June 2011

Martin Back In Lineup, More Notes

For the first time since June 8, outfielder Leonys Martin is in the RoughRiders starting lineup. Martin is leading off and playing in center field.

Martin has missed 19 games with a herniated disc in his back. He did play in four games with the Rangers’ Arizona League team in Surprise. In those four contests, he hit .267 (4-for-15) with two runs and one RBI.

Before getting injured, Martin was hitting .357 with the RoughRiders in 22 games. He had three home runs and 18 RBIs. Martin’s OPS sat at a ridiculous 1.028.

Here are a few other notes before the ‘Riders and Cardinals take the field tonight.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders have shuffled around the rotation a little bit to begin the post-All-Star break slate. Ben Snyder will start tonight, and Carlos Pimentel and Joe Wieland will round out the rotation in this three-game series against Springfield.
  • Behind that trio, Martin Perez will pitch Sunday against Arkansas, and Robbie Erlin will go Monday. For Perez, it will be his first start with the ‘Riders since June 22 (11 days). He did pitch in the All-Star Game last night.
  • Springfield has the services of St. Louis’ top prospect–right-hander Shelby Miller. Miller is 3-1 with a 1.69 earned run average in five Double-A starts. He is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night against the ‘Riders.
  • The Texas League has been blessed with top prospects in 2011. Currently, five of the eight teams have their respective organization’s top prospect. Along with Miller, Grant Green (Midland, Athletics), Casey Kelly (San Antonio, Padres), Martin Perez (Frisco, Rangers), and Mike Trout (Arkansas, Angels) are in the TL.
  • The ‘Riders and Cardinals have split their first six games this season. Frisco took two of three from Springfield at Dr Pepper Ballpark in the first series of the season April 7-9.

We’re back on the air with you beginning at 6:35 p.m. Listen live on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

All-Star Game Recap: Perez Earns Win

Frisco starter Martin Perez earned the victory in the South Division’s 3-2 victory over the North All-Stars Wednesday night in the 75th Texas League All-Star Game.

Perez tossed a 1-2-3 second inning. He retired the first two men he faced on ground outs to second. The Rangers’ top prospect finished the frame with a six-pitch strikeout of Anthony Seratelli.

Both Adalberto Flores and Justin Miller earned holds. Flores allowed a solo shot to Matt Adams in an otherwise solid sixth inning, and Miller set down a pair of North All-Stars in the top of the ninth.

Offensively, Mike Bianucci went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning single. Leonys Martin finished 0-for-3 as the South’s leadoff hitter. Tommy Mendonca walked and struck out.

Jose Felix, Renny Osuna and Jose Ruiz also appeared in the game.

The South scored once in the second and two more times in the third. The North tallied a run in both the sixth and seventh.

It’s a quick turnaround for the nine Frisco All-Stars, as the RoughRiders open a three-game series with the Springfield Cardinals Thursday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:05.

Martin, Bianucci, Osuna in Starting Lineup

Frisco outfielder Leonys Martin, who has not played with the RoughRiders since June 8, is the leadoff hitter for the South Division in tonight’s 2011 Texas League All-Star Game.

Joining Martin in the starting lineup are Mike Bianucci and Renny Osuna. Bianucci is the designated hitter, and he is hitting third. Osuna rounds out the South squad’s lineup and is playing at second base.

Catcher Jose Felix, third baseman Tommy Mendonca and first baseman Jose Ruiz are available on the South Division’s bench. Also, pitchers Adalberto Flores, Justin Miller and Martin Perez are in the South’s bullpen.

First pitch is set for 7:05. You can follow the game here.

Remember When…

The All-Star Break will be gone before we know it. That’s how these short breaks work, especially when they are only two days long.

The last time there were two straight days without a RoughRiders game that counted? April 5 and 6, right before the 2011 regular season started. A few Texas League clubs (I’m looking at you, Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas) had some games washed out because of rain. Not the RoughRiders.

