Switching it up: Mendez describes his journey to switch-hitting

Mendez swith

The art of switch-hitting has always fascinated me. Imagine all the times you’ve tried doing something with your non-dominant hand/arm and how hard it was (at least, if your experience is anything like mine). When it comes to switch hitters, not only have they figured out to hit from both sides, but they do it well enough to hit respectably in professional baseball. I’m a righty, but I probably wouldn’t fare very well on either side of the plate against professional arms, let alone both sides.

All that said, I talked to Luis Mendez, one of the two switch hitters on the roster (Shaq Matta is the other) to get a sense of how he got to where he is today.

Mendez, a natural righty, says he first started switch hitting at age 15 in an effort to make himself more marketable to teams looking to sign him.

My agent at that time said, ‘hey, you’re gonna be a switch hitter,’” said Mendez. “He was telling me you have one year to learn. If it doesn’t work, it’s fine. You’ll go back to the right. But it worked. I swung at the first pitch I saw and he said, ‘woah. You’re gonna hit switch.’”

To get to the point of being comfortable switch hitting, the Venezuelan infielder says he spent about an hour a day hitting left-handed. In fact, he’s gotten so comfortable on the left side that it’s now his preferred side.

“I love left now,” said Mendez. “I just love hitting left-handed, especially when he throws hard. I like hitting fastballs…It feels natural now.”

The numbers prove it too. Mendez is a .232 hitter (43-for-185) hitting on the left side, compared to just a .130 mark (6-for-46) when swinging on his natural side.

I’ve always been in awe of the art of switch hitting. And don’t even get me started on switch pitching. That’s just crazy.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Switch-pitch – A changeup.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (8/9)

GAME #114 (2nd HALF GAME #45)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-58 overall, 17-27 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (62-51 overall, 21-22 2nd half)
Tuesday, August 8 – 6:30 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Springfield feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 7 of 12 (Cardinals lead 4-2)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Eduard Pinto – LF
  3. Carson Blair – C
  4. Joe Jackson – DH
  5. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  6. Luis Marte – SS
  7. Alexeis Bell – RF
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Carlos Arroyo – CF

RHP Connor Sadzeck (9-4, 3.45 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at San Antonio (L, 7-6 – 11 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: C Carson Blair

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders let a five-run lead over San Antonio slip away in a 7-6 extra-inning loss Sunday at Wolff Stadium…The Missions broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the 11th with River Stevens’ walk-off RBI single to right field…The Riders jumped out to a 5-0 lead, highlighted by CARSON BLAIR’s solo home run in the third and a pair of RBI from CARLOS ARROYOSCOTT CARROLL pitched four scoreless innings before giving up a pair of RBI single in the fifth…San Antonio plated four runs in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead, but the Riders quickly answered back on EDWIN GARCIA’s game-tying RBI single in the seventh…Garcia tallied a season-high three hits, while EDUARD PINTO finished the game 4-for-5 with scored three runs.

FIRST WEEK WOES:
The Riders offense was held relatively quiet in a three-game series against Midland and a four-game set at San Antonio to open August. Frisco was shut out in three of the seven contests. The Riders scored just one run in the first two games against Midland before exploding for 10 in the series finale. After scoring three runs in the first three innings of Thursday’s game against the Missions, Frisco failed to put up another tally for the next 25 innings, the longest scoreless drought of the season. In August so far, the Riders are hitting just .226 (second-lowest in the league behind San Antonio) with an average of 2.9 runs per game.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 27 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes 13-14 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to go 25-2 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 6.5 game deficit in the overall season standings back of Midland. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29, September 3-5).

SHOW ME THE WIN COLUMN:
The Riders are making their second trip to Hammons Field this season and are hoping for better results. Frisco was swept in a three-game series in Springfield to wrap up the month of May. The Riders dropped two one-run contests, which included being shut out 1-0 in the series opener and blowing a four-run lead in the final two innings of the second game. Frisco dropped all six games on the road trip to Tulsa and Springfield, which knocked the Riders out of first place in the South Division standings. Frisco did not return to the top spot after June 1, and Corpus Christi won the first half division title.

SHUT DOWN BY SAN ANTONIO:
Saturday’s shutout loss to San Antonio, the second in the series, was the 14th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League). The 14 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (four) in the eight-team circuit. The fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals Class A-Advanced affiliate, Carolina League) with only three. The Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, have also been blanked 14 times.

