Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 2 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 0, El Paso (SDP) 7
Round Rock: 5 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 29-27, 5.5 GB

SP Peter Solomon: 4.1 IP, 8 H (3 HR), 7 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 88 P / 56 S, 6.00 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4.26 ERA
CF Jose Barrero: 2-3, .163/.247/.349

The Express were 2-4 against the Chihuahuas including three losses by at least seven runs. After two weeks averaging 3.2 runs per game, Round Rock has fallen to last in the league in runs scored, a ranking that holds even after adjusting for park effects. Honestly, the offense isn’t that bad, certainly better than Salt Lake and roughly equal to three or four others in terms of underlying numbers, but the partial or total absences of JP Martinez, Justin Foscue, Elier Hernandez, and Davis Wendzel from the 2023 squad have made a large difference. Cole Winn was quietly effective again.

Incidentally, after a three-game acclimation to Japan with the farm club, Hernandez is hitting .375/.423/.542 in six games with Yomiuri. The Central League is batting a miserly .235/.298/.324 and scoring 2.96 runs per game, so Hernandez might already be the league MVP.

Johnny Cueto was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week for last Thursday’s six scoreless innings. Not quite on par with his complete game in the 2015 World Series, but close. Cueto had a June 1 opt-out but per local media has given the Rangers another three days to decide whether to call him up. I don’t have a strong opinion. The statcast data underlying his swell top-line numbers (2.40 ERA, 2 BB, 11 SO in 15 innings) is just okay. He could probably replace a couple of pitchers on the roster without any harm, but it’s hard to see him making a sizable difference in the club’s future.

AA: Frisco 5, @ San Antonio (SDP) 2
Frisco: 11 hits, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 34-17, 4 G up

SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 4 SO, 76 P / 46 S, 2.06 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2.73 ERA
RF Josh Hatcher: 3-5, .315/.354/.470
SS Keyber Rodriguez: 2-4, .299/.353/.494
C Cooper Johnson: 2-2, 2 BB, .265/.367/.485

The Riders cannot be stopped, contained, impeded, hindered, forestalled, or fettered. An eighth straight victory placed them four up with 18 to play in the first half. During this stretch, they haven’t allowed more than three runs. Next, Frisco visits Corpus Christi, which holds the league’s worst record but did just take five of six on the road from formerly division-leading Midland.

Emiliano Teodo walked three and hit two, tying for his most free passes issued this season, but managed to complete five inning on an efficient count.

Hi-A: Hickory 7, @ Winston-Salem (CHW) 9
Hickory: 9 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 20-31, 9 GB

SP Aidan Curry: 4 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 77 P / 51 S, 9.27 ERA
LF Yosy Galan: 1-3, BB, SB (12), .179/.282/.366
C Konnor Piotto: 2-3, HR (2), HBP, .234/.333/.372

Hickory averaged 5.7 runs and 10.8 hits per game last week, easily the season highs in any series, but could only effect a split with the Dash. True, Hickory’s outburst came against the league’s worst pitching, but let’s not quibble. Unlike Teodo, Aidan Curry has struggled with efficiency. He’s averaged 20.8 pitches per inning, resulting in only one start of more than four innings.

Lo-A: Down East 9, Fredericksburg (WAS) 6
Down East: 13 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 28-22, 4.5 GB

SP Kolton Curtis: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 69 P / 47 S, 1.95 ERA
RP Victor Simeon: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 5.14 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-5, .222/.342/.461
1B Arturo Disla: 3-4, 2B, .281/.378/.444
2B Chandler Pollard: 2-4, 2B, SB (17), .223/.279/.250

Down East took four of six from second-place Fredericksburg but lost two games in the standings to Carolina, which swept lowly Delmarva. Kolton Curtis isn’t striking out everyone in sight (21%) but has held the opposition in check quite well. He’s undrafted and at 19 (now 20) was the youngest pitcher on the staff entering the season.

I’d mentioned the high error counts of Echedry Vargas and Gleider Figuereo, and in re-running the league numbers I do find the Wood Ducks slightly worse than average in errors, but they compensate in terms of turning balls in play into outs, turning double players, and avoiding an excess of stolen bases and passed balls. On the whole, it’s an average defense. Figuereo has maintained his much-improved power this season.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I wrote a draft preview. Here’s a quick summary of everyone linked to the Rangers at the time. Quicker summary: Texas did just fine.

SS CJ Abrams (6th, Padres, 4.6 WAR) — Rushed to the Majors, took a while to get his feet under him but was able to stick at short, lacking OBP but plenty of power and speed.

LHP Nick Lodolo (7th, Reds, 3.9 WAR) — The former Horned Frog undermines a decent walk rate with a slew of hit batters, and he can be homer-prone, but he’s not why Cincy is in last. He’s looking like a fine pick.

3B Josh Jung (8th, Rangers, 3.0 WAR) — The consensus pick, and obviously Texas’s selection. The injuries are annoying, but he’s developed the hope-for power and defended perhaps more ably than expected. A solid selection.

OF Hunter Bishop (10th, Giants) — This poor guy is living the worst timeline. Lost 2020 to covid (along with everyone else), then several months to a shoulder injury in 2021, then all of 2023 to elbow surgery. He’s in AAA now but is batting .242/.325/.394 on a corner and turns 26 this month. 

LHP Alek Manoah (11th, Blue Jays, 7.4 WAR) — The standard-setter for a while. Lights-out in 2021-2022, then a 2023 so poor he returned to the minors. He’d seemed to regain most of his former effectiveness but is now dealing with elbow trouble.

3B Brett Baty (Mets, 12th, -0.8 WAR) — Recently demoted to AAA. Baty managed to stick at third (and in fact has never spent a minute at first base) but hasn’t hit well enough to carry any position. Imagine being a Mets fan.

OF Corbin Carroll (16th, Dbacks, 6.5 WAR) — Monster rookie season, pre-emptive contract extension, sub-replacement WAR so far in 2024. Surely he’ll recover.

RHP Jackson Rutledge (17th, Nationals, -0.2 WAR) — Rutledge has advanced steadily and made his MLB debut last September but didn’t crack the Washington rotation in March and isn’t hastening a promotion with his AAA performance.

3B Kody Hoese (25th, Dodgers) — Hoese has a .244/.301/.367 line in 333 minor league games. Now 26, he’s hitting better in AAA (.289/.344/.440) but would appear to need that and more to revive his former status.

RHP Matthew Allan (89th, Mets) — And you thought Cole Ragans had a trying trek through the minors. Multiple injuries (and the covid season) have kept Allan off the mound since 2019.