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Farm Report: Round Rock Express

From the Austin American-Statesman's 
Opening Night Flash Slideshow:
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Brooks Conrad Takes A Swing
The Round Rock Express tied a team record with 22 hits Sunday in beating the Iowa Cubs 15 - 4. Brooks Conrad had two doubles and five RBI, while Joe McEwing had four hits.

Might be Conrad looks his best on Sunday, as he hit two homers, including a walkoff, last Sunday the 16th, also against the Cubs. The two doubles yesterday brought Conrad's average up to .239 and his RBI's up to 12, which now leads the team.

The big 15 - 4 win followed a 10 - 5 win Saturday in which Luke Scott hit his fourth homer, and Charlton Jimerson went 3 for 5 with a triple and three runs scored. Scott is slowly raising his average. It now stands at .246, and the OPS was at .850 entering Sunday's play. He's walked eleven times, which is alright, and struck out 19, which is a little less so.

Brian Gordon hit a walkoff homer of his own on Wednesday the 19th. In what was actually the completion of Tuesday's suspended game, Gordon hit a 13th inning solo homer to beat the New Orleans Zephyrs and make a winner of Travis Driskill.

And I guess Jimerson hasn't so much changed his game as elevated it. His power numbers now look as good as anyone's in the PCL. He is tied for the league lead in extra base hits with four homers four triples and three doubles. He leads the qualified Express in average, slugging, and OPS.

That's the good news. The bad news is that he has struck out 31 times while walking twice. Not sure which opposing pitcher issued the free passes, but I bet there was a fine involved afterward. . . .

It's really not as humorous as I make out. It's more of a shame. Jimerson is obviously a guy with talent (he's major league ready on defense right now), but it's pretty apparent that he's never going to display the discipline required to get the extended callup. The party line seems to be that his power game will shrink on contact with the superior pitching in The Show, leaving you with a guy who hits singles 25% of the time and strikes out the rest. Even if that perception is not fair to Jimerson's newly average-conscious but still hyper-distorted game, it is the perception that's gonna win out here. I still look for him to play defense for Houston in September.

Jason Hirsh gave up 5 runs on 7 hits over 5-2/3 on Friday. He took the loss against New Orleans while striking out six, walking three, and giving up a tater to Brandon Larson. His season stats show him at 1 - 1 with a 5.75 ERA with 19 strikeouts, 8 walks, and a WHIP of 1.38.

With Astacio and Borkowski called up to the Astros, the best-performing pitchers still in Austin would be Chris Sampson and Driskill. Sampson is 2 - 1 with a 2.57 ERA in a team-high 21 innings. Sampson has struck out 16 while only walking one, and giving up one homer. He has a WHIP of 0.90.

But Sampson has limited upside for the major league squad and Driskill--although he's got the 0.45 WHIP--even less. I'd guess Sampson projects as a sort of Mike Burns--decent enough righthanded garbage time/long relief. If Driskill carries a 0.45 WHIP all year, maybe they'd call him up once rosters expand. There's no doubt about what the guy represents and we're unlikely to see him before then.

Jeez, I meant to go around the minors and all I could get through was one team. I will definitely try to get to Corpus and the rest of 'em on Tuesday. . . .