Results tagged ‘ Arkansas Travelers ’
Opening Day is upon us! Hot off the press is edition number one of this year’s game notes: click here for game notes (.pdf).
Cody Buckel gets the start for Frisco at Dickey-Stevens Park against the Arkansas Travelers. One of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the Rangers organization, Buckel enters the season as the highest ranked prospect in the Texas system on the RoughRiders Opening Day roster. Baseball America lists him 8th in the Texas system, Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com tabs him 4th (and 87th in all of baseball), Keith Law at ESPN.com puts him 3rd (and 90th overall), John Sickles considers Buckel 4th while Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus has him missing the cut of the top ten prospects in the Rangers organization.
Good morning and happy Opening Day from Little Rock, Arkansas! The team arrived at the hotel at about 8:45 last night, which might be the earliest we get to a hotel all season before a game so the guys should be well rested. A bit of sour news greeted us all here when we woke up, as it has been steadily raining all morning. The good news is that it looks like things should dry up a bit this afternoon and, if the weather cooperates with the forecast, we should be able to play ball tonight at Dickey-Stephens Park. The great news is that we should have completely clear skies for each of the final two nights of this first series. I’ll keep you updated, but in the mean time start practicing your anti-rain dance in case things get a little dodgy later on.
Opening Day sure is exciting, but man Game Two can be entertaining.
We still have tomorrow’s RoughRiders Opening Day against the Travelers to hype (including the 2013 debut of Cody Buckel), but I couldn’t help but be excited for game two already. By then, the dust has settled. The Opening Day jitters have worn off, and yet it’s still baseball. Something amazing and historic can always happen, and strangely, it so often does. Or nearly does.
Frisco’s starting pitcher for game two of the season? Ryan Feierabend. Interestingly enough, the former big leaguer has pitched the same number of times at Minute Maid Park as Darvish–once (back in 2007). Neither allowed a run.
Well…we will see you Friday in North Little Rock. Thursday and Friday (well, and Saturday too I suppose). Yu never know what will happen.
Baseball term of the day: Agate – another term for the baseball.
We caught up with former RoughRiders’ infielder Renny Osuna to talk about being back in Frisco.
Video shot by Jarah Wright and Michael Damman
It may be hard for some to believe, but the 2012 season will be year number 10 for the RoughRiders franchise. Current Rangers like Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and Derek Holland all came through Dr Pepper Ballpark. Heck, even Josh Hamilton has rehabbed here twice and, most recently, hit a home run.
It’s fun to reflect over the last nine years and think about all the great ballplayers ‘Riders fans have had the pleasure to watch. With that in mind, I’ve teamed up with the Michael Damman, the RoughRiders’ Director of Statistical Research, to come up with the All-‘Riders Team. In the coming weeks here on the blog, we’ll be profiling the best players at their positions in franchise history. Should be a lot of fun.
Here are some news, notes, and headlines from today:
- Arkansas Travelers’ third baseman Luis Jiminez has been added to the Angels’ 40-man roster. He batted .290/.335/.486 with 18 homers in 490 at-bats for Arkansas in 2011, and he led the Texas League with 40 doubles, was second with 94 RBIs, and third with 59 extra-base hits.
- Here’s a first: according to ballparkdigest.com, the Seattle Mariners are installing four electric vehicle charging stations available for public use at Safeco Field. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours. Anyone can plug into the charging stations 24 hours a day, even on days when the Mariners are not playing.
- As reported late last month, our neighboring Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association have had their league membership revoked after failing to put up a required letter of credit for 2012. Team owner Carl Bell says he’s selling the team to potential new owners who would field a team next season.
- According to a tweet I saw a couple of days ago by my good friend Jason Cole, the publisher of LoneStarDugout.com, former RoughRiders’ reliever Evan Reed has been throwing in the upper 90s in the Arizona Fall League. The ‘Riders were taking batting practice in Midland in 2010 when we got the news that Evan had been traded to the Florida Marlins for Jorge Cantu. Evan is a great guy who I really enjoyed getting to know. I once ate lunch with him at a Subway in Corpus Christi and was amazed by the amount of food he could pound. Evan ate a 12″ sandwich on thick honey oat bread with four chicken breasts and almost all the veggies available. Happy to hear that he’s doing well.
At first glance, he isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type. To be honest, in my limited time with him, I can’t remember seeing him smile. He looks, acts, and talks like someone who has been in baseball his entire life. And it wasn’t until I had the chance to sit down and interview him in the RoughRiders’ dugout at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Ok. that I realized how truly valuable Senior Director of Player Development Scott Servias was to the Texas Rangers.
