Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Home Sweet Home: The Final Countdown

For the final time this season, the RoughRiders return home to put on a show for the hometown fans at Dr Pepper Ballpark. While eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday in San Antonio, the ‘Riders return to Frisco on a two-game winning streak and have a chance to win the season series against both the Midland RockHounds and the Corpus Christi Hooks.

Frisco has captured victory in 10 of the 22 meetings with Midland. The ‘Riders have six games left with the RockHounds, including three this weekend. Frisco will have to take three of the four games against the Hooks to wrap up the home stand to at least split the season set with their South Division rivals from Corpus Christi. Frisco is 13-15 against the Houston Astros affiliate this year.

082413 Blog

Ramirez becomes a Cub

The Texas Rangers announced Friday that RoughRiders starting pitcher Neil Ramirez has been sent to the Chicago Cubs, completing the July 22 trade that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers. The deal was completed following the Cubs claiming the right-hander off waivers; he has been assigned to Cubs Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies, in the Southern League. The deal also sent Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards and Mike Olt to the Cubs.

Neil joins the list of RoughRiders involved in trade-deadline deals.  Read Nathan’s July 29 post of ‘Riders involved in past trade deadline.

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Ramirez, 24, went 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA with the ‘Riders in 21 appearances, all starts, this season. Despite missing two weeks of action while on the disabled list in late July and early August, Ramirez leaves the Texas League as the circuit’s strikeout leader with 127, five more than former teammate Carlos Pimentel. The Virginia Beach, Virginia native was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star selection, starting the game and earning the victory for the South Division All-Stars, firing a scoreless first inning with a strikeout.

Ramirez spent this spring in big league camp with the Rangers for the second straight year. He spent all of this season with the ‘Riders after splitting his 2012 between Double-A and Triple-A, making 13 appearances, 12 starts for Frisco that season. He made six starts for the ‘Riders in a breakout campaign in 2011 in which he went 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA across three levels.

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Here’s a look at this week’s match-ups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:

Saturday: RHP Arlett Mavare (3-2, 4.60 ERA) vs Drew Carpenter (3-2, 1.56 ERA)

Sunday: RHP Luke Jackson (1-0, 0.00) vs Murphy Smith (8-8, 3.64)

Monday: RHP Tyler Tufts (3-5, 3.34) vs Zach Neal (8-11, 4.21)

Tuesday: RHP Nick Martinez (0-0, 1.42) vs David Rollins (0-1, 2.38)

Wednesday: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 6.75) vs Mike Foltynewicz (5-3, 2.90)

Thursday: RHP Arlett Mavare vs Ruben Alaniz (7-8, 4.39)

Friday: RHP Luke Jackson vs Nick Tropeano (1-0, 1.29)

Saturday, August 24   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Sunday, August 25  |   6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Kids Run the Bases
  • Dairy Queen Triple Play

Monday, August 26   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Tuesday, August 27   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Wednesday, August 28   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Dollar Dog Night

Thursday, August 29   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)

Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays
  • Nationwide T-Shirts

Friday, August 30  |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

- Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Cannon Shot - An exceptionally long-hit ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Rougned Odor Walk-off Madness

081713 Odor web

What an exciting weekend we had here in Frisco. Big crowds, beautiful August weather and a sweep of the Drillers.

On back-to-back nights, the Rangers’ top second base prospect Rougned Odor knocked a walk-off single to send Frisco past the Tulsa Drillers by a 6-5 score. Odor has impressed with his mere presence in Double-A, as he is the youngest player in not only the Texas League but also the entire Double-A level, besting top Cleveland prospect Francisco Lindor by a few months.

His feats on Friday night and Saturday night are unprecedented in RoughRiders history.

Thanks to our friends over at MiLB.com for cutting up the clip. Unfortunately, on Saturday, they chose a different clip, but we do have a GIF from baseball blogger Kazuto Yamazaki, who spends a good chuck of time following the Rangers and their affiliates.

Roogie walk-offNever before has a RoughRider walked it off on back-to-back nights. Four other times, the RoughRiders have collected walk-off wins on consecutive nights.

Hank’s brother Jake Blalock followed Luke Grayson‘s walk-off with one of his own on May 7, 2006.

Jake Blalock walk-off

A wild pitch from Sam Demel made a walk-off winner of the ‘Riders on May 19, 2007, one night after Emerson Frostad singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning against the Midland RockHounds.

