Results tagged ‘ Jake Brigham ’

Our Three Stooges

Jake Brigham, Mike Olt, and Leury Garcia are our three stooges. (Photo Illustration by Jarah Wright)

In honor of the new Three Stooges movie coming out on DVD today, we decided to examine this season through the eyes of the the ‘Riders version of Moe, Larry, and Curly also known as Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, and Jake Brigham.

Mike Olt’s initials are MO making him Moe. When asked about the season is going, he said he thinks it’s going well.

“I’m happy I was able to make improvements in the off-season and build on those improvements,” Olt said. “I put them into practice and keep working hard.”

Olt is currently hitting .289 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs. On July 5, Baseball America listed Olt as the third in the top 30 prospects in the Rangers organization and 11th in all of minor league baseball.

Leury Garcia’s first name is pronounced like Larry making him Larry. Garcia said he thinks everything is going good so far this season and he wouldn’t change anything that he’s been doing.

Garcia is currently hitting .273 with 8 triples and 18 stolen bases. Baseball America listed Garcia as the 11th in the top 30 prospects in the Rangers organization.

Jake Brigham started out the season with thick, curly black hair but shaved it off making him our Curly.

Like Olt, Brigham said he thinks the season is going well for him and that he’s learning a lot.

“I’m staying healthy and getting to pitch a lot of innings,” Brigham said. “I try to learn something every time I go out there.”

Brigham currently has a record of four wins and five losses with a 4.67 ERA. He has also struck out 99 batters so far this season.

Story by Jarah Wright

All-Star Game Recap

Last night was the 76th Texas League All-Star Game and seven RoughRiders were involved in the festivities at ONEOK Field in Tulsa. The festivities began with the Home Run Derby. San Antonio Missions’ first baseman Nate Freiman took home the crown defeating Corpus Christi Hooks’ first baseman Jonathan Singleton.

That set the stage for the All-Star game to begin. The balls for first pitch were delivered by two skydivers to the mound. Mike Olt delived the South’s lineup to the umpires at the home plate meeting. Olt didn’t play in the All-Star game because he is still recovering from a pulled hamstring. After the first pitches were thrown the starting lineups and reserves were announced. There were three RoughRiders in the starting lineup. Jurickson Profar was the leadoff batter and played shortstop, Engel Beltre batted ninth and was in center field, and pitcher Barret Loux was named the starting pitcher for the South All-Stars. A stirring rendition of the national anthem was then sung by Hanson, who are Oklahoma natives.

Barret Loux threw a scoreless first inning. He walked Josh Rutledge, struck out Kolten Wong, and then induced a double play from Nolan Arenado to end the half.

Frisco starter Jake Brigham was brought in to pitch in the second. He allowed a single to Oscar Taveras but Taveras tried to stretch it out to a double and was tagged out at second. Brigham then induced ground outs to Jean Segura and former ‘Riders player Johnny Whittleman.

The game remained scoreless until the North All-Stars scored three runs in the fourth inning off of Corpus Christi Hooks’ pitcher Ross Seaton. Kolten Wong led off the inning hitting a single and then advancing to second on a wild pitch. Nolan Arenado then doubled scoring Wong. That set the stage for Oscar Taveras who hit a home run putting the North on top 3-0.

Engel Beltre led the charge for the South in the sixth inning. He led off the inning hitting at triple to right field. A sac fly by Dean Anna brought Beltre in to score the only run of the game for the South. In the bottom of the inning, there were several substitutions for the South. Frisco catcher Zach Zaneski replaced Ali Solis and put in three innings of work behind the plate.

‘Riders reliever Carlos Pimentel split the eighth inning with Kevin Chapman who got the first out of the inning. Pimentel got the last two outs of the inning by inducing a flyout to third base and a line drive to second base.

The South fell to the North 3-1. Oscar Taveras was unanimously named the MVP. The all-star festivities were then wrapped up with a fireworks display before all of the players went their separate ways to catch up with their teams for games tonight. Frisco plays the Springfield Cardinals tonight at 7 p.m. Fans can listen to the game online at ridersbaseball.com.

Story by Jarah Wright

Draft Diaries: College Or High School?

Major League Baseball holds their annual Amateur Draft from June 4 through the 6 this week, and we have decided to get a look from different angles on the Frisco RoughRiders. A very low percentage of draft picks ever reach the Major Leagues and those that do never take the exact same path to reach it. There will be 1,200 or so players drafted over the next three days and a large majority of them will likely never make it to Double-A, let alone the Big Leagues. Here are stories from those that have or have played roles in those that have.

The draft is an exciting process and one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that few get to experience. Many guys go through the ranks of baseball starting at an early age and continue to play up through high school.

High school draft picks used to be less common but it seems like the 2012 draft indicates the tides could be changing. In this year’s draft, 17 of the first-round picks were from high school. Players in this position have tough decisions to make. Will they sign with the team that drafted them? Will they go to college ball and take the risk of getting hurt or not being drafted again? ‘Riders starter Jake Brigham had this decision laid before him in 2006.

Jake Brigham had just graduated from Central Florida Christian Academy and already had plans to play college baseball at the University of Central Florida. In the sixth round of the 2006 draft, Brigham was selected by the Texas Rangers. Less than ten minutes after his name was called, he got a phone call from the coach at UCF.

“He wanted me to come see the facilities again,” Brigham said. “But I knew if (the Rangers) could make it worth my while that I wanted to go play baseball. I wanted to get it started. I wanted to learn from the best about what I wanted to do with my life and my career.”

Ultimately Brigham chose to go the professional baseball route and says several factors let him know he made the right decision.

“I signed with UCF because there was a pitching coach there, Craig Cozart, who had a really good reputation as far as being a pitching coach,” Brigham said.  “He ended up leaving there at the end of what would have been my freshman year so it ended up working out perfectly.”

Brigham said although he hasn’t gone to college yet, it could still be in his future and he credits the Rangers for making that possible as well.

“That’s the good thing about signing out of high school. The team puts away an allotted amount of money for you to go back to school so whenever I’m done at some point, I do have a scholarship pretty much waiting for me.”

While Brigham decided to play professional baseball out of high school, fellow ‘Riders starter Barret Loux decided to go to college. Loux was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2007 but didn’t sign so he could go to Texas A&M where he majored in finance. Loux said he didn’t feel like he was ready to take on the role of professional pitcher.

“At that point and time I didn’t feel like my arm was ready to throw every five days and I wanted the college experience,” Loux said.

In 2011, Loux was drafted in the first round, sixth overall, by the Arizona Diamondbacks. With some reservation about Loux’s future, the Diamondbacks decided not to sign him. The next few months were hard on him as he waited to hear whether he could be declared a free agent.

“Once I found out (Arizona) wasn’t going to sign me, it took me awhile to get over it but I finally did realize there were bigger things in life and that I was still very lucky and blessed,” Loux said. “That really helped me get over it and got me to see things clearly.”

Loux was declared a free agent that fall and Texas signed him in December of 2010. He said he couldn’t be happier than where he is now playing in his home state.

As for current and future draft picks, Brigham and Loux said it’s best to enjoy the moment and make the choice that is right for the player.

“Enjoy the process. It goes quick. I can’t believe I’m already in my seventh season but just enjoy it,” Brigham said. “Don’t think about tomorrow. It’ll take care of itself.”

Written  by: Jarah Wright

Full From Thanksgiving

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.

-AG

 

RoughRiders’ All-Gridiron Team

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

Offense

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.

Defense

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.

Solving San Antonio

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!

- Brian

RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast, Episode #3

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

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

100 Things on 100 Games

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.

- Brian

July Is For Pitching

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 is 5-2 in his young Double-A career (Photo: James Garner).

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.

DESERVING MENTION:

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 has yet to give up a run for the 'Riders (Photo: James Garner).

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.

- Brian

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition, Part 2

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.

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