Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 23 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Salt Lake (LAA) 5
Round Rock: 12 hits, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 10-12, 5 GB

SP Owen White: 5.1 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 85 P / 55 S, 6.62 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 7.20 ERA
DH Elier Hernandez: 3-5, HR (2), .313/.418/.522
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, 2B, .300/.328/.433

Owen White was okay, not allowing any walks until his final batter. Of note was his changeup, usually not more than a tacked-on part of his repertoire but definitely featured last night. He threw 12 and generated five misses on seven swings. To provide some context, in 52 AAA innings in 2023, White issued a total of five swinging strikes on changeups. In the 4th, he struck out Willie Calhoun and Chad Wallach with them. It has some horizontal movement but is aimed toward the center of the plate laterally, making it a string-pull that catches the bottom of the zone or lands just below. It was a pretty darn good pitch. White’s fastball has improved slightly on the whole in 2024 but still isn’t its old self and topped at 94.0 last night. If the fastball is what it is going forward, he really needs another pitch to step up, and last night, the change fulfilled that duty.

Salt Lake’s 2-3-4 hitters were ex-Rangers RF Jason Martin, 1B Charles Leblanc, and DH Calhoun. Martin took an early White mid-mid fastball deep. Also on Salt Lake is former Ranger Tyler Thomas, acquired in 2018 from the Cubs for reliever Jesse Chavez, as you doubtlessly recall. Thomas now features a side-armed slo-mo slider that is tough to time but looks hittable, and eventually it was.

Max Scherzer will make his first rehab start in Round Rock tonight. Texas signed 38-year-old RHP Johnny Cueto to a minor league deal.

AA: Frisco 7, Amarillo (ARI) 12
Frisco: 11 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 14 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 9-7, 1 GB

SP Ryan Garcia: 4.1 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 6 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 85 P / 57 S, 8.76 ERA
CF Kellen Strahm: 2-5, HR (1), .277/.351/.354
SS Max Acosta: 2-4, .286/.349/.357
3B Cody Freeman: 3-4, 2B, .255/.333/.314

Rehabbing Josh Sborz fanned two around a lined single. Podcast partner Michael Tepid captioned the first strikeout perfectly.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, Ashville (HOU) 4
Hickory: 7 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 5-10, 4.5 GB

SP Brock Porter: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 3 SO, 68 P / 31 S, 6.48 ERA
RP Skylar Hales: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 9.39 ERA
RP DJ McCarty: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.84 ERA
1B Tucker Mitchell: 2-3, BB, SB (1), .191/.296/.340
SS Sebastian Walcott: 1-3, BB, .157/.246/.235
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-4, SB (5), .216/.231/.294
2B Ben Blackwell: 2-4, 2B, 2 SB (5), .154/.327/.231

Brock Porter. Let’s start with the good. Like last year, he has been very hard to hit. Opponents are batting .143 with a .250 slugging percentage. (Last year’s corresponding numbers were .161 and .202.) Only 63% of opposing swings result in contact.

Now the bad, which can be summed in two words: Why swing? Porter’s 46% strike rate is the worst of 143 South Atlantic League pitchers with at least 100 pitches thrown. 77% of pitches taken have been balls, well above average. He’s walked 13 and hit four more in 8.1 innings, resulting in otherworldly walk/HBP rate of 37% and opposing OBP of .467. Yes, he’s missing plenty of bats when opponents swing, but they’re only swinging at three of every ten pitches. In 2023, Brock Porter had four starts with more balls than strikes. In 2024, he already has three.

The silver lining is this is essentially an exaggerated version of 2023. In last year’s first three starts, He had a 52% strike rate, walked or hit nine in eight innings, produced an opposing line of .185/.389/.222. The rest of the season, he remained hard to hit while pulling his walk/HBP rate down to 16%, still elevated but at least at a level that would allow him to operate normally.

Lo-A: Down East 7, @ Fayetteville (HOU) 8
Down East: 10 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 8-7, 4.5 GB

SP David Davallilo: 4.2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 77 P / 54 S, 2.19 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .250/.429/.521
1B Arturo Disla: 2-5, 2B, .267/.411/.356
DH Jesus Lopez: 1-3, HR (2), BB, .225/.326/.425

So you like shrimp, eh? Well, have all the shrimp in the world! Alberto Mota walked the bases loaded and then walked in the winning run for Fayetteville in the 9th. Mota walked tn in 25 innings last last and struck out 41, so who knows what this is about. Gleider Figuereo continues to be one of the system’s best hitters in the early going.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Scherzer
AA: B. Anderson
Hi-A: Bratt
Lo-A: B. Mendoza

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas promoted reliever Emmanuel Clase to Frisco after six high-A appearances. A scouting report from Brandon McCarthy:

Back in the day, I used to alternate between Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Going On (shown above) and Neil Young’s On The Beach as twitter avatars, because all hip young social media influencers like make heavy use of cultural references from the early 1970s. (Now it’s a Goya painting.)