Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 6 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 1, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 6 (7)
Round Rock: 4 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

SP Jack Leiter: 3 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 72 P / 46 S, 4.63 ERA

AAA: Round Rock 11, @ Oklahoma City (LAD) 10 (7)
Round Rock: 12 hits, 9 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 31-28, 6.5 GB

SP Johnny Cueto: 1.1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 7 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 52 P / 29 S, 6.06 ERA
RP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.42 ERA
CF Dustin Harris: 1-3, HR (6), .251/.351/.390
DH Davis Wendzel: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .286/.394/.519
RF Sandro Fabian: 2-3, HR (7), 2 BB, .318/.376/.536
2B Jax Biggers: 2-3, 3B, BB, .268/.408/.341

Three Jack Leiters pitched yesterday afternoon. Leiter One barely escaped the 1st, allowing four runs on six hits. His fastball tended to drift lower within the zone, an often dangerous area for him. Four hits (including one over the fence) came after 1B Davis Wendzel couldn’t quite snare a sharp two-out liner, but I wouldn’t pin anything on him. Although the bullpen was active, Leiter was permitted to face another batter with 31 pitches on his ledger, a point at which I think most in the system would be pulled. Leiter Two finished the 2nd on just eight pitches, fanning one and misses three bats (and for the evening, Leiter had six swinging strikes out of nine swings with his slider). Leiter Three needed 29 pitches in the 3rd and walked the bases loaded before inducing a final popup.

Consecutive iffy outings should scotch the idea of returning to the Majors for the time being. Obviously, I don’t want him to fail, but some level stability might suit him. Rediscover the early season success, build on that, then see what if any role might be available to him on a big league club that (I hope) will be contending for the postseason with several currently IL’ed pitchers back on the mound.

Johnny Cueto decided not to take free agency at the beginning of the month, giving Texas a few more chances to decide whether to bring him up. Last night won’t help. Three walks preceded a Trey Sweeney slam in the 1st, and three of four batters reached safely in the 2nd.

Opponents are batting .069/.191/.13 against 33-year-old Chasen Shreve. He’s yet to allow a hit on a grounder. He has the team’s best first-strike rate at an amazing 78%, but he’s walked nine batters in 19 innings. Best as I can tell, he hadn’t thrown a pitch harder than 91.7 MPH until last night, when he threw six exceeding that speed and topping at 93.3. Shreve had taken free agency at the end of April but re-signed two weeks later. I have no idea what any of this means.

AA: Frisco 3, @ Corpus Christi (HOU) 0
Frisco: 6 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 35-19, 3 G up

SP Ben Anderson: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 78 P / 52 S, 4.15 ERA
RP Steven Jennings: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.89 ERA
RP Tyler Owens: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.18 ERA
DH Liam Hicks: 0-2, BB, 2 HBP, SB (1), .269/.380/.339
2B Max Acosta: 2-3, BB, SB (10), .248/.311/.321

Ben Anderson and friends combined on a four-hit shutout. Liam Hicks didn’t have another multi-hit game but managed to get plunked twice. That’s a decent part of his on-base repertoire, but the Rangers don’t have anyone in the top 100 in the minors in HBP. San Antonio’s Ripken Reyes is second in the minors with 16 following last year’s unearthly 49.

Hi-A: Hickory 9, Greenville (BOS) 4
Hickory: 10 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 7 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 23-31, 8 GB

SP Mitch Bratt: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 83 P / 52 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Luis Ramirez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.12 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, HR (2), .192/.242/.292
C Konnor Piotto: 2-3, BB, SB (5), .247/.308/.381
RF Anthony Gutierrez: 3-4, 3B, .287/.320/.415

Cam Cauley drilled his second homer, and Anthony Gutierrez tripled to the right-center gap for the second time in three days (if not quite so hard, and with some assistance from the CF).

Texas released righty Yohanse Morel, acquired in 2022 for reliever Albert Abreu. He’d spent his entire time with the Rangers at Hickory, showing improvement last year and even garnering some ink from Baseball America for his “breakout slider.” Control problems persisted, however, and two years after the trade he seemed no closer to promotion to AA. Morel would have been able to declare free agency after the season. He’s been replaced in Hickory by 2019 32nd-rounder Michael Brewer, who split between Frisco and Hickory last year.

Lo-A: Down East 3, @ Salem (BOS) 7
Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 29-24, 3.5 GB

SP Paul Bonzagni: 3.2 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 6 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 75 P / 50 S, 4.32 ERA
RP Kohl Drake: 4 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2.25 ERA
C Julian Brock: 2-4, 2B, .230/.297/.321

Only half of the Bonzagni/Drake tandem found success last night, as the former allowed more than three runs for the first time. Last year’s 12th-rounder pitched mostly in relief for Southern Illinois and Weatherford College. Drake has 51 strikeouts and just seven walks in 32 innings. He’s a 2022 11th-rounder from Walters State Community College in Tennessee, where Brett Martin and Chad Bell are fellow alumni.

Today’s Starters
AAA: White
AA: Krauth
Hi-A: Montalvo
Lo-A: TBA (Gonzalez / Larsen due up)

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas Tech SS Josh Jung was 2-5 with a solo homer in an 8-6 win over Oklahoma State. 2nd-rounder Ryan Garcia of top-ranked UCLA allowed three runs in a surprising 3-2 loss to Michigan. In the old days (2019), the college season didn’t end until after the draft.