Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 7 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Albuquerque (COL) 5
Round Rock: 7 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 43-38, 5.5 GB

SP Kohei Arihara: 4 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 75 P / 50 S, 5.67 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.50 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 6.48 ERA
RF Steele Walker: 1-4, HR (5), .264/.354/.424
3B Andy Ibanez: 4-4, 2 2B, .250/.329/.397

According to Statcast, 30% of Hever Bueno’s pitches were changeups (season rate: 4%), all three strikeouts came on changes, and no fastball exceeded 93 MPH (season average: 95.3). Okay?

AA: Frisco 1, at San Antonio (SDG) 2
Frisco: 4 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 5-4, 2 GB, 41-37 overall

SP Owen White: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 84 P / 55 S, 1.62 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, 2B, 3B, .262/.353/.469

Owen White was ultimately effective despite some early troubles. San Antonio put two aboard with none out in the 1st and 2nd, and two more with one out in the 3rd, but managed to bring only one home. White retired his last 11 in order, five on strikeouts.

San Antonio walked off victorious on a bases-loaded hit batter by Triston Polley. Polley has walked or hit 13 of 36 batters since promotion to AA. His control during a longer Hickory stint was above average.

High-A: Hickory 3, at Bowling Green (TAM) 4
Hickory: 8 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 5-7, 3 GB, 43-35 overall

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 6 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 85 P / 54 S, 6.05 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 2B, .302/.397/.491
LF Miguel Aparicio: 1-4, HR (1)

Miguel Aparicio homered in his first plate appearance back from rehab. 2022 is his walk year, I believe, unless the Rangers place him on the 40 (highly doubtful) or otherwise entice him into staying if mutually desired. Aparicio has enjoyed sporadic attention as a prospect, but for the most part his performance hasn’t measured up. Last year, I was out of the Aparicio business, to be frank, only to see him display unprecedented power and better patience in high-A (.274/.366/.567, 12 homers in 48 games). His subsequent time in AA went poorly: .179/.195/.256 in 15 games, then injured the final month. As happens with international prospects who show enough promise to hang around, he’s been in the system seemingly forever but is still just 23.

Low-A: suspended

Scoreless in the 3rd.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Hearn
AA: Kent
Hi-A: TBA (Krauth)
Lo-A: TBA (Stephan)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Ricky Vanasco made his pro debut in Arizona, fanning the side around a hit and walk.

To quote myself: “Unless I missed an announcement, the Rangers didn’t sign any other draft picks before yesterday’s deadline.  The top unsigned pick is 21st-round 1B/OF Daniel Robert of Auburn.  Robert is a senior, so he’s not going back to school (not as a ballplayer, at least).  Other unsigned picks, all considered tough signs, were draft-eligible Arkansas sophomore RHP Blaine Knight, high school pitcher Griff McGarry and high school catcher Spencer Smith.”

Robert would sign later. Knight was drafted by Baltimore in the 3rd round the next year, and he’s in AAA now, albeit without much success. Philly picked McGarry in last year’s 5th round. Smith went the juco route and then played for UNC Greensboro as a catcher. He was never redrafted and doesn’t appear to have signed a pro contract anywhere.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 6 July

MLB.com’s updated top-100 prospect list includes six Rangers:
17. Jack Leiter (17 preseason)
31. Josh Jung (29)
57. Ezequiel Duran (83)
62. Justin Foscue (89)
81. Cole Winn (48)
97. Owen White (unranked)

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 13, Albuquerque (COL) 3
Round Rock: 15 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 43-37, 4.5 GB

SP Tyson Miller: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 47 P / 30 S, 4.24 ERA
RP AJ Alexy: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.52 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 5.74 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.76 ERA
SS Ezequiel Duran: 2-5, 2 2B, .235/.289/.500
DH Steele Walker: 2-4, BB, SB (3), .264/.357/.405
RF Josh Sale: 1-3, BB, HBP, .273/.385/.545
2B Dio Arias: 3-4, HR (3), .349/.409/.542

Ezequiel Duran still leads the minors in doubles (27) despite his three-week MLB incursion. Duran’s 30 doubles including MLB might be the second-most in pro ball behind Matt Olson’s 32; I don’t have a combined database of MLB and minor leagues and don’t want to go to the effort right now. Let’s just say he’s second.

Josh Sale has the best ratio of homers to fly balls (35%) in the organization outside of Sam Huff.

