Results tagged ‘ Derek Hankins ’

Additional Minor League Signings

Yesterday I wrote about the Rangers re-signing two RoughRiders from 2011: Fabio Castillo and Derek Hankins.  Here are the other names Texas has signed to minor league contracts that might be seen at Dr Pepper Ballpark in 2012.

LHP Kyle Fernandes

This six-foot southpaw was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2005 draft.  Fernandes started seven games in 2005 but since then has been used exclusively out of the bullpen (over 240 appearances).

The lefty has spent parts of five seasons in Double-A and is looking for his first crack at Triple-A.  With the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs last year, Fernandes went 3-5, 3.73 ERA with 34 walks and 57 strikeouts.

According to www.soxprospects.com, the Westport, Mass. product was converted to a submariner in 2008. His fastball sits between 84-87 mph and tops out at 88 mph. Also throws a mid-70s slurve.

RHP Doug Salinas

Salinas, 23, has pitched in the Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Cincinnati organizations, going 5-2, 4.47 ERA in 47 relief appearances for High-A Bakersfield in 2011.   Originally from Venezuela, the right-hander has never pitched above High-A.

As a member of the Reds farm system, he not only pitched for the Rangers’ former High-A club in Bakersfield, but also played for the Dayton Dragons in 2010 in the Midwest League.  The Dragons are owned by Mandalay Baseball Properties, the same company that owns the RoughRiders.

Judging by the numbers, Salinas has displayed good command over the course of his five-year minor league career.  With 114 walks compared to 328 strikeouts, he was fanned nearly three times as many batters as he’s walked.

OF Orlando Sandoval

No relation to Pablo of the San Francisco Giants, this  25-year-old has spent his entire six-year minor league career with the Colorado Rockies organization where he topped out with High-A Modesto of the California League.  In 53 games with the Nuts last year (that’s honestly their name), Sandoval hit .233 with four home runs and 22 RBIs.

One of his homers never left the park:

 

We could possibly see all three of these players at Dr Pepper Ballpark in 2012.

-AG

Castillo, Hankins Re-Sign with Rangers

It was just a couple of days ago when I wrote about how the Rangers did not tender the contract of RoughRiders’ bullpen arm Fabio Castillo.  Well, the Rangers announced today at 3:05 p.m. that the club has re-signed the right-hander, along with catcher Chris Robinson, to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Robinson, 27, batted .316 with 15 doubles, one home run, and 29 RBIs in 66 games with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs in 2011.  The London, Ontario native was originally selected by Detroit in the third round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Illinois and played for Team Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2009 World Cup.

In other news potentially affecting the RoughRiders, the Rangers have also re-signed tall righty Derek Hankins to a minor league contract.  The 28-year-old pitched in five games for the ‘Riders in 2011 and might be one of the most pleasant minor leaguers I’ve ever been around.  Derek is a huge Chicago Bears fan and was a key contributor to the Insider Blog during our first annual fantasy football special (he nailed it when tabbing Jordy Nelson as his top sleeper for 2011).

Hank is such a crazy Bears fan that he bought the jerseys of Roy Williams and Marion Barber before the start of the season.

I wonder if he was wearing Barber’s jersey when he fumbled against the Broncos last Sunday?  Too soon.

-AG

 

Game 4 Preview – San Antonio at Frisco

Texas League South Division Series
San Antonio Missions at Frisco RoughRiders
Saturday, September 10 – 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – San Antonio leads 2-1

GAME 4 BACKGROUND:

The RoughRiders face elimination tonight in Game 4 of this South Division Series after San Antonio’s 5-3 win Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The ‘Riders battled back from three separate deficits in Game 3, but Cody Decker’s eighth-inning solo shot, his second homer of the game, proved to be the difference. Frisco used five pitchers in the loss, four of whom allowed at least one run. With a win tonight, the Missions would return to the Texas League Championship Series for the first time since winning the title in 2007. The RoughRiders are 1-4 all-time when facing elimination in the postseason.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Frisco – RHP Adalberto Flores (5-4, 3.32 ERA): Flores joined the rotation late in the regular season after Derek Hankins’ promotion to Triple-A Round Rock. Tonight will be Flores’ fourth career minor league start. In his two starts thus far this season, Flores has allowed eight runs (seven earned) in seven and two-thirds innings. Against the Missions, Flores is 1-1 with a 4.96 earned run average in eight appearances spanning 16 and a third frames. Flores was a midseason All-Star in the Texas League after going 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in the first half.

San Antonio – LHP Robbie Erlin (1-0, 1.38 ERA): For the second time this series, the RoughRiders must square off with a former Frisco hurler. Erlin has shined in six starts with the Missions since the Rangers traded Erlin and Joe Wieland, who earned the Game 1 win for San Antonio, for San Diego reliever Mike Adams. The Padres’ front office has been cautious with Erlin’s pitch and inning count, which explains why he is averaging barely more than four innings per start with the Missions. This figures to change tonight, as it did with Wieland Wednesday. Overall this year, Erlin is 9-4 with a 2.99 ERA.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • San Antonio’s offense has forced Frisco’s pitching staff to work in this series. Through the first three games, the ‘Riders have had to throw 445 pitches, or 17.1 per inning. Compare that to San Antonio, a unit that has needed only 353 pitches. This calculates to 13.1 per frame.
  • In particular, Frisco’s starters have labored through their outings. The trio of Robbie Ross (6IP, 1R, 107 pitches), Ben Snyder (6IP, 0R, 100 pitches) and Carlos Pimentel (4IP, 2R, 80 pitches) have ultimately been successful. They have a combined earned run average of 1.69. However, the bullpen has been taxed because the Missions have elevated the pitch counts quickly.
  • Mitch Hilligoss has been the best hitter not only on the RoughRiders, but in the Texas League this postseason. Hilligoss paces all Texas Leaguers with a .385 batting average (5-for-13). The next highest batting average on the ‘Riders is Renny Osuna’s .250 mark.
  • Offense has been tough to come by in both divisional series here in 2011. Hilligoss is one of only three men to hover above .300. San Antonio’s Cody Decker (.364) and Blake Tekotte (.333) are the others.
  • The Arkansas-Northwest Arkansas series, which is now 2-1 in favor of the Travs after the Naturals stayed alive with a 3-1 win last night, has only featured eight runs. Through three games, Roberto Lopez’s .273 average is the best in that set.
  • Low-A Hickory’s season is done after a 2-0 loss at home to Greensboro last night. The Grasshoppers swept the ‘Dads 2-0. High-A Myrtle Beach will face elimination tonight after losing at Kinston 7-0 Friday. Triple-A Round Rock barely avoided a sweep in a 9-8, 11-inning win over Omaha. The Storm Chasers still lead the set 2-1.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

You can catch tonight’s game, along with every 2011 playoff game, on 1630 KKGM or online here. You will hear from Frisco skipper Steve Buechele in addition to former RoughRider Robbie Erlin on the pre-game show, which begins at 6:35.

Storylines for Frisco-San Antonio

Unless Midland can erase an eight-game deficit and win the second-half title in the South Division, the Frisco RoughRiders and the San Antonio Missions will square off in the first round of the Texas League playoffs.

The RoughRiders have had some great moments against the Missions this year (James Garner).

These two clubs kick off a four-game series tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and it will act as a preview of that best-of-five series that is set to begin September 7. Let’s take you through some of the storylines.

1. Momentum Against the Missions?
The RoughRiders have played San Antonio tough this season, but they have only been able to muster a 10-18 mark. The Missions are the best team in all of full-season minor league baseball (86-40), so there’s no shame in that. However, to win a championship, the ‘Riders must get past them. It would be a big boost to win this series, especially because Frisco has only one series victory against the Missions in seven tries this season.

2. Ross, Hankins Face San Antonio
Ben Snyder (0-2, 3.75 ERA in 24 innings) and Carlos Pimentel (1-0, 2.70 ERA in 33 1/3 innings) have had success against the Missions this season, and they will pitch during the series. However, Derek Hankins has only seen them once (five scoreless innings) and Robbie Ross has yet to face the Missions. The Snyder-Pimentel-Hankins-Ross quartet figures to be the ‘Riders’ rotation right now, with Neil Ramirez building up strength as the club’s other starter. These four pitchers must have success to beat San Antonio.

The 'Riders saw Robbie Erlin earlier this month. They will face Joe Wieland Thursday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

3. Wieland Back in Frisco
The RoughRiders saw Robbie Erlin in the Missions’ previous visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, but they missed Joe Wieland. This time, it’s the other way around. Wieland, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA since joining the Missions, will start Thursday. Erlin held the ‘Riders to just one run on two hits in his first game against them, and Wieland gets his chance in two days.

4. Missions’ Offense Sputtering?
San Antonio is 16-4 this month, yet they are hitting a season-low .244 as a team. Obviously, it helps that the club has a 2.17 team ERA in August, but the offense has been declining ever since its remarkable April. Take a look at the team’s batting averages by month: .315/.268/.264/.252/.244. San Antonio averages just 4.8 runs per game against Frisco, so we’ll see if the ‘Riders can continue to slow them down.

5. Ready for a Late-Season Surge?
Yes, San Antonio has been the better team over the course of 126 games. However, the ‘Riders and Missions will (likely) meet in a best-of-five series in early September. Are the RoughRiders ready to start that last-minute run and carry the momentum into the playoffs? Following an 0-4 start to the road trip, the ‘Riders bounced back with back-to-back wins. This can be a chance to carry that work into and through a series with the heavy favorite in the Texas League.

This series should be fun. We hope you enjoy! More coverage to come soon.

- Brian

‘Riders Fantasy Football Advice

I made my way around the ‘Riders clubhouse in Northwest Arkansas before batting practice yesterday and found a few guys who are pretty passionate about fantasy football (like I am). It was fun learning who they believe are this year’s sleepers, busts, and breakout players.

LF, Mitch Hilligoss

10 TDs for Ochocinco and Brady? Hilligoss thinks so.

Favorite team: Chicago Bears
Sleepers: Chad Ochocinco
Busts: Arian Foster, Kevin Kolb
Players targeting the most: Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco
Draft philosophy: RB, QB, WR in the first three rounds
Leagues: Mitch plays two leagues: one with current teammates, and one with former teammates from when he played in the Yankees’ system.

Mitch told me a great story about when he played in the minors for New York, he and his teammates would meet back at the hotel late after a game near the end of the season, order and bunch of pizzas, and do a live fantasy draft.

 

 

 

LHP, Derek Hankins

After a monster 2010 season, Hilligoss and Hankins don't believe Arian Foster can repeat in 2011.

After a monster 2010 season, Hilligoss and Hankins don't believe Arian Foster can repeat in 2011.

Favorite team: Chicago Bears
Sleepers: Felix Jones (especially in a PPR league), Jordy Nelson
Busts: Arian Foster, Brandon Lloyd
Player targeting the most: Ray Rice
Draft philosophy: In a PPR league, two WRs with his first three picks
Leagues: Derek, like Mitch, plays in two leagues: one with some former teammates from Round Rock, and another with some friends he played with while in the Pirates’ farm system.

After talking with Derek, it obvious he’s a huge football fan.  He loves his Bears and has already purchased a Roy Williams and Marion Barber jersey – two free agent signings this off-season. Although he doesn’t live in Chicago, he gets to a few Bears’ games each season.

Congrats to Derek who is getting married during the off-season. Hopefully his fiancee knows he has a standing appointment with his couch every Sunday afternoon.

 

 

RHP, Tyler Tufts

If Tyler wants Andre Johnson he'll have to be willing to spend a first-round pick.

If Tyler wants Andre Johnson he'll have to be willing to spend a first-round pick.

Favorite team: Cleveland Browns (poor guy)
Sleeper: Ryan Williams (who suffered a potentially season-ending injury in a preseason game against Green Bay.
hours after Tyler and I talked  Chalk it up the the ‘Riders Insider Curse.) Also, Plaxico Burress.
Busts: Michael Vick, Reggie Wayne
Players targeting most: Andre Johnson, LeSean McCoy
Draft philosophy: RB, RB, RB with first three picks (non PPR)
Leagues: Tyler plays in the ‘Riders team league with Mitch and also plays in a league with his family.

Tyler, like our own Brian Boesch, has lead a tortured life as a Cleveland sports fan.  Fortunately, both have fantasy football to keep them going no matter how the Browns play.

Although we didn’t talk about it, Greg Little is a nice mid-tier sleeper for the Browns this season.  He had two catches, one for a touchdown, Friday night in a preseason loss to Detroit.  Other than TE Ben Watson, who else does Colt McCoy have to throw to?  Little is a big target (6-2, 220 lbs.) who has a chance for a nice year.  I was able to get him with my final pick in my first fantasy draft of the season.

-AG

 

24 Hours of the RoughRiders

Note: This is a running diary of a typical day in the life of the RoughRiders’ media department. The updates are available in chronological order, so scroll down for the latest updates.
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10:45 p.m. Sunday (all of us): Well after the RoughRiders’ 6-5 victory over the San Antonio Missions, the media department departs Dr Pepper Ballpark. The game story is up, the information is distributed to local media, the equipment is packed, and the lights are off. We will be back here before we know it.

1:00 a.m. (Brian): I’m the night owl of the group, it seems. After a quick bite to eat following the game, I sit down and prepare the content for PlayBall! The text is already set to go for today’s edition, but I need to turn in the draft for Wednesday’s edition. In order to get the PlayBall! programs ready for each home game, much of the content is due 2-3 days in advance.

Once I sent that to Alex, our terrific graphic designer and an avid reader of the blog, I’m done for the night. Aaron will be with you early, and I’ll follow shortly after as we continue to give you an inside look at our day-to-day life. We’ll have pictures and everything, so enjoy!

10:30 a.m. (Aaron): After waking up around 9 a.m. and saying goodbye to my wife Heather who left earlier this morning for work, it’s time to start working on tonight’s game notes.  This is a daily task that virtually every broadcaster in the minors deals with.  These notes are used by both the home and road broadcaster along with visiting media, scouts, etc.  It’s about 13 pages of news, stats, bios, and trends.  The idea is that you can flip through the notes and have a pretty good idea what that team has been up to lately, even if you haven’t seen them play.  We always post our notes to our website as well.

11:14 a.m. (Aaron): Notes are taking longer today because we have a new starter tonight, Derek Hankins.  I’ve just finished looking up all his career stats and bio information.  I use information to make a dedicated page in our games that focuses on the starting pitcher.  It’s always exciting getting a new starter, but it means a longer day for the game notes to create and format the pitcher’s page.

Everyone in minor league baseball loves the cheetah.

11:30 a.m. (Brian): I woke up around 10 a.m., ate some breakfast, and caught up on e-mails for a bit. The first job every day for me is to update the web site. The best part about the “newsroom” that allows us to post, archive, update, etc., is the “cheetah.” While the site is in the process of generating, we are greeted to the running cheetah that you see to your left. Once I’m done with updating the story, the game story will be down, a few new exciting RoughRiders promos will be on the home page, and the “Extra Bases Chat” will be ready to go for tonight’s series finale.

12:27 p.m. (Aaron): Game notes are done.  I sometimes stand up and wave pom-poms when this is completed. I mentally have a hard time moving on with my day until I know this is behind me.  In addition to writing them, I’ve also emailed them out to our distribution list that includes media members from around Dallas-Fort Worth, the Rangers, and their affiliates.  After I emailed the notes out in PDF form, I then posted them to our website.  The cheetah must have had a light breakfast, he (she?) ran pretty fast for me.

Renny Osuna is one hit away from history.

12:45 p.m. (Brian): Everything online is updated, and a few new promotions are available for viewing at ridersbaseball.com. Now, the goal is to get ready for some possible history at Dr Pepper Ballpark tonight. With two hits yesterday, shortstop Renny Osuna is tied with Steve Murphy for the all-time hit lead in Frisco history.

This means that Osuna is one hit away from setting a very important record. As a result, we are preparing for it now. We already have a script for John Clemens, the “Voice of Dr Pepper Ballpark,” to read if/when Osuna breaks the record. Also, Alex has designed an image for us to put on the home page of our website. The sneak peak to that image is to the left. Now, time to get ready and head into the office for all of the tasks at the stadium. First pitch time is in about six hours!

Frisco's starting nine for tonight.

2:00 p.m. (Brian): I am alone in the office right now, but Stephen came in here earlier today to print out rosters and stat packs. Stat packs are distributed to all managers, coaches and media members, and they contain overall stats, situational stats, the Texas League’s daily report, and much more. For a stat nerd like me, it is an important part of my preparation.

Now, it’s time to get the lineups set to go. We have already received Frisco’s lineup from skipper Steve Buechele. It looks pretty similar to what we’ve seen from him lately, especially because the club only has one extra player right now (Jose Felix is the odd man out today).

I remember when I first started covering baseball, I thought that the lineup card would be very formal and magical. Well, you can be the judge. And don’t get your hopes up.

2:30 p.m. (Brian): After enjoying some free pizza in our conference room (always a sign of a good day), it’s time to start getting our paperwork around to both teams and to the press box. We’ve nicknamed our printer “T.K.” and it is very busy during this part of the day. Once the printing is done, I’ll walk it up to the booth in the chilly North Texas weather. By that point, our whole force will be in here getting ready for tonight’s game!

2:33 p.m. (Aaron): Once the notes were done I got some lunch and did some work around the house.  Trying to have a marriage and work in minor league baseball is a tough assignment.  Like all of us, I’m at the ballpark eight nights a week and am out of town so often it’s hard to be very helpful at home.  My wife Heather does so much for us in-season I try to help out when I can.  Once I got caught up on some emails, I picked up the house (my messes, of course), emptied the dishwasher, paid some bills, and did some general husbandly duties that I (rarely) excel at.

The RoughRiders saved some trees today.

3:15 p.m. (Brian): The RoughRiders’ media quartet is in the office to prepare for the game this evening, which is actually Frisco’s 26th straight day with a game. Reid is filing away with some “clippings,” which are used to document how much outside coverage the RoughRiders get. Stephen is working on a blog for tomorrow on a “behind the scenes” look at Dr Pepper Ballpark. I am doing this blog and writing a feature for Sports Page Dallas.

Aaron appears to have the most important job of all. It is easy to lose track of things during the grind of a minor league season, and one thing that slipped all of our minds was our “recycle box.” As you can see on the left, it was quite full today when Aaron decided to usher in the off day tomorrow with a clean recycle box. Admirable.

To be honest, I’m not sure if that bad will be able to hold all of the paper for the long term, but it is worth a shot. Three hours until the pre-game show. Plenty of work to do!

All of those green peaks and valleys represent the volume coming out of our microphones.

4:20 p.m. (Brian): By this time of the day, everyone is gearing up for the game in their own way. For me, as the pre- and post-game show host, I need to be prepared for the Texas League and Texas Rangers’ scoreboard. To do that, I keep some updated information on each game within the league. The sheet I used was featured back in this blog post.

I will also pre-record an intro for the top of the pre-game show, which features a highlight from the previous night. To record, I use a nifty-looking program called “Adobe Audition,” which you can see to your right. Plenty of green, which is my favorite color.

4:35 p.m. (Brian): We just found out about the pitching situation for tonight. Derek Hankins will pitch no more than four innings, and then Richard Bleier will work behind the newest ‘Rider. Hopefully this duo can give Frisco’s ‘pen a much-deserved night off this evening!

4:45 p.m. (Aaron): Each day I try to talk with some of the guys in the clubhouse and find out some information for the broadcast.  Some days it’s nothing more than pointless chatter (like when I talk with our trainer, Carlos Olivas).  Other times I get some good stuff.  Along with Carlos, today I checked in with our pitching coach Jeff Andrews.  He gave me the game plan for tonight that Brian mentioned about regarding how many innings Hankins will go.  Normally this time of night I’m finding someone to interview for our pre-game show.  However, I already recorded my interview with Robbie Erlin yesterday to play on tonight’s pre-game.  Now all I have to worry about is getting dinner and filling out my scorebook.

5:20 p.m. (Brian): Speaking of dinner, everyone in the office was treated to some Sonny Bryan’s barbeque before the game. As we were eating, clubhouse manager CJ Allen came into our four-person office and offered up some of his delicious lasagna that was left over from the RoughRiders’ clubhouse. So, the ‘Riders’ baseball and media teams have been fueled by the same dinner tonight!

The view from the broadcast booth at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

5:45 p.m. (Brian): Wonder what happens before the gates open? Well, after arriving in the press box a bit ago, we have been treated to some warmups by “The Crew” and some of San Antonio’s batting practice. Oftentimes, the evening’s national anthem singer will give it a whirl before fans enter the stadium.

Also, if you are looking to collect a baseball from a Double-A game, try to get to Dr Pepper Ballpark early. There are always a handful of baseballs in the outfield berm following batting practice. I saw a few bombs sail out of here this afternoon. Always a nice way to get a fun souvenir.

6:10 p.m. (Brian): Above is a view from our press box, the highest press box in the Texas League. First pitch is less than an hour away, and our pre-game begins in 25 minutes!

6:35 p.m. (Brian): The pre-game show has begun! You can listen live at this link. We will still update this periodically throughout the night. After all, we promised 24 hours of the RoughRiders!

7:13 p.m. (Brian): Renny Osuna’s first chance at history tonight resulted in a strikeout at the hands of Robbie Erlin, the former RoughRider and tonight’s starter for San Antonio. Osuna is still one hit away from the all-time record, so he’ll get a few more chances tonight.

Former RoughRider Robbie Erlin allowed just one run in six innings for the Missions (Photo: Alex Yocum-Beeman)

8:00 p.m. (Brian): So far, the ‘Riders lead 1-0 in what has been a good game. Aaron calls the play-by-play in the first, second, fifth, sixth and ninth innings, while I take the rest. So, I’m off the air until our scoreboard update at the end of the fifth. Plenty of great action tonight in the Texas League and in the Rangers’ system.

8:46 p.m. (Aaron): Was really fun to watch Robbie pitch again tonight.  Too bad for him he allowed the only run so far over 6.2 innings tonight.  Brian has the play-by-play now until the ninth inning.

9:07 p.m. (Brian): What a change of events in this one tonight. The ‘Riders go from up one to down one in the top of the eighth. Now, Reid is scrambling to change up his game recap, and Aaron is cutting up the highlights. It is much more work here in the booth when the game is close, and that’s what we have tonight!

9:41 p.m. (Brian): A late rally propelled the Missions to a 3-1, series-clinching victory over the RoughRiders tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Unfortunately, the loss did not bring with it any history. Renny Osuna finished 0-for-4, so his hits record will have to wait at least another game.

While the crowd leaves, our work continues. Aaron is busy cutting up the highlights while I prepare for the “Scoreboard Show” that follows every game. Reid is working on the game story for the website, and Stephen is wrapping up the Extra Bases Chat and getting a head start on game notes for Wednesday. The night is almost over for us after another busy Monday.

10:15 p.m. (Brian): My night is pretty much over, outside of overseeing the posting of the game story. I just signed off on the Scoreboard Show, and Reid is about done with the story. The end is most certainly near.

10:30 p.m. (Brian): The game story is posted. The booth is clean. The media are alerted. The night is over. Almost 24 hours after we left last night, and 2,229 words later, our day is over. Thanks so much for following along!

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