The results this season for the Texas Rangers’ minor-league teams haven’t been much to celebrate, with none of their four full-season teams posting a winning record in the first half.
Three of them are still under .500, but the Rangers are actually celebrating what they have seen of late.
The clubs have gotten better as the players have been unleashed after many were reined in to start the year, especially at the lower levels. The goal was to set a foundation for players to have success, and they are starting seeing positives as the clubs enter the final month of the season.
The best example is Low A Hickory in the South Atlantic League. The Crawdads entered Friday tied for first place and with a pitching staff that has stepped on the gas. The best had been Kyle Cody, who will spend the final month in High A Down East of the Carolina League after posting six quality starts in his past eight outings.
“We’ve got some interesting guys that are doing OK and playing well. I’m really happy with them,” farm director Jayce Tingler said. “We had to take some lumps early. That was part of the deal. We took some weapons away, but we wanted to focus on some basic stuff. I’m looking at where we’re at now and am really thankful we went through that tough process.”
The Rangers are also seeing improved play from top prospect Leody Taveras, a center fielder, for Hickory, which staggered to a 27-43 first-half mark. Along with Spokane, the Rangers’ short-season team, and Down East, which is 20-21, the Rangers might not be shut out of the postseason.
The last time they had a season with no affiliates in the postseason was 2006.
Also down on the farm:
▪ Left-hander Yohander Mendez, the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, is on the disabled list at Double A Frisco with neck stiffness but is expected to return soon. The injury, albeit expected to only cost him one more start, could keep him from a late-season promotion to Triple A Round Rock.
▪ Right-hander Alex Speas, the Rangers’ second-round pick in 2016, is working out of the bullpen at Spokane as the Rangers give him a chance to quickly apply things he is working on rather than keep him in the six-man rotation.
▪ Chris Seise, the Rangers’ second first-round pick in the June draft, was promoted from the Arizona Rookie League to Spokane. The 18-year-old shortstop, selected 29th overall, batted .336 (39 for 116) with 11 extra-base hits in Arizona.