Minor League Monday Week 20
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 as well as the entire Rangers Top 30 Prospect list and 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
11-13 (3rd – 3.5 GB)
The season is dwindling fast for the All-Star Game host Spokane Indians. After a losing week, the Indians now sit 3.5 games out, two games below .500, and their elimination number is now just 11. With just a three game set against division leading Everett left, the chances don’t look good for our Northwest Partners.
Yeyson Yrizzari, the #14 on MLB’s Rangers top 30 list, was a hot one. The 18 year old Dominican smacked eight hits in 26 at bats including a pair of doubles to run his total to 10 for the season. Not only is his name fun to say, but he’s fun to watch too.
Have yourself a week Ti’Quan Forbes! The #22 Ranger prospect put up an absurd slash line of .500/.556/.625. Forbes isn’t hitting for much power (.065 ISO), but since he won’t turn 19 until Wednesday I wouldn’t worry much about it yet.
Class Low A
30-26 (2nd – 9 GB)
First Half Division Champions
This week Dillon Tate did something he’d never done in his professional career before: he took the mound in the 2nd inning. Another fun fact about the #3 Ranger prospect is that he has yet to allow a hit in five professional innings. Since he walked three batters in his first pro start, no batters have reached base against him. This week Tate threw a slider at 89 after throwing two sliders above 90 MPH last week. Be still my beating heart.
Brett Martin came out as the second starter after Dillon Tate’s two innings on Friday. In ‘relief’ Martin pitched six innings of one run ball. Martin allowed four hits, walked one, and set a new career high with eight strikeouts. The #16 prospect had his fastball working 92-95 which is pretty sweet coming from a 6’5 lefty starter.
Lanky lefty Yohander Mendez was not quite so sterling this week. Ranger #10 prospect spun five innings and allowed four runs. Three of the seven hits Mendez allowed were of the extra base variety. Mendez only struck out three but avoided walking any batters.
The Rangers second in the tandem starter duo Ariel Jurado, like his Yohander Mendez, also had a rough go of it this week. Jurado got touched four 10 hits and five runs in 4.2 innings. In that appearance the #18 prospect also walked one and struck out four.
Josh Morgan, the number 11 prospect, appears to be finished for the season with a broken finger. This season Morgan played 98 games, 50 at third base and 44 at shortstop. Morgan walked 45 times this year and struck out only 53 while leading the team with a .385 OBP. Next year Morgan will likely be in High Desert where he will likely hit more than three home runs.
Luis Ortiz is still sidelined with arm fatigue. It’s looking like the number five prospect will return to action sometime around the beginning of September.
#15 prospect Travis Demeritte is still serving his suspension for PEDs.
Youthful SS Michael De Leon only produced four hits this week but three of them were for extra bases. De Leon now has double digit doubles for the season, 11, along with three other extra base hits to give him a .293 slugging percentage. Another encouraging sign for the young #19 prospect was the six walks he worked this week after just 16 for the season before this week. Do you remember last year when Michael De Leon was 17 and going to save the world and make the big leagues as a teenager? Well that guy has a .578 OPS in his first year of full season ball because baseball is an incredibly difficult sport.
Bonus baby Jairo Beras‘ bat only cooled down for a brief moment and then caught flame again like one of those stupid trick candles that taunt you into thinking you’ve bested them. In his first game this week Beras broke an 0-14 that had lasted four games by going 2-5 with a double and two K’s. In his next two games this week Beras went 0-8 with six strikeouts and a walk. His next three games Beras went 6-13 with twice as many homers as strikeouts.
The Rangers #27 prospect Jose Trevino notched five hits to pair with two strikeouts in 24 at bats. Trevino did not make an error in the field this week but was ran on with reckless abandon this week. Opponents were successful in 7/8 steal attempts this week against Trevino.
High Desert Mavericks
Class High A (Advanced)
33-23 (1st – +4 GB)
27-28 (3rd – 11.5 GB)
The ever-changing squad in Frisco took their show on the road last week and managed a winning record through Sunday afternoon. It’s been a tough year for Frisco but as is always the case with minor league baseball, the final score shouldn’t be where Texas Rangers fans are focused. However, it does appear that the Texas League Playoffs will not roll through Frisco this year. The Riders sit 11.5 games out and have an elimination number of just three. While the team has had several high profile prospects roll through Frisco as they move through the organizational ranks, the cupboard is far from bare.
