August 2012

All-‘Riders Team: Starting Pitcher #2

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 starting pitcher #2.

Selected in the first round (#30 overall) of the 2004 draft by the Texas Rangers, Eric Hurley spent his first full year pitching for the Clinton Lumberkings in 2005. As a 19 year old, Hurley went 12-6 with a 3.77 ERA and struck out 152 batters in 155.1 innings for Clinton. The right hander began his 2006 season pitching for the Bakersfield Blaze and went 5-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 18 starts in the hitters league known as the California League. He made his Frisco RoughRiders debut on July 24, 2006 and gave up five hits and two runs over six innings. Over his six starts for Frisco in 2006, the Sikeston, Missouri native went 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Opponents hit just .168 against him for the RoughRiders.

Rated the #68 prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2007 season, Hurley returned to Frisco for the 2007 season and was again dominant. In 15 appearances (14 starts), he went 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA. Just 71 hits were allowed over 88.2 innings and 76 batters struck out against him. He reached Triple-A Oklahoma City for the second half. After beginning 2008 in Oklahoma City, Eric Hurley made his Major League Baseball debut on June 12 when he was promoted to the Texas Rangers. Hurley gave up six hits and four runs over six innings against the Kansas City Royals. Over five starts with the Rangers, the right hander went 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA.

After making his debut, Hurley missed the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons after undergoing torn rotator cuff surgery. He returned in 2011 to go 8-3 with a 5.55 ERA over 16 starts with Triple-A Round Rock before becoming a free agent. Hurley has spent the 2012 season with the Triple-A affiliates of the Minnesota Twins (Rochester Red Wings) and Los Angeles Angels (Salt Lake Bees).

During his time with Frisco, Hurley compiled an 11-3 record with a 2.71 ERA over 22 appearances (21 starts).

Next Up: Starting Pitcher #3

Patience and Perseverance

This is Miguel De Los Santos’ second year with the RoughRiders. (Photo by Alex Yocum-Beeman)

It’s been a rocky road through baseball for ‘Riders reliever Miguel De Los Santos. He has overcome obstacles in his path to become a mainstay of the Frisco bullpen.

De Los Santos  fell in love baseball as a kid and said he always hoped that’s where his future would be.

“When I was a kid I always told my mom I wanted to play baseball. From the time I was 12-years-old it was my dream,” De Los Santos said. “I always had my dream on my mind so I played hard to make it come true.”

His dream came true in July 2006 after he found out he was signed. He played his first season of professional baseball with the Rangers’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League alongside former RoughRiders Fabio Castillo and Alexi Ogando. De Los Santos began the 2007 season playing in the Dominican but was set back after having Tommy John surgery. By the end of the season, he returned to play for the Arizona League Rangers where he also spent the 2008 season. He wanted to return to play in 2009 but ran into a speed bump along the way.

“I couldn’t come here because of a visa problem and I thought my career was done,” De Los Santos said. “I kept my mind strong and kept playing hard and they gave me my visa back.”

De Los Santos returned to split time between Short Season Spokane and Low-A Hickory putting up a combined 2.94 ERA in 70.1 innings of work with 112 strikeouts. He said he was very happy with the way he pitched that season.

“When I came back in 2010 it was a good year for me and they put me on the 40-man roster,” De Los Santos said.

This season with Double-A Frisco, De Los Santos has a record of two wins and two losses with a 5.20 ERA striking out 56 batters through 45 innings. When asked how he feels the season is going, he said there’s definitely room for improvement.

“It’s not too good but thanks to God I’m coming back,” De Los Santos said. “Lately I’m doing a good job.”

He added that he’s going to stay focused on his job on the mound and keep giving it all he’s got.

“I think about attacking the strike zone and attacking the hitter with a first pitch strike,” De Los Santos said. “I don’t do it every time but it’s what I try to do.”

Through patience and perseverance, De Los Santos has continued to grow and the future looks bright for this determined pitcher.

Story by Jarah Wright

Adaptations and Transitions

Jared Hoying has hit .288 since being promoted to Frisco. (Photo by Alex Yocum-Beeman)

‘Riders outfielder Jared Hoying grew up in Ohio learning how to play baseball from his dad. He played shortstop through high school and led his team to a state championship. After high school, Hoying went to the University of Toledo where he set many school records including the home run record hitting 34 during his time at the school. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft. Hoying said draft day was nerve-wracking for him.

“It was a day I’ll never forget. I was at home just so antsy that I couldn’t sit still so I was mowing the grass, washing my car… I was doing everything,” Hoying said. “I was actually taking a nap when I got the phone call so my phone started going crazy.”

He said his family was more excited for him than he was.

“They were pumped,” Hoying said. “Dad took off work so it was just me and dad at home when the call came so it was special.”

Hoying was converted to an outfielder and spent his first season with Short Season Spokane earning the Northwest League Most Valuable Player award. In 2011, he was promoted to High-A Myrtle Beach skipping Low-A Hickory. He began the 2012 season in Myrtle Beach before being promoted to Double-A Frisco with pitcher Cody Buckel. Hoying said both of them were ready to tackle the challenges of Double-A.

“We had a pretty good first half. We did our stuff and got our work in,” Hoying said. “We both knew we were ready and the call did come and it was like all right…Here we go on to the next step.”

The transition was pretty easy for both Buckel and Hoying who have played with most of the guys before.

“I played with most of the guys last year in Myrtle Beach. I played with Profar in Spokane,” Hoying said. “It was a pretty easy transition.”

Since joining the RoughRiders, Hoying has been hitting .288 with five doubles, 1 triple, and 3 home runs. He said he thinks he’s been playing well so far and hopes to continue doing so.

“I just want to stay strong and stay healthy and  just keep doing what I’m doing,” Hoying said. “I don’t want to think too big. I just kind of want to stay with what I’m doing and not hit a massive slump.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Beau Jones Interview, August 2, 2012

Former RoughRiders pitcher Beau Jones tells us about his time in Frisco and how this season with the Midland RockHounds has gone so far for him. He came to the Texas Rangers organization as part of the Mark Teixeira trade in 2007. He spent time in the Miami Marlins organization before being signed by the Oakland A’s.

Video shot by Michael Damman and Jarah Wright

The Newest Texas Ranger

Mike Olt played 13 games at first base in Frisco and is expected to play first for the Rangers tonight. (Photo by Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Last night, the Texas Rangers purchased the contract of Frisco infielder Mike Olt. They also put him on the 40-man roster sending utility player Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Round Rock and moving starter Colby Lewis from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list. Olt will make his debut with the Rangers tonight batting eighth and playing first base.

In 95 games with the RoughRiders, Olt had a .288 batting average with 17 doubles, 1 triple, 28 home runs and 82 RBIs. As of today, he is now in the Frisco record books. His 28 home runs put him in third place for single season home runs and ties him with Jason Botts for sixth in all-time home runs. We wish him luck tonight in his major league debut.

Story by Jarah Wright

All-‘Riders Team: Starting Pitcher #1

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 starting pitcher #1.

Originally signed by the Texas Rangers as an International Free Agent in 2001 out of the Dominican Republic, Edinson Volquez made his full season debut in 2004 with the Hickory Crawdads by going 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts. He reached High-A Bakersfield later that season and went 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in eight starts. After making eleven starts with Bakersfield in 2005, the right handed pitcher was promoted to Frisco for the first time where he went 1-5 with a 4.14 ERA in ten starts. Volquez gave up 58 hits in 58.2 innings and struck out 49 batters.

In Frisco, he became a part of what was then dubbed the DVD trio, which represented John Danks, Volquez, and Thomas Diamond. All three reached Frisco at 22 years old or younger and all three were heralded as future front of the rotation starters.

Volquez was promoted late in the 2005 season to the major leagues and made his big league debut on August 30. In six games (three starts), he went 0-4 with a 14.21 ERA.

In 2006, Edinson began the season pitching for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks and went 6-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 21 starts. He gave up just 86 hits in 120.2 innings and struck out 130 batters. Promoted back up to the Rangers in early August, Volquez went 1-6 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts.

In 2007, the Rangers essentially had Edinson Volquez “start over” to get his command issues straightened out and sent him down to high-A Bakersfield. Volquez spent the season working his way from Bakersfield (seven starts) onward up through Frisco (eleven starts), Oklahoma City (eight starts), and finally on to Texas (six starts). Along the way Volquez went 14-6 with a 3.67 ERA in 26 starts in the minor leagues and went 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts in the Major Leagues.

During the offseason, Edinson Volquez was dealt along with Danny Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds in return for Josh Hamilton in what is probably one of the most important trades in Texas Rangers history.

Since leaving Texas, Edinson Volquez has gone 37-25 with a 4.01 ERA over 95 starts. He has struck out 546 batters in 550.1 innings and posted a 1.40 WHIP. He was an All-Star in 2008 and finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year balloting in 2008, despite not even being rookie eligible.

This past offseason, Edinson Volquez was moved with first baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and reliever Brad Boxberger to the San Diego Padres in a deal that sent Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds.

Next Up: Starting Pitcher #2