Minor League Monday

minors

Welcome back to the third edition of ShutDown Inning’s Minor League Monday’s! Here you will find a detailed report of each and every one of the Texas Rangers’ farm teams.

We will have stats, players of the week, players to watch, weekly recaps, and more! Be sure to check back every Monday for a new report so that you can be on top of your game when it comes to the up and coming Texas Rangers.

Be sure to click any affiliates team name to take you to their team website for more detailed information. (Team site will open a new browser window)

You will notice under some of the affiliates that their record has reset and they are in the second half of their season. For a complete rundown of how the minor league standings, first and second half of the season works, please follow the links to their homepage and click standings.

Spokane Indians
Short Season Class A
17-7 (+3.0)

By: Sarah Powers

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The Indians are now 16-7 on the season and 5-5 in their last 10 games. They’re two games ahead of second place Vancouver and will look to add more to that total with a series win against them this holiday weekend. The starting pitching has been up and down in that span and the offense hasn’t been able to compensate in every instance. The bullpen, however, has been solid the past week and should continue to help keep the team in each game.

The star of this week is catcher/infielder Jose Trevino and it’s not even close. A look at his basic numbers over the last ten games, .390/.444/.854/1.298, are impressive enough; however, it’s the emergence of his power numbers that is exciting to see this week. He’s hit six doubles, two triples, and three home runs and this break out has been in just his last five games. He’s also catching, DHing, second base, and third base, all with fairly good proficiency – he only has 2 errors, both occurring at third base. If anyone from the Spokane squad could be labeled “due for a promotion” to Hickory, I’d submit Trevino’s name. If this trend keeps up in his next 7-10 games, we may very well see him swap squads.

The bullpen is truly a group effort, with no rush to define roles and apply labels this early in some careers. One pitcher who has been used a long man of sorts for the ailing starters is Luis Pollorena, a lefty. In 12.2 innings pitched, he’s only given up five hits, two earned runs, one walk, and has struck out ten batters, giving batter a paltry .119 AVG against him. His K/BB rate is at a career high, an even 10.00 or 20.5%. I’m intrigued to see how he develops in the bullpen, especially as a multi-innings reliever, who’s numbers are improving with each outing. He’s a small testament to the relief assets emerging from this pen.

My pick to click is short stop Isaiah Kiner-Falefa. Isaiah got some time this season at Hickory and, unfortunately, was not ready yet and is back where he belongs for this period of his development. In nine games, he’s slashing .344/.417/.594/1.010, with his extra base power starting to emerge – four doubles and two triples in those nine games. His fielding is sparkling so far, with no errors, twenty-two assists, and eleven putouts.

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Hickory Crawdads – A (Low)
13-5 (Tied) (Second Half)
54-33 (Overall)

By: Sarah Powers

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The Crawdads are 7-3 in their last ten games, but also losers of their last two and are looking to get back on a winning track. Since they did not win the first half, they’re looking to take the second half, and are 1 game up on second place Greensboro at the time of this write-up. The team also saw Lewis Brinson get a promotion to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, which still leaves Jairo Beras and Nomar Mazara as the outfielders of note.

In salute of his promotion, the hitter of the week is Lewis Brinson. He has certainly earned his promotion to the Pelicans, slashing .405/.476/1.000/1.476 in that span, with one double, seven home runs, and five walks. He also accrued two stolen bases, now making him 7 for 11 in attempts on the season. He’s also played a great center field so far, with only one error, two assists, and 108 putouts thus far. He will most definitely be a player to watch in Myrtle Beach going forward. Congrats to Lew!

Pen arms are always fun to highlight, so let’s take a moment and meet Hickory pen arm, Cody Kendall. He has been in the system for three seasons now, and seems to be settling in as a member of the bullpen. In his last 10 outings, over 11 innings pitched, he’s only allowed four hits, no runs, three walks and eleven strike outs – a key part of that stretch is that he has only walked three batters. He’ll be an interesting guy to watch out of the pen going forward, if only to see if his current scoreless trend continues for the Crawdads. They’ll need pen arms like him to help them lock down games and secure a playoff spot in September.

Who’s going to step up in place of Lewis Brinson? Let’s say hi to Jairo Beras, outfielder. His last ten games have finally seen him emerge out of a very slow start to the season, which is important to see from him specifically. Over his last ten games, he’s slashing .447/.448/.737/1.225, with two doubles, three home runs, and a stolen base in two chances. Defensively, he’s committed only four errors in 113 outfield chances, three coming in left field and one coming in center field; he also has 108 put outs. Hopefully, his recent outburst is a sign of good things to come for him at the plate; it would be fun to see him fully emerge and resume his climb up the farm system ladder.

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Myrtle Beach Pelicans – A (High)
11-7 (+1.0) (Second Half)
55-31(Overall)

By: Sarah Powers

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It may look tenuous for our beloved birds, as they’re only 0.5 games ahead of the second place Carolina Mudcats; but, they won the first half and have secured a place in the post season. That being said, they’re 6-4 over their last ten games, with the offense finding ways to score, but also being let down by the pitching. They received a nice addition for the outfield in Lewis Brinson this week as well. A small note on Brinson: he will officially begin work for Myrtle on Monday.

