Results tagged ‘ baseball ’

Wind of change: Texas League roster turnover

During a Minor League baseball season, there is a whirlwind of player movement in every farm system. Players are shuffled around to different levels nearly every day.

Matt Bush, who began the 2016 season with Frisco, is currently on the Texas Rangers roster.

However, this season, the RoughRiders have maintained a majority of core players from the Opening Day roster. 17 players, to be exact. Matt Bush and Jose Leclerc reached the Majors, with Bush currently remaining on the Rangers 25-man roster. Several others have played for the Triple-A squad this year, with four still remaining in Round Rock. One player is currently with High Desert, and two are no longer in the Rangers organization.

The curiosity bug stung me, and I was interested to find out how Frisco’s totals compared to the other seven teams in the Texas League. After going back into the archives and digging up every team’s Opening Day roster (including players on the disabled list, temporary inactive list, and suspended list), it was much easier to see the breakdown.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.33.09 AM

To fully understand this color-coded mess, note the key at the bottom left of the spreadsheet. Players highlighted in red are currently in the Majors, orange for Triple-A, clear for Double-A, and green for a lower level (Class-A or Class A-Advanced). A yellow highlight indicates a player who is no longer with the Texas League team’s parent club (either released or currently in a different organization). Blue font is a special marker for Evan Gattis, who opened the season on a Major League rehabilitation assignment with Corpus Christi.

Breakdown

With the data collected, it turned out the RoughRiders do indeed have the largest number of players from Opening Day (17 of 25) still on their active Texas League roster as of yesterday.

San Antonio had the biggest turnover, with just 12 players remaining from their 25-man Opening Day roster. Seven of those original 25 are no longer in the San Diego Padres organization, which is also a league-high.

In addition to Bush, three other players who opened the campaign in the Texas League are on a Major League roster at the moment. Pitcher Daniel Mengden and infielder Ryon Healy went from Midland to Oakland. Pitcher Cesar Vargas, who started the year in San Antonio, is now with the Padres (although currently on the disabled list).

Northwest Arkansas’ Opening Day roster was quite unique. The Naturals top the other seven clubs with a whopping 10 players currently at Triple-A Omaha. In addition, all 27 players from their April 7 roster are still in the Royals organization. They are the only team in the league who has not had an Opening Day player released or traded yet.

In addition to the Riders holding on to 17 of their initial 25 players, Frisco is tied with Tulsa for the fewest players (four) on an active Triple-A roster. The Drillers had the largest Opening Day roster with 28 total (25 + three on the disabled list).

However, five of them are now playing in a lower level of the Dodgers’ farm system. Comparatively, there are only three other players who started the year in the Texas League, stayed in the farm system, but are playing below the Double-A level (Frisco, Corpus Christi, and Northwest Arkansas each have one).

There is still a month and a half remaining in the season, so I am sure we will continue to see plenty more roster turnover as the weeks move along.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: get-small-quick ball – A home run, so named because of the way the ball appears to get smaller and smaller as it travels into the stands or out of the ballpark.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: July 22

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 (55-41 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are just 1-5 since the All-Star break, continuing their cold stretch. The team has won just four games in the month of July for a pitiful 4-12 record.

Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo were both recently placed on the disabled list, as the club’s injury woes continue as well. Texas wraps up its nine-game post-All-Star road trip with a three-game set in Kansas City. The Rangers are clinging to a 3 1/2 game lead over Houston in the American League West.

Tonight: at Kansas City Royals, 7:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Yu Darvish)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (49-50 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

7-20 Beck promotion

Preston Beck was promoted to Round Rock Wednesday and made his Triple-A debut last night.

The Express played last night’s game as the Round Rock FireAnts on “What Could Have Been Night”. The FireAnts marched their way to a 3-0 victory, extinguishing the Fresno Grizzlies at Dell Diamond. Preston Beck went 1-for-4 in his Triple-A debut.

Additionally, two members of the E-Train were recently recalled to the Majors. The Rangers called up infielder Hanser Alberto and outfielder Delino DeShields to fill the holes left by Fielder and Choo being placed on the disabled list.

Tonight: at Colorado Springs, 8:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (57-40 overall, 14-13 second half – T-3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have already clinched a playoff spot with their first-half division title. They current have the best overall record in the circuit at 57-40.

