Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 1 August
AAA: at Nashville 5, El Paso (SDG) 8
Record: 45-63, 12 GB
SP Seth Maness: 6 IP, 15 H (2 HR), 8 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.17 ERA
RP Wei-Chieh Huang: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 6.35 ERA
3B Andy Ibanez: 2-4, double, HR (13), .287/.364/.466
2B Nick Solak: 2-4, double, SB (2), .269/.309/.615
SS Eli White: 3-4, double, SB (13), .245/.325/.409
Scott Heineman did not make another start at first base, or anywhere. He was in the original lineup but not on the piece of paper handed to the umpire.
Eli White has had only one bad month out of four, but it was a doozy: .161/.235/.264 in July. His walk rate has dropped every month, from 11% in April to 5% in July.
Koby Allard is ranked Texas's #13 prospect by Baseball America. Nick Solak is 12th.
It's just coincidence, but since being named to the PCL All-Star roster, Seth Maness has a 10.74 ERA and opposing line of .413/.444/.671. He's still averaging over five innings per start.
Best as I can tell, the Pacific Coast League set its all-time home run record four days ago, with 35 days still remaining in the season. El Paso will eventually set the modern team record by passing the 231 homers of the 1999 Omaha Golden Spikes. In 1975, the Sacramento Solons clubbed 305, but they played in a ridiculously configured park with a left field distance under 250 feet, so that record gets an asterisk and italics and Comic Sans font. The neighboring International League will break its record soon. None of the other minor leagues, all of which still employ the same ball as before, are within shouting distance of their respective records.
Among the Major Leagues and 16 US-based minor leagues, all but two are on pace to set strikeout records. The outliers are the AA Southern League and Spokane's Northwest League, both trailing their records by about 2%.
Cleveland released reliever Neil Ramirez from AAA Columbus.
AA: Frisco 4, at Amarillo (SDG) 7
Record: 18-20, 4.5 GB, 51-56 overall
SP Tyler Phillips: 4.2 IP, 10 H (1 HR), 7 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5.86 ERA
RP Jacob Lemoine: 2 IP, 0 R, 0.38 ERA
3B Andretty Cordero: 2-4, HR (12), .270/.309/.409
1B Charles Leblanc: 2-4, HR (4), .276/.335/.355
After three good innings, Phillips and the Riders unraveled. Only two of the ten hits off Tyler Phillips were singles. Two of the doubles I saw were unlucky, perhaps. A hard grounder ricocheted off SS Yonny Hernandez's glove into unoccupied territory down the left field line. In an unfamiliar park, CF Leody Taveras nearly made a terrific catch but slightly misjudged his distance to the wall and bumped into it just as the ball arrived. I'm not going to tell you I expected a 5.86 ERA from Phillips in AA, but at least some difficulty was certain. The jump from the Carolina League to the Texas League is large, Down East has one of the its league's more pitcher-friendly locations, and San Antonio's move to Amarillo added a Colorado-esque park to the mix. Pitchers who throw a heavy dose of strikes but aren't elite bat-missers are sure to find the promotion jarring.
High-A: Down East 0, at Carolina (MIL) 7
Record: 25-15, 3.5 GB, 75-35 overall
SP John King: 4 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2.05 ERA
3B Sherten Apostel: 2-4, double, .213/.245/.277
Courtesy of three double plays and some timely strikeouts, John King survived ten baserunners in four innings with minimal damage. Carolina pulled away against Francisco Villegas late.
Low-A: Hickory 1, at Charleston (NYY) 2
Record: 25-14, 1 GB, 66-39 overall
SP Grant Wolfram: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 4.24 ERA
RP Sam Hellinger: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.84 ERA
3B Josh Jung: 0-2, 2 walks, .294/.368/.333
Charleston walked off victorious with a single against Nick Snyder, whose slider wasn't up to his usual standard last night. Josh Jung walked twice but couldn't convert a 9th-inning opportunity with the go-ahead run at second.
Short-A: Spokane at Eugene, July 29-August 1
9-5 win, 0-2 loss, 3-1 win, 2-9 loss
Record: 5-5, + 1 G, 27-21 overall
SP1 Joshua Javier: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 SO, 3.67 ERA
SP2 Zak Kent: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 7.71 ERA
SP3 Billy Layne: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2.93 ERA
SP4 Justin Slaten: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 8.64 ERA
RP Nic Laio: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3.77 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2.65 ERA
RP Luis Tejada: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 1.93 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.42 ERA
C David Garcia: 7-12, 2 doubles, 2 walks, .277/.359/.482
1B Blaine Crim: 6-17, 3 doubles, walk, .331/.385/.531
CF/LF Kellen Strahm: 4-16, 2 walks, .270/.372/.349
IF Derwin Barreto: 3-12, SB (2), .188/.350/.188
Spokane split the series against last year's NWL championship opponent.
Justin Slaten deserved better. After striking out his first two batters, he allowed an 11th-pitch triple to Darius Hill, followed by a double that bounced out of the glove of 2B Jake Hoover, and then a walk. He was pulled with 32 pitches. Then, CF Obie Ricumstrict couldn't quite snare a low liner, and two more runs scored. Slaten is Texas's 3rd-round pick out of New Mexico and ranked 25th in the Texas system by Baseball America.
21-year-old righty Jeifry Nunez leads the team with 32.2 innings and has a 3.58 ERA, six walks and 31 strikeouts. In 2014, Nunez signed for $250,000, Texas's most expensive signing in a year sharply restricted by overspending during the previous signing period.
The 37 strikeouts by Nic Laio trail only Ricky Vanasco (48) for the team lead. He's walked only five. Daniel Robert has a similar profile: 31 strikeouts versus only four walks in 21.2 innings.
Newcomer Derwin Barreto played second, short and third in the four-game series. Barreto is the second-youngest hitter on the squad behind OF Alexander Ovalles, promoted at the same time and off to a slower start (.077/.200/.154).
RHP Ricky Vanasco, catcher David Garcia, OF Kellen Strahm, reliever Daniel Robert and 1B Blaine Crim will play in the Northwest-Pioneer All-Star Game on Tuesday. Crim will start at DH. Spokane and Hillsboro are tied with the most representatives.
Rookie: Arizona Rangers , July 29-August 1
16-5 win (OAK), 4-8 loss (SEA), 5-3 win (SEA), 3-9 loss (SDG)
Record: 5-3, -0.5 GB, 24-12 overall
SP1 Sergio Pacheco: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1.99 ERA
SP2 Luke Farrell: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.45 ERA
SP3 Corey Stone: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 0 SO, 4.60 ERA
SP4 Florencio Serrano: 4.0 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.20 ERA
RP1 Glen Richardson: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 4.08 ERA
RP2 Luke Schlitz: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3.27 ERA
RP3 Nick Lockhart: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 27.00 ERA
RP4 Gavin Collyer: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 20.25 ERA
3B/2B Keithron Moss: 5-10, double, triple, 2 walks, SB (2), .309/.415/.471
C/1B/RF Heriberto Hernandez: 3-12, double, HR (4), 3 walks, .353/.458/.597
SS/3B Keyber Rodriguez: 6-17, walk, 2 SB (4), .248/.306/.485
LF/CF Angel Aponte: 5-15, walk, 3 SB (12), .280/.377/.415
18-year-olds Nick Lockhart (1tth round) and Gavin Collyer (12th) debuted professionally. Both signed in July, not at the deadline but about a month after being picked. The 6'6", 210-pound Lockhart also played defensive end and tight end in high school. He renounced a commitment to Virginia Tech. Lockart throws a curve and change along with a fastball that reportedly has touched 94, although it sits several ticks lower. Collyer, 6'1" and 150 pounds, was ranked Baseball America's #355 draft prospect and described him as having "plus arm speed", a fastball that touches 93 and a good slider. He spurned Clemson.
Luke Farrell (3 appearances) and Yohander Mendez (2 one-inning outings, 2 HR allowed) continue to pitch in rehab. Both might keep that designation until around August 12, when they can be optioned and then recalled on September 1st without actually losing that option because it lasted fewer than 20 days.
Skinny teen-aged infielders Keithron Moss and Keyber Rodriguez are still slugging within range of .500, to my amusement and delight. Yes, it's Arizona, a hitter's heaven, but the young ages and still-developing bodies of most hitters tend to depress power. The rookie league is slugging only .390 as a whole. Conversely, Heriberto Hernandez's .597 slugging percentage is no surprise. He ranks seventh in the league in that category and third in OBP.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Frisco's Jerad Eickhoff struck out seven and allowed one run in six innings.
AAA: Tim Dillard
AA: Brock Burke
High-A: Tim Brennan
Low-A: Ronny Henriquez
Short-A: Theo McDowell