Minor League Monday Week 13

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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).

Spokane Indians

Northwest League

Short Season Class A

9-9 (2nd – 2 GB)

spokane

Spokane finally posted a winning record in their third week of the young season, putting up a 4-3 mark. Over the seven games the Washington team tallied 50 runs, an over seven per game average. This raises their record to 9-9, two back of the Everett AquaSox. Here is how the more notable prospects on the Spokane roster performed over the past seven days:Speedy OF Darius Day (23rd/2014) – 5-17, 4 BB, 1 SB
INF Ti’Quan Forbes (2nd/2014) – 2-16, lowers slashline to .216/.286/.275. Forbes is a very talented yet very raw player.
INF Yeyson Yrizzari (2013 J2 signing) – 5-19, 1 HR, 1 BB. Yrizzari has been playing mostly short, a position which a lot of people have suggested he will be moved from down the line despite his strong arm.
OF Ledarius Clark (12th/2015) – 13-29, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 SB. Obviously Clark is the hitter of the week after raising his season numbers to .394/.474/.621. He already has three home runs and seven stolen bases, a very interesting power/speed combo although short-season numbers from college players can be misleading.

Pitcher of the Week:

20 year-old right-hander Emerson Martinez tossed five scoreless, allowing five baserunners and punching out five in his sole outing of the week. The 2011 J2 signing first appeared stateside with the Rookie League team in 2014 where he put up a 4.18 mark. The results in 2015 haven’t been the same as he has a seven-run two-inning outing working against him. His twin brother, Kevin, is a catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats


Hickory Crawdads

Carolina League

Class Low A

6-5 (3rd – 2.5 GB)

First Half Division Champions

The Crawdads got back to their winning ways with a 5-2 week on the back of – SURPRISE – stellar pitching. Hickory allowed no more than four runs in any one game this week. This boosts the second-half record to 6-5, 2.5 back of Pittsburgh affiliated West Virginia although after clinching the first half, the standings don’t mean much for the ‘Dads.Hitter of the Week:

22-year-old outfielder Carlos Arroyo collected 12 hits, one of which left the yard, over his past seven games. The lefthanded batter has a .308/.347/.462 slashline over 32 games this season, but isn’t a guy I’ve heard mentioned when I’ve talked to scouts or writers who have seen this team.

2014 3rd-rounder Josh Morgan hit his second home run of the season. This isn’t something he will do often, but the six hits he added to his total are very much so. Morgan is 19, hitting .300, and has a K-rate of just 13.1%. He was someone who impressed me in Spring Training with a good hit tool.

Pitcher of the Week:

The best pitching performance of the week actually came from one of the two losses. Cody Buckel, who missed most of 2013 with the yips and started 2015 with Frisco before being demoted to Low-A, tossed six scoreless. The right-hander sat six down and allowed just four baserunners. I wish minor league Pitchfx info was realized, because unless he’s throwing his fastball and curveball harder than he did in his time in Frisco, his performance doesn’t mean much.

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats


High Desert Mavericks

California League

Class High A (Advanced)

3-7 (T 4th – 3 GB)

high desert

The Mavericks offense went ice cold last week – scoring just 15 runs in five games, a tiny number in the hitter-friendly California League. After a 2-3 week, High Desert falls to 3-6 on the back half of the minor league season. This puts them two games back of first-place Lancaster. This week the Mavs received OF Chris Garia and saw 2011 first-round OF Zach Cone promoted to Frisco.Meanwhile, 2012 1st-round outfielder Lewis Brinson had yet another good week. The 21-year-old collected seven hits and four walks over the five-game stretch, raising his slashline to .301/.392/.500 for the season. With Brinson, a speedy plus defensive center fielder with pop, the most important number to look at is his K-rate. After sitting at 38% with Hickory in 2013, the number dropped to 25.1% during his time in High-A last year. This year: 20.6%. If he can continue to hold around 20% or even drop that number further as he starts to face pitchers with control/command of the breaker at Double-A he’ll generate some buzz.

Hitter of the Week:

Not many High Desert batters had a good week. Brinson and second baseman Alberto Triunfel (6-17, 4 BB) were the two standouts.

Pitcher of the Week:

No starter performed well over the past five days, even by California League standards. In the pen, however, righty John Fasola threw three scoreless innings over two outings. He picked up a save in each while striking out four. The 2014 31st-rounder had a very good couple months in Hickory (34:4 K:BB) but has allowed three runs through his five High-A innings.

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats


Frisco Roughriders

Texas League

Class AA

5-5 (T 2nd – 2 GB)

roughriders

Well the All Star break has come and gone and the Riders got the much needed three days off to recharge and right the ship for the second half of the season. They open up similar to how they opened up the season with a six game home stand with the Arkansas teams. They ended up dropping the rubber game in the series against NWA in a one run game on Independence Day but started of the Travelers set with a win on Sunday. They’ve swung the bats decent so far collecting 31 hits in the four games but the run differential stands at -4 on the week.

The club did have a roster move of note as they traded Jake Skole to the Yankees and promoted Zach Cone to take his spot. The former 15th overall pick from 2010 finally departs the organization after many disappointing seasons. He just couldn’t figure it out in levels above full season A ball. He also simply struck out too much. In 545 career minor league games, he has 541 strikeouts. Maybe a fresh start in a new system will do the 23 year old some good but no one is expecting anything from him at this point.

Cone comes up from HD where he didn’t really put up huge numbers in relation to that league. Still, he finally gets his taste of AA ball at 25 years old and it’s a big opportunity for him to show that his first round selection four years ago wasn’t a bad move. The former Georgia bulldog will share time with Ryan Cordell as the dynamic duo occupy the other spots in the now crowded Rider outfield.

