Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (DH, 5/19/16)

GAMES #38 and 39
Frisco RoughRiders (25-12) at Midland RockHounds (20-17)
Thursday, May 19 – Game one starts at 4:30 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Midland feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Game oneGame two
—————————————–
This series: Games 3 and 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-0)
This season: Games 7 and 8 of 28 (Riders lead, 4-2)

FRISCO LINEUP (Game one)

  1. Lewis Brinson RF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  3. Ryan Cordell – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Preston Beck – DH
  6. Garrett Weber – SS
  7. Zach Cone – LF
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Connor Sadzeck (4-0, 3.24 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at Midland (W, 11-8 – 15 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Ronald Guzman‘s two-run triple adds insurance in the 15th

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Catcher Kellin Deglan

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders game with Midland yesterday was postponed due to rain…On Tuesday, the two teams played a 15-inning affair, ending in an 11-8 RoughRiders victory…Frisco led 6-1 after five innings behind masterful work from YU DARVISH in his rehab appearance. He struck out six and allowed just three hits, all singles, surrendering an unearned run in the first…Midland rallied back, however, with four runs in the sixth off of JOSE MONEGRO and another marker off of RYNE SLACK in the ninth to send the games to extra innings…Frisco and Midland traded solo home runs in the 13th before the RoughRiders jumped on the Hounds with four unearned runs in the 15th and held on for the win…PRESTON BECK earned the win in his 2016 pitching debut, allowing one run in two innings.

YU SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH re-joined the Riders to continue his Major League rehabilitation assignment Tuesday. The three-time American League All-Star worked five innings and allowed just three hits and an unearned run, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 68 pitches, 47 were strikes.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 25-12 record is the best through 37 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 24-13 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 has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end May 2, he continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 36 games Tuesday and reached twice in the win. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 39 straight contests.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. With a solo home run in the eighth inning Monday, the Riders outfielder passed Midland’s Matt Chapman for the league lead in home runs (10) and Ryon Healy for the lead in RBI (35). Cordell also tops the the league in batting average (.353) and runs scored (34), and he leads all of Minor League Baseball in slugging percentage (.699).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 per game), Riders pitching has amassed 125 punchouts in the last 14 games (8.9 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts during that stretch (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10;CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
With a win Monday night, the Riders now have a 9-2 record in series openers this year. The only two blemishes were one-run defeats, in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Midland and last Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Corpus Christi. The Riders have won six of their first 10 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+43), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 20 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 4-1 in games decided by two runs.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts but has allowed just two earned runs in 12.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.50 ERA.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:
After losing all four games to Corpus Christi in the last series, the RoughRiders were swept for the first time this season. It was the first time Frisco had been swept since losing three games to Midland in the final series of last year (September 5-7).

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game. 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 Saturday. However, his .098 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made seven starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last four baserunners who have attempted to steal on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 97-57 (.630), 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 Hickory enters the day at 26-13, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 26-14, and Triple-A Round Rock is 20-18. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:
GAME ONE: The RoughRiders face Corey Walter for the first time this year in Game One of the twin bill. Walter moved into the rotation when Daniel Megden was promoted to Triple-A, but he missed Frisco in the first series between the two teams…Drafted in the 28th Round of the 2014 Draft out of West Virginia University, Walter throws a two-seam sinker and a slider and is working on his changeup….GAME TWO: Righty Joel Seddon takes the ball for Midland tonight in the back-half of the doubleheader. Seddon has turn things around after a rough start, alllowed three or fewer earned runs in three of his last four outings, including one against Frisco. Seddon is in his third season as a professional and his first with the RockHounds. The University of South Carolina product was selected by the Athletics in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. He was previously selected in the 20th round by Toronto out of St. Clair High School in 2011. He was mostly a reliever in college and in his first season in the Oakland farm system, but made 14 starts in 34 appearances with Class A-Advanced Stockton last season. His arsenal includes a two-seam and four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball.

Deglan turning a corner for Frisco

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Sometimes, a blooper is all you need to break out of a slump.

For Riders catcher Kellin Deglan, that’s ringing true over the last few weeks. Deglan ended an 0-for-22 skid with a looper into left field May 2 against Corpus Christi. Since then, the Canadian backstop has become a consistent contributor in the Riders lineup. He’s hitting .324 (11-for-34) over the 10 games since his slump-busting hit. His spurt continued Tuesday with his first home run of the season. The recent hot streak has brought Deglan’s average up from .059 to .191, and it continues to climb.