POWER OUTAGE: 
The last eight games have seen a return to the dead-ball era, with very few home runs in RoughRiders games. During the eight-game stretch, the Riders have only hit three homers, two from KELLIN DEGLAN on Wednesday and one fromCARSON BLAIR on Sunday, and allowed just one (Trae Santos on Friday). In five of those eight games, there have been no homers hit by either side. The four home runs over eight games is the lowest total (for both teams combined) in an eight-game stretch this season in Frisco’s games. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season-high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT: 
Through seven games this month, Riders starters have excelled. The seven starting pitchers have combined to allow just 10 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings of work, good for a 2.41 ERA, and have given up just one home run. DAVID PEREZ andARIEL JURADO both pitched five scoreless frames, and none of the seven starters this month have allowed more than three runs. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best full-month for the starting pitchers this year was the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

THOMPSON FINISHES ROAD TO THE SHOW:
Former RoughRiders starter Jake Thompson made his big league debut Saturday night for the Philadelphia Phillies. Taking the loss, he allowed six runs, all earned,  on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. He walked two and struck out just one. Thompson, who was acquired from the Tigers by Texas in the Joakim Soria trade in 2014, pitched for Frisco in 2014 an 2015 before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Thompson is the 146th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), and JOSE LECLERC (2015-2016 with Frisco, Rangers).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Taken just two years ago, Daniel Poncedeleon is moving quickly through the Cardinals ranks and dominating along the way…Entering the year, the California native was 14-5 with a 2.20 ERA across two minor league seasons of Class A-Short Season, Class A, and Class A-Advanced competition…He has already set career-highs in wins (8), starts (22), innings pitched (123.0), walks allowed (45), and strikeouts (98)…Poncedeleon has made one start against the Riders this season on May 27, the first game Frisco played against Springfield this season…The righty pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, gave up five hits, and struck out six in a no-decision…Drafted in the ninth round out of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the same school as Rangers infielder coordinator Kenny Holmberg), Poncedeleon features a four seam fastball (low to mid 90s), sinker, slider, and a curveball…Drafted four times, Poncedeleon attended four different schools (Arizona, Cypress College, and Houston before Embry-Riddle)…He failed a physical with the Cubs after being drafted in 2013 that required surgery.

Moving parts: checking in on the new and former Riders from the last week

brinson1

Lewis Brinson is off to a great with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox since being traded last Monday. (Paat Kelly / Colorado Springs Sky Sox)

In the last week, the RoughRiders roster has experienced some heavy turnover. With seven guys joining the squad, five going to Triple-A, two to the DL, and two getting traded, the roster looks very different than it did at this time last week.

Here’s an update on how everyone is doing with their new teams:

THE NEW RIDERS (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

CARLOS ARROYO: 5 G, 3-for-15, 2B, 2 RBI
Arroyo singled in his first at-bat with Frisco but has struggled a bit since then. Sunday, he drove in a pair of runs and picked up an outfield assist in center field.

CARSON BLAIR: 2 G, 1-for-7, HR, RBI
Blair didn’t waste much time making a splash with his new organization, hitting a solo homer Sunday in just his second game as a Rangers farmhand.

SCOTT CARROLL: 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Carroll turned in another strong start for the Riders Sunday, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings.

EDWIN GARCIA: 4 G, 4-for-14, 2B, RBI, SB
Now in his second stint playing with Frisco this season, Garcia has helped fill the void at first base. He also notched three hits Sunday at San Antonio.

JUAN GRULLON: 1 G, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Grullon pitched well out of the bullpen on Saturday in his first relief outing since rejoining the squad, but took the loss in a 1-0 game at San Antonio.

EDUARD PINTO: 4 G, 6-for-14, 2B, RBI
Pinto picked up four hits Sunday at San Antonio, and he has hits in three of his first four games with the Riders.

JACK SNODGRASS: 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
The southpaw made an impressive debut with the Riders, allowing two runs on two hits across six innings of work on Thursday in San Antonio.

84 Snodgrass

Jack Snodgrass earned the win in his Riders debut Thursday. (Dave Michael / San Antonio Missions)

PROMOTED TO TRIPLE-A (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

JOHN FASOLA: 3 G, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Fasola has already appeared in three games since joining the Express for the second time this season. Like he was in Frisco, he’s continued to be tough on opposing hitters.

RONALD GUZMAN: 6 G, 4-for-21, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 12 K
Guzman got off to a great start in Triple-A, homering and doubling in his first two-at-bats. However, he has since struck out in 12 of his last 19 at-bats.

