Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 29 July

How the Day Unfolded in Relation to Texas’s Prospects
4:30pm: SS Sebastian Walcott was removed mid-game in Arizona. Around this time, national writers knew the Rangers were in on Scherzer. The idea of Walcott for Scherzer didn’t thrill me. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t believe in untradeable players, but I do have Evan Carter and Walcott in my “strongly prefer not to trade” and would only want them dealt for someone younger, more controllable, etc. Not long after, a national writer indicated the removal was for disciplinary reasons. Too bad for Walcott to have some sort of youngster’s mistake splashed all over twitter, but I’m not worried about it.

5:20pm: Down East starter Brock Porter tossed only three innings and 52 pitches, his fewest in two months aside from one walk-strewn early exit. Curious, but not necessarily indicative of anything. Texas has handled Porter exceptionally carefully all season.

5:20pm: The Frisco lineup didn’t contain either Luisangel Acuna or Thomas Saggese. Now we were cooking with gas.

7:15pm: Neither Justin Foscue nor Jonathan Ornelas were in the Round Rock lineup published only 20 minutes before the start. By then, Acuna had already been revealed as the player possibly headed to New York, but this added (and I suppose continues to add) some intrigue. But as I mentioned on twitter, Foscue hadn’t played all six games of a series in nearly two months, and a day off per week is common practice for him and other prospects of note. Like Porter earlier, interesting but not necessarily significant.

The Trade
Luisangel Acuna is a Met. I’m not huge on numerical rankings, but at the end of the day I suppose I’d rank Acuna third in the Texas system behind Carter and Walcott. Maybe second, given the much lengthier gap between Walcott’s level and MLB. Sad to see him leave, but I didn’t have him in the “would rather keep” group because Acuna’s path to a significant role with the Rangers was complicated at best. His exit day was coming, as it is for several other Texas prospects, potentially in the next couple of days.

More than just about anyone in the system this year, Acuna has mitigated some concerns that one could apply to, say, Foscue, or White, or even Carter. He can really play shortstop, although that might not be his ultimate destination. He has a lively bat that looks more and more like it will play at the highest level. His speed is a weapon. “Solid utility player” seems a reasonable floor, and he has the potential to be a good starter on a good team. That’s still not guaranteed, though, and that is the risk from New York’s perspective.  

One quirk of this deal is that Acuna isn’t entering a more favorable opportunity for playing time once he’s ready for the bigs. The Mets have SS Francisco Lindor signed through 2031, 2B Jeff McNeil through at least 2026, and CF Brandon Nimmo through 2030. All grade well defensively. I don’t know the politics of the situation, but I assume Lindor isn’t budging. Nimmo played some corner in the past but not even a minute of the past two seasons. McNeil has spent about a quarter of his time at an outfield corner and seems the likeliest candidate to accommodate Acuna, except the Mets also have another top-100 prospect Ronny Mauricio hitting the snot out of the ball in AAA. Exclusively a shortstop through 2022, Mauricio has spent a small majority this season at 2B, presumably in anticipation of taking over that position in the Majors. But I’m not a Mets Expert and there’s probably much more to the situation than I understand.

Max Scherzer is not an ace. He’s 39. His ERA is a career-worst 4.01 at present, his walk rate is slightly up, his strikeout rate and swinging strike rate are his lowest in a decade, and his homer rate is way, way up. His opposing hard-hit and barrel rates are his highest in the Statcast era. He hasn’t performed to expectations and shares some responsibility for the Mets’ plight.

All that said, he’s still pretty good. His decaying walk and strikeout rates remain very strong. Advanced models still rate his pitches as average or better. There’s an argument his homer rate on fly balls is unluckily excessive and he could see some improvement (although there’s a counter-argument that this is just who he is now).

Scherzer isn’t worth $43.3 million per year, but the Mets are covering over 60% of his remaining contract. His annualized salary as a Ranger is about $16.7 million, still a hefty chunk of change but less than a qualifying offer. Given his current caliber, that seems reasonable.

The Rangers didn’t trade for who the Mets signed. They traded for who he is now, and they’re paying him for who he is now. He cost the Rangers one player, a top-100 prospect for sure, but just him and no one else. This strikes me as decent business for both sides.  

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, at El Paso (SDP) 2
Round Rock: 7 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 14-12, 3 GB, 58-42 overall

SP Robert Dugger: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 70 P / 44 S, 4.50 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.75 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 1-3, BB, .272/.388/.484

I’ve no idea of the record for most consecutive walk-off losses, but Round Rock is well on the way to finding out. Three singles off John King in the 9th resulted in a third straight defeat in this fashion.

