Rangers Minor League Roundup – 4/22

Although the Frisco RoughRiders lost their third consecutive game on Sunday, third baseman Mike Olt belted his fourth home run of the season. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 10 – (@) New Orleans 0
W - Ramirez (2-1)
HR - Bianucci (5), Butler (3), Martinez (1), Solarte (1)
7-11, 5.5 GB

Round Rock's offense slugged nine extra-base hits––including four home runs––en route to a 10-0 thrashing of the first-place Zephyrs on Sunday. The pitching staff wasn't bad either, as three Express hurlers combined on a three-hit shutout.

Starting pitcher Neil Ramirez (2.14 ERA/.200 BAA) worked six scoreless innings, giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out six. He threw 61 of his 90 pitches for strikes while inducing nine swings and misses.

The 22-year-old prospect has been solid in four starts this season––21 ip, 15 h, 5 r, 4 bb, 20 k. The walk rate is particularly impressive considering that he issued 35 free passes in 74.1 Triple-A innings last season. So far, Ramirez has been generally more efficient with his pitch totals.

After beginning his season in a slump, Yangervis Solarte (.290/.352/.452) has raised his batting average all the way to .290 with three consecutive three-hit performances. The 24-year-old switch-hitter went 3-for-4 with a double, a solo home run, and a walk on Sunday.

Right fielder Joey Butler (2/4, 2B, BB) and catcher Luis Martinez (2/5, 2B) also doubled and homered. Butler extended his hitting streak to 13 games and raised his batting average to .292.

Cleanup-hitting first baseman Mike Bianucci (.309/.338/.559), who was 2-for-5 on the afternoon, tagged former Rangers farmhand Beau Jones for a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Jones, who signed a minor league deal with the Marlins during the offseason, surrendered four runs on four hits and two walks in the ninth inning.

Matt Kata (.282/.383/.462) doubled twice and walked once in his five plate appearances.

Round Rock relievers Aaron Heilman and Mark Hamburger teamed up to retire all nine hitters they faced to finish the game.

Heilman went six up, six down in two frames while recording two strikeouts and throwing 15 of his 21 pitches for strikes. Hamburger needed only nine pitches to complete a perfect ninth inning, striking out one.

In an otherwise excellent day for the Express offense, scuffling third baseman Tom Mendonca (.193/.266/.281) whiffed in all four of his plate appearances. The 24-year-old now has 18 strikeouts in his first 15 Triple-A games.

Player of the Game: 2B Yangervis Solarte
4 2 3 1 1 1 1 0 .290

AA: Frisco 3 – (@) Corpus Christi 5
L - Grimm (3-1)
HR - Olt (4)
9-7, 0.0 GU

Sunday's series finale in Corpus Christi pitted two intriguing prospects against each other in Frisco's Justin Grimm and the Hooks' flame-throwing righty Jarred Cosart.

Although the game was scoreless going into the fourth inning, Corpus Christi got to Grimm while the ‘Riders were unable to solve Cosart.

Grimm (2.01 ERA/.198 BAA) had his weakest start of the season, yielding five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 4.1 innings. He struck out one and walked one.

As mentioned, Grimm pitched well in the first three frames before surrendering seven hits in his final 1.1 innings.

On the flip side, Cosart hurled five shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out four. He threw the game's first pitch at 99 mph before settling into the 95-97 range. Cosart didn't throw a fastball below 95 mph in the five innings––74 pitches.

Once Cosart exited the game, the Frisco offense went to work, but it wasn't enough to earn the victory.

Shortstop Jurickson Profar (1/3, 2B, SF) socked a double into the right-center field gap off former Frisco hurler Adalberto Flores. Third baseman Mike Olt (2/4, HR) followed with a long two-run shot to right-center.

Leadoff man Engel Beltre tripled––his fourth of the season––for his only hit in four trips.

Corey Young worked 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, giving up one hit. Johan Yan closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, throwing eight of his 11 pitches for strikes.

Player of the Game: 3B Mike Olt
4 1 2 0 1 2 0 1 .271

A+: Myrtle Beach – (@) Carolina – PPD (Rain)
8-7, 0.5 GU

The Pelicans and Mudcats were washed out due to rain on Sunday afternoon. With Myrtle Beach returning home on Monday, the contest will be made up in June.

A: Hickory 1 – (@) Savannah 0 (5 innings – Rain)
W - Payano (2-0)
12-5, 0.0 GU

Sunday's contest was completed after five innings due to rain, but they played just long enough to make it an official game.

Tall left-hander Victor Payano (2.33 ERA/.176 BAA) sniped a complete-game shutout due to the rain, as he worked five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit. The 19-year-old walked two and struck out three.

Through four starts this season, Payano has yielded 12 hits in 19.1 innings, walking eight and striking out 13.

All three of Payano's base runners allowed came with two outs in the third inning, when he yielded a single before walking two consecutive hitters. He recorded 1-2-3 frames in the other four innings.

Right fielder Chris Grayson (.411/.492/.714) picked up one-half of the Crawdads' hits in the abbreviated game, as he went 2-for-3 with his eighth double of the season.

Grayson has 12 extra-base hits in 14 games this season, including eight doubles, three triples, and a home run.

Shortstop Luis Sardinas (1/3) and catcher Kellin Deglan (1/1) both singled. Deglan was also hit by a pitch.

Player of the Game: LHP Victor Payano
5.0 1 0 0 2 3 0 2.33

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