Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/28

High-A Myrtle Beach fireballer Roman Mendez dealt one of his best outings of the season on Saturday, striking out nine batters over six shutout innings. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 8 – (@) Memphis 4
W - Yan (1-1)
46-61, 16.0 GB

Round Rock won its third consecutive game with Saturday's series-opening victory at Memphis.

Express starting pitcher Chad Bell (4.61 ERA/.304 BAA) needed 108 pitches (64 strikes) to get through 4.2 innings––the shortest of his seven Triple-A starts. While Bell allowed eight hits and four walks, he limited the damage to three runs. He struck out two.

After posting a 2.61 earned-run average between the High- and Double-A levels this season, Bell has the following stat-line at Triple-A––41.0 ip, 49 h, 21 er (4.61 ERA), 20 bb, 24 k.

Sidearming reliever Johan Yan (5.56 ERA/.267 BAA) turned in his best outing in Triple-A, as he struck out a season-high five batters over 2.1 hitless, scoreless innings. His lone walk was an intentional free pass to slugging Memphis first baseman Matt Adams.

The 23-year-old Yan has remained dominant against right-handed hitters––they're batting just .154 against him––but lefties are hitting him at a .441 clip.

Joe Ortiz (2.65 ERA/.273 BAA) followed Yan by retiring all four batters he faced, striking out a pair. The diminutive southpaw has surrendered five runs in 17 Triple-A innings, and all five runs have come on solo homers.

Catcher Elio Sarmiento led the Round Rock offense with three singles in four at-bats, driving home two runs. Greg Miclat (2/2) and Brad Nelson (2/5) both singled twice.

Centerfielder Julio Borbon whiffed three times but also went 2-for-5 with his 16th double.

Player of the Game: RHP Johan Yan
2.1 0 0 0 1 5 0 5.56

AA: Frisco 2 – San Antonio 1
W - Wolf (2-1)
HR - McGuiness (20)
16-19, 7.0 GB

RoughRiders first baseman Chris McGuiness (.252/.345/.472) was the walkoff hero on Saturday, helping carry Frisco to its fourth consecutive win.

McGuiness socked the game-winning homer––a line drive that cleared the right field wall in a hurry––with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Although McGuiness belted nine round-trippers between June 22 and July 8, Saturday's walkoff shot was his first home run in his last 18 games.

Frisco starting pitcher Jake Brigham (4.28 ERA/.260 BAA) turned in his second consecutive strong outing, as he hurled six shutout innings. He scattered five hits, walked three, and struck out five.

The 24-year-old Brigham, who threw 99 pitches over the six innings, is currently tied for the Texas League lead with 116 strikeouts in 124 frames this season.

Playing in his fourth overall rehab game and his second with Frisco, Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland––who was at DH while batting leadoff on Saturday––went hitless in four at-bats, striking out once.

Centerfielder Engel Beltre (.312/.348/.560 in July) went 2-for-4 with his 12th double. The speedy Beltre now has 36 extra-base hits and 29 stolen bases in his first 100 games.

Mike Olt (2/4) singled twice and drove in a run while Ryan Strausborger went 1-for-3 with his 19th stolen base. Strausborger has yet to be caught on the base paths this year––he's a perfect 19-for-19.

Rehabbing Rangers reliever Mark Lowe struck out two in his inning of relief, but he also surrendered a solo home run while throwing 11 of his 19 pitches for a strike.

Carlos Pimentel and Ross Wolf worked a scoreless frame apiece despite struggling with command a bit. Wolf worked around two singles and a walk in the top of the ninth.

Player of the Game: 1B Chris McGuiness
4 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 .252

A+: Myrtle Beach 5 – Winston-Salem 3
W - Mendez (4-6)
SV - Rowen (13)
22-14, 2.0 GU

Although right-handed pitcher Roman Mendez (5.34 ERA/.275 BAA) came out of the bullpen on Saturday, he worked six innings––his longest outing since a May 4 start at Lynchburg.

Plans could change, but Mendez is currently slated to work out of the bullpen for the time being while Ben Henry is expected to be stretched into a starting role.

Still, Mendez dealt perhaps his best outing of the season. The inconsistent-but-hard throwing prospect tossed six innings of four-hit shutout ball, walking one and striking out nine.

Henry, meanwhile, was pulled after a long first inning in which he yielded three runs on two hits and two walks.

