Results tagged ‘ Jake Skole ’

Sleepless in San Antonio

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The RoughRiders’ team bus rolled into the Alamo City in the early morning hours on Thursday after a ride through the night. It was San Antonio’s Yeison Asencio who looked wide awake in last night’s game as he sent two balls on a ride out of Wolff Stadium. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: 1B Trever Adams – 3/4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI

Trever followed up his inside-the-parker on Wednesday with a three-knock night to extend his active hitting streak to a season-long eight games. The righty has been a doubles machine for the RoughRiders and tied a career high with his 28th two-bagger of the season. He also moved into a tie with Tulsa’s Taylor Featherston for second in the Texas League (Arkansas’ Alex Yarbrough paces the league with 34 doubles). Trev’s average ticked up to .286 (5th in the Texas League) and he stands one RBI shy of 50 with the ‘Riders.

In case you missed it:

-Asencio’s multi home run night is the third of the season for the Dominican, who sits in a tie for third in the Texas League with .288 batting average.

-San Antonio cracked three pitches out of the park on Thursday. The most home run happy squad in the Texas League has 95 jacks on the season, nine ahead of second place Frisco.

-Alec Asher leads the Texas League in home runs allowed (17) and losses (10). He also paces the league in starts (22), ranks fourth in strikeouts (100) and second in WHIP (1.15).

-With four total plate appearances on Thursday (1-for-3, R, BB), Odubel Herrera now needs seven total plate appearances to qualify for the  Texas League leader board in batting. Odubel’s .345 average will almost certainly claim the top spot on the list, now held by Springfield’s Cody Stanley (.297).

-Gallo watch: DNP

No need to panic. Just a standard day of rest for Joey.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (16)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (10)

4. Teodoro Martinez (3)

4. Jake Skole (3)

4. J.T. Wise (3)

7. Chris Grayson (2)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

 

 

Trever Adams rehashes the exhausting experience that is an inside-the-park home run with Alex on the Pregame Show:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Pitching Staff Rounding Into Form

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

A collaborative effort from Derek Holland, Martire Garica and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez held the highest scoring offense in the Texas League to just one hit and the RoughRiders capped their final homestand of July with a 5-2 record and a 1 1/2 game lead over Midland for the best record in the Texas League. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez – 6.0IP, H, 0R, 2BB, 7K

The 2013 first round draft choice has not lost a decision since June 26 and concluded the month of July with a 3-0 record. In the first relief appearance of his professional career, Chi Chi allowed only one runner into scoring position as he mowed through the Midland order for the final six innings of Wednesday night’s affair.

I had some trepidation prior to Chi Chi’s outing given the precedent of starters pitching in relief of major league rehabbers. For example, when Luke Jackson came out of the pen on May 6  after a Joe Saunders rehab start (against Midland no less), the Texas League all-star surrendered three solo home runs. Furthermore, Chi Chi had already been bumped from his scheduled start on Monday in favor of Andrew Faulkner’s Double-A debut.

A look at the line and you would never postulate the right-hander threw those numbers in a relief appearance on seven days of rest. Chi Chi’s 2.44 ERA in the Texas League is 18 points lower than his ERA in the Carolina League with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach.

In case you missed it:

-Dusty Coleman foiled the RoughRiders’ no-hit bid in the seventh inning with a two-out single to right. It was Midland’s only base hit of the night.

-Trever Adams’ 12th home run of the season (and 47th RBI) came on the RoughRiders’ first inside-the-park home run of 2014. Trever shot the first pitch of the second inning out to right field where it snuck past a sliding Jeremy Barfield. The Midland right-fielder chased the ball down and attempted to throw Trever out at third. However, the toss pulled third baseman Jefry Marte well off the bag and as Marte fumbled to receive the ball, Trever hardly broke stride on his way home. The Nebraskan also extended his active hitting streak to seven games.