Let’s take you back to the last time this club enjoyed an off day similar to this one. What was this world like back on April 6? Let’s tell you about it in an All-Star edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Dr Pepper Ballpark had been without a meaningful baseball game for 209 days.
  • Texas League fans’ lasting memory of San Antonio was that the club’s offense was bad.
  • Tommy Mendonca and Martin Perez were hoping for bounce-back seasons. Wish granted.
  • The most ridiculous stat of them all: defending MVP Josh Hamilton had not posted a Double-A home run. He hit his first this year.
  • Martin Perez had not had a perfect game in his career.
  • Leonys Martin was very much a free agent.
  • The Rangers won their sixth straight game to start their A.L. pennant defense.
  • Baltimore, Kansas City and Pittsburgh were a combined 13-6.
  • Boston and Tampa Bay were a combined 0-12.
  • South Carolina’s baseball program had only won six straight College World Series games.
  • California’s baseball program was not scheduled to survive past 2011.
  • The Dallas Mavericks were an afterthought.
  • The greatest poll ever had not been created: Can you name the player who has won an NBA Title between LeBron and Dirk?)
  • Kemba Walker was the talk of the basketball world.
  • The NFL was in a lockout. Oh wait…
  • VCU and Butler’s application numbers were going up. Big time.
  • Osama bin Laden was alive.
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri, looked very different.
  • I had never heard of a “Royal Wedding.”
  • Oprah was still on the air.

There are many more changes than those 20, but this is a good start. Enjoy another day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back with you for more coverage in advance of the ‘Riders and the Springfield Cardinals Thursday.

- Brian

All-Star Break Plans

The countdown is over.  The All-Star break has officially begun.

To put it into perspective, it kind of feels like a 48 hour summer vacation when you were in high school.  Even during last night’s broadcast in Corpus Christi I mentioned how last night, in some ways, felt like the final day of school.

The ‘Riders have nine players heading to San Antonio for the 75th annual Texas League All-Star game. As am writing this, they might be on a plane to the Alamo City this very moment. Before we left Whataburger Field, I had a chance to catch up with a number of RoughRiders and found out what their plans were for the two-day Texas League hiatus.

Outfielder, Jonathan Greene: “My girlfriend Katie is coming into town and we’re heading to the lake with some of the other guys for a fishing trip put together by the RoughRiders’ Booster Club.”

Pitcher, Adalberto Flores: “While I’m in San Antonio for the All-Star game I hope to be able to Skype with my baby girl, Adana.  She’s a year and seven months old.”

Pitcher, Robbie Erlin: “Golfing.  First time I’ll be on the course all season.  It’ll be me [Tyler] Tufts, [Jake] Brigham, and some other guys just relaxing on the course.”

Outfielder, Mike Bianucci: “I’m hoping while I’m out in San Antonio for the All-Star game I’ll have a chance to get to the Alamo.  They have a full itinerary for us.  Not sure how much free time we’ll have.”

Catcher, Elio Sarmiento: “I’m driving 16 hours to Arizona to pick up my son, mother, and pregnant wife.  I’m brining them back to Frisco so our daughter can be born [there].  Her name is Ciara and she’s due on July 27.”

Athletic Trainer, Carlos Olivas: “I’ll probably play it by ear.  I have all of the RoughRiders’ radio broadcasts recorded from this season on my iPod.  I’ll probably kick my feet up on the porch, pour some lemonade, and listen to some of my favorite games from the first half of the season.  Can’t really top that.”

What will I be doing?  For the masses who are wondering, I’m still in bed and might be here for a while.

Brian will be with you on the blog tomorrow, and then it’s game one against Springfield Thursday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  Hope to chat with you then.

AG

 

Joe Wieland’s Journey To Frisco

Carolina League All-Star Joe Wieland is now a Frisco RoughRider. The Rangers made the move earlier today, and Wieland is expected to start for the RoughRiders tonight against Corpus Christi. Today on the blog, Stephen Harmon talks about Wieland’s trip from high school to Double-A. Check it out.
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Few high school baseball players are talented enough to bat over .500 and lead their state in RBIs. The 21-year-old Reno native, Joe Wieland (pronounced WEE-land), did just that during his senior year at Bishop Manogue high school in Nevada. What’s even more impressive is that the Rangers drafted him in the 4th round of the 2008 draft not for his bat, but for his right arm.