Unfortunately, he’s now a valuable addition to the division rival Anaheim Angels.
Right before the weekend, it was announced that new Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto had luered Servais away from Texas by offering him a multi-year contract as the Halos’ assistant general manager overseeing scouting and player development. With Texas, Servais was responsible for the on-field minor league development in addition to instructing the Rangers’ Major League catchers. He also made recommendations for potential trades and free-agent signings.
There are a lot of moving parts involved with the operations and player development in both major and minor league baseball and I’m far from fully understanding it all. Over the course of a season I see and meet coaches, scouts, rovers, coordinators, special assistants, and plenty more. All of them work for the Rangers, and all are trying to help the players here in Frisco become players in Arlington.
What I do know is that Servais had the respect of every RoughRider I talked to. A one-time player himself, the former catcher was taken in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft by Houston and began his career with the Astros, making his Major League debut on July 12, 1991. His playing days ended in 2002 after batting .245 with 63 home runs and 319 RBIs in 820 Major League games.
I remember talking with former RoughRiders’ second baseman Matt Lawson about Servais at one point last year. He was incredibly complimentary of Servias and said that he felt like he really took the time to get to know him. In my interview with Servais in Tulsa, I asked Scott about how important it was for him get to know the players he was developing:
“It’s everything. I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak. I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background. I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.”
This told me a lot about Scott, and I think he really does care about the players. That might sound a little too “Hallmark” for professional baseball, but in my ten minutes with him, I truly felt as though he meant it.
For the Angels, this was a big time acquisition. For the Rangers, it leaves a big time void. Texas general manager Jon Daniels told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that “[Scott] helped put together an outstanding staff, so we’re confident others will step up and we won’t miss a beat . . . I’m looking forward to competing against him.” Daniels also said that Scott will be missed and that his new opportunity is an exciting one.
No matter what happens, we’ll see the fruit of Servais’ labor 12 times a year when the RoughRiders take on the Arkansas Travelers.
The 2011 season is over for the RoughRiders after San Antonio’s 11-3 victory in Game 4 Saturday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Here are a few thoughts a few minutes after Frisco’s tremendous season came to an end.
– With the pitching talent that both teams possessed, it felt like one big inning would ultimately decide this series. San Antonio’s seven-run first would certainly qualify as that big inning. The Missions sucked the life out of the RoughRiders in that frame and cruised from there to the franchise’s first Texas League Championship Series appearance since 2007.
– The ‘Riders did not reach their end goal, but they posted another fantastic season. Overall, Frisco went 80-64 and played the Missions, minor league baseball’s best team, extremely well. This organization once again churned out the top attendance number in the Texas League, and fan support has never been higher. 2011 was a good year for the RoughRiders.
– After their defeat of Northwest Arkansas in the North Division Series, the Arkansas Travelers will square off with the Missions in the TLCS. The Travs have had a solid season this year, but the Missions will, and should, go into that set as the heavy favorites.
– It has been a pleasure to cover the RoughRiders throughout the season. Thanks so much for making the ‘Riders Insider Blog a success during its first year. We look forward to keeping tabs on everything during the offseason, so be sure to stay tuned. Go RoughRiders!
With Northwest Arkansas’ victory over Tulsa last night, the Texas League Playoffs are set. In the South, San Antonio will square off with Frisco. In the North, Arkansas will tangle with Northwest Arkansas. Let’s break down the two matchups, which both begin Wednesday night.
San Antonio (First/Second Half Champion) v.
Frisco (Wild Card Winner)
Game 1: Frisco at San Antonio – Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
Game 2: Frisco at San Antonio – Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: San Antonio at Frisco – Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Game 4: San Antonio at Frisco – Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Game 5: Frisco at San Antonio – Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: All the Missions did was post the best record in minor league baseball this season. They have been in first place for the vast majority of this season. After a rough April, though, the RoughRiders were right with San Antonio. The ‘Riders have had the second-best mark in the Texas League for much of the campaign.
SEASON SERIES: The Missions won the season series 19-13. In fact, San Antonio won every season series this year. However, the ‘Riders took three of four from San Antonio in the two clubs’ final regular season showdown (August 23-26).
SAN ANTONIO WILL WIN IF…: they improve offensively. San Antonio was an offensive-heavy unit in April and May, but the team’s depth now lies in the pitching staff. To the surprise of no one, the Missions boasted the best record in the TL during August at 20-9. However, they hit just .251 as a team. The pitching staff won all those games (2.53 ERA). If the Missions’ bats get going again, they will be very dangerous.