The #4 prospect in the organization Lewis Brinson continued to impress. The Riders faced some tough pitching but did manage to showcase that 60 grade power. If Lew continues to improve his pitch recognition AND hits for power he may not get a chance to be in the building for many more Groovy Grubesday’s. The most impressive thing about Brinson may be the fact that he plays centerfield and he plays it really well. I imagine that the Rangers front office is salivating over the prospect of Brinson roaming centerfield in Arlington for years to come.
Ryan Cordell is currently the 6th ranked prospect in the system and probably the only one that has played 3B, SS and in the outfield. Ultimately he probably projects to be a corner outfielder but no matter where he plays, he’s been hitting. He’s mired in the middle of a modest hitting slump but minor league baseball is all about adjustments and with the top notch coaching available in the Rangers minor league system, he’ll most certainly do that.
Rounding out the top hitting prospects in AA newcomer Drew Robinson makes an appearance at number 30. Robinson is a middle infielder (for now) who has legitimate power and good plate discipline. He’s not a great hitter but he’s done a great job of getting on base despite his struggle. At one point some prospect analysts considered his arm from the outfield the best in the organization.
The Rough Riders have a couple of pitchers in the top 30 prospects in the organization and sitting at number 20 sits the strikeout machine Jose Leclerc. The Dominican right-hander has secured his spot on the list by missing a lot of bats. He has a lively fastball, a curve-ball and a nasty change-up. He pitched in relief the past week for Frisco and is projected to be a solid bullpen arm in the big leagues.
Lastly, at number 25 is Frank Lopez. He’s crafty left handed starter who’s worked his way through the Rangers system. Expectations were high when Lopez performed well in the pitchers nightmare called High Desert but Lopez has had a rough go with tougher competition in Frisco. He had another rough outing last week and according to Frisco play-by-play man, Alex Vispoli, Frank Lopez will likely be shut down for the rest of the year to limit his innings. A big part of development is conditioning and hopefully after a nice year to build on, he’ll be back next year better than ever.
Keep an eye on Connor Sadzeck. He had six innings of no hit baseball this week for the Riders and could nudge his way onto the prospect top 30 pretty quickly. He’s recovering from Tommy John surgery last year and as is sometimes the case, has increased his velocity.
Round Rock Express
Pacific Coast League
68-54 (1st – +6 GB)
This was a week much like the others for #1 ranked prospect Joey Gallo. The Nevada slugger had two hits and four walks in 21 plate appearances as well as 11 punch outs. Gallo also received two days off this week to help him out of his funk.
As I found out while attending Newberg Night at the ballpark from Jon Daniels himself, Nomar Mazara was promoted to Round Rock. In his first six AAA games the #2 prospect is 7-24 with a walk, three strikeouts, and two bloop doubles in his first two plate appearances. I am now fairly certain that Mazara will see the Major Leagues at some point in 2016, maybe even before the All-Star break if JD and Co. are feeling good.
Luke Jackson worked two appearances this week for a total of 2.2 innings. During that stretch the #8 prospect allowed three baserunners and only struck out one. Jackson did not give up a run in either appearance. Happy Birthday to the Chipotle lover as well. Will be tackle 24 burritos for each year of his existence?
Cross firing lefty Andrew Faulkner finally allowed his first AAA baserunners this week but has yet to give up a run at this level. Faulkner, the #12 prospect, allowed two hits and a walk in two appearances totalling 2.1 innings. Faulkner now has 12.71 K/9 and a .53 WHIP in 5.2 AAA innings
After seeing a hand specialist, it was determined that Leonys Martin did in fact have a broken hamate bone and will likely be out for the remainder of the season.
This week, and most weeks in Round Rock, have been a bit rough for Ryan Rua. Rua was 1-20 this week with 10 strikeouts. If Rua could play average defense in CF and was swinging a hot bat it would fix a lot of problems for the Rangers.
Speaking of up and down guys Nick Martinez pitched a beauty for The Express on Sunday night. Martinez pitched seven innings while allowing a lone run on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.