Results tagged ‘ Frisco RoughRiders ’

Meeting Mazara

14861282334_638185a2be_k

Nomar Shamir Mazara Jiminian joined the Texas Rangers organization with plenty of high expectations. Three years ago on July 2, the Rangers signed the then 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic for a record-setting $4.95 million—the largest bonus for an international prospect in Major League Baseball. The front office views Mazara as a cornerstone talent for the future and a valuable left-handed power hitter who just needs time to mature.

How has Mazara handled this pressure during his first three seasons of professional baseball?

“I am just the same guy every day no matter what. I don’t worry about anything else. Whatever I have to give, I bring it all to the clubhouse and the field for my team.”

Mazara, who was called up to Double-A on August 4, admitted there were early bumps along the road. In his first full minor league season, Mazara played 126 games with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads and batted .236 with 62 RBI and 13 home runs.

The Dominican didn’t allow the mental aspect of his game to become a detriment; instead, he learned from the 2013 season and adjusted his approach at the plate.

“Last season was my first full year, and I did struggle to start,” Mazara said. “I knew I was better than that. So I used that to prepare my mind, telling myself I had to get out of it. I put a lot of work in, tried to be more patient and started looking more for the pitch that I wanted.”

That attitude did not go unnoticed by the Rangers. When Mazara took the leap over Advanced-A and went directly from the ‘Dads to the RoughRiders, general manager Jon Daniels said the surprising promotion was in large part due to Mazara doing what his club asked him to do all year.

14677161488_a53b840bfc_k

“I guess it’s because I always give it my all,” Mazara said. “I don’t care if I go 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, I’m always going to be the same guy for my team.”

Since his arrival to the United States from Santo Domingo, Mazara’s quick hands at the plate have caught the eyes of scouts. Once he starts his swinging motion, it doesn’t take long for him to get from point A to point B.

“When I was working out before I signed, I worked a lot with my agent with heavy bats,” Mazara said. “It built up my strength and made me work for every swing. I think that’s why I have such quick hands and have that speed.”

Major league teams covet left-handed power hitters, and the Rangers believe Mazara has the tools to become a strong southpaw with increased muscle on his 200-pound frame. However, he doesn’t want his batting prowess to be his only valued strength and expects to hone more of his tools.

“My defense, my power, my speed,” Mazara said. “I want to be known for all of those. It’s always good to develop these things and be able to do many things on the field. It’s going to make me a better player. I’m going to keep developing that, continue getting in the weight room, doing my agility drills and putting work in.”

Standing 6-foot-4, Mazara is taller than all his fielding teammates not named Joey Gallo. He uses this height and reach to his advantage when chasing down fly balls in right field. Back in his hometown, though, Mazara’s stature helped in more ways than one.

“When I was little, I actually started playing basketball first,” Mazara said. “I started playing when I was four and picked up baseball when I was five. I ended up playing both at the same time during my childhood. Then when I was about 13 or 14, my father told me to quit playing basketball and start focusing on baseball. It was the right move for me because I like to play baseball much more.”

It’s becoming more and more apparent that Mazara’s father (whose first name is Ramon—Nomar’s name backwards) made a smart decision for his son. Mazara is currently the youngest player in Double-A and will inevitably play a vital role in the Rangers’ future. Yet, Mazara isn’t concerned about the future. He is focusing on the present and ready to help the ‘Riders in September.

“I want to finish hard,” Mazara said. “There’s not too much left of the season, but I want to give my best and help my team. We have a chance to win the championship, and I want to be a part of that.”

-Jay Wallis

The Ongoing Story of Joey Gallo

14456314943_1f12ea7b7c_k

Joey Gallo.

The name alone sends chills down pitchers’ backs and gives Rangers’ fans hope for the future. Still shy of his 21st birthday this November, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound phenomenon has burst onto the Frisco stage with an assortment of dynamic home runs in every direction. He seems to have all the tools necessary to eventually make his way to the big stage and big lights in Arlington.

