Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 9 August

Per local reports, the Rangers plan to call up outfielder JP Martinez from Round Rock. Texas has today off and doesn’t need to add him until tomorrow evening. His addition will require a 40-man move.

Martinez has enjoyed a breakout year in his first full season in Round Rock, batting .312/.427/.565 with 20 doubles, four triples, 12 homers, and 33 steals in 67 games. He’s spent a small majority of his field starts in center. He’s improved both his walk and strikeout rates this season, swung at better pitches, and garnered better results across the board. Ages ago, a slightly older-than-average and previously underwhelming prospect who did the same was Craig Gentry.

Some caveats:

1. He’s 27, only eight months younger than Nathan Lowe, nearly three years older than Leody Taveras.

2. As I’ve mentioned, while his resurgence at the plate this season is genuine, he’s also been a little lucky. He’s hitting .401 on balls in play, 55 points above his full-season average entering 2023. On grounders and generally soft contact, he’s hitting .317. His teammates are hitting .177. Sure, he’s faster than most, but that only goes so far, and he did not hit better than average in those velo/angle categories last year.

3. Sad to say, there are many, many examples of hitters doing unexpectedly well in the hothouse PCL environment only to hit at a sub-replacement level in the Majors.

As a role player, JPM could be a great addition. He runs well and can play center. His batted-ball data doesn’t leap off the page, but he hits hard at a decent rate and isn’t too prone to grounders or pops. 

The choice over Thompson is telling, given the 40-man ramifications. Thompson has an adequate slash line (.254/.357/.369) but isn’t hitting nearly as hard. His 75th percentile exit velo of 94.4 MPH is the lowest on the team. Thompson’s top-tier velocity is better than Martinez but less frequent.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 10, Albuquerque (COL) 6
Round Rock: 12 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 10 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 18-17, 4 GB, 62-47 overall

SP Glenn Otto: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 45 P / 22 S, 4.50 ERA
DH Blaine Crim: 3-4, .285/.389/.507
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, 2B, BB, .263/.384/.447
1B Dustin Harris: 2-4, .271/.389/.466
LF Sandro Fabian: 3-4, HR (16), .293/.335/.543

Glenn Otto threw fewer pitches than his previous two AAA outings since being optioned. I imagine the idea is to use him as a once-through-the-order type that would be his likely role if needed again by the Rangers. His sweeper was a menace: 13 thrown, three balls, two calls, seven misses out of eight swings.

Justin Foscue was back in the lineup after being announced then withdrawn on Tuesday.

AA: Frisco 6, at Corpus Christi (HOU) 2
Frisco: 9 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Record: 20-15, 1 GB, 51-52 overall

SP Nick Krauth: 6 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 3 SO, 64 P / 46 S, 6.66 ERA
RP Aidan Anderson: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.75 ERA
LF Trevor Hauver: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .262/.379/.435
RF Kellen Strahm: 4-5, HR (5), .259/.375/.370

Trevor Hauver is batting .316/.423/.526 in the second half. On the whole, Kellen Strahm hasn’t built on last year’s pretty good season in Frisco, but he’s been reaching base consistently since May.

If you’re going to put runners on base for free, it’s more efficient to hit them than walk them, and Nick Krauth worked through six innings on a spiffy 64 pitches. He’s plunked 14 batters in 82 innings, trailing only Winston Santos’s 15.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Asheville (HOU) 9
Hickory: 7 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 26-11, 3.5 G up, 53-45 overall

SP Emiliano Teodo: 2.2 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 55 P / 37 S, 5.23 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2.88 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, SB (9), .284/.320/.493
LF Wyatt Langford: 3-3, 2B, HR (1), BB, .409/.552/.818

Wyatt Langford collected a walk, single, double, and his first full-season homer. Langford has reached safely 15 times versus 13 outs in Hickory.

I suppose I should broach the topic of whether he’s already ready for AA. My ice-cold take on that is: possibly, but he’s fine where he is, and I’m not worried about it. He’s been a professional player for less than a month, and he’s getting acclimated to the professional system. Doing so in an “easy” environment is okay by me. In aggregate, the high-A level is not a step down from even an elite college conference like the Southeast. Josh Jung, picked 8th overall out of the Big 12’s Texas Tech, batted a decent but not awe-inspiring .287/.363/.389 in 40 low-A games straight out of college. Looking back a few years, I’m not seeing any top college hitters who reached AA the year they were picked. My expectation when he was picked was that he’d begin 2024 at Frisco. As for this year, simply being on the field somewhere is sufficient.

Lo-A: Down East 10, at Kannapolis (CHW) 4
Down East: 17 hits, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 19-19, 6 GB, 56-43 overall

SP Aidan Curry: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 54 P / 34 S, 2.38 ERA
RP Kai Wynyard: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1.57 ERA
RP CJ Widger: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1.46 ERA
DH Konnor Piotto: 2-5, HR (3), .277/.361/.394
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-5, 2B, .220/.310/.335
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 3-5, 2 SB (25), .263/.327/.329
C Ian Moller: 3-5, .186/.327/.299
RF Quincy Scott: 3-5

Down East scored ten runs for the first time since June 30th, and the 17 hits were a season high.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Dugger
AA: Bremer
Hi-A: Mejia

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Jonathan Hernandez offered his best AA start, striking out nine and shutting out Arkansas for six innings.