Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 16 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 5, Tacoma (SEA) 4
Round Rock: 11 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 9-5, 1.5 GB

SP Robert Dugger: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 64 P / 40 S, 9.39 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.70 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.70 ERA
LF JP Martinez: 1-2, 2 BB, SB (7), .405/.532/.649
3B David Wendzel: 2-4, 2B, HR (2), .158/.220/.395

I joked on twitter yesterday about new Round Rock manager Doug Davis being much more inclined toward mid-inning pitching changes than anyone I’ve covered. I checked the data this morning, and the difference is far more pronounced than I would have guessed. Through 14 games, Davis has made 19 mid-inning changes. Last year through the same number of games, manager Matt Hagen made only four. Typically in the minors, pitchers have designated days and innings (subject to circumstances of course). Unless the pitch count balloons, the pitcher is expected to finish the inning. The run difference and leverage usually don’t matter until late, sometimes not even then. I assume Davis isn’t doing this entirely of his own accord, but I don’t know for sure.

The major difference in this style of management is that relievers get a more MLB-like experience of entering with runners on base. Chase Lee replaced Taylor Hearn (0.2 IP, 3 runners, 29 pitches) with two on and two out in the 5th, and Fernery Ozuna replaced Lucas Jacobsen (0.2 IP, 3 runners, 26 pitches) in the same situation in the 7th. Both recorded the third out without additional damage.

Davis Wendzel isn’t hitting the ball hard very often, but five of his six hits are for extra bases. In 57% of his plate appearances, Wendzel is striking out or hitting at an angle in excess of 45 degrees (virtually an automatic out). JP Martinez is exceeding 95 MPH off the bat the same percentage as last year (about one of every three in play) but is getting much better angles, turning last year’s pops into drives.

AA: Frisco 12, at San Antonio (SDG) 2
Frisco: 12 hits, 10 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 5-4

SP Ryan Garcia: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 40 P / 23 S, 3.86 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3.60 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-3, HR (3), 3 BB
1B Dustin Harris: 3-5, 2B, HR (1), BB, SB (1)
SS Chris Seise: 2-3, 2 BB, SB (2)

Evan Carter batted .435/.567/.870 with three homers and seven walks in the six-game series, gaining some increased attention from media and fans concurrent with a Major League outfield posting a cumulative .217/.277/.367 line and AL-worst negative 0.3 wins above replacement. Not to be spoilsport, but I’d pin some of Carter’s and Frisco’s success on a San Antonio pitching staff which is more than a little strike-averse. Frisco drew 42 combined walks and HBPs in the series, an average of seven per game.

Dustin Harris (.273/.429/.485) mashed a grand slam  and drew seven walks in the series. To my thinking, an aggressive assignment to AAA was possible, if not likely, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s among the earliest promotions in the system. I don’t mean that he’s on Round Rock’s flight to Sacramento today, but perhaps before long.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Wilmington (WAS) 0
Hickory: 5 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Record: 4-3

SP Kumar Rocker: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 38 P / 25 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Larson Kindreich: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Leury Tejeda: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 10.13 ERA
RF Alejandro Osuna: 0-1, 3 BB, SB (2)
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-4

Kumar Rocker copied his debut outing, issuing plenty of strikes (including six swinging) en route to a quick three innings. Why so few pitches and innings after a five-inning, 53-pitch debut? No idea.

Larson Kindreich retired nine straight and allowed only one ball out of the infield. Max Acosta’s 3rd-inning, two-run double after a Cooper Johnson HBP and Alejandro Osuna walk would hold up.

Lo-A: Down East 0, at Augusta (ATL) 3
Down East: 5 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 5-3

SP Ivan Oviedo: 4.1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 68 P / 42 S, 8.44 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
DH Antony Gutierrez: 1-3, BB, SB (3)
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, BB

Down East was shut out for a second straight day. SS Cam Cauley was apparently on the lineup card as shortstop and leadoff hitter but pulled prior to first pitch.

In the very early going, the most common outfield alignment is Yosy Galan in left, Anthony Gutierrez in center, and Yeison Morrobel in right, with Jojo Blackmon functioning as a busy “swingman” and Jeferson Espinal as an occasional substitute.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
White Sox prospect Dane Dunning allowed four runs to Down East spurred by Anderson Tejeda’s first homer and a double from Leody Taveras.