June 2013

‘Riders on the Record: a Cinderella run and a Gold Glover’s art

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Another week has come and gone. The All-Star break sends us into the final 60+ games and the season, and once again we look back on another fine set of guests from this week’s ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include Justin Miller’s College World Series storytelling and future Hall-of-Famer Omar Vizquel’s artistic inspiration.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 23, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down for the Sunday interview for the last time before the All-Star break. He harps on the resiliency of his team but stresses the importance of this break. He highlights the nice contributions from Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria in rehab stints during the home stand and touches on the departure of Ben Rowen and the arrival of Alex Claudio. He also shares his experiences with facing the knuckleball in light of Pucetas throwing one just a few days prior.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 – C Zach Zaneksi


Coming off his home run before the All-Star break, Zach Zaneski talks about the current offensive groove he is in and how he is trying to make adjustments this season. He talks about catching MLB rehabber Joakim Soria and the quality of Kevin Pucetas‘ knuckleball.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 – RHP Justin Miller

Alex checked in with Justin Miller on the status of his stuff and his health on his road back from “Tommy John” surgery. He talks about his recent aggressiveness and how pitching coach Jeff Andrews has helped him along. He also reminisces on his collegiate days at Fresno State when his 2008 team made a Cinderella run through Omaha at the College World Series.

Friday, June 28, 2013 – Angels Infield Coordinator Omar Vizquel


Angels infield coordinator and Travelers Manager for the series, Omar Vizquel, sat down to speak about his first year as a coach and his long playing career. He zeroed in on the keys to his defensive successes and his delved into favorite hobby.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


Randy Henry talks about his adjustment to short relief outings after his return from the disabled list. He explains his injury and the plans the Rangers have for him as far as how he will be used out of the bullpen. He also tells his story of when he was traded from the Orioles to the Rangers.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: Punch and Judy hitter – a singles hitter

Remembering the Promoted Ones

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So apparently today is Paul Bunyan Day. Or maybe it was yesterday. The origin stories seem dubious.

At any rate, that got me thinking about Jared Hoying, the most Paul Bunyan like of this season’s RoughRiders. The big body, long arms, big swing of the stick, and the prodigious power that put on shows in batting practice on a regular basis in the season’s early months.

Of couse, now Jared, along with a number of other 2013 RoughRiders are playing elsewhere. And the promotions have been well-deserved. Although we would all love to have Hoying and his big bat and rangy outfield skills helping the RoughRiders and Ben Rowen’s more-often-than-not unhittable stuff baffling Texas League batters, it is nice to see them succeeding at higher levels.

Now seems as a good a time as any to check in on these most recent former ‘Riders and their paths at the higher levels.

Ross Wolf – RHP

As we go chronogically, Wolf was the first RoughRider promoted this season. The veteran reliever was pushed into a starting role after his April 9 promotion to Round Rock where he performed nothing short of sensationally. In six starts, Wolf went 1-1 with a 1.85 ERA for the Express, striking out 25 and walking just nine over 34 innings. Making his first appearances as a starter since 2005 and first work as a regular fixture in a starting rotation since his rookie season in 2002 with the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League, Wolf went six or more innings in four of his six outings, tossing 85 pitches or more on three occasions and even registering 97 pitches in his final Triple-A start.

Then Nick Tepesch got a blister. And Wolf was promoted to the Rangers to make the spot start. Suggested by some that he would be DFA’d immediately following the outing, Wolf remains on the Texas roster 37 days later. Challenged with somewhat irregular work, Wolf is 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA in the big leagues this year. He has thrown scoreless outings on five of the seven occassions he has been used out of the pen, and allowed earned runs only once out of the bullpen. His lone loss came in the 18-inning battle with the Blue Jays in which he allowed one unearned run in 6.2 relief innings.

Jake Brigham – RHP

Jake is lucky to be pitching at all. On May 20, in just his fifth appearance since the call-up, he was struck with a ground ball on his lower right leg. He was carted off the field. Amazingly, he was pitching five days later, as nothing was broken.

The numbers don’t look great (1-1, 5.44 ERA), but he has found a recent groove. He has not allowed an earned run over his last three appearances, including one start, spanning 13 innings. Over his last 18.1 innings, he has surrendered just one earned run and has lowered his ERA from 9.39 as a Triple-A pitcher to 5.44 where it is today.

Ryan Feierabend – LHP

Promoted on May 1 along with Brigham (and Alex Buchholz who has since returned), Feierabend has been a steady force in the rotation. He has completed at least five innings in all 11 of his Triple-A outings, thrown 100 or more pitches on three occasions, and even tossed a complete game, the only one thrown by an Express pitcher this season. He is 4-2 with a 3.90 ERA in his 11 starts after going 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA for Frisco in April.

Martin Perez – LHP

Originally a MLB rehabber, Perez was a member of the active RoughRiders roster from May 12 to May 16 before his Triple-A promotion. Perez dazzled in Triple-A action, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.75 ERA for Round Rock in six starts. After a rocky first outing, Perez allowed just three earned runs in his last five Triple-A starts, good for an 0.87 ERA.