Red-hot prospect Christian Villanueva (.285/.355/.422) recorded his sixth multi-hit effort in his last seven games, going 2-for-4 with his 19th double and three runs batted in.

The 21-year-old Villanueva is hitting .333/.438/.484 in 26 contests this month. Also of note is that Villanueva has hit particularly well away from the pitcher-friendly environment of Myrtle Beach's TicketReturn.com Field. While he's hitting just .261/.327/.399 at home, he's put up an impressive .310/.383/.446 slash line during away games.

Villanueva is also batting .346/.429/.511 in 36 games since the Carolina League All-Star break.

Yefry Castillo (1/3, 2B) and Jhonny Gomez (1/4, 2B) both doubled once while Teodoro Martinez (2/4) added two singles in four trips.

After hitting an impressive .337/.385/.463 in the South Atlantic League this season, 19-year-old shortstop prospect Hanser Alberto is having a tough time adjusting to the Carolina League. He's hitting just .242/.248/.342 in his first 34 games for Myrtle Beach.

The Pelicans got into a jam when Francisco Mendoza recorded only one out and walked two batters to start the eighth inning, but closer Ben Rowen (1.26 ERA/.184 BAA) slammed the door with 1.2 shutout innings, striking out two.

The outing marked Rowen's 18th consecutive scoreless appearance––a stretch that spans 26.1 innings and dates back to June 4. He earned his 13th save on Saturday.

Although Sunday's contest will be Kyle Hendricks' turn in the rotation, long reliever Kyle DeVore is slated to get the starting nod. Hendricks will be skipped in an effort to limit his innings total––he's already at 130.2 frames in his first full season.

Player of the Game: RHP Roman Mendez
6.0 4 0 0 1 9 0 5.34

A: Hickory 3 – (@) Augusta 6
L - Payano (5-6)
20-16, 0.0 GU

Projectable Hickory starter Victor Payano (4.78 ERA/.243 BAA) appears to have hit a wall during his first campaign with a full-season affiliate.

On Saturday, Payano allowed four runs on four hits and six walks in four-plus innings. He struck out five.

The 19-year-old southpaw was named a Sally League All-Star after he posted a 3.36 ERA over 13 first-half starts, but he's run into trouble since the break. Payano has especially struggled in four July starts––14.1 ip, 25 h, 21 er (13.19 ERA), 13 bb, 14 k.

Payano also hasn't worked past the fifth inning since June 13–-a six-start stretch. He has currently logged 90.1 innings this year after pitching 48 frames for short-season Spokane last summer (not including his extended spring training work).

Left fielder Alejandro Selen and shortstop Rougned Odor both had a single and a double in four at-bats. Odor, who has run into a slump of late, moved down to the seven-spot in the Hickory batting order.

Nine-hole hitting catcher Kevin Torres raised his batting average to .218 with three singles in four at-bats. Drew Robinson (2/4) added a pair of hits.

Reliever Taylor Dennis yielded two runs on four hits in two innings. Santo Perez finished the game with two shutout frames, giving up a hit, walking one, and fanning two.

Player of the Game: SS Rougned Odor
4 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 .274

SSA: Spokane 7 – Yakima 0
W - Harvey (1-1)
3-2, 0.0 GU

The Indians' pitching staff posted its first shutout of the summer in Saturday's 7-0 victory.

A trio of Spokane pitchers––Jose Valdespina, Ryan Harvey, and Alec Asher––limited Yakima to a total of five hits and three walks over the nine innings.

Coming off an outing in which he'd coughed up eight runs in 1.2 innings, Valdespina (7.47 ERA/.347 BAA) hurled four shutout frames. He worked around four hits and two walks while striking out four.

The 20-year-old Valdespina, who has a lively fastball and plus velocity, induced seven groundouts without a flyout. He has the following stat-line in nine starts––31.1 ip, 43 h, 26 r, 20 bb, 27 k. He's inducing nearly 2.2 groundouts per airout on the summer.

Harvey (10.19 ERA/.333 BAA), a Seton Hall product who has struggled this season, dealt his best outing as a professional. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound righty permitted just a single in three shutout frames, striking out five.

While Harvey has given up 24 runs (20 earned) in his first 17.2 professional innings, he's issued only four walks and struck out 22.

Asher (3.06 ERA/.190 BAA), the Rangers' fourth-round pick in this year's MLB Draft, punched out three and walked one in two blank innings. He has 24 K's and eight walks over 17.2 innings.

