Results tagged ‘ James Darnell ’

My Texas League Postseason Ballot

The 2011 Texas League Postseason All-Star ballots are out to managers and media members, and both Aaron and I have a vote. Below, I have my picks along with a brief explanation why.

First off, here are a few notes. As a member of the RoughRiders organization, I cannot vote for a RoughRider. Still, I have included six ‘Riders who could be on this list. Also, anyone who has played in the TL this year is eligible. Finally, all of the ballots are due by tomorrow, so the last two weeks of the season do not factor into the decision.

Share your thoughts at the bottom in the comments section. Here we go.

Catcher: Wilin Rosario (Tulsa)

The Rockies’ number two prospect, Rosario has not had the best season offensively. But, he could get a September promotion to Colorado and he has put up the best numbers of any Texas League catcher (.254, 18 HR, 41 RBI).

First Baseman: Matt Adams (Springfield)

Triple Crown? Matt Adams has a chance in '11 (Photo courtesy of Mark Harrell/Springfield Cardinals).

With Tim Wheeler’s recent struggles and Jermaine Mitchell’s promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, Adams has an outside shot at a Triple Crown. Adams has a league-leading 30 homers (one better than Wheeler) and 94 RBIs, and he is sixth in the league in average at .313. However, the top three (Mitchell, J.D. Martinez and James Darnell) will not have enough plate appearances to qualify barring a return to the TL. His real target is Mike Trout (.326).

Second Baseman: Jose Altuve (Corpus Christi)

I like to steer away from players who did not spend much time in a league for postseason awards, but the second base spot is weak here in the Texas League and Altuve was incredible to watch. He hit .361 in his 35 games with Corpus Christi. During that short stint, Altuve drove in 25 runs and scored 21.

Shortstop: Darwin Perez (Arkansas)

Shortstop is a fairly weak position in the Texas League this season, as well, so Perez is my choice because of his on-base percentage (.378, 11th), stolen bases (22, 6th) and fielding percentage (.982, 1st among qualifiers). If I could vote for a RoughRider, Renny Osuna would be my choice here.

Third Baseman: James Darnell (San Antonio)

With apologies to Arkansas’ Luis Jimenez, Darnell was a machine in his 76 games with the Missions. Darnell hit .333, which still qualifies for third in the Texas League, and he had an OPS of 1.038. Darnell hit 17 homers and drove in 62 runs, and now his home is San Diego.

Outfielder: Mike Trout (Arkansas)

Trout was advertised as the number one or number two prospect in the minors at the start of the season, and he has not disappointed. Trout is hitting .326 with 33 stolen bases, and he earned a brief stint in the big leagues. He is incredibly fun to watch.

Outfielder: Jermaine Mitchell (Midland)

Mitchell still qualifies as the league’s leader in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.453) and OPS (1.042). He didn’t have the gaudy home run (10) or RBI (50) totals, but he was a menace atop Midland’s order.

Outfielder: Tim Wheeler (Tulsa)

Wheeler has struggled in August, but he still boasts great numbers (Photo courtesy of Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com).

Wheeler has struggled lately (.200, 0 HR, 2 RBIs in August), but you have to wonder if he is getting bored at the Double-A level. He is still second in homers (29) and tied for fourth in RBIs (79).  It was between Corpus Christi’s J.D. Martinez and Wheeler, and I went with Tulsa’s leadoff hitter, who is putting up middle-of-the-order stats. Don’t worry, Martinez fans…

Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez (Corpus Christi)

The Hooks have the worst record in the Texas League, but they are one of three teams to have two offensive representatives on my list. Martinez, like Jose Altuve, is in the big leagues now, but he is fourth in the TL in OPS (.959) and seventh in RBIs (72) despite only playing in 88 games.

Three toughest offensive omissions:
1. Arkansas 3B Luis Jimenez (barely edged by Darnell and Martinez)
2. Springfield OF Alex Castellanos (gave Wheeler edge despite being in recent funk)
3. San Antonio OF Blake Tekotte (outfield was the most loaded position)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. Renny Osuna (2B/SS)
2. Tommy Mendonca (3B)
3. Leonys Martin (OF)
_________
Pitchers:

1. Matt Shoemaker (Arkansas)

Matt Shoemaker has the best ERA in the TL, and it's not even that close (Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Travelers).

Shoemaker started the season in Triple-A, but he came down to the Texas League in early May and began his dominance. He leads the league, by a wide margin, in ERA (2.18) and WHIP (1.00) among qualifiers. He also paces all Texas Leaguers in strikeouts with 121 and is tied at the top with 12 wins.

2. Garrett Richards (Arkansas)

Richards is the man who is deadlocked with Shoemaker in wins. Both hurlers are 12-2, and Richards is the league leader in innings with 141. Richards, who is currently with the Angels, is 12-2 with an ERA of 3.06, which is second to Shoemaker among qualifiers.

3. Dallas Keuchel (Corpus Christi)

Don’t let his 9-7 record fool you—Keuchel has been a legitimate ace all season long. The lefty has worked through five innings in all but one of his 19 starts, and he has only surrendered more than three runs four times. He is not overpowering (76 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings), but he is second among qualifiers in WHIP at 1.12.

Joe Wieland tossed a no-hitter with Frisco, and he is now dominating with San Antonio (Photo courtesy of James Garner).

4. Joe Wieland (San Antonio)

Casey Kelly is San Diego’s top prospect, and Jorge Reyes has the best numbers of any San Antonio starter who has been on the club all year. However, who has made a bigger impact in the Texas League this season than Wieland? Wieland tossed a no-hitter with the RoughRiders against San Antonio, and then he went to the Missions. Wieland’s ERA is 1.50 in Double-A, and he has a 1.85 overall this season.

5. Nick Vincent (San Antonio)

Vincent has made more appearances (58) than anyone else in the Texas League. The reliever is 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 70 innings, and he has 82 strikeouts to 14 walks. In the eighth inning, the righty owns a 1.91 ERA. In the ninth, that mark falls to 1.50. The Missions have been dominant all year long, and the bullpen is a big reason why.

6. Brad Brach (San Antonio)

Closers are not that common in the minors, but Brach was the man who dominated the ninth inning while in San Antonio. Brach had a 2.25 ERA and went 23 for 25 in save opportunities with the Missions before earning a promotion to Triple-A Tucson. When ahead in the count, the TL’s save leader held his opposition to an .097 average (7-for-72).

Three toughest pitching omissions:
1. Springfield’s Shelby Miller (good numbers, but not good enough to overcome small sample size)
2. Tulsa’s Juan Nicasio (better numbers than Miller, but fewer innings)
3. San Antonio’s Jorge Reyes (4th in ERA, but only worked more than five innings once)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. LHP Martin Perez
2. RHP Justin Miller
3. RHP Tyler Tufts

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Springfield’s Matt Adams

He is the most dangerous hitter in the Texas League right now, and he has a chance at the Triple Crown. He may not have the upside that some other players in this league possess, but he has been the best hitter on the best offense, by far, in the TL.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Mike Trout; 3. San Antonio’s James Darnell.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker

The Travelers earned a first-half title because of their pitching staff, and Shoemaker has been the go-to guy. Shoemaker stumbled a bit in Triple-A earlier this season, but he figures to do much better in his second go-around at that level after an incredible season at the Double-A level.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Garrett Richards; 3. Corpus Christi’s Dallas Keuchel.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: San Antonio’s Doug Dascenzo

The Missions have the best record in minor league baseball, and they have had many good players. However, Dascenzo has navigated his club through many promotions, and they haven’t slowed down at all. This San Antonio club is a dominant force that will go into the playoffs as the heavy favorites, and Dascenzo is a big reason why.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Frisco’s Steve Buechele; 3. Northwest Arkansas’ Brian Poldberg.

- Brian

RoughRiders vs. Big Leaguers

The Texas League is two steps away from the Major Leagues, but many Texas Leaguers have made the jump this season. The RoughRiders have squared off with 16 players who have also been in “The Show.” Stephen Harmon is here to tell you about all 16.

Corpus Christi (Astros):

Jose Altuve: After starting the year in High-A, Altuve rapidly advanced through the Astros’ system, bypassing AAA before reaching the bigs. The 5’7″ second baseman has hit well at every minor league level and is now batting second in Houston’s line-up. On August 1, Altuve hit a walk-off fielder’s choice to give the Astros a win over Cincinnati.

Jason Bourgeois:  The former Rangers second round draft pick and Frisco RoughRider is having his best offensive season, batting .312 with Houston. The ‘Riders saw Bourgeois in August while he was rehabbing with Corpus Christi.

Jeff Keppinger: Another rehabber, the former Astros second baseman appeared in four games with the Hooks and homered against the ‘Riders on May 14. A career .283 hitter over seven seasons, Keppinger was traded to the Giants on July 19.

JD Martinez: Through 15 games with Houston, Martinez already has four home runs. The slugging left fielder spent a year and a half in Corpus Christi and had a Double-A average of .338 at the time of his call up.

Jimmy Paredes: Paredes was the last of the everyday Corpus trio to be promoted in August. In his first career at bat, the Dominican Republic native hit a two-run triple to center field.

San Antonio (Padres):

James Darnell: Darnell began the year in San Antonio and played against the ‘Riders in 16 games. Before advancing to Triple-A Tucson, the third baseman earned the Texas League All-Star Game MVP. The University of South Carolina alum is batting .267 through five games with the Padres.

Nick Hundley: The four-year Padre catcher played four of his seven rehab games in Frisco. Despite batting just .174 for the Mission, Hundley went deep in his first game back with the Padres on August 12th.

Kyle Phillips: Phillips, another Padres catcher, found his way into the San Diego’s line up after hitting .316 with San Antonio. Phillips only struck out once in 76 at bats while playing with the Missions.

Blake Tekotte: The University of Miami product has been back and forth between San Diego and San Antonio since late May. We have been lucky enough to see him play in 22 games against Frisco this year. In his last visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, Brian caught a Tekotte foul ball in the radio booth. The speedy outfielder is also Aaron’s favorite player in all of minor league baseball.

Arkansas (Angels):

Garrett Richards: The Travelers ace made his big league debut at Yankee Stadium earlier this month. In that game, the Oklahoma product lasted five innings, surrendering six runs against a potent Yankee lineup. Richards’ first career strikeout came against Derek Jeter. In three games against the ‘Riders, Richards is 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA.

Mike Trout: Trout, the number two overall prospect in baseball, is hitting .350 with three home runs in nine games against Frisco this year. The 20-year-old center fielder appeared in 14 games in July for the Angels while Peter Bourjos was on the DL. Trout may be the most exciting player in the minors, as he has 13 triples and 33 stolen bases on the season.

Northwest Arkansas (Royals):

Salvador Perez: Perez caught two of the three games while the Naturals were in Frisco, and caught all three games against the ‘Riders in Northwest Arkansas. The 21-year-old catcher singled in his first big league game on August 10th.

Manny Pina: The Venezuelan backstop appeared in three games with the Naturals in 2011 before catching for the Royals in early August. Pina joins former 2010 Naturals Aaron Crow, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer on the Royals roster. By late August, Pina was back with Triple-A Omaha.

Springfield (Cardinals):

Maikel Cleto: Although Cleto has only thrown three and a third innings for St. Louis, he still makes our list. The Dominican Republic native started six games for Springfield before being promoted to Triple-A Memphis.

Eduardo Sanchez: Sanchez pitched three innings during his rehab stint with Springfield. The ‘Riders jumped all over Sanchez as he surrender three runs while pitching two and a third innings in Frisco.

Tulsa (Rockies):

Alex White: The former 2009 first round draft pick shut down the ‘Riders offense August 13. In his third rehab outing, White surrendered only two hits over four scoreless innings in Frisco. The former Tar Heel made his big league debut with Cleveland in late April before going on the disabled list with a finger injury. White was a key part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal late last month.

Midland (Athletics):

Since the ‘Riders have not seen any 2011 big leaguers on a RockHound roster we will give Jemile Weeks an honorable mention. Weeks played in 67 games with Midland last year before making his major league debut June 7, 2011.

The Best Names in the Draft

Teams hope they find the best players in the MLB Draft, but we won’t know who were the “right” choices for years.

But we can look at some awesome names. Here is my top 10, in order of selection:

- Jeremy Gabryszwski (Round 2, Pick 78, Toronto)
– Kevin Quackenbush (Round 8, Pick 263, San Diego)
– Jo-El Bennett Lowe (Round 11, Pick 332, Pittsburgh)
– Ben Klafczynski (Round 20, Pick 609, Chicago Cubs)
– Chance Sossamon (Round 21, Pick 654, Texas)
– Michael Miedzianowski (Round 22, Pick 665, Baltimore)
– Jesse Wierzbicki (Round 24, Pick 730, Houston)
– Steven Snodgrass (Round 27, Pick 837, San Francisco)
– Yhoxian Medina (Round 38, Pick 1148, Cleveland)
– Chadwick Kaalekahi (Round 46, Pick 1400, St. Louis)

I don’t know if these guys will be good baseball players, but they will give broadcasters and uniform designers nightmares.

Anyways, on to today’s Facts in advance of a HUGE four-game series.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • With 14 games left in the first half of the season, the RoughRiders trail their opponent over the next four days by six games in the Texas League South. In baseball, anything can happen; however, considering that a split would mean that San Antonio’s magic number would fall to five, the ‘Riders really need to win the series, if not sweep it.
  • The Missions have the best batting average (.290) by a long shot in the league, but San Antonio has struggled against Frisco. The Missions have hit only .243 and averaged 4.75 runs per game against the ‘Riders.
  • Not only that, but the RoughRiders have minimized the damage from some of San Antonio’s big hitters. James Darnell (.227, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs), Cody Decker (.212, 2, 7) and Jaff Decker (.189, 1, 5) have been limited to say the least. The big threat has been Kyle Blanks (.286, 1, 13), who had that walk-off grand slam against the ‘Riders in San Antonio late last month.
  • San Antonio certainly has dominated the TL this year, but the ‘Riders have held their own. The Missions have outscored Frisco by less than one run per game, and the RoughRiders own the most wins (5) and the second best winning percentage (.417) against San Antonio.
  • But, as talked about yesterday, the RoughRiders are playing some of their best ball of the season. Winning six in a row and 24 of 34 is pretty impressive, but it still will take a very strong finish to get another first half title.
  • Not to jinx anything, but the RoughRiders have not had a roster move since Thursday. It is the second longest such streak this season, with the first coming right at the beginning of the year. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it seems to be a fitting cliché. So, I’ll use it.
  • Thanks to our great fans for helping us reach 4,000 Facebook “likes.” You can join the fun here.
  • Finally, DIRK FEVER.

The RoughRiders and Missions kick off this huge series tonight at 7:05. Join us along the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Hurry! Act Now!

If you have a twitter, I’m sure you are already following us (@ridersbaseball, by the way). But if you aren’t, you are in luck. We are nearing the 2000-follower mark. If you are the 2000th follower, well, that would be pretty sweet.

We’ll give that 2000th follower a nice shout out here on the blog. We do appreciate all 1980ish followers we currently have!

Without further ado, here are your Facts for a Monday, whether you are a “follower” or not.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Twitter traffic will continue to come toward the RoughRiders if Martin Perez continues to rack up awards and attention. Perez was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week today after his five-inning perfect game Tuesday. It is his first such honor within the Texas League.
  • Warning: this is all opinion here. It is easy to want Perez to move up quickly and get to Round Rock and eventually to Arlington. We’ve received some tweets and questions on our blogs about Perez and his status in the organization. Others have said he should be promoted. The reality is, Perez has now had five truly “dominant” outings in Frisco since the start of the 2010 season. My guess (and again, these are my thoughts) is that the organization still wants to see more from the lefty here in North Texas before sending him south to the Express.
  • That being said, this is a GREAT start for a young man who experienced his first failure in the game of baseball at the Double-A level. If he continues this, Perez has nowhere to go but up, and in this case “up” means Triple-A. He’ll get there eventually.
  • Today is an interesting match-up for the 20-year-old Perez. He gets to start against the hottest offense in the minor leagues. San Antonio is coming off a three-out-of-four take from Midland this past weekend. The Missions are now 10-6, which is the best mark in the league.
  • San Antonio’s team batting average is .338, 60 points better than second-place Northwest Arkansas. That mark is also the best in all of minor league baseball, barely above high-A Bakersfield’s .337 mark within the California League. I was surprised to see that there are seven teams in the minors that boast batting averages above .300. Four of those seven are in the Pacific Coast League. Poor Round Rock is sixth in the PCL despite a very solid .285 batting average.
  • This four-game series will feature two of the Texas League’s hottest hitters. As we’ve talked about over the last few days, Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca is on fire as of late. Mendonca is hitting .400 over the last 10 games with four homers and 12 RBIs. For the Missions, James Darnell is hitting an absurd .514 with three homers and 10 RBIs. On the season, Darnell is hitting .482 (27-for-56).
  • The Missions also have Jaff Decker, who leads the TL in homers (seven) and RBIs (25). Overall, San Antonio has five of the top ten hitters in terms of batting average in the league.
  • Tonight begins the first of two eight-game road trips this year for the RoughRiders, which will be the longest trips of the season. The ‘Riders’ other eight-gamer is June 12-19. Last year, Frisco had a 12-game swing away from Dr Pepper Ballpark from June 17-28. For what it’s worth, the team went 8-4 on that trip to close down a first-half division championship. 
  • Finally, former RoughRider reliever Beau Jones made his debut for Triple-A Round Rock yesterday. Jones went two and a third frames and scattered three hits, striking out three. He did not allow a run.

Aaron is in San Antonio for game one of this four-game series. The pre-game begins at 6:35, as I’ll be along for the ride on the RoughRiders’ Pre-Game Show with Aaron. Enjoy!

- Brian

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