The Farm Report and Prospect Reviews-- 6/22/2018

I've commented on every prospect who appeared in the pre-season top-30 rankings at and/or Baseball America.

1 (MLB) / 2 (BA). OF Leody Taveras: Status Unchanged
June hasn’t treated him kindly, but on the whole, Taveras has performed to expectations as one of the Carolina League’s youngest players.

2 / 1. OF Willie Calhoun: Down Slightly
Five years from now, Calhoun’s first half of 2018 may just be an anecdote prefacing an illustrious career. At present, it’s frustrating, even though he has nowhere to play in Arlington.

3 / 3. RHP Hans Crouse: Unchanged
Injuries and front-office caution prevented the full-season debut I’d craved. That’s okay. He’s just as highly regarded as during the winter.

4 / 4. LHP Cole Ragans: Down
Underwent Tommy John surgery after the rankings were released.

5 / 9. OF Bubba Thompson: Up
Thompson has hit well and drawn solid reviews. So far, so good.

6 / 5. LHP Yohander Mendez: Down
The concerns raised in 2017 haven’t abated. Tuesday’s punitive demotion doesn’t help. He’ll get another chance. To the extent possible, Texas will want to clarify his situation before 2019’s regular season begins.

7 / 6. 1B Ronald Guzman: Up
Guzman has rewarded my cautious optimism that he could stand ground against MLB pitching, and he’s treated us to some fine defense. Establishing himself as a regular going forward would be a godsend.

8 / 7. RHP Kyle Cody: Down Slightly
Suffered an arm injury that hasn’t required surgery but wiped out at least half of 2018.

9 / 24. OF Pedro Gonzalez: Down Slightly
To be specific, down slightly from the optimistic #9, unchanged from #24. Gonzalez has retained his power in his first low-A assignment but is seeking last year’s improved contact and plate control.

10 / 10. SS Chris Seise: Down (temporarily)
Out for the year after shoulder surgery.

11 / 27. SS Anderson Tejeda: Up
Hitting well and earning improved reviews at shortstop as a 20-year-old in high-A. Encouraging. MLB and Baseball America  deeply disagreed on his ranking.

12 / 11. LHP Joe Palumbo: Unchanged
Recovering from last year’s TJ surgery, on track to pitch in rookie league this weekend.

13 / 17. RHP Jonathan Hernandez: Up
As up as anybody in the system. Hernandez lorded over the Carolina League, earning a promotion to AA before his 22nd birthday. Baseball America recently added him to the tail-end of its updated top 100 overall prospects.

14 / 18. LHP Brett Martin: Down
Better than the 7.64 ERA, but command and secondary development have lagged, and opponents are hitting almost .500 when they make contact. Removed from the rotation.

15 / 23. 3B/OF Yanio Perez: Down Slightly
Received a vote of confidence in the form of pre-season promotion to AA, but two DL stints have shelved him for 80% of the season.

16 / 25. RHP A.J. Alexy: Unchanged
Like last year, Alexy has missed bats (31% SO rate) and missed the plate (18% BB+HBP rate) with amazing frequency. With his stuff, he could really take off with better control.

17 / 8. OF Miguel Aparicio: Down
In consecutive seasons, Aparicio has been removed from low-A Hickory and stationed in short-season Spokane. He did hit better in 2018, just not enough, and he only turned 19 in March.

18 / NR. RHP Ariel Jurado: Up
Or should I say down, as in the regained motion on the sinking fastball that defines his success. He’s also made incremental gains in his secondaries.

19 / 19. LHP C.D. Pelham: Up
A lefty who can touch 100. Pelham started slow again but has carved up the Carolina League with an improved slider. He ought to be in Frisco soon (late edit: he just got promoted) and will claim a 40-man spot this winter.

20 / 28. C Jose Trevino: Unchanged
Trevino’s life-altering mid-June is why I keep watching. Unforgettable. That said, he needs to show improvement against AA pitching. He’s drawn a few more walks while repeating Frisco but still has long periods where the bat nearly disappears. 

21 / 30. RHP Mike Matuella: Down
Sigh. In March, his stuff shouted “I have arrived!” Then the season started. I said that 2018 was the year to focus on results, and the results have mostly been terrible. Like Brett Martin, he’s no longer in the rotation. There’s still time.

22 / 26. RHP Alex Speas: Up?
The Speas I saw in March dealt a straight 93ish fastball and limp slider. The Speas in Hickory is holding opponents to a .155/.298/.223 line and a 40% strikeout rate, all while being used much more like a traditional closer than is typical for low-A. The question mark after “up” refers to an as-yet unidentified injury that’s sidelined him for ten days.

23 / 12. C Matt Whatley: Unchanged
Unchanged, despite a .178/.256/.305 line. Whatley drew arguably the toughest assignment of anyone in the system, skipping low-A in his first full professional season because of a glut of quality catchers near his level. He’s improved during the season.

24 / NR. C Sam Huff: Unchanged
The 20-year-old Huff hasn’t set the league on fire (.240/.301/.408) but is earning respectable reviews in his first full-A season.

25 / 16. C David Garcia: Unchanged
Garcia drew his first US assignment which just started.

26 / NR. C/IF Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Up
I don’t need to explain this.

27 / 22. C/IF Josh Morgan: Down Slightly
Morgan missed a month with injury and is hitting .213/.290/.300 in his first tilt at AA. Unlike IKF last winter, he’s an unlikely 40 addition.

28 / NR. RHP Ricardo Rodriguez: Unchanged
Rodriguez missed a month with biceps tendinitis and then played out his entire rehab assignment before being optioned. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, though.

29 / NR. IF Brendon Davis: Unchanged
The 20-year-old has neither stepped forward nor regressed in high-A. He’s been okay. I’m hopeful that more power will appear.

30 / NR. RHP Tyler Phillips: Up
Last year’s Hickory assignment didn’t pan out. This year, Phillips has developed into a legitimate prospect, translating quality stuff into a phenomenal ratio of seven walks to 61 strikeouts in 70 innings.

NR / 13. OF Carlos Tocci: Down Slightly
He’s been overwhelmed at the MLB level, which isn’t a complete surprise. Given the circumstances, I’m guessing the Rangers try to gut out the season with him on the roster. He can be optioned in 2019. 
NR / 14. UT Drew Robinson: Unchanged
I don’t hold the scrapped LF platoon experiment against him because I thought it too much to ask. Robinson is somewhere between a backup and up-and-down guy.

NR / 15. 1B Tyreque Reed: Unchanged
The power is there (5 HR in 35 G), but I’d expected more hits and walks (.220 avg., 7% BB). It’s just 35 games, though.

NR / 20. SS Keyber Rodriguez: Unchanged
The Venezuelan has played in a dozen Dominican Summer League games.

NR / 21. RHP Nick Gardewine: Down Slightly
This grade is a hedge. Gardewine exited after four pitches in mid-May, and I don’t know how bad is bad. Upgrade to “unchanged” if he can return soon, “down” if he can’t.

NR / 29. IF Andy Ibanez: Up
Hitting .300 in AAA with an improved walk rate after a bland AA showing the year before. Looking better at third, too.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 21 June

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, at Nashville (OAK) 7
Record: 30-42, 17.5 GB

SP Michael Roth: 6 IP, 9 H (2 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3.38 ERA
LF Scott Heineman: 3-5, double, .283/.343/.410

Back-to-back 6th-inning homers off Michael Roth cut into Round Rock's 4-1 lead, and Nashville scored four against Tayler Scott in the 7th on just one hit.

AA: Frisco 2, at Corpus Christi (HOU) 4
Record: 2-1, 1 GB, 26-47 overall

SP Tyler Wagner: 6 IP, 10 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2.84 ERA
RP Adam Choplick: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 2.72 ERA
1B Luis La O: 2-3, .258/.295/.323

As noted by Frisco media man Ryan Rouillard, Adam Choplick's last eight outs have been strikeouts. Choplick was part of a dominant bullpen that carried Down East to a league championship in 2017. This year, control and command have been elusive; opponents are batting .316 with a 13% walk rate.

High-A: Down East 2, at Winston-Salem (CHW) 4
Record: 0-1, 1 GB, 35-36 overall

SP Steven Bruce: 5 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3.77 ERA
RP Kaleb Fontenot: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 SO, 3.67 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 1-4, walk, .250/.326/.354
1B Andretty Cordero: 2-4, 2 doubles, .270/.311/.413

June has challenged Leody Taveras. After drawing 15 walks in April and 14 in May, he took his first of the month last night.

Low-A: at Hickory 1, West Virginia (PIT) 8
Record: 0-1, 1 GB, 30-39 overall

SP Noah Bremer: 4 IP, 7 H (1 HR), 6 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 5.55 ERA
RP Joe Kuzia: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6.21 ERA
LF Pedro Gonzalez: 1-3, double, walk, .228/.284/.419
1B Tyreque Reed: 2-4, .228/.293/.417
SS Yonny Hernandez: 2-3, walk, .204/.333/.263

Rain nearly washed out this one in the 5th. Tyreque Reed committed three errors at first.

Short-A: Spokane 4, at Tri-City (SDG) 5 (11)
Record: -, tied for 1st

SP Hans Crouse: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 4.50 ERA
RP Sergio Suarez: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2.45 ERA
SS Diosbel Arias: 3-5
RF Jonah McReynolds: 2-5
C Francisco Ventura: 1-3, walk
3B Tyler Depreta-Johnson: 1-4, walk, SB (1)

Hans Crouse might have been a little too excited about his belated 2018 debut. He missed on 16 of his first 22 pitches and walked three in a 35-pitch 1st. Crouse would recover to retire five of his last six batters, and the outlier reached on an error. He walked only seven in 20 innings of rookie ball last summer.

Cuban Diosbel Arias is hitting .407 with two walks in the early going. Julio Pablo Martinez has drawn six walks in six games but is looking for more contact (.095/.296/.190). 35th-rounder Tyler Depreta-Johnson attended Houston Baptist.

Rookie: off

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Homers: Mike Olt, Brett Nicholas, Jordan Akins, Ryan Rua, Nick Williams. Yohander Mendez pitched well for Spokane, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached on a single and walk in rookie league.

Today's Starters:
AAA: Adrian Sampson
AA: Edgar Arredondo (just promoted)
High-A: Walker Weickel
Low-A: Reid Anderson
Short-A: Jake Latz
Rookie: TBD


Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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