Results tagged ‘ Nathan Barnett ’

‘Riders Rewind with Nick Martinez

Nick Martinez was very impressive in his short stint with the 'Riders last season. (Photo credit to Grant Nelson)

Nick Martinez was very impressive in his short stint with the ‘Riders last season. (Photo credit to Grant Nelson)

Yesterday the RoughRiders’ 2014 Opening Day roster was announced and there was a little confusion around the inclusion of Nick Martinez.  The right-hander was listed on Frisco’s roster, but was also announced as the Rangers’ #5 starter to begin the season.  The schedule of Texas’ rotation plans haven’t been completely finalized at the moment, but I’m guessing there’s at least a chance that the Rangers could do the same thing with Martinez as they did with Nick Tepesch a year ago.  In 2013, because the Rangers didn’t need a fifth starter until the second time through the rotation, Tepesch made a start with Round Rock before joining the big league club.

With the early season off-days the Rangers have, they could wait until April 9 in Boston (game #9 of the season) before needing a fifth starter.  That could allow Martinez to make a start for Frisco and then join Texas for as long as the Rangers need him.  I haven’t heard that formally announced, but it would make some sense.

As for Martinez himself, he’s a bit off the radar compared to the other pitching prospects you’ve probably heard about (i.e., Luke Jackson, Chi Chi Gonzalez).  The former Fordham second baseman has become a polished pitching prospect who throws a 91-94 mph fastball, an excellent curveball, a changeup and a slider.  He works quickly and is very athletic (as you would expect from a former middle infielder).  He was stellar in his month with the RoughRiders last season, going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA (4 ER/32 IP).

Nathan Barnett, my broadcast partner from last season and the new Voice of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, interviewed Martinez last season and they talked a lot about his development as a pitcher.  It’s definitely worth a listen:

 

- Alex

‘Riders on the Record: Final Words

8666414788_cba9c38f56_h

‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

An extra long edition this week with a double-dose of the skipper and a season finale chat with Jeff Andrews is here! It’s been a pleasure posting these each week. Thank you for your support of the Insider Blog and ‘Riders on the Record this season. We hope you enjoyed getting to hear from everyone this season. Highlights for the final edition include Phil Klein on his position on a football field, Nick Tepesch on being named the Rangers’ fifth starter and Randy Henry on how he can improve upon his stellar season.

Happy Monday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


After a tumultuous weekend in which the bullpen has been severely taxed, the manager Steve Buechele assesses the state of the ‘pen and who could have been on the mound among the position players. He discusses why Luke Jackson was removed in the midst of a no-hitter and explains the quick success of Nick Martinez in Double-A. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, August 26, 2013 – Catcher Zach Zaneksi


The RoughRiders catcher Zach Zaneski comes on to talk about his offseason plans and the end of the RoughRiders season. With Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez in town, Zach tells us what kind of wisdom the future Hall-of-Famer has shared with the ‘Riders backstops. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – RHP Phil Klein


For the first time in his pro career, Phil Klein was the starting pitcher. He talks about keeping his routine consistent and how excited he was to get the nod. In preparation for our fantasy football post on the RoughRiders Insider Blog, I also asked Klein where he would play on a football team. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 – 1B/C Brett Nicholas


Brett Nicholas put together a career year in 2013. He was named to the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team and a member of the Arizona Fall League the previous day, and he talks about the significance of both in the larger picture of his career. Hovering around a .300 batting average, Brett weighs in on the importance of that number to him as well. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


Fresh off his walk-off grand slam, Ryan Rua reflects on the best moments of his career. He looks back at his breakout season and assess the progress that he has made this year as well as his adjustment to Double-A pitching. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 30, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Nick Tepesch


Rangers rehabber Nick Tepesch talks about his first ever rehab. He shares his story from Spring Training that ended in the nod as the Rangers #5 starter and the development of his slider that has helped him make the leap. He also explains how quick teams and players are to adjust at the big league level. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 31, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


RoughRiders reliever Randy Henry is putting the finishing touches on a spectacular season in his year at Double-A. Battling an elbow injury, Henry was one of the more dominant pitchers in the Texas League this season. He evaluates his year and pinpoints places for future improvement. (w/ Alex)

Sunday, September 1, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


For the final time, the ‘Riders skipper joins our own Alex Vispoli on the pregame show to discuss the end of the season. He gives his take on the significance of a .500 record and shares his plans for the offseason. (w/ Alex)

Monday, September 2, 2013 – Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews


On the final day of the season, Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews sits down to assess his pitching staff at season’s end. He talks about the development of Luke Jackson and Nick Martinez, including the significance of his Jackson’s unconventional mechanics and Martinez’s baseball smarts. A big league coach in 2008 with the Pirates, he explains the value of coaching in the majors and what he learned in his season in Pittsburgh.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sky piece - baseball cap

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Fantasy Football (RoughRiders Edition)

Football season is officially here.  We have had preseason NFL the  past few  weeks, but high school and college kick off this weekend.  The start of the 2013 football season got us at the RoughRiders talking about what positions the current ‘Riders would play on our fantasy football teams.  This idea was inspired by a post from last year where the media team asked former RoughRiders Ross Wolf, Jerad  Prince and Strength & Conditioning coach Eric McMahon to form their RoughRiders football team.

Crew_Deuce

This year, Alex and Nathan decided they would like to take a crack at it, so they both drew up their teams based on body build, strength, speed, athleticism, and everything else they know about the current ‘Riders squad.  Eric McMahon did so well last year that he too created a team for us.  It may not surprise you to know that all three teams are quite different, based on the type of squad the three participants chose to go with.

The chatter around the clubhouse has also revolved around this topic as the players discuss who they might pick.  Nick McBride, who left Frisco earlier this month, was the unanimous pick among the pitchers as the quarterback, however with Nick gone, there is more of a discussion as to who that QB would be.  In his August 27 pregame interview, Nathan discussed this topic with pitcher Phil Klein, who labeled the positions he thinks he could fill: Defensive end if he were able to put on more muscle, or tight end if he developed better hand skills.

Nathan Barnett’s Team

Nathan_1Luke Jackson at quarterback? He didn’t even play high school football!” remarked an anonymous RoughRiders player. Okay, sure: Luke  Jackson was not a high school football star–but he did play a bit.

But I like his moxy. The composure he has shown in his short time in Double-A which has helped him to limit batters to a 1-for-18 mark with runners in scoring position combined with mid-90s heat—those have to make for great raw materials at QB.

Convinced by Alex’s wise observations about Odor, I swapped him out to the safety spot (I originally had him listed as my RB).

I am a big believer in Randy Henry at the strong safety position. A former high school and JUCO shortstop, Henry has the athletic build and leadership skills I want in a guy in that spot.

Kyle McClellan seemed an obvious choice at center. The unnamed captain of the bullpen is the perfect man to anchor the middle of what should be the most cohesive group on your team—plus his veteran leadership will be great in the huddle.082713 Roster

A point of contention in our debate here in the office was the place of Kalian Sams, who I went with at the tight end position. A physical force, 6’4”, nearly 250 pounds with good speed and great body control, Sams is the perfect target and safety net for a team with a smaller receiving core (Strausborger, Teo Martinez, Reyes). I see Sams are Vernon Davis like, big powerful upper body that can block a bit and shrug off tacklers. He might not quite have the speed of Davis, but his wheels are deceptively impressive (10-for-10 stealing bases this year in the TL). I see him as a 80+ catch TE; you can’t replace that production if you put him elsewhere.with the young QB in Jackson.

My philosophy here was to fill out the offensive and defensive line with the bigger and more powerful guys on the team, since most of the players on the ‘Riders roster could probably handle the skill positions. I think I have done that. I am particularly fond of my placement of Nicholas at left tackle. A leader on this team, selfless and one of the first off the bench to protect his teammate Rougned Odor in the near benches-clearing scuffle against the Tulsa Drillers earlier this month, there is no one I would trust more to protect the blindside of the Rangers top right-handed pitching prospect in the pocket.

QB: Luke Jackson
Backup QB: Richard Bleier
RB: Joe Benson
Backup RB: Guilder Rodriguez

WR: Jimmy Reyes and Teodoro Martinez
Slot WR: Ryan Strausborger080413 team blog

TE: Kalian Sams and Jon Edwards

LT: Brett Nicholas
LG: Arlett Mavare

C: Kyle McClellan
G: Zach Zaneski
RT: Tomas Telis

DE: Ryan Rua
DT: Jerad Eickhoff
DE: Phil Klein

OLB: Lisalverto Bonilla
MLB: Nick Martinez
MLB: Brett Teschner
OLB: Francisco Mendoza

CB: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Luis Sardinas
FS: Rougned Odor
SS: Randy Henry

K: Tyler Tufts
P: Alex Claudio

Alex Vispoli’s Team

Alex_1This is probably my favorite blog post of the season because of the debates it inspires both in the office and in the clubhouse.  With the collection of talent with this group, I’m confident that my fake football team would take any other Texas League outfit straight to the woodshed.  My team runs a standard, pro-style offense that may not stretch the field too often, but should be able to score some points. There are some weak parts of the defense, but overall it is a solid unit that should make enough plays.

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Ryan Rua

I like the idea of Rua as a pocket passer. Though he may not accrue many yards with his legs, we’ve seen his strong arm at third base this season and I’m confident he can make all the throws. His quiet confidence will also help keep the team focused on those crucial drives.

Running back: Joe Benson

A no brainer. Benson was a star tailback in high school and would carry the load for my offense.

