Me, yesterday: "Pedro Payano was used as an opener. I don't know if that's A Thing or they just wanted to spread some innings around."
It's A Thing. Texas has selected his contract. Three years ago, Payano was a borderline top-30 prospect with a decent four-pitch mix, but in AA his control declined badly. In particular, he was more likely to hit an opposing batter than anyone in professional baseball. After 2018, he became a minor league free agent. The Rangers brought him back, and he suddenly began to strike out more batters.
Whenever I've seen him lately, he's relied solely on a fastball and slider (although, to be honest, I haven't seen that much of him because the AAA squad moved to Nashville and I didn't). In a recent appearance, his fastball sat 92-93 and touched 94, and he's not afraid to use it high. In his prospect heyday, it was closer to 90-91. The slider's aesthetic appeal varies, sometimes becoming very sweepy, but it's landing in the right spot and batters still chase it to their detriment. Payano's control is still bad. He's walked or hit 14% of his opponents.
Joe Palumbo will be recalled to start tomorrow, and Miike Minor will be given extra rest. Minor isn't hurt, per local reports. He'll participate in the All-Star festivities but still won't be active.
Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 5 July
AAA: Nashville 2, at Omaha (KAN) 9
Record: 38-49, 12.5 GB
SP Austin Bibens-Dirkx: 5 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 5.59 ERA
LF Scott Heineman: 3-3, double, triple, walk
3B Patrick Wisdom: 1-4, HR (12)
Written about an hour ago: Wisdom is on pace to surpass last year's 15 AAA homers and is drawing walks at the best rate of his life (13%), but the lack of other hits has marooned his batting average under .200 much of the season. He's better than this, but he's out of contention for anything but September bench depth.
Written now: Texas designated Wisdom for assignment to make room for Payano. If he clears waivers, he can't become a free agent unless Texas releases him.
AA: Frisco 5, at Amarillo (SDG) 3
Record: 5-9, 4.5 GB, 38-45 overall
SP Tyler Phillips: 6 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 7.19 ERA
RP Demarcus Evans: 2 IP, 0 R, 5 SO, 1.72 ERA
RP Emmanuel Clase: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 SO, 4.78 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-5
DH Andretty Cordero: 2-5, double
3B Ryan Dorow: 1-4, HR (1)
LF Ledarious Clark: 2-3, 2 HR (5), walk
For 5.2 innings, Tyler Phillips looked as good as he ever had 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. Still, a promising outing. He has terrific control (purely throwing strikes) but is still working on the command (placement of those strikes). The Carolina League is friendly to pitchers like that. The Texas League is not. His struggles in AA aren't surprising. He was going to hit a wall at some point; now he needs to climb over it or break through it or whatever the metaphor is.
Following him, Demarcus Evans and Emmanuel Clase did what they do. Ideally, I can dig up this box score in a few years and point out three Major Leaguers pitching consecutively in AA.
High-A: Down East 1, at Salem (BOS) 5 (7)
Record: 8-8, 1 GB, 58-28 overall
SP Reid Anderson: 6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 4.08 ERA
3B Diosbel Arias: 1-2, walk
Rain shortened this one to seven innings. Sam Huff is batting .186/.213/.271 with one walk and 22 strikeouts in 15 second-half games.
Low-A: at Hickory 7, Columbia (NYM) 11
Record: 10-6, 2 GB, 51-31 overall
SP Hans Crouse: 2.1 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 7 R, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 3 SO, 4.02 ERA
RP Hever Bueno: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 SO, 1.62 ERA
CF Miguel Aparicio: 2-5, double
2B Jax Biggers: 2-3, walk
RF/2B Ryan Anderson: 2-5, 2 HR (2)
C Matt Whatley: 2-4, double, walk
Columbia jumped Hans Crouse in the 1st, banging two homers around three singles. Crouse is on a limited pitch count and slider count because of bone spurs in his elbow, but his two previous outings were scoreless.
Texas promoted OF Ryan Anderson from Spokane. He's hit three homers in 51 previous pro games at lower levels, but he celebrated his first day in full-season ball with two hover the fence. The 23-year-old was Texas's 31st-round pick from Cal Davis in 2018. .
Short-A: Spokane 9, at Hillsboro (ARI) 0
Record: 12-10, +1 G
Next report: Sunday
Rookie: Arizona Rangers , July 2-5
17-1 win (CHC), 2-5 loss (MIL), 5-9 loss (SDG), 5-10 loss (CLE)
Record: 10-6, -0.5 GB
SP1 Alex Speas: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
SP2 Rosmer Inojosa: 4.0 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 15.43 ERA
SP3 Sergio Pacheco: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3.60 ERA
SP4 Damian Mendoza: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 5.84 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Glen Richardson: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3.18 ERA
RP Leon Hunter: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1.29 ERA
OF Leuri Mejia: 5-15, double, 3 walks, SB (3), .250/.385/.469
IF Keyber Rodriguez: 3-12, HR (3), .195/.233/.439
C Randy Florentino: 3-8, HR (1), .344/.395/.500
OF Angel Aponte: 3-13, 2 doubles, HR (2), walk, SB (4), .319/.365/.574
Alex Speas couldn't retire any of three batters in his second rehab outing, but what matters for now is he's pitching. After his departure, the Rangers split the innings evenly among Glen Richardson (2019/29th round), rehabbing Down East righty Noah Bremer and last year's 12th-rounder Destin Dotson, who didn't throw in 2018. Dotson has struck out 13 against three walks in 9.1 innings., and he's yet to allow a run.
18-year-old, 160-pound Keyber Rodriguez already has more homers than I'd have expected for the entire season. So far, 19-year-old Randy Florentino is hitting the snot out of the ball, just as he did in the Dominican Republic.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
2012 2nd-round OF Jamie Jarmon retired after barely two seasons as a professional. I never even saw him on the field. He was off the Surprise complex when I visited in 2013, and the next season he was already relegated to late-inning substitution duty. Jarmon returned to college, catching 67 passes including six touchdowns in four seasons for the Delaware Blue Hens.
AAA: Tim Dillard
AA: Brock Burke
High-A: Collin Wiles
Low-A: Ronny Henriquez
Short-A: Ryan Garcia
I jumped ahead a day when I listed starters yesterday. Sorry about that.