June 12th, 2014
The Rangers announced yesterday their purchase of right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen from Triple-A Round Rock. The spindly 6-foot-4 190-pound hurler fills the vacated roster spot left by Tanner Scheppers, who once again lands on the diabled list with right elbow inflammation.
When Rowen makes his major league debut, he will become the 113th former RoughRider to appear on the big league stage. He joins Nick Martinez, Justin Miller, Luis Sardinas, Neil Ramirez and Rougned Odor as alumni to debut this season.
Rowen wore uniform number 39 yesterday during the Rangers 6-0 win over the Miami Marlins. He might as well have been wearing his old RoughRiders jersey (number 28) as the bullpen joined the 31,512 fans in attendance and watched Yu Darvish chuck a complete-game shutout.
It’s a shame to see Rowen called up at the expense of Scheppers (another former RoughRider in 2010-11), but what an opportunity for the righty, who played in Frisco just one year ago. Former RoughRiders teammate Jimmy Reyes took to Twitter to congratulate Rowen:
Regardless of circumstance, the 25-year-old certainly deserves the promotion. He pitched in 19 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock this season and allowed a skimpy six earned runs over 16 appearances (none in his last 12 1/3 innings), which computes to a 2.75 ERA. Rowen also notched a pair of saves in addition to 14 strikeouts and just two walks. Right-handed hitters have struggled to pick up Rowen’s offerings, in particular, and bat just .196 against him.
The Rangers drafted Rowen out of Virginia Tech in the 22nd round of the 2010 amateur draft. The native of Rancho Palos Verdes, California arrived in Frisco on the heels of a 2012 season in which Texas named Rowen its Minor League Reliever of the Year.
The former Hokie continued his upward trajectory with the RoughRiders in 2013. Rowen finished 24 of the 31 games in which he pitched for the RoughRiders and registered 10 saves in 33 2/3 innings. His ERA a blistering 0.53, he earned a spot on the Texas League All-Star team and a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock the same season. The submariner debuted on the Rangers 40-man roster after his impressive ’13 campaign.
Given the rash of injuries at the big league level, it comes as no surprise that Rowen has dealt with injury already in 2014. Keep your fingers crossed the bicep tendinitis that sidelined Rowen in spring training does not crop up in Arlington. It hasn’t thus far through his strong start to the season.
Congratulations, Ben, and good luck in Arlington!
-Your friends in Frisco
Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.
Magic Number: 2
A 7-0 loss to Corpus Christi on Wednesday postponed the playoff toasts for at least one more night. Click here to read Tuesday’s full game recap.
If it’s any consolation, the ‘Riders (38-26) would not have wrapped up a first-half crown even with a win last night. Midland (35-30) stayed alive with a 7-6 win over San Antonio and sits 3 1/2 games back with five to play.
Frisco would much rather have the package signed, sealed and delivered before they arrive in west Texas to play out the final two games of the first half. They have three more tries against Corpus Christi to achieve some combination of two RoughRiders wins and/or two Midland losses.
To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (5), add one (5+1=6), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (6-4=2).
Star of the Game: RHP Alec Asher – 6.0IP, 2H, R, 0BB, 8K
Talk about a tough-luck loss. Asher rocked and rolled through the first six innings of a scoreless game. He allowed a double to Andrew Aplin with two outs in the first and proceeded to retire the next 16 batters faced. “Big Cat” began the seventh and allowed a leadoff infield single to Nolan Fontana before Jason Wood sent him to the showers. Fontana would later score as the only run charged to Asher in the game.
He set a new season-high with eight strikeouts in the game to move his season total to 63, tied with teammate Jerad Eickhoff for fourth-most in the Texas League. Through 13 starts in 2014, the 6-foot-4 225-pound Asher owns a 3.14 ERA, an average good for ninth in the league.
In case you missed it:
-The ‘Riders grounded into double plays in three straight innings from the fifth to the seventh. Twice, the twin killing ended the inning with runners in scoring position.
-Frisco left ten men stranded and abandoned a runner on third base in three frames.
-Ryan Rua extended his on-base streak to 19 straight games on Wednesday with a bunt single in the fifth. Corpus Christi center fielder Andrew Aplin made a thrilling catch one inning later to rob Rua of a run-scoring base hit.
-Trever Adams hit the only extra-base hit of the night for the RoughRiders on a double to left in the eighth inning.
-The Hooks committed four errors in the game, two of which came on failed pickoff attempts to first base.
Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,
The Frisco RoughRiders have been a force in the Texas League so far and their record-number All-Star selections reflects this dominance. The league announced that ten of the team’s players will be 2014 Texas League Mid-Season All-Stars. The game will be played at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:15 p.m.
The selection committee voted four ‘Riders pitchers and six position players to the South Division side. Starting pitchers Alec Asher, Edwar Cabrera and Luke Jackson will travel to Arkansas as well as reliever Phil Klein. Infielders Rougned Odor, Guilder Rodriguez and Ryan Rua each earned spots on the squad in addition to outfielder Jake Smolinski and catcher Tomás Telis. Infielder Odubel Herrera will replace Odor, who is currently with the Texas Rangers. Rua will serve as the starting third baseman for the South Division and Smolinski will start the contest in the outfield.
The RoughRiders boast more All-Stars than any team in the Texas League. This is the most mid-season all-stars for the ‘Riders since 2011 when Frisco also earned nine selections, including current Texas Ranger Leonys Martin.
Balloting for the Texas League All-Star Game was conducted by votes gathered from managers, coaches, broadcasters and beat writers representing all eight teams.
FRISCO ROUGHRIDERS MID-SEASON ALL-STARS
Ryan Rua – 3B: The RoughRiders’ everyday third baseman is batting .318 (67-for-211) through 59 games with the club this season. Of his 67 hits, good for second in the Texas League, 12 have been doubles, and his ten home runs are tied for fifth in the league with teammate Jake Smolinski. The native of Amherst, Ohio also ranks third in on-base and slugging percentage with totals of .395 and .526, respectively, and has 32 RBI. This will be Rua’s first all-star appearance in the Texas League; however, the utility infielder was named to the Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star teams in the South Atlantic League in 2013 for his efforts with the Hickory Crawdads.
Jake Smolinski – OF: In his eighth season and first in the Rangers organization, the 25-year-old native of Rockford, Illinois has shown patience at the plate and the power to go deep as his .516 slugging percentage reveals. Reaching base in 53 of 61 games, Smolinski finds a way to get on and work his way home. The left fielder leads Frisco in doubles (13) and walks (28), and paces the Texas League in runs scored (39). He is also second in the Texas League with 26 extra-base hits. He has been a dependable defender as well, going a team-high 27 consecutive games without an error. Smolinski also garnered Mid-Season All-Star honors with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in 2012.
Alec Asher – RHP: The 22-year-old native of Lakeland, Florida has earned his way onto the 2014 Texas League All-Star team with his league-leading 71 1/3 innings pitched. He accumulated those innings across 12 starts with a 6-4 record and 3.28 ERA. The 6-foot-4 righty has issued 58 hits in 262 at-bats, which is good for an opponent average of .221, the fifth-lowest mark among qualified starters in the Texas League. This will be Asher’s first Texas League All-Star Game; he was named to the Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star team in 2013.
Edwar Cabrera – RHP: The native of Baní, Dominican Republic is no stranger to All-Star appearances as he was a South Atlantic Mid-Season All-Star with Asheville in 2011. He also represented the Tulsa Drillers as a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star in 2012. In his first season with the Rangers organization, the southpaw is 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA in nine games as a starter and has struck out 44 in 47 2/3 innings of work. As a reliever, Cabrera has a 2.61 ERA with one save in 10.1 innings pitched.
Odubel Herrera – INF: Herrera, 22, is in the second season with the ‘Riders and made the All-Star Game last year as well. The native of Zulia, Venezuela is batting .282 (24-for-85) with a home run, three doubles, a triple and 14 RBI in 22 games. He began the season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and was called up May 12. In his second game with the team, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder matched a season-high with four hits against the Midland RockHounds. Since that time, Herrera has become a reliable infielder for the RoughRiders. He has not been charged with an error since returning to the Texas League.
Luke Jackson – RHP: As the 2013 Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Jackson is making his first All-Star appearance in Double-A. He made the All-Star team last year with the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Floridian is fourth in the Texas League in ERA (2.55), first in wins (7), second in strikeouts (85), sixth in innings pitched (67) and third in WHIP (0.96). Jackson ranks fourth among starters in allowing just 9.29 baserunners per nine innings. During one of his best outings of the year on April 21, the 6-foot-2 righty took a perfect game into the sixth inning against the San Antonio Missions and allowed just three hits to go along with eight strikeouts and no walks in seven innings pitched.
Phil Klein – RHP: The 6-foot-7, 250-pound right-hander has been in the Rangers organization since 2011 and worked his way up to the ‘Riders in 2013. Being called up to Frisco for part of the 2013 season, Klein has improved in almost every statistical category compared to last year. Among Texas League pitchers, the reliever has the second-lowest batting average among relievers (.152) and strikes out 11.75 batters per nine innings, the third-lowest ratio in the league. He has become the RoughRiders’ closer and is a perfect 7-for-7 in save chances. The former Youngstown State Penguin has worked eight straight scoreless appearances and has not conceded more than one run in any single game this season. After walking ten in his first eight outings, Klein has only walked three in his last 12 appearances.
Rougned Odor – INF: The Rangers’ 2013 Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year earns his second straight All-Star selection after starting the 2013 Carolina League All-Star Game at second base. In 32 games with the RoughRiders in 2014, Odor batted .279 and slugged .450 with 36 hits (two doubles, one triple, six home runs) and 17 RBI. His work led to a promotion to the Texas Rangers on May 8. He has played in 24 big league games with Texas and is batting .290 with seven runs, 20 hits and two home runs in 69 at-bats.
Guilder Rodriguez – INF: The fourteen-year professional played his first 12 seasons without an All-Star selection, but is now set to appear in his second consecutive Texas League All-Star Game. The switch-hitter has played the most minor league games (1,040) among all current players who have no big league experience. With multiple hits in five of the last eight games, Rodriguez ranks first in the Texas League in batting average .380 (27 for 71) and second in on-base percentage (.457) since his return from Triple-A Round Rock on May 15. The utility infielder has settled into the shortstop position this year but is still diverse enough to play where his team needs him. Since joining Frisco in 2009, Rodriguez has played every position except catcher.
Tomás Telis – C: The switch-hitting catcher returns to the Texas League All-Star roster for the second consecutive year after making his first appearance in 2013. Telis was also selected for two previous All-Star teams in the 2008 DSL All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP, and in the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Telis is batting a league-leading .327 (56-for-171) in 45 games this season. He has scored 18 runs with 11 doubles, two triples, two homers and 26 RBI, and has posted an .807 OPS.