Photo Credit: Sam Hodde
Texas League North (Affiliate, Record, Last Week’s Record)
Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals), 36-29, 5-2
Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels), 28-37, 4-3
Tulsa Drillers (Los Angeles Dodgers), 36-28, 3-4
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals), 29-36, 2-5
Texas League South (Affiliate, Record, Last Week’s Record)
Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros), 42-22, 6-1
Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s), 31-33, 4-3
Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers), 36-27, 3-4
San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres), 19-45, 1-6
Leading Off, Corpus Christi Hooks
Corpus is the closest of any Texas League team to clinching a first half title. Having leaped ahead of Frisco by continuing their red hot play, the Hooks at 42-22 need to win just one more of their games accompanied by a RoughRiders loss to win the South First Half title.
The Astros Double-A affiliate is sending a South-best eight players to the Texas League All-Star Game, which will be played on June 28th in Springfield, Missouri, the home of the Cardinals.
Top prospect and MLB.Com’s 18th overall prospect Alex Bregman headlines the group and will be joined by fellow infielder J.D. Davis, the Texas League Player of the Month for May. Outfielders Derek Fisher and Teoscar Hernandez, who homered twice on Wednesday in Frisco, will join them as well as starting pitchers David Paulino and Brian Holmes. RelieversKeegan Yuhl and Brendan McCurry round out a group occupying a heavy portion of the South All-Star team.
Batting Second, Springfield Cardinals
Springfield jumped Tulsa for the top spot in the North with a a 5-2 week. The Drillers, however, stand just .5 games behind them with six to go in the first half of the season. The first half of the season ends with these teams squaring off four times in Tulsa.
Joining them to participate on the field are outfielder Harrison Bader, infielders Luke Voit, Paul DeJong and Bruce Caldwell, catcher Carson Kelly and pitcher Mike Mayers, who was promoted to Triple-A Memphis on May 17th.
In The Hole, Midland RockHounds
A less than desirable first half was put aside as memories of back-to-back Texas League championships—and thus an abundant all-around participation in the All-Star Game—had Midland enjoy a solid 4-3 week.
Accompanying them will be Athletics’ top and MLB.com’s 19th overall ranked prospect Franklin Barreto, fellow top-100 prospect Matt Chapman as well as infielder Wade Kirkland, catcherBeau Taylor, transitioned starting pitcher Corey Walter and reliever Andres Avila.
Batting Cleanup, Arkansas Travelers
The other 4-3 team and the final Texas League squad to finish above .500 for the week (one up from last week), the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sandwiched a four-game sweep of Northwest Arkansas inside two losses to Springfield and one to Tulsa.
2B/DH Alex Yarbrough had nine hits from June 9-14 with three doubles and stole a base. 1BEric Aguilera had two doubles, a triple and hit his eighth home run. Recently promoted 3B/1B/OF Cal Towey was selected as a 2016 Texas League All-Star as was starting pitcherJordan Kipper.
Hitting 5th, Frisco RoughRiders
Nothing lasts forever, and the Riders’ 30-13 pace was going too hard to sustain, but they’ve fallen a little harder than planned or anticipated. Combined with Corpus Christi’s red hot May and continued hot play into June, the Riders find themselves with an elimination number of one. Top prospect Lewis Brinson was placed on the Disabled List with a shoulder strain, a move largely described as precautionary. Still, go away, negative material.
Frisco’s hot start and overall very great first half has still rewarded them with seven All-Star selections. Ryan Cordell, the Texas League’s Player of the Month for April heads the group alongside blossoming star Ronald Guzman. Infielder/catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa was selected as one of the two Texas League catchers. This is his first year at the position. 1B/OF Preston Beck rounds out the bats.
Coming in at 6th, Tulsa Drillers
A down week for Tulsa dropped them from the top spot in the North but they are just .5 back and have a four-game home series with the dueling Springfield still to play. Despite a week not desired, accolades are still in order, and a lot of them at that.
The Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate will have the most representatives in the Texas League All-Star game with 10. Starting pitching has been the lynchpin for the Drillers this season and they will send four starting pitchers—Trevor Oaks, Chase De Jong, Scott Barlow and now Oklahoma City Dodger Brock Stewart—to Springfield.
On the other side of the ball they will have infielder Drew Maggi, who De Jong says is the team’s first half MVP, infielder Willie Calhoun, outfielders Alex Verdugo (MLB.com’s 6th ranked Dodgers prospect) and Jacob Scavuzzo. Also, the club also has the distinct honor of sending catchers Kyle Farmer and Paul Hoenecke to the game. Farmer has not played since May 29th with an injury but is a career .300 hitter in the Minors.
Not so Lucky 7th, Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Fourth place out of four sounds a whole heck of a lot worse than seven games under .500. Not that excuses are being made, but this first half hasn’t been too bad for Northwest Arkansas who spent a large portion of the first half without Raul Mondesi Jr.
This past week started off on a high note (and a win) with Jake Junis delivering six strong innings against potent Tulsa, allowing just one run and striking out four. Batters are hitting .200 against him this season and Junis leads the Texas League with 75 strikeouts. His teammateAlec Mills is second with 65. Mills and reliever Kevin McCarthy will be the pair of pitchers in Springfield for the Naturals along with a pair of hitters, corner infielders Mauricio Ramos andFrank Schwindel.
And 8th, San Antonio Missions
A first half to forget for San Antonio still has some highlights, and the team will send four players, two on each side of the field, to the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game in Springfield.
Relievers Adam Climber and Jason Jester will head north to partake, as will shortstop and the club’s 5th ranked prospect (and their third shortstop in a deep infield system) Jose Rondon and outfielder Nick Torres, who was selected as a designated hitter despite playing all 59 of his games this season in left field and making just two errors. All-Star Game formatting was never something that made a whole lot of sense, but that is neither here nor there because Torres will be in Springfield with three teammates.