Leadoff hitter and shortstop Gabriel Roa (.304/.377/.348) paced the offense with his sixth consecutive multi-hit performance. The Puerto Rico native went 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI.

First baseman Smerling Lantigua (1/4, 3B) belted his third triple while Pat Cantwell (1/5, 2B) and Saquan Johnson (1/2, 2B, 2 BB) both doubled.

Preston Beck added a single and two walks in his four plate appearances.

Since beginning his professional career on a strong note, Beck––a UT-Arlington product and the Rangers' fifth-round pick––is batting just .139/.244/.208 this month.

Player of the Game: RHP Ryan Harvey
3.0 1 0 0 0 5 0 10.19

RK: Surprise Rangers 3 - (@) Scottsdale Giants 2
W - Leclerc (1-0)
SV - Shiver (5)
17-13, 1.0 GB

The Rookie Rangers rallied to pick up the come-from-behind win, scoring two runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Right fielder Nomar Mazara (.229/.366/.429), who singled twice in four at-bats, brought home the game-winning run with his single in the eighth.

Catcher Charles Moorman (2/3) also singled twice while infielders Joey Gallo (1/3, 2B, BB) and Luis Marte (1/4, 2B) both doubled. Gallo stole his fifth base in as many attempts.

Gallo drew a walk on Saturday, his 27th in 30 Arizona League games. But despite pacing the circuit in walks for much of the summer, he no longer leads the league. That crown currently belongs to Arizona catcher Stryker Trahan, who's worked 29 free passes through 26 games.

Mazara ranks third in walks (22) and first and strikeouts (41). Lewis Brinson, who's hitting .311/.361/.541 is second with 40 punchouts in 30 games.

Left-handed reliever Greg Williams worked two-thirds of an inning in his rehab start, giving up one run. He allowed one hit, walked one, plunked one, and struck out two.

Williams made a trio of rehab appearances between July 8 and July 13, but he suffered a setback that caused him to miss another two weeks. He's logged 22.2 innings at Single-A Hickory this year.

Sidearming left-hander Alexander Claudio followed with 4.1 innings of two-hit ball, giving up just an unearned run. Anyelo Leclerc (3 IP) and Casey Shiver (1 IP) held the Giants off the board through the final four innings.

The 21-year-old Shiver has pitched as the Rangers' closer of late, earning five saves in his nine appearances. His season line––12.2 ip, 11 h, 5 r, 2 bb, 12 k.

Player of the Game: RHP Anyelo Leclerc
3.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 5.40

DSL: DSL Rangers 9 – DSL Marlins 8 (11 innings)
W - de la Cruz (2-1)
32-15, 4.0 GU

The Dominican Rangers battled back from an early deficit, took the game into extra innings, and won it on centerfielder Jose Cardona's walkoff single in the 11th.

Cardona (.256/.389/.324), who batted cleanup, was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs batted in. After going hitless in five consecutive games, the Mexico native has begun to heat up in his last four contests.

A switch-hitter, the 18-year-old Cardona is 21-for-57 (.368) with 10 walks and nine strikeouts from the right side this summer. As a left-handed hitter, he's hitting just .202 (24-for-119) with 25 walks and 26 strikeouts.

Rangers starting pitcher Pedro Payano (4.38 ERA/.239 BAA) surrendered a season-high five runs in four innings, giving up five hits while walking two and striking out one.

Venezuelan righty Kevin Sosa (3.38 ERA/.248 BAA), making his first appearance since July 13, followed Payano with two scoreless innings. Jose Leclerc, the Dominican Rangers' lone All-Star representative, coughed up three runs in one inning to blow the save.

Felix Carvallo (1 IP) and Alex de la Cruz (3 IP) worked scoreless ball out of the bullpen. A Puerto Rico native, the 20-year-old de la Cruz has pitched extremely well since signing with the Rangers in June––22.1 ip, 12 h, 3 r (1.21 ERA), 0 bb, 18 k.

Catcher Ricardo Valencia (2/3, 2B, BB) singled, doubled, and walked in four plate appearances. First baseman Diego Cedeno (2/5, BB), third baseman Elio Castillo (1/6), right fielder Eduard Pinto (1/6), and shortstop Belarmino Campos (1/4) had the club's other hits.

Pinto, who also stole his fifth base, extended his hitting streak to nine games and his on-base streak to 36 consecutive contests.

Player of the Game: CF Jose Cardona
4 0 3 1 0 3 1 1 .256

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