On the good news front, look for Rangers to be in the running to sign Luis Ayala, and give him what MN was not willing to: a setup role. He still throws 91 (61%) with a hard 84mph slider (28%) and an 83mph change (11%). It would be an excellent sign and hopefully prevent the loss of some good prospects at the trade deadline trying to rent a reliever.
Saving that, they are likely to sniff Luis Vizaino and see if he might take a brief minors stint to work on his control and approach. He appears to have lost faith in/command of his FB as he is pitching backwards now. Though he still throws it up there at 91, he is only throwing is 40% of the time. The last thing we need is another Jennings on the roster but Vizcaino is worth a try if he is willing to work the kinks out in OKC.
On the bad news front, don't look now but Seattle is only 2.5 back right behind the Angels. As for the Ranger's offense, TR Sullivan offers these notes about some depressingly historic lows and their June swoon:
Among American League teams, the Rangers offense is:
* Last in percentage of pitches taken.
* Have the highest percentage of swings and misses.
* Have the highest percentage of swinging at the first pitch.
* Second lowest percentage of walks per plate appearances. Only the Mariners are worse.
* They have the third highest slugging percentage but the fourth lowest on-base percentage of any team in the league.
* They are last in strikeouts per at-bat.
* They are hitting .249 against left-handed pitchers, third lowest in the league.
For the month of June:
*They are last in the American League in batting average (.218), on-base percentage (.277) and slugging percentage (.363).
* Also runs scored. They have scored 60. The Rays lead with 107.
* Their .218 batting average for June would be the the lowest by an American League in this decade and the lowest since the Mariners hit .216 for June in 1988. The Rangers hit .310 for the month of June in 1996 when they won their first division title.
* Their .277 on-base percentage would be the lowest by an American League team since 1981.
All-star game on 7/15. Voting ends tomorrow.
With lower-level promotions in the offering these guys might be on the bubble: Rupe, Lizard, Corey, Gordon, Hinckley, Hamilton
Next up to the bigs: Mags, Moscoso, Hunter, Borbon
Kirkman to the DL (hbp ankle); Smoak activated. Guilder Rodriguez (Rody) is on the inactive list for unspecified reasons and hasn't played in 3 weeks.
The Frisco mash unit to date: Kirkman, Schlact, Poveda, Diaz, Laughter, Nipples (rehab)
All-star game is 7/2 I think. Smoak and Pina voted in as starters while Kiker and Poveda will join them.
With lower-level promotions in the offering these guys might be on the bubble: Diaz, Torres, Laughter, Hyatt
Candidates for promotion: Gentry, Ballard, Garr, Vaughan, B.Jones, Smoak
All-star game tonight. 2B Matt Lawson voted in as a starter with org soldier and HighA squatter (1b/3b) Mauro Gomez voted in as a reserve. Lawson was one of my pres-season sleepers and while he is hitting .300 with above-average power for a MIF, his plate discipline has been awful. Hopefully, he improves his approach in the second half.
Most of the relief core merits a promotion with Phillips (as a reliever), Falcon, Young, Reed, Flores and possibly Tatusko (as a starter) leading the way. The only thing holding them back is the shitty relief cores in AAA and AA blocking their way to Frisco. Look for some of the worst relievers in the high minors to be released or sent to the DL to make room for them.
OT: I really hope Scheppers and Mendonca get assigned here and think they will if they get signed by early to mid-July.
All-star game tonight. RF Mike Bianucci (Nooch) voted in as a starter with inf/of Eric Morrison and CF David Paisano joining him as reserves. Nooch was one of my preseason breakout candidates and the player I picked (not in my top 20 prospects) to hit for the most power in the system. Joon-Hi Nam and Martin Perez made the squad as well.
It is likely the Bianucci and Morrison get promoted to highA tomorrow or Wednesday (with Hollander also being a candidate). If not, someone should simply be shot. Look for Miguel Alfonso and/or another OF from Spokane to replace them both with Jason "the brick" Ogata moving to 1b and Hollander starting at 2B.
You could make an argument for the promotion of all of the relievers as well but Nam, Castillo, Tufts, Eppley, and Nevarez are most likely. The only thing holding them back, once again, is the shitty relief cores in the high minors. Don't look for any of the starters to be promoted until August and even then only if the team is not in the playoffs.
No new draft sightings or scuttlebutt to offer
Pitcher Kevin Gomez moves to the DSL1 roster and C Oswaldo Pirela moves to DSL2. Hopefully that puts an end to the daily roster manipulation. Wilmer Batista has yet to materialize on either roster, so I am assuming that he contract was voided or something.
The 2008-2009 international free agent haul stands at 37 - see worksheet for up-to-date bios and projected signing bonuses.