Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Storylines for Frisco-San Antonio

Unless Midland can erase an eight-game deficit and win the second-half title in the South Division, the Frisco RoughRiders and the San Antonio Missions will square off in the first round of the Texas League playoffs.

The RoughRiders have had some great moments against the Missions this year (James Garner).

These two clubs kick off a four-game series tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and it will act as a preview of that best-of-five series that is set to begin September 7. Let’s take you through some of the storylines.

1. Momentum Against the Missions?
The RoughRiders have played San Antonio tough this season, but they have only been able to muster a 10-18 mark. The Missions are the best team in all of full-season minor league baseball (86-40), so there’s no shame in that. However, to win a championship, the ‘Riders must get past them. It would be a big boost to win this series, especially because Frisco has only one series victory against the Missions in seven tries this season.

2. Ross, Hankins Face San Antonio
Ben Snyder (0-2, 3.75 ERA in 24 innings) and Carlos Pimentel (1-0, 2.70 ERA in 33 1/3 innings) have had success against the Missions this season, and they will pitch during the series. However, Derek Hankins has only seen them once (five scoreless innings) and Robbie Ross has yet to face the Missions. The Snyder-Pimentel-Hankins-Ross quartet figures to be the ‘Riders’ rotation right now, with Neil Ramirez building up strength as the club’s other starter. These four pitchers must have success to beat San Antonio.

The 'Riders saw Robbie Erlin earlier this month. They will face Joe Wieland Thursday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

3. Wieland Back in Frisco
The RoughRiders saw Robbie Erlin in the Missions’ previous visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, but they missed Joe Wieland. This time, it’s the other way around. Wieland, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA since joining the Missions, will start Thursday. Erlin held the ‘Riders to just one run on two hits in his first game against them, and Wieland gets his chance in two days.

4. Missions’ Offense Sputtering?
San Antonio is 16-4 this month, yet they are hitting a season-low .244 as a team. Obviously, it helps that the club has a 2.17 team ERA in August, but the offense has been declining ever since its remarkable April. Take a look at the team’s batting averages by month: .315/.268/.264/.252/.244. San Antonio averages just 4.8 runs per game against Frisco, so we’ll see if the ‘Riders can continue to slow them down.

5. Ready for a Late-Season Surge?
Yes, San Antonio has been the better team over the course of 126 games. However, the ‘Riders and Missions will (likely) meet in a best-of-five series in early September. Are the RoughRiders ready to start that last-minute run and carry the momentum into the playoffs? Following an 0-4 start to the road trip, the ‘Riders bounced back with back-to-back wins. This can be a chance to carry that work into and through a series with the heavy favorite in the Texas League.

This series should be fun. We hope you enjoy! More coverage to come soon.

- Brian

My Texas League Postseason Ballot

The 2011 Texas League Postseason All-Star ballots are out to managers and media members, and both Aaron and I have a vote. Below, I have my picks along with a brief explanation why.

First off, here are a few notes. As a member of the RoughRiders organization, I cannot vote for a RoughRider. Still, I have included six ‘Riders who could be on this list. Also, anyone who has played in the TL this year is eligible. Finally, all of the ballots are due by tomorrow, so the last two weeks of the season do not factor into the decision.

Share your thoughts at the bottom in the comments section. Here we go.

Catcher: Wilin Rosario (Tulsa)

The Rockies’ number two prospect, Rosario has not had the best season offensively. But, he could get a September promotion to Colorado and he has put up the best numbers of any Texas League catcher (.254, 18 HR, 41 RBI).

First Baseman: Matt Adams (Springfield)

Triple Crown? Matt Adams has a chance in '11 (Photo courtesy of Mark Harrell/Springfield Cardinals).

With Tim Wheeler’s recent struggles and Jermaine Mitchell’s promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, Adams has an outside shot at a Triple Crown. Adams has a league-leading 30 homers (one better than Wheeler) and 94 RBIs, and he is sixth in the league in average at .313. However, the top three (Mitchell, J.D. Martinez and James Darnell) will not have enough plate appearances to qualify barring a return to the TL. His real target is Mike Trout (.326).

Second Baseman: Jose Altuve (Corpus Christi)

I like to steer away from players who did not spend much time in a league for postseason awards, but the second base spot is weak here in the Texas League and Altuve was incredible to watch. He hit .361 in his 35 games with Corpus Christi. During that short stint, Altuve drove in 25 runs and scored 21.

