August 2013

Fantasy Football (RoughRiders Edition)

Football season is officially here.  We have had preseason NFL the  past few  weeks, but high school and college kick off this weekend.  The start of the 2013 football season got us at the RoughRiders talking about what positions the current ‘Riders would play on our fantasy football teams.  This idea was inspired by a post from last year where the media team asked former RoughRiders Ross Wolf, Jerad  Prince and Strength & Conditioning coach Eric McMahon to form their RoughRiders football team.

Crew_Deuce

This year, Alex and Nathan decided they would like to take a crack at it, so they both drew up their teams based on body build, strength, speed, athleticism, and everything else they know about the current ‘Riders squad.  Eric McMahon did so well last year that he too created a team for us.  It may not surprise you to know that all three teams are quite different, based on the type of squad the three participants chose to go with.

The chatter around the clubhouse has also revolved around this topic as the players discuss who they might pick.  Nick McBride, who left Frisco earlier this month, was the unanimous pick among the pitchers as the quarterback, however with Nick gone, there is more of a discussion as to who that QB would be.  In his August 27 pregame interview, Nathan discussed this topic with pitcher Phil Klein, who labeled the positions he thinks he could fill: Defensive end if he were able to put on more muscle, or tight end if he developed better hand skills.

Nathan Barnett’s Team

Nathan_1Luke Jackson at quarterback? He didn’t even play high school football!” remarked an anonymous RoughRiders player. Okay, sure: Luke  Jackson was not a high school football star–but he did play a bit.

But I like his moxy. The composure he has shown in his short time in Double-A which has helped him to limit batters to a 1-for-18 mark with runners in scoring position combined with mid-90s heat—those have to make for great raw materials at QB.

Convinced by Alex’s wise observations about Odor, I swapped him out to the safety spot (I originally had him listed as my RB).

I am a big believer in Randy Henry at the strong safety position. A former high school and JUCO shortstop, Henry has the athletic build and leadership skills I want in a guy in that spot.

Kyle McClellan seemed an obvious choice at center. The unnamed captain of the bullpen is the perfect man to anchor the middle of what should be the most cohesive group on your team—plus his veteran leadership will be great in the huddle.082713 Roster

A point of contention in our debate here in the office was the place of Kalian Sams, who I went with at the tight end position. A physical force, 6’4”, nearly 250 pounds with good speed and great body control, Sams is the perfect target and safety net for a team with a smaller receiving core (Strausborger, Teo Martinez, Reyes). I see Sams are Vernon Davis like, big powerful upper body that can block a bit and shrug off tacklers. He might not quite have the speed of Davis, but his wheels are deceptively impressive (10-for-10 stealing bases this year in the TL). I see him as a 80+ catch TE; you can’t replace that production if you put him elsewhere.with the young QB in Jackson.

My philosophy here was to fill out the offensive and defensive line with the bigger and more powerful guys on the team, since most of the players on the ‘Riders roster could probably handle the skill positions. I think I have done that. I am particularly fond of my placement of Nicholas at left tackle. A leader on this team, selfless and one of the first off the bench to protect his teammate Rougned Odor in the near benches-clearing scuffle against the Tulsa Drillers earlier this month, there is no one I would trust more to protect the blindside of the Rangers top right-handed pitching prospect in the pocket.

QB: Luke Jackson
Backup QB: Richard Bleier
RB: Joe Benson
Backup RB: Guilder Rodriguez

WR: Jimmy Reyes and Teodoro Martinez
Slot WR: Ryan Strausborger080413 team blog

TE: Kalian Sams and Jon Edwards

LT: Brett Nicholas
LG: Arlett Mavare

C: Kyle McClellan
G: Zach Zaneski
RT: Tomas Telis

DE: Ryan Rua
DT: Jerad Eickhoff
DE: Phil Klein

OLB: Lisalverto Bonilla
MLB: Nick Martinez
MLB: Brett Teschner
OLB: Francisco Mendoza

CB: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Luis Sardinas
FS: Rougned Odor
SS: Randy Henry

K: Tyler Tufts
P: Alex Claudio

Alex Vispoli’s Team

Alex_1This is probably my favorite blog post of the season because of the debates it inspires both in the office and in the clubhouse.  With the collection of talent with this group, I’m confident that my fake football team would take any other Texas League outfit straight to the woodshed.  My team runs a standard, pro-style offense that may not stretch the field too often, but should be able to score some points. There are some weak parts of the defense, but overall it is a solid unit that should make enough plays.

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Ryan Rua

I like the idea of Rua as a pocket passer. Though he may not accrue many yards with his legs, we’ve seen his strong arm at third base this season and I’m confident he can make all the throws. His quiet confidence will also help keep the team focused on those crucial drives.

Running back: Joe Benson

A no brainer. Benson was a star tailback in high school and would carry the load for my offense.

Joe  Benson

Joe Benson

Fullback: Tomas Telis

As a catcher, he knows how to block and he will be a bowling ball that the defense will try to get past to get to Benson. In short yardage situations, I like his size; he’s like a miniature Jerome Bettis.

Flanker wide receiver: Lisalverto Bonilla

His height and strength should make him a good red zone target, à la Plaxico Burress. 

Split end wide receiver: Teodoro Martinez

Teo has good speed, which should make him good on the outside.  A little undersized, but this is as good a spot as any for the Venezuelan.

Slot wide receiver: Ryan Strausborger

A natural spot for the blue-collared Straus, who won’t be afraid to make a tough catch over the middle. A Wes Welker-type for this team, he should keep the chains moving.

Wide receiver: Luis Sardiñas

In case we need to go with four wideouts, Sardiñas should provide great speed to stretch the defense, though he is a little raw.

Tight end: Jon Edwards

An absolute matchup nightmare. Edwards is bigger than any defensive back and faster than any linebacker. My version of Rob Gronkowski.

Left tackle: Jerad Eickhoff

Big, strong and heady, I trust Eickhoff to protect the blind side and keep Rua upright.

Left guard: Brett Nicholas (offensive captain)

A team-first guy, Nicholas will give up his body to make sure we get that first down.

Center: Zach Zaneski

Big and mean when he needs to be, Zach fits the blue-collar bill as an offensive lineman. As a catcher he calls a great game and I trust him to lead the o-line.

Right guard: Richard Bleier

Not the biggest guard around, but Bleier is willing to get mean when he needs to.

