Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/11

Hot-hitting Frisco centerfielder Engel Beltre reached base four times in his five plate appearances on Saturday, giving him a .306/.360/.547 slash line since the All-Star break. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 5 – (@) Colorado Springs 2
W - Jackson (6-12)
SV - Eyre (1)
HR - Martin (7)
54-67, 15.0 GB

The Express defeated rehabbing Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, who surrendered three runs in 6.2 innings.

Round Rock leadoff hitter and centerfielder Leonys Martin (.345/.419/.565 in Triple-A) led the offensive attack by going 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, and three RBI.

Although six of Martin's seven major league hits this season have gone for extra bases, he went just 7-for-37 (.189) while getting spotty playing time in his most recent big league stint. But the 24-year-old prospect has hit safely in nine of his 10 contests since returning to Triple-A, going 14-for-40 (.350) with five doubles, two home runs, five walks, and six strikeouts.

Meanwhile, left-hander Zach Jackson (4.66 ERA/.296 BAA) needed only 82 pitches (53 strikes) to work 7.1 innings. The veteran hurler gave up two runs while scattering eight hits and walking one. He didn't strike out a batter.

The 29-year-old Jackson has struck out more than he's walked just once in his last six outings. But he's pitched particularly well during that span––37.2 ip, 36 h, 15 er (3.58 ERA), 19 bb, 15 k.

Shortstop Luis Hernandez (.246/.288/.353) recorded his sixth consecutive multi-hit performance with two singles in five at-bats.

Brad Nelson (1/3, BB) added a single and a walk in four trips.

Reliever Willie Eyre (5.18 ERA/.250 BAA) earned his first save of the season by tossing 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.

Player of the Game: CF Leonys Martin
5 2 3 1 1 3 0 1 .345

AA: Frisco 10 – (@) Northwest Arkansas 3
W - Tepesch (5-2)
HR - Prince (10), Buchholz (6), Mendonca (2)
23-25, 7.0 GB

Frisco jumped all over Northwest Arkansas in Saturday's series opener, scoring 10 runs on 16 hits, four walks, and five hit batsmen.

Second baseman Alex Buchholz (.255/.301/.390) had perhaps his best game of the year, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI. Third baseman Tom Mendonca went 2-for-5 with a double and a two-run homer.

In nine games since returning to Double-A, the 24-year-old Mendonca is 9-for-35 (.257) with a double, two home runs, two walks, and 11 strikeouts.

Nine-hole hitting right fielder Jared Prince (2/5, HR) singled and added his 10th round-tripper.

RoughRiders starting pitcher Nick Tepesch (3.93 ERA/.284 BAA in Double-A) limited the damage to two runs in six innings despite allowing nine hits. He walked two, struck out four, and induced nine groundouts without a flyout.

Tepesch threw 59 of his 87 pitches for a strike in the start. He's pitched particularly well in his last seven outings––43.1 ip, 42 h, 13 er (2.70 ERA), 14 bb, 25 k.

Red-hot leadoff hitter Engel Beltre (.263/.311/.440) added three singles and a walk in five plate appearances. He's now hitting .306/.360/.547 in 40 games since the Texas League All-Star break.

Jurickson Profar (1/4, 2 HBP) singled, was plunked twice, and stole his 15th base. Zach Zaneski (2/5, BB) also reached base three times.

After lefty reliever Richard Bleier permitted a run in 1.2 innings, righty Ryan Rodebaugh fanned two in 1.1 hitless, scoreless frames to finish the game. Rodebaugh now has 51 strikeouts (with nine walks) in 42.2 frames this year.

Player of the Game: 2B Alex Buchholz
5 1 3 1 1 2 0 1 .255

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – (@) Frederick 8
L - R. Henry (5-8)
29-19, 0.0 GU

Frederick battered Myrtle Beach starter Randy Henry (3.16 ERA/.270 BAA) for six runs on five hits––including two home runs––in three innings on Saturday. He walked three and struck out two, throwing only 33 of 62 pitches for a strike.

The 22-year-old Henry logged a career-high 52.2 innings between the Low- and High-A levels last season. After Saturday's start, he's now 30 innings above that (82.2) and is showing signs of fatigue. Henry has permitted at least six runs in three of his last four starts.

The Pelicans' offense managed only two runs on six singles in the game, and they committed three errors in the field.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto committed two of the errors and went 0-for-4 at the plate, snapping his eight-game hitting streak. Left fielder Chris Grayson, who was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, had the other defensive miscue.

Odubel Herrera collected two singles and an RBI in four at-bats. Josh Richmond (1/3) drove home the other run.

Following Henry's short outing, Francisco Mendoza (5.80 ERA/.290 BAA) was pushed into long relief duty and limited the Keys to a run in three innings.

Despite Saturday's decent effort, Mendoza is having a highly disappointing 2012 campaign. He broke out as an intriguing relief prospect late last season, showing a 92-96 mph fastball to go along with a wipeout upper-80s slider. But his fastball velocity has been down a tick this year, and his slider (along with his command) hasn't been nearly as sharp. As a result, Mendoza has walked 24 and fanned just 26 in 40.1 innings.

