Minor League Monday Week 18
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
4-7 (4th – 2 GB)
Spokane players shined this week during the All-Star break but not so much after it. The team went 1-3 after the break but the three Spokane All-Stars lit it up at the show case. Offensive monster LeDarious Clark finished second in the home run derby and went 2-5 with a double in the All-Star game. Dylan Moore played second base and went 0-2 with a K before being replaced by Yeyson Yrizzari who also went 0-2 but with a walk scored the winning run in the 9th.
Dillon Tate returned to action on Saturday and struck out two in a perfect inning. This is Tate’s second professional appearance and first since June 26th. Don’t worry about Tate missing time in Spokane this year, he just needs some rest after the jump from reliever to starter this year. Tate threw 103.1 innings at UCSB this year after 43.1 the year before as a reliever. I’d be very surprised to see him work more than three innings in any appearance for Spokane this year. Here is someone who saw his performance live on Saturday.
— Alex D (@Adoc19) August 9, 2015
The break must have help LeDarious Clark regain some confidence because he picked up a hit in all three games that he played this week after the break. Clark had been 0-23 in his previous seven games before the break.
Hitter of the Week:
Dylan Moore put together a solid offensive week going 3-10 with a pair of walks, a double, and a dinger. Moore also stole a bag this week and is 5-6 in steal attempts on the year.
Pitcher of the Week:
Luke Lanphere worked a stellar seven innings of one run ball for the Indians on Thursday. Lanphere allowed only three hits and no walks while he struck out three. Through 47 innings this year Lanphere has allowed only one home run and has a WHIP of 0.98.
Class Low A
24-19 (2nd – 5 GB)
First Half Division Champions
A dominant week from the Hickory pitching staff resulted in a 4-3 week despite the offense scoring a lone run in three consecutive games. This holds the team at five games out of first as they look to win both halves.
Saturday’s game lasted 18 innings before graciously ending on a Lakewood walkoff homer. 3B Jonathan Meyer took the loss. Somehow this game avoided #weirdbaseball territory, lasting only 4:48.
As a team Hickory hit zero home runs this week. The last Hickory home run came on August 2nd off the bat of Juremi Profar.
Jose Trevino had a nice week with eight hits and a couple of multi-hit games. Since the start of August Trevino hasn’t earned a walk or an extra-base hit. He continues to rack up the singles though and that’s just fine by me since he’s slashing .323/.323/.323 this month.
Yohander Mendez threw a fantastic five innings this week which tied his season high for innings in a start. Mendez allowed one run on three hits while he struck out five. His tandem starter partner Ariel Jurado allowed one run as well through three innings. Jurado allowed four hits and neither pitcher walked a batter.
Brett Martin worked four shutout innings in his first start in 10 days. Martin allowed three hits, no walks, and struck out one.
Hitter of the Week:
Jairo Beras has an active 27 game on base streak and also a 20 game hit streak. You’re not reading that wrong. Since the start of July Beras has reached base in all but two of his 34 games. In that time Beras is slashing .326/.359/.536. For the year he is slashing .294/.341/.433, a big improvement from a poor 2014 and first half of 2015. He will almost surely see High Desert at the start of 2016.
Pitcher of the Week:
Can I give it to literally the entire pitching staff? The starters combined to allow nine runs. The bullpen (not including the three given up by Meyer) surrendered five. Individually, here were the best performances of each game:
8/3 – Pedro Payano (0.00 ERA): 6 scoreless, 5 K
8/4 – Kelvin Vazquez (3.41): 2.1 IP, 1 R, 2 K
8/5 – Joe Filomeno (2.54): 2.2 IP, 0 R, 1 K
8/6 – Yohander Mendez (1.53): 5 IP, 1 R, 5 K
8/7 – Collin Wiles (2.63): 6 IP, 1 R, 1 K
8/8 – Entire staff: 17 IP, 1 R, 16 K
8/9 – Pedro Payano (0.00): 4 IP, 0 R, 3 K
If I had to pick one I’d pick Pedro Payano. He worked his first two A ball appearances this week and was highly effective. Payano started Monday’s game and threw up six innings of zeros. He only needed 87 pitches to do so and only allowed five baserunners, all on hits. In Sunday’s contest Payano threw four shutout innings and allowed only one hit and three walks. Overall Payano worked 10 innings, struck out eight, and didn’t allow a run.
