June 2012

The Jump

The transition from High-A to Double-A is largely considered the biggest jump in baseball. Many current RoughRiders played at High-A Myrtle Beach last season. Pitcher Zach Osborne talked about moving up from Myrtle Beach and playing with some of the same guys.

Osborne was recently assigned to Myrtle Beach. Some guys thrive when they are moved up while others need time to adjust. By comparing statistics from Myrtle Beach last season and statistics from Frisco this season, it will be easier to see who thrives at the next level.

Chad Bell:

2011- 3 wins, 2 losses, 2.98 ERA, 69 strikeouts

2012- 1 win, 0 losses, 2.12 ERA, 27 strikeouts

Wilfredo Boscan:

2011- 4 wins, 12 losses, 4.69 ERA, 72 strikeouts

2012- 2 wins, 3 losses, 4.36 ERA, 27 strikeouts

Miguel de los Santos:

2011- 6 wins, 3 losses, 3.82 ERA, 97 strikeouts

2012- 0 wins, 2 losses, 6.08 ERA, 16 strikeouts

Justin Grimm:

2011- 5 wins, 2 losses, 3.39 ERA, 73 strikeouts

2012- 8 wins, 3 losses, 1.67 ERA, 59 strikeouts

Barret Loux:

2011- 8 wins, 5 losses, 3.80 ERA, 127 strikeouts

2012- 11 wins, 0 losses, 2.81 ERA, 62 strikeouts

Joseph Ortiz:

2011- 5 wins, 5 losses, 2.15 ERA, 55 strikeouts

2012- 1 win, 2 losses, 2.88 ERA, 25 strikeouts

Ryan Rodebaugh:

2011- 1 win, 1 loss, 5.21 ERA, 22 strikeouts

2012- 0 wins, 1 loss, 1.13 ERA, 9 strikeouts

Zach Zaneski:

2011- .281 batting average, 77 hits, 6 home runs, 42 RBIs

2012- .346 batting average, 28 hits, 3 home runs, 14 RBIs

Leury Garcia:

2011- .256 batting average, 113 hits, 3 home runs, 38 RBIs

2012- .320 batting average, 41 hits, 1 home run, 11 RBIs

Chris McGuiness:

2011- .214 batting average, 42 hits, 2 home runs, 26 RBIs

2012- .239 batting average, 44 hits, 8 home runs, 24 RBIs

Mike Olt:

2011- .267 batting average, 64 hits, 14 home runs, 42 RBIs

2012- .310 batting average, 66 hits, 18 home runs, 48 RBIs

Jared Prince:

2011- .282 batting average, 136 hits, 8 home runs, 72 RBIs

2012- .222 batting average, 38 hits, 6 home runs, 22 RBIs

Ryan Strausborger:

2011- .270 batting average, 132 hits, 8 home runs, 57 RBIs

2012- .245 batting average, 45 hits, 2 home runs, 19 RBIs

Video shot by Michael Damman and Jarah Wright

Written by Jarah Wright

2012 Texas Rangers Draft Recap

With uncertainty over how the new CBA draft rules would affect the draft, the Texas Rangers started their draft pretty much like they always have, at least in recent times. The Rangers went high school early and often, taking five high school players with their first five picks. After taking the five high school picks, however, the Rangers went into the college pattern for their next eleven picks before taking four more high school players in a row. Texas finished by taking eight high school players in their last ten picks. In total, they went the high school route 19 times and the college route 23 times. Six of the college players taken were from Junior Colleges (JUCO) and there was one college sophomore taken from non-JUCO schools.

Here is a look at the draft picks that the Texas Rangers finished with, any of whom could be future Frisco RoughRiders:

Round

Overall

First

Last

POS

School

1

29

Lewis

Brinson

OF

Coral Springs HS

1s

39

Joey

Gallo

3B

Bishop Gorman HS

1s

53

Collin

Wiles

RHP

Blue Valley West HS

2

83

Jamie

Jarmon

OF

Indian River HS

2

93

Nick

Williams

OF

Galveston Ball HS

3

123

Patrick

Cantwell

C

SUNY Stone Brook

4

156

Alex

Asher

RHP

Polk State Col.

