The Farm Report -- 8/21/2013

Rangers Farm Report: Games of 8/20

Texas signed RHP Britt Robertshaw from an open tryout at the Dell Diamond.  The 23-year-old Robertshaw pitched for Tarleton State, Northwestern State and Blinn Junior College.  Texas's other walk-on, Mike Zouzalik, has yet to allow a run in seven innings at high-A Myrtle Beach.

Stars of the Day
AAA: Kirkman / Solarte, McGuiness, Buchholz, Rodriguez
AA: Jackson
Hi-A: Kendall / Cantwell, Adams
Lo-A: Sadzeck, Valdespina / Selen, Alfaro, Gallo, Brinson
Short-A: Niggli, Straka / Van Hoosier, Akins
Rookie: Perez, Wiper / Mendez

AAA: Round Rock 5, at Nashville (MIL) 7
Record: 69-62, -6.0, elimination number 8

Round Rock did its job, taking four of five at lowly Nashville.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma City swept its five-game series against Albuquerque.  The Express host OKC for the next five games and need four wins for any realistic chance at postseason play. 

Yangervis Solarte was 2-3 with a double and two walks, and Guilder Rodriguez went 3-5.  Alex Buchholz, the one non-participant in Monday's 20-2 thrashing, was 4-5 with a double.  Chris McGuiness drew three walks and stole his first base of the year..

Michael Kirkman threw five nearly flawless innings in relief of Ryan Feierabend, allowing only a walk and fanning seven.

Texas disabled reliever Justin Miller, who was removed after throwing just four pitches on Monday.

AA: Frisco 1, at San Antonio (SDG) 3
Record: 23-34, -13.0, elimination number 1

Luke Jackson no-hit the Missions for five innings on 84 pitches, walking three and striking out five.  Jackson touched 98 in the 1st but otherwise ranged mostly from 94 to 96 with a handful of slower pitches.  He maintained velocity throughout.  Although his fastball doesn't move much, opponents at this level still have difficulty attacking it.  He just overpowers them.  He misses high frequently, but too high and hard for anyone to catch up to it.

Jackson also offered a low-80s curve that veered toward a slider in movement.  For such a fast pitch, relatively speaking, he imparts impressive sweep on it.  His changeup ranged from 80 to 87.  Some of his earlier changes were unnerving, simply slower fastballs across the heart of the plate that could have been punished.  As the game progressed, some of them acquired more drop, and his final two strikeouts came on changeups.  Neither pitch was consistently strong.  I'd say the curve looked better overall, but a small handful of changes flashed best.  However, he confidently threw plenty of both, which I love to see. 
Jackson has a maximum-effort delivery and doesn't command anything terribly well.  He's adjusting his cap back into place after every pitch.  Still, it's readily apparent why other teams were asking for him last month. 

Here's my video of Jackson (shot at 60fps, slowed to 30).

Randy Henry pitched a solid 8th, striking out one and retiring three in order with an 89-92 fastball and 82-85 slider.  Alex Claudio and Francisco Mendoza combined to allow San Antonio's runs.  Mendoza reached 95 but with minimal control, throwing 15 balls against just 12 strikes.  Claudio allowed a double, two singles and a walk in a two-run 6th.  Some of the hits just edged beyond the grasp of the infielders, but Claudio wasn't sharp, missing on seven of his last nine pitches.

The Riders  managed all of three singles and a walk, and they lost two runners on the bases.  Among San Diego's best pitching prospects, Matt Wisler showed much better command than what he's know for, limiting the Riders to no runs on a single hit and striking out six.  Here's video of Rougned Odor's at-bats.

High-A: at Myrtle Beach 3, Lynchburg (ATL) 6

Record: 33-25, +0.5

The recently reliable Will Lamb (4.88 ERA) and always reliable Ryan Harvey (2.29 ERA) combined to allow five 9th-inning runs, started by Lamb's three consecutive walks.  Cody Kendall (5.25 ERA) gave up two hits and no runs in three scoreless innings.  Kevin Pucetas walked six in five innings but surrendered just a run.

Catcher Pat Cantwell (.257/.318/.325) and 1B Trever Adams (.254/.336/.384) both singled twice and doubled.

Low-A: Hickory 11, at Asheville (COL) 1
Record: 72-56, -0.5

Hickory obviated the need for late heroics with a nine-run 4th.  Joey Gallo hit his 30th homer in low-A, doubled and singled.  He's hitting .310/.408/.714 with four homers and his typically elevated strikeout rate since coming off the DL.  CF Lewis Brinson (.234/.318/.428) was 3-5 with a double, and Jorge Alfaro (.263/.346/.444) singled twice and walked.  2B Alejandro Selen homered and walked. 

In the league toughest park for pitchers, Connor Sadzeck (2.25 ERA) limited Asheville to a run on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts.  Sadzeck has allowed just four extra-base hits in his last six starts, all doubles.  Jose Valdespina pitched just as well, fanning four in three scoreless innings.  Opponents are hitting .216/.310/.284 against him in the second half (21 innings). 

Short-A: at Spokane 1, Hillsboro (ARI) 4 (11 innings)
Record: 12-14, tied for 1st

Hillsboro's Brian Billigen clubbed a three-run homer off Ricardo Rodriguez in the 11th.  John Straka (5.14 ERA) pitched two scoreless innings, and starter John Niggli (1.59 ERA) lasted a full seven with one run allowed on three hits, a walk and four strikeouts.

Spokane accomplished little with 16 baserunners.  2B Evan Van Hoosier and CF Jordan Akins were 3-5.  Akins is hitting .236/.263/.436 in 13 games.

Rookie: at Rangers 6, Padres 1

Record: 14-7, +2.0

David Perez threw in a real game for first time in nearly 14 months, striking out one and allowing two hits in a scoreless frame.  Perez underwent Tommy John surgery last summer after a rough spring and nine dismal innings at Spokane.  Still just 20 years old, Perez ranked among the lower half of Texas's top ten prospects two years ago and was reaching 98 MPH with his fastball. 

Cole Wiper threw four scoreless innings and struck out six.  Most of the offense came from rehabbing Greg Miclat and 25-year-old Hirotoshi Onaka.  3B Luis Mendez (.285/.366/.390) was 4-4 with a triple.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Frisco lost 14-12 at San Antonio.  Game time: 4:30.  Glad I wasn't at that one.  Rehabbing Nelson Cruz and Max Ramirez powered the baby Rangers to an 8-1 win over the Cubs.  Spokane's Martin Perez gave up a run in five innings.

Today's Starters
AAA: Jake Brigham
AA: Tyler Tufts
Hi-A: Alec Asher
Lo-A: Frank Lopez
Short-A: Eric Brooks
Rookie: TBA

Scott Lucas
Newberg Report  (
twitter: @scottrlucas


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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