Travis Demeritte continues to pace the circuit with 22 home runs. The total is six more than the two players tied for second behind him.

Former 2016 Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League hitters. The righty has a 3-1 record with a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief appearances, and he is 3-for-4 in save opportunities. Opposing batters have just a .208 average against Palmquist in the hitter-friendly league.

Tonight: at Lancaster, 8:35 p.m. (SP: TBA)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (52-45 overall, 14-13 second half – T-4th, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are on a hot streak right now with four straight victories.

In last night’s 7-3 victory over Delmarva, Hickory recorded a season-high 16 hits against the Shorebirds. Rangers No. 3 prospect Dillon Tate earned his third win of the season, tying his season-high with a six-inning start.

Tonight: at Delmarva, 6:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Erik Swanson)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (17-17, – 4th, Northwest League North Division)

Spokane has climbed the standings quickly with seven wins in their last 10 games. The Indians are now in a tie for first place with Tri-City, as the first half of the season comes to a close.

Spokane recently celebrated “Future Texas Rangers Night” this past Wednesday. Indians players wore special edition Rangers jerseys that were auctioned off during the game. Many future Rangers (and RoughRiders) may emerge from this young group!

Tonight: at Boise, 8:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Kaleb Fontenot)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Nintendo slider – A pitch that breaks unexpectedly over the plate, as if remotely controlled.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riders return to Whataburger Field

The RoughRiders return to Corpus Christi for the second time this month. Less than a week ago, the Riders took three of four games from the Hooks at Whataburger Field.

Frisco outscored Corpus Christi 23-10 overall and 16-2 in the middle two games of the series. Three of the four starters pitched at least six innings and had quality starts. In the series finale, the Riders erased a 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning and scored four runs in the frame. Frisco held on to win the game 5-4 and take the series victory.

Let’s have a look back at highlights from each of the four games:

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: ivory – One or more skilled ballplayers who are considered a valuable commodity.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

How I keep score: Part two (Steve)

Chadwick

Sportswriter Henry Chadwick, often called the “father of baseball”, is generally credited as the inventor of baseball scorekeeping. He developed box scores, the letter K denoting strikeout, and many other baseball statistics (such as batting average and earned run average) that are still used today.

I hope our scorebooks would make Mr. Chadwick proud. Over these three days, each of us (Nathan, Ryan, and myself) are giving you an inside look at our books to offer some different perspectives on the art of keeping score. Click here to view Ryan’s post from yesterday.

Here is a full book from yesterday’s game against San Antonio. Pregame preparation is key to keeping a neat, organized book throughout the game. Some days we have more time to prepare our books than others, so I aim to keep a consistent format that I am able to set up quickly if needed.Scorebook

I begin by writing in the starting lineups for both teams with the players’ uniform number, full name, and position in the top third of each box. To the left of each box, I note whether the player bats lefty, righty, or is a switch-hitter. I also note their MLBPipeline.com ranking, if applicable. Below each box, from left to right, I write in the player’s AVG, HR/RBI, 2B/3B, SB/CS in order to reference them quickly during game situations. At the top of the lineup, I write in the team’s name with their batting average and ERA as a ballclub.

Next, I set up the defensive alignment for both teams. For the RoughRiders, I just list last names. For the opponent, I include first names as well to help jog my memory when I reference them. If the RoughRiders add a new player to the roster that I am not familiar with yet, I will include their first name in the defense section as well. Next to each player’s name, I write the number of errors they have committed with the team total at the top right corner of the chart.

ScorebookdefenseMy scorebook has boxes for standings next to the defense. I do not normally use them to fill out the standings though, unless I want to reference last year’s standings at the beginning of the season or keep track of playoff races late in the season. Standings are easy to reference in the stat pack, game notes, and/or online on the fly, so I like having these sections free to use for additional notes. On the first day of a new series, I will write down important stories and trends to discuss over the next few days. After the first game, I use these sections to write each player’s stats in the previous game/in the series. I also write the opposing pitching coach’s name (and manager, if I do not know it by memory yet) in this section.Stats

In the boxes next to the visiting team’s defense, I write in the umpires’ names with a (CC) denoting the crew chief. I use the box below to indicate team leaders in different offensive categories, leaving additional notes for players who rank near the top of the league.

