Earlier this week the Frisco RoughRiders squared off with the Midland Rockhounds in Midland for a four game set. Frisco is the double A affiliate of the Texas Rangers while Midland is the double A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. I had the fortune of catching the latter three of these games. I am not a professional scout but none the less I would like to share my observations on the future Texas Rangers I got to see in person.
Monday’s game featured two top Texas Rangers prospects in Alec Asher and Joey Gallo. Asher’s stuff was impressive. He seemed to command both sides of the plate with his fastball and his breaking ball had nice late break. Unfortunately Asher was not able to work deep into the game because the Rockhounds worked the counts well against Asher. He gave up only a few well hit balls including a homerun to lefty hitting Anthony Aliotti. Asher surrendered five hits and a walk over four innings. It was disappointing to see Asher out of the game so early, he had already amassed five strikeouts in impressive fashion.
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Gallo was never given a chance to impact the game offensively. He received only three plate appearances because Frisco mustered only two hits over nine innings against Midland. Knowing Gallo’s promise I was beyond excited to get a chance to see Gallo swing away. I was left wanting more. Gallo was walked twice and struck out once. He saw next to nothing to swing at, everything near the zone was a breaking ball and Gallo appeared to be swinging as if he was looking for fastballs. Gallo failed to show any ability to adjust his swing to an offspeed offering even though his eye at the plate did not seem to be an issue. He did not swing at balls out of the zone which was promising. At least two of the pitches Gallo missed in his at bat that ended in a strikeout were breaking balls. Almost nothing else was remarkable about the Frisco players in Monday’s game.
Tuesday’s game featured Oakland’s top prospect Addison Russell who followed a leadoff walk in the bottom of the second with an RBI double. Russell dazzled in every aspect of the game. Fielding well and throwing well. His only error was comical. Russell one hopped a throw into first base during warm up between innings and first baseman Max Muncy, another top A’s prospect, did not manage to field it allowing it to skip up against the camera well. To top off his highlights Russell caught a throw down to second on a steal attempt while leaping over the runner and was able to complete the tag while still in the air.
Frisco hitters faired better in game three, scoring two runs on nine hits, but it was not enough as they fell to Midland again. Gallo was handled carefully by the Midland pitching staff gathering an early walk. He was struck out in his next plate appearance while once again looking bad against the breaking ball. Gallo’s third plate appearance ended in a flyout to center on a lazy fly ball. In his fourth plate appearance he caught the defense in the overshift by bunting a perfect roller down the third baseline. Overall, it was disappointing to watching Midland dance around Gallo all series but seeing Gallo in person was enlightening. Gallo’s stance is absurdly wide. It is hard to imagine him generating any power or having any balance from the stance. He also over rotates the bat head well over his head and keeps his hands fairly high. It will be intriguing to see if the Rangers will encourage Gallo to develop a more traditional stance.
Frisco’s game three starter was Edwar Cabrera. Cabrera flashed exciting stuff. The radar gun in the stadium was not operating, but Cabrera’s fastball seemed to be an excellent pitch. He did not command the pitch early in the game walking three of his eventual four in the first inning. Cabrera had some dominant innings facing only three hitters in both the second and third inning. He then got hit hard again in the fourth. The lefty Roughrider looked good for a player that has received next to no hype. Cabrera k’d three Rockhounds in six middling innings. Ryan Rua, one of the Rangers solid middle infield prospects, played first as opposed to his usual secondbase. Rua was nothing special at the plate but handled first surprisingly well which may not be a surprise after all given Rua’s athleticism. It is hard not to root for a the guy.
Guilder Rodriguez played shortstop for the riders and did not hit well but played solid defense throughout the series. First baseman Trevor Adams, catcher Tomas Telis and second baseman Odubel Herrera all gathered two hits in this game. Telis’s plate approach was reminiscent of Rougned Odor’s high leg kick and violent swing. It certainly makes an entertaining at bat.
Game four ended up suspended and rescheduled after three and a half frames due to an enormous storm. Russell shined in the first inning for Midland with a big hit. Frisco’s Guilder Rodriguez walked and stole second, advancing to third when Trevor Adams singled. The two combined for a thrilling double steal on which Midland made the mistake of throwing through on Adams’s half of the steal which allowed Rodriguez to swipe home. Drew Robinson, who did not play in game three, got a chance at third in game four, allowing Joey Gallo to have a day off. Robinson did not appear the least bit out of place. He demonstrated quick feet, fast hands and an excellent arm. One throw in particular just about tore the Frisco first baseman’s glove off and Robinson barely appeared to be trying with only one small crow hop and a small wind up.
All in all, the Roughriders looked good in a small sample despite losing the two games that were actually completed. It is always exciting to see the future Rangers play.