Some MLB teams, though, did not initially buy into the hard-hitting high schooler when he entered the 2012 MLB draft. Gallo showcased plenty of raw power at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, but there was concern his game was one-dimensional and that his height would prohibit him from playing an infield position. The Rangers weighed the risks and decided to take a chance on him with the 39th pick in the supplemental first round.

Now in his third season, Gallo has quickly gone from a well-known prospect in the Rangers organization to a name recognizable across professional baseball.

As a teenager in 2013, Gallo blasted 40 homers that season and earned the Joe Bauman Award as the top home run hitter in the minor leagues. In the process, he became the first teenager in more than 50 years to hit 40 home runs in a minor league season. The buzz around Gallo only grew at the start of this season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach.

In just over two months with the Pelicans, Gallo was a three-time Player of the Week in the Carolina League and belted three home runs in a game twice. The Carolina League named Gallo to its Mid-Season All-Star team, giving him yet another accolade to add to his collection. With the hype around Gallo continuing to increase, the Rangers offered Gallo a bigger challenge.

A Double-A call-up provides challenges for young players as the pitching and level of play makes a substantial leap. Gallo, though, proved up to the task in his RoughRiders debut on June 9.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the newcomer left an unparalleled first impression when he smashed a 2-0 pitch to left field for a walk-off, three-run home run to give his new team the dramatic victory.

Gallo has dealt with some growing pains during his first few months with the team, but the lefty has shown an ability to learn on the fly while continuing to rapidly pound the ball. Since the time of his promotion, Gallo has led the Texas League in homers, runs batted in, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. He once again has the chance to reach the 40 home run plateau and would become the first minor leaguer to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons since 1981-1982.

Gallo’s power was also on display during MLB All-Star week in the Futures Game. In an exhibition contest between the top minor league baseball prospects, Gallo led Team USA to a 3-2 victory over Team World by hammering another 2-0 pitch well out of the park. This go-ahead, two-run shot in the sixth inning was enough for Gallo to earn the game’s MVP award.

In the midst of an injury-ridden season in Arlington, there has been a bright spot on the north side of the metroplex. Gallo has been a subject worth writing about and a player worth watching every time he steps up to the plate.

But the story doesn’t end there. With plenty of room for improvement and an attitude set on getting better every day, Gallo has the opportunity to control his own narrative and leave an imprint on the Rangers organization. One home run at a time.

-Jay Wallis

Hot Herrera

14571300993_3678a55b87_k

By: Jay Wallis

Odubel Herrera has been working his way up the Rangers farm system year by year since 2009 when he competed in the Dominican Summer League. He has played overseas and in Spokane, Hickory, Myrtle Beach and now Frisco. Always known as a freak athlete with plenty of energy, Herrera seems to be finding his footing this season.

Herrera, 22, is currently one of the RoughRiders most versatile players, both at the plate and on the field. Since being called up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach in mid-May, very few have hit the ball better than Herrera. He might not have the type of star-power or literal power as Joey Gallo, for example, but Herrera knows how to make contact and get on base.

The native of Zulia, Venezuela is batting .410 (34-for-83) with five doubles, a triple, 11 RBI, nine runs scored, five walks and six steals in only his last 21 games. Since June 11, the second baseman leads the Texas League in batting average and is third in on-base percentage.

This quick ascension into productivity is a major reason the infielder earned his second straight All-Star appearance with the ‘Riders despite the fact that he played the first part of the season with the Pelicans. But it’s more than that. Even though he plays a position that often times causes mistakes to be made from time to time, the second baseman still has not committed an error in 43 consecutive games—which is every single game he’s played in Frisco. He rarely forces his throws and consistently makes the difficult play look effortless.

Since former ‘Riders second baseman Rougned Odor is blossoming with the Rangers and the Triple-A Round Rock Express have three second baseman already on the roster, Herrera might find himself in Frisco the rest of the year, despite his continued improvement. With many of the ‘Riders most reliable players being moved up recently, causing the team to struggle finding consistency, the 5-11, 200-pound infielder provides a source of dependability any successful sports team needs.

Second Inning Slide (Again)

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

Well, this story line is officially past its expiration date. Another quirky second inning seemed to knock the RoughRiders off balance and Arkansas inflicted a rare series loss upon Frisco at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Click here to read the full game recap.

For the second straight night, a costly defensive miscue in the second inning nipped the ‘Riders. With a runner on first, a fielding error on Guilder Rodriguez placed two men on with no outs. The next batter, Eric Stamets, popped a towering fly ball that didn’t leave the infield.

The ball initially drifted towards Trever Adams at first base, but with 30-mph gusts blowing across the diamond from right to left, Adams soon embarked on a mad chase across the infield as the wind pushed the ball to the third base foul line.

Not only did the cowhide elude Adams’ glove, it landed fair in the dirt mere feet from the foul territory to load the bases.

Kyle Hudson followed and drove a grounder to second baseman Odubel Herrera on the edge of the outfield grass. The play would have likely scored a run regardless, but the ‘Riders at least had an opportunity to record the first out of the frame.

Instead, Adams broke off the first base bag upon contact in expectation of a bunt from Hudson. When Herrera fielded the ball, Adams was nowhere near the bag and Herrera had to eat the ball and all Travelers were safe once again.

Frisco turned a double play later in the inning, which would have ended the Travs’ chances had an out been made on the Hudson ground ball. Arkansas scored another run on the twin killing and took the lead for good.

Star of the Game: CF Ryan Strausborger – 3/4, R, 3B

Ryan scored the first ‘Riders run for the second straight night. He flashed his speed on the base path with a leadoff triple in the first inning and again in sixth when he moved from first to third in on a base knock by Patrick Cantwell. “Straus” is 7-for-12 through his first three games in a RoughRiders’ uniform this season with three runs, a double, a triple, a home run and four RBI. The centerfielder also notched an outfield assist when he threw out Brian Hernandez at third base in the eighth inning.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders lost a series at home for the first time since April 7. The opponent? Arkansas.

-Patrick Cantwell threw out two would-be basestealers on Friday. The Travelers rank second in the Texas League in stolen bases, but succeeded just once in the series.

-Frisco had a chance to score in the third. With Strausborger on second base and two outs, Cantwell bounced a grounder to short. An errant throw allowed Cantwell to reach, but the Travs escaped the inning because they caught Strausborger in a rundown between third and home. Strausborger may have taken the play for granted and assumed Cantwell would be thrown out, and thus overran third.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-4, 3SO

-Former RoughRider Mike Bianucci posted a modest 3-for-4 line with a run last night. Bianucci turned in perhaps the most impressive offensive series against the ‘Riders this season. In three games, the slugger batted 8-for-13 with six runs, two doubles, a home run and three RBI.

 

 

I had the chance to chat with Assistant Hitting Coordinator Brook Jacoby on Friday. Jacoby, a two-time MLB All-Star, joined the minor league staff this season after a seven-year run as the hitting coach for Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds (think Joey Votto, Ken Griffey, Jr., Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, etc.). He draws some interesting parallels between hitters in both places. Lots of insight in this interview:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Second Inning Shift

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

Arkansas’ bats exploded for 18 hits against the RoughRiders and the Travs evened the series at a game apiece heading into the Friday night finale. Click here to read the full game recap.

The Travelers came to play, but in a second consecutive outing, Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez couldn’t seem to catch a break. Corpus Christi dinged him for 12 soft singles on June 20. Last night, it was a rough second inning that turned the course of the RoughRiders’ night permanently against their favor.

Mike Bianucci kept one ball in the infield on Thursday, but still managed to reach in the second on a fielding error by Joey Gallo. The third baseman charged slow grounder but came up with an empty glove as he went into the throwing motion.

Gonzalez then hit the next batter, Jett Bandy, with a pitch to put two on with nobody out. Home plate umpire Matt Czajak made a belated ruling after Bandy was halfway down the first base line. The hesitation peeved Jason Wood, who offered some demonstrative words to Czajak before returning to the dugout. Perhaps the exchange rattled Czajak, who made a poor call with significant ramifications later in the frame.

