Results tagged ‘ Texas League ’

Ballpark Bio: Hammons Field (Springfield)

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Today marks part three of a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 12, 2005 (Missouri State University, which also uses the park, began playing here in 2004)
Capacity: 6,750
Dimensions: LF – 315, CF – 400, RF – 330

We’re 225 miles down the road from St. Louis, but we’re still very much in Cardinals country this weekend here at Hammons Field in Springfield. It’s a ballpark that has a more traditional feel to it than some of the other ballparks in the league, and the vibe here has been great.

It’s a park that seems to be fueled by its fans, many of whom also root for the other Cardinals a little bit northwest of here. Yesterday, we saw a handful of people camped outside the stadium gates five hours before first pitch so that they could make sure they got one of the giveaway replica championship rings they were handing out here. That’s dedication. When the Cardinals rallied for victory last night, many of the 5,000+ fans in the park were still there and were locked in to the action.

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The folks in Springfield know the way to this baseball fan’s heart.

My favorite feature of this ballpark is definitely the hand-operated, out-of-town scoreboard behind the left field wall. If you don’t already know it, now’s the time to tell you that I’m a sucker for hand-operated scoreboards. I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on why I love them so much, but I think it’s a neat vintage feature, especially in an era where ballparks are constantly evolving.

One of the other cool aspects of this park is the batter’s eye, which is not just a giant wall/screen. Instead, it’s an area with a handful of trees, flowers, and other plants. In some ways, it’s somewhat like the large garden beyond the centerfield fence at Denver’s Coors Field. Here at Hammons Field, the batter’s eye isn’t just a nice change of pace, but it adds a lot of aesthetic value to the stadium. (Plus, as someone that grew up in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a reminder of home.)

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The batter’s eye at Hammons Field is pretty unique.

It may not have a Choctaw Lazy River or something else exotic like that, but Hammons Field still has plenty to like. Plus, when the dedicated fans pack the place, the atmosphere is pretty special.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming in June from Midland’s Security Bank Ballpark, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Hoopdy scoop – A curveball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riders Alumni Report: New faces in the Majors

So far this season, six former Riders have made Major League debuts. On today’s edition of the Riders Insider Blog, we check in on their progress.

Nomar Mazara

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 40 games – .325/.368/.500, 8 HR, 21 RBI

Since making his Major League debut at the beginning of the season, Mazara has become an everyday starter for the Rangers in right field. He is one of just two players on the team hitting above the .300 mark and his eight home runs are tied with Adrian Beltre for the team lead. His latest home run was a monstrous 491-foot home run Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Brett Nicholas

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 10 games – .257/.333/.543, 2 HR, 4 RBI

In addition to promoting Mazara on April 10, the Rangers also called up former Riders catcher Nicholas. He served well as a backup catcher in nearly a month with the big league club before being optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock on May 4. Since re-joining the Express, Nicholas has had nine multi-hit games and three 3-RBI games. In 20 games with the Express this season, he has a .329 batting average, which is on pace to set a new career-high for the catcher.

Cody Ege

Promoted on: April 24

Team: Miami Marlins

MLB Stats: 5 relief appearances, 0-0, 12.00 ERA (4 ER in 3.0 IP), 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K

Ege was shipped to Miami along with former Riders catcher Tomas Telis at the trade deadline last July in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson. Ege was promoted to the big leagues at the end of April, and spent a week and a half with the Marlins. He was optioned back to Triple-A New Orleans on May 2 and is currently on the temporary inactive list.

Matt Bush

Promoted on: May 13

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 7 relief appearances, 1-0, 1.17 ERA (1 ER in 7.2 IP), 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Bush was promoted directly from the RoughRiders to the Rangers right before the Riders began a four-game road series in Corpus Christi earlier this month. Since arriving in Texas, Bush has made a major impact coming out of the bullpen. He did not allow a run until his sixth outing Tuesday against the Angels.

Jared Hoying

Promoted on: May 23

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 3 games – .000/.200/.000, 1 BB, 2 K

Hoying was called up to join the Rangers prior to the first game of this week’s series Monday against the Angels. He has yet to get a hit, but he reached base on an error in his first at-bat Monday and drew a walk Tuesday.

