AAA: Round Rock 9, Sacramento (SFO) 4
Round Rock: 11 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts
Record: 54-45, tied for first
SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 SO, 80 P / 46 S, 5.72 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 5.48 ERA
DH JP Martinez: 2-5, HR (4), .333/.467/.875
C Sam Huff: 2-4, HR (15), .273/.349/.578
RF Steele Walker: 2-4, 2B, .277/.350/.440
A better outing from Cole Winn, if not absent of his ongoing control issues. Through four innings, Winn had seven strikeouts, just one walk, and three-ball counts to just two others, but his strike rate was still a sub-par 57%. In the 5th, he he opened with two straight walks, missing mostly high, even with his curve and slider. Winn then rebounded with three outs on seven consecutive strikes including two swinging strike threes. Winn had 12 swinging strikes total, five each with the change and curve, two with the fastball. Winn throws as many righty-righty changeups as you’ll ever see, but last night he almost entirely ignored that pitch to righties in favor of the slider. Per usual, balls in play were favorable, with only two balls hit hard, both caught.
Sam Huff is hitting .281/.324/.469 in eight games since returning to AAA. Whether at Round Rock or in Arlington, Huff’s upcoming month-plus is his chance to claim a Major League catching position next year. Ideally, he does.
Some weary relief arms in the system? Since the All-Star break, Texas’s full-season minor-league bullpen has allowed 130 runs in 173.3 innings (6.75 per nine including unearned). Frisco’s 6.09 R/9 is the best of the four teams. I haven’t performed the calculations, but I don’t sense the opponents are faring any better, as Texas’s system has a 20-16 record and +8 run differential in that span.
AA: Frisco 14, at Springfield (STL) 12
Frisco: 15 hits, 8 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 15 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 15-12, 4 GB, 51-45 overall
SP Cody Bradford: 2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 41 P / 27 S, 6.26 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.85 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-5, HBP, .319/.366/.456
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-3, 2 2B, 3 BB, SB (1)
DH Dustin Harris: 2-6, 2 2B, .261/.351/.481
2B Justin Foscue: 3-6, HR (6), .279/.364/.446
“AA is easy! I should’ve been here in April like Jack,” Aaron Zavala could be thinking to himself. Hopefully not. Even as the 38th-overall pick of the 2021 draft, reaching AA in his second pro season as a young 22-year-old is impressive. Justin Foscue has two homers in five games since my podcast partners and I wondered how he could have only four through last July.
High-A: Hickory 11, Rome (ATL) 10
Hickory: 19 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 10 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 14-16, 5 GB, 52-44 overall
SP Robby Ahlstrom: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 77 P / 45 S, 6.44 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-5, SB (17), .270/.367/.464
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, SB (28), .317/.417/.483
3B Thomas Saggese: 2-3, BB, .317/.364/.505
1B Cristian Inoa: 3-4, 2B, BB, .304/.369/.476
LF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4
Hickory took four of six against the second-half division leader. The Crawdads are five back with 36 to play, no small task but better than the seven-game deficit than began the series. Hickory also hosts Rome for a closing six-game series after Labor Day.
Texas bumped OF Alejandro Osuna to high-A to replace Zavala. Two months shy of 20, Osuna is now the team’s youngest hitter.
That Hickory line for Luisangel Acuna is permanent, barring some misfortune. The 20-year-old is headed to AA, per local reports.
Low-A: Down East 2, at Charleston (TAM) 5
Down East: 5 hits, 8 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 14-14, 7 GB, 47-47 overall
SP Ryan Garcia: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 63 P / 40 S, 2.33 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 5.56 ERA
C Ian Moller: 1-2, 2 BB, SB (13), .164/.344/.233
LF Zion Bannister: 2-2, BB, .188/.316/.188
Down East lost five of six at Charleston, disappointing but in line with the opponent’s 36-11 home record entering the series.
Ian Moller has been leading off occasionally despite a batting average well under .200 because he’s walked in 21% of his plate appearance. Moller is amongthe most fly-prone of Texas’s young hitters, but the damage hasn’t arrived yet. He’s hitting .247 with a .350 slugging percentage when he makes contact.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas traded RHP Yu Darvish for 2B/OF Willie Calhoun, RHP AJ Alexy, and IF Brendon Davis. “Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen rates Calhoun the second-best prospect traded in July, behind only OF Eloy Jimenez.”
Ten Years Ago Yesterday
“As I filled my tank in a gas station in Katy, I learned that Texas had traded 3B Kyle Hendricks and RHP Kyle Hendricks for Ryan Dempster. At the time, Hendricks had improved his status but was still generally seen as a control freak with middling stuff and a 5/LR future. Baseball America didn’t bother placing him in Chicago’s top 30 entering 2013. Villanueva was the bigger get, a strong defender who stood a decent chance of becoming an average MLB third baseman. His hitting development stalled, and then he was beset by injuries, missing all of 2016. He’s now a Padre, batting .299/.371/.546, albeit in the El Paso bandbox.”
Fifteen Years Ago Yesterday
“From texasrangers.com, July 31, 2007: ‘Acquired C/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia, nonroster SS Elvis Andrus, nonroster LHP Matt Harrison, nonroster LHP Beau Jones and nonroster RHP Neftali Feliz from the Braves in exchange for 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay; Acquired LHP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy and nonroster OF Engle Beltre from the Red Sox for RHP Eric Gagne and cash.’ “