The Farm Report -- 7/24/2014

Knebel and Thompson

I like this trade.  Yes, Soria could have been the closer for a 2015 squad that intends to make this season a hideous fluke, but gaining up to 12 years of young, live, cost-controlled arms for 1.3 years of Soria is worthwhile.  If you play fantasy baseball, you know how often seemingly foolproof closers lose their jobs.  I'm not suggesting Soria is bound for failure, just that there's much more churn among closers than we might realize, and the Rangers ought to be able find a suitable replacement, hopefully internally.  The replacement could be Knebel, eventually.

In its midseason update, Baseball America ranked RHP Jake Thompson 2nd and RHP Corey Knebel 4th in the Detroit system.  Much like the Angels, who traded four prospects for Huston Street, the Tigers don't have a strong farm.  Neither pitcher is a top 100 prospect, and I wouldn't rank either of them higher than about sixth among the Rangers.  Still, it's a very solid return for someone who might have thrown another 80 innings in a Texas uniform at a cost of about $9 million.

14 months ago, Knebel was closing for the University of Texas, yet he already has 8.2 innings of MLB experience. Knebel's fastball ranges from 91 to 98, and he throws a low-80s curve and very occasional change.  He has a closer's mentality, and that's his ceiling.  His control has ebbed as he's advanced.  He'll head to Round Rock for now, but I fully expect him to pitch for the Rangers in September, perhaps sooner.

In time, Thompson could be the best player in the deal.  6'3" and 225 pounds,  Thompson throws a low-90s fastball that tops at 95, a mean slider, a fairly new curve and changeup.  I've seen the changeup described as potentially average, but it's not there yet.  At best, he could become a #3 starter. At worst, he's bouncing between Texas and AAA in a #5 or long relief role. He's advanced along the same path as Robbie Erlin, reaching AA in his third professional seaason.  He becomes the youngest pitcher on the Frisco roster by nine months.  An abridged scouting report from Baseball Prospectus recently appeared in the Detroit Free Press.'s Jim Callis has video and commentary on both.


Texas purchased the contract of righty Nate Adcock from Round Rock.  Adcock was a Rule 5 pick who pitched for the Royals in 2011 and 2012, posting a 3.79 ERA and mediocre peripherals, mostly in long relief.  Since coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in early June, he's been throwing hard, touching 97 on Sunday in Round Rock.  I believe he still has one option, but it will be used if Texas sends him back to AAA quickly.


Who?  Myrtle Beach veep and GM Andy Milovich.  He's having an in-game, on-air prostate exam.  I'm not joking.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 23 July

Stars of the Day
AAA: West / Sardinas, Telis
AA: Gallo, Herrera
Hi-A: Sprenger
Lo-A: Rodriguez, Kaminska / Deglan, Demeritte
Short-A: Cone
Rookie: Quiroz

AAA: Round Rock 8, at Oklahoma City (HOU) 12
Record: 51-51, -2.5

As I joked the other night, Jerome Williams was indeed pulled from his scheduled start.

SP Lisalverto Bonilla: 2.2 innings, 0 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
SP Matt West: 2 scoreless innings, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts, 4.15 ERA
SS Luis Sardinas: 4-4, walk, .281/.309/.371
DH Tomas Telis: 4-5, .462/.517/.615
1B Carlos Pena: 1-5, 2nd homer

Michael Kirkman, whose formerly mid-90s fastball was running around 90 last I saw, allowed three inherited runners to score and gave up five of his own in 2.1 innings.  Aaron Poreda then allowed four 8th-inning runs.

Telis could go zero for his next 14 and still have a .300 average.

AA: Frisco 5, at Midland (OAK) 3
Record: 18-15, -2.0

SP Chi Chi Gonzalez: 3 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts, 2.82 ERA
RP Will Lamb: 2 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 1.46 ERA
1B Joey Gallo: 1-4, 12th homer, walk, .277/.365/.599
2B Odubel Herrera: 2-3, walk, .352/.397/.433

Joey Gallo homered in the 9th.  ESPN's Jim Bowden, today: " I’d like to see the Rangers follow that [hypothesized] trade [of Alex Rios] by promoting uber power prospect Joey Gallo to the major leagues and finding out in August and September whether he’ll be able to take over their starting job in right field next year."  Me, today: "Too soon.  The power is titanic, but Gallo is in the midst of adjusting to AA pitchers, against whom he's struck out in 43% of his plate appearances.  Texas League hurlers aren't (openly) afraid of him and will challenge him, despite the risk.  Right now, I think MLB pitchers would give up some long balls but otherwise would take great advantage of his big swing." 

Gonzalez walked 6 of 17 batters.  He had never walked more than three in a game.

High-A: at Myrtle Beach 2, Frederick (BAL) 10
Record: 17-17, -2.0

SP Chad James: 4.2 innings, 11 runners (2 HR), 6 runs, 4 strikeouts, 5.59 ERA
RP Justin Sprenger: 2.2 scoreless innings, 1 runner, 3 strikeouts
RP Cody Buckel: 1 perfect inning, 2 strikeouts

Myrtle Beach was three-hit again.  Frederick pummeled James and Kevin Pucetas, who walked or hit five of his seven batters.

Low-A: at Hickory 3, West Virginia (PIT) 2
Record: 18-15, -3.0

SP Ricardo Rodriguez: 5 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 3.34 ERA
RP Pat Kaminska: 3 innings, 1 runner (1 HR), 1 run, 3 strikeouts, 2.79 ERA
C Kellin Deglan: 2-4, 15th homer, .257/.325/.490
2B Travis Demeritte: 1-2, 2 strikeouts, .221/.318/.465

Demeritte is hitting .157/.290/.326 in his last 25 games, which is to say, he's hitting for some power and drawing walks at a high rate, but the contact isn't there.

Short-A: Spokane 2, at Salem-Keizer (SFO) 5

Record: 0-2, -1.5

SP Andrew Barnett: 5 innings, 9 runners, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts, 4.62 ERA
CF Zach Cone: 2-4, 8th homer, .230/.361/.508

Not much to say about this one.  Spokane struck out 16 times. 

Rookie: at Rangers 0, Cubs 10
Record: 18-8, +5.0, first-half champion

SP Joe Palumbo: 2 innings, 6 runners, 3 runs, 2 strikeouts, 2.45 ERA
C Isaias Quiroz: 2-2, 2 walks, .161/.341/.161

Even less to say about this one.  The opposing starter was C.J. Edwards, making his first appearance after missing three months with shoulder trouble.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I posted a report that didn't get saved to my "sent" folder.  I have nothing.  So, choose your own adventure.  "Justin Smoak played shortstop" or some such. 

Today's Starters
AAA: Justin Germano
AA: Edwar Cabrera
Hi-A: Luis Parra
Lo-A: Cole Wiper
Short-A: Nick Gardewine
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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