Results tagged ‘ Robbie Erlin ’
Note: This is a running diary of a typical day in the life of the RoughRiders’ media department. The updates are available in chronological order, so scroll down for the latest updates.
10:45 p.m. Sunday (all of us): Well after the RoughRiders’ 6-5 victory over the San Antonio Missions, the media department departs Dr Pepper Ballpark. The game story is up, the information is distributed to local media, the equipment is packed, and the lights are off. We will be back here before we know it.
1:00 a.m. (Brian): I’m the night owl of the group, it seems. After a quick bite to eat following the game, I sit down and prepare the content for PlayBall! The text is already set to go for today’s edition, but I need to turn in the draft for Wednesday’s edition. In order to get the PlayBall! programs ready for each home game, much of the content is due 2-3 days in advance.
Once I sent that to Alex, our terrific graphic designer and an avid reader of the blog, I’m done for the night. Aaron will be with you early, and I’ll follow shortly after as we continue to give you an inside look at our day-to-day life. We’ll have pictures and everything, so enjoy!
10:30 a.m. (Aaron): After waking up around 9 a.m. and saying goodbye to my wife Heather who left earlier this morning for work, it’s time to start working on tonight’s game notes. This is a daily task that virtually every broadcaster in the minors deals with. These notes are used by both the home and road broadcaster along with visiting media, scouts, etc. It’s about 13 pages of news, stats, bios, and trends. The idea is that you can flip through the notes and have a pretty good idea what that team has been up to lately, even if you haven’t seen them play. We always post our notes to our website as well.
11:14 a.m. (Aaron): Notes are taking longer today because we have a new starter tonight, Derek Hankins. I’ve just finished looking up all his career stats and bio information. I use information to make a dedicated page in our games that focuses on the starting pitcher. It’s always exciting getting a new starter, but it means a longer day for the game notes to create and format the pitcher’s page.
11:30 a.m. (Brian): I woke up around 10 a.m., ate some breakfast, and caught up on e-mails for a bit. The first job every day for me is to update the web site. The best part about the “newsroom” that allows us to post, archive, update, etc., is the “cheetah.” While the site is in the process of generating, we are greeted to the running cheetah that you see to your left. Once I’m done with updating the story, the game story will be down, a few new exciting RoughRiders promos will be on the home page, and the “Extra Bases Chat” will be ready to go for tonight’s series finale.
12:27 p.m. (Aaron): Game notes are done. I sometimes stand up and wave pom-poms when this is completed. I mentally have a hard time moving on with my day until I know this is behind me. In addition to writing them, I’ve also emailed them out to our distribution list that includes media members from around Dallas-Fort Worth, the Rangers, and their affiliates. After I emailed the notes out in PDF form, I then posted them to our website. The cheetah must have had a light breakfast, he (she?) ran pretty fast for me.
12:45 p.m. (Brian): Everything online is updated, and a few new promotions are available for viewing at ridersbaseball.com. Now, the goal is to get ready for some possible history at Dr Pepper Ballpark tonight. With two hits yesterday, shortstop Renny Osuna is tied with Steve Murphy for the all-time hit lead in Frisco history.
This means that Osuna is one hit away from setting a very important record. As a result, we are preparing for it now. We already have a script for John Clemens, the “Voice of Dr Pepper Ballpark,” to read if/when Osuna breaks the record. Also, Alex has designed an image for us to put on the home page of our website. The sneak peak to that image is to the left. Now, time to get ready and head into the office for all of the tasks at the stadium. First pitch time is in about six hours!
2:00 p.m. (Brian): I am alone in the office right now, but Stephen came in here earlier today to print out rosters and stat packs. Stat packs are distributed to all managers, coaches and media members, and they contain overall stats, situational stats, the Texas League’s daily report, and much more. For a stat nerd like me, it is an important part of my preparation.
Now, it’s time to get the lineups set to go. We have already received Frisco’s lineup from skipper Steve Buechele. It looks pretty similar to what we’ve seen from him lately, especially because the club only has one extra player right now (Jose Felix is the odd man out today).
I remember when I first started covering baseball, I thought that the lineup card would be very formal and magical. Well, you can be the judge. And don’t get your hopes up.
