Results tagged ‘ Ian Kinsler ’

The Dandy Dozen: The ‘Riders Turn 12

It's shaping up to be another great summer at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

It’s shaping up to be another great summer at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

This article originally appeared in the March 21 edition of SportsPage Weekly, which is a free publication available throughout the Metroplex.  To view the article in the online edition, click here.

There are very few “sure things” in life, but when it comes to local sports and entertainment options, the Frisco RoughRiders are just about as close to a sure thing as you can get.  Year after year, Dr Pepper Ballpark hosts exciting baseball action, premium prospects and fun for the whole family.  Ask anyone who has ever been to a RoughRiders game and they’ll tell you how memorable the experience is.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the RoughRiders will soon begin their 12th season on April 3 at home against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals affiliate).  In honor of a dozen years of Frisco baseball, we present the top 12 reasons to catch the RoughRiders in action this season at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

#12 – A winning tradition

Everybody loves a winner.   And over the past decade the RoughRiders have been one of the most consistent winners in Minor League Baseball.  In 2013, Frisco finished with a 70-70 record, its eighth consecutive season with a .500 or better mark on the ledger.  The last time Frisco finished with a losing record was the only time in team history: back in 2005, when the team finished 58-82.  The streak of non-losing seasons is by far the longest in the Texas League; every other team in the circuit has had at least one losing season in the last three years.  The streak is the longest in Double-A and the third-longest among all 120 full-season minor league clubs, exceeded only by the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats (11 straight non-losing seasons) and the Advanced-A San Jose Giants (ten).  Including teams that play in short-season leagues, Frisco’s streak is the sixth longest; the Elizabethton Twins (25), Brooklyn Cyclones (13) and AZL Giants (13) have the longest such streaks in stateside Minor League Baseball.

#11 – History in the making

Baseball fans appreciate the sport’s history and tradition, and the Texas League plays an important role in the lineage of the game. The RoughRiders and their fans belong to a storied Texas League pedigree that dates back to 1888 (the American League was founded in 1901). A game at Dr Pepper Ballpark is more than just a chance to contribute to baseball’s history; it affords fans the opportunity to witness history as it happens. Notable Texas League alumni span the generations and include Major League Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Dizzy Dean, Joe Morgan and Whitey Herzog. It is a legacy furthered by many stars in the game today who also enjoyed success in the Texas League. Current Rangers Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus had All-Star seasons in the Texas League in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Outside the organization, an impressive crop of recent alumni continue to cultivate the Texas League brand as their big league careers flourish. The Texas League footprint extends across the Major League map and features young stars Mike Trout, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Lance Lynn, Jean Segura and numerous others.

#10 – Rehabbing Rangers

Matt Harrison was one of 13 rehabbers who played with the 'Riders in 2013.

Matt Harrison was one of 13 rehabbers who played with the ‘Riders in 2013.

Players, coaches and fans dislike injuries, but they remain an inevitable component of any professional game. For a major league club, the inconvenience of an in-season malady is lessened—somewhat—when an affiliate team plays in the neighborhood. No one in Frisco hopes for a rehab assignment, but when a Rangers’ regular tweaks a calf or strains a wrist, Dr Pepper Ballpark provides a two-fold benefit for both the player and the fan. Players can stay in the Metroplex to nurse an injury and play in an atmosphere that approximates a big league ballgame. On the other hand, fans receive a unique opportunity to view their favorite Rangers in a more intimate setting and at an affordable cost. A total of 13 Rangers players donned a RoughRiders’ cap for a rehab assignment in 2013, including pitcher Matt Harrison, who unfortunately started as many games for Frisco (two) as he did for Texas. Rehab assignments rarely occur with much forewarning, but thanks to Derek Holland’s dog, Wrigley, the southpaw has likely already booked a stint with the RoughRiders in 2014. Make sure you’re in the stands when the Rangers’ rehabbers visit Dr Pepper Ballpark.

#9 – A new skipper

For the first time in five years, someone other than Steve Buechele will write out Frisco’s lineup card.  With Buechele managing the Rangers’ Triple-A club this season, Jason Wood steps into the role for the RoughRiders in 2014.  Wood, a five-year major leaguer and veteran of 18 professional seasons as a player, will begin his fourth season as a manager in the Texas farm system.  The 44-year-old spent the previous three years as the skipper for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach.  He led the Pelicans to the playoffs in all three campaigns and looks to get the ’Riders back to the postseason this year.  While Wood is a fresh face in the dugout, the rest of his coaching staff will remain in place from the last two seasons.  Jeff Andrews returns as the team’s pitching coach following a season in which Frisco’s hurlers collectively set numerous team records.  This past offseason, Andrews was honored the co-recipient of the Rangers’ annual Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year award.  Jason Hart will begin his third season as Frisco’s hitting coach and his instruction has been lauded for helping former RoughRiders Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, Chris McGuiness and Engel Beltre all reach the major leagues over the past two seasons.

#8 – Affordability

One of the charms of Minor League Baseball is getting a big league experience without paying a premium price.  RoughRiders games are no different because the team strives to make sure everyone can afford to watch games at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  It can be a major strain on the wallet to attend other professional sporting events.  The average cost for a family of four to attend a Major League Baseball game is approximately $208; for an NFL game that number is $444, with the NBA checking in at $442 and the NHL at $355.  That figure for a Minor League Baseball game?  Just $61.  With RoughRiders tickets starting at just $7 (less than the cost of a movie theater ticket), attending a game at Dr Pepper Ballpark is very much accessible.  But say you’re interested in getting even more value at the ballpark.  The RoughRiders offer affordable ticket plans that include all-you-can-eat food and drink, and even packages that include alcohol.  These value-based ticket plans make attending games in Frisco possible without denting your bank account.

#7 – The other guys aren’t too shabby either

Tomorrow’s stars play today in the Texas League and 2014 is no exception. The RoughRiders will welcome a host of talent from around the circuit to Dr Pepper Ballpark this season, many of whom are ranked on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list. The Tulsa Drillers figure to field a strong pitching rotation bolstered by top 50 prospects Jon Gray (#14) and Eddie Butler (#41). Both pitchers bring high-octane velocity to the Drillers’ staff and can touch the upper 90s on the radar gun. Catcher Austin Hedges (#24) of the San Antonio Missions is rated as the second-highest prospect at his position by MLB.com. His strong arm and good footwork behind the plate will give would-be base stealers second thoughts. Kyle Zimmer (#25), the number five overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, is expected to start the season with the Northwest Arkansas. The Royals promoted Zimmer to Double-A late last season where he held a 1.93 ERA through four starts with the Naturals. Position players to watch for elsewhere in the Texas League include speedy leadoff hitter Delino DeShields (#66) of the Corpus Christi Hooks, Jorge Bonifacio (#91) of the Naturals and gifted batter Stephen Piscotty (#98) of the Springfield Cardinals. Every mentioned player has big league potential.

#6 – You won’t be the only one cheering

The vocal and expressive fan will find a home at Dr Pepper Ballpark. For nine consecutive seasons, the RoughRiders have led all 30 Double-A teams in total and average attendance. More than half-a-million fans routinely fill Dr Pepper Ballpark every season and the team averages better than 7,000 fans per game.  Not only is that the best in Double-A, but it’s also higher than 17 Triple-A teams! On 21 occasions in 2013, the ’Riders drew crowds of more than 10,000. Frisco’s fan base is second to none and players say the crowds enhance the in-game environment more than anywhere else in the Texas League. Bring a sign, be loud and shout until your voice goes out. You won’t be cheering alone.

#5 – More than just peanuts and Cracker Jack

RoughRiders cuisine far outstrips traditional ballpark fare. Sure, fans can still fill up to the gills on foot-long hot dogs and brats from Smokie’s Sausage Shack, but Dr Pepper Ballpark serves something for any palate. The new Beer & Barbeque stand will cook in-house, smoked Texas barbeque favorites while Lone Star Pizza offers a wide range of personal style pies. Deep-fried Oreos grace the à la carte lineup for the first time this season, and for those in search of a healthy option, Greek yogurt is also available. Of course, many Frisco fan favorites will be back on the menu as well, from fresh-spun cotton candy and funnel cakes to snow cones and freshly squeezed lemonade. Of course, few things taste better on a hot Texas night than a cold serving of Dippin’ Dots. It’s never summer without great food, great drinks and RoughRiders baseball.

Luke Jackson figures to lead a very talented starting rotation this season.

Luke Jackson figures to lead a very talented starting rotation this season.

#4 – An arsenal of arms

For the best pitching this side of Yu Darvish and Arlington, Dr Pepper Ballpark is the place to be. The RoughRiders will rely on their mound men to bolster the franchise’s quest for an eighth playoff berth. Right-hander Luke Jackson is expected to lead the group in 2014. The fireballer started the previous season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and made his RoughRiders’ debut on August 4, 2013. He didn’t miss a beat in Double-A and finished the season with 134 combined strikeouts at both Myrtle Beach and Frisco and held the eighth-lowest ERA among all full season minor league pitchers (2.04). Those numbers were a big reason why the Rangers named Jackson the club’s 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Alex Claudio figures to take the reins from Jackson and the starters as a key piece in the RoughRiders’ bullpen in 2014. The deceptive Claudio fools batters with his changeup and was named the Rangers’ Minor League Reliever of the Year last season. Another burgeoning prospect, Alex Gonzalez, hopes to excite the Frisco faithful this year. Don’t call him Alex, though. Gonzalez prefers the nickname “Chi Chi,” given by a family member. Baseball America rates the 2013 first round draft pick as the number six prospect in the Rangers’ organization. Fans on the wild side will anticipate the return of eight-year veteran Kevin Pucetas as he unleashes his newly developed knuckleball pitch on the diamond this season. Other highly-ranked pitchers that are expected to see time in Frisco this season include Alec Asher, Nick Martinez and Jerad Eickhoff.

