Results tagged ‘ Hanser Alberto ’

Ace Ventura: From the Texas League to the World Series

Ventura cardWhen Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura takes to the mound at Kaufmann Stadium tonight with the hopes of an entire fan base weighing on his slim frame, he can take comfort in one indisputable fact: at least he won’t have to face Brett Nicholas in tonight’s Giants lineup. While the former RoughRiders first baseman, who played his college baseball in the Show Me State, won’t be confused with Buster Posey or Hunter Pence, he is one of only 13 players who have a perfect 1.000 batting average in multiple at bats against Ventura. Nicholas was a perfect 2 for 2 versus the hard-throwing righty in Ventura’s sole Texas League start against the RoughRiders back on April 7, 2013 while pitching for the Royals-affiliated Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

I remember talking with Frisco hitting coach Jason Hart about Ventura before the game and he (based on what he saw in spring training) compared him to Pedro Martinez, an observation that has been made on Fox’s World Series telecast over the past week. I even wrote in my game notes that day that the 5’11”, 178 lb. native of the Dominican Republic had been nicknamed “Lil Pedro” (despite being about ten pounds heavier than the future Hall of Famer). Looking at their age-23 seasons, the comparison is even more apt. In 1995, when Pedro was 23 and throwing for the Expos, he went 14-10 with a 3.51 ERA, 174 strikeouts, 66 walks (in 194.2 innings), 123 ERA+ and a 3.90 FIP. As for Ventura’s 2014: 14-10, 3.20 ERA, 159 strikeouts, 69 walks (in 183 innings), 125 ERA+ and a 3.60 FIP. Lil Pedro, indeed.

On top of being a heralded prospect (ranked #3 going into the 2013 season by Baseball America), he had a killer nickname: Ace Ventura. Of course, it works on a baseball level in addition to a pop culture one, though I would doubt if Yordano knows if Finkle is Einhorn or not (he wasn’t even three years old when the pet detective hit theaters).

As for Ventura’s outing against the ’Riders, it was a solid start to begin a season that would later see him make his major league debut. After a perfect first inning, he allowed a single to Nicholas in the second before inducing a double-play ball off Alex Buchholz’s bat. He finished the inning with a strikeout of Chih-Hsien Chiang and tossed another scoreless frame in the third, yielding a harmless two-out single to Teodoro Martinez.

With pre-knuckleballin’ Kevin Pucetas putting up zeros in his first three innings, the ’Riders finally got to Ventura in the fourth. Hanser Alberto nicked his countryman for a single to right field and moved up to second on a deep flyout by Jared Hoying. Then Nicholas lined a 1-0 pitch down the left field line for a run-scoring double to get Frisco on the scoreboard. Two pitches later, he scored on a single by Buchholz to make it 2-0 .

Ventura came back with a 1-2-3 fifth inning to mark the end of his day. The 72-pitch outing featured five strikeouts and no walks over five frames. Ventura was let off the hook for a loss thanks to Naturals runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but Alberto’s sac fly in the sixth pushed the RoughRiders ahead for good in a tightly played 3-2 victory.

That sunny day in Springdale, Arkansas sticks out because it was the only time I saw Ventura pitch until catching him in a Royals uniform on television later in the season (because Frisco and Northwest Arkansas play in different divisions, the teams don’t match up frequently). He looked as sharp as advertised, with a fastball that hit triple digits on the RoughRiders’ radar gun several times in addition to a hard curveball and a solid changeup. While there were questions as to whether or not his body could hold up to be a starting pitcher, he certainly looked the part of a starter that afternoon and since hasn’t made anyone think twice about Kansas City’s move to keep him away from the bullpen.

(Fun fact about that game: the only other future major leaguer to play in the contest to date was 2014 Ranger Ben Rowen, who earned a hold by tossing a scoreless eighth inning for the ’Riders.)

The hope here is to see Ventura pitch well enough for the Royals to win and get us all to a Game Seven tomorrow night. Then maybe we can ask someone who was in the Texas League in 1999 to write a retrospective piece on Tim Hudson’s three starts that season for the Midland RockHounds.

A look at the scorebook from Yordano Ventura's start against the Frisco RoughRiders on April 7, 2013.

A look at the scorebook from Yordano Ventura’s start against the Frisco RoughRiders on April 7, 2013.

  • Alex

A Tale of Two Halves


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.

Yes, I know a nine-inning baseball game is not bisected into halves (but give me a break, college football starts this weekend!). But Frisco’s 5-4 win over Corpus Christi in 11 innings on Wednesday read like a story with a part one and a part two. Click here to read Monday’s game recap.

Once again, the ‘Riders made a starting pitcher look like a minor league Cy Young. Last night, it was Jordan Jankowski, who allowed one hit and struck out ten in six innings. The streak of consecutive innings without a run scored against a starting arm is still active and stands at 33 straight frames going into Thursday’s action. The offensive slump sunk to further depths in the first half of Wednesday’s game as well. When the ‘Riders finally scored in the seventh inning (via a bases-loaded walk) it broke a streak of 28 innings without an earned run.

But after halftime (represented by a Corpus Christi pitching change), the ‘Riders came out of the locker room with a second wind. They scored three runs in the seventh. With one out in the top of the ninth, Joey Gallo delivered another clutch home run to send the game to the bottom of the ninth. The ‘Riders capitalized on two Telvin Nash blunders in the 11th to score the go-ahead run in extras. And Ryan Rodebaugh submitted his best outing of the season, tossing two scoreless innings to preserve the tie and protect the win. There’s no question the ‘Riders are batting at low tide right now, but they keep finding ways to eke out wins in tight situations.

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

Joey had three RBI on the night, but he didn’t get ‘em all at once. He worked a walk with the bases loaded to put the ‘Riders on the board for the first time. He belted his 20th home run in the Texas League in the top of the ninth inning to up his season total to 41. Watch the video of the home run and the pitch from Mitchell Lambson was, unsurprisingly, right in Joey’s sweet spot (down and in). He produced a productive out in the 11th to drive in Patrick Cantwell for the second time in the game and give the ‘Riders a 5-4 lead. And, Joey did it all without a strikeout.

In case you missed it:

-Honorable mention goes to Ryan Rodebaugh, who tossed two innings in extras and allowed just one hit with one strikeout. He faced one above the minimum and produced his own win to move to 3-0 on the season.

-Will Lamb continues to provide thrills on the mound. In the bottom of the ninth, he issued three walks (one intentional) with the score tied at four, but managed to strike out Teoscar Hernandez looking at a fastball to end the inning and usher the game into extras.

-The RoughRiders scored five unanswered runs to cap the win.

-Corpus Christi left 13 men on base and outhit the ‘Riders 9-7.

-Hanser Alberto extended his hitting streak to 11 with his two-RBI single in the seventh inning.

-The ‘Riders clinched the season series against Corpus Christi and lead the Hooks 17-13 with two games remaining between the two sides in 2014.

-Gallo watch: See Above

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (current players only):

1. Joey Gallo (20)

2. Trever Adams (13)

3. J.T. Wise (6)

4. Jake Skole (5)

5. Teodoro Martinez (3)

5. Jorge Alfaro (3)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

7. Nomar Mazara (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

9. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

With Guilder Rodriguez serving as translator, Francisco Mendoza joins the Pregame Show and talks about his pitching style and an accident that nearly cost him his baseball career:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Pitching Spectacular


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.

Fans of defense were treated to a classic last night. 2013 first overall choice Mark Appel looked every bit the part on Tuesday as he cranked out his most impressive outing as a member of the Astros organization. Click here to read Monday’s game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Jake Thompson – 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K

Appel was transcendent, but Jake was pretty darn good, too. The righty kept the ‘Riders in position to win the game and fortunately avoided a loss on his record. His ERA with Frisco now sits at 2.93.

In case you missed it:

-The bus-lagged RoughRiders turned in another sleepy offensive performance and registered just two hits and a total of five baserunners (three in the ninth).

-The ‘Riders have not scored against an opponent’s starting pitcher on this road trip (four games), a period of 27 innings.

-Hanser Alberto chased Appel from the game in the ninth inning when he led off the frame with a double. It extended Hanser’s hit streak to ten straight.

-Trever Adams went hitless in four at-bats and has gone consecutive games without a base knock for the first time in the second half.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-3, SO

Four batters in the lineup struck out multiple times on Tuesday. Joey was not a part of that club.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (current players only):

1. Joey Gallo (19)

2. Trever Adams (13)

3. J.T. Wise (6)

4. Jake Skole (5)

5. Teodoro Martinez (3)

5. Jorge Alfaro (3)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

7. Nomar Mazara (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

9. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

Southpaw Joseph Ortiz chats about his recovery from a freak accident in the offseason and the joys of being a father for the first time. He also reflects on his season with the Rangers in 2013 and how he told his family of his promotion to the major leagues:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

‘Riders on the Record: The Franchise Hits Record and Modeling off Tim Lincecum

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Lots of new faces, lots of new voices this week for ‘Riders on the Record. Wednesday through Saturday we heard from folks we have yet to hear from this season, including three players who joined the team this month. If you have seen Luke Jackson pitch, you might make the Tim Lincecum comparison in terms of his windup. Jackson addresses that notion; turns out its not a coincidence. Be sure to tune in to the always poignant G-Rod, who became the RoughRiders All-Time hits leader on Sunday before a promotion to Triple-A on Friday. Why is Ryan Rua hitting so many home runs this year? He tries to explain the uptick in long balls as well.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The ‘Riders manager saw a bevy of changes to his roster of the week prior. Steve Buechele discusses the promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A, the addition of some highly-touted prospects from Myrtle Beach included Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Luke Jackson, as well as the challenge of telling players that they have to go down a level. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 – UTIL Guilder Rodriguez


With a pair of hits on Sunday August 4, 2013, Guilder Rodriguez became the all-time franchise leader in hits, passing Renny Osuna who had 347 hits for the club. He discusses the significance of the record, especially in light of him passing a friend and a former teammate. He also shares his parting words with Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera when they were sent down to Myrtle Beach. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 – SP Jerad Eickhoff


Fresh off his Double-A debut, the big right-hander Jerad Eickhoff sat down with Alex Vispoli. Jerad had some family in town for the outing, he talks about how often his family gets to see him pitch. He talks about how he had honed his control and what he makes of Nick Tepesch comparisons. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 8, 2013 – SP Arlett Mavare


Arlett Mavare has not been a starting pitcher since his first year in professional ball. Sliding into the rotation of the ‘Riders this season, Arlett has really found a groove. He talks about his curious strikeout numbers, which he piles up despite the lack of an overpowering fastball. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 9, 2013 – SP Luke Jackson


Rangers top-10 prospect Luke Jackson fired six shutout frames in his first Double-A start. With an unconventional delivery, Jackson is a very hard thrower. He talks about the tinkering of his mechanics as a professional and how he developed the motion in the first place. He also talks about the adjustment to Double-A and the new clubhouse which is now home to a bunch of his Myrtle Beach teammates. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, August 10, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


A “career year” only begins to describe the kind of season that Ryan Rua is putting together this year. At or near the top in the minors in home runs for most of the season, Ryan talks about how he has been able to unlock the power this season and about his journey from small Lake Erie College to Double-A pro ball. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: blinker – the back pocket lining of baseball pants

‘Riders in Review: July 2013

Welcome to August. The ‘Riders had to have been happy to close the book on July. The 11-18 mark was the worst month for the team in terms of wins and losses this season and the worst since an 8-14 record posted in April 2011.

August 1 brought some new faces–five in fact. The promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A and the departure of Hanser Alberto, Odubel Herrera, Nick McBride and Kevin Pucetas to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach made room for the Pelicans to send five players to Frisco: pitchers Jon Edwards, Luke Jackson and Francisco Mendoza as well as infielders Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. (read more on the new guys here)

Frisco trailed the San Antonio Missions by eight games in the Texas League South Division at the month’s end. Dr Pepper Ballpark proved a tough venue for the ‘Riders in the month. The team won just 3 of 13 games here in Frisco. Still, remarkable performances were put together and some unforgettable moments made.