2:30 p.m. (Brian): After enjoying some free pizza in our conference room (always a sign of a good day), it’s time to start getting our paperwork around to both teams and to the press box. We’ve nicknamed our printer “T.K.” and it is very busy during this part of the day. Once the printing is done, I’ll walk it up to the booth in the chilly North Texas weather. By that point, our whole force will be in here getting ready for tonight’s game!
2:33 p.m. (Aaron): Once the notes were done I got some lunch and did some work around the house. Trying to have a marriage and work in minor league baseball is a tough assignment. Like all of us, I’m at the ballpark eight nights a week and am out of town so often it’s hard to be very helpful at home. My wife Heather does so much for us in-season I try to help out when I can. Once I got caught up on some emails, I picked up the house (my messes, of course), emptied the dishwasher, paid some bills, and did some general husbandly duties that I (rarely) excel at.
3:15 p.m. (Brian): The RoughRiders’ media quartet is in the office to prepare for the game this evening, which is actually Frisco’s 26th straight day with a game. Reid is filing away with some “clippings,” which are used to document how much outside coverage the RoughRiders get. Stephen is working on a blog for tomorrow on a “behind the scenes” look at Dr Pepper Ballpark. I am doing this blog and writing a feature for Sports Page Dallas.
Aaron appears to have the most important job of all. It is easy to lose track of things during the grind of a minor league season, and one thing that slipped all of our minds was our “recycle box.” As you can see on the left, it was quite full today when Aaron decided to usher in the off day tomorrow with a clean recycle box. Admirable.
To be honest, I’m not sure if that bad will be able to hold all of the paper for the long term, but it is worth a shot. Three hours until the pre-game show. Plenty of work to do!
4:20 p.m. (Brian): By this time of the day, everyone is gearing up for the game in their own way. For me, as the pre- and post-game show host, I need to be prepared for the Texas League and Texas Rangers’ scoreboard. To do that, I keep some updated information on each game within the league. The sheet I used was featured back in this blog post.
I will also pre-record an intro for the top of the pre-game show, which features a highlight from the previous night. To record, I use a nifty-looking program called “Adobe Audition,” which you can see to your right. Plenty of green, which is my favorite color.
4:35 p.m. (Brian): We just found out about the pitching situation for tonight. Derek Hankins will pitch no more than four innings, and then Richard Bleier will work behind the newest ‘Rider. Hopefully this duo can give Frisco’s ‘pen a much-deserved night off this evening!
4:45 p.m. (Aaron): Each day I try to talk with some of the guys in the clubhouse and find out some information for the broadcast. Some days it’s nothing more than pointless chatter (like when I talk with our trainer, Carlos Olivas). Other times I get some good stuff. Along with Carlos, today I checked in with our pitching coach Jeff Andrews. He gave me the game plan for tonight that Brian mentioned about regarding how many innings Hankins will go. Normally this time of night I’m finding someone to interview for our pre-game show. However, I already recorded my interview with Robbie Erlin yesterday to play on tonight’s pre-game. Now all I have to worry about is getting dinner and filling out my scorebook.
5:20 p.m. (Brian): Speaking of dinner, everyone in the office was treated to some Sonny Bryan’s barbeque before the game. As we were eating, clubhouse manager CJ Allen came into our four-person office and offered up some of his delicious lasagna that was left over from the RoughRiders’ clubhouse. So, the ‘Riders’ baseball and media teams have been fueled by the same dinner tonight!
5:45 p.m. (Brian): Wonder what happens before the gates open? Well, after arriving in the press box a bit ago, we have been treated to some warmups by “The Crew” and some of San Antonio’s batting practice. Oftentimes, the evening’s national anthem singer will give it a whirl before fans enter the stadium.
Also, if you are looking to collect a baseball from a Double-A game, try to get to Dr Pepper Ballpark early. There are always a handful of baseballs in the outfield berm following batting practice. I saw a few bombs sail out of here this afternoon. Always a nice way to get a fun souvenir.
6:10 p.m. (Brian): Above is a view from our press box, the highest press box in the Texas League. First pitch is less than an hour away, and our pre-game begins in 25 minutes!
6:35 p.m. (Brian): The pre-game show has begun! You can listen live at this link. We will still update this periodically throughout the night. After all, we promised 24 hours of the RoughRiders!
7:13 p.m. (Brian): Renny Osuna’s first chance at history tonight resulted in a strikeout at the hands of Robbie Erlin, the former RoughRider and tonight’s starter for San Antonio. Osuna is still one hit away from the all-time record, so he’ll get a few more chances tonight.
