Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/28

The talented Single-A Hickory middle infielders made an impact on Monday. Rougned Odor doubled for the sixth consecutive game while Hanser Alberto raised his batting average to .349. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 8 – (@) Nashville 5 (10 innings)
W - Heilman (1-0)
SV - Scheppers (8)
HR - Nelson (6), Kata (5), Hernandez (3)
23-29, 7.0 GB

Although left-hander Zach Jackson was Round Rock's scheduled starting pitcher for Monday's series finale, he didn't pitch in the game. The Express earned the victory after using seven different pitchers in the 10 innings.

Three relievers got Round Rock through the first six innings, working two frames apiece. Derek Hankins (3.07 ERA/.268 BAA) started with scoreless ball, Ben Snyder (3.60 ERA/.282 BAA) yielded four runs, and Mark Hamburger (7.75 ERA/.357 BAA) kept the Sounds off the scoreboard.

Making his second Triple-A appearance, 23-year-old sidearming righty Johan Yan gave up a run on two singles in 1.2 innings. He threw 19 pitches (12 strikes) and recorded four groundouts.

John Gaub (0.2 IP) and Aaron Heilman (0.2 IP) each worked two-thirds of an inning without permitting a run. Heilman earned his first victory of the season.

With the game knotted at five apiece through nine innings, shortstop Luis Hernandez (1/5, HR) led off the top of the 10th with a solo home run, his third of the season.

First baseman Mike Bianucci (.278/.337/.483) broke the game wide open with his two-run double later in the inning. Overall, Bianucci was 2-for-5 with four runs batted in, giving him nine RBI over the last two games.

Bianucci now has 35 RBI in 45 games this season, putting him at eighth in the Pacific Coast League.

Due to Julio Borbon's injury sustained in Sunday's game, veteran utility infielder Matt Kata batted leadoff and played in center field for the first time this season. Kata responded well, going 3-for-5 with a double and a solo round-tripper.

Left fielder Ryan Spilborghs (.409/.459/.636) raised his average with two singles and a double in five at-bats. The former Rockies outfielder is 11-for-18 with a double and two home runs over his last four games.

Spilborghs also stole his third base of the season.

DH Brad Nelson (1/4, HR, BB) added his sixth home run.

After the Express plated three runs in the top of the 10th, closer Tanner Scheppers (4.07 ERA/.266 BAA) slammed the door in the bottom of the frame. He threw just nine pitches in a 1-2-3 inning.

Player of the Game: CF Matt Kata
5 1 3 1 1 1 0 0 .304

AA: Frisco 9 – (@) Northwest Arkansas 6
W - Murphy (2-5)
HR - Profar (6), Buchholz (4), Majewski (1)
30-20, 4.0 GU

The RoughRiders became the first Texas League club to reach 30 victories this season with Monday's victory.

Frisco battered Northwest Arkansas starter Noel Arguelles for seven runs on nine hits––including three home runs––in 4.2 innings.

Shortstop Jurickson Profar (.299/.364/.510) extended his on-base streak to a ridiculous 46 games by going 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. He also had a sacrifice fly and drove home two runs.

The 19-year-old prospect has posted a .336/.397/.553 slash line in 26 games this month. As the youngster settles in offensively, he's beginning to draw a few more walks. Profar walked more times (65) than he struck out (63) in 115 games last season. During his last 10 games, he has six walks and seven strikeouts.

Left fielder Val Majewski (3/5, HR) and DH Alex Buchholz (2/5, HR) also went yard in the game.

Majewski slugged .541 in 35 games with Triple-A Round Rock last season, but Monday's long ball was his first extra-base hit in 21 contests for Frisco this year.

The early offensive outburst gave Frisco starting pitcher Tim Murphy (5.74 ERA/.301 BAA) plenty of cushion, as he worked five innings and allowed one run. Throwing 73 pitches (44 strikes), Murphy scattered five hits, walked one, and struck out one.

Murphy, who is making his return from Tommy John surgery, had permitted 18 hits in 7.1 innings over his previous two starts.

The Naturals inched closer with the RoughRiders' bullpen in the game, scoring three runs (two earned) in two innings against Fabio Castillo. Right-hander Zach Osborne (1 IP) and lefty Joe Ortiz (1 IP) each permitted one run in one inning.

Catcher Zach Zaneski (1/3, 2B, BB) doubled and walked while Leury Garcia (2/5) and Guilder Rodriguez (2/3, BB) both singled twice.

Garcia is 7-for-21 with a double and two triples since returning from his hip injury on May 24.

Leadoff man Engel Beltre (1/5, 3B) had only one hit in five at-bats, but it was his eighth triple of the season––the most in all of minor league baseball.

While it likely means little, Beltre's righty-lefty splits are interesting. He hit a punchless .183/.216/.225 versus fellow southpaws last season. So far this year, he's hitting .415/.433/.615 against them.

Player of the Game: LF Val Majewski
5 2 3 0 1 2 0 1 .250

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – (@) Potomac 2
W - Buckel (4-2)
SV - Reyes (2)
25-23, 3.5 GB

The Pelicans are currently in a stretch in which they'll play 29 games over the next 27 days. The club doesn't have a scheduled off day until June 18––the Carolina League All-Star break.

Myrtle Beach, which ranks second in all of minor league baseball with a 2.68 team earned-run average, got another fantastic pitching performance from Cody Buckel on Monday.

Buckel (1.19 ERA/.167 BAA) continues to bulldoze the Carolina League competition. The 19-year-old hurled six scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking one and striking out nine.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound prospect has allowed 34 hits in 60.1 innings this season, and he has permitted eight total runs through 10 starts. He's fanned 73 and walked 20.

Buckel has all but locked up the Rangers organization's pitcher of the month honors for the second consecutive month. He's got a 0.82 ERA in five May starts––yielding three runs in 33 innings.

DH Vin DiFazio (.215/.329/.314) scored two of the Pelicans' three runs after going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.

Shortstop Odubel Herrera (1/3, BB) and catcher Tomas Telis (1/3, BB) both singled and walked.

Christian Villanueva (1/4) and Jake Skole (1/3, HBP) had one RBI apiece.

Reliever Ben Henry (2.74 ERA/.145 BAA) followed Buckel by allowing a run on two hits in two innings, striking out three. Henry has given up just 11 hits in 23 innings for Myrtle Beach.

Jimmy Reyes (3.93 ERA/.266 BAA) surrendered a run in the ninth but no further damage to earn his second save.

Player of the Game: RHP Cody Buckel
6.0 3 0 0 1 9 0 1.19

A: Hickory 8 – (@) Delmarva 3
W - Jackson (4-4)
24-25, 11.0 GB

The good side of Luke Jackson (4.96 ERA/.246 BAA) showed up on Monday, as the 20-year-old righty limited Delmarva to one run in six innings. Jackson scattered six hits––all singles––while walking one and striking out four.

When Jackson has been good this season, he's been virtually unhittable. But when he hasn't been good, opposing hitters have teed off on him. In other words, there hasn't been much in-between thus far.

Jackson's six ‘good' starts––33.1 ip, 19 h, 5 er (1.35 ERA), 11 bb, 42 k.

His four ‘bad' starts––15.1 ip, 26 h, 22 er (12.64 ERA), 15 bb, 12 k.

The 6-foot-2 prospect has some of the organization's best raw stuff, including a fastball that runs up to 97 mph and two secondary pitches that show plus potential. But consistency is the issue, and it's something the Rangers would like to see before giving him a promotion to High-A Myrtle Beach.

While Jackson cruised through the Delmarva batting order, the Hickory offense did plenty of damage.

The Crawdads were particularly disruptive on the base paths during Monday's game, stealing six bases without being caught.

Second baseman and leadoff hitter Rougned Odor (.291/.351/.488) went 3-for-5 with a double and a walk.

The 18-year-old Odor has a double in each of his last six games, and he also has a home run during that span. He's slugging .794 over his last 10 contests.

Odor has also reached base via hit or walk in 24 consecutive games.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto, who is only 19-years-old himself, is quietly putting together a big season for the Crawdads. After going 2-for-2 with a walk, an HBP, a sacrifice fly, and three RBI on Monday, Alberto is now hitting .349/.384/.463 in 44 games.

Alberto's .349 batting average is good for second in the 14-team South Atlantic League.

Overall, Hickory's hitters walked 10 times in the game. Drew Robinson (0/2, 3 BB) drew three free passes while Chris Grayson (0/2, 2 BB) walked twice.

Left fielder Jordan Akins raised his batting average to .233 with two singles in four at-bats.

Talented shortstop Luis Sardinas extended his hitting streak to 11 games, as he had a single and a walk in six trips. Sardinas also stole two bases, giving him 14 in 16 attempts.

After reliever Nick McBride yielded two runs in two innings, left-hander Greg Williams finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Player of the Game: RHP Luke Jackson
6.0 6 1 1 1 4 0 4.96

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