The Farm Report -- 9/4/2017

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 3 September
Box Scores

AAA: at Round Rock 10, OKC (LAD) 9
Record: 65-72, eliminated

SP Clayton Blackburn: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 4.97 ERA
RF Jose Cardona: 2-4, walk, SB (1)
LF Willie Calhoun: 3-5, 2 HR (31), 8 RBI
3B Brett Hayes: 1-4, HR (4)
C Kevin Torres: 2-3, walk

Down 9-6 in the 9th, Willie Calhoun mashed a high fastball over the wall left of center for a walk-off grand slam. Combined with a two-run laser beam to right in the 5th and two-run single in the 7th, Calhoun drove in eight runs. He's batting .300/.336/.564 with eight homers in 28 games for the Express.

Converted outfielder Xavier Paul made his first appearance in Round Rock... as an outfielder, going hitless in one at-bat as a mid-game replacement. Signed as a relief pitcher, the 32-year-old Paul tossed 8.2 scoreless innings for the rookies and hadn't swung a bat for an affiliated team since 2014.

AA: at Frisco 1, Midland (OAK) 4
Record: 60-79, eliminated

SP Tyler Davis: 8 IP, 6 H (1 HR), 1 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2.32 ERA
CF Michael O'Neill: 2-4, 2 doubles

So, Tyler Davis. At the end of June, his career ERA was 6.24, he was struggling badly in high and low-A, and he was a 24-year-old with an 88 MPH fastball. To be honest, I'd would have bet on him being released before getting a promotion to AA, but here he is, pitching his rear off and making more advanced hitters look stupid. In his last three starts, Davis has allowed one run in 23.2 innings, walked none and struck out 14. His fastball command has been flawless, and he has a knack for dealing offspeed when hitters are sitting dead red.

In the 9th, Midland scored three off Joe Filomeno, who missed the first month to injury and couldn't match 2016's often dominant form except in limited doses.

High-A: Down East 7, at Buies Creek (HOU) 3
Record: 37-32, 0.5 GB

SP Kyle Cody: 6 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2.05 ERA
RP Jacob Shortslef: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 SO, 4.88 ERA
RP Scott Williams: 1 IP, 0 R, 1 SO, 0.64 ERA
CF Matt Lipka: 1-5, HR (9)
SS Josh Morgan: 4-5, double
3B Yanio Perez: 1-5, HR (5)
RF Preston Scott: 2-4, double

Kyle Cody pitched much like Brett Martin the day before, yielding an ample number of hits but not in bunches. Cody equaled his Hickory performance during a late-season promotion to Down East. All told, he posted a 2.64 ERA with a .219/.293/.299 opposing line. He walked a reasonable 8% of opposing batters and whiffed 26%. During a season when many pitching prospects were hurt or didn't make as much progress as you'd hope, Cody improved his standing as much as anybody in the system.

Unfortunately, the same does not apply to Tyler Ferguson, who has numerous zero-run, multi-strikeout appearances to his credit but can't be counted on in any situation when he's off his game. Handed a six-run lead in the 9th, Ferguson allowed a homer, two walks and a single. With the tying run suddenly on deck, manager Howard Johnson had to employ one of the three relievers he'd probably hoped to save for an "all hands on deck" Monday. Scott Williams retired the side and extended his scoreless streak to 28 innings. Williams has never worked on consecutive days professionally but threw only 12 pitches, so he might still be available.

I don't have detailed records at the ready, but I'd guess that Down East getting 14 hits in back-to-back games is a rare occurrence, if not unique. Carlos Garay and Evan Van Hoosier also contributed two hits in addition to those listed above.

One more Woodies win will complete an amazing comeback and clinch the second-half division title. Down East trailed by 7.5 games on August 17th.