-It’s hard to fathom a better start to Derek Holland’s rehab assignment than what he exhibited on Wednesday. Wearing the same number seven he donned with the ‘Riders in 2008, Derek threw two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. He walked two batters and struck out four. Thirty-three of the lefty’s 21 pitches hammered the zone as Derek fed a steady diet of breaking balls in the low 80s and a fastball that peaked at 92. He did not have to field his position.

-Hanser Alberto stole three bases on Wednesday. He entered play 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts with the ‘Riders this season.

-Kent Matthes finally endured a quiet night, striking out twice and drawing a walk in the second inning.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-3, SO, BB

Joey finished with a quartet of hits over the seven-game home stand and all four left the yard. He is now one home run shy of 100 in his professional career.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (16)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (10)

4. Teodoro Martinez (3)

4. Jake Skole (3)

4. J.T. Wise (3)

7. Chris Grayson (2)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

 

 

Andrew Faulkner’s mother saw her son make his Double-A debut on her birthday. Hear Andrew’s thoughts on the outing and his first week in Frisco:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Gallo the Great

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Midland manager Rich Dauer made a call to the bullpen. Right-hander Marcus Walden left the game after two walks and a hit batsman filled the pond with RoughRiders. Out trotted southpaw Omar Duran to set up a lefty-lefty matchup with Joey Gallo. The RoughRiders had not faced Duran yet this season, and Gallo quickly poked his back into the dugout to see if there was any type of intelligence on the new hurler.

Whatever advice Gallo received was golden. Or maybe his first-pitch swing was predetermined in expectation of a fastball no matter who was on the hill. In any event, Joey’s majestic grand slam down the right field line (his pull side) on Duran’s first toss left the yard at such an astonishing rate and altitude, it is hard to comprehend a ball flying off a piece of lumber in such fashion. It left players, personnel, fans and especially Omar Duran, who walked the next batter on five pitches, in a daze. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: DH Joey Gallo – 1/3, R, GS HR, 4RBI, BB, 2SO

The grand salami was the fifth of Joey’s career and second this season (May 30 with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach). It was also his fifth home run against Midland in 11 games versus the RockHounds. The 6-foot-5 230-pounder has cracked 16 jacks with the ‘Riders, 37 on the season and 99 in his career.

In case you missed it:

-Joey Gallo is batting 4-for-22 six games into the current homestand and all four of his hits have been home runs.

-In his organizational debut, and third at the Double-A level, Rockwall native Jake Thompson allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts over five innings. He did not factor into the decision.

-Alex Claudio was excellent in extended relief on Tuesday. The ‘Riders had primarily used Claudio as a starter since his promotion, but the southpaw voiced his preference of relief situations. He certainly looked at ease as he conceded just one hit over four scoreless innings.

-Before Gallo stole the show, J.T. Wise renewed the ball game with a solo shot to left in the seventh inning. Wise has shown a knack for timely hitting late in the night and his third homer as a RoughRider tied the game at 2-2. The native of Apopka, Florida has hits in 12 of his 16 games with Frisco since joining the squad earlier in July.

-Midland’s Kent Matthes entered the series on a Gallo-esque tear at the plate and continued to mash on Tuesday. The outfielder belted another home run for his second of the series and fifth in the last four games. Matthes now has driven in an improbable 23 RBI in the last 12 games.

-Gallo watch: see above

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (16)

2. Trever Adams (11)

3. Drew Robinson (10)

4. Teodoro Martinez (3)

4. Jake Skole (3)

4. J.T. Wise (3)

7. Chris Grayson (2)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

 

 

Minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark checks in with his analysis of Andrew Faulkner’s Double-A debut and his expectations for Jake Thompson over the rest of the season:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Bitemarks

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The bats continued to produce, but poor defense and shaky relief pitching allowed the RockHounds to erase two three-run deficits and nip the ‘Riders 8-6. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: 1B Trever Adams – 3/5, 2R, 2B

Trever looked rejuvenated after his first game out of the lineup since June 4. He belted his 26th double of the season, two shy of his career high of 28. The 25-year-old ranks third in the Texas League in two-baggers. On the season, Trever carries a .281/.333/.451 slash line through 94 games played and crossed the century mark in hits on Monday night.

