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Round Rock Express Season Preview

It’s that time of the year again as it is finally “Baseball Time in Texas”. The spotlight sure is on the Texas Rangers organization in 2024 after bringing the franchise’s first World Series as well as being ranked #7 farm system in the league with promising talent on the brink.

Like the Rangers, the Round Rock Express had a franchise year posting a 89-60 record in 2023 while finishing as the runner-ups in the PCL Championship series losing to the Oklahoma City Dodgers 2-0 in a best of three game series. Coming into the 2024 season the AAA roster stands as a familiarity with 21 out of the 30 players on the roster returning with Round Rock poised to make another deep run.

AAA ball will kick off on Friday, March 29th at 7:15 PM (CT) highlighting a home series facing the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros in the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. With the roster recently being assembled, the Express are gelled with a group who have spent time together through the minor-league system as the familiarity will make a big impact with the success for the AAA club.

Round Rock Express Roster/ Spring Training stats

Pitchers

Grant Anderson (6.2 IP, 1.35 ERA, 7 SO, 0-1)

Marc Church (10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 14 SO, 0-0)

Danny Duffy (8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 7 SO, 0-1)

Shane Green (6.2 IP, 2.70 ERA, 7 SO, 0-0)

Antoine Kelly (2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 SO, 1-0)

Jack Leiter (12.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, 8 SO, 0-2)

Austin Pruitt (8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 7 SO, 1-0)

Daniel Robert (7.2 IP, 1.17 ERA, 11 SO, 0-0)

Adrian Sampson (9.2 IP, 9.31 ERA, 8 SO, 0-2)

Chasen Shreve (6.0 IP, 6.00 ERA, 6 SO, 0-1)

Blake Taylor (7.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 4 SO, 0-2)

Jesus Tinoco (9.2 IP, 3.72 ERA, 12 SO, 0-0)

Owen White (6 IP, 9.00 ERA, 5 SO, 0-0)

Tim Brennan N/A

Catchers

Jose Godoy (13 AB, .385 AVG, 0 HR)

Sam Huff (16 AB, .063 AVG, 0 HR)

Andrew Knapp (24 AB, .292 AVG, 0 HR)

Matt Whatley (3 AB, .000 AVG, 0 HR)

Infielders

Jax Biggers (7 AB, .286 AVG, 0 HR)

Blaine Crim (43 AB, .233 AVG, 1 HR)

Matt Duffy (45 AB, .289 AVG, 0 HR)

Justin Foscue (48 AB, .250 AVG, 1 HR)

Jonathan Ornelas (25 AB, .240 AVG, 0 HR)

Davis Wendzel (41 AB, .366 AVG, 1 HR)

Outfielders

Sandro Fabian (22 AB, .136 AVG, 0 HR)

Dustin Harris (18 AB, .278 AVG, 0 HR)

Trevor Hauver (5 AB, .000 AVG, 0 HR)

Elier Hernandez (33 AB, .242 AVG, 0 HR)

Derek Hill (41 AB, .293 AVG, 0 HR)

Top Prospects with the Round Rock Express

#5 Justin Foscue 2B/SS

Prior to camp, Justin Foscue was noted as the most likely to make the major league roster initially due to the injuries of starting SS Corey Seager and 3B Josh Jung. Although Foscue hit an efficient .250 average, he was ultimately left off the roster as he returned for another year with the Round Rock Express. Last year with Round Rock, Foscue posted a .266 Batting Average with 18 Home Runs and is a big reason that the Express was able to clinch a postseason berth.

#8 Jack Leiter SP

Probably the most exciting prospect in the farm system, Jack Leiter arrived in Round Rock late in the season after his first two years spending with the Frisco Roughriders as he posted a 5-16 record with a 5.37 having more bumps in the road than many expected. Leiter in 2021 was the 2nd overall pick and went straight to AA, now Leiter will start the year off in AAA as it was stated by GM Chris Young that there will be times this season where Leiter could be called up to the Rangers and make key contributions.

#10 Owen White SP

Owen White is poised for a breakout year as he recently was given the opening day start on Friday. White pitched six innings in Spring Training posting a 9.00 ERA as he was not given many opportunities to pitch knowing he is likely to start the season off in Round Rock. In 2023, RHP Owen White split time with AA-Frisco, AAA-Round Rock and even made an appearance with the Texas Rangers posting a combined record of 4-5 with a 4.22 ERA.

#11 Dustin Harris OF/1B

With only 18 plate appearances and a .278 batting average, Dustin Harris had himself a consistent spring hinting consideration at a possible move to the major league if there were to be a blemish in the Rangers hefty outfield depth. In 2023, Harris split time with both Frisco and Round rock and finished the season with a .259 batting Average with 14 Home Runs. 

#22 Antoine Kelly RP

After being injured through the majority of the spring, Antoine Kelly will officially return to the Round Rock Express remaining at the top of the list to possibly make his debut this year. Through all the top pitching prospects, Kelly is one of the few that presents himself as a true reliever spending his first full season with the Rangers organization splitting time with both AA-Frisco and AAA- Round Rock. In Kelly’s stint with Frisco, he appeared in 49 games posting a 3-1 record with an astounding 1.95 ERA. Kelly continued his hot hand in Round Rock as well, appearing in six games with a 2.70 ERA. 

#23 Marc Church CP

After a dominant spring of pitching 10.2 innings while posting a solid 2.53 ERA, it seemed like Marc Church was very close to making the opening day roster and will receive lots of consideration to make his debut as the season goes on. Church’s path moving forward in the farm system is likely the future closer of the Texas Rangers as he finished 2023 in the closer role for Round Rock with a 7-1 record and a 3.48 ERA.

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