The Rangers whitewashed the White Sox last night by a count of 4-0, but fans of the organization might point with equal pride to performances by two of the system's finest prospects.
A solo home run by low Class A Hickory shortstop Jurickson Profar, leading off the ninth inning, tied the game and allowed the Crawdads to survive for an additional two innings. They ultimately lost to Augusta 6-5 in 11 innings, but the 18-year-old Profar showed off the wide range of tools that mark him as a big leaguer in the making.
Batting lefthanded, the switch-hitting Profar took GreenJackets closer Stephen Harrold deep to right field for his only hit in three official at-bats. He reached base two other times via hit by pitch and walk, scoring in the latter instance after stealing third base.
In an active six-game hitting streak, Profar has batted 8-for-23 (.348) with four doubles, a homer, six runs scored, three walks (against five strikeouts) and a stolen base. His average climbed from .197 to .232 in the span of a week. Billed as a stronger hitter from the right side, he's obliged by hitting 8-for-24 (.333) as a righthanded hitter with two of his four homers this season.
Double-A Frisco lefty Martin Perez trails only Tulsa's Juan Nicasio for the Texas League lead in ERA (2.66) and strikeouts (42), signifying that the 20-year-old phenom has put last year's TL struggles behind him. Perez carried a shutout into the eighth inning yesterday before yielding two runs to Midland. The Rough Riders secured victory with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Perez allowed two runs on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and allowing only one walk. With 19 walks on the year, Perez also ranks in a tie for second in that category, and prior to yesterday he had walked four batters in three of his previous four starts. So while his walk rate still registers north of four per nine innings this season, Perez's stuff in the zone has been much more crisp this season than last. He's allowing far fewer hits (just 31 in 40 2/3 innings) and home runs (one) when batters do connect.
• After consecutive scoreless appearances, high Class A Myrtle Beach righthander Joe Wieland yielded one run in 6 1/3 innings yesterday in notching his third straight win and assuming the Carolina League lead with a 1.62 ERA. With eight strikeouts, the 21-year-old Rangers prospect moved to within four of league leader Jake Odorizzi.
“Everything has been working,” Wieland told SCnow.com. “I have been locating my fastball, staying down on the ball and staying out of trouble. I get a chance to put them away and that’s what I’m doing.”
AROUND THE MINORS
• High Class A San Jose third baseman Chris Dominguez smashed a two-run home run in the first inning and his Giants seemed well on their way to victory with a 4-0 lead heading into the second. San Jose won the game against Stockton, all right, but only after rallying to tie the Ports in the 11th, 13th and 18th innings in a wild contest that took 5:38 to complete. The Giants actually did more than tie in the 18th, as they answered a three-run outburst by Stockton with four runs of their own to win 10-9.
The 24-year-old Dominguez went 5-for-8 with four RBIs, while hitting his ninth homer of the year. Center fielder Gary Brown went 3-for-8 with a run scored. He tried to take matters into his own hands in the 15th inning, singling up the middle, stealing second (his 23rd of the year) and then being gunned down in a steal attempt of third (11th).
• With the Giants' Triple-A affiliate, Brandon Belt played right field and went 2-for-6 with a double. In 23 games since his demotion to Fresno, he's batting .384/.525/.562 with nine extra-base hits and 24 walks.
• With less than a third of the season in the books, Triple-A Tucson first baseman Anthony Rizzo already has bashed 12 home runs and driven in 50 runs—meaning that he's already half way to his 2010 totals of 25 and 100. The 21-year-old Padres farmhand registered his first two-homer game for the organization yesterday, going 2-for-4 with a walk and five RBIs. Rizzo's 50 RBIs (in 36 games) pace the minors, and No. 2 man Lou Montanez trails by 10. In case you're wondering, the modern Pacific Coast League single-season record belongs to Ron Kittle, who drove in 144 runs in 1982.
• Brad Emaus collected zero extra-base hits in his 14 games with the Mets this season, but after his Rule 5 return to Toronto and subsequent trade to the Rockies, he's picked up the pace back in the Pacific Coast League. The second baseman homered twice yesterday for Triple-A Colorado Springs, and all four of his extra-base hits for the Sky Sox have been home runs, three of them coming at home.
• Double-A Montgomery's Stephen Vogt (Rays) plays a couple games at catcher and then a couple in left field, occasionally switching to first base mid-stream. The 26-year-old's bat has played at every position. Vogt is batting .324/.358/.556 in 142 at-bats on the year, and on his current six-game hitting streak he's batting 12-for-25 (.480) with two homers and two doubles.
• Triple-A Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets) smacked a double (his 14th) and a triple (second) to assume the International League lead with 22 extra-base hits. He's batting .312/.416/.567 with six homers and 24 walks in 141 at-bats for the Bisons. If you're scoring at home, that's back to back Azusa Pacific (Calif.) products in Vogt and Nieuwenhuis.
• Mets right fielder Cesar Puello started slowly for high Class A St. Lucie this season, but his luck may be turning. He connected for his first home run of the season yesterday (he hit his first last year on July 23), while going 1-for-4 in a blowout loss to Brevard County. Puello, 20, has notched hits in five of his past six games, batting 7-for-23 (.304) with a homer, a double, four walks and three steals in that time.
• Rockies lefty Tyler Matzek fell to 0-3, 9.22 and now leads the high Class A California League with 36 walks (in 27 1/3 innings). Yesterday, he tied his season high by allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a road start at Bakersfield.
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