Being an “Impact Player”

How exactly does a person become an “impact player.” I don’t know exactly, and I don’t want to try to form specific criteria.

But, I do know this: impact players pique your interest when you see them at the plate or due up in a game-deciding situation.

When the RoughRiders took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 13th yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that Mike Trout was due up in the bottom half. He hit a game-tying home run.

In the 15th, with a man at second and nobody out, the 19-year-old put down a bunt to get the runner to third. That run came around to score.

Trout will be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Plenty of writers and analysts know it, including FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. He wrote a lengthy nugget on Trout, which includes the outfielder’s grand slam off Rider Vision at Dr Pepper Ballpark one week ago today.

He is as much of an “impact player” as I’ve seen this year, and Frisco found out the hard way, yet again, in that tough loss.

We’ll get to that loss, and much more, in today’s edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders made another move today, activating right-handed reliever Mark Hamburger from the temporary inactive list. Fellow reliever Ben Snyder has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
  • Getting Hamburger back should move around the roles within the Frisco bullpen. Justin Miller appeared in a pair of games as the “de-facto” closer while Hamburger was away tending to a personal issue, and it was adventurous. Miller earned the save in Frisco’s only victory away from home, a 6-4 triumph over Springfield in the opener of the double dip Saturday. Miller gave up a run in that frame and loaded the bases with one out, but he was able to get out of the jam. The right-hander also appeared yesterday and earned the loss. He gave up both Arkansas runs in extra innings.
  • Throw out Miller’s two runs allowed, and the RoughRiders’ ‘pen was incredible. After a very good bounce-back start from Wilfredo Boscan, the ‘Riders shut down the Travelers until the 13th. After Darwin Perez’s two-run double in the third, the Travs did not earn another hit until a one-out double from Orlando Mercado. Those two at-bats were separated by 31 plate appearances. Boscan, Beau Jones, Ramon Aguero, Adalberto Flores and Corey Young were all a part of that hit-less period. That’s pretty special.
  • Unfortunately, that collective effort did not bring about a victory. Over the last few days, Frisco has not been able to take advantage of opportunities with men aboard. The ‘Riders have stranded 27 men on the base paths and have hit just .207 (6-for-29) with men in scoring position in their last two games, both close losses. Before those two games, the RoughRiders were hitting .290 in runners at second and/or third.
  • There have been some bright spots offensively. I mentioned Jonathan Greene yesterday, and he just kept raking during the 15-inning marathon. He went 2-for-5 yesterday and has gone 6-for-13 with four runs scored against Arkansas this year.
  • It hasn’t been an overwhelming change for outfielder David Paisano, but he has started to be a consistent threat at the plate after a sluggish start. Paisano has hit safely in five straight games. And after a 1-for-12 start, Paisano is hitting .269 (7-for-26). He has also been the most frequent mover within the lineup. The RoughRiders need him to produce with Joey Butler up in Round Rock.
  • The Texas League schedule makers allow everyone to settle into the season. Tomorrow is the second off-day of the young season, and all teams will be 12 games into the campaign. After tomorrow’s respite, though, things pick up. The RoughRiders will play 20 straight and 32 of the next 33 days beginning Thursday. During that month-long stretch, the ‘Riders will play only three teams–division opponents Corpus Christi, Midland and San Antonio. Tonight’s game will be the last against the North until May 25th against Northwest Arkansas.
  • We wish former RoughRider pitcher Eric Hurley the best. Four pitches into just his second start since 2008, he was hit in the head with a comebacker and had to leave the game. According to the Round Rock release, Hurley suffered a contusion and was taken to a local hospital for tests. He did leave the field under his own power. For a man who has had to deal with many injuries, we hope that this is not a significant setback in his drive to return to the big leagues.
  • Details on two upcoming events at Dr Pepper Ballpark are now available on the site: The Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown and the 2011 RoughRiders Baseball Academy

It’s getaway day in North Little Rock. Join us along the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:40 for Frisco and Arkansas. Enjoy!

- Brian

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