Results tagged ‘ Hickory Crawdads ’

Riding Through the Farm: July 13

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“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (54-36 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are slumping a bit at the All-Star Break, coming in with a four-game series loss vs. Minnesota last weekend. That said, they’re still leading the division and are expected to get Yu Darvish back Saturday in Chicago.

Cole Hamels and Ian Desmond represented the club in last night’s All-Star Game. Hamels worked a scoreless third inning, allowing two hits and striking out Kris Bryant to end the inning. Desmond came on as a defensive sub in the sixth and went 0-for-1, reaching on a fielder’s choice.

It’s on to Wrigley Field this weekend, where the Rangers start a three-game series against the Cubs on Friday

Next: Friday at Chicago Cubs, 1:20 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (46-45 – 3rd, PCL American Southern Division)

Like the Rangers, the Express are struggling coming into the All-Star Break. Round Rock lost five straight and six of seven before the off days. The lone win came Tuesday in New Orleans on the strength of five scoreless innings from Yohander Mendez in his Triple-A debut.

Remember, the PCL doesn’t have halves, so Round Rocks’ bid for a playoff spot will be a marathon, not a 72-game sprint. The Express only trail first-place Nashville by three games with 53 to go, so there’s plenty of time.

Brett Nicholas and Michael Roth were selected to the PCL All-Star Game, which takes place tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Next: Tomorrow vs. Sacramento, 7:05 p.m. (SP: TBA)

Palmquist

Former Riders pitcher Cody Palmquist has been one of the top relievers in High Desert’s bullpen since joining the squad last month.

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (53-36 overall, 10-9 second half – T-2nd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks come off a big series win over Rancho Cucamonga, taking three of the four games from the Quakes, who finished right behind the Mavs for the first half title. After an off day yesterday, the Mavericks head to Stockton to start a three-game series against the Athletics’ Class A-Advanced affiliate.

Travis Demeritte joined Ronald Guzman as the other Rangers representative in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Sunday. He posted the same line as Guzman, going 0-for-1 with a walk. Demeritte started at second base for the US team.

Remember Cody Palmquist? He’s been sensational for the Mavericks since leaving the RoughRiders June 4. Palmquist is 2-1 with a miniscule 0.55 ERA (1 ER in 16 1/3 innings) over his 11 outings and is 3-of-4 in save opportunities.

Tonight: at Stockton, 9:10 p.m. (SP: TBA)


CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (47-43 overall, 9-11 second half – 6th, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are starting to ride the roller coaster, struggling to find consistency in the win column. After winning three of four against Rome over the weekend, the ‘Dads have dropped two straight to Lakewood.

Eduard Pinto is not struggling with consistency lately, hitting .559 (!) in his last eight games with two homers and eight RBI. Former RoughRiders pitcher Emerson Martinez is 0-2 in eight appearances with Hickory and took the loss earlier today.

Next: Tomorrow vs. Lakewood, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (11-15, – 4th, Northwest League North Division)

Spokane is struggling a bit in the early going, with eight of the 15 losses coming by five or more runs. The Indians lost 14-2 last night to Salem-Keizer, getting no-hit until the ninth inning.

The Indians had to face Major League rehabber Felix Hernandez in Everett and fared pretty well, touching “King Felix” up for three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Second baseman Blaine Prescott is coming around for Spokane, going 13-for-28 (.464) in his last seven games. His 12-game hit streak ended last night. It was tied for the longest in the NWL this year.

Tonight: vs. Salem-Keizer, 8:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Nick Green)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Confrere – A teammate

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

 

Riding Through the Farm: Into the second half

Riding Through the Farm v3“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (47-26, 1st – AL West)

Texas had its seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday against the Reds, but got a new streak started with a win on Wednesday. After the off day, Boston comes to town tonight to begin a three-game set.

The Rangers continue to hold the best record in the American League and are tied for the most wins in all of baseball (47, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco). With Seattle’s recent skid, the lead in the AL West is suddenly at 10 games.

Tonight: vs. Boston, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Nick Martinez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (39-34, 2nd – PCL American Southern Division)

Round Rock picked up its second win against Oklahoma City in 11 tries last night after struggling most of the year with the Dodgers affiliate. With the aid of the infield fly rule, the Express turned a 6-7-5-2 double play last night.

Doug Bernier is hitting .389 in his last five games for the “E-Train,” while former RoughRiders catcher Pat Cantwell continues to hit well, hitting .303 in his first 35 games.

On the mound, former RoughRiders pitcher Richelson Pena teamed up with Jose Monegro (who has since rejoined the Riders) to allow one run on seven hits in a seven-inning game against first-place Nashville earlier this week.

Tonight: at Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Richelson Pena)

<img class="wp-image-2206122" src="https://mlblogsridersinsider.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/travis-demeritte.jpg?w=555&quot; alt="Travis Demeritte” width=”304″ height=”171″ /> Travis Demeritte was one of two High Desert Mavericks to play in the All-Star Game Tuesday.

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (43-28, 1st half champions – California League South Division)

High Desert edged out Rancho Cucamonga to win the first-half championship, making the Mavs the only Rangers affiliate to win the opening half. They began the second half with a tough walk-off loss last night against the Quakes.

