Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 2 September Box Scores AAA: at Round Rock 5, OKC (LAD) 3
Record: 64-72, eliminated
SP Tyler Wagner: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 6.25 ERA
RP Jimmy Reyes: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 SO, 4.11 ERA
SS Jurickson Profar: 2-4
2B Willie Calhoun: 2-3
LF Ryan Rua: 2-4, HR (8)
DH Preston Beck: 2-3
Another late two-inning homer from Ryan Rua provided the margin.
2017 hasn't been sweetness and light for Jurickson Profar, but he's hitting .283/.403/.453 in his last 30 games. Profar has the most MLB plate appearances among Texas hitters on the 40 not immediately called up in September, followed by Rua, Phil Gosslelin, Jared Hoying, and Ronald Guzman.
Clayton Blackburn is Round Rock's only 40-man pitcher, in case you're wondering about reinforcements. In AA are Yohander Mendez, Nick Gardewine and Connor Sadzeck. AA: at Frisco 2, Midland (OAK) 1 (11)
Record: 60-78, eliminated
SP Ariel Jurado: 6 IP, 9 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 4.59 ERA
RP Ryne Slack: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2.52 ERA
RP Reed Garrett: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 SO, 4.98 ERA
CF Scott Heineman: 2-4, 2 doubles, walk
SS Michael De Leon: 2-4, double
1B Eric Aguilera singled home Scott Heineman in the 11th. Heineman also doubled and scored Frisco's other run in the 1st.
Frisco didn't allow a runner past 1st after the 6th, and in that inning, a relay from RF Luke Tendler to Aguilera to catcher Jose Trevino nabbed the would-be go-ahead runner at the plate. Midland is still fighting Corpus for the right to play San Antonio in the postseason.
Ariel Jurado concluded 2017 with an effective if unusual game, in which 14 of 24 balls hit against him were airborne. Jurado was as walk-averse as ever, but in the second half his strikeout rate dwindled to 12%, very low in this era. For the season, opponents batted .302/.350/.450 against him. Just 21 years old, Jurado will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40 this fall. High-A: Down East 0, at Buies Creek (HOU) 1 (7)
High-A: Down East 5, at Buies Creek (HOU) 2 (7)
Record: 36-32, 1.5 GB
SP Emerson Martinez: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 4.19 ERA
SP Brett Martin: 5 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 4.70 ERA
RP Cole Wiper: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 4 SO, 1.80 ERA
SS Josh Morgan: 3-7, double
3B Yanio Perez: 3-7
DH Evan Van Hoosier: 2-4, HR (2), SB (5)
Buies Creek scored the first game's only run on a bases-loaded HBP by Emerson Martinez, who was otherwise solid and an impetus for Down East's second-half resurgence. In that time, Martinez posted a 3.57 ERA with an opposing line of .253/.304/.343. Astros starter Jorge Alcala dealt a seven-inning shutout with only two baserunners allowed, both singles.
Down East rebounded in Game 2. Morgan, Perez, Van Hoosier, Luis La O, Carlos Garay, and Preston Scott had two hits apiece. Morgan hasn't caught in over a week, assuming full-time shortstop duties for the home stretch. Likewise, with Ti'Quan Forbes gone, Yanio Perez has played five straight at third base. Brett Martin faced runners in scoring position in four of five innings but let only one cross the plate. A back injury limited Martin to 84.1 innings, still the second-most he's thrown in four years. The Rangers have a tricky 40-man decision on him this fall. He seemed a lock entering the season, and he remains a good prospect. That said, he doesn't appear ready for the big stage, and his development has been fitful. He'd be tough to keep if taken in the Rule 5 draft.
