Results tagged ‘ Ronald Guzman ’

Riders reflections, part one: Breakout player

As we near the conclusion of the 2016 season, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the year that’s been. From now until Monday, we’ll look back on different elements of the season and some of the people and moments that stand out.

Today, we start by selecting our breakout players from the 2016 season.

STEVE: Yohander Mendez

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In my opinion, Yohander Mendez was the most improved player we saw in Frisco this season. After beginning the year with High Desert in the California League, Mendez dominated Texas League hitters in his two months with the RoughRiders.

Mendez only allowed more than three runs in one of his 10 starts. The southpaw was called up to make a spot start for Triple-A Round Rock in early July, before he re-joined the Express for good on August 4.

As a member of the 40-man roster, Mendez should have a good chance to make the Major Leagues by next year, or possibly even this September when the MLB rosters expand. Mendez was just a blip in the radar at the beginning of the season, but he has now emerged as the second-ranked player in the Rangers organization, according to MLBPipeline.com.

RYAN: Ronald Guzman

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On our final day at Spring Training this year, we had a chance to take in the prospects game between the best farmhands in the Rangers and Cubs organizations. Ronald Guzman was part of that game, and he hit a mammoth homer to right-center field. That was my first introduction to the Dominican first baseman, and he has continued to impress throughout the summer.

In his first season at the Double-A level, Guzman hit .288 with 15 homers and 56 RBI. He also played rather solid first base for the Riders. In addition to being named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, he garnered TL Post-Season All-Star honors today as well. Plus, he was invited to participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

Since his promotion to Triple-A Round Rock on August 3, he’s struggled a bit, hitting just .203 with a home run and nine RBI. The homer came on the very first pitch he saw with Round Rock.

All the while, he’s been a great guy to work with as well. We’ll see what next year holds for Guzman, who I’d imagine will start back in Triple-A. It wouldn’t be out of the question for him to end up in Arlington as a September call-up next season.

NATHAN: Ariel Jurado

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Although it’s tough to say Jurado truly “broke out” this season, considering he’s been great throughout his young career, I think the poised 20-year-old took a leap forward that few predicted. The right-hander tore up the extremely hitter-friendly California League to the tune of a 7-2 record and a 3.86 ERA. At the time of promotion, Jurado was eighth on the California League leaderboard in ERA.

He’s kept his grove at Double-A as the league’s youngest pitcher. Save for one outing (in seven for Frisco), he’s allowed two runs or fewer every time out. He pounds the zone with a heavy fastball, getting a ton of groundballs and strikes out far more than he walks (33:7 ratio with the Riders). Furthemore, his secondary stuff already plays and is getting better, working with a good changeup and slider and developing curveball.

After Mendez and Michael Roth, Jurado is currently third in the Texas organization in ERA (3.53).

With the departure of Luis Ortiz, it’s hard to argue against Jurado as the top right-handed pitching prospect in the organization, but I, personally, liked Jurado a little more than Ortiz anyhow. A long-time scout even told me in July that he thought Jurado was the third best pitcher RIGHT NOW in the Rangers organization…big league or otherwise, after Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. While the ceiling might not be as a #1 or even a #2, I could see Jurado as a #3 or #4 starter for year to come in the big leagues, and this season, he’s earned that praise.

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Baseball term of the day: Break his dishes – To break a hitter’s bat handle.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Moving parts: checking in on the new and former Riders from the last week

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Lewis Brinson is off to a great with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox since being traded last Monday. (Paat Kelly / Colorado Springs Sky Sox)

In the last week, the RoughRiders roster has experienced some heavy turnover. With seven guys joining the squad, five going to Triple-A, two to the DL, and two getting traded, the roster looks very different than it did at this time last week.

Here’s an update on how everyone is doing with their new teams:

THE NEW RIDERS (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

CARLOS ARROYO: 5 G, 3-for-15, 2B, 2 RBI
Arroyo singled in his first at-bat with Frisco but has struggled a bit since then. Sunday, he drove in a pair of runs and picked up an outfield assist in center field.

CARSON BLAIR: 2 G, 1-for-7, HR, RBI
Blair didn’t waste much time making a splash with his new organization, hitting a solo homer Sunday in just his second game as a Rangers farmhand.

SCOTT CARROLL: 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Carroll turned in another strong start for the Riders Sunday, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings.

EDWIN GARCIA: 4 G, 4-for-14, 2B, RBI, SB
Now in his second stint playing with Frisco this season, Garcia has helped fill the void at first base. He also notched three hits Sunday at San Antonio.

JUAN GRULLON: 1 G, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Grullon pitched well out of the bullpen on Saturday in his first relief outing since rejoining the squad, but took the loss in a 1-0 game at San Antonio.

EDUARD PINTO: 4 G, 6-for-14, 2B, RBI
Pinto picked up four hits Sunday at San Antonio, and he has hits in three of his first four games with the Riders.

JACK SNODGRASS: 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
The southpaw made an impressive debut with the Riders, allowing two runs on two hits across six innings of work on Thursday in San Antonio.

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Jack Snodgrass earned the win in his Riders debut Thursday. (Dave Michael / San Antonio Missions)

PROMOTED TO TRIPLE-A (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

JOHN FASOLA: 3 G, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Fasola has already appeared in three games since joining the Express for the second time this season. Like he was in Frisco, he’s continued to be tough on opposing hitters.

RONALD GUZMAN: 6 G, 4-for-21, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 12 K
Guzman got off to a great start in Triple-A, homering and doubling in his first two-at-bats. However, he has since struck out in 12 of his last 19 at-bats.

YOHANDER MENDEZ: 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Mendez turned in a nearly identical line to his Triple-A debut on July 5. He has yet to allow a run as a Triple-A pitcher this season across 10 innings. His combined 2.51 ERA this season would lead Rangers full-season starters if he qualified.

VICTOR PAYANO: 1 G, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
Payano got rocked in his Triple-A debut Friday, keyed by four walks. One of the things that helped him have a strong year with the Riders was limiting walks. If he can do that moving forward, the Express will hopefully see the pitcher that did so well in Frisco.

JOSE VALDESPINA: 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Now in his second stint with Round Rock this season, Valdespina has already come out of the bullpen twice this week and has yet to allow a run.

THE NEW BREWERS (stats reflect results since joining the team last week)

LEWIS BRINSON: 7 G, 13-for-29 (.448), 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3-4 SB
We probably shouldn’t be too surprised that Brinson is tearing it up with his new club, but it’s still pretty impressive that he has burst right on to the scene and been a consistent contributor for the Sky Sox. He has hits in all seven games with his new club, including a four-hit night in his debut and a grand slam the next game. If you factor what he did with Round Rock at the end of last year, he’s a career .441 hitter (26-for-59) in Triple-A.LOLBTrade640x360.jpg

LUIS ORTIZ: 1 GS, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ortiz debuted with Double-A Biloxi Saturday night, working another short outing as he recovers from his time on the DL. Ortiz also had an at-bat (he’ll have more to come, too) and struck out in his only AB of the night.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Nellie hitter – A hitter who hits to left center and to right center.

(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)

Step into the cage: Riders hitters discuss their approach to BP

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Batting practice is so much more than stepping in the cage and swinging away. Each hitter takes his own approach to BP. I asked a few of the Riders what their focus is when they take batting practice.

Luis Mendez

The first round, I just try to hit the ball middle/oppo, find the barrel middle/oppo, see the ball and how it’s coming off the bat. Then the next round, I start using the middle of the field. And the third round is game speed, depending on how I feel. And the fourth round is depending on how I feel, too. [I’ll take] one swing, two swings, and if I feel good, I just get out and get ready for the game. I take ground balls and take that feeling into the game.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

For me, I’m more of a ‘just feel good in BP’ guy. If I’m feeling really good, I’ll try hit it in the gap every swing. For me, it’s day-by-day. It’s all about feeling. Some days, you feel so good that you don’t even need to take BP because you don’t want to waste those swings. Over the course of the year, there are so many different feelings you get and you just kind of gage yourself. If you’re feeling bad, you take more swings. If you’re feeling good, you take less swings. It evens out so you don’t take too many swings over the course of the season.Guzman BP

Ronald Guzman

Every time I go into the cage, I just try to use my hands and stay together with my back part and try to just throw my hands. That’s all I think about in the cage. I do tee first, then front toss, then overhand. It’s a routine that I have but my approach is always the same.

Some days, I just go easy, do a little bit of front toss and refresh my mind. Sometimes, I feel like I have to work on something and I do something more drastic like go to the machine or something different. Normally, I keep the same routine.

Edwin Garcia

I always try to do the same thing. My first round, I work the other way and stay inside the ball using my hands. The second round, I just try to stay up the middle. After that, I hit the ball wherever the pitch is.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Bingo Hitter – A hitter whose batting average is below .100.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Q&A: Ronald Guzman ready to swing in home run derby

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Friday, Ronald Guzman was named Frisco’s representative in the home run derby at the Texas League All-Star Game coming up Tuesday in Springfield. I had a chance to chat with Guzman this afternoon about getting to hit in the home run derby and his thoughts on earning an all-star spot this season.