The Isotopes swung at ten secondaries from Jonathan Hernandez and missed on six. Three others were fouled, and one went for a single.

AJ Alexy last two outings have come in relief, and he’s yet to issue a walk in five innings covering 20 batters. Last night, he essentially ditched the change, dealing only one (in play, for an out) in 39 pitches. He registered two swinging strikes on both the curve and slider, plus one with a fastball. I’d have to dig deeper to know, but my gut feel isn’t that any particular pitch is letting him down. It’s more an overall control/command situation. That said, some pitchers fare better with a reduced repertoire, even if what they gave up was a functional pitch. 

I can’t remember the particulars, but in a two-week span, the Express infield lost Matt Carpenter, Sherten Apostel, Josh Smith, Davis Wendzel, maybe Ryan Dorow for a little while. Up came Diosbel Arias, batting .180/.293/.320 in Frisco in 2022 and .264/.335/.364 in 251 full-season games, for what I thought would be a temporary stay. Instead, Arias has not only hung around but is having the best stretch of his professional life, even playing more second base than usual versus first or third. There’s some luck in his current line, but even if I remove his “extra” hits on grounders and soft contact, he’s still batting near .300.

AA: off

High-A: Hickory 0, at Bowling Green (TAM) 5
Hickory: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Record: 5-6, 2 GB, 43-34 overall

SP Ricky Vanasco: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 83 P / 58 S, 5.16 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA

After two 1st-inning singles, Ricky Vanasco retired 13 straight, five via strikeout. In the 6th, Vanasco surrendered four singles after an opening walk. Nothing scorched, but they all count the same.  

Low-A: Down East 2, at Fayetteville (HOU) 3
Down East: 5 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 6-5, 3 GB, 39-38 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 74 P / 46 S, 3.42 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 6 SO, 5.70 ERA
DH Alejandro Osuna: 1-5, HR (7), .310/.402/.465
RF Marcus Smith: 2-4, SB (33), .163/.325/.258
2B Cam Cauley: 1-3, BB, 3 SB (19), .180/.287/.207

Down East is middle-of-the-pack in average (.231) and OBP (.345) with runners in scoring position, but what’s been missing are the opportunities: 162 fewer than the average team, 2.1 per game. Last night, they created 11 RISP chances but converted only one.

Marcus Smith continues to be one of baseball’s strangest hitters. Smith has six four-strikeout games, enough to open a sombrero store. He’s reached 31 times on hits and 47 on combined BB/HBP. An unbelievable 66% of his plate appearances haven’t required a fielder (BB. HBP, SO, HR).

Today’s Starters
AAA: Arihara
AA: White
Hi-A: TBD (Robby Ahlstrom’s turn)
Lo-A: TBD (Ryan Garcia’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Baseball America’s updated top-100 prospect list contained one Ranger, OF Leody Taveras.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 5 July

Box Scores

AA: Frisco 10, at San Antonio (SDG) 1
Frisco: 15 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 5-3, 0.5 GB, 41-36 overall

SP Cody Bradford: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 69 P / 52 S, 5.85 ERA
RF Kellen Strahm: 2-4, BB, .273/.399/.372
2B Justin Foscue: 3-5, .283/.374/.455
SS Jax Biggers: 4-5, 2B, .330/.393/.425

Frisco’s 30-inning scoreless streak ended in the 8th. Frisco has thrown three shutouts in five games and allowed four runs in the other two.

The other teams were off.

The powers that be named the first eight players to this summer’s Futures Game. RHP Jack Leiter is among them.

OF Miguel Aparicio was assigned to high-A Hickory. He’d been injured and rehabbing in Arizona. I have no idea who holds the record for most games played for the Crawdads. Pedro Gonzalez played in 301. Aparicio’s next will be his 267th. (Gonzalez, incidentally, joined indy Quebec over the winter but was released three days ago.)

He’s not listed on the transaction wire, but 2016 2nd-round righty Alex Speas is the new head coach of Combine Academy. Speas hadn’t pitched in 2022 and was on the restricted list. He apparently concludes his pro career with a 5.07 ERA, 81 walks and 137 strikeouts in 87 innings. Speas drew the most attention during a year when he didn’t take the field, as reports of triple-digit velocity and semblance of control in side sessions raised the possibility of an MLB debut in 2020 while the minors were shut down. That didn’t come to pass, and in 2021 staggeringly poor control even by his standards (one of every three batters walked or hit) dimmed his star. Speas would have become a free agent after this season.

