Kudos to Buch. The ‘Riders primary third baseman this season, Alex Buchholz, promoted for the second time this season to Triple-A on July 30, earned Rangers’ minor league Player of the Month for a scorching hot effort at the plate in July (.347/.413/.622). New RoughRiders reliever Francisco Mendoza was also honored as the Reliever of the month; he was promoted to Frisco one day after he completed his excellent July.
From the Rangers:
Buchholz stacking up to the system in July
- Kevin Mendoza .395 (43 AB)
- Jorge Alfaro .382 (34 AB)
- Paul Cantwell .362 (58 AB)
- Nick Williams .349 (86 AB)
- Alex Buchholz .347 (98)
- Jorge Alfaro .647 (34 AB)
- Fernando Vivilli .633 (30 AB)
- Alex Buchholz .622 (98 AB)
- Mike Bianucci .591 (44 AB)
* #1 and #2 had around 1/3 of the AB of Buchholz. Second to Buchholz in the system with more than 75 AB was Nick Williams with a SLG of .535 (86 AB)
- Alex Buchholz 61
- Kevin Torres 48
- Brett Nicholas 47
(All data from MLBFarm.com)
As an aside, if you haven’t had a peek at the greatness that is MLBFarm.com yet, you should. Alex’s page here has all sort of interesting goodies and charts.
Tying it back in, here is Alex’s spray chart for the season:
In the top of the ninth, well after midnight central time, in a 10-3 Rangers lead last night, Joey Butler made his Major League debut. Pinch-hitting for Leonys Martin, Butler lined out to second base and then played right field in the final inning of the Rangers win.
The former Frisco RoughRiders outfielder, who spent 2010 and the first part of 2011 in a ‘Riders uniform has hit, hit and then hit some more as a minor leaguer. The right-handed swinger has an OPS of near 1.000 against LHP this season, making him a good candidate to help patch up the gaping hole left by the suspension of Nelson Cruz.
Joey Butler’s minor league numbers:
|AAA (3 seasons)||AAA||347||1459||1267||220||381||76||6||42||179||20||10||167||360||.301||.386||.470|
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||145||628||560||78||153||27||6||12||62||10||7||54||136||.273||.344||.407|
|A- (1 season)||A-||62||271||226||35||68||8||5||4||31||9||4||40||54||.301||.417||.434|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||134||574||522||82||146||33||1||12||76||6||4||46||146||.280||.343||.416|
Six hours earlier, ‘Riders starting pitcher circa 2009 and 2010, Tanner Roark made his debut on a major league hill in the nation’s capital, with the Washington Nationals against the Atlanta Braves. Part of the Christian Guzman trade of 2010, Roark was arguably the most effective pitcher for either side last night. He faced the minimum in two innings and allowed just one baserunner, a single by B.J. Upton. It took Tanner just 15 pitches to record six outs.
Tanner Roark’s minor league numbers:
|AA (3 seasons)||AA||21||16||4.21||54||48||275.2||290||143||129||24||88||209||1.37||2.9||6.8|
|AAA (2 seasons)||AAA||15||20||3.87||61||37||253.1||246||132||109||20||67||214||1.23||2.4||7.6|
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||11||3||2.93||41||11||116.2||95||44||38||10||40||128||1.15||3.1||9.9|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||2||1||0.73||7||0||12.1||9||2||1||0||3||11||0.97||2.2||8.0|
|Ind (1 season)||Ind||0||2||21.41||3||3||9.2||23||25||23||5||9||11||3.31||8.4||10.2|
Roark became the 107th RoughRiders alum to make it to the big leagues, and Butler made it 108. That is 13 former RoughRiders who have done so this season. Eight of them have made it to the Rangers (Ortiz, Garcia, Tepesch, Wolf, McGuiness, McClellan, Beltre, Butler). Five have come with other teams (Evan Reed – DET, Scott Rice – NYM, Robbie Erlin – SD, Brad Hawpe – LAA, and Tanner Roark – WAS).
The debuts of both were entertaining follows on Twitter last night–Butler because of his long wait and great minor league track record, and Roark, due to his dominant first ever outing. Instead of some thoughtful analysis of the two debuts…which you can find out there for Roark at the very least…I rounded up my favorite tweets of the two stories, presented to you in chronological order.
Tanner Roark warming in the pen
— Big Mans (@SixSev_Kev) August 8, 2013
This is the first tweet I found that he was getting loose…and his time would come.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 8, 2013
Former Wilmington Wildcat and former Danville Dan called up ro majors for Washington Nationals. You go Tanner Roark.
— Aaron Graff (@Graff_it_off) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark is Washington’s new pitcher, making his MLB debut. Desmond and Ramos meet him at the mound for some words of encouragement.
— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark is making is MLB debut. Fans of mediocre teams live for this. I’m insanely excited. #Nats
— Joe Drugan (@TheNatsBlogJoe) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark sounds like a character in a TV show like “Full House”
— Dave Scarangella (@DullesDistrict) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark (ROH-ark) now on the mound for the Nats? Is he any good? Don’t know but his mullet is remarkable.
— Ira Allen (@IraRAllen) August 8, 2013
A nice, 1-2-3 debut inning for Tanner Roark, who retired a tough trio: McCann, Johnson, Uggla. #NationalsTalk
— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark working 94-95 mph in his first MLB inning. Amped up I’m sure, but certainly didn’t see much of that when he was with Rangers.
— Jason Cole (@LoneStarDugout) August 8, 2013
Wasn’t Tanner Roark a character in an Ayn Rand book?
— Eric London (@elondon) August 8, 2013
Tanner Roark is taking over this game.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 8, 2013
Heck of a debut so far for Tanner Roark. He dives to catch a popped-up Medlen bunt and doubles Upton off first. Two scoreless from him.
— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) August 8, 2013
Standing ovation for tanner roark 👏👏👏
— Alex Morris (@MorrisCode5) August 8, 2013
And Tanner Roark just turned his 1st double play in the majors. Not bad for giving up a lead off single to B.J. Upton. Tie’s in tact. #Nats
— We Love DC Sports (@welovedcsports) August 8, 2013
Congrats to former RoughRiders pitcher Tanner Roark, making his MLB debut tonight for the Washington Nationals.
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) August 8, 2013
I think we got in there within the statute of limitations.
I love reading all of these tweets when I search “Tanner Roark”
— Seth Jansen (@seth_jansen) August 8, 2013
Me too Seth. Me too.
Fast foward a few hours…props to Evan Grant for getting on the Twitterverse first:
Here’s Joey Butler making his MLB debut.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) August 8, 2013
Jeff Wilson, bested by just seconds. Either that, or deferred to the longer tenured beat writter:
Joey Butler pinch hitting for his major-league debut.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) August 8, 2013
Joey Butler sighting!
— マット Hansen (@RangersFanMatt) August 8, 2013
Joey Butler’s first MLB plate appearance. Send karma.
— Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) August 8, 2013
— Jason Cole (@LoneStarDugout) August 8, 2013
Joey Butler will make his Major League debut with a leadoff pinch hit for the #Rangers (Nelson Cruz replacement) … he lines out to second
— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 8, 2013
Okay – “Nelson Cruz” replacement? A bit strong, although you aren’t the first to categorize it this way.
Joey Butler’s first AB introduces him to BABIP.
— Matt Fisher (@NextWaveMLB) August 8, 2013
Congrats to former ‘Rider Joey Butler, who just got his first MLB at bat!
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) August 8, 2013
Great work by somebody in this department (I can’t take credit).
Woohoo, Joey Butler!!! Wait… pic.twitter.com/4yOx5ZqMS6
— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) August 8, 2013
— David Mc (@DavidInMEM) August 8, 2013
Joey Butler has a career BABIP of .000, Such an unlucky guy.
— Kazuto Yamazaki (@LaBlynne) August 8, 2013
@scottrlucas you know if Joey Butler has a twitter handle? Want to congrat him on 1st AB. Been watching him everytime RR @ MEM for years
— David Mc (@DavidInMEM) August 8, 2013
Joey Butler has resisted twitter, to my knowledge, so you’ll have to toast his first MLB plate appearance via warm, fuzzy thoughts.
— Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) August 8, 2013
Rangers are 3-0 in the Joey Butler era.
— Anthony Andro (@aandro) August 8, 2013
Well put Anthony. And they will stay undefeated in the “Joey Butler era” for at least another day.
Baseball term of the day: saturated curve - a spitball
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez arrived in Springfield, Missouri yesterday to join the team as they opened a six-game road trip with three against the Springfield Cardinals. Eickhoff made an immediate impact, starting the game for the ‘Riders last night in the 4-3 walk-off defeat. After a shaky three-run first inning, Eickhoff faced two over the minimum through the next four innings. He allowed a walk and a lone single–that was it. He picked up a no-decision.
Nick Martinez makes his Double-A debut at ONEOK Field on Saturday against the Tulsa Drillers.
To introduce you to these two guys a bit, an excerpt from the press release over at RidersBaseball.com:
Eickhoff, 23, receives his first career promotion to Double-A and is expected to start tonight’s series opener at the Springfield Cardinals. Drafted by Texas in the 15th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft, the right-hander has spent the entire season in the Pelicans rotation. In 21 starts, he posted a 7-3 record and a 3.41 ERA. The Evansville, Illinois native struck out 80 batters in 116 innings with 26 walks allowed. A reliever in his first professional season in 2011, Eickhoff has pitched just once out of the bullpen over the last two seasons. In 2012 with Hickory, he posted a 13-7 record, and his 13 wins were tied for the second most in team history.
Martinez, 23, was drafted by the Rangers in 2011 as well, taken in the 18th round out of Fordham University. Like Eickhoff, Martinez began 2013 in the Myrtle Beach rotation (aside from one relief appearance) and is making his first trip to Double-A. In 22 outings for the Pelicans, he went 10-7 with a 2.87 ERA. Ranked #27 by Baseball America among Rangers prospects entering 2012, the Carolina League All-Star fanned 105 and walked 38 in 119.1 innings before his promotion. The former Fordham Ram pitched in relief and played second base in college. His All-Star selection this season marked the second straight year he has participated in his league’s mid-season All-Star Game, as he earned the same honors in the South Atlantic League in 2012.
A bit outdated at this point, Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus wrote this in July 2011:
Since signing with the Rangers, the 6-foot-4 hurler has displayed solid command of a 91-94 mph fastball. He also mixes in a 73-75 mph curveball, which has good shape but is deliberate out of the hand and lags behind his fastball.
I got an update from Jason today though, who saw Jerad in early July of this year:
Eickhoff is almost like a Nick Tepesch starter kit. The arsenal is very similar, and he’ll have to make some of the same improvements Tepesch made. I think he profiles as a no. 4 or 5 starter at the end of the day. He’s a big right-hander with a durable build and a nice command/control profile.
When I saw him with Myrtle Beach last month, he sat comfortably in the low-90s with his four-seam fastball and not only held velocity, but he also touched 94-95 mph pretty consistently while working out of his jam near the 100-pitch mark. He’s also got an upper-80s cutter, a changeup that has progressed well this year, and a curveball.
