The Farm Report -- 8/1/2017

The Return For Darvish

2B/LF/DH WIllie Calhoun --
The 22-year-old immediately becomes Texas's best hitting prospect and #2 overall behind OF Leody Taveras. He's 5'8" with boots on. Per Baseball Reference, only three players that height have hit 20 homers since 1980: Ray Durham, Marcus Giles and Kirby Puckett. (Shorter still: Jimmy Rollins and Jose Altuve.) Calhoun has as good a chance as anyone to join that list. He has the fifth-most homers in minor league ball during the past two years:

Dylan Cozens (63)
Rhys Hoskins (62)
Christin Stewart (52)
Matt Chapman (52)
Willie Calhoun (50)

Calhoun is no mere hacker. He's hitting .298 this season, .283 for his career, and in 2017 he has more extra-base hits (52) than strikeouts (49). He could become a middle-of-the-order fixture.

Although technically a second baseman, his future lies elsewhere. Indeed, Baseball America describes him as "virtually unplayable" there, and the Dodgers had been spotting him in left field during the past five weeks. Truth be told, he's going to be below average anywhere, and if he maintains a lengthy MLB career, much of it will probably occur as a DH. Shin-Soo Choo, who's spent half this season at DH and seems destined for a higher proportion, is signed through 2020. Unless he's traded, either Choo or Calhoun will be in the field (along with Nomar Mazara).

Fangraphs' Eric Longenhagen rates Calhoun the second-best prospect traded in July, behind only OF Eloy Jimenez (to the White Sox for Jose Quintana) with a grade of 55 on the 20-80 scale. Again, if he reaches his potential, he'll become a valuable player even with no defensive contribution.

If you want to watch him hit, the OKC Dodgers have plenty of video.

RHP A.J. Alexy --
Adam John Alexy, 19, wasn't selected until the 11th round last summer but received third-round money to forego college. rates him Texas's #17 prospect, and Longenhagen ranked him the 18th-best prospect among July's trades.  The Dodgers assigned him to low-A in April and he's done them proud, posting peripherals much better than his 3.67 ERA: a .180/.301/.251 opposing line and a 28% strikeout rate. Statistically, the only downside has been control, with a combined walk and HBP rate of 15%. As far as stuff, Alexy throws in 89-92 now but has a body (6'4", 195 with room for more) suggesting a future uptick. His most promising pitch is a curve than has missed plenty of bats despite being a little loopy. The change lags behind. The ceiling for him appears to be as a durable fourth starter. has two examples of Alexy in action.

Brendon Davis --
Like Alexy, Davis was enticed by more money, getting a second-round payout as a fifth-round pick in 2015. He ranks 29th among Texas prospects per Reviews on him vary widely. The 6'4", 185-pound 20-year-old comes across as athletic yet slow, with a long-limbed body that may (or may not) stick at short and may (or may not) deliver the implied power. This season, he's split time almost equally between second, short and third. Davis was hitting .241/.350/.403 with eight homers in 94 games between low-A Great Lakes and high-A Rancho Cucamonga. His ability to take takes has improved but he's sporting a 30% strikeout rate. He'll join Hickory. has some video of Davis.

Yahoo's Jeff Passan has a great story on how the deadline deal transpired. Short version: it was a buyer's market.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Monday 31 July

Box Scores

AAA: at Round Rock 7, El Paso (SDG) 6 (11)
Record: 50-59, 21.5 GB

SP David Ledbetter: 5.1 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.15 ERA
RP Sam Wolff: 1.1 IP, 0 R, 3 SO, 2.70 ERA
RF Jared Hoying: 1-4, 2 walks, SB (12), .257/.339/.448
CF Drew Stubbs: 2-4, double, 2 walks, .298/.403/.481
C A.J. Jimenez: 2-5, HR (6), .248/.272/.385

El Paso tied the game in the 9th and took the lead in the 11th.  With two out in the bottom half, Drew Stubbs singled, Ronald Guzman walked, and Will Middlebrooks doubled them both home.

Opponents are hitting .211/.294/.316 with a 34% strikeout rate against Sam Wolff in AAA. Heartening.

Still a Ranger: Jurickson Profar. Per two tweets by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Profar expressed unhappiness at not being traded and was withheld from the lineup two days running. An hour before game-time yesterday, Round Rock announced Profar had been DL'ed. He can be reactivated in as few as seven days.

Profar will be out of options in 2018. As of now, he's a few days shy of four years service time by my count.