YOHANDER MENDEZ: 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Mendez turned in a nearly identical line to his Triple-A debut on July 5. He has yet to allow a run as a Triple-A pitcher this season across 10 innings. His combined 2.51 ERA this season would lead Rangers full-season starters if he qualified.

VICTOR PAYANO: 1 G, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
Payano got rocked in his Triple-A debut Friday, keyed by four walks. One of the things that helped him have a strong year with the Riders was limiting walks. If he can do that moving forward, the Express will hopefully see the pitcher that did so well in Frisco.

JOSE VALDESPINA: 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Now in his second stint with Round Rock this season, Valdespina has already come out of the bullpen twice this week and has yet to allow a run.

THE NEW BREWERS (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

LEWIS BRINSON: 7 G, 13-for-29 (.448), 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3-4 SB
We probably shouldn’t be too surprised that Brinson is tearing it up with his new club, but it’s still pretty impressive that he has burst right on to the scene and been a consistent contributor for the Sky Sox. He has hits in all seven games with his new club, including a four-hit night in his debut and a grand slam the next game. If you factor what he did with Round Rock at the end of last year, he’s a career .441 hitter (26-for-59) in Triple-A.LOLBTrade640x360.jpg

LUIS ORTIZ: 1 GS, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ortiz debuted with Double-A Biloxi Saturday night, working another short outing as he recovers from his time on the DL. Ortiz also had an at-bat (he’ll have more to come, too) and struck out in his only AB of the night.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Nellie hitter – A hitter who hits to left center and to right center.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/7)

GAME #113 (2nd HALF GAME #44)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-57 overall, 17-26 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (43-70 overall, 21-22 2nd half)
Sunday, August 7 – 6:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (San Antonio leads 2-1)
This season: Game 28 of 32 (Riders lead 18-9)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  3. Joe Jackson – LF
  4. Carson Blair – DH
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Eduard Pinto – RF
  7. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Carlos Arroyo – CF

RHP Scott Carroll (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at San Antonio (L, 1-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The RoughRiders were shut out for the second straight day, dropping by a 1-0 on score on Saturday…While Friday’s game remained scoreless until the sixth, Saturday went scoreless into the seventh with Trae Santos drove in River Stevens to put the Missions ahead by the final score…ARIEL JURADO worked five strong innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with and six strikeouts, taking no decision…ALEXEIS BELL was the lone Frisco hitter with multiple hits, and the club collected just four in total.

YOU CAN’T PUT IN ON THE BOARD! NO!:

The RoughRiders were shut out for the second straight game last night, suffering the back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Frisco was last blanked in consecutive contests June 18, 2015 in a doubleheader and have not been silenced in consecutive nine-inning games since 2013. That year, the Riders lost three straight games shutout losses and failed to score a run in 38 straight innings, from the first inning on July 22 at home against Midland until the fourth inning on July 25, incidentally, at San Antonio. The RoughRiders current scoreless streak of 24 innings is the longest drought for the franchise since the scoreless rut of 2013, which was, and still is, the longest in team history. The current scoreless run is indicative of the offense right now, which scored ten runs on Wednesday, but which has plated three or fewer runs in each of the other five August contests. In this series, the Riders have three runs on 12 hits in three games.

THOMPSON FINISHES ROAD TO THE SHOW:

Former RoughRiders starter Jake Thompson made his big league debut last night for the Philadelphia Phillies. Taking the loss, he allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. He walked two and struck out just one. Thompson, who was acquired from the Tigers by Texas in the Joakim Soria trade in 2014, pitched for Frisco in 2014 an 2015 before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Thompson is the 146th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), and JOSE LECLERC (2015-2016 with Frisco, Rangers).

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:

After winning the first eight games in the season-series with the San Antonio Missions, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has still won 10 of the last 19, but each of the last three series have been series-splits. In addition, seven of the last ten games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer (including five one- run games).

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:

With 27 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes 13-14 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to go 25-2 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 6.5 game deficit in the overall season standings back of Midland. The good news is that Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season.

SHUT DOWN BY SAN ANTONIO:

Last night continued an unfortunate trend this season for the Riders,as the club was blanked once again. It was the 14th time that Frisco has been shut out this season, the most in the Texas League, and the third time by the Missions. The 14 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (4) in the eight-team circuit; the fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals, Carolina League) with only three; the Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher friendly Frawley Stadium, have been blanked 14 times.

GOODLUCK, GOODNIGHT:

The RoughRiders failed to score last night, as Jose Torres closed the door after six strong innings from Seth Simmons. The Riders have done little against the San Antonio bullpen of late. One of the better ‘pens in the league has held Frisco to just 1R/1ER over the past eight games, spanning 29 innings, good for a 0.31 ERA. Over that seven game run, Missions relievers have allowed just 13 hits and five walks with 31 strikeouts. The Riders are 3-5 in those seven games. Of course, Frisco is in the midst of a 24-inning scoreless drought, 11 2/3 of which has been thrown by San Antonio’s bullpen during this series.

OPPOSING STARTER:

Left-handed pitcher Tim Berry makes his fifth start with San Antonio tonight… The San Diego native was signed by his hometown Padres on July 6 after being released by the Miami Marlins the previous day and made his Missions debut against the Riders on July 17…Berry was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 50th round of the 2009 draft…He was added to the Orioles 40- man roster in 2014 and was recalled on June 6, but he did not pitch and was optioned back to Double-A Bowie the following day…Despite appearing on a Major League 25-man roster, Berry has never pitched above the Double-A level in the Minors…After signing with the Padres, he made two starts with Class A-Short Season Tri-City before joining San Antonio…Berry signed with the Orioles out of San Marcos High School in California, bypassing a scholarship to play college baseball at the University of Oregon.

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/6)

GAME #112 (2nd HALF GAME #43)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-56 overall, 17-25 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (42-70 overall, 20-22 2nd half)
Saturday, August 6 – 7:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 4 (Tied 1-1)
This season: Game 27 of 32 (Riders lead 18-8)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Luis Marte – SS
  3. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  4. Joe Jackson – DH
  5. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  6. Alexeis Bell – RF
  7. Eduard Pinto – LF
  8. Carson Blair – C
  9. Carlos Arroyo – CF

RHP Ariel Jurado (1-1, 2.25 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at San Antonio (L, 3-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Reed Garrett

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The RoughRiders were blanked 3-0 on Friday night… The game was scoreless until the sixth when REED GARRETT, who allowed only two hits on the night, served up a solo homer to Trae Santos…The Missions added a pair of runs off of LUKE JACKSON in the seventh, one of which was unearned…the Riders failed to score against Kyle Lloyd across seven innings, and Adam Cimber and Jimmy Brasoban shut the door…The lone Frisco hits came from EDWIN GARCIA (2B), ALEXEIS BELL, and ISIAH KINER-FALEFA (1Bs).

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:

After winning the first eight games in the season-series with the San Antonio Missions, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has still won 10 of the last 18, but each of the last three series have been series-splits. In addition, six of the last nine games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer (including four one-run games).

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:

With 28 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes 14-14 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to go 25-3 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 5.5 game deficit in the overall season standings back of Midland. The good news is that Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season.

SHUT DOWN BY SAN ANTONIO:

Last night continued an unfortunate trend this season for the Riders when they were blanked 3-0. It was the 13th time that Frisco has been shut out this season, the most in the Texas League, and the second time by the Missions. The 13 shutout defeats is tied with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds, Southern League) for the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 18. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (4) in the eight-team circuit; the fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals, Carolina League) with only three; the Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher friendly Frawley Stadium, have been blanked 14 times.

MARVELOUS MARTE:

Riders shortstop LUIS MARTE continues to swing at a torrid rate the last few weeks. Despite losing a seven- game hitting streak last night, Marte still has hits in 15 of his last 18 games, and 10 of those are multi-hit affairs. Marte’s .423 average since July 19 leads is second among full-season minor leaguers and is 13th among all minor leaguers.

POWER OUTAGE:

For the first time in six games, the Riders allowed a home run. During the six-game stretch, the Riders have only hit two homers, both from KELLIN DEGLAN on Wednesday. In four of those six games, there have been no homers hit by either side. The three home runs over six games is the lowest total (for both teams combined) in a six-game stretch this season in Frisco’s games. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season-high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

TWIN-KILLING TEAMS:

This series features two of the more prolific double- play turning teams in the league. The Missions lead the circuit with 125 and the Riders are third with 109, nearly one per game. The Riders have turned a double play in seven straight contests, while the Missions have turned six twin-killings over the last four games. The clubs turned three more last night, with the Missions making two of them.

GOODLUCK, GOODNIGHT:

The RoughRiders failed to score last night, as the Missions bullpen closed the door after seven strong innings from Kyle Lloyd. The Riders have done little against the San Antonio bullpen of late. One of the better ‘pens in the league has held Frisco to just 1R/1ER over the past seven games, spanning 26 innings, good for a 0.35 ERA. Over that seven game run, Missions relievers have allowed just 12 hits and five walks with 27 strikeouts. The Riders are 3-4 in those seven games.

 

OPPOSING STARTER:

The RoughRiders face 28-year-old righty Seth Simmons tonight…Simmons is making his 15th appearance and 10th start for the Missions after being signed by the Padres as a free agent on May 24…Simmons, the former Diamondbacks farmhand who began the season with Triple-A Reno, was released by Arizona on May 20 and assigned to San Antonio upon joining the San Diego organization… He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against Frisco in his third outing with the Missions on June 9, allowing two hits in the frame and striking out one batter and allowed a season-high four runs in his last start against the Riders on 10 hits…The sixth-year pro made the first start of his Minor League career on June 17 at Midland…After one more relief appearance four days later, Simmons permanently joined San Antonio’s rotation and is now making his eighth straight start…Until his last outing, Simmons had not allowed more than three runs in any of his appearances so far as a member of the Padres organization, and had only given up one run in his last 22 innings pitched…The Winston- Salem, North Carolina native was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 40th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of East Carolina University… REPERTOIRE: Fastball (low 90s), slider (low-to-mid 80s), slurve (mid-to-upper 70s).

Meet the new Riders

Over the past week, there have been a load of new players transferred to Frisco.

If you have been following along closely, you may recognize some of the new names and faces. However, if you’ve missed out on the past few days of Riders coverage, you will probably be surprised to find out that the team has an entirely new look.

Let’s get to know some of the new players the Riders have received over the past couple weeks who are playing in Frisco for the first time this season.

Alexeis Bell – OF

The Rangers signed Bell, 32, to a minor league contract on July 15. He began his stateside career with the Rangers’ Arizona League squad. In four games, he went 4-for-16 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Bellforweb

Bell played his first 14 professional seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he was a career .319 hitter with 138 home runs and 632 RBI in 659 games. He also maintained a .417 on-base percentage and a .547 slugging percentage during his time in the Cuban National Series, most of which was spent with the Avispas de Santiago de Cuba. He won league MVP honors in the 2007-08 season after setting single-season league records for home runs (31) and RBI (111), while posting a .355 average.

The veteran outfielder spent last season with Les Capitales de Quebec in the Canadian-American Association, where he hit .317 with two homers and 23 RBI in 59 games. Bell also played nine games with Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League this May.

Bell also has extensive experience representing Cuba on the international stage. Of note, he was part of the country’s Olympic team, which brought home the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also played on Cuba’s squad during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Scott Carroll – RHP

The 31-year-old spent the majority of 2016 with Triple-A Charlotte of the International League, going 2-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 games, 12 starts. He made three relief outings with the White Sox in May, allowing three runs and two hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Carroll was on Chicago’s 40-man roster before being assigned outright to Charlotte on July 14.

In 47 Major League games, 19 starts, Carroll has a 6-11 record with a 4.60 ERA. He was 5-10 with a 4.80 ERA in 26 games, 19 starts with the White Sox in 2014. In 2015, he posted a 3.44 ERA in 18 relief appearances.

He spent his first six pro seasons in the Cincinnati organization before signing as a free agent with Chicago in July 2012.

Carlos Arroyo – OF

Arroyo, 23, has been with Round Rock, Class-A Hickory, Class A Short-season Hickory and the Arizona League Rangers. He has combined to play 18 games this season, hitting .298. The outfielder is in his fourth season as a professional, signing with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent September 19, 2012 out of Valencia, Venezuela.

Jack Snodgrass – LHP

Snodgrass, 28, signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent on July 14 after spending the first five seasons of his career in the San Francisco Giants organization. The lefty went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four appearances with Round Rock. Snodgrass was drafted by the Giants in the 27th round of the 2011 draft out of Austin Peay State.

Eduard Pinto – OF

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Pinto, 21, departed Hickory as the team leader in batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.392), slugging percentage (.478), and OPS (.870). Pinto was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week on July 10th, after batting .567/.581/.833 with two home runs, 2 doubles, and eight RBI over the seven game stretch. The 5’11” outfielder spent time with Hickory in both 2014 and 2015, which included a .364 average in the postseason while helping the Crawdads to the 2015 SAL Championship.

Carson Blair – C

Blair, 26, is in his ninth year as a professional. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in the Boston Red Sox organization before signing with the Oakland Athletics as a minor league free agent in November 2014. He was with Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville most of last season before making his Major League debut September 6 with the Athletics, where he played 11 big league games, batting .129 with one homer and three RBI.

The native of Argyle, Texas opened the 2016 season with Midland before earning a promotion to Nashville on July 3. Blair was released by the A’s on July 15. For his career, Blair is a .245 hitter with more than 43 percent of his hits going for extra bases (87 doubles, 12 triples, 38 home runs).

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: gaijin – Foreign players in the Japanese professional baseball leagues. Teams are allowed to have up to four gaijin on the roster (two position players and two pitchers). ETYMOLOGY. Japanese for “outsiders.”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/5)

GAME #111 (2nd HALF GAME #42)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-55 overall, 17-24 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (41-70 overall, 19-22 2nd half)
Friday, August 5 – 7:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 4 (Riders lead 1-0)
This season: Game 26 of 32 (Riders lead 18-7)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Eduard Pinto – RF
  2. Luis Marte – SS
  3. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 3B
  9. Carlos Arroyo – CF

RHP Reed Garrett (2-3, 5.40 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at San Antonio (W, 3-2)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: LHP Jack Snodgrass

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The RoughRiders jumped to an early lead and held on for a 3-2 over the San Antonio Missions Thursday night…Neither team scored after the third…The Riders scored once in the first and plated a pair of runs in the third inning…ANDY IBANEZ drove in two runs, and LUIS MARTE knocked in the other…JACK SNODGRASS fired six innings of two-run ball on just three hits, two of which came from Franchy Cordero, and struck out seven, one shy of his career-high…The bullpen tandem of JEFRI HERNANDEZ and JOE FILOMENO held the Missions scoreless over the final three innings…Filomeno earned his first save since mid-May and his first in Double-A with a hitless and scoreless ninth inning.

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:

After winning the first eight games in the season- series with the San Antonio Missions, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has still won 10 of the last 17, but each of the last three series have been series-splits. In addition, six of the last eight games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer (including four one-run games).

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:

With 29 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes 14-15 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to 25-4 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 5.5 game deficit in the overall season standings back of Midland. The good news is that Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season.

MARVELOUS MARTE:

Riders shortstop LUIS MARTE continues to swing at a torrid rate the last few weeks. Last night, he extended his hitting streak to seven games. He now has hits in 15 of his last 17 games, and 10 of those are mutli-hit affairs. Marte’s .448 average since July 19 leads all full-season minor leaguers and is fourth among all minor leaguers.

POWER OUTAGE:

The Riders haven’t allowed a homer in five straight games. During the stretch, the Riders have only hit two homers, both from KELLIN DEGLAN on Wednesday. In four of those five games, there have been no homers hit by either side. The two home runs over five games is the lowest total (for both teams combined) in a five-game stretch this season in Frisco’s games. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season- high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

TWIN-KILLING TEAMS:

This series features two of the more prolific double-play turning teams in the league. The Missions lead the circuit with 123 and the Riders are third with 108, nearly one per game. The Riders have turned a double play in six straight contests, while the Missions have turned four twin-killings over the last three games. The clubs turned three last night, with the Missions making two of them.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT:

Through four games this month, Riders starters have excelled. The quartet of FRANK LOPEZ, DAVID PEREZ, CONNOR SADZECK, and JACK SNODGRASS has allowed just seven earned runs in 21 1/3 innings of work, good for a 2.95 ERA, and have not allowed a single home run. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best full-month for the starting pitchers this year was, unsurprisingly, the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

GOODLUCK, GOODNIGHT:

Frisco got ahead early last night and held on for the win. That’s a good thing for the club, because the Riders have done little against the San Antonio bullpen of late. One of the better ‘pens in the league has held Frisco to just 1R/1ER over the past six games, spanning 24 innings, good for a 0.38 ERA. Over that six game run, Missions relievers have allowed just 12 hits and four walks with 26 strikeouts. The Riders are 3-3 in those six games.

OPPOSING STARTER:

The RoughRiders face 25-year-old Kyle Lloyd for the seventh time this year in the series finale tonight. He’s 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA across 21 2/3 innings against Frisco so far…The Missions have kept him in the rotation since his first start of the year, which came against Frisco, on May 20, and he has been a reliable arm for San Antonio…Lloyd has delivered five quality starts, including four of his last six outings…Drafted in the 29th round of the 2013 Draft out of the University of Evansville, the fourth-year pro’s strongest pitch is a split-fingered fastball (low 90s).

Riding Through the Farm (August 5)

Riding Through the Farm v3

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

TEXAS RANGERS (63-46 – 1st, AL West)

After making moves to acquire Jonathan LucroyCarlos Beltran, and Jeremy Jeffress at the trade deadline, all three have had success in the past week for the Rangers. Lucroy and Beltran both hit home runs in the three-game series against Baltimore, and Jeffress pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s 5-3 victory in the finale.

A huge three-game road series against the Houston Astros begins tonight at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won nine of 10 games against the Astros so far this season and lead Houston by 6 1/2 games in the American League West.

Today: at Houston, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (54-59 – T-2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

On Wednesday, Round Rock received four players from the RoughRidersYohander Mendez and Ronald Guzman, two of the Top 5 prospects in the Rangers farm system (according to MLBPipeline.com), have already made an impact with the E-Train.

Guzman went 2-for-4 in his Triple-A debut Thursday, mashing a solo home run in his first at-bat and driving in another run with a double later in the game.

In his second start with the Express last night, Mendez pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in a win over Oklahoma City. The southpaw has now fired a total of 10 scoreless innings in two Triple-A starts this season.

Today: at Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (66-44 overall, 23-17 second half – 3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 games, including a four-game sweep of Rancho Cucamonga on the road last week. High Desert is back at home battling the Quakes again, and they started the series with a win yesterday.

Former Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League opponents out of the bullpen for High Desert. Palmquist was named Rangers Reliever of the Month last month after not allowing a run in all of June. He has given up just four earned runs in 17 relief appearances (26.1 innings pitched) since joining the Mavs on June 4.

Today: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Jeff Springs)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (60-49 overall, 22-17 second half – 3rd place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

A five-game win streak has propelled the Crawdads into third place in the SAL Northern Division standings. Hickory is now just 1 1/2 games behind first-place Hagerstown, who won the division in the first half of the season. The ‘Dads are half a game behind Greensboro for second place and the second-best overall record the division.

However, the Crawdads recently lost outfielder Eduard Pinto and infielder Dylan Moore, who were both promoted to higher affiliates. Pinto joined the RoughRiders last night, while Moore was moved up to High Desert.

Infielder Xavier Turner was just assigned to Hickory from Spokane yesterday. He has a chance to make a big impact for the Crawdads in their push for a playoff spot. Turner played nine games with the Crawdads last season after starting his professional career in the Arizona League.

Today: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Joe Palumbo)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (23-22 overall, 4-3 second half  3rd place, Northwest League North Division)

As mentioned above, Xavier Turner was promoted to Hickory yesterday after a spectacular performance Tuesday in the Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game. Turner won the MiLB.com Top Star Award for the Northwest League, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a pair of runs scored.

Four former Spokane Indians were involved in the Rangers’ trade deadline deal for Carlos Beltran. In addition to Dillon Tate (2015), Erik Swanson (2014), and Nick Green (2016), Beltran was also an Indian back in 1996. Spokane was affiliated with the Kansas City Royals at the time.

Tonight: at Salem-Keizer, 8:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Sal Mendez)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: pastureworker – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/4)

GAME #110 (2nd HALF GAME #41)

Frisco RoughRiders (54-55 overall, 16-24 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (41-69 overall, 19-21 2nd half)
Thursday, August 4 – 7:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 25 of 32 (Riders 17-7)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Luis Marte – SS
  3. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  4. Joe Jackson – RF
  5. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Eduard Pinto – LF
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Carlos Arroyo – CF

LHP Jack Snodgrass (0-0, -.– ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday vs. Midland (W, 10-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW:

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders came back from down 2-0 and 3-1 over the first three innings before scoring six runs in the fifth to move ahead for good and beat the Midland RockHounds 10-4 in the series finale on Wednesday night…KELLIN DEGLANmashed two homers, JOE JACKSON knocked in four runs, and ISIAH KINER-FALEFA scored three times in the win…Starter CONNOR SADZECK battled through four innings, allowing three runs, while RICHELSON PENA worked five innings, not allowing a run until the ninth for the win.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 30 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes .500 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to 26-4 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 5.5 game defict in the overall season standings back of Midland. The good news is that Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season.

ALL ABOARD THE “E-TRAIN”:
The RoughRiders had four players promoted to Triple-A Round Rock yesterday. Infielder RONALD GUZMAN hit a homer and an RBI double in his Triple-A debut last night. Pitchers YOHANDER MENDEZJOHN FASOLA, and JOSE VALDESPINA all went up as well. Each of the three pitchers have spent limited time with Round Rock this season, while Guzman joined the Express for the first time in his career. In corresponding moves, the Riders activated pitcher JACK SNODGRASS who starts today, received outfielder CARLOS ARROYO, and pitchers SCOTT CARROLL and JUAN GRULLON (Round Rock). Additionally, pitcher REED GARRETT rejoined the squad from Class A-Advanced High Desert, and RYAN CORDELL was placed on the 7-day disabled list.

SOMETHING’S BREWING:
Monday, the Rangers traded outfielder LEWIS BRINSON and right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. Brinson hit .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 77 games with Frisco this season, missing 21 games in June and part of July while on the disabled list. Ortiz joined the squad on May 20 and went 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine outings (eight starts). He struck out 34 while walking just seven in his time with the Riders. Brinson (29th overall pick, 2012) and Ortiz (30th overall, 2014) were both first-round draft picks. Prior to the trade, MLBPipeline.com ranked Brinson as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers farm system and Ortiz was slotted third. Brinson entered Milwaukee’s rankings at No. 2 and Ortiz at No. 5 when the rankings were updated Tuesday. Brinson was assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 4-for-4 in his Sky Sox debut on Tuesday and hitting a grand slam last night.

MARVELOUS MARTE:
Riders shortstop LUIS MARTE continues to swing at a torrid rate the last few weeks. Last night, he notched his 13th multi-hit game of the season. He now has hits in 14 of his last 16 games, and 10 of those are mutli-hit affairs. Marte’s .453 average since July 19 leads all full-season minor leaguers and is fourth among all minor leaguers.

DEALING OUT DINGERS:
The Riders haven’t allowed a homer in four straight games. However, they recently had a stretch with homers allowed in 10 of 11 games. Over the last 15 games, Frisco pitching has allowed home runs in 10 games, with two of the homerless games coming with ground-ball specialist ARIEL JURADO starting on the mound. The Riders have given up 15 long balls in the 15-game stretch.  Frisco surrendered 36 home runs, most in the Texas League and fourth-most in Minor League Baseball during the month of July. On the season, the Riders have allowed 98 homers, second only to Springfield (100) for most home runs allowed in the Texas League this season.

SPEAKING OF HOME RUNS…:
The Riders were a home run machine at the plate for the early part of July, hitting 26 homers from July 4 through July 24. However, the RoughRiders hit just one home run in the final week of the month, with the lone long ball coming off the bat ofRYAN CORDELL on Saturday. Frisco finished July with 27 homers, second-most in the Texas League behind Tulsa (28).

RIDERS CROWD MLBPIPELINE  TOP 10:
The most recent MLBPipeline.com rankings include six RoughRiders ranked in the Top 30 from the Rangers farm system, and three are in the Top 10. ANDY IBANEZ (3) and RYAN CORDELL (6) are in  the Top 10 for the first time this season. MLBPipeline also released its mid-season top 100 prospect list, and two current Rangers prospects made the cut. Gallo topped the list at No. 14, and former RoughRider YOHANDER MENDEZ came in at No. 67. LEWIS BRINSON (21) and LUIS ORTIZ (63), traded to Milwakee on Monday, were also ranked in the top 100.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Michael Kelly was a supplemental first round pick of the Padres in June, 2011. He signed with scout Willie Bosque, for a bonus of $718,000 just 20 minutes before the August 15 deadline, turning down a baseball scholarship to the University of Florida… Kelly has an 89-92 mph 2-seam sinking FASTBALL, a 90-96 mph 4-seamer, a 75-77 mph CURVEBALL and a 77-79 mph CHANGEUP…He makes his eighth start of the season for San Antonio today and his first since coming back from Triple-A El Paso on July 31 where he was 6-1 with a 4.54 ERA.

Impressive home run catches

In case you missed last night’s RoughRiders game, a Choctaw Lazy River employee made an incredible catch using a pool net to haul in a Kellin Deglan home run.

The catch was impressive on its own. The unique aspect was the instrument that the employee used to catch the ball, all while maintaining his balance perched on top of the lazy river.

Here are five other amazing catches made by fans during baseball games. Although none of them contain a lazy river, unfortunately, they are still entertaining to watch!

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: lucky seventh – The bottom half of the seventh inning, which was once regarded as lucky for the home team. The term was probably named from the idea of the lucky ‘seven’ as known in the game of dice. Sporting people have long associated good fortune with the number 7.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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