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Joey Butler and Andy Jenkins beat the Missions with extra-innings walk-off singles on consecutive nights here at Dr Pepper Ballpark in late August of 2010.

Last season, the ‘Riders picked up back-to-back game-ending hits in the South Division Championship Series against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Chris McGuiness doubled in the winning run on September 5 and Leury Garcia knocked a home run to right field to end game two on September 6. The ‘Riders would sweep the series before falling to the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League Championship Series.

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Rougned Odor was the first to end games on two straight nights in team history. To further the rarity, he did in the same way (a single), against the same team (Tulsa Drillers) and by the same score (both wins were 6-5 RoughRiders victories). Friday’s came in the 13th inning, while Saturday’s contest finished in the bottom of the ninth.

The 19-year-old has impressed to start his Double-A career. He hit safely in his first nine Texas League games. He hit in each game this weekend and has four doubles, adding to his absurd Myrtle Beach two-bagger total for a season tally of 37–the most by any Rangers minor leaguer and tied for fifth in all of minor league baseball.

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 19 Frisco 16 78 9 20 4 1 3 9 1 1 5 16 .278 .333 .486 .819

The ‘Riders open a series with the San Antonio Missions tonight, trying to extend their hopes at a playoff berth. Frisco needs to win three of the four games over the Missions in the series to avoid San Antonio clinching against them. You can learn more about the ‘Riders of late in tonight’s game notes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: massage - to bat a ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: getting knighted and swinging at a tire

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‘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.

A jam-packed home stand had lots of new faces looming in the tunnels and on the field at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tony Fernandez was here as the active hitting coach for Jason Hart, Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler was in town for a bit, as was the Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik and Infield Instructor Casey Candaele. Newcomers Nick Martinez, Jerad Eickhoff, Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams all made their Dr Pepper Ballpark debuts, and the ‘Riders were joined by Rangers rehabber Lance Berkman.   Highlights this week include the knighthood of Sir Kalian Sams, Lance Berkman talking about the development of his left-handed swing and the insights of Tony Fernandez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The skipper sits down with Alex as he does on Sunday to discuss the past week. Steve Buechele explains why he was ejected in the ballgame the previous night and the goes over the frustrating one-run losses of the previous week. He talks about what it is like for a manager after being ejected. As a former big league third baseman, he also explains how difficult a transition that Ryan Rua is making mid-season to go from second base to third. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – OF Kalian Sams


Kalian Sams began the season in the San Diego Padres system and faced the RoughRiders as a member of the San Antonio Missions. Now in the Texas system, he talks about getting acquainted with his new teammates and the hardest part of adjusting to a new clubhouse. A knight in his native Netherlands, he explains how he came to be knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands and what that process was like. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Lance Berkman


Rangers rehabbing DH Lance Berkman talks about his decision not to retire and what he feels like he contribute to the major league team the rest of the day. He explains the value, in his opinion, of a rehab assignment and why he has been so successful in rehab assignment overs the years. He also talks about becoming a switch-hitter and how he learned. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Special Assistant to the GM Tony Fernandez


Longtime major league shortstop Tony Fernandez joined the RoughRiders for the first few games of the home stand to serve as the acting Hitting Coach in place of vacationing Jason Hart. He talks about the process of serving as a temporary hitting coach and what it takes to ensure the growth of the hitters are not thrown off. He also talks about his work in the Rangers system and the key to success for the young middle infielders Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 16, 2013 – C Brett Teschner


While not a highly touted prospect, undrafted catcher Brett Teschner has one of the more interesting stories among those who have donned the RoughRiders red this summer. In his short time in the Rangers system after a mid-season signing this year, Brett has been on every single Rangers US-based affiliate roster, completing the set of his here with the ‘Riders. He talks about the crazy travel. He explains what it is like for the undrafted professional after the MLB draft and if he ever considered calling it quits. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 17, 2013 – RHP Nick Martinez


One of the newest RoughRiders pitchers, Nick Martinez, joins us following his second Double-A start and home debut to discuss his early success with the ‘Riders. Primarily a second baseman in college, Nick talks about his transition to a full-time role on the mound, the development of his repertoire and the origin of his mechanics. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: curvist - a curveball pitcher

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Joining the club – Rua’s 30th homer of the season

Would you believe that a 17th round draft pick from 2011 with 11 professional home runs entering this season would end up in the 30s in his home run count?  Ryan Rua has done just that this season.

