Results tagged ‘ Jurickson Profar ’

Catching up with… Mike Olt

Mike Olt was an All-Star third baseman for the RoughRiders before he was promoted to the Majors on August 2.

Occasionally throughout the off-season we will spend some time catching up with former RoughRiders.  In this edition, we hear from Rangers rookie Mike Olt, who spent most of the 2012 season in Frisco.  A Mid-Season and Postseason Texas League All-Star, Olt played in 95 games for the RoughRiders, hitting .288 with 28 home runs and 82 RBI.  He was called up directly to the Texas Rangers on August 2 but has been hampered by a foot injury in most of his time as a big leaguer.  ‘Riders broadcaster Alex Vispoli caught up with Mike at a recent Rangers home game to reflect on making the Majors and his time with Frisco.

Alex Vispoli: When you found out you were going up, was that a surprise for you or were you expecting it?

Mike Olt: No, it was definitely a surprise.  It was weird how in those last couple of days they were trying to do some [different] things with me, especially playing first base on back-to-back days.  But really going into the office I thought they were going to talk to me about what my plan was because the trade deadline was over, what they wanted me to shoot for.  I knew I was ready, and then when they were able to say I was getting the call up, it was quite the feeling.

AV: I know Frisco manager Steve Buechele has had creative ways of telling guys that they are being promoted, the one with Justin Grimm comes to mind.  If I remember correctly, he was telling you the route to get down to Round Rock?

MO: Yeah, he said to pack my car up and try and head out early to go to Round Rock and he kept the story going the whole time, he probably talked about for five minutes just to stay focused and keep doing what I’m doing, don’t change anything.  And then, just when I’m leaving he’s like “make sure you’re in Arlington in time for C.J. Wilson.”  So that was good, that’s something I’ll never forget.

AV: What are the emotions you’re feeling at that point, where’s your heart at that moment?

MO: Oh, I couldn’t talk.  And that’s the first time in my life I probably couldn’t talk.  I was just really excited.  You always hear stories about [getting promoted to the big leagues]; I have some buddies that got called up and they tell you what their feelings are and you can understand where they’re coming from, but when you feel that [yourself] then you really understand what it’s like, you just get goose bumps.  It’s everything you’ve worked for.

AV: Just in terms of the roller coaster for you, I remember talking to you the week or so leading up to the trading deadline and we weren’t really sure what was going to happen.  You were trusting whatever the plan was and I guess the plan all along was to get you right up there after the trade deadline.  Looking back on it the whole range of emotions must have made it both a little fun and at the time a little stressful.

MO: It was, but I did my best to block it all out.  And I always said I was definitely able to block it out but there were times when I just wanted to know what was going on.  When it was all over with that was definitely relieving, but I definitely did know that I was in a good situation either way so that helped.

AV: You had a base hit in your first Major League at bat.  What’s going through your head when you step into the batter’s box in a big league game for the first time and then you connect on that base hit?  Hitter’s always talk about getting that first hit early in a game to take some stress off the rest of the way and that you got a hit in your first-ever at bat must have been a weight off of your shoulders.

MO: I was nervous during the day but when it got to game time and I got out there and walked into the box it really felt like just another at bat.  I tried to make it as close to normal as I could.  Obviously facing C.J. Wilson it’s tougher to stay within your approach against a guy like that.  But I wasn’t nervous which helped me stay [within myself] and not try to do too much so that helped.

AV:Have you had a moment yet where you’ve taken a step back and said to yourself “Wow, I’m in the big leagues.”?  Have you had a “welcome to the big leagues” type of moment that you can remember where all of a sudden you realize that you’re not in the Texas League any more?

Olt gets a high five from Rangers manager Ron Washington after his walk-off pinch hit RBI single against the Tigers on August 11.

MO: That happened the first day, even with just the crowd.  It’s a totally different feeling when you have 45,000 fans cheering for you, that’s a great feeling.  And then in my second at bat I hit a ball up in the hole and a guy makes a “Top Play” on it.  I get back to the dugout and that was a time where it was like “welcome to the big leagues.”  That usually doesn’t get caught in Double-A.

AV: Unless it’s [Jurickson] Profar, right?

MO: Right [laughs].  No, I would have taken care of him if he caught it.

AV: Has it been nice to see four guys [Wilmer Font, Justin Grimm, Jurickson Profar and Robbie Ross] that you played with in the Minors on the big league roster now with you?  Guys that you came up playing with, to play alongside them has that been a fun experience for you?

