Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

Road to the show

Sometimes, I find myself pondering the vast landscape of baseball’s farm systems. The intricate layout of a farm system can affect player development and fan interest, along with numerous other factors.

The Frisco RoughRiders are fortunate to be extremely close to the team’s Major League affiliate, the Texas Rangers. However, many Minor League teams do not have that luxury. In fact, some are located on completely opposite ends of the country.

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With that in mind, I was curious to find out the distances between Minor League affiliates and their respective Major League parent clubs. Creating a spreadsheet was a beneficial way to compare and contrast between different organizations and each level of Minor League Baseball. (zoom in for details)

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This is each farm system, mapped out by affiliate location and distance from the affiliate’s home ballpark to the parent club’s ballpark. These are driving distances, not flying distances. So, say you wanted to hop in the car and travel from Centennial Field in Burlington (home of the Class A-Short Season Vermont Lake Monsters) to the Oakland Coliseum. That would be a whopping 3,016-mile trip, the longest driving distance between any Minor League team and its Major League affiliate.

The table above has each organization sorted by average distance (total miles/number of farm teams). Oakland has the most spread out farm system, with the Class A-Advanced Stockton Ports being the only A’s affiliate within 750 miles of the Oakland Coliseum. The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, have their entire farm system (with the exception of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles) neatly spread across the Mid-Atlantic region. The average distance between an Orioles affiliate and Oriole Park at Camden Yards is just 242 miles.

In terms of average distance, the Rangers place 17th out of 30. However, the top two levels of the farm system are very close to home. Frisco is just a 35-mile drive from Globe Life Park in Arlington, ranking second among Double-A affiliates (only the Bowie Baysox are closer – 27 miles from Baltimore).

It is also interesting to note the trend of Minor League teams being closer to home in higher ranks of the farm system. 14 Class A-Advanced teams are located at least 1,000 miles from their Major League affiliate, while just five Triple-A teams top the 1,000 mark (Las Vegas is the farthest Triple-A affiliated, located 2,535 miles from Citi Field in New York). Additionally, eight teams in Triple-A are located within 100 miles of their Major League affiliates.

Highs and Lows:

Triple-A: Tacoma – 36 miles from Seattle … Las Vegas – 2,535 miles from New York (NL)

Double-A: Bowie – 27 miles from Baltimore … Richmond – 2,869 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Advanced: Potomac – 30 miles from Washington … Fort Myers – 1,700 miles from Minnesota

Class-A: Lake County – 19 miles from Cleveland … Augusta – 2,618 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Short Season: Brooklyn – 21 miles from New York (NL) … Vermont – 3,016 miles from Oakland

Rookie: AZL Diamondbacks – 21 miles from Arizona … AZL Indians – 2,033 miles from Cleveland

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: frostie – A pitch in slow pitch softball that is above 12 feet in arc. The term alludes facetiously to the frost that appears at higher altitudes.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Name the new Kinston team

Yesterday, the Texas Rangers agreed to purchase a Class A-Advanced franchise in the Carolina League that will play in Kinston, North Carolina beginning next season.

In less than a day, the new team already has a Twitter handle (@BaseballKinston) and a website. On the website, there is a link where fans can submit ideas for what the team should be named.

The process began yesterday, and fans have until Friday, September 2 to submit ideas. The top five or six options will be announced after the deadline, and fans will have an opportunity to vote on their favorite team name.

We have a few ideas of our own…

Kinston Krzyzewskis

KinstonKs

Kinston Kowboys

Kinston1

Kinston K-angers

KingstonK

Kinston Kiner-Falefas

KinstonKiner

Kinston Krusty Krabs

KrustyKrab

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: expansion team – A team that has been created through expansion and that is often referred to as such for many years after its entry into a league.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Deadline deals involving RoughRiders

Today is a big day in professional baseball. Because of the leap year, August 1 at 3 p.m. CT was deemed the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline (one day later than the usual July 31 deadline).

Although many trades happen throughout the season, including some in the days leading up to the deadline, there is nothing more thrilling than working out a last-minute deal. The moves end up impacting the parent club’s farm system, whether directly or indirectly. Some years, the RoughRiders have been affected more than others.

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This year was one of those years that directly affected the RoughRiders. It was recently announced that outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz were included in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress.