Tuesday, the Mavericks had a pair participate in the California-Carolina All-Star Game. Travis Demeritte was 1-for-2 with a double, while Jose Trevino was 0-for-2.

Tonight: at Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (38-33, Finished tied for 3rd – South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory went sliding into the all-star break and the struggles continued Thursday with a walk-off loss in 11 innings at Greensboro. The ‘Dads have lost eight of their last nine.

Thursday’s extra-inning loss was Hickory’s eighth of the year. The Crawdads have now played 29 extra innings this year, including games of 14, 17, and 19 innings.

Hickory sent five guys to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday. Yeyson Yrizarri played the whole way, going 1-for-4. Tyler Sanchez came in as a backup catcher and was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance. On the hill, Pedro Payano and Erik Swanson each worked a scoreless inning, while Jeffrey Springs came on for 1/3 of an inning.

Tonight: at Greensboro, 6:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (4-3, T-1st – Northwest League North Division)

The Indians are off to a good start in 2016, winning four of their first seven games, including an 11-run outburst in Eugene last night. Former Rider Jake Shortslef made the start for Spokane and allowed two runs in four innings, starting the game with three hitless innings.

Chad Smith is off to a great start for Spokane, hitting .346 with four doubles and six RBI in his first six games. On the mound, Rangers sixth-round pick Kyle Cody has a 1.80 ERA in his first two outings.

The unfortunate news out of the Evergreen State this week is that highly-regarded prospect Michael Matuella will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury. Matuella worked three scoreless innings in his first start with Spokane on Friday, his first career pro appearance after missing all of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Tonight: at Eugene, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Tyler Phillips)

AZL RANGERS

We won’t have updates every week, but we’re keeping our eye on the AZL squad at the moment because both Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Luis Marte are rehabbing with the squad.

Marte debuted last night, going 2-for-3 with a RBI double and a stolen base. Kiner-Falefa is 1-for-10 with an RBI and a stolen base in his first three games.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Neutral win/loss – An estimate of a pitcher’s won-lost record if that pitcher were given league-average run support.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: May 16

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Matt Bush made his big league debut this weekend with the Rangers.

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (22-16, 1st place, AL West)

The big talk around the organization in the last 24 hours has been about the melee that ensued yesterday. Plenty has already been written about it, so we won’t any more words on the matter.

Aside from all that, the big news of the weekend was Matt Bush’s promotion to the Rangers.  He had two good outings for the Rangers, mowing down the Blue Jays 1-2-3 in his debut on Friday and picking up his first big league win yesterday.

With yesterday’s win, the Rangers are back atop the AL West.

Tonight: at Oakland, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (18-18, 1st, PCL American Southern Division)

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate in the midst of a long losing streak. The Express had their losing streak run to six games Sunday in Albuquerque, despite a three-run homer from Shin Soo Choo in his first rehab game. Three of the six losses, however, have been by two runs or fewer.

Before yesterday’s game, skipper Jason Wood became the first player to have his number retired by the Isotopes.

Tonight: at Albuquerque, 7:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (25-12, T-1st, California League South Division)

When we last updated you, the Mavericks were in the midst of a rough 2-5 stretch. Last week was much better, though, as the Mavericks won five of six games, including the first three against a good Visalia team.

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Luis Ortiz, seen here during Spring Training, is off to a great start with the Mavericks.

One of the big stories this week was quality starting pitching. Saturday, it was Luis Ortiz who allowed just one hit (a home run) and one run over six innings of work. Yesterday, Yohander Mendez followed that performance up with five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, while walking one and striking out seven.

Another highly touted arm, righty Ariel Jurado, goes for the Mavericks this afternoon against Visalia.

Tonight: at Visalia, 3:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Ariel Jurado)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (24-12, 1st, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The schedule says the ‘Dads played just one game yesterday, but they played the equivalent of more than two. Hickory got tangled in a 19-inning affair with the Rome Braves, allowing seven runs in the top of the 19th to fall, 9-2. It culminated a four-game series split for the Crawdads.

The much-talked-about Andy Ibanez is starting to find his groove again, going 9-for-27 in his last seven games, with four of those nine hits going for doubles. He was 2-for-18 his previous seven games.

Tonight: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: TBD)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Baseballically – Relating to the game of baseball. (“The Babe [Ruth] was one of my children, you know, baseballistically speaking.” – Former Yankees president Edward G. Barrow)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: Multiple players of the month, and more

The Rangers farm system continues its incredible start to the season, entering the day with a combined record of 72-35 (.673), which is second-best among all 30 farm systems. Here’s a look at what the other affiliates (and the Rangers) outside of Frisco have been up to this week.

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Nomar Mazara was named AL Rookie of the Month on Monday

TEXAS RANGERS (15-14)

It was a tough week in Toronto for the Rangers, who dropped three of four to the Jays. All three losses came in tough fashion, with walk-off losses on Tuesday and Wednesday, before a lopsided 12-2 loss last night. Starter Derek Holland was pulled in the third inning, marking the first time this year that a Ranger starter didn’t make it through five frames. Former Riders Nomar Mazara and Brett Nicholas each homered Monday, providing the lone offense in a 2-1 win at Rogers Centre. Mazara also threw out a runner at the plate that kept the Rangers in front.