Right tackle: Phil Klein

I love the height and length that Klein brings to the line. He’s a lot to get by and should give Rua enough time to deliver the football.

DEFENSE

Odor_Sams

Rougned Odor and Kalian Sams

Defensive end: Kalian Sams

The defensive version of Jon Edwards. Sams is big, fast and a nightmare to face as an offense. I feel bad for the quarterback who gets squashed by the Dutchman.

Defensive tackle: Arlett Mavare

A big body and a spacefiller, Mavare should help clog the middle and has the strength to push the offense back.

Defensive tackle: Brett Teschner

Another big body, the catcher is already used to working out of a crouching position and will hold his ground at the very least against the o-line.

Defensive end: Randy Henry

More of a speed rusher than a power guy, Henry can bring some small-town nasty to this group.

Outside linebacker: Chih-Hsien Chiang

Chiang has added weight to his frame over the years but still maintains some agility. If he can hit an opposing player even half as hard as he hits the baseball, this should be a natural fit.

Middle linebacker: Kyle McClellan (defensive captain)

McClellan_1

Kyle McClellan

Really happy to have Kyle calling the signals in the middle of my defense. An experienced veteran, there’s nothing he can’t recognize. He’s also very, very strong, extremely competitive and has a little crazy in his eye that will intimidate the opposition.

Outside linebacker: Luke Jackson

I’m counting more on savvy than speed or strength here. Jackson is a smart guy who should be able to read an offense and put himself in a good spot.

Cornerback: Guilder Rodriguez

Good size for a DB, Rodriguez brings veteran craftiness to the table and still has enough speed to stick with young wideouts. He can play the right angles and should be a tough matchup for any receiver.

Strong safety: Jimmy Reyes

With the intimidating presence Jimmy has on the mound, I have no doubt that he’ll make receivers think twice about going over the middle. Just enough speed and size to handle the position.

Free safety: Rougned Odor

Love the nastiness Odor brings to the diamond and he should be athletic enough to grab some interceptions and lay a player out. Might be a risk for penalty flags/fines for gray area hits, but you need a little of that on your team.

Cornerback: Francisco Mendoza

Mendoza has overcome injuries in the past and surpassed expectations. He plays with a chip and should be able to keep up with receivers and bring them down.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Tyler Tufts

A little quirky (just look at the beard) and a bit undersized, so this is as good a spot as any for Tuffy.

Punter: Alex Claudio

Probably the safest spot on the gridiron for the slight Claudio. Given his nasty changeup, I would imagine he could manipulate his kicks to angle for the coffin corner pretty effectively as well.

Long snapper: Nick Martinez (special teams captain)

There’s not a natural spot for Martinez, but I think he should be in a leadership role and as leader of the special teams unit his voice will be heard.

Eric McMahon’s Team

Eric_1LT-McClellan
Game experience and athletic feet.  He has the determination not to get beat around the edge.

LG-Mavare
The strength to deliver a strong down block and communication skills to tandem with Center or Tackle in a combo block

C-Nicholas
Possesses leadership and the intelligence to read the defensive front

RG-Telis
He’s a great blocker with speed enough to pull around the edge

RT-Eickhoff
Great build!  Looks the part.

TE-Klein
Tall and runs well. Sneaky athleticism.  A down-field threat over any secondary

WR #1-Bonilla
Excellent speed!

WR #2-Strausborger
Versatile speed from the edge or the slot

WR #3-Sardinas
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed!

RB-Benson
A power runner and above average agility.  Good strength to drive through a hole!

FB-Reyes
Knowledge and strength to contribute in a blocking scheme.  Speed enough for some 3rd down carries.

Jackson_1

Luke Jackson

QB-Jackson
Arm strength+++

DE-Sams
Big, Strong, and moves well

DT (Nose)-Teschner
Great strength and temperament to dominate in the trenches

DE-Edwards
Excellent size and speed off the edge

OLB-Tufts
Athletic, with the right mentality to read run or pass.  Can help in the secondary

OLB-Rua
Moves well with enough size to be the force player on the edge and cover a TE/WR down field

ILB-Henry
Good strength, size and athleticism to cover both sides of the field

Z_1

Zach Zaneski

ILB-Zaneski
The heart and soul of the defense!

FS-Nick Martinez
The coverage leader and playcaller.  He possesses good overall athleticism for the secondary

SS-Chiang
Speed enough to make a play on the ball in the air

C-Teo Martinez
Speed for coverage and the strength to secure the edge

C-Rodriguez
Intelligence and quickness to stay on a WR’s hip downfield

Nickel-Bleier
Improved speed from years past. A great double coverage guy to bat down a ball in the air.

P-Claudio
Just funky enough to get the job done right

K-Mendoza
He’s a gamer…Ready to be called on when needed

Returner-Odor
Quick on his feet and a fearless mentality

-Ryan (With much assistance from Alex, Nathan and Eric)

Baseball term of the day: rocket – A hard-hit, fast-moving line drive.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Nicholas and Ramirez join RoughRiders greats

PostSeason_AllStars

Brett Nicholas and Neil Ramirez made the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team, announced yesterday by league President Tom Kayser. Here is part of the release from RidersBaseball.com:

Nicholas, 25, leads the RoughRiders in batting (.299), home runs (21) and RBI (89). His batting average is currently fourth among qualifying players and first among active Texas Leaguers. He is first in total bases (236), hits (143) and RBI, fourth in the circuit in runs (70) and third in slugging (.493). He has set career highs in hits, triples (3), home runs, runs scored and RBI. He is currently second in the league in games played (129). Nicholas was honored for the first time as an All-Star of any kind when he made the Mid-Season All-Star Team for the South Division; this is his first ever professional post-season selection.

Ramirez, 24, spent time with the ‘Riders for the third straight year in 2013 and went 9-3 in 21 starts with a 3.84 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 103 innings. He started the All-Star Game at Northwest Arkansas for the South Division on June 25 and was the winning pitcher in the contest. Ramirez struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings this season, which would be a career-best if the rate holds up. Now a member of the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, he departed Frisco as the Texas League leader in strikeouts and ranked fifth in the league in wins (second on Frisco). The Virginia Beach, Virginia native held opposing batters to a .213 average which would be first in the Texas League if he qualified among league leaders. Ramirez was one of nine pitchers selected to the team and one of seven starting pitchers.

