July 2011

VIDEO: Robbie Erlin Warms Up

Here is a look at Robbie Erlin warming up before Tuesday’s game vs. Midland.
-Stephen

Robbie Erlin Bullpen, July 26, 2011 from Aaron Goldsmith on Vimeo.

100 Things on 100 Games

The RoughRiders have played 100 games this season. With only 40 games left, the ‘Riders currently own the Texas League’s second best record at 57-43. To celebrate the century mark, let’s tell you about 100 things from each of the 100 games. I promise that everything will not be listed, but let’s add up some of the RoughRiders’ most notable numbers and get to 100 x 100, or 10,000. Here we go.

0: The number of runs, hits, or base runners that Martin Perez allowed during his rain-shortened perfect game April 19 at Arkansas.

12: The number of home runs hit in the RoughRiders’ 19-4 victory over Corpus Christi this past Friday. The ‘Riders had eight of those, including three by Tommy Mendonca.

19: Frisco’s run total from that win last week, which matched a franchise-high for runs in a game. The club also surpassed its previous record in home runs (8) and hits (24).

20: How many times Dr Pepper Ballpark has been sold out this season. The RoughRiders currently lead the Texas League in attendance, averaging almost eight thousand people per night.

26: The ‘Riders have come from behind in 26 victories this season, which makes up almost half of Frisco’s wins.

48: How many different men have donned the RoughRiders uniform this season, which is a list that consists of men like defending American League MVP Josh Hamilton and undrafted 2011 free agent Jimmy Swift. And seemingly everyone in between.

65: The number of days the RoughRiders have been tied for or in sole possession of second place in the Texas League South Division.

76: The RoughRiders have made 76 transactions this season. The first one was sending now Chris Mobley, who is now with the Reds, to Triple-A Round Rock April 5. The most recent one was Robbie Diaz’s return to Frisco late last week.

100: Uh well, this is the number of games the ‘Riders have played. Sorry, I had to include it.

103: The number of home runs that the ‘Riders have hit this season, which is already 35 more than the club’s season total last year.

186: When you add the home runs and RBIs for Mike Bianucci (23, 70) and Tommy Mendonca (20, 73), you get 186. According to Michael Damman, the Director of the RoughRiders Statistical Research Department, the RoughRiders are the only team in the minors to have teammates that own 20+ homers and 70+ RBIs.

199: The number of wins in Frisco manager Steve Buechele’s career. He is 199-170 in his career and 120-101 during his time with the RoughRiders.

264: That’s how many minutes the RoughRiders’ longest game lasted. It was a 4-hour, 24-minute thriller that Arkansas won 4-3 in 15 innings.

296: Through Monday’s action, the Rangers’ minor league system has won 296 games, which is third-most in baseball. Texas’ farm system has the best winning percentage at .584.

306: Renny Osuna’s hit total while with the RoughRiders, which is second to Steve Murphy. Murphy had 319 during his time in Frisco.

541: The number of runs Frisco’s offense has scored this season, which is good for more than five runs per contest.

.570 (this is counting as 570, by the way): Frisco’s winning percentage, which would be the fourth-best in franchise history. The previous high is .607 back in 2007.

774: The number of strikeouts that Frisco’s pitching staff has come up with during the season. Jake Brigham leads all ‘Riders with 85.

910: Frisco pitching has thrown 910 innings this year. In that span, the club owns a 4.41 ERA, which is third in the Texas League.

965: How many hits the RoughRiders’ offense has mustered, which is almost ten per game. Frisco trails only Springfield in the Texas League in hits.

1.007 (this is counting as 1,007, by the way): Leonys Martin’s OPS while with the RoughRiders, which leads all 2011 ‘Riders not named Josh Hamilton (1.087), who doesn’t quite count. Martin hit .348 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 29 games at the Double-A level.

1509: The total number of bases the ‘Riders have reached this season. That’s a lot of running.

2004: The year of the RoughRiders’ first and only Texas League championship season. Here in 2011, the ‘Riders have proven through their first 100 games that they have the talent to add another title here in 2011.

Yep, that’s 10,000. It will be fun to see what 1 or 100 amazing things the RoughRiders do in the season’s stretch run. Enjoy the ride along with us.

