Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/19

High-A Myrtle Beach starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Thursday while DSL Rangers outfielder Eduard Pinto raised his league-leading batting average to .422. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the day's action in the Texas Rangers' minor league system.

Feature Player: Eduard Pinto, OF, DSL Rangers

The 17-year-old Pinto, who hails from Venezuela, had a monster game for the Dominican Rangers on Thursday. He went 4-for-5 (all singles) with an RBI, a stolen base, and an outfield assist from left field.

Pinto signed with the Rangers for a reported bonus between $300,000 and $350,000 on July 2 of last summer. At the time of his signing, he was regarded as an undersized player with an advanced all-around game––particularly his feel for hitting. MiLB.com lists him at 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, and the Rangers' in-house DSL roster has him at 5-foot-9, 164 pounds.

Pinto made a name for himself when he played––and stood out––in Liga Paralela (the Venezuelan winterball minor leagues) as a 15-year-old prospect, hitting .329/.396/.409 with 13 steals in 164 at-bats. He had 13 doubles and drew 19 walks while striking out just 11 times.

The left-handed hitter and thrower impressed his winterball club enough that he was able to suit up with the big team––the Navegantes del Magallanes––for a game just a month after his 16th birthday. Pinto filled in as a late-inning defensive replacement for injured outfielder Ezequiel Carrera.

Pinto didn't play much in Liga Paralela last season, as he was instead attending the Rangers' Dominican Instructional League during much of October and November. But he's now proving his polish in the Dominican Summer League.

Through his first 29 professional games, the prospect has a .422/.518/.532 slash line. His .422 batting average leads the DSL by more than 30 points. The .518 on-base percentage also tops the circuit (by 37 points). He's got seven doubles, a triple, and a home run to go along with 20 walks and only seven strikeouts.

Pinto has also reached base safely via hit or walk in each of his last 28 games––all but the first game of the season. After going 4-for-5 on Wednesday, he's 19-for-34 (.559) in his last 10 contests.

Given his stature, Pinto obviously lacks the projection of many top prospects, and he certainly doesn't profile as a masher. But he's an advanced player who can flat-out hit. While his hit tool is certainly his best asset, he's also a good defender who can play all three outfield positions and has a chance to stick in center field. He should attend instructs in the U.S. this fall before playing full-time in the states next season.

AAA: Round Rock 3 – (@) Nashville 4
L - Ortiz (0-1)
41-57, 17.0 GB

Making his second Triple-A start, right-hander Justin Grimm cruised through five innings––allowing only one hit––before running into trouble in the sixth.

Grimm failed to get out of the sixth inning when he gave up four consecutive hits––two doubles and two infield singles––to open the frame.

Overall, he allowed three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings, striking out five without walking a batter. He threw 54 of his 80 pitches for a strike.

The Round Rock offense had seven hits in the game––all singles. Brad Nelson (2/3, BB) and Ryan Spilborghs (2/3, SF) both had two knocks. Greg Miclat (1/4, BB), Matt Kata (1/40 and Luis Hernandez (1/3, BB) collected the other three hits.

Veterans Neal Cotts (0.2 IP) and Willie Eyre (1 IP) kept the Sounds off the scoreboard in relief of Grimm. But after Joe Ortiz worked a blank eighth inning, Nashville won the game in walkoff fashion when third baseman Taylor Green led off the ninth with a solo homer off Ortiz.

Although Ortiz has mostly pitched well in Triple-A, he's given up four solo home runs––all four of his runs allowed––in 13.2 innings. The diminutive southpaw hadn't served up more than five home run balls in a season coming into this year.

Rangers starting pitcher Neftali Feliz is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Express at the Dell Diamond on Friday.

Player of the Game: RF Ryan Spilborghs
3 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 .307

AA: Frisco 10 – San Antonio 12 (11 innings)
L - Bleier (0-1)
HR - Olt (24), Beltre (10)
11-15, 6.0 GB

Thursday's game included four lead changes and a pair of five-run innings from San Antonio. The Missions' final five-run outburst came in the top of the 11th inning. Frisco fought back with three in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn't enough.

Filling in for scheduled starter Barret Loux, righty Wilfredo Boscan (3.65 ERA/.250 BAA) actually pitched well. The 22-year-old hurler tossed four innings of one-run ball, giving up three hits, walking two, and striking out three.

Third baseman Mike Olt (.289/.403/.577) socked his league-leading 24th home run of the season. He also walked three times in six plate appearances.

Engel Beltre (.244/.286/.405), who was 2-for-6 with a double and a round-tripper, went deep for the third time in his last three games.

Jurickson Profar (2/6, 2B) and Chris McGuiness (1/6, 2B) both added a double while Ryan Strausborger (2/5, BB) and Leury Garcia (2/5, BB) each singled twice. Strausborger stole his 17th base of the season, and Garcia swiped a pair to give him 20.

After Boscan exited in the fifth inning, the Frisco bullpen was tagged for 11 runs in seven innings. Righty Ryan Rodebaugh, who fanned two while pitching the ninth, was the only reliever who didn't allow a run.,br>
Miguel de los Santos gave up three runs in 2.1 innings. Zach Osborne followed by surrendering two in one-third of an inning.

The 24-year-old Osborne posted a 1.34 ERA in 33.2 innings at High-A Myrtle Beach. But he's struggled mightily in Double-A––12.0 ip, 26 h, 20 r (15.00 ERA), 4 bb, 12 k.

Lefty Richard Bleier pitched a blank 10th before coughing up five runs in the 11th inning. He suffered the loss.

Player of the Game: 3B Mike Olt
3 3 1 0 1 2 3 1 .289

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – Wilmington 1
W - Hendricks (5-8)
SV - Van Meter (3)
HR - Chirino (4)
18-9, 3.0 GU

Myrtle Beach's Kyle Hendricks and Wilmington's Jason Adam have been two of the best and most efficient hurlers in the Carolina League this season. So it should come as no surprise that they worked a combined 14.1 innings on Thursday and allowed a total of three hits and three walks.

With the strike-throwing starters facing off in front of a sellout crowd of 6,599 in Myrtle Beach, the game took just an hour and 59 minutes to complete.

The Pelicans got the best of Adam, however, scoring both of their runs on a two-run blast from second baseman Santiago Chirino (.215/.251/.306) in the fifth inning.

Meanwhile, Hendricks (2.71 ERA/.244 BAA) took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He had a perfect game through 4.1 frames before issuing a walk to the Blue Rocks' Lane Adams.

After getting the first out of the eighth inning, Hendricks walked Brett Eibner before surrendering a run-scoring double to DH Murray Watts. He was then pulled from the game due to a high pitch count, but Joe Van Meter got out of the jam and sat down the game's final five hitters.

Hendricks ended up tossing 7.1 innings of one-hit ball, giving up one run, walking two, and striking out eight. The gem came on the heels of arguably the 22-year-old's worst outing of the season, when he allowed 10 hits in five innings against Winston-Salem.

On the year, Hendricks has surrendered 114 hits in 126 innings, walking only 13 and striking out 106.

The Pelicans and Blue Rocks put seven total runners on base in the briskly paced contest.

Player of the Game: RHP Kyle Hendricks
7.1 1 1 1 2 8 0 2.71

A: Hickory 5 – Lakewood 1
W - Matthews (2-2)
HR - Grayson (9), Adams (6)
16-11, 0.5 GU

Hickory regained sole possession of first place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division with the series-opening ‘W' over Lakewood.

Crawdads pitchers Kevin Matthews, Taylor Dennis, and Jose Monegro teamed up on the four-hit effort, limiting the BlueClaws to just a single run.

Facing Lakewood for the second time within a week, Matthews (5.06 ERA/.259 BAA) had perhaps his best start since moving into the rotation––despite walking six batters in five innings. The former first-round pick allowed a run on three hits and struck out six.

In 37.1 innings for Hickory, Matthews has given up 36 hits and fanned 35. But he's issued 37 walks––including 34 in 28.1 innings as a starting pitcher.

Dennis and Monegro, both righty relievers, hurled two shutout frames apiece to finish off the game. Monegro was particularly impressive, as he struck out three while retiring all six batters he faced.

DH Trever Adams (2/4, HR) and right fielder Chris Grayson (1/2, HR, 2 BB) both launched a home run in the fifth inning, helping to put the game out of reach. The speedy Grayson also added his 23rd stolen base in 31 attempts.

Leadoff man and shortstop Luis Sardinas, playing in his second game since returning from the disabled list, raised his batting average to .296 with two singles in four at-bats.

First baseman Jorge Alfaro (1/3, 2B) added his eighth double and his fourth steal.

While Hickory is playing well, a trio of hitters have struggled in their last seven games––third baseman Drew Robinson (0-for-18, six K's), catcher Kellin Deglan (2-for-25, 14 K's) and outfielder Zach Cone (3-for-28, nine K's).

Player of the Game: RF Chris Grayson
2 2 1 0 1 1 2 1 .263

SSA: Spokane 4 – (@) Vancouver 7
L - Alvarez (0-2)
11-23, 9.0 GB

The Indians opened up their five-game Canadian road trip with a loss on Thursday.

Coming off a start in which he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, hard-throwing hurler Connor Sadzeck (4.20 ERA/.190 BAA) wasn't hit hard, but he was plenty erratic. The 20-year-old prospect worked 3.2 innings and yielded two runs (one earned) on two hits. But he walked five, plunked one, and uncorked three wild pitches. He also struck out five.

