Rangers Minor League Roundup – 4/16

Double-A Frisco starting pitcher Justin Grimm continued his excellent start to the season on Monday, as he surrendered only one hit in 6.1 innings. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 2 – Iowa 3
L - Perez (1-1)
4-8, 5.0 GB

Round Rock played its seventh consecutive one-run game on Monday. After winning two over the weekend, the Express dropped Monday's contest.

Starting pitcher Martin Perez was up-and-down through his start but didn't get much help from his defense. The Express gloves committed four errors behind Perez, including three from third baseman Tom Mendonca.

Perez threw 92 pitches (54 strikes) in 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (just one earned) on three hits. He walked three and struck out four.

The 21-year-old southpaw has the following line through three starts––17.1 ip, 13 h, 5 er, 6 bb, 12 k.

First baseman Mike Bianucci extended his hitting streak to 11 games––all 11 games that he's played at the Triple-A level–-with a pair of singles in four at-bats. He also drove home a run.

Leonys Martin (.373/.448/.569), who has hit safely in 10 of 11 contests, was 1-for-3 with a double and a base on balls. The outfielder has seven walks and seven strikeouts in those 11 games.

Speedy second baseman Greg Miclat broke out of his slump by going 1-for-2 with two walks and his first stolen base.

Veteran reliever Sean Green has been impressive out of the Round Rock bullpen in the early going this season. He turned in another strong performance on Monday by working 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit, walking two, and fanning three.

Tanner Scheppers worked around a single and a walk in a scoreless ninth inning.

Video from part of Scheppers' inning:

Tanner Scheppers vs. Iowa (best viewed in full screen and HD).

Player of the Game: CF Leonys Martin
3 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 .373

AA: Frisco 2 – Arkansas 1
W - Grimm (3-0)
SV - Ortiz (1)
HR - McGuiness (1)
8-3, 2.0 GU

The RoughRiders pitching––and Justin Grimm in particular––continued to dazzle in the early going. Four hurlers combined on a three-hit gem on Monday, allowing just an unearned run.

Through 11 games, Frisco's pitching staff has compiled a league-best 2.36 earned-run average while striking out 95 batters in 99 innings.

Starter Justin Grimm permitted a first-inning single and walked the leadoff batter in the seventh inning. But those would be the only base runners he allowed in 6.1 innings. Grimm gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out five. He threw 55 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

After giving up a two-out infield single in the first, the 23-year-old righty sat down 16 consecutive Arkansas hitters. He's allowed just a single run on seven hits in 18 innings this season, walking four and striking out 17.

Wilfredo Boscan came on with one out in the seventh and ended the minor Travelers threat, as he worked 1.2 perfect innings with one strikeout.

Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Engel Beltre set a career-high with three walks in four plate appearances. He also stole two bases, giving him four on the season.

Beltre, 22, has a .286/.362/.595 slash line in 11 games––he's 12-for-42 with two triples, three home runs, four walks, and nine strikeouts. He has also stolen four bases without getting caught thus far.

First baseman Chris McGuiness provided the ultimate difference in the game with his solo home run in the fourth inning, his first in Double-A. He was 1-for-3 with a free pass.

Jurickson Profar (1/4) and Leury Garcia (1/4) singled for the team's other two hits.

Veteran slugger Brad Hawpe, who played in right field, was 0-for-1 with three free passes. Hawpe is beginning to play some outfield for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow last season.

Closer Johan Yan loaded the bases in the ninth inning and gave up an earned run, permitting two hits and walking the batter. With the bases loaded, Frisco turned to southpaw Joe Ortiz, who ended the game with a strikeout.

Player of the Game: RHP Justin Grimm
6.1 1 0 0 1 5 0 0.50

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – Winston-Salem 0
W - Bell (1-0)
SV - R. Henry (2)
HR - Chirino (1)
5-5, 0.0 GU

Big righty Wilmer Font failed to record an out in his first regular-season start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, but he bounced back with a strong effort on Monday.

Font worked three shutout innings against the Dash, allowing two singles while walking one and striking out three.

Font, lefty Chad Bell, and right-hander Randy Henry combined on a five-hit shutout of Winston-Salem.

Bell (1.69 ERA/.189 BAA) yielded three hits without issuing a walk in five scoreless innings of long relief. He struck out five. Henry followed by working around a walk and inducing three groundouts in a blank ninth to earn his second save.

The Pelicans' masterful pitching performance wasted a strong start from Winston-Salem starter Matthew Heidenreich, who permitted only two runs in an eight-inning complete-game effort.

Catcher Tomas Telis was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate––all singles––while also adding his first stolen base.

Second baseman Santiago Chirino launched his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning. It was his lone hit in three trips.

Jared Hoying (1/4) and Christian Villanueva (1/3) also singled.

After going 0-for-3 with a strikeout on Monday, outfielder Jake Skole is now hitting just .172 (5-for-29) with seven walks and 11 strikeouts in his first nine High-A games.

Player of the Game: LHP Chad Bell
5.0 3 0 0 0 5 0 1.69

A: Hickory 4 – Kannapolis 3
W - Rojas (1-0)
HR - Cone (3), Odor (2)
7-5, 0.0 GU

Right-hander Luke Jackson has struck out at least seven batters in each of his three starts thus far. On Monday, the 20-year-old allowed two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings. He gave up five hits while fanning seven and walking one.

Jackson, who ran his fastball up to 97 mph per a scout at the game, now has 22 strikeouts (with six walks) in 14.2 innings this season.

Long reliever Randol Rojas (0.77 ERA/.162 BAA in 11.2 IP) finished off the game by turning in his third consecutive superb effort. The 6-foot-0 righty held the Intimidators to a run on three hits in 3.1 innings, walking three and striking out four.

Rojas has the following line in three games––11.2 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 5 bb, 13 k. Working with an 88-91 mph sinker, he has also induced more than two groundouts per flyout.

Second baseman Rougned Odor (.289/.353/.444 in 12 games), who is the youngest player in the Sally League, went deep for the second consecutive day. The left-handed hitter was 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI.

Odor, 18, has now matched last season's home run total, which he had in 58 games with short-season Spokane.

Zach Cone (.310/.383/.619) and Odor had the exact same stat-line, as both went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. For Cone, it was his third round-tripper in 11 contests this season.

Catcher Kellin Deglan (1/3, 2B) doubled while Trever Adams (1/3) and Luis Sardinas (1/4) singled for the club's other hits.

After going 0-for-4 on Monday, left-handed hitting prospect Drew Robinson continued a sluggish start with the Crawdads. The 19-year-old had five hits in his first three games but is only 2-for-27 in his last seven contests.

Player of the Game: RF Zach Cone
4 1 3 0 1 2 0 0 .310

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