8:00 p.m. (Brian): So far, the ‘Riders lead 1-0 in what has been a good game. Aaron calls the play-by-play in the first, second, fifth, sixth and ninth innings, while I take the rest. So, I’m off the air until our scoreboard update at the end of the fifth. Plenty of great action tonight in the Texas League and in the Rangers’ system.
8:46 p.m. (Aaron): Was really fun to watch Robbie pitch again tonight. Too bad for him he allowed the only run so far over 6.2 innings tonight. Brian has the play-by-play now until the ninth inning.
9:07 p.m. (Brian): What a change of events in this one tonight. The ‘Riders go from up one to down one in the top of the eighth. Now, Reid is scrambling to change up his game recap, and Aaron is cutting up the highlights. It is much more work here in the booth when the game is close, and that’s what we have tonight!
9:41 p.m. (Brian): A late rally propelled the Missions to a 3-1, series-clinching victory over the RoughRiders tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Unfortunately, the loss did not bring with it any history. Renny Osuna finished 0-for-4, so his hits record will have to wait at least another game.
While the crowd leaves, our work continues. Aaron is busy cutting up the highlights while I prepare for the “Scoreboard Show” that follows every game. Reid is working on the game story for the website, and Stephen is wrapping up the Extra Bases Chat and getting a head start on game notes for Wednesday. The night is almost over for us after another busy Monday.
10:15 p.m. (Brian): My night is pretty much over, outside of overseeing the posting of the game story. I just signed off on the Scoreboard Show, and Reid is about done with the story. The end is most certainly near.
10:30 p.m. (Brian): The game story is posted. The booth is clean. The media are alerted. The night is over. Almost 24 hours after we left last night, and 2,229 words later, our day is over. Thanks so much for following along!
Only 28 games remain for the RoughRiders and the other seven teams in the Texas League. San Antonio and Arkansas already have their ticket punched to the postseason, and almost every other club in the league has a chance to get into the TL’s final four.
1. San Antonio (76-36, 27-15; Past Rankings: 1, 1, 1)
The Missions have the best record in all of full-season minor league baseball, with the San Jose Giants of the California League (74-38) the only team less than five games away from San Antonio. Not only has San Antonio been great this season, but they added Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, who had been with Frisco until the Mike Adams deal at the deadline.
KEY STAT (+200): That’s the Missions’ run differential this season, which leads the minors and is 160 runs better than the second-best mark in the TL (Frisco at +40). Thanks to Mike Saeger, the Missions play-by-play broadcaster for this stat.
2. Frisco (61-51, 21-21; Past Rankings: 6, 2, 3)
The ‘Riders have fallen into a bit of a slump, and Midland has climbed above them in the standings. However, the RockHounds will need to leap over San Antonio in order to make the playoffs and, as a result, deny the RoughRiders of a spot in the playoffs. Midland has been better than the ‘Riders over the last two weeks, but Frisco was clearly better for the season’s first 100 games. Thus, the ‘Riders are here.
KEY STAT (9-2, 3.09): The combined record and earned run average of Erlin and Wieland while they were with the RoughRiders. Now, they are on the team that Frisco would play in the first round of the postseason.
3. Northwest Arkansas (57-52, 22-20; Past Rankings: 4, 3, 6)
The Naturals won the league last year, and they have had plenty of big-time prospects on the roster. Finally, Northwest Arkansas has gone on a bit of a run to assume first place in both the overall and the second half standings. Still, last-place Arkansas is three games back, so this race will go down to the wire.
KEY STAT (2): The Naturals are only two losses away from matching their total from all of last year. Northwest went 86-54 en route to a pair of division crowns and a Texas League championship.
4. Midland (49-63, 22-20; Past Rankings: 3, 7, 5)
Talk about a team that has bounced up and down this season. Right now, Midland is one of the hottest teams in the Texas League and they have jumped into second place in the South. The RockHounds have won eight of ten, including their first series victory over Frisco this season Tuesday through Thursday of last week.
KEY STAT (4): Only four games remain for the RockHounds against the first-place Missions, and those aren’t until August 30-September 2 in San Antonio. Midland must win the second-half championship to go to the playoffs, and they are currently five games back.