5

186

Preston

Beck

OF

University of Texas-Arlington

6

216

Royce

Bolinger

OF

Gonzaga University

7

246

Cameron

Schiller

2B

Oral Roberts University

8

276

Cody

Kendall

RHP

Fresno State University

9

306

John

Niggli

RHP

Liberty University

10

336

Joseph

Shiver

RHP

Southern Polytechnic St. University

11

366

Eric

Brooks

RHP

McClellan CC

12

396

Keone

Kela

RHP

Everett CC

13

426

Sam

Stafford

LHP

University of Texas

14

456

Kwinton

Smith

OF

Dillon HS

15

486

Jameis

Winston

OF

Hueytown HS

16

516

Janluis

Castro

2B

Colegio Hector Urdaneta

17

546

Charles

Moorman

C

El Capitan HS

18

576

Ryan

Harvey

RHP

Seton Hall University

19

606

James

Smith

RHP

University of South Carolina-Sumter

20

636

Joshua

McElwee

RHP

Newberry College

21

666

Jacob

LeMoine

RHP

Bridge City HS

22

696

Travis

Dean

RHP

Kennesaw State University

23

726

Coby

Cowgill

RHP

Virginia Military Institute

24

756

Chase

Mullins

LHP

Bourbon County HS

25

786

Gabriel

Roa

SS

Wabash Valley College

26

816

Austin

Thrailkill

LHP

St. Petersburg College

27

846

Ryan

Bores

RHP

Kent State University

28

876

Joseph

Burns

LHP

Samford University

29

906

Brandon

Kuter

RHP

George Mason University

30

936

Barrett

Serrato

OF

Purdue University

31

966

Zachary

Brill

LHP

Mark Morris HS

32

996

Alex

Young

LHP

Carmel HS

33

1026

Ryan

Burr

RHP

Highlands Ranch HS

34

1056

David

Lyon

C

Kent State University

35

1086

Brad

Stone

LHP

Ardrey Kell HS

36

1116

Sterling

Wynn

LHP

China Spring HS

37

1146

Matt

Withrow

RHP

Midland Christian HS

38

1176

Zackary

Fields

1B

Annapolis HS

39

1206

Tevin

Johnson

OF

Henry County HS

40

1236

Paul

Schwindel

RHP

Emory University

 

Draft Notes:

-          41 players listed at 6’0” or taller

-          22 players listed at 200 pounds or heavier

-          12 players from the states of Texas, Florida, and California.

-          26 pitchers (18 right handed, 8 left handed)

-          9 outfielders, including 7 in the first 15 rounds

Draft Diaries: Following The Right Path

Major League Baseball holds their annual Amateur Draft from June 4 through the 6 this week, and we have decided to get a look from different angles on the Frisco RoughRiders. A very low percentage of draft picks ever reach the Major Leagues and those that do never take the exact same path to reach it. There will be 1,200 or so players drafted over the next three days and a large majority of them will likely never make it to Double-A, let alone the Big Leagues. Here are stories from those that have or have played roles in those that have.

Scouts always seem to be looking for the five-tool player who can develop into the next great talent for their teams. Many times the player is looked at for one specific position but there are some out there who are looked at for more than one. ‘Riders starter Tim Murphy is one example.

Murphy first drew interest as an outfielder at Rancho Buena Vista High School. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2005 but decided to not sign and play baseball at UCLA. He didn’t pitch at all during his freshman year at UCLA but developed into one of their starters for his sophomore and junior years which was a role he said he grew into.

“Pitching was definitely the way to go. I talked to teams about both (being a pitcher and outfielder),” Murphy said. “Pitching was more in the cards than hitting was.”

The Texas Rangers selected Murphy in 2008 as a pitcher. He was with some of his friends at UCLA when he heard the news.

“I wasn’t at home. I was up at UCLA right before finals week and was actually at a buddy’s apartment. I was taken in the third round and I hadn’t really talked to the Rangers much,” Murphy said. “They were not a guess going into the draft. They actually called me a week before the draft during Super Regionals and asked a few questions. Next thing you know come draft day I was at my buddy’s house. We were all just hanging out and my coach called me and said Texas is going to take you in two or three picks. Sure enough two or three picks later Texas picked me and the area scout called me.”

While Murphy was drafted twice, some players are not drafted at all. This can be disappointing but does not mean that baseball careers are over. It can also open the door to free agency. For ‘Riders catcher Zach Zaneski, it was a tough process to go through.

“That was probably the craziest emotional week of my life. You couldn’t get much lower. I mean you can but it was really disappointing and really heartbreaking when I didn’t get drafted,” Zaneski said. “I didn’t have an agent then so I was just hoping that a scout with some team was going to call me and say we need a catcher somewhere.”

Zaneski said it was a few days before he heard anything from anyone. An independent team called him asking if he would play.

“I said okay and I flew to St Louis and played one game for the Midwest Sliders in the Frontier League,” Zaneski said. “Then Rick Matsko, the Rangers’ scout, called me and said they needed a catcher in Spokane. I was like alright so the next day I flew to Spokane, Washington. Within one week, I went from Connecticut to St Louis and from St Louis to Spokane. To actually sign with the Rangers was just a roller coaster.”

Zaneski said guys who don’t get drafted shouldn’t give up if playing baseball is the ultimate goal.

“Have faith and believe that whatever path happens is the right path.”

Written by: Jarah Wright

Draft Diaries: College Or High School?

Major League Baseball holds their annual Amateur Draft from June 4 through the 6 this week, and we have decided to get a look from different angles on the Frisco RoughRiders. A very low percentage of draft picks ever reach the Major Leagues and those that do never take the exact same path to reach it. There will be 1,200 or so players drafted over the next three days and a large majority of them will likely never make it to Double-A, let alone the Big Leagues. Here are stories from those that have or have played roles in those that have.

The draft is an exciting process and one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that few get to experience. Many guys go through the ranks of baseball starting at an early age and continue to play up through high school.

High school draft picks used to be less common but it seems like the 2012 draft indicates the tides could be changing. In this year’s draft, 17 of the first-round picks were from high school. Players in this position have tough decisions to make. Will they sign with the team that drafted them? Will they go to college ball and take the risk of getting hurt or not being drafted again? ‘Riders starter Jake Brigham had this decision laid before him in 2006.

Jake Brigham had just graduated from Central Florida Christian Academy and already had plans to play college baseball at the University of Central Florida. In the sixth round of the 2006 draft, Brigham was selected by the Texas Rangers. Less than ten minutes after his name was called, he got a phone call from the coach at UCF.

“He wanted me to come see the facilities again,” Brigham said. “But I knew if (the Rangers) could make it worth my while that I wanted to go play baseball. I wanted to get it started. I wanted to learn from the best about what I wanted to do with my life and my career.”

Ultimately Brigham chose to go the professional baseball route and says several factors let him know he made the right decision.

“I signed with UCF because there was a pitching coach there, Craig Cozart, who had a really good reputation as far as being a pitching coach,” Brigham said.  “He ended up leaving there at the end of what would have been my freshman year so it ended up working out perfectly.”

Brigham said although he hasn’t gone to college yet, it could still be in his future and he credits the Rangers for making that possible as well.

“That’s the good thing about signing out of high school. The team puts away an allotted amount of money for you to go back to school so whenever I’m done at some point, I do have a scholarship pretty much waiting for me.”

While Brigham decided to play professional baseball out of high school, fellow ‘Riders starter Barret Loux decided to go to college. Loux was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2007 but didn’t sign so he could go to Texas A&M where he majored in finance. Loux said he didn’t feel like he was ready to take on the role of professional pitcher.

“At that point and time I didn’t feel like my arm was ready to throw every five days and I wanted the college experience,” Loux said.

In 2011, Loux was drafted in the first round, sixth overall, by the Arizona Diamondbacks. With some reservation about Loux’s future, the Diamondbacks decided not to sign him. The next few months were hard on him as he waited to hear whether he could be declared a free agent.

“Once I found out (Arizona) wasn’t going to sign me, it took me awhile to get over it but I finally did realize there were bigger things in life and that I was still very lucky and blessed,” Loux said. “That really helped me get over it and got me to see things clearly.”

Loux was declared a free agent that fall and Texas signed him in December of 2010. He said he couldn’t be happier than where he is now playing in his home state.

As for current and future draft picks, Brigham and Loux said it’s best to enjoy the moment and make the choice that is right for the player.

“Enjoy the process. It goes quick. I can’t believe I’m already in my seventh season but just enjoy it,” Brigham said. “Don’t think about tomorrow. It’ll take care of itself.”