#3 – Rougned Odor

Top prospect Rougned Odor is expected to begin the season at second base in Frisco.

Top prospect Rougned Odor is expected to begin the season at second base in Frisco.

Because the makeup of minor league teams are up to the discretion of the parent club, you never know who will be on the Opening Day roster until very late in spring training.  That is typically the case with the RoughRiders, but one player who looks very likely to be with the team on April 3 is second baseman Rougned Odor.  The Venezuelan with the memorable name is the Rangers’ top-ranked prospect according to Baseball America and he showed why during a 30-game stint with Frisco at the end of the 2013 season.  Odor was promoted to Double-A in early August and hit .306/.354/.530 with six home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 19 RBI.  And he did all of that as just a 19-year-old, the youngest player in Double-A.  (Projecting those numbers out over a 140-game season, he would have hit 28 homers with 37 doubles, nine triples and 89 RBI.) Now 20, Odor spent the first half of spring training in big league camp and hopes to use that experience to further propel his ascension to the major leagues.  For the time being, however, the spunky infielder with the big bat is expected to ply his trade at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

#2 – Family-friendly entertainment

The RoughRiders are well-known for making trips to Dr Pepper Ballpark about more than just the game on the field.  The atmosphere on game nights is a blast, even for folks who aren’t big baseball fans.  The RoughRiders employ a full-time entertainment director whose sole job is to make sure that families have fun when visiting the ballpark.  From spectacular fireworks shows following every Friday night home game to a collection of more than 180 hilarious on-field skits and promotions that rotate throughout the season, there is something fun for everyone who comes to a game.  Dr Pepper Ballpark even features a pool in right field and two playgrounds (including one specifically designed for two-to-five-year-olds).  And for a lot of fans, their favorite RoughRiders aren’t ones you might see in Arlington someday – they are Deuce and Daisy, the team’s loveable mascots.

#1 – The home of future Rangers

With Odor and a tremendous pitching staff leading the way, there should be another impressive assortment of talent on display at Dr Pepper Ballpark this season.  This has been the norm in each of the RoughRiders’ first 11 seasons in Frisco, and with the Rangers’ relentless pursuit of building a winning organization from top-to-bottom, don’t look for that trend to change anytime soon.  Since 2003, 107 former RoughRiders have reached the major leagues, almost one-third of all Frisco players.  In 2013, ten former ’Riders made the big leagues, including Nick Tepesch, Beltre, Garcia and McGuiness.  One look at the Rangers’ 40-man roster shows that half of its members played in Frisco.  Elvis Andrus, Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Holland, Leonys Martin, Profar, Neftali Feliz, Mitch Moreland, Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez are just a few of the Texas stalwarts who once wore a RoughRiders uniform.  Outside of the Rangers organization, All-Stars such as Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez and C.J. Wilson all spent time in Frisco as well.

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With the RoughRiders, fans get winning baseball, exciting prospects, delicious food, affordable family fun and the future of the Texas Rangers on display.  It all shows that the Frisco RoughRiders continue to be a sure thing for families and sports fans across the Metroplex.

Moreland completes historically excellent rehab

Mitch Moreland completed a three-game rehab assignment yesterday with the RoughRiders. He was instrumental in the 9-5 win over the RockHounds yesterday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Moreland has put together back-to-back seasons of outstanding rehab stints with the RoughRiders:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 26 Frisco 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819
2013 27 Frisco 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500

The sample size for a rehab assignment is usually small, as the case certainly was with Moreland in both years. His 2013 rehab stint is hard to argue against as the best position player RoughRiders rehab stint of all time. Let’s take a look at the history for potential contenders:

2013 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ian Kinsler 31 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .111 .000 .111
Mitch Moreland* 27 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500
A.J. Pierzynski* 36 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333

Even the most ardent Kinsler and Pierzynski supporters aren’t arguing here. While playing the more physically demanding positions of second base and catcher, the two just don’t stack up.

2012 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Mitch Moreland* 26 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819

Mike Napoli also rehabbed for the RoughRiders, although it came in the post-season so Baseball Refrence doesn’t list it. He went 1-for-10 with a two-run home run in the 2012 Texas League Championship series against the Springfield Cardinals.

