Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Riders aim to end North Division nightmare

The Riders open a six-game homestand tonight with three games against Springfield and three more with Tulsa over the weekend.

Since Frisco won the first three series and nine of the first 10 games against North Division opponents this year, the North squads have had a large amount of success against the Riders.

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Frisco has gone a dismal 7-24 in the last 31 cross-divisional matchups, and the RoughRiders have won just two of the last 11 series (June 3-5 vs. Springfield and July 9-11 vs. Northwest Arkansas). The Riders have not won a road series against a North Division opponent since opening the season with five straight wins in Springdale and North Little Rock (April 7-9 at Northwest Arkansas, April 10-12 at Arkansas).

However, Frisco has won three of their five home series against North Division opponents this year. The Riders won both series against Northwest Arkansas and took two of three games from Springfield in June.

This week, the Riders begin a six-game homestand against Springfield and Tulsa. It marks the final meetings between Frisco and opponents from the North Division in the regular season. The Riders went 1-5 in games at Hammons Field, with a 2-1 record at home. However, Frisco has yet to beat Tulsa in eight tries this year.

If the Riders hope to stay in contention for a final playoff spot, they will need to survive through this week. Frisco still has six games remaining against Midland over the final two weeks of the season. Whether the Riders still have playoff hopes when they square off with Midland has yet to be determined. But Frisco definitely has an opportunity to make an impact on the postseason race.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: cement mixer – A mediocre pitch. Roger Clemens used the term for a backup slider that spins badly (The Sporting News, March 25, 2005).

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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.


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

Texas League teams and their respective farm systems

Every week on the Riders Insider Blog, we look at the Rangers farm system and provide updates on the other full-season affiliates in the organization. In today’s post, let’s widen our scope a little bit more as we are nearing the halfway point of the season.

Texas Rangers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Texas Rangers (45-25, 1st place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Round Rock Express (38-21, 2nd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Frisco RoughRiders (37-31, 2nd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks (43-27, 1st place California League South)
  • Class-A: Hickory Crawdads (38-32, T-3rd place South Atlantic League Northern)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Oakland Athletics Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Oakland Athletics (28-41, 5th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds (42-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Midland RockHounds (33-36, 3rd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Stockton Ports (27-43, 4th place California League North)
  • Class-A: Beloit Snappers (32-37, 6th place Midwest League Western)

San Diego Padres Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: San Diego Padres (29-42, 5th place National League West)
  • Triple-A: El Paso Chihuahuas (40-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: San Antonio Missions (22-47, 4th place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lake Elsinore Storm (32-38, 4th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Fort Wayne TinCaps (36-34, T-5th place Midwest League Eastern)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (31-38, 4th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Salt Lake Bees (33-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: Arkansas Travelers (31-38, 3rd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Inland Empire 66ers (23-47, 5th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Burlington Bees (32-38, 7th place Midwest League Western)

Kansas City Royals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Kansas City Royals (38-31, 2nd place American League Central)
  • Triple-A: Omaha Storm Chasers (30-38, 4th place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (29-40, 4th place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-42, 4th place California League Northern)
  • Class-A: Lexington Legends (25-44, 7th place South Atlantic League Southern)

St. Louis Cardinals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: St. Louis Cardinals (35-33, 2nd place National League Central)
  • Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (32-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Springfield Cardinals (40-29, 1st place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Palm Beach Cardinals (31-34, 4th place Florida State League South)
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs (40-30, 1st place Midwest League Western)

Los Angeles Dodgers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers (38-33, 2nd place National League West)
  • Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers (37-31, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Tulsa Drillers (37-31, 2nd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (42-28, 2nd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Great Lakes Loons (29-41, 7th place Midwest League Eastern)

Best of the best:

  • MLB: Texas Rangers
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: hustle bump – One of the marks and bruises on a player’s body.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Texas League Scrabble

In the Texas League, logos with letters are a common theme among all eight teams. During the Riders’ recent road trip to San Antonio, I couldn’t help but think of a Scrabble board when viewing the Missions’ “SA” logo.

So I began to devise a list of words that could be created from Texas League teams’ logos. Some of the best: catamarans, tsars, maracas, cataracts, transacts, and mascara.

The most difficult thing about finding words is only having the power to use one vowel, thanks to the Arkansas Travelers’ logo. The other seven teams use consonants.

The following is an attempt to compile as many words as possible made up of all the Texas League logos, arranged accordingly on a Scrabble board. Enjoy!

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: first and fifteenth player – A player who thinks only of paydays, such as the first and fifteenth days of the month.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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


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

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

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

From the North Division…

Catcher: *Anthony Bemboom (Arkansas)

First Baseman: Frank Schwindel (Northwest Arkansas)

Second baseman: Breyvic Valera (Springfield)

Third baseman: Brandon Trinkwon (Tulsa)

Shortstop: *Erisbel Arruebarrena (Tulsa)

Outfielder: Bo Way (Arkansas)

Outfielder: *Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas)

Outfielder: Kyle Garlick (Tulsa)

Designated Hitter: Jacob Scavuzzo (Tulsa)

Pitcher: *Alan Busenitz (Arkansas)

Pitcher: Daniel Poncedeleon (Springfield)

Pitcher: Ralston Cash (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Tim Shibuya (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Ronnie Shaban (Springfield)

Pitcher: *Estarlin Cordero (Northwest Arkansas)

From the South Division…

Catcher: *Rocky Gale (San Antonio)

First Baseman: Conrad Gregor (Corpus Christi)

Second baseman: Evan Van Hoosier (Frisco)

Third baseman: *Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Frisco)

Shortstop: *River Stevens (San Antonio)

Outfielder: Teoscar Hernandez (Corpus Christi)

Outfielder: Danny Oh (Midland)

Outfielder: Brett Vertigan (Midland)

Designated Hitter: Chan-Jong Moon (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Keegan Yuhl (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Cy Sneed (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: *Reymin Guduan (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Ryne Slack (Frisco)

Pitcher: Trey Cochran-Gill (Midland)

Pitcher: Jose Valdespina (Frisco)

– Steve

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

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meaning behind the mascots



Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.



Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.

Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.



CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.



Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.



San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.


– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

RoughRiders In The (Football) Draft

The NFL is right around the corner, which means that fantasy football drafts are taking place all over the world. The RoughRiders’ front office had its draft Tuesday night. We all realized quickly that Aaron–the league’s commissioner–had the best draft by far. He may go undefeated.  I’m in trouble.

So, let’s make some fantasy football comparisons with some of your RoughRiders. By the way, Aaron will have another fantasy football-related post tomorrow from Tulsa.

Tommy Mendonca = Arian Foster (RB, Houston): Mendonca (.285, 23 HR, 83 RBI) is finishing up a breakout season here in the Texas League, and Foster (1374 yards, 13 TDs) was the breakout star of the NFL last season. Foster is going in the first round in many drafts, and Mendonca would be near the top of most Texas League boards.

Mike Bianucci = Peyton Hillis (RB, Cleveland): Two tough, strong men who produce very well. Bianucci is third in the Texas League in home runs (27) while Hillis became the first Brown to don the cover of Madden. These two guys are beasts in their sports.

Engel Beltre = Santonio Holmes (WR, NY Jets): Both men have great speed and catch seemingly everything that comes their way, and they both do it with a little flair. Beltre is one of the best defenders in the Texas League, and Holmes is the top receiver on a contender.

Renny Osuna = Ray Rice (RB, Baltimore): Both Osuna and Rice are a bit undersized, but they both produce at a very high level. Rice is a first-round pick in fantasy football drafts, while Osuna is the RoughRiders’ all-time hits leader. If you have either on your team, you have a great chance to win.

Ben Snyder = Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Pittsburgh): These two guys are better real-life players than they are fantasy sports acquisitions. Snyder has been in the bullpen, starting rotation, and outfield this season, and Roethlisberger gets better as the game progresses.

Justin Miller = Tom Brady (QB, New England): Miller doesn’t have three rings or an undefeated regular season (although he is close at 9-1 this season), but he does shut the door on his opponents late in the game. Brady is the king of fourth-quarter wins, and Miller boasts a 2.03 ERA as a late-inning bullpen option.

Johan Yan = Mike Williams (WR, Tampa Bay): Both players made instant impacts out of nowhere. A converted infielder, Yan has an incredible 0.47 in his first 19 Double-A innings. Williams was a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, and his 1,056 receiving yards and eight touchdowns helped the Buccaneers become one of the biggest 2010 surprises.

Matt Leeds = Andre Roberts (WR, Arizona): Two deep sleepers. Leeds is with the RoughRiders after spending the first two months of his professional career in the Arizona League, and Roberts is going to get some playing time alongside Larry Fitzgerald.

– Brian