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The former Lake Erie College standout went deep to lead off the bottom of the third on Thursday night for his first Double-A home run and his 30th this season.  He is now tied with Tennessee’s Javier Baez and New Britain’s Miguel Sano for the third-most homers in the minors this season, trailing only Oklahoma City’s George Springer (32) and former Indianapolis Indian Andrew Lambo (31) and Hickory’s Joey Gallo (31)

The Rangers have had other players reach the 30 home run mark in the minors.  Here’s at look at some from recent years: Joey Gallo (31 this season), Mike Bianucci (30 in 2009 and 2011), Nelson Cruz (37 in 2008) and Ian Gac (32 in 2008).

You can watch Rua hit his first Double-A home run here 

Look at the reaction on Twitter following Ryan’s homer:

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Who is Ryan Rua?

The 23-year-old is in his third year of professional baseball after getting drafted by the Rangers in the 17th round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft (same round as former San Antonio Missions pitcher Matt Stites who was traded to the Diamondbacks in July in the Ian Kennedy deal).  Ryan is the first player to ever be drafted out of Lake Erie College in Painsville, Ohio.

If it seems he just came out of nowhere this season, that because he really did.  In 2011 with AZL Rangers and Spokane, Ryan knocked just four long balls.  Playing for Spokane in 2012, Rua launched seven homers.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS
2011 21 Rangers ARIZ Rk 45 162 41 52 12 5 3 34 20 34 .321 .395 .907
2011 21 Spokane NORW A- 7 26 2 5 0 0 1 3 1 6 .192 .250 .558
2012 22 Spokane NORW A- 74 280 40 82 16 1 7 43 29 64 .293 .368 .800
2013 23 Hickory SALL A 104 367 70 92 24 1 29 82 49 91 .251 .356 .914
2013 23 Frisco TL AA 8 31 5 7 0 1 1 2 2 9 .226 .314 .701
3 Seasons 238 866 158 238 52 8 41 164 101 204 .275 .362 .858
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2013.

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2013 has been a breakout year for the Amherst, Ohio native.  In Hickory, Ryan slammed 29 home runs in 104 games and 367 at-bats.  Ryan earned the promotion to the RoughRiders on August 8, and he knocked his 30th homer of the season and his first at the Double-A level in his seventh game with Frisco.

In an interview with Alex on August 10, two days after becoming a RoughRider, Ryan spoke about where he thinks this breakout has come from, and how he handled people’s doubts:

“The success this season surprised me somewhat, but not all that much.  The hitting coach in Hickory that I’ve been working with for about two years, Justin Mayshore, helped me get a good feel for my swing, find a groove and find my confidence as well.” 

“Coming out of high school, I was always the smallest guy on the team.  In college, I was still one of the smaller guys.  There’s always been a chip on my shoulder, but I think it drives me.”

This season, Ryan is second only to Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo for the most home runs in the Rangers system.  Rua also leads the Rangers system in RBI with 84, ahead of Brett Nicholas who has 79.

Tepid Participation at Lone Star Ball caught up with Ryan for a Q&A just days before getting promoted to Frisco.  Tepid asks Ryan about growing up in the small Ohio town of Amherst, and get to know a little bit more about Rua and why he loves hot dogs.  The two also discuss the success of the Hickory Crawdads this year, what pitches Ryan likes to hit, and his experience learning to play at each base.

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-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Plowhorse - A player who grinds out solid performances after others would have expected him to let up.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Lance Berkman: a photographic history

Lance Berkman spent a couple games with the RoughRiders on rehab assignment this week. The decorated former outfielder and first baseman spends most of his time nowadays as a DH for the Rangers.

On assignment, he joined an ever-growing list of MLB rehabbers the ‘Riders have this season (in chronological order): Justin Miller (rehabber because of his place on the 40-man roster, despite zero big league time), A.J. Pierzynski, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria, Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Matt Harrison. That list does not include: Martin Perez, who was optioned to Frisco but his time here served a similar purpose, Kyle McClellan, who before his current stint on the active roster was on a rehab-like schedule with the ‘Riders before an early season call up, and Mike Olt who was on a minor league rehab of sorts, playing just three games with Frisco before returning to Triple-A.

If Berkman is indeed done with his rehab (he departed from assignment in Frisco yesterday), he complete a solid all-around rehab outing between the two levels.