AA: at Frisco 2, Midland (OAK) 4
Record: 16-22, 6 GB

SP Tyson Ross: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.86 ERA
RP Joe Filomeno: 2.1 IP, 0 R, 1 SO, 7.07 ERA
RP Shane McCain: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 SO, 6.08 ERA
CF Scott Heineman: 2-3, walk, .259/.345/.402

Scott Heineman's 2nd-inning single broke an 0-for-28 streak. He only struck out eight times in that span, so he at least has putting the ball in play. Just three weeks ago, Heineman had reached safely in 25 consecutive games. Such is baseball. Joe Filomeno and Shane McCain were formidable in relief of rehabbing Tyson Ross.

High-A: Down East 0, at Carolina (MIL) 5
Record: 18-20, 7 GB

SP Brett Martin: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 5.14 ERA
C Carlos Garay: 2-4, double, .353/.406/.404

The offense couldn't give Brett Martin any support in his best post-DL start by far.

Low-A: Hickory 16, at Hagerstown (WAS) 4
Record: 21-16, tied for 1st

SP Walker Weickel: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 2.90 ERA
RP Dario Beltre: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 1.00 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-5, .253/.308/.355
1B Andretty Cordero: 2-6, double, .273/.319/.432
DH Yohel Pozo: 3-6, double, .322/.344/.408
SS Anderson Tejeda: 2-5, 2 doubles, .233/.297/.385
RF Franklin Rollin: 2-5, HR (5), .240/.275/.378

Not satisfied with the eight-run 2nd inning from three days ago, the Crawdads batted 16 and scored 12 in the 2nd last night. July was Anderson Tejeda's best month in low-A to date (.260/.314/.429).

Short-A: off

All-Star Game tonight. Spokane's reps are LHP Cole Ragans and 3B/OF Tyler Ratliff. Ragans threw 85 pitches three days ago, so I wouldn't expect an appearance.

Rookie: Rangers 7, at Royals 0
Record: 1-0, tied for 1st

SP Bobby LaFromboise: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Cole Wiper: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Dylan Bice: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 4.02 ERA
RP Werner Leal: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 7.16 ERA
RP Domingo Pena: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.06 ERA
LF Tyreque Reed: 3-4, double, walk, .369/.476/.667
C Francisco Ventura: 2-4, walk, .309/.356/.327
CF Obie Ricumstrict: 1-4, walk, SB (7), .258/.320/.303
2B Ryan Dorow: 3-3, double, 2 walks, 2 SB (2), .333/.403/.444

Five combined on a four-hit shutout. Tyreque Reed is third in the league in average, OBP and slugging. He's played a little outfield lately.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
As I filled my tank in a gas station in Katy, I learned that Texas had traded 3B Kyle Hendricks and RHP Kyle Hendricks for Ryan Dempster. At the time, Hendricks had improved his status but was still generally seen as a control freak with middling stuff and a 5/LR future. Baseball America didn't bother placing him in Chicago's top 30 entering 2013. Villanueva was the bigger get, a strong defender who stood a decent chance of becoming an average MLB third baseman. His hitting development stalled, and then he was beset by injuries, missing all of 2016. He's now a Padre, batting .299/.371/.546, albeit in the El Paso bandbox.

Ten Years Ago Yesterday
From, July 31, 2007: "Acquired C/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia, nonroster SS Elvis Andrus, nonroster LHP Matt Harrison, nonroster LHP Beau Jones and nonroster RHP Neftali Feliz from the Braves in exchange for 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay; Acquired LHP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy and nonroster OF Engle Beltre from the Red Sox for RHP Eric Gagne and cash."

Not to knock the Teixeira trade, from which Texas is still reaping the benefits, but the Rangers are still looking for his replacement. In the ten years since, Texas has used 43 first baseman with a cumulative Wins Above Replacement of 1.9. In essence, the Rangers have had replacement-level production at first base for a decade.

Mitch Moreland leads the pack with 5.2 WAR. Second is Ryan Rua with 0.8. Yes, Rua, who's batted .304/.358/.475 in 54 games, well above his production elsewhere. Other with at least half a win are Mike Napoli (0.7), Michael Young (0.7) and Prince Fielder (0.6). All the others, spanning 2,900 plate appearances, have a cumulative WAR of negative 6.1.

Here's a complete list:

Today's Starters:
AAA: James Dykstra
AA: Ariel Jurado
High-A: Wes Benjamin
Low-A: Reiver Sanmartin
Short-A: off
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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