Results tagged ‘ Martin Perez ’

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

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition

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

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

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

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

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

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

Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):

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

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

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):

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

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

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

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

Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):

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

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

Spokane Indians (Short-Season):

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

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

Surprise Rangers (Rookie):

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

Random MiLB Stats

The dog days of summer are here. Yesterday’s game was Frisco’s 90th, which means there are only 50 left.

We’ve seen enough minor league baseball to know that there are some quirky and unique stats and stories that have taken place. Let’s document those in a minor league-wide edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Let’s get a few Frisco numbers out there first. The RoughRiders face one of the largest deficits in all of minor league baseball as a second-place team, yet Frisco would be in first place in eight other divisions around minor league baseball. That’s more than a third of the other divisions.
  • That’s because the ‘Riders share a division with the best team in all of minor league baseball–the San Antonio Missions. San Antonio, the Double-A affiliate of the Padres, is the only full-season club that boasts a .700 winning percentage.
  • Former RoughRider Martin Perez has one of the four no-hitters in minor league baseball this season. Montgomery’s Matt Moore (AA-Rays), Peoria’s Austin Kirk (Low-A-Cubs), Victor Mateo (Low-A-Rays).
  • We can’t forget about our short-season friends. How about these starts to the season: Staten Island (SS-Yankees) is 21-5 and Eugene (SS-Padres) is 22-6. That’s pretty good.
  • Speaking of short-season “fun,” the Burlington Royals faced off with the Danville Braves on the Fourth of July in the Appalachian League. Danville won 27-6. The actual game took 3:59. There were a few delays that totaled 2:04. All of that, plus the post-game fireworks show in Burlington was postponed. That has to be the favorite for worst night at the yard this season in the minors.
  • Let’s get back to San Antonio. The Missions have already hit ten grand slams this season, which is one away from a Texas League record set by two teams (Tulsa in 1960 and Shreveport in 1979). San Antonio is on pace to hit 16 grand slams.
  • Coincidentally, the last Texas League team without a grand slam for an entire season is San Antonio’s 2002 squad.
  • Finally, an incredible number off the field. The Dayton Dragons, the Low-A affiliate of the Reds, sold their game out for the 815th straight time July 9, which broke the all-time record for most consecutive home game sellouts for a professional team. The team is having a celebration next Saturday in Dayton.

The ‘Riders and Hooks resume this four-game series tonight at 7:05. Catch the action either on TXA 21 or the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Becoming Martin Perez

Martin Perez learned yesterday that he was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, which ends his long tenure with the RoughRiders. Brian Boesch takes a look back at the ups and downs for Perez while in Frisco.
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With only 37 appearances on his minor league résumé, 18-year-old Martin Perez made his Double-A debut with the RoughRiders August 12, 2009. At that point, Perez had a career earned run average of 2.84. The Rangers had the confidence to promote Perez from Low-A Hickory to Frisco without at stop in High-A.

In other words, Perez had not yet failed in the game of baseball. Ever.

Perez’s first start with the RoughRiders was not pretty. In two and two-thirds innings, the Venezuela native allowed six earned runs. He finished the year with a 1-3 mark and a 5.57 ERA in five Double-A starts, with his final effort being a quality start he was used to posting in Spokane or Hickory.

Yes, the numbers were not awesome, but Perez did get better as his short stint in Double-A progressed. As a result, one of the youngest players the Texas League has ever seen earned even more praise and shouldered even more expectations.

Perez, who was the Rangers’ number five prospect prior to the 2009 season, jumped up to number three in Baseball America’s annual countdown. Overall, Perez jumped from baseball’s 86th best prospect to its 17th. Baseball America even believed that Perez’s estimated time of arrival to the big leagues would be the middle of 2011.

At times during 2010, Perez proved why his name was near the top of every prospect countdown. In late June, Perez struck out 15 and scattered seven hits in 12 scoreless innings during a pair of road starts. In early September, the southpaw tossed six dominant innings in what would turn out to be Frisco’s lone playoff victory.

But Perez largely struggled to gain traction in a league filled with big-name prospects. Perez finished with a record of 5-8 and an ERA at 5.96, much higher than anything he had ever experienced. His strikeout total went down. His walk total went up. His WHIP was at 1.68.

For the first time, Martin Perez was just another arm. For the first time, Martin Perez was failing at the game he had dominated for so long.

The praise still came in 2011. Perez was bumped up to the top spot in the Rangers’ farm system, and he was 24th among all farmhands. Frisco manager Steve Buechele said he had not seen Perez pitch as well as he did during Spring Training. Still, results were necessary.

And those results came almost instantly.

After an average effort in his season opener, the left-hander blanked Springfield over five innings April 14. He whiffed nine Cardinals.

That was the appetizer to the incredible main course Perez served five days later. Perez tossed the second perfect game in RoughRiders history. It was a rain-shortened, five-inning perfecto, but it gave Perez the high-profile Double-A showing he had lacked until that stormy night in North Little Rock, Ark.

“It’s great to be perfect,” Perez said in this MiLB feature after the perfect game. “I’m very happy right now.”

What he said later in that feature, though, would be more important and more telling: “My command has gotten better, so I can throw any of my pitches at any time [in the count].”

Indeed he could. Perez’s fastball continued to develop, and his curveball and changeup kept Texas League hitters off balance. His statistics backed this up.

Perez boasted a 2.74 ERA in April and a 1.47 mark in May. Overall, he went 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 17 appearances. One could argue he has been the best pitcher in the Texas League this season, which is quite a turn of events after his struggles in ’09 and ’10.

Thursday, Perez took the penultimate step to the big leagues. The Rangers promoted the 20-year-old to Triple-A Round Rock. He will start Saturday against Memphis.

There is no denying that Perez failed at times with the RoughRiders. He would be the first person to admit that. In the end, Perez posted a 10-13 record and a 4.74 ERA in his 46 career Double-A appearances. Those numbers do not scream “star.”

However, the context of Martin Perez’s 23-month tenure in Frisco does. Perez bounced back from his first serious baseball challenges better than ever. Now, Perez is number six on Baseball America’s midseason prospect list.

Even with great numbers in short-season and Low-A ball, Perez wasn’t the prospect in August of 2009 that he is now.

That’s what makes his time in Frisco so special. With the RoughRiders, Martin Perez became Martin Perez.

Three RoughRiders in Top 50

Baseball America came out with its “Midseason Top 50 Prospect List,” and the RoughRiders were a fixture on the list. Three current ‘Riders are in the top 34. Frisco is the only minor league team that can boast that.

At number six in the rankings is left-hander Martin Perez, who entered the rankings this season at 24. Perez was named to both the Texas League All-Star Game and the XM Futures Game, and he sits 4-2 with a 3.16 earned run average. Perez is second in the TL in strikeouts (83), third in ERA and sixth in WHIP (1.31).

Outfielder Leonys Martin checks in at 25th on the list. Martin, who joined the RoughRiders May 12, is hitting .339 in 28 games. If he were qualified in the league rankings (he is not because of a shortage of necessary at bats), Martin would be fifth in the Texas League since May 12.

Finally, southpaw Robbie Erlin is 34th. Erlin, who was promoted from High-A Myrtle Beach in late May, is 5-0 with a 4.10 in seven career Double-A appearances. Erlin is third among Texas League hurlers since May 29 with 44 strikeouts.

Rangers shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar is 12th, and he is the only non-RoughRider from Texas’ farm system who appears on this list. Profar is currently with Low-A Hickory, and he will join Perez on the World Team in the Futures Game this Sunday.

To read the entire list, click here.

- Brian

RoughRiders Potpourri

Yesterday, the ‘Riders Insider Blog took a rare day off. We’re back at it today with a few odds and ends, spanning everywhere from Martin Perez to whiffle ball. Here are a few wide-ranging Frisco Facts for this Thursday, the beginning of a six-game road trip to Springfield and Arkansas.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • We’ve been asked a few times, so I figured I would touch on it first here. Frisco starter Martin Perez is not scheduled to pitch again for the RoughRiders before the XM Futures Game this Sunday. His turn in the rotation would be Saturday, but Perez will skip that start in order to perform for the World Team in the event at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • As for who that starter will be, we don’t know yet. It is the very familiar talent, “TBA.” However, two good guesses would be former members of the rotation–Richard Bleier and Jake Brigham. Both have excelled at certain points as starters here in 2011.
  • Tough news out of Arlington over the last day or so. Brandon Webb is likely done for the season, that according to multiple outlets. Webb made four starts for the ‘Riders and went 0-2 with a 9.75 earned run average in 12 innings.
  • I don’t know about all of you, but I really feel for the former Cy Young Award winner. He clearly didn’t have the stuff he did when he was consistently posting 200-inning seasons with the Diamondbacks. However, he worked very hard to return to the big leagues, and he couldn’t have been a nicer person during his time with Frisco. Whether it is with the Rangers or someone else, I sincerely hope we see Webb pitch again somewhere.
  • Be sure to check out the Reebok 2011 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game this Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Larry O’Brien trophy will be there, as will many celebrities. David Archuleta, Aaron’s favorite singer, will be on hand to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. Here are the details for the event, which begins at 3 p.m. and will run until well after the sun goes down.
  • I had a chance to go to the Rangers-Orioles game last night. It was my first full game in Arlington, and I really enjoyed the park. Everyone was very friendly, except for one fan screaming “Good Job Pie” at poor O’s left fielder Felix Pie (although it was all in good fun–I enjoyed it at least). I loved the area in center field where kids can play some whiffle ball and hit home runs off a tee. It took me back to my little league “glory” days, and I wanted to join in the fun (I didn’t, by the way).
  • The second version of the “RoughRiders Roundtable” podcast will be out in the next 24 hours or so. We had great results and feedback from the first one, so check it out. You can access that podcast here when it is available. Joining me will be Aaron and Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com. The topics include Topps Texas League Player of the Month Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci, Renny Osuna, all-you-can-eat buffets and so much more.

The ‘Riders and Cardinals open up a three-game series tonight at Hammons Field. Join us on the pre-game coverage along the RBN at 6:37. Enjoy!

- Brian

RoughRiders 4th of July History

Independence Day is a day rich in history, so why not delve into the history of the RoughRiders franchise on July 4. Here’s a look back at the ‘Riders’ efforts on this day.

2003–Frisco 5, Tulsa 1: The first Fourth of July in franchise history produced the highest attendance at Dr Pepper Ballpark (11,836). C.J Wilson went six and a third innings for the win to improve to 4-6 on the ’03 season. By the way, thanks to the Director of the RoughRiders Statistical Research Department–Michael Damman–for helping on this information. As always, you can check out his work here.

2004–Frisco 7, Round Rock 1: The ‘Riders cruised in their second Fourth of July game against the team that Frisco would beat in mid-September for its first ever Texas League championship. Kameron Loe went eight dominant innings for the ‘Riders, and both Mike Curry and Tydus Meadows homered.

2005–San Antonio 2, Frisco 1: Current big leaguer John Danks went seven innings and struck out ten Missions, but a pair of solo homers doomed him on that Independence Day. It was the RoughRiders’ first road game on the Fourth of July. Frisco’s nine-hole hitter, Cameron Coughlan, went 3-for-3 with a solo homer.

2006–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: The ‘Riders got some revenge on the Missions in ’06 at Dr Pepper Ballpark, using a homer and three RBIs from Nate Gold to defeat San Antonio by one.

2007–Frisco 1, Arkansas 0 and Frisco 3, Arkansas 0: The ‘Riders played a de-facto double header. In the completion of a suspended game from a few days ago, the ‘Riders won in the tenth on a solo shot by Kevin Richardson, the game’s only run. In the nightcap, Armando Galarraga (yes, that Armando Galarraga) tossed a one-hit shutout to clinch a sweep for the ‘Riders.

2008–Frisco 8, Springfield 1: The ‘Riders scored three in the second and five in the third and cruised from there en route to the club’s third straight victory on Independence Day, all of which took place in North Texas. Frisco starter Michael Ballard worked into the ninth inning for the victory.

2009–Frisco 18, Springfield 4: Playing in just the team’s second road game on the Fourth of July, Frisco scored in six different innings, and the duo of Chad Tracy and John Whittleman combined for 13 RBIs. The ‘Riders did not score this many runs again until June 3 of this season, when the club spanked Northwest Arkansas by the same score.

2010–Frisco 8, Springfield 7: An eighth-inning tally pushed the RoughRiders ahead for good and extended the club’s winning streak on this date to six. Current ‘Rider Engel Beltre hit a home run into the ‘Riders Pool Zone and drove in four runs. Martin Perez tossed five and a third innings, and Cody Eppley earned his eighth save of the season.

So, the RoughRiders are 8-1 all-time on the Fourth of July, and the team has outscored its opponents 56-20. In other words, America’s birthday has been kind to the ‘Riders historically.

Today, the ‘Riders aim to continue the trend against the Arkansas Travelers. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m., and pre-game coverage starts at 5:35 p.m.

- Brian

We Have You To Thank

It was quite a month for the RoughRiders. The ‘Riders went 18-10, finished second in the Texas League in the first half, and sent nine men to the Texas League All-Star Game.

Also, the guys here at the ‘Riders Insider Blog also enjoyed quite a month. We had our best readership ever, and we have you to thank.

This blog is dedicated to all of you who come to our site on a day-to-day basis. We would love to hear ideas that you have for future posts. Please feel free to give us ideas in the comments section.

Today, here is a look back at the most popular posts from the month. Relive the fun from the month of June!

FRISCO FACTS (June blog edition):

Again, we would love to hear from you about posts you would like to see moving forward. Thanks again for reading, and we look forward to having you along for the broadcast tonight. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

All-Star Game Recap: Perez Earns Win

Frisco starter Martin Perez earned the victory in the South Division’s 3-2 victory over the North All-Stars Wednesday night in the 75th Texas League All-Star Game.

Perez tossed a 1-2-3 second inning. He retired the first two men he faced on ground outs to second. The Rangers’ top prospect finished the frame with a six-pitch strikeout of Anthony Seratelli.

Both Adalberto Flores and Justin Miller earned holds. Flores allowed a solo shot to Matt Adams in an otherwise solid sixth inning, and Miller set down a pair of North All-Stars in the top of the ninth.

Offensively, Mike Bianucci went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning single. Leonys Martin finished 0-for-3 as the South’s leadoff hitter. Tommy Mendonca walked and struck out.

Jose Felix, Renny Osuna and Jose Ruiz also appeared in the game.

The South scored once in the second and two more times in the third. The North tallied a run in both the sixth and seventh.

It’s a quick turnaround for the nine Frisco All-Stars, as the RoughRiders open a three-game series with the Springfield Cardinals Thursday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:05.

Martin, Bianucci, Osuna in Starting Lineup

Frisco outfielder Leonys Martin, who has not played with the RoughRiders since June 8, is the leadoff hitter for the South Division in tonight’s 2011 Texas League All-Star Game.

Joining Martin in the starting lineup are Mike Bianucci and Renny Osuna. Bianucci is the designated hitter, and he is hitting third. Osuna rounds out the South squad’s lineup and is playing at second base.

Catcher Jose Felix, third baseman Tommy Mendonca and first baseman Jose Ruiz are available on the South Division’s bench. Also, pitchers Adalberto Flores, Justin Miller and Martin Perez are in the South’s bullpen.

First pitch is set for 7:05. You can follow the game here.

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