Results tagged ‘ Corpus Christi ’

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

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

Double trouble: Riders struggles in twinbills this year

The RoughRiders are set to play their sixth doubleheader of the season this evening. Overall, Frisco is just 4-6 when playing multiple games in a single day.

The struggles have been especially magnified in game two, where the Riders are 1-4 (0-3 at home). Some of the worst offensive performances of the season have come in doubleheader. Let’s take a closer look:

Game One Game Two
Record: 3-2 1-4
Runs scored: 18 7
Runs allowed: 17 22
Hits: 23 18
Hits allowed: 34 32
Home runs: 1 1
Home runs allowed: 5 6
Highest run total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 4 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest run total: 0 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 0 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Highest hit total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 9 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest hit total: 1 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 1 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Largest margin of victory: 3 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/19 at Midland) 2 (5/19 at Midland)
Largest margin of defeat: 4 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 6 (2x, 5/13 at Corpus Christi, 6/13 vs. Midland)

In total, the RoughRiders are being outscored 39-25, outhit 66-41, and outhomered 11-2. In game one, however, Frisco has actually tallied more runs (18) than opponents (17), despite still being outhit 34-23.

Frisco has run into three dominant starting pitchers who allowed just one hit in their outings. Kyle McGowin (Arkansas) and Evan Grills (Corpus Christi) both tossed complete-game, one-hit shutouts. Brock Stewart (Tulsa) pitched six scoreless, one-hit innings, and then Scott Griggs recorded the final three outs.

The Riders have a chance to put the past behind them, with another doubleheader coming up tonight at home against Corpus Christi. It represents a chance for the past troubles to be buried. After all, Frisco trails the Hooks by 5.5 games with seven remaining, so every game is a must-win from this point forward.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: lobby sitter – A player who hangs out in hotel lobbies between games on road trips.

(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

Frisco vs. Corpus Christi

Currently, the RoughRiders are just half of a game behind Corpus Christi in the Texas League South Division standings. However, Frisco had sole possession of first place with the best record in the division for 54 straight days before the Hooks leaped ahead.

These are two very competitive teams who have taken completely different routes to get to their current spots in the standings. With just a handful of games remaining in the first half, let’s take a look at how Frisco and Corpus Christi reached the positions they are in today.

Frisco-Corpus by Date

Despite recently slipping below Corpus Christi in the standings, the Riders still have a chance to control their own fate in the South Division with five remaining first-half matchups against the Hooks. The five-game series will take place at Dr Pepper Ballpark from June 15-18.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: yodeler – The third base coach, especially a noisy one who may be trying to unnerve the pitcher or who shouts instructions to the runner on second base.

(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

Ballpark Bio: Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi)


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

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 17, 2005
Capacity: 7,050 (5,050 seats, plus 2,000 spots on the berms)
Dimensions: LF – 325, CF – 400, RF – 315


The wall is only about 4 feet tall in the RF corner

> Of note: The height of the wall fluctuates quite a bit from pole to pole. In total, we counted at least six different wall heights on our way around the park. 

There’s a long list of features that make Whataburger Field a very unique and intriguing ballpark, both inside and outside the confines of the stadium. There’s a lot of charm here, and as you’ll find in this post and the ones to come, I’m all about charm when it comes to baseball parks.

On the inside, there’s a very intimate feel, with just a bit over 5,000 seats. There aren’t a ton of rows in each section, so just about every seat in the park gets you up close to the action. If you’d rather sprawl out on the grass, there are two berms in the outfield to meet your needs.


It’s hard to find a bad view inside Whataburger Field

But there’s so much more than the game to enjoy when you come to a game in Corpus Christi. If you take a walk along the outfield concourse, you run into a wealth of other options and ways to stay entertained. For the kids, there’s a mini baseball field, a playground, a bouncy house, trampolines, a rock climbing wall, and a basketball court. In that way, it’s the perfect minor-league park, in that it serves baseball fans of all interest levels.

One of my favorite features in the park is the trio of cotton presses out past the left field wall. The site Whataburger Field is on used to be a cotton warehouse, and the presses in left field are the originals that used to be there. It adds an additional charm to the park, while also paying tribute to an industry that’s still important in this city. I’m always a fan of pieces like this. They’re very unique, and very meaningful at the same time. It reminds me a little of the warehouse that sits in the left-field corner at San Diego’s Petco Park.


Part of the trio of cotton presses on the left field concourse

Outside the confines of the ballpark, there’s plenty more that adds to its charm. Most notably is the Harbor Bridge, which looms large well beyond the right-center field wall. Once darkness sets in, the bridge lights up, adding a nice spectacle to the game-viewing experience. I’ve caught myself on numerous occasions gazing up at the bridge and enjoying the free light show. It’s just too hard to resist.

And, of course, there’s the harbor that the bridge runs across. You can’t see a ton of the Corpus Christi Bay from the park, but some of it is visible over the left field wall. It’s also fun to watch the cargo ships come and go over the course of nine innings. Growing up in Seattle, I always loved having the trains pass by Safeco Field and hearing their horns blast as they passed the park. It’s very similar here, and it’s yet another nice touch to the park. And you can’t forget the seagulls, either. They’re all over the place, and they add to the maritime vibe around the park.

On top of all that, the Hooks draw good, energetic crowds. Overall, it makes for a great experience when you come to Whataburger Field, blending an intimate baseball-viewing experience with sights, sounds and smells that you won’t find in many other parks.


At night, the illumination on the Harbor Bridge adds yet another spectacle to an already-beautiful park

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming from ONEOK Field in Tulsa next month, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Hookworm League – A derisive nickname for spring training played in the southeastern United States, a region with a prevalence for the hookworm parasite.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Midland One Win Away From Second-Half Crown

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The RoughRiders played their longest nine-inning game of the season on Saturday night, a three-hour and 37-minute affair that ended in favor of Midland. Click here to read the full game recap.

Frisco erased two deficits, but never led in the contest. The ‘Riders fell behind 4-0 in the second inning, and the game seemed in danger of slipping away when the the horsemen rallied to even the score in the fifth. Trever Adams tied the game at 5-5 with a solo home run in the seventh. A sacrifice fly from Hiro Nakajima, who had two RBI and a home run last night, proved the decisive score in the top of the ninth.

In an effort to preserve the arms of their starting pitchers, the ‘Riders relied exclusively on the bullpen and started Kyle Lotzkar on Saturday. Lotzkar has been vastly improved in the second half of the season, but reverted back to his first-half character (when, perhaps not coincidentally, he made seven starts) and could not survive the second inning.

Joseph Ortiz and Will Lamb each allowed go-ahead runs to Midland after the offense had battled to tie the score. The ‘pen never let the game get out of hand, but could not quell the RockHounds’ attack long enough for the bats to take the lead.

What does it all mean? Midland now owns a one game lead in the second-half standings, and the ‘Riders need to win the final two games of the regular season in order to take the second-half crown and secure home field advantage against the Hounds in the playoffs.

Star of the Game: C J.T. Wise – 2/4, R, HR, 3 RBI, SO

Another great night for J.T., who homered for the third night in-a-row to get the ‘Riders on the board in the fourth. He tied the game one inning later on a two-RBI single to center.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders have been striking out in droves. They went down on the K-ball 10 times on Saturday after averaging just under 11 strikeouts/game on their seven-game road trip.

-Teodoro Martinez was the only ‘Rider to not reach base.

-Hanser Alberto batted 0-for-4 and saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end. He did reach base on an error in the sixth.

-Gallo: 0-for-4, RBI, BB, SO

Joey launched a deep fly ball to right-center in the seventh but Kent Matthes caught up to it in time. He drew a five-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the fifth to pick up his 52nd RBI as a RoughRider.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (current players only):

1. Joey Gallo (20)

2. Trever Adams (14)

3. J.T. Wise (9)

4. Jake Skole (5)

5. Jorge Alfaro (4)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

7. Nomar Mazara (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

9. Hanser Alberto (1)


Nick Williams is one of three RoughRiders named to the 2014 Carolina League Post-Season All-Star team. He talks about the accolades he’s reeled in this season, including an invitation to play in the Arizona Fall League:


Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

In For a Fun Ride

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The ‘Riders dropped the series finale with Corpus Christi on Friday night. Midland knocked off San Antonio and arrives at Dr Pepper Ballpark 2 1/2 games behind the RoughRiders for the best record in the Texas League with three to play. Click here to read Friday’s  game recap.

Frisco and Midland now have identical second-half records heading into the final series of the regular season. The math is obvious. Whoever wins this series will finish with the best second-half record in the South Division. This is important because the second-half winner is awarded home field advantage in the division championship series. For the RoughRiders, a series win guarantees a decisive game five in the South Division Championship Series will be played at Dr Pepper Ballpark against Midland.

Even if the RoughRiders lose 2-of-3 and finish with a better overall record than the RockHounds, Midland would still receive game five at their ballpark as second-half champs. So, buckle up. There’s a lot at stake as the regular season concludes.

Star of the Game: C J.T. Wise – 2/4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 SO

The cogs started to turn for J.T. on the road trip, in particular against Corpus Christi. The backstop belted home runs in the final two games of the series and now has eight since joining the squad in mid-July.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders have been striking out in droves. They went down on the K-ball 15 times on Friday and 50 times in the four-game series.

-Mike Hauschild devastated the ‘Riders on Friday and picked up eight strikeouts in four innings en route to his first save with the Hooks this season.

-For just the 13th time this season, the ‘Riders outhit their opponent, but lost the game.

-Nick Williams was the only ‘Rider to not reach base.

-Hanser Alberto extended his hitting streak to 13 with a single in the fourth. He finished 2-for-3 at the plate and tied his season-high with hits in 13 straight games.

-Frisco finished the seven-game road swing with a 4-3 record. The ‘Riders also finished their regular season road slate with a 39-30 record and posted an 18-14 record against the Hooks in 2014.

-Gallo: DNP

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (current players only):

1. Joey Gallo (20)

2. Trever Adams (13)

3. J.T. Wise (8)

4. Jake Skole (5)

5. Jorge Alfaro (4)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

7. Nomar Mazara (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

9. Hanser Alberto (1)


The Texas League Post-Season All-Star talks about his leadership role in the clubhouse and the club’s recent downturn at the plate:


Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.