August 16th, 2011
The Texas League is two steps away from the Major Leagues, but many Texas Leaguers have made the jump this season. The RoughRiders have squared off with 16 players who have also been in “The Show.” Stephen Harmon is here to tell you about all 16.
Corpus Christi (Astros):
Jose Altuve: After starting the year in High-A, Altuve rapidly advanced through the Astros’ system, bypassing AAA before reaching the bigs. The 5’7″ second baseman has hit well at every minor league level and is now batting second in Houston’s line-up. On August 1, Altuve hit a walk-off fielder’s choice to give the Astros a win over Cincinnati.
Jason Bourgeois: The former Rangers second round draft pick and Frisco RoughRider is having his best offensive season, batting .312 with Houston. The ‘Riders saw Bourgeois in August while he was rehabbing with Corpus Christi.
Jeff Keppinger: Another rehabber, the former Astros second baseman appeared in four games with the Hooks and homered against the ‘Riders on May 14. A career .283 hitter over seven seasons, Keppinger was traded to the Giants on July 19.
JD Martinez: Through 15 games with Houston, Martinez already has four home runs. The slugging left fielder spent a year and a half in Corpus Christi and had a Double-A average of .338 at the time of his call up.
Jimmy Paredes: Paredes was the last of the everyday Corpus trio to be promoted in August. In his first career at bat, the Dominican Republic native hit a two-run triple to center field.
San Antonio (Padres):
James Darnell: Darnell began the year in San Antonio and played against the ‘Riders in 16 games. Before advancing to Triple-A Tucson, the third baseman earned the Texas League All-Star Game MVP. The University of South Carolina alum is batting .267 through five games with the Padres.
Nick Hundley: The four-year Padre catcher played four of his seven rehab games in Frisco. Despite batting just .174 for the Mission, Hundley went deep in his first game back with the Padres on August 12th.
Kyle Phillips: Phillips, another Padres catcher, found his way into the San Diego’s line up after hitting .316 with San Antonio. Phillips only struck out once in 76 at bats while playing with the Missions.
Blake Tekotte: The University of Miami product has been back and forth between San Diego and San Antonio since late May. We have been lucky enough to see him play in 22 games against Frisco this year. In his last visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, Brian caught a Tekotte foul ball in the radio booth. The speedy outfielder is also Aaron’s favorite player in all of minor league baseball.
Garrett Richards: The Travelers ace made his big league debut at Yankee Stadium earlier this month. In that game, the Oklahoma product lasted five innings, surrendering six runs against a potent Yankee lineup. Richards’ first career strikeout came against Derek Jeter. In three games against the ‘Riders, Richards is 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA.
Mike Trout: Trout, the number two overall prospect in baseball, is hitting .350 with three home runs in nine games against Frisco this year. The 20-year-old center fielder appeared in 14 games in July for the Angels while Peter Bourjos was on the DL. Trout may be the most exciting player in the minors, as he has 13 triples and 33 stolen bases on the season.
Northwest Arkansas (Royals):
Salvador Perez: Perez caught two of the three games while the Naturals were in Frisco, and caught all three games against the ‘Riders in Northwest Arkansas. The 21-year-old catcher singled in his first big league game on August 10th.
Manny Pina: The Venezuelan backstop appeared in three games with the Naturals in 2011 before catching for the Royals in early August. Pina joins former 2010 Naturals Aaron Crow, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer on the Royals roster. By late August, Pina was back with Triple-A Omaha.
Maikel Cleto: Although Cleto has only thrown three and a third innings for St. Louis, he still makes our list. The Dominican Republic native started six games for Springfield before being promoted to Triple-A Memphis.
Eduardo Sanchez: Sanchez pitched three innings during his rehab stint with Springfield. The ‘Riders jumped all over Sanchez as he surrender three runs while pitching two and a third innings in Frisco.
Alex White: The former 2009 first round draft pick shut down the ‘Riders offense August 13. In his third rehab outing, White surrendered only two hits over four scoreless innings in Frisco. The former Tar Heel made his big league debut with Cleveland in late April before going on the disabled list with a finger injury. White was a key part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal late last month.
Since the ‘Riders have not seen any 2011 big leaguers on a RockHound roster we will give Jemile Weeks an honorable mention. Weeks played in 67 games with Midland last year before making his major league debut June 7, 2011.
The RoughRiders took on the Tulsa Drillers in the final game of the three game series. Tulsa pitcher, Christian Friedrich yielded one hit over six scoreless innings. Here is a video of the 4th top prospect in the Rockies organization (Baseball America ).