Shortstop: Darwin Perez (Arkansas)

Shortstop is a fairly weak position in the Texas League this season, as well, so Perez is my choice because of his on-base percentage (.378, 11th), stolen bases (22, 6th) and fielding percentage (.982, 1st among qualifiers). If I could vote for a RoughRider, Renny Osuna would be my choice here.

Third Baseman: James Darnell (San Antonio)

With apologies to Arkansas’ Luis Jimenez, Darnell was a machine in his 76 games with the Missions. Darnell hit .333, which still qualifies for third in the Texas League, and he had an OPS of 1.038. Darnell hit 17 homers and drove in 62 runs, and now his home is San Diego.

Outfielder: Mike Trout (Arkansas)

Trout was advertised as the number one or number two prospect in the minors at the start of the season, and he has not disappointed. Trout is hitting .326 with 33 stolen bases, and he earned a brief stint in the big leagues. He is incredibly fun to watch.

Outfielder: Jermaine Mitchell (Midland)

Mitchell still qualifies as the league’s leader in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.453) and OPS (1.042). He didn’t have the gaudy home run (10) or RBI (50) totals, but he was a menace atop Midland’s order.

Outfielder: Tim Wheeler (Tulsa)

Wheeler has struggled in August, but he still boasts great numbers (Photo courtesy of Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com).

Wheeler has struggled lately (.200, 0 HR, 2 RBIs in August), but you have to wonder if he is getting bored at the Double-A level. He is still second in homers (29) and tied for fourth in RBIs (79).  It was between Corpus Christi’s J.D. Martinez and Wheeler, and I went with Tulsa’s leadoff hitter, who is putting up middle-of-the-order stats. Don’t worry, Martinez fans…

Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez (Corpus Christi)

The Hooks have the worst record in the Texas League, but they are one of three teams to have two offensive representatives on my list. Martinez, like Jose Altuve, is in the big leagues now, but he is fourth in the TL in OPS (.959) and seventh in RBIs (72) despite only playing in 88 games.

Three toughest offensive omissions:
1. Arkansas 3B Luis Jimenez (barely edged by Darnell and Martinez)
2. Springfield OF Alex Castellanos (gave Wheeler edge despite being in recent funk)
3. San Antonio OF Blake Tekotte (outfield was the most loaded position)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. Renny Osuna (2B/SS)
2. Tommy Mendonca (3B)
3. Leonys Martin (OF)
_________
Pitchers:

1. Matt Shoemaker (Arkansas)

Matt Shoemaker has the best ERA in the TL, and it's not even that close (Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Travelers).

Shoemaker started the season in Triple-A, but he came down to the Texas League in early May and began his dominance. He leads the league, by a wide margin, in ERA (2.18) and WHIP (1.00) among qualifiers. He also paces all Texas Leaguers in strikeouts with 121 and is tied at the top with 12 wins.

2. Garrett Richards (Arkansas)

Richards is the man who is deadlocked with Shoemaker in wins. Both hurlers are 12-2, and Richards is the league leader in innings with 141. Richards, who is currently with the Angels, is 12-2 with an ERA of 3.06, which is second to Shoemaker among qualifiers.

3. Dallas Keuchel (Corpus Christi)

Don’t let his 9-7 record fool you—Keuchel has been a legitimate ace all season long. The lefty has worked through five innings in all but one of his 19 starts, and he has only surrendered more than three runs four times. He is not overpowering (76 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings), but he is second among qualifiers in WHIP at 1.12.

Joe Wieland tossed a no-hitter with Frisco, and he is now dominating with San Antonio (Photo courtesy of James Garner).

4. Joe Wieland (San Antonio)

Casey Kelly is San Diego’s top prospect, and Jorge Reyes has the best numbers of any San Antonio starter who has been on the club all year. However, who has made a bigger impact in the Texas League this season than Wieland? Wieland tossed a no-hitter with the RoughRiders against San Antonio, and then he went to the Missions. Wieland’s ERA is 1.50 in Double-A, and he has a 1.85 overall this season.

5. Nick Vincent (San Antonio)

Vincent has made more appearances (58) than anyone else in the Texas League. The reliever is 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 70 innings, and he has 82 strikeouts to 14 walks. In the eighth inning, the righty owns a 1.91 ERA. In the ninth, that mark falls to 1.50. The Missions have been dominant all year long, and the bullpen is a big reason why.