RYAN ROUILLARD: How excited are you to participate in the home run derby?

RONALD GUZMAN: Very excited. Very excited. I’m a little anxious so I’m trying to just keep it down and try to hit like I’m hitting BP.

RR: Have you ever hit in a home run derby before?

RG: Yeah. I participated in one before I signed [with Texas] for the Dominican Prospect League. I won, actually. I hit six homers. But it was 15 pitches. It was not similar to how we’re doing it right now. So I don’t have a strategy yet.

062316 Guzman, Ronald (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)RR: How much are you going to work on a strategy beforehand?

RG: It’s three minutes so I’m just going to try to swing at everything. I’m just going to try to hit like I’m hitting BP and try to hit some home runs.

RR: You hit a couple home runs in Springfield earlier this year. Did you like that park as a place to hit?

RG: Oh yeah. I like Springfield. I feel like the ball carries everywhere. I think I’m going to be comfortable with hitting the ball everywhere, wherever the pitches come. I think it’s a really nice place to hit.

RR: What does being an all-star mean to you and getting to participate in all of this?

RG: It’s a great feeling. It’s my first time playing in an all-star game so I’m just going to go up there and try to have fun and try to enjoy it. I don’t know if I’m going to have another chance, you know? So I’m just going to go there and have fun and enjoy every second. I think it will be cool to play with the guys from the other teams, so I’m excited.

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (6/8/16)

GAME #56
Frisco RoughRiders (33-22) at San Antonio Missions (17-39)
Wednesday, June 8 – 7:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
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This series: Game 2 of 4 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 14 of 32 (Riders lead, 12-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Shin-Soo Choo – RF
  2. Robinson Chirinos – C
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Ryan Cordell – DH
  6. Evan Van Hoosier – 3B
  7. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  8. Chris Garia – LF
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

LHP Victor Payano (4-3, 3.81 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at San Antonio (W, 3-2)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: 1B Ronald Guzman

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders held on for a 3-2 win over the San Antonio Missions on Tuesday night…The Riders led 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 with the final lead coming on a home run by RONALD GUZMANCONNOR SADZECK took a no-decision in six inning despite allowing no earned runs…The righty surrendered two unearned runs and fanned eight Missions, walking none…Frisco is now 12-1 against San Antonio and 5-0 at Wolff Stadium.

RANGERS ON REHAB:
SHIN-SOO CHOO and the ROBINSON CHIRINOS rejoin the RoughRiders today on MLB rehabilitation assignments with the Rangers. Choo, rehabbing a left hamstring injury, played Friday and Sunday in Frisco, combining to go 1-for-8 with a single. Chirinos, coming back from a fractured forearm, played in the doubleheader last Wednesday, going 0-for-5. A.J. GRIFFIN is expected to start for the Riders in a rehab start tomorrow.

LOOKING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME:
With Frisco’s recent eight-game losing streak and Corpus Christi’s four-game win streak, the Riders have been sitting in second place in the South Division for the first time all season over the past seven days. They shared the top spot with Corpus Christi and Midland on the first day of the year but held sole possession of first place for the next 54 days. The Riders still have a chance to control their own fate in the South Division though, with five remaining first-half matchups against the Hooks and six more against third-place Midland.

ALL KINDS OF CLOSE CALLS:
The RoughRiders have consistently found themselves in close games over the last few weeks. Nine of the last 12 games (3-9) have been decided by three runs or fewer, including four one-run games. On the season, 41 of Frisco’s 55 games have been decided by three or fewer, and the Riders have played in 19 one-run games (11-8), one behind league leading Corpus Christi (13-7) and Midland (12-8).

BECK BUSTING OUT:
Riders outfielder PRESTON BECK has become a key contributor for the Riders over the last few weeks. Beck has reached base in 17 of his last 18 games and had his 14-game on-base streak snapped Wednesday vs. Tulsa. In that stretch, he had a six- and seven-game hit streak. Over his last 18 games, Beck is hitting .328 (seventh-best in the Texas League), with a double, two triples, two home runs, and nine RBI. He also sports a .384 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .493 in that span.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
On May 19, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

ROARING RONALD GUZMAN:
Riders first baseman RONALD GUZMAN has gotten off to a  torrid start this season, most recently accentuated by his 3-for-4 performance Friday vs. Springfield. The slugger put together the first two-homer game of his career last week in Springfield, and his season-high nine game hitting streak ended last Sunday. During the run, Guzman hit .400 (14-for-35) with five extra-base hits (2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) and 3 RBI. Guzman leads the team with 19 multi-hit games in 2016, his first year at the Double-A level.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (42), runs (T-1st, 40), and extra-base hits (28). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (4th, .310), home runs (T-4th, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .567), and doubles (3rd, 14).

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 132-96 (.579), which is the third-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland and New York (AL). Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 36-23, Class A Hickory is 33-24, and Triple-A Round Rock is 30-27. Round Rock was ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis earlier this season.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders roster includes nine players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in the Texas farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock. LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, 11),ANDY IBANEZ (15, 8), EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23),RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Texas’ top 30 prospects.

OPPOSING STARTER:
After an outstanding run in High-A, T.J. Weir makes his second Double-A start tonight and first against the RoughRiders…Primarily as a reliever, Weir was 3-2 with a 1.45 ERA in 15 games, three starts, with Class A-Advanced Lake Elsinore…Today marks his 66th pro outing and 14th start…Weir has averaged 10.5 SO/9IP and 2.8 BB/9IP in his pro career…Drafted in the 17th round in 2014 out of Ball State, Weir is a big groundball pitcher, getting over 55% of batted balls put into ball hit on the ground this season.

May by the numbers

1 – Player promoted directly from Frisco to the Major Leagues (Matt Bush)

2 – Series sweeps (at San Antonio and Midland)

3Yu Darvish rehabilitation starts with the Riders

4 – Luis Ortiz‘s MLBPipeline.com ranking (added to the Riders roster on May 20)

5 – Home runs for Cordell (team-high)

6 – Comeback wins

– Wins over San Antonio

8 – RBI against Midland’s Trey Cochran-Gill (he is 0-3 in three relief appearances vs. Frisco)

– One-run games

10 – Margin of victory in an 11-1 win over San Antonio on May 23 (team-high)

13 – Strikeouts for Victor Payano on May 3 at San Antonio

14 – Extra-base hits for Ronald Guzman (team-high)

15 – Longest game (innings), Riders beat Midland 11-8 on May 17

17 – Ryan Cordell‘s Texas League-best hit streak (ended May 2)

18 – RBI for Cordell (team-high)

19 – Runs scored by Cordell (team-high)

37 – Cordell’s MiLB-best on-base streak (ended May 19)

42,767 – Largest crowd over a four-day period in team history (May 20-23)

11,842 – Largest crowd at Dr Pepper Ballpark (May 1), also the fourth-largest crowd in team history

050116 Darvish, Yu (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: second guesser – One who habitually criticizes the players and their manager for specific actions. “The second guessers can always make the best guess” (Ty CobbBusting ‘Em and Other Big League Stories, 1914; Peter Morris)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Lights, camera, action! Riders shine in the spotlight

Tonight, for the second time this season, a Frisco RoughRiders game will be aired on Fox Sports Southwest.

During the last homestand, it was announced that the network will be airing at least eight Riders games during the 2016 season. The first game was a huge success, with fans across four different states tuning in to watch Frisco defeat the San Antonio Missions 6-5.

Ronald Guzman and Alex Burg both slugged home runs, as the Riders capped off their first four-game sweep of the Missions. Watch the highlights below:

RoughRiders broadcaster Nathan Barnett was joined by analyst Mike Bascik, a former Rangers pitcher, and Paul Kruger, the Assistant Director of Player Development for the Rangers. Tonight, Rangers Senior Director of Player Development Mike Daly will be on the air with Barnett as the RoughRiders host the Midland RockHounds.

In the past, select Riders games have been televised on KTXD 47. While this provided fans across the Metroplex with an opportunity to watch Riders games, it excluded additional fans from the remainder of the state and region.

Now, fans from the DFW area and beyond have the opportunity to watch the games on television tonight and at least six other times this year. Fox Sports Southwest reaches over 10 million cable and satellite TV homes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, as well as nationally via satellite television and streaming online with Fox Sports Go.

After tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game against Midland, Fox Sports Southwest will air the following remaining RoughRiders games this season. Make sure to tune in on these dates and catch the Riders in action!

Date: Time: Opponent: Opponent Affiliate:
Monday, May 23 11:00 a.m.  vs. San Antonio Missions  (San Diego Padres)
Thursday, June 2 7:00 p.m.  vs. Tulsa Drillers  (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Tuesday, June 14 11:00 a.m.  vs. Midland RockHounds  (Oakland Athletics)
Sunday, July 31 6:00 p.m.  vs. San Antonio Missions  (San Diego Padres)
Thursday, Aug. 18 7:00 p.m.  vs. Springfield Cardinals  (St. Louis Cardinals)
Sunday, Aug. 21 6:00 p.m.  vs. Tulsa Drillers  (Los Angeles Dodgers)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Freak show stat – A baseball statistic that is cute or entertaining but of little real value; e.g., players’ double-figure totals in doubles, triples, and home runs

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Guzman’s got a good glove

For as impressive a start as Ronald Guzman is having at the plate, perhaps his defense has been the more impressive feature of his game so far this season.

Guzman, who holds a career fielding percentage of .986, has played error-free baseball in 16 starts at first base this season, after making 16 errors in 130 games between Class-A Hickory and Class A-Advanced High Desert in 2015.

“I’ve been having some tough plays, but I feel a lot more athletic this year, so I feel like I’m able to make those plays,” said Guzman.

Guzman3

Guzman is one of three first basemen in the Texas League with a perfect fielding percentage (minimum 100 total chances)

Those tough plays have included scoops, dives, and leaps, which fit the job description of most first basemen. But Guzman has also shown an ability that a lot of first basemen don’t have: going into the splits to receive throws.

“I’ve always been flexible,” he said. “I don’t usually use it very often, but when it’s needed, I will go for it…When I feel like it’s going to be a close play, I always think about doing the splits to get the out.”

Guzman, who’s appearing in Double-A for the first time in his career this season, worked on his lower-body positioning during the offseason, in an attempt to make himself more ready to make a play at first base. He says it has helped, especially, when it comes to fielding ground balls.

“I know defense is a big deal, especially up here,” said the 21-year-old. “You’ve got to be able to make the plays for your pitcher, for your teammates. So I felt like it was really important [to improve in the offseason] and I’m pretty happy with the plays that I’ve done.”

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Gloveman – A good defensive player

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Looking Back at Pre-Season Storylines

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We’re already a week into the season, and the RoughRiders are off to a scorching-hot start at 5-1. Now, the team finally gets to come home and play at Dr Pepper Ballpark. As we get ready for the opening home stand, which starts tomorrow against Northwest Arkansas, it seems like a good time to check back in quickly with some of the keys I outlined last week before the season started.

1) The outfield is loaded

As expected, the crew in the outfield has been doing quite a bit of damage early on this year. Lewis Brinson and Ryan Cordell are both hitting .375 with 3 doubles. Brinson already has four multi-hit games and Cordell has three. But perhaps the biggest surprise has been Joe Jackson, who is the only outfielder that came in without any experience in Double-A. Jackson started 6-14 (.429) with three extra-base hits in his first three games, with a team-best 6 RBI.

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Ronald Guzman is heating up over his last three games

2) The potential is there… 

One of the preseason questions was how well the seven Double-A newcomers would fare early in the season. So far, it’s a resounding success. We’ve already detailed Jackson’s success, but Ronald Guzman is swinging better than anyone right now. After starting the year 0-6, Guzman is 8-15 in his last three games, including a monster home run Monday night. Plus, Isiah Kiner-Falefa has anchored the leadoff spot in all six games, and notched a four-hit night Monday.

On the pitching side, all three newcomers to Double-A had strong first weeks. Richelson Pena was perfect for 5 2/3 innings on Monday, and fellow Double-A newcomer Reed Garrett helped him finish off a combined one-hit shutout of Arkansas. Sam Wolff also logged a quality start his first time out, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 run on 3 hits.

3) Pitching looks to improve

So far, pitching has definitely been one of the strong sides for the RoughRiders. Frank Lopez, Connor Sadzeck and Sam Wolff each turned in quality starts in the opening series at Arkansas. Pena’s perfection on Monday marked yet another impressive start for Frisco. And on the whole, the bullpen was reliable, allowing just 4 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings of work (1.54 ERA). Meanwhile, starters had a 1.26 ERA through the first five games. We’ll learn a lot about the staff in the coming series against Northwest Arkansas. The RoughRiders held the Naturals to 4 runs in the three games they played, before Northwest Arkansas put up 30 runs in three games against Midland. Another strong showing could further validate an improvement in the pitching staff.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Balkamania – The furor during the early weeks of the 1988 season when the balk rule was reinterpreted along stricter lines.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)