AA: Frisco 6, at Wichita (MIN) 7
Frisco: 9 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 14-12, 2 GB, 45-49 overall

SP Dane Acker: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 69 P / 38 S, 2.60 ERA
SS Chris Seise: 4-5, 2B, HR (12), .221/.287/.338
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-4, HR (6), .326/.358/.547

Another walk-off. Side-arming reliever John Matthews hit the first two batters and then threw errantly to third after fielding a sac bunt, bringing in the winning run.

As a result of Acuna and Saggese’s absences, Trevor Hauver played third base for the second time professionally and first as a Ranger. He never played there in college. Hauver was the target of Matthews’ throw and didn’t look comfortable covering the bag, but I couldn’t say from watching on MiLB.tv that a more seasoned 3B would have prevented an error. Aaron Zavala was removed in bottom of the 9th. He’d caught a seemingly routine fly to close the 8th. Recall that he missed a few days for a facial injury from a diving catch attempt. 1B Josh Hatcher took Zavala’s spot in right, and David Garcia covered first, the only time in 317 professional games he’s played without a mask.

Hi-A: Hickory 8, Hudson Valley (NYY) 6 (5)
Hickory: 9 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 19-9, 2.5 G up, 46-43 overall

SP Yohanse Morel: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 43 P / 26 S, 3.24 ERA
RP Larson Kindreich: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 3 SO, 5.80 ERA
SS Keyber Rodriguez: 2-3, HR (5), .262/.316/.355
2B Cam Cauley: 1-2, 2B, BB, SB (4), .306/.324/.639
1B Abimelec Ortiz: 2-3, 2B, HR (17), .337/.397/.723
C Tucker Mitchell: 1-3, HR (7), .278/.359/.451

Rain delayed the start and hastened the finish. Abimelec Ortiz hit his 24th homer. He has 17 in high-A, fourth most at the classification in just 46 games.

Lo-A: Down East 5, at Fayetteville (HOU) 4
Down East: 10 hits, 1 walk, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 14-15, 4.5 GB, 51-39 overall

SP Brock Porter: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 52 P / 32 S, 2.41 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 9.00 ERA
C Ian Moller: 2-5, SB (6), .176/.316/.303
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, SB (5), .230/.319/.352

Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa stranded a leadoff double in the 9th to push the game to extras and then stranded the gift-runner in the 10th. Ian Moller singled in the winning run.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Robert
AA: Anderson
Hi-A: Santos
Lo-A: TBA

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 25 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, at El Paso (SDP) 5
Round Rock: 6 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 7 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 14-8, tied for first, 58-38 overall

SP Daniel Robert: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 39 P / 21 S, 4.28 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 7.05 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.90 ERA

In 2014, a year in Rangers history we don’t mention willingly, the Express used 25 different starting pitchers, the most by a Texas AAA affiliate since at least 2000. That’s as far back as I looked, and given historical usage, 25 is probably the record. Or should I say the soon-to-be former record when the 2023 edition surpasses it. Tuesday, in the 96th game of the season, Daniel Robert became Round Rock’s 25th starting pitcher. Robert no-hit the Chihuahuas for 2.2 innings but walked two of his last three batters, both of whom scored on a homer off Edwar Colina.

The only time I’ve even been bitten or otherwise seriously harassed by an animal in my real estate career was by a Chihuahua in Houston. I don’t especially care for them.

AA: Frisco 10, at Wichita (MIN) 4
Frisco: 14 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 12-10, 2 GB, 43-47 overall

SP Aidan Anderson: 3 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 51 P / 38 S, 4.13 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.96 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 3-5, 2 SB (39), .308/.371/.435
LF Trevor Hauver: 3-5, 2 2B, 3B, .254/.374/.406
DH Liam Hicks: 3-5, .257/.387/.381

The Riders dealt with their own potentially worrisome bullpen start by pinning nine on the board in the 1st. 28-year-olf Chad Donato was the punching bag, surrendering nine hits to 11 batters on just 25 pitches. Making his third professional start and first in the organization, Aidan Anderson struck out a career-high six batters. Luisangel Acuna is one steal shy of last year’s 40 and five from his best of 44 set at Down East in 2021.

Hi-A: Hickory 5, Hudson Valley (NYY) 16
Hickory: 6 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 17 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 17-7, 4.5 G up, 44-41 overall

SP Victor Santos: 3.1 IP, 7 H (3 HR), 6 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 69 P / 43 S, 5.38 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, 2 2B, .269/.269/.538

The visiting Hudson Valley Renegades are located in Fishkill, New York, about 60 miles north of Manhattan and 200 miles north of the most generous definition of what might constitute the South Atlantic. “Fishkill” sounds like an unpleasant place to call home, but the “kill” is actually a Dutch word for creek and is a fairly common appellation in and around New York. Perhaps the most famous example is the former Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. Fishkill’s population isn’t much larger than Kinston, NC, where Down East plays, but its county (Dutchess) is about five times as populated. In geographic terms, the MLB reorganization of the minor league system was successful, but the South Atlantic League was an exception, with teams sprawled from north of New York City to the southern Appalachians to central Kentucky. Hudson Valley and Rome in northwest Georgia are nearly as far apart as Colorado Springs and Missoula in the old, absurdly expansive Pioneer League. Cam Cauley doubled twice.

Lo-A: Down East 2, at Fayetteville (HOU) 3 (10)
Down East: 5 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 11-14, 3.5 GB, 48-38 overall

SP Dylan MacLean: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 54 P / 28 S, 3.00 ERA
RP DJ McCarty: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2.65 ERA
RF Zion Bannister: 2-4, SB (9), .227/.333/.299

A balk and deep single off Wyatt Sparks scored the winner for Fayetteville. Lefty Dylan MacLean had trouble with control but allowed little contact, while righty DJ McCarty filled the zone and surrendered five singles.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Nordlin
AA: Garcia
Hi-A: Lockhart
Lo-A: Curry

Five Years Ago Yesterday
MLB.com’s updated top-ten Rangers prospects:
MLB.com produced its updated top-30 prospects lists. Texas’s top ten (overall top-100 in parentheses):
1. OF Leody Taveras (43rd overall)
2. OF Willie Calhoun (49)
3. OF Julio P. Martinez (62)
4. RHP Cole Winn (99)
5. RHP Hans Crouse
6. RHP Jonathan Hernandez
7. LHP Joe Palumbo
8. LHP Cole Ragans
9. OF Bubba Thompson
10. SS Anderson Tejeda

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 28 July

Top pick Wyatt Langford made his professional debut last night in the complex league. Here’s video of the first hit and second. He played left field and doubled twice in five trips to the plate. Also active and 1-4 with a walk was 9th-round OF Quincy Scott. Rehabbing Zak Kent allowed seven runs in 2.2 innings. Scott Engler, getting a much later start to his Tommy John rehab than I’d expected, surrendered two runs in 0.2 innings. The Rangers won 19-15 in 10 innings.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 3, at El Paso (SDP) 8
Round Rock: 5 hits, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 14-11, 2.5 GB, 58-41 overall

SP Glenn Otto: 4 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 58 P / 36 S, 4.50 ERA

Danny Duffy allowed two runs in 1.1 innings in his first AAA appearance. He walked two, and 16 of his 31 pitches were balls. Chihuahua Matt Waldron, often a punching bag when facing the Express, limited damage to two runs in five innings.

AA: Frisco 10, at Wichita (MIN) 7
Frisco: 15 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 14-11, 1 GB, 45-48 overall

SP Noah Bremer: 4 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 65 P / 39 S, 9.53 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.45 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-6, 2B, SB (42), .315/.377/.452
2B Thomas Saggese: 3-5, SB (8), .310/.377/.512
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-4, HBP, .308/.337/.513
RF Kellen Strahm: 3-5, 2B, .228/.333/.316

Frisco had its second nine-run inning and third double-digit run total in four days. Wichita has the league’s worst record and has allowed nearly as many runs as Amarillo despite what appears to be a neutral home park. Last year, Frisco defeated Wichita in the Texas League championship.

Not that pitcher wins matter at all, but Grant Wolfram is 7-0 in Frisco and has five wins in his last eight appearances. He’s thrown a total of 10.1 innings in those wins.

Hi-A: Hickory 2, Hudson Valley (NYY) 11
Hickory: 4 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 18-9, 2.5 G up, 45-43 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 2.2 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 7 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 67 P / 33 S, 5.35 ERA
RP Jacob Maton: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.79 ERA

Emiliano Teodo had a sub-50% strike rate allowed two homers.

Lo-A: Down East 9, at Fayetteville (HOU) 6
Down East: 10 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 13-15, 4.5 GB, 50-39 overall

SP Joseph Montalvo: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 76 P / 48 S, 2.60 ERA
RP CJ Widger: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.23 ERA
LF Jojo Blackmon: 2-4, HR (6), BB, SB (17), .184/.283/.332
C Ian Moller: 1-4, HR (6), BB, .172/.314/.300
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-5, 2B, .226/.317/.350
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 1-2, 2 BB, SB (18), .248/.320/.316
1B Griffin Cheney: 1-3, BB, HBP, .192/.306/.375

Down East scored its most runs in July. Jojo Blackmon had a line of .160/.258/.303 at the end of June but is the club’s best hitter in July (.271/.375/.438). Also hitting well is Anthony Gutierrez (.270/.361/.381).

Today’s Starters
AAA: Dugger
AA: Acker
Hi-A: Kindreich
Lo-A: TBA (Porter’s turn)

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 27 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 9, at El Paso (SDP) 10
Round Rock: 12 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 14-10, 2 GB, 58-40 overall

SP Marc Church: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 32 P / 15 S, 3.32 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-4, 3B, 2 BB, SB (27), .318/.433/.564
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, 3B, HBP, .263/.368/.367
C Matt Whatley: 2-5, HR (5), .231/.311/.322

Alex Speas’ first AAA appearance after being optioned was his worst of the season: two walks, a hit, batter, a single, four runs, one out. El Paso singled in the winner off Chase Lee in the 10th.

With Marc Church becoming Round Rock’s 26th starter in just 98 games, setting what I presume is the record for starters in a single season by a Texas AAA team, some folks have asked whether the Express are using openers frequently. They are not. I suppose whoever’s starting in front of Cole Winn on a given night could be considered an opener, but that’s about it. I don’t mean to make this sound like a crisis. With rosters expanded since 2021, a gutted rotation is much easier to handle than before. To some extent, a full rotation is a hindrance as it leave ten or more relievers fighting over a handful of available innings. But it is unusual and exacerbated by similar issues in Frisco. I don’t recall the Rangers embracing (or at least just rolling with) so many bullpen nights until now.

AA: Frisco 1, at Wichita (MIN) 4
Frisco: 5 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-11, 2 GB, 44-48 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 4.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 6 BB, 5 SO, 84 P / 44 S, 7.11 ERA
C Liam Hicks: 1-3, 3B, BB, .259/.390/.397

Wichita avoided having to use more position players, front office members, and random fans as pitchers. Luisangel Acuna and Thomas Saggese doubled.

Hi-A: Hickory 6, Hudson Valley (NYY) 5
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 18-8, 3.5 G up, 45-42 overall

SP Jose Corniell: 5 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 81 P / 56 S, 5.13 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.21 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, HR (3), .300/.300/.633
1B Tucker Mitchell: 1-3, HR (6), BB, .277/.363/.438

Jose Corniell somewhat corrected the the struggles of the last two starts, allowing two homers in a span of three batters in the 1st but then avoiding any serious trouble through the 5th. Cam Cauley’s third homer in eight AAA games tied the score, Tucker Mitchell’s two-run homer erased another deficit, and Hickory walked off victorious on a… strikeout? Yes. Keyber Rodriguez struck out with one out and Jayce Easley on third, but the K required a throw to first, and Easley scampered home.

Lo-A: Down East 6, at Fayetteville (HOU) 4
Down East: 8 hits, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 12-15, 4.5 GB, 49-39 overall

SP Wilian Bormie: 4.1 IP, 2 H (2 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 67 P / 39 S, 6.23 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 15.00 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, 2B, BB, .223/.316/.345
2B Griffin Cheney: 1-3, HR (4), BB, .186/.291/.373
RF Zion Bannister: 1-4, HR (1), .231/.336/.327

Manager Carlos Maldanado was ejected five pitches into the game when an errant pitch hit leadoff hitter Yenci Pena but the umpire ruled (I think) a foul ball off the knob of the bat. Maldanado took extreme umbrage, and Pena in fact would exit the game himself after a couple of practice swings during the argument. Erick Alvarez replaced him with a 2-2 count and struck out.

Not exactly a “get ejected to fire up the team” moment, but the dormant offense responded anyway. Anthony Gutierrez singled in two runs later that inning, and Down East would pins ones on the board the next three innings.

20-year-old Wilian Bormie made his full-season debut. Signed late in 2019, Bormie didn’t pitch in 2021 and posted a walk and strikeout-heavy 4.15 ERA with the rookies.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Otto
AA: Bremer
Hi-A: Teodo
Lo-A: TBA

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down in San Antonio, Jonathan Hernandez had a terrible outing on paper (5.2 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 4 SO), but I came away still reasonably impressed. Brett Martin made an unexpected relief appearance and fanned two with a mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 26 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, at El Paso (SDP) 7
Round Rock: 12 hits, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 14-9, 1 GB, 58-39 overall

SP Seth Nordlin: 2.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 5 R, 5 BB, 0 SO, 68 P / 32 S, 6.32 ERA
RP Josh Sborz: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.00 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, 2 BB, .268/.390/.470
RF Elier Hernadez: 3-5, HR (16), .308/.370/.533
DH Blaine Crim: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .280/.396/.500

Ben Gamel homered off Grant Anderson to end it.

In 23 second-half games, Round Rock has used 11 starting pitchers, and only six starts have exceeded four innings. The median is just 2.2 innings. As scheduled, Marc Church will become Round Rock’s 26th starting pitcher tonight, which I believe will be a record for a Texas AAA affiliate.

AA: Frisco 19, at Wichita (MIN) 10
Frisco: 19 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 14 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 13-10, 2 GB, 44-47 overall

SP Ryan Garcia: 4.1 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 5 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 86 P / 52 S, 7.04 ERA
CF Luisangel Acuna: 4-5, 2B, HR (7), BB, 2 SB (41), .315/.379/.452
LF Evan Carter: 2-5, 2B, HR (11), BB, .298/.413/.471
SS Thomas Saggese: 3-5, HR (15), HBP, .311/.378/.513
DH Trevor Hauver: 3-6, 2B, HR (9), .259/.377/.437
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-6, HR (5), .308/.337/.513
C Scott Kapers: 2-6, HR (5), 227324398

After scoring nine runs in Tuesday’s first inning, Frisco again obliterated Wichita’s pitching, which as of midseason was the league’s worst (10% more runs than average, 115 opposing OPS+). Thomas Saggese tied last year’s 15 homers with a rocket off the LCF scoreboard in the 1st. Evan Carter followed with a 2nd-inning grand slam. Down 12-8 in the 9th, Wichita offered as sacrifice catcher David Banuelos, who recorded two outs and then allowed four homers to the next seven batters, including Hauver, Hatcher, and Kapers in order. Frisco hosted the Wind Surge in May and lost all five games by a combined 28 runs.

Hi-A: Hickory 0, Hudson Valley (NYY) 7
Hickory: 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 17-8, 3.5 G up, 44-42 overall

SP Nick Lockhart: 3.1 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 53 P / 34 S, 1.50 ERA
RP Luis Tejada: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.29 ERA
C Cody Freeman: 2-4, 2B, .226/.278/.400

I sold Cam Cauley very short yesterday, crediting him with two doubles on Tuesday when in fact he homered twice. The Rangers have video. As for yesterday’s game… did you know that when the Hudson Valley Renegades came into being in 1995, their parent club was the Texas Rangers? The Renegades switched to the nascent Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in 1997 as the Rangers vacated short-season ball for a year. Hudson Valley and Tampa Bay would be partners for 24 years until the elimination of short-season ball, whereupon the Renegades jumped to high-A with the Yankees.

Lo-A: Down East 0, at Fayetteville (HOU) 4
Down East: 4 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 11-15, 4.5 GB, 48-39 overall

SP Aidan Curry: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 76 P / 45 S, 2.24 ERA
RP Jackson Leath: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.37 ERA
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 1-3, BB, .245/.314/.315

Aidan Curry and Jackson Leath pitched well. The offense continued to slide, although it was only the second shutout of the second half.

Texas assigned 12th-round RHP Paul Bonzagni to the rookie squad, the first 2023 pick to receive a roster spot.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Church
AA: Krauth
Hi-A: Corniell
Lo-A: TBA

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas traded LHP Cole Hamels to the Cubs for reliever Eddie Butler, minor league righty Rollin Lacy, and a player to be named, eventually revealed as OF Alexander Ovalles. Butler never pitched for a Major League organization beyond 2018, nor did Lacy, who was shipped out as part of the omnibus Jurickson Profar trade, was injured, and never again appeared in a game. Ovalles was sent to Tampa Bay as part of the Nathaniel Lowe trade and is hitting .228/.344/.279 in AA.

Rangers Farm Report

Rookie: 3-6 record since last check-in, 15-19 overall, 7 GB
(Counting stats are for the last two weeks, rate stats are for the season)

LHP Zak Kent: 4.0 IP, 1 H, BB, 6 SO, 0.00 ERA
RHP Wilian Bormie (20 years old): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 9 SO, 4.15 ERA
RHP Nick Bautista III (21): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 6.14 ERA
RHP Ivan Oviedo (20): 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 8 SO, 6.60 ERA
RHP Ismael Agreda (19): 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 4 SO, 4.97 ERA

Rehabbing Zak Kent has thrown two games of two scoreless innings. The elongated AAA schedule (150 games ending late September) will afford him at least three appearances he wouldn’t have had under the pre-2020 format. Half of Nick Bautista’s runs came in a an early June outing, so don’t sweat that ERA too much. His control is around average for the league (which is to say, meh), his strikeout rate a lofty 38%. Mid-90s with a slider is my understanding of his repertoire. Righty Ismael Agreda recently received a generous FanGraphs writeup for his mid-90s fastball, curve, and change.

