Results tagged ‘ Neil Ramirez ’

Full From Thanksgiving

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to connect with family and friends. My wife Heather and I made it back to see my parents in St. Louis and had a great time.  We all have our favorites at Thanksgiving, mine is my mom’s sweet potato recipe.  It might be the only dish at any holiday celebration that I can’t live without!

Since we chatted last, there have been some developments affecting the RoughRiders:

  • Right-handers Jake Brigham, Neil Ramirez, and Justin Miller, along with lefty Martin Perez, were recently promoted to the Rangers 40-man roster.  Placing them on the roster not only signifies how Texas feels about their potential, but more importantly, protects them from being acquired by another team in the Rule 5 draft.  Interestingly enough, two players that are not being protect are two former ‘Riders: lefty Kasey Kiker and DH-first baseman Chad Tracy.  Both can be taken in the draft by another team and signed for $50,000.  The Rule 5 draft will be held this year on December 8 in Dallas.
  • Some news that I’m especially excited about, the Rangers have hired Greg Maddux as Special Assistant to the General Manager.  In his role with the Rangers, Greg, the brother of Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux, will be in uniform during Spring Training as an extra instructor for both the major and minor league staffs, along with visiting the club’s farm affiliates during the regular season.  I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) meeting him and having him on the pre-game show.
  • The Rangers have announced their 2012 Spring Training schedule, beginning with the Kansas City Royals on March 4 at Surprise Stadium.  At the end of exhibition play, the Rangers will play against Triple-A Round Rock at the Dell Diamond on April 2, and will then play here at Dr Pepper Ballpark against the RoughRiders on April 4 at 2:05 p.m.

We’ll have more with the All-‘Riders team tomorrow.

-AG

 

RoughRiders Around the Globe

Every September when the minor league season comes to an end and fall sets in, many think that it’s time for our RoughRiders to take a well earned vacation.  However, what many don’t realize is that minor leaguers around the country travel around the world to play winter and fall ball.  These leagues provide the players a chance for additional income and the opportunity to improve their game.  Here’s where some RoughRiders, and other Rangers’ farm-hands, will be sending post cards from this off-season:

Arizona Fall League

Players: Miguel De Los Santos, LHP; Leury Garcia, INF; Ryan Kelly, RHP; Leonys Martin, OF; Justin Miller, RHP; Mike Olt, INF; Neil Ramirez, RHP; Elio Sarmiento, C; Ryan Strausborger, OF; Johan Yan, RHP.  (All play for the Surprise Saguaros).

Mike Olt could possibly open up 2012 in Frisco (James Garner)

Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt was named the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week on Monday, batting .571 (8-14) with a double, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 walks the previous week.  The 23-year-old matched the Fall League’s single-game high with a 6 RBI effort on Friday and represented the Rangers and Saguaros in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday. The 6 RBI performance gave the University of Connecticut product a share of the AFL RBI lead (30), while he also leads the league in both home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.705).

OF Leonys Martin has seen action with the Saguaros as a member of the club’s taxi squad and hit a home run in his Fall League debut on October 19…OF Ryan Strausborger has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, raising his season average to .327 (17-52). The Arizona Fall League regular season continues through November 17.

Mexican Winter League 

Players: Cody Eppley, RHP (Obregon); Jose Felix, C (Guasave)

RHP Cody Eppley has worked out of the bullpen for the Mexican Winter League’s Obregon, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER/15.0 IP) over 14 appearances.

Dominican Winter League 

Players: Engel Beltre, OF (Licey); Julio Borbon, OF (Escogido); Fabio Castillo, RHP (La Romana); Andres James, INF (Licey); Carlos Pimentel, RHP (Escogido).

RHP Carlos Pimentel has posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) with 15 strikeouts against 5 walks in 8 relief outings with Escogido.

Venezuelan Winter League 

Players: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

Pan American Games

3B Tommy Mendonca and INF Chad Tracy each took home silver medals as part of Team USA in the Pan American Games hosted by Guadalajara, Mexico on October 19-25. Mendonca batted .333 (6-18) with one home run and a tournament-high 10 RBI in 5 games for Team USA, while Tracy hit .182 (2-11) with 2 RBI in 4 games. The Americans fell 2-1 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.

-AG

‘Riders in the Fall League

Once the playoffs end for the RoughRiders this year, Dr Pepper Ballpark will close its doors, the players will pack up their lockers, and everyone will deserve a long vacation. But what many don’t realize is that for a number of RoughRiders, the season doesn’t end. Many players travel to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or Mexico to play in winter leagues to continue to get better and prepare for the next year.

A few select players, however, get the chance to remain stateside and play in the highly regarded Arizona Fall League. The 12-week, prospect driven league is entering its 20th season and is owned and operated by Major League Baseball.   Big league All-Stars such as Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun have all spent time in the AFL.  This year, three current ‘Riders have been tabbed to play in the Fall League with the Surprise Rafters.

RHP, Neil Ramirez

The former 44th overall pick in the 2007 draft is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in Double-A this season through six starts.  The bulk of his season has been spent in Triple-A Round Rock where he made 17 starts and went 4-3 and had a 3.68 ERA.  The right-hander was placed on the disabled list in mid-July because of shoulder fatigue which has limited his innings in the Texas League.

When I talked with Neil following his start Thursday night in Corpus Christi he was excited to be selected for the Fall League.  “It’s a big honor, for sure.  It’s good competition and will great to see how you stack up.”  The righty wants to continue to hone his mechanics while he’s there.  “I plan on working on making good pitches and will focus on the backside of my delivery.  The Fall League will also give me a good idea what my off-season conditioning will look like.”

C, Elio Sarmiento

The ‘Riders switch-hitting catcher has had a terrific season in Frisco.  He hit .327 in 16 July games and has been a constant presence behind the plate for the ‘Riders.  He has always had a great rapport with the staff, but this has been his best offensive season in Double-A.  Elio is batting .378 with runners on base, and is hitting .356 with runners in scoring position.

His selection to the AFL is a great way to conclude his 2011 campaign and he’s clearly grateful.  “I feel blessed, it’s a great opportunity for me and I consider it a reward for all the hard work,”  His goals for the AFL season are pretty simple, “I want to finish healthy, do my best, and hope for even more opportunities with the Rangers.”

The Fall League works out well for Sarmiento because he makes his off-season home in Phoenix along with his wife and two children.  His mother-in-law is also in Phoenix and for just the second time, Elio’s mother will visit the U.S. from Venezuela and will be able to watch him play in Surprise.

RHP, Johan Yan

He was originally a shortstop then got too big for the position and moved to third base. Then his bat wasn’t cutting it so the Rangers’ moved him to the mound.  That didn’t work at first either.  The last ditch effort was to change Yan from the traditional over-the-top delivery to a side-arm approach.

Bingo.

The right-hander went from thinking his playing days were over to now being selected to the top off-season league in the country.  In 43 appearances combined between High-A Myrtle Beach and Frisco, Johan has allowed just eight earned runs in slightly over 66 innings of work and has a Double-A earned run average of 0.36.  On August 15th against Tulsa he gave up his first earned run since June 1 when he was pitching with the Pelicans.

Like Neil and Elio, Yan is a hard worker who has really made the most of his opportunities and will only get better in Arizona.

Former ‘Rider from early in the season Miguel de los Santos will also be going to Surprise to play in the AFL.  He’s pitched with Myrtle Beach after being placed on the DL with a shoulder injury after making six starts with Frisco.

The remaining prospects tabbed to play in Arizona who you have to imagine will be future RoughRiders are RHP Ryan Kelly, SS Leury Garcia, 3B Mike Olt, and OF Ryan Strausborger.

Congrats to Neil, Elio, Johan, and the rest of the group.  We’ll keep you posted on how their season goes here on the Insider Blog.

-AG

Storylines for Frisco-San Antonio

Unless Midland can erase an eight-game deficit and win the second-half title in the South Division, the Frisco RoughRiders and the San Antonio Missions will square off in the first round of the Texas League playoffs.

The RoughRiders have had some great moments against the Missions this year (James Garner).

These two clubs kick off a four-game series tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and it will act as a preview of that best-of-five series that is set to begin September 7. Let’s take you through some of the storylines.

1. Momentum Against the Missions?
The RoughRiders have played San Antonio tough this season, but they have only been able to muster a 10-18 mark. The Missions are the best team in all of full-season minor league baseball (86-40), so there’s no shame in that. However, to win a championship, the ‘Riders must get past them. It would be a big boost to win this series, especially because Frisco has only one series victory against the Missions in seven tries this season.

2. Ross, Hankins Face San Antonio
Ben Snyder (0-2, 3.75 ERA in 24 innings) and Carlos Pimentel (1-0, 2.70 ERA in 33 1/3 innings) have had success against the Missions this season, and they will pitch during the series. However, Derek Hankins has only seen them once (five scoreless innings) and Robbie Ross has yet to face the Missions. The Snyder-Pimentel-Hankins-Ross quartet figures to be the ‘Riders’ rotation right now, with Neil Ramirez building up strength as the club’s other starter. These four pitchers must have success to beat San Antonio.

The 'Riders saw Robbie Erlin earlier this month. They will face Joe Wieland Thursday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

3. Wieland Back in Frisco
The RoughRiders saw Robbie Erlin in the Missions’ previous visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, but they missed Joe Wieland. This time, it’s the other way around. Wieland, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA since joining the Missions, will start Thursday. Erlin held the ‘Riders to just one run on two hits in his first game against them, and Wieland gets his chance in two days.

4. Missions’ Offense Sputtering?
San Antonio is 16-4 this month, yet they are hitting a season-low .244 as a team. Obviously, it helps that the club has a 2.17 team ERA in August, but the offense has been declining ever since its remarkable April. Take a look at the team’s batting averages by month: .315/.268/.264/.252/.244. San Antonio averages just 4.8 runs per game against Frisco, so we’ll see if the ‘Riders can continue to slow them down.

5. Ready for a Late-Season Surge?
Yes, San Antonio has been the better team over the course of 126 games. However, the ‘Riders and Missions will (likely) meet in a best-of-five series in early September. Are the RoughRiders ready to start that last-minute run and carry the momentum into the playoffs? Following an 0-4 start to the road trip, the ‘Riders bounced back with back-to-back wins. This can be a chance to carry that work into and through a series with the heavy favorite in the Texas League.

This series should be fun. We hope you enjoy! More coverage to come soon.

- Brian

VIDEO & GAME PHOTOS: August 11 vs. Northwest Arkansas

The RoughRiders were in action again tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Here is a video of Neil Ramirez warming in the bullpen, and photos from the game courtesy of Alex Yocum-Beeman.

Here is a look at Neil Ramirez warming up before the game.


Neil Ramirez went three scoreless innings while collecting five strike outs in his second start for Frisco.


Renny Osuna gets the out at second base.


Mike Bianucci connects for a double during the first inning.

-Stephen

Ramirez Joins RoughRiders’ Rotation

Stephen Harmon is back to introduce another Frisco newcomer. Neil Ramirez will take to the mound for the ‘Riders tonight. Read about his interesting journey to Frisco.

Rangers pitching prospect Neil Ramirez will make his Frisco debut tonight. After jumping from High-A Myrtle Beach to Triple-A Round Rock for a spot start in mid-April, the 22-year-old finds himself joining Robbie Ross as the newest members of the RoughRiders’ rotation.

Ramirez was taken in the first round (44th overall) of the 2007 draft, the same draft that saw former ‘Rider, Blake Beavan go 17th overall. After winning the 2007 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year, the 6-foot-3 righty signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia Tech. However, after being offered a one million dollar signing bonus, Ramirez agreed to begin his professional baseball career with the Texas Rangers organization.

Ramirez made his professional debut with the Spokane Indians in 2008. The Virginia native spent the next two seasons in Hickory where he refined his mechanics and improved his control. After issuing 41 walks in 66.1 innings in 2009, Ramirez granted just 37 free passes while striking out 142 batters in 140.1 innings last year.

Those impressive numbers earned him a promotion to Myrtle Beach where he opened his 2011 campaign. However, after one dominant start with the Pelicans, Ramirez was sent as a temporary “fill-in” to Round Rock where he pitched six shutout innings against the Omaha Storm Chasers. That performance kept him in the rotation and led to another start where he struck out nine while allowing only two hits.

Overall on the season, the righty has gone 4-3 posting a 3.68 ERA. Perhaps the most impressive figure is his strikeouts per nine-inning ratio, which sits at 10.4. In fact, Ramirez still leads the Express with 85 strikeouts despite sitting out a month on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.

Ramirez can light up the radar gun and impressed the Rangers with his mid 90’s velocity in spring training. Additionally, he commands an above average curveball and changeup that keeps hitters honest at the dish. Similar to former ‘Riders prospects, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin, Ramirez has a calm and relaxed demeanor on the mound.

With Wieland and Erlin in the rotation, the RoughRiders were cruising. Now, the attention turns to Ross and, now, Ramirez to continue the trend.

- Stephen

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition

NOTE: Like this piece? Check out our look at ten RoughRiders’ drastic improvement from last year to this year, which has put all of them on the prospect radar.

The Rangers’ farm system is among the best in baseball, and top-flight prospects play with all of the club’s affiliates. Today, Stephen Harmon takes you around the system and discusses some of the best farmhands within the Rangers’ organization.

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Leonys Martin: The 23-year-old Cuban center fielder batted .348 with four homers and ten stolen bases over 29 games with Frisco before being promoted to Round Rock July 9. According to some scouts, Martin has a matured approach at the plate. However, he needs to become more comfortable in the outfield.  Martin, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract May 4, is 8-for-20 in his first five games as a member of the Express.

Martin Perez: After ranking Perez as the top pre season prospect in the Rangers organization, Baseball America rated Perez the sixth best prospect in all of minor league baseball in their midseason rankings. The twenty-year-old Venezuelan native received a promotion to Round Rock July 14 after posting a 4-2 record with a 3.16 ERA. He led the RoughRiders in strikeouts with 83 over 88.1 innings.

Neil Ramirez: The 2007 first-round draft pick opened the year in Myrtle Beach before being called up to Round Rock for a temporary spot start. However, he was impressive enough to earn a regular turn in the rotation where he has posted a 3.77 ERA with 82 strikeouts over 71.2 innings.

Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):

Robbie Erlin: The left-handed starter is undefeated since joining Frisco, going 5-1 with a 3.95 ERA as of July 15th. Erlin has impressed scouts with his command and mature approach to pitching. It is easy to forget that he is twenty years old and already in Double-A. The former third-rounder boasted a 53 to 6 strikeout to walk ratio.

Tanner Scheppers The third best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system has returned from a lower back injury that sidelined him after one start in Round Rock. The 2009 first round draft pick made his 2011 Frisco debut June 19and has compiled a 3.68 ERA with 11 strikeouts in five appearances. Scheppers owns the best fastball and curveball in the system (Baseball America).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):

Mike Olt: The third baseman is rated as the seventh best prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. The 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the season headlining a talented Myrtle Beach team. However, the Connecticut native broke his collarbone sliding into home plate June 6 and is likely to be out the remainder of the season.  At the time of the injury, Olt was hitting .286 with 10 homeruns in 54 games.

Robbie Ross: Ross was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft and ranked 24th on Baseball America’s Rangers top prospect list. The lefty opened the season at Myrtle Beach and has been there the entire year. Through his first three starts in July, the Kentucky native posted a 1.06 ERA. Overall, his ERA sits at 2.40.

Barret Loux: Loux was slotted as the 19th prospect in the Rangers organization entering 2011 and he hasn’t disappointed. Through July 15, the 6’5’’ Texas A&M product leads the Pelicans with 108 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.

Miguel de los Santos: Overshadowed by the success of Ross and Loux, de los Santos came of the DL on June 29 after starting the year in Frisco where he experienced command issues. However, through his first three starts for the Pelicans in July, the Rangers’ tenth best farmhand went 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):

Jurickson Profar: Profar started the season as the number two prospect in the organization in just his second year of pro ball. The Curacao native is hitting .272 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. Scouts have been impressed with his advanced plate discipline as an 18 year old. In the XM All-Star Futures Game last week, Profar posted an RBI triple for the World Team.

Jake Skole: Skole earned the South Atlantic League player of the week honors June 14. The 19-year-old Georgia native is improving every game and has seen his average jump to .278 after struggling to hit .219 in May. Skole was drafted 15th overall in the 2010 draft.

Spokane Indians (Short-Season):

Will Lamb: Standing at 6’6”, the Clemson standout has shown why the Rangers selected him the 2nd round last month. Lamb has compiled 17 strikeouts in his first ten innings of work. After five relief appearances, Lamb made his first professional start July 10, going three innings and allowing one run while striking out three.

Zach Cone: Cone was selected 37th overall in this year’s draft and has adjusted quickly to using wooden bats. The University of Georgia product hit .359 in his first month of professional baseball. Known for his power/speed combo, Cone swiped seven steals in his first 17 games.

Surprise Rangers (Rookie):

Luis Sardinas: The 18 year-old shortstop out of Venezuela enters his second year at Arizona after only appearing in 22 games last year. Many comparisons have been made between Sardinas and Profar, but the consensus is that Luis is more of a contact hitter than Profar. Through the first twelve games of 2011, Sardinas is batting .289.

A Bit of a Break

Unfortunately, this will probably be the last blog until Monday or so. The entire MLBlog universe will undergo a migration to a different server, so we will not be able to upload any new posts. The details are discussed here.

In fact, you won’t even be able to view this blog. When you type in our URL (or any MLBlog’s URL), you will be directed to the community blog. It’s really too bad they are doing this during the season, especially at an exciting time like this one for the RoughRiders.

But, we will try to bulk up our coverage to you on Twitter. We will give plenty of updates there, including some extra coverage to the newest RoughRider–Leonys Martin. If you missed yesterday’s blog, check it out for plenty on Martin’s introductory press conference yesterday in Arlington.

Here are some Facts before the opener of this four-game series.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Leonys Martin is indeed in the lineup in center field tonight. He will hit first and wear number 20. Martin arrived early and is gearing up for the first affiliated game of his career.
  • To make room for Martin on the 24-man roster, starter Miguel De Los Santos has been placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. De Los Santos’ turn in the rotation was supposed to be tomorrow night. Carlos Pimentel will move up a day and start, which will be on normal rest because of the off day Wednesday. The “to be announced” label shifts to Saturday night’s game with regards to Frisco’s starter.
  • Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report came out with his monthly Minor League Players of the Month, and a few RoughRiders made the cut. On the offensive side, Jonathan Greene was fifth on the list, with Mike Bianucci one spot below him. Myrtle Beach’s Mike Olt topped the countdown. Olt also earned the Rangers’ minor league award for April.
  • Speaking of Bianucci, he has homered in consecutive ballgames for the second time this season. He has also gone deep in three of his last four games. Through 32 contests, Bianucci has 11 homers, which is tied with San
    Antonio’s Cody Decker for the Texas League lead. In other words, he has
    homered once every 11.4 at bats. He also sits fifth in the TL with 28
    runs batted in.
  • As for the pitchers, Martin Perez, the only ‘Rider on Lucas’ list, was fifth. Round Rock’s Neil Ramirez took home that honor along with the Rangers’ pitcher of the month award.
  • In his first Triple-A appearance, Mark Hamburger worked a scoreless seventh and eighth in Round Rock’s 7-5, 10-inning victory at Tucson last night. The former RoughRider whiffed two and scattered three hits. 
  • Here’s a key nugget for this weekend’s series with the Hooks–J.D. Martinez has been placed on the seven-day disabled list. The move was just made, but Martinez can return whenever he is healthy. He has not played in a game since May 5 (seven days ago). Martinez leads Corpus Christi with 30 RBIs, which puts him in a tie for second in the league. He is also fourth in the TL in batting average (.340).
  • Martinez’s replacement in left field has been Jake Goebbert. Since being promoted from high-A Lancaster, Goebbert has hit .294 (5-for-17) with two RBIs and two runs. This is Goebbert’s first crack at the Double-A level.

Again, this will likely be our last blog until Monday. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news and notes over the weekend. We’ll be back early next week.

- Brian

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