July’s peek into the minors


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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 July.

Triple-A Round Rock
High – Brett Nicholas, C (6-2, 215)
Nicholas is Rule 5 eligible next year, but he has certainly done his best to vie for a big league job next season – especially in the month of July. Nicholas raked, posting a slash line of .354/.386/.469 for the month of July. Drafted by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, we’ll see how much they value the product of Missouri-Columbia very soon. I believe he deserves a shot to play come September.

Low – Injuries
Hang with me here. There have been so many injuries to the big league club that so many Triple-A guys have been called up. The guys that were moved from the lower areas of the farm system haven’t really disappointed, so count this as a plus. Everyone is doing relatively well.

Double-A Frisco
High – Odubel Herrera, 2B (5-11, 200)
Herrera had a great month. No, he didn’t get on base at an extremely high rate, but every time he made contact with the ball, good things happened. A slash line of .355/.424/.418 represents that. He projects, at this point, like a dream for major league managers to put at No. 2 or No. 9 on a regular basis in their lineup.

Low – Drew Robinson, RF (6-1, 200)
Robinson, in his fourth professional season, has had a very rough year.  The 22-year-old former fourth-round draft pick has taken a large step backwards in his development and, needing to be protected on the 40-man roster next season, he may be one of the many odd men out.  Robinson actually had one of his better months of the season in July, but that’s definitely not saying much.  His slash line was .211/.267/.461, which at least was better than the .157/.253/.257 of June.  On the season, Robinson is hitting just .192 in 92 games.

High-A Myrtle Beach
High – Christopher Bostick, 2B (5-11, 185)
I’ve given my fair hate on Bostick – he has been completely inconsistent. The month of July proved that, just on a positive note. Bostick hit .330 during the month with a slugging percentage of .509. He’s on one month, off one month – let’s hope he stays on in August.

Low – Cody Buckel, P (6-1, 185)
I’m only putting Buckel on a low to get his name back out there. This is actually a high. Buckel, one of the Rangers’ highest prospects a couple years ago, used to have pinpoint precision with each pitch, but he got the yips at a young age – much like Mark Wholers and Rick Ankiel. It seems he may be rebounding – he threw four scoreless innings on the last night of July and struck out three. Let’s hope the kid can get over whatever it is that keeps him from throwing strikes. Friday was a good night for Cody.

Low-A Hickory
High – Travis Demeritte, 2B (6-0, 178)
Born in 1994, this kid is hitting for surprising power – especially for a second baseman. His average is low, but he is hitting for power that is very odd for a second baseman, especially at his age. He has 23 homers. That’s all you need to know.

Low – None.
At his point, lots of rookies and first-year guys are stepping up and playing well. There is a lot to look forward to in the Rangers’ farm system – as long as they are not traded off.