Low-A: at Hickory 1, Greensboro (MIA) 3
Record: 64-75, eliminated

SP Reid Anderson: 1.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 5.30 ERA
RP Kaleb Fontenot: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 SO, 3.06 ERA
RP Jacob Lemoine: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2.96 ERA
RP C.D. Pelham: 1 IP, 0 R, 1 SO, 3.18 ERA
C Yohel Pozo: 2-5
SS Brendon Davis: 3-4
1B Andretty Cordero: 1-2, 2 walks

Eight of 11 batters reached safely against Reid Anderson. Kaleb Fontenot, who had a tough August, turned in perhaps his best outing of the season to keep the Crawdads in the game. The righty held opponents to a .214/.281/.357 line ans struck out 28% of his opponents. He's 24, although Texas drafted him just last summer in the 221st round from McNeese State. Jacob Lemoine also finished with a strong performance. Lemoine was drafted his 2015's 4th round but didn't pitch until this year because of shoulder issues. Remove C.D. Pelham's first four appearances and he's got a 1.95 ERA and opposing line of .185/.260/.295 and a 27% strikeout rate.

Hickory stranded 11, including six in scoring position. The Crawdads had the tying run at 2nd with one out in the 9th, but Yohel Pozo and Leody Taveras struck out. Taveras has one hit in his last six games.

Hickory led the division by three games after August 17 but has gone 5-11 since, including a 1-5 record against rival Greensboro. Nevertheless, the Crawdads were much improved over the first half. Greensboro or West Virginia will advance to face Kannapolis in the league semifinals.

Short-A: at Spokane 3, Everett (SEA) 2 (10)
Record: 23-15, +1 G
Second-Half Division Champion
Overall Record: 39-37

SP Tyree Thompson: 5 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 2 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 3.15 ERA
RP Joe Barlow: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2.00 ERA
RP Noah Bremer: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1.35 ERA
CF Miguel Aparicio: 3-5
3B Tyler Ratliff: 2-5, double
C Matt Whatley: 2-5, SB
PH Melvin Novoa: 1-1, double

Spokane was down 2-1 in the 9th, two out, none one. Rival Tri-City was losing to Vancouver with no incentive to fight back.* One more out, and the season would be over. Against that backdrop, Kole Enright drew a four-pitch walk, and pinch-hitter Melvin Novoa slammed a game-tying double to left, sending the game to extras. In the 10th, singles by Miguel Aparicio and Tyler Ratliff put two on, and Austin O'Banion's liner to right brought Aparicio home.

Tyree Thompson allowed two solo homers but nothing afterwards. He matched a season-high five strikeouts. Sometimes walk-prone Joe Barlow issued just one free pass while holding the Aquasox at bay, and Noah Bremer was his usual effective self while pitching on under five days rest for the first time all season.

In a best-of-three semifinal, Spokane will host Vancouver on Tuesday, followed by one or two games on the road.

* Because of a weird confluence of tiebreakers, Tri-City needed to lose in order to reach the postseason. Had they won, they and Vancouver would have finished behind Spokane. But a loss, combined with a Spokane loss, would have made Vancouver second-half champion. And, since Vancouver won the first half, the other postseason team would be the one with the second-best overall record, which would be... Tri-City. Got it?

Rookie: Rangers 4, at Mariners 3
Rangers win Arizona League quarterfinal

SP Jean Casanova: 3 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Greidy Martinez: 2 IP, 0 R, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
C Francisco Ventura: 2-4, HR
2B Myles McKisic: 1-2, walk, SB

The baby Rangers mounted a comeback at the same time as Spokane. Down 3-0 in the 8th, the Rangers scored three on four singles and three Mariners errors. Francisco Ventura, who began that 8th inning with a single, hit a solo homer in the 9th to provide the winning margin. Jean Casanova was a little off, relatively speaking, while Seth Nordlin offered yet another strong outing.

The Rangers will face the Giants in the league semifinal.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cody Buckel completed his 2012 regular season with three consecutive walk-free starts. Combined with a forthcoming postseason start, Buckel would conclude 2012 without a walk to his last 80 batters.

Today's Starters:
AAA: Adrian Sampson
AA: Collin Wiles
High-A: Wes Benjamin
Low-A: Mike Matuella
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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