Results tagged ‘ Texas Rangers ’

Riding Through the Farm: August 21

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (73-51 – 1st, AL West)

Texas has split the first two games in Tampa Bay this weekend and is currently taking on the Rays in the series finale.

One of the biggest news items out of Arlington this week was the signing of Carlos Gomez yesterday, who was released by Houston recently. Gomez is expected to join Triple-A Round Rock today and play a few games with the Express before joining Texas. Rangers manager Jeff Banister says that Gomez will be the everyday left fielder for Texas when he joins the club.

Today: at Tampa Bay, 12:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (63-65 – 3rd, PCL American Southern Division)

Yohander Mendez is human after all. After four consecutive scoreless outings (19.1 IP) to begin his Triple-A career, the former Riders pitcher gave up a whopping two runs last night in a loss to Colorado Springs. According to Scott Lucas of The Newberg Report, he threw ALL fastballs his first three innings.

Still, he’s sporting a 0.74 ERA on the year with Round Rock and a 2.34 ERA overall across three levels. For more on Mendez, and other insights on the Rangers farm system, check out our interview with Rangers Director of Player Development Mike Daly from earlier this week.

Round Rock is currently battling Colorado Springs, the new home of former Riders outfielder Lewis Brinson. He, however, is currently on the DL. That said, he’ll be eligible to come off near the end of the current series in Round Rock, so if he’s healthy, fans in Round Rock should have a chance to see Brinson play.

The Express won five straight at the end of last week and have come away victorious in seven of their last 10 games overall.

Next: Tonight vs. Colorado Springs, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (73-52 overall, 30-25 second half – 3rd in the second half, California League South Division)

High Desert already has a playoff spot wrapped up, but the Mavericks continue to play good baseball in the second half. That said, High Desert has lost three in a row, including two straight to Inland Empire, the team with the lowest win percentage in the Cal League (.357).

Earlier this week, the Mavs had a game postponed due to the Blue Cut Fire burning in the area, but the good news is the fire is now mostly contained.

The Mavericks will likely face Lancaster (Houston) in the first round of the playoffs, but the JetHawks still have just a 4.5 game lead over Lake Elsinore in the second-half standings.

Today: vs. Inland Empire, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Collin Wiles)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (66-59 overall, 28-27 second half – 4th in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory has followed up a seven-game losing streak with three consecutive wins to stay within reach of the second-half title. The Crawdads sit four back of first-place Lakewood with 15 games to go.

After defeating Greensboro Friday, the ‘Dads defeated “Jeansboro” last night, as the Grasshoppers honored local jeans producer Wrangler.

Today: at Greensboro, 3:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (28-33 overall, 9-14 second half – 2nd in the second half, Northwest League North)

It’s a good thing the Indians won the first half, because they’re quickly sliding out of the playoff picture in the second half. Spokane was swept by red-hot Eugene (which had a 15-game win streak recently) and has lost eight of nine overall to fall eight games back of Everett in the second half. Assuming the results hold, it’ll be Spokane and the AquaSox in the opening round of the playoffs.

Anderson Tejeda (.275 avg, 3 HR, 10 RBI) continues to swing well, although Leody Taveras (.224, 0 HR, 7 RBI) has cooled down after a hot start. Also, big Curtis Terry (6’2”/255 lbs) was promoted yesterday.

Tonight: at Hillsboro, 3:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Alex Daniele)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Pasteboard – An admission ticket to a baseball game.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

A deeper look at Kellin Deglan’s recent surge

Riders catcher Kellin Deglan is in the middle of one of the best power surges of his career, most recently accentuated by his six-RBI performance Friday, which included the third grand slam of his career.

Deglan now has five homers in the last eight games he’s played in, including a two-homer game August 3 vs. Midland. In these last eight games, he’s 8-for-29 (.276) with a double, five homers, and 14 RBI.

The only stretch of his career that may have been statistically better than this one came in late June/early July of 2014 with Hickory, when he went 9-for-24 (.375) with five homers and 12 RBI in a six-game span. That spurt also started with a two-homer game, in which he registered his career-high of seven RBI June 24 vs. Kannapolis. That said, this is coming at a higher level against higher-quality arms.

The Canadian catcher told MiLB.com last night that he’s been working on his swing mechanics with Rangers Assistant Hitting Coordinator Dwayne Murphy and that last night was his first game using the new mechanics. The big difference is his hand positioning. Just watch the video of last night’s homer (above) compared to the one below in Springfield last week. Perhaps the change in mechanics vaults him toward a strong finish to the season, after which he will be a free agent.

