Results tagged ‘ Naturals ’

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.

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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.


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

Texas League Scrabble

In the Texas League, logos with letters are a common theme among all eight teams. During the Riders’ recent road trip to San Antonio, I couldn’t help but think of a Scrabble board when viewing the Missions’ “SA” logo.

So I began to devise a list of words that could be created from Texas League teams’ logos. Some of the best: catamarans, tsars, maracas, cataracts, transacts, and mascara.

The most difficult thing about finding words is only having the power to use one vowel, thanks to the Arkansas Travelers’ logo. The other seven teams use consonants.

The following is an attempt to compile as many words as possible made up of all the Texas League logos, arranged accordingly on a Scrabble board. Enjoy!

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: first and fifteenth player – A player who thinks only of paydays, such as the first and fifteenth days of the month.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

2016 Texas League All-Star Game, featuring the best player names


With the Texas League All-Star Game coming up on June 28 in Springfield, it is time to start considering who will be representing the North and South Division squads this year.

Surely, many players have put up All-Star Game-worthy numbers. However, we are completely disregarding statistics in this blog post and focusing solely on awesome names alone.

Here is a list of what I consider to be the best names by position in the Texas League from the North and South Divisions. (* = not on team’s active roster as of June 1)

From the North Division…

Catcher: *Anthony Bemboom (Arkansas)

First Baseman: Frank Schwindel (Northwest Arkansas)

Second baseman: Breyvic Valera (Springfield)

Third baseman: Brandon Trinkwon (Tulsa)

Shortstop: *Erisbel Arruebarrena (Tulsa)

Outfielder: Bo Way (Arkansas)

Outfielder: *Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas)

Outfielder: Kyle Garlick (Tulsa)

Designated Hitter: Jacob Scavuzzo (Tulsa)

Pitcher: *Alan Busenitz (Arkansas)

Pitcher: Daniel Poncedeleon (Springfield)

Pitcher: Ralston Cash (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Tim Shibuya (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Ronnie Shaban (Springfield)

Pitcher: *Estarlin Cordero (Northwest Arkansas)

From the South Division…

Catcher: *Rocky Gale (San Antonio)

First Baseman: Conrad Gregor (Corpus Christi)

Second baseman: Evan Van Hoosier (Frisco)

Third baseman: *Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Frisco)

Shortstop: *River Stevens (San Antonio)

Outfielder: Teoscar Hernandez (Corpus Christi)

Outfielder: Danny Oh (Midland)

Outfielder: Brett Vertigan (Midland)

Designated Hitter: Chan-Jong Moon (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Keegan Yuhl (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Cy Sneed (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: *Reymin Guduan (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Ryne Slack (Frisco)

Pitcher: Trey Cochran-Gill (Midland)

Pitcher: Jose Valdespina (Frisco)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: jam sandwich – Throwing a pitch near the batter’s fists with a fastball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meaning behind the mascots



Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.



Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.

Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.



CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.



Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.



San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.


– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

A Look at the Archives: Riders Home Openers

Last week, prior to the first game of the RoughRiders season at Northwest Arkansas, Ryan wrote a piece about the magic of Opening Day. While Opening Day is certainly something to look forward to, only half the teams in a league actually begin their season at home.

For the other teams, like the Riders this year, Opening Day comes on the road. Sure, there is magic in the air when the players step out on the field for the first time. But it is a different feeling when you are the visitors and not the ones receiving cheers from the crowd.


Home openers are always special, no matter if they fall on the first game of the year or the ninth. For this year’s Riders, the home opener is scheduled for today after the team won five of six road games to begin the season.

While Frisco’s record on Opening Day is 8-6, their record in home openers is not nearly as pretty. The Riders are 4-9 in the first game at Dr Pepper Ballpark, including a 0-8 mark in home openers after beginning play on the road.

Here is a look at the year-by-year results in home openers at Dr Pepper Ballpark:

April 9, 2015 vs. Arkansas: L, 8-4 (Attendance: 8228)

April 4, 2014 vs. Northwest Arkansas: L, 3-1 (Attendance: 8211)

April 11, 2013 vs. Arkansas: L, 6-3 (Attendance: 9267)

April 12, 2012 vs. Springfield: L, 4-3 (Attendance: 7258)

April 7, 2011 vs. Springfield: W, 6-2 (Attendance: 7150)

April 8, 2010 vs. Springfield: W, 2-1 (Attendance: 8301)

April 16, 2009 vs. Springfield: L, 11-9 (Attendance: 7342)

April 10, 2008 vs. Springfield: L, 12-5 (Attendance: 9771)

April 5, 2007 vs. Arkansas: W, 3-2 (Attendance: 8458)

April 6, 2006 vs. Midland: W, 4-2 (Attendance: 8816)

April 12, 2005 vs. Corpus Christi: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 8723)

April 18, 2004 vs. Tulsa: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 10,773)

April 3, 2003 vs. Tulsa: L, 16-2 (Attendance: 10,685)

The RoughRiders will try to snap their four-game losing streak in home openers when they take the field tonight against the Naturals. Last week, Frisco swept Northwest Arkansas in a three-game series at Arvest Ballpark to begin the season. LHP Frank Lopez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound for the Riders against LHP Matt Strahm (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Naturals.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: four-ribeye steak – synonym of grand slam

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Free Baseball Yesterday, Day Baseball Today

What an odd opening series of the season. 27 planned innings changed to 23. We played 24. Thursday was rained out. That was made up Friday in a 14-inning doubleheader, and then last night nine innings weren’t enough. It took ten innings before Arkansas beat the ‘Riders with a walk-off single in the tenth.

Today Kevin Pucetas makes his debut for Frisco at 2:00 pm from Springdale, Arkansas. A minor-league signee in January, the 28-year-old right-hander spent most of last season at the Double-A level with Harrisburg in Washington Nationals system, pitching one game at the Triple-A Syracuse. Prior to that he spent three seasons at the Triple-A level in the Giants and Royals systems. In his seven minor league seasons he has posted a 61-32 record with a 3.89 ERA.



2B Odubel Herrera

SS Hanser Alberto

RF Jared Hoying

1B Brett Nicholas

3B Alex Buchholz

RF Chih-Hsien Chiang

Zach Zaneski

DH Alejandro Selen

CF Teodoro Martinez

RHP Kevin Pucetas


CF Brett Eibner

3B Rey Navarro

DH Brian Fletcher

RF Yem Prades

Manuel Pina

LF Whit Merrifield

1B Mitch Canham

SS Alex McClure

2B Angel Franco

RHP Yordano Ventura

News, notes, thoughts, and links:

Mixing up the card: Hanser Alberto moves up to the #2 spot after two appearances in the #9 hole. Alejandro Selen sees action for the second game. He has still yet to play in the field, DH-ing for the second time. He played 31 games in the outfield last season in Hickory and 15 at second base. Spots 3-6 in the order have stayed the same for all four games (although Chiang and Hoying have played in different outfield positons).

Lights out ‘pen: Jake Brigham continued the ‘Riders scoreless streak out of the bullpen to start the season to 8.2 IP with 2.1 scoreless innings (he did allow an inherited runner to score). Jimmy Reyes made it 10.1 IP before Ross Wolf allowed his inherited runner to score in the bottom of the eighth.

Bullpen all seasoned: The ‘Riders came in to Saturday having used five of the eight men in the bullpen (not including Carlos Pimentel who starts tomorrow). The final three all got the ball at some point in last night’s loss (Brigham, Reyes, and Wolf). When Pucetas throws his first pitch in the bottom of the first from Springdale today, all active pitchers will have seen action. Only Tyler Tufts, who has started the season on the DL, is left.

Mishmash of Mashers: All of the position players have made it in there now. In fact all 12 players got into the doubleheader Friday. Zach Zaneski, who started behind the plate in game one, has just two plate appearances (the team-low) but starts today. Catcher Tomas Telis started game two and three of the season. Odubel Herrera and Jared Hoying lead the team with twelve (11 ABs, 1 BB).

Free Swingin’: Frisco batters have drawn just six walks. Compare that with the 18 walks the pitchers have issued and it looks slightly alarming. The RoughRiders aren’t last in the Texas League in walks, however. Springfield (5) and today’s opponent, NW Arkansas (4) have both taken fewer free passes than Frisco.

Hanser “The Answer”: Credit Alex with the nickname but credit Alberto for producing. After an 0-for-4 start to the year, Alberto whacked two singles in his last two at-bats last night. The first came in the three-hit, two-run seventh inning that gave Frisco a 3-2 lead. Alberto is widely regarded as the best prospect on the ‘Riders roster among position players and is playing for the first time at the Double-A level.

Twitter is great, but LIVE AUDIO IS BETTER: Today’s game can be heard here or if you are on an iPad or iPhone, click here. You can also watch the games with the audio feed simulcast by purchasing a subscription to

Game Notes: Edition #4 of the game notes are here! 

– Nathan