Texas League North (Affiliate, Record, Last Week’s Record)
Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals), 29-23, 4-1
Tulsa Drillers (Los Angeles Dodgers), 27-24, 4-1
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals), 25-26, 4-1
Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels), 21-31, 2-3
Texas League South (Affiliate, Record, Last Week’s Record)
Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros), 31-20, 3-2
Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers), 30-21, 0-5
Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s), 26-25, 2-3
San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres), 16-35, 1-4
Leading Off, Springfield Cardinals
The first of three teams that had a four win week. The St. Louis affiliate began the week with a sweep of the Frisco RoughRiders at home before heading south to Midland for one loss and a victory to begin the month of June.
The Cardinals used superb pitching outings from Daniel Poncedeleon (12.2 IP 9 H 4 BB 0 ER 10 K) and Andrew Morales (7 IP 3 H 1 BB 1 ER 6 K) to fuel their positive stretch of games. Leadoff man Harrison Bader, MLB.Com’s 10th Ranked Prospect in the Cardinals organization, hit .364 with two home runs in the Frisco series sweep.
Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco
Batting Second, Tulsa Drillers
Tulsa also had a 4-1 week and also took advantage of playing the cold RoughRiders (see below). The Drillers won two of three in Midland –including a cumulative score of 19-5 in their two victories– before sweeping a double-header in a rain-shortened one day series in Frisco.
The Drillers pitching staff has been superb this year and threw to their full potential in Frisco.Brock Stewart (Texas League leading 1.09 ERA!) and Scott Barlow (1.88 ERA, second in Texas League) each stifled the powerful lineup of the RoughRiders, sans Isiah Kiner-Falefa but including Major League rehabber Robinson Chirinos.
In The Hole, Northwest Arkansas Naturals
The third of the 4-1 teams, Northwest Arkansas went into Corpus Christi and handed the Hooks the only two losses they would suffer in this five game period. They added a win against San Antonio to begin June. 24-year old outfielder Logan Moon began the week and subsequently ended May strong. He went 6-for-9 on May 27th and 28th with a pair of doubles and runs batted in.
Batting Cleanup, Corpus Christi Hooks
A 3-2 week may not look as good as it sounds, but it was just enough for the Houston Astros loaded Double-A affiliate to jump Frisco for first place in the Texas League South Division. The Hooks continue to get top level play from nationally acclaimed prospect and last summer’s 2nd overall pick Alex Bregman.
Derek Fisher was thought to be dealt to the Phillies during last December’s Winter Meetings. Even with a lions share of outfield depth, the ‘Stros elected to instead trade former top pick Mark Appel. Fisher is and has always been highly regarded but perhaps not highly touted. The toolsy outfielder does it all and has been on fire this week. Three multi-hit games led the way for the 2014 first round compensation pick. Fisher slugged .579 with a 1.057 OPS and hit .323 in the month of May, where his team went a dazzling 21-8.
Hitting 5th, Midland RockHounds
Already mentioned by the mouthful so far, the RockHounds played a lot of competition this week and are the first under .500 team on this weekly list that splits right down the middle. Brett Vertigan provided some punch atop the batting order with five hits, spanning three games against Tulsa and the series opener against Springfield. In the May finale, reliever Ben Bracewell took over following a rain delay and pitched four scoreless innings for a clutch win.
Coming in at 6th, Arkansas Travelers
The Los Angeles Angels’ affiliate lost three games to two wins over the past six days. They saw the (new) top and bottom of the South Division and split each series to Corpus and San Antone according to how the standings would predict it. Baylor Bear grad Cal Towey swung a very hot stick with three multi-hit games, including a three-hit game. He hit a scorching .471 with eight total hits in five games and 17 at bats. He also walked four times (one intentional).
The week began with two wins and two strong pitching performances. Jordan Kipper threw 6.2 innings allowing just one run and five hits. The following day Zach Nuding did not allow a run in six innings in his season debut for the Travelers.
Not so Lucky 7th, San Antonio Missions
The Missions jump a spot in this week’s power rankings, but only registered one win. The Missions are struggling as an offense with only Nick Torres (.292) hitting above .253. San Antonio’s offense came alive in the June opener with Torres supplying two hits. Torres racked up a bountiful nine hits in four games to end the week with a 1.353 OPS.
And 8th, Frisco RoughRiders
After starting the season red hot at 30-13, the Texas Rangers talented Double-A team has lost eight straight. Despite a large losing streak, they remain in prime position to claim the first half title and just .5 games behind Corpus Christi for first place in the South, indicative of just how good they were through 43 contests. The Riders lost the eight games by just 14 runs, a sign that the ship will soon be righted.
Frisco starting pitchers this week allowed just eight runs in 26.2 IP (2.75 ERA). Like I said, ship should soon be righted for the 30-win RoughRiders.
Next Week: June 2 to June 8