For me, the curve will be the biggest key for Eickhoff. It’s a fringy pitch right now. If he can bring the curveball along over the next year or two into even an average offering, it’s going to make a big difference. He doesn’t project for a plus secondary pitch and won’t miss a lot of bats, but he should throw strikes with a big body and a deep arsenal.
The velocity stuck around last night as well, with Jerad throwing in the low to mid 90s near the end of his 81 pitch start (touching 97 mph on what appeared to be a hot gun in Springfield). His next start comes Sunday night in Tulsa in the road trip finale. He lines up to make his Dr Pepper Ballpark debut on Saturday, August 17.
Here are the numbers on Eickhoff:
An interesting story, Martinez is just two years removed from being drafted by Texas and converted to a full-time pitcher. The Fordham University product was a middle-of-the-order bat that played second base and was used out of the bullpen as a college player, but has quickly adapted to the starting rotation as a pro.
Jason Cole sent over his thoughts on Martinez as well, who he saw on the same trip to Salem while the Pelicans were in town last month:
Martinez is an intriguing guy because he was primarily a second baseman in college. He’d come in and relieve maybe once per weekend. The Rangers liked the arm, athleticism, and delivery, though, and snapped him up as a pitcher in the draft. Martinez took to full-time pitching immediately and showed good command of an 88-94 mph fastball in his first season. The velocity is the same today.
He, like Eickhoff, doesn’t necessarily have a dominant secondary pitch, but he has pitchability with a mix of four usable pitches – fastball, slider, curveball, changeup. It’s a back of the rotation ceiling or perhaps long man/up-and-down profile, but an overall intriguing arm worth watching. He has adjusted his delivery a bit this year to get a little more downward angle on his stuff, and I think it has translated well. As a result, his ground-ball rates have improved and the command/control has remained the same as last year, which is solid.
Baseball America, who ranked Martinez #27 among Rangers prospects entering 2013, adds that “his breaking ball has made the most progress of any of his secondary pitches since he signed.”
Following his ‘Riders debut on Sunday, he would line up to make his Dr Pepper Ballpark debut in the home stand finale on Sunday, August 18.
And the stats on Martinez:
- ‘Riders return to action in Springfield tonight at 7:09 p.m.
- Neil Ramirez returns from disabled list tonight and makes his first outing since July 19. He was placed on the DL on July 24, retroactive to July 21, with an injury to his right shoulder.
- Correspondingly, the RoughRiders have placed LHP Alex Claudio on the 7-day disabled list.
- Read more in tonight’s game notes
- Want to tune in…find out how
Baseball term of the day: yakker - curve ball
(Term from MLB.com Baseball Basics: Lingo)
With a tenth-inning double on Saturday he tied it, and with a single to lead off the sixth, he broke it. He added another for good measure in the eighth.
Passing Renny Osuna, Guilder Rodriguez now has more hits than any RoughRiders batter in history. 27 doubles, nine triples, two home runs and 311 singles. At 349 hits, Guilder Rodriguez stands alone. Playing parts or all of the last five seasons in Frisco, Rodriguez has now amassed more hits than long-time RoughRiders Renny Osuna (2009-2011: 347 hits), Steve Murphy (2007-2009: 319 hits), Engel Beltre (2009-2012: 295 hits) and Adam Fox (2005-2009: 280 hits).
Guilder Rodriguez’s career RoughRiders’ numbers:
As an aside, he is also tied with Craig Gentry for the most steals in team history at 65. That could change tonight. Or tomorrow. Or sometime soon. The 13th year pro is now just 16 games away from an incredible career milestone as well: 1,000 professional games played.
Rodriguez won’t make any prospect lists, and by most who project these things, will likely never get a crack at the majors. While he is not one of the super prospects that will drive walk-up ticket sales, he is a guy certainly appreciated by the season ticket holders.
A “grinder” who loves the game and loves the people who play it by his side. Often the first to the mound to encourage a pitcher and seen routinely after and before organized drills and stretching working with the youngsters, the veteran who turned 30 this season is a respected leader of this group, especially among the other Spanish-speaking players.
We have devoted plenty of time to G-Rod here at the Insider Blog. You can see all the posts tagged with Guilder here.
G-Rod bat flip!
All photo credits to Frisco RoughRiders. Grant Nelson with cover artwork for PlayBall!
Baseball term of the day: rig – a baseball uniform
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.
The end of July saw a brutal offensive stretch for the ‘Riders but also produced some great audio for ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include Joe Benson telling us what it is like to face a knuckleball, Kyle McClellan on the whereabouts of his World Series ring and Jon Edwards on his wild path from Cardinals outfielder to Rangers reliever.
Happy Sunday and enjoy!