The lefty makes the start for the Rangers tonight at home against the Reds. He has made two MLB starts this season and is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA. His last start was a gem, as he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Cardinals in the Rangers’ sweep of St. Louis this past weekend.

Kyle McClellan – RHP

Former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Kyle McClellan is not a product of Rangers development but his time in Frisco still ensured he was ready to move on up. Signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, McClellan made two appearances for the ‘Riders and six for the Express before his call to the Rangers bullpen. He has provided nice depth for the Texas pen, albeit with mediocre numbers thus far (6 G, 8.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). McClellan has a fantastic major league tract record and should be nice depth for the Rangers relief corps for the remainder of the season.

Mike Olt – 3B

Olt made a brief stop in Frisco after getting his troubling vision problems got sorted out. After a tremendously slow start in Triple-A, where he hit just .139 with one home run in twenty games, Olt was disagnosed with an issue stemming from a problem with his tear duct. After the prescription of some seemingly-magical eye drops, Olt went 4-for-12 in three games at Dr Pepper Ballpark with a home run and two doubles before heading back to Round Rock.

Back with the Express, Olt is hitting .261/.361/.543 with seven long balls, five doubles and has walked 15 times in 24 games since his return. He seems poised for a big league promotion at some point, especially if Texas can’t keep the injury bug away from its hitters.

Jared Hoying – OF

On his 24th birthday, Jared received a strain of his left hamstring on a double to left field. Out from May 18 until June 7, when he was activated from the disabled list, Jared was also promoted, earning his first career call up to Triple-A.

Jared got a hit in each of his first three games, including his first Triple-A home run and triple. After a hitless effort on June 11 and a failed pinch-hit attempt on June 13, he put together his first two-hit Triple-A game on June 14. It was the first of 11 straight games with at least one hit for Hoying, a streak that was snapped last night.

In 17 games he has three homers, three triples and two doubles. His .617 SLG is the highest on the Express since his promotion, and lately, he has been hitting in third spot of the order for Rangers Triple-A club.

Ryan Rodebaugh – RHP

Like Jake Brigham, Ryan Rodebaugh doesn’t posses the best Triple-A numbers of the bunch (0-0, 5.68 ERA) but has been mostly the Ryan Rodebaugh that Frisco fans have come to know, love and trust over the last two seasons. After a four-run debut in a single inning of work on June 11, Ryan has not allowed a run. In a stretch spanning five appearances and 5.1 innings, he has walked five but allowed just three hits and has racked up seven Ks.

Ben Rowen – RHP

And then there is the submariner. Missing out on the Texas League All-Star game because of the call-up, Ben has been used just twice since his June 20 promotion. In his first ever Triple-A appearance, he fanned three and allowed just one base runner on a single hit in two innings. It took him just 23 pitches to toss those two scoreless frames, as he threw 16 pitches for strikes.

His last time out, Rowen, who led the RoughRiders with 10 saves at the time of his promotion, earned his first Triple-A save with a scoreless inning to close out a 10-7 come-from-behind win for the Express in the extremely hitter-friendly home of the Albuquerque Isotopes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: grazer an outfielder

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Tongo, Neil’s curveball and a bundle of rehabbers

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

The season’s longest home stand was bolstered by the addition of rehabbers Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria, both of who were kind enough to take some time to chat with us this week. Highlights from this week include updates from Keith Comstock on a number of injured, rehabbing and retooling Rangers hurlers, and James Vilade imparting some interesting insight on to the days leading up to the MLB draft for the Rangers’ player development wing. Teodoro Martinez explains the origin of his “Tongo” nickname, and be sure to tune in to Mitch’s interview to find out why David Murphy got the call from Ron Washington to pitch in the blowout in Boston and not the former college pitcher himself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In the weekly sit down with Manager Steve Buechele, we hear about the progress of Richard Bleier in his work out of the bullpen this year. He hits on the quietly dominating year that Brett Nicholas is putting together. The manager shares his story about telling Guilder Rodriguez that he had made his first ever all-star team. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, June 17, 2013 – RHP Neil Ramirez


Texas League All-Star starting pitcher Neil Ramirez is not focused on his selection but still proud of it. He breaks down the state of his curveball as well as his improved mental approach to the game this season. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 – Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland

Rangers rehabbing first baseman Mitch Moreland sat down after his first rehab game with the ‘Riders to talk about his health and his second incarnation of hamstring issues in his pro career. A former pitcher, Moreland explains how the decision was made to focus on hitting as a Rangers’ farmhand and if he ever missed pitching. He tells us how David Murphy got the nod over him to pitch in the blowout at Fenway Park earlier this season. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – ‘Riders Coach / Rangers Scout James Vilade


‘Riders coach and Rangers scout James Vilade joined the pregame show for the first time this season to talk about his work with the ‘Riders and the Rangers. He talks about the Rangers pre-draft workouts and his involvement. He talks how he got into baseball operations and the value of personal connections in the scouting process. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 – OF Teodoro Martinez


It’s been a great few weeks for Teodoro Martinez. A late addition to the Texas League All-Star game, Martinez followed up the honor just days later being named Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for May. One of the team’s offensive leaders this year, he talks about his feel for the leadoff spot and his increased power. He also explains the origins of his nickname “Tongo.” (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 21, 2013 – RHP Joakim Soria


Texas Rangers rehabber Joakim Soria joined the pregame to talk about his rehab from “Tommy John” surgery. He explains his decision to sign with the Texas Rangers and outlines a potential timetable for his return to the big leagues. He explains how he was “found,” the turning point in his career and his path to stardom in Kansas City. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 22, 2013 – Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock


Texas Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock joined the broadcast to talk about a number of Rangers rehabbers, including Cody Buckel, and what the process is like out in Arizona. He touches on Joakim Soria and Justin Miller as well. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: foozler - a lucky base hit

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The Knuckleball

Last night in the RoughRiders’ 6-5 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks, starter Kevin Pucetas pitched a perfect 1-2-3 5th inning.  In his most effective inning of the night, it appeared that over half of his pitches were knuckleballs.

Pucetas is known for possessing the knuckleball and is sometimes throwing it in the bullpen, but last night’s game was the first time this season that he utilized the rarely-thrown pitch.

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Today, we take a look at other players who have successfully included the knuckleball into their repertoire.

R.A. Dickey 

The former Ranger rehabbed with the RoughRiders for four games in 2004, and is famous for transitioning to a knuckleballer.  Refining his technique in recent years, he has become one of the top pitchers in the sport, winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 with the Mets.  He is now playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and is currently the only major league pitcher regularly throwing the pitch.

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Steven Wright 

The Red Sox prospect, currently playing for Triple-A Pawtucket, throws a knuckleball about 75-80 percent of the time.  In a piece from ESPN Boston, Wright discusses the inspiration of R.A. Dickey.

“For me, I think it’s a lost art, but I think it’s something that might be coming around again, just because of what R.A.’s been doing,” said the recently-acquired Steven Wright. “He’s definitely giving the knuckleball another look because he’s throwing a harder knuckleball, which a lot of people haven’t seen before, so he’s showing that you can command it, you can keep it in the zone. I mean, his strikeout-to-walk ratio’s amazing. He’s showing that it can be just as effective as someone who’s throwing 95.” 

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There are a  number of pitchers who have made it to the big leagues through the years with their knuckleball, including pitchers such as Tim Wakefield, Joe NiekroJosh Banks, Charlie Zink, and Charlie Hough.   So we ask you: Who is your favorite knuckleballer?

-Ryan

Baseball term of the Day: Knuckleball- a slow baseball pitch that moves erratically and unpredictably and that is thrown with little spin by gripping the ball with the knuckles or the tips of the fingers pressed against the top.

(Definition provided by www.merriam-webster.com)

‘Riders All-Star Breakdown

This weekend, Frisco completes its 12-game home stand, the longest of the season.  After a much-needed scheduled day off on Monday, the Texas League All-Star Game with be held Tuesday at Northwest Arkansas’ Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.

Earlier in the month, eight ‘Riders were selected to the Texas League South team, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams. Odubel Herrera will serve as the starting second baseman, and Brett Nicholas is the starting DH for the South Division team. Tomas Telis, Guilder Rodriguez, and Teodoro Martinez made the team as reserves. Starters Carlos Pimentel and Neil Ramirez made the team as did relief pitcher Ben Rowen.

‘Riders All-Star breakdown

Brett Nicholas:

Nicholas will be the serving as the starting designated hitter for the South Division. Posting a career-best year in his first year at Double-A, Nicholas leads the RoughRiders in batting (.269), runs scored (40), doubles (16), home runs (13), RBI (44) and is second on the team in walks (22). He is eigth in the league in batting, fourth in total bases. He is also first in the league in hit-by-pitches with nine.Nicholas_Blog

“It means a lot for all the hard work and effort I’ve put into things to be recognized,” Nicholas said.  “Where I’ve come from the last few years, it just feels really good to be selected.  Those two days in Arkansas will be a lot of fun!”

The former Missouri Tiger has hit home runs in consecutive games twice, launching long balls in back-to-back games on May 7 and May 9 and on three straight days from May 12 through May 14. Nicholas has already set a career high in home runs (previous high was 8 in 2012).  This is Phoenix, Arizona native’s first All-Star selection of any kind as a professional.

Odubel Herrera:Herrera

Odubel Herrera will be serving as the starting second baseman for the South.  As the RoughRiders’ everyday second baseman, Herrera has posted a .259 batting average with eight doubles, five triples, and a home run to go along with 29 runs, 21 RBI, and ten steals. This will be the Zulia, Venezuela native’s first All-Star Game appearance; he was a Postseason All-Star in the AZL in 2010 and in the South Atlantic League in 2011.

