Results tagged ‘ Guilder Rodriguez ’

Season in Review: August

With Mike Olt gone because of promotion, Chris McGuiness took up the slack and led Frisco’s offensive charge throughout the month of August. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

The 2012 Frisco RoughRiders season was an unquestioned success.  The ’Riders won the first half South Division title, finished with an 80-60 record (good for the second-best overall mark in the Texas League) and advanced to the Texas League Championship Series before losing to the Springfield Cardinals.  Along the way, there were standout performances from big-time prospects, thrilling games and terrific storylines.  Before looking ahead to the 2013 season, we look back at a special 2012 campaign that proved to be a memorable one for the ’Riders.

AUGUST

Record: 19-10 (1st of 8 TL teams)

Average: .269 (4th)

Home Runs: 19 (T-5th)

ERA: 3.31 (1st)

Top Offensive Players: Leury Garcia (.324-0-3, 2B, 3 3B, 9 R, 8-10 SB, .420/.426/.846), Chris McGuiness (.326-3-18, 8 2B, 14 R, .430/.505/.935), Jared Prince (.317-3-11, 4 2B, 11 R, .378/.476/.853)

Top Pitchers: Wilfredo Boscan (6 GS, 3-1, 2.73 ERA, 33 IP, 29 H, 31 K, 7 BB, 1.09 WHIP, .238 BAA), Cody Buckel (5 G, 4 GS, 3-0, 3.38 ERA, 26.2 IP, 23 H, 25 K, 8 BB), Wilmer Font (9 G, 1-0, 3.21 ERA, 1 SV, 14 IP, 9 H, 26 K, 7 BB, .180 BAA), Carlos Pimentel (7 G, 2 GS, 0-1, 0.50 ERA, 18 IP, 8 H, 20 K, 11 BB, 1.06 WHIP, .136 BAA), Ryan Rodebaugh (10 G, 1-2, 1.76 ERA, 2-2 SV, 15.1 IP, 11 H, 18 K, 2 BB, 0.85 WHIP, .204 BAA), Ross Wolf (12 G, 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 5-5 SV, 12 IP, 11 H, 11 K, BB, 1.00 WHIP)

Consistency is what made the RoughRiders so successful l in the season’s first two months.  Led by a very good pitching staff and an opportunistic offense, Frisco put together the best record in the Texas League over first half.  But that consistency abandoned the team for most of June and July and the ’Riders, though they had already qualified for the playoffs, looked like they would be due for an early exit.  Corpus Christi was leading the division and looked particularly strong against Frisco.  After some early season struggles, the Hooks won 11 of 14 games against the ’Riders in June and July.

But in August, Frisco got back to the formula that made the squad so good in the first place: terrific pitching and just enough offense.  The ’Riders saw their rotation stabilize and bullpen bolstered with the additions of hard throwing right-handers Wilmer Font and Roman Mendez.  That helped offset the tremendous loss of Mike Olt, who was called up to the big leagues early in the month.

Olt, who was among the league leaders in most offensive categories at the time of his promotion, was replaced by Tommy Mendonca, who was not producing at Triple-A Round Rock but rediscovered his offensive game back in the Texas League.  Mendonca, Chris McGuiness, Leury Garcia, Jared Prince, Jared Hoying and Engel Beltre all took turns leading the offense in August.

As the team was primed for their playoff run, Frisco would be presented one more challenge by the end of the month with one last prominent player departing for the Majors.

TIMELINE:

August 1:Four roster moves are made before tonight’s game against Midland, most notably the addition of hard-throwing reliever Wilmer Font from Myrtle Beach.  With a temperature of 106 degrees in Frisco at first pitch, this is the hottest start time for a ’Riders game this season.  Frisco loses 6-5 in 12 innings despite Mike Olt’s Double-A leading 28th home run.  After the game, news breaks that Olt has been promoted to the Rangers, where he will remain for the rest of the year.  In 95 Texas League games, he hit .288 with 28 homers, 17 doubles, a triple and 82 RBI.

Tommy Mendonca salvaged his difficult 2012 season upon returning to Frisco early in the month. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

August 2: With Olt officially a Texas Ranger and the 106th RoughRiders player to make the Major Leagues, Frisco only manages two runs against RockHounds prospect Sonny Gray.  Midland, however, gets blanked by four Frisco pitchers in a combined three-hitter as the ’Riders win 2-0.  Mark Lowe finishes his rehab stint with Frisco by pitching two scoreless innings.  Tommy Mendonca, a ’Rider and TL All-Star in 2011, arrives from Triple-A Round Rock to play third base in Olt’s absence.

August 4: After four straight no-decisions, Barret Loux (6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 K) wins for the 13th time in 2012 in a 6-1 victory at the Missions.  Eight of nine Frisco batters reach base at least twice and the win ensures that the RoughRiders will finish with a winning record against division bully San Antonio for the first time since 2008.

August 6: Jared Hoying blasts a first inning home run, but so too does San Antonio’s Nate Freiman, igniting a fierce Missions attack in a 12-4 ’Riders loss.  It clinches what will be the only series defeat of the month for the Frisco nine.

August 8: Chris McGuiness and Mendonca both crack two run home runs in the third inning at Tulsa, providing just enough offense in a 4-3 victory.

August 9: Former All-Star pitcher Lee Smith throws the ceremonial first pitch before Frisco’s game at Tulsa and seems to steal the “closer mojo” from ’Riders stopper Ross Wolf.  Frisco takes a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning before the Driller strike for three runs against Wolf and put the tying runner in scoring position.  The normally automatic Wolf settles down to strike out prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado and deliver the RoughRiders a stressful 6-5 win.

August 11: Nick Tepesch (6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, balk) is a bit shaky, but the ’Riders string together 16 hits and homers from Jared Prince and Mendonca to beat Northwest Arkansas 10-3.

August 12: The ’Riders take a 2-0 lead into the seventh at the Naturals, but Northwest Arkansas ties it and then takes a two-run lead in the eighth inning.  Frisco, 0-43 when trailing after eight frames this season, shocks the Nats when McGuiness hits a grand slam off Brendan Lafferty and the ’Riders go on to win 6-4.  It is McGuiness’ second slam of the year and it starts a hot stretch that continues for the rest of the South Carolinian’s season.  In a strange statistical quirk, McGuiness has now homered in seven of the 14 games he has played on Sundays.

August 13:Again, the ’Riders blow a late lead at Northwest Arkansas but this time are unable to rally back in a 4-3 loss.  The game ends when former RoughRiders catcher Manny Pina throws out Ryan Strausborger trying to steal third base with Jurickson Profar, who had homered earlier in the contest, standing in the batter’s box.

Wilfredo Boscan quietly emerged as a reliable starting pitcher, posting a 2.73 ERA and a 31-7 K/BB ratio in August. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

August 15: The Rangers send electric reliever Roman Mendez (up from Myrtle) and utility man Guilder Rodriguez (down from Round Rock) to Frisco.  That night, Wilfredo Boscan (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K) pitches marvelously against Tulsa in a no-decision.  McGuiness’ two-run double triggers a three-run bottom of the eighth and Frisco pulls out a 4-2 victory.  It is his fifth game-winning base hit of 2012 (he will finish with six in total), the most on the team.

August 17: Behind a bloodlessly efficient Nick Tepesch (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K on just 78 pitches), Frisco silences the Drillers once again in a 5-1 win.  Nolan Arenado’s two-out, ninth inning solo home run off Mendez is the only thing that prevents a shutout as the ’Riders sweep Tulsa for the second time this season.

August 18: After playing 123 games, the RoughRiders are rained out for the first time all season with the Naturals in town.

August 19: Playing their first doubleheader of the year, the ’Riders dispose of Northwest Arkansas twice.  Mendonca hits two solo home runs in a 3-0 game one win while Alex Buchholz goes deep in game two, also won by Frisco 3-1.

August 20: Mendonca and Tepesch are named TL “Player” and “Pitcher of the Week,” respectively.  Frisco gets another dominant pitching performance from a starter, as Cody Buckel (6 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 7 K) handcuffs the Naturals in a 6-1 win.  Prince, who has been heating up as the month goes on, swats a three-run home run – his 11th of the season – in the fifth inning as the RoughRiders finish their home stand with a perfect 6-0 record.

August 22: It is looking like a lost night for the ’Riders midway through their second game in San Antonio.  Frisco leaves eight men on base over the first four innings – including the bases loaded twice – and Loux yields five runs in the fourth after looking very good early.  Down 7-1 through five frames, the RoughRiders mount their biggest comeback of the season.  They score two runs in the sixth inning, three in the seventh and three more in the ninth to emerge with a 9-7 victory, the team’s eighth straight.  Hoying puts Frisco on top for the first time with a two-run double in the final frame.  The team bangs out a season-high 20 hits with Hoying (4-for-5, 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R), Profar (5-for-6, 2B, 2 R), Engel Beltre (3-for-5, RBI, 2R, SB, HBP), McGuiness (3-for-4, RBI, BB, HBP) and Strausborger (3-for-6) leading the way offensively.

August 23: Frisco’s season-best eight-game win streak ends with a 9-3 loss to the Missions.  Former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R) gets the win.

August 25: The RoughRiders and RockHounds are rained out in Midland.  Meanwhile at Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi defeats San Antonio 5-2 to clinch a spot in the postseason, where they will face Frisco in the South Division Championship Series next month.

August 26: Frisco and Midland play a long doubleheader, which is swept by the RoughRiders.  Steve Buechele’s club takes game one by a 4-2 score.  The seven-inning contest takes two hours and 36 minutes while game two takes an even longer two hours and 50 minutes.  Frisco takes that game 11-4.  Hoying has six hits on the day while Strausborger provides a pair of triples.

August 27:A strange series comes to a strange end in another long game at Citibank Ballpark.  Midland ties it at 1-1 in the fourth inning and the score does not change for some time.  The game goes to extra innings and the ’Riders, out of pitchers after the doubleheader the day before, insert infielder Rodriguez into the game to pitch in the 11th.  To the amazement of his teammates, G-Rod throws a scoreless 11th and 12th innings with two strikeouts.  His magic runs out in the 13th inning when a walk and an Anthony Aliotti double send  the RockHounds to a 2-1 win in three hours and 44 minutes.

Before the season, most knew that Jurickson Profar would one day reach the big leagues. Few expected it to happen for him in 2012 as a 19-year-old. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

August 28: In a playoff preview, the ’Riders return home to face Corpus Christi and win a taut 2-1 affair.  Up by a run in the ninth inning, Frisco allows the Hooks to load the bases with one out before Ryan Rodebaugh slams the door shut with back-to-back strikeouts, ending the game.  In a foreshadowing of a future role, Profar enters the game late after starting on the bench.  He repeats this in each of the next two contests.

August 29: Strausborger triples twice and Buckel (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) handles the Hooks bats in a 3-0 Frisco win.  With Beltre’s triple the next day Frisco will finish the season with 59 three-baggers for the season, the most by any team in Minor League Baseball.

August 31: The RoughRiders play another tight game with the Hooks and lead 2-0 before Corpus Christi ties it up in the seventh against Justin Grimm, who is back from Round Rock to adjust to pitching out of the bullpen.  Zach Zaneski snaps the 2-2 tie with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning and then later scores to give Frisco the lead.  In the ninth, Wolf gives up a home run and puts the tying runner at first base, but escapes thanks to a game-ending double-play as the ’Riders win 4-3 and capture the series.  After the game, the Rangers announce that Profar will be called up to the Major Leagues the next day when big league rosters expand.

Coming next week: Our season in review series concludes with a look back at September and the playoffs.

-          Alex V.

Season in Review: June

On June 15, the ‘Riders celebrated clinching a spot in the playoffs for the seventh time in ten seasons. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

The 2012 Frisco RoughRiders season was an unquestioned success.  The ’Riders won the first half South Division title, finished with an 80-60 record (good for the second-best overall mark in the Texas League) and advanced to the Texas League Championship Series before losing to the Springfield Cardinals.  Along the way, there were standout performances from big-time prospects, thrilling games and terrific storylines.  Before looking ahead to the 2013 season, we look back at a special 2012 campaign that proved to be a memorable one for the ’Riders.

JUNE

Record: 11-16 (6th of 8 TL teams)

Average: .244 (6th)

Home Runs: 26 (2nd)

ERA: 5.20 (8th)

Top Offensive Players: Mike Olt (.325-10-24, 3 2B, 17 R, .438/.738/1.175), Chris McGuiness (.274-8-16, 5 2B, 14 R, .365/.619/.984), Jose Felix (.294-3-9, 2 2B, 5 R), Jurickson Profar (.290-2-12, 4 2B, 3B, 15 R, 2-3 SB)

Top Pitchers: Ryan Rodebaugh (8 G, 1-1, 0.69 ERA, 1-1 SV, 13 IP, 7 H, 18 K, 1.08 WHIP, .159 BAA), Carlos Pimentel (7 G, 1 GS, 2-0, 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 10 H, 17 K, .204 BAA), Joseph Ortiz (9 G, 1-1, 2.79 ERA, 1-2 SV, 9.2 IP ,7 H, 0.93 WHIP, .200 BAA), Justin Grimm (2 GS, 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 14 IP, 11 H, 10 K, 2 BB, 0.93 WHIP, .216 BAA)

June was a month to remember and a month to forget at the same time for the Frisco nine.  On one hand, the ’Riders experienced the high of clinching a spot in the postseason, an extreme power surge by Mike Olt, a direct promotion to the big leagues of Justin Grimm and the sight of a former Major League All-Star wearing a Frisco uniform.  On the other hand, however, the team’s 11-16 record was by far its worst of the season and Steve Buechele’s club was hurt by sudden roster turnover, a sluggish offense and underwhelming pitching.

Roy Oswalt started on June 12 for the ‘Riders in a game that lasted nearly five hours. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

No doubt about it, June was eventful for reasons both good and bad.  To paraphrase Buechele, it was evident that the RoughRiders, after two months of stellar play, were coming back to the pack as many players were forced to make their first true adjustments since joining the Texas League.  The letdown factor after securing a playoff spot was evident and the relative inexperience of the team allowed the funk to permeate longer than it probably should have.

Still, the ’Riders were in an enviable position after finishing the first half with the best record in the Texas League.   Frisco and Tulsa earned the right to play a little more relaxed in the second half, knowing that they were the only two teams guaranteed to keep playing after Labor Day.

TIMELINE:

June 1: After ripping off ten straight wins to begin the season, Barret Loux gets his first no-decision of the year.  He and future 2012 big leaguer Edwar Cabrera of Tulsa pitched to a 3-3 stalemate before Ryan Strausborger sent Frisco to a 4-3 walk-off victory with an RBI single in the ninth inning.  The win secured the ’Riders’ first series sweep of the season.  In the game, Mike Olt goes 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored.

June 2: Frisco loses 10-5 to Northwest Arkansas in ten innings after the Naturals victimize Wilfredo Boscan and Zach Osborne in the extra frame.  Olt goes 3-for-3 with two more home runs, four RBI and two walks while Jurickson Profar extends his on-base streak to 50 straight games with a single and a walk.