Standing at 6’3’’, Wieland attracted scouts from across major league baseball during his senior year in high school. The Rangers were impressed with his control and his 90 mph fastball, which he could manipulate to drastically run in and way from hitters. Although Wieland originally signed a letter of intent to play at San Diego State University, the opportunity to play professional baseball was too much to resist.

His high school coach, Charles Oppio said of Wieland, “As good as he is athletically and physically, mentally he’s the best player I ever had.” Wieland’s advanced mental game proved ready for the minors as he baffled professional hitters in his first season. After being drafted in June of 2008, he made his professional debut in the Arizona League where he posted a 1.44 ERA alongside 5 wins over 13 games, seven of which were starts.

Wieland’s next stop in the Rangers farm system came in 2009 where he spent the season pitching for the Low-A Hickory Crawdads. Midway through 2010 Wieland earned a promotion to High-A Bakersfield, the Rangers previous Advanced-A team before making the move to Myrtle Beach this season.

Before Wieland’s promotion, he impressed the Rangers with a 3.34 ERA over 15 starts in Hickory. Although Wieland initially struggled in Bakersfield by giving up 30 runs in his first 33 innings, he soon adjusted and posted a 1.73 ERA with 28 strikeouts and four walks over his final 26 innings pitched.  His time in Bakersfield has highlighted by a career-high 14-strikeout performance on August 3 at Visalia.  For his efforts, Weiland was named California League Pitcher of the Week.

The 2011 season saw Wieland make his debut for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans out of the bullpen. After one scoreless appearance in relief, Wieland was back into the starting rotation, where he dominated the Carolina League by mixing in a plus curveball with his fastball. The Pelican’s ace continued to show off his impeccable control. Through 85 and two-thirds innings, Wieland struck out an astounding 96 batters and walked only four.

With these numbers, it is no surprise that the Reno native owns the best walks per nine innings ratio in all of minor league baseball. The right-hander’s impressive start to the season made him Carolina League’s starting pitcher in the Carolina League-California League All-Star Game this season where he worked a perfect 1-2-3 first inning.

Wieland’s best start for the Pelicans this season was in a rain shortened 7-inning complete game shutout on May 11. This dominant performance came directly after a previous start that saw him toss six innings of shutout baseball against Potomac that included thirteen strikeouts.

The hard throwing righty comes to Frisco after pitching alongside fellow highly touted pitching prospects, Robbie Erlin, Robbie Ross, and former first round draft pick, Barret Loux.  20-year-old, Erlin made the jump from Myrtle Beach to Frisco earlier this year in late May, and just tossed a 14-strikeout gem against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Sunday.

Ross, a second round draft pick in 2008, pitched six scoreless innings and allowed only two hits and no walks Sunday afternoon for the Pelicans against the Salem Red Sox. Teammate and Texas A&M product Barret Loux owns a 7-1 record and has compiled 81 strikeouts in just 73 and one-third innings pitched. Riders’ fans can more than likely expect to see both Ross and Loux at Dr Pepper Ballpark before the end of the year.

Coming from a standout pitching rotation that leads the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts, Wieland has shown that he is both mentally and physically ready to contribute to the ‘Riders.  He makes his Double-A debut Monday night in Corpus Christi against the Hooks.
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Pre-game coverage for the ‘Riders and the Hooks begins at 6:35 on the ‘Riders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

Erlin Strikes Out 14

Frisco starter Robbie Erlin struck out a career-high 14 batters in his start Sunday at Corpus Christi.

Erlin worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Only one runner reached second base until the seventh, when the Hooks hit a pair of solo home runs.

Of those 14 strikeouts, 12 were swinging. Erlin whiffed the side in the first, second and fifth innings.

The Rangers No. 4 prospect’s previous peak in strikeouts was ten, which came April 25 when he tossed seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over Potomac.

Erlin’s 14 strikeouts are the most ever by a Frisco RoughRider pitcher in a single game.   John Danks and Thomas Diamond were tied with 12 each each for the previous record.  As an amateur, Erlin had a 15-strikeout no-hitter for Scotts Valley High School in California before the Rangers drafted him in the third-round in the 2009 draft.

- Brian

RoughRiders ABCs

Over the course of nine years, hundreds of players have donned the RoughRiders red. So, who are the best players by letter? We are going by the first letter of former RoughRiders’ last names. And yes, rehabs count.

The year(s) with the ‘Riders is/are in parentheses.

Elvis Andrus (2008): Currently with the Rangers, Andrus was second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. He made the All-Star team in 2010 and was an integral part of Texas’ journey to the World Series. (honorable mention: Antonio Alfonseca, Joaquin Arias)

Hank Blalock (2008): Blalock, who originally came through the Rangers system before the RoughRiders existed, stopped by in 2008 for six rehab games. Blalock hit 153 home runs in his big league career, a total that does not include his game-winning blast in the ’03 All-Star Game. (honorable mention: Kris Benson, Jason Bourgeois)

Nelson Cruz (2010, 2011): Cruz rehabbed with the ‘Riders late in the 2010 season and early this year. Not much explanation needed here. He’s a candidate to hit in the Home Run Derby this year. (honorable mention: Frank Catalanotto, Endy Chavez)

John Danks (2005-06): This one is close between Danks and Chris Davis. Danks pitched in 31 games for the RoughRiders before ascending to Triple-A and eventually the bigs. The lefty is 49-52 with a 3.99 ERA in the big leagues (honorable mention: Davis)

Cody Eppley (2010): Eppley made it to the big leagues for the first time earlier this season. There have only been seven people with a last name that starts with “E” play with Frisco. Watch out for the current one listed here. (honorable mention: Robbie Erlin)

Neftali Feliz (2008): Last year’s American League Rookie of the Year, Feliz has struggled a bit as the Rangers’ closer this year. Still, he is an exciting young arm who figures to be in the majors for a long time. (honorable mention: Scott Feldman, Frank Francisco)

Adrian Gonzalez (2003): Little did we know that the inaugural RoughRiders unit had such a good player. Gonzalez is tearing it up in his first season in Boston. This letter is loaded, by the way. (honorable mention: Eric Gagne, Armando Galarraga, Craig Gentry, Doug Glanville, Cristian Guzman)

Josh Hamilton (2009, 2011): I’m just going to say this–sorry to the honorable mentions. This rehabbing Ranger takes it, easily. After all, he did homer for Frisco last month. (honorable mention: Jerry Hairston, Jr., Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter)

Jesse Ingram (2006-2007): A right-handed reliever, Ingram is the ONLY “I” to ever play for the ‘Riders. He never made it to Triple-A, but he’s at the top of this list!

Andruw Jones (2009): Another rehabber, Jones has played with five different teams over 16 seasons. His middle name is Rudolf, so that’s cool. (honorable mention: Brian Jordan)

Ian Kinsler (2004, 2009, 2010): Kinsler climbed the organizational ladder during the early days of the RoughRiders, and he liked Frisco so much that he returned for a brief visit in ’09 and ’10. He has manned second base for the Rangers for a while. (honorable mention: Steve Karsay, Michael Kirkman)

Josh Lueke (2010): Lueke emerges out of a group with 12 players in it. The hurler was a part of the Cliff Lee deal, and he made it to the big leagues for the first time earlier this year.

Gary Matthews (2005): Matthews went 2-for-5 in his one and only game as a RoughRider. He played in 1281 games at the big league level. There are plenty of M’s in Frisco history, but not many good ones. (honorable mention: Ron Mahay, Nick Masset)

Laynce Nix (2003-2004): Nix played in 94 games with the RoughRiders in their first two seasons of existence. He has appeared for four different major league teams, including suddenly above average Washington this year. (honorable mention: Jeff Nelson)

Alexi Ogando (2010): Ogando blew through Double-A while with the ‘Riders last season. He is 7-3 and an All-Star candidate in his first season in the bigs. Only five “Os” have been in RoughRiders uniforms (honorable mention: Darren O’Day).