Texas League Rankings for the Month of July

Record: 55-55 overall, 11-18 in May (T-5th in Texas League), home: 3-10, road: 8-8, vs. division: 9-13

Runs: 110 (T-5th)

Average: .248 (6th)

On-base percentage: .294 (8th)

Stolen bases: 17 (6th)

Home runs: 20 (T-6th)

ERA: 3.78 (5th)

Strikeouts for: 197 (6th)

Walks allowed: 80 (8th)

Avg attendance for the year: 7,165 (6th fewest)

RIDERS REVIEW Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD
April 14-11 107 .250 .297 19 17 2.87 208 84 7060
May 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7315
June 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7310
July 11-18 110 .248 .294 17 20 3.87 197 80 7165
Season 55-55 438 .251 .299 97 87 3.74 870 377 7165

TL IN MAY Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD
San Anto. 19-10 105 .260 .310 32 20 3.01 225 90 4,349
Corpus 18-11 138 .254 .336 7 34 4.00 179 77 5,475
Arkansas 17-12 110 .258 .314 22 24 3.53 193 77 4,488
NW Ark. 14-15 140 .264 .326 30 31 4.59 233 107 4,756
Springfield 14-15 135 .249 .341 28 28 3.77 247 82 4,929
Tulsa 12-17 96 .243 .299 13 24 3.93 228 82 5,817
FRISCO 11-18 110 .248 .294 17 20 3.78 197 80 7,165
Midland 11-18 112 .234 .316 20 14 3.70 200 79 4,616

Awards

‘Riders Slugger of the Month

3B Alex Buchholz (.341/.412/.615), 15 R, 7 2B, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 9 K, 8 BB, 1 SB)

It’s amazing that four months into the season, this selection has been so easy each month. It’s hard to argue for anyone outside of Alex Buchholz. He very well could win the Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month with his torrid July. He added to his stellar July Double-A campaign with a couple of doubles and a ribbie in Triple-A action to close out the month.

No other Rangers minor leaguer posted an OPS of over 1.000. His six home runs represented the highest long ball total on the Rangers’ farm, and was only bested by the big leagues’ Adrian Beltre and his nine July home run in the entire Texas system. Buchholz earned Texas League Player of the Week for the week of June 10-17 when he began his week 7-for-7. Playing for the first time in his career at Triple-A, the former Reds farmhand is in the midst of a breakout season. He has posted a career high in games played (96), doubles (25) home runs (15), RBI (49).

Past winners: Telis (June), Nicholas (May), Hoying (April)

‘Riders Hurler of the Month

RHP Arlett Mavare (0-0, 2.19 ERA, 6 G, 3 GS, 24.2 IP, 20 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 HRA, 16 K, 2 BB, 2 HB, 0.89 WHIP, .222 BAA)

With apologies to a number of relievers who shined in July, most notably newcomers Alex Claudio (1.29 ERA/1.07 WHIP, 14.0 IP 16 K, 3 BB) and Lisalverto Bonilla (0.61 ERA/1.02 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 21 K, 5 BB), it was Arlett Mavare who, not only pitched the best in July but also surprised and saved a RoughRiders rotation in dire need of stability.

With Neil Ramirez on the disabled list and the recent departures of Carlos Pimentel (Round Rock) and Kevin Pucetas (Myrtle Beach), the five men from the Opening Day rotation are now all gone. Cody Buckel is in Arizona working out control issues in the Rangers spring training complex and Ryan Feierabend has spent most of the season in Triple-A with the Express.

Mavare stepped into Ramirez’s spot and has been brilliant. Before the move to the rotation, Mavare was 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA. Mavare made three starts in the month: in 16 innings pitched, he allowed four runs on 12 hits with eight Ks and one walk. One walk.

In his final start in July, Arlett tossed a career-high-tying seven innings pitched, something he hadn’t done since his first pro season in 2009.

Past winners: Tufts (June), Rowen (May), Henry (April)

Official Texas League Players of the Week:

July 1 – 7: P – Matt Wisler (San Antonio) ; B – Audry Perez (Springfield) 

July 8 – 14: P – Carlos Hernandez (Midland); B – Brett Eibner (NW Arkansas)

July 15 – 21: P – Keyvius Sampson (San Antonio); B – Max Stassi (Corpus Christi)

July 22 – 28: P – Aaron Brooks (NW Arkansas); B – Brian Fletcher (NW Arkansas)

Punching Bag of the Month

Corpus Christi Hooks RP Kenny Long

Overall it hasn’t been a great season for Long, but July was particularly brutal. The stock was rising for the former 22nd rounder when he was promoted to Double-A for the first time in his career after a good start in Lancaster (Advanced-A). His Hooks run began solid as well, firing four scoreless outings to begin his time in the Texas League.

It’s been shaky since then, so shaky that he is back down in the California League and likely in large part to the way the ‘Riders punished Long. In seven July outings lasting 7.2 innings before his demotion, Long was knocked around for 10 runs on 18 hits with four walks and two home runs allowed. Good for an 0-2 record and an 11.74 ERA. Both losses ad both homers came against Frisco. He matched up against the ‘Riders in his final three Double-A appearances. Here is the line: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR allowed, .555 BAA (10-for-18). Ouch.

Best Moment of the Month

A second fan won a car at Dr Pepper Ballpark – July 7, 2013 - Remember when Tomas Telis won a fan a car by hitting a home run on the first swing for the ‘Riders in the fifth inning? I remember remarking to someone walking around the ballpark one day how cool it would be if someone actually won this promotion and pegged the odds as somewhere near one in a thousand or so. Shows what I know about chance.

It was only the third time the ‘Riders had run the Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Magic Swing Promotion this season, and the contestant went home with a brand new 2013 Jeep Wrangler. Good stuff. So we had that feather in the cap. Everyone who was here can say they saw a once-in-a-lifetime kind of promotional giveaway.

Except it happened again. On July 8, Odubel Herrera hit the third home run of the game for the ‘Riders and just his second of the season. In fact, both RoughRiders hitters to accomplish the feat did it on just their second home run of the year. Herrera hadn’t homered in 31 games and has not hit a long ball since. But that day: fate, destiny and minor league promotion at its finest.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May. Three of the new additions from August 1 are Top 30 Rangers prospects–we will get to them after their first month with the ‘Riders.

Cody Buckel - Nothing new here. Buckel last pitched for the ‘Riders in May. He has been in Arizona at extended Spring Training trying to sort out control issues ever since. Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock updated us on Buckel about a month ago. You can hear my interview with him from ‘Riders on the Record.

Roman Mendez – Mendez is out for the season after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.

Wilmer Font – No longer with the RoughRiders, Font was promoted to the Round Rock Express on June 29.  The Venezuelan right-hander had a team-high ten saves and sported a career best 1.41 ERA with the RoughRiders in 26 appearances this season. Over his last four RoughRiders appearances he allowed just two hits and issued three walks in 4.1 innings with no runs scored against him and fanned eight. In ten June innings, he allowed one run on four hits and six walks, striking out seventeen. He went three-for-three in save chances and posted a 1-1 record over the month.

Hanser Alberto – In his final game as a RoughRiders swinger (for now), Alberto drove home his double-play partner Odubel Herrera to give the ‘Riders the go-ahead run in an eventual 2-1 win. That was on July 31. One of the roster causalities for the promoted Pelicans on August 1, Alberto really wasn’t able to dig himself out of the offensive hole he was in for most of the season. After hitting .298 in April, Alberto finished with a .213 batting average, the lowest it had been since April 15. Hanser hit just .194 with only four extra base hits. He went 3-for-3 in his return to the Advanced-A level. With a projected hit-tool better than average, expect to see the young shortstop (who is still the youngest player on his team) straighten things out against lower level pitching. 

Neil Ramirez – An overnight household name of sorts, Neil Ramirez went from a high-ceiling righthander that many hardcore Rangers knew about to a player some casual baseball fans, especially in Chicago, became frenzied over when there was wide speculation that Ramirez would be the player to named later in the Matt Garza trade that sent Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards to the Cubs. Neil faced a little adversity this month, including a DL stint that began on July 24. Ramirez made just two starts, separated by 14 days to try and allow a sore shoulder to heal. Neither outing showed the best that Neil can offer. He allowed fours runs over six frames against the Travelers on July 5 and lasted a season-low 3.1 innings on July 19 in Corpus Christi. He surrendered five runs on seven hits against the Hooks.

Randy Henry – Henry had his worst outing, statistically, as a RoughRiders pitcher in his last appearance of the month. Against Midland on July 30, he gave up multiple runs for the first time this season, allowing a pair to score on three hits in a low-leverage ninth inning with Frisco leading 11-4. Before that, he had surrendered just one run over eight innings, so the blemish to end July makes him a victim of the small monthly sample size of a reliever. In nine innings, Henry allowed three July runs on five hits. He walked only one and struck out four. He continued to fire strikes and pitch efficiently (117 pitches, 78 strikes).

Joe Benson – Not officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if he was Rangers property to begin the season. After a torrid start to his RoughRiders career, Benson was hampered by a groin injury in June and remained on the disabled list until activation on July 25. After tearing up the Arizona League in a seven-game rehab (.417, 3 2B and a HR). Joe played in just six July contests, all on the road. He hit just .250 (5-for-20), but three of his five hits went for extra bases (2 2B, 1 3B). The important thing is that Joe is healthy and doesn’t feel any lingering affects from his groin tear that sidelined him for most of June and July. He has started all eight games since his activation from the disabled list.

Transactions of July:

7/3 RHP Joakim Soria (right elbow) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/5 RHP Joakim Soria (right elbow) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/7 RHP Kyle McClellan accepts minor league assignment and reports to Frisco
7/10 RHP Justin Miller promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/10 IF Greg Miclat received from Triple-A Round Rock
7/14 IF Guilder Rodriguez (illness) placed on 7-day disabled list (retroactive to July 10)
7/14 RHP Joe Van Meter received from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach
7/14 OF Craig Gentry (non-displaced fracture in left hand) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/15 IF Greg Miclat promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/15 OF Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/17 RHP Colby Lewis (torn right flexor tendon) received on Major League rehab assignment
7/18 OF Craig Gentry (non-displaced fracture in left hand) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/18 OF Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) departs from Frisco on his Major League rehab assignment
7/19 IF Guilder Rodriguez (illness) activated off 7-day disabled list
7/24 RHP Neil Ramirez (right shoulder) placed on 7-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, July 21
7/25 OF Joe Benson (groin) activated off 7-day disabled list
7/30 IF Alex Buchholz promoted to Triple-A Round Rock
7/31 LHP Matt Harrison (back surgery) received on Major League rehab assignment

Happy August and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: blow a tire pull a leg muscle

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Bubble gum and Manny

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

This week turned out to be an abnormally coach-happy version of ‘Riders on the Record. Some fascinating insights from a variety of people in different positions, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the highlights this week. If you want to blow gigantic bubbles, be sure to listen to the one player interview of the week, when I spoke with Joe Van Meter. James Vilade shares his touching story of involvement with Diamond Dreams and don’t miss out on Jayce Tingler discussing Manny Ramirez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Manager Steve Buechele sits down with Alex to catch up on the season after their hiatus the week prior. He explains why the game was postponed in Corpus Christi when it was not raining but the field had been soaked by a long day of precipitation. He talks about the silver lining of a series of rain outs. He also weighs in on the trade discussion around Neil Ramirez and how it affected his most recent start. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 22, 2013 – RHP Joe Van Meter


Joe Van Meter is the newest RoughRiders, just making his way up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. In his second stint with the RoughRiders he discusses settling into the clubhouse for the second time and breaks down his first two Double-A appearances of the season. A skilled bubble-blower, he shares the secret behind blowing unbelievably-sized bubbles. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – Coach/Scout James Vilade


PART 1

PART 2

Rangers Scout and ‘Riders coach James Vilade is a member of the board of Diamond Dreams, an organization dedicated to the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed coaching first base when he was struck by a line drive. Following an on-field presentation the previous day in Frisco, he talks about the lengths the organization has to promote safety in the game as well as what the loss of Mike means to him personally (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


The RoughRiders hitting coach Jason Hart joins Nathan on the last day of the brief three-game home stand for the ‘Riders against the Midland RockHounds. He touches on the improved approach of Ryan Strausborger and Hanser Alberto at the plate and the consistency of offensive leader Brett Nicholas. He also remembers his time as a player in Frisco when he had the opportunity to compete in a Home Run Derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark with big leaguers Andre Ethier and Mike Napoli. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas


Following up last week’s conversation with the RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach, Alex sat with Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas to discuss his role with the team and his award he won last season for being the best in the Texas League. Carlos pulls back the curtain on the rehab process and explains the decision-making process to put a player on the disabled list. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 26, 2013 – Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler


Rangers Field Coordinator was with the team during the trip to San Antonio. He explains the strange lack of promotions this season in the Rangers system and his take on the Rangers plans for Manny Ramirez, who is with the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He also weighs in on the scoreless streak, in which the ‘Riders have not scored in 35 consecutive innings. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Missions Hitting Coach Jacque Jones


Former big leaguer Jacque Jones is now the hitting coach with the San Antonio Missions. He talks about his transitioning to coaching quickly after the end of his playing days. He also discusses prospects on both teams, including the RoughRiders’ Joe Benson who he saw during his time in Minnesota. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: head of lettuce the event when a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, that results in the main portion of the bat (the barrel) to land within the infield.

‘Riders on the Record: a catcher pitching and playing like a girl

071413 blog shot team riders on the record
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Without a doubt one of my favorite editions of ‘Riders on the Record this season. Steve Buechele gives some extremely high praise to Carlos Pimentel’s slide piece, Guilder Rodriguez gives his sage wisdom to the youngsters on the roster, catcher Zach Zaneski smiles over the microphone about pitching in a ballgame and Casey Candaele explains why he occasionally took batting practice naked in the big leagues. Radio gold this week.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down in his weekly conversation to talk about the bounce back effort from Carlos Pimentel. Coming off his eight strikeout performance, he talks about the right-hander’s slider that has put him into the ‘Riders record books. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 8, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez


Guilder Rodriguez joins us to talk about his first ever All-Star game experience, coming two weeks prior in Springdale, Arkansas. The 13-year veteran explains how special the honor is but is quick to divert the attention to the younger players who got the honor as well. Rodriguez sheds light on how he tries to help the younger players like Herrera, Alberto and Telis improve and carry themselves professionally. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – IF Alex Buchholz


Alex Buchholz talks about his current hot streak, which was highlighted by a blast of a home run to finish the home stand. He talks about his mental and physical adjustments this season and the importance of staying healthy. He weighs in on the swing of Chih-Hsien Chiang and the fan environment in Frisco. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, July 11, 2013 – C/”RHP” Zach Zaneski


During the longest game in RoughRiders history, catcher Zach Zaneski made his professional appearance on the mound. Impressively, Zach tossed three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He talks about his unforgettable experience and what he learned from former big leaguer Kyle McClellan in the bullpen to get ready for his outing. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 12, 2013 – Rangers Infield Coordinator Casey Candaele


Casey Candaele is the Rangers infielder coordinator, and for the series in Corpus Christi served as the acting manager. He talks about the whirlwind of a first game played in the series that took 16 innings. He weighs in on what the young infielders Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera need to do to keep getting better and reminisces on his impressive, long, and occasionally amusing big league career. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – IF Greg Miclat


One of the newer RoughRider Greg Miclat has played two positions in his first five professional seasons–shortstop and second base. In Corpus Christi, he twice played third base. He talks about the adjustment to that spot and the last time he has played there. Not known for his power, Greg tells us that he remembers each one of his home runs and he recalls his pro homer. (w/ Alex)

_______________________________________

We will post our “Home Sweet Home” preview of the whole home stand tomorrow, but the ‘Riders begin a four-game series today. Pitching matchup has RHP Nick McBride (1-5, 5.84) vs. RHP Keyvius Sampson (6-4, 2.90)

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

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: pool table – a smooth infield

Meet the new ‘Rider: Greg Miclat

Best wishes Justin Miller. As of Wednesday, Justin is a member of the Triple-A Round Rock Express, making his first career trip to Triple-A. Finding his form over the last six outings, Miller seemed ready for the next step, and now he will get the chance. From the ‘Riders press release:

Miller, 26, has played exclusively for the RoughRiders since 2011. The right-hander was recovering from “Tommy John” surgery at the start of the season, and began a MLB rehab assignment with the RoughRiders on May 17. On June 12, Miller was taken off his rehab assignment and was optioned to Frisco. In 16 appearances with the ‘Riders this season, Miller was 1-0 with a 6.19 ERA. He allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 16 innings of work, striking out 21 and walking seven. Over his last six outings, the Bakersfield, California native allowed one unearned run in six innings of work. He did not walk a batter and surrendered just three hits over that stretch. Miller pitched for the ‘Riders in 2011 and missed all of 2012 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery in April 2012.

In return, the RoughRiders are getting Greg Miclat from the Express, a middle infielder that has spent his first two years in the Rangers organization as a member of the Triple-A squad.

Miclat, 25, is in his second season with the Round Rock Express. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft, Miclat was traded to Texas by the Orioles in December 2011 as a player to be named later, along with Randy Henry, in exchange for former RoughRiders and Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. In 68 games this season, the Salisbury, North Carolina native is hitting .252 with no home runs and 24 RBI to go along with ten stolen bases, playing 30 games at shortstop and 39 at second base. The middle infielder stole a career-high 50 bases in 2011 with the Bowie Baysox in his final season as Orioles’ property. This will be his first stint with the RoughRiders.

RRSP0179

(Jamie Harms / American-Statesman)

Splitting his time between 2B and SS makes you think that he probably plays there for the ‘Riders as well. In fact, he has played only 2B and SS in his career.

Could that mean we see G-Rod in the outfield like 2012? Before Monday night, the ‘Riders had played the Teodoro Martinez / Ryan Strausborger / Chih-Hsien Chiang outfield trio for 20 straight games until Alejandro Selen spelled Chiang a couple days ago in right field. The addition of Miclat could allow Rodriguez to give that trio a bit more rest. In his career, Rodriguez has played three games in right field, 16 in center, and 23 in left field.

Bringing in Miclat also brings the ‘Riders back into a more conventional roster construction. Since Benson’s placement on the disabled list on May 19, the RoughRiders have functioned with just two bench players. Now they have three.

Miclat (25 years old) doesn’t hit for much power but provides an experienced middle infielder to bolster the youngsters Hanser Alberto (20) and Odubel Herrera (21). The 50 stolen base season for Miclat in 2011 provides some intrigue as well. The Express have been a pretty conservative baserunning team in his time in the Rangers system, ranking second to last in the PCL in 2012 in stolen bases with 70 in 104 attempts. This season they have been slightly below middle of the pack in both. Maybe this is why Miclat’s stolen base totals are down so significantly.

Perhaps with Steve Buechele‘s “green light” system, we could see Miclat return to his running ways. Scouted as having speed that grades as less than elite, Miclat clearly knows how to run the bases; his 50 steals in 2011 came on just 53 attempts.

File this away in the slightly interesting category: this is the first time that Henry and Miclat will be on the same team in their careers. They have been in the same major league organization since Henry was drafted in 2009, but Miclat has always been a level or two above the Oklahoman.

Miclat will be in uniform for the RoughRiders tonight when they begin a four-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks. You can read more about the matchup in today’s game notes and be sure to tune in to the broadcast, which begins at 6:40 p.m. for the 7:05 scheduled first pitch.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sodfather – the groundskeeper

‘Riders in Review: June 2013

Early first half struggles for Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas flipped upside down as the two teams became the two most dominant Texas League squads in the month of June. Led by retired-no-more Roy Oswalt and indy-ball right-hander Sean Gallagher, the Drillers posted an absurd 2.12 ERA in June and made up enough ground to capture the first-half title in the North Division. The Naturals played spoiler to their in-state rivals, beating the Arkansas Travelers in five of six meetings to close the first half and send the Travs tumbling out of the top spot in the North. Now the Naturals are tied for first place in the whole Texas League in the second half (8-5 entering Thursday).

The RoughRiders, on the other hand, experienced a tough month of June. Losing Roman Mendez in May didn’t help, neither did the promotions of Wilmer Font, Jared Hoying, Ryan Rodebaugh, and Ben Rowen, not to mention the continued injury issue for outfielder Joe Benson. Still, the RoughRiders completed the first half in second place and are competing in the early part of the second half.

Texas League Rankings for the Month of June

Record: 44-37 overall, 12-15 in May (T-5th in Texas League), home: 5-9, road: 7-6, vs. division: 10-10

Runs: 96 (7th)

Average: .259 (3rd)

On-base percentage: .299 (8th)

Stolen bases: 23 (T-3rd)

Home runs: 18 (5th)

ERA: 4.10 (7th)

Strikeouts for: 210 (1st)

Walks allowed: 99 (8th)

Avg attendance for the year: 7310 (1st)*

RIDERS REVIEW Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
April 14-11 107 .250 .297 19 17 2.87 208 84 7060
May 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7315
June 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7310
Season 44-37 328 .252 .301 80 67 3.73 463 297 7310

TL IN MAY Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
Tulsa 17-9 82 .230 .307 26 12 2.12 158 65 5,950
NW Ark. 17-12 137 .283 .330 25 29 4.01 209 95 4,794
Corpus 14-13 132 .252 .324 19 33 4.16 160 72 5,388
San Anto. 14-13 102 .257 .314 22 12 3.44 207 71 4,221
FRISCO 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7,363
Springfield 12-15 104 .260 .323 13 24 3.97 200 72 4,611
Arkansas 12-16 111 .254 .320 23 22 3.66 195 80 4,499
Midland 11-16 132 .256 .347 16 17 3.97 193 72 4,641

*Attendance calculated through July 3 games, so June numbers include one game of July for each team

Awards

‘Riders Slugger of the Month

C Tomas Telis (.338/.365/.563, 9 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB)

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What a month for Tomas. The Texas League All-Star hit all four of his home runs in the month and lifted his average from .234 after June 1st’s 0-for-4 to .277 when the month completed. Telis was not only the best ‘Riders hitter in June but can make a case that he was the best hitter in the whole league. His .338 mark was the best in the league among qualifying hitters. He was tied for seventh in home runs. He accomplished what he did in just 18 games, splitting time with Brett Nicholas and Zach Zaneski at the catcher spot. He posted nine multi hit games in June (and has done so in all three July games already). He stole a base to boot and he won a fan a car. Not bad. Bravo Tomas!

Past winners: Nicholas (May), Hoying (April)

‘Riders Hurler of the Month

RHP Tyler Tufts (0-1, 1.82 ERA, 5 GS, 24.2 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 HRA, 9 K, 4 BB, 3 HB, 0.89 WHIP, .207 BAA)

8754968787_63e3b67d74_b

Like Telis, Tufts really had a breakout month in June. The career reliever made one spot start in 2012, his first in five seasons as a pro.  This year, he has made 12 starts with a 3.20 ERA as a starter. In five June starts, he allowed one or fewer earned runs in four of his five outings. On two occassions, Tufts fired five innings of shutout ball with two or fewer hits allowed, and in 24.2 innings over the month, he walked just four batters. Only Jimmy Reyes had a lower ERA during the month among pitchers with more than eight innings pitched (1.80 ERA).

Past winners: Rowen (May), Henry (April)

Official Texas League Players of the Week:

May 27 – June 2: P – Murphy Smith (Midland); B – George Springer (Corpus Christi)

June 3-9: P – Carlos Pimentel (Frisco) ; B – Brian Fletcher (NW Arkansas) 

June 10-16: P -Roy Oswalt (Tulsa); B – Alex Buchholz (Frisco)

June 17 – 23: P – Neil Ramirez (Frisco); B – Ruben Gotay (Springfield)

June 24 – 30: P – Brooks Pounders (NW Arkansas); B – Whit Merrifield (NW Arkansas)

Punching Bag of the Month

Corpus Christi Hooks SP Jake Buchanan

The award given out to the player most likely to be glad he isn’t facing Frisco anytime soon goes out of respect this month to Jake Buchanan. It’s not that Buchanan was the hardest-hit pitcher the RoughRiders faced, but considering his accomplishments before his meeting with the RoughRiders on June 12, his slip-ups to end June (and coincidentally his Texas League season, for now), made him a contender and the ultimate selection of the notorious honor.

In his final three Texas League starts, before promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Buchanan allowed 13 runs, all earned. Before that three-start stint he had allowed six earned runs in 15 appearances, 10 starts. He faced the ‘Riders in two of those three starts, allowing nine runs over nine innings. Coming in to that stretch a perfect 7-0, Buchanan left the Texas League at 7-2, taking losses against the ‘Riders and San Antonio.

Best Moment of the Month

Frisco rallies from three down with seven-run ninth – June 29, 2013 - Again the ‘Riders waited until the end of the month to come up with the most memorable moment of the month. Last month it was the back-to-back-to-back home runs on May 31. This month was an easy selection. In the midst of a brutal offensive stretch, the RoughRiders plated seven runs to take a 10-6 lead in the top of the ninth in Springdale, Arkansas against the Northwest Arkansas.

Frisco fell behind 3-0 in the second, 4-0 after the third, and trailed 5-1 after seven innings. In the first seven innings, the ‘Riders offense managed six baserunners on two singles, three walks, and a hit batter. But the ‘Riders plated two in the eighth and trailed 6-3 going into the ninth.

In the wild top half of the ninth inning, the RoughRiders collected eight hits and a walk against relievers Scott Alexander and J.C. Sulbaran. They plated seven runs. Every RoughRiders hitter other than Odubel Herrera reached base in the inning, and nine consecutive ‘Riders reached safely. The big hit came ten batters into the inning when Ryan Strausborger hit a bases-clearing triple to put Frisco ahead 10-6.

The Naturals got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Frisco hung on for the 10-7 win.

The seven runs and eight hits put together in the ninth were the most by the team in any single frame this season.  The last time the ’Riders scored at least seven in an inning was in the seventh inning on July 22, 2011 in a 19-4 win versus Corpus Christi. The most ninth inning runs in known team history occurred on May 19, 2006, when the RoughRiders used an eight-run ninth inning to defeat Midland 10-5 at Citibank Ballpark.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May.

Cody Buckel - Buckel last pitched for the ‘Riders in May. He has been in Arizona at extended Spring Training trying to sort out control issues ever since. Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock updated us on Buckel last home stand. You can hear my interview with him from ‘Riders on the Record.

Roman Mendez – Mendez is out for the season after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.

Wilmer Font – No longer with the RoughRiders, Font was promoted to the Round Rock Express on June 29.  The Venezuelan right-hander has a team-high ten saves and sported a career best 1.41 ERA with the RoughRiders in 26 appearances this season. Over his last four RoughRiders appearances he allowed just two hits and issued three walks in 4.1 innings with no runs scored against him and fanned eight. In ten June innings, he allowed one run on four hits and six walks, striking out seventeen. He went three-for-three in save chances and posted a 1-1 record over the month.

Hanser Alberto – After a .162 hitting May, Hanser improved only slightly in June, hitting .213. He also committed another six errors. He walked only once in 83 plate appearances. He did club four of his ten extra-base hits on the season during the month with two doubles, a triple and a home run. 

Neil Ramirez – Neil was rocky in May but bounced back with a fantastic June. In five starts, he went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA. In 28 innings, he fanned 35 and walked only eight. He is 7th in the Texas League in ERA, 2nd in wins (9), first in strikeouts (106), fourth in WHIP (1.08) and first in batting average against (.190). He also was the winning pitcher in the All-Star game, throwing a perfect first inning. He doesn’t have much more to prove in the Texas League. Ramirez pitches tonight, and if you are dead-set on seeing him here in Frisco, you should come out sooner than later; it seems hard to imagine him staying in Double-A much longer if he keeps pitching like he did in June.

Randy Henry – Henry was activated off the disabled list on June 13 from an ulnar nerve injury in his right elbow that caused him to miss over a month. This blog’s selection for ‘Riders Hurler of the Month in April was not quite as dominant when he first returned but the numbers are still excellent. In six outings, Henry tossed 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and one walk. He surrendered no runs, earned or otherwise, and struck out four. He also collected his first Texas League save of the season.

Joe Benson – Not officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if he was Rangers property to begin the season. After a torrid start to his RoughRiders career, Benson was hampered by a groin injury in June and is still on the disabled list. He played in just three games during the month. On June 9, he pinch hit for Chih-Hsien Chiang in the ninth inning, knocking a triple in what was then a tie game against the Midland RockHounds. He later scored in the inning and served as the difference in a 4-3 win. Benson went 0-for-3 before a fifth inning ejection the following night and 0-for-2 the next evening before leaving with injury. He hasn’t seen the field since then (June 11).

Happy July and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: bill in addition to meaning the visor of a ballcap, “bill” refers to a game on the schedule (and why a “twin bill” is another term for a doubleheader)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

RoughRiders’ Average First Half Lineup Card

70 down, 70 to go.

Frisco finished the first half with a 2-1 win over Midland last night. While we look ahead to what will come, including hopefully a ‘Riders second half title and a playoff berth, now is as good a time as ever to look back at what has been.

Remember when Odubel Herrera was the primary leadoff hitter? How about when Jared Hoying hit third every single one of his first 32 starts, a spot now clearly controlled by Brett Nicholas. Or how about the revolving door in the #2 spot in the order that saw Ryan Strausborger bat in eight times but only once since April 25.

The lineup has changed quite a bit over the course of the year, and I thought it might neat to take a closer look. Thus, I present the unofficial Steve Buechele RoughRiders Average First Half Lineup Card:

1st Half Lineup

This was an inexact science, but the idea was to present the amalgamation of the most common occurrences in the lineup over the first 70 games. I started with the top nine position players in terms of games started. Jared Hoying played more often than Guilder Rodriguez when on the active roster but his injury and subsequent promotion but him a few starts behind Rogirguez, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Tomas Telis for total starts.

I could have gone with the player who has played the most at each position, but that would mean Selen would be the DH (with 21 starts at DH, Chiang was second with 10 starts at DH), but Selen only made 32 overall starts in the first half, which ranked 11th on the team in total starts, so that didn’t make as much sense.

From there, I tried to place the most common spot in the lineup for each of the nine players, but that led to a few problems as well. For example: of the nine players, Chiang made the most starts in the #5 spot (22) but he made more starts in the #6 spot (28), which was also the most among the nine players, so he was the obvious choice there. Odubel Herrera and Teodoro Martinez batted leadoff more than anywhere else, but as you will see, Odubel became the #7 hitter, which has been the most inconsistently filled spot in the lineup. It’s the only spot that hasn’t had at least one player with more than 20 starts in that position of the lineup card.

The good news is, filling out the defense was easy. Of the nine players, each player’s most common position did not overlap save for one situation. Both Rodriguez and Buchholz played 3B more than anywhere else. Buchholz played almost twice as many times at the hot corner than G-Rod, though, so Rodriguez became the DH by default.

Martinez_Teodoro1. #3 Teodoro Martinez LF – Cafe has led off 23 times, including 22 of his last 23 starts. The one aberration in that stretch was batting second behind Ian Kinsler when he rehabbed with the RoughRiders last week–not a shameful move into the #2 spot. That consistency, along with the fact that he has really only hit in the #9 spot consistently otherwise (which needed to go to Alberto as you will see) won him the choice over Odubel Herrera in this spot. The ‘Riders are 14-9 when Martinez bats in the top spot. He is hitting .270 as the #1 batter, which is actually his lowest average at any spot in the lineup with more than 4 at bats; his .731 OPS, however, is the second highest (.759 in the #9 spot). As far the position goes, Teo has been the left fielder on 47 of the 70 lineup cards, which only trails Ryan Strausborger among outfield starts at one position.

Rodriguez_Guilder2. #6 Guilder Rodriguez DH – It’s ironic that the super-utility man Rodriguez is the DH. Or maybe it’s just stupidity on my part. G-Rod has actually only DH’d 3 times. Only Zach Zaneski and Hanser Alberto have DH’d less, but I had nowhere else to put him. If I could fill out the lineup card with him as the UTIL player, I would, but that’s just not allowed. The 29-year-old Venezuelan has played 12 games at 1B, 9 at 2B, 21 at 3B and 6 at SS. He leads the team in walks and on-base percentage (.0008 better than Brett Nicholas) and makes good contact, making him a good #2 hole hitter. He is hitting .309 in this spot this year and boasts a better than .400 OBP. He also has only one homer this year (and second of his career) in the spot in the order, which is good enough reason by itself. The fact that he has hit there more than anywhere else in the order, no one has any many starts in that spot as him, and no one else has primarily been the #2 hitter make G-Rod the obvious choice here.

Nicholas_Brett3. #29 Brett Nicholas 1B – Brett Nicholas made 28 of his first 30 appearances in the cleanup spot. Since that point, Nicholas has been the consistent pencil-in at number three. Nicholas has hit third more than any other player has hit in a single spot in the lineup. It has changed much as far as his production. In 33 games in the three spot, he is hitting .314/.383/.529. His production in the cleanup spot was nearly identical .291/.364/.556. He has struck out 50% more in the three hole (33 Ks vs. 22 Ks). As far as first base goes, only Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera have made more starts at one position (64 at SS, 60 at 2B) than Nicholas has at 1B (57)–a no brainer.

Buchholz_Alex4. #5 Alex Buchholz 3B – Buch has started 40 of the RoughRiders 70 games at the hot corner and only Brett Nicholas has more starts in the cleanup spot than him. This is all despite a three-week stint for the former Reds farmhand with the Rangers Triple-A club in Round Rock (where he hit eighth mostly and split time between DH and 3B, in case you were curious). He has 19 starts in the #5 spot but the cleanup spot really has suited him nicely. He is hitting .299 there with four of his six home runs. He is batting just .222 in the middle spot of the lineup.

Telis_Tomas5. #13 Tomas Telis C – Telis has been a shifting part of the middle to back-end of Buechele’s lineup. With 13 starts in the five and six spots of the lineup and 12 in the seven spot, he sort of defaulted into this position. Both Buchholz and Chiang have more starts than Telis at #5 but made more sense where they are at #4 and #6. He has received the bulk of the catching starts (38 of 70), 13 more than Zaneski. This has also been Telis’ best spot in the order as far as the batting average (.321), although all three of his home runs have come batting sixth, including the shot that won a fan a brand new Jeep.

Chiang_Chih-Hsien6. #11 Chih-Hsien Chiang RF – This one was easy. The first ever Taiwanese-born RoughRider was the most often used player in right field this season as well as the number six spot in the order. The same was true of Chiang’s starts. He made 22 in the number five spot, six less than number six. His starts in left (14) and DH (10) were far outweighed by his playing time in right field (36). He hasn’t hit his best in the number six spot. In fact his .202 batting average hitting sixth is the worst of the five spots in the order that he has hit in.

Herrera_Odubel

7. #7 Odubel Herrera 2B – The hardest man to place, Herrera actually spent more time in the leadoff spot than any other player and hit second more often than seventh. He hasn’t hit leadoff since May 22 though. At least his position was easy to place. Outside of Alberto at SS, Herrera has made the most starts at one position with 60 at second base. He is hitting .304 in the #7 spot, his highest average of any spot in the lineup in which he has started more than one game, so that helps. I’ll run with that stat and leave it at that. Plus, he is hitting there tonight to begin the second half.

Strausborger_Ryan8. #4 Ryan Strausborger CF – With 63 starts in the outfield, Ryan Strausborger has been by far the most commonly placed player into the lineup as an outfielder. His 54 centerfield starts is most for any ‘Riders player at one spot in the outfield. His spot in the order has been less predictable. Ryan has hit second (8 starts), fifth (2), sixth (12), seventh (20), eighth (23), and ninth (1). His .247 average and .301 on-base percentage batting eighth is best of any spot he has hit in the order.

Alberto_Hanser9. #2 Hanser Alberto SS – Alberto began and finished the first half in the last spot of the order. He did 26 other times in between, beating out the second spot in the order for most starts for him. The 64 out of 70 day shortstop was the most commonly started position player at one position and his 28 starts in the #9 spot trail only Brett Nicholas in the three and four spot (33,32), Hoying in the three spot (32), and Herrera in the leadoff spot (29) for most starts in one spot of the order. Hanser hit .222 in the first half in the last spot in the order while he hit .288 in the #2 spot, but that is more of a function of him hitting second while hitting well and not hitting well because he was batting second. The youngest player in the Texas League at season’s open finished behind only Brett Nicholas and Ryan Strausborger with 65 starts.

The rest…

  • The bench players are all of the position players who didn’t make the starting nine that have played for the ‘Riders this year.
  • Neil Ramirez made it on the card as the most oft-used starting pitcher on the staff. He has made 14 starts. Carlos Pimentel checks in second with 13 games started.
  • The #5 spot is the only one in the lineup in which every active member of the roster has made at least one start in. Even Joe Benson has a start there, and he has only made eight starts in total.
  • Brett Nicholas and Jared Hoying were the most stable forces in the Frisco lineup in the first half. The two appeared in only three different spots (#3, #4, and #5). Every other RoughRider was placed in at least four different spots in the order in the first half.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: rabbit – a player with great speed

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

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