Frisco has had at least one Post-season All-Star in every season except for 2005. 2012 was the best season for the ‘Riders with four selections; the previous best was two.

Here is the all-time list of RoughRiders to make the team:

RoughRiders selected to the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team

C – Max Ramirez (2008)

2B – Ramon Nivar (2003)

2B – German Duran (2007)

SS – Elvis Andrus (2008)

SS – Jurickson Profar (2012)

3B – Mike Olt (2012)

OF – Craig Gentry (2009)

OF – Engel Beltre (2012)

DH – Jason Botts (2004)

DH – Nate Gold (2006)

DH – Chad Tracy (2009)

DH – Tommy Mendonca (2011)

DH – Brett Nicholas (2013)

P – A.J. Murray (2003)

P – Kameron Loe (2004)

P – Thomas Diamond (2006)

P – Luis Mendoza (2007)

P – Blake Beavan (2010)

P – Ryan Tatusko (2010)

P – Joe Wieland (2011)

P – Barret Loux (2012)

P – Neil Ramirez (2013)

Fun with numbers and All-Stars

  • The ‘Riders have had 22 players honored over the 11 seasons, an average of two per season.
  • Only once has the club not had a single player make the roster (2005)
  • In 2012, Frisco had a team-record four players make the team.
  • Of the 22 players, 15 have made the big leagues.
  • Despite 5 DH selections, the ‘Riders have not had a player selected as the starting first baseman on the All-Star team.
  • Neil Ramirez is not the first RoughRiders player to win the award while no longer in the organization. He joins Joe Wieland, Ryan Tatusko and Blake Beavan as Post-season All-Stars to earn the award while playing another organization. Ramirez is now in the Cubs organization after inclusion as the player to be named later in the Matt Garza trade. Joe Wieland was in the 2011 trade for Mike Adams. Ryan Tatusko was the return to Washington for Christian Guzman in 2010, and Blake Beavan, in the midst of his 2010 Texas League Post-Season All-Star campaign was traded to Seattle as part of the package for Cliff Lee.
  • 6 of the 22 were also included in last year’s All-‘Riders team, selected in honor of the 10th anniversary of the club. Those selections include: Blake Beavan (# SP), Nate Gold (DH), Craig Gentry (CF), Elvis Andrus (SS), Tommy Mendonca (3B) and German Duran (2B).

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day (with enthusiastic assistance today from Scott Fults)cozy roller – a slowly batted ground ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The Case for Brett Nicholas, Texas League Player of the Year

8666446276_e9b9971773_h

Odds are against ‘Riders first baseman Brett Nicholas, but he deserves consideration for the league’s Player of the Year Award

The ballots are in. The counters are at work, tabulating the totals. Hopefully it won’t come down to the definition and value of a hanging chad. (UPDATE: Corpus Christi’s George Springer has won the award)

Yesterday, Alex and I, along with others around the league, were asked to turn in our votes for the Texas League Postseason All-Star team, Player of the Year award winner, Pitcher of the Year selection and Manager of the Year candidate. The awards are expected to be announced today.

The only stipulation in the voting was that you could not vote for players on your team, so, neither Alex nor I could vote for RoughRiders players. The voting included a ballot filled with the following positions: 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, C, 3 OF and 6 pitchers. There were two columns: one for “1st Team” and another for “2nd team.” So that means we could vote for two 1B, two 2B (etc).

While it was time-consuming and thought-provoking, save for a few players, I thought selecting this season’s Texas League All-Stars was not too difficult. While there are a few deserving candidates, it didn’t take long to pen down David Martinez for Pitcher of the Year in the circuit. As for Manager of the Year, that one was rather easy for me as well.

Then we came to Player of the Year.

The Candidates

So, should I vote for Anthony Aliotti?

The Midland first baseman spent around two thirds of the season crushing Texas League pitching to the tune of a .350 average, .452 on-base percentage and .993 OPS–all league highs, and with enough plate appearances to qualify, Aliotti will finish first in all three of these categories. He has really struggled at Triple-A, but that should not matter. This is Texas League Player of the Year.

George Springer, MiLB.com

George Springer, MiLB.com

What about George Springer? He has to be the favorite for all-around Minor League Player of the Year. He is three home runs away for the elite 40 home run / 40 stolen base club, which has happened only four times in major league history (Jose Canseco 1988, Barry Bonds 1996, Alex Rodriguez 1998, Alfonso Soriano 2006–three former Texas Rangers coincidentally enough). It hasn’t happened in the minor leagues, where the season slate is fewer games (140) since 1956 when Len Tucker accomplished the feat. He is first in minor league baseball in home runs (37), tied for fourth in RBI (105), tied for 20th in steals (43) and fourth in OPS among players with 300+ ABs. He is also accomplishing these feats despite zero time above Advanced-A ball before this year.

Neither player spent even close to the entire season in the league. Springer played 73 games, while Aliotti notched 91. Neither player will finish in the top 5 in home runs or RBI, and depending on how the season finishes, Springer could drop out of the top 5 in stolen bases (23), while Aliotti could lose his spot at #5 in doubles (29).

I searched desperately for a candidate that played 100 or more games in the league (an arbitrary number, I know), that could live up to the play of these two fine ballplayers.

How about Matt Fields of Northwest Arkansas? He will likely capture the home run crown; he has 31 and a six home run edge of second place. But Fields is hitting just .227, plays a non-premium defensive position (first base), and leads the league with 175 strikeouts in 124 games.

Xavier Scruggs? The Springfield first baseman is second in home runs (25), just outside the top 5 in RBI (74), fourth in league in OPS (.853) and leads the league in walks (81). While the resume is an impressive one, a .246 average, more than a strikeout per game, and the opportunity to play lowly Northwest Arkansas 32 times really hurt his cause for me (he hit .313 with six of his 25 homers against the last place Naturals).

Anthony Aliotti, (Edyta Blaszczyk/Odessa American)

Anthony Aliotti, (Edyta Blaszczyk/Odessa American)

Then I got to Brett Nicholas. Of course, I couldn’t vote for Nicholas since he is a ‘Rider. The Frisco first baseman is going to finish the season with the most games played and likely have the highest RBI total (he is first today). His .299 average is fourth in the TL, and is first among active Texas League players. He is first in hits, third in slugging (second active), first in total bases, fourth in runs, and, in comparison to other power hitters in the league, does not strike out very often. Of course in many more games than Springer and Aliotti, he has more hits, runs, home runs and RBI than the leading two candidates. If I could have voted for Nicholas, I might have. It would have been a tough call.

