Results tagged ‘ Minor League ’

Wind of change: Texas League roster turnover

During a Minor League baseball season, there is a whirlwind of player movement in every farm system. Players are shuffled around to different levels nearly every day.

Matt Bush, who began the 2016 season with Frisco, is currently on the Texas Rangers roster.

However, this season, the RoughRiders have maintained a majority of core players from the Opening Day roster. 17 players, to be exact. Matt Bush and Jose Leclerc reached the Majors, with Bush currently remaining on the Rangers 25-man roster. Several others have played for the Triple-A squad this year, with four still remaining in Round Rock. One player is currently with High Desert, and two are no longer in the Rangers organization.

The curiosity bug stung me, and I was interested to find out how Frisco’s totals compared to the other seven teams in the Texas League. After going back into the archives and digging up every team’s Opening Day roster (including players on the disabled list, temporary inactive list, and suspended list), it was much easier to see the breakdown.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.33.09 AM

To fully understand this color-coded mess, note the key at the bottom left of the spreadsheet. Players highlighted in red are currently in the Majors, orange for Triple-A, clear for Double-A, and green for a lower level (Class-A or Class A-Advanced). A yellow highlight indicates a player who is no longer with the Texas League team’s parent club (either released or currently in a different organization). Blue font is a special marker for Evan Gattis, who opened the season on a Major League rehabilitation assignment with Corpus Christi.

Breakdown

With the data collected, it turned out the RoughRiders do indeed have the largest number of players from Opening Day (17 of 25) still on their active Texas League roster as of yesterday.

San Antonio had the biggest turnover, with just 12 players remaining from their 25-man Opening Day roster. Seven of those original 25 are no longer in the San Diego Padres organization, which is also a league-high.

In addition to Bush, three other players who opened the campaign in the Texas League are on a Major League roster at the moment. Pitcher Daniel Mengden and infielder Ryon Healy went from Midland to Oakland. Pitcher Cesar Vargas, who started the year in San Antonio, is now with the Padres (although currently on the disabled list).

Northwest Arkansas’ Opening Day roster was quite unique. The Naturals top the other seven clubs with a whopping 10 players currently at Triple-A Omaha. In addition, all 27 players from their April 7 roster are still in the Royals organization. They are the only team in the league who has not had an Opening Day player released or traded yet.

In addition to the Riders holding on to 17 of their initial 25 players, Frisco is tied with Tulsa for the fewest players (four) on an active Triple-A roster. The Drillers had the largest Opening Day roster with 28 total (25 + three on the disabled list).

However, five of them are now playing in a lower level of the Dodgers’ farm system. Comparatively, there are only three other players who started the year in the Texas League, stayed in the farm system, but are playing below the Double-A level (Frisco, Corpus Christi, and Northwest Arkansas each have one).

There is still a month and a half remaining in the season, so I am sure we will continue to see plenty more roster turnover as the weeks move along.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: get-small-quick ball – A home run, so named because of the way the ball appears to get smaller and smaller as it travels into the stands or out of the ballpark.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: July 22

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (55-41 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are just 1-5 since the All-Star break, continuing their cold stretch. The team has won just four games in the month of July for a pitiful 4-12 record.

Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo were both recently placed on the disabled list, as the club’s injury woes continue as well. Texas wraps up its nine-game post-All-Star road trip with a three-game set in Kansas City. The Rangers are clinging to a 3 1/2 game lead over Houston in the American League West.

Tonight: at Kansas City Royals, 7:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Yu Darvish)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (49-50 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

7-20 Beck promotion

Preston Beck was promoted to Round Rock Wednesday and made his Triple-A debut last night.

The Express played last night’s game as the Round Rock FireAnts on “What Could Have Been Night”. The FireAnts marched their way to a 3-0 victory, extinguishing the Fresno Grizzlies at Dell Diamond. Preston Beck went 1-for-4 in his Triple-A debut.

Additionally, two members of the E-Train were recently recalled to the Majors. The Rangers called up infielder Hanser Alberto and outfielder Delino DeShields to fill the holes left by Fielder and Choo being placed on the disabled list.

Tonight: at Colorado Springs, 8:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (57-40 overall, 14-13 second half – T-3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have already clinched a playoff spot with their first-half division title. They current have the best overall record in the circuit at 57-40.

Travis Demeritte continues to pace the circuit with 22 home runs. The total is six more than the two players tied for second behind him.

Former 2016 Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League hitters. The righty has a 3-1 record with a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief appearances, and he is 3-for-4 in save opportunities. Opposing batters have just a .208 average against Palmquist in the hitter-friendly league.

Tonight: at Lancaster, 8:35 p.m. (SP: TBA)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (52-45 overall, 14-13 second half – T-4th, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are on a hot streak right now with four straight victories.

In last night’s 7-3 victory over Delmarva, Hickory recorded a season-high 16 hits against the Shorebirds. Rangers No. 3 prospect Dillon Tate earned his third win of the season, tying his season-high with a six-inning start.

Tonight: at Delmarva, 6:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Erik Swanson)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (17-17, – 4th, Northwest League North Division)

Spokane has climbed the standings quickly with seven wins in their last 10 games. The Indians are now in a tie for first place with Tri-City, as the first half of the season comes to a close.

Spokane recently celebrated “Future Texas Rangers Night” this past Wednesday. Indians players wore special edition Rangers jerseys that were auctioned off during the game. Many future Rangers (and RoughRiders) may emerge from this young group!

Tonight: at Boise, 8:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Kaleb Fontenot)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Nintendo slider – A pitch that breaks unexpectedly over the plate, as if remotely controlled.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

From Honolulu to Frisco, Kiner-Falefa’s journey

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is one of Frisco’s brightest stars. He was one of seven Riders named a Mid-Season All-Star in the Texas league and provides the club with great flexibility, playing at least 15 games at four different positions this season. Yet, where he came from is what makes him so unique.

The 21-year-old was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, joining Scott Feldman as the only Hawaiian-born player in the history of the Riders. He was originally drafted out of Mid Pacific Institute High School at 18 and spent the first three years of his career climbing the minor league ranks before cracking Frisco’s opening day roster this season. That’s come with a lot of challenges, but he said he’s feeling comfortable three months into his first Double-A season.

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“Coming up in the AZL, every year you progress and get better at your routine, what you do on a daily basis,” Kiner-Falefa said. “Once you get to Double-A, you have an idea, so this year’s been a lot easier for me compared to when I was drafted.”

On his way up, Kiner-Falefa’s met many other fellow Hawaiians, especially during the off months prior to the start of this season. He worked out with Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals and Shane Victorino of the Los Angeles Angels, also known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” He even has the same agent as Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, who he met in person for the first time last winter. He said being able to pick their brains and build relationships with them has been a great help in his maturity as a player, but still holds his family closest to his heart.

Kiner-Falefa has two siblings, and one of them will be close by very soon. Lekaleka, Isiah’s younger sister, just committed to the University of North Texas to play volleyball, meaning the two will be just a 45-minute drive away from each other – purely by coincidence.

Isiah also has an older brother who he’s been very competitive with his entire life. He was a tri-sport athlete growing up and even got into Motocross and BMX before committing fully to baseball as a high school sophomore. With all things considered, he attributes his love to compete to his family’s culture.

“Me and my brother, we would play football in my backyard all the time,” Isiah said. “That helped us a lot with our athletic ability, just always being on the streets playing baseball, throwing a football around.”

He said he misses Hawaii dearly, but has enjoyed Frisco much more than he expected. His extended family came out to visit in June while he was still recovering from a knee infection and weren’t able to see him play, but they have plans to come back in August to see what both he and Lekaleka can accomplish in Texas.

“Them being around cheering and all their support – anybody growing up having their family behind them is huge,” Isiah said. “That’s pretty much what they did for me, and it’s helped me a lot.”

– Alex

Baseball term of the day: five-o’clock lightning  – The scoring of runs late in the game. The term was used when baseball was played exclusively during the day, with most games beginning around three o’clock.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Baseball Fireworks…Gone Wrong

The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks, and pyrotechnics also play a role in baseball games.

When the home team hits a home run or wins a game, fireworks will light up the sky at many ballparks. But in the rare cases when these fireworks are mistimed, it brings forward hilarious, distracting, and embarrassing moments.

The RoughRiders are on the road today, but that is no excuse for missing out on a dose of Fourth of July fireworks. In honor of the holiday, here are five of the funniest baseball firework mishaps:

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: flyhawk – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Get to know Riders pitcher Ryan Ledbetter

Ryan Ledbetter is one of the newest members of the RoughRiders. The right-handed pitcher has a twin brother David who plays in the Rangers farm system as well, currently with the High Desert Mavericks.

We caught up with Ryan during the last homestand to chat with him about the transition to playing Double-A baseball, as well as the experience he has had being in the same organization as his brother.

Steve Goldberg: First of all, welcome to Frisco.

Ryan Ledbetter: Thank you, Steve. Glad to be here. The jump from High Desert is incredible. I already love all the fans, and I don’t even know them yet.

SG: What was it like for you when you first took the mound with the Riders?

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RL: Definitely exhilarating. It’s exciting to be here and be able to play at a higher level, competing against guys that I’ve seen before and other guys that I haven’t. I’m just excited to be here and help this team out.

SG: Going from Class A-Advanced up to Double-A, there is a big difference between those two levels of baseball, right?

RL: Oh yeah. Even the coaches tell you this is a huge jump. And they’re throwing you into the fire by allowing you to come to Double-A. You should be trying to pitch at the same level no matter where you are, but there is a culture shock. It is very welcoming.

SG: For you and your brother David, how special is it to be playing in the same organization?

RL: It is just a gift from God to be able to play with him. Just having that support there and someone pushing you to not only be a better baseball player, but a better person. Having that bond with someone that close to you is just awesome.

SG: Is it a bit tough being apart from him now?

RL: Yeah. The same thing happened when we first got drafted. He went to Spokane and I stayed in the Arizona League. It’s not really that hard necessarily, it’s just different. I have to call him instead of see him in-person. I have to talk to him about the things that are most important instead of just talking with him all the time.

SG: Obviously you guys have that friendship and camaraderie. But is there a competitive aspect to your relationship as well?

RL: There is always competition between my brother and I. No matter who you are, if you have a brother, you are always thinking, ‘I am going to be better than him. I have to be better than him.’ I think that’s what’s so cool about being on a team with him. If he is doing something I should be doing, it’s like, ‘I have to do that now. I can’t let him be better than me.’ I think that’s really driven us to where we are today, playing professional baseball and going the extra mile to get better.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: avocado – An inviting pitch hit for a home run.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: July 1

Riding Through the Farm v3“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (51-29, 1st – AL West)

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees, the Rangers continue their road trip with a three-game set in Minnesota. Texas will head back to the Northeast to wrap up the trip next week in Boston.

The Rangers continue to hold the best record in the American League and are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the most wins in all of baseball. The Astros have surpassed the Mariners for second place in the division, but the Rangers still hold an 8 1/2 game advantage over Houston.

Tonight: at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (42-38, 2nd – PCL American Southern Division)

Round Rock picked up two wins yesterday, including a walk-off victory in the second game of the doubleheader against Iowa. The Express continue their season with the I-Cubs tonight, and the two teams will play another doubleheader Saturday before the finale of the series Sunday.

Saturday, the two teams will finish the remainder of a game suspended in April due to wet grounds. Then, they will play the originally scheduled game after the conclusion of the suspended game.

Tonight: vs. Iowa, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Richelson Pena)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (46-32 overall, 3-5 2nd half, 5th – California League South Division)

The Riders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate playing an Angels farm team this weekend. High Desert hosts Inland Empire in a four-game series that began with a Mavericks win yesterday.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Mavs, who were swept by Lancaster in a mid-week series. However, High Desert won the first-half championship and has already clinched a spot in the California League playoffs.

Tonight: vs. Inland Empire, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (41-37 overall, 3-5 2nd half, T-6th – South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory went sliding into the all-star break and the struggles have continued. The ‘Dads have lost five of their first eight games to begin the second half.

However, the Crawdads have won two of their last three games, including a 7-3 victory over Kannapolis last night. Hickory jumped out to a 7-0 with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and three more in the fifth.

Dylan Moore, who was relegated to first base early in the season, also played second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field during June.

Tonight: vs. Kannapolis, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (5-9, 4th – Northwest League North Division)

After starting the season 4-3, the Indians have lost six of their last seven games. The squad has slipped to the cellar in the Northwest League’s North Division.

The lone win came Wednesday against Everett. Former Rider Jake Shortslef made the start for Spokane and allowed just three hits in five shutout innings. He earned his first win of the 2016 season.

Tonight: at Vancouver, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Nick Green)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: coaster – A player in the Pacific Coast League.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Cordell named MVP of Tuesday’s All-Star Game

The RoughRiders are back in action tonight at Arkansas after a few days off for the All-Star break.

In Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Springfield, Cordell exploded for an incredible performance in front of the crowd of 7,832 at Hammons Field. The outfielder earned the game’s MVP award after going 3-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in.

Cordell currently leads the Texas League with 52 runs batted in, and he once again showed why he is one of the elite players in the circuit with his performance Tuesday night.

Let’s look back at two of the highlights:

The three-run homer came in the sixth inning, and it ultimately made the difference for the South Division in an 8-5 victory over the North Division.

“Games like this, you’re really relaxed and trying to get a good pitch to drive,” Cordell said. “Luckily, I was able to get a few of those and put some good swings on them.”

Cordell and the Riders return to action tonight, beginning a three-game road series against the Arkansas Travelers to wrap up the month of June. Listen to the game live at 7:10 p.m.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: drive from the hill – To force a pitcher from the game by getting base hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Top 10 first half highlights

10. Lewis Brinson’s leadoff home run (May 22 vs. San Antonio)

9. Preston Beck hits the first home run at home this season…into the Choctaw Lazy River (April 14 vs. Northwest Arkansas)

8. Joe Jackson and Kellin Deglan hit walk-off singles (April 26 vs. San Antonio and June 16 Game 1 vs. Corpus Christi)

7. Ryan Cordell hits two grand slams less than a week apart (April 16 vs. Northwest Arkansas and April 21 at Corpus Christi)

6. Ronald Guzman makes two incredible plays in the same game (April 27 vs. San Antonio)

5. Joe Mikulik ejections (May 13 Game 2 at Corpus Christi and May 24 at Tulsa)

4. Ryan Cordell miraculous catch (April 30 vs. Corpus Christi)

3. Victor Payano strikes out a career-high 13 batters (May 3 at San Antonio)

2. Yu Darvish makes a pair of rehab starts at Dr Pepper Ballpark (May 1 vs. Corpus Christi and May 22 vs. San Antonio)

1. Preston Beck hits a walk-off home run (June 14 vs. Midland)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: baseballese – The overall language of baseball, comprising official terminology, slang, and jargon. Each setting in baseball, from the dugout to the front office and press box, has its own specialized language.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Texas League teams and their respective farm systems

Every week on the Riders Insider Blog, we look at the Rangers farm system and provide updates on the other full-season affiliates in the organization. In today’s post, let’s widen our scope a little bit more as we are nearing the halfway point of the season.

Texas Rangers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Texas Rangers (45-25, 1st place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Round Rock Express (38-21, 2nd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Frisco RoughRiders (37-31, 2nd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks (43-27, 1st place California League South)
  • Class-A: Hickory Crawdads (38-32, T-3rd place South Atlantic League Northern)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Oakland Athletics Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Oakland Athletics (28-41, 5th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds (42-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Midland RockHounds (33-36, 3rd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Stockton Ports (27-43, 4th place California League North)
  • Class-A: Beloit Snappers (32-37, 6th place Midwest League Western)

San Diego Padres Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: San Diego Padres (29-42, 5th place National League West)
  • Triple-A: El Paso Chihuahuas (40-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: San Antonio Missions (22-47, 4th place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lake Elsinore Storm (32-38, 4th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Fort Wayne TinCaps (36-34, T-5th place Midwest League Eastern)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (31-38, 4th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Salt Lake Bees (33-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: Arkansas Travelers (31-38, 3rd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Inland Empire 66ers (23-47, 5th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Burlington Bees (32-38, 7th place Midwest League Western)

Kansas City Royals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Kansas City Royals (38-31, 2nd place American League Central)
  • Triple-A: Omaha Storm Chasers (30-38, 4th place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (29-40, 4th place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-42, 4th place California League Northern)
  • Class-A: Lexington Legends (25-44, 7th place South Atlantic League Southern)

St. Louis Cardinals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: St. Louis Cardinals (35-33, 2nd place National League Central)
  • Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (32-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Springfield Cardinals (40-29, 1st place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Palm Beach Cardinals (31-34, 4th place Florida State League South)
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs (40-30, 1st place Midwest League Western)

Los Angeles Dodgers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers (38-33, 2nd place National League West)
  • Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers (37-31, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Tulsa Drillers (37-31, 2nd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (42-28, 2nd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Great Lakes Loons (29-41, 7th place Midwest League Eastern)

Best of the best:

  • MLB: Texas Rangers
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: hustle bump – One of the marks and bruises on a player’s body.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

A look back at the greatest Riders first half

The first half of the season is coming to a close over the next few days. Although comparisons have been made between this year’s Riders team and the 2008 squad, the 2008 RoughRiders do not hold the best first-half record in team history.

In fact, the 2007 Frisco RoughRiders had a better first half of the season than the 2008 club that made the Texas League Championship series and finished the year 84-56.

While the ’07 Riders fell short of the championship series, being swept 3-0 by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs, they still accomplished a lot in a dominant first half.

Infielder German Duran was one of the star players on the RoughRiders in 2007.

Infielder German Duran was one of the star players on the RoughRiders in 2007.

The team went 47-23 in the first half of the season, winning the division by 4 1/2 games over Midland. Dave Anderson was named Manager of the Year. German Duran and Steve Murphy both won Player of the Week awards on May 28 and June 18, respectively. Doug Mathis won a Pitcher of the Week award on May 14.

The Riders also posted a league-best 44-26 record at home during the 2007 season. They also had a league-high 14 shutouts and had a stellar 22-9 (.710) mark in one-run games. Duran and Luis Mendoza were both named Texas League post-season All-Stars.

After a great start in April, this year’s team went through a slide in late May to slip out of first place in the division. However, the 2016 RoughRiders still have a great chance to etch their names into the record books with the second half beginning Tuesday.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: hubcap hands – Synonym of bad hands. So called because the ball bounces off the hands as if they were metal.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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