April 10th, 2011

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

It’s a baseball Sunday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, with Arkansas invading Frisco for game one of a three-game set. However, today is also the final day of the Masters, my personal favorite golf tournament of the season.

Rory McIlroy leads by four strokes going into today’s final round. But I have to give it up for the man who started in “last” place. Kyung-tae Kim entered the final round at 7-over. Think about that. He is barely two strokes above even par per round, and he is LAST.

Tough crowd. Tough tournament.

Today, the ‘Riders entertain the “last” place team in the Texas League. But they have a prospect who is first in all of minor league baseball according to many.

We talk Mike Trout and many other things in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The offensive story last night for the RoughRiders was the continued production from the heart of the order. Mike Bianucci doubled in a run in the fifth inning. The Frisco DH went 5-for-11 (.455) with three homers and five RBIs in the season-opening three-game series.
  • The big bop, however, came off the bat of third baseman Tommy Mendonca. One night after going to the opposite field for a two-run blast, Mendonca crushed one to the deepest part of the park–dead center. It hit off the batters eye beyond the wall. Aaron mentioned off the air yesterday that it was the furthest home run to center field he has seen. And he is in the top 8 in vision of all Texas League broadcasters.
  • The left-handed Mendonca has now hit three home runs in a Frisco uniform. The one that didn’t count came in Tuesday night’s exhibition, when he pulled one down the right field line. His two in the regular season have gone to left and to center.
  • In all, ten home runs were hit in the series, with six coming off Frisco bats. Nine of the 16 ‘Riders’ run came from the long ball. You think that’s a lot? Wait until I mention the Round Rock Express in a little bit. Wow.
  • Friday night, the RoughRiders bullpen retired 14 straight to give the bats a chance to rally. Yesterday, it was Springfield’s ‘pen that stole the show. The Cardinals’ threesome of Cory Rauschenberger, Brett Zawacki and Casey Mulligan set down the final 10 ‘Riders. In fact, the bullpen didn’t allow a hit.
  • Frisco starter Jake Brigham rebounded pretty nicely from a rough exhibition showing to toss five innings yesterday. The righty threw 84 pitches, a season-high for ‘Riders pitchers (Wilfredo Boscan and Martin Perez were both in the 70s). Brigham whiffed seven Cardinals, and he consistently hit in the mid-90s on a traditionally pretty accurate Dr Pepper Ballpark radar gun. He peaked at 97 mph on a few occasions.
  • Today, it’s Miguel De Los Santos’ turn in the rotation. The 10th best prospect in the Rangers farm system per Baseball America, De Los Santos skipped the high-A level to begin this season in Frisco. Against the best competition he had ever faced, the southpaw gave up just one run in three innings at Round Rock in Tuesday’s exhibition. He had to work in that outing (3 H, 2 BB, 5 LOB), but he minimized damage well.
  • Statistically, what makes De Los Santos so impressive is his strikeout rate. Last year in short-season Spokane and low-A Hickory, he rung up 112 batters in 70.1 innings. That’s 1.60 Ks per inning and 14.38 Ks per nine innings. 
  • It is impossible to preview this game and this series without mentioning Arkansas outfielder Mike Trout. Trout is the top-ranked prospect by MLB.com and ESPN.com in all of minor league baseball. Baseball America has the 19-year-old at number two, behind only Washington’s Bryce Harper. After an 0-for-6 start to his Double-A career, Trout broke out in last night’s loss to Midland. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a homer. But that home run was of the inside-the-park variety.
  • Trout is a career .340 hitter in his 178-game minor league career. He has 12 home runs (two inside-the-parkers), 85 RBIs and 70 stolen bases. And get this–he has scored 138 times! In other words, he scores in 77.5% of his games.
  • Finally, how about the Round Rock Express. The Express has hit 11 home runs in the first three games of the season, including six last night in the club’s 13-9 triumph over Iowa. Former RoughRider Chris Davis has four of those bombs, including three last night. Between the Cubs and the Express, 53 runs have been scored in the set. The series finale begins at 1 p.m.

Here in Frisco, the ‘Riders and the Travs get underway at 4:05. Pre-game is at 3:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

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