April 18th, 2012
2012 marks the RoughRiders’ 10th season as a franchise, all as the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate. Since 2003, there have been hundreds of talented players come through Dr Pepper Ballpark, but some have stood out more than others. With the help of Michael Damman, the RoughRiders’ Director of Statistical Research, we’ve come up with the All-’Riders Team: the best player at each position in franchise history. Today we continue with the RoughRiders all-time best third baseman.
The only current RoughRider position player to make it, Tommy Mendonca enjoyed a breakout season with Frisco in 2011. Mendonca batted .278 with 27 doubles, 3 triples, 25 homeruns, and drove in 87 runs while scoring 75. Mendonca got off to a great start as he hit .345 with 6 homeruns and a .990 OPS in April and was hitting .335 with 19 doubles, 15 homeruns, 59 RBI, and a .983 OPS in the first half of the season. However, during the all-star break, Mendonca learned that his friend was involved in a fatal car crash. Between those emotions and possibly of it being the hottest summer in Dallas history, his numbers came crashing down to earth in the second half when he batted just .214 with 18 extra base hits (10 homeruns) and a .635 OPS in the second half. Mendonca’s 25 homeruns are still the 4th most hit by a RoughRider in a single season and his 87 runs batted in are the 5th most by a RoughRider, 2 behind teammate Mike Bianucci. At one point in the season, it seemed as though Mendonca would never be stopped on the road as the third baseman rode a 41 game road on base streak throughout much of the first half of the season and he finished with a .304 average and .849 OPS on the road. Perhaps his most memorable game came at home, however, when Tommy blasted 3 homeruns and drove in 6 runs in a 19-4 Riders victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks on July 22nd. Mendonca finished with a 2011 team high 13 total bases in the game. One of the most fascinating and intriguing aspects of Mendonca’s game is his ability to go to the opposite field and not only go there, but drive the ball with power. Of his 25 homeruns, 16 of them were hit to left field or centerfield. With power and a strong arm at third base, the former second round pick Tommy Mendonca has the potential to reach the big leagues within the next couple of years.
Up Next: Shortstop