Results tagged ‘ Jake Brigham ’
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to connect with family and friends. My wife Heather and I made it back to see my parents in St. Louis and had a great time. We all have our favorites at Thanksgiving, mine is my mom’s sweet potato recipe. It might be the only dish at any holiday celebration that I can’t live without!
Since we chatted last, there have been some developments affecting the RoughRiders:
- Right-handers Jake Brigham, Neil Ramirez, and Justin Miller, along with lefty Martin Perez, were recently promoted to the Rangers 40-man roster. Placing them on the roster not only signifies how Texas feels about their potential, but more importantly, protects them from being acquired by another team in the Rule 5 draft. Interestingly enough, two players that are not being protect are two former ‘Riders: lefty Kasey Kiker and DH-first baseman Chad Tracy. Both can be taken in the draft by another team and signed for $50,000. The Rule 5 draft will be held this year on December 8 in Dallas.
- Some news that I’m especially excited about, the Rangers have hired Greg Maddux as Special Assistant to the General Manager. In his role with the Rangers, Greg, the brother of Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux, will be in uniform during Spring Training as an extra instructor for both the major and minor league staffs, along with visiting the club’s farm affiliates during the regular season. I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) meeting him and having him on the pre-game show.
- The Rangers have announced their 2012 Spring Training schedule, beginning with the Kansas City Royals on March 4 at Surprise Stadium. At the end of exhibition play, the Rangers will play against Triple-A Round Rock at the Dell Diamond on April 2, and will then play here at Dr Pepper Ballpark against the RoughRiders on April 4 at 2:05 p.m.
We’ll have more with the All-’Riders team tomorrow.
With the NFL lockout over and August underway, football is in the air. The ‘Riders have some solid athletes this season which prompted the question “who would play where if the RoughRiders were a football team”? Seems logical. After consulting with Frisco strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon, here is the ‘Riders All-Gridiron Team. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions. -AG
Quarterback: Ben Snyder
Although he was a two-time All-State wide receiver in high school, Snyder like the logical fit as QB. He has good athleticism, is a veteran, and has the intelligence the position demands.
Wide Receiver/Flanker: Justin Miller
At 6’4″, Miller is the prototypical deep threat. He has nice leaping abilities and is will force matchup problems for opposing defensive backs. “Snyder to Miller” is something we’ll be saying a lot.
Wide Receiver: Carlos Pimentel
He might be the most athletic pitcher of the ‘Riders staff. Pimentel has a quick burst off the line and is the perfect over-the-middle compliment to Miller going deep.
Running Back: Davis Stoneburner
Although he’s not the prototypical pounding back some might desire, Stoneburner possesses the quickness and elusiveness to to run effectively. What he lacks in size he makes up for in determination and confidence. Stoney is a nice open field runner who also contributes in the passing game.
Wide Receiver/Running Back (Flex): Corey Young
His quick hips and burst make Young a versatile offensive weapon both in the backfield and in the slot. He can lineup in a split-back set with Stoneburner, or can run complimentary routes over the middle with Pimentel in-between the first and second layers of the defense. His run after the catch abilities can turn a five yard dump pass into a 15 yard pick up.
Tight End: Tanner Scheppers
This is a natural fit. At 6’4″ with a long wingspan, Scheppers is the perfect red zone target for Snyder. He’s great over the middle of the field and, as a former short stop in college, has more athleticism than anyone on the line.
Right Tackle: Adalberto Flores
Big, tall, and physical, Flores shoulders the responsibility of protecting Snyder’s blindside. He has the quick feet and powerful arms to move quickly and keep a clean pocket.
Right Guard: Robbie Ross
With a low center of gravity, Ross wards off the blitz well. He also has enough quickness to pull on running plays and open up holes for Stoneburner.
Center: Jose Felix
Another natural fit. “Chief” is the anchor of the offensive line.
Left Guard: Richard Bleier
Bleier has the intelligence to read the defense and the athleticism to pull.
Left Tackle: Fabio Castillo
Pound-for-pound the biggest guy on the line. Fabio is aggressive with string hands and a wide upper-half.
