Riding Through the Farm: June 3

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

TEXAS RANGERS (31-22, T-1st place, AL West)

The Rangers have won four consecutive series and seven of their last eight. The team returns home tonight after taking two of three from the Indians in Cleveland this week.

Yu Darvish is slated to make his second MLB start of the season against the Seattle Mariners. This is the beginning of a seven-game homestand for the Rangers, who host four contests against the Houston Astros next week after three against Seattle this weekend. The Rangers are currently tied with the Mariners for first place in the American League West.

Tonight: vs. Seattle, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Yu Darvish)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (29-24, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express trail Nashville by 3 1/2 games in the PCL American Southern Division but have a chance to make up some ground when they close out a four-game series tonight. Round Rock leads the series 2-1 heading into the series finale.

After tonight’s game, Round Rock returns home for a four-game set against Oklahoma City in the first of 14 home games this month.

Tonight: at Nashville, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (33-21, 1st, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have taken sole possession of first place from Rancho Cucamonga in the California League South Division. High Desert do not play the Quakes again in the first half. The Mavericks have one game against Modesto, four against Inland Empire and Stockton, and seven against Lake Elsinore remaining on the schedule.

Travis Demeritte still leads the circuit with 13 home runs and 43 runs scored. Outfielder Scott Heineman is the only player hitting above the .300 mark, with a .312 average in 52 games played.

Tonight: vs. Modesto, 9:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (30-23, 3rd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Despite having the fourth-best record in the 14-team circuit, the Crawdads are in third place in the North Division, four games behind the first-place Hagerstown Suns.

After getting rained out two days in a row and then dropping both games in a June 1 doubleheader, Hickory bounced back with a road victory over Lakewood last night, thanks to Andy Ibanez‘s two-run homer in the fourth inning. The Crawdads trio of Erik Swanson, Wes Benjamin, and John Werner held the BlueClaws scoreless.

Tonight: at Lakewood, 6:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: choke sign – Grabbing or clutching the neck, or wrapping a towel around the throat, indicating that an umpire or player has lost his nerve or failed in a crucial situation.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

2016 Texas League All-Star Game, featuring the best player names

6873092058_f26f6df780_o

With the Texas League All-Star Game coming up on June 28 in Springfield, it is time to start considering who will be representing the North and South Division squads this year.

Surely, many players have put up All-Star Game-worthy numbers. However, we are completely disregarding statistics in this blog post and focusing solely on awesome names alone.

Here is a list of what I consider to be the best names by position in the Texas League from the North and South Divisions. (* = not on team’s active roster as of June 1)

From the North Division…

Catcher: *Anthony Bemboom (Arkansas)

First Baseman: Frank Schwindel (Northwest Arkansas)

Second baseman: Breyvic Valera (Springfield)

Third baseman: Brandon Trinkwon (Tulsa)

Shortstop: *Erisbel Arruebarrena (Tulsa)

Outfielder: Bo Way (Arkansas)

Outfielder: *Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas)

Outfielder: Kyle Garlick (Tulsa)

Designated Hitter: Jacob Scavuzzo (Tulsa)

Pitcher: *Alan Busenitz (Arkansas)

Pitcher: Daniel Poncedeleon (Springfield)

Pitcher: Ralston Cash (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Tim Shibuya (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Ronnie Shaban (Springfield)

Pitcher: *Estarlin Cordero (Northwest Arkansas)

From the South Division…

Catcher: *Rocky Gale (San Antonio)

First Baseman: Conrad Gregor (Corpus Christi)

Second baseman: Evan Van Hoosier (Frisco)

Third baseman: *Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Frisco)

Shortstop: *River Stevens (San Antonio)

Outfielder: Teoscar Hernandez (Corpus Christi)

Outfielder: Danny Oh (Midland)

Outfielder: Brett Vertigan (Midland)

Designated Hitter: Chan-Jong Moon (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Keegan Yuhl (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Cy Sneed (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: *Reymin Guduan (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Ryne Slack (Frisco)