The hitter of the week was the pick to click last week, Nick Williams. He is continuing to get into a good offensive groove, slashing .366/.422/.683/1.105. In that slash time, he’s clubbed five doubles, a triple, and two home runs, while also drawing three walks. He’s struck out ten times in that same span, which will hopefully decrease as he continues to gain his comfort at the plate back. Defensively, he may end up splitting time between center field and left field with Lewis Brinson and Christopher Garia, or could end up working right field while Brinson gets time in left. Either way, he is a solid piece in the current outfield set up for Myrtle Beach.

Andrew Faulkner continues to show great things in his starts and is the pitcher of the week, based on his last two starts. He went 14 innings pitched, giving up six hits, one earned run, no home runs, no walks, and struck out twelve batters. Interestingly, he has yet to allow a home run this season… which will most likely change upon the publishing of this report, if you believe in jinxes. One thing to watch going forward is for his walks to decrease, which he did a good job of managing in those two previous starts. Keep your eyes on Mr. Faulkner.

Pick to click? Go back up to the Crawdads portion and re-read about Lewis Brinson as of late. He will be very fun to watch in that outfield, as I mentioned above, and the biggest fun will see how he translates his great recent work at the plate to his new playing environment. We’ll most likely be discussing his work here quite a bit, so we’ll help you fans get to know him well.

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Frisco RoughRiders – AA
8-8 (-2.5) (Second Half)
48-37 (Overall)

By: Grant Schiller

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More roster moves for the Riders this week. Slick-fielding SS Hanser Alberto (.271/.301/.408) along with OF Chris Grayson (.291/.372/.398) were promoted from Myrtle Beach, while OF Ryan Strausborger (.417/.417/.639) was moved to Round Rock and INF Edwin Garcia (.206/.259/.245) demoted to Myrtle. On the pitching side, RP Ryan Rodebaugh (7.64 ERA) was activated from the DL, and RP Jon Edwards (5.13 ERA) was sent to Round Rock. It was a successful week for Frisco, starting with a four-game winning streak before losing on Saturday to finish the week 4-1. This brings them to 8-7 on the second half, which is good for 1.5 games back of the first place San Antonio Missions.

Joey Gallo had an explosive week at the plate as he continues to figure out AA pitching. His slashline is an incredible .359/.432/.718 over his last ten games, and he is currently working on a seven-game hitting streak. This recent hot streak has brought his AA batting average and OBP over .300 and .400, respectively. Gallo is still striking out at a prolific rate, with nine strikeouts over his last five games, so he will need to continue to make adjustments in order to sustain this level of success.

The pitcher of the week is undoubtedly Edwar Cabrera after his gem against the Arkansas Travelers. Over eight innings, Cabrera allowed no runs and just four baserunners while striking out seven. Edwar is an interesting player with some major league service time. He threw 5.2 unsuccessful big-league innings with Colorado in 2012 before a shoulder injury cost him the 2013 season. The Rangers signed him this offseason after the Rockies released him, and he has been extremely successful, posting a 3.07 ERA over 91 innings so far this year.

My pick to click this week is 2B Odubel Herrera. He has done nothing but hit since his May promotion to Frisco. His recent hot streak (hitting .379 in the second half) has raised his batting average to .343 and his OPS to .812. He should continue to whack baseballs around the park, although it will be hard to continue to do so this prolifically.

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Round Rock Express – AAA
45-43 (-1.5)

By: Sarah Powers

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The Express are only 0.5 games out of first place and are also winners of their last 8 out of 10 games. There is no first half/second half system in AAA ball, so if they wish to make the playoffs, they need to outright win their division. Recent additions, Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski, are adjusting decently and may contribute to getting the Express getting back in first. Also of note – Geovany Soto and Engel Beltre are in the midst of rehab assignments with the team.

Jared Hoying, AAA all-star and Express outfielder, is the hitter of the week. His slash is a stout .405/.477/.703/1.180 over his last ten games, with six extra base hits – three doubles, one triple, and two home runs. He’s also drawn five walks, stole two bases in three attempts, and only struck out nine times. The next step is to wait and see if he may come up with Engel Beltre and Geovany Soto, in order to clear Michael Choice or Daniel Robertson off of the Rangers current roster. He certainly is playing for that chance, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him come up at some point.

Since coming over from the Pittsburgh system, Phil Irwin has continued to impress as a starter for the Express and is pitcher of the week. He’s now 4 and 1, with a 2.41 ERA over 32.1 innings as a starter. He’s only given up six earned runs, but walks have been plaguing him over his last five starts. To his credit, he is doing well to prevent those walks from hurting too badly. If Nick Martinez is to go on the disabled list for the Rangers, he may be in the running to join Miles Mikolas as the next in line to try their hand in the big league rotation. If he is asked to come up before September, he will be fun to watch, just to see how his starts translate to the highest level.

Jake Smolinski, recently promoted from Frisco, is the pick to click for the week. His slash is .269/.367/.462/.828, with five doubles, no home runs, and four walks. He will continue to gain comfort at the plate and his home run potential should show itself soon, as it did ten times this season in Frisco. Defensively, he is still performing solidly in the outfield, with most of his time being spent in left field. He has one error, no assists, and thirteen putouts in fourteen chances. For what it’s worth, he’d be a good right-handed compliment to an outfield platoon. He’s 25 and the clock is ticking to see if he can round out his development and find a way to break onto a major league roster in some capacity.

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SDI Minor Leagues
The SDI Minor League Staff is led by Minor League Coordinator Grant Schiller who covers Spokane, High Desert, and Frisco. Minor league enthusiast Travis Smith covers the Hickory Crawdads and Round Rock Express. Occasional contributions are courtesy of Billy Casey.

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