Defensive End: Mike Bianucci
Has the size to stay in on running downs, but the athleticism and burst to rush the passers. His low center of gravity helps keep him on his feet, and his motor will wear down offensive tackles by the fourth quarter.
Defensive Tackle: Jose Ruiz
As one RoughRider told me, if Jose joined a Division I football program today, in four years he’d be an All-American. Ruiz has elite lateral movement and a sharp burst. He’s a beast clogging up the middle and has the speed to rush the passer.
Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham
Fear the beard. Brigham has the strength and aggressiveness to compliment Ruiz next to him. He also has the long arms to knock down passes when rushing. He brings the intensity and heart his position demands.
Defensive End: Johan Yan
Love this choice. His height and weight profiles as a rush defensive end. He runs well, has a long wingspan, and is big and strong enough to play the run.
Outside Linebacker: Elio Sarmiento
Thick and strong, Sarmiento can stuff the run but also has the quickness to cover a tight end who releases from the line. He can cover the flat and is disciplined enough to be trusted take down a running back in the open field.
Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Greene
His physical build and tools make Greene a nice choice here. He stuffs the run well and isn’t afraid of contact.
Middle Linebacker: Tommy Mendonca
Like Greene, Mendonca has the build to stuff the run. His strong forearms help him wrap up well and he has the quickness to move in a confined space well.
Outside Linebacker: Mitch Hilligoss
Aside from having a linebackers neck, Hilligoss can drop back like a safety, rush like a defensive end, and stop the run. Like Sarmiento, Hilli is a good fit here.
Cornerback: Engel Beltre
Beltre has big play, pick-six potential. His elite speed matches up with any wide receiver. He has all the makings up a shut-down corner.
Cornerback: Renny Osuna
While Renny may not have the speed of Beltre, he is ultra reliable and can cover the run as well. Has the athleticism to cover all types of receivers and has a nose for the ball.
Free Safety: Tyler Tufts
Perfect combination of size and speed to cover the entire third layer of the defense. Tufts has nice range and is a sound safety blanket for Renny and Osuna on the outer thirds. His big hits make receivers think twice before coming over the middle.
The RoughRiders have been on the outside of first place in the Texas League South because of one team: the San Antonio Missions. They are tied with the San Jose Giants of the California League for the best record in full-season minor league baseball (69-34).
Frisco has been in second place for around 70% of the season, and the ‘Riders have been in first place for only two days because of the Missions’ dominance. So far this year, the RoughRiders have gone 7-13 against San Antonio, and many games have gone down to the wire. Let’s go through these 20 matchups briefly and see why the ‘Riders have played San Antonio better than any other Texas League team.
We will categorize these 20 games into four terms: could have won, should have won, did win, or needed a break. Then we will show you how close the season series is by compiling these totals at the end.
April 25–San Antonio 7, Frisco 3: San Antonio scored four times in the eighth inning to pull away from the RoughRiders in the two clubs’ first meeting. (could have won)
April 26–San Antonio 6, Frisco 5: This was the wackiest game of the season series. With two on and two out in the eighth, Cody Decker crushed his seventh home run of the season to give San Antonio a 6-4 lead. The RoughRiders appeared to have regained the lead with two down in the top of the ninth, but the umpires overturned what was originally a three-run home run by Mike Bianucci. It was ruled an RBI double, which put men at second and third. Tommy Mendonca followed with a swinging strikeout to end the game. (should have won)
April 27–San Antonio 2, Frisco 1: Miguel De Los Santos worked seven innings and struck out ten, but Cody Decker’s two-run homer in the fifth was the difference. (could have won)
April 28–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: The ‘Riders blew a three-run lead in the seventh but rallied in the tenth for their first win over the Missions this year. (did win)
May 3–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Trailing 3-0, the RoughRiders tied the game in the sixth and scored two more in the seventh to earn the victory. (did win)
May 4–Frisco 3, San Antonio 2: During Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter’s rehab outings in Frisco, the ‘Riders won on Mike Bianucci’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the tenth. (did win)
May 5–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Frisco took the lead in the second and never looked back in the ‘Riders’ first three-game winning streak of the 2011 season. (did win)
May 6–San Antonio 3, Frisco 0: Jake Brigham took a perfect game into the seventh inning, but the ‘Riders did not get any offense. The Missions scored three in the seventh and controlled from there. (needed a break)
May 20–San Antonio 8, Frisco 7: This game was lopsided for much of the night. Credit the ‘Riders for getting back within one, but the score is misleading. (needed a break)
May 21–San Antonio 9, Frisco 5: Kyle Blanks’ walk-off grand slam won it for the Missions in the 11th, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Frisco surrendered a four-run lead in the eighth. This was one of the toughest losses of the year for the ‘Riders. (should have won)
May 22–San Antonio 6, Frisco 2: A five-run second allowed San Antonio to cruise to their third straight win over the ‘Riders. (needed a break)
May 23–Frisco 6, San Antonio 4: The Missions scored four in the ninth to tie the game, but the ‘Riders plated two in the tenth to win it and avoid what would have been a crippling loss. (did win).
