Rangers Minor League Roundup - 6/20

The talented rookie-level Surprise Rangers opened their season on Wednesday with a clean 8-1 victory over the Royals. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

Scouting Notes and Analysis

  • C.J. Edwards video and scouting report

  • Myrtle Beach RHP Wilmer Font

    AAA: Round Rock 1 – Iowa 4
    L - Ramirez (6-8)
    32-41, 10.5 GB

    Although he suffered the loss, Round Rock starting pitcher Neil Ramirez (7.66 ERA/.271 BAA) turned in one of his best efforts of the season on Wednesday evening.

    The 23-year-old Ramirez held the I-Cubs to three runs in 6.2 innings, giving up two hits, walking two, and striking out a season-high eight. He also plunked one.

    Ramirez exited the game in the seventh inning having allowed only one run, but reliever Willie Eyre––who was signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal earlier this week––let both inherited runners score.

    Overall, the prospect induced 14 swings and misses in the 6.2 frames––helping lead to the season-best K total. While he fired a first-pitch strike to just 11 of the 24 hitters he faced, he threw 65 of his 103 overall pitches for a strike.

    The strong outing is certainly a welcomed sight for Ramirez, who had coughed up at least six runs in seven of his 10 starts dating back to April 28.

    The key for Ramirez, of course, will be proving that he can duplicate and build off the solid effort. His 7.66 earned-run average remains second-highest in the Pacific Coast League.

    The Express offense wasn't able to get much going against left-hander and Texas A&M product Brooks Raley, who limited his opposition to a single unearned run while hurling seven innings of two-hit ball.

    Right fielder Joey Butler, who was 2-for-4 with his 15th double, had Round Rock's only extra-base hit. Left fielder Ryan Spilborghs (1/4) and second baseman Yangervis Solarte (1/3) had the club's other knocks.

    Solarte has appeared to lose some bat speed lately––perhaps due to fatigue. After hitting well in the season's first two months, he has a punchless .228/.318/.246 slash line in June. Oddly enough, the switch-hitter has eight walks with only two strikeouts this month.

    Catcher Dusty Brown walked and drove home a run with a sacrifice fly.

    Eyre, playing in his first game with the Express this season, yielded a run of his own on two hits and three walks in 1.1 innings. The Rangers signed Eyre after he was recently released by the Orioles.

    Sidearming Japanese righty Yoshinori Tateyama threw seven of eight pitches for a strike in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

    Player of the Game: RHP Neil Ramirez
    6.2 2 3 3 2 8 1 7.66

    AA: Frisco 6 – (@) Midland 3
    W - Tepesch (1-0)
    SV - Tufts (2)
    1-0, 0.0 GU

    The Frisco RoughRiders, who clinched a Texas League postseason berth by winning the first-half South Division title, opened up the season's second half with a 6-3 victory over Midland.

    Making his second Double-A start, tall righty Nick Tepesch tossed 7.2 innings and allowed two runs. He scattered six singles, walked three, and struck out eight.

    The 23-year-old Tepesch has lived up to his billing as a strike-throwing prospect. After issuing just 18 walks in 71.2 innings at High-A Myrtle Beach, he hurled seven walkless frames in his Double-A debut. On Wednesday, Tepesch threw 74 of his 100 pitches for a strike and fired a first-pitch strike to 23 of the 30 hitters he faced.

    Through his first two Texas League starts, the University of Missouri product has yielded four runs on 13 hits in 14.2 innings, walking three and fanning 10.

    Tepesch now has a cumulative 2.81 ERA in 14 starts between Myrtle Beach and Frisco.

    Frisco did all of its offensive damage early, plating six runs in the first two innings against former Rangers hurler Fabio Castro. The ‘Riders did it with the help of eight singles––all off Castro. Midland's bullpen worked six innings of no-hit ball to finish the game.

    DH Alex Buchholz raised his batting average to .273 after singling twice in four at-bats. Shortstop Jurickson Profar was 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. He drove in two runs.

    Ryan Strausborger (1/3) had Frisco's other RBI.

    Middle infielder Leury Garcia, who was 1-for-4 and stole a base, has slowed down offensively in June. Over 18 games, he's hitting just .237/.275/.289 with three extra-base hits, three walks, and 18 strikeouts.

    Righty reliever Tyler Tufts earned the save by recording the game's final four outs. He surrendered a solo home run to RockHounds right fielder Jeremy Barfield.

    Player of the Game: RHP Nick Tepesch
    7.2 6 2 2 3 8 0 2.45

    A+: Myrtle Beach – All-Star Break
    0-0, 0.0 GU

    The Pelicans enjoyed the last day of the Carolina League All-Star break on Wednesday. They'll begin the second half on Thursday at Frederick, where they will begin a three-game series.

    A: Hickory – All-Star Break
    0-0, 0.0 GU

    The Hickory Crawdads will also open up the second half on Thursday, and they'll do so at home against the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

    SSA: Spokane 8 – (@) Everett 9 (13 innings)
    L - Vickerson (0-1)
    HR - Maloney (1), Serrato (1)
    1-5, 2.0 GB

    The Indians continued to scuffle defensively on Wednesday, committing five errors for the second consecutive game. Spokane's defense now has 17 errors in their first six games, and they've committed at least one in every game.

    Shortstop Gabriel Roa (2/6) had three of the errors while catcher Joe Maloney (2/5, HR, BB) had a pair of throwing miscues.

    But Maloney and Roa also chipped in at the plate in the 13-inning affair. Spokane erased an early 5-1 deficit with first baseman Barrett Serrato's (2/6, HR) three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning. The round-tripper was the first of Serrato's career.

    Maloney's home run came in the top of the 13th inning, but Spokane lost the game after utility infielder Nick Vickerson came on to pitch in the bottom of the 13th.

    The Mississippi State product, who didn't pitch in college, surrendered three runs on two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.

    Erratic starting pitcher John Kukuruda issued five walks and plunked another batter over three innings. He gave up five runs, though only one was earned.

    Venezuelan righty Richard Alvarez followed with three innings of no-hit ball. After a rough first appearance, Alvarez kept the AquaSox off the scoreboard while walking one and striking out one.

    Hard-throwing righty Alec Asher (1.2 IP) and lefty Joseph Burns (2.1 IP) also held Everett scoreless prior to the 13th inning.

    Chris Garia, Spokane's speedy leadoff hitter, led the team by going 4-for-6 with a double and his first stolen base. Preston Beck (2/5, BB) and Ryan Rua (2/6) also singled twice.

    Player of the Game: 1B Barrett Serrato
    6 2 2 0 1 3 0 1 .125

    RK: Surprise Rangers 8 – Surprise Royals 1
    W - C.J. Edwards (1-0)
    HR - Triunfel (1)
    1-0, 0.0 GU

    On opening night in the Arizona League, the Surprise Rangers jumped on top of their complex mates early and didn't look back.

    Regardless of the result, the box score was highly intriguing, as it marked either the official professional or state-side debut for 10 of the 12 players who appeared for the Rangers.

    The overall clean opener for the Surprise Rangers was played in just two hours and eight minutes––which was especially nice given the 109 degree first-pitch temperature. The Rookie Rangers played errorless ball and issued only one walk.

    Starting pitcher C.J. Edwards, the Rangers' 48th-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, began the game with five shutout innings. He scattered five hits and struck out four without issuing a walk. He also induced six groundouts to two flyouts.

    Left-hander Aliangel "Frank" Lopez followed with three innings of one-run ball, surrendering one hit and striking out one. The 18-year-old Venezuela native also didn't walk a batter.

    Making his pro debut as a pitcher, big righty Jon Edwards worked around a hit and a walk in a scoreless ninth inning to finish the game.

    Edwards ran his fastball up to 96 mph in spring training but suffered an injury late in camp. He's expected to make a few rehab appearances with the rookie club before shipping out to a higher level. A Metroplex native and resident, Edwards played as an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization between 2006 and 2010.

    At the plate, centerfielder Lewis Brinson––the Rangers' top pick in this year's draft––led off the season with a triple. He would go 1-for-5 with the three-bagger and three K's for the game.

    Second baseman Alberto Triunfel, hitting in the nine hole, put the game out of reach in the fourth inning with his two-run homer––the first of his professional career.

    Rangers second-round pick Jamie Jarmon was 2-for-3 with a triple, a hit-by pitch, and two runs batted in.

    Luis Marte (2/4, BB), Elio Sarmiento (2/4, BB) and Nomar Mazara (2/4, BB) all singled twice and walked once. Sarmiento is on a rehab assignment from Triple-A Round Rock.

    Among the other debuts were Joey Gallo (0/3, 2 BB), Nick Williams (1/4) and Fernando Vivili (0/3, HBP).

    Player of the Game: RHP C.J. Edwards
    5.0 5 0 0 0 4 0 0.00

    DSL: DSL Rangers 12 – DSL Red Sox 8
    W - Solano (1-0)
    SV - Pena (1)
    8-8, 2.0 GB

    The Rangers defeated the Red Sox for the second consecutive day. And in Dominican Summer League fashion, they did it by scoring 12 runs on just six hits. The DSL Rangers got the benefit of four Red Sox errors, three passed balls, and 11 walks.

    While left fielder Jose Cardona (.267/.389/.367) had only one hit in four trips, the knock was a bases-clearing triple––his second of the season. The Mexico native drove in four runs total.

    Cardona had the Rangers' only extra-base hit of the game. Catcher Ricardo Valencia, who was 2-for-2 with two walks, was the only player with multiple hits.

    Right fielder Eduard Pinto (0/2, 3 BB) and third baseman Elio Castillo (0/1, 3 BB) walked three times apiece. Pinto is batting .377 with a .485 on-base percentage through 14 professional games. He's drawn nine walks and whiffed three times.

    Starter Kevin Sosa (3.00 ERA/.276 BAA) gave up three runs on seven hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out five. The 17-year-old Dominican Republic native has 17 K's and one walk through his first 18 innings––four starts.

    The Dominican Red Sox mounted a brief comeback attempt in the eighth inning against reliever Daris Vargas, who walked five batters in two-thirds of an inning.

    Stanley Solano (2 IP) and Richelson Pena (1.1 IP) were unscored upon out of the ‘pen. Pena sat down the game's final four hitters in order.

    Player of the Game: LF Jose Cardona
    4 0 1 0 0 4 1 0 .267

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