Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 5 April

Justin Foscue made his MLB debut, subbing for 2B Marcus Semien in last night’s dismantling of Houston. Foscue swung at the first pitch he saw and popped to deep second. A pop to him ended the game.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, @ El Paso (SDP) 5
Round Rock: 11 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 4-3

SP Owen White: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 75 P / 43 S, 8.64 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Davis Wendzel: 2-4, HR (3), BB
1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, HR (2)

I had the “if you hold El Paso scoreless in El Paso for five innings, I don’t care how you did it” narrative ready for Owen White, but his 5th was a buzzsaw. Two singles, a hit batter, a triple off the wall, and a walk ended his night. His velocity was slightly up compared to his first start, peaking at 96, and he missed bats on four out-of-zone sliders. On the whole, he hasn’t allowed excessively hard contact, but opponents are lining the ball into play with some frequency.

In a 4-4- tie, Round Rock loaded the bases in the 9th but couldn’t score. In the bottom half, El Paso plated the winning run on an infield single and a hard liner that CF Derek Hill initially stepped in toward, only to watch it sail over his head.

Dustin Harris made his first start at third in three years. He’d worked out there in March and made at least one start in an intersquad game. I received an third-party report of credible play but unfortunately witnessed nothing notable myself. Harris was involved in four plays last night including a 5-3 double-play grounder, a routine play for any half-decent 3B, but he made it, too. Harris also leapt to snare a hard chopper down the line and nearly threw the runner out.

Davis Wendzel has only three hard-hit balls this season, but all three have earned a 360-ft. jog.

AA: Frisco 6, @ Wichita (MIN) 4
Frisco: 10 hits, 8 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Dane Acker: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 65 P / 44 S, 1.93 ERA
RP Ben Anderson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RF Aaron Zavala: 2-4, 2B, BB, SB (1)
C Liam Hicks: 2-2, 2B, BB
CF Kellen Stahm: 2-4, BB
SS Max Acosta: 2-4, BB

Dane Acker faced one over the minimum through four. Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa, aka “Bubba,” aka “Hoop,” shone in his AA debut. The last name is hoh-oh-pee-ee too-ee-oh-neh-toh-ah. No dipthongs in Hawaiian. Every vowel is pronounced.

Aaron Zavala had the first of what I hope are a high number of multi-hit games Last year he had 14 versus 44 zero-hit games, en route to a .194 average. After taking a curve for strike three in his first at-bat, he offered slightly off-balance at the same pitch next time, hit it off the end of the bat, and still collected a deep opposite-field double. Liam Hicks, OBP King of the Arizona Fall League, reached safely in all five trips trips to the plate.

The Wind Surge employ ex-Rangers AJ Alexy and Scott Engler, both of whom appeared last night. Alexy walked six and allowed five of Frisco’s runs in 3.1 innings. His extreme wildness last year impelled his release from the White Sox and a spell in indy ball last year. Engler walked two in an inning but escaped.

Hi-A: Hickory 0, @ Rome (ATL) 4
Hickory: 3 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 0-1

SP Winston Santos: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 68 P / 50 S, 1.80 ERA
RP Luis Ramirez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA

Braves prospect Owen Murphy, picked 20th overall in 2022, allowed four runners and fanned eight over 6.2. At DH, Sebastian Walcott was hitless with two strikeouts. He reached on a slowish grounder that the 3B couldn’t handle. I thought it a tough play that might warrant a hit, but no. SS Cam Cauley struck out three times in four trips to the plate. CF Anthony Gutierrez, 1B Tucker Mitchell, and 2B Ben Blackwell singled.

Sticking at Hickory for a second year, Winston Santos is trying for the breakout season that eluded him in 2023. He walked two in the 3rd but overall was quietly, solidly effective.

Rome still has the Braves as a parent but dropped the marketing affiliation, adopting the nickname Emperors with a penguin as a mascot. Not bad. CF Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. reached second on a single and throw, faced his dugout and… waddled. The Braves have a middle infielder in AAA named Luke Waddell. They must demote him to Rome.

Lo-A: Down East 7, Lynchburg (CLE) 6
Down East: 8 hits, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Brayan Mendoza: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 67 P / 38 S, 2.25 ERA
RP Wilian Bormie: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 3.38 ERA
2B Danyer Cueva: 2-4, SB (1)
DH Julian Brock: 3-4, 2B, 3B

LF Tommy Specht (1-4) plated two in the 1st. 2023 8th-round catcher Julian Brock turns 23 in June and was a strong college hitter. Not to say low-A is a cakewalk, but Brock might have some fun at this level.

Undrafted Mercer alum Ryan Lobus made his full-season debut in the 5th and surrendered a run on a Danyer Cueva error and double.

Two insurance runs in the 8th would prove useful. Up 7-4 in the 9th, sidearmer Luke Savage allowed a walk and homer before recording an out, then surrendered another walk and single. Permitted to work through the situation, Savage induced a final groundout. He was a 2021 pick limited by injury to minimal pro experience before now, and to be honest I’d forgotten his existence until I watched an impressive outing in March.

Echedry Vargas, who I talked up more than anyone in Surprise, was 0-4 with a strikeout and three errors at shortstop. Tomorrow is another day.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Leiter
AA: Teodo
Hi-A: Curry

Five Years Ago Yesterday
In his full-season debut, Emmanuel Clase worked a clean inning on 14 pitches for high-A Down East. Maybe you’re not in the mood to relieve Clase’s exploits prior to his trade to Cleveland. I won’t overdo it. New-to-Texas reliever Grant Anderson threw two perfect innings for low-A Hickory in relief of Jacob Latz.