Results tagged ‘ Joey Butler ’

Alums 107 and 108: Joey Butler and Tanner Roark make their MLB debuts as told by Twitter

In the top of the ninth, well after midnight central time, in a 10-3 Rangers lead last night, Joey Butler made his Major League debut. Pinch-hitting for Leonys Martin, Butler lined out to second base and then played right field in the final inning of the Rangers win.

The former Frisco RoughRiders outfielder, who spent 2010 and the first part of 2011 in a ‘Riders uniform has hit, hit and then hit some more as a minor leaguer. The right-handed swinger has an OPS of near 1.000 against LHP this season, making him a good candidate to help patch up the gaping hole left by the suspension of Nelson Cruz.

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Joey Butler’s minor league numbers:

Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2008 22 Spokane A- 62 271 226 35 68 8 5 4 31 9 4 40 54 .301 .417 .434
2009 23 Bakersfield A+ 134 574 522 82 146 33 1 12 76 6 4 46 146 .280 .343 .416
2010 24 Frisco AA 132 573 516 67 143 26 6 10 58 8 6 47 120 .277 .340 .409
2011 25 2 Teams 126 529 470 84 147 28 5 14 61 15 5 50 154 .313 .388 .483
2011 25 Frisco AA 13 55 44 11 10 1 0 2 4 2 1 7 16 .227 .382 .386
2011 25 Round Rock AAA 113 474 426 73 137 27 5 12 57 13 4 43 138 .322 .388 .493
2012 26 Round Rock AAA 137 584 493 93 143 28 1 20 78 6 4 79 128 .290 .392 .473
2013 27 Round Rock AAA 97 401 348 54 101 21 0 10 44 1 2 45 94 .290 .375 .437
6 Seasons 688 2932 2575 415 748 144 18 70 348 45 25 307 696 .290 .372 .442
AAA (3 seasons) AAA 347 1459 1267 220 381 76 6 42 179 20 10 167 360 .301 .386 .470
AA (2 seasons) AA 145 628 560 78 153 27 6 12 62 10 7 54 136 .273 .344 .407
A- (1 season) A- 62 271 226 35 68 8 5 4 31 9 4 40 54 .301 .417 .434
A+ (1 season) A+ 134 574 522 82 146 33 1 12 76 6 4 46 146 .280 .343 .416
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/8/2013.

Six hours earlier, ‘Riders starting pitcher circa 2009 and 2010, Tanner Roark made his debut on a major league hill in the nation’s capital, with the Washington Nationals against the Atlanta Braves. Part of the Christian Guzman trade of 2010, Roark was arguably the most effective pitcher for either side last night. He faced the minimum in two innings and allowed just one baserunner, a single by B.J. Upton. It took Tanner just 15 pitches to record six outs.

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Tanner Roark’s minor league numbers:

Year Age Tm Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9
2008 21 3 Teams TEX 3 6 6.23 22 5 52.0 59 44 36 10 25 59 1.61 4.3 10.2
2008 21 Rangers Rk TEX 2 1 0.73 7 0 12.1 9 2 1 0 3 11 0.97 2.2 8.0
2008 21 S. Illinois Ind 0 2 21.41 3 3 9.2 23 25 23 5 9 11 3.31 8.4 10.2
2008 21 Bakersfield A+ TEX 1 3 3.60 12 2 30.0 27 17 12 5 13 37 1.33 3.9 11.1
2009 22 2 Teams TEX 11 1 3.02 34 13 104.1 85 36 35 6 34 100 1.14 2.9 8.6
2009 22 Bakersfield A+ TEX 10 0 2.70 29 9 86.2 68 27 26 5 27 91 1.09 2.8 9.4
2009 22 Frisco AA TEX 1 1 4.58 5 4 17.2 17 9 9 1 7 9 1.35 3.6 4.6
2010 23 2 Teams 11 6 3.77 28 23 141.0 148 70 59 13 42 108 1.34 2.7 6.9
2010 23 Harrisburg AA WSN 1 1 2.50 6 6 36.0 35 13 10 5 9 33 1.22 2.2 8.2
2010 23 Frisco AA TEX 10 5 4.20 22 17 105.0 113 57 49 8 33 75 1.39 2.8 6.4
2011 24 Harrisburg AA WSN 9 9 4.69 21 21 117.0 125 64 61 10 39 92 1.40 3.0 7.1
2012 25 Syracuse AAA WSN 6 17 4.39 28 26 147.2 161 89 72 14 47 130 1.40 2.9 7.9
2013 26 Syracuse AAA WSN 9 3 3.15 33 11 105.2 85 43 37 6 20 84 0.99 1.7 7.2
6 Seasons 49 42 4.04 166 99 667.2 663 346 300 59 207 573 1.30 2.8 7.7
AA (3 seasons) AA 21 16 4.21 54 48 275.2 290 143 129 24 88 209 1.37 2.9 6.8
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 15 20 3.87 61 37 253.1 246 132 109 20 67 214 1.23 2.4 7.6
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 11 3 2.93 41 11 116.2 95 44 38 10 40 128 1.15 3.1 9.9
Rk (1 season) Rk 2 1 0.73 7 0 12.1 9 2 1 0 3 11 0.97 2.2 8.0
Ind (1 season) Ind 0 2 21.41 3 3 9.2 23 25 23 5 9 11 3.31 8.4 10.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/8/2013.

Roark became the 107th RoughRiders alum to make it to the big leagues, and Butler made it 108. That is 13 former RoughRiders who have done so this season. Eight of them have made it to the Rangers (Ortiz, Garcia, Tepesch, Wolf, McGuiness, McClellan, Beltre, Butler). Five have come with other teams (Evan Reed – DET, Scott Rice – NYM, Robbie Erlin – SD, Brad Hawpe – LAA, and Tanner Roark – WAS).

The debuts of both were entertaining follows on Twitter last night–Butler because of his long wait and great minor league track record, and Roark, due to his dominant first ever outing. Instead of some thoughtful analysis of the two debuts…which you can find out there for Roark at the very least…I rounded up my favorite tweets of the two stories, presented to you in chronological order.

This is the first tweet I found that he was getting loose…and his time would come.

I think we got in there within the statute of limitations.

Me too Seth. Me too.

Fast foward a few hours…props to Evan Grant for getting on the Twitterverse first:

Jeff Wilson, bested by just seconds. Either that, or deferred to the longer tenured beat writter:

Okay – “Nelson Cruz” replacement? A bit strong, although you aren’t the first to categorize it this way.

Great work by somebody in this department (I can’t take credit).

Well put Anthony. And they will stay undefeated in the “Joey Butler era” for at least another day.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: saturated curve – a spitball  

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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.

Your Early November Fall Ball Update

Chris McGuiness has earned praise while playing for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League.

The regular season ended two months ago, but there is still baseball being played all over the world.  Many fall and winter leagues have been playing for several weeks, and plenty of former and future RoughRiders are in action.  Here’s an update on some familiar names and ones that will become familiar to ’Riders fans in just a few months.

Note: For a variety of reasons, many of these off-season leagues tend to dramatically favor strong offensive numbers, especially in the Arizona Fall League.  So you should take some of the impressive offensive numbers (and poor pitching stats, for that matter) with a grain of salt.

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE (Surprise Saguaros)

1B Chris McGuiness: The former Citadel star, who enjoyed a productive 2012 in Frisco, has played in a team-high 19 games for the Saguaros, hitting .314 with a triple-slash of .410/.543/.952.  He’s tied for the AFL lead with four home runs and 20 RBI.  He’s hit four doubles and has as many walks (11) as he does strikeouts.  He was named the co-Player of the Week in the AFL in week one, sharing the honor with former Corpus Christi Hooks first baseman Jon Singleton.  He was also the only Rangers farmhand named to the AFL Rising Stars Game, going 0-for-2 with a pair of fly outs.

SS Hanser Alberto: The recently minted 20-year-old split 2012 between the Rangers’ two Single-A affiliates in Hickory and Myrtle Beach and could very easily break camp in spring training as a RoughRider.  He’s currently third in the AFL in batting average with a .360 clip in 14 games to go along with a double, two triples and six RBI.  While he has stolen three bases, he’s also been caught four times (he was 24-for-31 in steals during the regular season).

SS Luis Sardinas: Another young middle infielder, the 19-year-old Venezuelan is batting .316 with a home run, two doubles and four runs batted in through nine games.  He played this past season for Hickory and would seem to be a candidate to reach Frisco at some point in 2013 unless things bottom out for him in Myrtle Beach.

C Kellin Deglan:The former first round pick (22nd overall in 2010) out of Canada struggled at the plate for Hickory this past season and things have continued for him out in Arizona.  In eight games, he is batting .172 with no extra-base hits, one RBI and four runs scored.  He is only 20-years-old and has never played above Single-A, so don’t push the panic button just yet.

Ryan Rodebaugh is one member of the Rangers contingent playing for Surprise. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

RHP Ryan Rodebaugh: After struggling with an oblique injury that sidelined him for more than a month early in the season, the former Kennesaw State Owl put together a very good campaign in his first season at the Double-A level.  In eight AFL games, “Rodey” is 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA, 11 strikeouts and four walks in 11.2 innings.  Since allowing four runs through his first three appearances, he has thrown seven straight scoreless frames.

RHP Joe Van Meter: It was a short stint in the AFL for Van Meter, who was shut down with a sore right shoulder after two starts.  He had given up four runs on nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts in six innings.  The former two-way star at VCU spent most of the season with Myrtle Beach but made three appearances in a RoughRiders uniform in the second half.

RHP Ben Henry: Henry replaced Van Meter on the Saguaros roster and has appeared in three games.  He owns a 10.50 ERA (7 ER in 6 IP) with four strikeouts and seven walks in six innings.  He spent most of this past season with Myrtle Beach, but missed the last month of the year due to injury.

RHP Ben Rowen: A likely closer candidate for the RoughRiders next season, Rowen won a MiLBY Award for the best reliever in Minor League Baseball this past season while pitching for the Pelicans.  In the AFL, he has thrown in 11 games and has posted a 4.22 ERA in 10.2 innings.  The submariner has eight strikeouts and four walks with a .195 opponents’ batting average.

LHP Jimmy Reyes: The former Elon Phoenix has been the most impressive Rangers pitcher in the AFL this year.  Reyes, who spent all of 2012 in Myrtle Beach and finished Nick Tepesch’s May no-hitter, has yielded just two unearned runs on six hits in seven appearances (10 IP) with no walks and seven strikeouts.  He also picked up a win in his first AFL game on October 10.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

C Jose Felix: The RoughRiders’ catcher in each of the past three seasons is playing for the Algodoneros de Guasave (or, the Guasave Cotton Growers for those who are a little rusty on their Español).  After showing solid improvement at the plate for the ’Riders in 2012, he has looked good with Guasave, hitting .407 with three doubles and seven RBI in ten games and a triple-slash line of .393/.519/.911.  And yes, Felix’s OBP is lower than his batting average, as he has not walked yet this off-season.  He walked a ludicrous five times in 306 plate appearances during the regular season.

OF Joey Butler: The former RoughRider (2010 & 2011) is suiting up for the Venados de Mazatlán (Mazatlán Deer; yes, teams in the Mexican Pacific League have silly names.  We should feature them on a blog post soon) after a very solid 2012 campaign with Triple-A Round Rock.  Butler has struggled, however, for Mazatlán, hitting .228 with four doubles, a homer and five RBI in 17 games.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

TIGRES DEL LICEY (LICEY TIGERS)

LHP Chad Bell: The Knoxville lefty made Frisco the middle stop on his three-team climb this past season (starting in Myrtle and ending in Round Rock).  He has been hit hard by DWL opposition, going 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA in five games (three starts) with eight strikeouts and three walks in 9.2 innings.

3B Mike Olt: Frisco’s big-bopper in 2012 became a Ranger in early August when the big club called him up directly from the Texas League.  Although his two injury-plagued months in the big leagues were underwhelming, he is still considered a big-time corner infield prospect.  In ten games for Licey, Olt is hitting .286 with four doubles, one home run, five RBI and a triple-slash of .474/.536/1.009.  His fine DWL performance was interrupted when he was hit in the head by a pitch on November 3 and he has yet to play since.

SS Jurickson Profar: Über-prospect Profar recently joined Licey, but has yet to play in a game.  He spent nearly the entire 2012 season in Frisco until the Rangers called him up to the Major League squad when rosters expanded in September.

A ‘Rider in 2011, Leonys Martin has played well in the Dominican Republic this fall. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

OF Engel Beltre: When he is not promoting proper recycling techniques, Beltre has been lighting up the DWL just like he did the Texas League at times this past season.  The four-season RoughRiders centerfielder is batting .381 in 15 games for Licey with a double, five  triples, ten RBI, 13 runs scored and a triple-slash of .435/.643/1.078.  He leads the league in average, triples and OPS and is second in OBP and slugging.

OF Leonys Martin: The 2011 RoughRider split this past season

between Round Rock and the Rangers and, like Beltre, has been a solid performer in the DWL.  In 17 games, he is batting .288 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs, 14 RBI and 14 runs scored.

GIGANTES DEL CIBAO (CIBAO GIANTS)

IF LEURY GARCIA: The only Rangers farmhand on Ciboa, Garcia has looked pretty similar to the player he was in Frisco this past season.  In 16 games he is batting .273 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs (he had three for the ’Riders in 2012, including the playoffs), six RBI and seven runs scored.  Garcia is a strong candidate to begin next season with Round Rock.

ESTRELLAS DE ORIENTE (EASTERN STARS)

LHP Ben Snyder: After spending parts of 2010 and 2011 with Frisco, Snyder pitched for Round Rock during the 2012 season.  In five games (three starts) for Oriente, he is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA, six strikeouts and ten walks in 15 innings.

AGUILAS CIBAENAS (EAGLES OF CIBAO)

RHP Johan Yan: Frisco’s closer for the first two months of 2012, Yan struggled after his promotion to Triple-A (5.03 ERA).  He has performed a bit better in winter ball, going 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in eight games.  The submarine pitcher has posted an impressive 12-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 6:1 groundout/flyout ratio in 6.1 innings.

2009 RoughRiders pitcher Jose Diaz is pitching in La Romana, DR with 2011-12 ‘Rider Fabio Castillo. (James Garner/RoughRiders)

TOROS DEL ESTE (BULLS OF THE EAST)

RHP Fabio Castillo: Castillo split 2012 between Frisco and Round Rock after spending the previous two seasons as a RoughRider.  He has been good in limited action with los Toros, allowing just an unearned run on three hits in 4.1 innings over six appearances.  He has two walks and two strikeouts while pitching for his hometown (La Romana) club.

RHP Jose Diaz: The portly Diaz, who pitched for Frisco in 2009, spent 2012 with Indianapolis (Pittsburgh) of the Triple-A International League.  In ten games for los Toros, he is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA, 12 strikeouts, one walk and seven hits allowed in 9.2 innings.

LEONES DEL ESCOGIDO (LIONS OF THE CHOSEN ONE)

RHP Carlos Pimentel: Pimentel seemed to be effectively wild or wildly effective at points this season for the ’Riders, but not so effective for los Leones.  In six games (one start), he owns a 10.57 ERA (9 ER, 7.2 IP) with a .343 opponents’ batting average.  Still, with his solid year in Frisco he would seem to be a good bet to begin next season with Round Rock.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

LEONES DE PONCE (PONCE LIONS)

The Puerto Rican League just began play on November 8.  The Rangers farmhands on Ponce include OF Mike Bianucci (’Riders 2011), C Jorge Alfaro, C Kevin Torres, 1B/OF Brandon Snyder, LHP Tim Murphy (’Riders 2010, 2012), LHP Alexander Claudio, RHP Alex De La Cruz, RHP Jon Edwards (’Riders 2012) and RHP Angelo Leclerc.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

AGUILAS DE ZULIA (ZULIA EAGLES)

RHP Wilfredo Boscan: The RoughRiders’ 2011 Opening Day starter, Boscan spent the first half of 2012 pitching in relief for Frisco before performing very well as a starter in the second half of the season.  He has continued that success for Zulia, going 0-1 with a 0.81 ERA in five starts.  He has struck out 15 and walked six batters in 22.1 innings while opponents are hitting .228 off of him.  The 23-year-old will likely start next season as a RoughRider once again.

TIBURONES DE LA GUAIRA (LA GUAIRA SHARKS)

LHP Joseph Ortiz: Affectionately nicknamed “Mini-Me,” the 5’7” Ortiz put together a superb 2012 season between Frisco and Round Rock.  With La Guaira, he is 0-2 in 12 games with a 3.48 ERA, eight strikeouts and three walks in 10.1 innings and batters are hitting .200 against him.  He will challenge for a spot in the Rangers bullpen during spring training.

RHP Jose Mavare: The 22-year-old Barquisimeto native spent 2012 with Hickory pitching out of the bullpen and could be a candidate to reach Frisco in the second half of next season.  He has been hit hard in the VWL, allowing five runs on eight hits in six innings with five walks and six strikeouts.

NAVEGANTES DEL MAGALLANES (MAGELLAN’S NAVIGATORS)

RHP Randol Rojas: Rojas split 2012 between the Single-A affiliates, spending most of his time with Myrtle Beach.  He has yet to appear in a game for los Navegantes.

LEONES DEL CARACAS (CARACAS LIONS)

Guilder Rodriguez is playing in his native Venezuela in the off-season. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

RHP Wilmer Font: The hulking right-hander’s first season coming off Tommy John surgery was a resounding success.  Font spent most of the season with the Pelicans before joining the RoughRiders in August, dazzling the Texas League with a blazing fastball and then earning a promotion to the Rangers in mid-September.  He has not pitched yet for Caracas.

RHP Richard Alvarez: After pitching for Spokane for most the season, Alvarez made one appearance out of the bullpen for Hickory.  Like Font, he has not yet thrown for Caracas.

CARDENALES DE LARA (LARA CARDINALS)

IF Guilder Rodriguez: The longtime Minor League veteran Rodriguez was recently re-signed by the Rangers and may be back in Frisco for a fifth consecutive year in 2013.  In 15 games for Lara, G-Rod is batting .147 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored.

-          Alex V.

Former ‘Rider Blogs about Ramos Abduction

As reported by ESPN, and countless other news outlets, Washington Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos  was abducted by gunmen Wednesday from his home in his native Venezuela.

As I wrote about on the Insider Blog on Tuesday, the following Rangers’ farm-hands are currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); and Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

One other player currently participating in the Venezuelan Winter League is none other than former RoughRider, Ryan Tatusko.  Tusk is one of my all-time favorite ‘Riders because he really is the best of both worlds: a great player and a great person.  It was a sad day when we and fellow RoughRider Tanner Roark were traded in 2010 to (ironically) the Washington Nationals in exchange for Cristian Guzman.

Tatusko went 9-2, 2.97 ERA in 24 games/13 starts with Frisco in 2010 (James Garner)

Ryan keeps a great blog about life in the minors and appropriately wrote about the recent events in Venezuela:

“I hope that I can clear some things up for people and shed some light about what [Venezuela] is like off the field. I am only speaking from a vantage point being with the Margarita Bravos and what it is like for us on Margarita Island and traveling to the mainland when we have to go on the “road.”

“As far as what has transpired in Valencia, we play Aragua all the time during the year, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the city, stadium, and its fans. I have flown into Valencia to play in the minor league game when I was strengthening my arm for starts and I loved the airport as well. Whatever that is transpiring in Valencia is an extreme, isolated incident. I pray for [Wilson Ramos] and for his family, although I have never met him we are all family in this game, especially in the Nationals organization.”

To read the rest of Ryan’s great blog post, click here.

- AG

 

RoughRiders Around the Globe

Every September when the minor league season comes to an end and fall sets in, many think that it’s time for our RoughRiders to take a well earned vacation.  However, what many don’t realize is that minor leaguers around the country travel around the world to play winter and fall ball.  These leagues provide the players a chance for additional income and the opportunity to improve their game.  Here’s where some RoughRiders, and other Rangers’ farm-hands, will be sending post cards from this off-season:

Arizona Fall League

Players: Miguel De Los Santos, LHP; Leury Garcia, INF; Ryan Kelly, RHP; Leonys Martin, OF; Justin Miller, RHP; Mike Olt, INF; Neil Ramirez, RHP; Elio Sarmiento, C; Ryan Strausborger, OF; Johan Yan, RHP.  (All play for the Surprise Saguaros).

Mike Olt could possibly open up 2012 in Frisco (James Garner)

Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt was named the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week on Monday, batting .571 (8-14) with a double, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 walks the previous week.  The 23-year-old matched the Fall League’s single-game high with a 6 RBI effort on Friday and represented the Rangers and Saguaros in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday. The 6 RBI performance gave the University of Connecticut product a share of the AFL RBI lead (30), while he also leads the league in both home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.705).

OF Leonys Martin has seen action with the Saguaros as a member of the club’s taxi squad and hit a home run in his Fall League debut on October 19…OF Ryan Strausborger has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, raising his season average to .327 (17-52). The Arizona Fall League regular season continues through November 17.

Mexican Winter League 

Players: Cody Eppley, RHP (Obregon); Jose Felix, C (Guasave)

RHP Cody Eppley has worked out of the bullpen for the Mexican Winter League’s Obregon, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER/15.0 IP) over 14 appearances.

Dominican Winter League 

Players: Engel Beltre, OF (Licey); Julio Borbon, OF (Escogido); Fabio Castillo, RHP (La Romana); Andres James, INF (Licey); Carlos Pimentel, RHP (Escogido).

RHP Carlos Pimentel has posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) with 15 strikeouts against 5 walks in 8 relief outings with Escogido.

Venezuelan Winter League 

Players: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

Pan American Games

3B Tommy Mendonca and INF Chad Tracy each took home silver medals as part of Team USA in the Pan American Games hosted by Guadalajara, Mexico on October 19-25. Mendonca batted .333 (6-18) with one home run and a tournament-high 10 RBI in 5 games for Team USA, while Tracy hit .182 (2-11) with 2 RBI in 4 games. The Americans fell 2-1 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.

-AG

Alumni Update

There are hundreds of former RoughRiders, so this post will not include all of them. However, many more than the 24 men currently on the ‘Riders’ roster have donned the Frisco jersey this year. Let’s update you on those men who are elsewhere in the Rangers’ farm system or elsewhere in minor league baseball.

Wilfredo Boscan (now with high-A Myrtle Beach):
Since his demotion to Myrtle Beach May 3, Boscan has pitched well. The right-hander boasts a 2-2 record and a 3.86 earned run average in nine appearances. Three of his last four efforts have been quality starts, including his seven-inning, one-run win last night that lowered Myrtle Beach’s magic number to 2.

Joey Butler (now with Triple-A Round Rock):
Butler has become an everyday outfielder for the Express. In 42 games at the Triple-A level, Butler is hitting .336 with three homers and 21 RBIs. His 0-for-2 effort yesterday snapped his 16-game hitting streak. Before that game, Butler had posted multi-hit showings in six of his last nine games. Against lefties, Butler is hitting .372.

Robbie Diaz (now with Triple-A Round Rock):
Diaz has played one fewer game in Frisco (13) than he has at Round Rock (14). He was bumped back up to Round Rock Sunday, but he has only played in one game since then. That game came Tuesday night, when he went 1-for-4 in a loss to Nashville. On the year between the ‘Riders and Express, Diaz is hitting .309 with two homers and eight RBIs.

Mark Hamburger (now with Triple-A Round Rock):
Since his first ever promotion to the Triple-A level May 11, Hamburger has recorded a 1-3 record and an 8.35 earned run average. The Minnesota native has struck out 17 men in almost 19 innings of work out of the bullpen. After a bit of a shaky start, Hamburger has begun to settle down. In his last three outings, Hamburger has allowed just one run on three hits in five and two-thirds innings. He also had this feature written about him. It is definitely recommended reading.

Beau Jones (now with Triple-A Round Rock):
Following his first promotion to Triple-A April 23, Jones has appeared in 16 games out of the bullpen. The left-hander has a 3.25 earned run average in 27 and two-thirds innings of action. Jones has struck out 18 and walked ten. Lefties are hitting just .227 against Jones, while right-handers own a .310 average.

Chris Mobley (now with Triple-A Louisville [Reds]):
Traded to Cincinnati in late May, Mobley has been a quality reliever for the Louisville Bats over the last few weeks. Mobley is 1-0 with a 1.23 earned run average in eight outings. In seven and a third innings, the right-hander has allowed one run on five hits. Including his time the Rangers and Reds’ organizations, Mobley is 3-0 with a 3.93 ERA in 22 appearances this season.

David Paisano (now with high-A Myrtle Beach):
Sent down to the Carolina League May 14, Paisano has struggled a bit with the Pelicans. He is hitting .191 with four RBIs. He has hit .238 in ten games during the month of June. During Myrtle Beach’s historic 23-inning game Sunday, Paisano went 3-for-9 with one of the Pelicans’ two runs.

Sorry this update didn’t include updates on names like Nelson Cruz, Neftali Feliz or Josh Hamilton. I think you can figure those out yourselves! Catch the pre-game coverage tonight at 6:35. First pitch between the Hooks and ‘Riders is set for 7:05. Enjoy.

- Brian

Successful Trial Run

After a few games with the RoughRiders at the beginning of the season, outfielder Joey Butler got the call up to Triple-A Round Rock. During his 15 games with the Express, Butler was a consistent bat. He hit .276 with a homer and eight runs batted in.

Today, Butler, who was carrying a ten-game hitting streak, was sent back to Frisco. For a young man who was one step from the big leagues for the first time, this was a very impressive showing. He made the most of his short time with the Express, which will only make it easier for him to get another crack in Round Rock sometime soon.

Notes on Butler and others in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Prior to that ten-game hitting streak, Butler got off to a slow start with Round Rock. He went 3-for-22 (.167) in his first six games. After that, though, Butler settled in and went 13-for-36 (.361) with seven RBIs, six of which came in his final two games of this Triple-A stint.
  • Before departing Frisco, Butler went 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and four RBIs. He also walked six times, which gave him an on-base percentage of .500. He is back in the order tonight in right field. He will bat third.
  • The ‘Riders made one other roster move today. First baseman Jose Ruiz was placed on the Temporary Inactive List to travel home for the birth of his child. When on the TIL, one must sit out at least three games. On the year, Ruiz is hitting .306 with a homer and six RBIs. He has started at first base for the ‘Riders 22 times thus far this season.
  • The bullpen continued to thrive last night for the RoughRiders. The quartet of Tyler Tufts (3.0 IP), Ben Snyder (0.2), Ramon Aguero (0.1) and Mark Hamburger (1.0) allowed only one hit and struck out eight. With apologies to the other three, Tufts’ showing was the most impressive. He inherited a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the fifth and did not allow a runner to score. He then set down the Missions in order in the sixth and seventh.
  • In this three-game series, the ‘Riders’ bullpen (excluding Tommy Hunter’s rehab effort behind Neftali Feliz) has worked 14 and a third innings and has not allowed a run. Over that span, the relievers have struck out 20 and surrendered only five hits. Impressive stuff.
  • Martin Perez’s sixth start of the season was fairly similar to a few others this season. Perez labored through four innings and threw a season-high 94 pitches. He allowed three runs on six hits, and it could have been worse if not for Tufts’ Houdini act in the fifth.
  • In the four starts during which Perez has allowed at least two runs, he has averaged 19.8 pitches per inning. On the flip side, during his two shutout efforts, Perez has only tossed 14.8 pitches per frame.
  • A few lineup notes for tonight: Guilder Rodriguez is getting the day off, just his second of the season. Travis Adair, who has hit safely in the last five games, moves up to the two-hole. Davis Stoneburner moves up to the seventh spot after homering last night.

Enjoy tonight’s series finale, as the ‘Riders aim for their first sweep of the season. Pre-game along the RBN begins at 6:35. And again, look for the Texas League Power Rankings this weekend.

- Brian

Earning Runs

Thanks to “Chatter from the Pressbox” for this tidbit: the RoughRiders are one of two minor league baseball teams that have yet to allow an unearned run. Frisco has given up 51 runs in the first nine games of the season, and all have been earned.

The only other team to replicate this feat is the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A Southern League affiliate for the Florida Marlins. The Suns have allowed 35 runs through nine contests.

Not only are the Suns tremendous at this, but they have the coolest man doing some video work for them. It’s tough not to like the Suns after watching this video from last year. Who wouldn’t want to ring that bell with him?

By the way, be sure to check out chatterfromthepressbox.blogspot.com for some more ‘Riders information. The guys do a great job with it!

Without further ado, let’s wrap up another series with a Sunday edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Fans got a chance to see how manager Steve Buechele would juggle his lineup without Renny Osuna available. The most noticeable change came in Osuna’s normal spot in the lineup–the leadoff spot. Buechele placed the Rangers’ number 5 prospect Engel Beltre in that slot, and he hit well. He went a combined 2-for-6 with a pair of walks and runs scored. He did get picked off in game one after a leadoff walk, but other than that, he was solid. 
  • By the way, Osuna went back to Frisco for tests on his broken nose. His nose broke in two places, but there was not any other structural damage. There is still no timetable set for his return.
  • We also saw how the ‘Riders would deal with one fewer outfield option after Joey Butler’s promotion to Triple-A. David Paisano was in right field for both games yesterday. Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene started in left field. With Greene sliding into that “fourth outfielder” role, Jose Ruiz will likely play more than he would if Butler (and even if Osuna) were in North Texas.
  • Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos is an interesting prospect to discuss. Through two starts, De Los Santos has gone 1-2-3 in some way in six of the ten innings he has begun. In those frames, here’s De Los Santos’ line: 6.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K.
  • However, in the other four innings, here’s his line: 2.2 IP, 10 R, 7 H, 5 BB, 4 K. He finished two of those innings. In the other two, he left with a man at first and two away and he left with the bases loaded and nobody out.
  • On the flip side, Jake Brigham is extremely consistent. In both starts, he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work. Through those two starts, he has whiffed 11 batters.
  • The impact offensive guy for the RoughRiders has been Mike Bianucci, but Tommy Mendonca is not far behind. With his two home runs yesterday, Mendonca is now tied for third in the Texas League with four dingers, one off Bianucci and San Antonio’s Cody Decker’s pace. But Bianucci and Mendonca are one and two in HR/AB ratio (1/6.6 for Bianucci and 1/7.5 for Mendonca).
  • The only downside for Mendonca’s early start has been the strikeout numbers. Mendonca is tied for first in the TL with 11 Ks. In fact, Mendonca either reached base or struck out yesterday in the double dip at Springfield.
  • The RoughRiders’ bullpen was much better yesterday than it was Thursday night. However, the ‘pen is still letting a lot of men get on for free. In four innings of work yesterday, the bullpen gave up one run on two hits, but the relievers walked six and hit a batter.
  • Two guys who the ‘Riders are glad they won’t see again until June 30th: Matt Adams and Niko Vasquez. That duo went a combined 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run and 10 RBIs.
  • Another thing fans won’t see for a long time: bowling. The PBA Tour season is over, which makes me very sad. Dick Allen defeated Chris Barnes in the PBA Playoffs Final earlier today. NOW it is officially baseball season! For all of your off-season bowling news, be sure to check out PBA.com. I’m a huge fan of bowling, and you should be too.

I’m also a big fan of today’s broadcast of the RoughRiders and the Travelers. Check it out along the RRBN or online at 3:30. I will also be along for the Extra Bases Blog, so join me there beginning at 3:45! Enjoy!

- Brian

On The Road Again

By far, the least glamorous part of minor league baseball is the travel. Let’s just say it isn’t always fun or comfortable.

A few leagues are fairly condensed. For example, the longest trip within the Florida State League (Daytona to Fort Myers) is about four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is a little less than five hours (Danville, Virginia to Greeneville, Tennessee).

There are some brutal trips in other leagues, though. For example, imagine almost 11 hours from Vancouver, British Columbia to Boise, Idaho in the Northwest League. Or almost 11 hours from Grand Chute, Wisconsin to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the Midwest League. Or more than 10 hours from Youngstown, Ohio to Burlington, Vermont in the New York-Penn League.

The Texas League has a mammoth trip. It is about 15 hours from Springfield to Corpus Christi. Ugh.

Fortunately, the RoughRiders are fairly centrally located within this league. Here are the seven trips (all according to Google Maps):

  • Arkansas: 5:20
  • Corpus Christi: 7:30
  • Midland: 6:00
  • NW Arkansas: 5:30
  • San Antonio: 5:10
  • Springfield: 7:00
  • Tulsa: 4:20

Nothing too long, but there isn’t a true “short” one, either. Anyways, here’s a quick version of the Facts to get you by on this off day.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • With Josh Hamilton’s injury, former ‘Rider Chris Davis was called up to the big leagues. That’s been all over the news. But, to fill Davis’ place, outfielder Joey Butler has been called up to Triple-A Round Rock. Butler was hitting .316 (6-for-19) with two homers and four runs batted in.
  • To fill the spot on the Frisco roster, infielder Erik Morrison has been added from the disabled list. Morrison was with high-A Bakersfield all of last year (.242, 13 HR, 45 RBI). He played in two games here in Frisco back in ’09.
  • The ‘Riders only have three outfielders on the roster because of Butler’s promotion. I don’t expect any shifting of Engel Beltre from center.
  • The question is: where will David Paisano and Mike Bianucci be? Of Paisano’s 467 career games, he has played in right only 91 times. But 61 of those came last year. He has been in left field for all five of his starts thus far this season. Bianucci has started in left once this season; the other five starts have come at DH. But he has spent more time in right in his minor league career (111 games) than Paisano. The outfield alignment will be interesting to monitor.
  • The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are off to their best start in franchise history: 5-1. They have won four of their games by one run.
  • Only two minor league teams remain undefeated: the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League, 5-0) and the Daytona Cubs (Florida State League, 6-0). The Suns, by the way, have the services of Baseball America’s top overall prospect–Washington’s Bryce Harper.

Enjoy a day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back tomorrow at 6:37 along the RRBN for the ‘Riders and the Cards. Take care.

- Brian

‘Riders on ESPNDallas.com

We’ve got a special treat for you this morning/afternoon. Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has invited us on his live blog for the Rangers’ afternoon date with the Tigers.

You can view the blog here. We will be providing in-game updates of the rubber match between the ‘Riders and the Travelers. The participation for these Rangers blogs have been great, so check it out.

Also, check out Durrett’s recent feature on former RoughRider Alexi Ogando’s journey to the majors. Ogando worked seven scoreless innings for his second straight victory yesterday in Detroit. Ogando and the Rangers are now 9-1.

Here’s a Tuesday edition of the Facts before brunch with the Riders at 11 a.m.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • It was a tough night for the heart of the RoughRiders order last night. The 2-5 hitters (Engel Beltre, Joey Butler, Mike Bianucci, and Tommy Mendonca) went a combined 2-for-16 (.125). That quartet, which has remained the same through the first five games of the season, was hitting a combined 18-for-61 (.295). 
  • Even Bianucci cooled off after an incredible four-game start. He went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .350 (7-for-20). He still leads the league in homers (4) and is second to Tulsa’s Tim Wheeler in RBIs (8).
  • Joey Butler did have his best game of the young campaign. The right-fielder who spent all of last year with Frisco (.277, 10 HR, 58 RBIs in 132 games) went 2-for-4 with an opposite field, two-run homer. 
  • Jose Ruiz, a free agent signing after being let go by the Tampa Bay Rays, added two more hits last night to keep his average at .500 (7-for-14), which ties him for the league lead. Despite his big frame (6’3″, 235), though, all of his hits have been singles. His good work at the plate earned him a move up in the lineup. Ruiz will hit fifth today after getting four starts in the seven hole.
  • The ‘Riders pen has been the better of the two pitching units through the first turn in the rotation. The bullpen has two of the three wins and a 2.96 ERA, while the starters have a 6.23 ERA. Plus, the relievers have tossed more innings (24.1) than the starters (21.2). Only two starters have reached the five-inning mark–Jake Brigham and today’s starter Wilfredo Boscan.
  • Interesting note from second-year skipper Steve Buechele regarding early games that follow a typical 7 p.m. start: the starting pitcher for the morning/early afternoon game does not leave the previous night’s game early. Thus, Boscan was at the stadium last night until at least 10:16, which was one minute after the final pitch of yesterday’s 6-4 Arkansas win.
  • We talked about it on the broadcast last night, but check out the box score from yesterday’s 23-10 victory for San Antonio over Tulsa. I checked three different sources before I believed that score. Crazy stuff. 

Our coverage begins at 10:35 a.m. on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. For those who tune in via 1630 KKGM, please note that today’s game will be played on tape delay beginning at 6:35 this evening. Enjoy the game!

- Brian

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