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Riders Alumni Report: New faces in the Majors

So far this season, six former Riders have made Major League debuts. On today’s edition of the Riders Insider Blog, we check in on their progress.

Nomar Mazara

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 40 games – .325/.368/.500, 8 HR, 21 RBI

Since making his Major League debut at the beginning of the season, Mazara has become an everyday starter for the Rangers in right field. He is one of just two players on the team hitting above the .300 mark and his eight home runs are tied with Adrian Beltre for the team lead. His latest home run was a monstrous 491-foot home run Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Brett Nicholas

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 10 games – .257/.333/.543, 2 HR, 4 RBI

In addition to promoting Mazara on April 10, the Rangers also called up former Riders catcher Nicholas. He served well as a backup catcher in nearly a month with the big league club before being optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock on May 4. Since re-joining the Express, Nicholas has had nine multi-hit games and three 3-RBI games. In 20 games with the Express this season, he has a .329 batting average, which is on pace to set a new career-high for the catcher.

Cody Ege

Promoted on: April 24

Team: Miami Marlins

MLB Stats: 5 relief appearances, 0-0, 12.00 ERA (4 ER in 3.0 IP), 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K

Ege was shipped to Miami along with former Riders catcher Tomas Telis at the trade deadline last July in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson. Ege was promoted to the big leagues at the end of April, and spent a week and a half with the Marlins. He was optioned back to Triple-A New Orleans on May 2 and is currently on the temporary inactive list.

Matt Bush

Promoted on: May 13

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 7 relief appearances, 1-0, 1.17 ERA (1 ER in 7.2 IP), 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Bush was promoted directly from the RoughRiders to the Rangers right before the Riders began a four-game road series in Corpus Christi earlier this month. Since arriving in Texas, Bush has made a major impact coming out of the bullpen. He did not allow a run until his sixth outing Tuesday against the Angels.

Jared Hoying

Promoted on: May 23

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 3 games – .000/.200/.000, 1 BB, 2 K

Hoying was called up to join the Rangers prior to the first game of this week’s series Monday against the Angels. He has yet to get a hit, but he reached base on an error in his first at-bat Monday and drew a walk Tuesday.

Richard Bleier

Promoted on: May 26

Team: New York Yankees

MLB Stats: N/A

Bleier joined the Yankees for the series finale Thursday afternoon against Toronto and traveled with the team for their weekend series in Tampa Bay. Although he has made an appearance for the Bronx Bombers yet, he is set to become the 144th former RoughRiders to play in a Major League game.

Bleier

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: front-and-backer – A perfect strike through the plate.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (5/27/16)

GAME #47
Frisco RoughRiders (30-16) at Springfield Cardinals (25-22)
Friday, May 27 – 7:10 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Springfield feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 1 of 12

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – DH
  7. Joe Jackson – C
  8. Luis Mendez – RF
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 3B

LHP Yohander Mendez (1-0, 5.40 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at Tulsa (L, 3-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

For the second straight night, the Riders lost a game in which they led, getting swept with a 3-1 loss to the Tulsa Drillers on Thursday… Frisco took an early 1-0 lead on PRESTON BECK’s RBI triple in the second…Beck finished 4-for-4, falling a homer shy of the cycle…Tulsa got all three of its runs on two swings: a pair of Cody Bellinger home runs in the fifth and sixth innings…SAM WOLFF took the loss for the RoughRiders, despite delivering a quality start (six innings, three runs)…The Riders were swept for just the second time this season and were outscored in the three-game set, 12-5.

QUALITY AND QUANTITIY:

After going 15 games between quality starts, Riders starting pitchers have posted four starts in their last five outings, which inludes a rehab start from YU DARVISH. Only Victor Payano on Wednesday (5.1 IP, 4ER) failed to earn a quality start during this recent run. During this run of five starts, the Riders are just 2-3, however, despite a starters ERA of 2.37. Additionally, losses on Tuesday and Thursday were the first losses this year when the Riders got a quaility start (12-2).

