Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 22 May

Jon Gray has been IL’ed with a mild groin strain. Righty reliever Jesus Tinoco will replace him, and Cody Bradford has shifted to the 60-day IL.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, @ Sugar Land (HOU) 1
Round Rock: 8 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 26-20, 3.5 GB

SP Jack Leiter: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, P / S, 2.37 ERA
1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, .239/.350/.406

Jack Leiter completed five innings without much discomfort. He threw fewer fastballs than usual (45%) and mixed in more sliders and changes. Still, the fastball generated the most misses, six of ten total. He did have the fortune of pitching in the league’s pitcher-friendliest park plus the wind blowing in hard from right. Three balls hit at speeds and angles that might have been trouble in many parks ended up in Express gloves.

Until the 9th, the teams combined for zero runs and eight hits. Singles by Davis Wendzel, Andrew Knapp, Sam Huff, and Blaine Crim (plus a Sandro Fabian walk) plated two, and Sugar Land halved the fresh deficit with a Cooper Hummel homer off Daniel Robert. Wendzel also drew a walk, something he weirdly failed to accomplish while in Arlington. Wendzel tended to chase out-of-zone pitches more than his teammates, although his high contact rate on chases at least prevented many strikeouts.

Texas released reliever Jimmy Robbins, who’d actually been pretty effective recently but generally had trouble getting strikes with anything other than his cutter. The Rangers acquired him for cash in mid-April from the Jays.

AA: wet

Two today.

Hi-A: Hickory 7, Asheville (HOU) 2
Hickory: 10 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 6 walks, 19 strikeouts
Record: 15-26, 7 GB

SP Ryan Lobus: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 12 SO, 90 P / 53 S, 3.72 ERA
RP Adrian Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 1.62 ERA
RP Jackson Kelley: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1.96 ERA
RF Yeison Morrobel: 3-4, HR (5), .264/.344/.414
CF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, 2B, HR (3), .261/.320/.435
C Ian Moller: 3-4, HR (1), .198/.317/.279

Yeison Morrobel hit one homer in his first 60 full-season games (stretching back to last year) and has five in his most recent 16. While I can’t promise a homer every three games going forward, the power surge isn’t a random stretch of luck. Here’s last night’s shot.

While Ian Moller isn’t in Morrobel’s class, he’s another who I’ve always thought had more than what he’s shown. He’s always drawn plenty of walks and is at least reaching base at a roughly league rate.

In a span of 12 batters, Ryan Lobus recorded nine consecutive outs via strikeout. He missed 21 bats out of 39 swings. There are harder throwers in the system, but the 23-year-old has a nice mix and good control. Lobus was an undrafted signing out of Mercer.

Texas promoted reliever DJ Peters to Hickory. He’d held rookie-level opponents to a .103/.235/.207 line with 18 strikeouts in nine innings. He’d walked three and hit two, reasonable figures that are the key to his promotion. Peters imparts a ton of movement on both his fastball and slider, and in his first stab at pitching as a Tiger in 2023, he had little idea of how to control them, walking or hit one of every three batters.

Lo-A: Down East 7, @ Charleston (TAM) 5
Down East: 11 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 21-19, 4.5 GB

SP Brayan Mendoza: 3 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 4 BB, 1 SO, 74 P / 41 S, 3.16 ERA
SS Echedry Vargas: 3-5, .256/.315/.390
2B Chandler Pollard: 1-3, BB, 3 SB (14), .217/.270/.239

Down East scored five in the 1st. Chandler Pollard leads the organization with 14 steals. After a tough April, the 2022 5th-rounder is hitting .293/.341/.317 in May with fewer strikeouts.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Cueto
AA: Garcia / B. Anderson
Hi-A: Bratt

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Newly switch-hitting Anderson Tejeda collected two hits against lefties batting right-handed. He was hitting .289/.283/.356 in that fashion, with no walks in 46 plate appearances. I don’t know his current whereabouts. He’d signed with indy Charleston in February but has not appeared, and I don’t see any other transactions.