Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/21

Single-A Hickory first baseman Andrew Clark mashed two more home runs in Thursday evening's 5-4 Crawdads victory. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 3 – New Orleans 7
L - Perez (1-1)
58-41, 6.0 GU

In his Triple-A debut earlier in the week, 20-year-old lefty Martin Perez hurled five innings of one-run ball at Memphis. But his second start––and his home debut–-wasn't nearly as smooth.

On Thursday, the top prospect was knocked around the yard for six runs (three earned) on 11 hits in just 3.1 innings of work. He walked two, struck out one, and threw 45 of 81 pitches for strikes. Though Perez flashed his usual plus velocity in the game, he was unable to locate his fastball for much of the outing.

According to Scott Lucas' organization depth chart, Perez is the youngest player in the Pacific Coast League by nearly a year.

The box score says that New Orleans starting pitcher Sean West threw 130 pitches over 8.2 innings, but that's not correct––West was actually ejected in the sixth inning.

Leadoff hitter Leonys Martin had two singles and a walk in five plate appearances. Second baseman Matt Kata (1/4, 2B) doubled, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

Playing his first game as a member of the Rangers' organization––his ninth organization since the beginning of the 2007 season––shortstop Nick Green had a single, two walks, and a strikeout in four plate appearances.

Relievers Beau Jones (1.2 IP), Darren O'Day (1 IP) and Pedro Strop (1 IP) all worked scoreless ball, though Jones and Strop had their issues finding the strike zone.

The 28-year-old O'Day has the following stat-line in Triple-A this season––9.1 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 1 bb, 16 k.

Player of the Game: CF Leonys Martin
4 0 2 0 0 2 1 0 .351

AA: Frisco 4 – (@) San Antonio 6
L - Erlin (5-2)
HR - Bianucci (22)
14-12, 3.0 GB

Robbie Erlin's five-inning start on Thursday went in streaks. The 20-year-old began the game with a perfect first inning. Then he allowed four consecutive hits to open the second before sitting down nine of 10. And then he allowed four more hits in a row (plus an error) in the fifth.

Overall, the streakiness added up to five innings pitched and five runs on nine hits. He struck out four without issuing a walk and threw 84 pitches (61 strikes).

After giving up eight home runs in his first six Double-A starts, the lefty now hasn't allowed a round-tripper in his last four games. He also hasn't walked a batter in that span, giving him 57 strikeouts and six walks in 59.2 Texas League innings.

Jake Brigham (5.02 ERA/.246 BAA) fanned five in two innings of hitless, scoreless relief. The 6-foot-3 hurler appears to be adjusting to his relief role, with the following line in his last five outings––10.1 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 14 k.

The RoughRiders' offense managed only four hits in the game.

The lone extra-base knock was left fielder Mike Bianucci's two-run homer––his 22nd of the season. Jonathan Greene (1/3, BB), Jose Felix (1/3) and Mitch Hilligoss (1/3) all singled once.

Outfielder Engel Beltre went hitless but drew his fourth walk in his last eighth games.

Player of the Game: RHP Jake Brigham
2.0 0 0 0 0 5 0 5.02

A+: Myrtle Beach 7 – Wilmington 5
W - Kiker (2-2)
SV - Rodebaugh (1)
15-12, 1.0 GB

The Pelicans earned the come-from-behind victory by plating two runs in the sixth inning followed by four in the seventh. And they were helped out by four wild pitches and a passed ball from the Blue Rocks.

Myrtle Beach starter Justin Grimm (3.88 ERA/.270 BAA) pitched well early in the contest before things fell apart in a sixth inning in which he surrendered four runs on five hits and a walk.

The 22-year-old Georgia product allowed five runs in six innings pitched. He gave up eight hits while walking three and striking out two.

Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger (.283/.353/.455) helped key his club's rally by going 2-for-3 with his 25th double, a walk, and three RBI. He also stole his 27th base in 35 tries.

Vin DiFazio (1/3, BB) and Jonathan Roof (1/3, BB) both singled and walked once.

First baseman and reigning Carolina League Player of the Week Jared Bolden had his consecutive multi-hit game streak snapped at eight, as he was only 1-for-4 on Thursday. He is now batting an even .300.

As the club rallied against the Wilmington bullpen, the Pelicans' bullpen retired all nine batters they faced in three innings.

Former first-round pick Kasey Kiker turned in his best outing of the entire season, working two perfect innings while getting four groundouts and two strikeouts. Ryan Rodebaugh induced two groundouts and a strikeout in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Player of the Game: CF Ryan Strausborger
3 1 2 1 0 3 1 1 .283

A: Hickory 5 – Greensboro 4
W - Reyes (4-0)
HR - Clark (9, 10), Herrera (3)
18-9, 3.0 GU

The Crawdads are now 14-4 in their last 18 contests and lead the division by three games. Although it doesn't quite matter if Hickory wins its division in the second half––they clinched a playoff berth with a first-half division title.

Much like his High-A counterpart Grimm, righty Nick Tepesch started strong before struggling late. The Missouri native began the game with four clean innings, giving up just a pair of infield singles. But he surrendered four runs in the fifth.

Tepesch wound up working six innings and surrendering four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out nine. Since the beginning of June, he has 59 strikeouts and 14 walks in 61.1 frames.

Tepesch has also worked at least six innings in six consecutive starts.

The Crawdads raced out to an early 2-0 lead behind a pair of first-inning solo homers. The long balls came from second baseman Odubel Herrera (2/5, HR) and first baseman Andrew Clark.

Clark (.381/.494/.794 in June) continued his power spree by going 2-for-4 with two more homers and three runs batted in. He has six jacks in his last eight games.

Tomas Telis (1/5, 2B) hit his 18th double while Jurickson Profar (2/5) and Jhonny Gomez (2/4) both singled twice.

Playing in his first full-season game, left fielder Braxton Lane batted ninth and went 0-for-3 with a base on balls. Lane was promoted from Spokane in order to fill in for DL'ed outfielder Teodoro Martinez, who suffered a left knee sprain.

Diminutive lefty Jimmy Reyes (1.35 ERA/.256 BAA) went nine up, nine down in the game's final three innings, getting four strikeouts. The 22-year-old is now unscored upon in his last 13 outings––a streak that spans 23.2 innings.

Player of the Game: 1B Andrew Clark
4 2 2 0 2 3 0 1 .309

SSA: Spokane 5 – Tri-City 4
W - Eickhoff (1-0)
19-15, 1.0 GU

First baseman Tever Adams provided the walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth––his only hit in five at-bats––to give Spokane a one-game division lead with the first half winding down.

Left-hander Will Lamb (1.89 ERA/.159 BAA) got things out to a promising start by tossing a season-high five scoreless innings. The 6-foot-6 hurler gave up three hits, walked one, and struck out six.

In his first 19 professional innings, Lamb has surrendered 11 hits, walked nine, and struck out 27.

Struggling righty Richard Alvarez followed by allowing three runs in three innings. He struck out five.

The Spokane offense had seven hits in the game, though they were all singles. DH Jorge Alfaro was the only player with multiple knocks––he was 2-for-3 with a free pass, raising his average to .333.

Drew Robinson (0/1, 2 BB) walked twice while Hanser Alberto (1/2, BB) singled and walked.

Jerad Eickhoff blew the save in his Northwest League debut, as he struck out two but allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning. He picked up the victory after the Indians walked it off in the bottom of the frame.

Player of the Game: LHP Will Lamb
5.0 3 0 0 1 6 0 1.89

RK: AZL Rangers 5 - (@) AZL Mariners 3
W - Parra (4-1)
17-7, 4.5 GU

Surprise Rangers starting pitcher Luis Parra (4.62 ERA/.272 BAA) shows flashes of above-average stuff but has also been maddeningly inconsistent so far this season––if not in his three-year career.

On Thursday, the 19-year-old lefty flashed his good side. Parra worked five scoreless innings against the talented Mariners squad. He gave up four hits and fanned two without walking a batter.

The Rangers, who lead the AZL in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.386) and slugging percentage (.451), made the most of their seven hits in the game.

Toolsy centerfielder Jordan Akins (.286/.298/.418) went 2-for-4 with his eighth double and two runs batted in. Leadoff hitter and shortstop Nick Urbanus (.289/.354/.356) extended his hitting streak to 12 games by going 1-for-3 with his fourth double and two walks.

Guy Edmonds (1/4, 2B) and Matt Leeds (1/4, 2B) also added one two-bagger apiece.

The Rangers won despite striking out 13 times in the game.

Player of the Game: LHP Luis Parra
5.0 4 0 0 0 2 0 4.62

DSL: DSL Rangers 10 – DSL Phillies 6
W - Tirado (4-1)
28-17, 3.0 GU

The division-leading Rangers busted out for 10 runs on 16 hits during Thursday afternoon's game.

A couple of players who started hot but had been scuffling of late did much of the offensive damage. Third baseman Smerling Lantigua (.285/.365/.380) had four singles in five at-bats. And left fielder Anderson Jesus (.252/.300/.350) was 3-for-4 with a double and a base on balls. Both prospects are just 17 years old.

Leadoff man Chris Garia reached base three more times, getting two singles and a walk in five trips. He also stole his 21st base. The Curacao native currently holds a .436 on-base percentage through 42 games.

First baseman Christefer Obispo (1/2, 3B) tripled and stole a base while right fielder Esdras Abreu (1/5, 2B) added his second double.

Starting pitcher Pedro Tirado improved to 4-1 on the season, though it wasn't one of his better outings. The left-hander worked five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits.

Another lefty––Leonel Gil––closed out the game by striking out four and yielding two hits in two shutout frames.

Player of the Game: LF Anderson Jesus
4 1 3 1 0 1 1 0 .252

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