NOT EXACTLY MAY FLOWERS:

Even with four quality starts in their past five starts, Frisco starting pitchers have had a tough time in the month of May. After a stellar 3.10 ERA in the month of April, the group has posted a 5.00 ERA in May. In fact, the staff as a whole has leveled off after its tremendous start with a league-best April ERA of 2.95 and an ERA of 3.99 here in May (6th in the league), dropping from the top spot in ERA for the year to 3.51 and fourth place.

SHAKE AND BAKE:

The Texas Rangers announced roster moves affecting the Riders roster on Wednesday, with left-handed pitcher JUAN GRULLON heading to Extended Spring Training and right-hander ADAM PARKS coming off the DL. Parks is second on the team with three saves and his 14.2 SO/9.0 IP is the best rate on the team despite missing 16 games. Parks made his return last night, working one scoreless inning.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

Thursday, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

The RoughRiders have had the best record in team history at almost every point this season. With three straight losses, however, the 30-16 record is a game back of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 31-15 through 46 games. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league- best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra-base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .322), home runs (3rd, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .608), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 105 multi- hit performances out of a possible 414 lineup spots (25.4%). 27 of the 105 multi-hit performances (25.7%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 17 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+57), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests over the last 28 games (7-6). The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-3 in games decided by two runs. Only Midland has played more one-run games than the Riders (17) this season.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK has been one of the most reliable RoughRiders reliever, allowing earned runs in just two of his 12 outings, and his .102 opposing average is best in the Texas League. Earlier this year, he had a 14 1/3 scoreless innings and a 12 1/3 hitless streak.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 113-74 (.604), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 30-18, Class A Hickory is 28-19, and Triple-A Round Rock is 25-21. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

Riding Through the Farm: May 27

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (27-20, 2nd place, AL West)

The Rangers tallied two consecutive wins to take a three-game home series from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Tuesday night, former Rider Nomar Mazara blasted a monstrous home run to right field that traveled a projected 491 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the longest home run of the 2016 season so far, traveling 16 feet farther than Giancarlo Stanton‘s 475-foot home run on May 6.

Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers offense totaled new season-highs in runs (15) and hits (18) to defeat the Angels 15-9 in the series finale. The team begins another three-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Yu Darvish expected to make his first MLB start of the 2016 season Saturday. Darvish made five Minor League rehab starts, including three with the RoughRiders.

Tonight: vs. Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Cole Hamels)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (25-21, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

While Frisco took 3-of-4 from the San Antonio Missions in the last home series at Dr Pepper Ballpark, the Express won three games against the Padres affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. Round Rock scored 46 runs on 66 hits in the four-game series against El Paso.

After Monday’s win against Tacoma, the Express were shut out by the Rainiers in back-to-back games. The team finally snapped its 27-inning scoreless streak Thursday when former Rider Brett Nicholas came through with a two-run single in the sixth inning. Round Rock defeated Tacoma 4-1 to split the series.

Tonight: vs. Reno, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (30-18, T-1st, California League South Division)

High Desert finishes out the month of May with a four-game road series against Lancaster. Despite losing two starting pitchers, Luis Ortiz and Yohander Mendez, and two relievers, John Fasola and Joe Filomeno, to Frisco, the Mavericks still lead the California League with 17 saves and are second with 421 strikeouts (8.8 Ks per game).

Travis Demeritte still leads the circuit with 13 home runs, 42 runs scored, and a .601 slugging percentage. Outfielder Scott Heineman is the only player hitting above the .300 mark, with a .307 average in 46 games played.

Tonight: at Lancaster, 8:35 p.m. CT (SP: TBD)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (28-19, 2nd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are in a bit of a slump, losing seven of their last 10 games. Hickory opened a four game series Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Greensboro. The ‘Dads play three more against the Grasshoppers before heading on the road to face the Delmarva Shorebirds, wrapping up the May slate.

Eric Jenkins leads the league with 24 stolen bases, and Dylan Moore is right behind him with 21. As a team, the Crawdads are first in the SAL with 103 stolen bases, 41 more than the second-place team Lexington. Hickory ranks second in the category in all of Minor League Baseball, trailing Salem by eight.