“I’m starting to feel better,” he said in a pregame interview with Nathan Barnett on May 6 (full interview below). “I obviously got off to a slow start, but I’ve been putting in a lot of work and I’m slowly starting to feel better and getting to where my swing needs to be.”

26679917750_d22c5e3483_zDefensively, he’s also making strides as well. After throwing out just three of 22 would-be base stealers, he’s nabbed four of the last 10 men that have run against him, including one in Tuesday’s 15-inning win at Midland (he caught all 15 innings, by the way).

It’s only a 10-game stretch, but if Deglan can sustain his recent success, both at the plate and in the field, it’ll be another boost to an already-talented lineup.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Decoy sign – A meaningless sign from the catcher, dugout, or coach’s box that misleads and confuses those trying to steal the sign.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

By the numbers: Tuesday’s wild win in Midland

26413997862_94f0740c63_zThere were all kinds of twists and turns in the Riders 15-inning win at Midland Tuesday. Here’s the numerical breakdown of all the madness.

302

Minutes played (5 hrs. 2 min.)

135

Plate appearances

19

Runs

7

Unearned runs

30

Hits (23 singles)

5

Errors

26

Men left on base

5

Double plays turned

9

Players with multiple hits

4

Home runs

16

Walks

19

Strikeouts

13

Pitchers used

495

Pitches thrown (307 strikes)

5

1-2-3 innings (out of 30 half-innings)

11

Half-innings with a run scored

6-1

The lead for Frisco when Yu Darvish completed his five innings of work in his rehab start

2

Number of times Midland rallied to tie the game when facing its final out

1-0

Preston Beck’s career record as a pitcher after yesterday. The Riders starting right fielder came on in the 14th and worked the final two innings to pick up the win. It was his second career appearance on the mound as a pro, with the other coming in the final game last season (also against Midland).

6:41

Unofficial time of delay while umpires determined whether Ryan Cordell’s pop-up was cleanly caught in the top of the 15th. They ultimately ruled it was dropped, which brought in the decisive runs.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Fiddle Hitcher – A pitcher who uses delaying tactics.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (5/17/16)

GAME #37
Frisco RoughRiders (24-12) at Midland RockHounds (20-16)
Tuesday, May 17 – 11:00 a.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Midland feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 4 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 6 of 28 (Riders lead, 3-2)

050116 Darvish, Yu 5 (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

Yu Darivsh makes his second rehab start with the Riders today.

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Alex Burg – DH
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Alberto Triunfel – 2B
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Yu Darvish (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Monday at Midland (W, 4-2)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Ryan Cordell blasts his 10th homer of the year

PREGAME INTERVIEW: IF Garrett Weber

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Erasing an early deficit, the RoughRiders scored three runs in the third inning, two unearned, to move ahead for good…RYAN CORDELL hit a solo homer in the eighth to put Frisco ahead by a pair, and JOSE LECLERC shut the door in the ninth for the save, despite a near-game-ending fly out for the final out…REED GARRETT tossed five innings and allowed just two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a pair of walks for his first win…CODY PALMQUIST faced the minimum in three innings, allowing only a single.

YU READY FOR DARVISH?:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH re-joins the Riders today as he continues his Major League rehabilitation assignment. The three-time American League All-Star is slated to throw five innings or about 75 pitches in his fourth Minor League start (second with Frisco).

BUSH IN THE BIGS:
After being on the Riders roster from Opening Day until Thursday, Matt Bush was promoted straight to the Major Leagues on Friday. The right-handed pitcher has worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the Texas Rangers in two relief appearances against the Toronto Blue Jays.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
With a win last night, the Riders now have a 9-2 record in series openers this year. The only two blemishes were one-run defeats, in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Midland and Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Corpus Christi. The Riders have won six of their first 10 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 24-12 record is the best through 36 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 23-13 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 has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end May 2, he continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 35 games Monday and reached twice in the win. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 38 straight contests.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. With a solo home run in the eighth inning yesterday, Cordell passed Midland’s Matt Chapman for the league lead in home runs (10) and Ryon Healy for the lead in RBI (35). Cordell also tops the the league in runs scored (31) and leads all of Minor League Baseball in slugging percentage (.719).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 SO/9 IP), Riders pitching has amassed 113 punchouts in the last 13 games (8.7 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts recently (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

BULLING DOWN THE HOUNDS:
While Midland has found some success scoring early, the Riders bullpen has made the going tough late in games. In the first five games against the Hounds, Riders relievers have combined to allow just three runs on 12 hits in 23 innings (1.17 ERA), while walking just five and striking out 23. On the season, the Riders bullpen holds a 2.34 ERA.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:
After losing all four games to Corpus Christi in the last series, the RoughRiders were swept for the first time this season. It was the first time Frisco had been swept since losing three games to Midland in the final series of last year (September 5-7).

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game. 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 yesterday. Going into last night, Slack had also not allowed a hit in 11 2/3 innings of work. His .068 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+40), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 19 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 4-1 in games decided by two runs.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts but has allowed just two earned runs in 12.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.50 ERA.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made seven starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last four baserunners who have attempted to steal on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 94-54 (.635), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization won yesterday and has a record above .500, good for first-place in their respective divisions, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 26-12, Class A Hickory is 25-12, and Triple-A Round Rock is 19-18. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Signed by the Oakland Athletics as a free agent to a Minor League contract on July 30, 2014, Joey Wagman makes his 2016 RockHounds debut today…The right-hander made one appearance for Midland a year ago but spent most of the season in A-ball…Wagman was originally selected by the Chicago White Sox out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in the 17th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but was released on April 9, 2014…The Athletics signed Wagman after he spent 12 games, 11 starts, with the Rockford Aviators of the independent Frontier League…He offers a four-pitch mix, throwing an 87-88 mph fastball, curveball, slider, and a changeup

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (5/16/16)

GAME #36
Frisco RoughRiders (23-12) at Midland RockHounds (20-15)
Monday, May 16 – 6:30 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Midland feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 5 of 28 (Series tied, 2-2)

042716 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders) 1

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is batting outside the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  3. Ryan Cordell – DH
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Preston Beck – RF
  6. Zach Cone – LF
  7. Garrett Weber – 2B
  8. Alberto Triunfel – SS
  9. Luis Mendez – 3B

RHP Reed Garrett (0-0, 5.03 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at Corpus Christi (L, 6-3)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Garrett Weber goes yard in the ninth

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Emerson Martinez

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Shut out until the ninth inning, the RoughRiders dropped game four of the five-game set with Corpus Christi 6-3…The Riders snapped a 19-inning scoreless drought with an RBI double from RONALD GUZMAN and a two-run homer by GARRETT WEBERDavid Paulino blanked Frisco over the first five innings, and Kyle Smith posted three perfect innings before the partial rally in the ninth by the Riders…Frisco needed five pitchers to complete their eight innings with only newcomersJASON RICHMAN and EMERSON MARTINEZ unscored upon…The Hooks scored two runs in the second, two in the fifth, and two in the eighth and loaded the bases in four different innings, leaving on 15 baserunners in eight innings.

BUSH IN THE BIGS:
After being on the Riders roster from Opening Day until Thursday, Matt Bush was promoted straight to the Major Leagues on Friday. The right-handed pitcher has worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the Texas Rangers in two relief appearances against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:
After losing all four games to Corpus Christi in the last series, the RoughRiders were swept for the first time this season. It was the first time Frisco had been swept since losing three games to Midland in the final series of last year (September 5-7).

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
Through the first 10 series of the season, the Riders have an 8-2 record in series openers. The only two blemishes were one-run defeats, in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Midland and Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Corpus Christi. The Riders have won six of their first 10 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
The 23-12 record ties the the 2008 squad for the best record through 35 games in team history. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end May 2, he continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 34 games Saturday by drawing a walk in the ninth inning. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 37 straight contests.

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 SO/9 IP), Riders pitching has amassed 109 punchouts in the last 12 games (9.1 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts recently (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

BULLING DOWN THE ‘HOUNDS:
While Midland has found some success scoring early, the Riders bullpen has made the going tough late in games. In the first four-game series, Riders relievers combined to allow just three runs on nine hits in 19 innings of relief, while walking just five and striking out 21. On the season, the Riders bullpen holds a 2.42 ERA.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game. 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 yesterday. Going into last night, Slack had also not allowed a hit in 11 2/3 innings of work. His .068 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+38), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 18 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 3-1 in games decided by two runs.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts but has allowed just two earned runs in 11.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.64 ERA.

DOUBLE TROUBLE:
The Riders were swept in Friday’s doubleheader, dropping both games to Corpus Christi and scoring just two runs in 14 innings. The last time Frisco dropped both games of a twinbill was last year on June 16 at Whataburger Field. The Riders were shut out in both games (2-0 and 5-0) and went on to lose all four games in the series.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made six starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last three baserunners who have run on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 89-52 (.631), 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 Hickory enters the day at 24-11, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 24-12, and Triple-A Round Rock is 18-17. Three of the four affiliates currently lead their respective divisions. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Raul Alcantara is scheduled to make the start for Midland in tonight’s series finale. The 23-year-old was named Texas League Player of the Week last week after dealing six no-hit innings in a win over Corpus Christi on May 4. Acquired in a trade with the Red Sox in December of 2011, this is Alcantara’s second season in Midland, with the other being a short stint at the beginning of 2014. His season ended after just three starts, though, due to injury. Alcantara spent last season at Class A-Advanced Stockton, as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Alcantara is ranked as the 16th-best prospect in the Oakland organization by MLBPipeline.com and 19th by Baseball America. He is a member of the A’s 40-man roster, joining it for the first time in November 2013. REPERTOIRE: Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup.

Riding Through the Farm: May 16

041516 Bush, Matt (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders) 2

Matt Bush made his big league debut this weekend with the Rangers.

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

TEXAS RANGERS (22-16, 1st place, AL West)

The big talk around the organization in the last 24 hours has been about the melee that ensued yesterday. Plenty has already been written about it, so we won’t any more words on the matter.

Aside from all that, the big news of the weekend was Matt Bush’s promotion to the Rangers.  He had two good outings for the Rangers, mowing down the Blue Jays 1-2-3 in his debut on Friday and picking up his first big league win yesterday.

With yesterday’s win, the Rangers are back atop the AL West.

Tonight: at Oakland, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (18-18, 1st, PCL American Southern Division)

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate in the midst of a long losing streak. The Express had their losing streak run to six games Sunday in Albuquerque, despite a three-run homer from Shin Soo Choo in his first rehab game. Three of the six losses, however, have been by two runs or fewer.

Before yesterday’s game, skipper Jason Wood became the first player to have his number retired by the Isotopes.

Tonight: at Albuquerque, 7:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (25-12, T-1st, California League South Division)

When we last updated you, the Mavericks were in the midst of a rough 2-5 stretch. Last week was much better, though, as the Mavericks won five of six games, including the first three against a good Visalia team.

25840956220_df585fca0c_z

Luis Ortiz, seen here during Spring Training, is off to a great start with the Mavericks.

One of the big stories this week was quality starting pitching. Saturday, it was Luis Ortiz who allowed just one hit (a home run) and one run over six innings of work. Yesterday, Yohander Mendez followed that performance up with five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, while walking one and striking out seven.

Another highly touted arm, righty Ariel Jurado, goes for the Mavericks this afternoon against Visalia.

Tonight: at Visalia, 3:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Ariel Jurado)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (24-12, 1st, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The schedule says the ‘Dads played just one game yesterday, but they played the equivalent of more than two. Hickory got tangled in a 19-inning affair with the Rome Braves, allowing seven runs in the top of the 19th to fall, 9-2. It culminated a four-game series split for the Crawdads.

The much-talked-about Andy Ibanez is starting to find his groove again, going 9-for-27 in his last seven games, with four of those nine hits going for doubles. He was 2-for-18 his previous seven games.

Tonight: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: TBD)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Baseballically – Relating to the game of baseball. (“The Babe [Ruth] was one of my children, you know, baseballistically speaking.” – Former Yankees president Edward G. Barrow)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Corpus Christi (5/15/16)

GAME #36
Frisco RoughRiders (23-12) at Corpus Christi Hooks (20-15)
Sunday, May 15 – 2:05 p.m.
Whataburger Field – Corpus Christi, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Corpus Christi feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 5 of 5 (Hooks lead, 4-0)
This season: Game 12 of 32 (Hooks lead, 7-4)

041416 Deglan, Kellin (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

Catcher Kellin Deglan has thrown out three of the last five base stealers running against him.

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  2. Lewis Brinson – CF
  3. Ryan Cordell – DH
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Preston Beck – RF
  6. Zach Cone – LF
  7. Luis Mendez – 3B
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 2B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Reed Garrett (0-0, 5.03 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at Corpus Christi (L, 6-3)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Garrett Weber goes yard in the ninth

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

Shut out until the ninth inning, the RoughRiders dropped game four of the five-game set with Corpus Christi 6-3…The Riders snapped a 19-inning scoreless drought with an RBI double from RONALD GUZMAN and a two-run homer by GARRETT WEBERDavid Paulino blanked Frisco over the first five innings, and Kyle Smith posted three perfect innings before the partial rally in the ninth by the Riders…Frisco needed five pitchers to complete their eight innings with only newcomersJASON RICHMAN and EMERSON MARTINEZ unscored upon…The Hooks scored two runs in the second, two in the fifth, and two in the eighth and loaded the bases in four different innings, leaving on 15 baserunners in eight innings.
BUSH IN THE BIGS:

After being on the Riders roster from Opening Day until Thursday, Matt Bush was promoted straight to the Major Leagues. The right-handed pitcher worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Texas Rangers on Friday night against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Bush struck out Josh Donaldson looking with a 97 mph fastball and then got Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to pop out.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:

After losing the first four games of this series, the RoughRiders are in danger of being swept for the first time this season. The Riders were last swept by Midland in the final series of last year (September 5-7). Frisco was last swept in a five-game series on July 6-10, 2005 against Corpus Christi.

DOUBLE TROUBLE:

The Riders were swept in Friday’s doubleheader, dropping both games to Corpus Christi and scoring just two runs in 14 innings. The last time Frisco dropped both games of a twinbill was last year on June 16 at Whataburger Field. The Riders were shut out in both games (2-0 and 5-0) and went on to lose all four games in the series.

PESKY HOOKS:

Corpus Christi is the only team in the Texas League with a winning record against the RoughRiders this season. In 11 meetings with the Hooks, Frisco is 4-7. The Riders have now dropped the last six contests after starting off 4-1 against Corpus Christi.

WHATABURGER WOES:

Of the seven road ballparks in the Texas League, the Riders have the worst overall record at Whataburger Field. Since the Hooks entered the league in 2005, Frisco has an 82-96 record (.461 winning percentage) in games at Corpus Christi. This season, the Riders are 2-5 at Whataburger and have lost five consecutive games there.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

The 23-12 record ties the the 2008 squad for the best record through 35 games in team history. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:

RYAN CORDELL has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end on May 2, he continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 34 games yesterday by drawing a walk in the ninth inning. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 37 straight contests.

STRIKEOUT FEVER:

After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 SO/9 IP), Riders pitching has amassed 109 punchouts in the last 12 games (9.1 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts recently (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+38), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 18 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 3-1 in games decided by two runs.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last night’s game. 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 yesterday. Going into last night, Slack had also not allowed a hit in 11 2/3 innings of work. His .068 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:

Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts, but has allowed just two earned runs in 11.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.64 ERA.

KINER CAN CATCH:

RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made six starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last three baserunners who have run on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 89-52 (.631), 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 Hickory enters the day at 24-11, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 24-12, and Triple-A Round Rock is 18-17. Three of the four affiliates currently lead their respective divisions. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Lefty BRIAN HOLMES makes his fifth start of the season tonight, and his third appearance, second start, against Frisco.  In four outings against the Riders last year, he went 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA.  Selected by the Houston Astros in the 13th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Wake Forest University. … Pitched Wake Forest’s first no-hitter since 2000 when he recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts against Marshall on March 4, 2012. … Led the Demon Deacons with a 2.83 ERA as a junior. … His 2.91 career ERA ranks ninth in school history… REPERTOIRE: Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, cutter.

Saddle Up: Riders at Corpus Christi (5/14/16)

GAME #35
Frisco RoughRiders (23-11) at Corpus Christi Hooks (19-15)
Saturday, May 14 – 7:05 p.m.
Whataburger Field – Corpus Christi, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Corpus Christi feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 5 (Hooks lead, 2-1)
This season: Game 11 of 32 (Hooks lead, 6-4)

042916 Cordell, Ryan (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

Ryan Cordell had two of Frisco’s six hits in the doubleheader Friday

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Lewis Brinson – CF
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Alex Burg – DH
  6. Joe Jackson – LF
  7. Garrett Weber – 2B
  8. Alberto Triunfel – SS
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

LHP Victor Payano (4-0, 3.24 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: DH Friday at Corpus Christi (L, 5-2 and 6-5)

Game one – Box Score / Recap
Game two – Box Score / Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Hooks broadcaster Michael Coffin

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The Riders were swept in a doubleheader 5-2 and 6-0 in Corpus Christi yesterday…They trailed 13 of the 14 innings of the twinbill and were outhit 20-6…RYAN CORDELL was an offensive bright spot, tying game one at 2-2 with a two-run homer and collecting the only RoughRiders hit in the second game…SAM WOLFF allowed a career-high 10 hits in the game one start, surrendering five runs, while DAVID PEREZ was touched up for five runs on eight hits in just 2.1 innings in game two…The RoughRiders have lost four straight ballgames, the longest such stretch this season.

BUSH IN THE BIGS:
After being on the Riders roster from Opening Day until Thursday, Matt Bush was promoted straight to the Major Leagues yesterday. The right-handed pitcher worked a 1-2-3 inning for the Texas Rangers on Friday night against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Bush struck out Josh Donaldson looking with a 97 mph fastball and then got Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to pop out.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:
The Riders were swept in yesterday’s doubleheader, dropping both games to Corpus Christi and scoring just two runs in 14 innings. The last time Frisco dropped both games of a twinbill was last year on June 16 at Whataburger Field. The Riders were shut out in both games (2-0 and 5-0) and went on to lose all four games in the series.

TROUBLE WITH THE HOOKS:
Corpus Christi is the only team in the Texas League with a winning record against the RoughRiders this season. In 10 meetings with the Hooks, Frisco is 4-6. The Riders have now dropped the last five contests after starting off 4-1 against Corpus Christi.

WHATABURGER WOES:
Of the seven road ballparks in the Texas League, the Riders have the worst overall record at Whataburger Field. Since the Hooks entered the league in 2005, Frisco has an 82-95 record (.462 winning percentage) in games at Corpus Christi. This season, the Riders are 2-4 at Whataburger and have lost four consecutive games there.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
The 23-11 record ties the the 2008 squad for the best record through 34 games in team history. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end on May 2, he has continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 33 games yesterday with a home run in the first game and the Riders’ only hit in the second game. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 36 straight contests.

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 SO/9 IP), Riders pitching has amassed 103 punchouts in the last 11 games (9.4 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts recently (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+41), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 18 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 3-1 in games decided by two runs.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK is in the midst of an impressive stretch, not having allowed a hit in his last 11 2/3 innings of work. He still has yet to permit a run in 14 1/3 innings of relief work this season, and his .049 opposing average is the best in the Texas League.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts, but has allowed just two earned runs in 11.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.64 ERA.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made six starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last three baserunners who have run on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game yesterday.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A Hickory enters the day at 23-11, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 23-12, and Triple-A Round Rock is 18-16. Three of the four affiliates currently lead their respective divisions. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 87-50 (.635), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Acquired as the player-to-be-named-later by the Astros to complete a trade, with Danry Vasquez, with the Tigers for Jose Veras, David Paulino gets the start today for the Corpus Christi Hooks. While Paulino has pitched well this year, he is winless in six outings, including four starts, with a 2.08 ERA in 26.0 innings of work. Originally signed by the Tigers for just $75,000 in 2010, Paulino faced multiple injuries during his time in Detroit, undergoing two shoulder surgeries in 2012 and battling elbow problems through his time with the Tigers. After going to Houston, Paulino missed all of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He pitched over three levels (A- to A+) last season, and Houston made the aggressive promotion to Double-A for him to begin this year after a spring as an invitee to big league Spring Training…REPERTOIRE: Paulino has a 91-98 mph 4-seam FASTBALL, excellent spin on his 78-79 mph 11-to-5 CURVEBALL, and a CHANGEUP that has occasional sink.

Bush shines on the big stage

I wrote yesterday about Matt Bush finally getting called up to the big leagues, and he wasted no time making his Major League debut.

Bush came in for the ninth inning in last night’s 5-0 loss to Toronto, but it was a memorable way to break into the bigs. Bush’s assignments were not easy: Josh Donaldson (struck him out looking), Jose Bautista (pop out), and Edwin Encarnacion (foulout).

Bush needed 17 pitches (10 strikes) to get through the inning, picking up right where he left off with the RoughRiders. For those of us who have watched him this year, the results aren’t all that surprising, but you never know how someone will react when the lights get a little brighter on the big stage (and when three of Toronto’s best hitters step to the plate).

