Texas Rangers

Rangers Minor League Insider: Round Rock, High Desert advance in postseason

Nomar Mazara, a prime minor league prospect, may be a candidate for next year’s Rangers outfield.
Nomar Mazara, a prime minor league prospect, may be a candidate for next year’s Rangers outfield. Star-Telegram

The minor league season is just about over, but Triple A Round Rock and High A High Desert are still alive in the postseason.

Both advanced in the playoffs with first-round series wins.

Round Rock advanced to play the winner between El Paso and Fresno in the Pacific Coast League Championship. The Express will host Games 1 and 2 at Dell Diamond on Tuesday and Wednesday.

High Desert opened the second round of the California League playoffs Saturday in Game 1 of a best-of-five series against Rancho Cucamonga. The Mavericks host Game 3 and if necessary, Games 4, on Monday and Tuesday.

Infielder Beamer Weems led the Express with five RBI in the three-game sweep, including a grand slam in Game 2.

It was a summer in which eight minor leaguers were traded away, including five prime prospects in the Cole Hamels trade: catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams and pitchers Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher.

Here are our awards for the 2015 season:

Most outstanding player: Outfielder Lewis Brinson, a 2012 first-round pick, started putting all the tools together this summer. Brinson, 21, started the season in High Desert where he hit .337 with 42 extra-base hits and 42 RBI in 64 games. In 28 Double A games with Frisco, Brinson hits .291 with 15 extra-base hits. Since moving up to Round Rock on Aug. 31, he has been on fire. He has 16 hits in his first 11 Triple A games and only been held hitless in two.

Top arm: Right-hander Ariel Jurado opened some eyes with his consistency in his first season with Low A Hickory. The 19-year-old went 12-1 with a 2.45 ERA for the Crawdads. He struck out 95 and walked 12 in 99 innings. He only gave up more than two earned runs in three of 15 starts this season.

On the verge: Nomar Mazara, 20, started strongly with Frisco, belting 22 doubles and 13 homers while hitting .284 in 111 games before being moved up on Aug. 18. At Round Rock, he’s impressed even more and could be a contender for the Rangers’ outfield next spring. He’s hitting over .350 with the Express and hasn’t made an error since moving up.

Best first impression No. 1: First-round pick (No. 4 overall) right-hander Dillon Tate has been impressive in his first 11 professional innings. He’s allowed only one run on five hits and struck out 10 with three walks, mostly with Hickory.

Best first impression No. 2: Outfielder LeDarious Clark, a 12th-round selection in June’s draft, bolted out of the gate for Spokane, batting .436 with 34 hits, 16 RBI, 23 runs scored and 12 stolen bases in his first 19 games.

Best show of power: Drew Robinson struggled for much of the year but his power stroke seldom wavered. In 126 games with Frisco, the 23-year-old 2010 fourth-round draft pick hit 21 homers, 25 doubles and five triples with 66 RBI. Although his average hovered in the low-to-mid .200 range for most of the season, and he struck out 143 times, he managed to walk 87 times.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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