September 10th, 2012

Texas League Championship Preview

Last season the baseball world became engrossed with a postseason for the ages. That postseason was encapsulated in a hard fought seven game World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Beginning on Tuesday September 11, the Double-A clubs of those two teams, the Frisco RoughRiders and Springfield Cardinals, will begin a best of five Championship series to decide who the 2012 Texas League Champion will be.

The RoughRiders won the regular season series in 2012 with seven wins and five losses. There are a lot of similarities between the two teams though. The runs scored and runs allowed in the season series were nearly even with 55 and 53. Both teams swept their home games against the other in the second half.

And both teams were led in the season by a 19 year old position player with the look of future star potential at the Major League level. One is still in Double-A, while the other has already made a mark on the big league club.

Jurickson Profar hit .281 with 26 doubles, seven triples, and 14 home runs for Frisco in 126 games before being promoted to the big leagues at the beginning of September. He was named a mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star and was recently listed as the #1 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and ESPN. In his first nine plate appearances in the big leagues, the shortstop has hit a home run and two doubles.

Oscar Taveras will be the highest profile prospect in the Texas League championship. The 19 year old hit .321 with 37 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs, and drove in 94 runs en route to being named the Texas League Player of the Year. He was also named a mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star and was listed as the #13 prospect in baseball by MLB.com.

Frisco RoughRiders

Regular Season Record: 80-60

Top Remaining Hitter: Chris McGuiness (.268 AVG 23 HR 77 RBI 65 R .840 OPS)

Top Remaining Pitcher: Justin Grimm (9-3 1.72 ERA 83.2 IP 73 K 1.00 WHIP)

How They Got There: The Frisco RoughRiders won the first half title by going 41-29 in the first half. The RoughRiders then swept the second half champion Corpus Christi Hooks in three games.

Who’s Hot: Chris McGuiness came up big for the ‘Riders in their first postseason series win since 2008. The first baseman went six for 12 in the three games with two doubles and four RBI. That came after batting .326 with a .935 OPS in the month of August.

Who’s Not: After hitting .302 in his first 34 games in Double-A, Jared Hoying is hitting .248 since August 1. In the first round of the playoffs, Hoying went two for nine, but did hit two doubles and drove in two runs.

Key Player: Ryan Strausborger had good success against the Springfield Cardinals in the regular season as he hit .324 (12 for 37) with one double, two triples, and one home run. The outfielder drove in eight runs and scored six runs during 11 games and posted a .916 OPS against the Cardinals.

Springfield Cardinals

Regular Season Record: 77-61

Top Remaining Hitter: Oscar Taveras (.321 AVG 23 HR 94 RBI 83 R .953 OPS)

Top Remaining Pitcher: Seth Maness (11-3 3.27 ERA 123.2 IP 83 K 1.06 WHIP)

How They Got There: Springfield won the second half title by going 42-26. The Cardinals then outlasted the Tulsa Drillers in the first round defeating them in the final game of the five game series.

Who’s Hot: Chris Swaugerwill miss the championship series, but that wasn’t until after he had helped his team reach it. The outfielder went six for 19 (.316) with two doubles and three home runs against the Tulsa Drillers. His postseason was marked by a three home run game in game one and two doubles in the final game. However, Swauger broke his collarbone as he made a catch to end the fifth inning.

Who’s Not: Kolten Wong went just three for 20 against the Tulsa Drillers in the first round. After getting off to a strong start in the first three months, Wong hit just .219 in July and watched his strikeouts pile up (21) without a lot of walks (4) in the month of August.

Key Player: The Springfield Cardinals will likely need Carlos Martinez to pitch to his ability if they are to win. The right hander got roughed up some in his first playoff start by the Tulsa Drillers. The right hander will start in game one against the Frisco RoughRiders.

 

Regular Season Series Summary

Game One (4/5): Frisco 1 Springfield 0 — WP- Justin Grimm  LP- Scott Gorgen SV- Johan Yan…Jose Felix’s Sac Fly in the 3rd drove in the only run…Grimm set record for strikeouts (10 in 5.1 IP) by ‘Riders pitcher making debut.

Game Two (4/6): Springfield 4 Frisco 1 — WP- John Gast LP- Miguel De Los Santos SV- Jorge Rondon… Kolten Wong went three for four with two triples and three RBI… John Gast struck out seven over seven innings and gave up just one run… Mike Olt hit his first of 28 home runs on the season.

Game Three (4/7): Frisco 6 Springfield 1 — WP- Barret Loux LP- Trevor Rosenthal… Barret Loux pitched five scoreless innings in his first win of the season… Brad Hawpe went three for four with a home run, double, and two RBI.

Game Four (4/12): Springfield 5 Frisco 1 — WP- John Gast LP- Miguel De Los Santos… Rainel Rosario went two for four with a double and two RBI… John Gast struck out seven batters over seven innings with one run allowed again… Leury Garcia went two for three with a triple.

Game Five (4/13): Frisco 8 Springfield 6 — WP- Barret Loux LP- Trevor Rosenthal SV- Johan Yan… Mike Olt went one for four with a home run and three RBI… Jared Prince went two for three with a walk, RBI, and two runs… Engel Beltre went two for five with a stolen base.

Game Six (4/14): Frisco 6 Springfield 2 — WP- Jake Brigham LP- Michael Blazek SV- Carlos Pimentel… Both Jurickson Profar and Oscar Taveras homered in the first inning. Profar finished three for four with two RBI and two runs… Engel Beltre went two for four with a triple… Carlos Pimentel pitched the final four innings and struck out six batters for his first save of the season.

Game Seven (6/29) Springfield 6 Frisco 2 — WP- Seth Maness LP- Cody Buckel… Audrey Perez went one for three with a Grand Slam… Oscar Taveras went one for four with two RBI. Seth Maness gave up two runs (one earned) over six innings.

Game Eight (6/30) Springfield 11 Frisco 6 — WP- Scott McGregor LP- Nick Tepesch… Kolten Wong went four for four at the plate with a double, walk, and a stolen base… Oscar Taveras went two for three with a home run, double, walk, four RBI, and two runs… Greg Garcia went three for four with a home run,  two RBI and three runs… Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, and Jose Felix each homered for Frisco.

Game Nine (7/1) Springfield 8 Frisco 3 — WP- Trevor Rosenthal LP- Neil Ramirez… Chris Swauger went three for four with a home run, triple, two RBI, and two runs… Oscar Taveras went one for four with a home run and three RBI… Jurickson Profar went one for four with a home run and two RBI…

Game Ten (7/5) Frisco 11 Springfield 7 — WP- Nick Tepesch LP- Scott McGregor… Engel Beltre went three for five with a home run, three RBI, two runs, and a stolen base… Jared Hoying went two for four with a home run, two RBI, and two runs… Ryan Strausborger went two for three with a double, walk, RBI, and three runs… Jamie Romak and Adam Melker homered for Springfield.

Game Eleven (7/6) Frisco 5 Springfield 1 — WP- Wilfredo Boscan LP- Kevin Seigrist… Neil Ramirez pitched four scoreless innings and struck out two batters… Jared Prince went two for three with a home run, walk, RBI, and run scored… Zach Zaneski went one for three with a home run, walk, two RBI, and run scored… Xavier Scruggs and Oscar Taveras each went two for four with a double.

Game Twelve (7/7) Frisco 5 Springfield 2 — WP- Jake Brigham LP- Richard Castillo SV- Ryan Rodebaugh… Jake Brigham gave up two runs over five innings…. Jared Hoying went one for three with a home run, walk, RBI, and two runs… Ryan Strausborger went one for four with a home run, two RBI, and a run scored… Jared Prince went two for four… Chris Swauger went one for five with a home run, two RBI, and a run.

Written By: Michael Damman

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