Minor League Monday Week 12
It’s Monday and that can only mean one thing. That’s right, everyone’s favorite – Minor League Monday. The fine folks here at Shutdown Inning will continue to be the only team around that will provide you with a weekly recap of all the Rangers affiliates while keeping you up to date with the current stats and standings. This is your one stop shop for all things Minor Leagues in the Texas Rangers organization.
Minor League Coordinator Brice Paterik will be covering the short season Spokane Indians, the High A High Desert Mavericks and the AAA Round Rock Express. Minor league writer Austin Dietz will be covering the AA Frisco RoughRiders, and prospect guru Grant Schiller will be your go to guy for the Low A Hickory Crawdads.
Click on any minor league teams logo to be taken to their team page (team page will open in a new window).
Short Season Class A
5-6 (4th – 3 GB)
Spokane started their season off a little sluggish – posting a 3-4 mark for the week. My favorite Spokanite Yeyson Yrizzari finished the week a rough 3-22 with a walk and four strikeouts. Carlos Garay in his five games leads the team in average with .385 but has yet to collect an extra base hit or a walk. Ti’Quan Forbes has been fine at the plate but has struggled defensively piling up five errors in his nine games, but three of those all came in a single game. As a team Spokane has been inefficient in the steals department going 9-19 on attempted steals.
In his professional debut the Ranger’s 2015 first rounder Dillon Tate got into a little bit of trouble in his one inning of work. Only 35% of his 20 pitches were strikes but nearly half of his strikes were of the swinging variety (3/7 were swinging strikes all on the big hook). Tate walked three but did not allow a hit and escaped the jam with a strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play. Luke Lanphere worked five shutout innings in his start this week striking out five and allowing only four baserunners.
Pitcher of the week:
In his first start of the season on Tuesday Peter Fairbanks worked five shutout innings and allowed only four baserunners. The ninth round Mizzou product also struck out five in his start this week.
Hitter of the week:
Normally I wouldn’t just give this to a player for a single game but LeDarious Clark had the best game any Indian will have this season. On Thursday Clark went 4-5 with a pair of triples and three stolen bases. That’s one special night.
Pick to click:
Last week’s Yrizzari pick wasn’t spot on so I’m not planning on rewarding him with back to back picks. I believe Dillon Tate will have a much better second professional outing than his first one. I’d chalk the shaky command up to nerves rather than lack of skill.
Class Low A
1-3 (5th – 3 GB)
First Half Division Champions
After winning the first half Northern Division Title and locking up their playoff spot, Hickory kicked off the season’s second half this week following the SAL All-Star Game. This half didn’t start quite as well as the first (12-3 start) as the ‘Dads posted a 1-3 mark. The pitching, dominant to this point, allowed no less than six runs in any game.
Hickory’s had outings from Ariel Jurado (started, 1 IP, 1 R), Collin Wiles (.2 IP, 1 H), John Fasola (1 IP, 2 K), Brett Martin (.1 IP, 1 R) and Yohander Mendez (.2 IP, 1 R) on the mound during the All-Star game. At the plate Jose Trevino (1-1, 2B), Josh Morgan (0-2, K) and Luke Tendler (1-4, HR) saw action.
Yohander Mendez started Sunday’s game and went two innings allowing five hits and three earned runs while striking out three. The game got pretty wild. The reason Mendez went only two innings was because after a leadoff single Mendez hit Herlis Rodriguez. Rodriguez didn’t like it. He took steps toward the mound and threw his helmet, then Mendez threw his glove and a brawl ensued resulting in the ejection of Lakewood’s center fielder and Yohander Mendez. The fantastic 0.00 ERA streak is over. It was fun while it lasted, all 20.1 innings of it. Oh and Yohander Mendez hit 96 so Sunday was just an absolute mess.
Yohander Mendez Ks 2 in the second, gassing last pitch at 96.Wait, 96?
— Mark Parker (@CrawdadsBeat) June 28, 2015
Jose Cardona had a solid week with a pair of multi-hit games and a double in each. Jairo Beras went 3-12 with three walks and a pair of doubles in the All Star shortened week. Josh Morgan has an active 10 game hit streak that includes four multi-hit games (one of which was that four hit game) and only one extra-base hit. During this period Morgan has drawn six walks and raised his average 22 points. Morgan had a nine game on base streak active when he started his hit streak so now he owns a current 19 game on base streak so that’s pretty neat if you’re into that sort of thing which you should be.
Cody Buckel started Friday’s game against Lakewood and did not have his command. Buckel went 2.2 innings, allowed four hits, five earned runs, walked two, and hit three batters. It was Buckel’s first rough outing in Hickory and his first since May 10th in Frisco after which he was sent to Hickory.
Hitter of the Week
Jose Trevino went 4-13 this week with a pair of doubles, a triple and a walk. I’m counting his lone plate appearance in the All Star game because it also happened this week.
Pitcher of the Week
I’m tempted to put Yohander Mendez here just for hitting 96 but I’m going to go with Kelvin Vasquez. The hard throwing Dominican came in after Cody Buckel didn’t have it and pitched 4.1 perfect innings.
High Desert Mavericks
Class High A (Advanced)
1-3 (3rd – 2 GB)
This week was the All Star break for the California League and also the start of the second half. High Desert had two All Stars Ryan Cordell and Alex Burg. They combined to go 3-3 with a pair of walks and a double and now both have been promoted to Frisco so now I can actually watch them play baseball so that’s pretty neat. Some time in the next couple of weeks I will have an interview with Cordell where I can ask him about the positional Where’s Waldo he’s gone through this season as well as other things so keep an eye out for that. Lewis Brinson is still in High Desert so Adelanto Ranger fans need not fret. High Desert also received some new faces from the SAL League: Righty pitchers John Fasola, David Perez, and Adam Parks as well as infielders Tripp Martin and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Lefty reliever Shane McCain as well as Juremi Profar are now in Hickory. Do y’all remember that one time when Lewis Brinson hit .237 in low A and struck out 191 times and everyone said he’d never make it? Well that same dude has a 10% walk rate and a 20.6% K rate so there’s that. Also take a look at Brinson’s heat map for the season.
Here’s the other heat map with baseball stuff on it but it’s less accurate than the giant fireball.
Pitcher of the Week:
In a week full of California League pitching Reed Garrett pitched like an Eastern League pitcher. Garrett started in yesterday’s contest throwing 6.2 innings and allowed his only run on a solo shot in the third inning. He allowed six hits, three walks, and struck out only two batters.
Hitter of the Week:
It’s time for me to stop ignoring Alberto Triunfel and give him the props he deserves because he’s not going away. The short stop has put up fantastic numbers including a four hit multi-homer game on Thursday. Through eight games Triunfel has a current slash line of .375/.412/.750 and has struck out only twice in 33 plate appearances. My apologies for not giving you your props sooner.
Pick to Click:
The thing Tripp Martin has done best in his so far brief 54 game professional career is hit home runs. Now Tripp Martin is in the most hitter friendly park in the most hitter friendly league where dingers come without effort. Elvis Andrus could hit 15 homers in this park. Look for the dingers to come in bunches for the Samford alumni.
3-3 (T 2nd – 1 GB)
The Riders finally look like they are capable of scoring runs these days. This past week they topped five or more runs four times including ten in a win at Corpus. Naturally, when you can score some runs you translate that to wins and Frisco had four of those last week. They finished up the first half of the season on Monday and ended up with the worst record in the Texas League. Not exactly the way things were lined up to open the year. Despite the dismal first half, they’ve opened the second half and closed June by splitting six games and head to the All Star Break with a 3-3 record. They had some more lineup shuffling with the exciting Ryan Cordell joining Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara in the outfield. The former 10th round pick back in 2013 has drawn some comparisons to Ryan Rua for his versatility even though hes struggling at 3rd base, he still is just learning the position and is plenty capable in the outfield. He broke out last year spending most of his time at Low A Hickory where he had an impressive .404 wOBA. This year he posted about a .390 figure for High Desert and got a deserved promotion. Interested to see how the 23 year old handles himself in a more neutral park league atmosphere.
Andrew Faulkner got knocked around pretty damn good in his two appearances this week. The southpaw allowed ten earned runs in nine innings pitched over two appearances. You put 19 men on base and you’re asking for trouble. Good news is he still struck out a batter per inning in this span so the stuff likely wasn’t the issue. Likely just a case of not locating well and missing his spots. The latest outing pushed his ERA up and over 5.00 on the season so it’s been a struggle for the better part of the season. The lefty will try to get back up on the horse when he faces one of the Arkansas teams coming out of the break.
I just knew that my part last week about Patrick Cantwell struggling was going to light a fire under the struggling catcher and well it sort of did for at least a couple of plate appearances. The dude had an interesting week hitting TWO home runs one of which was a grand slam in the game Wednesday against Midland. It was a big time hit that broke a 3-3 tie with two outs but it wasn’t enough in the end. The two homers actually ended up being his only hits of the week though he walked twice. The reason why the home runs are noteworthy is because Cantwell hadn’t hit one all year and only had two since the beginning of the 2013 season. So he’s got a new career high!
It’s been a fine 2015 season for Jake Thompson so far but he had one of his worst outings Tuesday against Midland when he only lasted two innings. He threw some stressful innings and racked up a pitch count of 63. He walked three and struck out only one. Even dating back to his outing before this one his command hasn’t been as sharp. He walked five batters in that game. Hopefully some rest that comes with the ASB will do him so good. No reports on an innings limit for the Texan as of now but time will tell if that changes for the Rangers’ top pitching prospect.
Guess who has a current seven game hitting streak? Yea it’s that number 12 fella who occupies the corner outfield. Maz also did something Saturday that he hasn’t done all season when he finally stole a base! Oddly enough, it’s his first in AA as he didn’t have one last year either. He just may not be comfortable with the nuances of base stealing/running. But when you can hit for an OPS over .800 who cares! Some fun splits would be the fact that he’s hitting .326 in games at home compared to .248 in his road games. He puts on a show for the Frisco faithful. It’s worth mentioning that OF Nick Williams finally got a day off this year when he sat down during the 10 run outburst (though later came on late and scored a run). So maybe the key for this turnaround is having Williams on the bench. The “awesome “ OF’s breakthrough season churns on as he slashes a very nice .282/.344/.439.
Hitter and Pitcher of the Week
My hitter of the week has to go to the man who keeps bringing the boom Drew Robinson. The do it all infielder slugged two more dingers this week and had a four hit game in the process. Robinson reached base five times Friday night against Corpus (a career high) collecting a dinger, two singles, a triple, and a hit by pitch. He also scored three runs and had six RBI. For the week he slashed .409/.480/.818. That will certainly do for a middle infielder. His first home run of the week (14th of year) broke his previous career high for HRs in a season and he still has a full second half of the season to play. He isn’t doing much in the average department but a 17% BB rate will certainly play no matter what. My pitcher of the week is Frank Lopez who started Saturday and fired five scoreless innings at Corpus on 74 pitches. Frank was getting a lot of weak contact and ground balls which resulted in two double plays to begin the game. He got into a tight jam in the fourth inning when he walked Leo Heras to load the bases but got the next hitter to fly out to Maz escaping trouble. He had two strikeouts and two walks in the outing. Since his promotion to Frisco, the lefty hasn’t been over matched and has posted an ERA of 2.80. Lopez will look to keep it going in the second half of the season.