Martin Perez (2009-2011): OK, so this may not be totally true yet, but I’m confident Perez can have a better big league career than the three guys I mention honorably. (honorable mention: Vicente Padilla, Chan Ho Park, Herbert Perry).

Daisy Q‘RuffRider (yea right): Of course there haven’t been any Q’s in Frisco. If you know of a RoughRider fan whose last name starts with Q, comment here and we can add him/her.

Nick Regilio (2003): Not a lot of substance with “R.” Regilio made 24 career appearances with the Rangers in ’04 and ’05. He last played professional baseball with Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit organization in ’09.

Justin Smoak (2009): Smoak was the cornerstone of the Rangers’ trade for Cliff Lee last year. So far in Seattle this year, Smoak is hitting .260 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs. (honorable mention: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Pedro Strop)

Mark Teixeira (2004, 2007): He’s really, really good at baseball. My dad, a fantasy baseball player, would always call him “Mark Tex-e-air-uh.” (honorable mention: Taylor Teagarden, Chad Tracy)

U (2003-2011): All of you for being such great fans throughout nine seasons! Really, this is just a cop out because, surprisingly, there has not been a “U” in a ‘Rider uniform, but you can still enjoy it!

Edinson Volquez (2005, 2007): Volquez equaled Josh Hamilton. That’s good enough for me.

C.J. Wilson (2003, 2005, 2006): Brandon Webb has better overall numbers at this point in his career, but Wilson has more upside. (honorable mention: Webb).

X: I have nothing cute or witty about this. The letter is worth 8 points in Scrabble, though.

Chris Young (2004): There have only been three “Y’s” in RoughRiders history. This one is pretty good. His is 49-34 with a 3.74 ERA in his career in the majors.

Z: I need some Zs after this countdown. Hope you enjoyed.

- Brian

RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast, Episode #1


LISTEN TO IT HERE

In our ongoing efforts to keep you, the fan, informed in every way possible, we’ve teamed up with the great Ted Price to bring you the RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast.  I promise it’s the best podcast about the ‘Riders you’ve ever heard (never mind the only one).

You’ll hear me, Jason Cole, my  TV broadcast partner and publisher of Lonestar Dugout.com, and my radio broadcast partner, Brian Boesch (where would these guys be without me?).

We’ll be recording a new podcast about every two weeks.  Feel free to leave a comment regarding topics you’d like us to discuss on the next show.

If after listening you still can’t get enough of me and Brian, we’ll be on with the pre-game show tonight at 6:35, first pitch at 7:05 from Corpus Christi.

Talk with you then,

AG

Another Rehab Outing For Webb

Right-hander Brandon Webb allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of work Friday night at Whataburger Field against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

In the longest of his four rehab starts with the ‘Riders, Webb surrendered a first-inning run but stranded runners at every base. Jon Gaston’s RBI single in the third brought home the Hooks’ second run. One inning later, Jimmy Van Ostrand clubbed a two-run homer off Webb.

After that home run, Webb settled down and retired the final five he faced. The righty finished with 77 pitches, 53 of which were strikes. He struck out four and walked two. Webb left the game with the ‘Riders trailing 4-2.

The former Cy Young Award winner entered Friday’s game with an 11.57 earned run average in seven innings of work with Frisco. His best rehab effort came June 14 at Midland, when Webb tossed three scoreless innings.

This outing marked back-to-back appearances against the Hooks in Corpus Christi. In the first one Sunday, Webb surrendered four runs on six hits in just two-thirds of an inning.

The ‘Riders will not send a starter out there in relief of Webb as they did in his first three rehab starts. Frisco’s bullpen will pitch the rest of the game. Richard Bleier follows Webb in the game. You can listen live to the broadcast here.

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