Results tagged ‘ Odubel Herrera ’
‘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.
Without a doubt one of my favorite editions of ‘Riders on the Record this season. Steve Buechele gives some extremely high praise to Carlos Pimentel’s slide piece, Guilder Rodriguez gives his sage wisdom to the youngsters on the roster, catcher Zach Zaneski smiles over the microphone about pitching in a ballgame and Casey Candaele explains why he occasionally took batting practice naked in the big leagues. Radio gold this week.
Happy Sunday and enjoy!
Sunday, July 7, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele
Steve Buechele sits down in his weekly conversation to talk about the bounce back effort from Carlos Pimentel. Coming off his eight strikeout performance, he talks about the right-hander’s slider that has put him into the ‘Riders record books. (w/ Alex Vispoli)
Monday, July 8, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez
Guilder Rodriguez joins us to talk about his first ever All-Star game experience, coming two weeks prior in Springdale, Arkansas. The 13-year veteran explains how special the honor is but is quick to divert the attention to the younger players who got the honor as well. Rodriguez sheds light on how he tries to help the younger players like Herrera, Alberto and Telis improve and carry themselves professionally. (w/ Nathan Barnett)
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – IF Alex Buchholz
Alex Buchholz talks about his current hot streak, which was highlighted by a blast of a home run to finish the home stand. He talks about his mental and physical adjustments this season and the importance of staying healthy. He weighs in on the swing of Chih-Hsien Chiang and the fan environment in Frisco. (w/ Alex)
Thursday, July 11, 2013 – C/”RHP” Zach Zaneski
During the longest game in RoughRiders history, catcher Zach Zaneski made his professional appearance on the mound. Impressively, Zach tossed three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He talks about his unforgettable experience and what he learned from former big leaguer Kyle McClellan in the bullpen to get ready for his outing. (w/ Alex)
Friday, July 12, 2013 – Rangers Infield Coordinator Casey Candaele
Casey Candaele is the Rangers infielder coordinator, and for the series in Corpus Christi served as the acting manager. He talks about the whirlwind of a first game played in the series that took 16 innings. He weighs in on what the young infielders Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera need to do to keep getting better and reminisces on his impressive, long, and occasionally amusing big league career. (w/ Alex)
Saturday, July 13, 2013 – IF Greg Miclat
One of the newer RoughRider Greg Miclat has played two positions in his first five professional seasons–shortstop and second base. In Corpus Christi, he twice played third base. He talks about the adjustment to that spot and the last time he has played there. Not known for his power, Greg tells us that he remembers each one of his home runs and he recalls his pro homer. (w/ Alex)
We will post our “Home Sweet Home” preview of the whole home stand tomorrow, but the ‘Riders begin a four-game series today. Pitching matchup has RHP Nick McBride (1-5, 5.84) vs. RHP Keyvius Sampson (6-4, 2.90)
Baseball term of the day: pool table – a smooth infield
Best wishes Justin Miller. As of Wednesday, Justin is a member of the Triple-A Round Rock Express, making his first career trip to Triple-A. Finding his form over the last six outings, Miller seemed ready for the next step, and now he will get the chance. From the ‘Riders press release:
Miller, 26, has played exclusively for the RoughRiders since 2011. The right-hander was recovering from “Tommy John” surgery at the start of the season, and began a MLB rehab assignment with the RoughRiders on May 17. On June 12, Miller was taken off his rehab assignment and was optioned to Frisco. In 16 appearances with the ‘Riders this season, Miller was 1-0 with a 6.19 ERA. He allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 16 innings of work, striking out 21 and walking seven. Over his last six outings, the Bakersfield, California native allowed one unearned run in six innings of work. He did not walk a batter and surrendered just three hits over that stretch. Miller pitched for the ‘Riders in 2011 and missed all of 2012 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery in April 2012.
In return, the RoughRiders are getting Greg Miclat from the Express, a middle infielder that has spent his first two years in the Rangers organization as a member of the Triple-A squad.
Miclat, 25, is in his second season with the Round Rock Express. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft, Miclat was traded to Texas by the Orioles in December 2011 as a player to be named later, along with Randy Henry, in exchange for former RoughRiders and Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. In 68 games this season, the Salisbury, North Carolina native is hitting .252 with no home runs and 24 RBI to go along with ten stolen bases, playing 30 games at shortstop and 39 at second base. The middle infielder stole a career-high 50 bases in 2011 with the Bowie Baysox in his final season as Orioles’ property. This will be his first stint with the RoughRiders.
Splitting his time between 2B and SS makes you think that he probably plays there for the ‘Riders as well. In fact, he has played only 2B and SS in his career.
Could that mean we see G-Rod in the outfield like 2012? Before Monday night, the ‘Riders had played the Teodoro Martinez / Ryan Strausborger / Chih-Hsien Chiang outfield trio for 20 straight games until Alejandro Selen spelled Chiang a couple days ago in right field. The addition of Miclat could allow Rodriguez to give that trio a bit more rest. In his career, Rodriguez has played three games in right field, 16 in center, and 23 in left field.
Bringing in Miclat also brings the ‘Riders back into a more conventional roster construction. Since Benson’s placement on the disabled list on May 19, the RoughRiders have functioned with just two bench players. Now they have three.
Miclat (25 years old) doesn’t hit for much power but provides an experienced middle infielder to bolster the youngsters Hanser Alberto (20) and Odubel Herrera (21). The 50 stolen base season for Miclat in 2011 provides some intrigue as well. The Express have been a pretty conservative baserunning team in his time in the Rangers system, ranking second to last in the PCL in 2012 in stolen bases with 70 in 104 attempts. This season they have been slightly below middle of the pack in both. Maybe this is why Miclat’s stolen base totals are down so significantly.
Perhaps with Steve Buechele‘s “green light” system, we could see Miclat return to his running ways. Scouted as having speed that grades as less than elite, Miclat clearly knows how to run the bases; his 50 steals in 2011 came on just 53 attempts.
File this away in the slightly interesting category: this is the first time that Henry and Miclat will be on the same team in their careers. They have been in the same major league organization since Henry was drafted in 2009, but Miclat has always been a level or two above the Oklahoman.
Miclat will be in uniform for the RoughRiders tonight when they begin a four-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks. You can read more about the matchup in today’s game notes and be sure to tune in to the broadcast, which begins at 6:40 p.m. for the 7:05 scheduled first pitch.
Baseball term of the day: sodfather – the groundskeeper
This weekend, Frisco completes its 12-game home stand, the longest of the season. After a much-needed scheduled day off on Monday, the Texas League All-Star Game with be held Tuesday at Northwest Arkansas’ Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.
Earlier in the month, eight ‘Riders were selected to the Texas League South team, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams. Odubel Herrera will serve as the starting second baseman, and Brett Nicholas is the starting DH for the South Division team. Tomas Telis, Guilder Rodriguez, and Teodoro Martinez made the team as reserves. Starters Carlos Pimentel and Neil Ramirez made the team as did relief pitcher Ben Rowen.
‘Riders All-Star breakdown
Nicholas will be the serving as the starting designated hitter for the South Division. Posting a career-best year in his first year at Double-A, Nicholas leads the RoughRiders in batting (.269), runs scored (40), doubles (16), home runs (13), RBI (44) and is second on the team in walks (22). He is eigth in the league in batting, fourth in total bases. He is also first in the league in hit-by-pitches with nine.
“It means a lot for all the hard work and effort I’ve put into things to be recognized,” Nicholas said. “Where I’ve come from the last few years, it just feels really good to be selected. Those two days in Arkansas will be a lot of fun!”
The former Missouri Tiger has hit home runs in consecutive games twice, launching long balls in back-to-back games on May 7 and May 9 and on three straight days from May 12 through May 14. Nicholas has already set a career high in home runs (previous high was 8 in 2012). This is Phoenix, Arizona native’s first All-Star selection of any kind as a professional.
Odubel Herrera will be serving as the starting second baseman for the South. As the RoughRiders’ everyday second baseman, Herrera has posted a .259 batting average with eight doubles, five triples, and a home run to go along with 29 runs, 21 RBI, and ten steals. This will be the Zulia, Venezuela native’s first All-Star Game appearance; he was a Postseason All-Star in the AZL in 2010 and in the South Atlantic League in 2011.
The thirteen-year professional is receiving his first ever All-Star selection. The utility infielder has played all four infield positions for the RoughRiders, logging most of his time at third base. He is hitting .274, good for third on the team, with six doubles, one home run (second of his career), 10 RBI and a team-leading 27 walks to go along with 12 steals. The Barquisimeto, Venezuela native also won a game as a pitcher for the RoughRiders this season, earning his first professional victory in his third career appearance on the mound with a scoreless inning of work in the ‘Riders 17-inning win on April 18.
This will be the 21-year-old backstop’s third selection to a Mid-Season All-Star team. Winning MVP honors in the 2008 DSL All-Star Game and being selected as a 2011 South Atlantic Mid-Season All-Star, Telis is hitting .258 this season for the ‘Riders with eight doubles, three home runs, 25 RBI and five steals. From April 29 to May 18, Telis posted a 12-game hitting streak, the longest by any ‘Riders hitter this season and fourth longest in the league.
When I was told I was going to the All-Star game, it was like ‘Wow,’ that surprised me. You know, I play ok, but I never thought I would make the team,” Tomas said. “I look forward to possibly catching for other pitchers in the league. Corpus Christi’s David Martinezis one I think would be someone I would enjoy catching for.”
RoughRiders outfielder Teodoro Martinez was selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Teodoro is second on the team in hitting (.285), home runs (8), RBI (29), and stolen bases (16).
“I’m very proud to be named to the teams and to also be recognized as the Texas League Player of the Month. I look forward to living up to the challenge,” said Teodoro.
Martinez, 21, will be making his second All-Star game appearance, and it will be his third inclusion on an All-Star roster. He was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, and he was a Post-Season All-Star in the Arizona League in 2010 when he hit a career high .313.
In his fourth season and third full season with the RoughRiders, Pimentel is putting together a breakout campaign. A 2012 Mid-Season All-Star selection for his work out of the bullpen, Pimentel is second in the Frisco starting rotation with a 4.07 ERA. The 6’3” right-hander sports a 7-4 record in 15 appearances, 14 starts. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native leads all but one Texas Leaguer and Texas Rangers farmhand in strikeouts with 87—that is fellow teammate and Mid-Season All-Star Neil Ramirez.
The lone RoughRiders Mid-Season All-Star selection from the Rangers 40-man roster, Ramirez, like Pimentel, is off to a great start to his 2013 in the ‘Riders rotation. With a 9-2 record and a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts, Ramirez is the only Double-A pitcher and Rangers minor leaguer with more strikeouts than Pimentel with 97. In 81.0 innings of work, the Virginia Beach, Virginia native has surrendered only 48 hits, good for a .176 batting average against that ranks first among all Texas League starting pitchers. His 10.78 strikeouts per nine innings is also the best rate among active Texas Leaguer starters.
In his two recent appearances, Ramirez has dominated, helping Frisco shut out the Hooks on June 15 and June 20. He is now second in the Texas League with nine wins.
Ramirez struggled in the 2012 season, so being selected this season as an All-Star means a lot. “There are a lot of times in this game when you have to face adversity and struggle. You can either control it or let it defeat you. I feel I definitely learned and grew from my 2012 season, and I’m just happy to be where I am right now.”
The 2012 MiLB.com Reliever of the Year and Rangers’ Minor League Reliever of the Year, Ben Rowen dominated Texas League hitters in his first Double-A season on the way to his 3-0 record, an 0.53 ERA and a perfect ten for ten in save chances, second most saves in the league.
The former Virginia Tech Hokie was one of eight RoughRiders selected as a Texas League South Division All-Star, but was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week.
“It will be fun up there to have the bragging rights for the ‘Riders tied with the most All-Star picks in the league. Frisco will definitely be represented very well out there,” Rowen said.
Baseball Term of the Day: Scoreathon – A game in which both teams score many runs.
70 down, 70 to go.
Frisco finished the first half with a 2-1 win over Midland last night. While we look ahead to what will come, including hopefully a ‘Riders second half title and a playoff berth, now is as good a time as ever to look back at what has been.
Remember when Odubel Herrera was the primary leadoff hitter? How about when Jared Hoying hit third every single one of his first 32 starts, a spot now clearly controlled by Brett Nicholas. Or how about the revolving door in the #2 spot in the order that saw Ryan Strausborger bat in eight times but only once since April 25.
The lineup has changed quite a bit over the course of the year, and I thought it might neat to take a closer look. Thus, I present the unofficial Steve Buechele RoughRiders Average First Half Lineup Card:
This was an inexact science, but the idea was to present the amalgamation of the most common occurrences in the lineup over the first 70 games. I started with the top nine position players in terms of games started. Jared Hoying played more often than Guilder Rodriguez when on the active roster but his injury and subsequent promotion but him a few starts behind Rogirguez, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Tomas Telis for total starts.
I could have gone with the player who has played the most at each position, but that would mean Selen would be the DH (with 21 starts at DH, Chiang was second with 10 starts at DH), but Selen only made 32 overall starts in the first half, which ranked 11th on the team in total starts, so that didn’t make as much sense.
From there, I tried to place the most common spot in the lineup for each of the nine players, but that led to a few problems as well. For example: of the nine players, Chiang made the most starts in the #5 spot (22) but he made more starts in the #6 spot (28), which was also the most among the nine players, so he was the obvious choice there. Odubel Herrera and Teodoro Martinez batted leadoff more than anywhere else, but as you will see, Odubel became the #7 hitter, which has been the most inconsistently filled spot in the lineup. It’s the only spot that hasn’t had at least one player with more than 20 starts in that position of the lineup card.
The good news is, filling out the defense was easy. Of the nine players, each player’s most common position did not overlap save for one situation. Both Rodriguez and Buchholz played 3B more than anywhere else. Buchholz played almost twice as many times at the hot corner than G-Rod, though, so Rodriguez became the DH by default.
1. #3 Teodoro Martinez LF – Cafe has led off 23 times, including 22 of his last 23 starts. The one aberration in that stretch was batting second behind Ian Kinsler when he rehabbed with the RoughRiders last week–not a shameful move into the #2 spot. That consistency, along with the fact that he has really only hit in the #9 spot consistently otherwise (which needed to go to Alberto as you will see) won him the choice over Odubel Herrera in this spot. The ‘Riders are 14-9 when Martinez bats in the top spot. He is hitting .270 as the #1 batter, which is actually his lowest average at any spot in the lineup with more than 4 at bats; his .731 OPS, however, is the second highest (.759 in the #9 spot). As far the position goes, Teo has been the left fielder on 47 of the 70 lineup cards, which only trails Ryan Strausborger among outfield starts at one position.
2. #6 Guilder Rodriguez DH – It’s ironic that the super-utility man Rodriguez is the DH. Or maybe it’s just stupidity on my part. G-Rod has actually only DH’d 3 times. Only Zach Zaneski and Hanser Alberto have DH’d less, but I had nowhere else to put him. If I could fill out the lineup card with him as the UTIL player, I would, but that’s just not allowed. The 29-year-old Venezuelan has played 12 games at 1B, 9 at 2B, 21 at 3B and 6 at SS. He leads the team in walks and on-base percentage (.0008 better than Brett Nicholas) and makes good contact, making him a good #2 hole hitter. He is hitting .309 in this spot this year and boasts a better than .400 OBP. He also has only one homer this year (and second of his career) in the spot in the order, which is good enough reason by itself. The fact that he has hit there more than anywhere else in the order, no one has any many starts in that spot as him, and no one else has primarily been the #2 hitter make G-Rod the obvious choice here.
3. #29 Brett Nicholas 1B – Brett Nicholas made 28 of his first 30 appearances in the cleanup spot. Since that point, Nicholas has been the consistent pencil-in at number three. Nicholas has hit third more than any other player has hit in a single spot in the lineup. It has changed much as far as his production. In 33 games in the three spot, he is hitting .314/.383/.529. His production in the cleanup spot was nearly identical .291/.364/.556. He has struck out 50% more in the three hole (33 Ks vs. 22 Ks). As far as first base goes, only Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera have made more starts at one position (64 at SS, 60 at 2B) than Nicholas has at 1B (57)–a no brainer.
4. #5 Alex Buchholz 3B – Buch has started 40 of the RoughRiders 70 games at the hot corner and only Brett Nicholas has more starts in the cleanup spot than him. This is all despite a three-week stint for the former Reds farmhand with the Rangers Triple-A club in Round Rock (where he hit eighth mostly and split time between DH and 3B, in case you were curious). He has 19 starts in the #5 spot but the cleanup spot really has suited him nicely. He is hitting .299 there with four of his six home runs. He is batting just .222 in the middle spot of the lineup.
5. #13 Tomas Telis C – Telis has been a shifting part of the middle to back-end of Buechele’s lineup. With 13 starts in the five and six spots of the lineup and 12 in the seven spot, he sort of defaulted into this position. Both Buchholz and Chiang have more starts than Telis at #5 but made more sense where they are at #4 and #6. He has received the bulk of the catching starts (38 of 70), 13 more than Zaneski. This has also been Telis’ best spot in the order as far as the batting average (.321), although all three of his home runs have come batting sixth, including the shot that won a fan a brand new Jeep.
6. #11 Chih-Hsien Chiang RF – This one was easy. The first ever Taiwanese-born RoughRider was the most often used player in right field this season as well as the number six spot in the order. The same was true of Chiang’s starts. He made 22 in the number five spot, six less than number six. His starts in left (14) and DH (10) were far outweighed by his playing time in right field (36). He hasn’t hit his best in the number six spot. In fact his .202 batting average hitting sixth is the worst of the five spots in the order that he has hit in.
7. #7 Odubel Herrera 2B – The hardest man to place, Herrera actually spent more time in the leadoff spot than any other player and hit second more often than seventh. He hasn’t hit leadoff since May 22 though. At least his position was easy to place. Outside of Alberto at SS, Herrera has made the most starts at one position with 60 at second base. He is hitting .304 in the #7 spot, his highest average of any spot in the lineup in which he has started more than one game, so that helps. I’ll run with that stat and leave it at that. Plus, he is hitting there tonight to begin the second half.
8. #4 Ryan Strausborger CF – With 63 starts in the outfield, Ryan Strausborger has been by far the most commonly placed player into the lineup as an outfielder. His 54 centerfield starts is most for any ‘Riders player at one spot in the outfield. His spot in the order has been less predictable. Ryan has hit second (8 starts), fifth (2), sixth (12), seventh (20), eighth (23), and ninth (1). His .247 average and .301 on-base percentage batting eighth is best of any spot he has hit in the order.
9. #2 Hanser Alberto SS – Alberto began and finished the first half in the last spot of the order. He did 26 other times in between, beating out the second spot in the order for most starts for him. The 64 out of 70 day shortstop was the most commonly started position player at one position and his 28 starts in the #9 spot trail only Brett Nicholas in the three and four spot (33,32), Hoying in the three spot (32), and Herrera in the leadoff spot (29) for most starts in one spot of the order. Hanser hit .222 in the first half in the last spot in the order while he hit .288 in the #2 spot, but that is more of a function of him hitting second while hitting well and not hitting well because he was batting second. The youngest player in the Texas League at season’s open finished behind only Brett Nicholas and Ryan Strausborger with 65 starts.
- The bench players are all of the position players who didn’t make the starting nine that have played for the ‘Riders this year.
- Neil Ramirez made it on the card as the most oft-used starting pitcher on the staff. He has made 14 starts. Carlos Pimentel checks in second with 13 games started.
- The #5 spot is the only one in the lineup in which every active member of the roster has made at least one start in. Even Joe Benson has a start there, and he has only made eight starts in total.
- Brett Nicholas and Jared Hoying were the most stable forces in the Frisco lineup in the first half. The two appeared in only three different spots (#3, #4, and #5). Every other RoughRider was placed in at least four different spots in the order in the first half.
Baseball term of the day: rabbit – a player with great speed
(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)
Odubel Herrera will serve as the starting second baseman, and Brett Nicholas is the starting DH for the South Division team. Tomas Telis and Guilder Rodriguez made the team as reserves. Starters Carlos Pimentel and Neil Ramirez made the team as did relief pitcher Ben Rowen.
More details, including bios on each player, can be found at RidersBaseball.com.
Here is the complete roster of both teams:
2013 South Division All-Star Team
2013 North Division All-Star Team
Baseball term of the day: all to the mustard – in good physical condition
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
The RoughRiders spent ten days in April in first place in the Texas League South Division. After a 14-11 first month, the ‘Riders entered May in second place and only one game back of Corpus Christi. The team improved in May, going 18-11, yet spent just one day in first (May 4, tied for first at 17-12) and finished the month two games behind the Hooks who went 19-10 during May. Two games into June, with 14 games to play in the first half, Frisco sits three games back now, tied for the furthest out of first the team has been all season long and the first time they have been this far behind since May 15.
Texas League Rankings for the Month of May
Record: 32-22 overall, 18-11 in May (2nd in Texas League), home: 10-5, road: 8-6, vs. division: 10-9
Runs: 125 (4th)
Average: .247 (6th)
On-base percentage: .306 (7th)
Stolen bases: 38 (2nd)
Home runs: 32 (T-2nd)
ERA: 4.12 (5th)*
Strikeouts for: 255 (1st)
Walks allowed: 114 (T-7th)
Avg attendance for the year: 7315 (1st)**
|RIDERS REVIEW||Record||Runs||AVG||OBP||SB||HR||ERA||K||BB||Avg. Att. TD|
|TL IN MAY||Record||Runs||AVG||OBP||SB||HR||ERA||K||BB||Avg. Att. TD|
*Frisco 4.121, Corpus 4.116
**Attendance numbers as of June 3, 2013 so are slightly in addition to May totals
Carlos Pimentel earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week this month, but two players stood out in front of him in May.
‘Riders Slugger of the Month
Brett Nicholas (.340/.410/.650, 22 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 9 BB, 0 SB)
The self-proclaimed non-home run hitter blasted a team-leading seven long balls in the month of May. In fact, no one else has seven all season (Teodoro Martinez, honorable mention for Slugger of the Month has six this season including five in May). Nicholas led the RoughRiders in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, home runs and tied for the most RBI (18 – w/ Chih-Hsien Chiang). His eight doubles trailed only Chiang who clubbed ten in May. Entering June, he trails just three Texas Leaguers in home runs and RBI and is third in runs scored. Nicholas scored at least one run in 13 of the 18 ‘Riders wins in May and drove in runs in ten of those 18.
‘Riders Hurler of the Month
Ben Rowen (1-0, 0.55 ERA, 4/4 SV/SVO, 16.1 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HRA, 19 K, 4 BB, 0 HB, 1.04 WHIP, .220 BAA)
Had Carlos Pimentel not finished the month with his worst outing of the season, he might have been the selection, but it is hard to argue with honoring Rowen. Not only was Rowen dominant, but he was asked to throw more often than anyone else on the club and still did not falter. Rowen’s 15 appearances were most in the month of May not only by a RoughRiders pitcher, but all of the Texas League (Matt Stites and Kevin Quackenbush of San Antonio were second with 14). In fact, only Mitch Stetter of the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A LAA) made more appearances in May (16) than Rowen among all affiliated minor leaguers (excludes the Triple-A Mexican League). Only a half-dozen Major Leaguers made more. Twice on the most recent homestand Rowen came into a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning and got the job done. The only times he was scored upon came on May 1, when he allowed an unearned run on a single after San Antonio got a single, a stolen base, and a throwing error to put Anthony Contreras at third base. The other time came in a 7-1 ballgame on May 6 in the ninth. He finished May unscored upon in 12 straight outings and has run the streak to 13 in June with his scoreless outing this past Sunday.
Official Texas League Players of the Week:
Punching Bag of the Month
San Antonio SS Jeudy Valdez
Valdez put together a spectacular month of May, hitting .320 (9th in the TL), with 11 XBH, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases. His .320 batting clip is his best average for a month in his two seasons with the Missions (excluding a .364 effort in the three-game 2012 September). If it weren’t for the RoughRiders, the Dominican shortstop might have been the best player in the league in May. He went just 4-for-25 (.160) against Frisco in May. Two of those hits were doubles, but it hardly makes up for his lack of production against ‘Riders pitching. Valdez hit .375 against the rest of the Texas League. To add insult to injury, Valdez committed three of his six May errors against Frisco, two of which came in a 3-1 RoughRiders win on May 2. Those two blunders led to two unearned runs in the two-run contest.
Best Moment of the Month
Frisco hits six home runs vs Tulsa – May 31, 2013 - Just barely squeezing into the month of May, this game was, without a doubt, the most of headline-filled contest of the season to date. Alexi Ogando made his only rehab start for the Rangers, and it took him just 54 pitches to get 18 outs. He threw 12 pitches in the first two innings combined, but the offense stole the spotlight. First, Joe Benson hit a home run in his first at-bat of the ballgame, his fourth in six games with the RoughRiders. In the fourth, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Ryan Strausborger, and Odubel Herrera hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off Drillers starter Christian Bergman. In ten starts, Bergman had allowed six home runs this season and never more than one in any outing. He served up five in six innings against the ‘Riders on this day. Teodoro Martinez finished him off with his sixth home run, a fifth long ball of May, with a one-out solo blast in the fifth inning. Martinez’ career high in home runs is six, and he nearly eclipsed that mark in the month alone. For Herrera, it was his first home run on the season and first in 53 games. Then, off the bullpen, in his first game back from the disabled list, Mike Olt blasted a home run that landed in the seats so quickly he was probably still in the batter’s box when it left the yard.
Bonus award: The You-Say-This-is-a-Summer-Sport Award
On Thursday, May 2, the RoughRiders hosted the San Antonio Missions in 45 degrees. Well, that was the game-time temperature…officially. Some websites reported 41 or 42 degrees. Wind chill was in the 30s. Steve Buechele wore a jacket to coach third base for the first time in his career: “that was the coldest game, by far” since he joined the Texas League as a manager in 2009. Just as incredibly, Frisco won the game despite the fact that Ryan Rodebaugh was making his first career start. He pitched well enough but not long enough for the win, firing three scoreless, one-hit innings. Frisco surrendered just one hit in the 3-1 win.
How did the prospects do?
Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30: RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May.
Cody Buckel - Buckel made one appearance in May before leaving the club for extended spring training. The right-hander was moved to the bullpen after an 0-4 record with an 18.00 ERA in five starts. He made one outing out of the ‘pen that proved a relief role would not solve his 2013 issues (0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 WP). He has been in Arizona since.
Roman Mendez – Mendez didn’t allow an earned run in April. He began May with four innings of perfect relief work before finally being touched up for his first blemish to his ERA on May 10 against Corpus Christi. After three more scoreless outings, he ran into his toughest appearance of the year. In the eighth inning of an already-out-of-hand contest in Springfield on May 22, the first three batters reached off the Dominican right-hander. He allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in the frame. On May 28, Mendez threw nine straight balls. After the ninth consecutive toss out of the zone, he bent over in pain and subsequently left the ball game. Days later, he had season-ending surgery to a stress-fracture in his right elbow, the same surgery that ended his 2012 season.
- Hanser Alberto – Hanser came streaking into the month of May in the midst of an eight-game stretch that took his average from .228 to .298 to finish April. On May 1, the ‘Riders shortstop was hitting .298. On June 1 he was hitting .224. It wasn’t a good month for Alberto (.162/.229/.232). Although he did hit his first two Double-A homers, he also committed six errors in the month.
Wilmer Font – Like most of the Frisco staff, May was not as kind as April for Font. Hard to improve upon his April though (0.83 ERA, 0.73 WHIP). Over nine appearances, Font collected four saves with a 2.45 ERA. Over his eleven innings, he allowed eight hits and walked 12 for a 1.81 WHIP, indicating that Wilmer was a bit lucky during May. The good news is that all three of his earned runs came in one outing (5/18 vs SA: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). For the first time this season, however, Font his 100 mph on the radar gun, doing so to close the combined one-hit shutout against Springfield on May 23.
Neil Ramirez – Ramirez looked like the Arlington-bound, hard-throwing, hammer-curve hurling right-hander of 2011 this April. He looked mortal this past month, but there are still encouraging signs. Despite being hit much harder in May (.209 BAA May; .130 BAA April), Ramirez allowed just 6.4 H/9 innings in May, which is in-line with his fantastic 2011 stint with the ‘Riders. He walked fewer batters as well (14 BB in 33.2 IP May; 15 BB 24.1 IP April). The biggest difference was the home run ball. Nothing left the yard against Ramirez in April, while five of the 24 hits he allowed in May were homers. He is still allowing home runs at a respectable level this season, you just hope that May is not the beginning of a downward trend in that category. Looking his FanGraphs page, it seems Neil had trouble getting men out when had to pitch out of the stretch last season (50.9 % LOB). He is doing a better job of that this season, although the .240 BABIP seems unsustainable.
Randy Henry – Henry didn’t allow an earned run in April. He pitched twice in May and both times gave up an earned run. The more alarming part of that sentence is that he pitched just twice in May. He has been out with injury and was placed on the disabled list in mid-May. He seems far from returning as well. He has yet to begin throwing off a mound.
Joe Benson – Not officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if on the Rangers 40-man roster to begin the season. Benson hit just .162 with four extra-base hits (0 HR) in May for the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A MIN). Four days after he played his last game as a Twins farmhand, he homered in his first game as a Texas minor leaguer. Claimed off of waivers by Texas on May 25 and assigned to Frisco, Benson homered in his first three games as a RoughRider from May 26-28. In his first six games with Frisco, Benson went 7-for-18 (.389), clubbed four home runs, a triple, drove in six, and walked twice. The outfielder who is out of options is off to a great beginning in his fresh start. You can learn more about Joe’s story from our post on him last week.
Happy June and go RoughRiders!
Baseball term of the day: subway slinger - submariner; a pitcher who throws underhand or sidearm
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)
Ted Price of DallasSportsNetwork.tv informed us this morning that he has posted the first RoughRiders Roundtable of the season (#10 overall).
You can find the podcast entry by clicking here.
In this episode Alex, Nathan, and Jason Cole (of LoneStarDugout.com) discuss middle infield prospects Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera as well as catcher Tomas Telis before diving into the divergent starts of right-handed starters Neil Ramirez and Cody Buckel . ‘Riders Manager Steve Buechele breaks down the opening day roster. Jason also weighs in on the slow start in Triple-A Round Rock of Rangers third base prospect Mike Olt. We toss around a little Nick Tepesch talk as well.
Baseball term of the day – knocker – an early term for a batter
Earlier today MiLB.com released its 2012 Rangers Organization All-Star Team and the RoughRiders were well-represented with six players named to the squad, more than any other team in the farm system (Round Rock, which ironically finished with the worst record of all the full-season teams, was second with five). So how did MiLB.com do with their picks? Let’s take a look at the catching and infield positions.
MiLB.com’s pick: Kellin Deglan, Hickory (92 G, .234-12-41, 25 2B, 2 3B, 46 R, .310 OBP, .438 SLG, .748 OPS, 7 E, 12 PB, 38% CS)
My pick: Deglan
Production-wise, it’s not a stellar crop to choose from but a case could be made for either one of Frisco’s catchers (Jose Felix and Zach Zaneski) and for Myrtle Beach’s Tomas Telis. Felix was arguably the best defensive catcher in the Texas League and made strides offensively while Zaneski’s batting average was over .300 for most of the year and got better behind the plate as the season went on. Telis’ offensive numbers, when observed through the hitter-unfriendly Carolina League prism, were actually fairly comparable to Deglan’s. For me, the difference came down to the numbers that were actually there, and the former first round pick Deglan swatted 12 home runs with 25 doubles, both impressive figures for a 20-year old catcher. It may all be a moot point in the long run, as Jorge Alfaro, who caught just 29 games, is probably the best prospect of the bunch. His lack of time behind the dish hurt him in this exercise, however.
MiLB.com’s pick: Chris McGuiness, Frisco (123 G, .268-23-77, 25 2B, 65 R, .366 OBP, .474 SLG, .840 OPS, 7 E)
My Pick: McGuiness
One of the newest members of the Indians organization, McGuiness had a terrific bounce back season with the ’Riders, giving Texas League hurlers a reason to throw hittable pitches to Mike Olt, who batted before the former Citadel star in Steve Buechele’s lineup. McGuiness established career-highs in home runs, doubles, runs batted in and runs scored while saving numerous throwing errors with excellent glove work at first base. Other fine seasons to consider for this spot belonged to the Round Rock combo of Mike Bianucci and Brad Nelson, Myrtle’s Brett Nicholas and the AZL Rangers’ Ronald Guzman.
MiLB.com’s pick: Yangervis Solarte, Round Rock (130 G, .288-11-54, 28 2B, 69 R, 3-4 SB, .340 OBP, .405 SLG, .745 OPS, 11 E at position)
My pick: Rougned Odor, Hickory (109 G, .259-10-47, 23 2B, 4 3B, 60 R, 19-29 SB, .313 OBP, .400 SLG, .714 OPS, 10 E at position)
My first disagreement with MiLB.com comes at the second base position. Solarte’s first season with the Rangers organization was also his first at the Triple-A level. It was his finest season to date in home runs, RBI and runs scored, but while I tend to give a little extra credit to offensive players in the Carolina League, I have to take some away from Pacific Coast Leaguers. Why? The circuit dramatically favors hitters in most years and 2012 was no exception. The PCL batting average and OPS for this past season were .278 and .775, respectively (the International League, by comparison, was .257 and .717). Solarte should certainly be congratulated for a fine season, but the 18-year-old Odor (he turns 19 this February) put up similar numbers in a less offensively-generous league while ranking among the best defensive second basemen in the South Atlantic League. His numbers did fall off in the second half of the year, but that is often the case for players in their first full season of professional ball. Added Frisco first name bonus: I’m looking forward to seeing Rougned playing for the RoughRiders, perhaps by the end of next season. Other second basemen whose seasons were worthy of note included Frisco’s Leury Garcia, Myrtle’s Odubel Herrera, Spokane’s Cam Schiller and the AZL Rangers’ Janluis Castro. So yeah, the Rangers are pretty well-stocked at this position.
MiLB.com’s pick: Mike Olt, Frisco/Texas (MiLB numbers: 95 G, .288-28-82, 17 2B, 3B, 65 R, 4-4 SB, .398 OBP, .579 SLG, .977 OPS, 11 E at position)
My pick: Olt
No brainer here, as a case could be made for Olt being the best third baseman in Minor League Baseball in 2012. After missing a good chunk of the previous season with a broken collarbone, the former UConn Husky was a one-man wrecking crew in Frisco. He looked capable of hitting the most home runs by a Texas Leaguer in more than a decade before the Rangers called him up to the big leagues in early August. He was slowed by a foot injury that he suffered just days into reaching Arlington, but that will likely become just a footnote in an otherwise solid big league career. While Olt was clearly the best at the hot corner for the Rangers, it would be remiss of me to not mention Joey Gallo, who spent time with both short-season clubs. The supplemental first rounder from this past June snapped Cody Decker’s AZL home run record with 18 long balls (he added four more with Spokane) while hitting .293 with a 1.169 OPS for the baby Rangers. Christian Villanueva, who spent most of 2012 with Myrtle before being traded to the Cubs, Hickory’s Drew Robinson and Spokane’s Ryan Rua also had noteworthy seasons.
MiLB.com’s pick: Jurickson Profar, Frisco/Texas (MiLB numbers: 126 G, .281-14-62, 26 2B, 7 3B, 76 R, 16-20 SB, .368 OBP, .452 SLG, .820 OPS, 22 E at position)
My pick: Profar
Again, you can’t shoot too many holes in picking Profar, hailed by many as the best prospect in the game at the moment. From his preternatural ability to work a count to his off-the-charts makeup, there isn’t much to say about the 19-year-old Curacaoian (my favorite learned word of 2012) that hasn’t already been said. So how about this observation, for kicks and giggles:
First game of full season ball: Home run in his first at bat of the year for Hickory vs. Asheville on April 7, 2011
First hit at Double-A: Home run at Arkansas to deepest part of the ballpark on April 8, 2012
First at bat in 2012 XM Futures All-Star Game: Home run off top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi in first inning
First MLB at bat: Home run at Cleveland on September 2, 2012
The man knows how to make an entrance, doesn’t he? With apologies to Allen Iverson, not to be forgotten at the shortstop position is Hanser “The Answer” Alberto, who put together a strong campaign between the two Single-A stops on the Minor League ladder.
Coming tomorrow: My thoughts on the outfield and pitching All-Star choices.
- Alex V.