Tonight: vs. Greensboro, 6:00 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: punch drunk – Said of a player who has become overconfident or arrogant as the result of a string of hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Tulsa (5/26/16)

GAME #46
Frisco RoughRiders (30-15) at Tulsa Drillers (22-23)
Thursday, May 26 – 7:05 p.m.
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Tulsa feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 3 (Riders trail, 0-2)
This season: Game 3 of 12 (Riders trail, 0-2)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

RHP Sam Wolff (4-2, 5.22 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday at Tulsa (L, 6-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The Riders let a three-run lead slip away and dropped 6-4 to Tulsa on Wednesday night… The Riders scored three runs in the top of the first, leading 3-1, and after surrendering a run in the first, got one back in the second to take a 4-1 lead…That lead was shortlived, however, as VICTOR PAYANO gave up a run in the third and a pair of runs, one unearned in the fourth before the go-ahead run came in on a safety squeeze play in the sixth…Tulsa added another run on a home run by Willie Calhoun in the eighth inning…RYAN CORDELL collected three hits, including a pair of doubles, driving in two in the loss.

STARTING STRUGGLES:

Even with three quality starts in their past four starts, Frisco starting pitchers have had a tough time in the month of May. After a stellar 3.10 ERA in the month of April, the group has posted a 5.03 ERA in May. In fact, the staff as a whole has leveled off after its tremendous start with a league-best April ERA of 2.95 and an ERA of 4.01 here in May (6th in the league), dropping from the top spot in ERA for the year to 3.51 and third place.

SHAKE AND BAKE:

The Texas Rangers announced roster moves affecting the Riders roster on Wednesday, with left-handed pitcher JUAN GRULLON heading to Extended Spring Training and right-hander ADAM PARKS coming off the DL. Parks is second on the team with three saves and his 14.2 SO/9.0 IP is the best rate on the team despite missing 16 games.

MOVIN’ ON UP:

Friday, the Rangers promoted a trio of top prospects in the farm system to Frisco. Right- handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ, the fourth-ranked prospect in the farm system by MLBPipeline. com, highlights the group of newcomers. Ortiz was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven outings with Class A-Advanced High Desert this year. Left-handed pitcher YOHANDER MENDEZ (No. 13, MLBPipeline.com) and infielder EVAN VAN HOOSIER (No. 18) were also added to the roster. Both Mendez and Ortiz earned the win in their Double-A debuts, and Van Hoosier has a hit in all five of the games he’s played in thus far.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

Thursday, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

Frisco’s 30-15 record is tied for the best through 45 games in team history with the 2008 RoughRiders. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league- best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra-base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .329), home runs (3rd, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .623), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 103 multi- hit performances out of a possible 405 lineup spots (25.4%). 26 of the 103 multi-hit performances (25.2%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 16 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+59), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests over the last 28 games (7-6). The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-2 in games decided by two runs. Only Midland has played more one-run games than the Riders (17) this season.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs on May 14. In total, he’s allowed earned runs in just two of his 12 outings, and his .102 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 112-71 (.612), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 30-17, Class A Hickory is 28-18, and Triple-A Round Rock is 24-21. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB. com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:

The RoughRiders roster includes eight players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock. LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, , No. 11), EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23), RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Rangers top 30 prospects

OPPOSING STARTER:

Nine-year pro Jeremy Kehrt makes the start for the Drillers today, his first against the Riders and second for the Drillers…He’s also made seven with Triple-A Oklahoma City, combined to go 3-4 with a 4.97 ERA…Was 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five games for Double-A Chattanooga in the stretch drive to the Southern League playoffs in 2014 after the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired him in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, who drafted him in the 47th round in 2008. This is his seventh Double-A season…He won the Portland Sea Dogs’ Citizen of the Year award in 2011 and pitched in the Arizona Fall League after that season with the Scottsdale Scorpions…Kerht is an extreme groundball pitcher with a four-seam fastball that sits around 91, topping out around 93 mph. His two-seam fastball sits around 87-88 mph with a harder tail than his four-seam. He also mixes in a mid-80s splitter with sink and a 75-79 mph curveball.

Ballpark Bio: ONEOK Field (Tulsa, OK)

IMG_3929 (1)

Today marks the second installment in a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 8, 2010
Capacity: 7,833
Dimensions: LF – 330, CF – 400, RF – 307

The plot of land upon which Tulsa’s ONEOK Field rests is not all that large, but the Drillers do a great job of maximizing the space they have to work with.

