AAA: Round Rock 9, El Paso (SDG) 4
Round Rock: 12 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 60-52, 4 GB
SP AJ Alexy: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 40 P / 24 S, 6.27 ERA
RP Ryder Ryan: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 3.38 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.26 ERA
LF Nick Solak: 3-4, HR (8), BB, .280/.373/.484
3B Josh Jung: 3-5, 2 HR (4), .400/.464/1.000
2B Dio Arias: 3-3, 2B, HR (4), BB, .302/.384/.453
Josh Jung belted homers of 421 and 435 feet. The latter blast came off rehabbing Drew Pomeranz. Jung has an average exit velocity of 95 MPH and median of 99. Admittedly a sample of 20 balls in play, but that is elite. As the 2021 version of Willie Calhoun will tell you, hard contact doesn’t guarantee results, but Jung is slugging an even 1.000, so he’s not just hitting hard grounders.
I’ve been asked about his service time and whether Texas should avoid starting his clock “early.” If Jung arrives no later than within a few days of Opening Day 2023 and is never optioned, he’ll become a free agent after 2028. If he arrives roughly two weeks into 2023, Texas would retain his rights (albeit with an extra arbitration year) through 2029. And keeping him in AAA well into next May would eliminate that extra arbitration year.
As what should or will happen, I doubt the Rangers try to game his service time. First, they haven’t operated this way historically. I can’t recall any Texas equivalent to Kris Bryant. The closest analogue is Jurickson Profar, who was pointedly stationed in AAA during September 2017 instead of being recalled, leaving him days shy of a full year of service. But Profar previously burned through two years of service time on the 60-day IL, so his situation isn’t the same. Typically, Texas has called up players they’ve deemed ready and have preferred having them in the lineup from the get-go. Elvis Andrus, for example, and Nomar Mazara, called up from Round Rock soon enough after Opening Day 2016 to receive a complete year of service.
Second, we could argue on the margins about whether Jung needs a few more days or weeks in AAA because of his lengthy injury, but in essence he’s ready for MLB now. I thought so toward the end of 2021, and certainly nothing about his recent play has dissuaded me. The Rangers have an imperative to put their best players on the field, maybe not in the dwindling days of 2022, but certainly from the jump next year.
Third, Jung is already 24. Texas already has the the rights to what will likely be his best seasons. He’s not going to become a free agent at 28.
Fourth, the latest CBA has a new feature wherein the Rangers would receive an extra draft pick at the end of the first round if Jung is on the Opening Day roster (or up within a few days), still rookie-eligible, appears on two preseason top-100 prospect lists, and is named Rookie of the Year. MLB is going to make me care about an award, which I deeply resent. I also resent MLB delegating partial responsibility over draft picks and service time to baseball writers, but I digress.
Texas designated OF Elier Hernandez for assignment. The Rangers activated RHP Kyle Cody in Round Rock and released reliever Spencer Patton. Texas also signed RHP Tyler Duffy (ex-Twin) and catcher Wilson Ramos (unemployed for a year, rehabbing a knee injury) to minor deals. Duffy was assigned to Round Rock, and Ramos will be soon.
Yesterday, I’d written about Elvis Andrus’s $15 million player option vesting on the extremely unlikely chance Oakland allowed him to reach 550 plate appearances. The A’s released him this morning.
AA: Frisco 5, at Corpus Christi (HOU) 3
Frisco: 7 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 23-17, 2 GB, 59-50 overall
SP Tim Brennan: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 69 P / 42 S, 2.93 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 0-2, 3 BB, SB (9), .306/.360/.445
RF Jax Biggers: 3-5, 2B, 3B, .295/.350/.405
2B Justin Foscue: 2-4, .294/.376/.488
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-3, HR (2), BB, .234/.333/.468
Luisangel Acuna hit in tenth homer for the season, two under last year’s total with almost five weeks remaining.
Jonathan Ornelas isn’t especially inclined to take free bases, but Corpus is eager to give them, so Ornelas drew three without swinging a bat.
Texas released LHP Tyler Thomas, originally drafted by the Cubs in 2017’s seventh round and traded to the Rangers for the immortal Jesse Chavez the following year.
High-A: Hickory 15, Winston-Salem (CHW) 1
Hickory: 10 hits, 12 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 19-24, 11 GB, 57-52 overall
SP Nick Krauth: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 76 P / 47 S, 5.40 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.20 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-3, HR (11), 2 BB, .285/.382/.487
1B Cristian Inoa: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .294/.361/.446
SS Frainyer Chavez: 1-2, 3 BB, SB (11), .285/.372/.367
3B Cody Freeman: 2-4, HR (13), BB, .235/.323/.392
C Randy Florentino: 1-5, HR (3), .275/.362/.383
Evan Carter homered just once yesterday and will have to settle for only being Texas’s third-best prospect and 59th overall in the updated MLB Pipeline rankings. Hopefully he’s okay.
Low-A: Down East 2, Myrtle Beach (CHC) 4
Down East: 6 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 22-21, tied for first, 55-54 overall
SP Mitch Bratt: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 71 P / 47 S, 2.34 ERA
RP Jackson Leath: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 6.51 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-4, SB (36), .282/.358/.396
Rain ended Mitch Bratt’s night with two on and none out in the 5th. Both would score immediately after the delay on a homer off Dylan MacLean. Bratt retired 12 of his first 14 batters, seven with strikeouts.
More info on RHP Dane Acker, who I mentioned had been activated in low-A. Previously, he was on Down East’s injured list and pitching with the rookies on rehab assignment. He was indeed activated during the off day, but yesterday another transaction indicated he’d transferred to the rookie league. So it appears he is not with Down East at present. Apologies for the miscommunication and this procedural blather.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock lost at New Orleans following a stretch of five rainouts in eight days. Obviously not an issue for games played in Texas in 2022. Jurickson Profar was 2-5 with a double.