Pitcher: Trey Cochran-Gill (Midland)

Pitcher: Jose Valdespina (Frisco)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: jam sandwich – Throwing a pitch near the batter’s fists with a fastball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Tulsa (DH, 6/1/16)

GAME #50
Frisco RoughRiders (30-19) vs. Tulsa Drillers (25-24)
Wednesday, June 1 – Game one starts at 5:05
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Game one / Game two
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 4 of 12 (Drillers lead, 3-0)

26504830675_b723d17948_o

Connor Sadzeck makes the start for the RoughRiders in game one.

FRISCO LINEUP (Game one)

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

RHP Connor Sadzeck (5-1, 3.56)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at Springfield (L, 4-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Cody Palmquist

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Frisco’s series opener with the Tulsa Drillers last night was postponed to today due to rain…On Sunday, in the series finale with Tulsa, the Riders allowed a two-run homer in the first and never had a lead in a 4-1 loss to the Springfield Cardinals in the series finale Sunday afternoon…The only run for the Riders came on PRESTON BECK’s solo home run in the fourth inning…All five Riders runs in the series against Springfield came on homers…LUIS ORITZ (5.0 IP) allowed three runs and took the loss in his second start with Frisco, despite only giving up four hits…CODY PALMQUIST’s streaks of 19 straight batters retired and 12 consecutive scoreless innings both came to an end.  Frisco has lost six straight games, the longest drought of the season

NORTH DIVISION WOES:
After a 9-1 start to the season against North Division opponents, the RoughRiders have been on a skid against teams from the Texas League’s other division. Frisco has lost eight consecutive games against the North, with the last win coming in the first game of a home series against Arkansas on April 18 and 19. The Riders play their next six games against the North Division with Springfield coming to town on Friday after the current series with Tulsa concludes.

HEARTBREAK AWAY FROM HOME:
On the last six-game road trip, the Riders lost all six games, three of which were come-from-behind wins by Tulsa and Springfield. Two games in the last series with the Cardinals were lost in the final turn at-bat by Springfield, including Saturday night’s walk-off loss. The current six-game losing skid is the longest of the year, and the six losses have all come by three runs or fewer for a combined total of 12 runs.

SCORING POSITION STRUGGLES:
A big component of Frisco’s issues scoring runs on the last road trip was the club’s failure to hit with runners in scoring position. The Riders were just 4-for-36 (.111) hitting with runners in scoring position on the road trip, and the club is 1-for-its-last-24 (.042) in such at-bats. They came into the trip hitting .322 (125-for-388) and are now hitting .304 for the year.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY:
After going 15 games between quality starts, Riders starting pitchers have posted four quality starts in their last eight outings, which includes a rehab start from YU DARVISH. However, during this run of eight starts, the Riders are just 2-6. Additionally, losses last Tuesday and Thursday were the first losses this year when the Riders got a quality start (12-2).

ROARING RONALD GUZMAN:
Riders first baseman RONALD GUZMAN continues his torrid season. The slugger put together the first two-homer game of his career Saturday night, and his a season-high nine game hitting streak just ended Sunday. During the run, Guzman hit .400 (14-for-35) with five extra-base hits (2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) and 3 RBI. Of the nine games during the streak, four were multi-hit games, including a three hit-game on Monday against the San Antonio Missions.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
On May 19, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
The RoughRiders have had the best record in team history at almost every point this season. With six straight losses, however, the 30-19 record is now three games back of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 33-16 through 49 games. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra-base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .315), home runs (T-4th, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .586), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:
Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 108 multi-hit performances out of a possible 441 lineup spots (24.5%). 27 of the 108 multi-hit performances (25.0%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 18 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 118-84 (.584), which is the third-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland and New York (AL). Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 31-21, Class A Hickory is 29-21, and Triple-A Round Rock is 28-23. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

