Results tagged ‘ Houston Astros ’

Lance Berkman: a photographic history

Lance Berkman spent a couple games with the RoughRiders on rehab assignment this week. The decorated former outfielder and first baseman spends most of his time nowadays as a DH for the Rangers.

On assignment, he joined an ever-growing list of MLB rehabbers the ‘Riders have this season (in chronological order): Justin Miller (rehabber because of his place on the 40-man roster, despite zero big league time), A.J. Pierzynski, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria, Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Matt Harrison. That list does not include: Martin Perez, who was optioned to Frisco but his time here served a similar purpose, Kyle McClellan, who before his current stint on the active roster was on a rehab-like schedule with the ‘Riders before an early season call up, and Mike Olt who was on a minor league rehab of sorts, playing just three games with Frisco before returning to Triple-A.

If Berkman is indeed done with his rehab (he departed from assignment in Frisco yesterday), he complete a solid all-around rehab outing between the two levels.

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA-AA 4 14 11 3 4 0 0 1 3 3 2 .364 .500 .636 1.136
2013 Round Rock PCL AAA 2 7 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
2013 Frisco TL AA 2 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 .250 .571 .250 .821
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

He has been good as a rehabber over the course of his career, although he writes off the success: “It’s a small sample size, so if you have a couple bad at-bats or if you feel good and get a couple good pitches to hit” it can really affect the numbers Berkman explained on Wednesday. For him, the rehab assignment is more about seeing the ball well and “to take some of the pressure of performing off.”

Some look past the spectacular career of Berkman, who ranks in the top-5 all-time switch hitters in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

But…if you want those numbers like those, you can go any number of place. Like here or here or look right below at this handle little chart:


Rank: Player: bWAR: fWAR: Average:
1 Mickey Mantle  109.70  112.30  111.00
2 Chipper Jones  85.20  85.10  85.15
3 George Davis  84.80  84.60  84.70
4 Pete Rose  79.40  80.20  79.80
5 Ozzie Smith  76.50  74.80  75.65
6 Frankie Frisch  70.40  72.00  71.20
7 Tim Raines  69.10  67.60  68.35
8 Eddie Murray  68.20  66.30  67.25
9 Carlos Beltran  67.10  64.60  65.85
10 Roberto Alomar  66.80  63.90  65.35
11 Reggie Smith  64.40  63.90  64.15
12 Max Carey  53.90  60.00  56.95
13 Lance Berkman  52.10  56.10  54.10
14 Tony Phillips  50.80  54.20  52.50
15 Ted Simmons  50.20  46.60  48.40

bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference and fWAR is the same statistical concept, calculated by FanGraphs. Anyway, enough numbers. Well, nearly enough numbers.

Instead, I present to you a photographic timeline of the career of Lance Berkman, complete with one of the few (if not only!) high-quality Berkman-in-RoughRiders-uniform photos in existence. From clean-shaven to goatee to clean-shaven to bearded back to clean-shaven to speckled-gray beard…1999 to 2013.

And a few more numbers.

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 22 Jackson TL AA HOU 122 517 82 130 34 0 24 89 6 4 85 82 .306 .424 .555 .979
1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 New Orl. PCL AAA HOU 64 267 42 73 20 0 8 49 7 1 39 47 .323 .419 .518 .937
2002, Astros

2002, Astros

2006, National League All-Stars

2006, National League All-Stars

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, Astros

2008, Astros

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

berkmanx-inset-community

2010, Astros (David J. Phillip / AP)

