2019 Texas Rangers minor league review: The Hickory Crawdads pitchers.
With the regular season and playoffs now over for the Texas Rangers’ minor league clubs, we are taking a look at the performance of each of the U.S.-based minor league teams. Today, in our final installment, we are looking at the pitchers for the low-A Hickory Crawdads, whose 83-52 record was the second-best in the South Atlantic League this season, and who advanced to the Sally League Finals before being eliminated.
Hickory had a stellar pitching staff this year, finishing second in the Sally League in RA/9, and did so despite shaky performances from a couple of their most highly touted pitchers. Hans Crouse battled bone spurs in his elbow, something that he will be (or maybe already has, in the last few days) undergoing surgery for this offseason. Cole Winn, the team’s 2018 first rounder, got off to a terrible start to the year before putting up a 2.81 ERA over his final 12 starts.
Yerry Rodriguez followed up on his breakout 2018 campaign with a terrific 2019 season that was cut short due to an elbow injury. Ronny Henriquez was aggressively assigned to Hickory as a 19 year old and held his own in 82 IP. John King and Jake Latz each had brief stints with Hickory to start the year before moving to Down East, and Ricky Vanasco finished his 2019 season with a promotion to Hickory that saw him put up a pair of nice outings.
The Crawdads were also swimming with relief arms of note. Hever Bueno and Cole Uvila each put themselves on the map as unheralded, hard-throwing righties out of the pen. Jesus Linarez came out of nowhere throwing smoke. Kelvin Gonzalez, acquired from Kansas City for international slot money last year, and Grant Anderson, acquired from Seattle for Connor Sadzeck, each had solid seasons.
Strange though it may seem, the Rangers A ball teams are deep in intriguing arms. Not all of them will make it, but there’s enough that even with the attrition rate that is to be expected with young pitchers, there should be some who end up contributing down the road.