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

OPPOSING STARTER:
GAME ONE: Brock Stewart was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of Illinois State University. After struggling in 18 games, 12 starts with Rancho Cucamonga last year, he returned to the Quakes and went 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts to begin this season. Stewart was quickly promoted to Tulsa, where he has allowed just six earned runs over 43 1/3 innings pitched. His father, Jeff, is a scout for the San Diego Padres. REPERTOIRE: Fastball, Changeup, Slider…GAME TWO: Today’s starter Scott Barlow is off to a great start with the Drillers through his first eight games this season, posting an ERA of just 1.93, second in the Texas League among qualifying starting pitchers. After his first professional season, Barlow missed the entire 2012 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The righty was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of Golden Valley High School in California…Repertoire: fastball in the low 90s, a curveball in the low 70s, a changeup in the low 80s, and a 78-82 mph slider.

South Division set for frantic race to the finish

June is here. Whether it feels like it’s already here or it’s finally here, the start of the year’s sixth month marks the beginning of the stretch run to the end of the first half.

Here’s a look at the South Division standings as we enter play today.

TEAM W L WIN % GB
Frisco 30 19 .612
Corpus Christi 30 20 .600 0.5
Midland 26 24 .520 4.5
San Antonio 16 34 .320 14.5

San Antonio is pretty much out of it, but the other three teams have a very legitimate shot of claiming the first-half crown and one of the two playoff spots from the South Division come September.

Corpus Christi was about as impressive in May as the Riders were in April. The Hooks finished the month 21-8, including a 6-0 record against the RoughRiders. Even as some of their stars get promoted to Triple-A or sent to the disabled list, the Hooks haven’t seemed to lose a beat. The Riders face off with Corpus Christi for their final five games of the first half June 15-18 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. At this rate, it looks like that series could go a long way in determining the first-half champion.

Of course, you can’t count out Midland yet either. The RockHounds have had an up-and-down kind of season up to this point, but still remain in striking distance of first place. Midland pitching continues to struggle, with the team ERA of 4.17 ranking second-to-last in the Texas League. That said, the bats are strong enough to keep them in the race. What’s hurt Midland most has been the loss of key contributors to Triple-A, including Ryon Healy, Jaycob Brugman, Aaron Kurcz, and Daniel Mengden. The Riders play their final two games of the first half in Midland, plus four other games in Frisco next week. If they can stay in the race, those series could also mean a lot toward deciding the first-half championship.

It’s hard to say if this will be a two- or three-horse race down the stretch, but either way, it should be a fun month of June in the South Division in the quest for a first-half title.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Put a new handle on it – Time-tested advice given to a player who has just broken his bat.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Palmquist making the most of opportunity in Frisco

PalmquistAll Cody Palmquist could do was wait for an opportunity. The right-handed pitcher opened the season in Extended Spring Training, but when Richelson Pena was placed on the Temporary Inactive List on April 23, an opportunity arose in Frisco.

Palmquist joined the RoughRiders that day in Corpus Christi, not knowing how long he would be with the team. Aside from a one-day spurt when he was transferred back to Extended Spring Training, he’s been with the team ever since, and has thrived out of the Riders bullpen.

The righty didn’t take long to experience a pressure situation, making his Riders debut on April 29 against Corpus Christi, working the final two innings and earning the win against the Hooks. In the ninth inning, with the Riders up 8-7, and worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam to preserve the victory. In total, he opened the season with 12 2/3 scoreless innings, and at one point, retired 19 straight men across a couple relief outings. Through his first seven outings, he’s 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and one save.

“He’s been pounding the strike zone really well,” said Frisco pitching coach Brian Shouse. “He hasn’t shown that he’s spooked or anything out there. He’s been attacking the hitters.”

Shouse worked with Palmquist last season, when the two were with the Class A-Short Season Spokane Indians. Palmquist says the familiarity with Shouse has made his first stint in full-season baseball even easier.

