Minor League Monday Week 8
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
Spokane announced that their individual game tickets went on sale last week which means that the Short Season Class A Indians will be kicking off their season very soon. Their first game is just about a month away now, June 18th. If you are in the greater Spokane area, or will be visiting at any point during the summer/early fall grab some tickets and check out Avista Stadium.
The Indians will open up at home on an eight game home-stand. They do have a few names on the roster so far that you can check out here, but most of the roster will be filled out after the Amateur Draft in a couple of weeks. Jurickson Profar‘s brother, Juremi will be there.
I think his shoulder works.
Class Low A
34-16 (1st – +4 GB)
So these Hickory Crawdads are pretty darn good. I can’t remember the last time the Sally League Snappers had a losing record in a given week. Cody Buckel had a fantastic start in 4.0 innings on Saturday. Buckel walked only one and allowed two base hits in his second start for the crawdads this year and has yet to allow an earned run in two starts.
Jose Cardona had the most impressive game of the week on Monday. Cardona went 4-5 with a double and a dinger paired nicely with a stolen base. The center fielder followed that up with another multi-hit game. The offense, apart from that and the hitter of the week, was rather ho hum. Luis Ortiz was hit hard for four earned runs in 3.1 innings during his Tuesday start. His season ERA now sits at 1.76 so you could say he’s doing well.
Pitcher of the week:
Yohander Mendez has been in a multi-inning closer role this season and the results have been stellar. He has yet to allow an earned run in 16.2 innings. Mendez had two first save opportunities this week and he converted on both of them perfectly. Both were two innings and he struck out a total of seven batters for the week.
Hitter of the week:
Travis Demeritte had an interesting week at the plate and I thought he deserved some highlighting. In the first two games, Demeritte went 5-8 with a homer and a stolen base. The next five games Demeritte went 0-12 with five walks. His walk percentage is a lovely 13.3% on the year while his K% is a not so lovely 34.6%.
Pick to click:
Tripp Martin had a rather solid week at the plate this past week, piling up a couple of multi-hit performances. I expect Martin to continue that success into next week and maybe launch a few into the seats like he did earlier in the season.
High Desert Mavericks
Class High A (Advanced)
26-23 (3rd – 3 GB)
“There were a boatload of runs scored.” – Official unofficial slogan of the California League. In all but one of the games this week at least one team scored 10 or more runs. Missing their ace Frank Lopez the Maverick’s pitchers got a little thwacked in their weekend series against Lancaster. Ryan Cordell has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games and the only game in which he didn’t record a hit, Cordell drew a pair of walks. Cordell wasn’t even the most prolific offensive player this week. I love his 8.6% walk rate and that his K% is under 20 (it’s 18.2). It looks like the organization is leaning away from Cordell as a short stop seeing as he hasn’t played the position in almost a month. I believe Lewis Brinson will be back some time this week but don’t quote me on it. I trust his hamstrings as much as I trusted Nelson Cruz’s back when he was still playing the outfield.
Pitcher of the week:
The pitching performance that stood out to me was Ryne Slack‘s relief performance on Monday. Slack pitched four shutout innings of relief, striking out three and allowing only two baserunners.
Hitter of the week:
Alex Burg set the Cali League on fire this past week belting three dingers and two doubles during his active seven game hitting streak. Burg’s OPS is 1.050 so that’s pretty neat.
Pick to click:
Seth Spivey is currently riding a three game hitting streak so look for him to continue that into next week and do some damage.
21-29 (3rd – 12.5 GB)
Sorry to disappoint everyone that Austin (the author) is back in his place and letting you all know what’s happening up the road. However, since my last time I wrote, the big club has been on fire so maybe I should stay on hiatus until they cool off? If it happens this week then I will take the blame. Anyways, The Riders had a full slate of action playing eight games last week due to a double header Monday in San Antonio. They took six of them and seem to be playing well. Since May 19th, the Riders are 9-4 with a run differential of +30. That will get the job done. The biggest story is that over the stretch, they are allowing about 2.5 runs per game, which is more than half of their season average of 5.3. Needless to say, the pitching is coming around a little bit. Frank Lopez has been a dude since his well-deserved promotion. In his two starts replacing Alec Asher, all hes done is pitch 13 and 1/3 innings and not allow any runs. The former Babylon club frequent is quickly moving up Ranger prospect charts. He wont wow you with velocity as he sits 89-91 but the Venezuelan has a really easy delivery to the plate that he repeats well. I can’t wait to see him and his curveball in person soon. Joey Gallo is still a freak and mashed two more home runs this week. He has an OPS of 1.061 on the season. He actually hit his 30th home run as a Rider Saturday as Alex Vispoli pointed out and it moved him past Mike Olt for 5th on the club’s leaderboard. He’s played just 102 games for them. Jesus Pirela has been a very nice find in the bullpen. The 26 year old has surrendered just one earned run since May 4th in 12 and 2/3 innings. Good for a FIP of 2.33 thanks in large part to a nice strikeout percentage of 28, which actually is down from his season number of 33. He doesn’t allow dingers, limits walks, and works quickly. He likely could try his hand at AAA soon.
