Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/10

The High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans got yet another strong pitching performance on Friday, this time coming from tall lefty Victor Payano. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 12 – (@) Las Vegas 6
W - Mills (5-0)
SV - Yan (2)
HR - Cunningham (2)
20-15, 2.5 GB

The Express made their last night in Las Vegas a memorable one, as they pounded out 12 runs on a whopping 20 hits. All nine of Round Rock's starting position players collected at least one hit, and eight of them had multiple knocks.

Left fielder Aaron Cunningham (.290/.384/.421) stood out from the pack, however, going 4-for-6 with a double, a home run, and four runs batted in. He also stole his third base.

Jurickson Profar (2/6, 2B), Chris McGuiness (2/4, 2B, 2 BB), and Jim Adduci (2/5, 2B, BB) all singled once and doubled once. Adduci, who flashes plus speed, swiped his 11th base in 13 attempts.

The 25-year-old McGuiness has undoubtedly been Round Rock's hottest hitter of late and, as a result, he has moved to the third spot in the lineup. On the year, the former Red Sox prospect has a .279/.412/.514 slash line with nine doubles, a triple, and five home runs. He also has 22 walks to 21 strikeouts.

Over his last 10 contests, McGuiness is 15-for-36 (.417) with nine free passes––good for a .543 on-base percentage.

Although McGuiness is certainly a fringe prospect, consistently strong Triple-A performances could get him a cup of coffee in the future. He was a Major League Rule 5 pick of the Cleveland Indians this past offseason but failed to make the club in spring training.

Second baseman Greg Miclat (3/4, BB) raised his batting average to .319 with three singles in four official at-bats. Engel Beltre (2/5, BB) and Jose Felix (2/5) both singled twice.

The Express went 8-for-25 with runners in scoring position in the game.

Returning to his old Las Vegas stomping grounds, Round Rock starter Brad Mills was victorious despite allowing six runs in five innings. He gave up eight hits, walked two, and fanned five.

Lefty Neal Cotts (2 IP) and righty Johan Yan (2 IP) each tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to finish the game.

Cotts, who allowed two hits and struck out three, has now punched out 36 batters in 20 Triple-A innings this season. Fellow lefties are 0-for-25 against him with three walks and 19 strikeouts.

Along similar lines, the sidearming Yan has limited right-handers to a .162/.205/.270 slash line thus far. But lefties are 12-for-30 (.400) versus him.

Player of the Game: LF Aaron Cunningham
6 1 4 1 1 4 0 0 .290

AA: Frisco 4 – (@) Corpus Christi 9
L - Pucetas (4-3)
HR - Martinez (1)
18-16, 2.0 GB

It was the Domingo Santana show on Friday night, as the Astros' 20-year-old slugging prospect smashed three home runs and drove in five. The Hooks belted five total home runs in the game.

Frisco starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas (4.04 ERA/.277 BAA) allowed three of the round-trippers, as he was tagged for five runs on six hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Venezuelan righty Arlett Mavare followed by punching out five batters in 1.2 innings, but he coughed up three runs.

Through three Double-A appearances, the 23-year-old Mavare has 11 K's in five frames. He has also allowed eight runs on five hits and five walks.

Roman Mendez surrendered a solo home run to Santana for the only damage against him in 1.1 innings. The earned run was the first Mendez has allowed in 16.2 innings this season.

At the plate, nine-hole hitting left fielder Teodoro Martinez (.221/.243/.279) provided two of Frisco's runs with his two-run homer. It was his lone hit in four at-bats.

DH Chih-Hsien Chiang (1/4, 2B) added his sixth double while catcher Zach Zaneski (1/3, BB) singled and walked.

Player of the Game: LF Teodoro Martinez
4 1 1 0 1 2 0 1 .221

A+: Myrtle Beach 5 – Salem 1
W - Payano (3-2)
21-13, 4.5 GU

Myrtle Beach captured its fourth consecutive game and expanded the division lead to 4.5 games. The Pelicans' pitching staff has been particularly good of late––they've allowed seven total runs over the four games.

Although Pelicans lefty Victor Payano (4.29 ERA/.208 BAA) has struggled to find consistency from start to start thus far, he's missing bats at a career-best rate.

Payano was on top of his game on Friday, hurling seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball while walking three and striking out nine.

The 20-year-old hurler, who stands 6-foot-5 and often works anywhere between 88-94 mph with his fastball, currently ranks second in the Carolina League with 46 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched. He has yielded just 27 hits and walked 15.

Payano was in control throughout Friday's start, as he sat down the game's first nine batters and didn't surrender a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning. He loaded the bases in the fifth before inducing a 1-2-3 double play, and that was the only trouble he would see.

Centerfielder Royce Bolinger (.211/.272/.360) and third baseman Drew Robinson (.220/.307/.340) continued to work out of their extended slumps––both doubled once. Bolinger was 2-for-4 while Robinson went 1-for-3 with a walk.

DH Trever Adams (2/4) and LF Jake Skole (2/4) each singled twice. Leadoff man Luis Sardinas had a hit and two walks in five trips. He also committed his ninth error at shortstop.

After Paul Schwendel gave up a run on three hits in the eighth inning, Randol Rojas slammed the door on Salem with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Player of the Game: LHP Victor Payano
7.0 2 0 0 3 9 0 4.29

A: Hickory 1 – (@) Charleston 8
L - Sadzeck (2-2)
19-14, 1.0 GB

Friday simply wasn't the Crawdads' night.

On top of going up against Charleston right-hander Rafael de Paula, who has been perhaps the Sally League's most overpowering pitcher this season, Hickory made matters worse for themselves by surrendering six first-inning runs and committing four total errors.

The de Paula vs. whiff-happy Hickory lineup matchup resulted in 12 strikeouts over six innings. Hickory fanned 16 times in the game.

De Paula, by the way, now has a ridiculous 58 punchouts in 33.1 innings through seven starts.

Righty Connor Sadzeck (2.35 ERA/.221 BAA) allowed all six of his runs––five earned––in the first inning. Overall, he was able to limit the damage after the frame by giving up six runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and striking out six. He threw 50 of his 80 pitches for strikes.

Sadzeck's disastrous first inning included a double, four singles, two walks, a hit batter, and two errors. He actually settled in after that frame, giving up just an infield single and retiring the last eight hitters he faced.

Crawdads DH Luis Mendez whiffed in all four of his plate appearances. Third baseman Joey Gallo and catcher Jorge Alfaro both went 0-for-4 with a hat trick.

Second baseman Ryan Rua provided the only offense, as he was 2-for-4 with his 10th double. Jordan Akins (1/3), Joe Maloney (1/2, BB), and Luis Marte (1/3) also singled. Maloney was the only Hickory batter who didn't strike out on Friday.

Relievers John Kukuruda (2 IP) and Ryne Slack (1 IP) each allowed a run.

Coming off a strong April performance, Slack has been battered for 10 runs in just 2.2 innings over three appearances this month.

Player of the Game: 2B Ryan Rua
4 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 .211

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