Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 10 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, Oklahoma City (LAD) 6 (7)
Round Rock: 10 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts

SP Michael Lorenzen: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 6 SO, 89 P / 53 S, 6.35 ERA
3B Dustin Harris: 3-4, 2 SB (4)
CF Elier Hernandez: 3-4, HR (1)
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-2, 2 BB
C Sam Huff: 2-2, 2B, HR (2), BB

AAA: Round Rock 6, Oklahoma City (LAD) 1 (7)
Round Rock: 6 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 7-4, 1 GB

SP Tim Brennan: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 66 P / 40 S, 3.24 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA

The Express swept the doubleheader. Michael Lorenzen had his least successful rehab outing, walking five. The changeup was effective, but the slider wasn’t getting him anywhere. Tim Brennan was more effective in his second start back from elbow surgery. He’s still seeking the reestablish his once-terrific control. Jonathan Hernandez’s velocity was down two ticks across the board, but he worked a scoreless 5th.

Sam Huff knocked a mild homer by his standards: 98 off the bat, 359 feet. In the early going, Huff is hitting as hard as ever, but, as in 2023, the impact is blunted by a below-average launch angle. On the other hand, he’s slugging .700, so maybe I should lay off. Dustin Harris has started five consecutive games at third.

In the nightcap, the offense was nearly silent until the 6th when six consecutive hitters reached with two out.

OKC no longer has a “Dodgers” nickname nor a replacement. For 2024, they are known simply as Oklahoma City Baseball Club and will be rechristened next year. They were assimilated into the Diamond Baseball Holdings borg in 2021, and the current marketing trend is to build an identity separate from the parent club.

AA: Frisco 6, Corpus Christi (HOU) 5
Frisco: 6 hits, 12 walks, 16 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 4-1, tied for first

SP Ben Anderson: 3.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 59 P / 40 S, 1.93 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 6.75 ERA
CF Kellen Strahm: 1-3, 2 BB, SB (1)
C Liam Hicks: 2-5
1B Abi Ortiz: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB
SS Max Acosta: 1-3, 2 BB

Frisco scored three in the 9th. Abi Ortiz doubled, and Cody Freeman struck out but reached first on a passed ball. Max Acosta walked, pinch-hitter Devin Hurdle singled home two, and after a Frainyer Chavez walk, Geisel Cepeda was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run.

Ben Anderson has been around since 2019 as a 13th-round pick, but because of covid and three consecutive injury-shortened seasons, he hasn’t pitched much and I don’t know much about him.

Hi-A: Hickory 1, Jersey Shore (PHI) 0 (10)
Hickory: 3 hits, 1 walk, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 1-4, 3 GB

SP Luis Ramirez: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 58 P / 36 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Jackson Kelley: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Josh Gessner: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Skylar Hales: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA

Hickory scored the game’s only run when Anthony Gutierrez beat out a deep grounder to short. Pinch-runner Jayce Easley, who began the inning at second, never stopped running and scored as Jersey Shore protested the call at first. Four Crawdads combined for a four-hit shutout topped by Skylar Hales’ three strikeouts of eight batters.

I’m going to renege on yesterday’s comment that I’d wait before analyzing Sebastian Walcott’s slow start, because it isn’t the type of random dry spell that will afflict every hitter eventually. He’s 1-for-19 with no walks and nine strikeouts. A look under the hood confirms the intensity of his early struggles. 30% of all his pitches and 51% of his swings have resulted in a swinging strike. Those are exceedingly high figures. Further, only 56% of his taken pitches have resulted in a ball. (I don’t know the high-A rate, but in AAA a common range is 65%-75%.) So, in his case, there’s no “at least he’s drawing walks” fallback. Also, four of his ten balls in play have been infield pops. Absolutely nothing is in his favor right now. I’m not going to throw out any adjectives like “alarming” or “scary” yet because it’s early, and he endured a similar stretch in rookie ball last year (2-for-28 with 18 strikeouts across seven late-July games) and recovered.

I guess the one thing in Walcott’s favor is he has company, as Hickory’s offense is the worst in pro ball: 0.6 runs per game and a .138/.190/.164 line.

Lo-A: Down East 6, @ Carolina (MIL) 7
Down East: 9 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 7 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 4-1, 1 GB

SP Paul Bonzagni: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 0 SO, 56 P / 32 S, 6.75 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 1-2, 2B, HBP, SB (1)
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-2, 3 BB
RF Thomas Specht: 1-3, 2B, BB, SB (1)

Echedry Vargas doubled down the opposite line in his first at-bat. Next, he was hit on the hand, and after an inning, he was replaced. Vargas has a funky .158/.191/.421 line with more extra-base hits (3) than strikeouts (2).

Grapevine native Paul Bonzagni started infrequently in college, only nine of 41 appearances at Weatherford College and Southern Illinois, so I wasn’t expecting to see him in the rotation.

Today’s Starters
AAA: White
AA: Garabito

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Wei-Chieh Huang started for Frisco, and I called April 10th “awfully early for a ‘bullpen start.'” Those were the days. Hickory’s Hans Crouse missed 19 bats en route to a scoreless five innings and nine strikeouts.