“It helps a lot when you have a coach, a familiar face, someone that knows your strengths and weaknesses, and knows how to fix things when you’re not doing too well,” said the right-hander.

Shouse says he sees a lot of similarities, but also improvements, in Palmquist’s game compared to his time in Spokane, helping the 22-year-old succeed out of the gates in Double-A.

“It’s fabulous for him,” said Shouse. “It’s great for the work that he’s put in in the offseason and Spring Training and the patience that he he’s had to just wait for something to happen. He’s taken advantage of it and it’s been great for him.”

As for Palmquist, he’s not certain how much longer he’ll be here. It could be another day, a week, a month, or he may not leave at all. However, the uncertainty hasn’t changed the mentality he’s utilized since joining the Riders.

“Just live every day and pitch every day like it’s my last day and my last game,” said Palmquist. “I have nothing to lose, so go out there and give it all I’ve got.”

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Palm ball – An off-speed pitch in which the ball is gripped between the pitcher’s thumb and little finger and held near the base of the three middle fingers (the palm ) that lie slightly curved around the ball. It is released with a fastball motion by “pushing” the ball as it floats out of the hand.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (5/29/16)

GAME #49
Frisco RoughRiders (30-18) at Springfield Cardinals (27-22)
Sunday, May 29 – 2:10 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

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

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Luis Ortiz (1-0, 1.50 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at Springfield (L, 5-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

Up 4-0 in the eighth, the Riders allowed a four-run eighth and another run in the ninth to drop 5-4 in walk-off fashion to the Springfield Cardinals on Saturday night…Frisco has lost five straight on this road trip…All four Riders runs came on homers, as RONALD GUZMAN blasted two solo homers, and KELLIN DEGLAN mashed a two-run home run as well…REED GARRETT (5.0 IP) and JOSE VALDESPINA (2.0 IP) held the Cards scoreless, but JOHN FASOLA could not complete the win, allowing all five runs, four earned…the winning run came in on a fielding error with two outs in the ninth by EVAN VAN HOOSIER.

LUCKY LULU?:

Frisco turns to LUIS ORTIZ today looking to salvage a game from a thus-far winless road trip. The right-hander is the #4 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com in the Rangers system and won his Riders debut on Monday (11-1 vs. San Antonio). His team has won five of his last six starts dating back to his time in High-A with the High Desert Mavericks.

HEARTBREAK AWAY FROM HOME:

Over the first 43 games, the RoughRiders had only 13 losses, five of which were come-from- behind, and only one in the opposing team’s last at-bat. On this five-game road trip, the Riders have lost all five games, three of which have been come-from-behind efforts by Tulsa and Springfield. Each game in the current series with the Cardinals were lost in the final turn at- bat by Springfield, including last night’s walk-off loss. The current five-game losing skid matches the longest of the year, and the five losses have all come by two-or-fewer runs for a combined total of nine runs.

ROARING RONALD GUZMAN:

Riders first baseman RONALD GUZMAN continues his torrid season. The slugger put together the first two-homer game of his career last night and is in the midst of season-best nine game hit streak. During the run, Guzman is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with eight extra-base hits (4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR) and 11 RBI. Of the nine games during the streak, four are multi-hit games, including a three hit-game on Monday against the San Antonio Missions.

SCORING POSITION STRUGGLES:

A big component of Frisco’s issues scoring runs this road trip is the club’s failure to hit with runners in scoring position. Going 1-for-6 in those spots last night, the Riders are now just 4-for-35 (.114) hitting with runners in scoring position on the road trip, and the club is 1-for- its-last-23 (.043) in such at-bats.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY:

After going 15 games between quality starts, Riders starting pitchers have posted four quality starts in their last seven outings, which includes a rehab start from YU DARVISH. During this run of seven starts, the Riders are just 2-5, however, despite a starters ERA of 2.45. Additionally, losses on Tuesday and Thursday were the first losses this year when the Riders got a quality start (12-2).

