It may feel like Rangers lefty Martin Perez is a grizzled veteran of the Texas League. He debuted with Double-A Frisco at the tail end of 2009 and is in his second full season there. But then you remember that Perez is just a few weeks past his 20th birthday.
It was only five innings, but Perez was perfect on Tuesday night against Arkansas. The lefthander retired all 15 batters he faced before weather forced the game to be called in the top of the 6th with Frisco leading 1-0. He retired the hot hitting Mike Trout on a pair of fly outs, and on the night he recorded seven outs on the ground, five in the air and three by strikeout. He threw 42 of his 67 pitches for strikes.
Perez has found his stride again after an up-and-down 2010, when he had flashes of dominance early on but went 5-8, 5.96 in 100 innings on the season. Going back to his last start, he's now thrown 10 straight scoreless innings allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out 12. And he's doing this while still being the Texas League's youngest pitcher.
• Tuesday night was a good night to be a Rangers pitching prospect. In addition to Perez's heroics, righthander Neil Ramirez continued emerging as one of the stories of the early minor league season. After he threw six shutout innings against Omaha's prospect-laden lineup in a spot start for Triple-A Round Rock last week, the Rangers elected to have the 21-year-old stick around, and he responded with another sterling performance last night.
Ramirez struck out nine over five innings against Oklahoma City on Tuesday, permitting only an unearned run on two hits and three walks. Including Ramirez's first start of the year at high Class A Myrtle Beach, he's yet to allow an earned run this season in 15 2/3 innings of work. He's also given up just six hits while racking up a 23-4 K-BB ratio.
• Yankees lefthander Manny Banuelos returned to the mound after missing a start with blister problems. Making his second start of the year, Banuelos didn't allow an earned run over four innings for Double-A Trenton against Richmond. He struck out four, walked two and gave up two hits. The 20-year-old hasn't allowed an earned run in eight innings over his two starts.
• The low Class A South Atlantic League hasn't offered much resistance for Red Sox righthander Anthony Ranaudo so far. You'd expect a premium college draftee to dominate low Class A anyway, and that's what Ranaudo's done through three starts. He held Charleston to a run on three hits over six innings last night, though the RiverDogs' third-inning score snapped Ranaudo's 11-inning scoreless streak to start the season. He has allowed just eight hits in 15 innings of work with 15 strikeouts, though the warts on his résumé so far are his seven walks and two hit batters.
• White Sox center fielder Trayce Thompson was off to a fairly quiet start, hitting just .200/.308/.422 through his first 45 at-bats for low Class A Kannapolis, though he did have three home runs. That changed last night, as the athletic 20-year-old homered twice and went 4-for-5 against West Virginia, raising his line to .260/.351/.580 in the process. His five homers moves him into a tie for the South Atlantic League lead.
• Speaking of homers, hulking Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit his seventh long ball of the year for Double-A Mobile, tying him for the overall minor league lead with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Jorge Vazquez. The 23-year-old went 2-for-4 in the game, improving to .350/.481/.900 in 40 at-bats. He's also drawn 11 walks in 12 games, not counting three intentionals.
• Power-armed Cubs righthander Rafael Dolis looked like he might be on his way to a big night, not allowing a hit through 2 1/3 innings while striking out three for Double-A Tennessee. But Dolis had to leave his start at Carolina in the third with lower back spasms, the result of tweaking his back when he slipped on the mound delivering a pitch. He'd been pitching consistently at 95-96 mph before leaving the game. (Ben Badler)
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