There’s been plenty of news off the field this week, too. Mazara was named American League Rookie of the Month (April) after a sensational start to the season. Additionally, the Rangers traded for Bobby Wilson. In corresponding moves, Nicholas was optioned back to Round Rock and Chris Gimenez – who rehabbed with the Riders last week – was designated for assignment and traded to Cleveland for cash considerations.

Tonight: at Detroit, 6:10 CT (SP: LHP Cole Hamels)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (15-11)

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Pat Cantwell (above) and Michael McKenry went a combined 8-15 with 8 RBI at Colorado Springs

The bad news out of Round Rock this week is that Rangers top-ranked prospect Joey Gallo has been placed on the DL with a left groin strain. He’s expected to miss 3-4 weeks. The good news is that the Express won three of four this week at Colorado Springs, keeping them atop the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern Division.

It’s been a good week for catchers at Round Rock. Former Rider Patrick Cantwell (4-8, 2 RBI) and fellow catcher Michael McKenry (4-7, 2 2B, 6 RBI) each had big series in the four-game series at Colorado Springs.

Yu Darvish makes his second rehab start tonight, and is scheduled to throw three innings/45 pitches.

Tonight: vs New Orleans, 7:05 CT (SP: Yu Darvish)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (19-9)

Ryan Cordell wasn’t the only Rangers farmhand to win a Minor League Baseball Player of the Month award. Mavericks SS Travis Demeritte was named California League Player of the Month after leading the circuit in homers (8), runs (23), extra-base hits (18) and slugging (.753).

The Mavericks had their 11-game winning streak snapped last Friday and are just 2-5 in their last seven games. However, they’re still tied with Rancho Cucamonga for the California League South Division lead.

Tonight: vs Rancho Cucamonga, 8:35 CT (SP: RHP Cole Wiper)

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RHP Dillon Tate came off the DL for the Crawdads this week

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (18-9)

The Rangers organization very well could have had a third Player of the Month honor with the way Andy Ibanez opened the season for the ‘Dads, hitting .402 with 13 doubles, two homers and 16 RBI. Still, the Crawdads have continued their torrid start to 2016, having won seven of their last nine games.

In other news, RHP Dillon Tate came off the DL this week and allowed just one run in two innings of work against Rome.

Tonight: at Rome, 6:00 CT (SP: LHP Erik Swanson)

 

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Half Gainer – A headfirst dive for a catch. From the name of a common dive in aquatic sports.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: Rangers Organization Off to Perfect Start

Happy Friday, everyone! Opening Day has come and gone in Minor League Baseball. As we enter day two, the Rangers are the only organization to have all four of their affiliates win last night, thanks to victories from Frisco, Round Rock, High Desert and Hickory yesterday. Two other organizations (Boston and Toronto) also went undefeated yesterday, but some of their affiliates didn’t play due to inclement weather.

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Joey Gallo and the Round Rock Express picked up a 7-3 win at Iowa yesterday

We’ve already written plenty about the RoughRiders shutout win at Northwest Arkansas last night, led by 6 solid innings from starter Frank Lopez, a clutch double by Ryan Cordell and big-time pitching late in the game when the pressure situations came up. So as you get ready for game two tonight at 7:05 (listen live online or on the TuneIn Radio app), we wanted to give you a quick look at some of the stars throughout the organization yesterday.

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (7-3 win at Iowa)

The Express didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the season opener, scoring twice in the top of the 1st and then putting up a 5-spot in the 3rd to start the year on a winning note.

Tonight: Game 2 at Iowa, 7:08 pm

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (10-5 win vs Inland Empire)

Travis Demeritte, MLB.com’s no. 21 prospect in the Rangers organization, made his High Desert debut in a memorable way, and the Mavericks scored 6 runs over the first 3 innings to pick up the Opening Day win.

Tonight: Game 2 vs Inland Empire, 8:35 pm

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (5-1 win vs Kannapolis)

Rangers no. 16 prospect Andy Ibanez and no. 11 prospect Brett Martin was effective in his four innings on the mound for the Crawdads, as they began their defense of the South Atlantic League title with a win.

  • IF Andy Ibanez: 4-5, 3B, 4 RBI
  • LHP Brett Martin: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 8 K
  • RHP Tyler Davis: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K to pick up the win in relief

Tonight: Game 2 at Kannapolis, 6:05 pm – Rangers no. 4 prospect Dillon Tate is scheduled to start

Stay tuned for more updates from the farm system over the course of the season.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Foozler – A lucky base hit.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

An update from the desert – Keeping tabs on the AFL

2014-AFL

We are past the halfway point in the Arizona Fall League and RoughRiders have plenty of representation in both former and future players out in the desert, so let’s look at how they are all doing. Last year the Rangers’ “affiliate,” the Surprise Saguaros, won the AFL Championship and through Sunday’s games, Delino DeShields Sr.’s team was 18-12-1. Before we dive into the individual numbers, a little context on the AFL.