Guilder Rodriguez:

G-RodThe thirteen-year professional is receiving his first ever All-Star selection. The utility infielder has played all four infield positions for the RoughRiders, logging most of his time at third base. He is hitting .274, good for third on the team, with six doubles, one home run (second of his career), 10 RBI and a team-leading 27 walks to go along with 12 steals. The Barquisimeto, Venezuela native also won a game as a pitcher for the RoughRiders this season, earning his first professional victory in his third career appearance on the mound with a scoreless inning of work in the ‘Riders 17-inning win on April 18.

Tomas Telis:

This will be the 21-year-old backstop’s third selection to a Mid-Season All-Star team. Winning MVP honors in the 2008 DSL All-Star Game and being selected as a 2011 South Atlantic Mid-Season All-Star, Telis is hitting .258 this season for the ‘Riders with eight doubles, three home runs, 25 RBI and five steals. From April 29 to May 18, Telis posted a 12-game hitting streak, the longest by any ‘Riders hitter this season and fourth longest in the league.

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When I was told I was going to the All-Star game, it was like ‘Wow,’ that surprised me.  You know, I play ok, but I never thought I would make the team,” Tomas said.  “I look forward to possibly catching for other pitchers in the league.  Corpus Christi’s David Martinezis one I think would be someone I would enjoy catching for.”

Teodoro Martinez:

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RoughRiders outfielder Teodoro Martinez was selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Teodoro is second on the team in hitting (.285), home runs (8), RBI (29), and stolen bases (16).

“I’m very proud to be named to the teams and to also be recognized as the Texas League Player of the Month.  I look forward to living up to the challenge,” said Teodoro.

Martinez, 21, will be making his second All-Star game appearance, and it will be his third inclusion on an All-Star roster. He was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, and he was a Post-Season All-Star in the Arizona League in 2010 when he hit a career high .313.

Carlos Pimentel:Pimo

In his fourth season and third full season with the RoughRiders, Pimentel is putting together a breakout campaign. A 2012 Mid-Season All-Star selection for his work out of the bullpen, Pimentel is second in the Frisco starting rotation with a 4.07 ERA.  The 6’3” right-hander sports a 7-4 record in 15 appearances, 14 starts. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native leads all but one Texas Leaguer and Texas Rangers farmhand in strikeouts with 87—that is fellow teammate and Mid-Season All-Star Neil Ramirez.

Neil Ramirez:

The lone RoughRiders Mid-Season All-Star selection from the Rangers 40-man roster, Ramirez, like Pimentel, is off to a great start to his 2013 in the ‘Riders rotation. With a 9-2 record and a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts, Ramirez is the only Double-A pitcher and Rangers minor leaguer with more strikeouts than Pimentel with 97. In 81.0 innings of work, the Virginia Beach, Virginia native has surrendered only 48 hits, good for a .176 batting average against that ranks first among all Texas League starting pitchers. His 10.78 strikeouts per nine innings is also the best rate among active Texas Leaguer starters.

Ramirez

In his two recent appearances, Ramirez has dominated, helping Frisco shut out the Hooks on June 15 and June 20.  He is now second in the Texas League with nine wins.

Ramirez struggled in the 2012 season, so being selected this season as an All-Star means a lot.  “There are a lot of times in this game when you have to face adversity and struggle.  You can either control it or let it defeat you.  I feel I definitely learned and grew from my 2012 season, and I’m just happy to be where I am right now.”

 

 Ben Rowen:

The 2012 MiLB.com Reliever of the Year and Rangers’ Minor League Reliever of the Year, Ben Rowen dominated TexasRowen League hitters in his first Double-A season on the way to his 3-0 record, an 0.53 ERA and a perfect ten for ten in save chances, second most saves in the league.

The former Virginia Tech Hokie was one of eight RoughRiders selected as a Texas League South Division All-Star, but was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week.

“It will be fun up there to have the bragging rights for the ‘Riders tied with the most All-Star picks in the league.  Frisco will definitely be represented very well out there,” Rowen said.

 

 -Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: Scoreathon – A game in which both teams score many runs.

 

Moreland completes historically excellent rehab

Mitch Moreland completed a three-game rehab assignment yesterday with the RoughRiders. He was instrumental in the 9-5 win over the RockHounds yesterday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Moreland has put together back-to-back seasons of outstanding rehab stints with the RoughRiders:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 26 Frisco 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819
2013 27 Frisco 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500

The sample size for a rehab assignment is usually small, as the case certainly was with Moreland in both years. His 2013 rehab stint is hard to argue against as the best position player RoughRiders rehab stint of all time. Let’s take a look at the history for potential contenders:

2013 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ian Kinsler 31 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .111 .000 .111
Mitch Moreland* 27 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500
A.J. Pierzynski* 36 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333

Even the most ardent Kinsler and Pierzynski supporters aren’t arguing here. While playing the more physically demanding positions of second base and catcher, the two just don’t stack up.

2012 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Mitch Moreland* 26 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819

Mike Napoli also rehabbed for the RoughRiders, although it came in the post-season so Baseball Refrence doesn’t list it. He went 1-for-10 with a two-run home run in the 2012 Texas League Championship series against the Springfield Cardinals.

Moreland’s 2012 effort was impressive, and still stands as one of the best rehab efforts in ‘Riders’ history, but he hit more doubles, homers and RBI this week as a ‘Riders hitter.

2011 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Julio Borbon* 25 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Nelson Cruz 30 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 .182 .250 .273 .523
Josh Hamilton* 30 2 7 3 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 .286 .375 .714 1.089

So Josh Hamilton homered. Not bad considering he’s the last rehabber to do so until Moreland did yesterday. He took Shawn Haviland deep, a two-year RockHounds pitcher and former Harvard Crimson. But the sample is even smaller, and it was his only extra base hit. Moreland’s 2013 numbers are better across the board.

2010 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Joaquin Arias 25 8 31 4 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 .194 .257 .194 .451
Endy Chavez* 32 4 15 3 5 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 3 .333 .412 .333 .745
Nelson Cruz 29 3 11 1 4 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 .364 .385 .455 .839
Cristian Guzman# 32 4 13 1 4 0 0 0 3 1 0 3 1 .308 .438 .308 .745
Ian Kinsler 28 6 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368 .716

A fewer larger samples here makes for a potential challenger. Arias wasn’t exactly the Babe Ruth of the Texas League during his eight games, however. Kinsler provides a decent challenge, especially considering he stole two bags as well. Still, Moreland posted a higher BA, OBP, SLG and OPS and only struck out once in three games. Advantage Moreland.

2009 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Josh Hamilton* 28 1 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Andruw Jones 32 3 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 .222 .417 .222 .639
Ian Kinsler 27 2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000 .222
Jarrod Saltalamacchia# 24 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333

Ugh. Not so good this year. 3-for-24 combined with no extra base hits? NEXT!

2008 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Hank Blalock* 27 6 19 5 8 3 0 0 4 1 0 4 5 .421 .522 .579 1.101

Hammerin’ Hank jumps out. Blalock was a tremendous minor leaguer (and a darn good big leaguer as well). This is extremely impressive. 8-for-19 is not too shabby. The triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) still isn’t as good as Moreland’s this year but the sample is larger and for the first time, he has been bested by one category. Blalock’s .522 OBP  is the highest in ‘Riders rehabbing history for a player with more than four plate appearances (Teixeira in 2007). A stolen base to boot! This one is close, but without a homer and nearly a strikeout per game, we will go with Moreland here.

2007 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Frank Catalanotto* 33 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .200 .000 .200
Jerry Hairston 31 3 12 2 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .500 .667
Mark Teixeira# 27 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .500 .000 .500
Brad Wilkerson* 30 3 10 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 .200 .429 .300 .729

No explanation needed. On to ’06.

2006 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jason Botts# 25 5 16 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 3 .125 .250 .125 .375

And onto 2005…

2005 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Gary Matthews# 30 1 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800

The triple slash looks good, but one game for GMJ? Apparently the left hammy wasn’t so bad.

2004 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Brian Jordan 37 6 19 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .158 .158 .211 .368
Kevin Mench 26 4 16 3 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 .313 .353 .500 .853
Laynce Nix* 23 7 26 2 7 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 10 .269 .296 .308 .604
Herbert Perry 34 8 29 4 12 3 0 0 4 0 0 3 7 .414 .455 .517 .972
Mark Teixeira# 24 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .250 .000 .250

34-year-old Herbert Perry is not only the oldest position player to ever rehab with Frisco, but he very well could stand the test as the most impressive RoughRiders rehabber ever, especially when you stack up his two stints together between 2003 and 2004. Again, no home runs here though. He is in the conversation without a doubt though.

2003 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Doug Glanville 32 4 15 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .133 .188 .133 .321
Todd Greene 32 3 9 3 3 0 0 2 4 0 0 2 2 .333 .455 1.000 1.455
Kevin Mench 25 3 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258
Herbert Perry 33 9 34 5 11 2 0 1 6 0 0 3 3 .324 .410 .471 .881

Another Herbert Perry campaign for Frisco, and another fine one at that. His seventeen game total between 2003 and 2004 puts him at .365 with the batting average and a .492 slugging percentage.

And say Hello to Todd Greene! The only RoughRiders rehabber ever to blast two home runs, and the veteran catcher/utility man put on quite the show in the RoughRiders’ inaugural year. The OPS is still a shade lower than Mitch’s, but it is quite the performance.

So Maybe Moreland’s 2013 stint isn’t the most impressive, but it is at least top four all time. And now he can be included in the same sentence as Todd Greene and Herbert Perry, which is interesting at the very least.

You tell us? Was Mitch Moreland’s three-day run the most impressive RoughRiders rehab stint among position players ever? Post in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @RidersBaseball!

It was fun while it lasted, and we wish Mitch the best of luck back with the Rangers.

Enjoy the shots from his three-day stint in Frisco below.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: county-fair playera player who shows off

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com. All photos courtesy Grant Nelson / Frisco RoughRiders

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RoughRiders’ Average First Half Lineup Card

70 down, 70 to go.

Frisco finished the first half with a 2-1 win over Midland last night. While we look ahead to what will come, including hopefully a ‘Riders second half title and a playoff berth, now is as good a time as ever to look back at what has been.

