Results tagged ‘ Hanser Alberto ’

Spring Training Travels Day 4: Rangers Return From San Antonio

This marks the fourth day, third full day, of the RoughRiders Media Relations Department’s travels at Spring Training in and around Phoenix, Arizona. In our fourth installment, Steve Goldberg recaps the Rangers’ weekend trip to San Antonio and the adjustment to getting back in a rhythm at camp. All installments can be found here, including Day 1Day 2, and Day 3.

With two full days of Spring Training under our belt, we move on to our third day here at the Rangers’ training complex. When we arrived in Surprise on Saturday, a group of players were noticeably missing. They were playing two games against the Kansas City Royals in San Antonio.

It was a very enjoyable weekend for the group who made the 850-mile trek back to Texas. The Rangers won both games against the Royals, scored a total of 20 runs, and played in front of 27,536 fans on Friday and 33,592 on Saturday. This was indeed a major change of pace from playing in smaller Cactus League ballparks.

The team experienced many thrills over the weekend, highlighted by former RoughRider Lewis Brinson’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s 7-5 victory.

Hanser Alberto, another former Rider, enjoyed the change of pace going from Surprise to San Antonio for the weekend. Alberto was a perfect 2-for-2 in the first game Friday.

“The San Antonio weekend was great,” Alberto said. “It’s a good city and it was great to be around the guys. We had a lot of fun there and played very well.”

Alberto

Infielder Hanser Alberto played 150 total games with the RoughRiders during the 2013 and 2014 seasons

Alberto and the squad who made the trip to San Antonio were back at the Rangers’ training complex Sunday. They had a quick turnaround, with a 1:05 p.m. big league game against the Angels looming. Despite the major contrast between playing at the Alamodome and Surprise Stadium, the team had a smooth transition back to the everyday routine of camp.

“It’s the same game, nothing new,” Alberto said. “You see the ball and hit the ball. You make the routine plays and play your hardest. We came back here and are continuing to work hard. We want to keep showing everyone that we’re ready.”

For Alberto, his first taste of Major League action last year has impacted his mindset at this year’s Spring Training. He continues to receive valuable advice from the experienced players in the clubhouse that have helped him with adjust to playing in the big leagues.

“I have learned a lot from the veteran guys,” Alberto said. “It’s been a great experience. Now I have a better idea how to work and concentrate. The results are going to be different every day, but now I feel comfortable at every point in the game. I am more ready than ever.”

Strausborger

2012-14 RoughRiders OF Ryan Strausborger records exclusive content for RiderVision

There are many other former Riders in a similar position. Chi Chi Gonzalez, Keone Kela, and Ryan Strausborger all made their Major League debuts with the Rangers last season and bring that experience with them to this year’s Spring Training.

As mentioned in our Day 2 post, this is my first time at Spring Training. One of the most noticeable and pleasantly surprising things has been observing the interaction between Major League veterans and the up-and-coming prospects throughout all levels of the organization.

Everyone here is striving to improve and advance to the highest level of the sport. The veterans have a visible presence at the camp giving their tips and offering advice to the younger players, who are learning as much as possible in their quest for success.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: freight delivery – slow pitching

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Spring in their step

2015-Texas-Rangers-Spring-Training-LogoFollowing a long 2014 season and an off-season light on major roster developments, spring training is well underway for the Rangers out in Surprise, Arizona. And, despite camp starting under the dark cloud of serious injuries (see Darvish, Yu and Profar, Jurickson) for the second straight year, the promise of a new season and better results on the horizon are enough to encourage any baseball fan back here in the Metroplex. The big league club has already played nearly two handfuls of Cactus League games and, as expected, Texas has used a plentiful number of players in those contests, including several players we can expect to see in Frisco this season.

It’s never wise to put too much stock into spring training numbers, because it’s difficult to decipher between what’s reality and versus a desert mirage. That said it’s hard not to get excited over things like Rougned Odor’s torrid start (6 for 13 with two doubles) and good early reports on Elvis Andrus. Knowing that spring results should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, let’s take a look at what some like 2015 RoughRiders have done while moonlighting in big league games through March 10. (The minor league games for the players in camp will begin on March 16, and that is when we’ll begin to get a better idea of the roster makeup for each affiliate).

Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo showing off his defensive prowess at the hot corner in 2014. (Grant Nelson/Frisco RoughRiders)

Joey Gallo showing off his defensive prowess at the hot corner in 2014. (Grant Nelson/Frisco RoughRiders)

The Rangers’ 2014 Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year will look to take another big step toward the big leagues and may not be a long term resident in Frisco this season (assuming he starts there). Gallo, a non-roster invitee to spring training, has played in five of Texas’ eight games and is 3 for 10 with two walks, two strikeouts and a homer on March 8 against Cubs roster hopeful Eric Jokisch.

Jorge Alfaro

Gallo’s fellow “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” (the collective nickname given to teen wonders – Gallo, Alfaro, Mazara, Williams, Guzman and Brinson – that populated the 2013 Hickory Crawdads) has gotten into seven games, going 2 for 9 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Look for Alfaro to get the lion’s share of the time behind the plate for Frisco this season.

Nick Williams

The 21-year-old from Galveston has played in one spring training game, going 1 for 2. Williams did not have the smoothest entry into Double-A last season (.226/.250/.290), but he showed flashes of his powerful hit tool and figures to be one of the more scrutinized prospects on the RoughRiders this season.

Hanser Alberto

Alberto could be ticketed for a level higher in the farm system at the start of the season based on position need and there is no doubt he has an advanced defensive tool. The Dominican, who was added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster in the off-season, won the Minor League Gold Glove Award for 2014. In six spring games with the big club, he is 4 for 12 with a double and a steal.

Trever Adams

The Nebraska native could be in line to begin 2015 in Frisco despite being named a Texas League Postseason All-Star last year. He has swung the bat well in limited spring action, going 2 for 3 over two games.

Pitchers

Chad Bell looked to be on the fast track to the big leagues before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for 2013. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/Frisco RoughRiders)

Chad Bell looked to be on the fast track to the big leagues before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for 2013. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/Frisco RoughRiders)

Some of the big names (Jake Thompson, Andrew Faulkner) that figure to come to Frisco haven’t yet pitched in any big league games this spring, but several other hurlers have. Prospective Riders that have pitched scoreless baseball to date include Cody Kendall, Jose Leclerc and Kohsuke Tomita. Chad Bell, a Rider in 2012, may be with Frisco to begin 2015 as he continues his journey back from Tommy John surgery. He has allowed one run (on a solo homer) in his lone inning of action while Jesus Pirela (one run, 1.1 innings), Josh McElwee (two runs, 0.2 innings) and Efrain Nieves (two runs, 0.2 innings) have also been touched for runs.

  • Alex

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

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