Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 7 September

Prior to roster expansion, I wrote about who I’d call up from off the 40-man roster because I thought the idea was more interesting than writing “Texas will probably call up Sam Huff” (no offense to Sam). Nine days later, two non-40 players from my list will be in the Texas dugout tonight. On the pitching side, I uneasily chose Jatz Latz after enough waffling that I was telling myself “you don’t actually have to write this.” I certainly wasn’t contemplating Ian Kennedy, but every choice was problematic.

As for the hitters, I quickly settled on Evan Carter. As I said then, I didn’t think Carter was fully ready, but he certainly offered the most promise.Now, with an injury to the starting right fielder, Carter is the obvious choice from off or on the 40.Carter was batting .353/.436/.382 with a double, three steals, four walks, and six strikeouts in eight games. I’d delved into his batted-ball data yesterday. Expanding on that, Carter’s median exit velocity is fine (92.5 compared to 89.6 for all players), but his top-end velocity hasn’t quite shown up, nor has his hardest contact synced with the angles necessary for maximum damage. Thus, one extra-base hit. This is not a situation like Dustin Harris, whose AAA velo has yet to exceed 102. Carter had reached 106.4 in AAA,and based on his AA performance I had no reason to think higher figures weren’t forthcoming.

Where Carter has really excelled is pitch selection and contact. A better-than-average percentage of his first-pitch takes have resulted in balls. His swinging strike rate is 7.8% compared to the average of 12.2%. 55% of his swings have resulted in a ball in play. Justin Foscue is second-best on the Express at 46%. The team average is 36%. When Carter decides to swing, the fielders best be prepared. Sean Bass of The Ticket and I were recording a new podcast when the Carter news broke, and we discussed him and much more (links in signature at bottom).

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 11, at El Paso (SDP) 10
Round Rock: 16 hits, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 15 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 36-24, 1 G up, 80-54 overall

SP Scott Engler: 1.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 5 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 31 P / 21 S, 15.26 ERA
RP Jake Latz: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 4.18 ERA
RP Matt Bush: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.75 ERA
CF Elier Hernandez: 3-5, 2B, BB, .307/.368/.498
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 1-3, 2 BB, HBP, .249/.363/.352
2B Justin Foscue: 4-5, 2 2B, 2 HR (15), BB, .271/.395/.467
1B Blaine Crim: 2-5, BB, .285/.384/.487
LF Dustin Harris: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .269/.384/.431

Down a run in the 9th, the Express rallied for four runs and held off a Chihuahua comeback. Justin Foscue had a career night: two homers, two doubles, a walk.

AA: Frisco 10, NW Arkansas (KAN) 7
Frisco: 14 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 6 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 30-30, 6 GB, 61-67 overall, elimination number 4

SP Seth Nordlin: 4 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 84 P / 55 S, 6.01 ERA
RP Robby Ahlstrom: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 4.57 ERA
SS Keyber Rodriguez: 2-5, 2B, HR (2), .246/.328/.386
CF Kellen Strahm: 2-5, 2B, 3B, .244/.356/.338
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-3, BB, .248/.301/.409

With apologies to the participants, this game felt much longer than its purported two hours and fifty-eight minutes and was genuinely headed that way until a brisk final third. Seth Nordlin threw 33 pitches in a four-run 1st. Two Naturals expended 47 pitches in Frisco’s three-run 4th.

Wyatt Langford drew a walk in five trips to the plate. He didn’t strike out but never hit a ball especially hard or out of the infield. Nor did he have an opportunity to make more than a routine play. Just one of those nights, and I can’t offer much more than confirmation of his existence and his muscles, which are large and plentiful.

Hi-A: suspended

Hickory leads 6-0 in the 3rd. Bowling Green’s 19-10 loss (really!) reduced Hickory’s magic number to one, so holding on to this one (or another Bowling Green loss) would clinch the second-half division title for the Crawdads.

Lo-A: Down East 4, Augusta (ATL) 2
Down East: 7 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 29-34, tied for first, 66-58 overall

SP Joseph Montalvo: 3.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 60 P / 38 S, 2.83 ERA
RP Adrian Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 4.50 ERA
RP Tim Ireland: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 5.79 ERA
1B Anthony Calarco: 1-3, HR (1), .171/.279/.183
LF Marcos Torres: 2-3, .138/.242/.138

Undrafted Anthony Calarco’s first professional homer and a two-run error were enough for Down East. Joseph Montalvo would appear to be in line for a playoff start. Marcos Torres had his first two-hit game for the Wood Ducks.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Dugger
AA: Garcia
Lo-A: Davallilo

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Spokane defeated Everett 5-4 to advance to the Northwest League finals. Rehabbing Chi CHi Gonzalez lasted five innings. Closer Emmanual Clase allowed his first run in over two months and first homer of the season but stranded the tying run at second in the 9th.