Remember when Odubel Herrera was the primary leadoff hitter? How about when Jared Hoying hit third every single one of his first 32 starts, a spot now clearly controlled by Brett Nicholas. Or how about the revolving door in the #2 spot in the order that saw Ryan Strausborger bat in eight times but only once since April 25.

The lineup has changed quite a bit over the course of the year, and I thought it might neat to take a closer look. Thus, I present the unofficial Steve Buechele RoughRiders Average First Half Lineup Card:

1st Half Lineup

This was an inexact science, but the idea was to present the amalgamation of the most common occurrences in the lineup over the first 70 games. I started with the top nine position players in terms of games started. Jared Hoying played more often than Guilder Rodriguez when on the active roster but his injury and subsequent promotion but him a few starts behind Rogirguez, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Tomas Telis for total starts.

I could have gone with the player who has played the most at each position, but that would mean Selen would be the DH (with 21 starts at DH, Chiang was second with 10 starts at DH), but Selen only made 32 overall starts in the first half, which ranked 11th on the team in total starts, so that didn’t make as much sense.

From there, I tried to place the most common spot in the lineup for each of the nine players, but that led to a few problems as well. For example: of the nine players, Chiang made the most starts in the #5 spot (22) but he made more starts in the #6 spot (28), which was also the most among the nine players, so he was the obvious choice there. Odubel Herrera and Teodoro Martinez batted leadoff more than anywhere else, but as you will see, Odubel became the #7 hitter, which has been the most inconsistently filled spot in the lineup. It’s the only spot that hasn’t had at least one player with more than 20 starts in that position of the lineup card.

The good news is, filling out the defense was easy. Of the nine players, each player’s most common position did not overlap save for one situation. Both Rodriguez and Buchholz played 3B more than anywhere else. Buchholz played almost twice as many times at the hot corner than G-Rod, though, so Rodriguez became the DH by default.

Martinez_Teodoro1. #3 Teodoro Martinez LF – Cafe has led off 23 times, including 22 of his last 23 starts. The one aberration in that stretch was batting second behind Ian Kinsler when he rehabbed with the RoughRiders last week–not a shameful move into the #2 spot. That consistency, along with the fact that he has really only hit in the #9 spot consistently otherwise (which needed to go to Alberto as you will see) won him the choice over Odubel Herrera in this spot. The ‘Riders are 14-9 when Martinez bats in the top spot. He is hitting .270 as the #1 batter, which is actually his lowest average at any spot in the lineup with more than 4 at bats; his .731 OPS, however, is the second highest (.759 in the #9 spot). As far the position goes, Teo has been the left fielder on 47 of the 70 lineup cards, which only trails Ryan Strausborger among outfield starts at one position.

Rodriguez_Guilder2. #6 Guilder Rodriguez DH – It’s ironic that the super-utility man Rodriguez is the DH. Or maybe it’s just stupidity on my part. G-Rod has actually only DH’d 3 times. Only Zach Zaneski and Hanser Alberto have DH’d less, but I had nowhere else to put him. If I could fill out the lineup card with him as the UTIL player, I would, but that’s just not allowed. The 29-year-old Venezuelan has played 12 games at 1B, 9 at 2B, 21 at 3B and 6 at SS. He leads the team in walks and on-base percentage (.0008 better than Brett Nicholas) and makes good contact, making him a good #2 hole hitter. He is hitting .309 in this spot this year and boasts a better than .400 OBP. He also has only one homer this year (and second of his career) in the spot in the order, which is good enough reason by itself. The fact that he has hit there more than anywhere else in the order, no one has any many starts in that spot as him, and no one else has primarily been the #2 hitter make G-Rod the obvious choice here.

Nicholas_Brett3. #29 Brett Nicholas 1B – Brett Nicholas made 28 of his first 30 appearances in the cleanup spot. Since that point, Nicholas has been the consistent pencil-in at number three. Nicholas has hit third more than any other player has hit in a single spot in the lineup. It has changed much as far as his production. In 33 games in the three spot, he is hitting .314/.383/.529. His production in the cleanup spot was nearly identical .291/.364/.556. He has struck out 50% more in the three hole (33 Ks vs. 22 Ks). As far as first base goes, only Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera have made more starts at one position (64 at SS, 60 at 2B) than Nicholas has at 1B (57)–a no brainer.

Buchholz_Alex4. #5 Alex Buchholz 3B – Buch has started 40 of the RoughRiders 70 games at the hot corner and only Brett Nicholas has more starts in the cleanup spot than him. This is all despite a three-week stint for the former Reds farmhand with the Rangers Triple-A club in Round Rock (where he hit eighth mostly and split time between DH and 3B, in case you were curious). He has 19 starts in the #5 spot but the cleanup spot really has suited him nicely. He is hitting .299 there with four of his six home runs. He is batting just .222 in the middle spot of the lineup.