The other promising sign last night was the zero in the strikeouts column. It ended a string of 17 consecutive games in which the former first-round pick had struck out at least once.

Maybe it’s a temporary surge, or maybe it’s something more. It’s hard to say at this point, but if Deglan keeps swinging at this clip, it’s going to be a fun final few weeks of the season.

Riding Through the Farm: August 14

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (69-49 – 1st, AL West)

It’s been a good week for the Rangers, who have won six of their last eight, including five straight earlier this week. After waiting out a loooooooong rain delay (2:42) Friday night, Jonathan Lucroy smashed two of Texas’ four home runs in a 8-5 win over the Tigers.

In 11 games with Texas, Lucroy is hitting .286 with six homers and 11 RBI. Fellow newcomer Carlos Beltran is swinging at a .333 clip with two homers and five RBI.

Today: vs. Detroit, 2:05 p.m. (SP: RHP A.J. Griffin)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (59-62 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

It’s been an up-and-down week for the Express. Tuesday, they came one out away from being perfect-gamed by Nashville’s Jharel Cotton. However, they’ve bounced back with wins of 8-3, 14-3, and 17-3. On Wednesday, a trio of 2016 Riders got in on the action, with Victor Payano earning his first Triple-A win, Preston Beck driving in two with a triple, and Ronald Guzman finishing 3-for-4.

Jared Hoying has three homers in his last two games and has hits in nine of his last 10 games.

Next: Tonight at Salt Lake, 8:35 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (70-48 overall, 27-21 second half – 3rd in the second half, California League South Division)

The Mavs are in the midst of a low-scoring road trip, a rarity in the hitter-friendly California League. High Desert has put up just 10 (1 Sat.) runs in the five games at San Jose and Stockton.

Former Rider reliever Cody Palmquist made another start with High Desert – his second of the year – last night in a loss at Stockton. He allowed four earned runs (five total) on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Fresh off his promotion from Hickory, Dylan Moore is fitting in well with his new club. He had hits in each of his first eight games with High Desert, including three straight games with a homer last week, before going 0-for-4 last night.

Today: at Stockton, 8:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Tyler Davis)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (62-56 overall, 24-24 second half – 6th in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are in the midst of a log jam in the second half standings of the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, sitting in sixth place, but just three games back. For that reason, their current six-game losing streak is coming at a bad time.

Xavier Turner joined the squad last week and proceeded to hit two homers in his first game up from Spokane. However, he’s just 1-for-10 since.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, LeDarious Clark stole home (albeit, in delayed fashion) last Saturday.

Lastly, here’s a good read on Eric Jenkins, who rides an eight-game hitting streak into today’s game.

Today: vs. Rome, 4:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (27-27 overall, 8-8 second half – 2nd in the second half, Northwest League North)

Spokane is 5-6 since the All-Star Break, most recently dropping a pair of games to the Eugene Emeralds, one of the NWL’s hottest teams right now.

Though the Indians have lost a few key contributors, such as Xavier Turner and Tyler Ferguson, highly touted newcomers Leody Taveras and Anderson Tejeda are helping to fill the void in Spokane. Tejeda, especially, is off to a nice start, hitting .286 with two homers and four RBI in his first six games with the Indians.

The one and only Benjamin Hill of the Bens Biz Blog was in Spokane on Friday as part of his west coast road trip. I’m sure he’s got more of a writeup coming from his time at Avista Stadium, but in the meantime, here’s his nightly “groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the day.”

Tonight: vs. Eugene, 5:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Kyle Cody)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Gazoonie – A rookie.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Three things to know about new Riders OF Darin Mastroianni

Mastroianni

Darin Mastroianni brings a wealth of experience to the Riders. (Jeffrey Irizarry)

The Texas Rangers assigned newly acquired outfielder Darin Mastroianni to the RoughRiders today. He is leading off and playing centerfield in tonight’s game at Tulsa.

Here are three things to know about the newest member of the Riders:

HE’S EXPERIENCED: Between 854 minor league games and 136 games in the big leagues, Mastroianni brings 10 years and a wealth of experience to the RoughRiders. This is the fifth organization he’s been a part of (Toronto, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, and Texas) so he’s learned a variety of philosophies and worked with a medley of people in his career.

HE’S FAST: One of the things that stands out about the New York-native is his skill on the base paths. He’s 300-for-365 in stolen base attempts during his career (MiLB and MLB). He stole 70 bases (85 attempts) across two levels in 2009. The numbers have declined a bit this year (9-for-12), but he’s still a threat whenever he gets on.

HE’S GOOD WITH THE GLOVE: It’s been 87 games since Mastroianni last made an error. He has a .987 career fielding percentage in centerfield, which is where he’s played most of his career (and where he’s playing tonight).

He’s the latest in a string of veteran guys that have joined the RoughRiders. The first few (Matt Bush, Scott Carroll, Jack Snodgrass, and Alexeis Bell) have worked out rather well for the Riders. We’ll see if the same holds true with Mastroianni.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Masker – The catcher.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Fasola named Minor League Reliever of the Month

810 Fasola

Yesterday, the Rangers announced their monthly minor league awards and John Fasola earned the organization’s Reliever of the Month for July.

Fasola has since been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, where he’s faring well, but while he was with the Riders, he posted an impressive body of work in July. He was tied for the team lead in appearances (10) and went 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, all while converting each of the five save chances he had. He walked just three batters in 15 innings and struck out 16. His WHIP for July was a paltry 0.53. To top it all off, he finished the month on a 12-inning scoreless streak.

The righty’s overall stat line is impressive (3-1, 3.73 ERA in 22 appearances), but it’s even better if you look at just June and July. In those two months, he went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA. He also continues to lead Rangers farmhands in total saves (11).

He has continued his success at the Triple-A level, posting a 2.84 ERA in five overall appearances, including a mark of 2.45 since going back up on August 3.

If you haven’t already heard his interview with Nathan Barnett a few weeks ago, I recommend you listen. There are some interesting insights in here, including how to keep a closer’s mentality in a non-save situation.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Fan the atmosphere – To strike out.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meet the new Riders

Over the past week, there have been a load of new players transferred to Frisco.

If you have been following along closely, you may recognize some of the new names and faces. However, if you’ve missed out on the past few days of Riders coverage, you will probably be surprised to find out that the team has an entirely new look.

Let’s get to know some of the new players the Riders have received over the past couple weeks who are playing in Frisco for the first time this season.

Alexeis Bell – OF

The Rangers signed Bell, 32, to a minor league contract on July 15. He began his stateside career with the Rangers’ Arizona League squad. In four games, he went 4-for-16 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Bellforweb

Bell played his first 14 professional seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he was a career .319 hitter with 138 home runs and 632 RBI in 659 games. He also maintained a .417 on-base percentage and a .547 slugging percentage during his time in the Cuban National Series, most of which was spent with the Avispas de Santiago de Cuba. He won league MVP honors in the 2007-08 season after setting single-season league records for home runs (31) and RBI (111), while posting a .355 average.

The veteran outfielder spent last season with Les Capitales de Quebec in the Canadian-American Association, where he hit .317 with two homers and 23 RBI in 59 games. Bell also played nine games with Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League this May.

Bell also has extensive experience representing Cuba on the international stage. Of note, he was part of the country’s Olympic team, which brought home the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also played on Cuba’s squad during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Scott Carroll – RHP

The 31-year-old spent the majority of 2016 with Triple-A Charlotte of the International League, going 2-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 games, 12 starts. He made three relief outings with the White Sox in May, allowing three runs and two hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Carroll was on Chicago’s 40-man roster before being assigned outright to Charlotte on July 14.

In 47 Major League games, 19 starts, Carroll has a 6-11 record with a 4.60 ERA. He was 5-10 with a 4.80 ERA in 26 games, 19 starts with the White Sox in 2014. In 2015, he posted a 3.44 ERA in 18 relief appearances.

He spent his first six pro seasons in the Cincinnati organization before signing as a free agent with Chicago in July 2012.

Carlos Arroyo – OF

Arroyo, 23, has been with Round Rock, Class-A Hickory, Class A Short-season Hickory and the Arizona League Rangers. He has combined to play 18 games this season, hitting .298. The outfielder is in his fourth season as a professional, signing with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent September 19, 2012 out of Valencia, Venezuela.

Jack Snodgrass – LHP

Snodgrass, 28, signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent on July 14 after spending the first five seasons of his career in the San Francisco Giants organization. The lefty went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four appearances with Round Rock. Snodgrass was drafted by the Giants in the 27th round of the 2011 draft out of Austin Peay State.

Eduard Pinto – OF

13770512653_bda367beb0_o

Pinto, 21, departed Hickory as the team leader in batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.392), slugging percentage (.478), and OPS (.870). Pinto was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week on July 10th, after batting .567/.581/.833 with two home runs, 2 doubles, and eight RBI over the seven game stretch. The 5’11” outfielder spent time with Hickory in both 2014 and 2015, which included a .364 average in the postseason while helping the Crawdads to the 2015 SAL Championship.

Carson Blair – C

Blair, 26, is in his ninth year as a professional. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in the Boston Red Sox organization before signing with the Oakland Athletics as a minor league free agent in November 2014. He was with Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville most of last season before making his Major League debut September 6 with the Athletics, where he played 11 big league games, batting .129 with one homer and three RBI.

The native of Argyle, Texas opened the 2016 season with Midland before earning a promotion to Nashville on July 3. Blair was released by the A’s on July 15. For his career, Blair is a .245 hitter with more than 43 percent of his hits going for extra bases (87 doubles, 12 triples, 38 home runs).

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: gaijin – Foreign players in the Japanese professional baseball leagues. Teams are allowed to have up to four gaijin on the roster (two position players and two pitchers). ETYMOLOGY. Japanese for “outsiders.”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm (August 5)

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (63-46 – 1st, AL West)

After making moves to acquire Jonathan LucroyCarlos Beltran, and Jeremy Jeffress at the trade deadline, all three have had success in the past week for the Rangers. Lucroy and Beltran both hit home runs in the three-game series against Baltimore, and Jeffress pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s 5-3 victory in the finale.

A huge three-game road series against the Houston Astros begins tonight at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won nine of 10 games against the Astros so far this season and lead Houston by 6 1/2 games in the American League West.

Today: at Houston, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (54-59 – T-2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

On Wednesday, Round Rock received four players from the RoughRidersYohander Mendez and Ronald Guzman, two of the Top 5 prospects in the Rangers farm system (according to MLBPipeline.com), have already made an impact with the E-Train.

Guzman went 2-for-4 in his Triple-A debut Thursday, mashing a solo home run in his first at-bat and driving in another run with a double later in the game.

In his second start with the Express last night, Mendez pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in a win over Oklahoma City. The southpaw has now fired a total of 10 scoreless innings in two Triple-A starts this season.

Today: at Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (66-44 overall, 23-17 second half – 3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 games, including a four-game sweep of Rancho Cucamonga on the road last week. High Desert is back at home battling the Quakes again, and they started the series with a win yesterday.

Former Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League opponents out of the bullpen for High Desert. Palmquist was named Rangers Reliever of the Month last month after not allowing a run in all of June. He has given up just four earned runs in 17 relief appearances (26.1 innings pitched) since joining the Mavs on June 4.

Today: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Jeff Springs)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (60-49 overall, 22-17 second half – 3rd place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

A five-game win streak has propelled the Crawdads into third place in the SAL Northern Division standings. Hickory is now just 1 1/2 games behind first-place Hagerstown, who won the division in the first half of the season. The ‘Dads are half a game behind Greensboro for second place and the second-best overall record the division.

However, the Crawdads recently lost outfielder Eduard Pinto and infielder Dylan Moore, who were both promoted to higher affiliates. Pinto joined the RoughRiders last night, while Moore was moved up to High Desert.

Infielder Xavier Turner was just assigned to Hickory from Spokane yesterday. He has a chance to make a big impact for the Crawdads in their push for a playoff spot. Turner played nine games with the Crawdads last season after starting his professional career in the Arizona League.

Today: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Joe Palumbo)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (23-22 overall, 4-3 second half  3rd place, Northwest League North Division)

As mentioned above, Xavier Turner was promoted to Hickory yesterday after a spectacular performance Tuesday in the Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game. Turner won the MiLB.com Top Star Award for the Northwest League, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a pair of runs scored.

Four former Spokane Indians were involved in the Rangers’ trade deadline deal for Carlos Beltran. In addition to Dillon Tate (2015), Erik Swanson (2014), and Nick Green (2016), Beltran was also an Indian back in 1996. Spokane was affiliated with the Kansas City Royals at the time.

Tonight: at Salem-Keizer, 8:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Sal Mendez)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: pastureworker – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Grab a bat: Pitchers hitting for the Riders

Last night, pitcher Ryan Ledbetter was called out of the bullpen to come in and pinch hit for the RoughRiders with two outs in the ninth inning.

28153747591_88ce0d408c_o

Following Alberto Triunfel‘s ejection in the middle of his at-bat, Frisco had no other position players left on the bench to enter the game. As a result, Ledbetter grabbed a bat and saw three pitches from Midland’s Kyle Finnegan. Ledbetter swung and missed at the first, fouled off the second, and then struck out looking on the third.

