Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 11 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Oklahoma City (LAD) 4
Round Rock: 7 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 7-5, 2 GB

SP Owen White: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 77 P / 51 S, 7.30 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 6.75 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3.86 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.68 ERA
C Sam Huff: 2-4, .324/.410/.676

Brought into the 9th to air it out, Cole Winn began with a 92 MPH cutter, his fastest in two-plus seasons in AAA, and fanned two batters on 98 MPH fastballs, also both faster than anything he’d previously thrown. A fly to right concluded his evening. He added one strike-grabbing curve and a splitter. If you put that version of Winn in a Major League ballpark, he’d get people out.

Technically, this isn’t his first time in this role, as he threw a single inning on Sunday, but that was the 6th inning of a getaway day, and he wasn’t as successful. The outing just didn’t resonate. Plus, I saw last night in person.

So, where has this been, or to put another way, why hadn’t the Rangers tried him in this role before, given his beyond-lengthy struggles? I don’t speak for the Rangers, but my answers are tied to his fastball and overall mix. One, his fastball was his worst pitch last year. His strike rate was poor, and a good many that found the plate were sent back hard the other direction. Two, he’s always had a deep repertoire with everything grading at least average when he was in better form. Indeed, some of the attempted fixes have involved broadening and tweaking his pitch mix even more, such as sliders transforming into cutters and sweepers, and this year’s splitter.

When I saw him two weeks ago, he wasn’t outstanding but looked like he was taking the fight to the competition instead of fighting himself. Hopefully, the positive trend will continue, and for the first time in a long while, we can talk about the possibility of his MLB debut.

Owen White had his moments. His average fastball is up a full tick over last year (94.0 four-seamer, 93.7 sinker), and he’s no longer dipping down into the upper 80s. His overall strike rate is also much improved, although the occasional control lapses have resulted in a walk/HBP rate identical to 2023.

Marc Church was who’s been been in AAA: wipeout slider, erratic fastball.

Ricky Vanasco shut the door for OKC. After a Sandro Fabian walk with two out, Jax Biggers hit a fly that could have cleared the fence in August (99.1 MPH, 31 degrees), but on a cool, late evening in April, it was a just a long out.

AA: Frisco 3, Corpus Christi (HOU) 6
Frisco: 3 hits, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 7 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 4-2, 1 GB

SP Gerson Garabito: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 75 P / 47 S, 2.08 ERA
RP Tyler Owens: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA

Whoson Whatawito? Okay, Garabito is a 28-year-old Dominican who came up with the Royals and also pitched with the Giants for a season. He’d been out of the MLB system since late 2021. Older reports regarded him as a mid-tier prospect with a chance at the back end of a rotation or mid-relief role. The curve mentioned in these reports has taken on a slidery shape. Texas signed him last December and either backdated the transactional entry or I missed it, because he did not ring a bell until very recently. Garabito has a 3.56 ERA in 667 minor league innings.

1-2-3 hitters Aaron Zavala, Laim Hicks, and Abi Ortiz were all 0-3 with two walks.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Leiter
AA: Acker
Hi-A: Santos / TBA

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Jacob Latz, Tai Tiedemann, and Nick Snyder combined for a Hickory-record 17 strikeouts in 6-1 victory over Kannapolis. Sam Huff homered. Latz is a Ranger today. Snyder pitched small portions of 2021 and 2022 with the Rangers but has spent much of the past four-plus seasons on the shelf, and he’s currently on Philly’s minor league 60-day IL. Tiedemann pitched briefly for indy Frederick last year after becoming a free agent following 2022.