6. Brad Brach (San Antonio)

Closers are not that common in the minors, but Brach was the man who dominated the ninth inning while in San Antonio. Brach had a 2.25 ERA and went 23 for 25 in save opportunities with the Missions before earning a promotion to Triple-A Tucson. When ahead in the count, the TL’s save leader held his opposition to an .097 average (7-for-72).

Three toughest pitching omissions:
1. Springfield’s Shelby Miller (good numbers, but not good enough to overcome small sample size)
2. Tulsa’s Juan Nicasio (better numbers than Miller, but fewer innings)
3. San Antonio’s Jorge Reyes (4th in ERA, but only worked more than five innings once)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. LHP Martin Perez
2. RHP Justin Miller
3. RHP Tyler Tufts

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Springfield’s Matt Adams

He is the most dangerous hitter in the Texas League right now, and he has a chance at the Triple Crown. He may not have the upside that some other players in this league possess, but he has been the best hitter on the best offense, by far, in the TL.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Mike Trout; 3. San Antonio’s James Darnell.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker

The Travelers earned a first-half title because of their pitching staff, and Shoemaker has been the go-to guy. Shoemaker stumbled a bit in Triple-A earlier this season, but he figures to do much better in his second go-around at that level after an incredible season at the Double-A level.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Garrett Richards; 3. Corpus Christi’s Dallas Keuchel.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: San Antonio’s Doug Dascenzo

The Missions have the best record in minor league baseball, and they have had many good players. However, Dascenzo has navigated his club through many promotions, and they haven’t slowed down at all. This San Antonio club is a dominant force that will go into the playoffs as the heavy favorites, and Dascenzo is a big reason why.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Frisco’s Steve Buechele; 3. Northwest Arkansas’ Brian Poldberg.

- Brian

RoughRiders In The (Football) Draft

The NFL is right around the corner, which means that fantasy football drafts are taking place all over the world. The RoughRiders’ front office had its draft Tuesday night. We all realized quickly that Aaron–the league’s commissioner–had the best draft by far. He may go undefeated.  I’m in trouble.

So, let’s make some fantasy football comparisons with some of your RoughRiders. By the way, Aaron will have another fantasy football-related post tomorrow from Tulsa.

Tommy Mendonca = Arian Foster (RB, Houston): Mendonca (.285, 23 HR, 83 RBI) is finishing up a breakout season here in the Texas League, and Foster (1374 yards, 13 TDs) was the breakout star of the NFL last season. Foster is going in the first round in many drafts, and Mendonca would be near the top of most Texas League boards.

Mike Bianucci = Peyton Hillis (RB, Cleveland): Two tough, strong men who produce very well. Bianucci is third in the Texas League in home runs (27) while Hillis became the first Brown to don the cover of Madden. These two guys are beasts in their sports.

Engel Beltre = Santonio Holmes (WR, NY Jets): Both men have great speed and catch seemingly everything that comes their way, and they both do it with a little flair. Beltre is one of the best defenders in the Texas League, and Holmes is the top receiver on a contender.

Renny Osuna = Ray Rice (RB, Baltimore): Both Osuna and Rice are a bit undersized, but they both produce at a very high level. Rice is a first-round pick in fantasy football drafts, while Osuna is the RoughRiders’ all-time hits leader. If you have either on your team, you have a great chance to win.

Ben Snyder = Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Pittsburgh): These two guys are better real-life players than they are fantasy sports acquisitions. Snyder has been in the bullpen, starting rotation, and outfield this season, and Roethlisberger gets better as the game progresses.

Justin Miller = Tom Brady (QB, New England): Miller doesn’t have three rings or an undefeated regular season (although he is close at 9-1 this season), but he does shut the door on his opponents late in the game. Brady is the king of fourth-quarter wins, and Miller boasts a 2.03 ERA as a late-inning bullpen option.

Johan Yan = Mike Williams (WR, Tampa Bay): Both players made instant impacts out of nowhere. A converted infielder, Yan has an incredible 0.47 in his first 19 Double-A innings. Williams was a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, and his 1,056 receiving yards and eight touchdowns helped the Buccaneers become one of the biggest 2010 surprises.

Matt Leeds = Andre Roberts (WR, Arizona): Two deep sleepers. Leeds is with the RoughRiders after spending the first two months of his professional career in the Arizona League, and Roberts is going to get some playing time alongside Larry Fitzgerald.