Moreland’s 2012 effort was impressive, and still stands as one of the best rehab efforts in ‘Riders’ history, but he hit more doubles, homers and RBI this week as a ‘Riders hitter.

2011 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Julio Borbon* 25 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Nelson Cruz 30 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 .182 .250 .273 .523
Josh Hamilton* 30 2 7 3 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 .286 .375 .714 1.089

So Josh Hamilton homered. Not bad considering he’s the last rehabber to do so until Moreland did yesterday. He took Shawn Haviland deep, a two-year RockHounds pitcher and former Harvard Crimson. But the sample is even smaller, and it was his only extra base hit. Moreland’s 2013 numbers are better across the board.

2010 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Joaquin Arias 25 8 31 4 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 .194 .257 .194 .451
Endy Chavez* 32 4 15 3 5 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 3 .333 .412 .333 .745
Nelson Cruz 29 3 11 1 4 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 .364 .385 .455 .839
Cristian Guzman# 32 4 13 1 4 0 0 0 3 1 0 3 1 .308 .438 .308 .745
Ian Kinsler 28 6 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368 .716

A fewer larger samples here makes for a potential challenger. Arias wasn’t exactly the Babe Ruth of the Texas League during his eight games, however. Kinsler provides a decent challenge, especially considering he stole two bags as well. Still, Moreland posted a higher BA, OBP, SLG and OPS and only struck out once in three games. Advantage Moreland.

2009 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Josh Hamilton* 28 1 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Andruw Jones 32 3 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 .222 .417 .222 .639
Ian Kinsler 27 2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000 .222
Jarrod Saltalamacchia# 24 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333

Ugh. Not so good this year. 3-for-24 combined with no extra base hits? NEXT!

2008 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Hank Blalock* 27 6 19 5 8 3 0 0 4 1 0 4 5 .421 .522 .579 1.101

Hammerin’ Hank jumps out. Blalock was a tremendous minor leaguer (and a darn good big leaguer as well). This is extremely impressive. 8-for-19 is not too shabby. The triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) still isn’t as good as Moreland’s this year but the sample is larger and for the first time, he has been bested by one category. Blalock’s .522 OBP  is the highest in ‘Riders rehabbing history for a player with more than four plate appearances (Teixeira in 2007). A stolen base to boot! This one is close, but without a homer and nearly a strikeout per game, we will go with Moreland here.

2007 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Frank Catalanotto* 33 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .200 .000 .200
Jerry Hairston 31 3 12 2 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .500 .667
Mark Teixeira# 27 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .500 .000 .500
Brad Wilkerson* 30 3 10 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 .200 .429 .300 .729

No explanation needed. On to ’06.

2006 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jason Botts# 25 5 16 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 3 .125 .250 .125 .375

And onto 2005…

2005 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Gary Matthews# 30 1 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800

The triple slash looks good, but one game for GMJ? Apparently the left hammy wasn’t so bad.

2004 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Brian Jordan 37 6 19 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .158 .158 .211 .368
Kevin Mench 26 4 16 3 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 .313 .353 .500 .853
Laynce Nix* 23 7 26 2 7 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 10 .269 .296 .308 .604
Herbert Perry 34 8 29 4 12 3 0 0 4 0 0 3 7 .414 .455 .517 .972
Mark Teixeira# 24 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .250 .000 .250

34-year-old Herbert Perry is not only the oldest position player to ever rehab with Frisco, but he very well could stand the test as the most impressive RoughRiders rehabber ever, especially when you stack up his two stints together between 2003 and 2004. Again, no home runs here though. He is in the conversation without a doubt though.

2003 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Doug Glanville 32 4 15 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .133 .188 .133 .321
Todd Greene 32 3 9 3 3 0 0 2 4 0 0 2 2 .333 .455 1.000 1.455
Kevin Mench 25 3 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258
Herbert Perry 33 9 34 5 11 2 0 1 6 0 0 3 3 .324 .410 .471 .881

Another Herbert Perry campaign for Frisco, and another fine one at that. His seventeen game total between 2003 and 2004 puts him at .365 with the batting average and a .492 slugging percentage.

And say Hello to Todd Greene! The only RoughRiders rehabber ever to blast two home runs, and the veteran catcher/utility man put on quite the show in the RoughRiders’ inaugural year. The OPS is still a shade lower than Mitch’s, but it is quite the performance.

So Maybe Moreland’s 2013 stint isn’t the most impressive, but it is at least top four all time. And now he can be included in the same sentence as Todd Greene and Herbert Perry, which is interesting at the very least.

You tell us? Was Mitch Moreland’s three-day run the most impressive RoughRiders rehab stint among position players ever? Post in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @RidersBaseball!

It was fun while it lasted, and we wish Mitch the best of luck back with the Rangers.

Enjoy the shots from his three-day stint in Frisco below.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: county-fair playera player who shows off

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com. All photos courtesy Grant Nelson / Frisco RoughRiders

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Pat Lobb Magic Swing promotion makes ‘Riders fan a winner

With one powerful swing of the bat, Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Frisco gave away a brand new 2013 Jeep Wrangler to a lucky Frisco RoughRiders fan at Dr Pepper Ballpark on Friday night.  Jana Tucker, a Frisco resident, was the lucky winner of the Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Magic Swing Promotion.

“I heard the crack of the bat and then closed my eyes-I was so freaked out,” Jana said.  “My hands started shaking, my knees went out from beneath me.  I couldn’t believe it.”

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Mark and Jana after the winning magic swing

The promotion awards the contestant with a brand new Jeep Wrangler if the RoughRiders hit a home run on the first swing of the bat during the bottom of the fifth inning.  That is exactly what ‘Riders All-Star catcher Tomas Telis did with the first offering from Jorge De Leon in the bottom of the fifth.

“I didn’t think the ball would go over the fence,” said Mark McEachern, a representative from Pat Lobb.  “I didn’t see it go over.  I just saw the crowd’s reaction.  I turned and looked at Jana and she looked at me like, ‘That just happened!”

The Venezuelan backstop, who had clubbed just two home runs in 40 games played this season, launched the first pitch of the inning onto the grass berm over the left-center field fence. The home run gave Frisco a 2-0 lead in an eventual 3-2 extra-innings loss against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

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”What a night for that to happen; [Ian] Kinsler [rehabbing] at second, the big Friday night crowd, the post-game fireworks-the atmosphere was just electric,” Mark said.

Steven Nelson, Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships with the RoughRiders has been working in sports now for around ten years in the Frisco area and says this is the most exciting thing he’s ever seen.

“When the swing of the bat happened and I saw the ball go off, I thought ‘please have enough to just go over the wall,” said Steven.  “I almost felt like I won the Jeep.”

This is only the third game this season that Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has given a local fan the chance to take home a brand new Jeep Wrangler, and the Frisco RoughRiders hope for more winners to come in the future.

“Thank you to the family and thank you to Pat Lobb. We are really excited for the partnership and look forward to continuing it for years to come,” Nelson said.

Pat Lobb Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Frisco just opened their doors in May, 2013. A part of the Pat Lobb Auto Group, the nearly 60,000 square foot facility is the premier Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in North Texas.

“It’s been an exciting promotion for Pat Lobb all season long,” said Mark.  “We’re excited to have this promotion and to be a part of the Frisco community.  We look forward to carrying the relationship forward with Dr Pepper Ballpark and the Frisco RoughRiders.”

Jana Tucker and her family have been to a number of games, and have attended two this season. “Thank you to Pat Lobb and the RoughRiders. We will definitely be going to more ‘Riders games in the future.”

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You could be next! Click here for your chance to win!

-Ryan

‘Riders on the Record: Kinsler’s ribs, “Pudge” teaching the youth and three All-Stars

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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.

A star-studded week for ‘Riders on the Record brings us conversations with three ‘Riders selected to the Texas League All-Star roster, a Rangers Hall-of-Famer and an All-Star big league rehabber.

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day!) and enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


‘Riders manager Steve Buechele breaks down the most recent start from Carlos Pimentel and discusses the keys to his success. He also talks about managing Tyler Tufts, who has been shifted into the RoughRiders rotation, and how to gauge his readiness later into games. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas

Brett Nicholas sits down to talk about his recent All-Star nod and the excitement he has to play on the squad. He talks about his admiration for fellow All-Star, Midland’s Anthony Aliotti. He also weighs on the best conversationalist in the league, based on his chit-chats at the first base bag. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 – C Tomas Telis


The ‘Riders All-Star Catcher Tomas Telis comes to share his story of finding out the news about the All-Star game. He tells us who he would like to catch in the All-Star game that he has had to face as a batter. He also explains what his “off” days are like and how being a student of the game as a catcher helps his approach at the plate. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - Rangers HOF Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez


Legendary Rangers catcher, now Special Assistant to Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, Ivan Rodriguez joined the pre-game show to talk with us about his new role with the Rangers and the development of the young catchers in the Rangers system. He also touches on how it feels to be a part of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 14, 2013 - Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler


Texas Rangers rehabbing All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler talks about the state of his rehab, the importance of playing in the field while on the assignment and the history of his rib injury. He also reminisces on his time in Frisco as a member of the RoughRiders. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 - RHP Ben Rowen

RoughRiders All-Star reliever Ben Rowen talks about how he heard about his Mid-Season All-Star honors and what it means to him in his first Double-A level. He talks about the influence of Chad Bradford. He also touches on his love for hockey and his beloved LA Kings. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: diamond artist - a 1930s term for a ballplayer

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Ian Kinsler: a RoughRider again

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Kinsler’s second at-bat on Thursday night

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Thursday’s lineup card

Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, rehabbing from a right intercostal muscle strain, made his first rehab appearance last night, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, serving as the designated hitter and batting leadoff.