In case you missed it:

-Jake Skole cracked his first home run since April 22 in the third inning off Shawn Haviland. The lefty is batting .265 in the month of July.

-Left-hander Andrew Faulkner lasted five innings in his Double-A debut and left in line for the win with three runs allowed (two earned) on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

-Guilder Rodriguez committed two costly errors, both of which kept innings alive and allowed Midland to score additional runs. The pair of unearned runs tallied by the Hounds were the difference in the game. G-Rod also went 0-for-4 at the plate to end a nine-game hitting streak.

-Midland’s Kent Matthes entered the series on a Gallo-esque tear at the plate and continued to mash on Monday. The outfielder batted 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, a home run, three RBI and a walk. Matthes racked up nine RBI on Saturday alone against Corpus Christi and has a three-game homer streak.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-5, 3SO

The defending Texas League Player of the Week had three chances to drive in runs, including an opportunity with two outs and two aboard in the bottom of the ninth. Corpus Christi’s Telvin Nash, the Texas League leader in home runs with 18, recently landed on the DL, so Joey has a chance to make up some ground in his quest to champion two leagues in jimmy jacks.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (15)

2. Trever Adams (11)

3. Drew Robinson (10)

4. Teodoro Martinez (3)

4. Jake Skole (3)

6. Chris Grayson (2)

6. J.T. Wise (2)

6. Odubel Herrera (2)

9. Patrick Cantwell (1)

 

 

Reliever Kyle Lotzkar joins the Pregame Show. The righty has avoided the injury bug this season and attributes his health to adherence to routine. He also shares memories of his Gold Medal run with Team Canada in the 2011 Pan American Games, his proudest moment as a baseball player:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

At long last, the RoughRiders succumbed to an opponent in the state of Arkansas. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals felled Frisco in the Diamond State for the first time in 370 days, thanks in large part to a pivotal three-run home run from Orlando Calixte. Pardon the somewhat epic tone; the Lord of the Rings is on TNT right now. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: CF Jake Skole – 2/4, R, 2B, RBI

Jake is once again seeing more consistent playing time with fellow center fielder Ryan Strausborger back at Triple-A. The lefty is on a mini four-game hit streak and his double to right in the seventh inning tied the game at three. It marked the second straight game in which the ‘Riders erased a multiple run deficit in the seventh.

In case you missed it:

-The Naturals snapped the RoughRiders’ four-game win streak.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-3, R, BB

Joey dropped his second successful bunt single this season, and of his professional career. The native of Henderson, Nevada drew a walk in the ninth inning to put two men on with nobody out, but the ‘Riders could not build on the momentum. He avoided a strikeout for the third time in 23 games with the RoughRiders.

-Chris Grayson made his first appearance with the ‘Riders since June 6. In each of his three stints with the RoughRiders, Grayson has worn a different number. He began the season wearing number 11 (now Alex Claudio’s number) and wore number 36 from May 27-June 8 (Randy Henry carries it now). Now, the outfielder displays number 26 on his back and went 0-for-3 with an RBI sacrifice fly in his first game with the ‘Riders in nearly a month.

-Hanser Alberto made his 2014 Double-A premier, batted 0-for-4 and played shortstop.

-Local product Hunter Dozier, from Denton, clocked his first Double-A home run off Francisco Mendoza in the eighth inning to give his teams its largest lead of the night.

 

 

The affable Jimmy Reyes joins the Pregame Show on the heels of a five strikeout performance in two innings of relief:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

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

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

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

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

_________________________

TNCTG PART TWO – The Players

(as of 05/17/13)

2013 Frisco RoughRiders

Current RoughRiders:

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

Cody Buckel ‏  @Cheatcode07 (#8)

Randy Henry ‏ @RandyHenry51 (#29)

Odubel Herrera ‏ @odubelherrera1frisco roughriders logo

Jared Hoying ‏ @jhoying3035

Teodoro Martinez ‏ @martinezteo

Brett Nicholas ‏ @bnicholas15

Kevin Pucetas ‏ @KPucetas

Jimmy Reyes ‏ @jimmymreyes

Ryan Rodebaugh ‏ @RRodey

Ben Rowen ‏ @B_Rowen

Ryan Strausborger ‏ @Ryan_Straus

Zach Zaneski ‏ @ZZaneski

RoughRiders to play in 2013, now off roster:

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49 (Triple-A)

Ross Wolf ‏ @18RGW (Triple-A)

Other players in the Texas Rangers System:

MLB:

Elvis Andrus ‏ @ElvisandrusSS1

Nelson Cruz ‏ @ncboomstick17

ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) ‏ @faridyu

Neftali Feliz ‏ @NefFeliz

Josh Frasier ‏ @Frasier66 (bullpen catcher)

Leury Garcia ‏ @leurygarcia1 (#20)

Justin Grimm ‏ @GrimmReaper51 (#5)

Derek Holland ‏ @Dutch_Oven45texas_rangers-9679

Michael Kirkman ‏ @MikeKirkman50

Josh Lindblom  @JoshLindblom52 

Leonys Martin ‏ @leonys27martin (#4)

Joe Nathan ‏ @JoeNathan36

Martin Perez ‏ @MartinPerez33D (#3)

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

Robbie Ross ‏ @Ross_108

Joakim Soria ‏ @joakimsoria

Triple-A Round Rock:

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

Engel Beltre ‏ @engelbeltre07

Lisalverto Bonilla ‏ @propecto1

Jake Brigham ‏ @jbrigham49

Robinson Chirinos  @robinson28chrr_express_logo_detail

Michael Olt ‏ @molt2222 (#2)

Yangervis Solarte ‏ @yanyi26_12

Yoshinori Tateyama ‏ @tatetatetateyan

Ross Wolf ‏ @RGW

Advanced-A Myrtle Beach:

Alec Asher ‏ @Ash_Tag24

Kellin Deglan ‏ @keldegs

Royce Bolinger ‏ @roycebolinger

Zach Cone ‏ @ZachCone (#24)

Ryan Harvey ‏ @Hammer32jetlifepelicans

Luke Jackson ‏ @YaBoy77 (#6)

Will Lamb ‏ @LamboLeap30

Nick Martinez ‏ @nickmartinez10 (#27)

Rougned Odor ‏ @RougnedOdor (#11)

Drew Robinson ‏ @drewrobinsonnn

Jake Skole ‏ @JakeSkole15

Joe Van Meter ‏ @JVanMeter28

Class-A Hickory Crawdads:

Jorge Alfaro ‏ @_JorgeAlfaro11 (#9)

Ryan Bores ‏ @RyanBores

Lewis Brinson ‏ @LewisBrinson (#12)

Eric Brooks ‏ @itsEricBrooks

Coby Cowgill ‏ @CobyCowgill_RHP

C.J. Edwards ‏ @CEdwardsSBS (#14)

Joey Gallo ‏ @JoeyGallo24 (#10)

David Lyon ‏ @DLyonKSU36Hickory_Crawdads

Joe Maloney ‏ @JoeBoMalones

Nomar Mazara ‏ @NomarMzra26 (#16)

Luis Mendez ‏ @mendezluis932

Ryan Rua ‏ @Rua_Numba_2

Connor Sadzeck ‏ @connorsadzeck

Ryne Slack ‏ @Slack28

Nick Vickerson ‏ @Nick_Vickerson

Nick Williams ‏ @NW1superstar (#25)

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

Jairo Beras ‏ @jairoberas (#18)

Janluis Castro ‏ @Jaanluis

Guy Edmonds ‏ @EdmondsGuy

Brandon Garcia ‏ @BrandonGarcia_

Ronald Guzman ‏ @_ronaldguzman (#17)

Jamie Jarmon ‏ @jjarmon34

Kevin Matthews ‏ @kevmat1

Barrett Serrato ‏ @bserrato23

Nick Urbanus ‏ @NickUrb

Brett Weibley ‏ @wild_stallion5

Collin Wiles ‏ @cwiles11

_________________________

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: fuzzy concreteartificial turf

Reviewing the MiLB.com Rangers All-Stars (part 2)

With calendar year wrapping up, we’re taking one last look at the 2012 season, specifically the top performers in the Rangers organization.  MiLB.com’s Rangers Organization All-Star Team provided a good jumping off point and yesterday we took a look at the infield with an eye upon the outfield and pitching today.

OUTFIELD

 MiLB.com’s picks:

Joey Butler, Round Rock (137 G, .290-20-78, 28 2B, 3B, 93 R, 6-10 SB, .392 OBP, .473 SLG, .865 OPS)

Julio Borbon, Round Rock (126 G, .304-10-56, 23 2B, 8 3B, 78 R, 20-28 SB, .349 OBP, .433 SLG, .783 OPS)

Engel Beltre, Frisco (133 G, .261-13-55, 17 2B, 17 3B, 80 R, 36-46 SB, .307 OBP, .420 SLG, .727 OPS)

My picks:

Butler

Beltre

Lewis Brinson, AZL Rangers (54 G, .283-7-42, 22 2B, 7 3B, 54 R, 14-16 SB, .345 OBP, .523 SLG, .868 OPS)

The Rangers have a decent number of outfield prospects in their farm system and some very exciting ones who spent 2012 in the lower levels.  Unfortunately, some of those exciting prospects did not have very good years offensively.  The super-athletic Jordan Akins (Hickory) couldn’t crack the Mendoza Line in his first year with a full-season club while former first rounder Jake Skole struggled mightily in the Carolina League before serving a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Butler

Joey Butler (pictured with the RoughRiders in 2011) had a great season in Triple-A. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/Frisco RoughRiders)

However, there were some notable seasons among outfielders down on the farm.  While perhaps a little too old to wear the “prospect” label, Butler turned in a fine season for the Express, providing a consistent, middle-of-the-order threat.  Whether or not he profiles to make a big league team at any point, he should have a long career in professional baseball given his ability to produce at the Triple-A level.  I could have really included the entire Round Rock outfield on this list, as Borbon’s numbers were nearly as impressive Butler’s and Leonys Martin (55 G, .359-12-42, 1.033 OPS) was a stud in his limited time in Triple-A.  While both certainly have credible cases to be made, ultimately I decided that there were other players who deserved the recognition maybe just a bit more.

My pick of Beltre was likely influenced by having the opportunity to see him everyday with the RoughRiders this past season.  The former Red Sox signee entered this past season looking to wipe the slate clean from a disastrous 2011 campaign that tarnished his prospect status.  The Dominican delivered, setting career-highs in home runs, triples and steals.  His 17 three-baggers were the second-most in Minor League Baseball and he played an astonishingly good center field.  Speaking from a purely defensive standpoint, I am convinced that he could step into the big leagues today and be a top 15 center fielder.

Based on his 2012 season, the Rangers certainly have to be happy with selecting Brinson with their first round draft pick this past June.  The 18-year-old Floridian did not get the same level of attention that AZL Rangers teammate Joey Gallo received for his desert power surge, but that was through no fault of his own.  Brinson led the AZL with 36 extra-base hits, 54 runs scored and 124 total bases while finishing one shy of the league lead in both hits and RBI.  The potential of Brinson and many of his teammates from this past season should keep Rangers fans excited for the future.

RIGHT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER

MiLB.com’s pick: Barret Loux, Frisco (25 GS, 14-1, 3.47 ERA, 127 IP, 120 H, 100 K, 41 BB, 1.27 WHIP, .251 BAA)

Buckel

Buckel won “Texas League Pitcher of the Week” honors in early September. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/Frisco RoughRiders)

My pick: Cody Buckel, Myrtle Beach/Frisco (26 G, 23 GS, 10-8, 2.49 ERA, 144.2 IP, 105 H, 159 K, 48 BB, 1.06 WHIP, .206 BAA)

Loux’s record is gaudy, but a closer look into his and Buckel’s numbers make the Californian the decisive choice from my perspective.  Loux wowed everyone (the Diamondbacks included, methinks) by winning each of his first ten starts of the season before going 4-1 in his final 15 outings.  His command of four pitches and ability to adjust from start-to-start and during starts were something to behold.  Traded to the Cubs in November as Jake Brigham’s replacement in the Geovany Soto deal, Loux fits the profile of a 4 or 5 starter in a big league rotation.  While Loux was very good at the start of the season for Frisco, Buckel was transcendent for the Pelicans.  The undersized righty had more starts (13) than runs allowed (12) in the Carolina League and, after an adjustment period in Double-A, was at his best in the Texas League as the season wrapped up.  Buckel learned to pound the strike zone with his zippy 92-94 mph fastball and then tortured hitters with his multitude of off-speed offerings (including a “shuuto,” or “reverse-slider”).  Buckel should be a regular big league contributor (either with the Rangers or another team depending on how the trade winds are blowing) before the end of the 2014 season.  Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards also were worthy of consideration for this spot.

LEFT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER

Bell

Bell made three stops in 2012, starting in Myrtle Beach before finishing the season in Round Rock. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/Frisco RoughRiders)

MiLB.com’s pick: Chad Bell, Myrtle Beach/Frisco/Round Rock (31 G, 21 GS, 8-7, 3.48 ERA, 2 SV, 142.1 IP, 123 H, 110 K, 54 BB, 1.24 WHIP, .236 BAA)

My pick: Bell

The paucity of lefty starters in the Rangers’ system almost gives this award to Bell by default, but he is still a worthy recipient.  He probably should have begun the year: a) in Frisco; and b) as a starter all along.  But he started 2012 in a multi-inning relief role for Myrtle Beach before joining the RoughRiders at the end of April.  He got off to a rocky start in the Texas League, allowing a home run in his first outing before settling down and going 23 straight innings over seven outings without allowing another earned run.  By mid-May, he was starting and on June 11 he received the biggest boost of his season and perhaps his professional career.  With Rangers Special Assistant and pitching legend Greg Maddux in attendance, Bell allowed just one hit and one walk with six strikeouts over 6.2 scoreless innings in a win over Midland.  Maddux said after the game that it was one of the most impressive starts by a Minor Leaguer he had ever witnessed.  Bell was in Round Rock by the end of the month and, though the PCL proved to be more treacherous, continued to string together solid performances.

RELIEVER

MiLB.com’s pick: Ben Rowen, Myrtle Beach (38 G, 5-0, 1.57 ERA, 19-20 SV, 57.1 IP, 52 K, 3 BB, 0.77 WHIP, .201 BAA)

Rowen

Rowen under-handed his way to a phenomenal season on the Grand Strand. (Dano Keeney/MiLB.com)

My pick: Rowen

Winner of a “MiLBY Award” for the best reliever in all of Minor League Baseball, the submariner Rowen is obviously the best choice here.  The former 22nd round draft pick kept his pitches consistently down, inducing a 2.9 GO/AO ratio and allowing just two home runs all season.  His ludicrously low number of walks (three) is perhaps his most impressive statistic, given the unpredictablility of submarine-style pitchers in general.  Other excellent relievers from this past season included Phil Klein (Spokane/Myrtle Beach), Jimmy Reyes (Myrtle), Nicholas McBride (Spokane/Myrtle Beach), Zach Osborne (for his Myrtle work), Ross Wolf (Frisco/Round Rock), Joseph Ortiz (Frisco/Round Rock) and Yoshinori Tateyama (Round Rock).

-          Alex V.

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition

NOTE: Like this piece? Check out our look at ten RoughRiders’ drastic improvement from last year to this year, which has put all of them on the prospect radar.

The Rangers’ farm system is among the best in baseball, and top-flight prospects play with all of the club’s affiliates. Today, Stephen Harmon takes you around the system and discusses some of the best farmhands within the Rangers’ organization.

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Leonys Martin: The 23-year-old Cuban center fielder batted .348 with four homers and ten stolen bases over 29 games with Frisco before being promoted to Round Rock July 9. According to some scouts, Martin has a matured approach at the plate. However, he needs to become more comfortable in the outfield.  Martin, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract May 4, is 8-for-20 in his first five games as a member of the Express.

Martin Perez: After ranking Perez as the top pre season prospect in the Rangers organization, Baseball America rated Perez the sixth best prospect in all of minor league baseball in their midseason rankings. The twenty-year-old Venezuelan native received a promotion to Round Rock July 14 after posting a 4-2 record with a 3.16 ERA. He led the RoughRiders in strikeouts with 83 over 88.1 innings.

Neil Ramirez: The 2007 first-round draft pick opened the year in Myrtle Beach before being called up to Round Rock for a temporary spot start. However, he was impressive enough to earn a regular turn in the rotation where he has posted a 3.77 ERA with 82 strikeouts over 71.2 innings.

Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):

Robbie Erlin: The left-handed starter is undefeated since joining Frisco, going 5-1 with a 3.95 ERA as of July 15th. Erlin has impressed scouts with his command and mature approach to pitching. It is easy to forget that he is twenty years old and already in Double-A. The former third-rounder boasted a 53 to 6 strikeout to walk ratio.

Tanner Scheppers The third best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system has returned from a lower back injury that sidelined him after one start in Round Rock. The 2009 first round draft pick made his 2011 Frisco debut June 19and has compiled a 3.68 ERA with 11 strikeouts in five appearances. Scheppers owns the best fastball and curveball in the system (Baseball America).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):

Mike Olt: The third baseman is rated as the seventh best prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. The 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the season headlining a talented Myrtle Beach team. However, the Connecticut native broke his collarbone sliding into home plate June 6 and is likely to be out the remainder of the season.  At the time of the injury, Olt was hitting .286 with 10 homeruns in 54 games.

Robbie Ross: Ross was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft and ranked 24th on Baseball America’s Rangers top prospect list. The lefty opened the season at Myrtle Beach and has been there the entire year. Through his first three starts in July, the Kentucky native posted a 1.06 ERA. Overall, his ERA sits at 2.40.

Barret Loux: Loux was slotted as the 19th prospect in the Rangers organization entering 2011 and he hasn’t disappointed. Through July 15, the 6’5’’ Texas A&M product leads the Pelicans with 108 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.

Miguel de los Santos: Overshadowed by the success of Ross and Loux, de los Santos came of the DL on June 29 after starting the year in Frisco where he experienced command issues. However, through his first three starts for the Pelicans in July, the Rangers’ tenth best farmhand went 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):

Jurickson Profar: Profar started the season as the number two prospect in the organization in just his second year of pro ball. The Curacao native is hitting .272 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. Scouts have been impressed with his advanced plate discipline as an 18 year old. In the XM All-Star Futures Game last week, Profar posted an RBI triple for the World Team.

Jake Skole: Skole earned the South Atlantic League player of the week honors June 14. The 19-year-old Georgia native is improving every game and has seen his average jump to .278 after struggling to hit .219 in May. Skole was drafted 15th overall in the 2010 draft.

Spokane Indians (Short-Season):

Will Lamb: Standing at 6’6”, the Clemson standout has shown why the Rangers selected him the 2nd round last month. Lamb has compiled 17 strikeouts in his first ten innings of work. After five relief appearances, Lamb made his first professional start July 10, going three innings and allowing one run while striking out three.

Zach Cone: Cone was selected 37th overall in this year’s draft and has adjusted quickly to using wooden bats. The University of Georgia product hit .359 in his first month of professional baseball. Known for his power/speed combo, Cone swiped seven steals in his first 17 games.

Surprise Rangers (Rookie):

Luis Sardinas: The 18 year-old shortstop out of Venezuela enters his second year at Arizona after only appearing in 22 games last year. Many comparisons have been made between Sardinas and Profar, but the consensus is that Luis is more of a contact hitter than Profar. Through the first twelve games of 2011, Sardinas is batting .289.

The B-List

I’m a huge fan of the letter “B.” After all, that’s the first letter of my first and last name. In the season opener last night, the letter “B” was huge for the RoughRiders. Consider this:

*Mike Bianucci, Engel Beltre and Joey Butler had six of the ‘Riders seven hits.
*Bianucci and Butler hit a combined total of three home runs.
*Wilfredo Boscan and Beau Jones earned a win and a hold, respectively.

On the flip side, Springfield had only one player with a first or last name that starts with a “B” appear in last night’s game. Brett Zawacki tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

It’s all about the B’s. There will be plenty of B’s in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • That was quite a Double-A debut for Mike Bianucci. In his first at-bat, the designated hitter clubbed a pitch that was low and a little outside over the Dr Pepper Patio in left-center. I don’t have the best set of eyes in the world, but, in my opinion, that ball went 400+ feet. In the seventh, Bianucci hit another blast more toward center field.
  • The two pitches that Bianucci hit were not in the typical “wheelhouse” of your normal player, but that’s just fine with him. “They were down in the zone, but those are pitches that I like,” Bianucci said. “I can get my hands extended on them pretty easily…those are my pitches.”
  • To put this day into perspective, go back to last year. A RoughRider drove in 3 or more runs 18 times last year. Only five times did someone surpass Bianucci’s run-producing effort. “It’s not what you are expecting,” Bianucci said about his big day. “I had a lot of adrenaline going last night, and I tried to just calm myself down and put good swings on the ball and I think I did last night.”
  • In the minors, lineup changes are always fun to watch, especially early in the season. To no one’s surprise, the 2-5 hitters for Frisco (Beltre, Butler, Bianucci, Mendonca) will remain intact. Renny Osuna will get the start at second and will lead off. David Paisano, who hit in the one-hole yesterday, falls down to sixth. Jonathan Greene gets the start at first base in place of Jose Ruiz, and he will hit seventh. The Felix-Rodriguez combo at 8 and 9 is back in place tonight.
  • I have to include a Fact on Wilfredo Boscan, the RoughRiders’ starter from last night. Boscan, in the lid-lifter of his Double-A career, gave up two runs over five innings for the victory. The only two tallies came on solo home runs, one of which hit the yellow padding of the wall in right-center and bounced over. He has never made an in-season jump in the minor leagues, so, if history holds true, fans in Frisco should get familiar with Boscan.
  • All eyes will be on tonight’s starting pitcher–Martin Perez. Perez is back in Frisco after a 5-8 season in 2010. The Rangers’ top prospect posted a 5.96 ERA. No minor league pitcher will ever be the prototypical “work horse,” but Perez did not get deep into outings last year even in the context of a minor league hurler. He averaged 4.15 innings per outing in ’10. But manager Steve Buechele has said on multiple occasions that Perez pitched better than he ever has during spring training, and ’11 is a chance for Perez to showcase that improvement.
  • Not a good day for former ‘Rider Michael Kirkman. The 2010 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in three and a third innings in Triple-A Round Rock’s 12-9 loss to Iowa last night.
  • On the flip side, how about the low-A debuts of a pair of top-10 Rangers’ prospects. Infielder Jurickson Profar, the number two prospect according to Baseball America, homered to left in his first at-bat for Hickory. Later in that first inning, outfielder Jake Skole, number nine on Baseball America’s list, hit a three-run double in his first full-season AB. That was all the offense Hickory needed in a 4-2 triumph over Asheville.
  • Good luck to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the newest Texas high-A affiliate, as they open the Carolina League slate tonight at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
  • Finally, tonight is the first fireworks display of the season here at Dr Pepper Ballpark. There will be 16 shows this season!

Join us on the Network at 6:35 this evening for more from Mike Bianucci and a preview of game two of the series. It’s Springfield and Frisco. Enjoy!

- Brian

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