It was a rare occurrence seeing a pitcher hit for the Riders. Because Frisco is a Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, an American League team, the Riders always use a designated hitter. In the Texas League, pitchers only have to hit when two National League affiliates square off.

However, there have been three other instances where a pitcher was brought in to a Riders game, either as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, and ended up getting an at-bat.

4387808472_468fca1ef6_o

Jesse Chavez – June 27, 2005 vs. Tulsa (W, 8-6 – 12 innings)

This game featured a situation where Frisco’s designated hitter Seth Taylor entered the game to play second base. As a result, the pitcher’s spot took over the second slot in the batting order. Scott Feldman pitched 2 1/3 innings, through the 10th inning, but he did not get a chance to bat. Instead, it was Chavez who came up to the plate in the 11th after pitching the top half of the inning.

Chavez struck out against Tulsa’s Judd Songster, pitched another scoreless frame, and then the Riders won on a walk-off two-run homer by Will Smith in the bottom of the 12th. Current Riders hitting coach Jason Hart also scored on Smith’s home run.

Ben Snyder – August 15, 2011 vs. Tulsa (W, 3-2 – 12 innings)

6029503627_3432c0e6c2_o

The second time a pitcher hit for the RoughRiders came in another game against the Drillers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. It was also a 12-inning contest that ended in a Riders victory. However, this game featured Snyder entering the game as a defensive replacement for Engel Beltre in the eighth inning. Beltre was ejected after arguing a called third strike in the bottom of the seventh. Snyder played right field, and Jonathan Greene moved over to Beltre’s spot in center.

The lefty Snyder ended up getting two at-bats, as the game went to extra innings. Snyder singled to right field in the ninth inning against Tulsa’s Joe Torres. This still stands as the only time a RoughRiders pitcher has recorded a hit. Snyder struck out looking against Stephen Dodson in the 12th. Two batters later, Jared Bolden hit a walk-off single to plate Jose Felix.

Ryan Rodebaugh – June 6, 2013 at San Antonio

8745099582_e587ed0e34_o

Rodebaugh was the most recent pitcher to hit in a game before Ledbetter came up to the plate in the ninth inning yesterday. This was also the only time that a Riders pitcher has batted on the road. It was another occasion where a designated hitter entered the game defensively, but this situation was a lot more complex.

Riders shortstop Hanser Alberto was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a call at first base after grounding into a double play. Odubel Herrera moved from second base to shortstop, Chih-Hsien Chiang took over Alberto’s spot in the batting order playing right field, and Alejandro Selen switched to second base from right field.

However, after Selen’s second strikeout of the game, he was replaced defensively. Herrera took back his original position at second base, and designated hitter Guilder Rodriguez entered at shortstop. Therefore, the new pitcher Arlett Mavare took over Selen’s vacated spot in the lineup.

Mavare pitched a scoreless seventh, and Richard Bleier tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. When Bleier was due up with one out in the ninth, Rodebaugh was called in to pinch hit against San Antonio’s Ryan Kelly. He became the second Riders pitcher to reach base in a game, but it was not on a hit. The second baseman Chris Bisson made a fielding error, allowing Rodebaugh to reach safely. Rodebaugh was promptly doubled off first base after Chiang flied out to the right fielder Kalian Sams.

(Side note: June 6 was the final game Sams played with San Antonio. He hit a home run off Pucetas to lead off the sixth, which was his last hit with the Missions. The Padres promoted Sams to Triple-A Tucson the following day, but he was released by the club on July 19. The Rangers signed Sams to a minor league contract on August 9, and he was assigned to Frisco the next day.)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Pittsburgh chopper – A batted ball that becomes a hit because it bounces over a fielder’s head. Its success depends on a downward chopping swing and a hard infield. Named by and for the 1960 world champion Pittsburgh Pirates, who specialized in such hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm (July 31)

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (61-44 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are starting to turn the corner after a slow resumption from the All-Star break. Texas has taken the first three games from Kansas City and is going for the sweep this afternoon.

Earlier this week, the Rangers traded High Desert infielder Travis Demeritte to the Atlanta organization for pitchers Lucas Harrell (starting today) and Dario Alvarez. Demeritte has been assigned to Class A-Advanced Carolina.

Joey Gallo is back with the Rangers and homered in his return to the big leagues earlier this week.

Plus, Mitch Moreland is blistering hot right now, hitting a walk-off homer last night and has four homers in his last four games (including today)

Texas is reportedly making a push for Jonathan Lucroy, who blocked a potential trade to Cleveland earlier today. The trade deadline is tomorrow. Per Jon Morosi, the Brewers would potentially be seeking Luis Ortiz or Yohander Mendez as part of the return package.

Today: vs. Kansas City, 2:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Lucas Harrell)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (51-57 – T-3rd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express have been sliding a bit lately, but bounced back last night with a 13-7 win over Memphis that featured four home runs.

Preston Beck is hitting .320 (8-for-25) through his first six games with the Express, but hasn’t played since Tuesday. Alex Burg is 4-for-19 with three doubles since going up last week.

Next: Tonight vs. Memphis (SP: RHP Nick Martinez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (63-42 overall, 20-15 second half – 1st place overall, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have thrived late in games the last few nights, scoring come-from-behind wins against Dodgers-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga, joining the Mavericks as one of the best teams in the California League.

Outfielder Scott Heineman is in the midst of a hot stretch for the Mavericks, going 9-for-20 with four homers and six RBI in his last five games.

Former Riders pitcher Reed Garrett makes the start tonight for the Mavs, his second since going down on July 22. Garrett gave up six earned runs in five innings in his first start back with High Desert.

Today: at Rancho Cucamonga, 4:05 (SP: RHP Reed Garrett)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (55-49 overall, 17-17 second half – 4th overall, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

After struggling for awhile, the Crawdads are leveling back out a bit in the last few weeks. They remain in the hunt for the second-half title, sitting 3.5 games behind first-place Hagerstown with 36 games to go.

The ‘Dads are currently taking on Hagerstown but have dropped two of the first three games in the four-game set. The finale is today, and a split would be important toward keeping Hickory close in the race.

Last year’s first-round pick Dillon Tate had another so-so outing on Thursday, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Tate has a 3-3 record and a 5.12 ERA through 17 outings (16 starts) this year.

Today: vs. Hagerstown, 5:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Jonathan Hernandez)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (21-22 overall, 2-3 second half – Northwest League North Division first half champions)

The Indians finished strong in the first half, edging out Padres-affiliated Tri-City to win the first half. They join High Desert as the two teams in the farm system to win the opening half, while the other affiliates are still seeking a playoff berth in the latter half of the season.

Xavier Turner is pacing the Mavericks with a .333 average in his first 28 games. On the mound, the team ERA of 4.01 doesn’t sound all that good, but it puts the Indians fourth in the eight-team Northwest League, where the league’s best ERA is currently 3.42 (Tri-City).

Tonight: vs. Everett, 5:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Tyler Phillips)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: KP Duty – Assignment to the bullpen

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Ring the bell: Cuban star arrives in Frisco

Japan World Baseball Classic

The Rangers announced today that Cuban outfielder Alexeis Bell is joining the RoughRiders starting tonight, and he brings quite the résumé to Frisco.

Bell spent the first 14 years of his career in the Cuban National Series, the same league that current Riders infielder Andy Ibanez played in before coming stateside. He put up some gaudy numbers during his stay in the CNS, posting a triple-slash of .319/.417/.547 with 138 homers and 632 RBI across 659 career games. He also has almost as many walks (431) as strikeouts (439). He was the league MVP in the 2007-08 season, when he set CNS single-season records for homers (31) and RBI (11).

Bell spent last season with Les Capitales de Quebec of the Canadian-American Association and played nine games in the Mexican League earlier this year before signing with the Rangers on July 15. He played in four games in the AZL, hitting .250 (4-for-16) before the Rangers moved him up to Frisco.

On top of all that, he has vast experience representing Cuba on the international stage, including at the 2008 Olympics and the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He certainly qualifies as experienced.

Among all the eye-popping numbers that jump out when looking at Bell’s career stats, the number that may catch the eyes of some Riders fans is his age: 32. That said, Bell told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that, “Physically, I don’t feel 32. I feel strong. I feel young. I feel agile.”

It’s hard to say how long Bell with be with the RoughRiders. Perhaps the Rangers just want him to get a few games under his belt before moving him along (a la Scott Carroll last week) or they could want him to get really comfortable at the Double-A level before moving him along.

A lot of his timetable will likely be determined by his performance. If he’s smoking the ball with Frisco, it’ll be hard to justify keeping him in the minors. However, maybe he doesn’t go up if he’s struggling to adjust to minor league arms.

Either way, it’ll be exciting to see what Bell brings to the squad. His bat should help infuse a lineup that struggled mightily in Midland the last few days.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Bells on – Said of a ball that’s been hit hard

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers