It’s finally starting to feel like fall here in Frisco and although hot stove league talk might be a bit premature, there are plenty of things going on right now affecting the RoughRiders and Rangers:
- After winning his third-career Gold Glove on Tuesday, Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre has just won his third ever Silver Slugger Award. Beltre was also honored by the award in 2004 (Los Angeles) and 2010 (Boston), as he becomes just the sixth player (both leagues) since the award’s inception in 1980 to win three times as a third baseman. The only other Texas third baseman to win a Silver Slugger Award was Buddy Bell in 1984.
- According to the Chicago Sun-Times, two names “at or near the top” of Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ list for a new
manager are Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux and one-time Milwaukee interim manager Dale Sveum, who interviewed for the Boston Red Sox vacancy on Wednesday. Maddux is also reportedly in the mix for consideration by Boston. (We all remember when the Rangers won the pennant in 2010, the club lost hitting coach Clint Hurdle months later when took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The unfortunate cost of winning).
- In minor league news, it’s no surprise that the San Antonio Missions have been named Minor League Team of the Year and Double-A Team of the Year by MiLB.com. The Missions recorded the best record in all of the minors at 94-46 while winning both the first and second halves. Their 94 victories were the most in the league since the advent of the 140-game schedule in 1961 and were the second-most in franchise history, just one less than the 95 victories by the 1908 club. The Missions registered 100 overall wins after going 6-1 in the post-season on their way to capturing the franchise’s 12th Texas League Championship.
- On July 19, Northwest Arkansas’ Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera combined for the Naturals’ first-ever no-hitter. To make things even better, the no-no was helped out by a sixth-inning 5-4-3 triple play. The Naturals edged the Arkansas Travelers 1-0 and, as a result, have also won Double-A Game of the Year from MiLB.com.
- It was announced yesterday that Hickory shortstop, and the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect, Jurickson Profar, has won the Minor League Baseball Yearly Award for Class A Full Season Hitter of the Year. Only 18-years-old, Profar was previously named 2011 Low Class A Player of the Year by Baseball America to go along with winning the South Atlantic League MVP Award and being named to the SAL Annual All-Star Team this past season. I guess this kid is pretty good.
- Starting Friday at 10 a.m., The RoughRiders Foundation will be auctioning off game-used items and autographed memorabilia. Items start at their low reserve price and are open for bidding through November 18, 2011 at 5 p.m. Notable items include game-worn jerseys by Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz during their rehab assignments in Frisco this season. Questions? Contact Michael Davidow at 972-334-1978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday I wrote about the success lefty Miguel De Los Santos is having in the prospect laden Arizona Fall League. Hours after my posting, the AFL released the rosters for the annual Rising Stars Game played this Saturday at Surprise Stadium at 1 p.m. CST.
Among the 50 prospects that will be on display, the lone Rangers’ farm-hand selected was third baseman Mike Olt. In 16 AFL games, Olt is tied for the league lead with six home runs. His 22 runs batted in are the second-most. Some great power numbers over a small sample size while hitting .309.
You might remember Olt had a bit of an abbreviated 2011 season due to a home plate collision in early June that caused him to suffer a broken left collarbone. The injury resulted in Olt essentially playing the equivalent of a short-season schedule: 69 games. In that time the former supplemental first round pick out of Connecticut hit .267/14-HR/42-RBI.
The log-jam at third base from top to bottom in the Rangers’ system is a good problem for Texas to have and should be interesting to watch develop in 2012 and beyond.
RoughRiders’ fans are well aware of the abilities of 2011 RoughRiders’ third baseman, Tommy Mendonca. Tommy was a Midseason Texas League All-Star and had a incredible month of June when he hit .375 and was named the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month. Mendo would be the first to say he struggled down the stretch, primarily with strikeouts. Nevertheless, Mendonca played well defensively, proved to be a force in the ‘Riders lineup, and was a second-round draft pick.
Not to look too far up the ladder, but it is interesting to note that at the major league level, first-year Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre received his third career Gold Glove last night. In January the Rangers inked the former Dodger, Mariner, and Red Sox to a six-year, $96 million contract.
So much for him only playing well in a contract year.
Does Mendonca open up 2012 in Round Rock and Olt in Frisco? We’ll have to wait until April to find out.
P.S. A big thanks to RoughRiders’ team photographer James Garner for the pics in today’s blog. He is somehow everywhere, including Surprise, Ariz. to take in some AFL baseball.
At 22-years-old, Miguel De Los Santos entered 2011 as the Ragners’ No. 10 overall prospect. The lefty began last season right here in Frisco despite never pitching above the Low-A level. It seemed like it might have been a bit of a jump for Miguel, and in the end, that proved to be true.
In six Double-A starts last year, “Miggy” went 1-3 with an 8.04 ERA allowing 25 earned runs in 28 innings. At times, command really plagued him. In back-to-back April starts, De Los Santos walked five batters in four, and then five innings, respectively. However, on April 27 against a stacked San Antonio lineup, he pitched seven strong frames and walked only one batter while fanning 10.
His last Double-A start of 2011 came on May 7 against Midland. Following that performance, Miguel was put on the shelf with a shoulder injury and didn’t pitch again until June 29 when he tossed two innings of relief for High-A Myrtle Beach.
His numbers with the Pelicans were much better: 6-3, 3.82 ERA with 97 strikeouts to 28 walks. Carolina League batters hit a mere .195 against De Los Santos, with lefties batting a woeful .093.
Miguel took that momentum into the off-season where he’s currently pitching for the Surprise Saguaros in the prospect driven Arizona Fall Leauge. As of November 1, the southpaw is 3-0 over six appearances and three starts, and paces all AFL pitchers with 23 strikeouts.
A native of La Romana, Dominican Republic, Miguel went 2-0 in as many starts last week with a 3.00 ERA. That, plus his 13 strikeouts and two walks over nine innings, were good enough to earn him AFL Pitcher of the Week.
Last Saturday he started and pitched the first five innings of the Arizona Fall League’s first one-hit shutout since 2007. Miguel struck out eight batters in the game, which shares the Fall League single-game high this season.
There’s no doubt Miguel has “swing and miss” stuff, but the obvious challenge for him in Frisco last season was throwing strikes consistently. It’s great to see that his location has improved since coming off the disabled list in June and that he’s, in some respects, dominating AFL hitters.
I hate trying to guess who the ‘Riders will have on their Opening Day roster (mainly because I’m fairly terrible at it), but I’d have to imagine that Miguel opens 2012 in Frisco.