Results tagged ‘ Brett Nicholas ’

‘Riders All-Star Breakdown

This weekend, Frisco completes its 12-game home stand, the longest of the season.  After a much-needed scheduled day off on Monday, the Texas League All-Star Game with be held Tuesday at Northwest Arkansas’ Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.

Earlier in the month, eight ‘Riders were selected to the Texas League South team, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams. Odubel Herrera will serve as the starting second baseman, and Brett Nicholas is the starting DH for the South Division team. Tomas Telis, Guilder Rodriguez, and Teodoro Martinez made the team as reserves. Starters Carlos Pimentel and Neil Ramirez made the team as did relief pitcher Ben Rowen.

‘Riders All-Star breakdown

Brett Nicholas:

Nicholas will be the serving as the starting designated hitter for the South Division. Posting a career-best year in his first year at Double-A, Nicholas leads the RoughRiders in batting (.269), runs scored (40), doubles (16), home runs (13), RBI (44) and is second on the team in walks (22). He is eigth in the league in batting, fourth in total bases. He is also first in the league in hit-by-pitches with nine.Nicholas_Blog

“It means a lot for all the hard work and effort I’ve put into things to be recognized,” Nicholas said.  “Where I’ve come from the last few years, it just feels really good to be selected.  Those two days in Arkansas will be a lot of fun!”

The former Missouri Tiger has hit home runs in consecutive games twice, launching long balls in back-to-back games on May 7 and May 9 and on three straight days from May 12 through May 14. Nicholas has already set a career high in home runs (previous high was 8 in 2012).  This is Phoenix, Arizona native’s first All-Star selection of any kind as a professional.

Odubel Herrera:Herrera

Odubel Herrera will be serving as the starting second baseman for the South.  As the RoughRiders’ everyday second baseman, Herrera has posted a .259 batting average with eight doubles, five triples, and a home run to go along with 29 runs, 21 RBI, and ten steals. This will be the Zulia, Venezuela native’s first All-Star Game appearance; he was a Postseason All-Star in the AZL in 2010 and in the South Atlantic League in 2011.

Guilder Rodriguez:

G-RodThe thirteen-year professional is receiving his first ever All-Star selection. The utility infielder has played all four infield positions for the RoughRiders, logging most of his time at third base. He is hitting .274, good for third on the team, with six doubles, one home run (second of his career), 10 RBI and a team-leading 27 walks to go along with 12 steals. The Barquisimeto, Venezuela native also won a game as a pitcher for the RoughRiders this season, earning his first professional victory in his third career appearance on the mound with a scoreless inning of work in the ‘Riders 17-inning win on April 18.

Tomas Telis:

This will be the 21-year-old backstop’s third selection to a Mid-Season All-Star team. Winning MVP honors in the 2008 DSL All-Star Game and being selected as a 2011 South Atlantic Mid-Season All-Star, Telis is hitting .258 this season for the ‘Riders with eight doubles, three home runs, 25 RBI and five steals. From April 29 to May 18, Telis posted a 12-game hitting streak, the longest by any ‘Riders hitter this season and fourth longest in the league.

Telis

When I was told I was going to the All-Star game, it was like ‘Wow,’ that surprised me.  You know, I play ok, but I never thought I would make the team,” Tomas said.  “I look forward to possibly catching for other pitchers in the league.  Corpus Christi’s David Martinezis one I think would be someone I would enjoy catching for.”

Teodoro Martinez:

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RoughRiders outfielder Teodoro Martinez was selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Teodoro is second on the team in hitting (.285), home runs (8), RBI (29), and stolen bases (16).

“I’m very proud to be named to the teams and to also be recognized as the Texas League Player of the Month.  I look forward to living up to the challenge,” said Teodoro.

Martinez, 21, will be making his second All-Star game appearance, and it will be his third inclusion on an All-Star roster. He was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, and he was a Post-Season All-Star in the Arizona League in 2010 when he hit a career high .313.

Carlos Pimentel:Pimo

In his fourth season and third full season with the RoughRiders, Pimentel is putting together a breakout campaign. A 2012 Mid-Season All-Star selection for his work out of the bullpen, Pimentel is second in the Frisco starting rotation with a 4.07 ERA.  The 6’3” right-hander sports a 7-4 record in 15 appearances, 14 starts. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native leads all but one Texas Leaguer and Texas Rangers farmhand in strikeouts with 87—that is fellow teammate and Mid-Season All-Star Neil Ramirez.

Neil Ramirez:

The lone RoughRiders Mid-Season All-Star selection from the Rangers 40-man roster, Ramirez, like Pimentel, is off to a great start to his 2013 in the ‘Riders rotation. With a 9-2 record and a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts, Ramirez is the only Double-A pitcher and Rangers minor leaguer with more strikeouts than Pimentel with 97. In 81.0 innings of work, the Virginia Beach, Virginia native has surrendered only 48 hits, good for a .176 batting average against that ranks first among all Texas League starting pitchers. His 10.78 strikeouts per nine innings is also the best rate among active Texas Leaguer starters.

Ramirez

In his two recent appearances, Ramirez has dominated, helping Frisco shut out the Hooks on June 15 and June 20.  He is now second in the Texas League with nine wins.

Ramirez struggled in the 2012 season, so being selected this season as an All-Star means a lot.  “There are a lot of times in this game when you have to face adversity and struggle.  You can either control it or let it defeat you.  I feel I definitely learned and grew from my 2012 season, and I’m just happy to be where I am right now.”

 

 Ben Rowen:

The 2012 MiLB.com Reliever of the Year and Rangers’ Minor League Reliever of the Year, Ben Rowen dominated TexasRowen League hitters in his first Double-A season on the way to his 3-0 record, an 0.53 ERA and a perfect ten for ten in save chances, second most saves in the league.

The former Virginia Tech Hokie was one of eight RoughRiders selected as a Texas League South Division All-Star, but was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week.

“It will be fun up there to have the bragging rights for the ‘Riders tied with the most All-Star picks in the league.  Frisco will definitely be represented very well out there,” Rowen said.

 

 -Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: Scoreathon – A game in which both teams score many runs.

 

‘Riders on the Record: Kinsler’s ribs, “Pudge” teaching the youth and three All-Stars

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A star-studded week for ‘Riders on the Record brings us conversations with three ‘Riders selected to the Texas League All-Star roster, a Rangers Hall-of-Famer and an All-Star big league rehabber.

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day!) and enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


‘Riders manager Steve Buechele breaks down the most recent start from Carlos Pimentel and discusses the keys to his success. He also talks about managing Tyler Tufts, who has been shifted into the RoughRiders rotation, and how to gauge his readiness later into games. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas

Brett Nicholas sits down to talk about his recent All-Star nod and the excitement he has to play on the squad. He talks about his admiration for fellow All-Star, Midland’s Anthony Aliotti. He also weighs on the best conversationalist in the league, based on his chit-chats at the first base bag. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 – C Tomas Telis


The ‘Riders All-Star Catcher Tomas Telis comes to share his story of finding out the news about the All-Star game. He tells us who he would like to catch in the All-Star game that he has had to face as a batter. He also explains what his “off” days are like and how being a student of the game as a catcher helps his approach at the plate. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, June 13, 2013 – Rangers HOF Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez


Legendary Rangers catcher, now Special Assistant to Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, Ivan Rodriguez joined the pre-game show to talk with us about his new role with the Rangers and the development of the young catchers in the Rangers system. He also touches on how it feels to be a part of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 14, 2013 – Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler


Texas Rangers rehabbing All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler talks about the state of his rehab, the importance of playing in the field while on the assignment and the history of his rib injury. He also reminisces on his time in Frisco as a member of the RoughRiders. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 – RHP Ben Rowen

RoughRiders All-Star reliever Ben Rowen talks about how he heard about his Mid-Season All-Star honors and what it means to him in his first Double-A level. He talks about the influence of Chad Bradford. He also touches on his love for hockey and his beloved LA Kings. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: diamond artist - a 1930s term for a ballplayer

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas Honored by Rangers

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas were honored by the Texas Rangers Friday, earning “Player of the Month” and “Defender of the Month” respectively for May. From the ‘Riders press release:

 Martinez, 21, was second on the team in batting average during May, hitting at a .322 clip. He also picked up 10 runs, 10 walks, 2 doubles, 5 home runs and 17 RBI over 26 games, taking over as the RoughRiders’ leadoff hitter by the end of the month. Martinez reached base safely in 22 of 26 games and hit safely in 19 of those games. On May 15 at home against the Midland RockHounds, Martinez picked up his first two-home run game as well as his first ever four-RBI performance. The four hits he collected tied a career high. His seven home runs for the season is a career-best as well; his previous personal high was set last year when he hit six long balls as a member of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. After a slow start, Martinez is hitting .300 since April 21 and is fourth on the team at .272 for the year.

Martinez

 Nicholas, 24, started 24 games at first base and 3 games behind the plate for the ‘Riders in May. He committed only one error during the month, which came as a catcher. As a first baseman, he is fielding .998 (1 / 492 TC) for the season. As a catcher, he threw out 2-of-5 attempting basestealers in May. The former Missouri Tiger leads the RoughRiders in hitting with a .305 average and a team-high 38 runs, 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 65 games. He has a triple as well and is second on the team in walks with 21. The Phoenix, Arizona native is near the top of multiple categories among Texas Leaguers, including fourth in batting average and RBI, fifth in runs and home runs and third in total bases (129). Like Martinez, Nicholas has set a career-high in home runs this season; his previous high also came last year in Myrtle Beach when he hit eight as the Pelicans’ everyday first baseman.

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The two join Randy Henry and Tomas Telis to be honored by the Rangers this season. Henry was tabbed the Rangers Reliever of the Month, while Telis picked up Defender of the Month in April.

Martinez had an exceptionally big day on Friday, as he was also selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes on the South Division All-Star team. Teodoro joins Nicholas and seven other ‘Riders as Mid-Season All-Stars, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams with eight.

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: junkballer – A pitcher who relies on off-speed pitches and trickery rather than the fastball or curveball

The second RoughRiders Roundtable of the season is here!

The latest episode of RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast is now posted.  You can find the entry by clicking here.

Alex Vispoli, Nathan Barnett and Jason Cole of Lone Star Dugout –along with producer Ted Price – team up to discuss the ups and downs of the ‘Riders’ first half of the 2013 season.

In the season’s second episode of the podcast (#11 overall), the three talk about Frisco’s first baseman Brett Nicholas and outfielder Teodoro Martinez.  Nathan also speaks with newcomer outfielder Joe Benson on his start in the Rangers system.  The pitching of reliever Wilmer Font and the injury of Roman Mendez are also discussed.

We will post a link to each RoughRiders Roundtable here on the Insider Blog. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by linking the RSS feed to your device or RSS reader.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: pound the pavement-To swing at and miss a pitched ball

RoughRiders sending seven to 2013 Texas League All-Star Game

ASG
The Texas League announced the Mid-Season All-Star teams today and seven RoughRiders have been selected to the South Division squad.

Odubel Herrera will serve as the starting second baseman, and Brett Nicholas is the starting DH for the South Division team. Tomas Telis and Guilder Rodriguez made the team as reserves. Starters Carlos Pimentel and Neil Ramirez made the team as did relief pitcher Ben Rowen.

More details, including bios on each player, can be found at RidersBaseball.com.

Here is the complete roster of both teams:

 2013 South Division All-Star Team

Starters

POS PLAYER TEAM
C RENE GARCIA CC
1B ANTHONY ALIOTTI MID
2B ODUBEL HERRERA FRI
SS DUSTY COLEMAN MID
3B JAKE BLACKWOOD SA
OF REYMOND FUENTES SA
OF RICO NOEL SA
OF GEORGE SPRINGER CC
DH BRETT NICHOLAS FRI

Reserves

POS PLAYER TEAM
C TOMAS TELIS FRI
INF GUILDER RODRIGUEZ FRI
INF JEUDY VALDEZ SA
OF JAKE GOEBBERT MID
OF DOMINGO SANTANA CC

Pitchers

PLAYER TEAM
MATT ANDRIESE SA
JAKE BUCHANAN CC
MIKE FOLTYNEWICZ CC
DAVID MARTINEZ CC
CARLOS PIMENTEL FRI
KEVIN QUACKENBUSH SA
NEIL RAMIREZ FRI
BEN ROWEN FRI
MURPHY SMITH MID
MATT STITES SA

2013 North Division All-Star Team

Starters

POS PLAYER TEAM
C JETT BANDY ARK
1B C.J. CRON ARK
2B ANGELYS NINA TUL
SS ORLANDO CALIXTE NWA
3B RUBEN GOTAY SPR
OF KENT MATTHES TUL
OF MIKE O’NEILL SPR
OF KYLE PARKER TUL
DH KIEL ROLING TUL

Reserves

POS PLAYER TEAM
C MITCH CANHAM NWA
INF ANGEL FRANCO NWA
INF TAYLOR LINDSEY ARK
OF RANDAL GRICHUK ARK
OF THOMAS PHAM SPR

Pitchers

PLAYER TEAM
LAY BATISTA ARK
CHRISTIAN BERGMAN TUL
KEITH BUTLER SPR
DERYK HOOKER SPR
BRANDON HYNICK ARK
KEVIN JOHNSON ARK
TYLER MATZEK TUL
MIKE PIAZZA ARK
KEVIN THOMAS SPR
YORDANO VENTURA NWA

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: all to the mustardin good physical condition 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

MLB Draft Day: Frisco RoughRiders in the Draft

MLB First Year Player Draft

In honor of today’s draft, we decided to take a look back at the drafting of today’s Frisco RoughRiders, where they went in the draft and next to whom. Eleven RoughRiders were international non-drafted free agents, and therefore, not subjected to the MLB June Amateur draft. Zach Zaneski, went undrafted in 2008, the lone RoughRider from the US/Canada/Puerto Rico (subject to the draft) not to be drafted by a major league organization.

(Tonight’s draft coverage begins at 5:00 pm CT on MLB Network and at www.MLB.com, by the way)

Here goes the rest of the team, in chronological order:

2006 Draft

2006_MLB_Draft

2nd Round, 64nd overall: OF Joe Benson (Joliet Catholic Academy) selected by the Minnesota Twins

Selected directly after Thomas Hickson (Marlins), directly before Drew Carpenter (Phillies)

17th Round, 506th overall: RHP Kevin Pucetas (Limestone College) selected by the San Francisco Giants

Selected directly after Tony Watson (Orioles), directly before Brett Reynolds (Diamondbacks)

47th Round, 1392 overall: RHP Justin Miller (Bakersfield College) selected by Colorado Rockies (DID NOT SIGN)

Selected directly after Ryan Cisterna (Royals), directly before Brandon Brown (Devil Rays)

2007 Draft

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Supplemental 1st Round, 44th overall: RHP Neil Ramirez (Kempsville HS) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Jackson Williams (Giants) and directly before Justin Jackson (Blue Jays)

2008 Draft

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6th Round, 179th overall: 2B Alex Buchholz (University of Delaware) selected by the Cincinnati Reds

Selected directly after Graham Johnson (Marlins) and directly before Kenneth Williams (White Sox)

6th Round, 183rd overall: LHP Richard Bleier (Florida Gulf Coast University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after J.B Shuck (Astros) and directly before Tyreace House (Athletics)

16th Round, 483 overall: RHP Justin Miller (California State University Fresno) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Josh Poytress (Astros) and directly before Matthew Fits (Athletics)

32nd Round, 963rd overall: RHP Tyler Tufts (Indiana University-Bloomington) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after B.A. Vollmuth (Astros) and directly before Ben Hornbeck (Athletics)

2009 Draft

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4th Round, 116th overall: RHP Randy Henry (South Mountain Community College) selected by the Baltimore Orioles

Selected directly after Zack Dodson (Pirates) and directly before Jason Stoffel (Giants)

5th Round, 154th overall: RHP Nick McBride (Ragsdale HS) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Steven Parker (Pirates) and directly before Austin Adams (Indians)

2010 Draft

DraftLogo

6th Round, 196th overall: C Brett Nicholas (University of Missouri Columbia) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Logan Darnell (Twins) and directly before Rett Varner (Marlins)

7th Round, 226th overall: LHP Jimmy Reyes (Elon University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Matt Hauser (Twins) and directly before Mark Canha (Marlins)

10th Round, 316th overall: SS Jared Hoying (University of Toledo) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after J.D. Williams (Twins) and directly before Aaron Senne (Marlins)

15th Round, 446th overall: RHP Ryan Rodebaugh (Kennesaw State University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Thomas Girdwood (Twins) and directly before Ryan Fisher (Marlins)

16th Round, 496th overall: CF Ryan Strausborger (Indiana State University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Clint Dempster (Twins) and directly before Randy LeBlanc (Marlins)

22nd Round, 676th overall: RHP Ben Rowen (Virginia Polytechnic Institue and State University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Dillon Moyer (Twins) and directly before Jeremy Heatley (Marlins)

2011 Draft

mlb-draft-20111

30th Round, 924th overall: RHP Phil Klein (Youngstown State University) selected by the Texas Rangers

Selected directly after Justin Miller (Padres) and directly before Joe Terry (Reds)

A few notes:

  • Neil Ramirez is the highest RoughRiders player drafted
  • The lowest drafted RoughRiders roster man was Justin Miller his first time, but he did not sign in 2006. The lowest drafted player to sign is Tyler Tufts.
  • The Frisco roster (as of 6/6/13) consists of:
    • (1) one high school hitter (Benson)
    • (2) two high school pitchers (McBride, Ramirez)
    • (9) nine college pitchers (Bleier, Henry, Klein, Miller, Pucetas, Reyes, Rodebaugh, Rowen, Tufts) — including two junior college pitchers (Henry, Pucetas)
    • (5) five college hitters (Buchholz, Hoying, Nicholas, Strausborger, Zaneski)
    • (4) four international pitchers (Font, Mavare, Mendez, Pimentel)
    • (7) seven international hitters (Alberto, Chiang, Herrera, Martinez, Rodriguez, Selen, Telis)
  • The players were drafted out of the following years:
    • 2006: 3 (if you include Justin Miller who didn’t sign)
    • 2007: 1
    • 2008: 4
    • 2009: 2
    • 2010: 6
    • 2011: 1
  • Of the 16 drafted players, 12 were selected by and signed with Texas.
    • Henry (Orioles) came over in the Teagarden trade on December 1, 2011.
    • Buchholz (Reds) was taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 8, 2011.
    • Pucetas (Giants) played with three major league organizations before signing with Texas in the offseason.
    • Benson (Minnesota) was taken off of waivers by Texas on May 25, 2013.
  • Phil Klein, the lone 2011 draftee on the team, is one of just three players from his round that year to have played at Double-A or higher. Will Clinard also went in the 30th round in 2011 and was just promoted and made his Double-A debut for the Erie SeaWolves on Tuesday. Justin Miller, yes another one, has not only played at Double-A but also at Triple-A for the Padres. In fact, he played AGAINST Frisco twice this season as a member of the San Antonio Missions (0-for-3, R, BB in 2 G). He is back at Advanced-A, playing for Lake Elsinore right now.

Enjoy the draft and go ‘Riders!

______

The Frisco RoughRiders play at 7:05 tonight in San Antonio against the Missions. You can find other interesting tidbits, facts, news and notes in our daily game notes by clicking here.

And of course I would be remiss if I did not congratulate Chris McGuiness on getting his first call to the Show! Congrats to the author of one of the best season’s in recent ‘Riders history. Best of luck!

It’s also big news for us around here, as he is the 100th RoughRiders player to go onto MLB after his time in Frisco. We will have more on Chris here at the Insider Blog, and a look back at his time here, in the coming days.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: draftitisan affliction that hurts a player’s draft status in the period leading up to the draft whereby the player withers under scouts’ scruitiny and fails to display his skills

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders in Review: May 2013

The RoughRiders spent ten days in April in first place in the Texas League South Division. After a 14-11 first month, the ‘Riders entered May in second place and only one game back of Corpus Christi. The team improved in May, going 18-11, yet spent just one day in first (May 4, tied for first at 17-12) and finished the month two games behind the Hooks who went 19-10 during May. Two games into June, with 14 games to play in the first half, Frisco sits three games back now, tied for the furthest out of first the team has been all season long and the first time they have been this far behind since May 15.

Texas League Rankings for the Month of May

Record: 32-22 overall, 18-11 in May (2nd in Texas League), home: 10-5, road: 8-6, vs. division: 10-9

Runs: 125 (4th)

Average: .247 (6th)

On-base percentage: .306 (7th)

Stolen bases: 38 (2nd)

Home runs: 32 (T-2nd)

ERA: 4.12 (5th)*

Strikeouts for: 255 (1st)

Walks allowed: 114 (T-7th)

Avg attendance for the year: 7315 (1st)**

RIDERS REVIEW Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD
April 14-11 107 .250 .297 19 17 2.87 208 84 7060
May 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7315
Season 32-22 232 .248 .302 57 49 3.54 463 198 7315

TL IN MAY Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD
Corpus 19-10 180 .278 .353 23 36 4.12 185 85 5,449
FRISCO 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7,315
San Anto. 16-12 124 .265 .344 39 25 3.70 212 72 4,002
Arkansas 15-12 109 .257 .318 21 24 3.79 185 81 4,478
Springfield 14-13 143 .263 .352 26 29 3.60 235 69 4,440
Midland 14-15 148 .273 .345 28 30 4.85 200 96 4,405
Tulsa 10-18 124 .236 .310 29 32 4.18 164 90 5,741
NW Ark. 6-21 85 .226 .286 14 22 4.55 207 114 4,787

*Frisco 4.121, Corpus 4.116

**Attendance numbers as of June 3, 2013 so are slightly in addition to May totals

Awards

Carlos Pimentel earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week this month, but two players stood out in front of him in May.

‘Riders Slugger of the Month

Brett Nicholas (.340/.410/.650, 22 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 9 BB, 0 SB)

052713 Nicholas web article

The self-proclaimed non-home run hitter blasted a team-leading seven long balls in the month of May. In fact, no one else has seven all season (Teodoro Martinez, honorable mention for Slugger of the Month has six this season including five in May). Nicholas led the RoughRiders in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, home runs and tied for the most RBI (18 – w/ Chih-Hsien Chiang). His eight doubles trailed only Chiang who clubbed ten in May. Entering June, he trails just three Texas Leaguers in home runs and RBI and is third in runs scored. Nicholas scored at least one run in 13 of the 18 ‘Riders wins in May and drove in runs in ten of those 18.

‘Riders Hurler of the Month

Ben Rowen (1-0, 0.55 ERA, 4/4 SV/SVO, 16.1 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HRA, 19 K, 4 BB, 0 HB, 1.04 WHIP, .220 BAA)

060413 blog rowen

Had Carlos Pimentel not finished the month with his worst outing of the season, he might have been the selection, but it is hard to argue with honoring Rowen. Not only was Rowen dominant, but he was asked to throw more often than anyone else on the club and still did not falter. Rowen’s 15 appearances were most in the month of May not only by a RoughRiders pitcher, but all of the Texas League (Matt Stites and Kevin Quackenbush of San Antonio were second with 14). In fact, only Mitch Stetter of the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A LAA) made more appearances in May (16) than Rowen among all affiliated minor leaguers (excludes the Triple-A Mexican League). Only a half-dozen Major Leaguers made more.  Twice on the most recent homestand Rowen came into a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning and got the job done. The only times he was scored upon came on May 1, when he allowed an unearned run on a single after San Antonio got a single, a stolen base, and a throwing error to put Anthony Contreras at third base. The other time came in a 7-1 ballgame on May 6 in the ninth. He finished May unscored upon in 12 straight outings and has run the streak to 13 in June with his scoreless outing this past Sunday.

Official Texas League Players of the Week:

April 29 – May 5: P – Jake Buchanan (Corpus Christi); B – Xavier Scruggs (Springfield)

May 6-12: P – Yordano Ventura (Northwest Arkansas) ; B – Anthony Aliotti (Midland) 

May 13-19: P – Matt Oye (Arkansas); B – Kalian Sams (San Antonio)

May 20-26: P – Carlos Pimentel (Frisco); B – Angelys Nina (Tulsa)

May 27 – June 2: P – Murphy Smith (Midland); B – George Springer (Corpus Christi)

Punching Bag of the Month

San Antonio SS Jeudy Valdez

Valdez put together a spectacular month of May, hitting .320 (9th in the TL), with 11 XBH, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases. His .320 batting clip is his best average for a month in his two seasons with the Missions (excluding a .364 effort in the three-game 2012 September). If it weren’t for the RoughRiders, the Dominican shortstop might have been the best player in the league in May. He went just 4-for-25 (.160) against Frisco in May. Two of those hits were doubles, but it hardly makes up for his lack of production against ‘Riders pitching. Valdez hit .375 against the rest of the Texas League. To add insult to injury, Valdez committed three of his six May errors against Frisco, two of which came in a 3-1 RoughRiders win on May 2. Those two blunders led to two unearned runs in the two-run contest.

Best Moment of the Month

Frisco hits six home runs vs Tulsa – May 31, 2013 - Just barely squeezing into the month of May, this game was, without a doubt, the most of headline-filled contest of the season to date. Alexi Ogando made his only rehab start for the Rangers, and it took him just 54 pitches to get 18 outs. He threw 12 pitches in the first two innings combined, but the offense stole the spotlight. First, Joe Benson hit a home run in his first at-bat of the ballgame, his fourth in six games with the RoughRiders. In the fourth, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Ryan Strausborger, and Odubel Herrera hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off Drillers starter Christian Bergman. In ten starts, Bergman had allowed six home runs this season and never more than one in any outing. He served up five in six innings against the ‘Riders on this day. Teodoro Martinez finished him off with his sixth home run, a fifth long ball of May, with a one-out solo blast in the fifth inning. Martinez’ career high in home runs is six, and he nearly eclipsed that mark in the month alone. For Herrera, it was his first home run on the season and first in 53 games. Then, off the bullpen, in his first game back from the disabled list, Mike Olt blasted a home run that landed in the seats so quickly he was probably still in the batter’s box when it left the yard.

Bonus award: The You-Say-This-is-a-Summer-Sport Award

On Thursday, May 2, the RoughRiders hosted the San Antonio Missions in 45 degrees. Well, that was the game-time temperature…officially. Some websites reported 41 or 42 degrees. Wind chill was in the 30s. Steve Buechele wore a jacket to coach third base for the first time in his career: “that was the coldest game, by far” since he joined the Texas League as a manager in 2009. Just as incredibly, Frisco won the game despite the fact that Ryan Rodebaugh was making his first career start. He pitched well enough but not long enough for the win, firing three scoreless, one-hit innings. Frisco surrendered just one hit in the 3-1 win.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May.

Cody Buckel - Buckel made one appearance in May before leaving the club for extended spring training. The right-hander was moved to the bullpen after an 0-4 record with an 18.00 ERA in five starts. He made one outing out of the ‘pen that proved a relief role would not solve his 2013 issues (0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 WP). He has been in Arizona since.

Roman Mendez – Mendez didn’t allow an earned run in April. He began May with four innings of perfect relief work before finally being touched up for his first blemish to his ERA on May 10 against Corpus Christi. After three more scoreless outings, he ran into his toughest appearance of the year. In the eighth inning of an already-out-of-hand contest in Springfield on May 22, the first three batters reached off the Dominican right-hander. He allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in the frame. On May 28, Mendez threw nine straight balls. After the ninth consecutive toss out of the zone, he bent over in pain and subsequently left the ball game. Days later, he had season-ending surgery to a stress-fracture in his right elbow, the same surgery that ended his 2012 season.

MiLB.tv, courtesy of Scott Lucas

MiLB.tv, courtesy of Scott Lucas

Hanser Alberto – Hanser came streaking into the month of May in the midst of an eight-game stretch that took his average from .228 to .298 to finish April. On May 1, the ‘Riders shortstop was hitting .298. On June 1 he was hitting .224. It wasn’t a good month for Alberto (.162/.229/.232). Although he did hit his first two Double-A homers, he also committed six errors in the month. 


Wilmer Font – Like most of the Frisco staff, May was not as kind as April for Font. Hard to improve upon his April though (0.83 ERA, 0.73 WHIP). Over nine appearances, Font collected four saves with a 2.45 ERA. Over his eleven innings, he allowed eight hits and walked 12 for a 1.81 WHIP, indicating that Wilmer was a bit lucky during May. The good news is that all three of his earned runs came in one outing (5/18 vs SA: 0.2 IP, 3 H,  3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). For the first time this season, however, Font his 100 mph on the radar gun, doing so to close the combined one-hit shutout against Springfield on May 23.

Neil Ramirez – Ramirez looked like the Arlington-bound, hard-throwing, hammer-curve hurling right-hander of 2011 this April. He looked mortal this past month, but there are still encouraging signs. Despite being hit much harder in May (.209 BAA May; .130 BAA April), Ramirez allowed just 6.4 H/9 innings in May, which is in-line with his fantastic 2011 stint with the ‘Riders. He walked fewer batters as well (14 BB in 33.2 IP May; 15 BB 24.1 IP April). The biggest difference was the home run ball. Nothing left the yard against Ramirez in April, while five of the 24 hits he allowed in May were homers. He is still allowing home runs at a respectable level this season, you just hope that May is not the beginning of a downward trend in that category. Looking his FanGraphs page, it seems Neil had trouble getting men out when had to pitch out of the stretch last season (50.9 % LOB). He is doing a better job of that this season, although the .240 BABIP seems unsustainable.

Year Tm Lev W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2011 3 Teams 5 3 3.12 25 98.0 77 34 7 44 119 1.235 7.1 0.6 4.0 10.9
2011 Myrtle B. A+ 0 0 0.00 1 4.2 1 0 0 1 9 0.429 1.9 0.0 1.9 17.4
2011 Frisco AA 1 0 1.89 6 19.0 13 4 1 8 24 1.105 6.2 0.5 3.8 11.4
2011 Round R. AAA 4 3 3.63 18 74.1 63 30 6 35 86 1.318 7.6 0.7 4.2 10.4
2012 2 Teams 8 13 6.28 27 123.1 125 86 18 47 108 1.395 9.1 1.3 3.4 7.9
2012 Frisco AA 2 5 4.20 12 49.1 47 23 6 16 45 1.277 8.6 1.1 2.9 8.2
2012 Round R. AAA 6 8 7.66 15 74.0 78 63 12 31 63 1.473 9.5 1.5 3.8 7.7
2013 Frisco AA 5 2 3.57 11 58.0 34 23 5 29 71 1.086 5.3 0.8 4.5 11.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/4/2013.

Randy Henry – Henry didn’t allow an earned run in April. He pitched twice in May and both times gave up an earned run. The more alarming part of that sentence is that he pitched just twice in May. He has been out with injury and was placed on the disabled list in mid-May. He seems far from returning as well. He has yet to begin throwing off a mound.

Joe Benson – Not officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if on the Rangers 40-man roster to begin the season. Benson hit just .162 with four extra-base hits (0 HR) in May for the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A MIN). Four days after he played his last game as a Twins farmhand, he homered in his first game as a Texas minor leaguer. Claimed off of waivers by Texas on May 25 and assigned to Frisco, Benson homered in his first three games as a RoughRider from May 26-28. In his first six games with Frisco, Benson went 7-for-18 (.389), clubbed four home runs, a triple, drove in six, and walked twice. The outfielder who is out of options is off to a great beginning in his fresh start. You can learn more about Joe’s story from our post on him last week.

Happy June and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: subway slinger submariner; a pitcher who throws underhand or sidearm

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: a PA legend, the Art of Catching, and a Rangers rehabber

‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.  

From a road trip ending chat with the manager, to the stories of one of the longest-tenured RoughRiders employees, and a few things in between, this week provides a great variety of voices for ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include Wilmer Font talking about his slider and changeup, John Clemens’ impressions of Cal Ripken Jr. as a minor league ballplayer, and Rangers Catching Instructor Hector Ortiz explaining the developmental ladder of catching in the Texas system.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In their Sunday conversation, Alex asks ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele about the state of the rotation and the taxed bullpen. Fresh off a temporary stint as the Rangers first base coach while the team was in Houston, Buechele shares his experiences from the weekend and talks about his offseason interview with the Colorado Rockies for their managerial opening. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, May 13, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas


First baseman Brett Nicholas, carrying the team offensively the last few ballgames talks about his career high home run output. Struggling against lefties, Nicholas explains how he can get better in that department and how is he has been better over his career against lefties. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 – RHP Wilmer Font


Frisco flamethrower Wilmer Font joined us for the first time this season and talked about where he feels physically at this early point in the season. He explains his mix of pitches, how and when he uses them, and the plan moving forward with his secondary stuff. He also talks about his relationship with Martin Perez, who, at the time, was on the ‘Riders roster on his way back from a wrist injury sustained in Spring Training. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – Public Address Announcer John Clemens


John Clemens is celebrating his tenth season as the Frisco RoughRiders public address announcer. A lifelong fan and student of the game, John is rich with stories and talks about his days in minor league baseball in the Northeast when he saw Cal Ripken Jr. as a young player. He explains how he got into the business and who inspired him. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 – OF Teodoro Martinez


Teodoro Martinez, after a slow start, has emerged as one of the most consistent ‘Riders hitters. Coming off his first multi-homer game of his career, he talks about his improved approach over the last month. He talks about his relationship with his family, including his brother Jose who plays minor league baseball in the Braves system. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, May 17, 2013 – Rangers Catching Instructor Hector Ortiz


Rangers Catching Instructor Hector Ortiz was kind enough to join us for the pre-game show during the home stand to talk about the progression of Tomas Telis and the development of catchers in the Rangers system. He spoke briefly about top Rangers catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, playing in Hickory, as well as the general path of catchers in the system: how they move up and what plateaus they need to reach to go from level to level. He also explains the role of new special assistant Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, May 18, 2013 – MLB Rehabber, RHP Justin Miller


Justin Miller sits down with Nathan Barnett after his first professional inning since 2011, beginning his rehab appearances coming back from Tommy John surgery. A standout for Frisco in 2011, Miller missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery in April of 2012. He talks about his rehab program, how each step went, and where he feels physically now that he is back out on a mound. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wingthrowing arm, usually used in reference to a pitcher’s arm

The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide…: Part Two – The Players

This post is a continuation of an earlier post compiling the essential Twitter handles to keep up with the Texas Rangers farm system and Texas League. You can find all entries here

A little over a week ago, I posted twitter handles for the teams in the Texas Rangers system and the Texas league, along with broadcasters and other key employees in the league and the Rangers’ farm. Today, I submit Part Two of “The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League and the Rangers Farm System,” or TNCTG. If you want to check Part One – go here.

Today: a list of the players. This is, to my knowledge, an exhaustive list of the Frisco RoughRiders in addition to as many twitter handles I could find of Texas Rangers at the MLB and MiLB levels. As always, comment below or tweet me (@NathanSBarnett) with additional follows. I will update this as I can as the season moves along. If you want to use a list to keep track of these players, the RoughRiders Twitter handle has a 2013 RoughRiders list and I have one compiling as many current Rangers MLB and MiLB players that I can find.

_________________________

TNCTG PART TWO – The Players

(as of 05/17/13)

2013 Frisco RoughRiders

Current RoughRiders:

Hanser Alberto ‏ @elpotroalberto (#15 ranked prospect in Texas system by Baseball America)

Cody Buckel ‏  @Cheatcode07 (#8)

Randy Henry ‏ @RandyHenry51 (#29)

Odubel Herrera ‏ @odubelherrera1frisco roughriders logo

Jared Hoying ‏ @jhoying3035

Teodoro Martinez ‏ @martinezteo

Brett Nicholas ‏ @bnicholas15

Kevin Pucetas ‏ @KPucetas

Jimmy Reyes ‏ @jimmymreyes

Ryan Rodebaugh ‏ @RRodey

Ben Rowen ‏ @B_Rowen

Ryan Strausborger ‏ @Ryan_Straus

Zach Zaneski ‏ @ZZaneski

RoughRiders to play in 2013, now off roster:

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49 (Triple-A)

Ross Wolf ‏ @18RGW (Triple-A)

Other players in the Texas Rangers System:

MLB:

Elvis Andrus ‏ @ElvisandrusSS1

Nelson Cruz ‏ @ncboomstick17

ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) ‏ @faridyu

Neftali Feliz ‏ @NefFeliz

Josh Frasier ‏ @Frasier66 (bullpen catcher)

Leury Garcia ‏ @leurygarcia1 (#20)

Justin Grimm ‏ @GrimmReaper51 (#5)

Derek Holland ‏ @Dutch_Oven45texas_rangers-9679

Michael Kirkman ‏ @MikeKirkman50

Josh Lindblom  @JoshLindblom52 

Leonys Martin ‏ @leonys27martin (#4)

Joe Nathan ‏ @JoeNathan36

Martin Perez ‏ @MartinPerez33D (#3)

Jurickson Profar ‏ @JURICKSONPROFAR (#1 ranked prospect overall by Baseball America)

Robbie Ross ‏ @Ross_108

Joakim Soria ‏ @joakimsoria

Triple-A Round Rock:

Chad Bell ‏ @ChadBell19 (Injured just before beginning of the season, finished 2012 with Express)

Engel Beltre ‏ @engelbeltre07

Lisalverto Bonilla ‏ @propecto1

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49

Robinson Chirinos  @robinson28chrr_express_logo_detail

Michael Olt ‏ @molt2222 (#2)

Yangervis Solarte ‏ @yanyi26_12

Yoshinori Tateyama ‏ @tatetatetateyan

Ross Wolf ‏ @RGW

Advanced-A Myrtle Beach:

Alec Asher ‏ @Ash_Tag24

Kellin Deglan ‏ @keldegs

Royce Bolinger ‏ @roycebolinger

Zach Cone ‏ @ZachCone (#24)

Ryan Harvey ‏ @Hammer32jetlifepelicans

Luke Jackson ‏ @YaBoy77 (#6)

Will Lamb ‏ @LamboLeap30

Nick Martinez ‏ @nickmartinez10 (#27)

Rougned Odor ‏ @RougnedOdor (#11)

Drew Robinson ‏ @drewrobinsonnn

Jake Skole ‏ @JakeSkole15

Joe Van Meter ‏ @JVanMeter28

Class-A Hickory Crawdads:

Jorge Alfaro ‏ @_JorgeAlfaro11 (#9)

Ryan Bores ‏ @RyanBores

Lewis Brinson ‏ @LewisBrinson (#12)

Eric Brooks ‏ @itsEricBrooks

Coby Cowgill ‏ @CobyCowgill_RHP

C.J. Edwards ‏ @CEdwardsSBS (#14)

Joey Gallo ‏ @JoeyGallo24 (#10)

David Lyon ‏ @DLyonKSU36Hickory_Crawdads

Joe Maloney ‏ @JoeBoMalones

Nomar Mazara ‏ @NomarMzra26 (#16)

Luis Mendez ‏ @mendezluis932

Ryan Rua ‏ @Rua_Numba_2

Connor Sadzeck ‏ @connorsadzeck

Ryne Slack ‏ @Slack28

Nick Vickerson ‏ @Nick_Vickerson

Nick Williams ‏ @NW1superstar (#25)

Players yet to be assigned (either hurt or will be in either Rookie or Short-Season A)

Jairo Beras ‏ @jairoberas (#18)

Janluis Castro ‏ @Jaanluis

Guy Edmonds ‏ @EdmondsGuy

Brandon Garcia ‏ @BrandonGarcia_

Ronald Guzman ‏ @_ronaldguzman (#17)

Jamie Jarmon ‏ @jjarmon34

Kevin Matthews ‏ @kevmat1

Barrett Serrato ‏ @bserrato23

Nick Urbanus ‏ @NickUrb

Brett Weibley ‏ @wild_stallion5

Collin Wiles ‏ @cwiles11

_________________________

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: fuzzy concreteartificial turf

‘Riders in Review: April 2013

A month into the books, and the ‘Riders are off to a solid start. As we began May yesterday, the RoughRiders sat at 14-11, tied for the best record in the Texas League with the Midland Rockhounds. As we settle in to the month of May (despite the temperatures in the 40s today!), it’s time to a quick look back at how we got to where we are are:

April Overview

Texas League Rankings

Record: 14-11 (T-1st), home: 8-3, road: 6-8, vs. division: 6-7

Runs: 107 (3rd)

Average: .250 (3rd)

Home runs: 17 (5th)

ERA: 2.87 (3rd)

Attendance: 7060 (1st)

8661122665_34b207715a_b

OF Jared Hoying‘s second season in Frisco is off to a great start

Awards

The ‘Riders were kept of out of the Player of the Week honors in the Texas League in April, but it doesn’t mean we can’t give out our own honors.

‘Riders Slugger of the Month: Jared Hoying (.293/.363/.543, 12 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 10 BB, 3-4 SB)

Hoying started a little slow, especially in the run production department, as he didn’t pick up his first RBI until the fifth game of the year, but Hoying was far and away the ‘Riders best overall hitter. Jared finished the month third on the team in hitting (behind Rodriguez, Alberto), second in OBP (Rodriguez) and first in SLG. His three steals also tied him for second most of the team.  His game of the month came on April 16, a 14-7 RoughRiders come-from-behind win at home. Hoying went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and 5 RBI, tying a career high for him (he knocked in five in a game in 2010 as a member of the Spokane Indians).

‘Riders Hurler of the Month: Randy Henry (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 18.1 IP, 13 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 HRA, 20 K, 1 BB, 1 HB, 0.76 WHIP, .200 BAA)

Henry didn’t start a game for the ‘Riders in the month, but the way he pitched during April, he seems primed for a spot in rotation if the Rangers want to move him into that role. He was moved to the rotation in Myrtle last season and didn’t fair as well as he did in the ‘pen, so we will see. He dominated the Texas League in April coming in as a reliever. His low 90s fastball with cutting action ate up left-handed hitters who went just 3-for-25 against the right-handed pitcher with one double and nine strikeouts.

Randy Henry was a force in April, his month of his RoughRiders career

RHP Randy Henry was a force in April, his month of his RoughRiders career

In total, of the 13 hits allowed, only four went for extra bases, three doubles and the one home run, which, luckily for Henry came after a misplayed foul pop-up off the bat of Tommy Medica, thus the sterling ERA.

Like Hoying, Henry’s best outing came on April 16 against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Coming into a 10-7 ‘Riders lead in the fifth, Henry retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced. Only Naturals leadoff man Brett Eibner beat Henry, rapping a single to start his third inning of work.

Official Texas League Players of the week:

April 4-14: P – Burch Smith (San Antonio Missions); B – Matt Long (Arkansas Travelers)

April 15-21: P – Asher Wojciechowski (Corpus Christi Hooks); B – Brett Eibner (Northwest Arkansas)

April 22-28: P – Jarrett Grube (Arkansas Travelers); B – Mike O’Neill (Springfield Cardinals)

Punching Bag of the Month:

Northwest Arkansas’ J.C. Sulbaran – In two starts against Frisco, the Naturals’ starting pitcher went 0-2 with an 11.08 ERA. He didn’t make it past five innings in either start, and in 7.2 IP, he surrendered 10 hits, three of them long balls, on the way to 10 earned runs against his ledger. The rough start meant a role change, as Sulbaran was relegated to the bullpen after just two starts. Things have continued south for him since then as well.

Best Moment of the Month:

With honorable mentions to Guilder Rodriguez‘s win in the 17-inning contest, the six-game winning streak and the dramatic 9th inning finish Tuesday night, this month’s Moment of the Month comes from the bat of Brett Nicholas. The RoughRiders, in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the longest of April, had not led in the stretch of four games. They hadn’t scored in 15 innings. Down 3-0, with the bases loaded in the 7th inning of the April 28 tilt against the Corpus Christi Hooks, Nicholas launched his second career grand slam and fifth home run of the season, past the Kroger Pool Zone in right field. The blast gave Frisco a 4-3 lead, and they held on for the win. The ‘Riders won their next two games as well, to finish the month on a three-game winning streak.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29).

Cody Buckel - Cody had a month to forget in April. Entering the season as the top prospect in the system on the ‘Riders roster, Buckel went 0-4 with an ERA of 18.00 in five starts. His only no-decision came in the RoughRiders 14-7 come from behind win. The good: In nine innings, Buckel struck out nine batters. The bad: He walked 25, hit three batters and threw just 118 of his 270 pitches for strikes (44%). He had issues commanding any of six pitches, and the lack of fastball command put him behind most hitters in the count. At the end of the month, the Rangers made the decision to move Buckel to the Frisco bullpen.

Roman Mendez – Mendez was extremely sharp to begin the season, and like Henry, finished his April with a perfect ERA. Mendez completed the first month with a 1-0 record, an ERA of 0.00, and ten strikeouts in his 11.1 innings of work. The good: In three of his seven outings Mendez kept the opposition hitless, including a two-frame appearance in San Antonio April 23. In his first four outings, he didn’t walk a batter. The bad: The last two trips to the mound for Mendez were less encouraging. He gave his first run (unearned) his last time out in the month. In his last two outings combined, he issued four walks in four innings of work, hit a batter, and threw just 29 of his 63 pitches in the zone (46%).

At just 20 years of age, Alberto is dazzling with the glove.

At just 20 years of age, Hanser Alberto is dazzling with the glove.

Hanser Alberto – Alberto showed flashes of the offensive ability in the first two weeks, but it was few and far between. Through his first nine games, Hanser was hitting just .156 and after his first 15 games played, the batting average still left something to be desired at .228. Alberto finished the month well, (.298/.307/.357) scoring ten runs, driving in ten, with a double and two triples. He struck out just eight times and walked twice.  The good: Alberto found something to finish the month. He showed decent patience in the first part of 2012 playing for the Hickory Crawdads in Class-A (18 BB, 62 games), but that walk rate can be attributed as much or more to raw pitchers in the South Atlantic League, struggling with command than it does to a patient eye from Alberto. Stretching back to 2012, Alberto has gone 55 games and 239 plate appearances (props to Alex for the mad research skills) without a walk. On April 23, Alberto drew the walk to end that streak, and went 2-for-4 in the process, with a run and an RBI (his eighth). Alberto hit .455 in the seven games to end the month with two walks, three RBI and just one strikeout, raising his batting average from .228 to .298. He also got a hit in each game of that stretch. Alberto’s glove has also been excellent–he’s the best shortstop I’ve had the chance to see in the league so far. The bad: he still chases breaking balls, especially sliders away, and that accounts for most of eight April strikeouts. Although the eye is improving, it still has a ways to go (2.3% BB rate in April). It’s getting better though, and he’s the youngest player in the Texas League, second youngest in all of Double-AA baseball, older than only the Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy.

Wilmer Font – The hard-throwing, hulking Venezuelan is up to his old tricks again in 2013. His first outing of May was probably his roughest of the year, but April was excellent. He posses a heavy mid to upper 90s fastball with sink, a slider and a developing changeup. He finished April with a record of 0-1, with a 0.82 ERA in eight appearances, and he notched three saves. He allowed just two hits in 11 innings, walking 6 and struck out 17. The good: Font has swing-and-miss stuff and we saw it in April. He strikeout rate (42.5%) was the best on the team and behind only Springfield’s Kevin Siegrist (51.2%) among pitchers with at least five innings of work. The bad: The second hit Font allowed this season was a home run. And it cost Frisco the game in a 2-1 loss in San Antonio on April 25.

Neil Ramirez – Arguably the most pleasant surprise of April was Ramirez. The former supplemental first round pick of the Rangers, Ramirez seemed on the fast track to the majors before a disappointing 2012. He pitched well in April, going 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA in five starts. He’s struck out 29 batters and walked 15 in 24.1 innings. The good: Ramirez didn’t allow much contact and he did he wasn’t hit hard. He led April in opponents’ batting average, as the opposition hit just .130 off him. Ramirez fired four straight starts of 5 innings or more, and he didn’t allow more than three hits in any of his five outings. The bad: you’d like to see Ramirez walk a few less hitters. He’s actually walking more batters per nine innings (5.5) than he has has in any year of his career; that tells you how unhittable the righty was in April.

Randy Henry – Discussed above. If you want to stretch for the bad: it’s that he allowed that one home run. No one is complaining with what the Arnett, Oklahoma native did in his first month of Double-A baseball, except maybe left-handed hitters that have had to face him.

Happy May and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: dewdropa slow curveball

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