Results tagged ‘ Craig Gentry ’

Putting a bow on the 2013 Season

The 2013 season ended eight days ago and before we start thinking about Opening Day 2014 (currently 205 days away, but who’s counting?), let’s wrap up this year with some of the notable notes & factoids. The following tidbits are stolen taken from the RoughRiders’ end-of-season notes, which you can see in their entirety here.

SEASON NOTES

Report Card: The RoughRiders finished their 11th season with an overall record of 70-70, good enough for third place in the Texas League South Division and fourth-best in the eight-team circuit.  Frisco was 39-31 in the first half, claiming second place in the division, and 31-39 in the second half (third place).  The RoughRiders missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and just the fourth time in team history.  For the first time since becoming a minor league manager in 2009 (Bakersfield), Steve Buechele oversaw a team that did not make the postseason.  Two RoughRiders were named to the postseason All-Star Team: DH Brett Nicholas and RHP Neil Ramirez.

Playing not to lose: For the eighth straight season, the RoughRiders finished with a non-losing record.  The last time Frisco finished below .500 was the only time in team history, back in 2005 when the team finished 58-82.  The streak of non-losing seasons is by far the longest in the Texas League; every other team in the circuit has had at least one losing season in the last three years.  The streak is the longest in Double-A and the third-longest among all 120 full-season minor league clubs, exceeded only by the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats (11 straight non-losing seasons) and the Advanced-A San Jose Giants (ten).  Including teams that play in short-season leagues, Frisco’s streak is the sixth longest; the Elizabethton Twins (25), Brooklyn Cyclones (13) and AZL Giants (13) have the longest such streaks in stateside Minor League Baseball.

Home Field Advantage: A crowd of 10,712 watched the RoughRiders beat Corpus Christi in the home finale on August 30, marking the second-biggest attendance at Dr Pepper Ballpark this season.  It was exceeded only by the July 4 game against Arkansas, when 10,801 saw the Travelers edge the ’Riders 3-2.  Frisco welcomed 479,873 fans to the ballpark this year (an average of 7,057), the highest total in Double-A for the ninth straight year.  The total and average attendance figures are higher than 17 Triple-A ballclubs this season.

Pitching in: Pitching coach Jeff Andrews can be proud to point out that this year’s Frisco staff statistically rates as the best in franchise history.  Of the 11 seasons in RoughRiders history, the 2013 team finished with the best ERA (3.58, placing in the top two of the league for just the second time ever), strikeouts (1,111), WHIP (1.265), and hits/9 IP (8.0, the lowest figure in the TL since 2003).  The team’s strikeouts/9 IP (8.0) was tied for the second-best in team history.  Making these feats even more impressive is that the RoughRiders utilized 37 different pitchers (by far the most in the league, five more than Springfield, which had used the second-most), including 19 starters.

Saint Nicholas: Frisco first baseman Brett Nicholas has had a great year in his first Double-A season.  Before to this year, Nicholas had 17 career home runs in three combined pro seasons but hit 21 in 2013.  In addition to the long balls, the Arizona native established career-bests in games (136), plate appearances (575), at bats (506), hits (146), batting average (.289), slugging percentage (.474), OPS (.831), RBI (91), runs (71), triples (3) and total bases (240).  Nicholas finished among the Texas League leaders in average (fourth), games (first), at bats (third), home runs (seventh), RBI (first), hits (first), extra-base hits (tied for fifth, 49) and total bases (first, 240).  He was the only player in the TL in the top seven in all three of the Triple Crown categories.  Nicholas was named a mid-season and postseason All-Star (at DH) and will be one of the Rangers’ representatives in the Arizona Fall League.

Teo Time: Teodoro Martinez had a breakout season in many respects in 2013.  The diminutive outfielder was second on the team with 15 home runs and was also among the team leaders in hits (second, 110), runs scored (third, 51), RBI (fourth, 47), total bases (third, 168), and steals (second, 21).  Martinez entered the season with ten career home runs and single-season high of six, but more than doubled his career output in longballs with a year that landed him on the mid-season All-Star Team.  He had a career game on the penultimate day of the regular season in Midland, going 4 for 5 with a double, two home runs, eight runs batted in and three runs scored.  The eight RBI matched his total from July (three) and August (five) combined and represented what is believed to be a RoughRiders single-game record.  It was only fitting that Martinez had his huge game against Midland; in 27 games against the RockHounds, he hit .336/.351/.600 (.951 OPS) with two doubles, nine home runs, 28 RBI, 16 runs scored and seven steals.

New Kids on the Block: The makeup of Frisco’s roster changed dramatically in early August, when nine new players joined the team and seven players were sent elsewhere.  Of the new RoughRiders, second baseman Rougned Odor and pitchers Luke Jackson and Nick Martinez—all promoted from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach—shined the brightest.  From August 1 through the end of the season, Odor led the Texas League in hits (41) and was tied for second in extra-base hits (16).  At 19, he was the youngest player in Double-A and over 30 games hit .306/.354/.530 with six homers, eight doubles, two triples, 19 RBI, 20 runs scored and five steals.  Jackson did not allow a run until his fifth ’Riders outing and went 2-0 over six games (four starts) with a 0.67 ERA (2 ER/27 IP), 30 strikeouts and a .144 opposing batting average.  Dating back to his time with the Pelicans, he ended the season having gone 15 games (13 starts) since last suffering a defeat (May 27 at Lynchburg).  Martinez did not work the strikeouts like Jackson, but he was stellar in five games (four starts), going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA (4 ER/32 IP), 11 hits allowed, a 0.56 WHIP and a .107 opposing batting average.  While pitching in relief of rehabber Nick Tepesch on August 27 against Corpus Christi, he threw seven no-hit innings and retired the last 19 batters of the ballgame.

Don’t walk this way: A constant theme over the course of the season was the inability of the ’Riders to draw walks while on offense.  Frisco not only finished last among all Texas League teams with 303 walks this season, but also last among all full-season minor league teams (Advanced-A Brevard County was closest with 343).  In fact, the ’Riders had fewer walks than 13 rookie-level teams whose seasons began well after Frisco’s.  The 303 walks set a new Texas League record for fewest walks ever received by a team, “besting” the 1992 San Antonio Missions (310).  The RoughRiders’ on-base percentage of .300 was the seventh-lowest of all 229 MiLB teams and the second-lowest of all full-season squads.

Guilded Age: The 2013 season was a banner one for longtime RoughRiders utility player Guilder Rodriguez.  This past season was Rodriguez’s 13th in professional baseball and his fifth with Frisco.  Thanks to a terrific first half of the season, the Venezuelan was named to his first All-Star Game and came in off the bench to play in the South Division’s 6-0 win over the North.  Rodriguez set several career Frisco records over the course of the year; he has played in more games as a RoughRider (407) than any other player in team history.  On August 4, he passed Renny Osuna as the franchise’s all-time hits leader; he has 352 career hits as a RoughRider.  On August 25, playing in his 1000th professional stateside game, Rodriguez stole his 66th base in a Frisco uniform, snapping a tie with Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry for the most career steals.  G-Rod is now 66 for 92 stealing bases as a ’Rider; Gentry was 65 for 79 in 207 Frisco games.

This ’pen is mightier: Despite a constantly rotating cast, the RoughRiders’ bullpen was the strength of the pitching staff this season.  Frisco’s relievers won almost as many games (34) as the team’s starters (36) while posting an impressive 2.55 ERA (166 ER/586.2 IP).  The bullpen was heavy on strikeouts (9.1/9 IP) and stingy on allowing hits (6.9/9 IP).  Ben Rowen (0.53 ERA) and Wilmer Font (1.41 ERA) led the group with ten saves apiece while nine total players had at least one save.  The strong back end of the bullpen was a major reason why the RoughRiders went 51-0 when taking a lead into the ninth inning, not blowing a ninth inning save all season.  Frisco was the only Texas League team that did not lose a game when leading after eight innings (all other teams had at least two such losses).  The ’Riders were one of eight full-season minor league teams that did not blow a ninth inning lead and one of three (New Orleans, 72-72; West Michigan, 69-70) that did it while failing to post a winning overall record.

- Alex

G-Rod: Setting more RoughRiders records

Playing in his 1000th professional stateside game, Guilder Rodriguez set another new RoughRiders record last night against Midland. Rodriguez’s stolen base in the sixth inning was his 66th steal in a Frisco uniform, his 15th this season, snapping a tie with Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry for the most steals as a RoughRider.  Earlier this month, Rodriguez passed Renny Osuna as the franchise’s all-time hits leader; he has 351 career hits as a ‘Rider.

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Rodriguez, who has played parts or all of the last five seasons in Frisco, began the season ranked fifth in the stolen bases category.  Guilder now leads Gentry (65, 2008-2009), Engel Beltre (61, 2009-2012), Elvis Andrus (54, 2008), and Ruddy Yan (52, 2005-2006).  Guilder is now 66 for 92 stealing bases in 404 games as a ’Rider.

A post by Nathan earlier this month on August 6 proposes that Guilder Rodriguez just might be the greatest of RoughRiders’ all-time:

“Rodriguez won’t make any prospect lists, and by most who project these things, will likely never get a crack at the majors. While he is not one of the super prospects that will drive walk-up ticket sales, he is a guy certainly appreciated by the season ticket holders.  Often the first to the mound to encourage a pitcher and seen routinely after and before organized drills and stretching working with the youngsters, the veteran who turned 30 this season is a respected leader of this group, especially among the other Spanish-speaking players.”

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Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP
2002 Brewers 47 186 38 48 3 2 0 20 6 1 11 23 .258 .299
2003 Helena 69 255 51 57 1 1 0 25 29 3 47 35 .224 .345
2004 Beloit 95 351 64 93 6 0 0 27 14 6 45 50 .265 .352
2005 West Virginia 20 46 3 8 1 0 0 3 2 0 4 6 .174 .250
2005 Huntsville 65 133 17 40 3 1 0 7 3 0 19 28 .301 .388
2006 Brevard County 5 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .143 .250
2006 Huntsville 69 160 21 35 3 1 0 7 2 1 22 31 .219 .324
2007 Huntsville 59 175 28 53 1 0 0 16 8 5 23 27 .303 .382
2008 Huntsville 72 175 29 43 2 0 0 5 12 2 20 24 .246 .321
2009 Rangers 2 8 2 4 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 .500 .500
2009 Frisco 80 277 34 74 4 4 1 21 9 6 26 40 .267 .331
2010 Frisco 96 323 44 86 4 3 0 23 15 5 31 42 .266 .335
2010 Oklahoma City 21 67 17 17 3 0 0 8 4 1 9 7 .254 .342
2011 Frisco 80 284 39 78 9 2 0 37 14 4 30 40 .275 .343
2011 Round Rock 41 137 20 37 2 0 0 13 3 0 21 14 .270 .365
2012 Frisco 66 207 24 43 2 0 0 13 13 4 25 27 .208 .293
2012 Round Rock 19 58 5 15 0 0 0 8 1 2 8 7 .259 .338
2013 Round Rock 12 47 10 15 1 0 0 3 2 0 6 8 .319 .396
2013 Frisco 82 289 42 70 8 0 1 13 15 7 35 33 .242 .326
12 Seasons 1000 3185 489 817 53 14 2 250 154 47 383 443 .257 .338
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/26/2013.
James Garner/MiLB.com

 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2009 25 Frisco 80 309 277 34 74 4 4 1 21 9 6 26 40 .267 .331 .321
2010 26 Frisco 96 375 323 44 86 4 3 0 23 15 5 31 42 .266 .335 .297
2011 27 Frisco 80 324 284 39 78 9 2 0 37 14 4 30 40 .275 .343 .320
2012 28 Frisco 66 238 207 24 43 2 0 0 13 13 4 25 27 .208 .293 .217
2013 29 Frisco 82 334 289 42 70 8 0 1 13 15 7 35 33 .242 .326 .280
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/26/2013.
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-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: herky-jerky – Said of the motion of a pitcher with an especially awkward delivery.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

G-Rod: The Greatest of All (RoughRiders’) Time

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With a tenth-inning double on Saturday he tied it, and with a single to lead off the sixth, he broke it. He added another for good measure in the eighth.

Passing Renny Osuna, Guilder Rodriguez now has more hits than any RoughRiders batter in history. 27 doubles, nine triples, two home runs and 311 singles. At 349 hits, Guilder Rodriguez stands alone. Playing parts or all of the last five seasons in Frisco, Rodriguez has now amassed more hits than long-time RoughRiders Renny Osuna (2009-2011: 347 hits), Steve Murphy (2007-2009: 319 hits), Engel Beltre (2009-2012: 295 hits) and Adam Fox (2005-2009: 280 hits).

Guilder Rodriguez’s career RoughRiders’ numbers:

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2009 25 80 309 277 34 74 4 4 1 21 9 26 40 .267 .331 .321
2010 26 96 375 323 44 86 4 3 0 23 15 31 42 .266 .335 .297
2011 27 80 324 284 39 78 9 2 0 37 14 30 40 .275 .343 .320
2012 28 66 238 207 24 43 2 0 0 13 13 25 27 .208 .293 .217
2013 29 78 317 274 42 68 8 0 1 11 14 34 31 .248 .334 .288
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/6/2013.

As an aside, he is also tied with Craig Gentry for the most steals in team history at 65. That could change tonight. Or tomorrow. Or sometime soon. The 13th year pro is now just 16 games away from an incredible career milestone as well: 1,000 professional games played.

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Rodriguez won’t make any prospect lists, and by most who project these things, will likely never get a crack at the majors. While he is not one of the super prospects that will drive walk-up ticket sales, he is a guy certainly appreciated by the season ticket holders.

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A “grinder” who loves the game and loves the people who play it by his side. Often the first to the mound to encourage a pitcher and seen routinely after and before organized drills and stretching working with the youngsters, the veteran who turned 30 this season is a respected leader of this group, especially among the other Spanish-speaking players.

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We have devoted plenty of time to G-Rod here at the Insider Blog. You can see all the posts tagged with Guilder here.

Enjoy…more G-Rod gems from the last five seasons:8758246345_1b962031c3_b

G-Rod bat flip!

James Garner/MiLB.com

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Pink-clad G-Rod!

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July14_CoverAnd forever immortalized on the cover Playball!

All photo credits to Frisco RoughRiders. Grant Nelson with cover artwork for PlayBall! 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: riga baseball uniform

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Dangerous High Fives and Pumping Iron

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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.

Another week has passed, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Riders on the Record, number 15 in fact. The ‘Riders were joined by MLB rehabbers Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Colby Lewis on the home stand and Richard Bleier and Eric McMahon made their first appearances. Highlights include McMahon’s discussion of supplements and taking care of the ‘Riders training regimen and Ryan Strausborger’s new-found hobby.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 – Richard Bleier


Richard Bleier has settled in nicely to reliever duties in the Frisco bullpen after initially arriving as an addition to the rotation. Coming off a series in Corpus Christi in which the team played three extra-innings games, Bleier discusses the state of the bullpen and gives his assessment of the relief work by Zach Zaneski, one of his catchers, who threw in the 16-inning marathon a few days prior. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 – Craig Gentry


Rangers rehabber Craig Gentry gave us some time to talk about his rehab from a left hand non-displaced fracture. He talks about how he feels, the importance of rehab at-bats over plays in the field and his take on the “Kitten Face” nickname. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 – Jeff Baker


Back-to-back rehabber interviews brought Jeff Baker to the mic on Wednesday. The Rangers utility man was rehabbing from a sprained thumb suffered on an errant high-five by a unnamed teammate. He talks about another strange injury he saw as a player and voices his disappointment in being on the shelf.  (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 18, 2013 – Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon


The RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon joined the pregame show for the first time this season. Honored as the best at his position in 2012 in the Texas League, McMahon explains how he goes about his business and the ins and outs of keeping the players healthy and getting them stronger. He talks about the research he has to do on the ever-changing world of supplements and gives his take on the purpose of weightlifting. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – Ryan Strausborger


Coming off a big offensive game and his first start of the season at second base, Ryan Strausborger discusses his offensive adjustments as well as the challenge of playing in the infield after all those games in the outfield this year. He discusses his passion for baserunning as well as a new-found passion for the guitar. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: aspirin tablet – a fastball that is difficult to hit due to its velocity and/or movement

Home Sweet Home: Turning things around

Ballpark_0715

The Frisco RoughRiders began a four-game home stand against the San Antonio Missions Sunday hoping to turn things around and put aside their recent struggles in July.  This month, Frisco has won just four of the 12 games, and went 1-5 on their last home stand.

This short home stand will also feature three Rangers rehabbers.  Craig Gentry, recovering from a non-displaced fracture to his left hand, started at center field on Sunday.  Outfielder Jeff Baker was placed on the disabled list June 18 after spraining his right thumb and will begin a rehab assignment Monday in Frisco.  Colby Lewis will also rehab with the ‘Riders for a second time this season, recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow from last July and has battled triceps tendinitis and muscular soreness since.  Lewis will make the start on Wednesday.

Nick McBride and Keyvius Sampson faced off yesterday.  These are the matchups we expect to see on the mound for the rest of this series:

Monday: RHP Kevin Pucetas (8-7, 4.84 ERA) vs RHP Matt Wisler (4-3, 3.15 ERA)

Tuesday: RHP  Arlett Mavare (1-2, 6.12 ERA) vs RHP Donn Roach (6-8-2, 3.93 ERA)

Wednesday: RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 7.71 ERA) vs TBA

Sunday, July 14   |  6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
TV:  KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

    • Kids Run the Bases
    • Free ‘Riders Sunglasses
      TOTAL_AIR_Carrier_FREE_SUNGLASSES_RV_fpjozwjs (1)
    • Dairy Queen Triple Play

Monday, July 15   |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Tuesday, July 16   |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

        • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Wednesday, July 17   |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

          • Dollar Dog Night
          • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day:  Can of corn – An easily caught fly ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

One month away…

Nights like this will be back again in one month. (Photo credit to Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Nights like this will be back again in one month. (Photo credit to Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Today is a day for minor celebration, not necessarily because it’s “311 Day,” but because we are now exactly one month away from the home opener for the 2013 season at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  We are also 22 days from the RoughRiders-Express exhibition game in Frisco and 24 days away from the official start of the regular season in North Little Rock.

All of the Rangers’ minor leaguers (excluding the ones who had big league camp invitations) reported to Surprise one week ago and they will begin their spring training games against other organizations on Thursday.  We’ll do our best to get you whatever information we can on those games, though the Double-A team that takes the field against their Royals counterparts on Thursday is guaranteed to look much different than the one that arrives here in the Metroplex come late March.  That’s mainly because off all the roster mixing that goes on in the spring, with many players playing a level higher than they will ultimately be on once the season starts.

As for the big club, we are still not at a point of complete resolution with the Nolan Ryan situation, though it looks like we are moving closer to that point.  The Rangers released a statement from him yesterday that basically said he’s been meeting with ownership about his role with the team and that those discussions will continue.  It’s not much to read into, but I suppose it should be taken as a positive sign that there is a chance that they work this all out and come out a happy family once again.

In other developments, Craig Gentry of all people is hitting home runs, Jurickson Profar’s stint as starting spring training shortstop (I love alliterative phrases) is likely coming to an end as Elvis Andrus’ stay at the World Baseball Classic was a short one, and Derek Holland gets more time to play on the “big” stage.

Ryan will remain CEO for time being, continue to search for understanding of role - Evan Grant gives you the basics of yesterday’s developments with Ryan’s full statement included.

More time on WBC’s big stage can only help Rangers’ “wildcard” Derek Holland (subscribers only)Tim Cowlishaw thinks the continuing experience for Holland on the US team will be good for him.

Josh Hamilton brought sizzle to Texas, but new Ranger Lance Berkman could offer just as much substanceHighlights from Cowlishaw’s Sunday column on why there might not be so large a dropoff between Hamilton and Berkman.  (A major caveat should be added – IF Lance stays healthy.)

Gerry Fraley bits on emerging slugger Craig Gentry, Elvis Andrus taking some ribbing, a sleeper from the Michael Young trade, and Adrian Beltre re-thinking the WBC.

(Daily FWST disclaimer: most articles on their site are subscription-only, but you can easily read the articles around the sign-in pop-up)

Positive spin on Ryan staying takes another negative turnRandy Galloway (who has practically been the writer-of-record on all things Nolan Ryan) says that, in spite of yesterday’s statement, Ryan staying on with the Rangers is no sure thing at all.

Long journey may lead Rangers’ Martin to center fieldFrom a couple of days ago, but a good read from Gil Lebreton nonetheless about Leonys Martin.

Despite Ross’ struggles, Rangers hold on for 7-6 victory over IndiansRobbie Ross says he was not distracted by the ZOOperstars, who performed at yesterday’s game in Goodyear.  Thank goodness for that.

Ross struggles for first time this springESPNDallas.com’s Ron Matejko has more reaction from Ross on his tough start (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB).

Is there still time to get Nolan Ryan to stay? - Richard Durrett gives his thoughts on the latest developments with Ryan.

Tepesch still auditioning for roleRon Washington and Mike Maddux talk about 2012 RoughRiders pitcher Nick Tepesch and his odds on winning the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

- Alex

Rangers Links (Don’t Panic Edition)

It's a little too early to start feeling like this about the Rangers' spring training.

It’s a little too early to start feeling like this about the Rangers’ spring training.

Repeat after me: the games don’t count.  It’s reassuring to remind yourself of that every time you see results like yesterday.  Or the day before.  Or any of these spring training games.  It’s only natural to have at least a small amount of concern that the Rangers have yet to put anything other than a bagel in the “W” column, especially given that wins were a rarity over the final few weeks of last season.

(By the way, did you notice the only other team that has yet to post a spring training victory?  They play their regular season home games at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, to give you a hint.)

To get worked up over early spring training results is a quixotic endeavor, given the relative rust on the players and the individual tasks they set for themselves  that may give way to garish performances.  A pitcher’s goal in a spring training game may simply be to throw his fastball for strikes, results be damned.  Maybe a hitter is working on a new aspect to his swing.  Maybe a player simply isn’t ready for the season at this point in late February.  I don’t have problems with any of that.  When spring training is over and the battles for the number five starter, utility infielder and regular centerfielder are over, I’m willing to bet (like many others) that the Rangers will have a unit that will be very competitive for a playoff spot in the American League West.  Until then, practice your anti-Kevin McCallister face.

Rangers’ Ron Washington says prospect Mike Olt trying too hardGerry Fraley has the Rangers skipper saying Mike Olt should not put so much pressure on himself to perform.

Hamilton on Michael Young & the Rangers - It seems like everyone has an opinion on how things went/ended with Michael Young on the Rangers, including Josh Hamilton.

Despite villainous reputation, Rangers’ A.J. Pierzynski a winner, ex-mates sayFraley writes about the Rangers’ new catcher, who won a World Series with Chicago in 2005 (subscribers only).

Alexi Ogando’s continuing struggles could throw wrench in rotation plansWith most of the focus on the Rangers’ fifth starter competition, everyone is kind of assuming Ogando will step in and be the guy he was a few years ago as a starter.  Might not work out quite so smooth, based on early returns.

Rangers not about to ignore Ogando’s early strugglesJust because the results don’t count doesn’t mean that Ron Washington is paying no attention to Ogando’s troubles, writes Drew Davison.

Rangers’ survivors say change is goodRandy Galloway says that the holdovers from a tumultuous off-season are still confident that this club can win a World Series.

Leonys Martin staking claim to CF jobA trio of stories today from Ron Matejko, who is filling in for new ESPN Radio host Richard Durrett.  The first has Leonys Martin starting to emerge as a favorite for a more regular role with the Rangers.

Alexi Ogando still working out some kinksOgando and Washington talk about the right-hander’s struggles.

Robbie Ross aiming for last rotation spotThe 2011 RoughRider talks about his desire to join the Rangers’ rotation.

Burns stepping forward in Rangers’ bullpenT.R. Sullivan has Washington giving some kind words to bullpen-hopeful Corey Burns.

Berkman ready for first Cactus League actionSullivan’s notes column touches on Lance Berkman’s expected spring debut this afternoon, Ogando and injury updates for Engel Beltre & Craig Gentry.

- Alex

11 Former RoughRiders on ALDS Roster

The Rangers officially published their ALDS roster earlier this morning featuring 11 former RoughRider players that will be suiting up for Texas against Tampa Bay:

Mitch Moreland is one of 11 former 'Riders on the Rangers' ALDS roster (photo: Yahoo! Sports)

Scott Feldman (’05, ’08)
Neftali Feliz (’08)
Alexi Ogando (’10)
Matt Harrison (’08)
Derek Holland (’08)
C.J. Wilson (’03, ’05-’06)
Elvis Andrus (’08)
Ian Kinsler (’04)
Mitch Moreland (’09)
Endy Chavez (’10)
Craig Gentry (’08-’09)

-AG

Catching up with Scott Servais

Scott Servais, the Rangers’ Senior Director of Player Development, was in Tulsa for the last two days to check in the RoughRiders players and staff – something that happens a handful of times per season.  Scott oversees the on-field development of all players in the Rangers’ Minor League system.  It’s a big job, and Scott was gracious enough to sit down with me in the ‘Riders dugout at ONEOK Field to chat about his job, the RoughRiders, and the minor leagues.

Me (AG): What all does your job entail?

Photo: Jason Cole

Photo Credit: LoneStarDugout.com

Scott Servais (SS): I’m in charge of everything going on in the Rangers’ minor leagues.  It all starts with our scouts.  They bring the talent to us, and then it’s up to us to groom the talent and put them in the right spots.

AG:  With so many players between rookie ball and Triple-A, is it ever hard remembering who is where?

SS: No, it’s pretty much ingrained.  It’s a part of my life every morning waking up and knowing who is where.  It’s  a full-time gig.  Fortunately, I have a great staff.  They do a tremendous job not only teaching the game the “Ranger way,” but also communicating with our players and myself.

AG: What exactly is the “Ranger way?”

SS: I think there are a lot of ways to put that.  I think we have a certain style of player, and a certain style of play.  It’s played out in the big leagues by some of the younger players who have come up through our system.  Obviously Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland, and Craig Gentry.  Even Nelson Cruz spent some time with us in the minors before figuring it out.

And then there’s the pitching.  Guys like Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland are products of our system and guys that we’re very proud of.  They understand what it is we feel is important and they have the discipline to carry it out and get better at the big league level.

AG: Former ‘Rider Matt Lawson told me earlier this year following his retirement from baseball that he felt like you really took the time to get to know him when he was playing in the Rangers’ system.  How important are those relationships?

SS: It’s everything.  I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town.  Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak.  I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background.  I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.

The game is a little different now than it was 20 years ago.  Then, when a coach said something, you just did it.  Now days, you have to be expected to explain “why.” Hopefully when you have a background with the players, they’ll trust you, and that’s what it’s about.  They have to trust.  There’s never been one player that has made it to the big leagues on his own.

My thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer some questions.  It was clear that he wasn’t just rattling of a company line.  I can tell he really does believe in the things that he was talking about.  

This is now my second season in the Rangers’ system and I continue to be impressed with the overall quality of people that are in the mix – both on and off the field.  I’m sure there are things that could be better, like everywhere, but from everyone I’ve talked with, Texas is going about things the right way.

-AG

Former RoughRiders Thriving In Arlington

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.

Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!

Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.

Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.

Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.

Nelson Cruz played in three games with the 'Riders in 2011 (Photo: James Garner).

Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).

Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.

Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.

Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.

Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.

Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.

Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.

Josh Hamilton homered in his two-game rehab stint in Frisco back in May (Photo: James Garner).

Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.

Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).

Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.

Ian Kinsler rehabs with the 'Riders in 2010 (Photo: James Garner).

Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.

Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.

Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.

Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.

Alexi Ogando spent part of '10 in Frisco (Photo: James Garner).

Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.

Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.

Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.

C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.

- Brian

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