This is not the only time the RoughRiders lost a player on the day of the deadline. Let’s have a look back at a few major deadline deals that involved RoughRiders players from that season.

July 31, 2015: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders LHP Cody Ege and former Riders catcher Tomas Telis to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Sam Dyson.

Ege left the Riders on a stretch of 13 straight relief appearances without allowing an earned run. He was assigned to Double-A Jacksonville and quickly made his way up to Triple-A New Orleans by mid-August. Ege made his Major League debut for the Marlins earlier this year on April 23 and pitched in five games for Miami.

Telis, who made his Major League debut in 2014 for the Rangers, finished the 2015 season on the Marlins 25-man roster. He has played in two games for the big-league club this year, with the majority of his 2016 action coming in Triple-A New Orleans.

July 31, 2011: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SPs Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to the San Diego Padres for Mike Adams.

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Joe Wieland, 2011

 

One of the bigger impact trades on the list, the Rangers gave up two very good starting pitching prospects to get one of the best relievers in the National League at the time. For a while it appeared the Rangers would acquire Padres closer Heath Bell, and out of seemingly nowhere, picked up Adams instead.

Erlin and Wieland were both staples of the 2011 ‘Riders rotation. Erlin was 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, after his late May promotion from Myrtle Beach. Wieland was not called up from the Pelicans’ squad until mid-June but adapted quickly to Texas League batters. The big righthander was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA as a RoughRiders pitcher and pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in his final start as a Rangers farmhand on July 29, 2011.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jose Diaz to the Kansas City Royals for Matt Stairs

Attempting a run at the 2006 AL West Crown, the Rangers went out and aquired 38-year-old Matt Stairs, who didn’t hit much for the Rangers (.210/.273/.370) in 26 games down the stretch. Amazingly, Stairs went on to play five more seasons in the big leagues, none of them for Texas.

The cost was Jose Diaz, who got a quick promotion to Triple-A after a stellar start for the Riders in 2006. In eight games, four starts, Diaz posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. He pitched in just four games in the majors for the Royals, all coming in 2006. The Rangers actually signed him again in 2008. He pitched for Frisco again, and made it up to Arlington for a single appearance with the big league club.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jesse Chavez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kip Wells

Chavez made 38 appearances with the Riders before his promotion to Triple-A in late July and was traded after one appearance for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks (then a Rangers affiliate). Chavez has played with five different Major League clubs and was just involved in another deadline deal today. He was shipped from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Brew Crew – Nickname for the Milwaukee Brewers, so named after its 13-game winning streak at the beginning of the 1987 season.

Riding Through the Farm: July 22

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“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (55-41 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are just 1-5 since the All-Star break, continuing their cold stretch. The team has won just four games in the month of July for a pitiful 4-12 record.

Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo were both recently placed on the disabled list, as the club’s injury woes continue as well. Texas wraps up its nine-game post-All-Star road trip with a three-game set in Kansas City. The Rangers are clinging to a 3 1/2 game lead over Houston in the American League West.

Tonight: at Kansas City Royals, 7:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Yu Darvish)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (49-50 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

7-20 Beck promotion

Preston Beck was promoted to Round Rock Wednesday and made his Triple-A debut last night.

The Express played last night’s game as the Round Rock FireAnts on “What Could Have Been Night”. The FireAnts marched their way to a 3-0 victory, extinguishing the Fresno Grizzlies at Dell Diamond. Preston Beck went 1-for-4 in his Triple-A debut.

Additionally, two members of the E-Train were recently recalled to the Majors. The Rangers called up infielder Hanser Alberto and outfielder Delino DeShields to fill the holes left by Fielder and Choo being placed on the disabled list.

Tonight: at Colorado Springs, 8:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (57-40 overall, 14-13 second half – T-3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have already clinched a playoff spot with their first-half division title. They current have the best overall record in the circuit at 57-40.

Travis Demeritte continues to pace the circuit with 22 home runs. The total is six more than the two players tied for second behind him.

Former 2016 Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League hitters. The righty has a 3-1 record with a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief appearances, and he is 3-for-4 in save opportunities. Opposing batters have just a .208 average against Palmquist in the hitter-friendly league.

Tonight: at Lancaster, 8:35 p.m. (SP: TBA)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (52-45 overall, 14-13 second half – T-4th, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are on a hot streak right now with four straight victories.

In last night’s 7-3 victory over Delmarva, Hickory recorded a season-high 16 hits against the Shorebirds. Rangers No. 3 prospect Dillon Tate earned his third win of the season, tying his season-high with a six-inning start.

Tonight: at Delmarva, 6:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Erik Swanson)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (17-17, – 4th, Northwest League North Division)

Spokane has climbed the standings quickly with seven wins in their last 10 games. The Indians are now in a tie for first place with Tri-City, as the first half of the season comes to a close.

Spokane recently celebrated “Future Texas Rangers Night” this past Wednesday. Indians players wore special edition Rangers jerseys that were auctioned off during the game. Many future Rangers (and RoughRiders) may emerge from this young group!

Tonight: at Boise, 8:15 p.m. (SP: RHP Kaleb Fontenot)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Nintendo slider – A pitch that breaks unexpectedly over the plate, as if remotely controlled.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

From Honolulu to Frisco, Kiner-Falefa’s journey

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is one of Frisco’s brightest stars. He was one of seven Riders named a Mid-Season All-Star in the Texas league and provides the club with great flexibility, playing at least 15 games at four different positions this season. Yet, where he came from is what makes him so unique.

The 21-year-old was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, joining Scott Feldman as the only Hawaiian-born player in the history of the Riders. He was originally drafted out of Mid Pacific Institute High School at 18 and spent the first three years of his career climbing the minor league ranks before cracking Frisco’s opening day roster this season. That’s come with a lot of challenges, but he said he’s feeling comfortable three months into his first Double-A season.

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“Coming up in the AZL, every year you progress and get better at your routine, what you do on a daily basis,” Kiner-Falefa said. “Once you get to Double-A, you have an idea, so this year’s been a lot easier for me compared to when I was drafted.”

On his way up, Kiner-Falefa’s met many other fellow Hawaiians, especially during the off months prior to the start of this season. He worked out with Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals and Shane Victorino of the Los Angeles Angels, also known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” He even has the same agent as Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, who he met in person for the first time last winter. He said being able to pick their brains and build relationships with them has been a great help in his maturity as a player, but still holds his family closest to his heart.

Kiner-Falefa has two siblings, and one of them will be close by very soon. Lekaleka, Isiah’s younger sister, just committed to the University of North Texas to play volleyball, meaning the two will be just a 45-minute drive away from each other – purely by coincidence.

Isiah also has an older brother who he’s been very competitive with his entire life. He was a tri-sport athlete growing up and even got into Motocross and BMX before committing fully to baseball as a high school sophomore. With all things considered, he attributes his love to compete to his family’s culture.

“Me and my brother, we would play football in my backyard all the time,” Isiah said. “That helped us a lot with our athletic ability, just always being on the streets playing baseball, throwing a football around.”

He said he misses Hawaii dearly, but has enjoyed Frisco much more than he expected. His extended family came out to visit in June while he was still recovering from a knee infection and weren’t able to see him play, but they have plans to come back in August to see what both he and Lekaleka can accomplish in Texas.

“Them being around cheering and all their support – anybody growing up having their family behind them is huge,” Isiah said. “That’s pretty much what they did for me, and it’s helped me a lot.”

– Alex

Baseball term of the day: five-o’clock lightning  – The scoring of runs late in the game. The term was used when baseball was played exclusively during the day, with most games beginning around three o’clock.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Guzman to represent Riders, Rangers in All-Star Futures Game

RoughRiders infielder Ronald Guzman has been selected to participate in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, held Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CT at San Diego’s Petco Park. Today, he was placed on the temporary inactive list, leaving the RoughRiders to play in Sunday’s contest.

Steve Goldberg: You were selected to play in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in San Diego. How special is that to you?

Ronald Guzman: I am really excited about it. It is a great opportunity and I am ready to go have fun. There are a lot of great guys that are going there, so I am looking forward to seeing them.

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SG: Was playing in the Futures Game a goal for you coming into this season?

RG: Actually yeah, it was a goal in the back of my mind. It wasn’t a main goal, but I really wanted to make it there. I am really happy that I could achieve that goal.

SG: How did you find out you were going to be playing in the game?