June 8–San Antonio 11, Frisco 1: Uh, let’s just move on. (needed a BIG break)
June 9–San Antonio 5, Frisco 2: In this 15-inning marathon, all but two of the runs were scored in extras. Another tough, hard-fought loss against the Missions for Frisco. (could have won)
June 10–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: Travis Adair’s RBI single in the ninth won it for the ‘Riders, which was a big bounce back victory after two very different losses. (did win)
June 11–San Antonio 9, Frisco 8: Fabio Castillo blew a save because of a Dean Anna home run and a Jose Ruiz error. The ‘Riders had a great chance to win this game, but I can’t make it a “should” because it was a seesaw battle. (could have won)
July 18–San Antonio 7, Frisco 6: Even though the ‘Riders tied the game in the ninth, San Antonio won it in the 12th to earn another narrow win against Frisco. (could have won)
July 19–Frisco 6, San Antonio 1: Joe Wieland. Enough said. Seven innings, one run, two hits, and an impressive win against the best club in the minors. (did win)
July 20–San Antonio 1, Frisco 0: Casey Kelly and the Missions’ bullpen held the ‘Riders off the board. The ‘Riders’ offense never got anything going, so I can’t give this a “could” or a “should.” (needed a break)
July 21–San Antonio 6, Frisco 4: The Missions’ three-run second set the tone for another series win for the Missions against the ‘Riders. (needed a break)
When you count things up, the ‘Riders have seven wins against the Missions. In the 13 losses, the RoughRiders COULD have won five and, in my opinion, SHOULD have won two more. Say the ‘Riders win half of those seven games, and I’ll even round down, and the season series in tied at 10. Tonight begins another showdown. Join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!
The latest episode of the RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast is now yours to listen to and download on iTunes. As always, a big thanks to our producer Ted Price, Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com, and Brian.
The three of us discuss the trade deadline, Joe Wieland, Mike Bianucci, Tomym Mendonca, Johan Yan, Renny Osuna, Jake Brigham, Justin Miller, Tanner Scheppers … and even more.
We’ve been thrilled with the early response of the podcast. Episode 2 had over 1,300 downloads! Thanks to all who download and listen, and remember, feel free to leave a comment with a question or future topic you’d like us to discuss.
I hope you and your iPod enjoy. -AG
The RoughRiders have played 100 games this season. With only 40 games left, the ‘Riders currently own the Texas League’s second best record at 57-43. To celebrate the century mark, let’s tell you about 100 things from each of the 100 games. I promise that everything will not be listed, but let’s add up some of the RoughRiders’ most notable numbers and get to 100 x 100, or 10,000. Here we go.
0: The number of runs, hits, or base runners that Martin Perez allowed during his rain-shortened perfect game April 19 at Arkansas.
12: The number of home runs hit in the RoughRiders’ 19-4 victory over Corpus Christi this past Friday. The ‘Riders had eight of those, including three by Tommy Mendonca.
19: Frisco’s run total from that win last week, which matched a franchise-high for runs in a game. The club also surpassed its previous record in home runs (8) and hits (24).
20: How many times Dr Pepper Ballpark has been sold out this season. The RoughRiders currently lead the Texas League in attendance, averaging almost eight thousand people per night.
26: The ‘Riders have come from behind in 26 victories this season, which makes up almost half of Frisco’s wins.
48: How many different men have donned the RoughRiders uniform this season, which is a list that consists of men like defending American League MVP Josh Hamilton and undrafted 2011 free agent Jimmy Swift. And seemingly everyone in between.
65: The number of days the RoughRiders have been tied for or in sole possession of second place in the Texas League South Division.
76: The RoughRiders have made 76 transactions this season. The first one was sending now Chris Mobley, who is now with the Reds, to Triple-A Round Rock April 5. The most recent one was Robbie Diaz’s return to Frisco late last week.
100: Uh well, this is the number of games the ‘Riders have played. Sorry, I had to include it.
103: The number of home runs that the ‘Riders have hit this season, which is already 35 more than the club’s season total last year.
186: When you add the home runs and RBIs for Mike Bianucci (23, 70) and Tommy Mendonca (20, 73), you get 186. According to Michael Damman, the Director of the RoughRiders Statistical Research Department, the RoughRiders are the only team in the minors to have teammates that own 20+ homers and 70+ RBIs.
199: The number of wins in Frisco manager Steve Buechele’s career. He is 199-170 in his career and 120-101 during his time with the RoughRiders.
264: That’s how many minutes the RoughRiders’ longest game lasted. It was a 4-hour, 24-minute thriller that Arkansas won 4-3 in 15 innings.
296: Through Monday’s action, the Rangers’ minor league system has won 296 games, which is third-most in baseball. Texas’ farm system has the best winning percentage at .584.
306: Renny Osuna’s hit total while with the RoughRiders, which is second to Steve Murphy. Murphy had 319 during his time in Frisco.
541: The number of runs Frisco’s offense has scored this season, which is good for more than five runs per contest.
.570 (this is counting as 570, by the way): Frisco’s winning percentage, which would be the fourth-best in franchise history. The previous high is .607 back in 2007.
774: The number of strikeouts that Frisco’s pitching staff has come up with during the season. Jake Brigham leads all ‘Riders with 85.
910: Frisco pitching has thrown 910 innings this year. In that span, the club owns a 4.41 ERA, which is third in the Texas League.
965: How many hits the RoughRiders’ offense has mustered, which is almost ten per game. Frisco trails only Springfield in the Texas League in hits.
1.007 (this is counting as 1,007, by the way): Leonys Martin’s OPS while with the RoughRiders, which leads all 2011 ‘Riders not named Josh Hamilton (1.087), who doesn’t quite count. Martin hit .348 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 29 games at the Double-A level.
1509: The total number of bases the ‘Riders have reached this season. That’s a lot of running.
2004: The year of the RoughRiders’ first and only Texas League championship season. Here in 2011, the ‘Riders have proven through their first 100 games that they have the talent to add another title here in 2011.
Yep, that’s 10,000. It will be fun to see what 1 or 100 amazing things the RoughRiders do in the season’s stretch run. Enjoy the ride along with us.
It has been a good month for the RoughRiders yet again in July. Frisco is 14-8, which means the club is on pace for more wins in July than it has had in any month this season.
The offense has been solid as usual, posting a .282 batting average. That is one point higher than the ‘Riders’ team average in June (.281).
But the RoughRiders’ pitching staff has been the group that has improved the most in the first 22 games of July. The staff, which owned an ERA around 4.50 throughout the first three months of the season, boasts a season-best 3.60 ERA this month. Opponents are averaging only 4.2 runs per game against the ‘Riders, and 12 times the opposition has managed less than four runs in a game this month.
Today, we delve into the statistics and find five RoughRiders hurlers who have posted season-best ERAs for a month in July, along with three others who are at or close to their season low.
SEASON LOW ERAs:
Richard Bleier: Bleier has been bounced around all season long, from the disabled list into a few piggyback outing, to the rotation and then the bullpen and back into the rotation. Hopefully you kept up there. Bleier is back in the rotation and set to start tonight. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in July, a month during which Bleier has made three starts and three bullpen appearances. He will start for the ‘Riders tonight as they aim for their fifth sweep of the season and their second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Jake Brigham: Like Bleier, Brigham began the season as a starter but is now in the bullpen. After a rough start in the ‘pen, Brigham has settled in nicely. The right-hander currently owns a 2.13 ERA in July, which is more than two runs better than his previous best. He has struck out 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings of work. Brigham has not pitched since Thursday, so fans can expect to see him again soon.
Robbie Erlin: The Rangers’ number four prospect has been pretty steady during his first two months at the Double-A level, and Erlin has been at his best in July. The left-hander has a 3.75 ERA in four July starts, but his record is only 1-2. In July, the strikeout-per-inning ratio has gone down a bit from June (1.2 in June to 0.8 in July), but Erlin has not walked a single batter in 24 innings this month. The next start for Erlin will be Tuesday against Midland.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers has been with the RoughRiders for more than a month, and he has shown flashes of dominance during his time in the Texas League. In July, Scheppers has an ERA of 3.38, but that includes a tough start to July when he allowed four earned runs in three appearances. Since then, the righty has posted six scoreless innings of work in his last five outings. Scheppers has some of the best stuff in the Rangers’ system, and he doesn’t figure to be in Frisco for much longer based on his recent performances. Triple-A Round Rock could be the next destination soon.
Joe Wieland: Wieland’s successes have been documented here on the Insider Blog, and he continued that good work last night with six scoreless innings against Corpus Christi. Wieland’s ERA is at 1.54 in Double-A, and it sits at just 1.50 in July. In all six of his starts, Wieland has worked at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.
Justin Miller: It was going to be tough for Miller to best his effort in June because, well, he didn’t allow any earned runs in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. Here in July, Miller has recorded 11 and a third frames, and he allowed his only run of the month at Springfield July 9. Throw out that single tally, and the midseason All-Star has not surrendered a run since May 23 in a game at San Antonio that he went on to earn the victory.
Yohan Yan: Yan has been great with both Myrtle Beach and Frisco. So far with the ‘Riders in three appearances, the side-winding right-hander has crafted five and a third scoreless innings of relief. He has held the opposition to just two base hits. Thus, his ERA with the ‘Riders is at its lowest in July because this is his first month here, but he deserved inclusion on this list. So far, so good for the ‘Riders’ newest arm.
Corey Young: Young is almost in the same category as Miller. He gave up just one run in June for an ERA of 0.87. Here in July, Young has only given up one run in three fewer innings, so he could still go on to post a season-low for a month with a few more appearances. When Young went on the disabled list with a back injury in late April, he had an ERA at 9.00. That mark has since dropped to a very healthy 3.51.
A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Harmon took a look at some of the highest ranked Rangers prospects coming into the season. Today, he takes a look at some farmhands who have helped their stock in one way or another.
Round Rock Express (Triple-A):
Pedro Strop: Strop has been one of the Express’ most consistent arms out of the bullpen. The Dominican native posted a 1.93 ERA in the month of July, lowering his ERA to 3.55 on the season. Strop has spent parts of the last three seasons in Arlington, compiling a 3.72 ERA for the Rangers in 9.2 innings of work this season. Originally signed as a shortstop by the Colorado Rockies in 2002, the 26-year-old still has time to earn a regular role in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Chad Tracy: While, Chris Davis is capturing most of the attention with his uncanny home run numbers (24 bombs in 47 games), Tracy has quietly been building arguably the best season of his career. Despite hitting a meager .230 in June, the Pepperdine product still boasts a .262 average on the season. However, his 20 home runs through July 22 offsets some skepticism regarding his ability to hit.
Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):
Mike Bianucci: After a hot start offensively, Bianucci’s batting average has dropped off a bit since the All-Star break. However, his power numbers have been steady. Heading into the home stand, the Auburn University alum leads the ‘Riders with 22 home runs and has 69 RBI – both rank among the Texas League leaders. The most impressive split for Bianucci is his .316 batting average with runners on base compared to a .207 average with the bases empty.