High Desert Mavericks
Class High A (Advanced)
22-18 (1st – +1.5 GB)
Even though Kellin Deglan only played in four games this week he still managed to grab my attention. Deglan is in the middle of an active eight game hitting streak. This week he accumulated four hits in 17 at bats. Two of those hits left the yard and one of them was a grand slam.
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa has been swinging a hot bat lately, highlighted particularly in his four hit performance on Tuesday. The utility infielder has raised his average 33 points since the start of the week.
Speed racer Chris Garia this week reached base 11 times and put together three multi-hit games. Garia smashed his sixth homer and his seventh double this week and stole four bases in four tries as well. Garia is now 13/14 on steal attempts in the California League.
The lanky first baseman Ronald Guzman put together another solid week at the dish. In the middle of the week Guzman had a nice five game hitting streak in which he slugged a triple and a homer. Guzman also walked three times on the week. Through 41 August plate appearances Ronald “Condor” Guzman has a triple slash line of .342/.390/.553. Normally you wouldn’t put a lot of stock in a little under 50 PA’s but with a 1B prospect it’s all about the stick and Guzman hadn’t been hitting. The hitter haven of the Cali League appears to be having the desired effect on Guzman’s bat. This year has been a bit of a make or break year for Ronald Guzman who needed a good streak like this to restore some of his confidence after an incredibly rough 2014 both on and off the diamond. Bully for you Condor for spreading your wings.
20-23 (3rd – 8.5 GB)
The Riders finally stopped the pain and suffering with a nice 8-5 win behind Victor Payano and the 3/4/5 hitters this past Tuesday against Midland. It ends one of the club’s longest losing streaks in history at 11 games. During the streak the team scored an average of 3.8 runs but unfortunately the allowed an average of 6.7. Generally that’s not a formula that leads to many wins.
This week they alternated wins and losses going 3-4 and actually seem to be swinging the bat better scoring 36 runs in seven games. In between there was a very successful outing for the SDI crew and our guests when the club returned home Thursday night for a big come from behind win powered by the bomb by Lewis Brinson which I still think is in orbit somewhere. I was sitting in the lower bowl watching while he hit it and the second it left the bat, I scared my girlfriend with a very loud expletive because I knew it was long right away. It had to be one of the furthest hit balls I’ve seen hit live at that place. The ball was later found that night by two media members, Mark Green and SDI’s own Billy Casey in the apartment construction across the street. Check out this map of where the ball was found:
Speaking of Brinson, what an initial ten game showcase he is putting on so far. He is slashing .400/.381/.675 with the club and has played some slick CF defense to go along with it. Amazingly he’s been quite the run producer with a whopping 14 runs batted in and five runs scored already. It remains a small sample but the hot start for the kid making a very big jump in competition gives a lot of hope to an organization that just put a dent in their farm system. It would be very neat if Brinson started climbing prospect charts and if trends like his nifty 15 percent K rate are any indication, then that isn’t too far fetched.
Keone Kela appeared in two games this week for the Riders and recorded perfect scoreless innings in both of them. In his outing Thursday, he struck out two Missions hitters on absolute filthy big league breaking balls. He was throwing easy gas up there using some riding heaters to get a few ground ball outs in the outing Saturday. He is here to tone back and rest but you can see why he made a big league bullpen out of camp. This isn’t much of a challenge for him anymore. I would guess that he stays fresh and likely pitches at about this pace until he is summoned again from the big club.