Joe  Benson

Joe Benson

Fullback: Tomas Telis

As a catcher, he knows how to block and he will be a bowling ball that the defense will try to get past to get to Benson. In short yardage situations, I like his size; he’s like a miniature Jerome Bettis.

Flanker wide receiver: Lisalverto Bonilla

His height and strength should make him a good red zone target, à la Plaxico Burress. 

Split end wide receiver: Teodoro Martinez

Teo has good speed, which should make him good on the outside.  A little undersized, but this is as good a spot as any for the Venezuelan.

Slot wide receiver: Ryan Strausborger

A natural spot for the blue-collared Straus, who won’t be afraid to make a tough catch over the middle. A Wes Welker-type for this team, he should keep the chains moving.

Wide receiver: Luis Sardiñas

In case we need to go with four wideouts, Sardiñas should provide great speed to stretch the defense, though he is a little raw.

Tight end: Jon Edwards

An absolute matchup nightmare. Edwards is bigger than any defensive back and faster than any linebacker. My version of Rob Gronkowski.

Left tackle: Jerad Eickhoff

Big, strong and heady, I trust Eickhoff to protect the blind side and keep Rua upright.

Left guard: Brett Nicholas (offensive captain)

A team-first guy, Nicholas will give up his body to make sure we get that first down.

Center: Zach Zaneski

Big and mean when he needs to be, Zach fits the blue-collar bill as an offensive lineman. As a catcher he calls a great game and I trust him to lead the o-line.

Right guard: Richard Bleier

Not the biggest guard around, but Bleier is willing to get mean when he needs to.

Right tackle: Phil Klein

I love the height and length that Klein brings to the line. He’s a lot to get by and should give Rua enough time to deliver the football.

DEFENSE

Odor_Sams

Rougned Odor and Kalian Sams

Defensive end: Kalian Sams

The defensive version of Jon Edwards. Sams is big, fast and a nightmare to face as an offense. I feel bad for the quarterback who gets squashed by the Dutchman.

Defensive tackle: Arlett Mavare

A big body and a spacefiller, Mavare should help clog the middle and has the strength to push the offense back.

Defensive tackle: Brett Teschner

Another big body, the catcher is already used to working out of a crouching position and will hold his ground at the very least against the o-line.

Defensive end: Randy Henry

More of a speed rusher than a power guy, Henry can bring some small-town nasty to this group.

Outside linebacker: Chih-Hsien Chiang

Chiang has added weight to his frame over the years but still maintains some agility. If he can hit an opposing player even half as hard as he hits the baseball, this should be a natural fit.

Middle linebacker: Kyle McClellan (defensive captain)

McClellan_1

Kyle McClellan

Really happy to have Kyle calling the signals in the middle of my defense. An experienced veteran, there’s nothing he can’t recognize. He’s also very, very strong, extremely competitive and has a little crazy in his eye that will intimidate the opposition.

Outside linebacker: Luke Jackson

I’m counting more on savvy than speed or strength here. Jackson is a smart guy who should be able to read an offense and put himself in a good spot.

Cornerback: Guilder Rodriguez

Good size for a DB, Rodriguez brings veteran craftiness to the table and still has enough speed to stick with young wideouts. He can play the right angles and should be a tough matchup for any receiver.

Strong safety: Jimmy Reyes

With the intimidating presence Jimmy has on the mound, I have no doubt that he’ll make receivers think twice about going over the middle. Just enough speed and size to handle the position.

Free safety: Rougned Odor

Love the nastiness Odor brings to the diamond and he should be athletic enough to grab some interceptions and lay a player out. Might be a risk for penalty flags/fines for gray area hits, but you need a little of that on your team.

Cornerback: Francisco Mendoza

Mendoza has overcome injuries in the past and surpassed expectations. He plays with a chip and should be able to keep up with receivers and bring them down.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Tyler Tufts

A little quirky (just look at the beard) and a bit undersized, so this is as good a spot as any for Tuffy.

Punter: Alex Claudio

Probably the safest spot on the gridiron for the slight Claudio. Given his nasty changeup, I would imagine he could manipulate his kicks to angle for the coffin corner pretty effectively as well.

Long snapper: Nick Martinez (special teams captain)

There’s not a natural spot for Martinez, but I think he should be in a leadership role and as leader of the special teams unit his voice will be heard.

Eric McMahon’s Team

Eric_1LT-McClellan
Game experience and athletic feet.  He has the determination not to get beat around the edge.

LG-Mavare
The strength to deliver a strong down block and communication skills to tandem with Center or Tackle in a combo block

C-Nicholas
Possesses leadership and the intelligence to read the defensive front

RG-Telis
He’s a great blocker with speed enough to pull around the edge

RT-Eickhoff
Great build!  Looks the part.

TE-Klein
Tall and runs well. Sneaky athleticism.  A down-field threat over any secondary

WR #1-Bonilla
Excellent speed!

WR #2-Strausborger
Versatile speed from the edge or the slot

WR #3-Sardinas
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed!

RB-Benson
A power runner and above average agility.  Good strength to drive through a hole!

FB-Reyes
Knowledge and strength to contribute in a blocking scheme.  Speed enough for some 3rd down carries.

Jackson_1

Luke Jackson

QB-Jackson
Arm strength+++

DE-Sams
Big, Strong, and moves well

DT (Nose)-Teschner
Great strength and temperament to dominate in the trenches

DE-Edwards
Excellent size and speed off the edge

OLB-Tufts
Athletic, with the right mentality to read run or pass.  Can help in the secondary

OLB-Rua
Moves well with enough size to be the force player on the edge and cover a TE/WR down field

ILB-Henry
Good strength, size and athleticism to cover both sides of the field

Z_1

Zach Zaneski

ILB-Zaneski
The heart and soul of the defense!

FS-Nick Martinez
The coverage leader and playcaller.  He possesses good overall athleticism for the secondary

SS-Chiang
Speed enough to make a play on the ball in the air

C-Teo Martinez
Speed for coverage and the strength to secure the edge

C-Rodriguez
Intelligence and quickness to stay on a WR’s hip downfield

Nickel-Bleier
Improved speed from years past. A great double coverage guy to bat down a ball in the air.

P-Claudio
Just funky enough to get the job done right

K-Mendoza
He’s a gamer…Ready to be called on when needed

Returner-Odor
Quick on his feet and a fearless mentality

-Ryan (With much assistance from Alex, Nathan and Eric)

Baseball term of the day: rocket - A hard-hit, fast-moving line drive.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Nicholas and Ramirez join RoughRiders greats

PostSeason_AllStars

Brett Nicholas and Neil Ramirez made the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team, announced yesterday by league President Tom Kayser. Here is part of the release from RidersBaseball.com:

Nicholas, 25, leads the RoughRiders in batting (.299), home runs (21) and RBI (89). His batting average is currently fourth among qualifying players and first among active Texas Leaguers. He is first in total bases (236), hits (143) and RBI, fourth in the circuit in runs (70) and third in slugging (.493). He has set career highs in hits, triples (3), home runs, runs scored and RBI. He is currently second in the league in games played (129). Nicholas was honored for the first time as an All-Star of any kind when he made the Mid-Season All-Star Team for the South Division; this is his first ever professional post-season selection.

Ramirez, 24, spent time with the ‘Riders for the third straight year in 2013 and went 9-3 in 21 starts with a 3.84 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 103 innings. He started the All-Star Game at Northwest Arkansas for the South Division on June 25 and was the winning pitcher in the contest. Ramirez struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings this season, which would be a career-best if the rate holds up. Now a member of the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, he departed Frisco as the Texas League leader in strikeouts and ranked fifth in the league in wins (second on Frisco). The Virginia Beach, Virginia native held opposing batters to a .213 average which would be first in the Texas League if he qualified among league leaders. Ramirez was one of nine pitchers selected to the team and one of seven starting pitchers.

Frisco has had at least one Post-season All-Star in every season except for 2005. 2012 was the best season for the ‘Riders with four selections; the previous best was two.

Here is the all-time list of RoughRiders to make the team:

RoughRiders selected to the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team

C – Max Ramirez (2008)

2B – Ramon Nivar (2003)

2B – German Duran (2007)

SS – Elvis Andrus (2008)

SS – Jurickson Profar (2012)

3B – Mike Olt (2012)

OF – Craig Gentry (2009)

OF – Engel Beltre (2012)

DH – Jason Botts (2004)

DH – Nate Gold (2006)

DH – Chad Tracy (2009)

DH – Tommy Mendonca (2011)

DH – Brett Nicholas (2013)

P – A.J. Murray (2003)

P – Kameron Loe (2004)

P – Thomas Diamond (2006)

P – Luis Mendoza (2007)

P – Blake Beavan (2010)

P – Ryan Tatusko (2010)

P – Joe Wieland (2011)

P – Barret Loux (2012)

P – Neil Ramirez (2013)

Fun with numbers and All-Stars

  • The ‘Riders have had 22 players honored over the 11 seasons, an average of two per season.
  • Only once has the club not had a single player make the roster (2005)
  • In 2012, Frisco had a team-record four players make the team.
  • Of the 22 players, 15 have made the big leagues.
  • Despite 5 DH selections, the ‘Riders have not had a player selected as the starting first baseman on the All-Star team.
  • Neil Ramirez is not the first RoughRiders player to win the award while no longer in the organization. He joins Joe Wieland, Ryan Tatusko and Blake Beavan as Post-season All-Stars to earn the award while playing another organization. Ramirez is now in the Cubs organization after inclusion as the player to be named later in the Matt Garza trade. Joe Wieland was in the 2011 trade for Mike Adams. Ryan Tatusko was the return to Washington for Christian Guzman in 2010, and Blake Beavan, in the midst of his 2010 Texas League Post-Season All-Star campaign was traded to Seattle as part of the package for Cliff Lee.
  • 6 of the 22 were also included in last year’s All-’Riders team, selected in honor of the 10th anniversary of the club. Those selections include: Blake Beavan (# SP), Nate Gold (DH), Craig Gentry (CF), Elvis Andrus (SS), Tommy Mendonca (3B) and German Duran (2B).

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day (with enthusiastic assistance today from Scott Fults)cozy roller - a slowly batted ground ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Dunk City baseball and September call-ups

9525040548_e81e19db14_h

‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

The second-to-last ‘Riders on the Record features Richard Bleier on the rise of his alma mater to “Dunk City,” the inaugural turn for Rougned Odor on the Record (via translator Arlett Mavare) and the always enlightening Jason Cole on the newest ‘Riders hurlers. Want to find out if Rougned Odor voted for himself in Moniker Madness? Be sure to listen in to Alex’s chat with him from Thursday.

It’s been a pleasure reliving these conversations with the players, coaches and special guests this season. We will put off next week’s Record until Monday and include the final eight days of interviews for the season. Thanks for continuing to tune in.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele weighs in on the the previous night’s antics when Odor knocked a walk off single for the second straight night. He gives his take on late-game enthusiasm and how close the ‘Riders came to blows with the Drillers Saturday night. He tries to explain the late fielding blunders for the club and what he expects of Neil Ramirez, who would make his final appearance for the club that night.  (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – LHP Richard Bleier


Relief pitcher Richard Bleier joined the RoughRiders after a rocky start to his season in Triple-A. He talks about dealing with the adversity and disappointment of demotion back to Double-A and how he has rebounded to have a strong year out of the ‘Riders bullpen. He recalls the decision to shave his beard in the middle of the season and remembers his time at Florida Gulf Coast. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


Hitting coach Jason Hart joins the pregame show and talks about the newest RoughRiders like Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams as well as how he tries to improve as a hitting coach. Getting close to the end of the season, he explains how he keeps the hitters motivated and focused through the end of the season. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 – 2B Rougned Odor


Translated by Arlett Mavare, Rougned Odor explains to Alex about his adjustment to the Texas League and what it was like to have back-to-back nights in which he collects a walk off hit. He talks about the importance of staying with his double play partner Luis Sardinas and the stock he places in the Moniker Madness competition put on by Minor League baseball to crown the best name in the sport. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 23, 2013 – Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus


Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus sits down before the ‘Riders’ last game in San Antonio to discuss the trio of new ‘Riders pitchers: Luke Jackson, Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez. He breaks down the play of Luis Sardinas and speculates on potential September call-ups to the Rangers. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: baseballese - the overall language of baseball, comprising official terminology, slang, and jargon. 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Rougned Odor Walk-off Madness

081713 Odor web

What an exciting weekend we had here in Frisco. Big crowds, beautiful August weather and a sweep of the Drillers.

On back-to-back nights, the Rangers’ top second base prospect Rougned Odor knocked a walk-off single to send Frisco past the Tulsa Drillers by a 6-5 score. Odor has impressed with his mere presence in Double-A, as he is the youngest player in not only the Texas League but also the entire Double-A level, besting top Cleveland prospect Francisco Lindor by a few months.

His feats on Friday night and Saturday night are unprecedented in RoughRiders history.

Thanks to our friends over at MiLB.com for cutting up the clip. Unfortunately, on Saturday, they chose a different clip, but we do have a GIF from baseball blogger Kazuto Yamazaki, who spends a good chuck of time following the Rangers and their affiliates.

Roogie walk-offNever before has a RoughRider walked it off on back-to-back nights. Four other times, the RoughRiders have collected walk-off wins on consecutive nights.

Hank’s brother Jake Blalock followed Luke Grayson‘s walk-off with one of his own on May 7, 2006.

Jake Blalock walk-off

A wild pitch from Sam Demel made a walk-off winner of the ‘Riders on May 19, 2007, one night after Emerson Frostad singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning against the Midland RockHounds.

4340413075_d7d4f2fc60_z

Joey Butler and Andy Jenkins beat the Missions with extra-innings walk-off singles on consecutive nights here at Dr Pepper Ballpark in late August of 2010.

Last season, the ‘Riders picked up back-to-back game-ending hits in the South Division Championship Series against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Chris McGuiness doubled in the winning run on September 5 and Leury Garcia knocked a home run to right field to end game two on September 6. The ‘Riders would sweep the series before falling to the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League Championship Series.

7346448818_a8c6d25611_b

Rougned Odor was the first to end games on two straight nights in team history. To further the rarity, he did in the same way (a single), against the same team (Tulsa Drillers) and by the same score (both wins were 6-5 RoughRiders victories). Friday’s came in the 13th inning, while Saturday’s contest finished in the bottom of the ninth.

The 19-year-old has impressed to start his Double-A career. He hit safely in his first nine Texas League games. He hit in each game this weekend and has four doubles, adding to his absurd Myrtle Beach two-bagger total for a season tally of 37–the most by any Rangers minor leaguer and tied for fifth in all of minor league baseball.

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 19 Frisco 16 78 9 20 4 1 3 9 1 1 5 16 .278 .333 .486 .819

The ‘Riders open a series with the San Antonio Missions tonight, trying to extend their hopes at a playoff berth. Frisco needs to win three of the four games over the Missions in the series to avoid San Antonio clinching against them. You can learn more about the ‘Riders of late in tonight’s game notes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: massage - to bat a ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: getting knighted and swinging at a tire

9457109067_c095be4d6a_k

‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A jam-packed home stand had lots of new faces looming in the tunnels and on the field at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tony Fernandez was here as the active hitting coach for Jason Hart, Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler was in town for a bit, as was the Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik and Infield Instructor Casey Candaele. Newcomers Nick Martinez, Jerad Eickhoff, Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams all made their Dr Pepper Ballpark debuts, and the ‘Riders were joined by Rangers rehabber Lance Berkman.   Highlights this week include the knighthood of Sir Kalian Sams, Lance Berkman talking about the development of his left-handed swing and the insights of Tony Fernandez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The skipper sits down with Alex as he does on Sunday to discuss the past week. Steve Buechele explains why he was ejected in the ballgame the previous night and the goes over the frustrating one-run losses of the previous week. He talks about what it is like for a manager after being ejected. As a former big league third baseman, he also explains how difficult a transition that Ryan Rua is making mid-season to go from second base to third. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – OF Kalian Sams


Kalian Sams began the season in the San Diego Padres system and faced the RoughRiders as a member of the San Antonio Missions. Now in the Texas system, he talks about getting acquainted with his new teammates and the hardest part of adjusting to a new clubhouse. A knight in his native Netherlands, he explains how he came to be knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands and what that process was like. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Lance Berkman


Rangers rehabbing DH Lance Berkman talks about his decision not to retire and what he feels like he contribute to the major league team the rest of the day. He explains the value, in his opinion, of a rehab assignment and why he has been so successful in rehab assignment overs the years. He also talks about becoming a switch-hitter and how he learned. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Special Assistant to the GM Tony Fernandez


Longtime major league shortstop Tony Fernandez joined the RoughRiders for the first few games of the home stand to serve as the acting Hitting Coach in place of vacationing Jason Hart. He talks about the process of serving as a temporary hitting coach and what it takes to ensure the growth of the hitters are not thrown off. He also talks about his work in the Rangers system and the key to success for the young middle infielders Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 16, 2013 – C Brett Teschner


While not a highly touted prospect, undrafted catcher Brett Teschner has one of the more interesting stories among those who have donned the RoughRiders red this summer. In his short time in the Rangers system after a mid-season signing this year, Brett has been on every single Rangers US-based affiliate roster, completing the set of his here with the ‘Riders. He talks about the crazy travel. He explains what it is like for the undrafted professional after the MLB draft and if he ever considered calling it quits. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 17, 2013 – RHP Nick Martinez


One of the newest RoughRiders pitchers, Nick Martinez, joins us following his second Double-A start and home debut to discuss his early success with the ‘Riders. Primarily a second baseman in college, Nick talks about his transition to a full-time role on the mound, the development of his repertoire and the origin of his mechanics. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: curvist - a curveball pitcher

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Lance Berkman: a photographic history

Lance Berkman spent a couple games with the RoughRiders on rehab assignment this week. The decorated former outfielder and first baseman spends most of his time nowadays as a DH for the Rangers.

On assignment, he joined an ever-growing list of MLB rehabbers the ‘Riders have this season (in chronological order): Justin Miller (rehabber because of his place on the 40-man roster, despite zero big league time), A.J. Pierzynski, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria, Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Matt Harrison. That list does not include: Martin Perez, who was optioned to Frisco but his time here served a similar purpose, Kyle McClellan, who before his current stint on the active roster was on a rehab-like schedule with the ‘Riders before an early season call up, and Mike Olt who was on a minor league rehab of sorts, playing just three games with Frisco before returning to Triple-A.

If Berkman is indeed done with his rehab (he departed from assignment in Frisco yesterday), he complete a solid all-around rehab outing between the two levels.

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA-AA 4 14 11 3 4 0 0 1 3 3 2 .364 .500 .636 1.136
2013 Round Rock PCL AAA 2 7 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
2013 Frisco TL AA 2 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 .250 .571 .250 .821
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

He has been good as a rehabber over the course of his career, although he writes off the success: “It’s a small sample size, so if you have a couple bad at-bats or if you feel good and get a couple good pitches to hit” it can really affect the numbers Berkman explained on Wednesday. For him, the rehab assignment is more about seeing the ball well and “to take some of the pressure of performing off.”

Some look past the spectacular career of Berkman, who ranks in the top-5 all-time switch hitters in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

But…if you want those numbers like those, you can go any number of place. Like here or here or look right below at this handle little chart:


Rank: Player: bWAR: fWAR: Average:
1 Mickey Mantle  109.70  112.30  111.00
2 Chipper Jones  85.20  85.10  85.15
3 George Davis  84.80  84.60  84.70
4 Pete Rose  79.40  80.20  79.80
5 Ozzie Smith  76.50  74.80  75.65
6 Frankie Frisch  70.40  72.00  71.20
7 Tim Raines  69.10  67.60  68.35
8 Eddie Murray  68.20  66.30  67.25
9 Carlos Beltran  67.10  64.60  65.85
10 Roberto Alomar  66.80  63.90  65.35
11 Reggie Smith  64.40  63.90  64.15
12 Max Carey  53.90  60.00  56.95
13 Lance Berkman  52.10  56.10  54.10
14 Tony Phillips  50.80  54.20  52.50
15 Ted Simmons  50.20  46.60  48.40

bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference and fWAR is the same statistical concept, calculated by FanGraphs. Anyway, enough numbers. Well, nearly enough numbers.

Instead, I present to you a photographic timeline of the career of Lance Berkman, complete with one of the few (if not only!) high-quality Berkman-in-RoughRiders-uniform photos in existence. From clean-shaven to goatee to clean-shaven to bearded back to clean-shaven to speckled-gray beard…1999 to 2013.

And a few more numbers.

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 22 Jackson TL AA HOU 122 517 82 130 34 0 24 89 6 4 85 82 .306 .424 .555 .979
1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 New Orl. PCL AAA HOU 64 267 42 73 20 0 8 49 7 1 39 47 .323 .419 .518 .937
2002, Astros

2002, Astros

2006, National League All-Stars

2006, National League All-Stars

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, Astros

2008, Astros

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

berkmanx-inset-community

2010, Astros (David J. Phillip / AP)

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 HOU 34 106 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 .708
2000 24 HOU 114 417 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 .949
2001 25 HOU 156 688 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 1.051
2002 26 HOU 158 692 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 .982
2003 27 HOU 153 658 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 .927
2004 28 HOU 160 687 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 1.016
2005 29 HOU 132 565 76 137 34 1 24 82 4 1 91 72 .293 .411 .524 .934
2006 30 HOU 152 646 95 169 29 0 45 136 3 2 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041
2007 31 HOU 153 668 95 156 24 2 34 102 7 3 94 125 .278 .386 .510 .896
2008 32 HOU 159 665 114 173 46 4 29 106 18 4 99 108 .312 .420 .567 .986
2009 33 HOU 136 563 73 126 31 1 25 80 7 4 97 98 .274 .399 .509 .907
2010 34 HOU 85 358 39 73 16 1 13 49 3 2 60 70 .245 .372 .436 .808
HOU (12 yrs) 1592 6713 1008 1648 375 26 326 1090 82 42 1040 1121 .296 .410 .549 .959
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.
2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 34 NYY AL 37 123 9 27 7 0 1 9 0 0 17 15 .255 .358 .349 .707
2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, National League All-Star (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, National League All-Stars (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, Cardinals

2011, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2011 35 STL NL 145 587 90 147 23 2 31 94 2 6 92 93 .301 .412 .547 .959 AS,MVP-7
2012 36 STL NL 32 97 12 21 7 1 2 7 2 0 14 19 .259 .381 .444 .826
STL (2 yrs) 177 684 102 168 30 3 33 101 4 6 106 112 .295 .408 .533 .940
Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

rr2

Rangers, 2013 (Kelly Gavin / Texas Rangers)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 37 TEX AL 68 282 27 62 10 1 6 34 0 0 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

And then there was Frisco.

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swish hitter a power hitter who strikes out frequently

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The 2013 season’s MUST read blog posts

080713 Zach Zaneksi Blog #8

Time to pat ourselves on the backs again and extend a big, gracious, Texas-sized THANK YOU to all of you out there reading. The ‘Riders Insider Blog made a charge up the recent MLBlog Rankings to #8 among MiLB Pro blogs for the month of July.  We are honored and excited to achieve our highest ranking of the season (previously, we checked in as high as #10).

In honor of this great news, it seemed like a good time to go back at look at some of the posts that made it possible. In case you missed them, here are the must read blog posts of the season:

Beards1

Battle of the Beards: Tufts vs. Bleier – The #2 ranked post of the season and #1 in July is a fun profile of the beards of Richard Bleier and Tyler Tufts. They even nicknamed their beards. Want to know what Tyler Tufts’ beard does in its free time? How about Richard on why his beard is better than Tyler’s? (published July 17)

Blog_Trade

The RoughRiders’ ghosts of trade deadlines passed – is a look at all of the trades the Texas Rangers have made at that trading deadline (or near it) that involved current RoughRiders players (or players that played for the team the season they were traded). Did you know the Rangers had Kip Wells? How about Matt Stairs? Find out which RoughRiders were offered up to get them. (published July 29)

Say it is Joe! – The third ranked post since the start of the season, here is the story of Joe Benson. GIF ALERT: included is a gif of Joe running the bases at breakneck speed on a home run. He does that. Check it out. (published May 29)

Catching up with… Ross Wolf - Okay, so this only one sort of counts. Not published this season, the interview Alex conducted with Ross blew up around the time of his promotion, I am sure in part to some pub from Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report (thanks Scott!). This is a great read with some truly interesting tidbits.  There is also a great baseball card photo in here. It’s worth checking it out for that alone. (published November 2, 2012)

snow day panorama

Snow Day! – Here is one is of the most popular posts of 2013. The gallery of some of my favorite photos of Dr Pepper Ballpark. Kudos to Alex for braving the February cold. Truly unique photos that you cannot find anywhere else. (published January 15)

The Knuckleball – I don’t know why I bother writing a description for this one. You probably already clicked the link. I mean come on. It’s the knuckleball…if it doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.  Here is a glance at some of the other knuckleballers around baseball, inspired by then-RoughRiders hurler Kevin Pucetas. (published June 22)

‘Riders on the Record: the first day of school, home runs over touchdowns and the return of Mike Olt - Our most popular ‘Riders on the Record post of the season, this week included Joe Benson discussing his first days as a Texas Ranger and Mike Olt explaining his vision issues. (Published June 2)

What is your favorite post of the season? Let us in the comments below or on Twitter @RidersBaseball

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: ramicack to hit a baseball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: The Franchise Hits Record and Modeling off Tim Lincecum

9423545700_f3eb74c497_h

‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Lots of new faces, lots of new voices this week for ‘Riders on the Record. Wednesday through Saturday we heard from folks we have yet to hear from this season, including three players who joined the team this month. If you have seen Luke Jackson pitch, you might make the Tim Lincecum comparison in terms of his windup. Jackson addresses that notion; turns out its not a coincidence. Be sure to tune in to the always poignant G-Rod, who became the RoughRiders All-Time hits leader on Sunday before a promotion to Triple-A on Friday. Why is Ryan Rua hitting so many home runs this year? He tries to explain the uptick in long balls as well.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The ‘Riders manager saw a bevy of changes to his roster of the week prior. Steve Buechele discusses the promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A, the addition of some highly-touted prospects from Myrtle Beach included Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Luke Jackson, as well as the challenge of telling players that they have to go down a level. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 – UTIL Guilder Rodriguez


With a pair of hits on Sunday August 4, 2013, Guilder Rodriguez became the all-time franchise leader in hits, passing Renny Osuna who had 347 hits for the club. He discusses the significance of the record, especially in light of him passing a friend and a former teammate. He also shares his parting words with Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera when they were sent down to Myrtle Beach. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 – SP Jerad Eickhoff


Fresh off his Double-A debut, the big right-hander Jerad Eickhoff sat down with Alex Vispoli. Jerad had some family in town for the outing, he talks about how often his family gets to see him pitch. He talks about how he had honed his control and what he makes of Nick Tepesch comparisons. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 8, 2013 – SP Arlett Mavare


Arlett Mavare has not been a starting pitcher since his first year in professional ball. Sliding into the rotation of the ‘Riders this season, Arlett has really found a groove. He talks about his curious strikeout numbers, which he piles up despite the lack of an overpowering fastball. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 9, 2013 – SP Luke Jackson


Rangers top-10 prospect Luke Jackson fired six shutout frames in his first Double-A start. With an unconventional delivery, Jackson is a very hard thrower. He talks about the tinkering of his mechanics as a professional and how he developed the motion in the first place. He also talks about the adjustment to Double-A and the new clubhouse which is now home to a bunch of his Myrtle Beach teammates. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, August 10, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


A “career year” only begins to describe the kind of season that Ryan Rua is putting together this year. At or near the top in the minors in home runs for most of the season, Ryan talks about how he has been able to unlock the power this season and about his journey from small Lake Erie College to Double-A pro ball. (w/ Alex)
- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: blinker - the back pocket lining of baseball pants

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers