Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 26 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Albuquerque (COL) 2
Round Rock: 12 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Record: 15-7, 1 GB

SP Cody Bradford: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 76 P / 57 S, 0.64 ERA
RP Zack Littell: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
R JP Martinez: 1-3, 2 BB, .318/.464/.470
C Sam Huff: 3-5, .228/.308/.368
1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, HR (2), BB, .288/.382/.424

Another night, another magnificent Cody Bradford start. Fastballs accounted for 58% of Cody Bradford’s pitches, and seven of his ten swinging strikes were fastballs. The Isotopes swung at 26 but put only two in play.

I haven’t studied closely enough to say for sure, but last night contained more low-middle changeup locations than I’m used to seeing. The change isn’t a pure chase pitch — he will certainly throw it for strikes — but the concentration in that area seemed off. Am I being nitpicky? Yes, but I do think there’s going to come a day where he might actually allow multiple runs in one outing. Shocking, I know. Opponents are hitting only .183 when they make contact. That just can’t last.

In any case, Bradford is first in line for a rotation spot if a replacement is needed (despite his absence from the 40), and in most of the past dozen years, we’d probably be anticipating his MLB debut. Bradford has the misfortune of reaching maturity at the exact moment his club has its best top-to-bottom rotation in a long while. The likelihood of him replacing someone on the basis of effectiveness is close to zero. The “good” news is the operative word on the possibility of a rotation injury is more “when” than “if.” In the meantime, he just needs to press on.

Blaine Crim’s batted-ball data has been solid but very singles-oriented. Crim found the angle last night and moved a ball 417 feet through the air.

Zack Littell, a potential bullpen candidate, took care of the last seven outs on just 24 pitches, and he’s been darn near untouchable in 10.2 innings with Round Rock. His vertically oriented repertoire includes a riding fastball, slider, and occasional splitter. Littell’s fastball has averaged 92.7 MPH, down 1.5 from last year. His control is solid but homers have been a serious problem in the Majors.

AA: Frisco 11, at Amarillo (ARI) 12
Frisco: 10 hits, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 7 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 8-9, 2 GB

SP Nick Krauth: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 63 P / 39 S, 2.12 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Luisangel Acuna: 2-6, 2B, .320/.366/.453
LF Dustin Harris: 1-4, 2B, 2 BB, .228/.400/.421
DH Kellen Strahm: 2-5, BB, .155/.269/.190
SS Chris Seise: 2-4, BB, .324/.444/.541
C Scott Kapers: 1-5, HR (2), .313/.351/.656

Frisco lost a six-run lead Tuesday night, and as I exited the Dell Diamond last night, I saw that Amarillo had shaved three runs off Frisco’s 10-1 advantage. “Here we go again,” I half-joked. When I got home, I pulled up the box score, and… whew. Amarillo scored seven in the 8th off Ricky Devito (0.1 IP, 6 runners) and John Matthews (0.0 IP, two singles and an error on Luisangel Acuna). Marc Church stranded two runners and worked a clean 9th, but Jordan Lawlar singled in the gift-runner to lead off the 10th.

These things happen, especially in Amarillo, which serves as an an introduction to the AAA Pacific Coast League.

Evan Carter drew three walks.

Chris Seise batted .246/.319/.384 last year in high-A Hickory, not the kind of showing that insisted upon promotion, but Seise is 24 and in his seventh pro season. Unexpectedly, April is going to be the best month of his pro career. After years of hideous injury luck, is he finally establishing himself as a prospect? I don’t really know. Seise has a 36% strikeout rate but is batting .571 and slugging .952 when he makes contact. That seems untenable. For the time being, I just want to enjoy his success, and we’ll see how he proceeds.

Hi-A: Hickory 4, at Salem (CHW) 0
Hickory: 8 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 10-6, 1 GB

SP Josh Stephan: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 8 SO, 80 P / 55 S, 0.50 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.25 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1.29 ERA
RF Alejandro Osuna: 2-3, 2 2B, BB, SB (5), .289/.491/.395
CF Daniel Mateo: 1-3, HR (2), .263/.271/.439
LF Marcus Smith: 1-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (4), .125/.382/.125

Josh Stephan: Cody Bradford in training? Stephan throws a little harder and relies more on his slider, but emphasis on strike-throwing and command is similar. Stephan signed as a free agent in 2020 out of South Grand Prairie.

I’ve seen Alejandro Osuna’s daffy line before. From early May through early June last year at Down East, he batted .290/.443/.461 with more walks than strikeouts. He has a good sense of the strike zone and ought to develop more power. Osuna stole 34 bases last year but was caught 18 times. Out in Surprise, he looked bigger to me than his listed 185 pounds. Expecting the steals to diminish isn’t unreasonable, although he’s contradicting that idea so far with five successes versus zero caught in 13 games.

Lo-A: Down East 8, at Fayetteville (HOU) 5
Down East: 5 hits, 10 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 8-8, 1 GB

SP Josh Gessner: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 76 P / 45 S, 1.32 ERA
RF Abi Ortiz: 1-4, HR (1), BB, .256/.333/.372
SS Danyer Cueva: 1-3, BB, SB (2), .240/.250/.340
DH Andres Mesa: 2-2, 2B, 2 BB

I mentioned yesterday that Danyer Cueva hadn’t drawn a walk this season. He has now, taking one with the bases-loaded early in the afternoon as a finished typing yesterday’s report. Josh Gessner, part of the Gibson/Kennedy trade, is off to a nice start, albeit with continued below-average control (13% BB/HBP rate). Hans Crouse, also part of that trade, is back in action for AAA Lehigh Valley after missing most of 2022. He’s posted a 2.89 ERA despite two homers and seven walks in 9.1 innings.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Cody
AA: Roby
Hi-A: Bratt

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Jonathan Hernandez struck out nine and walked three but needed only 90 pitches to complete seven innings for high-A Down East.