At the end of each month during the regular season, at least up until September call-ups, I will be doing an article detailing a few ups and downs in the Texas Rangers’ farm system.
I’ll take a little peek into each level, from Triple-A Round Rock down to Low-A Hickory.
Yes, the Texas Rangers organization has lost some at-or-near Major League ready prospects over the past few years in an attempt to acquire talent to help push them into World Series contention.
Some of those deals worked out, some of them did not. That’s why they say there is no sure thing, and that’s why you see some general managers hold on to their top-level prospects for dear life.
But the Texas Rangers have done a very good job of re-stocking through the draft and signing international free agents, which has allowed them to feel comfortable unloading some of their Minor League talent via trade in recent years.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at each affiliate’s highs and lows at the end of June.
AAA Round Rock
High – Neftali Feliz, RHP (6-3, 225)
It is well-known how disappointing the start of Feliz’s 2014 season has been. He was in line to regain the closer role with the departure of Joe Nathan in the offseason, but his own ineffectiveness combined with a very strong Spring Training from Joakim Soria ended up being Feliz’s downfall. After a disappointing month of May, Feliz put forth a very solid June, pitching in 10 games and only allowing three earned runs in 12 innings pitched while striking out 13. With that, it was no surprise to see him get called up to the big league roster just prior to the Rangers’ series with the New York Mets.
Low – Josh Wilson, 2B (6-0, 175)
Wilson had a decent Spring Training that allowed him to break onto the Major League roster, but he was sent down to Round Rock when the Rangers decided to call up Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas in May. The 33-year-old has done nothing in Triple-A to show he deserves to be called back up, and June was just as bad for him as May was. Wilson posted a slash line of .226/.278/.262 with no home runs and just six RBIs last month, and quite possibly the most alarming stat is his measly three walks in 90 plate appearances.
High – Alec Asher, RHP (6-4, 225)
While a lot of attention was paid to each Luke Jackson start prior to him being called up to Round Rock at the end of the month, Asher quietly put up a very good month of June. Asher was 2-2 in five starts, but he just wasn’t receiving much run support. He pitched 28 innings, struck out 26 while only walking two, posted an ERA of 1.93 for the month and held opponents to a slash line of .224/.239/.336.
Low – Drew Robinson, OF (6-1, 200)
Robinson has hit a snag at this point in his young career. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft, the 22-year-old has struggled mightily at the Double-A level. In June, Robinson batted at a .157 clip in 20 games, struck out 32 times in 79 plate appearances and only drove in seven runs.
High-A Myrtle Beach
High – Alex Claudio, LHP (6-3, 160)
Claudio had a fantastic June, pitching in six games – starting three – and posting a fantastic 0.48 ERA in 18 2/3 innings pitched. He struck out 21 batters, walked four and recorded two saves, showing just how versatile he can be for the pitching staff. It was obviously no surprise to see him moved up to Frisco at the end of the month.
Low – Christopher Bostick, 2B (5-11, 185)
After having decent months of April and May, Bostick would like to have a do-over for the month of June. A slash line of .169/.196/.202 in 23 games just flat out hurts the eyes, and the 21-year-old just couldn’t get on base, walking just twice and striking out 25 times.
High – Joe Jackson, C (6-1, 180)
Jackson followed up an explosive month of May with a very good June. The descendant of “Shoeless Joe” had a slash line of .302/.413/.453, and he just flat out was getting on base with regularity, recording 26 hits and walking 16 times while driving in 19 runs. Outfielder Ryan Cordell also had a very good month, but Jackson’s versatility – he can also play the outfield and DH every now and then – gives him the nod from me.
Low – Ronald Guzman, 1B (6-5, 205)
At the big league level, your ideal first baseman will have some pop, hit for a decent average, draw walks and offer some middle-of-the-order protection. There is still a lot of time for Guzman to grow his game – he’s just 19 years old – but, so far in his young career, he has not been able to do any of that. Guzman posted a slash line of .200/.293/.329 and hit just one home run while drawing 11 walks and striking out 28 times in 99 plate appearances.