The Farm Report -- 9/1/2017

Afternoon transactions:
LHP Jake Diekman activated from 60-day DL
RHP Paolo Espino recalled from Round Rock
Contract of 3B Will Middlebrooks purchased
Contract of C A.J. Jimenez purchased
LHP Joely Rodriguez designated for assignment
RHP Jhan Marinez designated for assignment

The Rangers still need to create one more space on the 40-man roster.

Texas doesn't need to DL Adrian Beltre since rosters have expanded.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 31 August

Box Scores

AAA: at Round Rock 0, Col. Springs (MIL) 4
Record: 63-71, eliminated

SP David Ledbetter: 6 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 4.31 ERA

3B Will Middlebrooks was conspicuously absent from the lineup. August hasn't been kind (.244/.284/.378), but on the whole he's had a great season, knocking his most homers (23) in four years and batting .258/.327/.529. As he's essentially limited to third base, I've written on a few occasions that he was a poor fit for the Rangers regardless of his production. That's no longer the case. In the Majors, he hasn't hit well at all since his 2013 rookie campaign.

2013 3rd-rounder David Ledbetter acquitted himself in AAA after spending all of 2015-2016 in High Desert. The offense was limited to five singles. Temple native and Texas-Ex Taylor Jungmann pitched well for the opposition.

Former Ranger Wilmer Font is expected to be called up by the Dodgers. Font pitched briefly for the Rangers in 2012 and 2013, after which a loss in velocity, general degradation in stuff, and injury pushed him all the way down to the indy Can-Am league. He worked his way back to affiliated ball, culminating in a staggering 178 strikeouts in 134.1 innings for Oklahoma City.  I saw him against Round Rock earlier this season, and to be honest, I wasn't that impressed, but I'm rooting for him.

AA: at Frisco 0, Corpus Christi (HOU) 4
Record: 59-77, eliminated

SP Pedro Payano: 5 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 4 BB, 3 HBP, 6 SO, 3.63 ERA
RP Shane McCain: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 5.36 ERA
LF Scott Heineman: 2-4, .284/.364/.426

Like Yohander Mendez the night before, Pedro Payano's most notorious statistic appeared in abundance in his final start. Payano hit three batters, raising his total to 25, more than any other pitcher in MLB or the minors. Payano is also 17th in all of minor league ball with 64 walks. Still, he was tough to hit when he threw strikes, and he spent most of 2017 two levels above last year.  All told, a pretty good year.

High-A: Down East 1, at Wilmington (KAN) 0 (12)
Record: 35-31, 1.5 GB

SP Steven Bruce: 8.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 5.00 ERA
RP Scott Williams: 3.1 IP, 0 R, 1 SO, 0.66 ERA
DH Carlos Garay: 2-4, .320/.365/.368
1B Ti'Quan Forbes: 2-4, .227/.280/.308
RF Ledarious Clark: 2-4, triple, walk
C Chuck Moorman: 2-5, .258/.310/.365

I'll be honest. For much of 2017, covering Down East has been a challenge. Why?

Bad record. As in, "worst high-A squad in Rangers history" bad;
Most common score: a 4-2 loss (6 times);
Second most common score: a 4-1 loss (5 times);
No fun statistical quirks ("They're bad but at least they steal a million bases.");
Two best prospects (Joe Palumbo, Brett Martin) hurt;
Other prospects just doing okay.

Lately, the Woodies are a blast. Down by as many as nine games in the second half, they could win the division. Unlike Hickory and Spokane, Down East's path to the postseason path is clear: win three of four against Buies Creek. Just two weeks ago, the Astros led the division by 7.5 games but have gone 3-9 while the Woodies went 9-3. They also had a 4.5-game lead in the first half before succumbing to a white-hot Myrtle Beach squad.

Chuck Moorman led off the 12th with a single, advanced to second on a sac bunt and scored on a Josh Morgan single. Undrafted Steven Bruce, who'd never gone more than 4.1 innings without allowing a run, last a career-best 8.1. Scott Williams extended his scoreless streak to 27 innings.

