July 2012

Ramirez’s Route To Professional Baseball

Neil Ramirez pitching in Frisco in 2011. (Photo by Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Baseball has been part of RoughRiders’ pitcher Neil Ramirez since he was five years old. He started playing on tournament teams when he was around ten years old including a team called the Virginia Heat which was in the AAU. The spark that began his Ramirez’s initial interest in pitching came from a certain major league team.

“My favorite team growing up was the Atlanta Braves,” Ramirez said. “I loved the whole pitching staff, watching Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, all those guys.”

High school ball was where Ramirez started garnering attention and standing out.

“I played all four years on the varsity team,” Ramirez said. “I wasn’t the main pitcher I would say until my junior year. We had a pretty good team. A couple of guys ended up playing at D-III schools and one kid, Matt Little, is in pro ball right now with the Tigers.”

Ramirez was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Texas Rangers out of Kempsville High School. He said he remembers draft day.

“(It was) nerve-wracking. It’s just kind of a waiting game waiting for your name to be called,” Ramirez said.  “I heard different things from different people about where I was going to go so it was cool. It was an awesome experience.”

The biggest decision Ramirez had to make was deciding whether or not to go to college before pursuing professional baseball.

“It was a tough decision. It took all summer for us to kind of decide, me and my family,” Ramirez said. That was definitely one of the tougher decisions because I was going to Georgia Tech which at the time had two of my friends that were committed there and they ended up being top picks also so we would have had a really good staff.”

After deciding to return to college later and sign with the Rangers, his experience in the farm system began in Short Season Spokane. He said it was definitely a learning process.

“It was the first time out on my own really. That’s what I definitely remember a lot, just growing up and learning how to take care of myself,” Ramirez said. “I had a great group of guys that I played with. Zaneski’s still here playing with me now. We had a real fun team up in Spokane. We ended up winning that league that year too which was really neat to get a ring our first year.”

Ramirez spent the next two seasons pitching in Low-A Hickory before being promoted to High-A Myrtle Beach in 2011. He didn’t spend much time there as he was promoted to Double-A Frisco after one game. He made six appearances with the RoughRIders before moving up to Triple-A Round Rock. He began the 2012 season in Triple-A before returning to Frisco. Ramirez said he realizes why and hopes to continue and build upon the skills he has.

“I struggled in Round Rock which everybody goes through so I learned to deal with it. I got sent down here realizing that it’s all a process and not about right now. It’s about the future so I’m just continuing to try to get better every day,” Ramirez said. “I want to be consistent and go out there every five days and give my team a chance to win. I think if I can go out there and compete, battle hitters and stuff like that, it will work out.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Jake Brigham To Chicago Cubs

As of this morning, Brigham is now a member of the Cubs organization. (Portrait by Alex Yocum-Beeman)

The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders’ pitcher Jake Brigham to the Chicago Cubs for catcher Geovany Soto. The trade was announced this morning. With the addition of Soto, Yorvit Torrealba was designated for assignment.

Brigham spent seven years in the Rangers’ organzation. During the 2012 season with Frisco, he had a record of five wins and five losses with an earned run average of 4.28. He has struck out 116 batters this season and 114 last season breaking several records. He sits in third and fourth place for the most strikeouts in a single season and is in second place for the most strikeouts all-time.

Texas Rangers Farm System Update

As we enter the final hours of the Major League Baseball Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, here is a look at how the Rangers Minor League teams, not including Frisco, have fared thus far this season and a look at how they have done recently.

Round Rock Express (AAA)

48-61 record (16 games back in the American Southern Division of the PCL)

Runs per Game: 4.82 (12th in the PCL)

Runs Allowed per Game: 5.28 (8th in the PCL)

Top 30 Prospects: 6

How the Names Have Done: The Express came into the season with a promising roster, including 2011 RoughRiders pitchers Martin Perez (#2 ranked Texas prospect) and Neil Ramirez (#5 ranked Texas prospect) and outfielder Leonys Martin (#4 ranked Texas prospect). The roster also included 2011 breakthrough players Mike Bianucci (30 home runs and 89 RBI in 2011) and Tommy Mendonca (25 home runs, 87 RBI, and an .827 OPS in 2011). Mendonca, however, struggled on the field when he was healthy and has been on the DL since June 2. Bianucci hit .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in 78 games before also being placed on the DL on July 12. Perez was inconsistent and then promoted to the Rangers. Neil Ramirez struggled before being sent down to Frisco. Leonys Martin played well for the Express before being promoted to the Rangers.

Lately: While the Express have struggled as a team this season, they have won five games in a row and are 7-3 in their last ten games.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A+)

58-49 record overall (22-15 record and first place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League in the second half)

Runs Per Game: 3.81 (8th in the CAR)

Runs Allowed Per Game: 3.73 (1st in the CAR)

Top 30 Prospects: 8

How the Names Have Done: Myrtle Beach has had nearly a third of the Texas Rangers top 30 prospects on their roster at some point this season led by current RoughRiders pitcher Cody Buckel (#6 ranked Texas prospect) and third baseman Christian Villanueva (#8 ranked Texas prospect). Buckel dominated the Carolina League prior to being called up as he went 5-3 with a league best 1.31 ERA over 13 starts for the Pelicans. Villanueva is currently hitting .285 with a team high ten home runs and .777 OPS in the pitcher friendly league. Odubel Herrera (#27 ranked Texas prospect) leads the team with 20 steals. Ranked pitching prospects Matt West (#10) and Luke Jackson (#18) have been with the team since mid June. Matt West, converted to pitching from the infield, has struggled to an 8.10 ERA out of the bullpen in eleven appearances.   Jackson is 2-1 with a 5.60 ERA over seven starts. Like Jackson, Roman Mendez (#19 ranked Texas prospect) also has struggled, going 4-6 with a 5.34 ERA over 13 appearances (12 starts).

Lately: The Pelicans finished 36-34 in the first half, but have been playing much better and are aiming for a playoff berth. They currently are 22-15 with a 1 game lead over the first half title winner, the Winston-Salem Dash. Overall, the Pelicans have a 3.5 game lead over the Salem Red Sox in case the Dash win both halves.

Hickory Crawdads (A)

57-50 record overall (21-17 tied for first place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League in the second half)

Runs per Game: 5.20 (4th in the SAL)

Runs Allowed per Game: 4.92 (6th in the SAL)

Top 30 Prospects: 7

How the Names Have Done: For the second straight year the Hickory Crawdads roster has featured an 18 year old middle infielder that has produced above league average with the bat. Last year it was top prospect Jurickson Profar who put his mark on the South Atlantic League. This year, second baseman Rougned Odor (#9 ranked Texas prospect) earned attention by hitting .293 with six home runs and an .838 OPS in the first half. While he has struggled in the second half, Odor is still posting above league average numbers with a .268 average, eight home runs and a .749 OPS overall. Catcher Jorge Alfaro (#7 ranked Texas prospect) is one of the highest ceiling players on the Crawdad’s roster and might be one of the highest ceiling prospects in the organization. Alfaro, 19 years old, is hitting .289 with 22 extra base hits in 48 games and an .820 OPS. In the second half, the catcher is hitting .302 with an .859 OPS. Speaking of high ceilings, some would argue that Jordan Akins (#12 ranked Texas prospect) has the highest ceiling of any position player in the organization. Whether he develops his raw tools on the field is another story. The possible five tool outfielder is batting just .192 with an atrocious 9 walk to 118 strikeout ratio. His .529 OPS is the lowest on the team. In the second half, Akins is hitting just .165 with a .435 OPS and 42 strikeouts to just two walks. It seems as though Texas just knows how to develop middle infielders. Beginning with Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, on down to Profar and Leury Garcia in Frisco, and to Odor and Luis Sardinas (#17 ranked Texas prospect) in Hickory, the Rangers have done a tremendous job developing middle infielders. Sardinas leads Hickory with a .305 batting average and 27 steals. So far in July, the switch hitting shortstop is hitting .389 with a .929 OPS.

Lately: The Crawdads finished the first half 36-33, but have gone 21-17 and are tied for the division lead in the second half. Overall their 57-50 record is the third best in the division, six games behind the Hagerstown Suns for the best overall. Over their last ten games, the Crawdads are an even 5-5. After taking three of four from the Delmarva Shorebirds, they were swept by the Augusta Greenjackets. They are currently playing the Kannapolis Intimidators at home.

Spokane Indians (SS-A)

16-28 record overall (4-2 and tied for first place in the Eastern Division of the Northwest League in the second half)

Runs per Game: 3.50 (8th in the NWL)

Runs Allowed per Game: 4.93 (7th in the NWL)

Top 30 Prospects: 1

How the Names Have Done: With the season beginning on June 15, the Spokane Indians are part of short season ball. Their roster was filled mostly with 2012 draft picks, albeit with one top prospect entering 2012. Pitcher David Perez (#26 ranked Texas prospect) entered the 2011 season as the #11 prospect in the organization. Suffering command struggles, he dropped a bit in the rankings, but remains with an extremely high ceiling. Perez only has appeared in three games (one start) for the Indians, however, and went 1-1 with a 13.00 ERA in those appearances. Catcher Patrick Cantwell (third round pick) was the highest 2012 draft pick on Spokane’s roster, and has hit .250 with a .668 OPS thus far. Fifth round pick and University of Texas-Arlington product Preston Beck is hitting just .203 with a .572 OPS for the Indians. Gabriel Roa, a 25th round pick, leads the team with a .307 batting average and is among the team leaders in OPS with a .736 OPS. Fourth round pick, pitcher Alec Asher, has done well going 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen. He has 24 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. Pitcher Eric Brooks, an 11th round pick, is 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts).

Lately: After going just 12-26 in the first half, the Indians are 4-2 early on in the second half. They are 6-4 in their last ten games with a series win (2 out of 3) over the Yakima Bears most recently.

Arizona League Rangers (Rookie)

19-13 overall (First place in the Western Division of the Arizona League)

Runs per Game: 6.56 (4th in the AZL)

Runs Allowed per Game: 5.41 (4th in the AZL)

Top 30 Prospects: 2

How the Names Have Done: When you’re talking about the Arizona League and the Rangers, the first name that will pop up when looking at draft status, prospect status, and a stat sheet is 2012 first round supplemental pick Joey Gallo. Drafted out of Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, Gallo has gotten off to a tremendous professional start. Gallo is hitting .321 with 14 home runs and 35 RBI in 32 games. He has hit over half of the team’s home runs and has hit more home runs by himself than four other teams in the league have as a team. He also has twice as many home runs as the next closest in the league. The third baseman isn’t just hitting home runs, however, as Gallo also has walked an impressive 28 times in 32 games. It should be noted that none of those were intentional walks either. First round pick Lewis Brinson, an outfielder, has also gotten off to a good start with a .302 batting average and an .881 OPS. He has hit seven triples in 32 games and stolen eight bases in nine attempts. Ronald Guzman (#13 ranked Texas prospect) is hitting .283 with ten extra base hits in 28 games. Nomar Mazara (#30 ranked Texas prospect) is struggling with a .231 batting average, but has walked 23 times and hit 13 extra base hits in 31 games to help him to a .787 OPS.

Lately: The AZL Rangers are currently on a four game winning streak and have won six of their last seven games. They won six in a row from June 29 to July 5, but followed that streak with a five game losing streak. Overall, they are 19-13 and hold a one game lead over the AZL Mariners.

 

Written By: Michael Damman

‘Riders Fantasy Football

Football training camps are underway across the country which means it’s time for fans to dust off their computers and draft fantasy football teams. Frisco pitcher Ross Wolf has played for the past eight seasons and plans on playing in three leagues this season.

“I draft differently for each league depending on the point system,” Wolf said. “I don’t really have a strategy going in but I pick the best players that I can from what’s available.

The highest he’s ever finished in a league was second. He placed fourth last year which he said was a miracle after the team he started with.

“I drafted Peyton Manning in the third round,” Wolf said. “Then he got hurt and I had to make some key trades last year.”

We asked him which RoughRiders he would put at each position if they were a football team.

“Olt is definitely a running back. Our tight end would be maybe Hoying. Profar would be either a wide receiver or cornerback. Princey would be our quarterback. Zaneski is a linebacker and I think Leury Garcia would be a running back too because he’s got the build,” Wolf said.

We also went to Jared Prince, one of Frisco’s outfielders who was also an all-state quarterback in high school. Then we talked to the RoughRiders’ Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon. Here are their picks.

Jared Prince’s Gridiron Warriors

Quarterback: Jared Prince

Running Back: Leury Garcia

Fullback: Ryan Rodebaugh

Flex: Ryan Strausborger

Wide Receiver: Jared Hoying

Left Tackle: Barret Loux

Left Guard: Miguel De Los Santos

Center: Jose Felix

Right Guard: Chris McGuiness

Riight Tackle: Nick Tepesch

Tight End: Val Majewski

Kicker: Cody Buckel

Defensive End: Zach Osborne

Defensive Tackle: Wilfredo Boscan

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham

Defensive End: Carlos Pimentel

Outside Linebacker: Alex Buchholz

Middle Linebacker: Zach Zaneski

Middle Linebacker: Mike Olt

Outside Linebacker: Tim Murphy

Cornerback: Jurickson Profar

Safety: Neal Ramirez

Cornerback: Engel Beltre

Punter: Richard Bleier

Eric McMahon’s RoughRiders

Quarterback: Jared Prince

Running Back: Leury Garcia

Fullback: Ryan Rodebaugh

Flex: Ryan Strausborger

Wide Receiver: Neal Ramirez

Left Tackle: Barret Loux

Left Guard: Miguel De Los Santos

Center: Jose Felix

Right Guard: Zach Zaneski

Right Tackle: Nick Tepesch

Tight End: Val Majewski

Kicker: Cody Buckel

Defensive End: Zach Osborne

Defensive Tackle: Wilfredo Boscan

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham

Defensive End: Mike Olt

Outside Linebacker: Carlos Pimentel

Middle Linebacker: Chris McGuiness

Middle Linebacker: Alex Buchholz

Outside Linebacker: Tim Murphy

Cornerback: Engel Beltre

Safety: Jared Hoying

Cornerback: Jurickson Profar

Punter: Richard Bleier

Story by Jarah Wright

First Time ‘Riders Pitcher Rehabs

Mark Lowe became the third Texas Rangers player to rehab with the Frisco RoughRiders this season tonight when he joined first baseman Mitch Moreland in Frisco. The other, Neftali Feliz, pitched two innings in a rehab start on July 16 against the San Antonio Missions. He was the only one of the three to not have pitched in Frisco as a RoughRiders before.

He pitched one inning of relief tonight against the San Antonio Missions. He gave up a game tying home run to Edinson Rincon and struck out two batters.

The right handed reliever has made 26 appearances for the Rangers this season and posted a 2.30 ERA. In 31 1/3 innings Lowe has struck out 25 batters and given up 22 hits.  He was placed on the Disabled List by the Rangers on June 29 with a strained right intercostals muscle.

The 29 year old was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the Cliff Lee blockbuster deal at the trade deadline on July 9, 2010. The Rangers sent first baseman Justin Smoak, utility player Matt Lawson, and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke to Seattle, all of whom played for the Frisco RoughRiders in either 2009 or 2010.

Written By: Michael Damman

Photo Illustration By: Jarah Wright

Photos courtesy of: Texas Rangers, Frisco RoughRiders, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies

Mitch Moreland Rehabs In Frisco

Mitch Moreland playing first base for the RoughRiders in 2009. (Courtesy: Frisco RoughRiders)

Mitch Moreland continued his major league rehab assignment with Frisco tonight. It’s the first time Moreland has been back to Dr Pepper Ballpark since he played with the RoughRiders in 2009. During his time in Frisco, Moreland batted .326, which is in the ‘Riders top five all-time batting averages, while hitting eight home runs with 59 RBIs.

Moreland said it was good to be back playing at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

“I had a blast here. I told some of the guys earlier, I forgot how much fun it was at this park,” Moreland said. “We had a good time here in 2009. My season was shortened with an injury, a foot injury, but I wish it wouldn’t have because I had a great time here and it’s good to be back and play with the RoughRiders again.”

Moreland had the opportunity to play with former ‘Riders teammate Guilder Rodriguez while rehabbing with Triple-A Round Rock and Moreland said it brought back good memories. He played two games with the Express before making his way to Frisco.

Originally placed on the disabled list on Jun 22, Moreland has been working had to rehab from a strained left hamstring. He said it’s definitely a work-in-progress and that he feels like he’s almost ready to head back to the Rangers.

“That first week we really didn’t do a whole lot other than ice and didn’t put too much stress on it. We picked up the running and jogging the second week and just kind of built on that,” Moreland said. “I think this is probably the fifth or sixth week now so it feels good right now. I think I’m pretty close and looking forward to getting back out on the field.”

When he returns to the Rangers, Moreland said the team will continue to focus on winning games.

“We try to take it one game at a time. I think we’d be lying if I said we weren’t thinking about it,” Moreland said. “We’ve gotten close the last two years and I think it’s made everybody that much more hungry for it. We’re going to go out and keep playing well during the regular season and once we get there, hopefully we can finish the deal this time.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Engel In The Outfield


In what was expected to be the most important season in Engel Beltre’s young professional baseball career, the outfielder has shown some signs of improvement. From a power and speed perspective, the 2012 season has been a terrific season for the 22 year old outfield prospect. Beltre has already reached double figures in home runs for the first time in his career with ten long balls. His 12 triples, a Frisco RoughRiders single season record, also rank as a career high. In fact, Beltre is one of only four players in minor league baseball with double figure totals in doubles, triples, and home runs. The other four players are Starling Marte (Pittsburgh Pirates AAA), Jared Mitchell (Chicago White Sox AAA), and Brett Jackson (Chicago Cubs AAA). Of the four players, Beltre leads the group with 27 steals.  However, to make the 2012 season a true breakout year Beltre needed to show improvement in patience at the plate. Instead, Beltre has actually regressed to his lowest walk percentage (3.8%) since Class-A ball for the Clinton Lumberkings in 2008.

Engel Beltre has been hot of late, however, as he is hitting .295 with an .852 OPS in the month of July. He was named the Texas League Player of the Week for the week of July 16-22 after he hit two doubles, a triple, and three home runs, including a home run in three straight games. He was named a Texas League All-star after hitting .239 with six home runs and a .664 OPS before the All-Star break. Overall on the season, he is hitting .249 with the ten home runs, 38 RBI, 58 runs, and 27 steals in 33 attempts.

Story by Michael Damman

Video clips courtesy of the RoughRiders

Photos by James Garner and Alex Yocum-Beeman

Golf Plays Role As Release for Baseball Players

On Sunday, the third of the four major golf championships finished up in wild fashion. Adam Scott, who entered the final round of the British Open with a four shot lead, was up by four shots with four holes to go. He finished the round by bogeying the final four holes and watched the tournament slip away to Ernie Els, who began the day six shots off of the lead.

According to ESPN, the four shot lead was the first time a player gave away a four shot lead or bigger entering the final round of the British Open since Jean Van De Velde’s infamous blow up in 1999.

With golf and baseball being in the same season, it could make following golf tough.

“It’s hard to follow professional golf during the season because we’re always at the field but we always see the highlights on Sportscenter and it’s on in the clubhouses usually so it’s a big deal for us,” RoughRiders pitcher Cody Buckel said.

When they do get the chance though, golf can be a fun sport to watch for those that have played it.

“Just knowing how hard of a sport it is for me and it’s fun to watch them be successful and hit such good shots and knowing how hard it is,” RoughRiders pitcher Richard Belier said.

Despite it being tough to follow at times, golfers still have their favorites. Asked about their favorite golfers, Richard Bleier was quick to say “Tiger Woods”. Buckel had a lesser known favorite golfer.

“I don’t know if you know that I wear PUMA every day and I actually got a chance to meet Rickie Fowler so he’s a pretty cool guy and my favorite player to follow.”

I don’t have the facts to prove it, but generally speaking the only activity that baseball players do more than golf, hunt, and fish is play baseball. If you ask a player what he likes to do in the offseason, a large majority of the players are going to say something along those lines.

For Bleier, golf can be a way to get away.

“I would say it’s stress free but it really isn’t because I’m so competitive. It’s just a lot of fun getting out there with some of the guys and doing something different other than baseball for a little bit.”

Buckel agreed with that assessment.

“The day after you whether you have a good outing or a bad outing, it’s good to get out there and have fun with the guys and just hit the golf ball as far as you can and play around. Yeah. It’s a little bit of time away from the field and get to hang with friends.”

Golf can also be a bonding sport for baseball players, especially pitchers.

“When I signed and became a pro it became a big thing for pitchers to go out and golf.”

 

Written By: Michael Damman

Mike Coolbaugh’s Legacy Lives on Through Diamond Dreams

Five years ago today, the baseball community lost Mike Coolbaugh, the brother of Rangers’ hitting coach and former RoughRiders’ hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. Mike Coolbaugh passed away after being hit with a line drive while coaching first base for the Tulsa Drillers during a game against the Arkansas Travelers. Frisco coach and Diamond Dreams board member James Vilade was on staff with Scott in 2007 and remembers getting the news.

“I remember getting a phone call from our hitting coordinator that it had happened and then talked with Scott. It was devastating for the family especially a tragedy on the baseball field,” Vilade said. “It was a tragedy in baseball, one of the worst tragedies in the history of the game.”

The accident raised awareness of baseball safety and the MLB instituted a rule where are base coaches were required to wear helmets as of the 2008 season. The Coolbaugh’s also wanted to continue Mike’s legacy while promoting baseball safety which is how Mike Coolbaugh’s Diamond Dreams came into being. The foundation was founded in 2009 and has since grown reaching out to the baseball community in multiple ways.

“One of the big projects we have going on right now is improving the batting cages over at Grapevine High School. Grapevine is where Chris Gavora was killed in 2007. That’s been one of our main focuses in Diamond Dreams is to raise funds and help get that project underway,” Vilade said. “We have an annual bowling event that we do to raise money for our scholarship fund. We have a scholarship fund that supports a graduating senior from Roosevelt High School.”

Diamond Dreams also reaches out to families that experience baseball tragedies.

“One thing we try to do is to help embrace and comfort families that suffer a loss in the game whether it’s the Shannon Stone memorial fund, Shannon was tragically killed at the Ballpark in Arlington, or whether it’s a local situation,” Vilade said. “A few weeks ago we had the Mauppin family out here (Dr Pepper Ballpark). Bruce and Bonnie lost their daughter to cancer in February so we just try to show people that the baseball community is a strong community. We’re all in it together. We’re all working towards being the best that we can be as keepers of the game.”

Viilade said the foundation has grown over the past two years.

“Thanks to a lot of great baseball people out there, we’ve been able to advance our scholarship fund. We’ve been able to embrace a few more situations in the community that need assistance,” Vilade said. “We’ve got an awareness of needs that we try to pay attention to what’s going on in the baseball community and our drive is to help take care of the baseball and as Susan Coolbaugh would say baseball never forgets their own.”

Diamond Dreams has partnered with Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report for Newberg Report Night with all of the proceeds from that event going to Diamond Dreams. Diamond Dreams has several projects in the works that will be announced around August 1. For more information about the foundation, go to www.diamonddreams.org. With all of the support from the baseball community, the future looks bright for Diamond Dreams.

 

Written By: Jarah Wright

Keeping In Touch

The Strausborger family together last season in Myrtle Beach. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Strausborger)

Whenever a player is signed, they can be sent to any number of minor league teams which are almost never close to their hometowns making it hard to stay in touch with their families. For Lauren Strausborger, the Internet bridges the gap between Indiana, where her family lives, and Texas, where her brother Ryan plays.

“He definitely keeps in touch a lot and he has a Facebook and Twitter so we keep in touch that way,” Strausborger said. “We definitely call him a lot and my parents paid for a subscription online to watch all of his games so we watch him every night too.”

She said she went to every game in high school but wasn’t able to go to many of Ryan’s college games which brought them even closer.

“I think once he went off to college we became even closer because we didn’t get to see each other much and now every chance we get,  we watch him play,” Strausborger said.  “It’s very exciting. We’re definitely a lot closer now than when we were younger.”

Draft day was another special day the family shared together.

“We were always told by some scouts and Ryan was always told by some scouts that they thought he was going to get drafted but we weren’t really sure,” Strausborger said. “When he got drafted we were all sitting in the room watching the TV and watching the computer to see which round he was going to get drafted. When he did it was really, really exciting. We were pretty quiet about it because we didn’t know it was going to be the Texas Rangers. He’d had other teams contact him but he never heard anything about the Rangers. We were surprised but it was very exciting.”

Ryan was drafted in 2010 and spent his first season in short season Spokane. He spent 2011 in High-A Myrtle Beach before coming to Frisco for the 2012 season. Despite the distance, the Strausborger family has been able to make it to several Frisco games to watch Ryan play.

“We went to Missouri about two weeks ago and watched him play at the Cardinals stadium and then my dad and my other brother are going to go down there in about two weeks to watch him play.”

Strausborger said they couldn’t be happier for Ryan.

“It’s fun to watch all of his games,” she said.”We’re definitely proud of him.”

Story by Jarah Wright

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