Full disclosure here, I voted for Springer.

His dominance while in the Texas League as well his team’s capturing a playoff spot before his departure outweighed, in my opinion, his smaller gross totals in comparison to Scruggs, or Crumbliss, or Fields, and his speed and elite defense pushed him past Aliotti for me.

There are no criteria listed with this award; it is left up to the voter to decide what factors should go into Player of the Year. This is, in my opinion, a rather fruitless effort to argue over the number of games required for consideration, the value of defense and speed, ballpark factors (hitters’ park vs pitchers’ park), competition of the weighted divisional schedule, etc. Ultimately, when there are no rules, the voter must make these decisions themselves, and arguing over the value of each of these factors is often one without much movement. People’s minds are hard to change on topics like this.

What is important is that any voter at least consider these criteria when making their selection; how to balance them is up to the individual.

Assuming you are with me at this point, here are the raw numbers of the three players:

Tm Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Nicholas – Frisco TEX 129 543 479 70 143 24 3 21 89 2 1 42 115 .299 .363 .493 .855 236
Aliotti – Midland OAK 91 409 340 49 119 29 0 12 51 3 2 66 83 .350 .452 .541 .993 184
Springer – Corpus Christi HOU 73 323 273 56 81 20 0 19 55 23 5 42 96 .297 .399 .579 .978 158

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 8/27/2013.

I will run through a few of the perhaps more overlooked factors that might shed some light on the worthiness of Nicholas for the league’s highest honor.

Nicholas is the only one with enough games/at bats

For the record, I also think Springer will win the award. Which is astounding.

Since the inception of the award in 1931, only two position players have ever won the award with less than 100 games played. Kila Kaʻaihue of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals won the award in 2008 when and he launched 26 homers and hit .314 over 91 games, and another Royals prospect, Mike Moustakas, took home the hardware in his 66 game season in 2010 when he left the circuit with an 1.100 OPS with 21 homers and a .347 average. He also plays a decent third base in the majors, so I imagine he was above average man at the hot corner in his time in the Texas League.

Five pitchers have won the award: Tim Leary (1980), Bob Muncrief (1940), Dizzy Trout (1938), Harold (Ash) Hillin (1937), Dizzy Dean (1931). Only Trout didn’t spend his entire award-winning season in the TL. He pitched 37 times in the Texas League and in five games for Double-A Toledo in the American Association. Proportionally speaking, he made 88% of his outings in the Texas League, which would be quite a bit more than 100 games by a position player standard.

Even if Aliotti wins the award it would be pretty remarkable. Granted the two players to break the mold have done so in the last 10 years, when seemingly voters might be a bit more prospect-conscious and mid-season promotions are more common, but history is still very much against it.

Nicholas is not in a great hitting environment

Comparing the three players, Alliotti, Nicholas and Springer, it seems that Nicholas is likely in the toughest spot to produce. Mark Eddy of BaseballAmerica.com looked at park factors at the start of this season, and Dr Pepper Ballpark ranked as the fifth best hitter’s park in the eight team league. Midland was third. Corpus Christi ranked fourth:

Citibank Ballpark - Midland, Texas

Citibank Ballpark – Midland, Texas

Rates Per Park, 2010-12
Team R/G H/G HR/G PF-R
Northwest Arkansas 10.86 19.00 1.90 1.132
Springfield 10.09 18.14 2.35 1.019
Midland 9.95 19.19 1.12 1.023
Corpus Christi 9.39 17.97 1.76 1.023
Frisco 8.98 17.20 1.77 0.994
Tulsa 8.75 16.98 2.01 0.995
San Antonio 8.29 16.70 1.21 0.928
Arkansas 7.67 15.64 1.00 0.902

Launching Pad: Springfield, 2.35 HR/G (No. 6)
Graveyard: Arkansas, 1.00 HR/G (No. 106)
Hit Parade: Midland, 19.19 H/G (No. 11)
Pitcher’s Park: Arkansas, 7.67 R/G (No. 4)

(table and statistics from BaseballAmerica.com)

The ‘Riders’ home park is also much harder on left-handed batters, where the power-alley to right-center field is much futher than left-center (383 ft vs. 364 ft) and the WinStar Diamond Deck in left creates a Home Run Porch of sorts in straightaway left field.

mZlVWjRD

Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, Texas

Whataburger Field - Corpus Christi, Texas

Whataburger Field – Corpus Christi, Texas

Additionally, there is the concept of lineup protection. By all accounts, the Midland RockHounds and Corpus Christi Hooks have created more protection for Springer and Aliotti than the ‘Riders have for Nicholas this season. Here is how the offenses stack up:


Team R/gm HR AVG OBP OPS
Corpus 4.63 150 .254 .331 .745
Midland 4.88 94 .254 .336 .726
Frisco 4.16 108 .246 .297 .672

Here is a similar table, only taking account team performance while the player in question was on the team’s roster (Aliotti was promoted on July 18, Springer on June 26):


Team Games R/gm HR/gm AVG OBP OPS
Corpus 76 4.84 1.08 .255 .331 .745
Midland 95 4.83 0.76 .258 .340 .737
Frisco 133 4.16 0.81 .246 .297 .672

Now of course these players account for part of the production, but that is true across the board. Springer and Aliotti were more production on a daily basis than Nicholas, but not enough to account for the disparities between the offenses on a whole.

Nicholas doesn’t play a premium defensive position

Or does he? That ‘Riders everyday first baseman is not really that–an everyday first baseman. He has logged 12 games at catcher, and likely would have more if the ‘Riders had a bit more flexibility at first base.

Other than rehabbers, only Guilder Rodriguez has logged more than one game at first base outside of Nicholas (18 games), and Rodriguez has been needed to spell off days for other infielders as well. Because of this, Nicholas has not been able to log as much time at catcher as he might have otherwise. More starts at catcher would certainly make his candidacy a little stronger.

Springer plays elite defense in center field. Your eyes will tell you that. The scouts will tell you that, and I am sure, when he makes the majors, the sabermetricians will crunch numbers that tell us the same. It is part of the reason I voted for Springer over Aliotti.

Nicholas’ ability at catcher should not be overlooked. He still considers himself a catcher and, defensively, has been pretty darn good at the position. Here is how he stacks up in a few key categories with the two primary Frisco catchers, Tomas Telis and Zach Zaneski:


Name Games Catcher ERA Games/PB SB ATT/gm CS%
Nicholas 12 3.61 12 1.33 0.375
Telis 78 3.51 6.5 0.94 0.324
Zaneski 43 3.77 10.75 1.37 0.305

While this unlikely puts him ahead of Springer, I think it has to put him in front of Aliotti, and at least boost his candidacy. When considering MVP/POTY type awards, many will only focus on the offense of a first baseman, assuming that even an elite defensive first baseman is not adding a ton of value. I think that is an unfair determination in the case of Nicholas.

Conclusion

I would be shocked if Springer or Aliotti doesn’t win the award. In fact, I would be pretty astounded if Springer doesn’t win it, but if he is faulted for his 73 games played, it’s hard to imagine it won’t go to Aliotti.

I don’t even know if Brett Nicholas truly deserves the award, but I have a feeling many voters simply weighed the value of Aliotti’s 18 extra games against the incredible production of George Springer, decided how much that would count against Springer, and then called it a day.

Nicholas likely didn’t get the credit his season deserved. He has without question been the Player of the Year for the Frisco RoughRiders, and maybe even the Player of the Year in the Rangers minor league system, and he deserves at least a thoughtful discussion for Player of the Year in his circuit.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: cloud-hunter – a ball batted high in the air

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

G-Rod: Setting more RoughRiders records

Playing in his 1000th professional stateside game, Guilder Rodriguez set another new RoughRiders record last night against Midland. Rodriguez’s stolen base in the sixth inning was his 66th steal in a Frisco uniform, his 15th this season, snapping a tie with Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry for the most steals as a RoughRider.  Earlier this month, Rodriguez passed Renny Osuna as the franchise’s all-time hits leader; he has 351 career hits as a ‘Rider.

GRod_2

Rodriguez, who has played parts or all of the last five seasons in Frisco, began the season ranked fifth in the stolen bases category.  Guilder now leads Gentry (65, 2008-2009), Engel Beltre (61, 2009-2012), Elvis Andrus (54, 2008), and Ruddy Yan (52, 2005-2006).  Guilder is now 66 for 92 stealing bases in 404 games as a ’Rider.

A post by Nathan earlier this month on August 6 proposes that Guilder Rodriguez just might be the greatest of RoughRiders’ all-time:

“Rodriguez won’t make any prospect lists, and by most who project these things, will likely never get a crack at the majors. While he is not one of the super prospects that will drive walk-up ticket sales, he is a guy certainly appreciated by the season ticket holders.  Often the first to the mound to encourage a pitcher and seen routinely after and before organized drills and stretching working with the youngsters, the veteran who turned 30 this season is a respected leader of this group, especially among the other Spanish-speaking players.”

GRod_4

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP
2002 Brewers 47 186 38 48 3 2 0 20 6 1 11 23 .258 .299
2003 Helena 69 255 51 57 1 1 0 25 29 3 47 35 .224 .345
2004 Beloit 95 351 64 93 6 0 0 27 14 6 45 50 .265 .352
2005 West Virginia 20 46 3 8 1 0 0 3 2 0 4 6 .174 .250
2005 Huntsville 65 133 17 40 3 1 0 7 3 0 19 28 .301 .388
2006 Brevard County 5 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .143 .250
2006 Huntsville 69 160 21 35 3 1 0 7 2 1 22 31 .219 .324
2007 Huntsville 59 175 28 53 1 0 0 16 8 5 23 27 .303 .382
2008 Huntsville 72 175 29 43 2 0 0 5 12 2 20 24 .246 .321
2009 Rangers 2 8 2 4 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 .500 .500
2009 Frisco 80 277 34 74 4 4 1 21 9 6 26 40 .267 .331
2010 Frisco 96 323 44 86 4 3 0 23 15 5 31 42 .266 .335
2010 Oklahoma City 21 67 17 17 3 0 0 8 4 1 9 7 .254 .342
2011 Frisco 80 284 39 78 9 2 0 37 14 4 30 40 .275 .343
2011 Round Rock 41 137 20 37 2 0 0 13 3 0 21 14 .270 .365
2012 Frisco 66 207 24 43 2 0 0 13 13 4 25 27 .208 .293
2012 Round Rock 19 58 5 15 0 0 0 8 1 2 8 7 .259 .338
2013 Round Rock 12 47 10 15 1 0 0 3 2 0 6 8 .319 .396
2013 Frisco 82 289 42 70 8 0 1 13 15 7 35 33 .242 .326
12 Seasons 1000 3185 489 817 53 14 2 250 154 47 383 443 .257 .338
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/26/2013.
James Garner/MiLB.com

 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2009 25 Frisco 80 309 277 34 74 4 4 1 21 9 6 26 40 .267 .331 .321
2010 26 Frisco 96 375 323 44 86 4 3 0 23 15 5 31 42 .266 .335 .297
2011 27 Frisco 80 324 284 39 78 9 2 0 37 14 4 30 40 .275 .343 .320
2012 28 Frisco 66 238 207 24 43 2 0 0 13 13 4 25 27 .208 .293 .217
2013 29 Frisco 82 334 289 42 70 8 0 1 13 15 7 35 33 .242 .326 .280
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/26/2013.
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GRod_1

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: herky-jerky – Said of the motion of a pitcher with an especially awkward delivery.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Dunk City baseball and September call-ups

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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 second-to-last ‘Riders on the Record features Richard Bleier on the rise of his alma mater to “Dunk City,” the inaugural turn for Rougned Odor on the Record (via translator Arlett Mavare) and the always enlightening Jason Cole on the newest ‘Riders hurlers. Want to find out if Rougned Odor voted for himself in Moniker Madness? Be sure to listen in to Alex’s chat with him from Thursday.

It’s been a pleasure reliving these conversations with the players, coaches and special guests this season. We will put off next week’s Record until Monday and include the final eight days of interviews for the season. Thanks for continuing to tune in.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele weighs in on the the previous night’s antics when Odor knocked a walk off single for the second straight night. He gives his take on late-game enthusiasm and how close the ‘Riders came to blows with the Drillers Saturday night. He tries to explain the late fielding blunders for the club and what he expects of Neil Ramirez, who would make his final appearance for the club that night.  (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – LHP Richard Bleier


Relief pitcher Richard Bleier joined the RoughRiders after a rocky start to his season in Triple-A. He talks about dealing with the adversity and disappointment of demotion back to Double-A and how he has rebounded to have a strong year out of the ‘Riders bullpen. He recalls the decision to shave his beard in the middle of the season and remembers his time at Florida Gulf Coast. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


Hitting coach Jason Hart joins the pregame show and talks about the newest RoughRiders like Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams as well as how he tries to improve as a hitting coach. Getting close to the end of the season, he explains how he keeps the hitters motivated and focused through the end of the season. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 – 2B Rougned Odor


Translated by Arlett Mavare, Rougned Odor explains to Alex about his adjustment to the Texas League and what it was like to have back-to-back nights in which he collects a walk off hit. He talks about the importance of staying with his double play partner Luis Sardinas and the stock he places in the Moniker Madness competition put on by Minor League baseball to crown the best name in the sport. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 23, 2013 – Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus


Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus sits down before the ‘Riders’ last game in San Antonio to discuss the trio of new ‘Riders pitchers: Luke Jackson, Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez. He breaks down the play of Luis Sardinas and speculates on potential September call-ups to the Rangers. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: baseballese – the overall language of baseball, comprising official terminology, slang, and jargon. 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Home Sweet Home: The Final Countdown

For the final time this season, the RoughRiders return home to put on a show for the hometown fans at Dr Pepper Ballpark. While eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday in San Antonio, the ‘Riders return to Frisco on a two-game winning streak and have a chance to win the season series against both the Midland RockHounds and the Corpus Christi Hooks.

Frisco has captured victory in 10 of the 22 meetings with Midland. The ‘Riders have six games left with the RockHounds, including three this weekend. Frisco will have to take three of the four games against the Hooks to wrap up the home stand to at least split the season set with their South Division rivals from Corpus Christi. Frisco is 13-15 against the Houston Astros affiliate this year.

082413 Blog

Ramirez becomes a Cub

The Texas Rangers announced Friday that RoughRiders starting pitcher Neil Ramirez has been sent to the Chicago Cubs, completing the July 22 trade that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers. The deal was completed following the Cubs claiming the right-hander off waivers; he has been assigned to Cubs Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies, in the Southern League. The deal also sent Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards and Mike Olt to the Cubs.

Neil joins the list of RoughRiders involved in trade-deadline deals.  Read Nathan’s July 29 post of ‘Riders involved in past trade deadline.

NeilRam_1

Ramirez, 24, went 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA with the ‘Riders in 21 appearances, all starts, this season. Despite missing two weeks of action while on the disabled list in late July and early August, Ramirez leaves the Texas League as the circuit’s strikeout leader with 127, five more than former teammate Carlos Pimentel. The Virginia Beach, Virginia native was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star selection, starting the game and earning the victory for the South Division All-Stars, firing a scoreless first inning with a strikeout.

Ramirez spent this spring in big league camp with the Rangers for the second straight year. He spent all of this season with the ‘Riders after splitting his 2012 between Double-A and Triple-A, making 13 appearances, 12 starts for Frisco that season. He made six starts for the ‘Riders in a breakout campaign in 2011 in which he went 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA across three levels.

NeilRam_2011

Here’s a look at this week’s match-ups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:

Saturday: RHP Arlett Mavare (3-2, 4.60 ERA) vs Drew Carpenter (3-2, 1.56 ERA)

Sunday: RHP Luke Jackson (1-0, 0.00) vs Murphy Smith (8-8, 3.64)

Monday: RHP Tyler Tufts (3-5, 3.34) vs Zach Neal (8-11, 4.21)

Tuesday: RHP Nick Martinez (0-0, 1.42) vs David Rollins (0-1, 2.38)

Wednesday: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 6.75) vs Mike Foltynewicz (5-3, 2.90)

Thursday: RHP Arlett Mavare vs Ruben Alaniz (7-8, 4.39)

Friday: RHP Luke Jackson vs Nick Tropeano (1-0, 1.29)

Saturday, August 24   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Sunday, August 25  |   6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Kids Run the Bases
  • Dairy Queen Triple Play

Monday, August 26   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Tuesday, August 27   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Wednesday, August 28   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Dollar Dog Night

Thursday, August 29   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays
  • Nationwide T-Shirts

Friday, August 30  |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

- Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Cannon Shot – An exceptionally long-hit ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Rougned Odor Walk-off Madness

081713 Odor web

What an exciting weekend we had here in Frisco. Big crowds, beautiful August weather and a sweep of the Drillers.

On back-to-back nights, the Rangers’ top second base prospect Rougned Odor knocked a walk-off single to send Frisco past the Tulsa Drillers by a 6-5 score. Odor has impressed with his mere presence in Double-A, as he is the youngest player in not only the Texas League but also the entire Double-A level, besting top Cleveland prospect Francisco Lindor by a few months.

His feats on Friday night and Saturday night are unprecedented in RoughRiders history.

Thanks to our friends over at MiLB.com for cutting up the clip. Unfortunately, on Saturday, they chose a different clip, but we do have a GIF from baseball blogger Kazuto Yamazaki, who spends a good chuck of time following the Rangers and their affiliates.

Roogie walk-offNever before has a RoughRider walked it off on back-to-back nights. Four other times, the RoughRiders have collected walk-off wins on consecutive nights.

Hank’s brother Jake Blalock followed Luke Grayson‘s walk-off with one of his own on May 7, 2006.

Jake Blalock walk-off

A wild pitch from Sam Demel made a walk-off winner of the ‘Riders on May 19, 2007, one night after Emerson Frostad singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning against the Midland RockHounds.

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Joey Butler and Andy Jenkins beat the Missions with extra-innings walk-off singles on consecutive nights here at Dr Pepper Ballpark in late August of 2010.

Last season, the ‘Riders picked up back-to-back game-ending hits in the South Division Championship Series against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Chris McGuiness doubled in the winning run on September 5 and Leury Garcia knocked a home run to right field to end game two on September 6. The ‘Riders would sweep the series before falling to the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League Championship Series.

