Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/11

Hickory southpaw Victor Payano tossed seven innings of one-run ball en route to earning the victory on Friday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 6 – (@) Salt Lake 9
L - Tufts (2-1)
HR - Bianucci (9)
17-19, 5.0 GB

The Bees flew past the Express on the strength of a six-run bottom of the sixth inning. All of the runs in the frame were charged to reliever Tyler Tufts (6.89 ERA/.354 BAA), who permitted the six runs on six hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.

Tufts posted a 3.03 ERA between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last season largely by using a fastball that ranged between 93-95 mph. With his velocity more in the 88-91 range this year, Tufts has allowed 23 hits and fanned only four in his first 15.2 Triple-A frames.

Round Rock starter Michael Kirkman (6.67 ERA/.294 BAA) threw 52 strikes and 51 balls (103 total pitches) in five innings, giving up three runs. He allowed three hits, walked four, and struck out five.

Ben Snyder (1.1 IP) and Yoshinori Tateyama (1 IP) finished the contest with scoreless relief.

Although there isn't currently a spot open in the Rangers' bullpen, the 36-year-old Tateyama has pitched well in Triple-A––12.2 ip, 9 h, 1 er (0.71 ERA), 3 bb, 8 k. Fellow right-handed batters are hitting just .130 against him.

Left fielder Yangervis Solarte extended his hitting streak to 22 games by doubling once in five at-bats. The utility player also gunned down a runner at home plate.

Mike Bianucci (.269/.315/.496) was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, which came off hard-throwing reliever Kevin Jepsen.

Hot-hitting Joey Butler (.331/.435/.569), who moved into the cleanup spot on Friday, had two singles, a double, and a walk in five plate appearances.

During the four-game series at Salt Lake, Butler went 11-for-15 with five extra-base hits, three walks, and only two strikeouts.

Tom Mendonca (2/4, 2B), Dusty Brown (1/1, 2B) Elio Sarmiento (1/5, 2B) and Matt Kata (1/5, 2B) also doubled once.

Brown has now reached base safely in 10 consecutive plate appearances.

Starting catcher Luis Martinez drew a walk in each of his first three plate appearances before being lifted for Brown. Martinez left the game in case of a potential big league call-up, but Yorvit Torrealba appeared to be fine after all.

Player of the Game: RF Joey Butler
4 2 3 1 0 1 1 0 .331

AA: Frisco 2 – (@) Corpus Christi 4
L - Boscan (2-1)
HR - Profar (4)
22-12, 4.0 GU

‘Riders shortstop Jurickson Profar extended his hitting streak to 21 games and his on-base streak to 30 with another strong performance on Friday.

Profar led the club offensively, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run, his fourth of the season. He brought home Frisco's other run with a sacrifice fly.

The RoughRiders had only one official at-bat with a runner in scoring position all night.

Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Engel Beltre raised his batting average to .283 by going 3-for-4 with his fifth triple of the year.

Starting pitcher Jake Brigham (3.02 ERA/.217 BAA) worked seven innings for the third time in four starts, throwing 96 pitches (65 strikes). He allowed two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five. The lone walk was intentional.

Brigham, who still has above-average stuff, is flying under the radar and has been fantastic through seven starts. In 44.2 innings, he has allowed 35 hits, walked 11, and struck out 39. He is also inducing more than 1.2 groundouts per flyout.

Frisco lost the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, when reliever Wilfredo Boscan permitted two unearned runs in one-third of an inning.

Joe Ortiz (1.84 ERA/.214 BAA) fanned two in two-thirds of an inning to end the frame. The diminutive southpaw reliever has 16 strikeouts with one walk in his first 14.2 Double-A innings.

Aside from Beltre and Profar, catcher Zach Zaneski (1/3, BB) had Frisco's only base knock.

Player of the Game: SS Jurickson Profar
3 1 2 0 1 2 0 0 .273

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – Salem 5 (14 innings)
L - DeVore (0-1)
HR - DiFazio (1)
17-16, 3.5 GB

The Pelicans and Red Sox combined for nine errors in the 14-inning affair. Salem won the game by plating two runs off reliever Kyle DeVore––who was recently assigned from extended spring training––in the 14th.

For the first six innings, Myrtle Beach went up against fireballing Red Sox prospect Matt Barnes. The UConn product allowed two runs in six innings, giving up five hits and striking out eight without issuing a walk.

Catcher Vin DiFazio (1/2, HR, BB) hit a solo home run off Barnes.

Inconsistent but hard-throwing righty Roman Mendez (4.79 ERA/.252 BAA) was erratic but kept Salem off the scoreboard. Mendez allowed four hits and walked four batters in 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out three.

The 21-year-old hurler has 35 strikeouts and 18 walks in his first 35.2 Carolina League innings.

After southpaw reliever Jimmy Reyes permitted three runs (two earned) in 2.2 innings, the Pelicans got six innings of scoreless relief from Zach Osborne (3 IP) and Ben Henry (3 IP).

Henry (2.12 ERA/.143 BAA) was particularly strong, as he hurled three innings of no-hit ball. He walked three and struck out three.

The five Myrtle Beach pitchers combined to issue 10 walks in the contest, while Salem's hurlers walked just one.

Teodoro Martinez, who played in right field, led the club with two singles in six trips.

Player of the Game: RHP Ben Henry
3.0 0 0 0 3 3 0 2.12

A: Hickory 3 – Savannah 1
W - Payano (3-1)
SV - Hanna (1)
19-13, 4.5 GB

Victor Payano (3.31 ERA/.192 BAA) logged a career-high seven innings while earning the victory. The tall left-hander limited Savannah to one run (a solo homer) on three hits while walking one and striking out six.

Payano stayed out of trouble throughout the seven innings, as he didn't yield multiple base runners in any frame.

In 35.1 innings this year, he has allowed 24 hits, walked 18, and struck out 26.

Second baseman Rougned Odor went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs batted in. Third baseman Drew Robinson (1/4, 2B) also added a two-bagger.

First baseman Trever Adams raised is batting average to .270 with two singles––plus a walk––in three plate appearances.

Catcher Kellin Deglan had a rough day at the dish, striking out in all four of his at-bats.

Lefty Chris Hanna earned his first save by working around three hits in two shutout frames to finish the game. He struck out two.

Player of the Game: LHP Victor Payano
7.0 3 1 1 1 6 1 3.31

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