Sadzeck has struck out 28 and walked 19 (with six hit batters and six wild pitches) in his first 30 innings this summer.

At the plate, left fielder Saquan Johnson (1/4, 2B) and DH Brandon Garcia (1/4, 2B) both doubled once for their lone hit in four trips.

Right fielder Royce Bolinger (1/3, BB) had a single and a walk in four plate appearances.

Spokane didn't have a hitter in Thursday's starting lineup with a batting average north of .263, and six of the nine position players were batting .200 or below. They're hitting a league-low .216/.298/.313 in 34 games as a group.

Perhaps the lone bright spot of the night for the Indians was the relief work of 20th-round pick Josh McElwee, who fanned three batters in 1.2 scoreless, hitless innings. The South Carolina native has a 1.17 ERA with 20 K's and two walks through 15.1 innings.

After giving up two runs in the eighth inning, Seton Hall product Ryan Harvey (12.79 ERA/.359 BAA) has now been tagged for 21 runs (18 earned) in his first 12.2 professional frames.

Player of the Game: RHP Josh McElwee
1.2 0 0 0 0 3 0 1.17

RK: Surprise Rangers 11 – Peoria Padres 7
W - Slack (3-1)
SV - Shiver (3)
HR - Mazara (3)
13-10, 1.0 GB

The Surprise Rangers, who currently rank third in the Arizona League with a cumulative .810 OPS, pounded out 11 runs on seven extra-base hits to earn the victory.

Right fielder Nomar Mazara (.210/.369/.432) helped put the game out of reach with his two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. He also walked once and struck out twice in five plate appearances.

Leadoff man Lewis Brinson (.301/.357/.573) had another big night, as he went 3-for-5 with two doubles. Through his first 23 professional games, the 18-year-old prospect has 18 extra-base hits (10 doubles, six triples, two homers) with nine walks and 35 strikeouts.

Ronald Guzman (2/4, 2 2B, BB) also doubled twice in five trips. After starting slowly, Guzman is beginning to pick up the pace––he's 16-for-43 (.372) with six doubles and a triple in his last 10 games.

Catcher Charles Moorman (1/3, 2B, BB) and shortstop Alberto Triunfel (1/3, 2B, BB) both added a two-bagger and a walk apiece. Luis Mendez (2/4, HBP) and Janluis Castro (2/4) each singled twice.

Left fielder Rashad Harlin, who was 0-for-3 with a walk, was the only Rookie Ranger who didn't get in on Thursday's hit parade.

The Rangers had 21 at-bats with a runner in scoring position during the game.

On the mound, right-hander Collin Wiles worked a season-high 3.2 innings and surrendered two runs. He allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out three.

Wiles, 18, has the following stat-line through six pro appearances––15.0 ip, 24 h, 16 er (9.60 ERA), 6 bb, 10 k.

Lefty Ryne Slack (2.2 IP) allowed three runs while righty Casey Shiver (2.2 IP) gave up two runs. Still, the offensive outburst helped Slack earn the victory while Shiver got his third save.

While Slack has a 7.15 ERA in his first five appearances, he's struck out 17 batters in 11.1 innings.

The Rangers' pitching staff faced Padres Double-A rehabber Jaff Decker in the game. He was 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts.

Player of the Game: CF Lewis Brinson
5 2 3 2 0 1 0 1 .301

DSL: DSL Rangers 4 – DSL Mets2 5
L - de la Cruz (0-1)
25-14, 0.5 GU

While the Dominican Rangers dropped Thursday's contest after allowing two ninth-inning runs, the Rangers' top two prospects on the club stood out.

Leadoff-hitting left fielder Eduard Pinto had a particularly big day with four singles in five at-bats. He also drove home a run, stole his fourth base of the season, and picked up an outfield assist by gunning down a runner at second base.

Starting pitcher Yohander Mendez (1.66 ERA/.228 BAA), who signed for a reported $1.5 million last summer, worked a season-high five innings and struck out a season-high seven batters. He allowed two runs on five hits without issuing a walk.

The 17-year-old Mendez has the following stat-line––21.2 ip, 18 h, 4 er (1.66 ERA), 4 bb, 19 k.

DH Ramon Urias (1/1, 2B, BB, HBP) doubled, walked, and was hit by a pitch while Diego Cedeno (2/3, 2 BB) and Carlos Garay (2/5) both singled twice.

Third baseman Belarmino Campos had a single and three walks in five plate appearances.

The Rangers scored only four runs despite getting 11 hits and nine walks. They went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, stranding 14 on base.

Reliever Jose Gomez (1.2 IP) suffered the blown save after allowing a run and lefty Alex de la Cruz (2.1 IP) was stuck with the loss after he permitted two runs.

Player of the Game: LF Eduard Pinto
5 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 .422

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