Early March 2021:
Rob Manfred: We want to reduce the number of domestic minor leaguers under contract to 150.
Tony Clark: What? Absolutely not.
Manfred: Okay, 180. But the Royals have to carry a Barlow. Like, if Scott Barlow is traded or becomes a free agent, they have to get another Barlow.
Clark: (rolls eyes) Fine, whatever.
Kansas City claimed RHP Joe Barlow after trading reliever Scott Barlow at the deadline. Drafted in 2016’s 11th round, Joe’s vertically-oriented fastball-curve combo amassed a ton of strikeouts (and walks) during 2017-2018. Seemingly on the cusp of MLB in 2019, Barlow hit an exceedingly rough patch in AAA. In 2021, he introduced a slider that became his go-to, and his control improved significantly. Within six weeks of his MLB debut, he gained the closer role and saved 24 games between August 2021 and June 2022. Barlow wasn’t really bad in 2023, just not as good, but that was enough for him to lose his spot on a contending team.
Cole Hamels has retired. Hamels spent two full and two partial seasons with the Rangers, throwing 547 innings plus 16.2 more in three postseason starts.
AAA: Round Rock 6, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 7 (10)
Round Rock: 9 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 15-15, 5 GB, 59-45 overall
SP Glenn Otto: 3.2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 70 P / 42 S, 4.58 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1.56 ERA
LF JP Martinez: 1-5, HR (12), .318/.432/.579
CF Bubba Thompson: 3-4, BB, 2 SB (15), .272/.387/.408
1B Dustin Harris: 1-4, HR (3), BB, .265/.394/.461
OKC scored three in the 9th to send the game to extras and another in the 10th. On for the save, Yerry Rodriguez surrendered a two-run homer before recording an out. With two out and the tying run on second, 3B Justin Foscue fielded a check-swing grounder and threw slightly errantly to Dustin Harris, who couldn’t quite fully grip the ball in his glove until the runner had crossed first. Meanwhile, the tying run scored all the way from second. The Express are 1-8 versus the Dodgers and play them nine more times, all on the road.
Here’s a list of Texas’s recall/option activity involving relief pitchers since June 5th:
6/05: Spencer Howard (spent 5 days on roster)
6/10: Yerry Rodriguez (3 days)
6/13: Owen White (1 day)
6/14: Joe Barlow (20 days)
6/24: Yerry Rodriguez (6 days)
6/30: Glenn Otto (23 days)
7/04: John King (3 days)
7/15: John King (4 days)
7/19: Alex Speas (6 days)
7/22: Yerry Rodriguez (9 days)
7/23: Owen White (4 days)
7/25: Spencer Howard (6 days)
7/30: Grant Anderson (ongoing)
Why June 5th as a starting date? That’s when Jonathan Hernandez was optioned, so he’s had two months of watching someone else get called up every few days. Hernandez has a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings at Round Rock. Opponents are hitting only .180 and slugging .246 against him. His velocity is fine. On the downside, opponents are still reaching at a .333 clip because of his 19% walk rate, and he’s walked a batter in ten of his 14 outings. He also has an unexpectedly low 19% strikeout rate. Hernandez is wiping out batters with his slider (50% miss rate when they swing, 24% of all sliders) but not getting results with the sinker (only a 52% strike rate and 4% swinging strike rate).
AA: Frisco 7, Midland (OAK) 6 (11)
Frisco: 11 hits, 7 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 17-13, 2 GB, 48-50 overall
SP Noah Bremer: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 78 P / 50 S, 7.90 ERA
SS Jax Biggers: 3-5, BB, .229/.344/.356
LF Evan Carter: 1-4, BB, HBP, .286/.408/.449
C Liam Hicks: 2-5, 2 2B, .270/.398/.401
Trevor Hauver ended the game with a double off a position player in the 11th.
In seven games since returning from a facial injury on a diving catch attempt, Aaron Zavala has seven walks but is 3-for-27 with 14 strikeouts. His average has dipped to .199, and his strikeout rate has ballooned to 36%, a shocking increase from his college days and the 21% rate in full-season ball entering 2023. Zavala had brace surgery in the offseason for a partially torn elbow ligament.
Hi-A: Hickory 15, at Aberdeen (BAL) 2
Hickory: 12 hits, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 22-10, 4 G up, 49-44 overall
SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 69 P / 41 S, 5.13 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-3, 2 BB, HBP, 2 SB (24), .255/.273/.399
LF Wyatt Langford: 2-5, 3B, BB
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-4, HR (18), .324/.379/.692
C Cody Freeman: 3-4, 2B, HR (10), BB, HBP, SB (6), .238/.294/.417
As I mentioned last night, Wyatt Langford has tripled in 20% of his high-A plate appearances, the highest rate in that classification by a huge margin. Let’s not quibble with him only having ten plate appearances. His second triple of the season smacked off the wall just left of the “404” sign in left-center. One curious aspect of Langford’s play at Florida was that his excellent speed didn’t manifest to the expected extent on the bases or in the field. Both of his triples were high, deep flies. It’s easy for a hitter to jog rather than sprint on such hits because they almost always result in a coast into second or a homer, but Langford legged out an extra base using his speed and awareness that a triple was possible upon contact.
Only three people have more homers than the 25 of Abimelec Ortiz, and they’re all at least three years older.
Larson Kindreich, Jackson Leath, Ricky DeVito, and Gavin Collyer provided scoreless innings.
Lo-A: Down East 0, Myrtle Beach (CHC) 6
Down East: 8 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 16-17, 4 GB, 53-41 overall
SP Wilian Bormie: 4 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 68 P / 35 S, 7.56 ERA
RP CJ Widger: 3 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1.74 ERA
SS Devin Hurdle: 2-4
C Ian Moller: 2-4, .181/.326/.301
DH Miguel Villarroel: 2-4, 2 2B, .225/.265/.331
Down East puts runners in scoring position in six of nine innings but couldn’t bring anyone home.
Hi-A: Kindreich listed, but he threw an inning yesterday
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Taylor Hearn (5 IP, 1 R, 8 SO) and Wei-Chieh Huang (2 IP, 0 R, 3 SO) had fine organizational debuts in Frisco. CD Pelham earned the save in a 2-1 win over Corpus Christi.