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

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

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

The RoughRiders have had the best record in team history at almost every point this season. With five straight losses, however, the 30- 18 record is now three games back of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 33-15 through 48 games. The 2008 squad finished with an 84- 56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra- base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .316), home runs (4th, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .593), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 108 multi- hit performances out of a possible 432 lineup spots (25.0%). 27 of the 108 multi-hit performances (25.0%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 18 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 117-78 (.600), which is tied for the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems with New York (AL) and behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 31-19, Class A Hickory is 29-20, and Triple-A Round Rock is 27-21. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:

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

OPPOSING STARTER:

The Cardinals surprised some in 2014, making today’s starter Andrew Morales, who had gone undrafted every year from 2010- 2013, their second-round selection out of UC Irvine as a senior in 2014. As a collegiate pitcher, he went 42-3 between Rio Hondo Community College and UC Irvine and was the DI leaded in strikeouts (141) before the start of the College World Series, helping the Anteaters to the series…Repertoire: works with a 89-93 mph fastball, a 79-82 mph slider, and a changeup with a high arm slot and some deception.

Ballpark Bio: Hammons Field (Springfield)

IMG_3954

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

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 12, 2005 (Missouri State University, which also uses the park, began playing here in 2004)
Capacity: 6,750
Dimensions: LF – 315, CF – 400, RF – 330

We’re 225 miles down the road from St. Louis, but we’re still very much in Cardinals country this weekend here at Hammons Field in Springfield. It’s a ballpark that has a more traditional feel to it than some of the other ballparks in the league, and the vibe here has been great.

It’s a park that seems to be fueled by its fans, many of whom also root for the other Cardinals a little bit northwest of here. Yesterday, we saw a handful of people camped outside the stadium gates five hours before first pitch so that they could make sure they got one of the giveaway replica championship rings they were handing out here. That’s dedication. When the Cardinals rallied for victory last night, many of the 5,000+ fans in the park were still there and were locked in to the action.

IMG_3948

The folks in Springfield know the way to this baseball fan’s heart.

My favorite feature of this ballpark is definitely the hand-operated, out-of-town scoreboard behind the left field wall. If you don’t already know it, now’s the time to tell you that I’m a sucker for hand-operated scoreboards. I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on why I love them so much, but I think it’s a neat vintage feature, especially in an era where ballparks are constantly evolving.

One of the other cool aspects of this park is the batter’s eye, which is not just a giant wall/screen. Instead, it’s an area with a handful of trees, flowers, and other plants. In some ways, it’s somewhat like the large garden beyond the centerfield fence at Denver’s Coors Field. Here at Hammons Field, the batter’s eye isn’t just a nice change of pace, but it adds a lot of aesthetic value to the stadium. (Plus, as someone that grew up in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a reminder of home.)

IMG_3968

The batter’s eye at Hammons Field is pretty unique.

It may not have a Choctaw Lazy River or something else exotic like that, but Hammons Field still has plenty to like. Plus, when the dedicated fans pack the place, the atmosphere is pretty special.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming in June from Midland’s Security Bank Ballpark, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Hoopdy scoop – A curveball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (5/28/16)

GAME #48
Frisco RoughRiders (30-17) at Springfield Cardinals (26-22)
Saturday, May 28 – 6:10 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

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

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Reed Garrett (1-0, 4.76 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at Springfield (L, 1-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The Riders were shut out for the second time in four days on Friday night, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Springfield Cardinals…Harrison Bader broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning with a solo home run off of RYNE SLACK…The Riders had allowed just one hit, an infield single, to that point across 7 1/3 innings of work… Frisco’s offense collected six hits, although all were singles, and managed multiple hits in only the sixth, leaving seven on base and going 0-for- 5 with runners in scoring position… YOHANDER MENDEZ fired five shut out frames in his second Double-A start, allowing just the one infield single, three walks, a pair of hit batters, while striking out three. He took no decision.