Down East must win both remaining games to win the division. Low-A: at Hickory 4, Greensboro (MIA) 0
Low-A: at Hickory 0, Greensboro (MIA) 2 (7)
Record: 37-31, 1 GB
SP Walker Weickel: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3.01 ERA
RP Christian Torres: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 9 SO, 2.50 ERA
SP Reiver Sanmartin: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2.62 ERA
DH Alex Kowalczyk: 2-6, double, walk, SB (2)
C Yohel Pozo: 3-4
C Ricardo Valencia: 1-2, double, walk
Hickory maintained its lead in the completion of Friday's rain-suspended game but couldn't capitalize on two opportunities in the second game. Christian Torres relieved Walker Weickel in the earlier contest and dominated the Grasshoppers for six innings. The lefty Torres, who turns 24 in a few days, posted a 2.31 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 70 innings after a brief stint in Round Rock. Weickel's control (15 walks in 74.2 innings) was especially impressive this season; control was never his forte as a Padre.
In Game 2, control specialist Reiver Sanmartin pitched to form. He issued six walks in 34.1 innings in Hickory. In the 2nd inning, the Dads put two runners in scoring position with none out but came away empty. In the 9th, Ricardo Valencia led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Andretty Cordero single, after which a bunt pop-out and double play ended the rally in short order.
To have any chance of winning the division, Hickory must win both remaining games and hope that West Virginia loses at least one. Short-A: at Spokane 3, Everett (SEA) 2
Record: 22-15, +1 G
SP Tyler Phillips: 7 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 12 SO, 3.45 ERA
RP Alex Speas: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 6.15 ERA
C Matt Whatley: 2-4, 2 doubles
In a critical game, Tyler Phillips blew past his previous high of eight strikeouts. Alex Speas walked the leadoff batter in the 8th but recovered to retire six straight, four via strikeout. The 19-year-old Phillips didn't have much success in an early Hickory assignment, perhaps in part due to the early organizational emphasis on fastball command. Back in Spokane, Phillips held opponents to a .265/.293/.361 line and struck out seven batters for every walk. Speas had his moments. Opponents batted only .223 against him with a 28% strikeout rate. But much of the contact was hard, and his combined walk/HBP rate was a lofty 17%. After his first full season, Speas remains a project, but a project who can throw 99 MPH. Texas will be patient with both.
Everett's Chris Torres homered on the game's first pitch. In the 3rd, doubles by Cristian Inoa and Matt Whatley with a Miguel Aparicio between them regained the lead for Spokane. The Indians added one on a wild pitch in the 4th and held on for dear life thereafter.
The regular season ends today. A Spokane win or Vancouver loss puts the good guys in the playoffs. Rookie: Rangers 8, at Indians 3
Record: 17-11, +1.5 G
Second-Half Division Champion
SP Ryan Dease: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.05 ERA
RP Kyle Keith: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 SO, 8.74 ERA
RP Nick Snyder: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 SO, 1.29 ERA
3B Justin Jacobs: 1-1, walk, SB (8)
LF Tyreque Reed: 1-2, double
CF Bubba Thompson: 1-1
C Francisco Ventura: 2-4, double
The Rangers became second-half champions near the beginning of their game when the rival Padres concluded their season with a 2-0 loss. Five starters were pulled in the 3rd including Bubba Thompson, who finished the regular season with a .257/.314/.434 line, three homers, nine other extra-base hits and five stolen bases in 30 games. Tyreque Reed hit as hoped: .350/.455/.617 with five homers in 35 games.
4th-round righty Ryan Dease didn't dominate like Hans Crouse but wasn't a friendly sight to opposing hitters, finishing with a 2.05 ERA, two walks and 19 strikeouts in 22 innings.
The Arizona League playoffs consist of six teams (two with byes) in a winner-take-all format. Tonight, the Rangers face the Mariners (31-24 overall) in Peoria, and if victorious, they'll visit the Giants (34-22). Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock OF Joey Butler (.292/.394/.476) went 2-3 with a double and two walks. I mentioned he'd have been better off in the Texas system roughly ten years earlier, when the Rangers were "employing the likes of Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, Ryan Christensen, Ruben Rivera, Chad Allen, Jason Conti, etc." Today's Starters:
AAA: Clayton Blackburn
AA: Tyler Davis
High-A: Kyle Cody
Low-A: Reid Anderson
Short-A: Tyree Thompson
Rookie: Jean Casanova