You may have heard a lot about the Rangers’ new Advanced-A affiliate, the High Desert Mavericks, and the favorable offensive climate at Mavericks Stadium. Because of the relative ease in scoring runs out in Adelanto, California, evaluators and fans will need to take stats generated there with a grain of salt. The impressive offensive numbers we are likely to see there this season may end up being a mirage after a promotion to Frisco. Likewise, we are due to see some pretty garish ERA’s and other pitching statistics from hurlers out there, so we can’t be too harsh in judging the rough numbers that will undoubtedly hit the box scores.

Now, conditions in the AFL don’t exactly mimic the more hitter-friendly locales in the California League, but the thin air and wind there will help the batters more often than the pitchers, so you always see some bloated numbers for both sides.

There is another reason for this, one you don’t hear quite so much about: the AFL isn’t really it’s all made out to be. Don’t get me wrong, you have a very nice collection of good players there, but it is not the concentrated gathering of elite prospects that Minor League Baseball would lead you to believe it is. Many teams do not send their best prospects out to Arizona, especially on the pitching side. Typically, organizations decide to send their pitchers who did not get enough innings under their belt during the regular season, be it for injury, lack of opportunity or developmental speed bumps (i.e., Houston’s Mark Appel). Not every one of these pitchers is potential star and many are there simply to get in some work, regardless of the results. In that sense, it is a little like spring training for Major League veterans.

The Rangers are not much different from most teams in not sending their very best prospects to the AFL. If that was not the case, you would see Chi Chi Gonzalez, Luke Jackson, Jake Thompson, Luis Ortiz and Keone Kela (among others) suiting up for the Surprise Saguaros this year.   Texas was satisfied with all of those pitchers’ workloads during the regular season and elected to send others to the AFL instead. I’m not suggesting that all of the pitchers out in Arizona are non-prospects, simply that the AFL does not typically get the cream of the crop when it comes to pitching.

Another reason to consider the AFL being a bit watered down is that there are so many other leagues in action at the moment. From Venezuela to the Dominican Republic to Australia, Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico, there is a lot of competition from other winter/fall leagues and those circuits guzzle up a considerable of minor league talent. Sure, a lot of players in those leagues are veterans (many former big leaguers stay active this way), but young minor leaguers like Jorge Alfaro, Teodoro Martinez and Nomar Mazara occupy their off-seasons in these leagues too.

If you needed another reason not to take too much stock in the stats you see for individual players, keep in mind that five weeks of baseball in October and November is a relatively small sample size in the context of the full season we see from April through Labor Day. We are all glad we did not make any long-term evaluations of Mazara after his first five weeks (sub-.200 average with one homer in Hickory), right? In addition to the sample size issue, it is the end of a long year for many of these players. It is not uncommon for them to be worn down, masking their true potential. Last year Ryan Rua hit .175 in 17 games for Surprise, two points lower than AFL teammate Jonathan Schoop. Can’t remember if either guy did anything of note in 2014…

The AFL has once again tilted in the direction of the hitters, as through Sunday’s games offenses were averaging more than five runs scored per game and the league ERA was 4.51. The Rangers have seven players on the Saguaros roster this season:

PITCHERS

Lisalverto Bonilla made his big league debut this season with the Rangers. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)

Lisalverto Bonilla made his big league debut this season with the Rangers. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)

RHP Lisalverto Bonilla: 3 GS, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 11.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 11 SO, 2.43 GO/AO, .222 AVG

Bonilla, a RoughRider in 2013, did not put together eye-popping numbers for Triple-A Round Rock in the regular season, but his performance was enough to earn him a promotion to Arlington, where he won his first three big league starts and posted a 3.05 ERA in 20.2 innings. The Rangers want to see how he can hold up as a starting pitcher, which is not a bad idea given his tools (excellent changeup, solid slider and a low-to-mid-90s fastball. He will compete for a spot on the big league team in the spring and will begin the season either there or in the Pacific Coast League.

RHP Cody Kendall: 6 G, 0-0, 5.68 ERA, 6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.33 GO/AO, .296 AVG

The 24-year-old Kendall (he will be 25 in December) had a tremendous year out of the bullpen for both Hickory and Myrtle Beach, going 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 56.2 innings. He was not a huge strikeout guy (51 whiffs), but limited runners (1.06 WHIP). Given his age, the Rangers will likely push him to Frisco in 2015, perhaps to start the season, and see if the 2012 eighth rounder is capable of matching his success against more advanced hitters.

RHP Josh McElwee: 6 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1.25 GO/AO, .143 AVG

The South Carolinian has picked up Arizona right where he left off following his successful late-season Double-A cameo. He is tied for the best ERA in the AFL and is eighth in WHIP (0.75). McElwee is exactly six months older than Kendall and is in a similar position in needing to prove himself against top hitters. After an up-and-down stint with Hickory to start the season, he did just that in Myrtle Beach (0.42 ERA in 21.2 IP) and Frisco (1.00 ERA in 9 IP). He flashed a good breaking ball and kept his sinker away from the good part of the bat when we saw him in August. The affable McElwee posted a 2.25 ERA and a 92-25 SO-BB ratio across 66.2 minor league innings this season and should be back in the Texas League to begin 2015.

