Results tagged ‘ Joe Wieland ’

Erlin, Wieland Traded to San Diego

It is official. Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, members of the RoughRiders’ starting rotation until a few minutes ago, have been sent to the San Diego Padres for right-handed reliever Mike Adams.

Robbie Erlin's first five Double-A decisions were wins (Photo: James Garner).

Promoted to Frisco in late May, Erlin went 5-2 with a 4.32 earned run average in 11 appearances with the ‘Riders. With his numbers while at High-A Myrtle Beach, the Santa Cruz, Calif., native went 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In his final outing with the RoughRiders, with many scouts and Rangers’ front office members in attendance, Erlin went seven innings and allowed three earned runs against Midland Tuesday at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Joe Wieland tossed the fourth no-hitter in RoughRiders history Friday (Photo: James Garner).

Wieland joined the ‘Riders one month later, and he went 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander exited the Rangers’ system with a bang, tossing a no-hitter against San Antonio Friday night that blew up our Twitter feed. Overall this season, the Reno, Nev., native is 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA during his time with Myrtle Beach and Frisco.

We don’t know for sure which Padre affiliate Erlin and Wieland will join, but if they remain in Double-A, they will also remain in the Texas League. San Diego’s Double-A affiliate is the San Antonio Missions, which is the best team in the TL. If the ‘Riders make the postseason, they will play the Missions in the first round. Interesting stuff, to say the least.

The Missions are back at Dr Pepper Ballpark August 5-8, and a pair of talented former RoughRiders could very well be there in different uniforms. We wish both Robbie and Joe the best of luck. They were a pleasure to talk with and to watch.

Tonight, the ‘Riders and the Missions continue their four-game series and their race for the second half South Division title. This trade makes things that much more interesting in the Texas League, that’s for sure.

- Brian

RoughRiders Trade Talk

Last week Stephen Harmon examined some prospects in the Rangers system that have tremendously improved their stock since the start of the season.  Now, with the trading deadline approaching this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET, he looks at the Rangers’ top tier prospects who have been linked with trade rumors across MLB.  

For starters, the Rangers’ trade yesterday with Baltimore for Koji Uehara has changed things for Texas entering today. Here is what Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas says following the deal:

“Instead of having to make a deal at any cost for Heath Bell, for instance, they can continue to negotiate with the Padres and see if San Diego comes off its high price for Bell. If they don’t, then the Rangers can pass. If they do, then Texas can try to strike a deal. The Rangers are still considered one of the favorites for Bell, so we’ll see what happens there.”

With that as a launching point, here are what people are saying about some future, current, and former RoughRider players.

Robbie Erlin

This 20-year-old lefty has generated a lot of interest in the trade market in the past week. Scouts from the Padres, Mets, and White Sox organizations as well as Rangers’ President Nolan Ryan and GM John Daniels were all on hand at Dr Pepper Ballpark last Tuesday night for Erlin’s start against Midland.

According to Durrent, and as tweeted by Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, the Padres and Rangers were, and possibly still are, close on agreeing to a deal that would send All-Star closer Heath Bell to Texas. The centerpiece in the Rangers package of players that would be shipped to San Diego is rumored to beErlin and/or Joe Wieland who just pitched a no-hitter Friday night.  However, the Rangers are hesitant to part with their prospects and believe the Padres’ asking price is too high. On the other hand, Bell is the preeminent closer on the market, and the Rangers have been the most aggressive team pursuing him.

Here in Frisco, Erlin has impressed with his focus and mature composure. Through Erlin’s first eleven games in Frisco, the California native has posted a 5-2 record and a 4.32 ERA. Additionally, he has struck out 61 batters while walking only seven. More amazingly is that the lefty has issued only one free pass through his five starts in July.  Listen to Frisco pitching coach Jeff Andrews talk about Erlin  and Wieland with Bryan Dolgin of 103.3 FM ESPN.

Joe Wieland

At 21-years-old, Wieland has made a impressed through hist first seven starts – even without his no-hitter.

Robbie Erlin may be grabbing the headlines as the Rangers’ most sought after pitching prospect, but Wieland appears to be equally talented. Both players started the season in Myrtle Beach and have, at times, dominated Texas League hitters.

Said Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, “I talked to a team early this week that told me the Rangers were very high on Wieland and very reluctant to talk about him in deals.”

Martin Perez

Martin Perez, the Rangers number one pre-season prospect according to Baseball America, has also been getting a lot of attention around the rumor mills. However, the Rangers seem unwilling to deal the young left-hander who Keith Law predicts will emerge as a number one or number two starter within five years.

Simply put, Perez appears to be off the market.  Keith Law talks with Bryan Dolgin about Perez and Leonys Martin (not on the market).

Tanner Scheppers

The hard throwing right-hander has impressed with his mid to upper 90’s fastball. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, Scheppers name has come up in a package presented to the Padres for Heath Bell.

For the most part, we haven’t really heard Scheppers’ name tossed around too much in the last couple of weeks.  The Rangers’ No. 3 overall prospect (Baseball America) has now made 15 appearances out of the Frisco bullpen and with six walks and 24 strikeouts after spending two separate stints on the disabled list this year.

Jurickson Profar

At 18-years-old, Profar may not be ready for the big leagues for a while, but he is worth waiting for. The Rangers have rejected the Padres offer of a Profar/Derrick Holland package for Heath Bell, reports Baseball Time In Arlington.  Similar to Perez, it appears as though Profar is clearly off the market.

The Sunday trade deadline is an exciting time of year in baseball. Thanks to a farm system that is packed with talent from Short-Season Spokane to Triple-A Round Rock, the Rangers have become very active in the rumor mill, as many teams are lured to the Rangers young pitching prospects.

The countdown has been on for a while, but it all comes to an end this afternoon.

GAME PHOTOS: Wieland’s No-Hitter

Thanks to the San Antonio Missions for providing us with these pics from Wieland’s no-hitter.  -AG

AUDIO: Joe Wieland’s No-Hitter

You never know what you might see at the ballpark.  Friday night we saw a no-hitter tossed by a 21-year-old in his seventh ever Double-A start, against a team with the best record in all of minor league baseball.

You can listen to the final three outs here.  Plus, hear my conversation with Joe less than an hour after it all happened.

You could tell last night that Joe was in charge – it was just one of those nights.  He told me afterwards that he felt like his arm was fresh and that he could still be pitching hours after it was over.  We’ll never know, but it would’ve been fun to see how many more he could have sat down without allowing a hit.

Joe was much cooler than me last night.  In the bottom of the eighth inning both of my hands started to go numb, and they were still tingling minutes after I was off-air.  Trust me, not a common occurrence.

It goes down as the fourth no-hitter in franchise history.  It’s the first nine-inning complete-game no-hitter in Frisco history.  The other ‘Riders no-hitters:

July 28, 2005: A.J. Murray, Steve Karsay, and Scott Feldman combine to pitch a perfect game in Corpus Christi. The final score was 3-0 and it marked the first no-hitter in the three-year history of the franchise.

May 18, 2008: Matt Harrison throws the first ever no-hitter at Dr Pepper Ballpark in a seven-inning game.

April 19, 2011: Martin Perez tosses a rain-shortened perfect game in North Little Rock, Ark. against the Travelers as the ‘Riders won 1-0.

Thank you to Joe, catcher Elio Sarmiento, and the rest of the defense for a game I’ll never forget.  Who knows what we might see tonight?

AG

Wieland’s No-Hitter On Twitter

Frisco starter Joe Wieland is on Twitter (@JWieland108, for those who want to follow him). So, it is fitting that our Twitter feed blew up after the right-hander became the first RoughRider to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter by himself.

Here is how it unfolded from the game’s early stages until the end on Twitter. If you tweeted at us before 10:20 tonight, you are on this list. When I say “RT” at the end of a tweet, that means that the person retweeted some of our information.

This includes our tweets, and it begins at the beginning of the game. It does not, however, include our straight re-tweets, which totaled 47 by 10:20 p.m.

Ridersbaseball: Underway in San Antonio between the ‘Riders and the Missions. Follow along-Broadcast: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

Ridersbaseball: Tommy Mendonca’s sacrifice fly (team-leading 75th RBI) gives the ‘Riders a 1-0 lead at San Antonio, middle of the first. #Rangers

Ridersbaseball: Mike Bianucci’s team-leading 25th HR gives Frisco a 2-0 lead on San Antonio, mid 3. Entering tonight the ‘Riders are 2 GB of SA in the South

Ridersbaseball: Through 3, Frisco leads San Antonio 2-0. So far against the best club in MiLB, Joe Wieland in 2 starts: 12 IP, 1 R, 2 H. 9 up/9 down tonight

armenontheair: Joseph Wieland with a great first three innings, allowing zero hits thus far. @RidersBaseball up 2-0.

bull1480: @RidersBaseball Keep it up Joe!

Ridersbaseball: Joe Wieland (@JWieland108) has faced the minimum through 5. The one man who reached (walk) was caught stealing. ‘Riders lead SA 3-0 thru 5.

Ridersbaseball: Joe Wieland with strikeout, groundout, strikeout in the 6th. Still no hits allowed through 6. Frisco leads San Antonio 3-0 through 6.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 6 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter in San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

Ridersbaseball: Follow along with Joe Wieland’s no-no bid here. 3-0 ‘Riders, middle of 7: Broadcast: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

many2one: RT

Ridersbaseball: Three up, three down for Joe Wieland in the 7th. Fly to LF, 4-3 GO, K. Just 84 pitches for the righty. No-no through 7 with Frisco up 3-0.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 7 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter in San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

0s0t0gar1: @RidersBaseball which is why he should stay a future-RANGER

armenontheair: I could’ve gone to @RidersBaseball game on an historic night. RR pitcher Joe Wieland has “faced the minimum amount of batters”, as they say.

Ridersbaseball: Still 3-0 Frisco, mid 8 in San Antonio. We will update every batter that Joe Wieland faces in his no-no bid. Listen live http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

armenontheair: RT

Ridersbaseball: Jedd Gyorko just flew out to the wall to lead off the 8th. Wieland BARELY keeps his no-no bid alive. 5 outs left. #Rangers

Ridersbaseball: Sawyer Carroll with a weak ground out to first base. 2 up, 2 down for Joe Wieland in the 8th. 4 outs left.

Ridersbaseball: Called strike 3 to Jason Hagerty. Wieland with a no-no through 8 in San Antonio. 3-0 Frisco. Listen live: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 8 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter at SA Missions! #mlb #espn #rangers #padres http://lockerz.com/s/124863719

armenontheair: In SA at @RidersBaseball game, we are 3 outs away from RR pitcher Joe Wieland doing what pitchers do when they don’t give up a hit. #NoJinx

Ridersbaseball: 98 pitches for Wieland, which is 6 shy of a season high by a RoughRiders pitcher. #Rangers

armenontheair: Here in SA, @NewbergReport – I picked a good first @RidersBaseball away game to attend!! Wieland has made SA look silly through 8.

Ridersbaseball: Bottom of the 9th has begun. ‘Riders up 3-0. Wieland out there trying for the RoughRiders 4th ever no-hitter. #Rangers

armenontheair: Here we go … Bot 9 … Wieland is 3 outs away from history … @RidersBaseball

russell_mcl: RT

Ridersbaseball: Wieland strikes out Anthony Contreras. Two outs away.

Ridersbaseball: Bryan Altman flies out to deep center. One out away for Joe Wieland. Daniel Robertson, the nine-hole hitter, is at the plate. .293 hitter.

armenontheair: ONE OUT AWAY FOR WIELAND!!! @RidersBaseball

Ridersbaseball: Groundout to Davis Stoneburner on the first pitch. Joe Wieland pitches a no-hitter against San Antonio!

ARTravs: @RidersBaseball Congrats to Wieland and the ‘Riders. Thrilling!

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball Joe Wieland has just pitched a No-Hitter against San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

Ridersbaseball: Wieland faced the minimum and only allowed one runner, a walk in the fourth inning. That man, Andy Parrino, was caught stealing. #Rangers

MistiSkidmore: Way to go, @JWieland108!!! Got a No-No for @RidersBaseball vs. San Antonio tonight. Awesome job!!! #Rangers

CLiebenow: The future. RT

kevinleedodson: RT

Ridersbaseball: San Antonio entered the game in a tie with the San Jose Giants for the best record in Minor League Baseball (69-34).

bryanbooher: @armenontheair @RidersBaseball cool

TexasRangers_HQ: “@MistiSkidmore: Way to go, @JWieland108!!! Got a No-No for @RidersBaseball vs. San Antonio tonight. SA is SD minor league team Yay right?

Ridersbaseball: Wieland was mobbed by his teammates. We believe that it was the first nine-inning no-hitter by a single RoughRider pitcher in team history.

ChrisBeasley: @RidersBaseball Congrats to Weiland & the RoughRiders! :) #Rangers

hannahbaugh: No-hitter for Joe Wieland (@JWieland108) for @RidersBaseball! Way to go!

BLAKIEJ_BAM: RT

AdamGordon1977: @RidersBaseball Congrats Wieland and RRs!

MattGrubs: Congrats to Joe Wieland and @RidersBaseball on the no-hitter!

armenontheair: In @RidersBaseball clubhouse. Awesome atmosphere. Guys are having a blast.

NoPepperPlaying: #Milb #rangers RT

BobbyAguilera: Joe Wieland @RidersBaseball just faced minimum 27 batters in No-Hitter http://t.co/x1XyKY4 via @lonestarball #DoubleA

Pelicanbaseball: Congrats, Joe!!! RT

A_Boone22: No hitter for #Weiland and @RidersBaseball.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball Joe Wieland after the game no hitter! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade http://lockerz.com/s/124880939

BigTexJosh: AWESOME! RT “@MinorLeagues: @Rangers prospect Joe Wieland pitches @RidersBaseball’s first CG 9-inning no-hitter. http://t.co/ShtxA1p”
______________
Incredible stuff. Again, congrats to Joe on an incredible performance. And thanks to all of you who cared about it.
- Brian

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

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

Wieland Is Winning

Statistically, it is tough to find a Rangers pitching prospect who has had a better showing in 2011 than Frisco starter Joe Wieland. Last night’s performance is the prime example.

Quite frankly, outside circumstances had set Wieland up to fail. The right-hander was facing a San Antonio offense that ranks second in the Texas League, so it was one of the best lineups he has ever faced. There was a 61-minute rain delay to deal with. Some would say he was “due” for a rough outing. After all, he came into Tuesday’s start with a 7-3 record and an overall ERA barely above 2.

Photo: James Garner

Then, Wieland walked a pair after a single to load the bases in the first.

Wieland got out of that threat with a strikeout, and he never looked back. Seven innings, one run, two hits, seven strikeouts. At one point, he set down 15 Missions in a row. Five of Wieland’s seven frames ended in 1-2-3 fashion.

In Frisco, Wieland is 2-0 with a 1.86 earned run average in his first five Double-A starts. The Reno, Nev., native has worked through the fifth inning in all of those efforts. He has given up a total of six earned runs. The ‘Riders are a perfect 5-0 when Wieland pitches.

Before the season, Wieland was ranked the 22nd best prospect in the Rangers’ system by Baseball America. So far, he has pitched much better than that ranking. With High-A Myrtle Beach, he went 6-3 with a 2.10 ERA and started for the Carolina League in the All-Star Game right before his promotion to North Texas.

Overall this year, Wieland has never failed to pitch through the fifth inning in a start. He has allowed two earned runs or less in 16 of his 18 starts.

And with the RoughRiders trying to bounce back from a tough 12-inning loss to a Missions team that has had the ‘Riders’ number this year, Wieland offered up his best outing of the season last night.

- Brian

The RoughRiders One Year Ago

A few days ago, Stephen Harmon detailed the current seasons of many prospects in the Rangers’ system. Today, I’m here to show you how much difference a season can make. Let’s look back at how much improvement many of the key members of this year’s RoughRiders have seen over the last 12 months.

The differences between July 18, 2010, and July 18, 2011, are pretty incredible. And most RoughRiders have improved greatly. Here are ten prime examples:

Mike Bianucci: While with High-A Bakersfield, the slugger was hitting just .247 with just 11 home runs, which was good for a tie for 15th in the California League. Right now, he is in a tie for second in that category. Bianucci’s RBI total is up by 16 runs, and his OPS has improved by almost 100 points. This season, Bianucci is on pace for a career-high 30 homers.

Robbie Erlin: Erlin’s numbers were great at this point last year (4-2, 1.66 ERA), but they were in Low-A Hickory. Erlin has rolled through the Rangers’ system, and he is only two wins away from the RoughRiders’ team lead despite joining the team in late May. Erlin is only 20 years old, which should bring a smile to ‘Riders and Rangers fans alike.

Adalberto Flores: The ‘Riders’ bullpen has been solid all season long. While Flores may not be the poster man for the ‘pen, he has improved upon an average year with Frisco last season. At this point, Flores owned a 2-4 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings of work. Flores has dropped the ERA almost a run and a half (2.68), and he has been counted on more (47 innings of work). The righty also has 17 more strikeouts at this point (51) than he had last year.

Jonathan Greene: The likeable North Carolina native had only played in 16 games by this point last season. He was hitting .218 with two home runs and six RBIs. What a difference a year makes. Greene is in the top 20 in the Texas League in average (.297), home runs (11), and RBIs (52). Greene has also only committed two errors despite being bounced around between two main positions–first base and right field.

Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has arguably seen the biggest improvement from last year to this year. A year ago on this day, Mendonca was hitting .238 with three homers and 27 RBIs. To put it into perspective, Mendonca’s month of June this year featured four home runs and 30 RBIs. Mendonca dots the top 10 in most offensive categories this year in the Texas League.

Renny Osuna: Osuna’s average has only seen a minimal improvement from this point a year ago (.286 v. .307). It’s the power numbers that put Osuna on this list in a prominent way. Last season, Osuna had just two home runs and 28 RBIs through mid-July. This year, Osuna already has a career-high eight homers, which is fifth on a powerful RoughRiders squad. He also has 43 RBIs, which also places him fifth in the clubhouse. Not bad for a leadoff hitter who has missed 17 games this year.

Martin Perez: Perez is the lone former RoughRider on this list, but his renaissance has been well documented and much needed. Perez was 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA at this point of the year in 2010. In fact, he did not even have enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA category. He just won his Triple-A debut at Memphis Saturday for the Round Rock Express after dominating in Frisco for the season’s first three months.

Jose Ruiz: Ruiz has come the furthest in terms of an organization’s pecking order. The first baseman was about the join the Dominican Summer League at this point last season, and he was within the Tampa Bay system. He joined Double-A Montgomery in mid-August. The Rays let him go, and the Rangers picked up a guy who has hovered around .300 all year long.

Ben Snyder: Snyder’s ERA is slightly worse this year than it was last year (3.82 v. 3.13), but he has been Mr. Versatile for the pitching staff this season. His next start will be his sixth, which will be the highest for the southpaw since 2008. Snyder has been an unsung hero for the ‘Riders.

Joe Wieland: Remember what we said about Erlin? The same can be said for this talented righty. Wieland’s numbers weren’t as eye-popping with the Crawdads (7-4, 3.34), but he was having some success. Still, 2011 has been Wieland’s breakout season. In four Double-A starts, the Reno, Nev., native is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. If you combine his numbers with High-A Myrtle Beach, Wieland is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.09 with more than one strikeout per inning.

There have been many more contributors to the RoughRiders’ fantastic 2011 season. It has been fun to watch these men grow on the field, and there are still almost 50 games left in the regular season.

- Brian

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