Rangers Farm Report: Games of 4/28
Stars of the Day
AAA: Brad Mills, Johan Yan / Joey Butler, Jurickson Profar, Chris McGuiness
AA: Brett Nicholas
Hi-A: Victor Payano / Luis Sardinas, Rougned Odor, Kevin Torres
Lo-A: Ryan Bores, John Kukuruda / Jordan Akins, Luis Mendez
AAA: at Round Rock 4, Albuquerque (LAD) 3
Record: 13-11, -0.5
1B Chris McGuiness (.219/.329/.452) followed yesterday's homer with a walkoff single. He also singled earlier in the day. He could stand to bring the average up a touch, but on the whole, with four homers and ten walks in 22 games, McGuiness is producing almost precisely to expectations. LF Joey Butler (.329/.426/.459) doubled twice and was hit by a pitch, and Jurickson Profar (.214/.337/.386) tripled and walked.
Brad Mills (2.81 ERA) provided seven innings of three-run ball with no walks and five strikeouts. For the season, he's walked four and struck out 23. Johan Yan (3.97 ERA) struck out two in a scoreless 8th and 9th.
Still no Mike Olt. AA: at Frisco 4, Corpus Christi (HOU) 3
Record: 12-11, -1.0
1B Brett Nicholas (.268/.337/.524) hit a grand slam in the 7th. The 24-year-old has adapted well to the Texas League so far and is already just three homers behind last year's total of eight in the Carolina League.
Neil Ramirez (2.22 ERA) was decent, walking three in five innings, striking out four and yielding two runs and three hits. He's yet to show great control in any outing and has 15 walks in 24.1 innings. Roman Mendez walked three and hit a batter across two innings but allowed only an unearned run. Jake Brigham and Wilmer Font walked one and struck out two in the 8th and 9th, respectively. Brigham hasn't been scored on in 12.2 innings and has the peripherals to back it up. Font's strikeout rate is 43%, a bit under the 47% posted in 15 Frisco innings last year. It's still otherworldly. High-A: at Myrtle Beach 9, Potomac (WAS) 5
Record: 14-9, +1.0
The Pelicans scored nine despite only one extra-base hit. Leadoff hitter Luis Sardinas was 3-4 with his sixth and seventh stolen bases. Rougned Odor also swiped two bags, giving him five overall, and contributed two singles and an HBP. 1B Kevin Torres was 2-3 with a walk.
Victor Payano (4.76 ERA) gave up five runs (four earned) in 6.2 innings but allowed only eight of 29 batters to reach and struck out ten. I'll take it. Payano has walked 10 in 22.2 innings, not a good ratio in and of itself but substantially better than 2012.
Low-A: Hickory 0, at Hagerstown (WAS) 3
Record: 14-10, +1.0
Yesterday, I tweeted that Hickory had more strikeouts than any team in baseball, but I didn't realize MiLB.com had already updated its stats to include Sunday's 18 Ks. So, to my knowledge, Hickory ranks second behind Modesto with 253 in 24 games.
Do they matter? Yes and no. To an extent, the strikeouts are built into the roster. A collection of youngsters like Joey Gallo, Jordan Akins and Jorge Alfaro is going to whiff often. And, a high K rate in low-A usually foretells a high rate at upper levels and MLB. More important is what else they do.
For example, Gallo is batting only .221 and has fanned in one-third of his plate appearances, but he has 13 extra-base hits and plenty of walks. Despite the strikeouts, opposing pitchers can't just work off the plate and watch him chase. Conversely, Jordan Akins is hitting for a better average than last year but has two walks against 28 strikeouts. Now in his fourth season, he's yet to show any improvement in that regard. The combination of strikeouts and few walks indicates he's swinging at a high number of pitches outside the zone. Supernatural entities like Vlad Guerrero could hit .300 against anything, but mortals like Akins have to pick their spots. He's not, and until he does, he's not going anywhere.
As for the game… well, Hickory struck out 18 times. Lewis Brinson donned the golden sombrero, and Gallo and Akins fanned thrice. Both Akins and 2B Luis Mendez managed a double and single. In his first full-season start, Ryan Bores (9.00 ERA gave up a run on four hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out two. John Kukuruda yielded two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk and fanned four. Five Years Ago Yesterday
Nelson Cruz hit his eighth homer for Oklahoma, while Taylor Teagarden singled in his AAA debut.
Bakersfield catcher Manny Pina doubled twice and singled. Pina was an example of being "too good" at avoiding strikeouts. He had the “make contact” part down cold, striking out only 10 times in over 200 plate appearances prior to April 29, 2008. The problem was he refused to leave the bat on his shoulder, resulting in a high proportion of weak contact against out-of-zone pitches. At the time, he was hitting only .213 on balls in play.
AAA: Randy Wells
AA: Kevin Pucetas
Hi-A: Jerad Eickhoff
Lo-A: already postponed, makeup 6/10