Hitter and Pitcher of the Week
The hitter of the week could be Gobbles again but that’s boring. So I went with the Legend instead. Jorge Alfaro went 0-3 on Sunday snapping a 9 game hitting streak but what a streak it was. He slashed .258/.281/.593. So while he continues to not walk as much, at least the power showed up as he slugged three home runs and had two doubles. If RBI’s do anything for you he had a bunch of those too logging nine of them. I discussed the idea of trying out Alfaro in the outfield if his defensive ability behind the plate continues to lag. Perhaps a Stephen Vogt like transition.
My pitcher of the week is undoubtedly Jake Thompson. The spinner specialist is turning a corner right now and really starting to settle in at this level. He started twice this week and in 14 innings racked up 14 strikeouts to go along with only three walks. Can you say command? He has been absolutely shoving since his start against Midland on the 20th. In 20 and 2/3 innings he has surrendered just two earned runs and has 22 strikeouts. He’s getting the punch-outs and he’s getting the groundouts. That’s pretty much exactly what you ask for on the mound.
Pick to Click
I have to go with my man Drew Robinson to get it going again in the power department. He only had two homers in the month of May after six in April. The walks are there for him at about 17 percent on the year but his average on balls in play along with his high strikeout rate are reasons for his low batting average. Let’s see if his freaky nice April was legit and not a fluke. I will make the call for some power numbers to show up again this week against a bad Springfield club and a Tulsa club that doesn’t have Julio Urias.
I would have be really excited for this past week with Tulsa on the schedule but sadly the two big time prospects for the Dodgers did not appear. Corey Seager is now in AAA and Julio Urias is on the DL as he recovers from eye surgery. Major Bummer. Of course rumor has it this is just a way for the Dodgers to control his innings, as he is still a teenager. A teenager who lead the Texas League in K’s up until he got hurt. The Riders are on the road all this week, so no big names coming to town.
Round Rock Express
Pacific Coast League
30-19 (1st – +5.5 GB)
While nothing is official as of what I’ve heard last but I’d get prepare to get out to a Round Rock game very soon if you live in the Austin area and have not done so already. With Adrian Beltre looking to be out two or more weeks some call ups are likely in order. Hanser Alberto is already in Arlington and could see time at third if the front office believes Rougned Odor is ready to come back to the big leagues. I’ve heard it from reliable people and through the Ranger prospect twitterverse that Joey Gallo is likely earning a promotion. It could be straight up to Arlington which I don’t think is likely, or he could be headed south down to Round Rock.
Chi Chi Gonzalez is now in Arlington and made a dazzling debut Saturday. I think Tyler Pastornicky might like playing in the PCL, currently batting .422 in nearly 50 plate appearances. Big Cat Alec Asher pitched his first two AAA starts this week totaling 11 innings, 12 hits, eight earned runs, and 10 strikeouts. Most of the damage against Asher came via the four homers he allowed. The bright side is the punch outs were there and he only walked three in these two starts.
Pitcher of the week:
Anthony Ranaudo pitched a solid seven innings in Wednesday’s victory. Ranaudo only allowed two earned runs and didn’t walk a batter. He also struck out three in the game.
Hitter of the week:
Ed Lucas collected a hit every day in which he played a game this past week. Lucas collected a pair of doubles and four multi-hit games.
Pick to click:
Alec Asher learned this week that AAA hitters are much more capable of crushing a pitcher’s mistakes than Texas League hitters. Other than those few mistake pitches Asher was solid. I expect him to have a strong start this week.