In the first inning, he struck out looking on a borderline fastball on the outside corner from Corpus Christi starter Nick Tropeano. He flew out to shallow right field in the third. In his third trip to the plate, it was shades of the first, as he was called out again on strikes on a similar pitch near the outside corner. He made good contact against reliever Bobby Doran in the eighth, lining out to left fielder Michael Burgess to complete his night.

Originally expected to make his return to the Rangers lineup in early June, it was found that Kinsler also had a stress reaction in his ribcage as well, adding a couple weeks to his recovery time.

Now that time has come. Kinsler is expected to play in the field, at second base, tonight and tomorrow for the ‘Riders, and if all goes well, he will return to the Ranger lineup on Sunday. And they sure could use their spark plug.

The Rangers are just 4-8 in June and the offense is scoring an average of three runs per game in the 12 contests this month. Texas was 27-14 before Kinsler sat out of a start with the first pains in his rib cage. Since then, Texas is 11-14 and scoring 4.12 runs per game, and that includes three extra-innings games (one that took 18 innings). They scored 4.9 runs a game with him in the lineup.

For some perspective the #15 and #16 ranked MLB clubs in runs per game have scored 4.27 and 4.22 respectively. The Kinsler-powered Rangers would currently rank sixth in the majors, while the Kinsler-less squad would check in at 19th in runs per game.

For ‘Riders fans, Kinsler is a familiar face. This is the third season Kinsler has rehabbed with the club (first stints coming in 2009 and 2010). In 2004, the second baseman was still playing as a shortstop, and exclusively so, in the minors. He split his ’04 campaign between Low-A Clinton and Double-A Frisco (skipping Advanced-A Stockton). He led the Midwest League in batting average (.402), doubles (30), RBI (52) and on-base percentage (.465) before his promotion to the RoughRiders in June.

The 22-year-old proved ready for Double-A pitching:

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Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2004 22 Frisco 71 326 277 51 83 21 1 9 46 7 4 32 47 .300 .400 .480
2009 27 Frisco 2 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000
2010 28 Frisco 6 23 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368
2013 31 Frisco 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000
AA (4 seasons) 80 362 307 55 88 21 2 9 52 9 4 35 53 .287 .388 .456
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2013.

In his first week in Frisco he clubbed a home run off Andy Pettitte, making a rehab start for the Astros for then Double-A Houston affiliate Round Rock (now the Rangers Triple-A club). He earned Texas League Player of the week honors that week and was the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month in June. At season’s end he was named Texas Rangers Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year.

At Triple-A the following season, the Rangers converted Kinsler to second base, he clubbed 23 home runs and hit .274 against Pacific Coast League pitching. In 2006, he broke camp with the big league club, and the rest, as they say, is history.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: ungodly shota hard line drive
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Kinsler’s 2004 season with the RoughRiders

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‘Riders Rehabbers

Rangers’ pitcher and former RoughRider Martin Perez will be returning to the ‘Riders tonight in Midland as he begins his rehab assignment.  The left-handed pitcher is expected to throw four innings and is likely to make another rehab start during the team’s current road trip.

Perez’s left wrist was broken after he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Seattle Mariners infielder Brad Miller in a spring training game on March 3. Prior to the injury, Perez was in contention for a spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s third-best prospect and ranked 81st on the publication’s list of top 100 prospects in the minors.

perezarm

Perez holding wrist after March 3 spring training injury

The 22-year-old Venezuelan pitched for the RoughRiders during parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons and made his major league debut last year for Texas.   He pitched in 12 big league games (six starts), going 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA (23 ER/38.0 IP).   In his three seasons with Frisco, Perez pitched in 46 games (44 starts) and went 10-13 with a 4.74 ERA (110 ER/209.0 IP) and 198 strikeouts.

Perez2011

Martin Perez as a RoughRider in 2011

A few players who have rehabbed in Frisco

Nelson Cruz:  Nelly has made two rehab appearances with the RoughRiders.  He has played a total of six games in Frisco in 2010 and 2011, with eleven at-bats both years.  He has had a total of six hits and two RBIs in the ‘Riders uniform.

Cruz2011

Nelson Cruz rehabbing with the ‘Riders in 2011

Josh Hamilton: Hamilton rehabbed in Frisco for one game in 2009 and two more in 2011.  On May 18, 2011, Josh hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat, and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over the Midland RockHounds.

Hamilton2011

Former Ranger Josh Hamilton in Frisco for 2011 rehab.

Ian Kinsler: The former RoughRider returned to Frisco in 2009-’10 due to a strained left groin.  While rehabbing with the ‘Riders, Ian played in eight games with four runs and six RBIs.

Kinsler2010

Ian Kinsler at bat during his 2010 ‘Riders rehab assignment

Naftali Feliz: Another former ‘Rider, Feliz returned to Frisco in 2011 and 2012 on rehab assignment with elbow soreness issues.

feliz2012

Neftali Feliz in Frisco during the 2012 season

Some others who have been assigned to the RoughRiders include: Hank Blalock (’08), (’11), Matt Harrison (’09-10), Mark Lowe (’12), Kevin Mench (’03-04), Darren O’Day (’11), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (’09), Mark Teixeira (’04, ’07).

Baseball Term of the Day: Dent the Plate – to score a run.

 

-Ryan

Rangers Spring Training Links – 2/25/2013

Martin Perez makes his first start of the spring against the Rockies today as he tries to secure a spot in the Rangers' rotation.

Martin Perez makes his first start of the spring against the Rockies today as he tries to secure a spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

The Rangers began their exhibition slate over the weekend with a tie and a pair of losses against the Royals.  Today they’ll get some fresh competition when they venture over to Scottsdale for a date with the Rockies.  Here’s a smattering of stories from the weekend that was in Rangers-land:

Perez fired up for chance at rotation spotFormer RoughRider Martin Perez gets the starting nod today for Texas and has as good an opportunity as anyone for the fifth spot in the rotation.  T.R. Sullivan gets the thoughts of an excitable Perez.

Harrison battles command in windy conditionsSullivan writes that Matt Harrison’s first spring outing was a little ragged in less-than-ideal weather.

Tepesch impresses in spring debut vs. hometown teamWhile he had a few rough days as a RoughRider, there was no doubt last season that Nick Tepesch profiles as a big league starting pitcher.  He showed that yesterday with two scoreless innings against the Royals.

Tepesch impresses in debutESPNDallas.com’s Ron Matejko has more on Tepesch’s outing yesterday.

McClellan suffers setbackMatejko also has an update on Kyle McClellan, who re-injured his shoulder in bullpen session Sunday morning.

Nolan Ryan’s focus is pitching (of course)Richard Durrett has Nolan Ryan talking about the club’s pitching situation, including the candidates for the number five spot in the rotation.

After subpar season, Rangers’ Kinsler vows new approach in 2013 (subscribers only) – Evan Grant writes that Ian Kinsler believes he can improve from his down 2012 season.

Texas Rangers have the Kansas City Royals bluesGrant runs down the essentials from yesterday’s 7-5 loss to KC.

Rangers conflicted by Profar’s talent, Andrus’ primeThe Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Randy Galloway writes about the dilemma that figures to plague the Rangers for the next two seasons with Jurickson Profar essentially ready for a full-time role at a position where there is zero need for Texas.

Rangers have second hitting coach with ‘old and gray’ BerkmanDave Magadan’s not the only new hitting coach for Texas, writes Jeff Wilson.

Kyle McClellan still slowed by back sorenessDrew Davison has the Star-Telegram’s notebook with Justin Grimm reminiscing about his stint with the big club last season.

- Alex

Rangers Spring Training Links – 2/20/2013

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

Jurickson Profar is already more accomplished than most 20-year-olds. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

Opening Day for the RoughRiders is a mere 43 days away and baseball fans in the Metroplex are itching to see the ‘Riders and Rangers in action once again.  As a primer to get ready for the season, we’ll be posting semi-regular batches of links to stories by the local media about the Rangers, giving you a one-stop shop of sorts for all your Rangers news & notes.  With today marking the 20th birthday of 2012 ‘Riders shortstop Jurickson Profar, today seemed as good a day as any to start filling you up with Rangers info.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has stories about one of the youngest players in big league camp, former ‘Riders infielder Leury Garcia, and one of the oldest players in Lance Berkman.  I know there’s been abundant talk about Garcia’s versatility, but there probably needs to be some pumping of the brakes regarding his ability to play outfield.  While he is a premium defensive player whether he’s at second base or shortstop, he is still inexperienced in the outfield and will need a lot more time out there before he can be considered a credible option on any sort of basis at the big league level.  He’s a great piece for the Rangers to have, nonetheless.

Jeff Wilson (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) notes that the Rangers hope that their success on offense will start at the top with former RoughRiders Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus setting the tone for the rest of the lineup.  Drew Davison gets to know former Montreal Expos draftee Collin Balester, who hopes to make an impact in the bullpen this season.  Josh Hamilton is certainly not going to win any popularity contests around these parts, and Gil Lebreton gets Biblical to start his column chastising the former Rangers slugger.

The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant has some notes on yesterday’s first intersquad scrimmage, including some Yu Darvish observations and an injury update on 2012 ‘Riders reliever Wilmer Font.

Anthony Andro (Fox Sports Southwest) also recaps Darvish’s performance, with the Japanese right-hander getting a good crack about Andrus’ defensive miscue.  Matt Mosely wonders if Hamilton is crazy like a fox for making his DFW “baseball town” comments.

Finally, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com explores Matt Harrison’s roots on Tobacco Road in the small town of Creedmoor, North Carolina.

- Alex

Rangers vs. RoughRiders

Spring training provides the chance for players to prepare for the upcoming season. For those in the front office, it’s no different. Events go on year-round at the ballpark including the recent One Direction concert. Preparations for these events take many people working hard behind-the-scenes to make everything appear to be flawless.

The exhibition game between the Frisco RoughRiders and the Texas Rangers was no different and helped to kick off this year’s baseball season and introduced players to the North Texas community.

Fans lined up at the gates hours before first pitch anticipating seeing some of their favorite players. The teams played before a sold-out crowd of over 10,000.

RoughRiders alums Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus smile outside their former clubhouse. Fellow alum Scott Feldman also played during the exhibition game.

A member of the field crew puts the final touches on painting the RoughRiders logo on the field before the game.

Josh Hamilton is interviewed by members of the media before the exhibition game began. He hit an RBI double in the first inning to drive in two runs for the Rangers.

Company B Texas Ranger David Armstrong waits in front of the home dugout with Daisy. He was packing and throwing the heat delivering the ceremonial first pitch.

Ron Washington takes time out to sit in the dugout before the game began.

Mike Olt signs autographs for fans before the game. The 23-year-old Connecticut native was promoted to Frisco after splitting time last season between the Arizona Rangers and the High-A Myrtle Beach.

The Rangers played a series of exhibition games playing against the Round Rock Express, the Diablos Rojos del Mexico and the Frisco RoughRiders. They opened their season with a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Dave Anderson and Steve Buechele meet at home plate to exchange rosters and wish the other luck under the gaze of the watchful umpires. This is Buechele’s third season at the helm of the RoughRiders.

The crowd cheered for Bridgette Hammers’ rendition of the national anthem.

Josh Hamilton focuses on the flag while Ron Washington bows his head as the national anthem is sung.

The grass berm provided a great vantage point for families looking to relax on a warm, sunny day.

Left-handed hurler Tim Murphy eyes the plate with his first pitch of the game. Murphy gave up two runs in the first inning after hits by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.

Yu Darvish, the Japanese phenom, threw four scoreless innings and struck out five RoughRiders in his North Texas debut. In his first MLB start, he led the Rangers to a win over the Seattle Mariners.

One of the two hits Darvish gave up was a single from Val Majewski. Majewski advanced to third on a single by Ryan Strausborger but the rally was cut short after a ground out by Zach Zaneski.

Darvish’s debut attracted over 100 members of the media. More than 20 of them were from his native Japan.

Jake Brigham came in during the fourth inning giving up an RBI triple to Frisco alum Craig Gentry. Gentry was 2 for 3 on the day also singling and scoring during the sixth inning.

David Murphy swings and misses on a pitch to Zach Zaneski. Murphy would account for one of Texas’ six runs after moving to second on a squeeze bunt from Craig Gentry, a wild pitch and a squeeze bunt by Jose Felix.

Young Rangers fans take the time out from the action to take a quick picture.

Chris McGuiness and Mike Napoli watch intently for the possible throw to first. The RoughRiders stranded three base runners over the course of the game.

 The vantage point from the Dr Pepper Patio gives fans the perfect opportunity to catch up while watching the game.

Nothing misses catcher Zach Zaneski’s eyes as he points towards second base.

An overthrow at second base allows Charlie Villanueva to slide in safely. The throw was backed up and no runs were allowed to score.

Michael Young waves to the fans with a smile on his face while walking with Elvis Andrus back to the clubhouse. The Rangers won over the Roughriders 6 to 1.

Photos By: Alex Yocum-Beeman & James Garner

Written By: Jarah Wright

Pics from the Winter Meetings’ Gala

Last night I had the great privilege of attending the Winter Meetings’ Gala at the Ballpark in Arlington. Here are some pics I took throughout the night to share with you.

View from the Nolan Ryan Suite.

View from field-level with the Rangers' dugout behind me.

Closer look at the recent construction that will dramatically change the look in center field.

Where the Rangers' workout.

Ron Washington's office.

The locker of former RoughRider Ian Kinsler.

Thanks to the Rangers for putting on a great event.  The Meetings next year, in case you’re curious, will be held in Nashville.

-AG

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