his strikeout rate from 30% to 23%.

Low-A: Down East 3, at Carolina (MIL) 7
Down East: 8 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 13-10, 4.5 GB, 46-43 overall

SP Ryan Garcia: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 58 P / 41 S, 1.57 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, 2B, .204/.299/.289
RF Jose Rodriguez: 2-3, 3B, HBP, .219/.298/.312
1B Abi Ortiz: 2-4, HR (6), .208/.291/.322

Josh Gessner’s relief outing (0.2 IP, 6 R) was peak wildness for a walk-free outing. Gessner hit two batters (one on a 3-0 pitch), had runs score on a balk and wild pitch, and had a batter reach first on a strikeout / wild pitch. After him, Jackson Leath (1.1 IP), Juan Mejia (1 IP), and Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa (1 IP) were scoreless with a strikeout apiece.

Cam Cauley is hitting .273/.347/.500 in his last 11 games.

Today’s Starters

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I mentioned Jurickson Profar’s .282/.462/.410 line in Round Rock since being optioned in early July in the context of trade value. At the time, Texas had 23-year-old Rougned Odor at second, 28-year-old Elvis Andrus at short, and 23-year old Joey Gallo spotting for Adrian Beltre at third among other duties.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 23 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Las Vegas (OAK) 0
Round Rock: 9 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 49-43, 5 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 93 P / 60 S, 3.62 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 12.00 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.38 ERA
3B Andy Ibanez: 2-4, 2B, HR (4), .265/.311/.442
DH Sam Huff: 2-4, .277/.361/.592
2B Dio Arias: 2-3, 2B, .320/.387/.425

Familiarity breeds contempt. In this case, Cole Ragans’ contempt for Las Vegas hitters. Facing the Aviators for the third time in his last five starts, Ragans allowed only two hits and two balls in play over 90 MPH.

One item to watch: Ragans’ fastball velocity averaged a tic lower than usual, although he did maintain that velocity throughout the night. Four of his five hardest pitches occurred in the 6th. Given his injury history, his understandably flagging stamina during 2021, and his closeness to the Majors, he’s within a period of critical outings.

Bubba Thompson (1-4) stole his 45th base, most by any AAA member of the Round Rock Express including their years as a Houston affiliate.

JP Martinez reach on a walk and stole a base in his AAA debut. Even with 2022’s improvement, I think he’s on the outside in terms of 40-man protection — simply too many others ahead of him — but he’s a brighter blip on the radar than last year.

San Francisco released lefty Joe Palumbo earlier this month. He’d failed to retire any of five batters in his final appearance, and his fastball hovered mostly below 90 MPH. He made only three appearances all season, so I assume injuries were a persistent issue. SF’s AAA affiliate, which includes one Willie Shawn Lamont Calhoun, visits the Express on Tuesday.

AA: Frisco 3, at Arkansas (SEA) 1
Frisco: 7 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 11-9, 4 GB, 47-42 overall

SP Tim Brennan: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 67 P / 45 S, 3.43 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.89 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-5, 2B, SB (6), .322/.368/.453

Grant Wolfram, Marc Church and Josh Smith (1 IP) combined to shut down the Travelers after five strong from Tim Brennan. The jump to AA hasn’t fazed Church at all; opponents are hitting .125/.222/.125 with a 39% strikeout rate.

Justin Foscue (1-4) hit his 21st double, most in the organization aside from Ezequiel Duran.

High-A: Hickory 6, at Greensboro (PIT) 7
Hickory: 8 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 9-14, 7 GB, 47-42 overall

SP Ricky Vanasco: 3.1 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 74 P / 44 S, 5.53 ERA
RP John Matthews: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 4.96 ERA
1B Cristian Inoa: 1-4, HR (6), .279/.343/.425
SS Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, .268/.321/.352
C Randy Florentino: 1-4, HR (2), .269/.361/.355

Per witness Ben Spanier of Baseball Prospectus, Ricky Vanasco was dealing heat in the 94-97 range. Results were mixed. After fanning the side in order in the 1st, Vanasco allowed a homer and two walks in the 2nd (in that order, fortunately). In the 4th, two singles and a homer (also in that order) ended his night early.

I hadn’t noticed because he’s playing roughly every third game, but catcher Randy Florentino is enjoying his best offensive stretch since his DSL season of 2018. He’s 268/.368/.429 in June and July. Florentino arrived as a bat-oriented catcher. He’s defended well enough to remain behind the plate, but hitting in the US has been a challenge.

Low-A: Down East 1, at Carolina (MIL) 3
Down East: 9 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 13-9, 3.5 GB, 46-42 overall

SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 66 P / 39 S, 3.73 ERA
RP Kai Wynyard: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 1.93 ERA
DH Marcus Smith: 2-3, HR (5), BB, SB (37), .168/.342/.274
C Liam Hicks: 2-3, BB, .240/.412/.320

A weird day for Josh Stephan: three extra-base hits and two runs in the 1st, three walks in the next four innings but only 66 pitches total in five innings. Kai Wynyard gave up a couple of doubles but frustrated hitters with what appears to be a hard curve.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Allard
AA: Leiter

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Tanner Scheppers was touched for six runs in 1.1 innings at Fresno. He’d be fine after that (3 R, 21 SO in 16 IP), but his scoreless inning at Cleveland in late June would turn out to be his last in the Majors, and in six weeks he’d be done with affiliated ball. Scheppers spent 2018 in Japan and 2019 with indy Long Island.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 22 July

Texas’s MiLB OPS+ leaders entering last night’s action (min. 2 PA per team game):
153 —  Osuna, A (Lo-A): .316/.403/.458
139 —  Acuna, L (Hi-A): .310/.407/.489
137 —  Duran, E (AA/AAA): .310/.354/.579
129 —  Zavala, A (Hi-A): .272/.423/.430
125 —  Galan, Y (Lo-A): .233/.325/.442
123 —  Hernandez, E (AAA): .295/.364/.546
123 —  Carter, E (Hi-A): .267/.366/.474
121 —  Mateo, D (Lo-A): .282/.330/.424
119 —  Saggese, T (Hi-A): .302/.353/.473
117 —  Martinez, J (AA): .268/.382/.449
116 —  Ornelas, J (AA): .323/.370/.459
115 —  Strahm, K (AA): .286/.411/.406
115 —  Hair, T (AA): .245/.306/.529
112 —  Harris, D (AA): .261/.349/.468
111 —  Acosta, M (Lo-A): .264/.352/.362
110 —  Hauver, T (Hi-A): .220/.379/.404
108 —  Crim, B (AA): .274/.340/.462
106 —  Foscue, J (AA): .273/.360/.427
102 —  Inoa, C (Hi-A): .281/.343/.416
OPS+ is adjusted for league and park. For example, Down East plays in a much milder offensive climate than Hickory, which is why Alejandro Osuna has a higher OPS+ than Luisangel Acuna despite a 31-point deficiency in slugging.

I haven’t seen an official announcement on picks, but per Jim Callis of MLB.com, 11th-round lefty Kohl Drake of Walters State is signing with Texas for $175,000, $50,000 of which will count toward the cap. Brett Martin and Chad Bell also attended Walters. Some of Texas’s late picks, particularly 19th-round righty Grayson Saunier, a Mississippi commit, appear to be fallbacks in case Texas doesn’t land Brock Porter.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Las Vegas (OAK) 5
Round Rock: 13 hits, 7 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 48-43, tied for first

SP Kohei Arihara: 4 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 75 P / 45 S, 5.40 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 1-3, HR (12), 2 BB, SB (44), .300/.351/.469
LF Steele Walker: 3-5, HR (7), SB (5), .270/.354/.447
2B Dio Arias: 2-4, 2B, BB, .311/.381/.462

Bubba Thompson and Steele Walker homered in the 1st. Thompson set a personal high in steals some time ago. Four homers would match last year’s 16.

The only promotion in the system over the break was OF JP Martinez’s ascent to AAA from Frisco. He was not in last night’s lineup.

AA: Frisco 3, at Arkansas (SEA) 1
Frisco: 9 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 10-9, 4 GB, 46-42 overall

SP Zak Kent: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 71 P / 46 S, 5.20 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 5.79 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.87 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 1-3, 2B, 3 BB, .261/.355/.470
3B Jax Biggers: 3-5, .301/.363/.378

Dustin Harris walked and scored the tying run in the 8th and doubled in an insurance run in the 11th.

Zak Kent appears to be slowly rebuilding his pitch count after late-June IL stint. Frisco has 33 starts of five or more innings, fewest among Texas’s four full-season squads.

High-A: Hickory 10, at Greensboro (PIT) 12
Hickory: 15 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 9-13, 7 GB, 47-41 overall

SP TK Roby: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 36 P / 23 S, 5.27 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 3-6, HR (10), .277/.424/.442
CF Evan Carter: 3-5, 2B, BB, .273/.372/.480
3B Thomas Saggese: 4-4, 2B, HR (10), BB, SB (8), .313/.365/.496

TK Roby appears to be a man of habit, as the extra days off resulted in his shortest professional outing. Unfortunately, the bullpen’s recent habit of being run-prone has persisted. Leury Tejada, Spencer Mraz, Kelvin Gonzalez and Destin Dotson were all scored upon.

The listed hitters were the top three in the order. Zavala and Saggese joined Trevor Hauver and Cody Freeman with double-digit homers.

Low-A: Down East 12, at Carolina (MIL) 10
Down East: 12 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 15 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 13-8, 2.5 GB, 46-41 overall

SP Gavin Collyer: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 73 P / 48 S, 3.95 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-5, HR (3), .266/.353/.375
RF Marcus Smith: 2-3, 2B, BB, HBP, 2 SB (36), .161/.336/.254
LF Alejandro Osuna: 1-5, HR (8), SB (31), .314/.400/.465
C Ian Moller: 2-3, 2 BB, SB (11), .162/.333/.238

Down East has 209 stolen bases and is on pace to set the modern (1990-present) low-A record, currently owned by the 1991 Beloit Brewers with 313. Last year, the Woodies set a record for most steals per game (2.41) and were third all-time (290) despite playing only 120 games instead of the traditional 140. The low-A circuits are limited to 132 games now.

According to my stats, the Woodies have a 97 OPS+ and are 5% below average in run scoring. Yesterday, they were unstoppable in the first seven innings, putting 21 runners aboard.

Emiliano Teodo pitched a scoreless inning. He’s typically the series’ Day 2 starter.

Gavin Collyer gave up five doubles including three to CF Jackson Chourio, Milwaukee’s top prospect and one of baseball’s best.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Sam Huff hit his sixth homer for the rookies.

Day 2 Draft Roundup

Draft, Day 2
Round 4. RHP Brock Porter (Age 19, 6’4″, 210 pounds, Michigan) — Porter was ranked the 12th-best draft prospect by Baseball America, 11th by MLB.com, and 14th by FanGraphs.com. All had Porter going 11th or 12th overall and as the first or second pitcher off the board. Once he slid past the #11 Mets (who halted catcher Kevin Parada’s slide) and Tigers (Josh’s brother Jace), no one called his name. That very night, Twitter and message boards were rife with the idea of Texas grabbing Porter and luring him with the savings from Kumar Rocker’s presumed under-slot deal. Swell idea, but the Rangers had to wait out another 28 picks. Everyone else passed again, so Porter is a Ranger, pending doctor’s approval and an agreeable bonus.

Conceivably, Texas drafted both the best college and high school pitcher in the draft. An astonishing feat. Porter offers a mid-90s fastball, an uncommonly good changeup (especially for a high schooler), an improved but still work-in-progress slider, and a curve that lags behind the rest. Descriptions of his delivery suggest simultaneous violence and fluidity.

5. SS Chandler Pollard (18, 6’2″, 175, Georgia) — Ranked 112 by BA, 110 by MLB.com. Great speed, good arm, so-so bat, looks skinnier than his listed 175, has a quirky swing wherein the rest of his body hesitates to complete the motion once he plants his front foot.

6. OF Tommy Specht (18, 6’3″, 200, Iowa) — Ranked 229 by BA. Specht turned 18 only three weeks ago but is filled out more like a college player and has a decent all-around tool set with some upside. He attended the same high school as Down East catcher Ian Moller and also left early. Specht played for the Clinton LumberKings, Texas’s bygone low-A affiliate that found a home in the Prospect League after losing affiliated status.

7. RHP Luis Ramirez (21, 6’2″, 200, Long Beach St.) — Ranked 118 BA, 143 by MLB.com. A shoulder problem limited him to seven starts (2.14 ERA, 11 BB, 38 SO in 33.2 IP) and apparently dropped him three or four rounds. Ramirez deals a low-90s sinker, slider and change.

8. RHP Matt Brosky (22, 5’10”, 190, Youngstown St.) — I’ve seen him listed as a senior on MLB’s draft tracker and a junior by his own school. I think he’s a fourth-year junior but don’t quote me. It may be a distinction without a difference, as I assume he’ll be the first of three straight picks Texas will try to sign for a relative pittance to divert pool money to Porter. Keep in mind that anybody offered an under-slot deal actually needs to sign in order for Texas to achieve this goal. The slot money for unsigned players is deducted from the total pool.

9. SS Griffin Cheney (23, 5’11”, 185, Georgia State) — Definitely a fifth-year senior and owner of a gaudy .350/.445/.640 line with 16 homers and 12 steals in 53 games. Cheney also has substantial experience at third and second.

10.  OF Josh Hatcher (23, 6’2″, 200, Kennesaw St.) — Another senior. Hatcher was a teammate of Justin Foscue at Mississippi State and batted .321/.379/.500 as a sophomore in 2019. After a rough 2021, Hatcher transferred to Kennesaw State, where he improved .391/.452/.667 with 15 homers in 64 games in an admittedly easier conference. He played center for Kennesaw State, mostly first and COF for MSU.

Do the Rangers have the money to sign Porter? Texas’s pool is $9,640,700. $5.2 million for Kumar Rocker leaves $4,440,700 for everyone else. Assume picks 8-10 sign for $10,000 each, and picks 5-7 sign for slot. That sums to $6,207,200, leaving $3,433,500 for Porter, roughly equivalent to slot for the draft’s 20th pick. Clubs can also exceed their pool by up to 5% with a 75% tax on the overage. That gives Texas another $482,035 and boosts a potential bonus for Porter up to $3,915,535, or 16th-pick money. Per Levi Weaver of The Athletic, the expected bonus for Weaver is $3.7 million. Voila.

MLB terminated the 2020-2021 rule limiting bonuses for undrafted free agents to $20,000. Those players can now sign for any amount, but anything over $125,000 counts against the pool. As the draft is now 20 rounds instead of 40, a number of players now have some say in choosing their employer and could negotiate a little larger bonus. (Not all 600 who would’ve been drafted in the past, but some.) What a world. Do these players actually make any extra money? The circumstances aren’t identical, but during 2017-2019, Texas paid bonuses exceeding $20,000 to 18 players drafted in Rounds 21-40, topped by pitcher Michael Brewer’s $375,000.

Rookie Recap: Games of 11-16 JulyScores: 11-8 (M’s), 10-4 (White Sox), 5-4 (White Sox), 7-5 (Pads), 6-4 (Royals)
Record: 23-7, 8 G up

RHP Adrian Rodriguez (21): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, BB, 6 SO, 4.15 ERA
RHP Alberto Mota (19): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 6 SO, 0.61 ERA
LHP Josue Rodriguez (19): 2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, HBP, 4 SO, 7.04 ERA
RHP Aidan Curry (20): 4.1 IP, 6 H (HR), 4 R, BB, 6 SO, 3.80 ERA

OF Yeison Morrobel (18): 7-13, 2B, HR (1), 3 BB, .341/.424/.459
IF Gleider Figuereo (18): 6-16, 2 2B, HR (5), BB, SB (6), .286/.402/.671
OF Anthony Gutierrez (17) : 4-16, 2 2B, HR (1), HBP, SB (1), .250/.294/.563
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 5-17, HR (2), .348/.400/.489
OF JoJo Blackmon (19): 2-12, 3B, 4 BB, 3 SB (10), .274/.419/.536

The Rangers have won 13 straight.

Young Anthony Gutierrez is off to a nice start. Down 5-4 in the 6th of a seven-inning game on Friday, Danyer Cueva hit a tying solo homer, and Gutierrez capped the scoring in the 7th with his first homer.

Gleider Figuereo’s .671 slugging percentage leads the league by far, and his 1.073 OPS would also lead if not for 24-year-old Cuba Bess, who plays for Colorado (of course). Figuereo has four doubles, four triples, and five homers in 20 games.