- Brian

Rangers Prospect Makes Final Four

Unlike last year when a 15-seed made it to the championship match, the “Minors Moniker Madness” held true to form for the most part, which was good news for Rangers prospect Rougned Odor. The top seed in the Farmer Works bracket, Odor clinched a spot in the semifinals with a narrow victory over Kevin Quackenbush.

So let’s delve into the four men who will vie for the Minors Moniker Madness title, starting with the Rangers’ representative.

#1 Rougned Odor:
HOW HE GOT HERE: Defeated Nick Bierbrodt, Didi Gregorius, Shooter Hunt and Kevin Quackenbush
HIS TEAM: Spokane Indians, the short-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
HOW HE IS DOING: Odor is hitting .296 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 44 games with the Indians in the Northwest League.
FUN FACT: He doesn’t really smell as bad as his last name would suggest.

#1 Seth Schwindenhammer:
HOW HE GOT HERE: Defeated Yohan Flande, Brooks Belter, Bob Stumpo and Brett Butts
HIS TEAM: Lowell Spinners, the short-season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
HOW HE IS DOING: Schwindenhammer is hitting .214 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 49 games with the Spinners in the New-York Penn League.
FUN FACT: Schwindenhammer had the longest last name (15 letters) in the competition.

#1 Beamer Weems:
HOW HE GOT HERE: Defeated Jordan Hotchkiss, Boof Bonser, Maverick Lasker and Tuffy Gosewisch.
HIS TEAM: San Antonio Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.
HOW HE IS DOING: Weems is hitting .246 with nine homers and 46 RBIs in 77 games with the Missions in the Texas League.
FUN FACT: Weems’ Missions boast the best record (82-40) in all of full-season minor league baseball.

#2 Dusty Harvard:
HOW HE GOT HERE: Defeated Jerod Yakubik, Rex Brothers, Xander Bogaerts and Forrest Snow
HIS TEAM: Bristol White Sox, a rookie affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
HOW HE IS DOING: Harvard is hitting .203 with one homer and six RBIs in 18 games with the White Sox in the Appalachian League.
FUN FACT: Bristol plays its home games at Boyce Cox Stadium, which would be a candidate in the Madness if it were a player.

That’s the tale of the tape. Who is your favorite? Let us know below!

- Brian

Very Long Travel Guide

In the Florida State League, no bus trip takes more than four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is less than five hours. It is much different here in the Texas League.

Thanks to billsportsmaps.com for the image.

To fans, a series finale doesn’t mean too much. To minor league baseball players, a series finale normally means a night on the bus. By the end of the regular season, the RoughRiders will have boarded the bus shortly after 29 of their 40 series finales. You can see how one of those bus trips went here.

Even though the RoughRiders are in the South Division, they actually have longer trips within their division than they do when playing against the North.

The longest trip for the RoughRiders is from Frisco to Corpus Christi, and it takes a little more than seven hours. The trip takes the ‘Riders through Waco, Round Rock, Austin, and San Antonio.

Speaking of San Antonio, that is the shortest trip in the division. Still, it is five hours away, which is a healthy trip in the bus, especially after a game that ends around 10 p.m. The other divisional trip takes the ‘Riders to Midland, and that journey takes around six hours.

The North road trips are a little easier (which is not the case for the other three teams–I’ll get to that in the moment). The bus ride to Springfield–seven hours–is the longest in the North and the second longest in the TL for the ‘Riders. The trips to Northwest Arkansas (five and a half hours), Arkansas (five hours) and Tulsa (four hours) are fairly manageable.

The unfortunate outlier in the TL is Corpus Christi. We mentioned that the RoughRiders’ longest trip is to Corpus. Well, that happens to be the Hooks’ second shortest ride of the season! It takes almost eight hours for them to get to Midland, and they go to Citibank Ballpark four times each season.

How about these trips to the North for the Hooks: Arkansas (11:19), Tulsa (11:21), and Northwest Arkansas (12:31). The big one is the journey to Springfield, which is right around 14 hours. And the Cardinals will make that journey from Corpus back home after their game at Whataburger Field Monday night. That doesn’t sound fun, and things aren’t much easier for San Antonio (longest trip is almost 12 hours) and Midland (longest trip is around 11 and a half hours).

There have been other fun trips in the Texas League throughout the years, such as El Paso, Texas to North Little Rock, Ark. (15:42); Albuquerque, N.M., to Memphis, Tenn. (16:01); El Paso, Texas to Jackson, Miss. (17:17). I don’t know how the schedules or the travel worked during these times. Regardless, the TL has spanned quite an area during its history.

