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.