Righty James Jones threw a rehab inning in Arizona. The 33-year-old joined the Rangers along with 3B Bill McNulty in 1972 for lefty Paul Lindblad. Okay, not really, but he’s been around a while.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Tyson Miller
AA: off
Hi-A: TBD (Ricky Vanaco’s turn)
Lo-A: TBD (Emiliano Teodo’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas promoted SS Yeyson Yrizarri and 3B Ti’Qiuan Forbes to high-A. Neither had been especially productive but were near or at 200 games in low-A. Forbes is hitting .238/.295/.337 for AA Amarillo (ARI), while Yrizarri’s pro career concluded in 2019.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Monday 4 July

Still no word on who makes room for Spencer Howard as of 5:05pm CDT.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, Albuquerque (COL) 3
Round Rock: 9 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 42-37, 5 GB

SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 91 P / 52 S, 5.04 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.18 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-4, BB, SB (38), .305/.350/.470
LF Steele Walker: 3-4, .256/.348/.402
C Sam Huff: 1-4, HR (11), .255/.344/.573
3B Dio Arias: 2-3, HR (2), BB, .329/.386/.494

One game is indeed not a trend. Cole Winn couldn’t build on last week’s improvement, walking three and unleashing two wild pitches. Fastball control has eluded Winn at times, but last night he missed 60% of his combined curves and sliders. Albuquerque attempted three steals on Winn’s watch, two of which were unsuccessful.

Here’s my video of last week’s superior performance.

Sam Huff has four homers in ten games since being optioned. Ezequiel Duran was 0-5 with four strikeouts.

Spencer Howard will start at Baltimore tonight.

AA: Frisco 11, at San Antonio (SDG) 0
Frisco: 13 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 4-3, tied for first, 40-36 overall

SP Avery Weems: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 73 P / 53 S, 5.80 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 4.99 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-5, 2 2B, .333/.376/.458
LF Dustin Harris: 3-5, BB, SB (17), .259/.353/.457
2B Justin Foscue: 2-6, 2B, .274/.369/.452

Avery Weems has been homer-prone this season but not lately. Though he’s walked seven in his last 12 innings, an absence of extra-base hits has helped to limit cumulative damage to one run.

Blaine Crim, Kellen Strahm, Davis Garcia, Trey Hair, and Josh Stowers all reached twice by various combinations of singles and walks.

High-A: Hickory 3, at Bowling Green (TAM) 4
Hickory: 7 hits, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 5-5, 2 GB, 43-33 overall

SP TK Roby: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 9 SO, 75 P / 57 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 7.11 ERA
DH Aaron Zavala: 2-4, 2 HR (8), .271/.426/.425
CF Evan Carter: 2-4, 2B, 3B, .269/.368/.450

Hickory led 3-0 in the 8th but couldn’t close the door. Chris Seise had a day at short, committing errors in the 8th and 9th that led to the second and fourth of Bowling Green’s runs.

Aaron Zavala had his second two-homer game. Evan Carter’s eight triples are third-most in pro baseball.

Low-A: Down East 9, at Fayetteville (HOU) 3
Down East: 12 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 6-4, 3 GB, 39-37 overall

SP Gavin Collyer: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 7 SO, 92 P / 56 S, 3.32 ERA
RP Kai Wynyard: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 8.80 ERA
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, HBP, SB (27), .312/.405/.457
RF Marcus Smith: 1-3, BB, SB (31), .156/.322/.253
SS Maximo Acosta: 3-4, 2B, BB, SB (23), .265/.355/.350
DH Jose Rodriguez: 3-4, 2B, HR (3), BB, SB (4), .215/.296/.307

20-year-old Kai Wynyard had a successful full-season debut. Wynyard had a 5.93 ERA in rookie ball, but opponents batted only .216/.286/.333 with three walks and 21 strikeouts in 13.2 innings.

Six more steals boosted Down East’s total to 175, best at any level of play. (The Rangers lead the Majors with a modest 66.) Alejandro Osuna and Maximo Acosta rank in the top ten in low-A for steals. They’ve also been nabbed 14 times, tied for the most in baseball.