Life in the minor leagues is not as glorious as it sounds. Fortunately for the RoughRiders, they only have five more regular season bus trips left.

- Brian

*Note: All times are according to Google Maps.

Summa Cum Laude to Wall Street to Frisco

The story of Matt Leeds is an interesting one, and his journey has taken him to the RoughRiders’ roster. The Rangers’ 31st-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft, Leeds has joined the RoughRiders’ active roster.

The College of Charleston product was in Surprise, Ariz., with the Rangers’ rookie league club. Leeds, who primarily played at first base in Surprise, was hitting .264 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 41 games in the AZL.

According to this in-depth feature in Beach Carolina Magazine, Leeds graduated from the College of Charleston summa cum laude with a 3.93 grade point average. Leeds, an accounting major, worked on Wall Street during an internship with Royal Bank of Canada while in college.

Leeds joins a RoughRiders’ roster that is in need of some depth offensively. The ‘Riders had only ten players on its active roster before Leeds’ promotion to Double-A, and Mike Bianucci is battling an eye infection. Bianucci is with the team in Northwest Arkansas, but he may have to miss a few more games.

Frisco starter Ben Snyder had to replace an ejected Engel Beltre Monday night because the ‘Riders did not have another position player available. Snyder went 1-for-2 and played in right field.

Jared Bolden, the newest RoughRider outside of Leeds, notched his first Double-A hit in that game, a walk-off single in Frisco’s 3-2, 12-inning victory.

The ‘Riders open up a three-game series with the Naturals tonight at 7:05.

Bolden’s Memorable Hit

Monday night was a strange, strange game. The RoughRiders were playing with nine position players because of Mike Bianucci’s eye infection that kept him out of the game. Following Engel Beltre’s ejection, pitcher Ben Snyder entered the game. All he did was single and break up a double play in the ninth to help the ‘Riders plate the tying run.

Despite all of this, the night belonged to Jared Bolden. Bolden made some dazzling plays at first base, but the newest RoughRider came up with the walk-off hit. Not only did his 12th-inning single clinch a series sweep and a 6-4 home stand, but it was also his first career Double-A hit.

Bolden made sure this first hit count, like Boston’s Daniel Nava did when he hit a grand slam on his first pitch in the big leagues or Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis did when he hit a walk-off single for his first hit in the majors.

No matter what, the first hit at any level is a special one. Let’s take a look back at the other RoughRiders’ first Double-A hit.

Engel Beltre: Beltre earned a very brief Double-A promotion at the end of the 2009 season, and the speedy outfielder recorded his first hit in Frisco September 2, 2009. It was a double in what was a RoughRiders’ 1-0, 11-inning win over Corpus Christi.

Mike Bianucci: Bianucci’s first at bat in Double-A was quite a powerful one. The slugger hit a two-run home run off Scott Schneider in the first inning of the season opener this year. This homer helped Frisco cruise past Springfield 6-2 and foreshadowed Bianucci’s place near the top of the home run standings throughout the season.

Jose Felix: Known for his defensive prowess, Felix made sure he provided a little offense in his first Double-A game. Felix singled in the bottom of the eighth for his first hit July 24, 2010, in the ‘Riders’ 6-1 win over Corpus Christi.

Jonathan Greene: Greene is having a career year at the Double-A level in 2011, his third season with the RoughRiders. Back in 2009, Greene had a huge day in his first game with the RoughRiders August 19, 2009. Greene’s first hit was a three-run home run in the fourth inning of Frisco’s 7-6 victory over Tulsa. He finished 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs.

Mitch Hilligoss: Hilligoss hit .304 during the 2010 season at the Double-A level, and he posted his first hit in the first at bat of his second game. It was a second-inning single that was a part of a 3-for-4 day in Frisco’s 10-9 loss against San Antonio June 10, 2010.

Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has been one of the RoughRiders’ best performers all season long, and his first hit in Double-A came in the opener this season. In his fourth at bat April 7, Mendonca singled to right field. This hit began a season that has led to a Texas League Player of the Month honor and a spot among TL leaders in many offensive categories.

Renny Osuna: Osuna is the all-time leader in hits for a RoughRider, and that first hit came in his first ever at-bat with the RoughRiders May 29, 2009, at Tulsa. The infielder passed Steve Murphy’s record one week ago at Dr Pepper Ballpark against Northwest Arkansas with a first-inning single.

Elio Sarmiento: Sarmiento, like Greene, is having a career season here in the Texas League this season, and both men notched their first hit in the same game. It was a double in the fourth inning August 19, 2009, which was Sarmiento’s first game in Double-A.

Davis Stoneburner: Stoneburner played in ten games with Frisco last season, and he went 2-for-3 in his debut August 5, 2010. Stoneburner’s first hit was a second-inning single in the ‘Riders’ 7-3 victory over Midland.

And how about a bonus before we go. We mentioned Snyder’s appearance in Frisco’s win Monday night. Well, Snyder is a career .263 batter in 19 at bats in the minor leagues. His first hit came as a member of the Double-A Connecticut Defenders August 25, 2008. On that day, Snyder went 2-for-3.

- Brian

RoughRiders vs. Big Leaguers

The Texas League is two steps away from the Major Leagues, but many Texas Leaguers have made the jump this season. The RoughRiders have squared off with 16 players who have also been in “The Show.” Stephen Harmon is here to tell you about all 16.

Corpus Christi (Astros):

Jose Altuve: After starting the year in High-A, Altuve rapidly advanced through the Astros’ system, bypassing AAA before reaching the bigs. The 5’7″ second baseman has hit well at every minor league level and is now batting second in Houston’s line-up. On August 1, Altuve hit a walk-off fielder’s choice to give the Astros a win over Cincinnati.

Jason Bourgeois:  The former Rangers second round draft pick and Frisco RoughRider is having his best offensive season, batting .312 with Houston. The ‘Riders saw Bourgeois in August while he was rehabbing with Corpus Christi.

Jeff Keppinger: Another rehabber, the former Astros second baseman appeared in four games with the Hooks and homered against the ‘Riders on May 14. A career .283 hitter over seven seasons, Keppinger was traded to the Giants on July 19.

JD Martinez: Through 15 games with Houston, Martinez already has four home runs. The slugging left fielder spent a year and a half in Corpus Christi and had a Double-A average of .338 at the time of his call up.

Jimmy Paredes: Paredes was the last of the everyday Corpus trio to be promoted in August. In his first career at bat, the Dominican Republic native hit a two-run triple to center field.

San Antonio (Padres):

James Darnell: Darnell began the year in San Antonio and played against the ‘Riders in 16 games. Before advancing to Triple-A Tucson, the third baseman earned the Texas League All-Star Game MVP. The University of South Carolina alum is batting .267 through five games with the Padres.

Nick Hundley: The four-year Padre catcher played four of his seven rehab games in Frisco. Despite batting just .174 for the Mission, Hundley went deep in his first game back with the Padres on August 12th.

Kyle Phillips: Phillips, another Padres catcher, found his way into the San Diego’s line up after hitting .316 with San Antonio. Phillips only struck out once in 76 at bats while playing with the Missions.

Blake Tekotte: The University of Miami product has been back and forth between San Diego and San Antonio since late May. We have been lucky enough to see him play in 22 games against Frisco this year. In his last visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, Brian caught a Tekotte foul ball in the radio booth. The speedy outfielder is also Aaron’s favorite player in all of minor league baseball.

Arkansas (Angels):

Garrett Richards: The Travelers ace made his big league debut at Yankee Stadium earlier this month. In that game, the Oklahoma product lasted five innings, surrendering six runs against a potent Yankee lineup. Richards’ first career strikeout came against Derek Jeter. In three games against the ‘Riders, Richards is 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA.

Mike Trout: Trout, the number two overall prospect in baseball, is hitting .350 with three home runs in nine games against Frisco this year. The 20-year-old center fielder appeared in 14 games in July for the Angels while Peter Bourjos was on the DL. Trout may be the most exciting player in the minors, as he has 13 triples and 33 stolen bases on the season.

Northwest Arkansas (Royals):

Salvador Perez: Perez caught two of the three games while the Naturals were in Frisco, and caught all three games against the ‘Riders in Northwest Arkansas. The 21-year-old catcher singled in his first big league game on August 10th.

Manny Pina: The Venezuelan backstop appeared in three games with the Naturals in 2011 before catching for the Royals in early August. Pina joins former 2010 Naturals Aaron Crow, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer on the Royals roster. By late August, Pina was back with Triple-A Omaha.

Springfield (Cardinals):

Maikel Cleto: Although Cleto has only thrown three and a third innings for St. Louis, he still makes our list. The Dominican Republic native started six games for Springfield before being promoted to Triple-A Memphis.