MO: Yeah, definitely.  It always helps to have guys that you’ve played with and that you’re comfortable with.  Especially because it’s a good group of young guys mixed with the good group of older guys.  The veteran guys really show us the way and they make it really easy for us up here.  Some of the other guys from other teams that I talk to, for them it’s a little of a different atmosphere.  Not once when you’re here do the veteran guys make you feel like a rookie, so that also helps.

AV: How tough has it been just with the fact that you haven’t been able to get on the field in being a rookie and also with the injuries?  Unfortunately you’ve had plenty of practice overcoming the minor injuries, but it’s still an adjustment.

MO: No, this isn’t the way I want to start my career with something as small as plantar fasciitis.  I don’t even know how I got it; I don’t know how it happened or why it had to happen in the first four days of my big league career.  But I was still able to get a lot out of [the experience here] while I was hurt and on the bench.  I’ve learned a ton and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and incorporate it with how I go about my business and improve.

AV: How proud were you of your Frisco teammates, following them from afar and seeing what they accomplished without you and without Profar?

MO: I watched every step of the way and I kept in contact with a bunch of the guys.  I knew they didn’t need Profar or myself to win it; they had a great team and great pitching, timely hitting and that’s what we were going to need and we got it for the most part but came up a little short.  So that’s tough but it was a great year and I have a lot of good memories there.

- Alex

Futures Game Recap

The Futures Game is a chance for major league baseball organizations to showcase talented minor league players who could make it to The Show one day. Two minor leaguers are picked to represent each MLB team. Third baseman Mike Olt and shortstop Jurickson Profar were chosen for the Texas Rangers and RoughRiders manager Steve Buechele was chosen as a coach.

Jurickson Profar was interviewed by members of the media before the game. (Twitter: @MLBFutures)

This was the second Futures game in a row for Jurickson Profar who took part in the festivities last year in Arizona. He made an impression quickly. In his first at bat in the 2012 game, he hit a home run to right field to put the World team up 1-0. As he rounded second base, he looked at Mike Olt who was playing third base for the US team and laughingly said ‘I told you.’ Profar went 2-3 with one RBI. He played shortstop for four innings before being replaced by Francisco Lindor. Profar was mic’d up during his first at bat and the video can be seen below.

However, Mike Olt played the entire game for the US team. He started the game at third base and was moved over to play first base for the remainder of the game. Olt went 1-5 with one RBI including a fly out to Profar. Olt was part of the winning team as the US team defeated the World team 17-5.

Mike Olt talked to US team manager George Brett during batting practice. (Twiiter: @MLBFutures)

Olt and Profar were not the only representatives of the Texas League in the Futures game. They were joined by eight others. Here’s a quick rundown of how the fellow Texas Leaguers did in the game.

Oscar Taveras (Springfield Cardinals): Taveras went 1-3 with one RBI. He split time playing right field and center field for the World team.

Kolten Wong (Springfield Cardinals): Wong went 0-2 and played second base for the US team.

Jean Segura (Arkansas Travelers): Segura went 2-3 and played second base for the World team.

Ariel Pena (Arkansas Travelers): Pena pitched for 0.1 innings allowing seven hits and eight runs for the World team.

Nolan Arenado (Tulsa Drillers): Arenado went 1-3 and played third base for the US team.

Jonathan Singleton (Corpus Christi Hooks): Singleton went 3-4 with one RBI. He split time at first base and left field for the US team.

Michael Choice (Midland RockHounds): Choice went 0-2 and played left field for the US team.

Ali Solis (San Antonio Missions): Solis went 0-1 and played catcher for the World team.

Written by Jarah Wright

All-Star Game Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story by Jarah Wright

Our All-Star Picks

In the Texas League, each team is allowed an all-star ballot for the lead broadcaster and a beat writer for their team. With the all-star team lineups being announced today, we decided to pick who we think will make the cut.

Michael Damman

Texas League North:

Catcher-Lars Davis, Tulsa Drillers

First Baseman- Johnny Whittleman, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Second Baseman- Kolten Wong, Springfield Cardinals

Third Baseman- Nolan Arenado, Tulsa Drillers

Shortstop- Josh Rutledge, Tulsa Drillers

Outfielder- Oscar Taveras, Springfield Cardinals

Outfielder- Wil Myers, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Carlo Testa, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Designated Hitter- Ben Paulsen, Tulsa Drillers

Starting Pitcher- Trevor Rosenthal, Springfield Cardinals

Reliever- Steven Geltz, Arkansas Travelers

Texas League South:

Catcher- Ali Solis, San Antonio Missions

First Baseman- Jonathan Singleton, Corpus Christi Hooks

Second Baseman- Jose Martinez, Corpus Christi Hooks

Third Baseman- Mike Olt, Frisco RoughRiders

Shortstop- Jurickson Profar, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Jeremy Barfield, Midland RockHounds

Outfielder- Brandon Barnes, Corpus Christi Hooks

Outfielder- Cody Decker, San Antonio Missions

Designated Hitter- Nathan Freiman, San Antonio Missions

Starting Pitcher- Justin Grimm, Frisco RoughRiders

Reliever- Jason Stoffel, Corpus Christi Hooks

Jarah Wright

Texas League North:

Catcher- Lars Davis, Tulsa Drillers

First Baseman-  Johnny Whilttleman, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Second Baseman- Ryan Mount, Arkansas Travelers

Third Baseman- Nolan Arenado, Tulsa Drillers

Shortstop- Christian Colon, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Oscar Taveras, Springfield Cardinals

Outfielder- Carlo Testa, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Nick Van Stratten, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Designated Hitter- Ben Paulsen, Tulsa Drillers

Starting Pitcher- Trevor Rosenthal, Springfield Cardinals

Reliever- Ryan Dennick, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Texas League South:

Catcher- Zach Zaneski, Frisco RoughRiders

First Baseman- Jonathan Singleton, Corpus Christi Hooks

Second Baseman- Jonathan Galvez, San Antonio Missions

Third Baseman- Mike Olt, Frisco RoughRiders

Shortstop- Jurickson Profar, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Jeremy Barfield, Midland RockHounds

Outfielder- Engel Beltre, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Reymond Fuentes, San Antonio Missions

Designated Hitter- Nathan Freiman, San Antonio Missions

Starting Pitcher- Dan Straily, Midland RockHounds

Reliever- Ross Seaton, Corpus Christi Hooks

The All-Star teams will be announced today at 4 p.m. We will announced who made the cut on our Facebook and Twitter later today.

Sharlon Schoop Interivew, June 3, 20120

Before yesterday’s game, we talked to Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ shortstop Sharlon Schoop about growing up in Curacao and the relationship between his family and Jurickson Profar.

Shot by Jarah Wright and Michael Damman

The Anatomy Of A Hitting Streak

Frisco shortstop Jurickson Profar currently has a 24-game hitting streak going into today’s game against the Midland RockHounds. The hitting streak began on April 19 against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Since then he has posted 16 singles, 11 doubles, 4 triples, and 1 home run. Here’s the breakdown of Profar’s hit parade by game.

Jurickson Profar high fives Brad Hawpe on his way to the dugout after scoring. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

April 19: Profar hit a single to right field in the top of the sixth inning against Hooks pitcher Erick Abreu.

April 20: In the top of the ninth, Profar singled to center field against Corpus Christi closer Kevin Chapman.

April 21: A double to right field in the top of ninth versus Jake Buchanan scored Guilder Rodriguez and gave Profar another hit.

April 22: Facing former RoughRider and current Hooks pitcher Adalberto Flores, Profar doubled to right field in the top of the eighth inning.

April 23: Profar doubled to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning against San Antonio Missions’ pitcher Keyvius Sampson.

April 24: In the bottom of the first inning, Profar tripled to right field off of Andrew Werner.

April 25: Profar started the game with a single to right field in the bottom of the first against Hayden Beard.  A triple to the same place in the bottom of the seventh versus Jeff Ibarra gave Profar his second hit of the game.

April 26: Wrapping up a 4-game series against San Antonio, Profar hit 2 doubles. His first was in the bottom of the third inning against former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin. The second double came in the bottom of the twelfth against Jeremy McBryde.

April 27: The lone hit of the game for Profar was a triple to center field off of Hooks’ starter Jarred Cosart in the bottom of the first inning.

April 28: Facing starter Ross Seaton, Profar singled to center field scoring Engel Beltre in the bottom of the third.

April 29: Profar singled twice against Jose Cisnero en route to a win over the Corpus Christi Hooks. First, to center field in the bottom of the third and then again in the bottom of the fifth.

Jurickson Profar got a day off on April 30 and watched as the RoughRiders defeated the Hooks 9-4.

May 1: Profar tripled to center field off the arm of Robbie Erlin in the top of the sixth inning during the series opener in San Antonio.

May 2: In his first at-bat of the game, Profar hit a double to center field versus Juan Oramas.

May 3: A single in the top of the ninth inning against Ryan Kelly gave Profar his only hit of the night against the Missions.

May 4: In the series finale Profar hit two singles. Facing Andrew Warner in the top of the third, Profar hit an infield single to the shortstop. In the top of the fifth inning, he followed up with a single to center field.

May 5: Profar went 1 for 4 against Midland with a single to second off of a pitch by Murphy Smith.

May 6: In the second game against the RockHounds, Profar battled against Jonathan Ortiz in the top of the ninth inning before hitting an infield single to second base.

May 7: A line drive to center fielder off of A.J. Griffin allows Profar to double in the bottom of the fifth inning.

May 8: Profar’s only hit of the last game of the series against Midland resulted in a line drive single to right field against Daniel Straily.

The RoughRiders had a day off on May 9, which allowed them to travel to Corpus Christi to face the Hooks for a four-game series.

May 10: Profar went 2 for 6 in game one against the Hooks. Facing Arcenio Leon in the top of the fifth, Profar singled to left field. His second hit would come two innings later with a double to left field off of Erick Abreu.

May 11: In the top of the third inning, Brett Oberholtzer would allow a Profar single to short. Profar would come up big with a solo home run in the sixth inning.

May 12: Profar would hit 3 doubles during a 12-inning battle against Corpus Christi. His first would come in the fifth followed by one in the tenth and the twelfth.

May 13: Facing Hooks’ starter Jarred Cosart, Profar would only go 1 for 4. His only hit was an infield single in the first inning to first base.

May 14: With Sonny Gray on the mound for Midland, Profar singled to right field.

Today the Midland RockHounds will have Shawn Haviland on the mound to face the RoughRiders roster as Profar looks to extend his hitting streak to 25 games. His hitting streak is currently the longest hitting streak in the Texas League so far this season.

Written by: Jarah Wright

2011 RoughRiders’ Awards

The first round of off-season awards are beginning to come in for the RoughRiders. Yesterday we talked about Jurickson Profar being named Low-A Player of the Year by Baseball America, and while the ‘Riders don’t have anything of quite that prestigious, there are certainly some awards of note.

Best Texas League Visiting Clubhouse

We all know there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in minor league baseball, but there might not be a pair of guys that work harder than C.J. Allen and Philip Fleitman, the ‘Riders Clubhouse Managers.  Thanks to their efforts, the RoughRiders won Best Texas Visiting Clubhouse for the second-straight season.  These are the two guys that make sure both teams are fed both before and after all home games, do all the laundry, and a LOT more.  Congrats to C.J. and Philip.  Here’s a pic of the two of them taking some batting practice after the season was over.  I’m pretty sure photo credit goes to ‘Riders lefty, Corey Young.

 

Best Cheap Seats in Dallas

The Dallas Observer recently announced it’s 2011 “Best of” awards, and the RoughRiders won the award for “Best Cheap Seats” in Dallas.  They loved how inexpensive our tickets were compared to the local competition (Rangers, Cowboys, Mavs, etc.), and they really loved the swimming pool!

2011 Double-A MiLB Team of the Year

The ‘Riders need your help to win this one.  Click here to vote for the ‘Riders as the 2011 Double-A MiLB Team of the Year.  The other teams nominated are San Antonio, Harrisburg, Mobile, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.  Interestingly enough there are two other Rangers’ affiliates that have been nominated for “Team of the Year” in their respective class. You can vote for Triple-A Round Rock who finished with the all-time best record for a Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate (87-57).  You can also vote for the Hickory Crawdads for the best Low-A team in 2011.  The ‘Dads finished the year tied for the most wins in the South Atlantic League (79-58).

-AG

Profar Named Low-A Player of the Year

You know a player is good when he plays two levels below the team you cover and there’s a steady buzz about him all season long.  That’s the case with Hickory shortstop Jurickson Profar.

It was announced today that the 18-year-old was named the Low-A Player of the Year by Baseball America after hitting .286 with 12 home runs and 65 runs batted in.  At such a young age, it’s impressive to note that Profar walked 65 times compared to striking out 63 times.  If you take a look at the ‘Riders during the 2011 season, there wasn’t a single Frisco hitter with even 150 at-bats that had more walks than strikeouts.  The only guy who came close was Leonys Martin who walked 15 times compared to eight K’s in 135 at bats.

Defensively, Profar impressed as well.  In 114 games, all at shortstop, he committed just 22 errors giving him a .955 fielding percentage.  If you take a look at Elvis Andrus when he was 18-year-old and playing in the minors, the now Rangers’ shortstop had a combined .949 fielding percentage at the High-A level (Myrtle Beach and Bakersfield).

Think about that for a second.  We’re all impressed that Profar played as well as he did in Low-A at 18, but Andrus played at a level higher at the same age.  To be completely fair about the comparison (not that this is a fool-proof form of judgement),   Elvis managed a .938 fielding percentage in Low-A Rome in the Braves’ system at the young age of 17.

I’ve been surprised countless times, but I’d have to imagine that Profar opens up 2012 with High-A Myrtle Beach, which of course means that there’s a chance he makes his way to Frisco late in the season.  I don’t think it would shock anyone if he stayed in the Carolina League for all of next year, but you never know what can happen.

No matter where he plays, it will be a long way from home. The switch-hitter is from Willemstad, Curacao – a tiny little island off the northern coast of Brazil.  A population of slightly over 140,000, Curacao was put on the map during the 2004 Little League Baseball World Series by who else but Profar.

11-years-old at the time, Profar was the top statistical pitcher in the ’04 World Series when he went 2-0 with one save over 12.1 innings while striking out 19 studly kids.  He batted .313 (5-for-16) with one double, five runs batted in, a run scored, and two strikeouts.

He also played in the 2005 Little League Baseball World Series and posted the third-highest tournament batting average of .389 (7-for-18) to go along with five runs scored and two runs batted in. On the mound he went 1-0, 1.85 ERA over 13 innings with 26 strikeouts.

And have I mentioned that he speaks four languages?  Should be fun to watch Profar in Frisco … someday.

- AG

Photos provided by MiLB.com, ESPN.com, and Life.com

Odor Advances; Hamburger, Profar Ousted

The second round of the Minors Moniker Madness was not kind to the Rangers’ farm system. Former RoughRider Mark Hamburger, who made it to the semifinals last season, lost to Fort Myers’ Shooter Hunt in a 4-5 match-up.

Hickory’s Jurickson Profar, a two-seed entering the tournament, lost to seven-seed Callix Crabbe from New Hampshire.

The only Ranger farmhand to advance to the Madness’ Sweet 16 was Spokane’s Rougned Odor. The top seed in the “Farmer Works Bracket,” Odor bested Carolina’s Didi Gregorius to advance. Odor will square off with Hunt in a star-studded Sweet 16.

The Cinderella story belongs to 11-seed Zelous Wheeler. The Huntsville Star will take on seven-seeded Tuffy Gosewisch in the next round. All four one seeds have made it through the first two rounds.

To vote on the Minors Moniker Madness, check out this link.

Hamburger, Profar Advance

ADDITION: Check out this video from the Round Rock Express promoting Mark Hamburger’s candidacy for the Moniker Madness title.

_________________

Former RoughRider Mark Hamburger and highly-touted Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar have advanced to round two of Minor League Baseball’s “Moniker Madness.”

Currently with the Round Rock Express, Hamburger advanced past 13-seed Matthew Szczur. The reliever, who made it to the Final Four last year, will battle Fort Myers’ Shooter Hunt in a 4-5 matchup in the second round.

Profar, the second-best prospect in the Rangers’ system according to Baseball America, earned a two-seed and cruised past Kurt Yacko in round one. The Hickory Crawdad’s next challenge is New Hampshire’s Callix Crabbe.

Rougned Odor, a member of short-season Spokane and a one-seed, also advanced to round two. Odor will square off with Didi Gregorius, who defeated former RoughRider Emerson Frostad in the first round.

Only five double-digit seeds advanced past the first round. There were two 12 over 5 upsets, which marked the most lopsided upset in the first round.

And a personal note–my pick to win it all (Kevin Quackenbush) took down Riley Hornback in the opening round. However, I lost two “Final Four” picks (Billy Spottiswood and Skyler Stromsmoe), so my bracket has been ripped to shreds.

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