The game begins…

Once your book is all set up before the game, scoring the game itself is a very simple task. The goal is always to stay as organized as possible in order to be able to keep a neat record of each play. For instance, I mark the approximate path of hits and then make notes in each of the four quadrants with player numbers/play abbreviations to show how each player moved around the bases.

I use the numbers 1-9 for the different players in the field, a system credited to Mr. Chadwick. One line indicates a single, two for a double, three for a triple, and four for a home run. BB indicates a walk, K = strikeout swinging, backwards K = strikeout looking, FC = fielder’s choice, HBP = hit by pitch, E# = error corresponding for a certain position. Each strikeout is labeled with a number, which corresponds to the total number of strikeouts by the pitcher. This number will revert back to 1 when a new pitcher enters the game. I also write the number of RBI in the bottom right corner of the box when a player drives in a run.

RidersScore

On the bottom of the scorecard, there are boxes for runs, hits, errors, and left-on-base. Some people mark down the totals for each inning, but I like to keep a running tally of these throughout the game. I also keep track of the score inning-by-inning in a line score box in the top.

Keeping a tidy book can sometimes be a challenge. There is a lot of information to record in small boxes, especially in a game that is higher-scoring and features more baserunners than yesterday. This is one of the reasons why I prefer not to track every at-bat pitch-by-pitch within the boxes. It adds more clutter within the boxes and as a result, the actual plays stand out less. Instead, I keep a running tally of each player’s total pitches and strikes thrown in the boxes located in the bottom left corners.

I find that scoring a baseball game is therapeutic. It is also a useful tool for going back and referencing games in the past. I always enjoyed scoring baseball when I attended professional games growing up, and it is still fun to do as part of my job now!

Stay tuned for Nathan’s post coming up tomorrow.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: note-book pitcher – A pitcher who keeps records of batters and the most effective pitches to throw against them.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

From Honolulu to Frisco, Kiner-Falefa’s journey

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is one of Frisco’s brightest stars. He was one of seven Riders named a Mid-Season All-Star in the Texas league and provides the club with great flexibility, playing at least 15 games at four different positions this season. Yet, where he came from is what makes him so unique.

The 21-year-old was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, joining Scott Feldman as the only Hawaiian-born player in the history of the Riders. He was originally drafted out of Mid Pacific Institute High School at 18 and spent the first three years of his career climbing the minor league ranks before cracking Frisco’s opening day roster this season. That’s come with a lot of challenges, but he said he’s feeling comfortable three months into his first Double-A season.

26882944720_68955a971c_o (1)

“Coming up in the AZL, every year you progress and get better at your routine, what you do on a daily basis,” Kiner-Falefa said. “Once you get to Double-A, you have an idea, so this year’s been a lot easier for me compared to when I was drafted.”

On his way up, Kiner-Falefa’s met many other fellow Hawaiians, especially during the off months prior to the start of this season. He worked out with Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals and Shane Victorino of the Los Angeles Angels, also known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” He even has the same agent as Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, who he met in person for the first time last winter. He said being able to pick their brains and build relationships with them has been a great help in his maturity as a player, but still holds his family closest to his heart.

Kiner-Falefa has two siblings, and one of them will be close by very soon. Lekaleka, Isiah’s younger sister, just committed to the University of North Texas to play volleyball, meaning the two will be just a 45-minute drive away from each other – purely by coincidence.

Isiah also has an older brother who he’s been very competitive with his entire life. He was a tri-sport athlete growing up and even got into Motocross and BMX before committing fully to baseball as a high school sophomore. With all things considered, he attributes his love to compete to his family’s culture.

“Me and my brother, we would play football in my backyard all the time,” Isiah said. “That helped us a lot with our athletic ability, just always being on the streets playing baseball, throwing a football around.”

He said he misses Hawaii dearly, but has enjoyed Frisco much more than he expected. His extended family came out to visit in June while he was still recovering from a knee infection and weren’t able to see him play, but they have plans to come back in August to see what both he and Lekaleka can accomplish in Texas.

“Them being around cheering and all their support – anybody growing up having their family behind them is huge,” Isiah said. “That’s pretty much what they did for me, and it’s helped me a lot.”

– Alex

Baseball term of the day: five-o’clock lightning  – The scoring of runs late in the game. The term was used when baseball was played exclusively during the day, with most games beginning around three o’clock.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Guzman to represent Riders, Rangers in All-Star Futures Game

RoughRiders infielder Ronald Guzman has been selected to participate in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, held Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CT at San Diego’s Petco Park. Today, he was placed on the temporary inactive list, leaving the RoughRiders to play in Sunday’s contest.

Steve Goldberg: You were selected to play in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in San Diego. How special is that to you?

Ronald Guzman: I am really excited about it. It is a great opportunity and I am ready to go have fun. There are a lot of great guys that are going there, so I am looking forward to seeing them.

050116 Guzman, Ronald (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders) copy

SG: Was playing in the Futures Game a goal for you coming into this season?

RG: Actually yeah, it was a goal in the back of my mind. It wasn’t a main goal, but I really wanted to make it there. I am really happy that I could achieve that goal.

SG: How did you find out you were going to be playing in the game?

RG: I saw it on Twitter. People were congratulating me, and then my agent texted me and told me I was going. I was obviously pumped. That was right before the Texas League All-Star Game.

SG: Travis Demeritte is going as well, another Rangers prospect who was a teammate of yours in Hickory last year. Are you excited to see him again?

RG: Yeah, he is a great guy and a great teammate. I am happy to see him again. I haven’t seen him in a little while since he has been in High Desert, so I am looking forward to seeing him.

SG: You get a chance to play at Petco Park right before the Major League All-Star Game. What is that feeling like for you?

RG: This is a great field right here in Frisco, but I know the big league stadiums are another level. I am really excited to play there and just have fun.

SG: Have you had any experience playing in Major League ballparks before?

RG: Yeah, I had a chance to play at Wrigley Field when I was 15 in the Under Armour All-America Game. I actually played in San Diego one time in instructional league. And I had a chance to play in Texas during Spring Training this year.

SG: There is obviously a big difference going from playing in a Minor League game to playing in an All-Star game like the Futures Game on Sunday. What is the adjustment like for you to prepare for it?

RG: I am not thinking about anything different. I am just going to do the same thing I’ve been doing for the last couple months. I am going to get ready like I am playing a normal game with the same routine. I am going to do my best and select good pitches to hit well.

Guzman will be one of two Rangers farmhands participating in Sunday’s Futures Game. Class A-Advanced High Desert infielder Travis Demeritte, who is tied for the fifth-most home runs in Minor League Baseball (20), will play for US Team, playing against Guzman and the World Team. Last year, the Rangers organization sent outfielders Nomar Mazara and Nick Williams to the game.

Sunday’s game will be broadcast live by MLB Network. For more information, and to find what channel MLB Network is on in your area, click here.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: slapjack  – One of a series of base hits “stacked right on top of the other”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Baseball Fireworks…Gone Wrong

The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks, and pyrotechnics also play a role in baseball games.

When the home team hits a home run or wins a game, fireworks will light up the sky at many ballparks. But in the rare cases when these fireworks are mistimed, it brings forward hilarious, distracting, and embarrassing moments.

The RoughRiders are on the road today, but that is no excuse for missing out on a dose of Fourth of July fireworks. In honor of the holiday, here are five of the funniest baseball firework mishaps:

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: flyhawk – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Get to know Riders pitcher Ryan Ledbetter

Ryan Ledbetter is one of the newest members of the RoughRiders. The right-handed pitcher has a twin brother David who plays in the Rangers farm system as well, currently with the High Desert Mavericks.

We caught up with Ryan during the last homestand to chat with him about the transition to playing Double-A baseball, as well as the experience he has had being in the same organization as his brother.

Steve Goldberg: First of all, welcome to Frisco.

Ryan Ledbetter: Thank you, Steve. Glad to be here. The jump from High Desert is incredible. I already love all the fans, and I don’t even know them yet.

SG: What was it like for you when you first took the mound with the Riders?

27833298956_504e28f59a_o

RL: Definitely exhilarating. It’s exciting to be here and be able to play at a higher level, competing against guys that I’ve seen before and other guys that I haven’t. I’m just excited to be here and help this team out.

SG: Going from Class A-Advanced up to Double-A, there is a big difference between those two levels of baseball, right?

RL: Oh yeah. Even the coaches tell you this is a huge jump. And they’re throwing you into the fire by allowing you to come to Double-A. You should be trying to pitch at the same level no matter where you are, but there is a culture shock. It is very welcoming.

SG: For you and your brother David, how special is it to be playing in the same organization?

RL: It is just a gift from God to be able to play with him. Just having that support there and someone pushing you to not only be a better baseball player, but a better person. Having that bond with someone that close to you is just awesome.

SG: Is it a bit tough being apart from him now?

RL: Yeah. The same thing happened when we first got drafted. He went to Spokane and I stayed in the Arizona League. It’s not really that hard necessarily, it’s just different. I have to call him instead of see him in-person. I have to talk to him about the things that are most important instead of just talking with him all the time.

SG: Obviously you guys have that friendship and camaraderie. But is there a competitive aspect to your relationship as well?

RL: There is always competition between my brother and I. No matter who you are, if you have a brother, you are always thinking, ‘I am going to be better than him. I have to be better than him.’ I think that’s what’s so cool about being on a team with him. If he is doing something I should be doing, it’s like, ‘I have to do that now. I can’t let him be better than me.’ I think that’s really driven us to where we are today, playing professional baseball and going the extra mile to get better.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: avocado – An inviting pitch hit for a home run.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: July 1

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 (51-29, 1st – AL West)

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees, the Rangers continue their road trip with a three-game set in Minnesota. Texas will head back to the Northeast to wrap up the trip next week in Boston.

The Rangers continue to hold the best record in the American League and are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the most wins in all of baseball. The Astros have surpassed the Mariners for second place in the division, but the Rangers still hold an 8 1/2 game advantage over Houston.

Tonight: at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (42-38, 2nd – PCL American Southern Division)

Round Rock picked up two wins yesterday, including a walk-off victory in the second game of the doubleheader against Iowa. The Express continue their season with the I-Cubs tonight, and the two teams will play another doubleheader Saturday before the finale of the series Sunday.

Saturday, the two teams will finish the remainder of a game suspended in April due to wet grounds. Then, they will play the originally scheduled game after the conclusion of the suspended game.

Tonight: vs. Iowa, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Richelson Pena)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (46-32 overall, 3-5 2nd half, 5th – California League South Division)

The Riders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate playing an Angels farm team this weekend. High Desert hosts Inland Empire in a four-game series that began with a Mavericks win yesterday.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Mavs, who were swept by Lancaster in a mid-week series. However, High Desert won the first-half championship and has already clinched a spot in the California League playoffs.

Tonight: vs. Inland Empire, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (41-37 overall, 3-5 2nd half, T-6th – South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory went sliding into the all-star break and the struggles have continued. The ‘Dads have lost five of their first eight games to begin the second half.

However, the Crawdads have won two of their last three games, including a 7-3 victory over Kannapolis last night. Hickory jumped out to a 7-0 with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and three more in the fifth.

Dylan Moore, who was relegated to first base early in the season, also played second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field during June.

Tonight: vs. Kannapolis, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (5-9, 4th – Northwest League North Division)

After starting the season 4-3, the Indians have lost six of their last seven games. The squad has slipped to the cellar in the Northwest League’s North Division.

The lone win came Wednesday against Everett. Former Rider Jake Shortslef made the start for Spokane and allowed just three hits in five shutout innings. He earned his first win of the 2016 season.

Tonight: at Vancouver, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Nick Green)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: coaster – A player in the Pacific Coast League.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Cordell named MVP of Tuesday’s All-Star Game

The RoughRiders are back in action tonight at Arkansas after a few days off for the All-Star break.

In Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Springfield, Cordell exploded for an incredible performance in front of the crowd of 7,832 at Hammons Field. The outfielder earned the game’s MVP award after going 3-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in.

Cordell currently leads the Texas League with 52 runs batted in, and he once again showed why he is one of the elite players in the circuit with his performance Tuesday night.

Let’s look back at two of the highlights:

The three-run homer came in the sixth inning, and it ultimately made the difference for the South Division in an 8-5 victory over the North Division.

“Games like this, you’re really relaxed and trying to get a good pitch to drive,” Cordell said. “Luckily, I was able to get a few of those and put some good swings on them.”

Cordell and the Riders return to action tonight, beginning a three-game road series against the Arkansas Travelers to wrap up the month of June. Listen to the game live at 7:10 p.m.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: drive from the hill – To force a pitcher from the game by getting base hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers