Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 18 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 17, at Sacramento (SFO) 9
Round Rock: 15 hits, 16 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 10-5, 0.5 GB

SP Cole Winn: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 5 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 86 P / 50 S, 7.88 ERA
RP Joe Barlow: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
3B Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, 3 BB, .180/.369/.220
C Sam Huff: 1-7, HR (2), .190/.255/.357
2B Justin Foscue: 2-5, HR (2), BB, .239/.386/.435
DH Clint Frazier: 3-5, 2 2B, BB, .244/.354/.390
SS Davis Wendzel: 2-3, 3 BB, .195/.298/.415

Justin Foscue hit a laser-beam homer (107.8 MPH, 20 degrees) that stays in some parks with topspin and/or unfavorable wind, but in Sacramento, it traveled 424 feet.

Round Rock drew 16 walks and an HBP. JP Martinez, Jonathan Ornelas, and Davis Wendzel had three walks each, while Yoshi Tsutsogo drew four. Good for them, but save some discredit for Sacramento. They’ve walked or hit 8.4 batters per game, 20% of all plate appearances, a figure unacceptable in rookie ball, much less AAA. The RiverCats are out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

So far, Cole Winn’s walk and strikeout rates are nearly identical to last year. 2022’s silver lining was an ability to keep the ball in the park, resulting in a respectable .429 opposing slugging percentage. In 2023, Winn’s hard-hit rate has increased, and opponents are slugging .576. Winn is throwing a much higher proportion of fastballs in 2022, and getting more swinging strikes, but the ultimate results are no better. One anomaly from last night: Winn didn’t throw a single slider. In last year’s early going, Winn would often emphasize a particular secondary at the expense of others, but I don’t recall him completely ditching one.

AA: Frisco 2, Arkansas (SEA) 5
Frisco: 7 hits, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 5-5, tied for first

SP Jack Leiter: 5 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 87 P / 55 S, 5.27 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 0-1, 4 BB, SB (3), .378/.531/.649
C David Garcia: 3-4, 2B

Let’s talk about Evan Carter. Carter is on a different level than his peers. I’ve either written or said something to that effect already, but here’s some proof.

Carter is seeing 24.4 pitches per game and taking 11.3 balls. In just ten games, he’s seen 42 more pitches than any batter in AA. His walk rate is 25%.

Carter hardly ever swings at first pitches (22%). Opposing pitchers knew this entering the season, but he’s still drawn a first-pitch ball in 82% of his takes. 63% of his plate appearances have begun with a 1-0 count.

Carter is swinging at 35% of pitches, making contact on 75% of swings, putting 41% of contacted swings in play, and batting .538 on contact.

The Texas League is averaging 5.86 pitches per out. So, on average, a team would need to throw 158 pitches to record 27 outs. Evan Carter is seeing 10.61 pitches per out, and a team would need a whopping 286 pitches to complete nine innings against an all-Carter lineup.

Carter will be 20 until the end of August.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, Bowling Green (TAM) 5
Hickory: 7 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 4-4

SP Gavin Collyer: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 70 P / 47 S, 4.70 ERA
2B Maximo Acosta: 2-4, HR (2)
LF Geisel Cepeda: 1-4, HR (1)

Max Acosta is slugging .607. Probably not in the long run, but it’s nice to see a hot start.

OF Marcus Smith is 0-16 with 11 strikeouts. I caution about short samples, but this unfortunately might be more than just variance. Smith had an alarming 42% K rate in low-A last year. His promotion feels at least in part due to the Rangers having four other outfielders needing regular play at Down East.

Lo-A: Down East 2, Carolina (MIL) 5
Down East: 4 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 9 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 5-4

SP Luis Ramirez: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 28 P / 9 S, 6.75 ERA
RP Damian Mendoza: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Jackson Kelly: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-2, HR (1), 2 BB

Me, three weeks ago: “Down East has a highly entertaining collection of position players. Will it win a bunch of games? I don’t know.” In my preview draft, the question was a slightly different “will it hit?” The answer to that so far is “not really:” .207/.291/.276 and 3.4 runs per game.

Opponents are scoring an even worse 2.5 runs per game and batting .176/.268/.296. Down East has a strikeout rate of 33% and the league’s best steal prevention by far. Opponents have only seven steals and a 50% success rate. Credit Ian Moller and pitching staff that appears to have some idea of how to keep runners at bay.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Lee (bullpen game)
AA: White
Hi-A: Santos
Lo-A: Lopez

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I missed what I assumed would be Round Rock’s last-ever morning game as a Texas affiliate because my daughter was sick. Ah, well. The Express played and won their first game under what I termed the “egregious” new extra-inning runner-on-second rule, which had been instituted in rookie ball the year before and expanded to all minor classifications in 2018. I’ve since changed my mind (it’s still a pox in the Majors, though).