June 3: In a 10-3 loss to the Naturals, Olt makes it three straight games with two home runs with a pair of solo shots.  In this three-game stretch, he increases his season homer total from 11 to 17, the most in the Texas League.  Over his last 11 games, Olt is hitting .489 with eight home runs and 19 RBI.  In the same game, Profar goes 0-for-4 and fails to reach base for the first time since April 6 (the second game of the season), ending his 50-game on-base streak.  The streak would endure as the longest of its kind in Major or Minor League Baseball in 2012.

June 4: Profar is honored by the Texas League as its “TOPPS Player of the Month” for May while Olt is named the TL “Player of the Week” for his recent offensive heroics.  That night, Frisco is swept for the first time this season in a 3-1 loss to Northwest Arkansas.  In a reminder of the tenuous nature of the profession, ’Riders reliever Corey Young is released by the Rangers organization.  Two days later, bullpen-mate Trevor Hurley is released as well.

June 8:The RoughRiders rebound from getting swept by winning their third in a row at San Antonio by a 5-2 final score.  Zach Zaneski goes 2-for-4 with his first career triple to extend his season-best hitting streak to 14 games and raise his batting average to .346 (it was .188 through his first nine games).  The triple was Frisco’s 32nd of the season, the most by any team in professional baseball.  The win shrinks the ’Riders’ magic number for a playoff berth to seven.

Legendary pitcher Greg Maddux and Zach Zaneski share a moment during one of Maddux’s visits to Frisco this season. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

June 11: The Rangers name Olt their “Minor League Player of the Month” for May, but the night belongs to fellow corner infielder Chris McGuiness, who hits a grand slam in a 10-1 win over Midland.  McGuiness had just hit a three-run home run the night before.  The offense supports a dazzling Chad Bell (6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K), whose performance was personally observed by pitching great and Rangers special assistant to the general manager Greg Maddux.  The future Hall of Famer calls Bell’s performance one of the greatest he has ever witnessed by a Minor Leaguer.

June 12: Roy Oswalt, recently signed by Texas, continues his road back to the big leagues with a start for the RoughRiders against the RockHounds.  Oswalt (3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, BB, 3 K, WP) looks rusty, but so do both teams’ bats as the game progresses.  The contest goes 14 innings before Jose Felix wins it with a walk-off single to send Frisco to a 5-4 victory.  The four-hour, 47-minute affair ends nine minutes before midnight and is easily the longest game of the season.  Complicating matters, the two teams must play an 11 a.m. game the next day.  Midland easily wins that game 10-2.

June 14: On the day the All-Star Game rosters are announced, Justin Grimm is shocked to learn that he will be promoted directly to the Rangers in two days and make his Major League debut in a start against the Astros.  That night, Frisco beats Corpus Christi 4-3 to whittle its magic number to one with five games remaining in the first half.

June 15: Ryan Strausborger’s RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth inning snaps a tie game and the ’Riders win 3-2 over the Hooks to clinch a spot in the Texas League playoffs for the seventh time in ten years.  Nick Tepesch, just promoted to take Grimm’s recently vacated spot in the rotation, allows just two runs over seven innings in his Double-A debut.

June 16: While the ’Riders meekly fall to Jose Cisnero (two-hit complete game shutout) and the Hooks 5-0, Grimm wins in his first-ever big league game down the road in Arlington.  Playing in front of a sellout crowd that includes former President George W. Bush, Frisco’s Opening Day starter allows three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over six innings as the Rangers beat Houston 8-3.

June 17: Facing a shortage of pitching, Steve Buechele is forced to turn to a pair of position players to pitch the 11th inning against Corpus Christi.  With the game tied at five, outfielder Val Majewski and infielder Guilder Rodriguez combine to allow nine runs on eight hits, a walk and a hit batter.  The Hooks prevail 14-5.

June 19: Frisco beats Midland 5-1 to finish the first half with a 41-29 record, the best mark in the TL.  The ’Riders benefit from six RockHounds errors and a good game from Majewski (2-for-4, double, RBI) on his 31st birthday.  Brad Hawpe, who played the first two months of the season for Frisco while recovering from elbow surgery, requests and his granted his release by the Rangers.

Fortunately, Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar are better hitters than they are dancers. Both had big months in June. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

June 21: Over a three-day period, the ’Riders experience a flurry of roster moves.  Gone from the active roster are: LHP Bell (promoted to Round Rock), RHP Fabio Castillo (disabled list), LHP Tim Murphy (disabled list), LHP Joseph Ortiz (Round Rock) and IF Rodriguez (Round Rock).  Frisco receives: LHP Richard Bleier (off the disabled list), RHP Cody Buckel (up from Myrtle Beach), OF Jared Hoying (Myrtle Beach), RHP Neil Ramirez (down from Round Rock) and RHP Ross Wolf (Round Rock).

June 22: Corpus Christi thumps Frisco 13-7 despite three solo home runs from McGuiness, a new career-high.  After getting hit hard in a no-decision by the Hooks in his last outing, Loux (3+ IP, 8 H, 9 R, 8 ER, BB, 4 K, BK) cannot escape his first loss of the season this time.  It is his first defeat in exactly 11 months; he last lost in 2011 to Frederick while pitching in the Carolina League.  Buechele is ejected for the only time all season in the middle of the third inning while Profar is tossed in the ninth.

June 24: The ’Riders lose their season-high fourth straight game in a 3-2 defeat to the Hooks.  In a matchup of terrific pitching prospects, Corpus Christi’s Jarred Cosart (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K) outduels Buckel (4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K), who is making his first Double-A start.

June 25: Ramirez (6 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 6 K) makes his first start since coming down from Triple-A Round Rock and looks sharp in a 4-1 ’Riders victory over the Hooks.  The result takes Frisco into the All-Star break on a winning note.

June 28: The North Division bests the South 3-1 in the Texas League All-Star Game at Tulsa’s ONEOK Field.  Nine Frisco players were named to the South Division team: Bell, Engel Beltre, Jake Brigham, Grimm, Loux, Olt, Carlos Pimentel, Profar and Zaneski.

June 30: The ’Riders look listless in Springfield, losing their second straight game 11-6.  Tepesch and Miguel De Los Santos combine to allow five home runs in the route.

Coming tomorrow: A look back at the month of July.

-          Alex V.

Former ‘Rider Blogs about Ramos Abduction

As reported by ESPN, and countless other news outlets, Washington Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos  was abducted by gunmen Wednesday from his home in his native Venezuela.

As I wrote about on the Insider Blog on Tuesday, the following Rangers’ farm-hands are currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); and Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

One other player currently participating in the Venezuelan Winter League is none other than former RoughRider, Ryan Tatusko.  Tusk is one of my all-time favorite ‘Riders because he really is the best of both worlds: a great player and a great person.  It was a sad day when we and fellow RoughRider Tanner Roark were traded in 2010 to (ironically) the Washington Nationals in exchange for Cristian Guzman.

Tatusko went 9-2, 2.97 ERA in 24 games/13 starts with Frisco in 2010 (James Garner)

Ryan keeps a great blog about life in the minors and appropriately wrote about the recent events in Venezuela:

“I hope that I can clear some things up for people and shed some light about what [Venezuela] is like off the field. I am only speaking from a vantage point being with the Margarita Bravos and what it is like for us on Margarita Island and traveling to the mainland when we have to go on the “road.”

“As far as what has transpired in Valencia, we play Aragua all the time during the year, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the city, stadium, and its fans. I have flown into Valencia to play in the minor league game when I was strengthening my arm for starts and I loved the airport as well. Whatever that is transpiring in Valencia is an extreme, isolated incident. I pray for [Wilson Ramos] and for his family, although I have never met him we are all family in this game, especially in the Nationals organization.”

To read the rest of Ryan’s great blog post, click here.

- AG

 

RoughRiders Around the Globe

Every September when the minor league season comes to an end and fall sets in, many think that it’s time for our RoughRiders to take a well earned vacation.  However, what many don’t realize is that minor leaguers around the country travel around the world to play winter and fall ball.  These leagues provide the players a chance for additional income and the opportunity to improve their game.  Here’s where some RoughRiders, and other Rangers’ farm-hands, will be sending post cards from this off-season:

Arizona Fall League

Players: Miguel De Los Santos, LHP; Leury Garcia, INF; Ryan Kelly, RHP; Leonys Martin, OF; Justin Miller, RHP; Mike Olt, INF; Neil Ramirez, RHP; Elio Sarmiento, C; Ryan Strausborger, OF; Johan Yan, RHP.  (All play for the Surprise Saguaros).

Mike Olt could possibly open up 2012 in Frisco (James Garner)

Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt was named the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week on Monday, batting .571 (8-14) with a double, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 walks the previous week.  The 23-year-old matched the Fall League’s single-game high with a 6 RBI effort on Friday and represented the Rangers and Saguaros in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday. The 6 RBI performance gave the University of Connecticut product a share of the AFL RBI lead (30), while he also leads the league in both home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.705).

OF Leonys Martin has seen action with the Saguaros as a member of the club’s taxi squad and hit a home run in his Fall League debut on October 19…OF Ryan Strausborger has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, raising his season average to .327 (17-52). The Arizona Fall League regular season continues through November 17.

Mexican Winter League 

Players: Cody Eppley, RHP (Obregon); Jose Felix, C (Guasave)

RHP Cody Eppley has worked out of the bullpen for the Mexican Winter League’s Obregon, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER/15.0 IP) over 14 appearances.

Dominican Winter League 

Players: Engel Beltre, OF (Licey); Julio Borbon, OF (Escogido); Fabio Castillo, RHP (La Romana); Andres James, INF (Licey); Carlos Pimentel, RHP (Escogido).

RHP Carlos Pimentel has posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) with 15 strikeouts against 5 walks in 8 relief outings with Escogido.

Venezuelan Winter League 

Players: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

Pan American Games

3B Tommy Mendonca and INF Chad Tracy each took home silver medals as part of Team USA in the Pan American Games hosted by Guadalajara, Mexico on October 19-25. Mendonca batted .333 (6-18) with one home run and a tournament-high 10 RBI in 5 games for Team USA, while Tracy hit .182 (2-11) with 2 RBI in 4 games. The Americans fell 2-1 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.

-AG

Top Pictures of 2011

There have been plenty of great moments this season, and those moments can be captured in photography. Our team of photographers–James Garner, Alex Yocum-Beeman and others–have done a great job of getting those photos. Here is a look at some of the best ones as the 2011 season winds down.
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A few RoughRiders mob Travis Adair after his walk-off single against San Antonio June 10.

Guilder Rodriguez avoids Jonathan Greene and makes a catch earlier this year at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Nelson Cruz rehabbed with the ‘Riders back in May.

So did Josh Hamilton.

Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders earlier this season, and he was an instant hit in Frisco.

Renny Osuna, the new hits king in RoughRiders history, is all smiles, too.

Great focus here by Davis Stoneburner in the camo jersey.

Tommy Mendonca avoids the net and makes a great play in foul ground.

Jose Ruiz painfully slides home during a game with Northwest Arkansas here in Frisco.

Now, how about some fun. The Phillie Phanatic dancing with a RoughRider fan.

BirdZerk visited Dr Pepper Ballpark as well.

And who can forget when the RoughRiders’ game was snowed out earlier this season? Wait–scratch that. Instead, it’s been 100+ degrees almost every day in the second half. Hopefully this image gives you a much-needed chill.


Feel free to send us your pictures during games here at Dr Pepper Ballpark! Tweet us at twitter.com/ridersbaseball!

- Brian

Alumni Report

The RoughRiders have made 82 different transactions this season, and many players have come and gone. Let’s update you on a few of the guys who are no longer with the RoughRiders and, in some cases, no longer even in the Rangers’ system.

Miguel De Los Santos: A member of the 40-man roster, De Los Santos is the reigning Carolina League Pitcher of the Week after tossing seven no-hit innings for Myrtle Beach against Potomac Saturday. The P-Nationals broke up the no-no bid in the ninth inning after De Los Santos left. The southpaw is 3-3 with a 2.95 earned run average in eight High-A appearances this season with the Pelicans.

Robbie Erlin: After the Rangers sent him to the San Diego farm system in the Mike Adams deal, Erlin joined up with the best team in minor league baseball–the San Antonio Missions. So far, Erlin has made two starts and he has thrived. Erlin has surrendered only one run on seven hits in 12 innings of work. However, the southpaw is without a decision with San Antonio. Overall this season, Erlin is 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA.

Tommy Hunter: The Rangers sent Hunter and former RoughRider Chris Davis for reliever Koji Uehara. So far with the Orioles, Hunter is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in three appearances (two starts). In 11 and two-thirds innings, Hunter has allowed nine runs on 17 hits.

Leonys Martin: In his 58 minor league games since signing as an amateur free agent with the Rangers in early May, Martin is hitting .306. However, the outfielder has a .269 batting average with Triple-A Round Rock. In his 25 games with the Express, Martin has driven in 13 runs and stolen four bases. In a strange split, Martin is batting .394 against fellow lefties but only .213 against righties in Triple-A.

Martin Perez: The Rangers’ top prospect is 3-2 with a 5.28 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Round Rock. Perez has had two great outings in a row, including last night’s no decision against Tacoma (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 K). Opponents at Triple-A are hitting a pretty healthy .341 against Perez in his first six efforts for Round Rock.

Guilder Rodriguez: In Rodriguez’s second go-around at the Triple-A level, the infielder is batting .278 with nine RBIs in 22 games with the Express. For the most part, Rodriguez has batted ninth and played at shortstop. However, he is getting some time at second base with Nick Green now on the Round Rock roster.

Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers joined Triple-A Round Rock Saturday after a couple of months with the RoughRiders. The dynamic reliever has tossed five innings with the Express, and he has allowed nine hits but only one run. Last night against Tacoma, Scheppers tossed three shutout innings during extra frames.

Joe Wieland: Wieland accompanied Erlin to San Antonio in the deadline deal with the Padres, but not before the righty posted the fourth no-hitter in Frisco history. With the Missions, Wieland has made one start, during which he went six innings and gave up a run on three hits. Wieland will start for the Missions tonight at Springfield.

- Brian

Alumni Report

We checked in with some former RoughRiders a month ago, and since then the ‘Riders’ roster has changed. Let’s check in with some other former 2011 RoughRiders, including the likes of Leonys Martin and Martin Perez.

Travis Adair: After a two month stint with the RoughRiders, Adair was assigned back to High-A Myrtle Beach. Since returning to the Pelicans, Adair is hitting .275 with five RBIs and four runs. Overall, Adair is hitting .318 with two home runs and 18 RBIs with Myrtle Beach after posting a .238 average in 33 games while with Frisco.

Miguel De Los Santos: De Los Santos, a member of the Rangers’ 40-man roster, has made five appearances with High-A Myrtle Beach after almost two months on the disabled list. The left-handed starter is 2-1 with a 3.27 earned run average. After the first inning, De Los Santos owns a 2.00 ERA.

Mark Hamburger: Since his first ever promotion to Triple-A, Hamburger has gone 4-4 with a 6.03 earned run average with the Express. Opponents are hitting .273 against the right-hander whose best month came in June when he posted a 2.51 ERA. Hamburger has struggled against left-handed hitters (.356). From June 14 to July 6, Hamburger had a seven-appearance, 12.1-inning scoreless stretch.

Leonys Martin: Martin spent about two months with the RoughRiders before earning a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock July 9. In his first nine games with the Express, Martin is hitting .351 with six RBIs and five runs scored. He has hit safely in seven games, and he has posted a multi-hit effort five times. Against lefties at the Triple-A level, Martin is hitting .583 (7-for-12).

Martin Perez: The Rangers’ number one prospect has two starts with Round Rock on his resume. In his debut last Saturday, Perez held the Memphis Redbirds to one run on six hits in five innings for his first win with the Express. His home debut yesterday, though, brought with it Perez’s first loss in Triple-A. The southpaw allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on 11 hits in three and a third innings of work against New Orleans.

Guilder Rodriguez: Rodriguez joined Martin in that promotion to Round Rock July 9, and he has already played in ten games with the Express. He owns an average of .273 with five RBIs and five runs. Against righties, the switch hitter is batting .348. In yesterday’s game, Rodriguez set a Triple-A career high with three hits.

Jimmy Swift: Swift, who spent 11 days with the RoughRiders as a backup infielder, is back with the Surprise Rangers of the Arizona League. The undrafted free agent has thrived in Surprise. He has a .520 average in ten games. Since returning from Frisco, Swift is 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.

- Brian

Mendonca, Rodriguez Earn Honors

Current Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca earned the Rangers’ Player of the Month honor for June, and former RoughRiders shortstop Guilder Rodriguez, who is now with Triple-A Round Rock, took home the Rangers’ Defender of the Month, the Texas Rangers announced today.

Mendonca batted .375 (39-104) with 11 walks, 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, and 30 RBI over 25 games with Double-A Frisco in the month of June. Mendonca, who was also named the TOPPS Player of the Month for the Texas League, hit safely in 22-of-25 games during the month, while also boasting streaks of 13 consecutive games with a hit, 10 consecutive games with a RBI, and 11 consecutive games with an extra-base hit during the month.

The Fresno State product ranks among the Texas League leaders in hits (3rd, 97), RBI (3rd, 64), home runs (T5th, 16), doubles (T6th, 20), and batting (7th, .319), while also rating statistically as the top defender at third base in the Texas League with a .947 fielding percentage.

Even though Rodriguez is currently with the Express, he spent the entire month of June with Frisco, starting 26 of the club’s 27 games at shortstop and committing just 2 errors. Overall, Rodriguez has committed just 7 errors, while tallying the 3rd-most total chances by a Texas League shortstop this season.

The Venezuela native is in his 2nd season in the Texas organization and has collected a career-high 37 RBI in 80 games with Frisco, while batting .275 (78-284) with 9 doubles and 2 triples.

A pair of right-handers at Low-A Hickory took home the other two honors, as Nick Tepesch earned the Pitcher of the Month and Ryan Rodebaugh was named the Reliever of the Month.

The ‘Riders are back in action tomorrow night against the Corpus Christi Hooks. We’ll have another post for you then. Until tomorrow, check out the newest Dr Pepper Ballpark Planner for all you need to know about the upcoming home stand. Congrats to Tommy and Guilder!

- Brian

(photos courtesy of team photographer James Garner)

Martin, Rodriguez Promoted to Triple-A

We knew the clock was ticking on Leonys Martin.  He was hitting .348 in 29 games in Double-A and was batting an astounding .429 with runners on base.  Although it’s no surprise that just hours ago his promotion to Round Rock was made official (we prophesied this on the latest Roundtable Podcast), his call up was aided by the injured ankle of former RoughRider Julio Borbon (whose x-rays came back negative).

Leonys Martin hit four home runs and had 24 RBIs in 29 games played with Frisco. (James Garner)

Leonys Martin hit four home runs and had 24 RBIs in 29 games played with Frisco. (James Garner)

Martin was a joy to be around and no doubt made a lasting impression on virtually all who saw him play. His offensive abilities and strong arm stand out, along with his humility off the field.  We don’t know the exact details about what his life in Cuba was like, or how exactly he made it over to the United States, but it’s a sure bet that no matter what, he was placed in an entirely new world once he rolled up to Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.

For a guy who signed a contract in excess of $20 million, Leonys remained humble, kind, and hardworking.  He was taking English lessons three times a week in Frisco and was really improving quickly.  There’s no doubt that I’ll be rooting for Leonys in Round Rock and then one day in Arlington.

Guilder Rodriguez throws from his side during the July 4th weekend (James Garner)

Guilder Rodriguez throws from his side during a game over the July 4th weekend. (James Garner)

Need another guy to root for?  I offer you Guilder Rodriguez.  He’s played in the minors for 10 seasons and is getting his second-ever call up to Triple-A.  G-Rod may never make it to the major leagues (he turns 28 on July 28th), but this is great news for a guy who works hard everyday and is about as good as an organizational shortstop as you’ll find in the minors.

One scout back in Frisco on the previous home stand told me he’d love to have a guy like Guilder in his farm system because of his veteran presence and defensive ability.  Not to mention that at 27-years-old he’s having a career offensive season with a new single-season high 37 RBIs, including four last night.

Guilder gets moved to Round Rock following Omar Quintanilla’s promotion from Triple-A to Arlington. Quintanilla, who is two years older than Rodriguez, played college ball at Texas and hit .298 in 51 games for Round Rock this year.  The Rangers placed infielder Andres Blanco on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday with a stress reaction in his lower back, thus the move to bring Omar up.  Welcome to the musical chairs of professional baseball.

Funny story: Let’s just say that I received some inside info midway through last night’s game that G-Rod would more than likely be getting the call to Triple-A.  Of course I couldn’t say anything about it on-air (big time no-no) because I had to wait for it to be made official.  However in the late innings last night Guilder took one of nastiest hops of the season on a ground ball the jumped up and caught him almost square in the face.  First thought I had after Guilder fell down to the ground was “great, the guy doesn’t even know yet that he’s going to Round Rock after this game is over and now he might go on the DL.”  Somehow Guilder  was alright and finished the game.  Close call.

OK, maybe that wasn’t so funny after all.  Interesting at best.

Both Leo and G-Rod will be active tonight for the Express against Memphis.  Here in Springfield, the ‘Riders and Cards conclude their series at 6:07 p.m.  It’s the final time in the regular season the RoughRiders will play at Hammons Field.  Brian and I will be on at 5:37 p.m. with the pre-game show.  Talk with you then.

AG

Representing the Texas League

Jumping from Double-A to the big leagues is not common practice, but it has happened a few times this season. Today has been a big one for the Triple-A leapfrog.

Not only is Juan Nicasio–a former Tulsa Driller who just threw seven innings against Springfield Sunday–starting for the Colorado Rockies today against St. Louis, but two San Antonio Missions–Kyle Phillips and Blake Tekotte–drove in the only two runs for the Padres in their 2-1 win over Washington this afternoon.

There are no RoughRiders from yesterday’s roster in the Rangers’ lineup today, but we still have plenty of Facts to discuss on this Saturday.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The big news yesterday was Brandon Webb’s successful bullpen session yesterday in Arlington. Webb is now scheduled to start for the RoughRiders in a rehab effort Monday afternoon. It will be the first time that Webb has started in a real game since April of 2009 for the Diamondbacks, the team he had spent his entire career with prior to signing with the Rangers during the offseason.
  • It is easy to forget how successful Webb was during his run with Arizona. Webb is 87-62 with a 3.27 earned run average in his career, and he won the 2006 Cy Young Award. The next two years, Webb finished second in the voting.
  • In his career, Webb has logged five seasons with at least 200 innings and six years with an ERA below 3.60. Obviously, this is a much different Webb because of the shoulder issues, but he has shown incredible ability in the past. Webb was a low-risk, high-reward signing. The reward part of the equation will begin to be revealed very soon.
  • Leonys Martin is back in the lineup today after leaving yesterday’s game in the ninth inning with a stomach cramp. Frisco trainer Carlos Olivas came out to check on Martin during his at bat in the ninth inning, but he did stay in the game long enough to single. A few pitches into the next at bat, Martin once again felt pain and jogged off the field. He is in center field and hitting first like usual.
  • Speaking of today’s lineup, a few everyday players–Tommy Mendonca and Guilder Rodriguez–are getting the day off. At short, Renny Osuna switches over there from second base and Davis Stoneburner takes that spot. On the flip side, the third base replacement is a little more unique. Jonathan Greene will make his first start at third this season. He is hitting fifth.
  • Even though this is Greene’s first start at third this year, he is still a veteran of the hot corner in his minor league career. Of his 387 games in affiliated baseball, Greene has started at third base 226 times. His career fielding percentage (.913) isn’t very good at third, though.
  • Here’s a fun fact: Greene has played five different positions (first, third, catcher, left and right). He has played at all of those spots at least 15 times. A way to make yourself more valuable in the minors is to be versatile, and Greene has done that.
  • After tonight, the ‘Riders will have played every team in the Texas League at least once. Like last year, the final team is Tulsa. Last year, the RoughRiders went 6-5 against the Drillers. So far this year, the Drillers own a 25-21 record, which is only percentage points behind Northwest Arkansas (23-19) for first place in the North.
  • Tulsa’s best player to this point has been leadoff man Tim Wheeler. Wheeler leads the league in RBIs (45), is tied for the lead in homers (14) and sits eighth in batting average (.324).
  • Tonight’s game is once again on TXA 21 in the DFW area. Aaron Goldsmith will handle the play-by-play duties, and Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com will provide color commentary. Coverage begins at 7 p.m.
  • Finally, there are a couple of events coming up at Dr Pepper Ballpark that may interest you. Acute Kids Movie Night is set for June 4, and Whataburger Food Bank Night is slated for July 23.

Our coverage on the radio tonight begins at 6:35. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

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