Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 15 May

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 8, Reno (ARI) 2
Round Rock: 12 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 22-18, 3.5 GB

SP Adrian Sampson: 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 87 P / 54 S, 4.01 ERA
CF Derek Hill: 2-4, HR (7), HBP, .342/.394/.667
C Andrew Knapp: 4-5, 2B, HR (5), .375/.465/.587
1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, HR (6), .246/.360/.435

Lefty Antoine Kelly entered the 9th inning, threw six pitches far below his usual velocity, motioned for the trainer, and walked to the dugout. Ordinarily a steady 96 MPH and up to 99 with the fastball, Kelly descended from 94 to 89 across his five heaters. He wasn’t doing any of the between-pitch “arm waggle” I’ve seen from others in this situation but tapped his forearm with his glove when trainer Will Whitehead reached the mound. Kelly’s entry in the 9th was planned in advance, but he had to wait through a 26-minute bottom half of the 8th. Until Jack Leiter and Owen White were optioned back to Round Rock, Kelly was briefly the only healthy 40-man pitcher in the minors. Given his mostly strong outings and the circumstances at the parent club, an MLB debut seemed forthcoming. Now, we have to hope for favorable news.

I’d neglected to mention that on Tuesday Sam Huff was pulled in the middle of a plate appearance after seemingly his knee swinging the bat. He was catching  that night, so he had a hundred or so more crouches had he stayed in. He didn’t play last night but remains on the active roster.

As for the rest of the game, with two on, two out, and a 2-2 score in the 8th, Reno brought in Christian Montes De Oca to douse the field in gasoline. First, he hit Derek Hill in the helmet (he stayed in after a scary plummet to the ground). Next, Dustin Harris had the game’s biggest impact with his one hit, lacing a two-out, bases-loaded triple down the first-base line. After a hard Andrew Knapp single, Blaine Crim followed with his longest homer of the year at 444 feet, a rocket that caromed high off the light standard set beyond the left-center berm. Finally, Sandro Fabian barely missed a homer when his 100 MPH, 50-degree-angled moonshot was caught on the track. No Round Rock game in the statcast era has a homer hit at more than 48 degrees.

Previously, righty Daniel Robert summarized his career in the span of a few minutes. Brought in to face slugger Kyle Garlick with two out and a runner at second in the 7th, Robert fanned Garlick to maintain a 2-1 lead. He retired the first two batters of the 8th, but then a single-walk-single sequence plated the tying run. Robert’s sweeper is an MLB-worthy weapon, while the fastball varies between a strong supporting role or just being along for the ride.

In other news, Texas re-signed Chasen Shreve, a reliever who’d taken his leave a couple of weeks ago. Last Friday, during an extreme out-of-pocket period for me, Johnny Cueto made his first appearance, allowing a solo homer and striking out four in Arizona.

AA: wet

Two today.

Hi-A: Hickory 1, Greensboro (PIT) 2
Hickory: 6 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 12-22, 6.5 GB

SP Ryan Lobus: 4.2 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 75 P / 44 S, 3.86 ERA
RP Luis Ramirez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 7.85 ERA
C Konnor Piotto: 2-3, BB, .246/.347/.393

Since a nine-run outburst in early May, Hickory has scored 18 runs in ten games. Hickory has reached double digits in hits only three times in 34 games. Ryan Lobus handled his first high-A appearance capably, and Yohanse Morel (1.1 IP), Luis Ramirez (2.0) and Skylar Hales (1.0) kept providing opportunities for a comeback.

Lo-A: Down East 7, Carolina (MIL) 4
Down East: 7 hits, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 16-17, 6.5 GB

SP David Davallilo: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 34 P / 23 S, 1.85 ERA
RP Luke Savage: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.50 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 3-4, 2B, HR (2), BB, .242/.290/.403
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, BB, .219/.346/.482

Among the 100 more active pitchers in the league, Davallilo is near the 75th percentile in fewest walks and the same in fewest strikeouts. (Paul Bonzagni is similar.) He faned more than usual yesterday with no loss of efficiency.

Watching Echedry Vargas in Surprise, I was baffled at how he could have struck out in 25% of his appearances in rookie ball. He was a contact machine in March. I’m happy to report his K rate at Down East is only 12%. That hasn’t translated to much positive production, but yesterday he boosted his numbers considerably with a monster day.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Garabito
AA: Garcia / B. Anderson
Hi-A: Bratt / TBD
Lo-A: TBD x 2

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Demacus Evans struck out rehabbing Trea Turner a day after Jake Latz did so twice.