Results tagged ‘ Craig Gentry ’
Opening Day for the Frisco RoughRiders is this Thursday, but former Riders players will have a presence in nearly every Opening Day contest at the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. There are 33 former RoughRiders on the Opening Day active rosters of 16 different MLB teams this season, highlighted by the big league debuts of 2014 Frisco players Keone Kela and Odubel Herrera.
The Texas Rangers have an MLB-high 12 former RoughRiders on their roster, with Kela making his first appearance on a major league roster. He is expected to be a member of the Texas bullpen for tonight’s season opener in Oakland. The 21-year-old right-handed pitcher was promoted to Frisco on May 3, 2014 and spent the remainder of the season as a RoughRider. Kela posted a 2-1 record with five saves and a 1.86 ERA in 36 Texas League appearances in 2014, registering a 55:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .162 opponents’ batting average in 38.2 innings. He did not allow an earned run in 30 of his last 32 regular season outings and twice compiled streaks of 14 consecutive scoreless appearances. Kela was the Rangers’ 12th round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Everett (Wash.) Community College.
Herrera is expected to be the Philadelphia Phillies’ everyday centerfielder when the Phillies open the season this afternoon at home against Boston. A Rule 5 Draft selection by Philadelphia in the off-season, Herrera spent the bulk of the past two seasons as a second baseman with the RoughRiders.
He won the Texas League batting crown last year with a .321 average, 13 points higher than second place. In 96 games with the Riders, Herrera compiled 16 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 48 runs batted in. The left-handed batter was named a Texas League Postseason and Mid-Season All-Star last year; he was also a Mid-Season TL All-Star in 2013. A native of Zulia, Venezuela, Herrera was signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.
Twelve of the of the 15 Opening Day games scheduled for last night and today feature a former RoughRider on the 25-man roster of at least one team. Since 2003, Frisco has sent 128 former players to the big leagues (not including Major League rehabbers).
FULL LIST OF FORMER ROUGHRIDERS ON MLB OPENING DAY ACTIVE ROSTERS
Texas Rangers (12)
- SS Elvis Andrus
- RHP Neftali Feliz
- LHP Derek Holland
- RHP Keone Kela (MLB debut)
- RHP Phil Klein
- OF Leonys Martin
- RHP Nick Martinez
- RHP Roman Mendez
- 1B/OF Mitch Moreland
- 2B Rougned Odor
- OF Ryan Rua
- Jake Smolinski
Chicago Cubs (4)
- RHP Justin Grimm
- RHP Kyle Hendricks
- 3B Mike Olt
- RHP Neil Ramirez
Boston Red Sox (2)
- RHP Alexi Ogando
- LHP Robbie Ross, Jr.
Kansas City Royals (2)
- RHP Edinson Volquez
- RHP Chris Young
Oakland Athletics (2)
- RHP Jesse Chavez
- OF Craig Gentry
Baltimore Orioles (1)
- RHP Tommy Hunter
Cincinnati Reds (1)
- RHP Jumbo Diaz
Chicago White Sox (1)
- RHP John Danks
Detroit Tigers (1)
- Ian Kinsler
Houston Astros (1)
- RHP Scott Feldman
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1)
- LHP C.J. Wilson
New York Mets (1)
- OF John Mayberry, Jr.
Philadelphia Phillies (1)
- OF Odubel Herrera (MLB debut)
San Francisco Giants (1)
- 3B Joakim Arias
Toronto Blue Jays (1)
- Justin Smoak
Washington Nationals (1)
- Tanner Roark
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
We have devoted plenty of time to G-Rod here at the Insider Blog. You can see all the posts tagged with Guilder here.
G-Rod bat flip!
All photo credits to Frisco RoughRiders. Grant Nelson with cover artwork for PlayBall!
Baseball term of the day: rig – a baseball uniform
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
‘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)
Baseball term of the day: aspirin tablet – a fastball that is difficult to hit due to its velocity and/or movement
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.
Wednesday: RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 7.71 ERA) vs TBA
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
- Dollar Dog Night
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
Baseball term of the day: Can of corn – An easily caught fly ball
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
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 substance – Highlights 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.)
(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 turn – Randy 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 field – From 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 Indians – Robbie 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 spring – ESPNDallas.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 role – Ron Washington and Mike Maddux talk about 2012 RoughRiders pitcher Nick Tepesch and his odds on winning the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.
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 hard – Gerry 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 say – Fraley 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 plans – With 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 struggles – Just 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 good – Randy 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 job – A 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 kinks – Ogando and Washington talk about the right-hander’s struggles.
Robbie Ross aiming for last rotation spot – The 2011 RoughRider talks about his desire to join the Rangers’ rotation.
Burns stepping forward in Rangers’ bullpen – T.R. Sullivan has Washington giving some kind words to bullpen-hopeful Corey Burns.
Berkman ready for first Cactus League action – Sullivan’s notes column touches on Lance Berkman’s expected spring debut this afternoon, Ogando and injury updates for Engel Beltre & Craig Gentry.
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:
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)
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?
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.