Rangers Minor League Roundup – 6/23

The Single-A Hickory Crawdads slugged their way to a victory on Saturday while the Rookie Rangers erased a seven-run deficit in one inning before claiming an extra-innings victory. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 4 – (@) Iowa 2
W - Jackson (3-8)
SV - Cotts (2)
HR - Nelson (10)
34-42, 10.5 GB

The Express and I-Cubs finished off a four-game series against each other in Round Rock on Friday evening. Then, on Saturday, both teams boarded a plane and headed to Des Moines––to begin another four-game set.

Veteran southpaw Zach Jackson (5.09 ERA/.307 BAA) turned in perhaps his best outing of the season, working 7.1 innings and allowing two runs. He scattered seven hits while walking two and striking out five.

The Texas A&M product, who threw 65 of his 100 pitches for a strike, induced 10 groundouts to two flyouts.

Cleanup-hitting DH Brad Nelson (.292/.357/.474), an Iowa native, went 1-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two runs batted in. The round-tripper was his 10th of the year.

Catcher Dusty Brown (2/4, 2B) and third baseman Matt Kata (1/4, 2B) both doubled while Mike Bianucci (2/3, BB) and Luis Hernandez (2/4) added two singles apiece.

After going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, outfielder Ryan Spilborghs is hitting just .224/.303/.269 in 18 games this month. He batted a phenomenal .392/.464/.608 during May.

Sidearming righty Yoshinori Tateyama fanned three batters in 1.1 scoreless innings, working around two hits. Neal Cotts struck out the game's final hitter––the only man he faced––to earn his second save.

Although the 36-year-old Tateyama has yielded 11 earned runs in 8.1 major league innings, he's given up just one earned run in 19 innings at Triple-A Round Rock.

Round Rock defeated 6-foot-8 Cubs righty Chris Volstad, who began the season in the majors but went 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA in eight starts for the Cubs.

Player of the Game: LHP Zach Jackson
7.1 7 2 2 2 5 1 5.09

AA: Frisco 1 – Corpus Christi 5
L - Brigham (3-4)
1-3, 2.0 GB

Although Frisco starting pitcher Jake Brigham (4.40 ERA/.245 BAA) has pitched well for much of this season, he's had some command issues in recent starts. That continued on Saturday, as the right-hander issued a career-high six walks in 6.1 innings.

Brigham gave up four runs on six hits in those 6.1 innings while striking out four. He threw 99 pitches, including 56 strikes.

The 24-year-old prospect has scuffled a bit in his last six outings––34.2 ip, 40 h, 26 er (6.75 ERA), 16 bb, 34 k. He's surrendered eight home runs during that stretch.

On the season, however, Brigham still has solid peripheral stats––92.0 ip, 85 h, 31 bb, 86 k. The 15 home runs allowed in 15 starts, though, have been an issue.

The Frisco bats were stymied by sinkerballing Corpus Christi starter Jake Buchanan, who hurled 7.2 shutout frames while inducing 15 groundouts to just two flyouts.

Leadoff man Ryan Strausborger (2/4) led the way with two singles and his 13th stolen base. He also picked up an outfield assist by gunning down a runner at secnod base.

Leury Garcia (1/4), Jared Hoying (1/4), Zach Zaneski (1/4) and Jared Prince (1/3) singled for the team's other knocks.

Through two Double-A games, Hoying is 3-for-9 with a double. He hasn't walked or struck out.

After Tyler Tufts permitted a run in 1.2 innings, Carlos Pimentel worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of punchouts.

In 25.2 innings as a reliever this season, Pimentel has surrendered 12 hits and struck out 34.

Player of the Game: CF Ryan Strausborger
4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 .244

A+: Myrtle Beach 0 – (@) Frederick 3
L - R. Henry (4-3)
2-1, 1.0 GB

The Myrtle Beach offense is currently tied with Wilmington for the lowest cumulative OPS in the Carolina League at .639. On Saturday, the Pelicans faced arguably baseball's top pitching prospect in fireballing righty Dylan Bundy.

Pitching in front of a standing-room only crowd of 9,477 at Frederick's Harry Grove Stadium, Bundy hurled five innings of two-hit, shutout ball while throwing only 60 pitches. He walked two and struck out two.

On the other side, Myrtle Beach starter Randy Henry (1.42 ERA/.217 BAA) nearly matched the super-prospect. Henry limited the Keys to a run on three hits in five innings, walking three, plunking one, and striking out four. The cutter specialist, who got eight groundouts and one flyout, threw 45 of 77 pitches for a strike.

Henry, 22, made nine relief appearances for Frederick last season as a member of the Orioles' organization. He joined the Rangers via trade for catcher Taylor Teagarden this past offseason.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva (.263/.321/.382) singled twice in four at-bats. Although the Mexico native hasn't hit well in June, he's 8-for-19 with two doubles and a homer over his last five games.

Playing in his second High-A game, 19-year-old shortstop Hanser Alberto tripled for his only hit in four at-bats. He singled twice in five trips during his Carolina League debut on Friday.

Odubel Herrera (1/4) had the Pelicans' only other knock. He also stole his 13th base.

Herrera, who has committed 28 errors in 60 games (.909) at shortstop this season, has shifted over to second base since Alberto's arrival on Friday. Herrera was excellent defensively while playing second with Single-A Hickory in 2011, committing just 16 errors in 113 games (.969).

After going 0-for-3 on Saturday, former first-round pick Jake Skole (.191/.292/.270) is now hitless in his last 26 official at-bats over nine games.

Frederick scored a pair of insurance runs off Zach Osborne in two innings.

Matt West, pitching in his second game back from elbow injury, struck out two in a perfect ninth inning. He threw nine of his 14 pitches for a strike.

Player of the Game: RHP Randy Henry
5.0 3 1 1 3 4 0 1.42

A: Hickory 11 – Greensboro 5
W - Eickhoff (8-4)
HR - Odor (7), Alfaro (2), Selen (1)
3-0, 0.0 GU

The Crawdads jumped out to an 11-2 lead through four innings and didn't look back.

Second baseman Alejandro Selen contributed to Hickory's five-run outburst in the first inning with his three-run homer. Overall, the 23-year-old Dominican Republic native was 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, and four runs batted in.

DH Jorge Alfaro added to the slugfest by going 3-for-5 with a round-tripper and five RBI. Rougned Odor (1/4, HR) also went deep––his seventh of the season.

Odor, who has been a second baseman all season, played at shortstop for the first time in his young career on Saturday.

While the 19-year-old Alfaro has been limited to just 17 games this season due to a hamstring issue, he has performed extremely well when healthy. Alfaro is 20-for-62 (.323) with four doubles, two triples, and two home runs.

Third baseman Drew Robinson (3/4, BB) singled three times and walked once, raising his on-base percentage to .421. Jeremy Williams (2/3, BB, HBP) also reached base four times while Jhonny Gomez (1/4, 2B) socked his fourth double.

Jerad Eickhoff (4.11 ERA/.248 BAA) cruised to his eighth victory while getting plenty of run support from his offense. He gave up two runs on six hits in six innings, walking two and striking out three.

Appearing in his first official game as a member of the Rangers' organization, 25-year-old reliever Daniel Lopez permitted three runs in two innings.

Chance Sossamon finished the game with a perfect ninth inning.

Player of the Game: DH Jorge Alfaro
5 3 3 0 1 5 0 0 .323

SSA: Spokane 3 – (@) Everett 6 (7 innings – Game 1)
L - D. Perez (1-1)
HR - Beck (1), Bolinger (1)

After being washed out on Friday, the Indians and AquaSox began Saturday's doubleheader by sitting through an hour-long rain delay.

Indians starter David Perez began the game and surrendered three runs in three innings. He gave up three hits, walked four (and uncorked two wild pitches), and struck out three.

Following a standout performance at extended spring training in 2011, Perez suddenly lost his control at Spokane last summer. He ended up walking 29 batters in 30.1 innings––though he struck out 43––while posting an 8.60 ERA.

Many of those same issues have remained for the 19-year-old prospect, who is looking to regain the early-2011 form. But Perez has walked eight batters (with nine strikeouts) in his first six innings this summer.

Dallas native and UT-Arlington product Preston Beck was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, the first of his professional career.

Beck and Gonzaga alum Royce Bolinger went back-to-back in the sixth inning. Bolinger followed with a solo shot.

Left fielder Barrett Serrato (1/2, 2B, BB) doubled and walked. Nick Urbanus (1/3), Ryan Rua (1/3) and Cam Schiller (1/3) all singled once.

Hard-throwing reliever Taylor Dennis retired all five batters he faced in 1.2 perfect innings, striking out four of them. Dennis has eight K's in his first 5.2 frames.

Player of the Game: DH Preston Beck
3 1 1 0 1 2 0 1 .267

SSA: Spokane 0 – (@) Everett 2 (7 innings – Game 2)
L - Sadzeck (0-1)
1-8, 3.0 GB

The Indians just barely avoided being no-hit in Saturday's nightcap, as they dropped their eighth game out of nine this season.

The AquaSox carried the no-hitter through 6.1 innings of the seven-inning contest. Starting pitcher and South Korea native Seon Gi Kim worked the first six innings of hitless, scoreless ball while fanning 13 and walking only one.

At one point in the game, Kim struck out seven consecutive Spokane hitters. He punched out the side in three of his six innings.

With Brandon Plotz on in the bottom of the seventh, Gonzaga product Royce Bolinger singled to center to end the bid.

But Plotz retired the final two Spokane hitters to finish off the victory and the combined one-hit effort.

Bolinger (1/3), Barrett Serrato (0/3), Joe Maloney (0/2), Nick Vickerson (0/2) and Saquan Johnson (0/2) all struck out twice. Johnson is 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in his first three games.

Spokane starter Connor Sadzeck was erratic but pitched relatively well. He gave up two runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings, yielding three hits, walking three, plunking one, and striking out five. Sadzeck did induce six groundouts without a flyout.

Reliever Jose Monegro worked around two hits while striking out three in 1.2 scoreless frames to finish the contest.

Spokane manager Tim Hulett was ejected during both games of the doubleheader. He was tossed in the fourth inning of the second contest, and Joe Maloney was ejected in the fifth.

Player of the Game: RHP Jose Monegro
1.2 2 0 0 0 3 0 0.00

RK: Surprise Rangers 11 – Peoria Mariners 10 (11 innings)
W - J. Edwards (1-0)
HR - Sarmiento (1)
2-1, 1.0 GU

Facing a 10-3 deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Rookie Rangers knotted the game with an incredible seven-run frame. They later won it in walkoff fashion in the 11th.

The crazy bottom of the eighth included one double, one triple, one home run, five walks, and four wild pitches. M's righty Cody Weiss was particularly erratic in the frame, walking three of the five hitters he faced and uncorking all four of the wild pitches.

The Rangers' pitching staff had trouble retiring a pair of Double-A rehabbers. Right fielder Johermyn Chavez doubled in both of his plate appearances before being lifted from the game, and DH Rich Poythress was 4-for-4 with a double, two homers, two walks, and five RBI.

The Rookie Rangers have plenty of exciting young position-player talent, and it's outfielder Nick Williams who's off to the best start. On Saturday, the left-handed hitting Galveston native was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple, a walk, and a stolen base.

Through three professional games, Williams is 8-for-13 with two doubles and a triple.

Slugging third baseman Joey Gallo walked in all five of his plate appearances, giving him nine walks (while going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts) in three games.

Lewis Brinson (2/4, 2B, 2 BB) singled, doubled, and walked twice.

Rehabbing catcher Elio Sarmiento, who has spent the entire season with Triple-A Round Rock, was 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.

Sarmiento won the game with his run-scoring single in the bottom of the 11th inning. Lewis Brinson led off the frame with a line-drive hit to center and Nick Williams followed it by laying down a bunt single to third base, setting the stage for Sarmiento's knock.

Starting pitcher John Niggli, the Rangers' ninth-round pick in this year's draft, surrendered three runs on six hits in 2.1 innings. He walked one without recording a strikeout.

Paul Schwendel (1.2 IP) and Jon Edwards (2 IP) were the only Rangers hurlers to post scoreless ball on Saturday. Schwendel was particularly impressive, as he struck out four. Edwards earned the victory.

Projectable righty Collin Wiles, a supplemental first-round pick, allowed two runs on three hits in 1.2 innings during his professional debut.

Casey Shiver (2 IP) gave up a pair of solo homers while Jorge de Jesus (1.1 IP) yielded three runs.

Player of the Game: CF Nick Williams
5 2 4 1 0 1 1 0 .615

DSL: DSL Rangers 5 – (@) DSL Mets2 6
L - Larrazabal (3-1)
9-10, 4.0 GB

The Dominican Rangers dropped a 6-5 decision to the DSL Mets2 on Saturday morning.

Rangers starter Jesus Fandino (7.47 ERA/.317 BAA) permitted four runs in four innings, giving up six hits while walking two and striking out five.

The 18-year-old Venezuela native has scuffled in his four starts this season––15.2 ip, 20 h, 13 er, 11 bb, 10 k. He posted a 2.37 ERA while working out of a relief role for the DSL Rangers last season.

While the top of the Rangers' order didn't do much damage, eight-hole hitting right fielder Jose Santos went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

A native of Panama, the 18-year-old Santos got only two at-bats for the Rangers' DSL team last season. But so far this year, the switch-hitter is 18-for-53 (.340) with two doubles, six walks, and 10 strikeouts in 16 contests.

Rodrigo Ayarza (1/2), Elio Castillo (1/3), Diego Cedeno (1/4) and Jose Cardona (1/4) also had singles.

Leadoff man Eduard Pinto was 0-for-3 but drew a walk and stole his second base.

Righties Ricardo Rodriguez (2 IP) and Richelson Pena (1 IP) worked scoreless ball out of the bullpen. Left-hander Gabriel Larrazabal suffered the loss after yielding two runs in an inning.

Player of the Game: RF Jose Santos
3 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 .340

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