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

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans walked four and fanned eight in four innings for Spokane. I’m filling the retrospectives with Ragans in 2022, because he’s going to disappear for a lonnnnng time.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 3 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, at Las Vegas (OAK) 12
Round Rock: 14 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 15 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 41-37, 6 GB

SP Cole Ragans: 3.2 IP, 10 H (1 HR), 7 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 73 P / 49 S, 4.35 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3.27 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 6.89 ERA
LF Bubba Thompson: 2-3, HR (10), 2 BB, .302/.345/.469

Many minor league stadia set aside a wall for plaques of players who later reached the Majors. Summerlin should have one for successful visiting pitchers. It wouldn’t occupy much room. Round Rock’s starters allowed 22 runs in 23.2 innings across six games. Cole Ragans was unlucky at first, allowing three flared or blooped singles followed by a hard grounder to left to plate two. Then, the hits became firmer, with seven of eight balls in play exceeding 96 MPH.

Bubba Thompson is a walk machine. He also should surpass last year’s personal-best 16 homers later this season. Admittedly, being in the PCL helps, but Thompson does have legitimate power.

AA: Frisco 12, Corpus Christi (HOU) 0
Frisco: 15 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 3-3, 1 GB, 39-36 overall

SP Zak Kent: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 20 P / 13 S, 6.15 ERA
RP Joe Corbett: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 3.86 ERA
RP Triston Polley: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Tyler Thomas: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.52 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, BB, HBP, .332/.374/.452
LF JP Martinez: 2-5, 2B, BB, .289/.411/.491
2B Justin Foscue: 3-5, BB, .272/.370/.450
DH Kellen Strahm: 2-4, BB, .273/.394/.375

9,326 watched the Riders break open a close game with 11 runs in Innings 6-8. Everybody but Blaine Crim (1-6) reached at least twice. Jonathan Ornelas already has 31 multi-hit games. Last year: 26.

On another bullpen day, Corpus didn’t collect a hit until the 6th, and six Riders (the four listed, Grant Anderson, and Fernery Ozuna) combined for a four-hit shutout.

High-A: Hickory 10, Greensboro (PIT) 7
Hickory: 11 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 5-4, 1 GB, 43-32 overall

SP Mason Englert: 4.1 IP, 9 H (2 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 93 P / 63 S, 4.34 ERA
RP John Matthews: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.95 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-4, HR (6), HBP, .267/.425/.398
C Cody Freeman: 2-5, 2B, .253/.339/.415
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, 3B, BB, HBP, .232/.394/.412
3B Thomas Saggese: 3-4, HR (7), BB, .299/.352/.460
DH Chris Seise: 2-4, BB, .264/.323/.408

In front of a season-high 4.176 fans, Hickory scored nine in Innings 6-8 to recover from a 6-1 deficit.

A reader asked yesterday morning about Englert; my thumbnail reply was “better control than most, a little homer-prone.” That fairly describes yesterday, but Englert also allowed the most hits and runs of the season.

Aaron Zavala exited after being hit by a pitch. Not because of injury, but because he’d been ejected. The plate umpire originally ruled simply a ball, and Zavala argued and was tossed. After a conference, the umps declared Zavala had in fact been hit, prompting another argument resulting in the ejection of opposing manager Callix Crabbe. (Hickory manager Carlos Cardoza had been ejected the previous inning.)

Low-A: Down East 1, Kannapolis (CHW) 4
Down East: 5 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 5-4, 3 GB, 38-37 overall

SP Winston Santos: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 34 P / 24 S, 4.15 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3.27 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 9.95 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-3, BB, .257/.346/.338

Down East scored 15 runs in the six-game series, losing four. The Woodies are last in the 12-team league in walks and doubles, and 11th in hits and OBP. The park plays a role, but not that big a role. Rain ended the contest in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded and one out. To be clear, Kannapolis had the bases loaded, not Down East.

Rookie Recap: Games of 27 June – 2 July
Scores: 5-8 (Snakes), 5-6 (Angels), 9-1 (Snakes), 5-3 (Rox), 8-5 (Royals)
Record: 13-7, 1.5 G up

RHP D.J. McCarty (19): 4.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 SO, 4.96 ERA
RHP Kai Wynyard (20): 3.0 IP, 1 H, BB, 3 SO, 4.86 ERA
RHP Adrian Rodriguez (21): 3.2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, BB, 5 SO, 6.43 ERA
RHP Kelvin Gonzalez: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 5 SO, 4.91 ERA
IF Miguel Villarroel (20): 8-20, 2 2B, HBP, SB (1), .368/.432/.447
OF Yeison Morrobel (18): 6-17, BB, SB (4), .274/.361/.306
IF Danyer Cueva (18): 7-18, 2B, .389/.459/.537
OF JoJo Blackmon (19): 3-10, 2B, 4 BB, 2 SB (6), .294/.438/.529

Danyer Cueva and IF Andres Mesa (.299/.356/.478) will vie for the team’s hit lead now that Liam Hicks is at Down East. Mesa has a team-best seven doubles in 15 games.

JoJo Blackmon is hitting well, drawing plenty of walks, and leading the team with six steals, but he unfortunately also has a 36% strikeout rate.

A handful of games have Statcast data. Miguel Villaroel had exit velocities of 107 and 102 MPH last Thursday. Adrian Rodriguez’s fastball topped at 97.8 and ranged 94-97.

Rehabbing Kelvin Gonzalez posted two scoreless appearances.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn

For the only time this season, we have games on Monday to take advantage of the 4th. All will take tomorrow off except Frisco, which rests Wednesday.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Uh oh. I jumped a day ahead yesterday. On 2 July 2017, Jose Trevino went 3-4 with his fourth homer.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 2 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, at Las Vegas (OAK) 6
Round Rock: 11 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Record: 41-36, 6.5 GB

SP Taylor Hearn: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 79 P / 53 S, 7.20 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4.31 ERA
RF Bubba Thompson: 3-4, HR (9), BB, .297/.337/.456
LF Josh Sale: 1-4, HR (6), BB, .282/.378/.577

Ezequiel Duran, center fielder extraordinaire (video). I’m sure someone like Leody Taveras would have taken a cleaner route, but Duran made a tough play requiring a snap decision and physical commitment. Otherwise, I’ve only watched snippets of the last two games and don’t have a read on Duran’s outfield prowess. (He was an infielder during the Ragans and Winn starts I saw in person.) Plus, judging outfielders on tv is pretty much impossible because the reads and initial steps are almost never visible.

Yerry Rodriguez threw a pitch 100.1 MPH, the first triple-digit toss by an Express pitcher this season. It was fouled off preceding Duran’s grab. Rodriguez broke his own team record of 99.8.

The Rangers did not option reliever Jonathan Hernandez but were able to extend his rehab assignment for ten days, which required league and Players Association approval. Relievers Demarcus Evans and Spencer Patton both cleared waivers and were outrighted to AAA. Spencer Howard is on Texas’s taxi squad.

AA: Frisco 2, Corpus Christi (HOU) 3
Frisco: 4 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 2-3, 2 GB, 38-36 overall

SP Tim Brennan: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 68 P / 48 S, 3.67 ERA
RP Kevin Gowdy: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 9.00 ERA
RP Josh Smith: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2.57 ERA

Down 3-1, Frisco started the 8th with a single and double and in the 9th had runners at the corners with one out. Out of those situations, one run scored. Corpus Christi CF Justin Dirden caught a Dustin Harris fly at the deepest spot in the park to end the 8th. In the 9th, a failed double steal erased the lead runner, after which David Garcia struck out.

High-A: Hickory 8, Greensboro (PIT) 0 (7)
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 4-4, 1.5 GB, 42-32 overall

SP Larson Kindreich: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 80 P / 46 S, 1.00 ERA
CF Jayce Easley: 2-4, .245/.368/.382
C Randy Florentino: 2-3, HR (1), .286/.378/.351

Mother Nature called this one early. Larson Kindreich pitched to form. The median Kindreich appearance in 2022: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 SO. He’s allowed 29 hits and 29 combined walks and hit batters.

Hickory hadn’t hit well with runners in scoring position lately but collected three such hits while batting around in the 5th.

Low-A: Down East 4, Kannapolis (CHW) 1
Down East: 4 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 5-3, 2 GB, 38-36 overall

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 77 P / 50 S, 2.08 ERA
RP Nick Lockhart: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 5.26 ERA
CF Yosy Galan: 1-2, HR (10), BB, .232/.320/.441

The Woodies have scored a modest 3.6 runs per game during the last month but are 15-10 thanks to the pitching (and defense). Down East has allowed an average of 3.4 runs and 6.0 hits per game in that span.

Mitch Bratt has started five of those games, permitting three runs in 24 innings while striking out 30 and walking only four. Last year’s 5th-rounder turned 19 this morning.

