Results tagged ‘ Mitch Moreland ’
Scott Servais, the Rangers’ Senior Director of Player Development, was in Tulsa for the last two days to check in the RoughRiders players and staff – something that happens a handful of times per season. Scott oversees the on-field development of all players in the Rangers’ Minor League system. It’s a big job, and Scott was gracious enough to sit down with me in the ‘Riders dugout at ONEOK Field to chat about his job, the RoughRiders, and the minor leagues.
Me (AG): What all does your job entail?
Scott Servais (SS): I’m in charge of everything going on in the Rangers’ minor leagues. It all starts with our scouts. They bring the talent to us, and then it’s up to us to groom the talent and put them in the right spots.
AG: With so many players between rookie ball and Triple-A, is it ever hard remembering who is where?
SS: No, it’s pretty much ingrained. It’s a part of my life every morning waking up and knowing who is where. It’s a full-time gig. Fortunately, I have a great staff. They do a tremendous job not only teaching the game the “Ranger way,” but also communicating with our players and myself.
AG: What exactly is the “Ranger way?”
SS: I think there are a lot of ways to put that. I think we have a certain style of player, and a certain style of play. It’s played out in the big leagues by some of the younger players who have come up through our system. Obviously Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland, and Craig Gentry. Even Nelson Cruz spent some time with us in the minors before figuring it out.
And then there’s the pitching. Guys like Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland are products of our system and guys that we’re very proud of. They understand what it is we feel is important and they have the discipline to carry it out and get better at the big league level.
AG: Former ‘Rider Matt Lawson told me earlier this year following his retirement from baseball that he felt like you really took the time to get to know him when he was playing in the Rangers’ system. How important are those relationships?
SS: It’s everything. I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak. I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background. I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.
The game is a little different now than it was 20 years ago. Then, when a coach said something, you just did it. Now days, you have to be expected to explain “why.” Hopefully when you have a background with the players, they’ll trust you, and that’s what it’s about. They have to trust. There’s never been one player that has made it to the big leagues on his own.
My thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer some questions. It was clear that he wasn’t just rattling of a company line. I can tell he really does believe in the things that he was talking about.
This is now my second season in the Rangers’ system and I continue to be impressed with the overall quality of people that are in the mix – both on and off the field. I’m sure there are things that could be better, like everywhere, but from everyone I’ve talked with, Texas is going about things the right way.
The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.
Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!
Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.
Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.
Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.
Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).
Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.
Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.
Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.
Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.
Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.
Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.
Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.
Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).
Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.
Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.
Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.
Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.
Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.
Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.
Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.
C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.