Riding Down the Stretch

There are less than 40 regular season games remaining for the RoughRiders in 2014 and the team’s identity has drastically changed given the injuries at the major-league level with the Texas Rangers. This is not the same ball club that took the field in the first half, but it is still one with personalities and grit that stand apart from the rest of the Texas League. Let’s take a look at some of the new characters on the team and examine how they’ve contributed to the team’s success in the second half.

1) Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez

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“Chi Chi”,  as he is nicknamed in his family, has become a staple in the Frisco pitching rotation. The right-hander has a 3-3 record with a 2.55 ERA over his first eight Double-A starts with the ‘Riders. He’s displayed excellent command by striking out 29 and walking eight in his 35.1 IP, and opponents are batting .284 against him. He’s allowed 13 earned runs on 38 hits, but has answered the bell when his number his called. The 22-year-old Florida native was selected 23rd overall in the 2013 June draft out of Oral Roberts University. He put on a show in his Frisco debut on June 10 by allowing one hit in five innings while striking out six batters.

2) Will Lamb

Lamb has proven that he can throw electric stuff late in games as skipper Jason Wood has used him out of the bullpen since his promotion from Myrtle Beach in June. The southpaw has a 2-1 record with two saves and has shutdown opponents by holding them to a .234 batting average. The 23-year-old has a .132 ERA over 12 games and 13.2 IP, and has only allowed 2 runs on 11 hits over that span. Perhaps the mustache he proudly sports should be given some credit, but the lefty has provided instant relief for Wood and the pitching staff.

3) Joey Gallo

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The 20-year-old has made the eyes of scouts pop since his 2014 season began in Myrtle Beach, but he’s made baseballs pop even more as he is trailing his friend and fellow top prospect Kris Bryant in homers (Chicago Cubs organization, 33 homers between Double and Triple-A) with 32 of his own. He has a .278 batting average with 22 runs on 37 hits with 30 RBI and has a slash line of .364 OBP/.586 SLG/.951 OPS. His first homer with the RoughRiders was a memorable one as it was a 3-run walk-off moonshot to left-center field to defeat Midland 7-4 in his Double-A debut on June 9, 2014. The slugger sent more shockwaves through the baseball world when he crushed a two-run bomb in the sixth innings of this year’s All-Star Futures Game at Target Field to send his team to a 3-2 victory.

4) Hanser Alberto

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The 21-year-old infielder has displayed excellent defense in his time with the RoughRiders in 2014 and has played all of his 16 games as a shortstop for Frisco. He has a .989 fielding percentage with 30 put outs and 54 assists over 140 innings, and has committed only one error over 85 total chances. His bat seems to be catching up to him as his glove has provided for excellent defense up the middle for the ‘Riders.

5) J.T. Wise

Wise was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2009 June draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He was signed by the Rangers on July 7 and made one appearance for the Round Rock Express before being sent to the RoughRiders. In nine games with the ‘Riders he’s batting .314 with 5 runs scored on 11 base hits. He’s also knocked five doubles and has seven RBI.

-Cameron Varnau

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