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA-AA 4 14 11 3 4 0 0 1 3 3 2 .364 .500 .636 1.136
2013 Round Rock PCL AAA 2 7 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
2013 Frisco TL AA 2 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 .250 .571 .250 .821
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

He has been good as a rehabber over the course of his career, although he writes off the success: “It’s a small sample size, so if you have a couple bad at-bats or if you feel good and get a couple good pitches to hit” it can really affect the numbers Berkman explained on Wednesday. For him, the rehab assignment is more about seeing the ball well and “to take some of the pressure of performing off.”

Some look past the spectacular career of Berkman, who ranks in the top-5 all-time switch hitters in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

But…if you want those numbers like those, you can go any number of place. Like here or here or look right below at this handle little chart:


Rank: Player: bWAR: fWAR: Average:
1 Mickey Mantle  109.70  112.30  111.00
2 Chipper Jones  85.20  85.10  85.15
3 George Davis  84.80  84.60  84.70
4 Pete Rose  79.40  80.20  79.80
5 Ozzie Smith  76.50  74.80  75.65
6 Frankie Frisch  70.40  72.00  71.20
7 Tim Raines  69.10  67.60  68.35
8 Eddie Murray  68.20  66.30  67.25
9 Carlos Beltran  67.10  64.60  65.85
10 Roberto Alomar  66.80  63.90  65.35
11 Reggie Smith  64.40  63.90  64.15
12 Max Carey  53.90  60.00  56.95
13 Lance Berkman  52.10  56.10  54.10
14 Tony Phillips  50.80  54.20  52.50
15 Ted Simmons  50.20  46.60  48.40

bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference and fWAR is the same statistical concept, calculated by FanGraphs. Anyway, enough numbers. Well, nearly enough numbers.

Instead, I present to you a photographic timeline of the career of Lance Berkman, complete with one of the few (if not only!) high-quality Berkman-in-RoughRiders-uniform photos in existence. From clean-shaven to goatee to clean-shaven to bearded back to clean-shaven to speckled-gray beard…1999 to 2013.

And a few more numbers.

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 22 Jackson TL AA HOU 122 517 82 130 34 0 24 89 6 4 85 82 .306 .424 .555 .979
1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 New Orl. PCL AAA HOU 64 267 42 73 20 0 8 49 7 1 39 47 .323 .419 .518 .937
2002, Astros

2002, Astros

2006, National League All-Stars

2006, National League All-Stars

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, Astros

2008, Astros

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

berkmanx-inset-community

2010, Astros (David J. Phillip / AP)

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 HOU 34 106 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 .708
2000 24 HOU 114 417 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 .949
2001 25 HOU 156 688 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 1.051
2002 26 HOU 158 692 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 .982
2003 27 HOU 153 658 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 .927
2004 28 HOU 160 687 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 1.016
2005 29 HOU 132 565 76 137 34 1 24 82 4 1 91 72 .293 .411 .524 .934
2006 30 HOU 152 646 95 169 29 0 45 136 3 2 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041
2007 31 HOU 153 668 95 156 24 2 34 102 7 3 94 125 .278 .386 .510 .896
2008 32 HOU 159 665 114 173 46 4 29 106 18 4 99 108 .312 .420 .567 .986
2009 33 HOU 136 563 73 126 31 1 25 80 7 4 97 98 .274 .399 .509 .907
2010 34 HOU 85 358 39 73 16 1 13 49 3 2 60 70 .245 .372 .436 .808
HOU (12 yrs) 1592 6713 1008 1648 375 26 326 1090 82 42 1040 1121 .296 .410 .549 .959
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.
2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 34 NYY AL 37 123 9 27 7 0 1 9 0 0 17 15 .255 .358 .349 .707
2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, National League All-Star (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, National League All-Stars (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, Cardinals

2011, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2011 35 STL NL 145 587 90 147 23 2 31 94 2 6 92 93 .301 .412 .547 .959 AS,MVP-7
2012 36 STL NL 32 97 12 21 7 1 2 7 2 0 14 19 .259 .381 .444 .826
STL (2 yrs) 177 684 102 168 30 3 33 101 4 6 106 112 .295 .408 .533 .940
Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

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Rangers, 2013 (Kelly Gavin / Texas Rangers)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 37 TEX AL 68 282 27 62 10 1 6 34 0 0 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

And then there was Frisco.

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swish hitter a power hitter who strikes out frequently

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The name game: Rougned Odor

This week, MiLB.com kicked off their annual fan participation contest “Moniker Madness” where fans can choose the best name among the thousands of active Minor League players.  RoughRiders new-comer Rougned Odor has been selected by MiLB.com as a contestant this season and he needs your votes.  Odor is also the solo representative from the Rangers farm system.

