With the minor league season two months old, let’s take a look at the early season standouts in the Double-A Texas League. For each team, I’ve identified one hitter and one pitcher who are making the most out of their 2022 season so far.
Wichita Wind Surge (Minnesota Twins)
Current Record 31-21 (as of June 10)
While Austin Martin is probably the top name on the team, Spencer Steer got off to a hot start to the tune of .307/.385/.591 in the Texas League and was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul on May 23rd. The 2019 3rd round draft pick out of the University of Oregon has belted 16 HR and 49 RBI (between both levels) while playing mostly 3B.
On the mound, it’s a close call between Simeon Woods Richardson and Matt Canterino, but I’m giving the edge to Canterino. With 50 strikeouts in just over 34 innings-pitched, Canterino has shown good stuff on the hill. His 1.83 ERA has been helped by only allowing 1 HR thus far.
Tulsa Drillers (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Current Record 29-22
Another 2019 draftee, Michael Busch (1st Round) has continued his ascent in the Dodgers organization to the tune of a .263 BA along with 13 HR and 42 RBI. In fact, it was enough to garner a quick promotion to AAA Oklahoma City.
Bombs away for Michael Busch 💣💣 pic.twitter.com/ouD0Ph5kKf
— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) May 15, 2022
Not a ton of great performers on the mound for Tulsa, but I’ll give the nod to 23 year-old Gavin Stone. Drafted in 2020 out of Central Arkansas, Stone has been impressive this season. Striking out 65 batters in just 47 IP to the tune of a 1.44 ERA. He’s also done a fantastic job of keeping runnings off the base paths which has helped with his great start.
Arkansas Travelers (Seattle Mariners)
Current Record 29-25
Not a lot to write about from North Little Rock. A pair of 2020 draft picks have shown glimpses with Zach DeLoach getting the slight nod over Kaden Polcovich. Both players have yet to really break out, but DeLoach .745 OPS is second on the team among qualified batters.
The news on the pitching front is better. 2020 5th rounder Taylor Dollard has been excellent, sporting a stellar 0.95 ERA in 47.1 IP while striking out about 1 batter per inning. The 6’3” righty has a bright future in Seattle.
NW Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals)
Current Record 26-27
Meanwhile, in NW Arkansas, Michael Massey has been impressive. Since the Royals drafted Massey with the 109th pick of the 2019 draft, he’s been a .295 hitter. 2022 has seen that number rise to the tune of a .311 average and an impressive .849 OPS. Playing primarily 2B, Massey has also swiped 7 bags thus far.
Former Florida State product Drew Parrish has been impressive as well. Parrish has excelled since joining the organization but has taken the challenge of the Texas League in stride, starting 10 games in AA with a 2.13 ERA and an impressive 0.82 WHIP. Parrish just got bumped up to AAA on June 3rd.
Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals)
Current Record 21-33
It is Moises Gomez’ world and we’re all just living in it. Still only 23 years old, the Venezuelan outfielder has produced an outstanding slash of .320/.386/.718 while slugging 20 HR which leads the Texas League by a large margin. The FA signing from 2021 is making the most of his opportunity in Springfield.
There aren’t a lot of positives to say about the Cardinals’ pitching. It’s the primary reason they find themselves last in their division. I feel odd even suggesting that a pitcher with a 4.70 ERA is the one to watch, but hey, at least Connor Lunn is 23 years old and has struck out 41 batters in 38.1 innings.
Frisco Roughriders (Texas Rangers)
Current Record 28-26
Since coming to Texas as part of the Joey Gallo trade, Ezequiel Duran has been a doubles machine leading the entire league with 24. On the strength of those doubles and 7 HR, his .939 OPS is second on the team. We’ve been expecting a call-up to AAA, but surprisingly on June 4th he was promoted to the majors!
Another RBI double from @Duranz_22! His 21st of the season!
B3 | FRI 3, SA 1 pic.twitter.com/ckRsbOnIyo
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) May 29, 2022
I want to write that Jack Leiter stood out in his first pro ball, but that hasn’t been the case just yet. Meanwhile, former 1st round pick in 2016, Cole Ragans, has finally been able to stay healthy. Striking out 65 batters in 51.1 IP, Ragans’ 2.81 ERA is best among Roughriders’ starting pitchers.
San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Current Record 27-25
It’s safe to say that 23-year-old Esteury Ruiz is about ready for another challenge. Ruiz leads the league in stolen bases (37) and is 4th in BA (.344). Oh, did I mention his OPS is 1.085. He’s ready for AAA and guess what? The Padres just assigned him to Triple-A El Paso on June 7th.
It’s a good thing the Missions can hit the ball since pitching hasn’t been great. 2019 18th round pick, Matt Waldron, has made the most of his opportunities and his 3.12 ERA is best among Mission starters. The 6’2” righty is 25 years old so there’s still some hope for continued improvement.
Amarillo Sod Poodles (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Current Record 26-28
Corbin Carroll. Corbin Carroll. Corbin Carroll. He still needs to cut down on the strikeouts, but it’s just a matter of time before he’s manning the OF in Phoenix.
2020 draft pick, Brandon Pfaadt, has been outstanding, striking out 71 hitters in 53.2 innings which is good for 2nd in the league. At 6’4”, 220 lbs, there’s a lot to like and his stock is rising.
Midland Rock Hounds (Oakland Athletics)
Current Record 25-29
Nothing wrong with putting up a .337 average in 187 AB. 24-year-old outfielder Max Schuemann has some speed as well (16 SB). He’s outperforming his historical minor league stats by a large margin so you’re right if you’re skeptical of Max sustaining this. But through 2 months in 2022, give the man his props.
Through 8 starts “Black” Jack Cushing (not an official nickname) has a respectable ERA of 3.19 while posting a 7.4 K/9. The 26th ranked A’s prospect based on Prospects1500 pre-season rankings, the tall right-hander still needs to show some consistency before moving up the A’s rankings.
Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
Current Record 24-30
Emmanuel Valdez has had a terrific start to the 2022 campaign. The second baseman, still only 23 years old, hit a whopping .357 through his first 168 ABs, good for best in the league, and just earned himself a promotion to AAA Sugar Land. With 16 doubles and 11 home runs, he’s got power too. Prospects1500 accurately predicted the power might develop in 2022 and that appears to be happening.
Sporting a decent fastball and secondary pitches, Jimmy Endersby has stood out among what has been a disappointing Hooks’ pitching staff. With 11 games (8 starts) under his belt, Endersby’s 2.88 ERA is good for 3rd in the league among qualified starters. He needs to keep developing those secondary pitches if this success is going to translate to upper levels.
Byron Cox covers the AA Texas League for Prospects1500. From his home in Mckinney, Texas, he is only minutes away from the home park of the Frisco Roughriders, giving him many opportunities to watch the top prospects from his favorite team, the Rangers, along with many other top AA players. Byron was an original founder of RotoJunkie.com and is an avid fantasy baseball player to this day. He can be found on Twitter at