Jake Brigham: Despite initially struggling after being moved to the bullpen, Brigham has strung together 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings of work. Primarily a starter throughout his career, Brigham now finds himself as a key piece in one of the most dependable bullpens in the Texas League. Through the month of July, the Orlando native is holding hitters to a .152 batting average.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):
Ryan Strausborger: Strausborger has come out of nowhere to emerge as a true prospect for the Rangers. The speedy outfielder is now batting third in the lineup for the Pelicans and is leads the team in RBIs, and is second in almost every other offensive category. Additionally, the Indiana State University product has accumulated 27 steals through July 22.
Zach Zaneski: Backstop Zach Zaneski has quietly been putting together back-to-back .300 seasons in the minors. This is the Rhode Island native’s first season in AA, and he has already earned Carolina League All Star recognitions. Currently, Zaneski is splitting time evenly with Vincent DiFazio. Each is alternating behind the dish every night. However if, Zaneski continues to hit at his current pace (.333 in July) he will make a viable case to become the everyday catcher.
Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):
Tomas Telis: The Venezuelan import is enjoying his first season in the South Atlantic League. Telis has never batted below .300 while playing in the States and 2011 looks like another .300+ season. Perhaps most encouraging to scouts is his surge in power. Through 80 games, Telis has tallied eight long balls. Being just 20 years old, his body should mature even more, which could lead to more home run power.
Christian Villanueva: Villanueva is one of the best power/speed combos in Ranger’s system. Hailing from Mexico, Vilanueva has swiped 23 bags and belted 11 home runs while hitting cleanup for Hickory. He had three walk-off hits in the span of eight days for the Crawdads earlier this season.
Spokane Indians (short season):
Brett Nicholas: The former University of Missouri catcher is either first or second in every major offensive category for Spokane. Through his first 15 games in July, Nicholas was batting an impressive .396 with two home runs. A sound defensive catcher who can hit is hard to come by, so don’t expect Nicholas to stay in Spokane past this season, especially with Hickory catcher Kellin Deglan batting just .226.
Over the last few days, we have talked about the Rangers’ prospects from Round Rock to Surprise, and we have focused on ten ‘Riders who have improved their prospect stock in the last 12 months.
Today, let’s take a look at five new RoughRiders. These five men got off to slow starts, but they have turned things around and become factors on the second-best team in the Texas League.
Engel Beltre: Beltre’s struggles are well-documented this season, but the guy did enter 2011 as the Rangers’ fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America. The glove has been there all season long, and the bat is starting to come around.
Offensively, Beltre bottomed out in May when he hit .162 in 12 games after returning from a suspension. The outfielder began his upswing in June by hitting .252 and scoring 17 times in 26 games. So far in July, Beltre is thriving–.306 average, 12 runs, four stolen bases (he did not steal any in May or June), and a .729 OPS.
Beltre’s numbers overall don’t scream “top level prospect,” but he has gone through a great deal during the 2011 season. The fact that he has a chance, with a strong finish to the year, to get his stats close to his averages in the minors is impressive.
Jake Brigham: Brigham had his baseball world turned upside down late last month. The right-hander, who had made 14 starts with the ‘Riders, was sent to the bullpen. Prior to this year, Brigham had only acted as a reliever 13 times.
During his first four outings, Brigham allowed ten runs while adjusting to his new role. Since then, Brigham has been dominant. The righty has tossed eight and a third innings of scoreless baseball. He has allowed three hits, walked three hits, and struck out nine batters.
Brigham’s ERA as a bullpen arm is 6.08, but it is dropping quickly. If he continues this recent surge, he will add to an already-talented bullpen.
Justin Miller: Speaking of talented bullpen arms, how about the run of success Miller has had? The key for Miller was finding a role. He struggled a bit as the club’s closer in the first handful of weeks, but he has settled into a job that involves setting up around 75% of the time and closing about 25% of the time.
After a 3.76 ERA through May 31, Miller boasted an ERA of 0.00 in 13 and two-thirds innings in June. So far in July, Miller has surrendered one run in seven and two-thirds. And Miller is able to retire both lefties (.190) and righties (.217), which is a huge asset for an eighth/ninth-inning guy.
A few interesting splits for Miller: he loves night games (1.02 ERA) v. day games (5.84 ERA), and he loves home games (0.68 ERA) v. road games (4.22 ERA).
Elio Sarmiento: We’ve heard about Sarmiento’s excellent cooking abilities, but his performance on the field deserves some praise, too. Sarmiento had to bounce between the team’s second and third catcher during the first few weeks, but now he has a strong case for being Frisco’s best backstop.
Sarmiento’s batting average has gone up in every month this year (.091, .214, .326, .355). In his 21 appearances since June 3, Sarmiento has three home runs and 17 RBIs. Before this year, Sarmiento’s career high in home runs was two. The Venezuela native’s career high in RBIs (25 in ’09) is very much in danger, too.
Since the beginning of June, Sarmiento has played in 21 games, and Jose Felix has played in 19. As you can see, Sarmiento’s efforts have earned him more playing time.
Corey Young: April was not a kind month for the left-handed reliever. He went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight appearances, and he found himself on the disabled list with a back injury on April 28.
Once Young rejoined the RoughRiders’ active roster five weeks later, he became a force. The southpaw owns a 1.10 ERA in 16 and a third innings. In early June, Young appeared in a few mop-up situations. Since then, he has worked his way into many key situations. In the ninth inning and beyond, Young has allowed only one earned run in seven innings.
Young still needs to work on his efforts against lefties (.353 average), but that is pretty remarkable to see for a lefty who owns a 3.70 ERA. Thus, there is some room for improvement for a man who is already seeing plenty.
Every Father’s Day I can’t help but think of that scene from Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner plays catch with his dad (once your done reading you can watch it here).
I’m not ashamed to say it makes me cry every time. I wanted to ask some of the ‘Riders what some of their favorite baseball memories were with their dads, and I’m glad I can share their answers with you.
“To this day, I remember my dad, and my mom, always being there and watching every game my brothers and I played.“
I then asked Boo about the first time his dad got to see him play in the major leagues.
“We were playing the Angles and I had a bunch of friends and family come out to the game. I remember hugging my dad after the game and him telling me that he had tears in his eyes during the National Anthem.”
LHP, Robbie Erlin: Growing up in Santa Cruz, Calif., Erlin’s father probably never imagined that his son would be the Rangers’ No. 4 prospect at just 20-years-old. But as Erlin’s coach in the Scotts Valley Little League, he greatly influenced his son’s future career.
“When I was 9-years-old my dad told me that before I could throw a curveball, I had to be able to locate my fastball. He and I worked after practice on throwing a curve and finally one day during a game I was pitching he signaled to our catcher to call for a curveball.”
As we all know, Robbie’s curveball is now one of the best in the Rangers’ minor league system. I then asked Robbie if 9-years-old was a bit early to be throwing a curve.
“Not if you know how to throw it.”
3B, Tommy Mendonca: By now, we all know how well Tommy has been playing lately. And we all know how hard he’s been working out. Most are aware of the magical ride he went on when playing for Fresno State University in 2008 when the Bulldogs won the College World Series and Mendo was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player as a sophomore.
“Both of my parents were at every game in Omaha during our playoff run. My dad was my little league coach and it was great having him and my mom watching me and supporting me when we were playing in such big games.”
RHP, Jake Brigham: One of seven kids (four brothers, two sisters) , Jake grew up in Florida where his dad was a barber. He had to cut a lot of hair to support all those hungry mouths and thus had one day off a week: Wednesday.
“Every Wednesday afternoon he’d take us seven kids to Barnett Park and we had practically enough players to field a team. I remember him pitching to us … We all got a chance to field, catch, hit, and play the outfield.”
“It was great having my dad coach me in Babe Ruth League. Once I turned pro, he first had a chance to watch me play in Hickory. My best memories are of him watching me in high school, though. It was great then because I always had lots of family at the games.”
2B, Davis Stoneburner: His real name is Ralph, which, so conveniently for today’s article, is his father’s name. After asking him a baseball memory he shared with his dad, Stoney gave me an answer in a way that only he could.
“The first time my dad saw me play as a professional was in Clinton, Ia. when I was playing for the LumberKings. I was a shortstop at the time and he came out to watch me play a four-game series. Bad part was I didn’t get a single hit.”
Fortunately, he’s now riding a nine-game hitting streak. Looks like he’s recovered.
We’ll have more of a tribute to Father’s Day on the pre-game show tonight. Along with Mother’s Day, it’s one of my favorite pre-game segments all season long. First pitch tonight in the series finale in Corpus Christi crosses home plate at 6:05, pre-game coverage kicks off at 5:35.
If for some reason you miss the pre-game segment of all the ‘Riders wishing their dad’s a happy Father’s Day but would like to hear it, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the .mp3 version.
Talk with you tonight,
I am not a golf fanatic. In fact, I haven’t golfed more than twice in a summer since high school, mainly because my skill level is just below awful. I don’t know what word describes “just below awful,” but it can’t be good.
However, I make sure to watch as much of pro golf’s four majors as possible. As I’m perched in my room watching the U.S. Open’s third round, let’s take a look at how some golfers compare to those who are down at Whataburger Field this weekend. It’s a special edition of the Facts.
FRISCO FACTS (U.S. Open style):
- Rory McIlroy (-11; first place) = Tommy Mendonca: McIlroy has dominated the U.S. Open so far with a first-round 65 and a second-round 66. He heads into day three with a six-stroke lead. We have talked about Mendonca recently on this blog. Since that post, Mendonca has gone 3-for-7 with a homer and two RBIs. In June, the ‘Riders’ third baseman is hitting an absurd .433 with 21 RBIs. Both men are dominating their field right now.
- Y.E. Yang (-5; second place) = Renny Osuna: Both men are undersized a bit (Yang: 5’9″, 190 lbs; Osuna: 6’0″, 180 lbs), yet both have had solid years and careers. Yang took down Tiger Woods (well get to him in a bit) in the ’09 PGA Championship, but he still is a surprise in this year’s event. Osuna continues to hit well, but other RoughRiders tend to get the attention. Osuna is hitting .304 with a career-high five home runs. He’ll have plenty of chances to blow that old career high in homers (four) out of the water.
- Phil Mickelson (+1; T-26th place) = Mike Bianucci: Mickelson is very much on the outside looking in this weekend, but he is probably the most marketable golfer on tour right now with Woods on the shelf. Bianucci has struggled a bit lately, too. However, Bianucci still sits in a tie for third in homers (14) and a tie for fourth in RBIs (49). Fortunately for Bianucci, he has more than half the season left. Mickelson has 36 holes and a scorching up-and-comer 12 strokes ahead. Advantage: Bianucci.
- Sergio Garcia (-2; T-third place) = Jake Brigham: Both Garcia and Brigham are not flashy, but they both tend to hang around and give themselves a chance to win at the end. Garcia posted a 69 in round one and followed it up with an even-par 71 yesterday. Brigham has gone at least five innings in all but one of his 13 starts this year. Tonight’s starter has allowed more than three runs only three times. These two won’t grab the headlines, but they get the job done.
- Michael Barbosa (+24; last place) = Corpus Christi Hooks: This is not me unnecessarily ripping on the Hooks, I promise. Both Barbosa and the Hooks had rough starts to their week/season, and next week both will get a chance with clean slates. I’m sure they are thrilled.
- Tiger Woods (DNP – injury) = Josh Hamilton: Woods has been in the PGA Tour this year. Hamilton has been with the RoughRiders this year. Thousands follow Woods around when he is on the course. Thousands waited for Hamilton to sign some autographs when he visited Dr Pepper Ballpark, and he rewarded many of them. Golf fans hope Woods returns soon. However, I think RoughRiders and Rangers fans alike would like Hamilton to stay right where he is for the rest of the season.
- Other quick connections: Davis Love III (-1; T-eighth place) and Guilder Rodriguez = thriving veterans; Patrick Cantlay (highest-ranked amateur) and Robbie Erlin = future stars; Louis Oosthuizen and Davis Stoneburner = names that flow; Chubby Chandler (McIlroy’s manager) and Steve Buechele = successful managers.
Catch the pre-game coverage for tonight’s 6:05 showdown at 5:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!