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Rougned, also known as Roogey, made his Double-A debut on August 1 and became the youngest player at the level this season at age 19.  The Venezuelan second baseman has a 15 year-old brother with the same first name, but the two are separated by different middle names (older Rougned’s full name is Rougned Roberto, while the younger is named Rougned Jose).  The two have an uncle named Rouglas Odor who is a hitting coach in the Cleveland Indians system.

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How to vote

On the webpage, fans will be given a random pairing of two names and will vote on which one they prefer. Then another random pairing will appear and the fan can vote again. This will continue with different random pairings as long as the fan chooses to continue. The ultimate winner of the contest will be the player that wins the most random head-to-head matchups.  Voting will run through noon on Wednesday, August 28.

The link for the Moniker Madness voting page is – www.milb.com/monikermadnes

Other nominated Texas Leaguers:

Delta Cleary Jr. – Tulsa Drillers
Rocky Gale – San Antonio Missions
Cheslor Cuthbert – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Jett Bandy – Arkansas Travelers

215x160_mm_2013

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Seamhead - A dedicated baseball fan

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The 2013 season’s MUST read blog posts

080713 Zach Zaneksi Blog #8

Time to pat ourselves on the backs again and extend a big, gracious, Texas-sized THANK YOU to all of you out there reading. The ‘Riders Insider Blog made a charge up the recent MLBlog Rankings to #8 among MiLB Pro blogs for the month of July.  We are honored and excited to achieve our highest ranking of the season (previously, we checked in as high as #10).

In honor of this great news, it seemed like a good time to go back at look at some of the posts that made it possible. In case you missed them, here are the must read blog posts of the season:

Beards1

Battle of the Beards: Tufts vs. Bleier – The #2 ranked post of the season and #1 in July is a fun profile of the beards of Richard Bleier and Tyler Tufts. They even nicknamed their beards. Want to know what Tyler Tufts’ beard does in its free time? How about Richard on why his beard is better than Tyler’s? (published July 17)

Blog_Trade

The RoughRiders’ ghosts of trade deadlines passed – is a look at all of the trades the Texas Rangers have made at that trading deadline (or near it) that involved current RoughRiders players (or players that played for the team the season they were traded). Did you know the Rangers had Kip Wells? How about Matt Stairs? Find out which RoughRiders were offered up to get them. (published July 29)

Say it is Joe! – The third ranked post since the start of the season, here is the story of Joe Benson. GIF ALERT: included is a gif of Joe running the bases at breakneck speed on a home run. He does that. Check it out. (published May 29)

Catching up with… Ross Wolf - Okay, so this only one sort of counts. Not published this season, the interview Alex conducted with Ross blew up around the time of his promotion, I am sure in part to some pub from Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report (thanks Scott!). This is a great read with some truly interesting tidbits.  There is also a great baseball card photo in here. It’s worth checking it out for that alone. (published November 2, 2012)

snow day panorama

Snow Day! – Here is one is of the most popular posts of 2013. The gallery of some of my favorite photos of Dr Pepper Ballpark. Kudos to Alex for braving the February cold. Truly unique photos that you cannot find anywhere else. (published January 15)

The Knuckleball – I don’t know why I bother writing a description for this one. You probably already clicked the link. I mean come on. It’s the knuckleball…if it doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.  Here is a glance at some of the other knuckleballers around baseball, inspired by then-RoughRiders hurler Kevin Pucetas. (published June 22)

‘Riders on the Record: the first day of school, home runs over touchdowns and the return of Mike Olt - Our most popular ‘Riders on the Record post of the season, this week included Joe Benson discussing his first days as a Texas Ranger and Mike Olt explaining his vision issues. (Published June 2)

What is your favorite post of the season? Let us in the comments below or on Twitter @RidersBaseball

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: ramicack to hit a baseball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Home Sweet Home: New faces and a Rangers Rehabber

The RoughRiders return to Dr Pepper Ballpark on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. to host the same two opponents of last week’s road trip, the Springfield Cardinals and the Tulsa Drillers.  Frisco will play three games each against both teams, looking to recover from a tough six-game road stint.  Last week, the ‘Riders were swept by the Cardinals in three straight one-run games.  Frisco lost their first game against the Drillers, but won game two, ending a streak of six straight one-run losses.  The RoughRiders lost the series in Sunday’s matchup, ending the road trip in third place, twelve games out of first place.