Yosy Galan is Down East’s first to ten homers, good enough for a fifth-place tie in the relatively pitcher friendly Carolina League. Ten homers would place him 12th (Sally), 21st (Texas), or 23rd (PCL) in Texas’s other full-season minor leagues.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Ragans
AA: TBD (Brennan’s listed but nope)
Hi-A: Englert
Lo-A: TBD (Winston Santos’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down East’s Kyle Cody fanned ten in six scoreless innings.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 1 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, at Las Vegas (OAK) 3
Round Rock: 10 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 40-36, 7 GB

SP Kolby Allard: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 8 SO, 78 P / 52 S, 4.21 ERA
RP AJ Alexy: 2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 6.82 ERA
CF Ezequiel Duran: 3-3, HR (2), HBP

Ezequiel Duran’s second homer in as many days wasn’t an affront to physics like his 87 MPH shot from Thursday. Between Texas and Round Rock, Duran was hitless in 21 at-bats before Thursday’s homer; he’s 4-5 with two homers since.

Instead of his usual start, AJ Alexy tossed two innings on four days rest. Alexy was hittable but threw plenty of strikes.

AA: Frisco 5, Corpus Christi (HOU) 0
Frisco: 12 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 2-2, 1 GB, 38-35 overall

SP Owen White: 5.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 68 P / 46 S, 1.69 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 3.33 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, .335/.373/.458
1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, BB, .269/.336/.475

Owen White no-hit Corpus Christi for 5.1 innings in his second AA start. Unfortunately, he appeared to catch his plant foot and then land awkwardly on his next step, prompting an immediate visit from the trainer and his departure. He walked off without assistance. Local media describe the injury as a sprained ankle, but not serious.

Quiet in July, Blaine Crim reached safely three times for the first time in nearly a month.

High-A: Hickory 1, Greensboro (PIT) 2
Hickory: 6 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Record: 3-4, 2 GB, 41-32 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 78 P / 53 S, 5.15 ERA
RP Yohanse Morel: 2 IP, 3 SO, 7.45 ERA
3B Cody Freeman: 1-4, HR (9), .250/.337/.410

The league’s best offense has been subdued lately, if not silent. Hickory placed only three runners in scoring position after Cody Freeman’s 2nd-inning homer.

Low-A: Down East 3, Kannapolis (CHW) 9
Down East: 5 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 4-3, 2 GB, 37-36 overall

SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 6 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 72 P / 52 S, 3.84 ERA
C Ian Moller: 1-3, 2 BB, .154/.306/.256
RF Jose Rodriguez: 2-4, 2B, .207/.285/.283

Josh Stephan suffered his worst outing in two months. Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa and Dylan MacLean threw scoreless innings. AHT maintains the highest swinging strike rate in the system (20.2%) aside from Marc Church (22.3%).

Texas promoted C/1B Liam Hicks to Down East. The 23-year-old 2021 9th-rounder had overwhelmed rookie-league pitchers (.478/.561/.652). Hicks drew a walk as the DH.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Hearn
AA: Brennan
Hi-A: Kindreich
Lo-A: TBD (Mitch Bratt’s turn)

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 30 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, Las Vegas (OAK) 0
Round Rock: 5 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 1 hit, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts
Record: 39-36, 8 GB

SP Spencer Howard: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, HBP, 11 SO, 93 P / 57 S, 3.69 ERA
RP Spencer Patton: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 3.29 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-4, HR (8), SB (37), .286/.325/.435
SS Ezequiel Duran: 1-4, HR (1)

Spencer Howard would like to pitch in the big leagues again, thank you very much.

I’d looked askance at his consecutive scoreless outings from a month ago. Both were walk-filled and too reliant on two pitches for my tastes. They didn’t look like performances that would translate to a higher level. In Howard’s next start, he allowed six runs in his first inning, but for the rest of that night and ever since, Howard has increasingly looked like what the Rangers envisioned. Last night, Howard nearly no-hit Las Vegas, with the lone hit came on a grounder that SS Ezequiel Duran couldn’t quite flag down. He wasn’t overpowering, despite all the strikeouts, but he mixed and spotted his pitches well, preventing the Aviators from ever feeling comfortable in the box. Notably, he gathered eight calls and two misses with his curve, a pitch that wasn’t in abundance or effectiveness a month ago. The change is still a tag-along. Howard worked almost exclusively fastball/slider to righties and mostly near the outside edge at varying heights. He saved the change and most of the curves for lefties.

As to how he might perform back in MLB if he gets the chance… well, hopefully better than Hearn, who I’ve always liked and still do in a limited role.
Howard was and is fly-prone. Those balls have mostly stayed in the park in AAA (3 HR in 46 IP), but his MLB track record in that regard is poor. He can’t keep allowing a homer every four innings.

Ezequiel Duran put enough oomph on a high, inside fastball enough to launch it over the fence for his first AAA homer. According to Statcast, the ball came off the bat at 87 MPH and an angle of 30 degrees. 87 is impossibly low. There are exactly zero MLB homers at that speed/angle combo in the Statcast era, and no balls in play the distance of Duran’s 352 feet. Duran’s a trailblazer.

None played often last month, but Round Rock’s three best hitters in June were the catching trio of Yohel Pozo (.406/.459/.750), Meibrys Viloria (.400/.533/.629) and Sam Huff (.280/.379/.640). Among regulars, newcomer Josh Sale hit best: .297/.384/.578 with five homers in 17 games. Bubba Thompson batted only .209 but drew nine walks, seven more than April and May combined. 

All eight opposing innings were thrown by ex-Ranger Collin Wiles. Wiles has a 5.77 ERA, which sounds bad but is actually above average for a Vegas-based squad.

AA: Frisco 8, Corpus Christi (HOU) 3
Frisco: 13 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-2, 1 GB, 37-35 overall

SP Tai Tiedemann: 2 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 31 P / 19 S, 5.86 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 5.22 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.32 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, 2B, BB, .260/.351/.468
CF JP Martinez: 2-3, 3B, 2 BB, 2 SB (25), .291/.414/.485
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .263/.363/.450
3B Jax Biggers: 3-3, 2B, BB, .326/.389/.407

Six Riders effectively covered Jack Leiter’s absence. Marc Church’s AA debut was ultimately effective if ordinary by his standards. An inning-ending GIDP followed a walk and single. Grant Wolfram fanned 20 of 50 batters last month.

Outfielder Kellen Strahm led the Riders with a .329/.413/.514 line in June.

High-A: Hickory 6, Greensboro (PIT) 5
Hickory: 7 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 3-3, 1 GB, 41-31 overall

SP Robby Ahlstrom: 6 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SO, 91 P / 61 S, 6.08 ERA
3B Thomas Saggese: 1-4, HR (6), .296/.349/.449
DH Chris Seise: 1-3, 2B, BB, .258/.313/.407
RF Jayce Easley: 2-2, 2B, 2 BB, SB (10), .235/.364/.378

Hickory recovered from a 4-0 deficit in the late innings. Trevor Hauver (2-5) drove in two in the 7th after two Gboro wild pitches. In the 8th, Thomas Saggse knocked a two-run homer, and Chris Seise and Jayce Easley followed with doubles.

Saggese hit .344/.408/.563 with three homers and four steals in June.

Seise batted .311/.358/.419 in June, easily his best month in full-season ball. Admittedly, competition for this honor is scant, as Seise had played in all of 62 games at this level before last month. Seise played nine games at short and ten at DH. He’s yet to man short on consecutive days.

Low-A: Down East 4, Kannapolis (CHW) 2
Down East: 6 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 4-2, 1 GB, 37-35 overall

SP Ryan Garcia: 4.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, 65 P / 40 S, 2.03 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 2.31 ERA
1B Jose Rodriguez: 2-3, 2B, BB, SB (3), .201/.281/.273

Making his first appearance as a 22-year-old, Aussie Josh Gessner cared for the last four innings. Part of the Kyle Gibson trade along with Howard, Gessner has been effective if walk-prone, a description I’ve typed to excess in 2022. Opponents are hitting .207/.333/.241 with a 15% BB/HBP rate. Two singles and two walks plated a run and loaded the bases in the 9th, but Gessner was able to record the final out. Ryan Garcia, ramping up slowly, set career highs in innings and strikeouts.

Outfielders Daniel Mateo (.318/.372/.471, 4 HR, 15 SB) and Alejandro Osuna (.311/.381/.392, 12 SB) were Down East’s best hitters in June.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Allard
AA: White
Hi-A: Krauth
Lo-A: TBD (Josh Stephan’s turn)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
The first two words from Frisco’s post-game notes were “Buehler impresses.” Not a great sign when the headline features the opposing starter. Walker Buehler held the Riders scoreless for 5.2 as part of a five-hit shutout. Hans Crouse threw a scoreless inning in his pro debut. In 2022, Crouse hasn’t pitched since April 20, spending his time since on the regular and covid Injured Lists.