Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 6 April

Per local reports, Jake Odorizzi will miss the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The man he was acquired for, LHP Kolby Allard, is on the 60-day Injured List with an oblique strain.

Rehabbing Leody Taveras was 0-4 as Frisco’s DH.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, at Sugar Land (HOU) 5
Round Rock: 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 2-3

SP Jake Latz: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 37 P / 23 S, 2.70 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 3.1 IP, 7 H (1 HR), 5 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 7.71 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.75 ERA
LF JP Martinez: 2-3, HR (1), BB, SB (2)
DH Blaine Crim: 1-3, BB

This was the completion of Wednesday’s rain-shortened contest, after which the regularly scheduled game was postponed until Saturday.

Originally listed as the nightcap starter, Cole Winn instead belatedly relieved Jake Latz. Results were similar to last Friday’s start: a decent number of whiffs (10) undermined by a low overall strike rate. Curiously, the pitch that caught plenty of zone was the change. Sugar Land swung at eight, put six in play, and collected a single, two doubles, and a homer.

JP Martinez knocked Round Rock’s first homer. Now 27, Martinez’s star has dimmed over the years, and his AAA intro last year was a mixed bag (.199/.319/.404), but he’s Round Rock’s most potent hitter in the early going (.615/.688/1.077).

Justin Foscue is one of five AAA players without a hit in at least 15 plate appearances. His hard-hit rate is a respectable 46%, and he lasered a pitch directly to the waiting CF at 105 MPH.

Another of those five is Davis Wendzel (0-15, walk, HBP).

AA: Frisco 12, Amarillo (ARI) 4
Frisco: 10 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Jack Leiter: 4.1 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 79 P / 44 S, 8.31 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Alex Speas: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-5, SB (1)
LF Dustin Harris: 2-3, BB
1B Trevor Hauver: 1-4, HR (1)
RF Kellen Strahm: 2-3, BB
C Scott Kapers: 2-3, 3B

Jack Leiter allowed only three hits, but two landed in the grass. He issued a walk in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings. The fastball velocity was fine, mid-to-upper 90s, and despite the walks he might have been slightly better about catching glove-side corners. His slider has improved since joining the organization but seemingly at the expense of his curve, which rarely displays the mean-spiritedness of his Vandy days. He missed eight bats.

20-year-old Jordan Lawlar, chosen four spots after Leiter in the 2021 draft, reached on a walk and two-run homer against Leiter.

Evan Carter had an opposite-field triple reduced to a single and out because he skipped over second base.

Trevor Hauver hit a grand slam. He began to see action at first late last year. Given what he brings to the outfield defensively, a partial or total switch doesn’t add much pressure to his bat. He’ll need to hit his way to the Majors regardless.

AA: Hickory 10, Salem (CHW) 5
Hickory: 13 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Winston Santos: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 77 P / 53 S, 0.00 ERA
RF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, BB, SB (1)
C Cody Freeman: 1-2, 3B, 2 BB, HBP
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-5, 2B
CF Daniel Mateo: 3-5, 3B
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 3-4, 2 2B

Winston Santos commenced 2023 with his best professional start, retiring his first 14 batters and another five straight after a lone single. 20 years old for a a few more days, Santos features a mid-90s fastball, decent change, and a slider that appears to play more on deception than raw quality at present. He can throw strikes all day (67% rate in 2022), setting him apart from most at the lower levels, although his BB/HBP rate last year ended up a good, not great, 9.3%.

A video posted this morning by Rangers Player Development contains his eight swinging strikes, all heat except a final slider. Do take a look. Per Texas’s official player development Twitter account, Santos’s fastball averaged 95.4.

The Crawdads scored seven in the 2nd to dispense of 26-year-old Kannapolis starter Dylan Burns. Every starter reached safely.

AA: Down East 4, Kannapolis (CHW) 5
Down East: 6 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 0-1

SP Brock Porter: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 1 SO, 32 P / 12 S, 13.50 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-4
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, 2B

In his professional debut, 19-year-old Brock Porter couldn’t get out of his own way, accumulating 32 pitches in a four-walk 1st that ended his night early. Three of the four walks began with a strike, and two contained 0-2 counts. Porter threw 12 two-strike pitches that resulted in 11 balls and a swinging strike three. Just one more strike in that group gets him to the dugout to gather himself, and perhaps he’s able to last another two innings or so.

Seth Clark, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia State, prevented further damage in the 1st and worked a clean 2nd. Later, Kannapolis would plate three in three innings against 2022 8th-rounder Matt Brosky, also pitching in a real game for the first time. The 23-year-old Brosky pitched for Youngstown State and was among Texas’s less expensive signings.

Anthony Gutierrez singled twice in his full-season debut. He’ll be 18 the entire season. Gleider Figuereo, another name of note and five months older than Gutierrez, doubled and singled.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Bradford
AA: White
Hi-A: Rocker

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I’m going to maintain this feature, I think, but recapping 2018 won’t always be pleasurable. The farm was 25 games under .500 in April and dominated by names that largely didn’t work out and don’t resonate much today. Here’s who’s still in the organization from the full-season break-camp rosters: Joe Barlow, Jonathan Hernandez, Brett Martin, Leody Taveras, Sam Huff, Ryan Dorow, Matt Whatley, and Alex Speas. Some of the parent club’s losing seasons in the past six years contained entertaining (if ultimately deceptive) bouts of competitiveness, but 2018’s 67-95 club was limited to a .500 record across May and June.

Nevertheless, today’s account has an interesting item: Texas traded catcher Brett Nicholas to San Diego for a player to be named or cash. Nicholas had spent the winter as Texas’s nominal backup catcher but lost that role in Spring Training and was outrighted.

The player to be named became quite the name. Remember who?