IMG_3940 (1)

With no backstop behind home plate, fans get a very intimate feel with the action.

One of the first things that struck me about the park is its orientation. Unlike most parks (including Dr Pepper Ballpark) which face North, ONEOK Field faces South. As a result, fans (and broadcasters) are lent a great view of the skyline in nearby downtown.

Inside the park, it’s been a very intimate feel, thanks to the fact that the park sits on only about seven acres. The seats are very close to the field, and the way they curve in near the foul poles makes it feel even more intimate.

Another things that’s stood out to me here is the fact that there is no backstop behind the plate (although there is a net), very similar to Dodger Stadium, home of the Drillers’ parent club.

IMG_3935 (2)

The left field terrace looks like a great place to watch a game with a large group.

It helps add to that intimate feel, and the tables to the left side of the area by the backstop look like a great place to enjoy a meal with a view.

In the outfield, I was immediately fascinated by the terrace seating that makes up most of the seating area behind the left field wall. With rows of picnic tables, it seems like a great place to bring a group, while having a great view of the field at the same time.

The game atmosphere in Tulsa has been great the first few nights. Furthermore, this team has done a great job of creating an enjoyable experience without the need of all kinds of attractions.

IMG_3939 (1)

With tight spacing in the RF corner, there’s not much foul territory to work with.

That’s not to say I don’t like ballparks with fun attractions (see my review of Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field for reference), but it’s cool to see a team keep things relatively simple and still put on a great show.

All in all, there may not be a heap of room to work with on a great plot of land near downtown Tulsa, but I’ve been impressed by how well it’s been put to use.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming this weekend from Hammons Field in Springfield, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Beany – Said of a player who is a bit off mentally, a condition attributed to being hit by a ball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball DictionaryIMG_3938 (1)

Saddle Up: Riders at Tulsa (5/25/16)

GAME #45
Frisco RoughRiders (30-14) at Tulsa Drillers (21-23)
Wednesday, May 25 – 7:05 p.m.
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Tulsa feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (Riders trail, 0-1)
This season: Game 2 of 12 (Riders trail, 0-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Alberto Triunfel – SS
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

LHP Victor Payano (4-1, 3.40 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Monday at Tulsa (L, 3-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The Riders were blanked 3-0 by the Tulsa Drillers on Tuesday night behind seven dominant innings from Tulsa’s Chase De Jong who allowed just two baserunners…Frisco’s CONNOR SADZECK matched his seven innings but allowed a pair of runs to score in the fourth and another marker in the sixth, suffering his first loss of the season… The lone Riders hits against De Jong came from LUIS MENDEZ, a single leading off the first, and RONALD GUZMAN, who tripled to open the fifth…Manager JOE MIKULIK and third baseman Mendez were both ejected after a runner’s interference call at second base to end the top of the seventh, the only inning in which Frisco had more than one baserunner.

SOONER STATE SHUT DOWN:

Falling 3-0 last night, the Riders were shut out for just the third time this year. The club is now 3-3 in shutout games, playing in only six such games, tied for the second fewest in the league (with NW Arkansas; Midland has played in just four). Meanwhile Tulsa’s five shutout wins is now second-most in the circuit, trailing just Corpus Christi (6-2 in shutout games).

SHAKE AND BAKE:

The Texas Rangers announced roster moves affecting the Riders roster on Wednesday, with left-handed pitcher JUAN GRULLON heading to Extended Spring Training and right-hander ADAM PARKS coming off the DL. Parks is second on the team with three saves and his 14.2 SO/9.0 IP is the best rate on the team despite missing 16 games.

MOVIN’ ON UP:

Friday, the Rangers promoted a trio of top prospects in the farm system to Frisco. Right- handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ, the fourth-ranked prospect in the farm system by MLBPipeline. com, highlights the group of newcomers. Ortiz was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven outings with Class A-Advanced High Desert this year. Left- handed pitcher YOHANDER MENDEZ (No. 13, MLBPipeline.com) and infielder EVAN VAN HOOSIER (No. 18) were also added to the roster. Both Mendez and Ortiz earned the win in their Double-A debuts, and Van Hoosier has a hit in all four of the games he’s played in thus far.

JOSE TO TRIPLE-A:

While a new wave of talent has arrived, the RoughRiders are starting to see some of their stars leave for higher levels. Monday, right- handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. As a reliever, he had a 1.20 ERA in eight appearances. Leclerc joins ALEX BURG (Triple-A) and MATT BUSH (Rangers) as Riders players who have earned a promotion this year. Leclerc made his Triple-A debut last night, allowing one run in two innings of work on two hits in Round Rock’s 3-0 loss to Tacoma.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

Thursday, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

Frisco’s 30-14 record is the best through 44 games in team history, one games ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 29-15 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (38), runs (38), and extra-base hits (24). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (4th, .321), home runs (3rd, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .611), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 99 multi- hit performances out of a possible 396 lineup spots (25.0%). 25 of the 99 multi-hit performances (25.5%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 16 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+61), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests over the last 27 games (7-6). The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-1 in games decided by two runs. Only Midland has played more one-run games than the Riders (17) this season.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs on May 14. In total, he’s allowed earned runs in just two of his 12 outings, and his .102 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 111-68 (.620), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 29-17, Class A Hickory is 28-17, and Triple-A Round Rock is 24-20. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB. com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:

The RoughRiders roster includes eight players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock. LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, , No. 11), EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23),RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Rangers top 30 prospects.

OPPOSING STARTER:

Signed by the Dodgers as a minor league free agent after the season began (4/23), today’s starter Tim Shibuya makes his second start for Tulsa and fifth appearance for the Drillers…The former Twins farmhand has also made one outing at Triple-A Oklahoma City… Overall he is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA but 0-1 with an 0.69 ERA for Tulsa in 13.0 innings of work…The 23rd rounder in 2011 out of DII UC San Diego and Jackson Hole High School (Jackson, WY) was released by the Twins at the end of Spring Training…He works with a upper 80s, low 90s fastball and has impeccable command, walking 1.4 batters per nine innings pitched in his career.

Meaning behind the mascots

NORTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

Arkansas-Primary

Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.

 

Northwest_Arkansas_Naturals_Main

Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

 

Springfield_Cardinals15.ai

Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.
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Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.

 

SOUTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.

 

Midland_RockHounds

Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.

 

San_Antonio_Missions

San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.

 

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Tulsa (5/24/16)

GAME #44
Frisco RoughRiders (30-13) at Tulsa Drillers (20-23)
Tuesday, May 24 – 7:05 p.m.
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Tulsa feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 1 of 12

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Luis Mendez – 3B
  2. Preston Beck – RF
  3. Ryan Cordell – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Alex Burg – DH
  7. Zach Cone – LF
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

RHP Connor Sadzeck (5-0, 3.51)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday vs. San Antonio (W, 11-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The Riders finished off their eighth series win of the year with their most lopsided win of the season, knocking off San Antonio, 11-1…LUIS ORTIZ earned the win in his Double-A debut, going six innings while giving up one run on seven hits, with one walk, and six strikeouts… The Riders scored eight of their 11 runs between the second and fourth innings…Four players had muti-hit performances, led by the 3-for-5 day for RONALD GUZMANZACH CONE came on as a pinch-hitter and finished 2-for-2 with a double and a three-run home run.

YU SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL:

Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH made his third Major League rehabilitation start with the Riders Sundaday against San Antonio. The three-time American League All-Star worked six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 87 pitches, 56 were strikes. Darvish started two other games for Frisco on May 1 and May 17, and he also made two starts with Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers announced Monday that he will make his season debut Saturday vs. Pittsburgh.

MOVIN’ ON UP:

Friday, the Rangers promoted a trio of top prospects in the farm system to Frisco. Right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ, the fourth-ranked prospect in the farm system by MLBPipeline. com, highlights the group of newcomers. Ortiz was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven outings with Class A-Advanced High Desert this year. Left- handed pitcher YOHANDER MENDEZ (No. 13, MLBPipeline.com) and infielder EVAN VAN HOOSIER (No. 18) were also added to the roster.

JOSE TO TRIPLE-A:

While a new wave of talent has arrived, the RoughRiders are starting to see some of their stars leave for higher levels. Monday, right- handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. As a reliever, he had a 1.20 ERA in eight appearances. Leclerc joins ALEX BURG (Triple-A) and Matt Bush (Rangers) as Riders players who have earned a promotion this year.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

Thursday, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

Frisco’s 30-13 record is the best through 43 games in team history, two games ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 28-15 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:

RYAN CORDELL had his impressive 37-game on-base streak snapped last Thursday in Midland. Cordell has since reached safely in his last four games, and has reached base in 41 of 42 games he’s played. He’s recorded hits in 36 of the 41 games he’s been aboard, and has reached more than once in 19 games. Cordell’s streak was the longest for Frisco since Jurickson Profar put a 50- game string together in 2012.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (38), runs (38), and extra-base hits (24). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (4th, .329), home runs (3rd, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .627), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have alrady been 99 multi- hit performances out of a possible 387 lineup spots (25.6%). 25 of the 99 multi-hit performances are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 16 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:

The Riders have gotten off to great starts in series this season, winning nine of their first 12 series openers.All three series-opening losses have been one-run defeats. The Riders have won eight of their first 12 series, including five sweeps (Northwest Arkansas 2x, San Antonio 2x, Midland).

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+64), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests over the last 26 games (7-6). The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-1 in games decided by two runs. Only Midland has played more one-run games than the Riders (16) this season.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs on May 14. In total, he’s allowed earned runs in just two of his 12 outings, and his .102 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 107-64 (.626), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 28-16, Class A Hickory is 27-16, and Triple-A Round Rock is 23-19. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:

The RoughRiders roster includes eight players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock.LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest- ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, , No. 11), EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23),RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Rangers top 30 prospects.

OPPOSING STARTER:

Right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong takes the ball for Tulsa tonight in the series opener. The 22-year-old is in his fifth season as a pro, but his first full season with the Dodgers organization after coming over from the Toronto organization last July in a trade for international slot value. He spent the remainder of last season with Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, before joining the Drillers this year. De Jong enters the season ranked the 18th-best Dodgers prospect by MLBPipeline. com and 16th by Baseball America. He has turned in quality starts in half of his eight outings, including two scoreless seven-inning starts. REPERTOIRE: Fastball (88-92, T94), curveball, changeup.

Cordell’s high school coach reflects on his former star

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Cordell during his days at Valley Christian Academy. (Photo courtesy Brad Gunter)

While Ryan Cordell is tearing it up in the Texas League, his high school coach, Brad Gunter, keeps a keen eye on what his former star is doing.

Gunter is the head coach at Valley Christian Academy in Roseville, California, a California Interscholastic Federation Division VII school (smallest division). Gunter still keeps a close watch on Cordell, who is one of just three VCA alums to make it to the professional ranks.

“Probably the end of his sophomore year is when it really took off,” said Gunter. “He started putting things together. By the time he became a senior, he was lights out.”

Cordell did it all for VCA, starring both on the baseball diamond and the basketball court for the Lions. On the diamond, he played at shortstop and also served as the team’s ace on the mound.

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Cordell meets with a group of VCA students at one of his games in Stockton, CA while he was with the High Desert Mavericks. (Photo courtesy Brad Gunter)

“It was more of his drive off the field to become better that was the most impressive thing,” said Gunter. “And every year, he developed. You saw a progression that was going to be special and was going to project out that he was going to do really well in the future.”

Of course, Cordell has done exactly that. After his time at VCA, he went on to thrive at Liberty University, and eventually, was drafted by the Rangers in the 11th round of the 2013 draft. Now in his fourth professional season, he’s a career .285 hitter, including a breakout season with the RoughRiders this year. Cordell has reached in 41 of his first 42 games and is hitting .329 with 11 doubles, 3 triples, 10 home runs and a league-leading 38 RBI.

“I don’t think this run is a short one, if you look at his history and how well he’s done. I just think it’s catching everybody by shock, a bit.”

Among all the on-field success, though, Gunter says the on-field performance isn’t even the most impressive part.

“I have always been impressed with Ryan off the field more than anything he’s ever done on the field,” said Gunter. “You saw the projections, you saw the work ethic, you saw the competitive drive. But because he was such a great young man, and he still is, you knew that he was going to be able to go through tough times and come out still working to try to achieve his goals.”

Gunter says the Riders outfielder still stops by and lends a hand with the current VCA team every year before he goes to Spring Training. Gunter considers Cordell the school’s most successful baseball alum, and he’s a role model for the current Lions players to look up to.

High school may be a way back in Cordell’s past, but his impact on the school – and his former coach – is still strong.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Wagon tongue – A large baseball bat.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. San Antonio (5/23/16)

GAME #43
Frisco RoughRiders (29-13) vs. San Antonio Missions (13-29)
Monnday, May 23 – 11:05 a.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
—————————————–

Watch: Fox Sports Southwest and MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Jon Daniels)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Steve Goldberg and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-1)
This season: Game 12 of 32 (Riders lead, 10-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel

RHP Luis Ortiz (0-0, -.–)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday vs. San Antonio (W, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

 LAST TIME OUT:
Behind six shut out innings from Yu Darvish, the Riders captured a 7-1 win over San Antonio on Sunday afternoon…Darvish struck out six and allowed just four baserunners on three singles and a walk…Four Riders posted multi-hit efforts and seven different batters reached base safely in the ten-hit barrage against three Missions pitchers…The Riders scored two in the first, three in the third, and two more in the fifth…RYNE SLACK and DAVID PEREZ completed the final three frames, with one unearned run allowed by Slack in the eighth.

YU SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH made his third Major League rehabilitation start with the Riders yesterday against San Antonio. The three-time American League All-Star worked six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 87 pitches, 56 were strikes. Darvish started two other games for Frisco on May 1 and May 17, and he also made two starts with Triple-A Round Rock.

MOVIN’ ON UP:
Friday, the Rangers promoted a trio of top prospects in the farm system to Frisco. Right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ, the fifth-ranked prospect in the farm system by MLBPipeline.com, highlights the group of newcomers. Ortiz was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven outings with Class A-Advanced High Desert this year. Left-handed pitcher YOHANDER MENDEZ (No. 14, MLBPipeline.com) and infielder EVAN VAN HOOSIER (No. 19) were also added to the roster.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
Thursday, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 29-13 record is the best through 42 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 28-14 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL had his impressive 37-game on-base streak snapped in game two of Thursday’s doubleheader. With a single Friday, Cordell started a new streak and has reached base in 38 of 39 games he’s played, recording hits in 35 of them. Cordell’s streak was the longest for Frisco since Jurickson Profar put a 50-game string together in 2012.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder leads the Texas League in RBI (36), runs (37), and extra-base hits (24). Cordell is on the leaderboard in average (3rd, .329), doubles (T-4th, 11), home runs (T-2nd, 10), slugging percentage (2nd, .632), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
Although the Riders were last in the league in strikeouts early this season, the K’s are beginning to come more frequently for Frisco pitching. Already this season, three Riders starters have set single-game career-highs in strikeouts (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9), with Payano and Sadzeck setting their career-high against San Antonio May 3 and 6, respectively. In 11 games against the Missions, Frisco has struck out 95 San Antonio hitters, including 16 on May 3.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
The Riders have gotten off to great starts in series this season,  winning nine of their first 12 series openers.All three series-opening loss have been one-run defeats. The Riders have won seven of their first 11 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio and one of Midland.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+54), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 25 games. The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-1 in games decided by two runs. Seven of the 11 games between the Riders and Missions this season have been decided by two runs or fewer, including five one-run games.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs last Saturday. However, his .098 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 107-64 (.626), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 28-16, Class A Hickory is 27-16, and Triple-A Round Rock is 23-19. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders roster includes nine players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26). They have since added three players in the Top 30, LUIS ORTIZ (5, 4), YOHANDER MENDEZ (14, 24), and EVAN VAN HOOSIER (19, 23).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Luis Diaz makes his third start of the season against the RoughRiders this afternoon. He has lasted at least six innings in six of his eight starts this season, including a season-high 7.1 innings May 1 at Midland. Diaz, 24, is in his first year in the Padres organization after spending the first seven seasons of his career as a Red Sox farmhand.

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