This will be the first time for fans to see the four newest RoughRiders, who were added to the roster during the road trip. Infielder Ryan Rua was promoted from Class-A Hickory and the Rangers signed former San Antonio Missions outfielder Kalian Sams and assigned him to Frisco. Pitchers Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez were promoted from Myrtle Beach.  Martinez will start Friday against the Drillers, and Eickhoff is scheduled to throw the following game.

This six-game home stand will be the last time this season that the ‘Riders will face the Cardinals and the Drillers and will be the next-to-last home stand of the season.

Rangers’ designated hitter Lance Berkman has been transfered to Frisco to continue his rehab assignment, and is expected to serve as the DH for the ‘Riders on Tuesday and Wednesday when the team hosts the Springfield Cardinals at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Berkman is rehabbing from inflammation in his left hip.

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These are the matchups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:

Tuesday: RHP Neil Ramirez (9-3, 3.61 ERA)  vs RHP Seth Blair (3-9, 4.63 ERA)

Wednesday: RHP Luke Jackson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs RHP Richard Castillo (7-7, 4.14 ERA)

Thursday: RHP Tyler Tufts (3-4, 3.28 ERA) vs LHP Tim Cooney  (6-7, 4.05 ERA)

Friday: RHP Nick Martinez (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs RHP Tim Gustafson (6-8, 4.76 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 6.55 ERA) vs RHP Christian Bergman (7-7, 3.28 ERA)

Sunday: RHP Neil Ramirez vs RHP Tyler Matzek (8-7, 3.43 ERA)

 

Tuesday, August 13   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Springfield Cardinals (STL)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Wednesday, August 14   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Springfield Cardinals (STL)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Dollar Dog Night
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Thursday, August 15   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Springfield Cardinals (STL)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays

Friday, August 16  |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Tulsa Drillers (COL)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • Round the Bases Brew Tasting
    BrewTastingRoundBases
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

Saturday, August 17   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Tulsa Drillers (COL)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Free ‘Riders Tumbler
    ADVENT_Carrier_FREE_TUMBLER_RV_35ec4qpq
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Sunday, August 18 |   6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Tulsa Drillers (COL)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Kids Run the Bases
  • Raising Cane’s Grand Slam Sunday
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

 

- Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Truck horse - A very slow runner

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: The Franchise Hits Record and Modeling off Tim Lincecum

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‘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.

Lots of new faces, lots of new voices this week for ‘Riders on the Record. Wednesday through Saturday we heard from folks we have yet to hear from this season, including three players who joined the team this month. If you have seen Luke Jackson pitch, you might make the Tim Lincecum comparison in terms of his windup. Jackson addresses that notion; turns out its not a coincidence. Be sure to tune in to the always poignant G-Rod, who became the RoughRiders All-Time hits leader on Sunday before a promotion to Triple-A on Friday. Why is Ryan Rua hitting so many home runs this year? He tries to explain the uptick in long balls as well.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The ‘Riders manager saw a bevy of changes to his roster of the week prior. Steve Buechele discusses the promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A, the addition of some highly-touted prospects from Myrtle Beach included Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Luke Jackson, as well as the challenge of telling players that they have to go down a level. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 – UTIL Guilder Rodriguez


With a pair of hits on Sunday August 4, 2013, Guilder Rodriguez became the all-time franchise leader in hits, passing Renny Osuna who had 347 hits for the club. He discusses the significance of the record, especially in light of him passing a friend and a former teammate. He also shares his parting words with Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera when they were sent down to Myrtle Beach. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 – SP Jerad Eickhoff


Fresh off his Double-A debut, the big right-hander Jerad Eickhoff sat down with Alex Vispoli. Jerad had some family in town for the outing, he talks about how often his family gets to see him pitch. He talks about how he had honed his control and what he makes of Nick Tepesch comparisons. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 8, 2013 – SP Arlett Mavare


Arlett Mavare has not been a starting pitcher since his first year in professional ball. Sliding into the rotation of the ‘Riders this season, Arlett has really found a groove. He talks about his curious strikeout numbers, which he piles up despite the lack of an overpowering fastball. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 9, 2013 – SP Luke Jackson


Rangers top-10 prospect Luke Jackson fired six shutout frames in his first Double-A start. With an unconventional delivery, Jackson is a very hard thrower. He talks about the tinkering of his mechanics as a professional and how he developed the motion in the first place. He also talks about the adjustment to Double-A and the new clubhouse which is now home to a bunch of his Myrtle Beach teammates. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, August 10, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


A “career year” only begins to describe the kind of season that Ryan Rua is putting together this year. At or near the top in the minors in home runs for most of the season, Ryan talks about how he has been able to unlock the power this season and about his journey from small Lake Erie College to Double-A pro ball. (w/ Alex)
- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: blinker - the back pocket lining of baseball pants

Rangers bestow Buchholz with hardware, we weigh in and post cool graphics

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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:

Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers announced today the club’s minor league award winners for July. Right-hander David Ledbetter was named Pitcher of the Month, infielder Alex Buchholz was named Player of the Month, outfielder Lewis Brinson was named Defender of the Month, and right-hander Francisco Mendoza was named Reliever of the Month.
 
Buchholz, 25, combined to bat .347 (34-98) with 9 doubles, 6 home runs, 15 RBI, 15 runs, and 8 walks over 26 games with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock in the month of July. The 6 home runs by Buchholz raised his season total to a career-high 15, eclipsing his previous best of 8 with Bakersfield in 2010. He hit a pair of long balls in Frisco’s 4-3 victory over Midland in game one of a doubleheader on July 17, including a walk-off home run in the 9th inning. Buchholz hit safely in 21 of 26 games in July, including a 9-game hit streak from July 4-13, during which he batted .432 (16-37). Overall, Buchholz has combined to bat .281 (105-374) with 25 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 50 RBI, and 48 runs in 100 games with the ‘Riders and Express. He was selected from Cincinnati in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 8, 2011.
 
Mendoza, 25, permitted just one unearned run and whiffed 16 batters over 13.1 innings of work in 10 relief appearances with High-A Myrtle Beach in July. The right-hander converted 6 of 7 save chances during the month, recording the 2nd-most saves in the Carolina League in July. Mendoza stranded 7 of 10 inherited runners, while holding opponents to a .227 average (10-44). He was promoted to Double-A Frisco on August 1 and has gone 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA (15 ER/40.0 IP), 7 saves, and 50 strikeouts in 29 relief appearances overall between Myrtle Beach and Frisco. The Dominican Republic native was signed as a non-drafted free agent on May 19, 2008 by Rodolfo Rosario.
In addition to aforementioned exploits for Buchholz, he ranked tops or near the tops in a number of areas among Rangers minor leaguers for the month of July:

Buchholz stacking up to the system in July

Batting Average:

  1. Kevin Mendoza .395 (43 AB)
  2. Jorge Alfaro .382 (34 AB)
  3. Paul Cantwell .362 (58 AB)
  4. Nick Williams .349 (86 AB)
  5. Alex Buchholz .347 (98)

Slugging Percentage*:

  1. Jorge Alfaro .647 (34 AB)
  2. Fernando Vivilli .633 (30 AB)
  3. Alex Buchholz .622 (98 AB)
  4. 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)

Hits:

  1. Kevin Torres 35
  2. Alex Buchholz 34
  3. Luis Sardinas 34

Doubles:

  1. Alex Buchholz 9
  2. Rougned Odor 9
  3. Jake Skole 9

Home Runs:

  1. Alex Buchholz 6
  2. Jim Adduci 5
  3. Ryan Rua 5

Total Bases:

  1. Alex Buchholz 61
  2. Kevin Torres 48
  3. 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:

Buchhspray

Okay, so someone misplaced a groundout point somewhere in Ruthian left field. Let’s let that go.
And here is his “heat” map, which is essentially the same thing. Minus the details. With more cool factor. Or heat factor, I guess…okay, I will stop.
Alex  Buchholz_HeatMapFinally, we come the illuminating bar graph. Less cool but my favorite nonetheless.
buchholz bar graph
Breaking this chart down a bit, here is what he did before July 1:
Buch early chart
Here is what Buch did in July:
Buch july chart
The point, largely, is that it doesn’t change a whole lot. Yes, he hit the ball on the ground a bit less, but the ratios are similar across the board. Outside of maybe striking out slightly less often and walking a shade more often, Alex Buchholz has been a similar player for most of the season. He is having a great year. July was tremendous. But July not a fluke.
- Nathan
Baseball term of the day: fall on a pitcherto get many hits off a pitcher during an inning or over the course of a game
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