Richard Bleier

Promoted on: May 26

Team: New York Yankees

MLB Stats: N/A

Bleier joined the Yankees for the series finale Thursday afternoon against Toronto and traveled with the team for their weekend series in Tampa Bay. Although he has made an appearance for the Bronx Bombers yet, he is set to become the 144th former RoughRiders to play in a Major League game.

Bleier

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: front-and-backer – A perfect strike through the plate.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Ballpark Bio: ONEOK Field (Tulsa, OK)

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Today marks the second installment in a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 8, 2010
Capacity: 7,833
Dimensions: LF – 330, CF – 400, RF – 307

The plot of land upon which Tulsa’s ONEOK Field rests is not all that large, but the Drillers do a great job of maximizing the space they have to work with.

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With no backstop behind home plate, fans get a very intimate feel with the action.

One of the first things that struck me about the park is its orientation. Unlike most parks (including Dr Pepper Ballpark) which face North, ONEOK Field faces South. As a result, fans (and broadcasters) are lent a great view of the skyline in nearby downtown.

Inside the park, it’s been a very intimate feel, thanks to the fact that the park sits on only about seven acres. The seats are very close to the field, and the way they curve in near the foul poles makes it feel even more intimate.

Another things that’s stood out to me here is the fact that there is no backstop behind the plate (although there is a net), very similar to Dodger Stadium, home of the Drillers’ parent club.

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The left field terrace looks like a great place to watch a game with a large group.

It helps add to that intimate feel, and the tables to the left side of the area by the backstop look like a great place to enjoy a meal with a view.

In the outfield, I was immediately fascinated by the terrace seating that makes up most of the seating area behind the left field wall. With rows of picnic tables, it seems like a great place to bring a group, while having a great view of the field at the same time.

The game atmosphere in Tulsa has been great the first few nights. Furthermore, this team has done a great job of creating an enjoyable experience without the need of all kinds of attractions.

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With tight spacing in the RF corner, there’s not much foul territory to work with.

That’s not to say I don’t like ballparks with fun attractions (see my review of Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field for reference), but it’s cool to see a team keep things relatively simple and still put on a great show.

All in all, there may not be a heap of room to work with on a great plot of land near downtown Tulsa, but I’ve been impressed by how well it’s been put to use.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming this weekend from Hammons Field in Springfield, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Beany – Said of a player who is a bit off mentally, a condition attributed to being hit by a ball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball DictionaryIMG_3938 (1)

Meaning behind the mascots

NORTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

Arkansas-Primary

Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.

 

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Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

 

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Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.
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Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.

 

SOUTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.

 

Midland_RockHounds

Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.

 

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San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.

 

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Cordell’s high school coach reflects on his former star

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Cordell during his days at Valley Christian Academy. (Photo courtesy Brad Gunter)

While Ryan Cordell is tearing it up in the Texas League, his high school coach, Brad Gunter, keeps a keen eye on what his former star is doing.

Gunter is the head coach at Valley Christian Academy in Roseville, California, a California Interscholastic Federation Division VII school (smallest division). Gunter still keeps a close watch on Cordell, who is one of just three VCA alums to make it to the professional ranks.

“Probably the end of his sophomore year is when it really took off,” said Gunter. “He started putting things together. By the time he became a senior, he was lights out.”

Cordell did it all for VCA, starring both on the baseball diamond and the basketball court for the Lions. On the diamond, he played at shortstop and also served as the team’s ace on the mound.

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Cordell meets with a group of VCA students at one of his games in Stockton, CA while he was with the High Desert Mavericks. (Photo courtesy Brad Gunter)

“It was more of his drive off the field to become better that was the most impressive thing,” said Gunter. “And every year, he developed. You saw a progression that was going to be special and was going to project out that he was going to do really well in the future.”

Of course, Cordell has done exactly that. After his time at VCA, he went on to thrive at Liberty University, and eventually, was drafted by the Rangers in the 11th round of the 2013 draft. Now in his fourth professional season, he’s a career .285 hitter, including a breakout season with the RoughRiders this year. Cordell has reached in 41 of his first 42 games and is hitting .329 with 11 doubles, 3 triples, 10 home runs and a league-leading 38 RBI.

“I don’t think this run is a short one, if you look at his history and how well he’s done. I just think it’s catching everybody by shock, a bit.”