RG: I saw it on Twitter. People were congratulating me, and then my agent texted me and told me I was going. I was obviously pumped. That was right before the Texas League All-Star Game.

SG: Travis Demeritte is going as well, another Rangers prospect who was a teammate of yours in Hickory last year. Are you excited to see him again?

RG: Yeah, he is a great guy and a great teammate. I am happy to see him again. I haven’t seen him in a little while since he has been in High Desert, so I am looking forward to seeing him.

SG: You get a chance to play at Petco Park right before the Major League All-Star Game. What is that feeling like for you?

RG: This is a great field right here in Frisco, but I know the big league stadiums are another level. I am really excited to play there and just have fun.

SG: Have you had any experience playing in Major League ballparks before?

RG: Yeah, I had a chance to play at Wrigley Field when I was 15 in the Under Armour All-America Game. I actually played in San Diego one time in instructional league. And I had a chance to play in Texas during Spring Training this year.

SG: There is obviously a big difference going from playing in a Minor League game to playing in an All-Star game like the Futures Game on Sunday. What is the adjustment like for you to prepare for it?

RG: I am not thinking about anything different. I am just going to do the same thing I’ve been doing for the last couple months. I am going to get ready like I am playing a normal game with the same routine. I am going to do my best and select good pitches to hit well.

Guzman will be one of two Rangers farmhands participating in Sunday’s Futures Game. Class A-Advanced High Desert infielder Travis Demeritte, who is tied for the fifth-most home runs in Minor League Baseball (20), will play for US Team, playing against Guzman and the World Team. Last year, the Rangers organization sent outfielders Nomar Mazara and Nick Williams to the game.

Sunday’s game will be broadcast live by MLB Network. For more information, and to find what channel MLB Network is on in your area, click here.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: slapjack  – One of a series of base hits “stacked right on top of the other”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Get to know Riders pitcher Ryan Ledbetter

Ryan Ledbetter is one of the newest members of the RoughRiders. The right-handed pitcher has a twin brother David who plays in the Rangers farm system as well, currently with the High Desert Mavericks.

We caught up with Ryan during the last homestand to chat with him about the transition to playing Double-A baseball, as well as the experience he has had being in the same organization as his brother.

Steve Goldberg: First of all, welcome to Frisco.

Ryan Ledbetter: Thank you, Steve. Glad to be here. The jump from High Desert is incredible. I already love all the fans, and I don’t even know them yet.

SG: What was it like for you when you first took the mound with the Riders?

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RL: Definitely exhilarating. It’s exciting to be here and be able to play at a higher level, competing against guys that I’ve seen before and other guys that I haven’t. I’m just excited to be here and help this team out.

SG: Going from Class A-Advanced up to Double-A, there is a big difference between those two levels of baseball, right?

RL: Oh yeah. Even the coaches tell you this is a huge jump. And they’re throwing you into the fire by allowing you to come to Double-A. You should be trying to pitch at the same level no matter where you are, but there is a culture shock. It is very welcoming.

SG: For you and your brother David, how special is it to be playing in the same organization?

RL: It is just a gift from God to be able to play with him. Just having that support there and someone pushing you to not only be a better baseball player, but a better person. Having that bond with someone that close to you is just awesome.

SG: Is it a bit tough being apart from him now?

RL: Yeah. The same thing happened when we first got drafted. He went to Spokane and I stayed in the Arizona League. It’s not really that hard necessarily, it’s just different. I have to call him instead of see him in-person. I have to talk to him about the things that are most important instead of just talking with him all the time.

SG: Obviously you guys have that friendship and camaraderie. But is there a competitive aspect to your relationship as well?

RL: There is always competition between my brother and I. No matter who you are, if you have a brother, you are always thinking, ‘I am going to be better than him. I have to be better than him.’ I think that’s what’s so cool about being on a team with him. If he is doing something I should be doing, it’s like, ‘I have to do that now. I can’t let him be better than me.’ I think that’s really driven us to where we are today, playing professional baseball and going the extra mile to get better.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: avocado – An inviting pitch hit for a home run.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: July 1

Riding Through the Farm v3“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (51-29, 1st – AL West)

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees, the Rangers continue their road trip with a three-game set in Minnesota. Texas will head back to the Northeast to wrap up the trip next week in Boston.

The Rangers continue to hold the best record in the American League and are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the most wins in all of baseball. The Astros have surpassed the Mariners for second place in the division, but the Rangers still hold an 8 1/2 game advantage over Houston.

Tonight: at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (42-38, 2nd – PCL American Southern Division)

Round Rock picked up two wins yesterday, including a walk-off victory in the second game of the doubleheader against Iowa. The Express continue their season with the I-Cubs tonight, and the two teams will play another doubleheader Saturday before the finale of the series Sunday.

Saturday, the two teams will finish the remainder of a game suspended in April due to wet grounds. Then, they will play the originally scheduled game after the conclusion of the suspended game.

Tonight: vs. Iowa, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Richelson Pena)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (46-32 overall, 3-5 2nd half, 5th – California League South Division)

The Riders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate playing an Angels farm team this weekend. High Desert hosts Inland Empire in a four-game series that began with a Mavericks win yesterday.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Mavs, who were swept by Lancaster in a mid-week series. However, High Desert won the first-half championship and has already clinched a spot in the California League playoffs.

Tonight: vs. Inland Empire, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (41-37 overall, 3-5 2nd half, T-6th – South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory went sliding into the all-star break and the struggles have continued. The ‘Dads have lost five of their first eight games to begin the second half.

However, the Crawdads have won two of their last three games, including a 7-3 victory over Kannapolis last night. Hickory jumped out to a 7-0 with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and three more in the fifth.

Dylan Moore, who was relegated to first base early in the season, also played second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field during June.

Tonight: vs. Kannapolis, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (5-9, 4th – Northwest League North Division)

After starting the season 4-3, the Indians have lost six of their last seven games. The squad has slipped to the cellar in the Northwest League’s North Division.

The lone win came Wednesday against Everett. Former Rider Jake Shortslef made the start for Spokane and allowed just three hits in five shutout innings. He earned his first win of the 2016 season.

Tonight: at Vancouver, 9:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Nick Green)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: coaster – A player in the Pacific Coast League.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Cordell named MVP of Tuesday’s All-Star Game

The RoughRiders are back in action tonight at Arkansas after a few days off for the All-Star break.

In Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Springfield, Cordell exploded for an incredible performance in front of the crowd of 7,832 at Hammons Field. The outfielder earned the game’s MVP award after going 3-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in.

Cordell currently leads the Texas League with 52 runs batted in, and he once again showed why he is one of the elite players in the circuit with his performance Tuesday night.

Let’s look back at two of the highlights:

The three-run homer came in the sixth inning, and it ultimately made the difference for the South Division in an 8-5 victory over the North Division.

“Games like this, you’re really relaxed and trying to get a good pitch to drive,” Cordell said. “Luckily, I was able to get a few of those and put some good swings on them.”

Cordell and the Riders return to action tonight, beginning a three-game road series against the Arkansas Travelers to wrap up the month of June. Listen to the game live at 7:10 p.m.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: drive from the hill – To force a pitcher from the game by getting base hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Top 10 first half highlights

10. Lewis Brinson’s leadoff home run (May 22 vs. San Antonio)

9. Preston Beck hits the first home run at home this season…into the Choctaw Lazy River (April 14 vs. Northwest Arkansas)

8. Joe Jackson and Kellin Deglan hit walk-off singles (April 26 vs. San Antonio and June 16 Game 1 vs. Corpus Christi)

7. Ryan Cordell hits two grand slams less than a week apart (April 16 vs. Northwest Arkansas and April 21 at Corpus Christi)

6. Ronald Guzman makes two incredible plays in the same game (April 27 vs. San Antonio)

5. Joe Mikulik ejections (May 13 Game 2 at Corpus Christi and May 24 at Tulsa)

4. Ryan Cordell miraculous catch (April 30 vs. Corpus Christi)

3. Victor Payano strikes out a career-high 13 batters (May 3 at San Antonio)

2. Yu Darvish makes a pair of rehab starts at Dr Pepper Ballpark (May 1 vs. Corpus Christi and May 22 vs. San Antonio)

1. Preston Beck hits a walk-off home run (June 14 vs. Midland)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: baseballese – The overall language of baseball, comprising official terminology, slang, and jargon. Each setting in baseball, from the dugout to the front office and press box, has its own specialized language.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)