Telis_Tomas5. #13 Tomas Telis C – Telis has been a shifting part of the middle to back-end of Buechele’s lineup. With 13 starts in the five and six spots of the lineup and 12 in the seven spot, he sort of defaulted into this position. Both Buchholz and Chiang have more starts than Telis at #5 but made more sense where they are at #4 and #6. He has received the bulk of the catching starts (38 of 70), 13 more than Zaneski. This has also been Telis’ best spot in the order as far as the batting average (.321), although all three of his home runs have come batting sixth, including the shot that won a fan a brand new Jeep.

Chiang_Chih-Hsien6. #11 Chih-Hsien Chiang RF – This one was easy. The first ever Taiwanese-born RoughRider was the most often used player in right field this season as well as the number six spot in the order. The same was true of Chiang’s starts. He made 22 in the number five spot, six less than number six. His starts in left (14) and DH (10) were far outweighed by his playing time in right field (36). He hasn’t hit his best in the number six spot. In fact his .202 batting average hitting sixth is the worst of the five spots in the order that he has hit in.

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7. #7 Odubel Herrera 2B – The hardest man to place, Herrera actually spent more time in the leadoff spot than any other player and hit second more often than seventh. He hasn’t hit leadoff since May 22 though. At least his position was easy to place. Outside of Alberto at SS, Herrera has made the most starts at one position with 60 at second base. He is hitting .304 in the #7 spot, his highest average of any spot in the lineup in which he has started more than one game, so that helps. I’ll run with that stat and leave it at that. Plus, he is hitting there tonight to begin the second half.

Strausborger_Ryan8. #4 Ryan Strausborger CF – With 63 starts in the outfield, Ryan Strausborger has been by far the most commonly placed player into the lineup as an outfielder. His 54 centerfield starts is most for any ‘Riders player at one spot in the outfield. His spot in the order has been less predictable. Ryan has hit second (8 starts), fifth (2), sixth (12), seventh (20), eighth (23), and ninth (1). His .247 average and .301 on-base percentage batting eighth is best of any spot he has hit in the order.

Alberto_Hanser9. #2 Hanser Alberto SS – Alberto began and finished the first half in the last spot of the order. He did 26 other times in between, beating out the second spot in the order for most starts for him. The 64 out of 70 day shortstop was the most commonly started position player at one position and his 28 starts in the #9 spot trail only Brett Nicholas in the three and four spot (33,32), Hoying in the three spot (32), and Herrera in the leadoff spot (29) for most starts in one spot of the order. Hanser hit .222 in the first half in the last spot in the order while he hit .288 in the #2 spot, but that is more of a function of him hitting second while hitting well and not hitting well because he was batting second. The youngest player in the Texas League at season’s open finished behind only Brett Nicholas and Ryan Strausborger with 65 starts.

The rest…

  • The bench players are all of the position players who didn’t make the starting nine that have played for the ‘Riders this year.
  • Neil Ramirez made it on the card as the most oft-used starting pitcher on the staff. He has made 14 starts. Carlos Pimentel checks in second with 13 games started.
  • The #5 spot is the only one in the lineup in which every active member of the roster has made at least one start in. Even Joe Benson has a start there, and he has only made eight starts in total.
  • Brett Nicholas and Jared Hoying were the most stable forces in the Frisco lineup in the first half. The two appeared in only three different spots (#3, #4, and #5). Every other RoughRider was placed in at least four different spots in the order in the first half.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: rabbit – a player with great speed

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Pat Lobb Magic Swing promotion makes ‘Riders fan a winner

With one powerful swing of the bat, Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Frisco gave away a brand new 2013 Jeep Wrangler to a lucky Frisco RoughRiders fan at Dr Pepper Ballpark on Friday night.  Jana Tucker, a Frisco resident, was the lucky winner of the Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Magic Swing Promotion.

“I heard the crack of the bat and then closed my eyes-I was so freaked out,” Jana said.  “My hands started shaking, my knees went out from beneath me.  I couldn’t believe it.”

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Mark and Jana after the winning magic swing

The promotion awards the contestant with a brand new Jeep Wrangler if the RoughRiders hit a home run on the first swing of the bat during the bottom of the fifth inning.  That is exactly what ‘Riders All-Star catcher Tomas Telis did with the first offering from Jorge De Leon in the bottom of the fifth.

“I didn’t think the ball would go over the fence,” said Mark McEachern, a representative from Pat Lobb.  “I didn’t see it go over.  I just saw the crowd’s reaction.  I turned and looked at Jana and she looked at me like, ‘That just happened!”

The Venezuelan backstop, who had clubbed just two home runs in 40 games played this season, launched the first pitch of the inning onto the grass berm over the left-center field fence. The home run gave Frisco a 2-0 lead in an eventual 3-2 extra-innings loss against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

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”What a night for that to happen; [Ian] Kinsler [rehabbing] at second, the big Friday night crowd, the post-game fireworks-the atmosphere was just electric,” Mark said.

Steven Nelson, Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships with the RoughRiders has been working in sports now for around ten years in the Frisco area and says this is the most exciting thing he’s ever seen.

“When the swing of the bat happened and I saw the ball go off, I thought ‘please have enough to just go over the wall,” said Steven.  “I almost felt like I won the Jeep.”