SHUT DOWN IN SPRINGFIELD:

The shut out defeat last night was the second for the Riders in four days after being shut out just twice in the first 43 games this year. The offense has totaled just five runs in this 0-4 start to the road trip, by far the lowest four day total this season. The previous four-game low was nine runs from May 13-16, going 1-3 during the four contests. The Riders followed up that dearth with an 11-run, 16-hit, three-homer barrage of Midland.

SCORING POSITION STRUGGLES:

A big component of Frisco’s issues scoring runs this road trip is the club’s failure to hit with runners in scoring position. Going 0-for-5 in those spots last night, the Riders are now just 3-for-29 (.103) hitting with runners in scoring position on the road trip, and the club is 0-for- its-last-17 in such at-bats. All three hits came in the first three innings on Wednesday in a 6-4, come-from-behind loss to Tulsa.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY:

After going 15 games between quality starts, Riders starting pitchers have posted four starts in their last six outings, which includes a rehab start from YU DARVISH. Only VICTOR PAYANO on Wednesday (5.1 IP, 4 ER) and YOHANDER MENDEZ on Friday (5.0 IP, 0 ER) failed to earn a quality start during this recent run. During this run of six starts, the Riders are just 2-4, however, despite a starters ERA of 2.80. Additionally, losses on Tuesday and Thursday were the first losses this year when the Riders got a quality start (12-2).

NOT EXACTLY MAY FLOWERS:

Even with four quality starts in their past six starts, Frisco starting pitchers have had a tough time in the month of May. After a stellar 3.10 ERA in the month of April, the group has posted a 4.81 ERA in May. In fact, the staff as a whole has leveled off after its tremendous start with a league-best April ERA of 2.95 and an ERA of 3.89 here in May (6th in the league), dropping from the top spot in ERA for the year to 3.46 and fourth place.

SHAKE AND BAKE:

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

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

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

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

The RoughRiders have had the best record in team history at almost every point this season. With four straight losses, however, the 30-17 record is now two games back of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 32- 15 through 47 games. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league- best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra-base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .314), home runs (T-3rd, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .594), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 106 multi-hit performances out of a possible 423 lineup spots (25.1%). 27 of the 106 multi-hit performances (25.5%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 17 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 114-77 (.604), which is tied for the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems with New York (AL) and behind Cleveland. Every full- season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 30-19, Class A Hickory is 28-20, and Triple-A Round Rock is 26-21. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB. com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:

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

OPPOSING STARTER:

Primarily a third baseman for the Utes of the University of Utah, today’s starter Trey Nielsen rarely pitched in college, dealing with an elbow injury his junior season…The Cardinals took a flyer on Nielsen (30th round, 2013), and the righty underwent Tommy John surgery, not making his pro debut until late in 2014, working primarily out of the bullpen for the State College Spikes…Since the beginning of 2015, Nielsen has mostly worked as a starter and has pitched well with good command…The son of the former big leaguer Scott Nielsen, Trey works with a power sinker in the low 90s, a changeup, and a slurvy mid-to-upper 70s curveball.

Riders Alumni Report: New faces in the Majors

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

Nomar Mazara

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

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

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

Brett Nicholas

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

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

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

Cody Ege

Promoted on: April 24

Team: Miami Marlins

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

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

Matt Bush

Promoted on: May 13

Team: Texas Rangers

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

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

Jared Hoying

Promoted on: May 23

Team: Texas Rangers

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

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

Richard Bleier

Promoted on: May 26

Team: New York Yankees

MLB Stats: N/A

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

Bleier

– Steve

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

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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

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

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

FRISCO LINEUP

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

LHP Yohander Mendez (1-0, 5.40 ERA)

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

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

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

QUALITY AND QUANTITIY:

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

NOT EXACTLY MAY FLOWERS:

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

SHAKE AND BAKE:

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

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:

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

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:

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

VIEW FROM THE TOP:

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

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:

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

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:

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

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:

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

RANGER DANGER:

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers