The Farm Report -- 8/4/2014

Texas has promoted catcher Jorge Alfaro to Frisco, per local reports.  Alfaro batted .261/.318/.440 with 13 homers in 100 games in Myrtle Beach.  I'll have more tomorrow.

Video of recently acquired RHP Jake Thompson from yesterday's game at San Antonio and Alex Claudio, including his whimsical strikeout of Diego Goris on a dipsy-doodle changeup.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 3 August

Stars of the Day
AAA: Kirkman / Choice, Hoying
AA: Thompson / Cantwell, Herrera, Adams
Hi-A: Buckel, McElwee / Garia, Garcia
Lo-A: Wiles, Kaminska
Short-A: Spivey, Greene, Kiner-Falefa
Rookie: Martinez / Lacrus, Stephens

AAA: at Round Rock 0, Memphis (STL) 4 (7)
AAA: at Round Rock 6, Memphis (STL) 7 (7)
Record: 59-56, -2.5

SP Justin Germano (1): 6 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 1 walks, 3 strikeouts, 4.41 ERA
SP Matt West (2): 2 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 4.31 ERA
RP Michael Kirkman (2): 3 scoreless innings, 1 runner, 3 strikeouts, 5.23 ERA
RP Corey Knebel (2): 1 inning, 4 runners, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts, 7.20 ERA
RP Spencer Patton (2): 1 inning, 3 runners, 1 run, 2 strikeouts, 3.69 ERA
CF Jared Hoying: 4-7, double, 19th homer, 14th steal, .256/.314/.486
LF Michael Choice: 2-7, double, 3rd homer, .267/.352/.422

Both Knebel and Patton had their least effective outings as Rangers.  Hoying's shot landed to the left of the pool, about 430 feet from the plate by my reckoning, and bounced out of the park.  Choice has six hits and two homers in his last four games.

AA: Frisco 3, at  San Antonio (SDG) 0
Record: 26-18, -1.0, first-half champion, 66-47 overall

SP Jake Thompson: 6.2 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts, 1.69 ERA
RP Alex Claudio: 1.1 perfect innings, 2 strikeouts, 2.17 ERA
C Pat Cantwell: 2-4, double, .251/.327/.314
2B Odubel Herrera: 2-4, 2 doubles, .350/.395/.448
LF Trever Adams: 2-4, 2 doubles, .290/.340/.470

I saw Jake Thompson for the first time in person, and I'd agree that Texas has another mid-rotation prospect.  Thompson threw a 90-95 MPH fastball, 83-86 slider, 70-79 curve, 83-85 changeup.  The slider rates best as you might have read elsewhere.  It's his money pitch, a legitimate late-breaking bat-misser, and he commands it better than anything else.  By my count, Thompson had 15 swinging strikes, nine of which were on sliders.  Thompson throws his fastball downhill.  It doesn't move as much as Chi Chi Gonzalez's but isn't straight.   His control of it was solid overall with occasional lapses.  For the most part, his curve and change were just along for the ride.  They flashed average but don't stand out on their own.  The curve in particular had a wide range of velocities and angles, sometimes looking like a slowed-down slider.  Until the 7th, he threw several of each.  Thompson is just 20, the youngest pitcher in Frisco by nearly nine months.

Alex Claudio retired four straight without much difficulty, fanning one on an absurd changeup.  Frisco doubled the Missions to death on an early evening with the ball carrying out to right-center better than usual.  Joey Gallo handled duties at first base without difficulty, once using his size to snag a high throw from third while keeping his toe on the bag. 

High-A: at Myrtle Beach 7, Salem (BOS) 6
Record: 23-21, -1.0, first-half champion, 67-45 overall

SP Victor Payano: 3 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 5.12 ERA
RP Cody Buckel: 3 scoreless innings, 4 runners, 6 strikeouts, 6.45 ERA
RP Josh McElwee: 2 scoreless innings, 2 runners, 3 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA
LF Chris Garia: 3-5, 36th steal, .294/.354/.401
SS Edwin Garcia: 2-3, double, walk, .270/.319/.322

The Pelicans lost a 5-4 lead in the 9th but walked off victorious on a two-out wild pitch.  Buckel was untouchable, in one form or another, walking three in three innings but fanning 6 of 13 opponents.  Notwithstanding his control problems, Buckel has fashioned a stout 24% strikeout rate.  He now has more strikeouts (45) and walks (43). 

Low-A: Hickory 0, at  Savannah (NYM) 1
Record: 24-19, -3.0, 65-47 overall

SP Collin Wiles: 5 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walks, 4 strikeouts, 3.86 ERA
RP Pat Kaminska: 3 innings, 3 runners, 1 run, 2 strikeouts, 4.02 ERA

Hickory didn't have a runner until Nomar Mazara's 7th-inning walk and managed just two singles.  Wiles has allowed just two runs and 12 runners in 13 innings off the DL. 

Short-A: at Spokane 6, Hillsboro (ARI) 12
Record: 4-9, -3.0, first-half-champion, 29-22 overall

SP Nick Gardewine: 4.2 innings, 8 hits (2 HR), 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 6.59 ERA
RP Kevin Matthews: 1.1 2 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 8.10 ERA
2B Seth Spivey: 3-4, walk, .349/.433/.491
C Marcus Greene: 4-5, double, .318/.446/.466
SS Isaiah Kiner-Falefa: 2-3, walk, .279/.342/.346

Spokane has a three-day break and needs it.  The Indians allowed 39 runs in the five-game series against Hillsboro.  Matthews had been effective in his prior two outings.  Before and after his surgery for bone spurs in his shoulder, control has been an issue; he's walked 11 in 12.1 innings between Spokane and the complex league.

Rookie: at Rangers 1, Brewers 9
Record: 2-6, -4.0, first-half champion, 20-15 overall

SP Brett Martin: 3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 4.43 ERA
RP Emerson Martinez: 4 innings, 2 runners, 3 strikeouts, 3.78 ERA
1B Zach Stephens: 3-4, .304/.349/.392
C Sherman Lacrus: 2-4, double, .299/.391/.454

Martin's peripherals are solid (.238/.311/.300 line, 30% strikeout rate), but the hits are coming in bunches.  The 19-year-old Martinez pitched a career-high four innings.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Neftali Feliz made his MLB debut, retiring six straight, four via strikeout.  His velocity: 98-101 fastball, 90-91 changeup, 81-83 slider.

As for yesterday, well, that's why he convalesced in AAA for three months.  I believe the Rangers gained another year of his services by having him in AAA until July, but the Rangers definitely didn't keep him there for that reason.  Feliz would throw 95 one game and 90 the next time out, with no apparent correlation to his workload. 

Today's Starters
AAA: Derek Holland / Phil Irwin
AA: off
Hi-A: off
Lo-A: Frank Lopez
Short-A: off
Rookie: off

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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