FRISCO WILL WIN IF…: they continue to get good starting pitching. The RoughRiders took three of four against San Antonio last week because of their arms. In their three wins over the Missions, Frisco’s starters combined for 22 innings and just seven earned runs. The ‘Riders’ offense is better than San Antonio’s right now. The starting pitching just needs to match the Missions’ prospect-laden staff.
Arkansas (First Half Champion) v.
Northwest Arkansas (Second Half Champion)
Game 1: Northwest Arkansas at Arkansas – Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.
Game 2: Northwest Arkansas at Arkansas – Thursday at 7:10 p.m.
Game 3: Arkansas at Northwest Arkansas – Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Game 4: Arkansas at Northwest Arkansas – Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Game 5: Arkansas at Northwest Arkansas – Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Northwest Arkansas really had to sweat it out this year in order to earn their fourth playoff berth in as many seasons as a franchise. Arkansas edged the Naturals for the first-half crown by one game to punch its first playoff ticket since 2008. The Naturals then had to swat away a late charge by Tulsa, who won nine in a row to draw even with Northwest. Still, the Naturals downed the Drillers Saturday night to get to the postseason.
SEASON SERIES: The Travelers edged the Naturals in the season series with a 15-14 month against their in-state rival. These two clubs had three games washed out due to rain in the first half of the season. However, Northwest Arkansas is 9-3 against the Travs since mid-July.
ARKANSAS WILL WIN IF…: they get some of their first-half momentum back. The Travs have struggled mightily in the second half. They are 30-38 in this half, which began with a six-game winning streak. The man who can get the Travs some momentum is Matt Shoemaker, who won the Texas League Pitcher of the Year honor. However, he has lost his last three starts. If he drops a game against Northwest Arkansas next week, it will be tough for the Travs to recover.
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS WILL WIN IF…: their pitching staff’s improvement continues. The Naturals posted a 4.08 earned run average in August, which was their lowest mark for a month this season. Northwest has been in the bottom half of the season in ERA for much of the year. If they can slow down Arkansas’ offense, the Naturals’ lineup should carry them to the championship series for the third straight season.
Stay tuned to the Insider Blog for continuing coverage of the RoughRiders’ run in the playoffs. We will have game previews and post-game reactions throughout Frisco’s sixth trip to the postseason. Enjoy!
In case you missed it, the RoughRiders have clinched a playoff spot for the sixth time in franchise history. Frisco will square off with San Antonio in the first round beginning September 7.
How have the ‘Riders fared in the playoffs over the years? Here are the year-by-year results.
Divisional Round: Defeated Wichita 3-0
Championship Series: Lost to San Antonio 4-1
In the RoughRiders’ first season, they qualified for the playoffs and made quick work of the Wranglers in the first round. In 2003, like this season, San Antonio was an all-timer of a team. The Missions went 88-51 in the regular season and cruised past the ‘Riders for the title.
Divisional Round: Defeated Tulsa 3-0
Championship Series: Defeated Round Rock 4-1
After a third-place finish in the first half, the RoughRiders blew away the competition en route to their first and only Texas League championship. Frisco went 45-25 in the second half to punch its playoff ticket. In their three-game sweep of Tulsa, the ‘Riders scored 28 runs. In the championship series against Round Rock, Frisco’s pitching staff gave up only 20 runs. This remains the lone banner in the RoughRiders’ tenure in the Texas League.
Divisional Round: Lost to San Antonio 3-0
Following their title in 2004, the RoughRiders missed the playoffs in ’05 and ’06. They made up for lost time with a record of 85-55 during the 2007 regular season, which was ten games better than any other team in the Texas League. However, the ‘Riders did not translate their regular season success into the playoffs. The Missions outscored Frisco 19-8 in the sweep. San Antonio went on to win the TL title.
Divisional Round: Defeated San Antonio 3-0
Championship Series: Lost to Arkansas 3-2
For the second straight season, the ‘Riders posted the best record in the Texas League (84-56). This time, the ‘Riders made quick work of San Antonio in the first round. In fact, Frisco’s sweep of San Antonio was more lopsided than the Missions’ broom job in ’07, as the ‘Riders outscored the defending champs 20-5. The championship series went back and forth, with Frisco taking Game 2 and Game 4. However, the Travelers dominated the deciding Game 5 11-3 to win their first outright title since 1989.
Divisional Round: Lost to Midland 3-1
Skipper Steve Buechele led the RoughRiders to the playoffs in his first season at the helm, but the RockHounds won back-to-back games at home after the two clubs split the two games at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Midland lost to Northwest Arkansas in the championship series.