Sunday, July 28, 2013 – ‘Riders Manager Steve Buechele
In the midst of the longest scoreless streak of the season, the ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele talks about what he can do to get his players out of the slump. He explains the balance of the positive and negative management style that he tries to strike. A former big leaguer, Buechele remembers how he got out of slumps in his career. (w/ Alex Vispoli)
Monday, July 29, 2013 – OF Joe Benson
Just off the disabled list, Joe talks about his return to the team from a groin injury. He gives his take on the team’s offensive woes. Facing a knuckleballer the previous day in Eddie Bonine, he gives us an idea of what it’s like to face the pitch. (w/ Alex)
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 – RP Kyle McClellan
A World Series Champion with the Cardinals in 2010, Kyle McClellan has pitched for the ‘Riders, the Triple-A Express and the Texas Rangers this season. He talks about coming back from injury and the different pitching coaches in the Rangers organization that have helped him along this season. He looks back at his Series win and why he came to Texas in the offseason. He also shares his hiding place for his World Series Ring. (w/ Alex)
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas
After a career night, Brett talks about his comfort level after the plate after his first mini slump of the season. He does his best to explain the offensive lull the ‘Riders experienced over the last week when the team was shutout for 38 consecutive innings. He talks about his adjustments at the plate and how he worked out of his funk. Brett also gives us a sense of what big league rehabbers mean to the clubhouse. (w/ Alex)
Thursday, August 1, 2013 – RP Jimmy Reyes
On the day the ‘Riders received five new players from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Jimmy explains what it’s like as a player to go through the transition of losing teammates and getting new ones. A good friend of Luke Jackson, one of the top pitching prospects in the Texas system, Jimmy tells us what we can expect from Luke. (w/ Nathan Barnett)
Friday, August 2, 2013 – RP Jon Edwards
Jon Edwards has one of those fascinating baseball stories. A converted outfielder originally drafted by the Cardinals, Edwards is now a pitcher in the Texas system, and with Frisco, is pitching back home. The Keller native talks about his wild ride through baseball, which included stops in the North American League and the Pecos League in independent baseball before his arrival back in affiliated ball as a rediscovered pitcher. (w/ Nathan)
Saturday, August 3, 2013 – Coach Corey Tucker
A member of the RoughRiders organization since the team’s inaugural season in 2003, Corey Tucker has seen the ballpark and town around it change over the years and watched a number of great ballplayers come through Frisco. He reminisces on the changes to the park and on some of the great players and coaches he has been around including Andre Ethier, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus. (w/ Nathan)
Baseball term of the day - getaway bag - first base
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
Welcome to August. The ‘Riders had to have been happy to close the book on July. The 11-18 mark was the worst month for the team in terms of wins and losses this season and the worst since an 8-14 record posted in April 2011.
August 1 brought some new faces–five in fact. The promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A and the departure of Hanser Alberto, Odubel Herrera, Nick McBride and Kevin Pucetas to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach made room for the Pelicans to send five players to Frisco: pitchers Jon Edwards, Luke Jackson and Francisco Mendoza as well as infielders Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. (read more on the new guys here)
Frisco trailed the San Antonio Missions by eight games in the Texas League South Division at the month’s end. Dr Pepper Ballpark proved a tough venue for the ‘Riders in the month. The team won just 3 of 13 games here in Frisco. Still, remarkable performances were put together and some unforgettable moments made.
Texas League Rankings for the Month of July
Record: 55-55 overall, 11-18 in May (T-5th in Texas League), home: 3-10, road: 8-8, vs. division: 9-13
Runs: 110 (T-5th)
Average: .248 (6th)
On-base percentage: .294 (8th)
Stolen bases: 17 (6th)
Home runs: 20 (T-6th)
ERA: 3.78 (5th)
Strikeouts for: 197 (6th)
Walks allowed: 80 (8th)
Avg attendance for the year: 7,165 (6th fewest)
|RIDERS REVIEW||Record||Runs||AVG||OBP||SB||HR||ERA||K||BB||Avg. Att. TD|
|TL IN MAY||Record||Runs||AVG||OBP||SB||HR||ERA||K||BB||Avg. Att. TD|
‘Riders Slugger of the Month
3B Alex Buchholz (.341/.412/.615), 15 R, 7 2B, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 9 K, 8 BB, 1 SB)
It’s amazing that four months into the season, this selection has been so easy each month. It’s hard to argue for anyone outside of Alex Buchholz. He very well could win the Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month with his torrid July. He added to his stellar July Double-A campaign with a couple of doubles and a ribbie in Triple-A action to close out the month.
No other Rangers minor leaguer posted an OPS of over 1.000. His six home runs represented the highest long ball total on the Rangers’ farm, and was only bested by the big leagues’ Adrian Beltre and his nine July home run in the entire Texas system. Buchholz earned Texas League Player of the Week for the week of June 10-17 when he began his week 7-for-7. Playing for the first time in his career at Triple-A, the former Reds farmhand is in the midst of a breakout season. He has posted a career high in games played (96), doubles (25) home runs (15), RBI (49).
Past winners: Telis (June), Nicholas (May), Hoying (April)
‘Riders Hurler of the Month
RHP Arlett Mavare (0-0, 2.19 ERA, 6 G, 3 GS, 24.2 IP, 20 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 HRA, 16 K, 2 BB, 2 HB, 0.89 WHIP, .222 BAA)
With apologies to a number of relievers who shined in July, most notably newcomers Alex Claudio (1.29 ERA/1.07 WHIP, 14.0 IP 16 K, 3 BB) and Lisalverto Bonilla (0.61 ERA/1.02 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 21 K, 5 BB), it was Arlett Mavare who, not only pitched the best in July but also surprised and saved a RoughRiders rotation in dire need of stability.
With Neil Ramirez on the disabled list and the recent departures of Carlos Pimentel (Round Rock) and Kevin Pucetas (Myrtle Beach), the five men from the Opening Day rotation are now all gone. Cody Buckel is in Arizona working out control issues in the Rangers spring training complex and Ryan Feierabend has spent most of the season in Triple-A with the Express.
Mavare stepped into Ramirez’s spot and has been brilliant. Before the move to the rotation, Mavare was 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA. Mavare made three starts in the month: in 16 innings pitched, he allowed four runs on 12 hits with eight Ks and one walk. One walk.
In his final start in July, Arlett tossed a career-high-tying seven innings pitched, something he hadn’t done since his first pro season in 2009.
Past winners: Tufts (June), Rowen (May), Henry (April)
Official Texas League Players of the Week:
July 15 – 21: P – Keyvius Sampson (San Antonio); B – Max Stassi (Corpus Christi)
Punching Bag of the Month
Corpus Christi Hooks RP Kenny Long
Overall it hasn’t been a great season for Long, but July was particularly brutal. The stock was rising for the former 22nd rounder when he was promoted to Double-A for the first time in his career after a good start in Lancaster (Advanced-A). His Hooks run began solid as well, firing four scoreless outings to begin his time in the Texas League.
It’s been shaky since then, so shaky that he is back down in the California League and likely in large part to the way the ‘Riders punished Long. In seven July outings lasting 7.2 innings before his demotion, Long was knocked around for 10 runs on 18 hits with four walks and two home runs allowed. Good for an 0-2 record and an 11.74 ERA. Both losses ad both homers came against Frisco. He matched up against the ‘Riders in his final three Double-A appearances. Here is the line: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR allowed, .555 BAA (10-for-18). Ouch.
Best Moment of the Month
A second fan won a car at Dr Pepper Ballpark – July 7, 2013 - Remember when Tomas Telis won a fan a car by hitting a home run on the first swing for the ‘Riders in the fifth inning? I remember remarking to someone walking around the ballpark one day how cool it would be if someone actually won this promotion and pegged the odds as somewhere near one in a thousand or so. Shows what I know about chance.
It was only the third time the ‘Riders had run the Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Magic Swing Promotion this season, and the contestant went home with a brand new 2013 Jeep Wrangler. Good stuff. So we had that feather in the cap. Everyone who was here can say they saw a once-in-a-lifetime kind of promotional giveaway.
Except it happened again. On July 8, Odubel Herrera hit the third home run of the game for the ‘Riders and just his second of the season. In fact, both RoughRiders hitters to accomplish the feat did it on just their second home run of the year. Herrera hadn’t homered in 31 games and has not hit a long ball since. But that day: fate, destiny and minor league promotion at its finest.
How did the prospects do?
Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30: RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May. Three of the new additions from August 1 are Top 30 Rangers prospects–we will get to them after their first month with the ‘Riders.
Cody Buckel - Nothing new here. Buckel last pitched for the ‘Riders in May. He has been in Arizona at extended Spring Training trying to sort out control issues ever since. Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock updated us on Buckel about a month ago. You can hear my interview with him from ‘Riders on the Record.
Roman Mendez - Mendez is out for the season after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.
Wilmer Font - No longer with the RoughRiders, Font was promoted to the Round Rock Express on June 29. The Venezuelan right-hander had a team-high ten saves and sported a career best 1.41 ERA with the RoughRiders in 26 appearances this season. Over his last four RoughRiders appearances he allowed just two hits and issued three walks in 4.1 innings with no runs scored against him and fanned eight. In ten June innings, he allowed one run on four hits and six walks, striking out seventeen. He went three-for-three in save chances and posted a 1-1 record over the month.
- Hanser Alberto - In his final game as a RoughRiders swinger (for now), Alberto drove home his double-play partner Odubel Herrera to give the ‘Riders the go-ahead run in an eventual 2-1 win. That was on July 31. One of the roster causalities for the promoted Pelicans on August 1, Alberto really wasn’t able to dig himself out of the offensive hole he was in for most of the season. After hitting .298 in April, Alberto finished with a .213 batting average, the lowest it had been since April 15. Hanser hit just .194 with only four extra base hits. He went 3-for-3 in his return to the Advanced-A level. With a projected hit-tool better than average, expect to see the young shortstop (who is still the youngest player on his team) straighten things out against lower level pitching.
Neil Ramirez - An overnight household name of sorts, Neil Ramirez went from a high-ceiling righthander that many hardcore Rangers knew about to a player some casual baseball fans, especially in Chicago, became frenzied over when there was wide speculation that Ramirez would be the player to named later in the Matt Garza trade that sent Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards to the Cubs. Neil faced a little adversity this month, including a DL stint that began on July 24. Ramirez made just two starts, separated by 14 days to try and allow a sore shoulder to heal. Neither outing showed the best that Neil can offer. He allowed fours runs over six frames against the Travelers on July 5 and lasted a season-low 3.1 innings on July 19 in Corpus Christi. He surrendered five runs on seven hits against the Hooks.
Randy Henry - Henry had his worst outing, statistically, as a RoughRiders pitcher in his last appearance of the month. Against Midland on July 30, he gave up multiple runs for the first time this season, allowing a pair to score on three hits in a low-leverage ninth inning with Frisco leading 11-4. Before that, he had surrendered just one run over eight innings, so the blemish to end July makes him a victim of the small monthly sample size of a reliever. In nine innings, Henry allowed three July runs on five hits. He walked only one and struck out four. He continued to fire strikes and pitch efficiently (117 pitches, 78 strikes).
Joe Benson - Not officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if he was Rangers property to begin the season. After a torrid start to his RoughRiders career, Benson was hampered by a groin injury in June and remained on the disabled list until activation on July 25. After tearing up the Arizona League in a seven-game rehab (.417, 3 2B and a HR). Joe played in just six July contests, all on the road. He hit just .250 (5-for-20), but three of his five hits went for extra bases (2 2B, 1 3B). The important thing is that Joe is healthy and doesn’t feel any lingering affects from his groin tear that sidelined him for most of June and July. He has started all eight games since his activation from the disabled list.
Transactions of July:
7/3 RHP Joakim Soria (right elbow) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/5 RHP Joakim Soria (right elbow) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/7 RHP Kyle McClellan accepts minor league assignment and reports to Frisco
7/10 RHP Justin Miller promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/10 IF Greg Miclat received from Triple-A Round Rock
7/14 IF Guilder Rodriguez (illness) placed on 7-day disabled list (retroactive to July 10)
7/14 RHP Joe Van Meter received from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach
7/14 OF Craig Gentry (non-displaced fracture in left hand) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/15 IF Greg Miclat promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/15 OF Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/17 RHP Colby Lewis (torn right flexor tendon) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/18 OF Craig Gentry (non-displaced fracture in left hand) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/18 OF Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/19 IF Guilder Rodriguez (illness) activated off 7-day disabled list
7/24 RHP Neil Ramirez (right shoulder) placed on 7-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, July 21
7/25 OF Joe Benson (groin) activated off 7-day disabled list
7/30 IF Alex Buchholz promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/31 LHP Matt Harrison (back surgery) received on Major League rehab assignment
Happy August and go RoughRiders!
Baseball term of the day: blow a tire - pull a leg muscle
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
The RoughRiders received five players from High-A Myrtle Beach Thursday, including righthanded pitchers Jon Edwards, Luke Jackson and Francisco Mendoza as well as infielders Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas.
Carlos Pimentel was been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, and four players were transferred from Frisco to Myrtle Beach: Hanser Alberto, Odubel Herrera, Nick McBride and Kevin Pucetas.
Rougned Odor (2B)
Rougned makes his first trip to Double-A, becoming the youngest player at the level by nearly three months. In fact, since 2011 Rookie ball in Spokane at age 17, he has been the youngest in each league he has played. This season with Myrtle Beach, Odor was the youngest player in all three High-A leagues.
The Venezuelan second baseman is having a tremendous season. At the time of promotion, he was leading the Pelicans in batting (.304) and stolen bases (27) and has more doubles than any Rangers minor leaguer (33). He has clubbed five homers and four triples to go along with the 33 doubles. Odor’s uncle, ROuglas Odor, was a hitting coach in the Cleveland Indians farm system.
Odor went three-for-five in his Double-A debut, hitting two singles and a triple.
Luis Sardinas (SS)
Sardinas signed as a non-draft free agent on July 2, 2009, and spent the entire 2012 season with the Hickory Crawdads. The 20-year-old shortstop is another member of Baseball America’s top-ten in the Texas system, ranked just behind Jackson at number seven. The Venezuelan hit .297 with the Pelicans with 68 runs scored, one home run and 31 RBI. He is the third youngest player in the Texas League.
In his first game as a RoughRiders, went one-for-five with a single, and also teamed up with second baseman Odor for an impressive double play in the second to end the frame.
Luke Jackson (RHP)
Jackson was a former first round pick by Texas in 2010 and one of the top pitching prospects in the Rangers system. Ranked number six in the Rangers system by Baseball America, Luke, 21, has lived up to his billing in 2013. In 19 starts, Jackson is 9-4 with a 2.41 ERA (27 ER/101 IP). He is fourth in the Rangers farm system with 104 strikeouts. This is his first promotion to Frisco.
Jon Edwards (RHP)
A former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand, the 25-year-old is a converted outfielder and has spent the last two seasons in the Rangers system. Originally taken in the 14th round by St. Louis out of Keller High School, Edwards was a career .239 hitter in six professional seasons as a Cardinals minor leaguer. Signed by the Rangers prior to the 2012 season, he pitched at four different levels in 2012, including one appearance for the ‘Riders. This season, Edwards has spent the entire season up to this point with the Pelicans, going 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 outings.
In last night’s game against the Missions, Edwards came in for Arlett Mavare, striking out two and allowing just two hits in 1.1 innings.
Francisco Mendoza (RHP)
Reliever Francisco Mendoza is earning his first promotion to Double-A. In 27 outings as a Pelicans hurler, Mendoza went 3-2 with a 3.55 ERA with seven saves. He is striking out more than a batter an inning this season (46 K/38 IP). Mendoza signed with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent on May 19, 2008.
In his Double-A debut last night against the Missions, Mendoza pitched a scoreless ninth where he allowed just one hit and struck out three.
Baseball term of the day: Dust the jewel – For the umpire to clean off home plate.
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
The Frisco RoughRiders return home today on a two-game winning streak to begin the final month of the 2013 regular season and are looking to improve on their recent home struggles.
Frisco took to the road last week after having lost three games, including two straight shut outs, at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The ‘Riders continued to skid in their first three games in San Antonio against the Missions, going 38 consecutive scoreless innings and three straight shutout defeats. Odubel Herrera ended that streak, however, with an RBI double in the fourth inning on Friday. Frisco’s six-game losing streak ended Sunday when the ‘Riders scored seven unanswered runs against the Missions to avoid the sweep.
The ‘Riders then traveled to West Texas for three games against the RockHounds. After dropping game one in Midland, Frisco’s offense came alive on Tuesday, defeating the ‘Hounds 11-6. Rangers pitcher and RoughRiders alum Matt Harrison began his rehab Wednesday as the ‘Riders won 2-1 to take the series. This was Frisco’s first series win since the beginning of July.
The RoughRiders also announced today a list of roster moves as they ready themselves for this four-game home stand that will feature outings from Rangers rehabbers Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. Carlos Pimentel has been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock and the RoughRiders received five players from the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: righthanded pitchers Jon Edwards, Luke Jackson, and Francisco Mendoza as well as infielders Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. Four players have been transferred from Frisco to Myrtle Beach: Hanser Alberto, Odubel Herrera, Nick McBride and Kevin Pucetas.
These are the matchups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:
Saturday: RHP Colby Lewis (0-1, 8.31 ERA) vs RHP Juan Oramas (0-2, 4.58 ERA)
Sunday: LHP Matt Harrison (2-2, 3.24 ERA) vs RHP Keyvius Sampson (9-4, 2.43 ERA)
- $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
- Friday Night Post-game fireworks
- Smashburger SMASH inning
- Kids Run the Bases
- Raising Cane’s Grand Slam Sunday
Baseball term of the day: Death valley - a particularly deep outfield area in a ballpark. Because of the depth, it is more difficult to hit home runs.
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
Ted Price of DallasSportsNetwork.tv informed us this morning that he has posted the third RoughRiders Roundtable of the season (#12 overall).
You can find the podcast entry by clicking here.
In this episode Alex, Nathan, and Jason Cole (of LoneStarDugout.com) talk about how the Major League trade deadline is affecting the ‘Riders. Hear Alex’s overly descriptive post-game meal story from San Antonio and the potential impact of Lisalverto Bonilla and Alex Claudio with the big league club in the years to come.
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
So Matt Garza pitched well for the Rangers on Wednesday. He tosses for the Rangers tonight. The newest addition to the organization was acquired on Tuesday from the Chicago Cubs for Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (and 2012 RoughRiders hurler), Round Rock third baseman Mike Olt (and 2012 RoughRiders home run leader), Hickory Crawdads ace C.J. Edwards and….a player to be named later.
Not a ton is known about Edwards in the national media since he is a lower-level guy. It’s from a website with a fantasy baseball focus, but RotoGraphs has a good piece up on what he brings to the table if you are curious.
There is rather strong speculation that the player to be named later (PTBNL) could end up being RoughRiders starting pitcher, and recently placed on the disabled list man, Neil Ramirez:
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests that the disabled list move doesn’t change this likelihood
- The news is the same in Chicago, where Phil Rodgers of the Chicago Tribune hints at this as well
As someone not on the beat of the Rangers or Cubs, someone who does not communicate on a daily basis with the front office of either side, weighing in on the subject seems meaningless and pointless. As would a look back at Neil Ramirez as a RoughRiders pitcher and Rangers prospect…because, at least for now, he still is a RoughRiders hurler and still could be in a day, a week, a month or a year. (tease: IF he is traded, we will probably do a post on his career as a RoughRiders player…stay tuned! No promises though.)
IF he is indeed traded, he joins a list of RoughRiders traded while on the roster, and looking at the old transactions, there is quite the interesting mix. With the July 31 Trade Deadline fast approaching (Wednesday!), it seemed as good a time as any to look back at the trades made by the Texas Rangers near the trading deadline that involved RoughRiders players.
To qualify for the list, the player had to be on the RoughRiders roster at some point during the same year they were traded, but I excluded some after that filter. Ideally, these are players that were on the ‘Riders roster at the time of the trade, or at least played significant time on the team. Mike Olt, for example, was on the RoughRiders roster for three days this season, but doesn’t seem to really fit the point of this list. He was on the roster in a pseudo-rehab role before returning to Triple-A.
There are also a handful of trades made by Texas in the months of April, May, November and December–I only included deals from June, July and August. If you are interested in this sort of thing, check out baseballreference.com for their trade history machine–it’s pretty neat. Additionally, each player is linked to their baseball reference page, so you can see what those players’ career shaped up like.
Anyway, enough digressing…here it is! An exhaustive list (barring the author’s mistakes and editorial omissions as always) of the Rangers deadline or near-deadline deals involving RoughRiders:
July 21, 2005: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Matt Lorenzo to the Atlanta Braves for Kevin Gryboski.
Interestingly enough, Matt Lorenzo went from High-A Bakersfield, the Rangers affiliate at the time to High-A Myrtle Beach, the Rangers current High-A affiliate (then with the Braves). His time in Frisco was brief, making ten appearances, nine starts for the ‘Riders in April and May. He didn’t pitch very well (3-5, 7.14 ERA, 1.99 WHIP) and only reached Double-A one more time in his career. It came with the Pirates in 2006. His tenure in Atlanta’s system didn’t outlast the 2005 season, and his career wrapped up at the conclusion of 2007.
Gryboski on the other hand made 11 largely mediocre appearances for the Rangers in 2005 and signed with Washington the following offseason.
June 29, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Fabio Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Daniel Haigwood and cash
Although not a RoughRiders pitcher for very long, his inclusion on the Rangers big league roster for some time made it impossible for me to filter this trade off the list. Yes, Fabio Castro was a Ranger.
For four appearances, the then 21-year-old pitched against the Tigers, Angels, Rays and Diamondbacks as a member of the Rangers. In five outings, four starts, for the RoughRiders Castro went 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA. He went on to pitch well for the Phills for the remainder of 2006, but didn’t have much of a big league career after that. This season, he is pitching in Cancun for Tigres de Quintana Roo in the AAA Mexican League.
July 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Bryan Corey to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Mendoza
Bryan Corey made his comeback to the bigs through Frisco in 2006. He was dominant in 13 games for the ‘Riders, saving eight ballgames in 13 appearances with a 2.08 ERA. After 12 games at Triple-A, the Rangers promoted the righthander in June, and he went on to pitch 16 games for the club.
Texas designated him for assignment, however, and got Luis Mendoza in exchange before a team could nab him off the waiver wire. Mendoza would debut in the majors with Texas the following season and is still pitching at the highest level–now for the Royals.
July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jose Diaz to the Kansas City Royals for Matt Stairs
Attempting a run at the 2006 AL West Crown, the Rangers went out and aquired 38-year-old Matt Stairs, who didn’t hit much for the Rangers (.210/.273/.370) in 26 games down the stretch. Amazingly, Stairs went on to play five more seasons in the big leagues, none of them for Texas.
The cost was Jose Diaz, who got a quick promotion to Triple-A after a stellar start for the ‘Riders in 2006. In eight games, four starts, Diaz posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. He pitched in just four games in the majors for the Royals, all coming in 2006. The Rangers actually signed him again in 2008. He pitched for Frisco again, and made it up to Arlington for a single appearance with the big league club. He was last heard from in 2011, playing for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jesse Chavez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kip Wells
As someone who grew up in Texas and was in high school at the time, I thought I would have remembered this deal. I forgot Kip Wells was a Ranger. That’s because he made two starts for the club and was then shutdown for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. Texas reportedly had some interest in resigning Kip Wells when he became a free agent at the end of the season but did not. Chavez has carved out a decent major league career for himself.
Almost the first man on the list to actual be on the ‘Riders roster when traded, Chavez made 38 appearances before his promotion to Triple-A in late July and was traded after one appearance for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks (then a Rangers affiliate). Seven years later, he is now in the Oakland bullpen and at age 29, is having the best year of his career.
August 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded Mike Nickeas to the New York Mets for Victor Diaz
Finally! We come the first RoughRiders player to be traded at the deadline. The previous men were all ‘Riders at some point during these respective seasons, but Mike Nickeas was an active member of the ‘Riders roster when traded in late August, just prior to the “second trade deadline” which takes place on August 31 (for more info on MLB Transactions rules, go here).
A .248 hitter in 2006 for the RoughRiders, Nickeas was the cost for outfielder Victor Diaz, who hit a little bit for the Rangers in the final month of the season…not enough for Texas to make postseason play, however. After six plus seasons as a Mets farmhand, playing in Major League action in three different seasons, Nickeas is now in the Toronto system, pitching at Triple-A.
August 18, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded a PTBNL and Matt Nevarez to the Houston Astros for Ivan Rodriguez. The Texas Rangers sent RoughRiders 2B Jose Vallejo (August 20, 2009) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.
Ah yes. The return of Pudge. Another August move for a push at the postseason, Pudge likely at least filled the seats a bit for the Rangers. Ivan became the primary catcher in a season filled by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Kevin Richardson. Vallejo was off the ‘Riders roster and off to Triple-A in early May, never hit much for the Astros organization and never made the majors.
July 9, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders 2B/OF Matt Lawson, RoughRiders SP Blake Beavan, RoughRiders RP Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe and cash.
The trade of the franchise. Right alongside the Josh Hamilton deal as arguably the most positively impactful acquisition in team history, I don’t really need to elaborate here. At least not on the big league side.
On the RoughRiders side, Matt Lawson was a productive RoughRiders hitter, batting .277 in 76 contests for the squad. Beavan was a high-floor Rangers pitching prospect who has since made over 40 starts for the Mariners. As a ‘Rider, the 6’7″ Irving, Texas native went 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 2010. He fired 12 quality starts in his total of 17 before the trade. Lueke flashed lights-out stuff for Frisco out of the bullpen, saving five ballgames with 26 Ks in just 18.2 innings as a Texas Leaguer. He has spent parts of the last three seasons in the Show, most recently with Tampa Bay. He is still striking a ton of guys out but with mixed results.
July 29, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded P Omar Poveda and RoughRiders RP Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for Jorge Cantu.
Jorge Cantu…one of the vaunted additions (along with Guzman just below) that were supposed to help the Rangers get over the hump. Nothing compares to the addition of Cliff Lee this season (how could it!), but Cantu was quite the disappointment. After hitting .262/.310/.409 for the Marlins before the trade, the declining corner infielder hit .235/.279/.327 for the Rangers in 30 games and had a grand total of eight plate appearances in the postseason (going 0-for-8), including one measly at-bat in the World Series.
Poveda was hampered by injuries and never panned out, but Evan Reed, a stalwart of the 2010 RoughRiders bullpen, had an up-and-down minor league jaunt with the Marlins. This April, the Tigers took him off waivers, and he has spent significant time with Detroit’s major league club, making his debut in the majors on May 16 against his former club, allowing a run on two hits to the Rangers. He is currently on the roster getting big leaguers out.
July 30, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP/RPs Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Washington Nationals for Cristian Guzman.
Guzman was pretty awful for the Rangers (.152/.204/.174) after posting very solid numbers for the Nationals over three plus seasons. In 2012 he was signed by the Indians but released before the start of the season. After not making the postseason roster for Texas in 2010, he never played in a professional game again.
To get him, the Rangers gave up Tatusko, of Newberg Report fame. A solid arm for the ‘Riders that season as well, the righthander went 9-2 with a 2.97, largely as a starter. His last outing as a RoughRiders pitcher was one of his better outings: six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Corpus Christi Hooks at home on July 26. Tatusko tossed a nine-inning complete game shutout on July 16 as well, in an efficient 94-pitch effort over the Hooks at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tanner Roark was another member of the rotation primarily, splitting his time between the ‘Riders pen and starting quintet. The ‘Riders rotation took quite the hit from this trade…just like they did after the following trade:
July 31, 2011: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SPs Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to the San Diego Padres for Mike Adams.
One of the bigger impact trades on the list, the Rangers gave up two very good starting pitching prospects to get one of the best relievers in the National League at the time. For a while it appeared the Rangers would acquire Padres closer Heath Bell, and out of seemingly nowhere, picked up Adams instead.
Erlin and Wieland were both staples of the 2011 ‘Riders rotation. Erlin was 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, after his late May promotion from Myrtle Beach. Wieland was not called up from the Pelicans’ squad until mid-June but adapted quickly to Texas League batters. The big righthander was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA as a RoughRiders pitcher and pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in his final start as a Rangers farmhand on July 29, 2011. This elicited a series of blog posts on this site, including one of my favorite ‘Riders Insider Blog posts of all-time. Both have had big league time with the Padres and still are poised for solid careers.
Baseball term of the day: Ryanitis – a mock disease causing faux symptoms that batters used to try and get out of the lineup rather than face Nolan Ryan.
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)