Chadwick Bell got the honorary first start for Frisco to come out of the break and he didn’t look very good at all. He surrendered eight hits and seven earned runs. He needed 50 pitches to get seven outs and it was indeed a struggle as NWA teed off on his stuff. Yes he was victimized by two errors in the 2nd and 3rd innings but they hardly mattered as he unraveled in the 3rd giving up hit after hit. Bell hasn’t looked so sharp in his last three starts as he’s now allowed a total of 15 earned runs in only 13 and 1/3 innings. The left hander will try to right the ship as he should get two starts this coming week.

Victor Payano had a very nice performance the following day as he cleaned up a disappointing outing from Jake Thompson going 3 and 1/3 innings without allowing any runs and he only walked one in the process. I know, one walk in that long of an outing seems like cause for celebration for Vic and it should be. He struck out two and only served up three hits. Still his BB/9 remains over seven and five wild pitches plus two HBP in his 30ish innings just shows he still has no idea where the ball is going when he lets go. Maybe THIS will be the outing that he can build on and possibly use whatever he’s been working on to fix his issues.

The dude that keeps on swinging a hot stick Nomar Mazara had another week at the office. The man who will represent the organization at the Futures Game in Cincy hit a two run bomb in the bottom of the ninth in the blowout loss Thursday for his tenth long ball of the year and collected another multi hit game giving him 20 on the season. With a walk percentage in the double digits and a strikeout percentage barely over 20, Maz is the main protagonist of my dreams day in and day out. I really look forward to seeing where the guys at BP rank him in their mid-season top 50.

Hitter and Pitcher of the Week

My hitter of the week goes to the one Ryan Cordell who has now moved in to the three hole of the lineup and bumps Nick Williams back to the leadoff spot. The slugging outfielder collected seven hits in 18 at bats and had a home run in the game Sunday. His other hits were all singles but he still had at least one in every game this week. He also scored five runs and stole a base. However, he did have two errors in the first game back so maybe the defense was shoddy as he learns his new ballpark. The nice four games has seen his average climb up to .364 through his first eight AA games. So it’s good to see him hit the ground running at the next level. In fact, he has a hit in seven of his eight games including his last seven so perhaps that’s why Mik has decided to stick him right in the three spot of the order.

My pitcher of the week has to be Jose Leclerc for his stellar performance in shutting down the Travelers on Sunday through 5 and 2/3 innings. He only allowed one run and struck out six which ties for his season high. He did only allow one hit which was neat. Unfortunately, like Payano, walks are an issue and once again he posts an outing with more than one walk. The only time this year he hasn’t allowed more than one walk? His very first game of the year when he only pitched an inning. Still only 21, the 165 pound Dominican has the stuff he just can’t seem to consistently harness it as a starting pitcher. Keep in mind this is the first year for him to transition to starting.

Pick to Click

I think this is one of the rare times when I pick a reliever for this spot but in this instance I couldn’t pass up the chance to roll with Cody Ege. A very interesting left handed relieving prospect has pretty much delivered double digit K/9 numbers at every level he has been at since he arrived in 2013 out of Louisville. The walks and control have creeped up on him this year but if you have the strikeout pitch then walks just don’t matter as much as a reliever. He’s posting an ERA in the low 1.00’s but if one looks at his FIP it’s in the mid 3.00s so you have to expect him to regress some. It’s mainly due to the walks and not allowing many homers. Still, as a left hander who profiles as a LOOGY, you need to be able to get left handed hitters out and so far in 2015, Cody hasn’t allowed any runs to lefties and they’re hitting just .222 off him.

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats


Round Rock Express

Pacific Coast League

Class AAA

48-34 (1st – +6 GB)

rre

After a 3-4 week, the Round Rock Express are now 48-34 on the year. Unlike the rest of the minor leagues, AAA does not split the season into two halves. While most minor leagues have eight or so teams, the Pacific Coast League has 16 which allows it to create four divisions instead of just two. The Express are six games up on the Memphis Redbirds in the American Southern division.

Hitter of the Week:

Center fielder Jared Hoying has had a rough 2015. He does boast 15 home runs, but at the same time has an AVG/OBP of .237/.278. This week, however, the 26 year-old added eight hits to his total. Hoying has pop and is able to man the center of the field, but I think the in-org thoughts on him have been made clear. Twice Jared Hoying has been left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft, including last year coming off a season in which he posted an .842 OPS, and twice he has not been selected. With all of the injuries to the big league club, the Rangers turned to outfielders Dan Robertson, Jake Smolinski and Jim Adduci without ever giving Hoying a call. He’ll need to start hitting if he wants his shot.

Pitcher of the Week:

Jerad Eickhoff had a sixth straight solid outing. While he allowed four runs in his start this week, he did so while striking ten batters out, walking zero and allowing no home runs. Eickhoff’s AAA earned run average now sits at 4.23, with a 71:25 K:BB ratio in 76.2 innings. The 2011 15th round pick is now 25 and probably has a big league career in a pen at some point, maybe as soon as this year.

Lefty Jimmy Reyes put up another 2.2 scoreless. On the year, his ERA is 1.40 and left-handed  batters are hitting just .229 off the southpaw. The lefty thrower doesn’t have a blow away fastball or electric stuff but as long as a pitcher gets outs he will be given an opportunity to continue to do so at higher levels. He’s also left-handed which helps his cause.

Hitting Stats

Pitching Stats

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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