Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 5 July

Kumar Rocker made his first appearance in a real game since five days shy of 14 months ago. In two innings, Rocker allowed a leadoff homer and a grounded single, walked none, and struck out three. Assuming good health, he could squeeze in roughly a dozen outings before season’s end. He could also appear in the Arizona Fall League, depending on what workload Texas foresees.

2023 6th-round righty Caden Scarborough made his pro debut, striking out three, walking two and permitting one hit in 1.2 scoreless innings. The Rangers won 14-1 over the White Sox.

At long last, here’s my video of Alejandro Rosario’s final low-A start in Fredericksburg, VA.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, @ Sugar Land (HOU) 3
Round Rock: 5 hits, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 5-6, 5 GB, 42-43 overall

SP Jack Leiter: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 86 P / 49 S, 3.88 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Aiden Anderson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2.01 ERA

Initially, I wondered if Leiter would survive the 1st. Several of his early pitches were crazily outside the zone, mostly high, as if he were having trouble gripping the ball. Two walks preceded an annoying little dribbler that plated a run. Leiter eventually reigned in the wildness but still reached 76 pitches through the 3rd. Sugar Land’s Quincy Hamlton launched a high, two-strike slider to left-center at 94 MPH and 33 degrees, a combination that usually falls slightly short of the wall but not this time.

AA: Frisco 8, Arkansas (SEA) 2
Frisco: 8 hits, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 7-4, 2 GB, 51-29 overall

SP Winston Santos: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 80 P / 53 S, 5.87 ERA
RP Ricky DeVito: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, SO, 2.79 ERA
CF Alejandro Osuna: 2-5, 3B, HR (1), .321/.321/.643
3B Cody Freeman: 2-4, 2B, .275/.329/.457
1B Abi Ortiz: 2-2, 2 BB, .189/.267/.317

Santos recovered nicely from his rude, three-homer intro to AA. Per Grant Schiller, Santos’s fastball started the evening at 96-97 and lost a few tics toward the end.

Abimelec Ortiz isn’t on what I’d call a tear, but he’s quietly placing together more productive games lately. Alejandro Osuna is on a tear. He’s yet to draw a walk in eight AA games, but he’s also slugging.643, so we can worry about that later.

Hi-A: Hickory 2, @ Winston-Salem (CHW) 7 (7)
Hickory: 3 hits, 2 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts

SP Ryan Lobus: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 71 P / 42 S, 4.38 ERA
2B Cam Cauley: 1-3, 2 SB (17), .241/.292/.384
SS Sebastian Walcott: 1-2, HR (7), BB, SB (10), .239/.342/.408

In the 1st, Cam Cauley scored from third on a convoluted double steal involving Sebastian Walcott. Cauley perfectly timed a bolt home on a pickoff move to first by Dash starter Tommy Vail and beat the throw back to the plate. He actually missed the plate but returned to tag it while the catcher readied a throw to catch Walcott, who raced for second when the 1B threw home. Cauley had reached on a sharp single and advanced to third on a steal and error. Exciting, heads-up play all around.

Walcott later homered to left beyond the grass berm and most of the outfield. I’d ballpark the distance at around 410′.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, @ Winston-Salem (CHW) 4 (7)
Hickory: 5 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 7-7, 2.5 GB, 35-45 overall

SP Alejandro Rosario: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 10 SO, 79 P / 54 S, 5.00 ERA

Alejandro struck out 10 of 22 batters and registered misses on 40% of opponents’ swings, but a sequence of hits in the 4th led to three runs, and back-to-back doubles in the 6th plated one more.

Lo-A: Down East 7, @ Carolina (MIL) 1
Down East: 10 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 6-8, 5 GB, 41-38 overall

SP Izack Tiger: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 72 P / 47 S, 4.15 ERA
RP Ivan Oviedo: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3.48 ERA
1B Erick Alvarez: 2-5, 2 2B, .242/.268/.330

Izack Tiger extended to five innings in his second full-season start. Grades on his control were iffy entering professional play, but he’s been fine so far. I didn’t catch any speeds during the inning I watched, but Tiger throws a mid-90s fastball (upper in shorter stints), slider and splitter.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Brennan (MiLB.com lists Johnny Cueto, which if true would be a surprise to all parties.)
AA: Teodo
Hi-A: Curry

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Yesterday, Philadelphia purchased the contract of former Rangers righty Tyler Phillips. Texas’s 16th-rounder from 2015 was claimed off waivers in July 2021. Philly released him two months later but re-signed him to a minor deal in November, and he’s stayed there since. Phillips grew up a Phils fan across the border in New Jersey.

As for five years ago yesterday: “For 5.2 innings, Tyler Phillips looked as good as he ever has in AA, limiting Amarillo to a single and walk while striking out six. Then, three hits including a homer left Phillips with a much more ordinary line.” That was the standard copy about Phillips’ first AA season in 2019, although he would improve down the stretch.