AAA: Round Rock , at Sugar Land (HOU) 7 (7)
Round Rock: 6 hits, 8 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 55-50, 7 GB
SP Dallas Keuchel: 6 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 94 P / 49 S, 3.48 ERA
3B Davis Wendzel: 2-3, HR (7), BB, .200/.294/.347
SS Ryan Dorow: 2-3, 3B, .287/.377/.484
Changes in pitching use lately include acknowledgement of the third-time-through-the-order penalty and more one-and-done relievers. Unchanged and in conflict with industry trends are the number of innings per game. Texas still has to find roughly 548 innings including 270 from the starters in 2022.
The current rotation is Dunning, Perez, Otto, Howard, Ragans. Ragans had a promising debut but is already 14 innings beyond last year, so he could be shut down with fewer than the 10-11 additional starts he’d accrue as a permanent rotation member. Otto has reached at least four innings in seven straight starts but is hovering around replacement level. Howard has been enticing, annoying, and ultimately sub-replacement since rejoining the rotation. Can Texas get 270 innings from them (and Jon Gray when he returns)?
All that to say: Is Dallas Keuchel going to throw some innings for the Texas Rangers? He’s allowed only five hits in ten AAA innings, but the opposing exit velocity is elevated, as are the walks. Last night’s fastball topped at 88. But the other options include re-stretching out Taylor Hearn, calling up Kolby Allard, putting AJ Alexy back in the rotation, putting John King in the rotation, adding Kohei Arihara… this exercise careened off the rails in a hurry, didn’t it?
Outfielders Steele Walker and Steven Duggar were lost on waivers to the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. Walker will join ex-Ranger Willie Calhoun (traded for Duggar) in AAA Sacramento. I’ve not seen a placement for Duggar, but he might join the Angels to replace injured OF Mickey Moniak. Duggar took the 40 spot of Dillon Thomas, whose version of not going gentle into the good night entails six organizations in the last six years.
AA: Frisco 2, Amarillo (ARI) 3
Frisco: 3 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 20-13, 2 GB, 56-46 overall
SP Antoine Kelly: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 61 P / 41 S, 2.45 ERA
RP Avery Weems: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 5.05 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 1-3, HR (2), BB, .417/.533/.875
Antoine Kelly: 95-97 fastball, 81-84 slider, and (by my uncertain count) three 87-90 changes. He moved the fastball around and has the ride to miss bats high in the zone. The slider’s velocity difference from the fastball is about as high as you’ll see, and it too was effective. The change… I’m not especially confident in calling them changes aside from the radar readings. All were well outside and could be confused for mis-gripped fastballs. On the whole, a promising organizational debut. Kelly is up to 94.2 innings in 2022 after 19.1 last year and none in 2020, so he’s on a pitch diet as a Ranger. Texas has to decide his 40-man fate in November.
Tandem starter and fellow 40 candidate Avery Weems had one of his best outings of the season. Zavala’s hot start in Frisco has improved his season line to .288/.432/.474.
For the first time in his career, Marc Church has allowed runs in three of four outings. Opponents are hitting .625 when they make contact during this stretch.
High-A: Hickory 1, Asheville (HOU) 7 (7)
Hickory: 2 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 15-20, tied for first, 53-48 overall
SP Ricky Vanasco: 4 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 76 P / 46 S, 5.12 ERA
CF Jayce Easley: 1-2, BB, SB (13), .246/.377/.362
High-A: Hickory 2, Asheville (HOU) 3 (7)
Hickory: 7 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 15-21, 10 GB, 53-49 overall
SP Robby Ahlstrom: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 73 P / 50 S, 6.03 ERA
2B Thomas Saggese: 1-2, BB, .312/.362/.497
R Jayce Easley: 2-3, .246/.377/.362
Hickory lost today’s doubleheader and five of six overall against Asheville while division-leading Rome swept Greenville, leaving the Crawdads ten back with 30 to play. The Crawdads’ stretch of 18 games with at least three runs scored (with an average of 7.4) ground to a halt. Jayce Easley provided four of Hickory’s 13 baserunners on the day.
Low-A: Down East 4, Fredericksburg (WAS) 3
Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 16-20, tied for first, 49-53 overall
SP Ryan Garcia: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 69 P / 43 S, 2.53 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 5.06 ERA
C Ian Moller: 2-3, 2B, BB, .189/.360/.260
PH Abi Ortiz: 1-1, HR (7), .208/.289/.327
Down 3-2 in the 9th with Ian Moller at second base after a single and groundout, pinch-hitter Abimelec Ortiz strolled to the plate and knocked a pitch over the fence for the game-winner.
Finally on the mound regularly, 2019 2nd-rounder Ryan Garcia has assembled a solid “rookie” seasons, allowing an opposing line of .188/.293/.277 with a 34% strikeout rate, highly impressive for a starter. He’s also kept the ball in the part, although the control has been so-so. Garcia will be Rule-5 eligible if unprotected on the 40. Given his low-A status and lack of elite velocity, I don’t see him being added, but he’s on the right path.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas promoted reliever Ricardo Rodriguez to the Majors from Frisco.