Among all the on-field success, though, Gunter says the on-field performance isn’t even the most impressive part.

“I have always been impressed with Ryan off the field more than anything he’s ever done on the field,” said Gunter. “You saw the projections, you saw the work ethic, you saw the competitive drive. But because he was such a great young man, and he still is, you knew that he was going to be able to go through tough times and come out still working to try to achieve his goals.”

Gunter says the Riders outfielder still stops by and lends a hand with the current VCA team every year before he goes to Spring Training. Gunter considers Cordell the school’s most successful baseball alum, and he’s a role model for the current Lions players to look up to.

High school may be a way back in Cordell’s past, but his impact on the school – and his former coach – is still strong.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Wagon tongue – A large baseball bat.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. San Antonio (5/23/16)

GAME #43
Frisco RoughRiders (29-13) vs. San Antonio Missions (13-29)
Monnday, May 23 – 11:05 a.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: Fox Sports Southwest and MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Jon Daniels)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Steve Goldberg and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-1)
This season: Game 12 of 32 (Riders lead, 10-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel

RHP Luis Ortiz (0-0, -.–)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday vs. San Antonio (W, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

 LAST TIME OUT:
Behind six shut out innings from Yu Darvish, the Riders captured a 7-1 win over San Antonio on Sunday afternoon…Darvish struck out six and allowed just four baserunners on three singles and a walk…Four Riders posted multi-hit efforts and seven different batters reached base safely in the ten-hit barrage against three Missions pitchers…The Riders scored two in the first, three in the third, and two more in the fifth…RYNE SLACK and DAVID PEREZ completed the final three frames, with one unearned run allowed by Slack in the eighth.

YU SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH made his third Major League rehabilitation start with the Riders yesterday against San Antonio. The three-time American League All-Star worked six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 87 pitches, 56 were strikes. Darvish started two other games for Frisco on May 1 and May 17, and he also made two starts with Triple-A Round Rock.

MOVIN’ ON UP:
Friday, the Rangers promoted a trio of top prospects in the farm system to Frisco. Right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ, the fifth-ranked prospect in the farm system by MLBPipeline.com, highlights the group of newcomers. Ortiz was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven outings with Class A-Advanced High Desert this year. Left-handed pitcher YOHANDER MENDEZ (No. 14, MLBPipeline.com) and infielder EVAN VAN HOOSIER (No. 19) were also added to the roster.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
Thursday, 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.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 29-13 record is the best through 42 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 28-14 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL had his impressive 37-game on-base streak snapped in game two of Thursday’s doubleheader. With a single Friday, Cordell started a new streak and has reached base in 38 of 39 games he’s played, recording hits in 35 of them. Cordell’s streak was the longest for Frisco since Jurickson Profar put a 50-game string together in 2012.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder leads the Texas League in RBI (36), runs (37), and extra-base hits (24). Cordell is on the leaderboard in average (3rd, .329), doubles (T-4th, 11), home runs (T-2nd, 10), slugging percentage (2nd, .632), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
Although the Riders were last in the league in strikeouts early this season, the K’s are beginning to come more frequently for Frisco pitching. Already this season, three Riders starters have set single-game career-highs in strikeouts (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9), with Payano and Sadzeck setting their career-high against San Antonio May 3 and 6, respectively. In 11 games against the Missions, Frisco has struck out 95 San Antonio hitters, including 16 on May 3.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
The Riders have gotten off to great starts in series this season,  winning nine of their first 12 series openers.All three series-opening loss have been one-run defeats. The Riders have won seven of their first 11 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio and one of Midland.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+54), Frisco has played in 13 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 25 games. The Riders have a 9-6 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-1 in games decided by two runs. Seven of the 11 games between the Riders and Missions this season have been decided by two runs or fewer, including five one-run games.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of last Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs last Saturday. However, his .098 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 107-64 (.626), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 28-16, Class A Hickory is 27-16, and Triple-A Round Rock is 23-19. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders roster includes nine players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ 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. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26). They have since added three players in the Top 30, LUIS ORTIZ (5, 4), YOHANDER MENDEZ (14, 24), and EVAN VAN HOOSIER (19, 23).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Luis Diaz makes his third start of the season against the RoughRiders this afternoon. He has lasted at least six innings in six of his eight starts this season, including a season-high 7.1 innings May 1 at Midland. Diaz, 24, is in his first year in the Padres organization after spending the first seven seasons of his career as a Red Sox farmhand.

The streak: A look at Ryan Cordell’s first 37 games

Ryan Cordell was an Opening Day starter for the RoughRiders on April 7 at Northwest Arkansas. Until the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader against Midland, the No. 15 prospect in the Rangers organization had reached base in all 37 games he played in.

The on-base streak was the longest of its kind so far this year in Minor League Baseball. It was also the longest streak for the Riders since 2012 when Jurickson Profar reached in 50 straight games from April 7 – June 2.

So how impressive was Cordell’s streak?

Ryan Cordell’s 37-game on-base streak:

Batting average: .350 (49-for-140)

Walks: 12

Hit by pitches: 1

Singles: 25

Doubles: 11

Triples: 3

Home Runs: 10

RBI: 35

Multi-hit games: 13

Hit streaks: 4 games, April 7 – 10; 17 games, April 12 – May 1; 2 games, May 4 – 5; 7 games, May 7 – 13; 3 games, May 16 – 19

Remarkable games: Cordell hit two grand slams less than a week apart on April 16 against Northwest Arkansas at Dr Pepper Ballpark and on April 21 on the road in Corpus Christi. He also hit two home runs in a home game on May 9 against Midland to lead the Riders to a 6-5 win.

Awards: In addition to his Texas League-high hitting streak and his MiLB-leading on-base streak, Cordell also won several awards during the period. He was named the Texas League’s Player of the Week on April 25 and was also recognized as the Texas League and Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for April.

Cordell - POTM

The verdict? Awfully impressive.

Cordell went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the first inning of Friday’s game against San Antonio to begin a new streak.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: four-ribeye steak – A grand slam

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs San Antonio (5/20/16)

GAME #40
Frisco RoughRiders (27-12) vs. San Antonio Missions (12-27)
Friday, May 20 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 9 of 32 (Riders lead, 8-0)

FRISCO LINEUP (Game one)

  1. Lewis Brinson CF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  3. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  4. Ryan Cordell – DH
  5. Preston Beck – RF
  6. Joe Jackson – LF
  7. Luis Mendez – 3B
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 2B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Sam Wolff (4-2, 5.09 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at Midland (W, 7-4 and W, 4-2 – 10 innings)

Box Scores: Game one / Game two
Recaps: Game one / Game two
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Garrett Weber‘s go-ahead single in the 10th

PREGAME INTERVIEW: LHP Ryne Slack

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The RoughRiders swept a doubleheader in Midland, finishing off a four-game sweep of the RockHounds…GAME ONE: The Riders scored six unearned runs in the second inning en route to a 7-4 win…LEWIS BRINSON and ISIAH KINER-FALEFAeach drove in two runs during the second…Kiner-Falefa finished with a season-high three RBI…CONNOR SADZECKpitched a seven-inning complete game, the first CG of his career…GAME TWO: Down 2-0 in the seventh, the Riders rallied to tie the game in the final inning of regulation with RBI singles from Brinson and LUIS MENDEZGARRETT WEBERdelievered the go-ahead, two-run single in the 10th…Riders pitching combined to retire the final 23 hitters faced.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
Thursday, the Rangers named three Riders as the organization’s Minor League Players of the Month. RYAN CORDELLearned player of the month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named defender of the month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the relief pitcher of the month award.

YU READY FOR MORE?:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH is scheduled to make his third rehab start with the Riders Sunday against San Antonio. Darvish re-joined the Riders to continue his Major League rehabilitation assignment Tuesday in Midland. The three-time American League All-Star worked five innings and allowed just three hits and an unearned run, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 68 pitches, 47 were strikes. Darvish made his first rehab start May 1 with Frisco before making two starts with Triple-A Round Rock.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 27-12 record is the best through 39 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 26-13 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL had his impressive 37-game on-base streak snapped in game two of Thursday’s doubleheader. Cordell had reached in each of the first 37 games he played, recording hits in 33 of them. Cordell’s streak was the longest for Frisco since JURICKSON PROFAR put a 50-game string together in 2012.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder leads the Texas League in RBI (35), runs (34), and extra-base hits (24). He’s tied for the lead in home runs (10). Cordell is on the leaderboard in average (2nd, .338), doubles (T-3rd, 11), slugging percentage (2nd, .662), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 per game), Riders pitching has amassed 140 punchouts in the last 16 games (8.8 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts during that stretch (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10; CONNOR SADZECK, 9), with Payano and Sadzeck setting their career-high against San Antonio May 3 and 6, respectively.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
The Riders have gotten off to great starts in series this season,  winning nine of their first 11 series openers.The only two blemishes were one-run defeats, in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Midland and last Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Corpus Christi. The Riders have won seven of their first 11 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+48), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 22 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 5-1 in games decided by two runs. Five of the eight games between the Riders and Missions this season bhave been decided by two runs or fewer.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts but has allowed just two earned runs in 14.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.29 ERA.

HOW SWEEP IT IS:
The Riders have swept three four-game series already this season (two against San Antonio, one against Midland. Coming into the season, the Riders hadn’t swept a four-game set since May of 2011.

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game in Corpus Christi. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs Saturday. However, his .098 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made seven starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last four baserunners who have attempted to steal on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 99-60 (.623), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A Hickory enters the day at 26-14, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 26-15, and Triple-A Round Rock is 20-19. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders enter the season with six players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ 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. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26).

OPPOSING STARTER:
The RoughRiders face Kyle Lloyd for the third time this year in the series opener tonight. It is Lloyd’s first start of the season, as all 10 of his previous outings with the Missions have come in relief. The righty closed out the 2015 season with nine straight starts for Lake Elsinore…Drafted in the 29th round of the 2013 Draft out of the University of Evansville, Walter’s strongest pitch is a split-fingered fastball (low 90s).

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (DH, 5/19/16)

GAMES #38 and 39
Frisco RoughRiders (25-12) at Midland RockHounds (20-17)
Thursday, May 19 – Game one starts at 4:30 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Midland feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Game oneGame two
—————————————–
This series: Games 3 and 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-0)
This season: Games 7 and 8 of 28 (Riders lead, 4-2)

FRISCO LINEUP (Game one)

  1. Lewis Brinson RF
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  3. Ryan Cordell – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Preston Beck – DH
  6. Garrett Weber – SS
  7. Zach Cone – LF
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Connor Sadzeck (4-0, 3.24 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at Midland (W, 11-8 – 15 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the night: Ronald Guzman‘s two-run triple adds insurance in the 15th

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Catcher Kellin Deglan

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders game with Midland yesterday was postponed due to rain…On Tuesday, the two teams played a 15-inning affair, ending in an 11-8 RoughRiders victory…Frisco led 6-1 after five innings behind masterful work from YU DARVISH in his rehab appearance. He struck out six and allowed just three hits, all singles, surrendering an unearned run in the first…Midland rallied back, however, with four runs in the sixth off of JOSE MONEGRO and another marker off of RYNE SLACK in the ninth to send the games to extra innings…Frisco and Midland traded solo home runs in the 13th before the RoughRiders jumped on the Hounds with four unearned runs in the 15th and held on for the win…PRESTON BECK earned the win in his 2016 pitching debut, allowing one run in two innings.

YU SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH re-joined the Riders to continue his Major League rehabilitation assignment Tuesday. The three-time American League All-Star worked five innings and allowed just three hits and an unearned run, while walking one and striking out six. Of Darvish’s 68 pitches, 47 were strikes.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
Frisco’s 25-12 record is the best through 37 games in team history, one game ahead of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 24-13 at this point. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

GOING STREAKING:
RYAN CORDELL has been off to a great start in 2016, including a Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honor. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end May 2, he continued his on-base streak to an MiLB-leading 36 games Tuesday and reached twice in the win. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 39 straight contests.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
In addition to Cordell’s impressive on-base streak, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. With a solo home run in the eighth inning Monday, the Riders outfielder passed Midland’s Matt Chapman for the league lead in home runs (10) and Ryon Healy for the lead in RBI (35). Cordell also tops the the league in batting average (.353) and runs scored (34), and he leads all of Minor League Baseball in slugging percentage (.699).

STRIKEOUT FEVER:
After striking out 180 hitters in the first 23 games (7.8 per game), Riders pitching has amassed 125 punchouts in the last 14 games (8.9 per game). In addition, three starters have set career-highs in single-game strikeouts during that stretch (VICTOR PAYANO, 13; SAM WOLFF, 10;CONNOR SADZECK, 9).

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
With a win Monday night, the Riders now have a 9-2 record in series openers this year. The only two blemishes were one-run defeats, in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Midland and last Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Corpus Christi. The Riders have won six of their first 10 series, including two sweeps of Northwest Arkansas and San Antonio.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+43), Frisco has played in 11 one-run contests, winning seven, over the last 20 games. The Riders have an 8-5 record in games decided by one run this year and are 4-1 in games decided by two runs.

HOME IS WHERE THE ‘PEN IS:
Right-handed pitcher JOSE LECLERC has made a marked improvement since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Leclerc had an ERA of 7.88 in two starts but has allowed just two earned runs in 12.0 innings of relief, good for a 1.50 ERA.

HOW SWEEP IT ISN’T:
After losing all four games to Corpus Christi in the last series, the RoughRiders were swept for the first time this season. It was the first time Frisco had been swept since losing three games to Midland in the final series of last year (September 5-7).

CUT THEM SOME SLACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK saw an impressive stretch come to an end in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game. The southpaw began the season with 14 1/3 scoreless innings between April 8 and May 8 until the Hooks finally tagged him for two runs Saturday. However, his .098 opposing average is still the best in the Texas League.

KINER CAN CATCH:
RoughRiders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA has found a new skillset, and it comes from behind the plate. The 21-year-old is catching for the first time in his career this season, having made seven starts behind the plate. The new position has worked incredibly well for Kiner-Falefa, who has caught the last four baserunners who have attempted to steal on his watch. He had not allowed a passed ball for the first five games until allowing one in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 97-57 (.630), which is the second-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland. Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A Hickory enters the day at 26-13, Class A-Advanced High Desert is 26-14, and Triple-A Round Rock is 20-18. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders enter the season with six players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ 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. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26).

OPPOSING STARTER:
GAME ONE: The RoughRiders face Corey Walter for the first time this year in Game One of the twin bill. Walter moved into the rotation when Daniel Megden was promoted to Triple-A, but he missed Frisco in the first series between the two teams…Drafted in the 28th Round of the 2014 Draft out of West Virginia University, Walter throws a two-seam sinker and a slider and is working on his changeup….GAME TWO: Righty Joel Seddon takes the ball for Midland tonight in the back-half of the doubleheader. Seddon has turn things around after a rough start, alllowed three or fewer earned runs in three of his last four outings, including one against Frisco. Seddon is in his third season as a professional and his first with the RockHounds. The University of South Carolina product was selected by the Athletics in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. He was previously selected in the 20th round by Toronto out of St. Clair High School in 2011. He was mostly a reliever in college and in his first season in the Oakland farm system, but made 14 starts in 34 appearances with Class A-Advanced Stockton last season. His arsenal includes a two-seam and four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball.

Deglan turning a corner for Frisco

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Sometimes, a blooper is all you need to break out of a slump.

For Riders catcher Kellin Deglan, that’s ringing true over the last few weeks. Deglan ended an 0-for-22 skid with a looper into left field May 2 against Corpus Christi. Since then, the Canadian backstop has become a consistent contributor in the Riders lineup. He’s hitting .324 (11-for-34) over the 10 games since his slump-busting hit. His spurt continued Tuesday with his first home run of the season. The recent hot streak has brought Deglan’s average up from .059 to .191, and it continues to climb.

“I’m starting to feel better,” he said in a pregame interview with Nathan Barnett on May 6 (full interview below). “I obviously got off to a slow start, but I’ve been putting in a lot of work and I’m slowly starting to feel better and getting to where my swing needs to be.”

26679917750_d22c5e3483_zDefensively, he’s also making strides as well. After throwing out just three of 22 would-be base stealers, he’s nabbed four of the last 10 men that have run against him, including one in Tuesday’s 15-inning win at Midland (he caught all 15 innings, by the way).

It’s only a 10-game stretch, but if Deglan can sustain his recent success, both at the plate and in the field, it’ll be another boost to an already-talented lineup.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Decoy sign – A meaningless sign from the catcher, dugout, or coach’s box that misleads and confuses those trying to steal the sign.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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