Ryan Cordell returned to the lineup Saturday from his injury to go 1 for 4 with an RBI and in two games is 1 for 9. Over his last ten games dating back to July 21st, Cordell is hitting below the Mendoza line with just one walk to go along with it. Keep an eye on him moving forward playing time wise. Scouts seem to like him but the jump from High A California League play to AA seems to be catching up to him.
Nomar Mazara had six walks this past week, which I find pretty noteworthy because teams are catching on, and not challenging him as much. He just doesn’t have much protection around him if Brinson is going to hit in the five hole and Cordell continues to struggle. A .288 hitter on the year and a .294 average in his last ten show how consistent he has been. He also made a catch in RF Thursday night that most “arm only” RF’s don’t make. It was a very impressive leaping grab that saw him cover some ground. The Rangers second ranked prospect is crushing AA and he can’t even get into a bar yet.
Hitter and Pitcher of the Week:
My hitter of the week could easily be Mr. Brinson but I decided to go with the higher OBP and take Drew Robinson. The slugging 2B had eight hits and four walks. Among those eight hits were two long home runs, two triples, and a double. He’s the classic example of not looking at a batting average and basing your evaluation on him solely based on it. He may be only hitting .233 but his OPS is .818 which would be well above league average especially for a middle infielder. One of the forgotten kids of Vegas (no, I don’t think Drew played with the famous Vegas trio) really does hit the ball hard when he makes contact. His great plate discipline and versatility should translate into something usable and it will be a tough decision similar to the Doobie one of last summer on how Texas should approach keeping him this winter when he’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not added to the 40 man roster.
My pitcher of the week is Riders’ closer David Martinez. The 28 year old appeared in three games last week and pitched 3 and 1/3 innings and only allowed two hits while not allowing any runs. He stuck out five and walked none. He actually hasn’t allowed a walk since July 21st against San Antonio. His 37:10 K/BB ratio isn’t too shabby when you consider how poorly just about everyone else has pitched for this club. If you put stock into saves he picked up two of those last week as well and now has 16 on the year in 19 tries. An honorable mention to Riders’ reliever Jefri Hernandez for tossing 3 and 1/3 scoreless long relief innings in the Thursday comeback win after starter Connor Sadzeck just didn’t have it. He has a nice ERA but Texas League opponents are hitting .273 off him so it likely won’t sustain. Still the effort Thursday was much appreciated to help save the bullpen.
My Pick to Click
So the pick to click is a tough one but let’s go 1B and current leadoff hitter Preston Beck. He had back to back to back multi hit games before his last few hitless games. Over his last ten games, the kid is hitting .275 with six walks. At 6’2″ 190, he isn’t the typical slugging 1B but rather a hitter that has some nice plate discipline skills and plays solid defense. He may not ever impress with the power with his 23 home runs in 395 career pro games but his OBP at least keeps him usable.
Round Rock Express
Pacific Coast League
65-49 (1st – +5 GB)
This week there has been a little bit of roster movement for the Express so allow me to catch you up to speed. Texas recalled Luke Jackson, Anthony Bass, and Ryan Strausborger to the big league club. The Rangers sent down Ryan Rua, Leonys Martin, Alex Claudio, and Phil Klein.
Derek Holland had another rehab start this week with the Express on Monday. Holland went two innings while allowing three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. Hanser Alberto had a mediocre week going 4-24 at the plate seeing his average dip 16 points.
Joey Gallo absolutely destroyed the baseball this week. He only had seven hits but six of them were for extra bases and five of them left the yard. Gallo had a three-homer game on Thursday but that’s not big deal for the man that accomplished the feat for a fifth time in professional baseball. The most impressive moonshot was a grand slam on Sunday where the ball was hit so hard no one could tell where it landed.
Hitter of the Week:
Early results from Leonys Martin‘s demotion have been fairly positive. Through five games he is slashing .375/.407/.708. His best game came on Thursday when Martin went 4-4 with a pair of homers.
Pitcher of the Week:
Chi Chi Gonzalez had a very typical start for him this week. Gonzalez lasted seven innings and allowed only one run on eight hits and one walk. He also struck out three in his Thursday outing.