Results tagged ‘ Texas Rangers ’

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


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

RYAN: Ronald Guzman

050116 Guzman, Ronald (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders) copy

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


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.


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

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: August 26

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

TEXAS RANGERS (75-53 – 1st, AL West)

Texas enters the day 7.5 games up on Seattle and 8.5 ahead of Houston in the AL West race. The Rangers opened their series against first-place Cleveland last night with a resounding 9-0 win over the Indians.

Aside from another dominant outing from Cole Hamels, Carlos Gomez homered in his first at-bat with the Rangers.

The Rangers take on Cleveland for three more before Seattle comes to town. Texas has a chance to really create some space in the standings over the next six games.

Today: vs. Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (66-67 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

Nashville is about to knock Round Rock and the rest of the American Southern Division out of the playoffs with its magic number at one game.

That said, Round Rock continues to have a productive month of August. The Express are 15-9 this month. On Tuesday, though, they had to watch former teammate Lewis Brinson go deep against them in his first at-bat back at Dell Diamond. As you can see in the clip below, his trip around the bases included a lot of smiling.

After allowing his first two runs as a Triple-A pitcher his last time out, Yohander Mendez came out of the bullpen last night and worked four scoreless innings. His ERA with Round Rock is a ridiculous 0.64 through 28.1 innings. He appears to be running away with Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors.

Today: at New Orleans, 7:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (77-53 overall, 34-26 second half – 2nd in the second half, California League South Division)

In case you haven’t heard already, the Mavericks are entering their final few weeks as a franchise. Next year, we’ll be writing about the Kinston ______s here on “Riding Through the Farm”.

Sam Dykstra at wrote an interesting piece a few days ago about the difference in park effects that Rangers farmhands will experience when they shift from Adelanto to Kinston. Suddenly, the Rangers’ Class A-Advanced affiliate will be in a slight pitcher’s park, according to the metrics.

That said, the end of the regular season won’t be the finale for the Mavs. High Desert is guaranteed a playoff spot by way of winning the first-half crown. The Mavericks are still on track to face Lancaster in the first round of the playoffs.

In player news, Dylan Moore was sent to the Braves this week as part of a three-team deal that garnered international slot money for the Rangers.

Lastly, Luke Tendler was named California League Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .435 with four doubles, three homers, and eight RBI.

Today: vs. Lake Elsinore, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Tyler Davis)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (69-61 overall, 31-29 second half – T-3rd in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory is quickly sliding out of playoff contention by way of first-place Lakewood’s seven-game winning streak. Hickory was the last team to beat the BlueClaws, but the Crawdads are now six games back in the second-half standings, seeing their elimination number drop to five games.

Yesterday, Josh Altmann was promoted to High Desert. He was hitting .260 with six home runs and 30 RBI prior to the promotion.

Charleston is in town for three, starting tonight. Nick Green, who was part of the Carlos Beltran trade, is slated to start tomorrow. Dillon Tate, also part of that trade, has been used as a reliever with the RiverDogs. He last pitched Tuesday, so perhaps he makes an appearance this weekend at L.P. Frans Stadium. Tate is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his first four outings (10.0 IP) with Charleston.

Today: vs. Charleston, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Blake Bass)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (28-37 overall, 9-18 second half – 4th in the second half, Northwest League North)

Yesterday’s off day was a much-needed one for Spokane. The Indians enter the day on a seven-game losing streak and are just 1-12 in their last 13 games. In this 13-game dry spell, Spokane is hitting .207 as a team with a 4.91 ERA.

Amazingly, the Indians are just one game out of second place right now, although everybody is looking up at 20-7 Everett. That’s the beauty of winning the first half.

Benjamin Hill of the Ben’s Biz Blog had this fun story about a mysterious safe at Spokane’s Avista Stadium. What do you think is inside it?

Tonight: vs. Tri City, 8:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Tyler Phillips)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Mixed ball – A fastball that breaks in.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: August 21

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

TEXAS RANGERS (73-51 – 1st, AL West)

Texas has split the first two games in Tampa Bay this weekend and is currently taking on the Rays in the series finale.

One of the biggest news items out of Arlington this week was the signing of Carlos Gomez yesterday, who was released by Houston recently. Gomez is expected to join Triple-A Round Rock today and play a few games with the Express before joining Texas. Rangers manager Jeff Banister says that Gomez will be the everyday left fielder for Texas when he joins the club.

Today: at Tampa Bay, 12:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (63-65 – 3rd, PCL American Southern Division)

Yohander Mendez is human after all. After four consecutive scoreless outings (19.1 IP) to begin his Triple-A career, the former Riders pitcher gave up a whopping two runs last night in a loss to Colorado Springs. According to Scott Lucas of The Newberg Report, he threw ALL fastballs his first three innings.

Still, he’s sporting a 0.74 ERA on the year with Round Rock and a 2.34 ERA overall across three levels. For more on Mendez, and other insights on the Rangers farm system, check out our interview with Rangers Director of Player Development Mike Daly from earlier this week.

Round Rock is currently battling Colorado Springs, the new home of former Riders outfielder Lewis Brinson. He, however, is currently on the DL. That said, he’ll be eligible to come off near the end of the current series in Round Rock, so if he’s healthy, fans in Round Rock should have a chance to see Brinson play.

The Express won five straight at the end of last week and have come away victorious in seven of their last 10 games overall.

Next: Tonight vs. Colorado Springs, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (73-52 overall, 30-25 second half – 3rd in the second half, California League South Division)

High Desert already has a playoff spot wrapped up, but the Mavericks continue to play good baseball in the second half. That said, High Desert has lost three in a row, including two straight to Inland Empire, the team with the lowest win percentage in the Cal League (.357).

Earlier this week, the Mavs had a game postponed due to the Blue Cut Fire burning in the area, but the good news is the fire is now mostly contained.

The Mavericks will likely face Lancaster (Houston) in the first round of the playoffs, but the JetHawks still have just a 4.5 game lead over Lake Elsinore in the second-half standings.

Today: vs. Inland Empire, 7:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Collin Wiles)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (66-59 overall, 28-27 second half – 4th in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory has followed up a seven-game losing streak with three consecutive wins to stay within reach of the second-half title. The Crawdads sit four back of first-place Lakewood with 15 games to go.

After defeating Greensboro Friday, the ‘Dads defeated “Jeansboro” last night, as the Grasshoppers honored local jeans producer Wrangler.

Today: at Greensboro, 3:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (28-33 overall, 9-14 second half – 2nd in the second half, Northwest League North)

It’s a good thing the Indians won the first half, because they’re quickly sliding out of the playoff picture in the second half. Spokane was swept by red-hot Eugene (which had a 15-game win streak recently) and has lost eight of nine overall to fall eight games back of Everett in the second half. Assuming the results hold, it’ll be Spokane and the AquaSox in the opening round of the playoffs.

Anderson Tejeda (.275 avg, 3 HR, 10 RBI) continues to swing well, although Leody Taveras (.224, 0 HR, 7 RBI) has cooled down after a hot start. Also, big Curtis Terry (6’2”/255 lbs) was promoted yesterday.

Tonight: at Hillsboro, 3:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Alex Daniele)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Pasteboard – An admission ticket to a baseball game.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

A deeper look at Kellin Deglan’s recent surge

Riders catcher Kellin Deglan is in the middle of one of the best power surges of his career, most recently accentuated by his six-RBI performance Friday, which included the third grand slam of his career.

Deglan now has five homers in the last eight games he’s played in, including a two-homer game August 3 vs. Midland. In these last eight games, he’s 8-for-29 (.276) with a double, five homers, and 14 RBI.

The only stretch of his career that may have been statistically better than this one came in late June/early July of 2014 with Hickory, when he went 9-for-24 (.375) with five homers and 12 RBI in a six-game span. That spurt also started with a two-homer game, in which he registered his career-high of seven RBI June 24 vs. Kannapolis. That said, this is coming at a higher level against higher-quality arms.

The Canadian catcher told last night that he’s been working on his swing mechanics with Rangers Assistant Hitting Coordinator Dwayne Murphy and that last night was his first game using the new mechanics. The big difference is his hand positioning. Just watch the video of last night’s homer (above) compared to the one below in Springfield last week. Perhaps the change in mechanics vaults him toward a strong finish to the season, after which he will be a free agent.

The other promising sign last night was the zero in the strikeouts column. It ended a string of 17 consecutive games in which the former first-round pick had struck out at least once.

Maybe it’s a temporary surge, or maybe it’s something more. It’s hard to say at this point, but if Deglan keeps swinging at this clip, it’s going to be a fun final few weeks of the season.

Riding Through the Farm: August 14

Riding Through the Farm v3

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

TEXAS RANGERS (69-49 – 1st, AL West)

It’s been a good week for the Rangers, who have won six of their last eight, including five straight earlier this week. After waiting out a loooooooong rain delay (2:42) Friday night, Jonathan Lucroy smashed two of Texas’ four home runs in a 8-5 win over the Tigers.

In 11 games with Texas, Lucroy is hitting .286 with six homers and 11 RBI. Fellow newcomer Carlos Beltran is swinging at a .333 clip with two homers and five RBI.

Today: vs. Detroit, 2:05 p.m. (SP: RHP A.J. Griffin)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (59-62 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

It’s been an up-and-down week for the Express. Tuesday, they came one out away from being perfect-gamed by Nashville’s Jharel Cotton. However, they’ve bounced back with wins of 8-3, 14-3, and 17-3. On Wednesday, a trio of 2016 Riders got in on the action, with Victor Payano earning his first Triple-A win, Preston Beck driving in two with a triple, and Ronald Guzman finishing 3-for-4.

Jared Hoying has three homers in his last two games and has hits in nine of his last 10 games.

Next: Tonight at Salt Lake, 8:35 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (70-48 overall, 27-21 second half – 3rd in the second half, California League South Division)

The Mavs are in the midst of a low-scoring road trip, a rarity in the hitter-friendly California League. High Desert has put up just 10 (1 Sat.) runs in the five games at San Jose and Stockton.

Former Rider reliever Cody Palmquist made another start with High Desert – his second of the year – last night in a loss at Stockton. He allowed four earned runs (five total) on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Fresh off his promotion from Hickory, Dylan Moore is fitting in well with his new club. He had hits in each of his first eight games with High Desert, including three straight games with a homer last week, before going 0-for-4 last night.

Today: at Stockton, 8:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Tyler Davis)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (62-56 overall, 24-24 second half – 6th in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are in the midst of a log jam in the second half standings of the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, sitting in sixth place, but just three games back. For that reason, their current six-game losing streak is coming at a bad time.

Xavier Turner joined the squad last week and proceeded to hit two homers in his first game up from Spokane. However, he’s just 1-for-10 since.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, LeDarious Clark stole home (albeit, in delayed fashion) last Saturday.

Lastly, here’s a good read on Eric Jenkins, who rides an eight-game hitting streak into today’s game.

Today: vs. Rome, 4:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (27-27 overall, 8-8 second half – 2nd in the second half, Northwest League North)

Spokane is 5-6 since the All-Star Break, most recently dropping a pair of games to the Eugene Emeralds, one of the NWL’s hottest teams right now.

Though the Indians have lost a few key contributors, such as Xavier Turner and Tyler Ferguson, highly touted newcomers Leody Taveras and Anderson Tejeda are helping to fill the void in Spokane. Tejeda, especially, is off to a nice start, hitting .286 with two homers and four RBI in his first six games with the Indians.

The one and only Benjamin Hill of the Bens Biz Blog was in Spokane on Friday as part of his west coast road trip. I’m sure he’s got more of a writeup coming from his time at Avista Stadium, but in the meantime, here’s his nightly “groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the day.”

Tonight: vs. Eugene, 5:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Kyle Cody)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Gazoonie – A rookie.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Three things to know about new Riders OF Darin Mastroianni


Darin Mastroianni brings a wealth of experience to the Riders. (Jeffrey Irizarry)

The Texas Rangers assigned newly acquired outfielder Darin Mastroianni to the RoughRiders today. He is leading off and playing centerfield in tonight’s game at Tulsa.

Here are three things to know about the newest member of the Riders:

HE’S EXPERIENCED: Between 854 minor league games and 136 games in the big leagues, Mastroianni brings 10 years and a wealth of experience to the RoughRiders. This is the fifth organization he’s been a part of (Toronto, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, and Texas) so he’s learned a variety of philosophies and worked with a medley of people in his career.

HE’S FAST: One of the things that stands out about the New York-native is his skill on the base paths. He’s 300-for-365 in stolen base attempts during his career (MiLB and MLB). He stole 70 bases (85 attempts) across two levels in 2009. The numbers have declined a bit this year (9-for-12), but he’s still a threat whenever he gets on.

HE’S GOOD WITH THE GLOVE: It’s been 87 games since Mastroianni last made an error. He has a .987 career fielding percentage in centerfield, which is where he’s played most of his career (and where he’s playing tonight).

He’s the latest in a string of veteran guys that have joined the RoughRiders. The first few (Matt Bush, Scott Carroll, Jack Snodgrass, and Alexeis Bell) have worked out rather well for the Riders. We’ll see if the same holds true with Mastroianni.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Masker – The catcher.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Fasola named Minor League Reliever of the Month

810 Fasola

Yesterday, the Rangers announced their monthly minor league awards and John Fasola earned the organization’s Reliever of the Month for July.

Fasola has since been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, where he’s faring well, but while he was with the Riders, he posted an impressive body of work in July. He was tied for the team lead in appearances (10) and went 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, all while converting each of the five save chances he had. He walked just three batters in 15 innings and struck out 16. His WHIP for July was a paltry 0.53. To top it all off, he finished the month on a 12-inning scoreless streak.

The righty’s overall stat line is impressive (3-1, 3.73 ERA in 22 appearances), but it’s even better if you look at just June and July. In those two months, he went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA. He also continues to lead Rangers farmhands in total saves (11).

He has continued his success at the Triple-A level, posting a 2.84 ERA in five overall appearances, including a mark of 2.45 since going back up on August 3.

If you haven’t already heard his interview with Nathan Barnett a few weeks ago, I recommend you listen. There are some interesting insights in here, including how to keep a closer’s mentality in a non-save situation.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Fan the atmosphere – To strike out.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meet the new Riders

Over the past week, there have been a load of new players transferred to Frisco.

If you have been following along closely, you may recognize some of the new names and faces. However, if you’ve missed out on the past few days of Riders coverage, you will probably be surprised to find out that the team has an entirely new look.

Let’s get to know some of the new players the Riders have received over the past couple weeks who are playing in Frisco for the first time this season.

Alexeis Bell – OF

The Rangers signed Bell, 32, to a minor league contract on July 15. He began his stateside career with the Rangers’ Arizona League squad. In four games, he went 4-for-16 with a walk and two strikeouts.


Bell played his first 14 professional seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he was a career .319 hitter with 138 home runs and 632 RBI in 659 games. He also maintained a .417 on-base percentage and a .547 slugging percentage during his time in the Cuban National Series, most of which was spent with the Avispas de Santiago de Cuba. He won league MVP honors in the 2007-08 season after setting single-season league records for home runs (31) and RBI (111), while posting a .355 average.

The veteran outfielder spent last season with Les Capitales de Quebec in the Canadian-American Association, where he hit .317 with two homers and 23 RBI in 59 games. Bell also played nine games with Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League this May.

Bell also has extensive experience representing Cuba on the international stage. Of note, he was part of the country’s Olympic team, which brought home the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also played on Cuba’s squad during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Scott Carroll – RHP

The 31-year-old spent the majority of 2016 with Triple-A Charlotte of the International League, going 2-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 games, 12 starts. He made three relief outings with the White Sox in May, allowing three runs and two hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Carroll was on Chicago’s 40-man roster before being assigned outright to Charlotte on July 14.

In 47 Major League games, 19 starts, Carroll has a 6-11 record with a 4.60 ERA. He was 5-10 with a 4.80 ERA in 26 games, 19 starts with the White Sox in 2014. In 2015, he posted a 3.44 ERA in 18 relief appearances.

He spent his first six pro seasons in the Cincinnati organization before signing as a free agent with Chicago in July 2012.

Carlos Arroyo – OF

Arroyo, 23, has been with Round Rock, Class-A Hickory, Class A Short-season Hickory and the Arizona League Rangers. He has combined to play 18 games this season, hitting .298. The outfielder is in his fourth season as a professional, signing with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent September 19, 2012 out of Valencia, Venezuela.

Jack Snodgrass – LHP

Snodgrass, 28, signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent on July 14 after spending the first five seasons of his career in the San Francisco Giants organization. The lefty went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four appearances with Round Rock. Snodgrass was drafted by the Giants in the 27th round of the 2011 draft out of Austin Peay State.

Eduard Pinto – OF


Pinto, 21, departed Hickory as the team leader in batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.392), slugging percentage (.478), and OPS (.870). Pinto was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week on July 10th, after batting .567/.581/.833 with two home runs, 2 doubles, and eight RBI over the seven game stretch. The 5’11” outfielder spent time with Hickory in both 2014 and 2015, which included a .364 average in the postseason while helping the Crawdads to the 2015 SAL Championship.

Carson Blair – C

Blair, 26, is in his ninth year as a professional. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in the Boston Red Sox organization before signing with the Oakland Athletics as a minor league free agent in November 2014. He was with Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville most of last season before making his Major League debut September 6 with the Athletics, where he played 11 big league games, batting .129 with one homer and three RBI.

The native of Argyle, Texas opened the 2016 season with Midland before earning a promotion to Nashville on July 3. Blair was released by the A’s on July 15. For his career, Blair is a .245 hitter with more than 43 percent of his hits going for extra bases (87 doubles, 12 triples, 38 home runs).

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: gaijin – Foreign players in the Japanese professional baseball leagues. Teams are allowed to have up to four gaijin on the roster (two position players and two pitchers). ETYMOLOGY. Japanese for “outsiders.”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm (August 5)

Riding Through the Farm v3

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

TEXAS RANGERS (63-46 – 1st, AL West)

After making moves to acquire Jonathan LucroyCarlos Beltran, and Jeremy Jeffress at the trade deadline, all three have had success in the past week for the Rangers. Lucroy and Beltran both hit home runs in the three-game series against Baltimore, and Jeffress pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s 5-3 victory in the finale.

A huge three-game road series against the Houston Astros begins tonight at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won nine of 10 games against the Astros so far this season and lead Houston by 6 1/2 games in the American League West.

Today: at Houston, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (54-59 – T-2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

On Wednesday, Round Rock received four players from the RoughRidersYohander Mendez and Ronald Guzman, two of the Top 5 prospects in the Rangers farm system (according to, have already made an impact with the E-Train.

Guzman went 2-for-4 in his Triple-A debut Thursday, mashing a solo home run in his first at-bat and driving in another run with a double later in the game.

In his second start with the Express last night, Mendez pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in a win over Oklahoma City. The southpaw has now fired a total of 10 scoreless innings in two Triple-A starts this season.

Today: at Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (66-44 overall, 23-17 second half – 3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 games, including a four-game sweep of Rancho Cucamonga on the road last week. High Desert is back at home battling the Quakes again, and they started the series with a win yesterday.

Former Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League opponents out of the bullpen for High Desert. Palmquist was named Rangers Reliever of the Month last month after not allowing a run in all of June. He has given up just four earned runs in 17 relief appearances (26.1 innings pitched) since joining the Mavs on June 4.

Today: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Jeff Springs)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (60-49 overall, 22-17 second half – 3rd place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

A five-game win streak has propelled the Crawdads into third place in the SAL Northern Division standings. Hickory is now just 1 1/2 games behind first-place Hagerstown, who won the division in the first half of the season. The ‘Dads are half a game behind Greensboro for second place and the second-best overall record the division.

However, the Crawdads recently lost outfielder Eduard Pinto and infielder Dylan Moore, who were both promoted to higher affiliates. Pinto joined the RoughRiders last night, while Moore was moved up to High Desert.

Infielder Xavier Turner was just assigned to Hickory from Spokane yesterday. He has a chance to make a big impact for the Crawdads in their push for a playoff spot. Turner played nine games with the Crawdads last season after starting his professional career in the Arizona League.

Today: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Joe Palumbo)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (23-22 overall, 4-3 second half  3rd place, Northwest League North Division)

As mentioned above, Xavier Turner was promoted to Hickory yesterday after a spectacular performance Tuesday in the Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game. Turner won the Top Star Award for the Northwest League, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a pair of runs scored.

Four former Spokane Indians were involved in the Rangers’ trade deadline deal for Carlos Beltran. In addition to Dillon Tate (2015), Erik Swanson (2014), and Nick Green (2016), Beltran was also an Indian back in 1996. Spokane was affiliated with the Kansas City Royals at the time.

Tonight: at Salem-Keizer, 8:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Sal Mendez)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: pastureworker – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Grab a bat: Pitchers hitting for the Riders

Last night, pitcher Ryan Ledbetter was called out of the bullpen to come in and pinch hit for the RoughRiders with two outs in the ninth inning.


Following Alberto Triunfel‘s ejection in the middle of his at-bat, Frisco had no other position players left on the bench to enter the game. As a result, Ledbetter grabbed a bat and saw three pitches from Midland’s Kyle Finnegan. Ledbetter swung and missed at the first, fouled off the second, and then struck out looking on the third.

It was a rare occurrence seeing a pitcher hit for the Riders. Because Frisco is a Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, an American League team, the Riders always use a designated hitter. In the Texas League, pitchers only have to hit when two National League affiliates square off.

However, there have been three other instances where a pitcher was brought in to a Riders game, either as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, and ended up getting an at-bat.


Jesse Chavez – June 27, 2005 vs. Tulsa (W, 8-6 – 12 innings)

This game featured a situation where Frisco’s designated hitter Seth Taylor entered the game to play second base. As a result, the pitcher’s spot took over the second slot in the batting order. Scott Feldman pitched 2 1/3 innings, through the 10th inning, but he did not get a chance to bat. Instead, it was Chavez who came up to the plate in the 11th after pitching the top half of the inning.

Chavez struck out against Tulsa’s Judd Songster, pitched another scoreless frame, and then the Riders won on a walk-off two-run homer by Will Smith in the bottom of the 12th. Current Riders hitting coach Jason Hart also scored on Smith’s home run.

Ben Snyder – August 15, 2011 vs. Tulsa (W, 3-2 – 12 innings)


The second time a pitcher hit for the RoughRiders came in another game against the Drillers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. It was also a 12-inning contest that ended in a Riders victory. However, this game featured Snyder entering the game as a defensive replacement for Engel Beltre in the eighth inning. Beltre was ejected after arguing a called third strike in the bottom of the seventh. Snyder played right field, and Jonathan Greene moved over to Beltre’s spot in center.

The lefty Snyder ended up getting two at-bats, as the game went to extra innings. Snyder singled to right field in the ninth inning against Tulsa’s Joe Torres. This still stands as the only time a RoughRiders pitcher has recorded a hit. Snyder struck out looking against Stephen Dodson in the 12th. Two batters later, Jared Bolden hit a walk-off single to plate Jose Felix.

Ryan Rodebaugh – June 6, 2013 at San Antonio


Rodebaugh was the most recent pitcher to hit in a game before Ledbetter came up to the plate in the ninth inning yesterday. This was also the only time that a Riders pitcher has batted on the road. It was another occasion where a designated hitter entered the game defensively, but this situation was a lot more complex.

Riders shortstop Hanser Alberto was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a call at first base after grounding into a double play. Odubel Herrera moved from second base to shortstop, Chih-Hsien Chiang took over Alberto’s spot in the batting order playing right field, and Alejandro Selen switched to second base from right field.

However, after Selen’s second strikeout of the game, he was replaced defensively. Herrera took back his original position at second base, and designated hitter Guilder Rodriguez entered at shortstop. Therefore, the new pitcher Arlett Mavare took over Selen’s vacated spot in the lineup.

Mavare pitched a scoreless seventh, and Richard Bleier tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. When Bleier was due up with one out in the ninth, Rodebaugh was called in to pinch hit against San Antonio’s Ryan Kelly. He became the second Riders pitcher to reach base in a game, but it was not on a hit. The second baseman Chris Bisson made a fielding error, allowing Rodebaugh to reach safely. Rodebaugh was promptly doubled off first base after Chiang flied out to the right fielder Kalian Sams.

(Side note: June 6 was the final game Sams played with San Antonio. He hit a home run off Pucetas to lead off the sixth, which was his last hit with the Missions. The Padres promoted Sams to Triple-A Tucson the following day, but he was released by the club on July 19. The Rangers signed Sams to a minor league contract on August 9, and he was assigned to Frisco the next day.)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Pittsburgh chopper – A batted ball that becomes a hit because it bounces over a fielder’s head. Its success depends on a downward chopping swing and a hard infield. Named by and for the 1960 world champion Pittsburgh Pirates, who specialized in such hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)