Pick to Click
My pick to click is Texas’ 5th round pick from 2012 Preston Beck. The local product from Dallas (UT Arlington!!) is hitting .359 over his last ten games upping his average over 50 points in the process. He’s a big 6’-2” left handed first baseman that can play some outfield when called upon due to his athletic frame. Does that sound familiar? Naturally he raked during his time with High Desert to the tune of an .884 OPS but that has dropped to about .584 in the Texas League in just about the same number of games. Still, he’s picking it up lately and hits near the middle of the lineup.
Round Rock Express
Pacific Coast League
45-30 (1st – +6 GB)
Team #freePatton achieved its goal of getting Spencer Patton back to the bigs. In his two appearances this week Patton has pitched 2.1 perfect innings. Michael Choice didn’t fair as well in his only game with the Rangers this year. Choice pinch hit with a runner on third and two outs with a six run deficit and struck out. Choice also made an error on the only ball to come his way in right field and was optioned to Round Rock the next day.
There have been a few rehabbing big leaguers in Round Rock this week that will likely be back in Arlington by the time the next Minor League Monday comes out. In three games Josh Hamilton has gone 3-9 and played center field in each game. Delino DeShields has led off and DH’d in his two games this weekend where he went 4-8 with a walk and a double. Martin Perez from all accounts looked solid in four innings of work. Perez allowed three hits, two in the first inning, one run, and struck out two. It shouldn’t be too long before the Rangers have him back pitching in this pennant race.
Luke Jackson worked a pair of perfect innings this past week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the next prospect to make the journey up to The Show. Scott Lucas send out this tweet earlier about Jackson.
Clean 9th for Luke Jackson. In relief, opponents hitting .164/.282/.219 against him. Big guy, big delivery, fun to watch.
— Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) June 28, 2015
On Tuesday Neftali Feliz had his roughest outing of the season so far. He entered the eighth inning the Express down 1-0. Triple, groundout to first, RBI single, single, strikeout, three run homer, lineout to right field. Four earned runs made Feliz’s ERA skyrocket from 4.70 to 8.31. This outing was extremely frustrating because it came after his best appearance of the year 2.0 innings on 21 pitches in which he only allowed a single. Feliz had two more appearances this week. In those he threw 2.1 innings. He allowed two runs, two hits, two strikeouts, and one hit batter. I’m not sure when Feliz will be “healthy.”
Michael Choice after his very brief stint in Arlington went 4-11 for the week with a double, a walk, and three strikeouts. His June slash line now stands at .309/.349/.469 with a 28.6% strikeout rate. If Choo is hurt, which I believe he is, and he goes on the DL, which I believe he should, I’m guessing Choice is the most likely candidate to replace him if Hamilton and DeShields have not yet returned. Jerad Eickhoff went 6.0 innings on Thursday and allowed only one run on a solo homer. Eickhoff walked three, allowed five hits, and struck out five.
Pitcher of the Week:
Alec Asher has steadily improved with nearly every AAA outing. Asher pitched twice this week for a total of 12 innings, 10 hits, three earned runs, 11 Ks, and only one walk. That isn’t even the best part. The best part is zero home runs. In his first four starts Asher gave up nine long balls and hasn’t given one up in his last three starts. That coupled with his shrinking walk rate has allowed him to handle AAA.
Hitter of the Week:
Jared Hoying ended his homer streak at three games after coming on late to replace Josh Hamilton in Sunday’s game. Hoying is now 5th in the PCL in homers and is four behind the PCL leading Jon Singleton. This week Hoying’s slash line was .412/.524/.941. That raised his overall season slash line by 14, 22, and 34 points respectively.
Pick to Click:
My last week pick to click ended up clicking in the majors but I don’t think this week’s will. Yes Alec Asher was this week’s Pitcher of the week so it looks like a cop out choice. However, I believe Asher will have a completely dominant outing against the Iowa Cubs this week. Yeah I said it against the Iowa Cubs who have feared hitters like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber, Mike Olt and Taylor Teagarden.