SS Sebastian Walcott (17): 11-38, 3 2B, HR (6), 2 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SB (8), .346/.386/.679
R/L/1 Marcos Torres (18): 7-31, 3B, 2 HR (5), 3 BB, 3 HBP, 6 SB (14), .259/.387/.536
2/3/S Chandler Pollard (19): 9-29, 2B, 3 BB, 3 HBP, 5 SB (12), .229/.378/.321
2/3/S Echedry Vargas (18): 12-29, 2 2B, HR (6), 6 BB, 4 SB (12), .314/.396/.545
OF Edgar Basabe (19): 9-28, 3 2B, 3 BB, 6 SB (8), .253/.290/.400
CF Jose De Jesus (18): 9-34, 2 2B, HR (2), 4 BB, 6 SB (9), .210/.296/.328

Midseason prospect rankings have strongly favored Sebastian Walcott: 61st overall by FanGraphs, 90th by Baseball America, 99th by MLB.com, outside the top 50 but under consideration by Baseball Prospectus. Walcott’s .679 slugging percentage tops the league among players with at least two plate appearances per team game. Conversely, he also sports a 34% strikeout rate and donned the dreaded platinum visor (5) last Friday. After DH-ing more often than not in Arizona, he’s spent seven of his last nine games at short. Echedry Vargas has switched mostly to second while Chandler Pollard has spent the majority of his time at third.

No 2023 draft picks or undrafted free agents have played in a real game yet, best as I can tell. Last year, no pitchers appeared by design, while the hitters received a handful of games at the complex or lower full-season levels depending on age and experience. As of the most recent formal announcements, Texas had signed 15 of 18 picks. Missing were LHP Jake Brown (16th), IF Elijah Ickes (19th), and RHP Laif Palmer (20th).  The signing deadline is 4pm CDT.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 23 July

The Rangers have traded LHP Taylor Hearn to Atlanta for cash. Texas had designated Hearn for assignment last week.

Texas acquired Hearn and IF Sherten Apostel in 2018 from Pittsburgh for reliever Keone Kela. Kela had a bear of a time staying healthy and has only thrown 58 MLB innings since the trade. Apostel reached the Majors during the covid-shortened 2020 but had his own health troubles and looked like the oldest 23-year-old alive during his final year in the Texas organization. Both Kela and Apostel are playing for farm clubs in Japan in 2023.Pittsburgh won the trade in terms of Wins Above Replacement, but I’d call it close to even. The Bucs were on a semi-quixotic playoff quest, barely above .500 and on the fringes of contention, when they traded for Kela and SP Chris Archer. They didn’t improve and were far worse in 2019, so Kela hardly threw any meaningful innings for them. Hearn threw 229 roughly replacement-level innings with the Rangers, often hinting at better days to come, but expectations changed in 2023. I wouldn’t count him out yet.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, Reno (ARI) 3
Round Rock: 3 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 14-7, 1 G up, 58-37 overall

SP Robert Dugger: 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 101 P / 65 S, 4.79 ERA

Dustin Harris drew three walks including one with the bases loaded. So far in AAA, Harris is walking more, striking out less, and hitting for more average and power than in Frisco, although I find his lack of top-end velocity strange and troubling.

Six of Round Rock’s final nine series will be on the road. Every other team has at least four home series.

AA: Frisco 4, San Antonio (SDG) 2
Frisco: 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 11-10, 3 GB, 42-47 overall

SP Dane Acker: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 49 P / 29 S, 3.14 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.63 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.57 ERA
SS Thomas Saggese: 1-3, 2B, BB, .310/.376/.509

Dane Acker was pulled early, but I assume that’s per custom, as he’d pitched five days ago. Grant Wolfram inherited and escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the 3rd.

Antoine Kelly has quietly produced some fine numbers lately including surprisingly good control. Kelly had four appearances with two or more walks in his first eight games. Since then, none. In his last 22 outings, Kelly has walked or hit eight in 24.1 innings while fanning 34, and opponents are hitting .189/.253/.300. When Texas acquired him for reliever Matt Bush last summer, the safe assumption was that 40-man protection was forthcoming. His already iffy control then deteriorated so badly that he was ignored both by the Rangers and opponents in the Rule 5 draft.

Hi-A: Hickory 6, at Rome (ATL) 3 (10)
Hickory: 9 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 17-6, 4.5 G up, 44-40 overall

SP Nick Lockhart: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 28 P / 18 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.08 ERA
C Tucker Mitchell: 3-5, .285/.368/.431

In the 10th with a runner on third and one out, Rome had intentionally walked Keyber Rodriguez to set up a double play. Max Acosta then walked the hard way, bringing Abimelec Ortiz to the plate. Ortiz struck out, but two-out singles from Tucker Mitchell and Geisel Cepeda provided the margin.

Lo-A: Down East 4, Salem (BOS) 6
Down East: 9 hits, 5 walks, 16 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Record: 11-13, 2.5 GB, 48-37 overall

SP Brayan Mendoza: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 51 P / 36 S, 3.51 ERA
RP Bryan Chi: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 22.50 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, BB, .225/.316/.348

24-year-old Cuban Bryan Chi made his full-season debut. He, Hickory OF Geisel Cepeda, and ten others fled the Cuban Under-23 team during a tournament in Mexico late in 2021. As a Ranger, Chi’s control has improved considerably since his mostly teen-aged years in Cuba. He walked just three in 18 rookie-level innings, striking out 23 and posting a 2.50 ERA.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down East broke an 11-game losing streak. Hickory’s Sam Huff tripled off Boston-affiliated Greenville’s scale-model Green Monster.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 22 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, Reno (ARI) 3
Round Rock: 6 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 14-6, 2 G up, 58-36 overall

SP Jake Latz: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 49 P / 32 S, 5.67 ERA
RP Marc Church: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 3.20 ERA
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-3, 2B, HR (2), .242/.364/.374

Owen White was the listed starter but did not appear.

A two-out double by Bubba Thompson followed by Justin Foscue’s single provded the difference in the 8th.

AA: Frisco 8, San Antonio (SDG) 6
Frisco: 9 hits, 6 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 10-10, 4 GB, 41-47 overall

SP Noah Bremer: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 0 SO, 62 P / 39 S, 9.69 ERA
RP Nick Starr: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.38 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 2B, BB, .304/.368/.433
CF Evan Carter: 1-3, 2 BB, .298/.417/.465
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-5, HR (14), .310/.375/.507

Thomas Saggese continues to rake. As I’ve mentioned, his rate stats are similar to last year, just at a higher level. Saggese has also cut his double-play grounders from 17 to four (so far), but he’s hitting nearly the same rate of grounders, so that seems like luck.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Rome (ATL) 2 (7)
Hickory: 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 16-5, tied for first, 43-39 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 69 P / 43 S, 3.86 ERA
1B Tucker Mitchell: 2-4, .272/.361/.424
DH Max Acosta: 1-3, HR (6), .263/.311/.374

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Rome (ATL) 9 (7)
Hickory: 5 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 16-6, 3.5 G up, 43-40 overall

SP Luis Tejada: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 29 P / 22 S, 5.74 ERA
RP Gavin Collyer: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.43 ERA
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-2, HR (16), BB, .345/.402/.750

Hickory and Rome finally got their doubleheader in. Abimelec Ortiz got his homer in. Emiliano Teodo had another nice start. In his last four, he’s posted a 2.60 ERA with five walks and 26 SO in 17.1 IP. He’s has enough success lately that his BB/HBP rate is actually slightly lower than last year. Still not good (13%), but lower.

Lo-A: Down East 1, Salem (BOS) 5
Down East: 4 hits, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 11-12, 2.5 GB, 48-36 overall

SP Brock Porter: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 70 P / 34 S, 2.55 ERA
RP CJ Widger: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 1.69 ERA

Brock Porter has trended the other direction from Teodo lately: seen consecutive starts with a strike rate under 60%, one of every 4.8 batters on base via BB or HBP. As ever, Porter isn’t allowing many hits, and a small subset for extra bases.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Dugger
AA: Acker
Hi-A: Kindreich
Lo-A: TBA

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 21 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, Reno (ARI) 3 (11)
Round Rock: 7 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 13-6, 1 G up, 57-36 overall

SP John King: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 36 P / 24 S, 3.26 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 4.01 ERA
RP Joe Barlow: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.86 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2.96 ERA
C Sam Huff: 2-4, 2B, HR (14), .298/.389/.546
DH Blaine Crim: 2-4, .280/.397/.500

No cheapies last night. The hits from Huff and Crim were in excess of 100 MPH, including Huff’s game-ending opposite-field double at a salty 110.

Pitching two scoreless innings for Reno was none other than Texas 2015 6th-rounder Tyler Ferguson, whose control was bad enough for Texas to release him in spring training before his third full season. Ferguson has pitched for the Dodgers, Braves, Diamondbacks, and two independent teams.

AA: Frisco 2, San Antonio (SDG) 7
Frisco: 5 hits, 8 walks, 16 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 9-10, 4 GB, 40-47 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 0 SO, 76 P / 40 S, 7.06 ERA
RP Danny Duffy: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 7.06 ERA
LF Aaron Zavala: 1-3, 2 BB, .217/.371/.317
1B Josh Hatcher: 1-4, HR (4), .328/.343/.541

Aaron Zavala has been on a nice little run of late.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Rome (ATL) 5 (7)
Hickory: 3 hits, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 15-5, 4 G up, 42-39 overall

SP Jose Corniell: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 5 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 82 P / 49 S, 5.06 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.74 ERA
LF Geisel Cepeda: 1-1, 2 BB, SB (5), .281/.370/.355
Keyber Rodriguez: 1-4, HR (4), .272/.329/.366

More rain limited the teams to just one of two intended games. Twice in a row, the rain hasn’t come soon enough for Jose Corniell, who allowed five runs in a shortened endeavor last week.

Lo-A: Down East 7, Salem (BOS) 4
Down East: 12 hits, 8 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 11-11, 1.5 GB, 48-35 overall

SP Joseph Montalvo: 4 IP, 7 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 7 SO, 75 P / 52 S, 2.20 ERA
RP Wyatt Sparks: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1.75 ERA
RP Jackson Leath: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.54 ERA
C Ian Moller: 0-3, 2B, 2 HBP, .181/.318/.306
DH Konner Piotto: 2-3, 2 2B, 2 HBP, .296/.383/.398
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, HR (8), BB, .223/.314/.346
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-3, 3B, 2 BB, .254/.322/.328

Per an in-person Josh Norris from Baseball America and various reports, IF Danyer Cueva was injured in an on-field collision and removed by ambulance. He was being treated for a concussion.

Anthony Gutierrez is hitting .269/.364/.373 in 19 games since returning from Arizona.

Today’s Starters
AAA: White
AA: Bremer
Hi-A: Teodo / TBA
Lo-A: TBA

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 1 July

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, at Las Vegas (OAK) 8
Round Rock: 7 hits, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 1-3, 2 GB, 45-33 overall

SP Spencer Howard: 1 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 22 P / 15 S, 5.19 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 7.64 ERA
RF JP Martinez: 1-4, HR (7), BB, SB (24), .340/.463/.582
1B Blaine Crim: 2-3, HR (9), BB, .268/.377/.467
LF Dustin Harris: 1-3, HR (2), BB, SB (3), .333/.486/.704

Round Rock’s second intentional walk of the season backfired when Vegas’s Zack Gelof singled in the game-ending run. With a runner on second and two out, Round Rock waived Tyler Soderstrom to first. The walk set up a force and a platoon matchup, although pitcher Jonathan Hernandez doesn’t have a pronounced split, and the quality of hitting in 2023 actually favored pitching to Soderstrom. Unfortunately, in Vegas, such tactics usually only delay runs, not prevent them.

Crim’s homer traveled 467 feet, but at 104 MPH off the bat it was only Crim’s second-hardest hit of the evening. He cracked a 110 MPH single.

Cole Winn struggled with control for the first time in long relief, issuing strikes on 55% of his pitches.

The White Sox released LHP AJ Alexy from AAA Charlotte. Unfortunately, Alexy’s always-iffy control cratered in 2023. In 21 innings, he walked or hit 46 batters.

AA: Frisco 1, at San Antonio (SDG) 2
Frisco: 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 1-3, 3 GB, 32-40 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SO, 82 P / 57 S, 5.98 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.33 ERA
2B Thomas Saggese: 1-2, 2 BB, .305/.371/.489
SS Luisangel Acuna: 1-4, HR (6), SB (33), .300/.359/.448
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-4, 2B, .249/.370/.399

Frisco never strung together any baserunners. Neither did San Antonio, but a hit batter, single, and botched pickoff produced what would stand as the game-winning run in the 5th. The game lasted two hours and nine minutes, was played in black and white, and shot on a hand-cranked camera at 18 frames per second.

Hi-A: Hickory 5, Greensboro (PIT) 4 (10)
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 8-0, 3 G up, 35-34 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 60 P / 41 S, 4.87 ERA
RF Yosy Galan: 2-4, 2B, .292/.292/.375

After several attempts, Emiliano Teodo posted his first lengthy, stable outing, although as noted by educated observer Mark Parker, the fastball was arrow-straight and often sent the opposite way in anger. Still, this was a step forward in what has been a frustrating season after last year’s breakout.

Lo-A: Down East 2, Carolina (MIL) 3
Down East: 3 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 5-2, 1 G up, 42-26 overall

SP Brock Porter: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 69 P / 41 S, 1.76 ERA
RP Wyatt Sparks: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.62 ERA

Brock Porter’s strike rate was a slightly below-par 59%, but he gifted only one free base, and per usual he was hard to hit. From my viewpoint, his stuff is too much much for this level, and the goal is to finish the season with an uptick in control, which has been pretty poor statistically.

Today’s Starters
AAA: TBD
AA: Bremer
Hi-A: Bratt
Lo-A: TBD

Five Years Ago
International Signing Day. Texas’s marquee addition was catcher Jose Rodriguez, described as a bat-first player who’d have to work to stay at that position. Rodriguez, in fact, would never play a single official game at the position, and he didn’t hit much, especially in the US. Texas released him in March, and he’s out of professional baseball at the age of 21.

The other noteworthy name at the time was Luisangel Acuna, currently hitting .300/.360/.448 as a 21-year-old shortstop in AA. Acuna will reach the Majors. The questions are in what capacity and for which team.