RHP Sam Wolff: 6 G, 0-0, 9.45 ERA, 6.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO, 2.00 GO/AO, .323 AVG

Some in the Carolina League attested that Wolff was the most impressive pitcher in the circuit at times, but he suffered a second half swoon in his first full professional season (not uncommon at all), finishing 9-5 with a 3.37 ERA in 120.1 innings. After three scoreless outings to begin his AFL stint, Wolff has struggled in his last three, allowing eight runs in 2.2 innings. A favorite of Frisco pitching coach Jeff Andrews (they are both from South Dakota), I would expect the right-hander to pitch for the RoughRiders at some point in 2015.

 

HITTERS

C Patrick Cantwell: 6 G, .200 (4 for 20), 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 XBH, 4 BB, 6 SO, .333 OBP, .200 SLG, .533 OPS

Cantwell spent all of 2014 with Frisco and surprised many with a solid offensive campaign after a very slow start. He finished with a .268/.360/.341 line while excelling defensively behind the plate. Cantwell is a contact hitter/get-on-base guy and has great intangibles. I would expect to see him spend a lot of time in big league camp spelling Robinson Chirinos & Co. in spring training games, then either head to Double-A or Triple-A to begin the season.

SS Michael De Leon: 7 G, .231 (6 for 26), 3 R, 2 RBI, 0 XBH, 1 BB, 5 SO, .259 OBP, .231 SLG, .490 OPS

17-year-old Michael De Leon played in one game for Frisco this season. (Grant Nelson/Frisco RoughRiders)

17-year-old Michael De Leon played in one game for Frisco this season. (Grant Nelson/Frisco RoughRiders)

The youngest player in the history of the AFL, De Leon does not turn 18 until January (his birthday is January 14, 1997 if you would like to feel old). He has held his own after doing the same (and sometimes more) in his time with Frisco, Myrtle Beach and Hickory. After making his regular season pro debut as an emergency fill-in with the RoughRiders in May, he spent the bulk of his season with the Crawdads before a late-year promotion to the Carolina League, where he was one of the Pelicans’ top offensive performers in the postseason. De Leon hit .248/.307/.314 across all levels, flashed some of the potential that led Texas to award him a mid-six-figure bonus in 2013 and showed everyone what a 160-pound player physically looks like (rough approximation would be Pablo Sandoval ÷ 2). He may be in High Desert for the entirety of 2015.

OF Nick Williams: 15 G, .267 (16 for 60), 4 2B, 3B, HR, 9 HR, 5 R, 0 BB, 16 SO, 0-1 SB, .290 OBP, .417 SLG, .707 OPS

The Galveston native has carried the water for the Rangers hitters on the Saguaros, as he has the highest batting average and is the only one with an extra-base hit (he has six). Williams is tied for fourth in the AFL in hits, tied for ninth in RBI, third in total bases (25) and tied for second in strikeouts (with no walks). The lefty batter oozes potential at the plate and is considered by many to be the best pure hitter in the farm system. As the former second rounder out of high school ball matures, he will need to develop a more controlled approach. When he does, he will really be a special player to watch in the batter’s box. Williams should spend 2015 with the RoughRiders after finishing up the season in Frisco (.226-0-4); he hit .283/.331/.462 for the season (the bulk coming in Myrtle Beach).

 

– Alex

Frisco Futures: Checking in with Lewis Brinson

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Lewis Brinson (center) and Joey Gallo (right) were part of Jon Daniels’ hailed 2012 draft class.

If you follow the Rangers’ farm system, then it’s very likely you’ve heard of Lewis Brinson.  An athletic outfielder from Coral Springs, Florida, Texas drafted Brinson in the first round (29th overall) in 2012.  He played his first full season with low-A Hickory last year and was part of a Crawdads team that broke the South Atlantic League record for home runs in a single season (178).  Brinson’s individual season was a bit of mixed bag: he hit .237/.322/.749 with 21 homers, 52 RBI, 24 steals and 191 strikeouts.

On Saturday, Brinson got his first taste of big league action, pinch hitting for Michael Choice in the Rangers’ wild, 16-15 spring training win over the Athletics.  He doubled to center field on the first pitch he saw from 2013 Midland RockHound Ryan Dull in the seventh inning before flying out to right in the eighth.

Entering the 2014 season, ESPN.com’s Keith Law ranks Brinson as the Rangers’ fourth-best minor league prospect.  The right-handed outfielder won’t turn 20 until May 8 and figures to begin the year with either Hickory or Myrtle Beach.  While it’s unlikely he could reach Frisco this year, a great campaign could lead to a late season cameo with the RoughRiders.  While I was out in Surprise last week, I caught up with Brinson and we talked about spring training, last season in Hickory and his goals before breaking camp.

If you’d like to listen to the audio of the interview, click here.

Alex Vispoli: Lewis, this is your second spring training; what’s been the difference from what you came in to see last year and what you’ve been going through this year?

Lewis Brinson: Last spring training I was kind of in awe a little bit.  The whole spring training aspect of it with big leaguers around everywhere; guys that you grew up loving and now you’re training with them, stretching with them, hitting with them, getting to talk to them everyday.  But now I’ve gotten kind of used to it and I’m just trying to win a job here.  You’ve got a better idea of what you need to do to get ready for the season, so I’m just looking at it like that.

AV: Instead of being in awe of the big leaguers, are you trying this year to learn from them, watching what they do and how they go about their business?

LB: Yeah, definitely.  Anytime a big leaguer stops and talks to you, you listen.  I’m just watching them walk around, hitting, throwing, stretching, working out, talking.  Just getting used to knowing how they go about their business.  You want to be at that level one day so who cares if you copy them?  They’re big leaguers, they’re there for a reason, so why not be like them?

AV: A lot of folks looked at that Hickory team that you were on last year – you had Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Jorge Alfaro –a lot of really young guys that have had a ton of success early in their pro careers.  Was it fun to be a part of that group?  You guys are all about the same age, in the same boat, with the same experience level, playing together.

LB: Oh yeah, that was very fun.  Everybody looked at our home runs last year [with us being] a really young group and was asking “How did they hit that many home runs?  These guys must be freakishly talented or on something.”  But we have a great time together.  We’re all, like you said, the same age, so we love being around each other.  We all have the same goals; we all have the same work ethic and want to get to the big leagues around the same time and start our big league careers together, hopefully with the Texas Rangers.  We’re just out there having a good time.  I love those guys.

AV: Finally Lewis, what are your goals here for the next couple of weeks before you break camp?

LB: Just to get ready.  [Minor league spring] games start Thursday [March 13].  So just getting ready for the season.  It’s grind time, trying to make a team and trying to get your last bit of work in.  Just come here everyday with a plan, and plan to get better everyday.

AV: Well Lewis, best of luck here over the next couple of weeks.  Stay healthy and hopefully at some point down the line we’ll see you in Frisco.

LB: All right, see you there.

Thanks for reading.

–          Alex

Joining the club – Rua’s 30th homer of the season

Would you believe that a 17th round draft pick from 2011 with 11 professional home runs entering this season would end up in the 30s in his home run count?  Ryan Rua has done just that this season.

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The former Lake Erie College standout went deep to lead off the bottom of the third on Thursday night for his first Double-A home run and his 30th this season.  He is now tied with Tennessee’s Javier Baez and New Britain’s Miguel Sano for the third-most homers in the minors this season, trailing only Oklahoma City’s George Springer (32) and former Indianapolis Indian Andrew Lambo (31) and Hickory’s Joey Gallo (31)

The Rangers have had other players reach the 30 home run mark in the minors.  Here’s at look at some from recent years: Joey Gallo (31 this season), Mike Bianucci (30 in 2009 and 2011), Nelson Cruz (37 in 2008) and Ian Gac (32 in 2008).

You can watch Rua hit his first Double-A home run here 

Look at the reaction on Twitter following Ryan’s homer:

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Who is Ryan Rua?

The 23-year-old is in his third year of professional baseball after getting drafted by the Rangers in the 17th round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft (same round as former San Antonio Missions pitcher Matt Stites who was traded to the Diamondbacks in July in the Ian Kennedy deal).  Ryan is the first player to ever be drafted out of Lake Erie College in Painsville, Ohio.

If it seems he just came out of nowhere this season, that because he really did.  In 2011 with AZL Rangers and Spokane, Ryan knocked just four long balls.  Playing for Spokane in 2012, Rua launched seven homers.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS
2011 21 Rangers ARIZ Rk 45 162 41 52 12 5 3 34 20 34 .321 .395 .907
2011 21 Spokane NORW A- 7 26 2 5 0 0 1 3 1 6 .192 .250 .558
2012 22 Spokane NORW A- 74 280 40 82 16 1 7 43 29 64 .293 .368 .800
2013 23 Hickory SALL A 104 367 70 92 24 1 29 82 49 91 .251 .356 .914
2013 23 Frisco TL AA 8 31 5 7 0 1 1 2 2 9 .226 .314 .701
3 Seasons 238 866 158 238 52 8 41 164 101 204 .275 .362 .858
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2013.

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2013 has been a breakout year for the Amherst, Ohio native.  In Hickory, Ryan slammed 29 home runs in 104 games and 367 at-bats.  Ryan earned the promotion to the RoughRiders on August 8, and he knocked his 30th homer of the season and his first at the Double-A level in his seventh game with Frisco.

In an interview with Alex on August 10, two days after becoming a RoughRider, Ryan spoke about where he thinks this breakout has come from, and how he handled people’s doubts:

“The success this season surprised me somewhat, but not all that much.  The hitting coach in Hickory that I’ve been working with for about two years, Justin Mayshore, helped me get a good feel for my swing, find a groove and find my confidence as well.” 

“Coming out of high school, I was always the smallest guy on the team.  In college, I was still one of the smaller guys.  There’s always been a chip on my shoulder, but I think it drives me.”

This season, Ryan is second only to Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo for the most home runs in the Rangers system.  Rua also leads the Rangers system in RBI with 84, ahead of Brett Nicholas who has 79.

Tepid Participation at Lone Star Ball caught up with Ryan for a Q&A just days before getting promoted to Frisco.  Tepid asks Ryan about growing up in the small Ohio town of Amherst, and get to know a little bit more about Rua and why he loves hot dogs.  The two also discuss the success of the Hickory Crawdads this year, what pitches Ryan likes to hit, and his experience learning to play at each base.

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-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Plowhorse – A player who grinds out solid performances after others would have expected him to let up.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide…: Part Two – The Players

This post is a continuation of an earlier post compiling the essential Twitter handles to keep up with the Texas Rangers farm system and Texas League. You can find all entries here

A little over a week ago, I posted twitter handles for the teams in the Texas Rangers system and the Texas league, along with broadcasters and other key employees in the league and the Rangers’ farm. Today, I submit Part Two of “The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League and the Rangers Farm System,” or TNCTG. If you want to check Part One – go here.

Today: a list of the players. This is, to my knowledge, an exhaustive list of the Frisco RoughRiders in addition to as many twitter handles I could find of Texas Rangers at the MLB and MiLB levels. As always, comment below or tweet me (@NathanSBarnett) with additional follows. I will update this as I can as the season moves along. If you want to use a list to keep track of these players, the RoughRiders Twitter handle has a 2013 RoughRiders list and I have one compiling as many current Rangers MLB and MiLB players that I can find.

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TNCTG PART TWO – The Players

(as of 05/17/13)

2013 Frisco RoughRiders

Current RoughRiders:

Hanser Alberto ‏ @elpotroalberto (#15 ranked prospect in Texas system by Baseball America)

Cody Buckel ‏  @Cheatcode07 (#8)

Randy Henry ‏ @RandyHenry51 (#29)

Odubel Herrera ‏ @odubelherrera1frisco roughriders logo

Jared Hoying ‏ @jhoying3035

Teodoro Martinez ‏ @martinezteo

Brett Nicholas ‏ @bnicholas15

Kevin Pucetas ‏ @KPucetas

Jimmy Reyes ‏ @jimmymreyes

Ryan Rodebaugh ‏ @RRodey

Ben Rowen ‏ @B_Rowen

Ryan Strausborger ‏ @Ryan_Straus

Zach Zaneski ‏ @ZZaneski

RoughRiders to play in 2013, now off roster:

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49 (Triple-A)

Ross Wolf ‏ @18RGW (Triple-A)

Other players in the Texas Rangers System:

MLB:

Elvis Andrus ‏ @ElvisandrusSS1

Nelson Cruz ‏ @ncboomstick17

ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) ‏ @faridyu

Neftali Feliz ‏ @NefFeliz

Josh Frasier ‏ @Frasier66 (bullpen catcher)

Leury Garcia ‏ @leurygarcia1 (#20)

Justin Grimm ‏ @GrimmReaper51 (#5)

Derek Holland ‏ @Dutch_Oven45texas_rangers-9679

Michael Kirkman ‏ @MikeKirkman50

Josh Lindblom  @JoshLindblom52 

Leonys Martin ‏ @leonys27martin (#4)

Joe Nathan ‏ @JoeNathan36

Martin Perez ‏ @MartinPerez33D (#3)

Jurickson Profar ‏ @JURICKSONPROFAR (#1 ranked prospect overall by Baseball America)

Robbie Ross ‏ @Ross_108

Joakim Soria ‏ @joakimsoria

Triple-A Round Rock:

Chad Bell ‏ @ChadBell19 (Injured just before beginning of the season, finished 2012 with Express)

Engel Beltre ‏ @engelbeltre07

Lisalverto Bonilla ‏ @propecto1

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49

Robinson Chirinos  @robinson28chrr_express_logo_detail

Michael Olt ‏ @molt2222 (#2)

Yangervis Solarte ‏ @yanyi26_12

Yoshinori Tateyama ‏ @tatetatetateyan

Ross Wolf ‏ @RGW

Advanced-A Myrtle Beach:

Alec Asher ‏ @Ash_Tag24

Kellin Deglan ‏ @keldegs

Royce Bolinger ‏ @roycebolinger

Zach Cone ‏ @ZachCone (#24)

Ryan Harvey ‏ @Hammer32jetlifepelicans

Luke Jackson ‏ @YaBoy77 (#6)

Will Lamb ‏ @LamboLeap30

Nick Martinez ‏ @nickmartinez10 (#27)

Rougned Odor ‏ @RougnedOdor (#11)

Drew Robinson ‏ @drewrobinsonnn

Jake Skole ‏ @JakeSkole15

Joe Van Meter ‏ @JVanMeter28

Class-A Hickory Crawdads:

Jorge Alfaro ‏ @_JorgeAlfaro11 (#9)

Ryan Bores ‏ @RyanBores

Lewis Brinson ‏ @LewisBrinson (#12)

Eric Brooks ‏ @itsEricBrooks

Coby Cowgill ‏ @CobyCowgill_RHP

C.J. Edwards ‏ @CEdwardsSBS (#14)

Joey Gallo ‏ @JoeyGallo24 (#10)

David Lyon ‏ @DLyonKSU36Hickory_Crawdads

Joe Maloney ‏ @JoeBoMalones

Nomar Mazara ‏ @NomarMzra26 (#16)

Luis Mendez ‏ @mendezluis932

Ryan Rua ‏ @Rua_Numba_2

Connor Sadzeck ‏ @connorsadzeck

Ryne Slack ‏ @Slack28

Nick Vickerson ‏ @Nick_Vickerson

Nick Williams ‏ @NW1superstar (#25)

Players yet to be assigned (either hurt or will be in either Rookie or Short-Season A)

Jairo Beras ‏ @jairoberas (#18)