Eduardo Sanchez: Sanchez pitched three innings during his rehab stint with Springfield. The ‘Riders jumped all over Sanchez as he surrender three runs while pitching two and a third innings in Frisco.

Tulsa (Rockies):

Alex White: The former 2009 first round draft pick shut down the ‘Riders offense August 13. In his third rehab outing, White surrendered only two hits over four scoreless innings in Frisco. The former Tar Heel made his big league debut with Cleveland in late April before going on the disabled list with a finger injury. White was a key part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal late last month.

Midland (Athletics):

Since the ‘Riders have not seen any 2011 big leaguers on a RockHound roster we will give Jemile Weeks an honorable mention. Weeks played in 67 games with Midland last year before making his major league debut June 7, 2011.

‘Riders Fans Bombard Twitter

Over the weekend, our Twitter page reached 3,000 followers, which is an awesome accomplishment that is very worthy of a big thank you. By the way, lucky follower #3,000 is @tex198.

Still, this is an opportunity for us to reach out and acknowledge some of our Twitter followers in a few different categories. First, how about some of the ones who mention us a lot on Twitter?

@VisitFrisco: They almost always mention upcoming home stands at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

@BLAKIEJ_BAM: A visitor to Dr Pepper Ballpark and a viewer of the ‘Riders on TXA 21.

@tiffanytilyard: Pretty much the same.

@armenontheair: He was the star of this show, that’s for sure.

@andylonghorn: Tweets and pictures to us, which is a great behind-the-scenes look.

@TexasRangers_HQ: We are a consistent “Follow Friday” account from this Twitter-er.

But hey, this is a thank you to every RoughRiders follower, not just the most vocal ones. How about we go through and see some of the most unique followers. These made the cut:

@DrAwesomeberry: A guy with this Twitter handle needs more than 14 followers, that’s for sure.

@DallasCowShirts: His mission: “We steal shirts from cows for YOU!” Obviously.

@LauraHiccups: That’s not her last name, according to her account. Still, a great account name.

@DrCrankinstein: We have plenty of well-qualified doctors following the RoughRiders.

@waxo1: The best bio of our followers: “A nice guy.” And that only takes 11 characters.

@KitKat_Fanatic: They are delicious, after all.

@rottenredneck17: Fair enough.

@Beercycler: “Trying to combine running, cycling, and great beers from around the world.” Sounds like a challenge, but I wish him well.

@JCUStreaks10: He has “giggidy” in his description. That’s enough for me.

@Biggios_Helmet: Craig Biggio’s helmet was quite memorable, so why not get a Twitter account for it?

@CanadianWaffles: I’ve never had one. Sounds delicious.

@ihatesaladforks: Who doesn’t?

@octopusfan: Unfortunately, this diehard octopus fan has only come up with two tweets so far.

@abusedsquirrel: On this note, we better stop.

Thanks to everyone who is a part of our Twitter feed. We hope you enjoy all of our content. Looking forward to getting to 4,000 soon!

- Brian

Top Pictures of 2011

There have been plenty of great moments this season, and those moments can be captured in photography. Our team of photographers–James Garner, Alex Yocum-Beeman and others–have done a great job of getting those photos. Here is a look at some of the best ones as the 2011 season winds down.
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A few RoughRiders mob Travis Adair after his walk-off single against San Antonio June 10.

Guilder Rodriguez avoids Jonathan Greene and makes a catch earlier this year at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Nelson Cruz rehabbed with the ‘Riders back in May.

So did Josh Hamilton.

Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders earlier this season, and he was an instant hit in Frisco.

Renny Osuna, the new hits king in RoughRiders history, is all smiles, too.

Great focus here by Davis Stoneburner in the camo jersey.

Tommy Mendonca avoids the net and makes a great play in foul ground.

Jose Ruiz painfully slides home during a game with Northwest Arkansas here in Frisco.

Now, how about some fun. The Phillie Phanatic dancing with a RoughRider fan.

BirdZerk visited Dr Pepper Ballpark as well.

And who can forget when the RoughRiders’ game was snowed out earlier this season? Wait–scratch that. Instead, it’s been 100+ degrees almost every day in the second half. Hopefully this image gives you a much-needed chill.


Feel free to send us your pictures during games here at Dr Pepper Ballpark! Tweet us at twitter.com/ridersbaseball!

- Brian

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