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Rougned Odor was the first to end games on two straight nights in team history. To further the rarity, he did in the same way (a single), against the same team (Tulsa Drillers) and by the same score (both wins were 6-5 RoughRiders victories). Friday’s came in the 13th inning, while Saturday’s contest finished in the bottom of the ninth.

The 19-year-old has impressed to start his Double-A career. He hit safely in his first nine Texas League games. He hit in each game this weekend and has four doubles, adding to his absurd Myrtle Beach two-bagger total for a season tally of 37–the most by any Rangers minor leaguer and tied for fifth in all of minor league baseball.

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 19 Frisco 16 78 9 20 4 1 3 9 1 1 5 16 .278 .333 .486 .819

The ‘Riders open a series with the San Antonio Missions tonight, trying to extend their hopes at a playoff berth. Frisco needs to win three of the four games over the Missions in the series to avoid San Antonio clinching against them. You can learn more about the ‘Riders of late in tonight’s game notes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: massage – to bat a ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: getting knighted and swinging at a tire

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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 jam-packed home stand had lots of new faces looming in the tunnels and on the field at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tony Fernandez was here as the active hitting coach for Jason Hart, Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler was in town for a bit, as was the Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik and Infield Instructor Casey Candaele. Newcomers Nick Martinez, Jerad Eickhoff, Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams all made their Dr Pepper Ballpark debuts, and the ‘Riders were joined by Rangers rehabber Lance Berkman.   Highlights this week include the knighthood of Sir Kalian Sams, Lance Berkman talking about the development of his left-handed swing and the insights of Tony Fernandez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The skipper sits down with Alex as he does on Sunday to discuss the past week. Steve Buechele explains why he was ejected in the ballgame the previous night and the goes over the frustrating one-run losses of the previous week. He talks about what it is like for a manager after being ejected. As a former big league third baseman, he also explains how difficult a transition that Ryan Rua is making mid-season to go from second base to third. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – OF Kalian Sams


Kalian Sams began the season in the San Diego Padres system and faced the RoughRiders as a member of the San Antonio Missions. Now in the Texas system, he talks about getting acquainted with his new teammates and the hardest part of adjusting to a new clubhouse. A knight in his native Netherlands, he explains how he came to be knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands and what that process was like. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Lance Berkman


Rangers rehabbing DH Lance Berkman talks about his decision not to retire and what he feels like he contribute to the major league team the rest of the day. He explains the value, in his opinion, of a rehab assignment and why he has been so successful in rehab assignment overs the years. He also talks about becoming a switch-hitter and how he learned. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Special Assistant to the GM Tony Fernandez


Longtime major league shortstop Tony Fernandez joined the RoughRiders for the first few games of the home stand to serve as the acting Hitting Coach in place of vacationing Jason Hart. He talks about the process of serving as a temporary hitting coach and what it takes to ensure the growth of the hitters are not thrown off. He also talks about his work in the Rangers system and the key to success for the young middle infielders Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 16, 2013 – C Brett Teschner


While not a highly touted prospect, undrafted catcher Brett Teschner has one of the more interesting stories among those who have donned the RoughRiders red this summer. In his short time in the Rangers system after a mid-season signing this year, Brett has been on every single Rangers US-based affiliate roster, completing the set of his here with the ‘Riders. He talks about the crazy travel. He explains what it is like for the undrafted professional after the MLB draft and if he ever considered calling it quits. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 17, 2013 – RHP Nick Martinez


One of the newest RoughRiders pitchers, Nick Martinez, joins us following his second Double-A start and home debut to discuss his early success with the ‘Riders. Primarily a second baseman in college, Nick talks about his transition to a full-time role on the mound, the development of his repertoire and the origin of his mechanics. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: curvist – a curveball pitcher

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Joining the club – Rua’s 30th homer of the season

Would you believe that a 17th round draft pick from 2011 with 11 professional home runs entering this season would end up in the 30s in his home run count?  Ryan Rua has done just that this season.

0817 Blog_Rua4

The former Lake Erie College standout went deep to lead off the bottom of the third on Thursday night for his first Double-A home run and his 30th this season.  He is now tied with Tennessee’s Javier Baez and New Britain’s Miguel Sano for the third-most homers in the minors this season, trailing only Oklahoma City’s George Springer (32) and former Indianapolis Indian Andrew Lambo (31) and Hickory’s Joey Gallo (31)

The Rangers have had other players reach the 30 home run mark in the minors.  Here’s at look at some from recent years: Joey Gallo (31 this season), Mike Bianucci (30 in 2009 and 2011), Nelson Cruz (37 in 2008) and Ian Gac (32 in 2008).

You can watch Rua hit his first Double-A home run here 

Look at the reaction on Twitter following Ryan’s homer:

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Who is Ryan Rua?

The 23-year-old is in his third year of professional baseball after getting drafted by the Rangers in the 17th round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft (same round as former San Antonio Missions pitcher Matt Stites who was traded to the Diamondbacks in July in the Ian Kennedy deal).  Ryan is the first player to ever be drafted out of Lake Erie College in Painsville, Ohio.

If it seems he just came out of nowhere this season, that because he really did.  In 2011 with AZL Rangers and Spokane, Ryan knocked just four long balls.  Playing for Spokane in 2012, Rua launched seven homers.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS
2011 21 Rangers ARIZ Rk 45 162 41 52 12 5 3 34 20 34 .321 .395 .907
2011 21 Spokane NORW A- 7 26 2 5 0 0 1 3 1 6 .192 .250 .558
2012 22 Spokane NORW A- 74 280 40 82 16 1 7 43 29 64 .293 .368 .800
2013 23 Hickory SALL A 104 367 70 92 24 1 29 82 49 91 .251 .356 .914
2013 23 Frisco TL AA 8 31 5 7 0 1 1 2 2 9 .226 .314 .701
3 Seasons 238 866 158 238 52 8 41 164 101 204 .275 .362 .858
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2013.

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2013 has been a breakout year for the Amherst, Ohio native.  In Hickory, Ryan slammed 29 home runs in 104 games and 367 at-bats.  Ryan earned the promotion to the RoughRiders on August 8, and he knocked his 30th homer of the season and his first at the Double-A level in his seventh game with Frisco.

In an interview with Alex on August 10, two days after becoming a RoughRider, Ryan spoke about where he thinks this breakout has come from, and how he handled people’s doubts:

“The success this season surprised me somewhat, but not all that much.  The hitting coach in Hickory that I’ve been working with for about two years, Justin Mayshore, helped me get a good feel for my swing, find a groove and find my confidence as well.” 

“Coming out of high school, I was always the smallest guy on the team.  In college, I was still one of the smaller guys.  There’s always been a chip on my shoulder, but I think it drives me.”

This season, Ryan is second only to Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo for the most home runs in the Rangers system.  Rua also leads the Rangers system in RBI with 84, ahead of Brett Nicholas who has 79.

Tepid Participation at Lone Star Ball caught up with Ryan for a Q&A just days before getting promoted to Frisco.  Tepid asks Ryan about growing up in the small Ohio town of Amherst, and get to know a little bit more about Rua and why he loves hot dogs.  The two also discuss the success of the Hickory Crawdads this year, what pitches Ryan likes to hit, and his experience learning to play at each base.

0817 Blog_Rua2

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Plowhorse – A player who grinds out solid performances after others would have expected him to let up.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Lance Berkman: a photographic history

Lance Berkman spent a couple games with the RoughRiders on rehab assignment this week. The decorated former outfielder and first baseman spends most of his time nowadays as a DH for the Rangers.

On assignment, he joined an ever-growing list of MLB rehabbers the ‘Riders have this season (in chronological order): Justin Miller (rehabber because of his place on the 40-man roster, despite zero big league time), A.J. Pierzynski, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria, Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Matt Harrison. That list does not include: Martin Perez, who was optioned to Frisco but his time here served a similar purpose, Kyle McClellan, who before his current stint on the active roster was on a rehab-like schedule with the ‘Riders before an early season call up, and Mike Olt who was on a minor league rehab of sorts, playing just three games with Frisco before returning to Triple-A.

If Berkman is indeed done with his rehab (he departed from assignment in Frisco yesterday), he complete a solid all-around rehab outing between the two levels.

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA-AA 4 14 11 3 4 0 0 1 3 3 2 .364 .500 .636 1.136
2013 Round Rock PCL AAA 2 7 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
2013 Frisco TL AA 2 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 .250 .571 .250 .821
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

He has been good as a rehabber over the course of his career, although he writes off the success: “It’s a small sample size, so if you have a couple bad at-bats or if you feel good and get a couple good pitches to hit” it can really affect the numbers Berkman explained on Wednesday. For him, the rehab assignment is more about seeing the ball well and “to take some of the pressure of performing off.”

Some look past the spectacular career of Berkman, who ranks in the top-5 all-time switch hitters in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

But…if you want those numbers like those, you can go any number of place. Like here or here or look right below at this handle little chart:


Rank: Player: bWAR: fWAR: Average:
1 Mickey Mantle  109.70  112.30  111.00
2 Chipper Jones  85.20  85.10  85.15
3 George Davis  84.80  84.60  84.70
4 Pete Rose  79.40  80.20  79.80
5 Ozzie Smith  76.50  74.80  75.65
6 Frankie Frisch  70.40  72.00  71.20
7 Tim Raines  69.10  67.60  68.35
8 Eddie Murray  68.20  66.30  67.25
9 Carlos Beltran  67.10  64.60  65.85
10 Roberto Alomar  66.80  63.90  65.35
11 Reggie Smith  64.40  63.90  64.15
12 Max Carey  53.90  60.00  56.95
13 Lance Berkman  52.10  56.10  54.10
14 Tony Phillips  50.80  54.20  52.50
15 Ted Simmons  50.20  46.60  48.40

bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference and fWAR is the same statistical concept, calculated by FanGraphs. Anyway, enough numbers. Well, nearly enough numbers.

Instead, I present to you a photographic timeline of the career of Lance Berkman, complete with one of the few (if not only!) high-quality Berkman-in-RoughRiders-uniform photos in existence. From clean-shaven to goatee to clean-shaven to bearded back to clean-shaven to speckled-gray beard…1999 to 2013.

And a few more numbers.

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 22 Jackson TL AA HOU 122 517 82 130 34 0 24 89 6 4 85 82 .306 .424 .555 .979
1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 New Orl. PCL AAA HOU 64 267 42 73 20 0 8 49 7 1 39 47 .323 .419 .518 .937
2002, Astros

2002, Astros

2006, National League All-Stars

2006, National League All-Stars

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, Astros

2008, Astros

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

berkmanx-inset-community

2010, Astros (David J. Phillip / AP)

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 HOU 34 106 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 .708
2000 24 HOU 114 417 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 .949
2001 25 HOU 156 688 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 1.051
2002 26 HOU 158 692 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 .982
2003 27 HOU 153 658 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 .927
2004 28 HOU 160 687 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 1.016
2005 29 HOU 132 565 76 137 34 1 24 82 4 1 91 72 .293 .411 .524 .934
2006 30 HOU 152 646 95 169 29 0 45 136 3 2 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041
2007 31 HOU 153 668 95 156 24 2 34 102 7 3 94 125 .278 .386 .510 .896
2008 32 HOU 159 665 114 173 46 4 29 106 18 4 99 108 .312 .420 .567 .986
2009 33 HOU 136 563 73 126 31 1 25 80 7 4 97 98 .274 .399 .509 .907
2010 34 HOU 85 358 39 73 16 1 13 49 3 2 60 70 .245 .372 .436 .808
HOU (12 yrs) 1592 6713 1008 1648 375 26 326 1090 82 42 1040 1121 .296 .410 .549 .959
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.
2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 34 NYY AL 37 123 9 27 7 0 1 9 0 0 17 15 .255 .358 .349 .707
2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, National League All-Star (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, National League All-Stars (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, Cardinals

2011, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2011 35 STL NL 145 587 90 147 23 2 31 94 2 6 92 93 .301 .412 .547 .959 AS,MVP-7
2012 36 STL NL 32 97 12 21 7 1 2 7 2 0 14 19 .259 .381 .444 .826
STL (2 yrs) 177 684 102 168 30 3 33 101 4 6 106 112 .295 .408 .533 .940
Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

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Rangers, 2013 (Kelly Gavin / Texas Rangers)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 37 TEX AL 68 282 27 62 10 1 6 34 0 0 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

And then there was Frisco.

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swish hitter a power hitter who strikes out frequently

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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