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3 Up, 3 Down - Minor League Review Week 9

As part of a weekly Texas Rangers Minor League summary, SBNDallas will be highlighting some of the most notable (and most forgettable) individual performances for the week.  Check out the week 9 entries after the jump.

3 Up


Joseph Wieland

13IP, 10H, 3ER, 1BB, 14K

God, just promote him already Rangers.  Wieland is continuing to dominate while many wonder why he's still in Myrtle Beach.  With Jake Brigham struggling and Scott Feldman looking ready for a step up in his rehab, his time may be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Jake Skole

.410AVG, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1HR, 9RBI, 4:2 BB:K

It's nice that Skole went on a hot streak immediately after the Rangers' draft, as if to assuage fears about their crazy raw, crazy ceiling approach to high round picks in the last couple of years.  Skole's yet to really tap into his power tool, but he's making better contact (5 K's in June compared to 26 and 23 in April and May respectively) and starting to accumulate hits.  It's important to keep in mind that Skole's still only 19, so baby steps such as these are quite encouraging. 

Tomas Telis

.393AVG, 3 2B, 3RBI, 1K

Telis is a fascinating player.  A switch-hitting catcher with a gifted bat, Telis was raw behind the plate and Tommy John surgery in early 2010 only set him further behind schedule.  2011 represents his first time playing since the surgery, and the Rangers have been cautious with him defensively by letting him split time between catcher and DH.  Telis's hit tool hasn't diminished during the time off, as he's hitting over .300 for the season.  Telis has also taken more walks so far in 2011 (11) than he has in his previous 2 years combined (10).  It's not uncommon for a player like Telis to walk so little given his remarkable ability to make contact.  He makes up for this with a demonstrated ability to avoid strikeouts, averaging 0.77 K/9 over the course of his pro career.  Telis turns 20 in 5 days, and is an under-the-radar prospect to keep your eyes on.


3 Down


Kasey Kiker

19IP, 20H, 20R, 16ER, 26BB, 23K (Season line)

We're approaching the bottom of a staggering fall for Kasey Kiker over the past two years.  He's fallen from top 10 status in the Rangers system to being on the verge of being released, and it's been a cavalcade of disasters that has triggered Kiker's downfall.  His control, which has never been particularly strong, has absolutely disappeared.  That, combined with a fastball that has fallen from low 90's, to high 80's and is now resting in the mid 80's means he can no longer rely on his changeup to get by.  Kiker name has been brought up by various media outlets when talking about Kevin Matthews, the Rangers first pick this year.  It's a lazy comparison though, as the only similarities are their small frames, left-handedness and level of experience (HS draftees).


Roman Mendez

9IP, 16H, 10ER, 6BB, 15K

After a blistering series of starts in April, in which Mendez went 4-0 with a 1.78ERA, Mendez has struggled in May and June in particular.  One encouraging sign is that he's continuing to miss bats, but Mendez is starting to struggle with command.  Given Mendez's relatively inexperience, this isn't a particularly surprising development.  Mendez has now thrown more innings this year than he has in any other season in his professional career.


Mike Bianucci

.080BA, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1:8 BB:K

Bianucci, an 8th rounder from Auburn, has flashed signs of promise since he signed for the Rangers.  However, he has generally followed his hot streaks with barren stretches like the one he's in now.  Despite possessing plenty of power, Bianucci combines horrendous plate patience (a career 1:3.16 BB:K ratio) with an inability to consistently make contact.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.