Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 9 July
Regarding yesterday's comments about the explosion in homers in AA, I should have reiterated that as of 2019 the AAA level is using the Major League ball instead of the minor league ball. Rumors abounded for years that the MLB ball was livelier, and now we have evidence. Also, several recent studies have shown the current edition of the ball is livelier than in year's past, so it's a double whammy for AAA pitchers.
AA: at Frisco 7, Corpus Christi (HOU) 4
Record: 7-11, 3.5 GB, 40-47 overall
SP Jonathan Hernandez: 5 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 5.78 ERA
RP Yoel Espinal: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 5.64 ERA
RP Emmanuel Clase: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 4.45 ERA
CF Leody Taveras: 2-5, .273/.347/.333
2B Yonny Hernandez: 3-5, .364/.447/.455
3B Charles Leblanc: 1-2, 3 walks, .289/.353/.364
DH Ryan Dorow: 2-4, double, .216/.302/.378
SS Michael De Leon: 1-4, HR (3), .258/.314/.324
Jonathan Hernandez worked five innings without much trouble, but in the 6th, he couldn't retire a batter and allowed three runs. The damage occurred during his third time through the order. Hernandez has toned down the control problems that affected him last year in Frisco and intermittently throughout his career, but avoiding hard contact has remained an issue.
Organization SO rate leaders:
Joe Barlow, 47%
Demarcus Evans, 45%
Peter Fairbanks, 39%
Scott Engler, 37%
Locke St. John, 36%
High-A: Down East 3, at Myrtle Beach (CHC) 5
Record: 11-9, 1 GB, 61-29 overall
SP John King: 5 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1.87 ERA
RP Scott Engler: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 1.56 ERA
C Sam Huff: 2-3, HR (7), .263/.310/.443
SS Diosbel Arias: 2-5, double, .313/.392/.415
John King was sharp. The homer came on a flat fastball, but otherwise he missed bats, ducking under several with his slider. The Pelicans got to Scott Williams in the 6th (0 IP, 4 H, 3 R).
Sam Huff hit his 7th high-A homer, 22nd overall. He also left the game early, and by that I don't mean he was getting hugs because of an impending promotion. Hopefully whatever is ailing him isn't serious.
Low-A: Hickory 2, at Lakewood (PHI) 3
Record: 12-7, 2 GB, 53-32 overall
SP Tyree Thompson: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.10 ERA
RP Tai Tiedemann: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3.35 ERA
3B Sherten Apostel: 3-4, double, .250/.325/.448
It's not a huge sample, but Tai Tiedemann has quietly produced six weeks of relatively walk-free baseball: five in 19.2 innings. He's tended to walk one every other inning over the course of his career.
Sherten Apostel didn't homer, but his 13 are good for seventh in the league. Pedro Gonzalez, Sam Huff and Curtis Terry are part of a four-way tie for second.
Short-A: Spokane vs. Tri-City, July 7-9
7-0 win, 5-6 loss, 1-5 loss
Record: 14-12, tied for 1st
SP1 Joshua Javier: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 1.15 ERA
SP2 John Matthews: 1.1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 11.25 ERA
SP3 Luis Tejada: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Billy Layne: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Daniel Robert: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.66 ERA
RP Nic Laio: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1.62 ERA
OF Kellen Strahm: 3-8, HR (1), 2 walks, SB (6), .304/.375/.375
C David Garcia: 3-7 double, walk, .245/.333/.429
OF Luis Asuncion: 5-12, double, triple, .288/.346/.452
1B Maxwell Morales: 2-4, HR (2), .167/.265/.367
19-year-old lefty Leury Tejada switched teams with Florencio Serrano, who headed to Arizona. The 2018 10th-rounder becomes the second-youngest pitcher behind Teodoro Ortega. Tejada became the team's 14th starter in 26 games.
John Matthews (8th round, Kent State) throws from both a standard delivery and sidearm. I don't think that's a look many batters have seen. Monday was the worst of his four pro outings.
22-year-old Billy Layne (2018, 11th round) has eight strikeouts and no walks in six innings. Technically, these are rehab innings because that's how he appears on the roster. I don't know what ailed him, but it wasn't Tommy John surgery, because he pitched last August. Daniel Robert, the former Auburn infielder drafted in 2017 but nowhere to be found until last month, has 19 strikeouts and two walks in 13.2 innings.
Kellen Strahm hit his first homer. He knocked six as a senior for San Jose State after totaling zero the previous two years, so he's not absent power, but it's not going to be what gets him up the ladder. Strahm did what he could in last night's 5-1 loss, leading off the 1st with the homer, then walking twice and stealing a base.
21-year-old Max Morales hasn't played much since the opening week and is yet to see action behind the plate. Thus far, David Garcia has caught about half the games, with Scott Kapers and Francisco Ventura splitting the rest.
Next report: Friday
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Back in AAA after two plus years with the Rangers, Robbie Ross suffered through what I hoped was "the nadir of [his] professional career." Ross would in fact pitch better over the coming weeks and return to Arlington, although he couldn't recapture this success of 2012-2013. After two good years with the Red Sox, Ross struggled in 2017 and hasn't been the same since undergoing back surgery. Stints with the White Sox and Pirates didn't pan out, and he's currently with the Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters.
AA: Jason Bahr
High-A: TBD (Sal Mendez's turn, I think)
Low-A: Jesus Linarez