All-Time Record (Games): 17-14
All-Time Record (Series): 4-4
Only 28 games remain for the RoughRiders and the other seven teams in the Texas League. San Antonio and Arkansas already have their ticket punched to the postseason, and almost every other club in the league has a chance to get into the TL’s final four.
1. San Antonio (76-36, 27-15; Past Rankings: 1, 1, 1)
The Missions have the best record in all of full-season minor league baseball, with the San Jose Giants of the California League (74-38) the only team less than five games away from San Antonio. Not only has San Antonio been great this season, but they added Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, who had been with Frisco until the Mike Adams deal at the deadline.
KEY STAT (+200): That’s the Missions’ run differential this season, which leads the minors and is 160 runs better than the second-best mark in the TL (Frisco at +40). Thanks to Mike Saeger, the Missions play-by-play broadcaster for this stat.
2. Frisco (61-51, 21-21; Past Rankings: 6, 2, 3)
The ‘Riders have fallen into a bit of a slump, and Midland has climbed above them in the standings. However, the RockHounds will need to leap over San Antonio in order to make the playoffs and, as a result, deny the RoughRiders of a spot in the playoffs. Midland has been better than the ‘Riders over the last two weeks, but Frisco was clearly better for the season’s first 100 games. Thus, the ‘Riders are here.
KEY STAT (9-2, 3.09): The combined record and earned run average of Erlin and Wieland while they were with the RoughRiders. Now, they are on the team that Frisco would play in the first round of the postseason.
3. Northwest Arkansas (57-52, 22-20; Past Rankings: 4, 3, 6)
The Naturals won the league last year, and they have had plenty of big-time prospects on the roster. Finally, Northwest Arkansas has gone on a bit of a run to assume first place in both the overall and the second half standings. Still, last-place Arkansas is three games back, so this race will go down to the wire.
KEY STAT (2): The Naturals are only two losses away from matching their total from all of last year. Northwest went 86-54 en route to a pair of division crowns and a Texas League championship.
4. Midland (49-63, 22-20; Past Rankings: 3, 7, 5)
Talk about a team that has bounced up and down this season. Right now, Midland is one of the hottest teams in the Texas League and they have jumped into second place in the South. The RockHounds have won eight of ten, including their first series victory over Frisco this season Tuesday through Thursday of last week.
KEY STAT (4): Only four games remain for the RockHounds against the first-place Missions, and those aren’t until August 30-September 2 in San Antonio. Midland must win the second-half championship to go to the playoffs, and they are currently five games back.
5. Arkansas (55-54, 19-23; Past Rankings: 7, 6, 2)
The Travelers stunned many and took the first half North Division title by one game over Northwest Arkansas. Right now, Arkansas is in a bit of a rut after going 6-0 to start half two. Since that point, Arkansas is 13-23, but they still have their postseason berth locked up.
KEY STAT (.348): Mike Trout’s average since returning to the Travs August 1. The Angels’ top prospect, who spent almost a month in the bigs, has hit safely in six of his seven games and has scored seven times since arriving back in North Little Rock.
6. Springfield (52-59, 20-21; Past Rankings: 5, 4, 7)
The Cardinals have been hot lately, which pushes them ahead of Tulsa and Corpus Christi. Springfield has gotten great pitching out of top prospect Shelby Miller, and the squad is right there in second in the second half North standings, just one-and-a-half games back of the Naturals.
KEY STAT (8-2): The Cardinals’ record over the last ten games, which has propelled Springfield from last place in the North to second.
7. Tulsa (52-59, 19-22; Past Rankings: 2, 5, 4)
This is the lowest ranking for the Drillers this season, and it comes with the club still very much alive in the second half. Surprisingly, the Drillers have struggled at home this season. They have the worst home record in the TL at 24-30, including an 8-12 mark in the second half.
KEY STAT (20): The number of games that will remain when Drew Pomeranz, the key cog in Colorado’s trade with Cleveland for Ubaldo Jimenez, is eligible to officially join the Rockies’ system. If he joins the Drillers, Pomeranz would be able to make no more than four starts before the regular season ends.
8. Corpus Christi (42-70, 17-25; Past Rankings: 8, 8, 8)
I’ve tried to move these poor Hooks up in the rankings, but I just can’t do it. Corpus Christi’s roster is depleted now because many key pieces have moved up to Triple-A Oklahoma City or Houston.
KEY STAT (23%): The percentage of the Astros’ current position players that were with the Hooks a month ago. Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes are the Hooks-turned-Astros.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!