- Brian

GAME PHOTOS: July 25 vs. Corpus Christi

The RoughRiders were in action again on Monday night against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Here are some pictures from the game from team photographer, James Garner.

Richard Bleier deals in the first inning of a game he will have to put behind him, after surrendering eight earned runs in just over three innings.

Tommy Mendonca collects a RBI single in the third inning.

Center fielder Engel Beltre makes a running catch up against the wall.

Renny Osuna continues to play excellent defense at shortstop.

Osuna slides safely into second base, before scoring in the third inning.

-Stephen

VIDEO: Joe Wieland Interview, July 25, 2011

Earlier today our own Stephen Harmon had a chance to chat with Frisco starter Joe Wieland about his start Sunday night.

Stephen Harmon talks to Joe Wieland about his start Sunday night, his focus on the mound, and how his change up is developing.

July Is For Pitching

It has been a good month for the RoughRiders yet again in July. Frisco is 14-8, which means the club is on pace for more wins in July than it has had in any month this season.

The offense has been solid as usual, posting a .282 batting average. That is one point higher than the ‘Riders’ team average in June (.281).

But the RoughRiders’ pitching staff has been the group that has improved the most in the first 22 games of July. The staff, which owned an ERA around 4.50 throughout the first three months of the season, boasts a season-best 3.60 ERA this month. Opponents are averaging only 4.2 runs per game against the ‘Riders, and 12 times the opposition has managed less than four runs in a game this month.

Today, we delve into the statistics and find five RoughRiders hurlers who have posted season-best ERAs for a month in July, along with three others who are at or close to their season low.

SEASON LOW ERAs:

Richard Bleier: Bleier has been bounced around all season long, from the disabled list into a few piggyback outing, to the rotation and then the bullpen and back into the rotation. Hopefully you kept up there. Bleier is back in the rotation and set to start tonight. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in July, a month during which Bleier has made three starts and three bullpen appearances. He will start for the ‘Riders tonight as they aim for their fifth sweep of the season and their second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Jake Brigham: Like Bleier, Brigham began the season as a starter but is now in the bullpen. After a rough start in the ‘pen, Brigham has settled in nicely. The right-hander currently owns a 2.13 ERA in July, which is more than two runs better than his previous best. He has struck out 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings of work. Brigham has not pitched since Thursday, so fans can expect to see him again soon.

Robbie Erlin is 5-2 in his young Double-A career (Photo: James Garner).

Robbie Erlin: The Rangers’ number four prospect has been pretty steady during his first two months at the Double-A level, and Erlin has been at his best in July. The left-hander has a 3.75 ERA in four July starts, but his record is only 1-2. In July, the strikeout-per-inning ratio has gone down a bit from June (1.2 in June to 0.8 in July), but Erlin has not walked a single batter in 24 innings this month. The next start for Erlin will be Tuesday against Midland.

Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers has been with the RoughRiders for more than a month, and he has shown flashes of dominance during his time in the Texas League. In July, Scheppers has an ERA of 3.38, but that includes a tough start to July when he allowed four earned runs in three appearances. Since then, the righty has posted six scoreless innings of work in his last five outings. Scheppers has some of the best stuff in the Rangers’ system, and he doesn’t figure to be in Frisco for much longer based on his recent performances. Triple-A Round Rock could be the next destination soon.

Joe Wieland: Wieland’s successes have been documented here on the Insider Blog, and he continued that good work last night with six scoreless innings against Corpus Christi. Wieland’s ERA is at 1.54 in Double-A, and it sits at just 1.50 in July. In all six of his starts, Wieland has worked at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.

DESERVING MENTION:

Justin Miller: It was going to be tough for Miller to best his effort in June because, well, he didn’t allow any earned runs in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. Here in July, Miller has recorded 11 and a third frames, and he allowed his only run of the month at Springfield July 9. Throw out that single tally, and the midseason All-Star has not surrendered a run since May 23 in a game at San Antonio that he went on to earn the victory.

Yohan Yan has yet to give up a run for the 'Riders (Photo: James Garner).

