Results tagged ‘ Mike Trout ’

My Texas League Postseason Ballot

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

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

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

Catcher: Wilin Rosario (Tulsa)

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

First Baseman: Matt Adams (Springfield)

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

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

Second Baseman: Jose Altuve (Corpus Christi)

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

Shortstop: Darwin Perez (Arkansas)

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

Third Baseman: James Darnell (San Antonio)

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

Outfielder: Mike Trout (Arkansas)

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

Outfielder: Jermaine Mitchell (Midland)

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

Outfielder: Tim Wheeler (Tulsa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Matt Shoemaker (Arkansas)

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

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

2. Garrett Richards (Arkansas)

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

3. Dallas Keuchel (Corpus Christi)

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

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

4. Joe Wieland (San Antonio)

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

5. Nick Vincent (San Antonio)

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

6. Brad Brach (San Antonio)

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

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

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

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Springfield’s Matt Adams

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

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

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker

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

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

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: San Antonio’s Doug Dascenzo

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

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

- Brian

RoughRiders vs. Big Leaguers

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

Corpus Christi (Astros):

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

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

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

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

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

San Antonio (Padres):

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

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

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

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

Arkansas (Angels):

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

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

Northwest Arkansas (Royals):

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

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

Springfield (Cardinals):

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

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

Tulsa (Rockies):

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

Midland (Athletics):

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

Texas League Power Rankings

Only 28 games remain for the RoughRiders and the other seven teams in the Texas League. San Antonio and Arkansas already have their ticket punched to the postseason, and almost every other club in the league has a chance to get into the TL’s final four.

The ‘Riders dropped a place in the standings last night, but could they hold strong in this month’s Power Rankings? Those are below, and here are the Power Rankings from May, June and July.

POWER RANKINGS:

1. San Antonio (76-36, 27-15; Past Rankings: 1, 1, 1)
The Missions have the best record in all of full-season minor league baseball, with the San Jose Giants of the California League (74-38) the only team less than five games away from San Antonio. Not only has San Antonio been great this season, but they added Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, who had been with Frisco until the Mike Adams deal at the deadline.
KEY STAT (+200): That’s the Missions’ run differential this season, which leads the minors and is 160 runs better than the second-best mark in the TL (Frisco at +40). Thanks to Mike Saeger, the Missions play-by-play broadcaster for this stat.

2. Frisco (61-51, 21-21; Past Rankings: 6, 2, 3)
The ‘Riders have fallen into a bit of a slump, and Midland has climbed above them in the standings. However, the RockHounds will need to leap over San Antonio in order to make the playoffs and, as a result, deny the RoughRiders of a spot in the playoffs. Midland has been better than the ‘Riders over the last two weeks, but Frisco was clearly better for the season’s first 100 games. Thus, the ‘Riders are here.
KEY STAT (9-2, 3.09): The combined record and earned run average of Erlin and Wieland while they were with the RoughRiders. Now, they are on the team that Frisco would play in the first round of the postseason.

3. Northwest Arkansas (57-52, 22-20; Past Rankings: 4, 3, 6)
The Naturals won the league last year, and they have had plenty of big-time prospects on the roster. Finally, Northwest Arkansas has gone on a bit of a run to assume first place in both the overall and the second half standings. Still, last-place Arkansas is three games back, so this race will go down to the wire.
KEY STAT (2): The Naturals are only two losses away from matching their total from all of last year. Northwest went 86-54 en route to a pair of division crowns and a Texas League championship.

4. Midland (49-63, 22-20; Past Rankings: 3, 7, 5)
Talk about a team that has bounced up and down this season. Right now, Midland is one of the hottest teams in the Texas League and they have jumped into second place in the South. The RockHounds have won eight of ten, including their first series victory over Frisco this season Tuesday through Thursday of last week.
KEY STAT (4): Only four games remain for the RockHounds against the first-place Missions, and those aren’t until August 30-September 2 in San Antonio. Midland must win the second-half championship to go to the playoffs, and they are currently five games back.

5. Arkansas (55-54, 19-23; Past Rankings: 7, 6, 2)
The Travelers stunned many and took the first half North Division title by one game over Northwest Arkansas. Right now, Arkansas is in a bit of a rut after going 6-0 to start half two. Since that point, Arkansas is 13-23, but they still have their postseason berth locked up.
KEY STAT (.348): Mike Trout’s average since returning to the Travs August 1. The Angels’ top prospect, who spent almost a month in the bigs, has hit safely in six of his seven games and has scored seven times since arriving back in North Little Rock.

6. Springfield (52-59, 20-21; Past Rankings: 5, 4, 7)
The Cardinals have been hot lately, which pushes them ahead of Tulsa and Corpus Christi. Springfield has gotten great pitching out of top prospect Shelby Miller, and the squad is right there in second in the second half North standings, just one-and-a-half games back of the Naturals.
KEY STAT (8-2): The Cardinals’ record over the last ten games, which has propelled Springfield from last place in the North to second.

7. Tulsa (52-59, 19-22; Past Rankings: 2, 5, 4)
This is the lowest ranking for the Drillers this season, and it comes with the club still very much alive in the second half. Surprisingly, the Drillers have struggled at home this season. They have the worst home record in the TL at 24-30, including an 8-12 mark in the second half.
KEY STAT (20): The number of games that will remain when Drew Pomeranz, the key cog in Colorado’s trade with Cleveland for Ubaldo Jimenez, is eligible to officially join the Rockies’ system. If he joins the Drillers, Pomeranz would be able to make no more than four starts before the regular season ends.

8. Corpus Christi (42-70, 17-25; Past Rankings: 8, 8, 8)
I’ve tried to move these poor Hooks up in the rankings, but I just can’t do it. Corpus Christi’s roster is depleted now because many key pieces have moved up to Triple-A Oklahoma City or Houston.
KEY STAT (23%): The percentage of the Astros’ current position players that were with the Hooks a month ago. Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes are the Hooks-turned-Astros.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

- Brian

Martin Back In Lineup, More Notes

For the first time since June 8, outfielder Leonys Martin is in the RoughRiders starting lineup. Martin is leading off and playing in center field.

Martin has missed 19 games with a herniated disc in his back. He did play in four games with the Rangers’ Arizona League team in Surprise. In those four contests, he hit .267 (4-for-15) with two runs and one RBI.

Before getting injured, Martin was hitting .357 with the RoughRiders in 22 games. He had three home runs and 18 RBIs. Martin’s OPS sat at a ridiculous 1.028.

Here are a few other notes before the ‘Riders and Cardinals take the field tonight.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders have shuffled around the rotation a little bit to begin the post-All-Star break slate. Ben Snyder will start tonight, and Carlos Pimentel and Joe Wieland will round out the rotation in this three-game series against Springfield.
  • Behind that trio, Martin Perez will pitch Sunday against Arkansas, and Robbie Erlin will go Monday. For Perez, it will be his first start with the ‘Riders since June 22 (11 days). He did pitch in the All-Star Game last night.
  • Springfield has the services of St. Louis’ top prospect–right-hander Shelby Miller. Miller is 3-1 with a 1.69 earned run average in five Double-A starts. He is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night against the ‘Riders.
  • The Texas League has been blessed with top prospects in 2011. Currently, five of the eight teams have their respective organization’s top prospect. Along with Miller, Grant Green (Midland, Athletics), Casey Kelly (San Antonio, Padres), Martin Perez (Frisco, Rangers), and Mike Trout (Arkansas, Angels) are in the TL.
  • The ‘Riders and Cardinals have split their first six games this season. Frisco took two of three from Springfield at Dr Pepper Ballpark in the first series of the season April 7-9.

We’re back on the air with you beginning at 6:35 p.m. Listen live on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Early Starts Mean Late Endings

The RoughRiders lead the league in extra inning games this season. Frisco has played bonus baseball in 12 games. Considering today is the final game of the first half, the ‘Riders are on pace to play almost a month’s worth of extra inning games by the end of the season.

The main culprit for the frequency of bonus baseball? Day games. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but there is a trend.

Here are the eight games that began at noon or earlier. Notice the extra baseball.

  • April 12: Arkansas 9, Frisco 4: No extra innings here. In fact, this one was tied for the most lopsided early game of the year. Mike Trout, the Angels number one prospect, hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam that hit his head shot on Rider Vision. I promise, it gets better from here.
  • April 18: Arkansas 4, Frisco 3 (15 innings): This one was a marathon. To this point in the season, it is the longest game in terms of time (4:26). It looked like the game would end in 13 frames when Robbie Diaz blooped in the go-ahead run in the top half. However, Trout was at it again, as he homered to lead off the bottom of the inning. That loss sent Frisco to 4-7 on the year.
  • April 26: San Antonio 6, Frisco 5: It wasn’t an extra-inning game, but it was crazy. Quick version: San Antonio scored three in the eighth on a Cody Decker homer to take a two-run lead. Then, Mike Bianucci hit a ball to the wall that was originally ruled a three-run bomb. It was overturned to an RBI double. The game took almost three hours, and it was the ultimate seesaw battle.
  • May 10: Frisco 4, Midland 3 (11 innings): The ‘Riders took a 3-0 lead into the eighth inning, when the ‘Hounds scored three times. Tommy Mendonca hit a go-ahead solo shot in the 11th to win it for the RoughRiders. The victory clinched a series win at Citibank Ballpark.
  • May 17: Frisco 1, Midland 0: It looked destined for extras. Two down, nobody on, tied game, bottom 9. Then, Jose Ruiz crushed a home run down the right field line to prevent the trend from continuing. The ‘Riders swept Midland in that four-game set.
  • May 23: Frisco 6, San Antonio 4 (10 innings): Frisco dominated this game until the ninth inning, when the Missions scored four runs to tie the game at 4 apiece. The ‘Riders regained all the momentum in the top of the tenth on a Davis Stoneburner home run and salvaged the finale in that four-game series at the Wolff.
  • May 26: Frisco 3, Northwest Arkansas 0: Along with the first early game, this one was the other “outlier.” Martin Perez tossed seven scoreless innings, and the game ended in a quick 2:14. The ‘Riders scored runs in three different innings.
  • June 6: Frisco 9, Tulsa 4: The ‘Riders and Drillers were locked in a good one until the top of the ninth, when Frisco scored four times. Jose Ruiz’s three-run bomb was the big blow in that frame. The victory completed a perfect 6-0 road trip to Northwest Arkansas and Tulsa.

Overall, the ‘Riders are 5-3 in these games, and those five wins came after three losses in April.

The run differential in those games: +5.

Average innings played: 10.1.

Likelihood of today’s game going down to the wire: very good.

Pre-game coverage begins at 10:35. First pitch is shortly after 11. Enjoy!

- Brian

Texas League Rankings

As I mentioned earlier this week, the Texas League lasts almost exactly
five months. Since the season began on April 7th, I’ll go through my
unofficial rankings after a few Facts after last night’s game.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The story of the game was Frisco starter Jake Brigham. Perfect
    through six and a third innings, Brigham allowed a one-out single to
    Jaff Decker that immediately preceded an RBI double from Kyle Blanks.
    After throwing only 69 pitches in the first six innings, Brigham
    couldn’t get through the seventh after 23 pitches, three runs and four
    hits.
  • Still, Brigham’s efforts should be applauded. For six innings,
    Brigham pitched as good, if not better, than any pitcher in the Texas
    League. Here’s a feature from the TL on Brigham’s outing
  • Offensively, the RoughRiders never got it going last night. The
    ‘Riders set a season low with only three base hits, and San Antonio’s
    pitching staff only faced three more than the minimum.
  • The bullpen continued its good work, working two and a third
    scoreless innings. The most notable effort was Fabio Castillo’s, who got
    out of a bases loaded situation in the eighth and tossed a scoreless
    ninth. Castillo’s ERA still sits at 12.79, but he has only worked six
    and a third frames. Believe it or not, Castillo has only given up runs
    in two of his five outings.

OK. Without further ado, here are the rankings.

1. San Antonio (18-10): The Missions almost lost their top spot
by dropping three of four to Frisco earlier this week, but San Antonio
was the class of the league through the first month. After starting the
season 1-3, the Missions ripped off 12 of 15 to seize first place in the
South.
HIGH POINT (April 23): The Missions crushed Midland 21-8 for their third
offensive output of 20 or more runs. It was the second of seven
victories over Midland in the season’s first month.
LOW POINT (May 5): San Antonio dropped its third straight to the
RoughRiders in Frisco. Coming into the series, the Missions had only
seven losses.
KEY STAT (.300): San Antonio’s batting average through 28 games, a Texas League high.

2. Tulsa (16-10): Before losing last night, the Drillers had
actually caught San Antonio for the TL’s best record. Tulsa limped
through the season’s first two weeks (6-7) before winning 10 of 13 to
seize a strong hold on the top spot in the North.
HIGH POINT (May 5): The Drillers won their fifth straight, 4-2 at
Springfield. After play that day, the Drillers had the best record in
the TL (16-9).
LOW POINT (April 11): At the time, no one knew about the vaunted San Antonio offense. Then, the Missions spanked Tulsa 23-10.
KEY STAT (1.88): Juan Nicasio’s earned run average over five starts. The
defending Texas League Pitcher of the Week, Nicasio is 4-1 with 40
strikeouts and only four walks.

3. Midland (14-14): Beyond the top two, the Texas League is a
mess. You could rank teams three through eight in any order, and no one
could accuse you of being totally wrong. I give this spot to the
RockHounds, though, because they are 13-7 against teams not named San
Antonio. Midland was the best team in the league during the first few
weeks.
HIGH POINT (April 26): Down by three to Corpus Christi in the ninth, the
RockHounds tied it with a pair of homers. In the tenth, Matt Sulentic’s
walk-off home run pushed Midland’s record to 12-7.
LOW POINT (May 2): The Missions swept Midland, capping it off with a
17-6 win. The RockHounds are 1-7 against San Antonio this year.
KEY STAT (77): The number of runs the RockHounds have allowed against
San Antonio. Against everyone else, Midland has surrendered only 101 in
20 games.

4. Northwest Arkansas (12-12): Even though I have the Naturals in
the top half of the league, they may be the coldest team right now.
However, the talent level remains high and Northwest got off to a great
start to earn this spot.
HIGH POINT (April 12): After four straight one-run wins, the Naturals
clubbed Corpus Christi 14-4 to start 5-1, which was best in the TL.
LOW POINT (April 15): San Antonio crushed Northwest Arkansas 26-5, which
started a rough run for the Naturals. Since April 14, Northwest is just
7-11.
KEY STAT (.282): That’s Jamie Romak’s batting average, which happens to
be the highest personal batting average of any Natural regular.

5. Springfield (12-15): Give the Cardinals some credit. In a
league that features four organizational number one prospects,
Springfield is hanging around without anyone from St. Louis’ top 20.
They certainly closed this period strongly, taking three of four from
Northwest Arkansas.
HIGH POINT (May 5): A 5-2 victory over the Naturals gave Springfield its first three-game winning streak this season.
LOW POINT (April 8): After dropping the opener, Springfield had a 6-2
lead over Frisco in the seventh. However, the ‘Riders sent the game to
extra innings and won on a throwing error in the tenth.
KEY STAT (.248): The team’s batting average, which is last in the league.

6. Frisco (12-16): Four days ago, the RoughRiders were a shoe-in
to finish last in these rankings. But, the ‘Riders took three of four
over San Antonio to jump back into the race for second place in the
South. Despite the poor record, the RoughRiders are third in the league
in hitting and fifth in ERA.
HIGH POINT (May 4): In game two of that series with the Missions, Frisco
walked off with a 3-2 victory after a Mike Bianucci sacrifice fly in
the tenth. So far this year, the ‘Riders are 4-4 against the Missions.
LOW POINT (April 26): Bianucci’s home run was overturned to a double,
Frisco went from up one to down one, and a post-game altercation cost
the RoughRiders their center fielder for ten days. It was a rough day in
San Antonio, that’s for sure.
KEY STAT (30): The number of runs the Missions have scored against the
‘Riders in eight games. In its other 20 games, San Antonio has scored
168.

7. Arkansas (10-13): The Travelers have been plagued by terrible
weather and spotty play. However, a positive sign is that the club is
10-9 after an 0-4 start. And hey, they get to watch Mike Trout,
baseball’s best prospect according to many experts.
HIGH POINT (April 18): The Travelers defeated Frisco 4-3 for their
fourth straight victory. The Travelers had recovered from that 0-4 start
to sit at 6-5.
LOW POINT (April 26): It was the Travs’ fourth straight postponement.
Arkansas has only played 23 games, which is five fewer than most teams
in the league.
KEY STAT (.310): Trout’s batting average through 23 games, which is second to Orlando Mercado on the club.

8. Corpus Christi (12-16): Houston’s farm system is down, and the
Hooks are currently tied with the RoughRiders for the league’s worst
record. Plus, Houston’s minor leaguer of the year, J.D. Martinez,
injured himself two nights ago. No word on his condition, but that’s
never good.
HIGH POINT (May 4): Corpus’ only three-game winning streak happened on this night, a 4-2 victory over the RockHounds.
LOW POINT (April 12): Believe it or not, the Hooks have only had one
three-game losing streak. The final loss came on this night at Northwest
Arkansas. At the time, the Hooks were 1-5.
KEY STAT (30): Martinez’s RBI total, which is second in the Texas League.

Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to shoot them our way. We kick off coverage tonight at 6:30 from Midland on the RBN. Enjoy!

- Brian

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

It’s a baseball Sunday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, with Arkansas invading Frisco for game one of a three-game set. However, today is also the final day of the Masters, my personal favorite golf tournament of the season.

Rory McIlroy leads by four strokes going into today’s final round. But I have to give it up for the man who started in “last” place. Kyung-tae Kim entered the final round at 7-over. Think about that. He is barely two strokes above even par per round, and he is LAST.

Tough crowd. Tough tournament.

Today, the ‘Riders entertain the “last” place team in the Texas League. But they have a prospect who is first in all of minor league baseball according to many.

We talk Mike Trout and many other things in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The offensive story last night for the RoughRiders was the continued production from the heart of the order. Mike Bianucci doubled in a run in the fifth inning. The Frisco DH went 5-for-11 (.455) with three homers and five RBIs in the season-opening three-game series.
  • The big bop, however, came off the bat of third baseman Tommy Mendonca. One night after going to the opposite field for a two-run blast, Mendonca crushed one to the deepest part of the park–dead center. It hit off the batters eye beyond the wall. Aaron mentioned off the air yesterday that it was the furthest home run to center field he has seen. And he is in the top 8 in vision of all Texas League broadcasters.
  • The left-handed Mendonca has now hit three home runs in a Frisco uniform. The one that didn’t count came in Tuesday night’s exhibition, when he pulled one down the right field line. His two in the regular season have gone to left and to center.
  • In all, ten home runs were hit in the series, with six coming off Frisco bats. Nine of the 16 ‘Riders’ run came from the long ball. You think that’s a lot? Wait until I mention the Round Rock Express in a little bit. Wow.
  • Friday night, the RoughRiders bullpen retired 14 straight to give the bats a chance to rally. Yesterday, it was Springfield’s ‘pen that stole the show. The Cardinals’ threesome of Cory Rauschenberger, Brett Zawacki and Casey Mulligan set down the final 10 ‘Riders. In fact, the bullpen didn’t allow a hit.
  • Frisco starter Jake Brigham rebounded pretty nicely from a rough exhibition showing to toss five innings yesterday. The righty threw 84 pitches, a season-high for ‘Riders pitchers (Wilfredo Boscan and Martin Perez were both in the 70s). Brigham whiffed seven Cardinals, and he consistently hit in the mid-90s on a traditionally pretty accurate Dr Pepper Ballpark radar gun. He peaked at 97 mph on a few occasions.
  • Today, it’s Miguel De Los Santos’ turn in the rotation. The 10th best prospect in the Rangers farm system per Baseball America, De Los Santos skipped the high-A level to begin this season in Frisco. Against the best competition he had ever faced, the southpaw gave up just one run in three innings at Round Rock in Tuesday’s exhibition. He had to work in that outing (3 H, 2 BB, 5 LOB), but he minimized damage well.
  • Statistically, what makes De Los Santos so impressive is his strikeout rate. Last year in short-season Spokane and low-A Hickory, he rung up 112 batters in 70.1 innings. That’s 1.60 Ks per inning and 14.38 Ks per nine innings. 
  • It is impossible to preview this game and this series without mentioning Arkansas outfielder Mike Trout. Trout is the top-ranked prospect by MLB.com and ESPN.com in all of minor league baseball. Baseball America has the 19-year-old at number two, behind only Washington’s Bryce Harper. After an 0-for-6 start to his Double-A career, Trout broke out in last night’s loss to Midland. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a homer. But that home run was of the inside-the-park variety.
  • Trout is a career .340 hitter in his 178-game minor league career. He has 12 home runs (two inside-the-parkers), 85 RBIs and 70 stolen bases. And get this–he has scored 138 times! In other words, he scores in 77.5% of his games.
  • Finally, how about the Round Rock Express. The Express has hit 11 home runs in the first three games of the season, including six last night in the club’s 13-9 triumph over Iowa. Former RoughRider Chris Davis has four of those bombs, including three last night. Between the Cubs and the Express, 53 runs have been scored in the set. The series finale begins at 1 p.m.

Here in Frisco, the ‘Riders and the Travs get underway at 4:05. Pre-game is at 3:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

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