5. Arkansas (55-54, 19-23; Past Rankings: 7, 6, 2)
The Travelers stunned many and took the first half North Division title by one game over Northwest Arkansas. Right now, Arkansas is in a bit of a rut after going 6-0 to start half two. Since that point, Arkansas is 13-23, but they still have their postseason berth locked up.
KEY STAT (.348): Mike Trout’s average since returning to the Travs August 1. The Angels’ top prospect, who spent almost a month in the bigs, has hit safely in six of his seven games and has scored seven times since arriving back in North Little Rock.
6. Springfield (52-59, 20-21; Past Rankings: 5, 4, 7)
The Cardinals have been hot lately, which pushes them ahead of Tulsa and Corpus Christi. Springfield has gotten great pitching out of top prospect Shelby Miller, and the squad is right there in second in the second half North standings, just one-and-a-half games back of the Naturals.
KEY STAT (8-2): The Cardinals’ record over the last ten games, which has propelled Springfield from last place in the North to second.
7. Tulsa (52-59, 19-22; Past Rankings: 2, 5, 4)
This is the lowest ranking for the Drillers this season, and it comes with the club still very much alive in the second half. Surprisingly, the Drillers have struggled at home this season. They have the worst home record in the TL at 24-30, including an 8-12 mark in the second half.
KEY STAT (20): The number of games that will remain when Drew Pomeranz, the key cog in Colorado’s trade with Cleveland for Ubaldo Jimenez, is eligible to officially join the Rockies’ system. If he joins the Drillers, Pomeranz would be able to make no more than four starts before the regular season ends.
8. Corpus Christi (42-70, 17-25; Past Rankings: 8, 8, 8)
I’ve tried to move these poor Hooks up in the rankings, but I just can’t do it. Corpus Christi’s roster is depleted now because many key pieces have moved up to Triple-A Oklahoma City or Houston.
KEY STAT (23%): The percentage of the Astros’ current position players that were with the Hooks a month ago. Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes are the Hooks-turned-Astros.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
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.
By now, we’ve all seen how roster moves change the makeup of a minor league ball club. As strange, and quite frankly disappointing, as it is to see Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland wearing the Black and Gold of San Antonio, the one silver lining is that the vacated roster spots have allowed the Rangers to promote 22-year-old left-hander Robbie Ross to Frisco from Myrtle Beach.
Ranked by Baseball America as the Rangers’ No. 19 prospect, Ross was the club’s 2008 second round pick and will start tonight in the deciding game of the current three game series with the Midland RockHounds. For the Kentucky native, it’s not his first trip to Midland. Late last season Ross took the roster spot of injured Travis Chick and pitched the final game of the playoffs for Frisco in a losing effort to the ‘Hounds.
Ross arrives in Frisco with an impressive résumé. In 21 games (20 starts) with Myrtle Beach, he compiled a 9-4 record and a 2.26 ERA while holding batters to a .227 average. However, maybe the most impressive figure is that Ross allowed just one home run against 491 batters faced in the Carolina League.
A graduate of Lexington Christian Academy in Kentucky, Ross originally signed a letter of content to play at the University of Kentucky. However, the opportunity to play professionally, and a $1.575 million signing bonus offered by the Rangers, changed his mind. After being named the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior season of high school, he was tabbed as the 10th-best high school pitching prospect in the 2008 draft (Baseball America). Following his high school graduation, Ross was taken 57th overall by Texas.
Ross is coming off a monster month of July where he went 1-2, 1.38 ERA over six starts with the Pelicans. In that time we walked seven and struck out 30, holding opponents to a stingy .209 average.
If you’re into Twitter, you can follow Ross here. First pitch tonight from Midland is at 7:00, Brian and Aaron will be on with the pre-game show at 6:30. I’ll be on the Extra Bases Chat starting at 6:45. Enjoy the game!
It is official. Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, members of the RoughRiders’ starting rotation until a few minutes ago, have been sent to the San Diego Padres for right-handed reliever Mike Adams.
Promoted to Frisco in late May, Erlin went 5-2 with a 4.32 earned run average in 11 appearances with the ‘Riders. With his numbers while at High-A Myrtle Beach, the Santa Cruz, Calif., native went 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In his final outing with the RoughRiders, with many scouts and Rangers’ front office members in attendance, Erlin went seven innings and allowed three earned runs against Midland Tuesday at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Wieland joined the ‘Riders one month later, and he went 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander exited the Rangers’ system with a bang, tossing a no-hitter against San Antonio Friday night that blew up our Twitter feed. Overall this season, the Reno, Nev., native is 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA during his time with Myrtle Beach and Frisco.
We don’t know for sure which Padre affiliate Erlin and Wieland will join, but if they remain in Double-A, they will also remain in the Texas League. San Diego’s Double-A affiliate is the San Antonio Missions, which is the best team in the TL. If the ‘Riders make the postseason, they will play the Missions in the first round. Interesting stuff, to say the least.
The Missions are back at Dr Pepper Ballpark August 5-8, and a pair of talented former RoughRiders could very well be there in different uniforms. We wish both Robbie and Joe the best of luck. They were a pleasure to talk with and to watch.
Tonight, the ‘Riders and the Missions continue their four-game series and their race for the second half South Division title. This trade makes things that much more interesting in the Texas League, that’s for sure.
Last week Stephen Harmon examined some prospects in the Rangers system that have tremendously improved their stock since the start of the season. Now, with the trading deadline approaching this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET, he looks at the Rangers’ top tier prospects who have been linked with trade rumors across MLB.
For starters, the Rangers’ trade yesterday with Baltimore for Koji Uehara has changed things for Texas entering today. Here is what Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas says following the deal:
“Instead of having to make a deal at any cost for Heath Bell, for instance, they can continue to negotiate with the Padres and see if San Diego comes off its high price for Bell. If they don’t, then the Rangers can pass. If they do, then Texas can try to strike a deal. The Rangers are still considered one of the favorites for Bell, so we’ll see what happens there.”
With that as a launching point, here are what people are saying about some future, current, and former RoughRider players.
This 20-year-old lefty has generated a lot of interest in the trade market in the past week. Scouts from the Padres, Mets, and White Sox organizations as well as Rangers’ President Nolan Ryan and GM John Daniels were all on hand at Dr Pepper Ballpark last Tuesday night for Erlin’s start against Midland.
According to Durrent, and as tweeted by Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, the Padres and Rangers were, and possibly still are, close on agreeing to a deal that would send All-Star closer Heath Bell to Texas. The centerpiece in the Rangers package of players that would be shipped to San Diego is rumored to beErlin and/or Joe Wieland who just pitched a no-hitter Friday night. However, the Rangers are hesitant to part with their prospects and believe the Padres’ asking price is too high. On the other hand, Bell is the preeminent closer on the market, and the Rangers have been the most aggressive team pursuing him.
Here in Frisco, Erlin has impressed with his focus and mature composure. Through Erlin’s first eleven games in Frisco, the California native has posted a 5-2 record and a 4.32 ERA. Additionally, he has struck out 61 batters while walking only seven. More amazingly is that the lefty has issued only one free pass through his five starts in July. Listen to Frisco pitching coach Jeff Andrews talk about Erlin and Wieland with Bryan Dolgin of 103.3 FM ESPN.
At 21-years-old, Wieland has made a impressed through hist first seven starts – even without his no-hitter.
Robbie Erlin may be grabbing the headlines as the Rangers’ most sought after pitching prospect, but Wieland appears to be equally talented. Both players started the season in Myrtle Beach and have, at times, dominated Texas League hitters.
Said Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, “I talked to a team early this week that told me the Rangers were very high on Wieland and very reluctant to talk about him in deals.”
Martin Perez, the Rangers number one pre-season prospect according to Baseball America, has also been getting a lot of attention around the rumor mills. However, the Rangers seem unwilling to deal the young left-hander who Keith Law predicts will emerge as a number one or number two starter within five years.
Simply put, Perez appears to be off the market. Keith Law talks with Bryan Dolgin about Perez and Leonys Martin (not on the market).
The hard throwing right-hander has impressed with his mid to upper 90’s fastball. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, Scheppers name has come up in a package presented to the Padres for Heath Bell.
For the most part, we haven’t really heard Scheppers’ name tossed around too much in the last couple of weeks. The Rangers’ No. 3 overall prospect (Baseball America) has now made 15 appearances out of the Frisco bullpen and with six walks and 24 strikeouts after spending two separate stints on the disabled list this year.
At 18-years-old, Profar may not be ready for the big leagues for a while, but he is worth waiting for. The Rangers have rejected the Padres offer of a Profar/Derrick Holland package for Heath Bell, reports Baseball Time In Arlington. Similar to Perez, it appears as though Profar is clearly off the market.
The Sunday trade deadline is an exciting time of year in baseball. Thanks to a farm system that is packed with talent from Short-Season Spokane to Triple-A Round Rock, the Rangers have become very active in the rumor mill, as many teams are lured to the Rangers young pitching prospects.
The countdown has been on for a while, but it all comes to an end this afternoon.
It has been a good month for the RoughRiders yet again in July. Frisco is 14-8, which means the club is on pace for more wins in July than it has had in any month this season.
The offense has been solid as usual, posting a .282 batting average. That is one point higher than the ‘Riders’ team average in June (.281).
But the RoughRiders’ pitching staff has been the group that has improved the most in the first 22 games of July. The staff, which owned an ERA around 4.50 throughout the first three months of the season, boasts a season-best 3.60 ERA this month. Opponents are averaging only 4.2 runs per game against the ‘Riders, and 12 times the opposition has managed less than four runs in a game this month.
Today, we delve into the statistics and find five RoughRiders hurlers who have posted season-best ERAs for a month in July, along with three others who are at or close to their season low.
SEASON LOW ERAs:
Richard Bleier: Bleier has been bounced around all season long, from the disabled list into a few piggyback outing, to the rotation and then the bullpen and back into the rotation. Hopefully you kept up there. Bleier is back in the rotation and set to start tonight. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in July, a month during which Bleier has made three starts and three bullpen appearances. He will start for the ‘Riders tonight as they aim for their fifth sweep of the season and their second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Jake Brigham: Like Bleier, Brigham began the season as a starter but is now in the bullpen. After a rough start in the ‘pen, Brigham has settled in nicely. The right-hander currently owns a 2.13 ERA in July, which is more than two runs better than his previous best. He has struck out 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings of work. Brigham has not pitched since Thursday, so fans can expect to see him again soon.
Robbie Erlin: The Rangers’ number four prospect has been pretty steady during his first two months at the Double-A level, and Erlin has been at his best in July. The left-hander has a 3.75 ERA in four July starts, but his record is only 1-2. In July, the strikeout-per-inning ratio has gone down a bit from June (1.2 in June to 0.8 in July), but Erlin has not walked a single batter in 24 innings this month. The next start for Erlin will be Tuesday against Midland.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers has been with the RoughRiders for more than a month, and he has shown flashes of dominance during his time in the Texas League. In July, Scheppers has an ERA of 3.38, but that includes a tough start to July when he allowed four earned runs in three appearances. Since then, the righty has posted six scoreless innings of work in his last five outings. Scheppers has some of the best stuff in the Rangers’ system, and he doesn’t figure to be in Frisco for much longer based on his recent performances. Triple-A Round Rock could be the next destination soon.
Joe Wieland: Wieland’s successes have been documented here on the Insider Blog, and he continued that good work last night with six scoreless innings against Corpus Christi. Wieland’s ERA is at 1.54 in Double-A, and it sits at just 1.50 in July. In all six of his starts, Wieland has worked at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.
Justin Miller: It was going to be tough for Miller to best his effort in June because, well, he didn’t allow any earned runs in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. Here in July, Miller has recorded 11 and a third frames, and he allowed his only run of the month at Springfield July 9. Throw out that single tally, and the midseason All-Star has not surrendered a run since May 23 in a game at San Antonio that he went on to earn the victory.
Yohan Yan: Yan has been great with both Myrtle Beach and Frisco. So far with the ‘Riders in three appearances, the side-winding right-hander has crafted five and a third scoreless innings of relief. He has held the opposition to just two base hits. Thus, his ERA with the ‘Riders is at its lowest in July because this is his first month here, but he deserved inclusion on this list. So far, so good for the ‘Riders’ newest arm.
Corey Young: Young is almost in the same category as Miller. He gave up just one run in June for an ERA of 0.87. Here in July, Young has only given up one run in three fewer innings, so he could still go on to post a season-low for a month with a few more appearances. When Young went on the disabled list with a back injury in late April, he had an ERA at 9.00. That mark has since dropped to a very healthy 3.51.
A few days ago, Stephen Harmon detailed the current seasons of many prospects in the Rangers’ system. Today, I’m here to show you how much difference a season can make. Let’s look back at how much improvement many of the key members of this year’s RoughRiders have seen over the last 12 months.
The differences between July 18, 2010, and July 18, 2011, are pretty incredible. And most RoughRiders have improved greatly. Here are ten prime examples:
Mike Bianucci: While with High-A Bakersfield, the slugger was hitting just .247 with just 11 home runs, which was good for a tie for 15th in the California League. Right now, he is in a tie for second in that category. Bianucci’s RBI total is up by 16 runs, and his OPS has improved by almost 100 points. This season, Bianucci is on pace for a career-high 30 homers.
Robbie Erlin: Erlin’s numbers were great at this point last year (4-2, 1.66 ERA), but they were in Low-A Hickory. Erlin has rolled through the Rangers’ system, and he is only two wins away from the RoughRiders’ team lead despite joining the team in late May. Erlin is only 20 years old, which should bring a smile to ‘Riders and Rangers fans alike.
Adalberto Flores: The ‘Riders’ bullpen has been solid all season long. While Flores may not be the poster man for the ‘pen, he has improved upon an average year with Frisco last season. At this point, Flores owned a 2-4 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings of work. Flores has dropped the ERA almost a run and a half (2.68), and he has been counted on more (47 innings of work). The righty also has 17 more strikeouts at this point (51) than he had last year.
Jonathan Greene: The likeable North Carolina native had only played in 16 games by this point last season. He was hitting .218 with two home runs and six RBIs. What a difference a year makes. Greene is in the top 20 in the Texas League in average (.297), home runs (11), and RBIs (52). Greene has also only committed two errors despite being bounced around between two main positions–first base and right field.
Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has arguably seen the biggest improvement from last year to this year. A year ago on this day, Mendonca was hitting .238 with three homers and 27 RBIs. To put it into perspective, Mendonca’s month of June this year featured four home runs and 30 RBIs. Mendonca dots the top 10 in most offensive categories this year in the Texas League.
Renny Osuna: Osuna’s average has only seen a minimal improvement from this point a year ago (.286 v. .307). It’s the power numbers that put Osuna on this list in a prominent way. Last season, Osuna had just two home runs and 28 RBIs through mid-July. This year, Osuna already has a career-high eight homers, which is fifth on a powerful RoughRiders squad. He also has 43 RBIs, which also places him fifth in the clubhouse. Not bad for a leadoff hitter who has missed 17 games this year.
Martin Perez: Perez is the lone former RoughRider on this list, but his renaissance has been well documented and much needed. Perez was 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA at this point of the year in 2010. In fact, he did not even have enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA category. He just won his Triple-A debut at Memphis Saturday for the Round Rock Express after dominating in Frisco for the season’s first three months.
Jose Ruiz: Ruiz has come the furthest in terms of an organization’s pecking order. The first baseman was about the join the Dominican Summer League at this point last season, and he was within the Tampa Bay system. He joined Double-A Montgomery in mid-August. The Rays let him go, and the Rangers picked up a guy who has hovered around .300 all year long.
Ben Snyder: Snyder’s ERA is slightly worse this year than it was last year (3.82 v. 3.13), but he has been Mr. Versatile for the pitching staff this season. His next start will be his sixth, which will be the highest for the southpaw since 2008. Snyder has been an unsung hero for the ‘Riders.
Joe Wieland: Remember what we said about Erlin? The same can be said for this talented righty. Wieland’s numbers weren’t as eye-popping with the Crawdads (7-4, 3.34), but he was having some success. Still, 2011 has been Wieland’s breakout season. In four Double-A starts, the Reno, Nev., native is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. If you combine his numbers with High-A Myrtle Beach, Wieland is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.09 with more than one strikeout per inning.
There have been many more contributors to the RoughRiders’ fantastic 2011 season. It has been fun to watch these men grow on the field, and there are still almost 50 games left in the regular season.
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.
As always, thanks to RoughRiders team photographer James Garner for tonight’s shots.
Rangers number four prospect Robbie Erlin battled through six innings of work but suffered his first career Double-A loss.
Renny Osuna jumps back to first after reaching third base in the first inning. Osuna finished the game 1-for-4.
Davis Stoneburner pulled Frisco to within two runs with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Stoneburner went 1-for-3 and now has 26 RBIs on the year.
The Hooks earned their second straight win over the RoughRiders Saturday night by a score of 4-2. The finale is Sunday night at 6:05 from Dr Pepper Ballpark.