Hopefully, it’s a sign of more to come for Bush, who is finally getting his chance to shine.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Baseballiana – An assembly of items, or bibliography, representative of, or associated with, baseball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Corpus Christi (DH, 5/13/16)

GAMES #32 and 33
Frisco RoughRiders (23-9) at Corpus Christi Hooks (17-15)
Friday, May 13 – 5:35 p.m. (game two to follow)
Whataburger Field – Corpus Christi, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Corpus Christi feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Game one / Game two
—————————————–
This series: Games 2 and 3 of 5 (Hooks lead, 1-0)
This season: Games 9 and 10 of 32 (Series tied, 4-4)

050816 Triunfel, Alberto (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

Alberto Triunfel rides a three-game hitting streak into tonight’s doubleheader at Corpus Christi

FRISCO LINEUP (game one)

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

RHP Sam Wolff (4-1, 4.50 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at Corpus Christi (L, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Sam Wolff

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The Riders never led, but rallied to tie things with the Corpus Christi Hooks on Thursday night at Whataburger Field…After plating three runs on five straight singles in the ninth inning to level the score at 5-5, the Riders allowed a lead-off, solo home run by Derek Fisher to end the ballgame…The Hooks hit three home runs in the game; Fisher hit two and Evan Gattis cranked one out as well…The other run came in on a double by Alex Bregman…Frisco was shut out until the sixth, whenGARRETT WEBER drove in one with a single, another scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, and LEWIS BRINSON andRONALD GUZMAN knocked in the ninth inning runs…CONNOR SADZECK allowed just four hits but two left the yard and he allowed five of the six runs in his seven innings…JASON RICHMAN worked a scoreless eighth in his Riders debut, andJOSE LECLERC allowed the walk-off home run.

NO MINOR FEAT:

Entering the day at 23-9 (.719), the Riders have the best winning percentage in the Texas League and are third among the 120 full-season affiliates in Minor League Baseball. Only the Akron RubberDucks (Double-A, Indians) and Salem Red Sox (High-A, Red Sox) have better records, at 24-9.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

The 23-9 record marks the best 32-game start in team history, besting the 2008 squad that started 22-10. The 2008 RoughRiders, finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:

RYAN CORDELL has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-3 last Monday, he has continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 31 games and reached three times last night. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 34 straight contests.

CONDOR FLYING HIGH:

RONALD “CONDOR” GUZMAN is tearing it up as of late. His third-longest on-base streak in the Texas League came to an end at 17 games Tuesday. He had hits in 15 of those 17 games, and RBI in 10. In that span, he hit .381 with three home runs, 13 RBI, and six doubles.

STRIKEOUT FEVER:

After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 SO/9 IP), Riders pitching has amassed 88 punchouts in the last nine games (9.8 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts recently (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+50), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 16 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 3-1 in games decided by two runs.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

Reliever RYNE SLACK is in the midst of an impressive stretch, not having allowed a hit in his last 11 2/3 innings of work. He still has yet to permit a run in 14 1/3 innings of relief work this season, and his .049 opposing average is the best in the Texas League.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:

Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts, but has allowed just two earned runs in 11.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.64 ERA.

KINER CAN CATCH:

RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made five starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last three baserunners who have run on his watch, including Midland’s Matt Chapman Saturday night. He also has yet to have a passed ball.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 85-47 (.644), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Class A Hickory enters the day at 22-11, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 22-12, and Triple-A Round Rock is 18-15. Three of the four affiliates currently lead their respective divisions. 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 enter the season with six 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).

OPPOSING STARTER:

GAME ONE:   Right-hander Keegan Yuhl makes his first appearance against the Riders this season, in his third overall start. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of four outings thus far, and has kept opponents to a .226 average.REPERTOIRE: Fastball, changeup, slider. …GAME TWO:  Evan Grills was promoted to Double-A today and will make the start in game two…The Canadian-born left-hander was taken by Houston in the 10th round in 2010 out of Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario.. REPERTOIRE: He throws a upper 80s to low 90s fastball, a curveball (74-76), and changeup (70-73), which is his out pitch…As a member of the Canada Junior National team, he played against the GCL Astros in 2009…In five games, three starts, Grills went 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA for High-A Lancaster with an extraordinarily low BABIP (.197).

 

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