Lefty reliever Jimmy Reyes (2.68 ERA/.257 BAA) served up a solo home run for the only damage against him in two innings.

Player of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera
4 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 .279

A: Hickory 3 – Asheville 0
W - Martinez (6-6)
SV - Mavare (4)
27-22, 0.0 GU

The Crawdads and Tourists played Saturday's nine-inning game in just one hour and forty-nine minutes. There was also a brief 18-minute rain delay.

Hickory pitchers Nick Martinez (4.75 ERA/.271 BAA) and Arlett Mavare (3.84 ERA/.227 BAA) combined to face only one batter over the minimum. They yielded three total singles––two of which were erased on double-play balls––and didn't walk a batter.

Martinez began the game with six innings of two-hit shutout ball, striking out three. He faced one over the minimum and retired 12 consecutive batters between the first and fifth innings.

Mavare then surrendered one hit in three shutout frames, striking out three and walking zero.

The 22-year-old Martinez had scuffled of late prior to Saturday's start, but his peripheral numbers on the season are still strong––96.2 ip, 103 h, 30 bb, 91 k. Mavare, 22, has fanned 86 batters in 70.1 innings this season.

At the plate, centerfielder Zach Cone (.263/.319/.465) went 3-for-4 with his 22nd double. Catcher Kellin Deglan (.220/.302/.424) had a double, a walk, and two RBI in three plate appearances.

Deglan is having a season of serious peaks and valleys. He batted .267 in April, .109 in May, .359 in June (11 games), .155 in July, and is hitting .333 through nine contests this month.

Right fielder Trever Adams (2/4) and second baseman Nick Urbanus (2/2, BB) both singled twice.

Player of the Game: RHP Nick Martinez
6.0 2 0 0 0 3 0 4.75

SSA: Spokane 5 – Everett 6
L - Kukuruda (2-3)
HR - Schiller (3), Beck (2)
8-10, 5.0 GB

The Indians' pitching staff was tormented by Everett catcher Mike Zunino, the third overall pick in this year's MLB Draft. Zunino had a huge game, going 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, and four RBI. He's collected multiple hits in each of his last five games and is destroying Northwest League pitching to the tune of a .377/.472/.726 slash line in 28 contests.

Spokane starter Eric Brooks (3.31 ERA/.266 BAA) began the game by holding the AquaSox to one run on three hits in three innings, walking one and striking out two.

But inconsistent righty John Kukuruda was then tagged for five runs on six hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. After pitching well to start the summer, Kukuruda has struggled in his last three outings––9.0 ip, 20 h, 16 r, 5 bb, 6 k.

Zunino's three-run blast off Kukuruda in the seventh inning gave Everett the lead and ultimately won the game for the AquaSox.

Oral Roberts product Cam Schiller (.280/.354/.407) continued to heat up at the plate, as he fell a triple shy of the cycle. He had a single, a double, and a home run with three runs batted in.

The switch-hitting Schiller is now 22-for-46 (.478) with seven extra-base hits, five walks, and six strikeouts over his last 10 games.

Right fielder Preston Beck (.233/.312/.341), who is slowly heating up, was 2-for-4 with a solo homer.

Saquan Johnson (1/3, 3B, BB) added a triple and a free pass in four trips.

Reliever Alec Asher, the Rangers' fourth-round pick in this year's draft, punched out four batters in 2.1 shutout frames. He worked around three hits. The 20-year-old Florida native now has 36 strikeouts (and eight walks) in his first 26 professional innings.

Richard Alvarez struck out the game's final batter––the only man he faced.

Player of the Game: 2B Cam Schiller
4 1 3 1 1 3 0 0 .280

RK: Surprise Rangers – OFF
24-17, 0.5 GU

The Rookie Rangers didn't play on Saturday.

DSL: DSL Rangers 5 – (@) DSL Mets2 4 (10 innings)
W - de la Cruz (4-1)
37-22, 0.5 GU

The Dominican Rangers regained first place in the see-saw division battle with an extra-innings victory over the Mets2.

Catcher Carlos Garay, who went 2-for-5 with two RBI, picked up the game-winning single in the top of the 10th inning. Elio Castillo (3/5) added three knocks while shortstop Alex Gonzalez (2/5) singled twice.

First baseman Diego Cedeno (.274/.384/.352) had a double and three free passes in five trips to the plate.

Talented starting pitcher Yohander Mendez (1.55 ERA/.229 BAA) logged four innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out four and walked one.

The 17-year-old Mendez, who doesn't turn 18 until next January, has permitted only seven earned runs in 40.2 innings this summer.

After Jose Leclerc allowed two unearned runs in three innings, Puerto Rican right-hander Alex de la Cruz slammed the door on the Mets2.

De la Cruz retired all nine batters he faced in three perfect innings, striking out four. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound righty has the following stat-line since signing with the Rangers in June––30.0 ip, 18 h, 4 r, 1 bb, 25 k.

Player of the Game: RHP Alex de la Cruz
3.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 1.20

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