The ‘Riders managed to turn a double play to pick up two outs as a runner traveled to third. But after Kaleb Cowart tied the game with an RBI double, Czajak ruled a bouncer from Drew Heid on the third base line fair, which gave Arkansas a lead they would not relinquish.

From the press box the outfield berm, the ball appeared to cross wide of third base, but the only pair of eyes in the park that didn’t see it as such happened to be the home plate umpire. From the moment Wood emerged from the dugout for the second time in the inning, everyone understood his night was about to end. Sure enough, Czajak tossed Wood and the Travelers held the momentum for the rest of the night. An unfortunate series of events for the RoughRiders, who got off to a good start with a Ryan Strausborger home run in the first inning.

Star of the Game: 3B Joey Gallo – 2/4, 2R, HR, 2B, RBI

Joey doubled to right and launched a 1-0 pitch from Carmine Giardina to the opposite field in the seventh. It had the height to clear the WinStar Diamond Deck but instead clanged off the tin roof and caromed back into the field of play. Scouts and coaches say Gallo’s power to the opposite direction is what will make him a terror to big league pitchers. He is far more complex than a mere pull-side slugger and he has shown it on multiple occasions this season. The proud Italian has seven Double-A homers and reclaims sole possession of first in the minors with 28 long balls in 2014.

In case you missed it:

-Teodoro Martinez drew the only walk of the game for either team in the seventh inning from Carmine Giardina.

-RoughRiders pitching allowed 18 hits, the most in a single game this season for the staff

-In 60 games in Triple-A, Strausborger had no home runs and no multi-RBI games. He has one home run and two multi-RBI nights in two games with Frisco this season.

-Former RoughRider Mike Bianucci ate his former team for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Thursday. He finished 4-for-5 at the plate with four runs, a double, a home run and three runs batted in.

Bianucci in his RoughRider days, circa 2011.

Bianucci in his RoughRider days, circa 2011.

 

 

Listen to catcher Tomás Telis regale his experience at the All-Star game and touch on modifications to his stance behind the dish:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 25

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

The ‘Riders reached the end of an exhausting 12-day road trip at long last on Sunday. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 7.0IP, 4H, R, 0BB, 6K

The sturdy right-hander from Evansville, Indiana turned in his third outing of seven or more outings this season and first since May 5. With a runner on third base in the fourth inning, Eickhoff chunked a pitch in the dirt that escaped the clutches of catcher Patrick Cantwell and brought home Arkansas’ only run of the game. The play seemed to light a fire under Jerad, who did not allow a baserunner the rest of his outing and retired the final 12 batters he faced in succession. The soon-to-be 24-year-old carries a 5-5 record with a 4.23 ERA through 83 innings.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders are now 16-8 against the North Division this season. Every team in the South Division defeated its inter-divisional opponent on Wednesday.

-Five players in Frisco’s batting lineup last night debuted against the Travelers as the teams last met on April 15.

-Those five included Ryan Strausborger, who also made his 2014 Double-A debut, and went 2-for-4 with a run, a double and two RBI. It was his first multi-RBI game of the season.

-Fans may remember Arkansas DH Mike Bianucci, who played for the RoughRiders in 2011. More recently, Bianucci played at Dr Pepper Ballpark as a member of Triple-A Round Rock when the Express came to town for a preseason exhibition tilt on March 30. In that game, Bianucci blasted a home run and scored twice, but was released from the Rangers organization less than one week later.

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 22

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

The ‘Riders reached the end of an exhausting 12-day road trip at long last on Sunday. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: CF Teodoro Martinez – 1/3, R, HR, RBI, SO

Teo blasted his second home run of the season and accounted for all the scoring in the 4-1 loss on Sunday. Through 44 games this season, the Venezuelan holds a .298 batting average (45-for-151) with 15 runs, six doubles and 23 RBI.

In case you missed it:

The Texas League All-Star Game took place at Dickey-Stephens Field in North Little Rock, Arkansas on June 24. The RoughRiders sent a league-high ten players to compete in the game. The North defeated the South 3-1 in a pitching-oriented affair. Find out how the ‘Riders performed below:

-LF Jake Smolinski: 1/4, SO

-3B Ryan Rua: 0/4, Home Run Derby Champion

  • Rua blasted a total of 16 home runs (eight in each round)

-DH/C Tomás Telis: 0/4

-PH Odubel Herrera: 1/1

-2B Guilder Rodriguez: 0/2, 2SO

-RHP Luke Jackson (starter): 1.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 3BF

-RHP Alec Asher: 1.0IP, R, 2H, 5BF, WP

-RHP Phil Klein: DNP

-LHP Edwar Cabrera: DNP

-2B Rougned Odor: DNP

 

Here is Jason Wood’s most recent “Sunday with the Skipper” segment on the final day of the marathon 12-day road trip:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 21

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

The ‘Riders roll into the final game before the All-Star break on the strength of a 3-0 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: 3B Joey Gallo – 1/4, R, HR, 3RBI, 2K

Gallo homered for the second straight night and in seven career games against the Hooks, the mammoth slugger has gone deep four times. Corpus Christi starting pitcher Mike Hauschild carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning when the RoughRiders opened the inning with a pair of singles from Patrick Cantwell and Trever Adams, respectively. That brought Gallo to the plate, and on the first pitch from Hauschild, he deposited the offering on the right-center field berm for the only three runs of the game for either side.

Through 12 games with Frisco, Gallo posts a .279 batting average  (12-for-43) with ten runs, one double, six home runs and 14 runs driven in. He has drawn nine walks and has struck out 20 times.

In case you missed it:

-Frisco recorded all of their runs and hits in a single inning (the seventh). Corpus Christi outhit the ‘Riders 7-3 and Frisco left just one man on base in the game.

-The Hooks’ best chance to score came in the fifth inning with runners on the corners and one out. A poor bunt by Ruben Sosa enabled Alec Asher to field an throw home where Tomás Telis tagged out Tyler Heineman for a crucial second out.

-Corpus Christi relief pitcher Alex Sogard tossed one shutout inning against the RoughRiders in the ninth. Sogard’s older brother, Eric, is an infielder for the Oakland A’s.

-Cantwell spoiled Hauschild’s no-no in the seventh inning. The backstop also tarnished the perfect game when he drew a walk in the fourth. Through the first six frames, Cantwell was Frisco’s only baserunner.

-Phil Klein moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Texas League with his tenth save of the season.

-The 3-0 final score marked the eighth time Frisco has shut out an opponent. The ‘Riders are 8-3 in shutouts this season.

Be sure to catch this interview with Corpus Christi interim pitching coach Doug Brocail. Rangers fans may remember Brocail during his time in Arlington from 2004-2005. He shares some lighter moments of his career on the Pregame Show:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 20

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

Highlights from Frisco’s 4-1 loss to Corpus Christi on Friday. The RoughRiders have now lost four of their last five games. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 3/4, 2B

Odubel’s focus remains razor sharp at the plate as he and teammate Trever Adams were the only ‘Riders with multiple hits on Friday (and no strikeouts, either). The Venezuelan is hitting .319 this season, but . 339 with the Frisco through 32 games. He also has 9 doubles and 29 RBI on the season. Equally impressive is Odubel’s strikeout-to-walk rate: the southpaw has 28 free trips and just 41 whiffs in 2014.

In case you missed it:

-The Hooks registered 12 singles and no extra-base hits in the game.

-Trever Adams went 2-for-3 with a ground-rule double and a walk for his third straight multi-hit game.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI, 3K – Gallo launched his first home run since June 13 when he took a hanging breaking ball to left-center field in the second inning.

Newcomer Will Lamb makes his debut on the RoughRiders Pregame Show. The lefty aspires to own the best (worst?) mustache in the Texas League and has an equally filthy fastball:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Finding Home

13701292615_5844e4075d_b

By: Jay Wallis

Double-A baseball teams play 140 regular season games over a span of five months. The commitment goes far beyond this as players have spring training beforehand and possible postseason play afterward. To add to this, while it is too cold to play in America during the winter months, many players will travel and compete in offseason leagues overseas.

Professional baseball at any level requires dedication, sacrifice and effort to achieve sustained success. Challenges and changes inevitably emerge at any stage of a player’s career, whether in rookie ball or on the doorstep of a major league call-up.

Many players have to face these obstacles with their families scattered across the country or even the globe. However, in spite of distance and other obstacles, many RoughRiders make a diligent effort to keep their families as close as possible.

Frisco pitcher Kyle Lotzkar decided to forgo college and enter the amateur draft. The reliever was selected 53rd overall and took his talents to the Cincinnati Reds.

When Lotzkar was 17, he left his Canadian hometown of Tsawwassen to play pro ball in the United States. He traveled south to Sarasota, Florida to play for a Reds affiliate in a rookie league. Living out of a hotel with some teammates, Lotzkar wasn’t completely ready for his new life.

“During the first couple of months, I got homesick quick,” Lotzkar said. “Most guys were like three or four years older than me. Luckily, since I signed in the summer, I only had to play about four months and then I got back home. I’ve worked to stay in touch with my family ever since.”

As if the rigorous training a pitcher goes through wasn’t enough, the young Lotzkar had to push himself to work every day, literally.

“I didn’t have a car and didn’t have any money to start,” Lotzkar said, “We actually managed to find a really greasy, used car dealership and we rented a car for literally five bucks a day,” Lotzkar said. “It was something like an old 1996 Ford Explorer we’re driving around, and it’d barely even make it to the field. We ended up pushing it almost every other day just to get it started. So that’s kind of how we survived—we were paying five bucks a day for a rental car.”

Shortstop Guilder Rodriguez also came from a foreign country to play professional baseball in the U.S. Like Lotzkar, the Venezuelan veteran understands the value of an American dollar.

“During my first three or four years, I didn’t have a cell phone,” Rodriguez said. “Not too many players in rookie ball had cell phones. So I paid to use a phone card in a station for five dollars and it gave me five minutes for a call to Venezuela. I then had a fast conversation with my family and checked on my father, mother, brother and sisters. I tried to talk to everybody in my family for five dollars. It was crazy.”

Now in his 14th season, G-Rod has his own cell phone and is often seen talking to his family at the ballpark before games. The knowledge his family is back home rooting him on is the perfect drive to push through the long season.

“My father and my whole family are just happy because not too many players have the opportunity to play here for a long time,” Rodriguez said. “My father always told me, ‘I want to see you one day in the big leagues.’ He saw me and now sees me. It’s the dream.”

Even though Rodriguez has been able to fly his parents in from Venezuela a few times to see him play, not all his teammates are as fortunate.

_MG_6758

Edwar Cabrera isn’t here to just play baseball; the 26-year-old lefty is here to support his family back in the Dominican Republic. Cabrera has a dream of one day seeing his family in America, sitting in seats, watching him on the mound. This process, though, can be complicated.

“I really want to try and bring my family here so they can see me pitch,” Cabrera said. “It’s a little bit hard because in the Dominican, some people don’t have visas. I want them to all get visas one day, and I want to bring them all over here to watch.”

Cabrera doesn’t let this complication get in the way of hearing his mom’s advice. If you happen to be in the ballpark a few hours before a ‘Riders game, there is a good chance you’ll find Cabrera, headphones in, sitting near the batting cages attentively listening to his mom.

“I am always talking to my mom,” Cabrera said. “Every day, she says, ‘You have to think God first.’ He will take care of you. She reminds me to remember that no matter where you are or what level you are playing, tell yourself every single day that God comes first and then everything else second. That talk helps me get through everything.”

Whatever route they took along the way, these three have paved individual paths in order to reach their destination. Sometimes it has taken a little push to get an old car to the ballpark or a nudge from a family member thousands of miles away, but no matter the means, these RoughRiders have worked to maintain in Frisco what they left behind—home.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers