Texas Rangers prospects Hans Crouse and Yerry Rodriguez each made their first start yesterday at for their newly teams, with Crouse having been promoted to low-A Hickory and Rodriguez having been promoted to short-season-A Spokane. Each pitcher also performed well in his debut with his new club.
Crouse, 19, went 6 innings for the Crawdads, allowing 1 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Mark Parker, the Crawdads beat guy, said on Twitter there were a couple of long foul balls and some loud outs, and Crouse normally is going to fan more than 3 batters in a six inning stint, but overall, I think we can feel good about HFC’s debut in full season ball.
Rodriguez, 20, went 6.2 innings in his start for Spokane, allowing 8 hits, including a home run, while walking one and fanning 8. While Crouse has stuff that excites scouts but concerns about his delivery, Rodriguez relies on a low-90s fastball and an advanced changeup that gets swings and misses.
While this was meant to be an update on how Crouse and Rodriguez did in the first post-promotion starts, I’d be remiss in not mentioning that Hickory’s Demarcus Evans struck out all three batters he faced last night in a scoreless ninth inning. On the season, Evans, a 21 year old who was the team’s 25th round pick in 2015, has an impressive 2.12 ERA in 46.2 IP over 30 appearances, striking out 86 while walking 27, but that doesn’t really tell the full tale of his season.
Evans made four scoreless appearances to start the 2018 season, then allowed 5 runs in his next three outings. He had four more scoreless outings, and then allowed 4 runs in his next three appearances. At that point, he had a 3.68 ERA in 22 innings, with 35 Ks and 19 walks.
Since then, Evans has thrown 24.2 IP over 16 games, has struck out 51 of the 94 batters he has faced, has walked 8, and has a miniscule 0.73 ERA with a .131/.215/.179 slash line. If we go back to his first appearance after that stretch of allowing 5 runs in three games, he has a 1.45 ERA, a .162/.247/.246 slash line, and 72 Ks against 14 walks in 37.1 IP. Evans has been dominant this year, and with his upper-90s fastball and wicked curve, he has the makings of someone who could potentially be a late inning guy in the future.