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 HOU 34 106 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 .708
2000 24 HOU 114 417 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 .949
2001 25 HOU 156 688 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 1.051
2002 26 HOU 158 692 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 .982
2003 27 HOU 153 658 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 .927
2004 28 HOU 160 687 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 1.016
2005 29 HOU 132 565 76 137 34 1 24 82 4 1 91 72 .293 .411 .524 .934
2006 30 HOU 152 646 95 169 29 0 45 136 3 2 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041
2007 31 HOU 153 668 95 156 24 2 34 102 7 3 94 125 .278 .386 .510 .896
2008 32 HOU 159 665 114 173 46 4 29 106 18 4 99 108 .312 .420 .567 .986
2009 33 HOU 136 563 73 126 31 1 25 80 7 4 97 98 .274 .399 .509 .907
2010 34 HOU 85 358 39 73 16 1 13 49 3 2 60 70 .245 .372 .436 .808
HOU (12 yrs) 1592 6713 1008 1648 375 26 326 1090 82 42 1040 1121 .296 .410 .549 .959
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.
2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 34 NYY AL 37 123 9 27 7 0 1 9 0 0 17 15 .255 .358 .349 .707
2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, National League All-Star (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, National League All-Stars (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, Cardinals

2011, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2011 35 STL NL 145 587 90 147 23 2 31 94 2 6 92 93 .301 .412 .547 .959 AS,MVP-7
2012 36 STL NL 32 97 12 21 7 1 2 7 2 0 14 19 .259 .381 .444 .826
STL (2 yrs) 177 684 102 168 30 3 33 101 4 6 106 112 .295 .408 .533 .940
Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

rr2

Rangers, 2013 (Kelly Gavin / Texas Rangers)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 37 TEX AL 68 282 27 62 10 1 6 34 0 0 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

And then there was Frisco.

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swish hitter a power hitter who strikes out frequently

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Back on the road again

After a partial day off and a seven-hour bus ride to Corpus Christi, the RoughRiders open South Division play against the Hooks Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

The team plays the first four games of the eight-game trip in Corpus Christi before traveling to San Antonio to take on the San Diego affiliate San Antonio Missions.

Both series should be good tests for Frisco, who opens the trip in first place in the entire Texas League. The RoughRiders are 8-4. That puts them a game ahead of 7-5 Corpus Christi and Midland and two games ahead of San Antonio.

The South Division dominated the first two weeks of the season, going 27-20 in cross-divisional play. The fourth place team San Antonio is tied with the first place teams in the North, Arkansas and Tulsa, at 6-6.

Now divisional plays opens, and the next few weeks should tell us a lot about the teams in the league.

The Opponents

Corpus Christi Hooks (7-5, Thursday-Saturday, 7:05, Sunday, 1:05)

The Hooks spent most of last week in first place before getting swept by Tulsa Sunday through Tuesday. An intigruing team to watch, the Hooks are a Houston Astros affiliate. Houston is employing a “piggybacking” or a “tandem” starting rotation at all of their minor league levels. Instead of having an ordinary five-man starting rotation, they have four pairs of starters. Each pair alternates who starts the game, and both go multiple innings. Chris Blake with the Hooks media department has a piece up explaining the pairing system if you want to find out more. Teams at lower levels have employed this system for years, but it is unheard of at the Double-A and Triple-A level.

Because of this rotation, Frisco will not “miss” any of the Corpus starters. The four-game series forces each of the eight “starting pitchers” to face the Frisco lineup at some point during the four-game set. Asher Wojciechowski has been the stalwart so far for the Hooks staff. He has posted 14 scoreless innings with 14 Ks and just four walks. He should relieve David Martinez Saturday night.

Intriguing offensive players on the roster are headlined by first baseman Jonathan Singleton, but he won’t play until May after violating minor league baseball’s drug policy in January; he is suspended for 50 games. Center fielder George Springer, who struggled in his brief stint in Corpus in 2012, is the highest ranked Astros farmhand currently active for the Hooks. He has performed better in the early going this year, hitting .273 with three home runs and is tied for second in the Texas League with 11 RBI. He hit 22 bombs and swiped 28 bags in the California League a year ago and has big time power and speed. Less ballyhooed outfield prospects Austin Wates and Domingo Santana are also off to good starts.

San Antonio Missions (6-6, Monday-Thursday, 7:05)

The farm team of another lowly MLB club, the Missions, like most of the San Diego farm system, is pitching-heavy in prospects. The Missions have six of the top-30 players in the Padres farm system according to Baseball America, and all six are on the pitching staff. Starters Donn Roach (19) and Matthew Andriese (20) are joined by bullpen arms Adys Portillo (9), Burch Smith (22), Matt Stites (27) and Kevin Quackenbush (29), although Portillo is currently on the DL. Andriese and Roach have been filthy thus far, and Quackenbush picked up the team’s only save ten days ago. The prospect-laden staff is producing; the Missions lead the Texas League in ERA (2.66) are tied for the fewest walks allowed (21).

No top-30 players in the Padres system fill the lineup for the Missions, but Tommy Medica has turned some heads. The C/1B/OF prospect was selected in the 14th round in 2010 and is already 25 years old, but he led all Padres farmhands in batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.406) and slugging (.623) a year ago. This is his first season at the Double-A level, and he is crushing the baseball. The career .297 minor league hitter leads the Missions in homers with four and has posted a .348 average. He is also first in the Texas League in total bases. Fringe prospect Jake Blackwood is off to a good start as well; he is tied with RoughRiders killer, Arkansas’ Matt Long, with 18 hits to lead the league.

‘Riders Notes

  • The best source of information on the RoughRiders players on a day-to-day basis are the game notes. You can check out today’s by clicking here.
  • What a homestand for Frisco. Offensively, the team hit just .204 with two home runs in six road games. The six games at home produced 10 long balls and a .313 team average. Frisco is now second in batting average and homers in the league.
  • Leading the way at home was Alejandro Selen (10-for-20, 8 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB), Ryan Strausborger (8-for-20, 4 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB) and Jared Hoying (8-for-23, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB). Alex Buchholz led the team with eight extra base hits. These were just four of the seven players who hit over .300 on the home stand.
  • The pitching wasn’t too shabby either. Frisco posted 23 consecutive scoreless innings in the middle of the current five-game winning streak. After Matt Long‘s grand slam in the sixth inning on Thursday, the ‘Riders silenced the Travelers and then the Naturals until Carlos Pimentel allowed a pair of runs in the third inning Sunday. The RoughRiders won that game 9-2.
  • Despite two rough outings from Cody Buckel on the home stand (2 GS, 3.1 IP, 8 R, 2 ER, 11 BB, 6 K), Frisco posted a 1.83 ERA in the six games.
  • Randy Henry threw 7.1 scoreless innings in his two outings and is tied a top of the Texas League ERA leaderboard. He is one of only three qualifying players yet to give up a run.
  • Kevin Pucetas (7.1 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 K) delivered the longest start of the season, and Neil Ramirez (5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K)  looked excellent in his second start.
  • During the five-game winning streak Frisco is outscoring the opposition 48-12.

Some random thoughts and tidbits

  • In not so random news, former ‘Riders lefty Joe Ortiz picked up his first and second big league victories for the Rangers during the time Frisco was home. He got his first in Seattle Thursday and another Saturday at Safeco. 
  • Nick Tepesch pitched okay but took the loss in his second start of his MLB career.
  • In wouldn’t-it-be-neat-if-this-guy-made-it-here-this-year news, Joey Gallo hit his fifth and six home runs for the Rangers Class-A affiliate in Hickory. He got some love from MiLB.com this week as well. The power prospect trails only Ernesto Mejia (7) of the Atlanta Braves Triple-A team in Gwinnett for homers by a minor leaguer.

Today’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. The pregame show begins at 6:40 and can be heard here or if you are on an iPad or iPhone, click here. You can also watch the games with the audio feed simulcast by purchasing a subscription to MiLB.tv.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: petticoat ball – a strike at the knees in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. 

Flores Leaves for Houston

I remember being in the clubhouse at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. hours before first pitch between the RoughRiders and the Naturals late last year.

I remember there was a big league game on TV that a lot of guys were casually watching while getting ready for batting practice.  It just so happened to be a game involving the downtrodden Houston Astros.

I remember the look on everyone’s face when we saw that it was former Corpus Christi Hook (for three games) Henry Sosa pitching for the Astros.

Sosa, 26, spent five and a half seasons in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system before being traded to Houston in the Jeff Keppinger deal on July 19.

Sosa made10 starts with Houston in 2011 (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

In those five and a half years with San Francisco, Sosa suited up for six different teams, making 125 career appearances.  After the trade, Sosa was assigned to Corpus Christi where he made three starts before getting the call to Triple-A Oklahoma City. There, the right-hander tossed seven shut-out innings on August 5th in his first start, and that was enough.

Five days later Sosa made his big league debut, getting the start against Arizona at Chase Field.

It took Sosa four minor league appearances in 22 days to make the big leagues as a member of the Astros’ farm system.

This example is all you need to know about why former RoughRider Adalberto Flores  has left the Rangers’ organization as a free-agent and signed with the Houston Astros.

Flo was the first player in 2010 promoted to Frisco from Bakersfield and developed nicely since then.  In two seasons, Adalberto went 8-8, 3.75 ERA in 79 appearances, two starts.

The righty from Puerto Rico proved to be a real force at times out of the ‘Riders bullpen and had the ability to eat up innings.

No doubt, Flo will have an easier path to the bigs with the Astros than with the Rangers.  And, if we can be honest, that’s all that really counts. I don’t claim to know the details of Flroes making this decision, but when you look at it from the outside, it was a pretty easy decision.

If all goes well, next year it’ll be Adalberto pitching on TV.

-AG

Rangers Lose Top Minor League Talent

At first glance, he isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type.  To be honest, in my limited time with him, I can’t remember seeing him smile.  He looks, acts, and talks like someone who has been in baseball his entire life.  And it wasn’t until I had the chance to sit down and interview him in the RoughRiders’ dugout at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Ok. that I realized how truly valuable Senior Director of Player Development  Scott Servias was to the Texas Rangers.

Unfortunately, he’s now a valuable addition to the division rival Anaheim Angels.

New Angels GM Jerry Dipoto (Artesia News)

Right before the weekend, it was announced that new Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto had luered Servais away from Texas by offering him a multi-year contract as the Halos’ assistant general manager overseeing scouting and player development.  With Texas, Servais was responsible for the on-field minor league development in addition to instructing the Rangers’ Major League catchers. He also made recommendations for potential trades and free-agent signings.

There are a lot of moving parts involved with the operations and player development in both major and minor league baseball and I’m far from fully understanding it all.  Over the course of a season I see and meet coaches, scouts, rovers, coordinators, special assistants, and plenty more.  All of them work for the Rangers, and all are trying to help the players here in Frisco become players in Arlington.

What I do know is that Servais had the respect of every RoughRider I talked to.  A one-time player himself, the former catcher was taken in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft by Houston and began his career with the Astros, making his Major League debut on July 12, 1991.  His playing days ended in 2002 after  batting .245 with 63 home runs and 319 RBIs in 820 Major League games.

I remember talking with former RoughRiders’ second baseman Matt Lawson about Servais at one point last year.  He was incredibly complimentary of Servias and said that he felt like he really took the time to get to know him.  In my interview with Servais in Tulsa, I asked Scott about how important it was for him get to know the players he was developing:

“It’s everything.  I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak.  I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background.  I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.”

This told me a lot about Scott, and I think he really does care about the players.  That might sound a little too “Hallmark” for professional baseball, but in my ten minutes with him, I truly felt as though he meant it.

For the Angels, this was a big time acquisition.  For the Rangers, it leaves a big time void.  Texas general manager Jon Daniels told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that “[Scott] helped put together an outstanding staff, so we’re confident others will step up and we won’t miss a beat . . . I’m looking forward to competing against him.”  Daniels also said that Scott will be missed and that his new opportunity is an exciting one.

No matter what happens, we’ll see the fruit of Servais’ labor 12 times a year when the RoughRiders take on the Arkansas Travelers.

- AG

Servais alongside Rangers' GM Jon Daniels (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

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