Janluis Castro ‏ @Jaanluis

Guy Edmonds ‏ @EdmondsGuy

Brandon Garcia ‏ @BrandonGarcia_

Ronald Guzman ‏ @_ronaldguzman (#17)

Jamie Jarmon ‏ @jjarmon34

Kevin Matthews ‏ @kevmat1

Barrett Serrato ‏ @bserrato23

Nick Urbanus ‏ @NickUrb

Brett Weibley ‏ @wild_stallion5

Collin Wiles ‏ @cwiles11

_________________________

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: fuzzy concreteartificial turf

The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League and the Texas Rangers Farm System: Part One

A couple days ago I wrote a post here with the best resources for keeping up on the Texas Rangers and its minor league teams and prospects, and the entire time while writing it, I kept thinking about how I get as much or more information on Twitter these days.

I still hit the ‘ole feedly reader every day. Sometimes 140 characters just doesn’t really cut it for a topic. Yu know, like Darvish’s outing last night. (For more on that, read this, and this, and this and this. Oh and you have to watch that).

And while that is true, Twitter is still great, especially for breaking news. Want to be the first one to find out that Nelson Cruz’s home run last night actually came with a broken-bat swing? FSSW’s Emily Jones has you covered:

Did you see former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin got called yetserday? With Twitter, you could find great stuff on who is behind the numbers from excellent Rangers prospect guru Jason Cole:

And, yeah, you might have heard that 17-year-old Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara hit his second home run last night for Class-A Hickory, but how impressive was it? Crawdads’ broadcaster Aaron Cox does a very nice job tweeting in-game. See:

SO, without further ado, here it is: The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League, and the Texas Rangers Farm System.

Why “nearly” complete? Well. 1) this is not necessarily exhaustive. Plenty of people tweet about these topics, but this is a great starting point. And 2) of course we need your input! Let us know who we are missing by commenting below or tweeting at me (@NathanSBarnett) and 3) I am not done with the rest of the parts yet…

And, yes, this is just Part One of The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide (TNCTG). I will have a few entries over the next week or so and also update them, as I find new handles worthy of the all-important “follow” click.

Part One looks at the teams and key employee follows in the Texas League and Rangers system. Future entries will include key journalists, commentators, and bloggers to follow. And players! Yes, the exhaustive list of players as well. Stay tuned!

_________________________

TNCTG PART ONE:

Texas League Teams:

South Division:

Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Corpus Christi Hooks: @CCHooks

Midland Rockhounds: @RockHounds

San Antonio Missions: @MissionsMiLB

North Division:

Arkansas Travelers: @ARTravs

Northwest Arkansas Naturals: @NWANaturals

Springfield Cardinals: @Sgf_Cardinals

Tulsa Drillers: @TulsaDrillers

Teams in the Rangers System:

MLB – Texas Rangers: @Rangers

Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpress

Double-A – Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @PelicanBaseball

Single-A – Hickory Crawdads: @HickoryCrawdads

Short-Season A – Spokane Indians: @SpokaneIndians

Rookie – AZL Rangers: No official Twitter handle, that I am aware of. There is @AZL_Rangers which was created by a fan. Decent follow.

Rookie – DSL Rangers: Ditto. Some do cover this team, however. More to come in future TNCTG entries.

The Voices:

Alex Vispoli, Frisco RoughRiders: @Vispoli 

Bob Hards, Midland Rockhounds: Unknown. 

Michael Coffin, Corpus Christi Hooks: No twitter account (see team Twitter handle) 

Mike Saeger, San Antonio Missions: @SAMissionsRadio

Phil Elson, Arkansas Travelers: @ElsonPhil

Steven Davis, Northwest Arkansas Naturals: Unknown. 

Andrew Buchbinder, Springfield Cardinals: Unknown. 

Dennis Higgins, Tulsa Drillers: Unknown. 

Eric Nadel, #1 MLB – Texas Rangers: @NadelEr

Matt Hicks, #2 MLB – Texas Rangers: @RadioHicksie

Mike Capps, Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpressRadio

Travis Lucian, Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @TravisLucian

Aaron Cox, Class-A – Hickory Crawdads: @TheAaronCox

Mike Boyle, Short-A – Spokane Indians: @MrMBoyle

Other good employees and team-related follows:

Frisco RoughRiders:

Nathan Barnett, Media Relations & Broadcasting Assistant: @NathanSBarnett

Ryan Garrett, Media Relations Intern: @Garrett_RM

Corpus Christi Hooks:

Chris Blake, Media Relations Coordinator: @ChrisCBlake

Midland Rockhounds:

Greg Bergman, Assistant GM / Media Relations & Advertising: @GregBergman

Tulsa Drillers:

Brian Carroll, Director of Media / Public Relations: @BKC001 

Texas Rangers:

John Blake, Executive Vice President of Communications: @RangerBlake

Updates on Rangers Ballpark: Parking, Traffic, Valet, Gate Openings, Weather & Events: @RangersInfo

In-game Rangers Twitter handle: @theRangersGame

_________________________

For those of you out there wanting to keep up with every with a Twitter “list” — I have made one with most of these handles on there. Feel free to subscribe, I plan to keep it up to date this season.

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wand – baseball bat

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