Written  by: Jarah Wright

Draft Diaries: The Beginning and the End

Major League Baseball holds their annual Amateur Draft from June 4 through the 6 this week, and we have decided to get a look from different angles on the Frisco RoughRiders. A very low percentage of draft picks ever reach the Major Leagues and those that do never take the exact same path to reach it. There will be 1,200 or so players drafted over the next three days and a large majority of them will likely never make it to Double-A, let alone the Big Leagues. Here are stories from those that have or have played roles in those that have.

On Monday night Major League Baseball held the first round and supplemental rounds of the 2012 amateur draft. From that point through Wednesday, the lives of approximately 1,200 players will be forever changed with the words “drafted by ________ in the ___ round”. Some will ultimately not sign, but hundreds of them will move onto their first opportunity at professional baseball. For some, just making it to professional baseball will be a dream come true. For others, it’s one step closer to their ultimate dream of making it to a major league stadium.

The dream that each player has does not become a reality overnight, however, and there are many paths to realizing the goal. Every player, whether it’s one in high school or college, has to have someone backing them both long before the draft process and during the draft process.

In the case of the Frisco RoughRiders, we have examples of both in the clubhouse alone.

When the Texas Rangers selected Steve Buechele in the 5th round of the 1982 draft, they probably had a good feeling that he could be a major league caliber player. But, they probably did not expect the pick to still be rewarding the organization 30 years down the road.

After spending three seasons in the minor leagues, Buechele made his debut on July 19th, 1985. He would become an 11 year major league veteran amassing 1,046 hits, 137 home runs, 547 RBI, and 501 runs over that time. In his third season as Frisco’s manager Steve Buechele has made an impact on the game both on the field as a player and on the field as a coach. He also has made an impact as a father.

“Well I think it’s…you’ll hear things. Every player no matter who they are unless they’re just a bona fide number one pick, I think will always hear something. You’ll go in the top three, the top seven, top ten, top fifteen, whatever it is, you know, and I think just to take everything with a grain of salt because you never know what’s going to happen on draft day,” Steve Buechele said about the difference of having gone through the draft process himself.

In the 2010 draft, the Texas Rangers selected Garrett Buechele out of the University of Oklahoma with their 18th round pick. After not signing and returning for another year, Garrett was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th round of the 2011 draft at which point he signed.

“I think for us, you know, he went…one year he was drafted by the Rangers, it was kind of neat,” Buechele said when asked about the feeling of seeing his son getting drafted, “But he went back to school and then last year when he was drafted by the Giants our reaction was we were just happy that he was going to get a chance to play baseball which is what he’s always wanted to do.”

While the player can have the talent and the parent can help the son, baseball players would not be as easy to find without the help of the scout and coach. In Frisco, we have one person who has done both, in James Vilade.

During his career as a college baseball coach at the University of Dallas and UT-Tyler, James Vilade went 348-117 and helped over 50 players make it to professional baseball in twelve seasons as a college coach. Since then Vilade has worked as an area scout for the Florida Marlins and currently is a part-time scout for the Texas Rangers as well as an assistant hitting coach for the Frisco RoughRiders.

Asked about how it feels as a coach to see players make it: “It’s exciting. I mean from the standpoint of where I am now with player development and also scouting, it’s a unique position on its own but Monday night I was with Elvis Andrus at the Ballpark in Arlington. It’s nice to see guys make it. It really is so it’s nice to see guys accomplish their goals and our job is to develop guys and get them to Arlington. It’s rewarding when they do.”

Draft day for many baseball fans happens quickly and before you know it it’s over and you might not hear of 90% of the players ever again. For scouts, however, especially on the amateur side, the draft is a yearlong process, if not more.

The chain of command is long and winded as well. From the area scouts to the crosscheckers to national supervisors, the process of getting players recommended can be long and tedious. And heaven forbid a player has a bad day when the scout’s supervisor is there. But, once draft day comes along, the responsibility is no longer on the part of the area scout and now on those in charge of the draft.

“As far as my job, my job on actual draft day, my role really dwindles. It’s up the guys in the front office and the national guys that make the real big decisions so for us working in a certain area, the pressure is off us that day. It goes to the front office and those guys are all working hard and I know there’s hours of meetings and trying to make it the best draft possible,” Vilade said.

It can make for fascinating debates years down the road. Take for instance a very interesting tweet by former Houston Astro C.J. Nitkowski ( @CJNitkowski ):

“18th anniversary of me being taken 9th overall in the MLB draft. I often reminisce about how many people were fired over that decision.”

And that comes from somebody that appeared in 336 big league games.

Written By: Michael Damman

Sharlon Schoop Interivew, June 3, 20120

Before yesterday’s game, we talked to Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ shortstop Sharlon Schoop about growing up in Curacao and the relationship between his family and Jurickson Profar.

Shot by Jarah Wright and Michael Damman

A #Winning Trio

From Left to Right: Joseph Ortiz, Barret Loux, and Justin Grimm. (Photo Illustration: Jarah Wright)

Considered one of the most popular TV shows of the 21st century, Two and a Half Men has very little itself to do with baseball. In fact, maybe the most baseball related scene was Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) coming back from a softball game in one of the episodes. Sheen, however, is well known in popular culture.  He starred in the movie Major League and Major League II, which is an extremely popular movie among baseball fans. It might be one of the most quotable movies that I can remember, especially sports wise.  Charlie Harper’s nephew in the movie, Jake Harper, is played by Angus T. Jones as well. Jones played the son of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) in the Disney movie, The Rookie.

It was from Charlie Sheen that the word “#winning” became so popular in the social media world.  Well, the ‘Riders have been #winning a lot this season and three pitchers are big reasons why the team is winning. Barret Loux (10-0 3.03 ERA) leads professional baseball in wins, Justin Grimm (8-3 1.86 ERA) leads the Texas League and ranks 14th overall in minor league baseball in ERA, and Joseph Ortiz, despite being five foot seven, has been Frisco’s most effective reliever this season with 19 appearances, a 2.05 ERA, and a 1.05 WHIP.

They came from different backgrounds, but there is no denying that the trio has been able to put together a special season. Barret Loux and Justin Grimm are a combined 18-3 for the season. Their win total is better than two minor league baseball teams (Louisville Bats and Rome Braves) and as good as another one (West Virginia Power).

“We have a little friendly competition but it’s not where it gets out of hand and we try to learn from each other, so I’d say we help each other out,” Grimm said when asked if him and Loux push each other, “Every time you’re on the mound, you want to do well and improve yourself and your team.”

Much like Two and a Half Men there are times where baseball players can feel like they are living with each other, especially when they are on the road. In the case of Justin Grimm and Barret Loux, they actually do live with each other. So, it’s a good thing that sometimes a player is rooming with somebody he would want to live with.

“We get along pretty well. We like to fish, golf, similar interests,” Loux said about Grimm, “He makes life interesting. You never know what he’s going to say.”

Sometimes though, it’s what you don’t say that can get you into trouble.

“I was standing out on the mound and we were sitting through the national anthem and I didn’t realize that I had my hat on until I got to the end and I had to take it off and I got so much crap for it once I got in the dugout for having my hat on through the national anthem just standing there,” Grimm said.

While Loux and Grimm deservedly get the accolades from the pitching side, there is little doubt that Joseph Ortiz has been a very valuable ‘Rider this season. Pitching in the late innings for Frisco, Ortiz has stabilized a bullpen that at times has been inconsistent.

In the 19 appearances, Ortiz has pitched 22 innings and struck out 23 batters. He has given up 19 hits and walked four batters. At one point this season he struck out the first batter he faced in six consecutive appearances.  Who does Ortiz credit for his success?

“I was always looking forward to having good friends like I have now here in Frisco and I always wanted to come and play here,” Joseph Ortiz said. “That’s what’s making me do a good job on the mound because of the good people that surround me.”

Asked if he had any funny stories about Justin Grimm or Barret Loux, Joseph Ortiz smiled and responded: “The only funny thing is those guys are huge compared to me.”

 

Written By: Michael Damman

Original Image Courtesy of CBS

Nick Schmidt Interview, June 1, 2012

Before the game yesterday we talked to Tulsa Drillers’ starter Nick Schmidt about playing in high profile games like the California League championship game and pitching as part of Team USA.

Shot by: Jarah Wright and Michael Damman

Tyler Johnson Interview, May 31, 2012

We sat down with World Series winner and current Tulsa Drillers reliever Tyler Johnson before the game yesterday to talk about winning the World Series and coming back from an injury to play professional baseball.

Shot by: Michael Damman and Jarah Wright

Audio Highlights-May 31

The RoughRiders defeated the Tulsa Drillers last night 10-4. By winning game two, Frisco has won the last 11 series at home. Here are some highlights from last night’s game.

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