This is only the third game this season that Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has given a local fan the chance to take home a brand new Jeep Wrangler, and the Frisco RoughRiders hope for more winners to come in the future.

“Thank you to the family and thank you to Pat Lobb. We are really excited for the partnership and look forward to continuing it for years to come,” Nelson said.

Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Frisco just opened their doors in May, 2013. A part of the Pat Lobb Auto Group, the nearly 60,000 square foot facility is the premier Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in North Texas.

“It’s been an exciting promotion for Pat Lobb all season long,” said Mark.  “We’re excited to have this promotion and to be a part of the Frisco community.  We look forward to carrying the relationship forward with Dr Pepper Ballpark and the Frisco RoughRiders.”

Jana Tucker and her family have been to a number of games, and have attended two this season. “Thank you to Pat Lobb and the RoughRiders. We will definitely be going to more ‘Riders games in the future.”

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You could be next! Click here for your chance to win!

-Ryan

‘Riders on the Record: Kinsler’s ribs, “Pudge” teaching the youth and three All-Stars

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A star-studded week for ‘Riders on the Record brings us conversations with three ‘Riders selected to the Texas League All-Star roster, a Rangers Hall-of-Famer and an All-Star big league rehabber.

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day!) and enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


‘Riders manager Steve Buechele breaks down the most recent start from Carlos Pimentel and discusses the keys to his success. He also talks about managing Tyler Tufts, who has been shifted into the RoughRiders rotation, and how to gauge his readiness later into games. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas

Brett Nicholas sits down to talk about his recent All-Star nod and the excitement he has to play on the squad. He talks about his admiration for fellow All-Star, Midland’s Anthony Aliotti. He also weighs on the best conversationalist in the league, based on his chit-chats at the first base bag. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 – C Tomas Telis


The ‘Riders All-Star Catcher Tomas Telis comes to share his story of finding out the news about the All-Star game. He tells us who he would like to catch in the All-Star game that he has had to face as a batter. He also explains what his “off” days are like and how being a student of the game as a catcher helps his approach at the plate. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, June 13, 2013 – Rangers HOF Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez


Legendary Rangers catcher, now Special Assistant to Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, Ivan Rodriguez joined the pre-game show to talk with us about his new role with the Rangers and the development of the young catchers in the Rangers system. He also touches on how it feels to be a part of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 14, 2013 – Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler


Texas Rangers rehabbing All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler talks about the state of his rehab, the importance of playing in the field while on the assignment and the history of his rib injury. He also reminisces on his time in Frisco as a member of the RoughRiders. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 – RHP Ben Rowen

RoughRiders All-Star reliever Ben Rowen talks about how he heard about his Mid-Season All-Star honors and what it means to him in his first Double-A level. He talks about the influence of Chad Bradford. He also touches on his love for hockey and his beloved LA Kings. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: diamond artist - a 1930s term for a ballplayer

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas Honored by Rangers

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas were honored by the Texas Rangers Friday, earning “Player of the Month” and “Defender of the Month” respectively for May. From the ‘Riders press release:

 Martinez, 21, was second on the team in batting average during May, hitting at a .322 clip. He also picked up 10 runs, 10 walks, 2 doubles, 5 home runs and 17 RBI over 26 games, taking over as the RoughRiders’ leadoff hitter by the end of the month. Martinez reached base safely in 22 of 26 games and hit safely in 19 of those games. On May 15 at home against the Midland RockHounds, Martinez picked up his first two-home run game as well as his first ever four-RBI performance. The four hits he collected tied a career high. His seven home runs for the season is a career-best as well; his previous personal high was set last year when he hit six long balls as a member of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. After a slow start, Martinez is hitting .300 since April 21 and is fourth on the team at .272 for the year.

Martinez

 Nicholas, 24, started 24 games at first base and 3 games behind the plate for the ‘Riders in May. He committed only one error during the month, which came as a catcher. As a first baseman, he is fielding .998 (1 / 492 TC) for the season. As a catcher, he threw out 2-of-5 attempting basestealers in May. The former Missouri Tiger leads the RoughRiders in hitting with a .305 average and a team-high 38 runs, 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 65 games. He has a triple as well and is second on the team in walks with 21. The Phoenix, Arizona native is near the top of multiple categories among Texas Leaguers, including fourth in batting average and RBI, fifth in runs and home runs and third in total bases (129). Like Martinez, Nicholas has set a career-high in home runs this season; his previous high also came last year in Myrtle Beach when he hit eight as the Pelicans’ everyday first baseman.

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The two join Randy Henry and Tomas Telis to be honored by the Rangers this season. Henry was tabbed the Rangers Reliever of the Month, while Telis picked up Defender of the Month in April.

Martinez had an exceptionally big day on Friday, as he was also selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes on the South Division All-Star team. Teodoro joins Nicholas and seven other ‘Riders as Mid-Season All-Stars, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams with eight.

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: junkballer – A pitcher who relies on off-speed pitches and trickery rather than the fastball or curveball

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