Yohan Yan: Yan has been great with both Myrtle Beach and Frisco. So far with the ‘Riders in three appearances, the side-winding right-hander has crafted five and a third scoreless innings of relief. He has held the opposition to just two base hits. Thus, his ERA with the ‘Riders is at its lowest in July because this is his first month here, but he deserved inclusion on this list. So far, so good for the ‘Riders’ newest arm.

Corey Young: Young is almost in the same category as Miller. He gave up just one run in June for an ERA of 0.87. Here in July, Young has only given up one run in three fewer innings, so he could still go on to post a season-low for a month with a few more appearances. When Young went on the disabled list with a back injury in late April, he had an ERA at 9.00. That mark has since dropped to a very healthy 3.51.

- Brian

GAME PHOTOS: July 24 vs. Corpus Christi

Here are some pictures from the game from photographers Stephen Harmon and Alex Yocum-Beeman.


Joe Wieland shut out the Hooks for six innings. Wieland struck out five batters and issued only one walk.

Jose Ruiz connects for his 12th homer of the season to break a 0-0 tie in the fifth inning.

Hilligoss connects in the third inning.

Tommy Mendonca swings away in the bottom of the first inning.

Davis Stoneburner gets the out at first.

 

-Stephen

Former RoughRiders Thriving In Arlington

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.

Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!

Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.

Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.

Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.

Nelson Cruz played in three games with the 'Riders in 2011 (Photo: James Garner).

Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).

Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.

Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.

Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.

Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.

Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.

Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.

Josh Hamilton homered in his two-game rehab stint in Frisco back in May (Photo: James Garner).

Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.

Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).

Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.

Ian Kinsler rehabs with the 'Riders in 2010 (Photo: James Garner).

Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.

Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.

Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.

Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.

Alexi Ogando spent part of '10 in Frisco (Photo: James Garner).

Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.

Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.

Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.

C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.

- Brian

GAME PHOTOS: July 23 vs. Corpus Christi

The RoughRiders cruised past the Corpus Christi Hooks 9-5 Saturday night. Here are some pictures from the game from team photographer James Garner.

Carlos Pimentel posted his eighth quality start and his first win since June 14. Pimentel went six innings and allowed three runs.

Jose Felix (right) went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles in the game’s early innings.

Davis Stoneburner tags out Jonathan Villar for a pickoff in the first inning.

One night after his three-homer effort, Tommy Mendonca went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.

Engel Beltre doubles home three RoughRiders in the club’s four-run third inning.

Later in the inning, Beltre scores on a Jose Felix RBI single.

- Brian

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition, Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Harmon took a look at some of the highest ranked Rangers prospects coming into the season. Today, he takes a look at some farmhands who have helped their stock in one way or another.

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Pedro Strop: Strop has been one of the Express’ most consistent arms out of the bullpen. The Dominican native posted a 1.93 ERA in the month of July, lowering his ERA to 3.55 on the season. Strop has spent parts of the last three seasons in Arlington, compiling a 3.72 ERA for the Rangers in 9.2 innings of work this season. Originally signed as a shortstop by the Colorado Rockies in 2002, the 26-year-old still has time to earn a regular role in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Chad Tracy: While, Chris Davis is capturing most of the attention with his uncanny home run numbers (24 bombs in 47 games), Tracy has quietly been building arguably the best season of his career. Despite hitting a meager .230 in June, the Pepperdine product still boasts a .262 average on the season. However, his 20 home runs through July 22 offsets some skepticism regarding his ability to hit.

Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):

Mike Bianucci: After a hot start offensively, Bianucci’s batting average has dropped off a bit since the All-Star break. However, his power numbers have been steady. Heading into the home stand, the Auburn University alum leads the ‘Riders with 22 home runs and has 69 RBI – both rank among the Texas League leaders. The most impressive split for Bianucci is his .316 batting average with runners on base compared to a .207 average with the bases empty.

Jake Brigham: Despite initially struggling after being moved to the bullpen, Brigham has strung together 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings of work. Primarily a starter throughout his career, Brigham now finds himself as a key piece in one of the most dependable bullpens in the Texas League. Through the month of July, the Orlando native is holding hitters to a .152 batting average.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):

Ryan Strausborger: Strausborger has come out of nowhere to emerge as a true prospect for the Rangers. The speedy outfielder is now batting third in the lineup for the Pelicans and is leads the team in RBIs, and is second in almost every other offensive category. Additionally, the Indiana State University product has accumulated 27 steals through July 22.

Zach Zaneski: Backstop Zach Zaneski has quietly been putting together back-to-back .300 seasons in the minors. This is the Rhode Island native’s first season in AA, and he has already earned Carolina League All Star recognitions. Currently, Zaneski is splitting time evenly with Vincent DiFazio. Each is alternating behind the dish every night. However if, Zaneski continues to hit at his current pace (.333 in July) he will make a viable case to become the everyday catcher.

Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):

Tomas Telis: The Venezuelan import is enjoying his first season in the South Atlantic League. Telis has never batted below .300 while playing in the States and 2011 looks like another .300+ season. Perhaps most encouraging to scouts is his surge in power. Through 80 games, Telis has tallied eight long balls. Being just 20 years old, his body should mature even more, which could lead to more home run power.

Christian Villanueva: Villanueva is one of the best power/speed combos in Ranger’s system. Hailing from Mexico, Vilanueva has swiped 23 bags and belted 11 home runs while hitting cleanup for Hickory.  He had three walk-off hits in the span of eight days for the Crawdads earlier this season.

Spokane Indians (short season):

Brett Nicholas: The former University of Missouri catcher is either first or second in every major offensive category for Spokane. Through his first 15 games in July, Nicholas was batting an impressive .396 with two home runs. A sound defensive catcher who can hit is hard to come by, so don’t expect Nicholas to stay in Spokane past this season, especially with Hickory catcher Kellin Deglan batting just .226.

Alumni Report

We checked in with some former RoughRiders a month ago, and since then the ‘Riders’ roster has changed. Let’s check in with some other former 2011 RoughRiders, including the likes of Leonys Martin and Martin Perez.

Travis Adair: After a two month stint with the RoughRiders, Adair was assigned back to High-A Myrtle Beach. Since returning to the Pelicans, Adair is hitting .275 with five RBIs and four runs. Overall, Adair is hitting .318 with two home runs and 18 RBIs with Myrtle Beach after posting a .238 average in 33 games while with Frisco.

Miguel De Los Santos: De Los Santos, a member of the Rangers’ 40-man roster, has made five appearances with High-A Myrtle Beach after almost two months on the disabled list. The left-handed starter is 2-1 with a 3.27 earned run average. After the first inning, De Los Santos owns a 2.00 ERA.

Mark Hamburger: Since his first ever promotion to Triple-A, Hamburger has gone 4-4 with a 6.03 earned run average with the Express. Opponents are hitting .273 against the right-hander whose best month came in June when he posted a 2.51 ERA. Hamburger has struggled against left-handed hitters (.356). From June 14 to July 6, Hamburger had a seven-appearance, 12.1-inning scoreless stretch.

Leonys Martin: Martin spent about two months with the RoughRiders before earning a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock July 9. In his first nine games with the Express, Martin is hitting .351 with six RBIs and five runs scored. He has hit safely in seven games, and he has posted a multi-hit effort five times. Against lefties at the Triple-A level, Martin is hitting .583 (7-for-12).

Martin Perez: The Rangers’ number one prospect has two starts with Round Rock on his resume. In his debut last Saturday, Perez held the Memphis Redbirds to one run on six hits in five innings for his first win with the Express. His home debut yesterday, though, brought with it Perez’s first loss in Triple-A. The southpaw allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on 11 hits in three and a third innings of work against New Orleans.

Guilder Rodriguez: Rodriguez joined Martin in that promotion to Round Rock July 9, and he has already played in ten games with the Express. He owns an average of .273 with five RBIs and five runs. Against righties, the switch hitter is batting .348. In yesterday’s game, Rodriguez set a Triple-A career high with three hits.

Jimmy Swift: Swift, who spent 11 days with the RoughRiders as a backup infielder, is back with the Surprise Rangers of the Arizona League. The undrafted free agent has thrived in Surprise. He has a .520 average in ten games. Since returning from Frisco, Swift is 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.

- Brian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers