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.
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.