Ti'Quan Forbes was pulled in the 11th, traded for RHP Miguel Gonzalez. His last plate appearance as a Ranger resulted in a single. I expect the 2014 2nd-rounder will join one of Chicago's A-level affiliates. Forbes had begun to realize some of his power potential (11 homers) but was still having trouble reaching base. He spent about 80% of his games at third base in 2017 with the rest split between first and short. While he could still figure it out, he wasn't among Texas's top 30 prospects.

Low-A: Hickory 5, at Charleston (NYY) 10
Record: 36-30, tied for 1st

SP Edgar Arredondo: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 3.86 ERA
LF Eric Jenkins: 2-5, SB (10), .207/.263/.289
DH Alex Kowalczyk: 3-5, .313/.382/.463
1B Andretty Cordero: 1-4, double, walk, .279/.312/.400

The Crawdads have lost nine of 13 since taking an important series against Hagerstown two weeks ago. Last night, the Dads squandered an early 3-0 lead, took it back on an Andretty Cordero RBI double, and then fell apart. So good in the second half, Jake Lemoine retired only three of eight batters (one of those a sac bunt).  Replacing Edgar Arredondo in the 6th, he surrendered a two-out triple that plated two inherited runners.  In the 7th, he started the inning walk-walk-homer-single. Grant Zawadzki walked three more in the 7th, and a Charles Leblanc error added two more runs.

Arredondo was terrific in the second half: 3.08 ERA, 62 strikeouts versus just six walks in 61.1 innings.

Hickory, Greensboro and West Virginia are nominally tied for the division lead, but Greensboro actually has sole possession by percentage points. Hickory hosts Greensboro for the final four games, while West Virginia visits Delmarva. Hickory cannot finish the season tied with Greensboro but could with West Virginia. Here's Hickory's postseason scenarios based on number of wins this weekend:

0-2: eliminated
3: division champion if West Virginia wins 2 or fewer against Delmarva, one game playoff if WV wins 3 of 4, eliminated if WV sweeps
4: division champion if WV wins 3 or fewer, one game playoff if WV sweeps

Short-A: off

Spokane's postseason possibilities based on number of wins this weekend in a three-game series against Everett:

Win 0: eliminated
Win 1: champion if Tri-City wins exactly one of three against Vancouver
Win 2: champion unless Tri-City sweeps Vancouver
Win 3: champion no matter what

Listed starters are Demarcus Evans, Tyler Phillips and Tyree Thompson.

Rookie: at Rangers 7, Padres2 8
Record: 16-10, +1.5 G

SP Werner Leal: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 5.01 ERA
1B Tyreque Reed: 2-5, double, .348/.453/.617
RF Darious Day: 3-5, 2 doubles, .412/.655/.588
2B Ryan Dorow: 2-2, walk, SB (7), .296/.382/.384

The rookies missed a chance to knock out the Padres. The Rangers lead them and the M's by 1.5 with two to play. They conclude the regular season with two against the wretched Tribe (14-40).

Tyreque Reed has a hit in all four games back after missing three weeks with a shoulder injury.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
The baby Rangers won the Arizona League title 3-1 over the Athletics. Aliangel Frank Lopez whiffed nine over a scoreless five innings, after which Alexnader Claudio handled the last four. The Rangers sported an outfield of Nick Williams (2-4), Lewi Brinson (1-4, walk) and Nomar Mazara (0-4), plus Ronald Guzman (1-4, double) at first.

Spokane's Joey Gallo drew a walk in his final game. He hit 22 homers between there and Surprise. Spokane finished 28-48, and that record undersold how bad they looked much of the time.

Drew Robinson hit his 13th homer for Hickory, but Andrew Faulkner surrendered five runs in five innings, and the Crawdads were eliminated from postseason contention.

Today's Starters:
AAA: James Dykstra
AA: Richelson Pena
High-A: Emerson Martinez
Low-A: Walker Weickel
Short-A: Evans / Speas (tandem)
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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