Results tagged ‘ Texas Rangers ’

Best in the League, Part II

Carlos Olivas (second from the left) pays a medical visit to RoughRiders pitcher Carlos Pimentel. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Carlos Olivas (second from the left) pays a medical visit to RoughRiders pitcher Carlos Pimentel.

Brett Nicholas and Neil Ramirez weren’t the only RoughRiders honored last month for a stellar 2013 season.  The two Frisco stalwarts were named post-season All-Stars at the DH and pitcher positions, respectively, and they’ve now got some company.

Company that’s going to have to clear a bit more space on his mantle.

Last month Frisco’s Carlos Olivas was named “Athletic Trainer of the Year” for the Texas League for the second straight season by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS).  This is a tremendous honor and Carlos is incredibly deserving of the award.  He does a terrific job caring for the players and keeping them healthy and on the field.

A trainer from each minor league is chosen for an award in addition to a minor league coordinator and at the Winter Meetings, the “Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year” will be elected by PBATS members.   Carlos was one of two trainers in the Rangers organization to win an award; the other was Alex Rodriguez of the Dominican Summer League Rangers.

Here’s the full list of award-winning trainers:

League:                                       Winner:                                                      Organization:

Coordinator Jay Williams San Francisco Giants
International League Jeff Allred Washington Nationals
Pacific Coast League Eric Ortega San Francisco Giants
Eastern League Scott DiFrancesco New York Yankees
Southern League Charles Leddon Cincinnati Reds
Texas League Carlos Olivas Texas Rangers
Florida State League Alan Rail Minnesota Twins
California League Grand Hufford Houston Astros
Carolina League Patrick Wesley Baltimore Orioles
Midwest League Chris Tomashoff Tampa Bay Rays
South Atlantic League Mark Keiser Kansas City Royals
New York – Penn League Jason Schwartzman Detroit Tigers
Northwest League Reggie Mugrue Toronto Blue Jays
Appalachian League Kiyoshi Tada New York Mets
Pioneer League John Duff Colorado Rockies
Arizona League Clete Sigwart Cincinnati Reds
Gulf Coast League Philip Mastro Pittsburgh Pirates
Dominican Summer Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers

PBATS President Richie Bancells had this to say upon the announcement of the winners:

“These 18 athletic trainers stood out in 2013 as the best in their respective leagues, and I am so honored that they all showed the dedication and professionalism it takes to keep their players on the field. These fine gentlemen represent the bright future that lies ahead for PBATS.”

Carlos is back home in New Mexico, but I asked him a few questions over e-mail about winning the award.

In addition to valuing the health of his players, Carlos also values being a sharp-dressed man.

In addition to valuing the health of his players, Carlos also values being a sharp-dressed man.

Alex Vispoli: What does it mean to you to have won this award for the second straight year?

Carlos Olivas: It was definitely a surprise when I heard. It is a testament to the program we run and I give credit to Eric McMahon for his part in the sports medicine team. I am honored to be voted the winner for 2 straight years.

AV: Why do you think your work has been recognized once again as exemplary?

CO: We try to keep current with what we do as far as injury prevention and rehabilitation. Our players play a big role believing in what we are doing and following through with our programs. Having a medical team of doctors available for visiting teams and giving them the same access we have is huge. I always try to communicate with the visiting athletic trainers on a daily basis to make sure they have everything they need.

AV: Has anyone within the Rangers organization congratulated you on winning?

CO: I have heard from numerous people congratulating me.

AV: How was this past season from your perspective as an athletic trainer? Any unique or important challenges?

CO: It was overall a very good year. We only had a few major injuries and kept DL time to a minimum. We try to spend a lot of time on prevention and catching small injuries early before they turn into something big. Lower body muscular injuries (hamstring, groin) are always tricky because they tend to nag.  Every year is a challenge with the amount of turnover with players in the minor leagues. We are constantly gaining new players with new sets of challenges.

AV: Does this qualify as a dynasty/do you have enough pictures of someone to ensure a third straight win?

CO: I have pictures of everyone…including you, Vispoli.

Duly noted.

To learn more about Carlos and what he does as a minor league athletic trainer, take a listen to this interview I did with him back in July for the radio broadcast.

Congratulations Carlos!

- Alex

‘Riders on the Record: Final Words

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

An extra long edition this week with a double-dose of the skipper and a season finale chat with Jeff Andrews is here! It’s been a pleasure posting these each week. Thank you for your support of the Insider Blog and ‘Riders on the Record this season. We hope you enjoyed getting to hear from everyone this season. Highlights for the final edition include Phil Klein on his position on a football field, Nick Tepesch on being named the Rangers’ fifth starter and Randy Henry on how he can improve upon his stellar season.

Happy Monday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


After a tumultuous weekend in which the bullpen has been severely taxed, the manager Steve Buechele assesses the state of the ‘pen and who could have been on the mound among the position players. He discusses why Luke Jackson was removed in the midst of a no-hitter and explains the quick success of Nick Martinez in Double-A. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, August 26, 2013 – Catcher Zach Zaneksi


The RoughRiders catcher Zach Zaneski comes on to talk about his offseason plans and the end of the RoughRiders season. With Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez in town, Zach tells us what kind of wisdom the future Hall-of-Famer has shared with the ‘Riders backstops. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – RHP Phil Klein


For the first time in his pro career, Phil Klein was the starting pitcher. He talks about keeping his routine consistent and how excited he was to get the nod. In preparation for our fantasy football post on the RoughRiders Insider Blog, I also asked Klein where he would play on a football team. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 – 1B/C Brett Nicholas


Brett Nicholas put together a career year in 2013. He was named to the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team and a member of the Arizona Fall League the previous day, and he talks about the significance of both in the larger picture of his career. Hovering around a .300 batting average, Brett weighs in on the importance of that number to him as well. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


Fresh off his walk-off grand slam, Ryan Rua reflects on the best moments of his career. He looks back at his breakout season and assess the progress that he has made this year as well as his adjustment to Double-A pitching. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 30, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Nick Tepesch


Rangers rehabber Nick Tepesch talks about his first ever rehab. He shares his story from Spring Training that ended in the nod as the Rangers #5 starter and the development of his slider that has helped him make the leap. He also explains how quick teams and players are to adjust at the big league level. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 31, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


RoughRiders reliever Randy Henry is putting the finishing touches on a spectacular season in his year at Double-A. Battling an elbow injury, Henry was one of the more dominant pitchers in the Texas League this season. He evaluates his year and pinpoints places for future improvement. (w/ Alex)

Sunday, September 1, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


For the final time, the ‘Riders skipper joins our own Alex Vispoli on the pregame show to discuss the end of the season. He gives his take on the significance of a .500 record and shares his plans for the offseason. (w/ Alex)

Monday, September 2, 2013 – Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews


On the final day of the season, Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews sits down to assess his pitching staff at season’s end. He talks about the development of Luke Jackson and Nick Martinez, including the significance of his Jackson’s unconventional mechanics and Martinez’s baseball smarts. A big league coach in 2008 with the Pirates, he explains the value of coaching in the majors and what he learned in his season in Pittsburgh.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sky piece – baseball cap

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

‘Riders on the Record: Dunk City baseball and September call-ups

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

The second-to-last ‘Riders on the Record features Richard Bleier on the rise of his alma mater to “Dunk City,” the inaugural turn for Rougned Odor on the Record (via translator Arlett Mavare) and the always enlightening Jason Cole on the newest ‘Riders hurlers. Want to find out if Rougned Odor voted for himself in Moniker Madness? Be sure to listen in to Alex’s chat with him from Thursday.

It’s been a pleasure reliving these conversations with the players, coaches and special guests this season. We will put off next week’s Record until Monday and include the final eight days of interviews for the season. Thanks for continuing to tune in.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele weighs in on the the previous night’s antics when Odor knocked a walk off single for the second straight night. He gives his take on late-game enthusiasm and how close the ‘Riders came to blows with the Drillers Saturday night. He tries to explain the late fielding blunders for the club and what he expects of Neil Ramirez, who would make his final appearance for the club that night.  (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – LHP Richard Bleier


Relief pitcher Richard Bleier joined the RoughRiders after a rocky start to his season in Triple-A. He talks about dealing with the adversity and disappointment of demotion back to Double-A and how he has rebounded to have a strong year out of the ‘Riders bullpen. He recalls the decision to shave his beard in the middle of the season and remembers his time at Florida Gulf Coast. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


Hitting coach Jason Hart joins the pregame show and talks about the newest RoughRiders like Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams as well as how he tries to improve as a hitting coach. Getting close to the end of the season, he explains how he keeps the hitters motivated and focused through the end of the season. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 – 2B Rougned Odor


Translated by Arlett Mavare, Rougned Odor explains to Alex about his adjustment to the Texas League and what it was like to have back-to-back nights in which he collects a walk off hit. He talks about the importance of staying with his double play partner Luis Sardinas and the stock he places in the Moniker Madness competition put on by Minor League baseball to crown the best name in the sport. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 23, 2013 – Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus


Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus sits down before the ‘Riders’ last game in San Antonio to discuss the trio of new ‘Riders pitchers: Luke Jackson, Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez. He breaks down the play of Luis Sardinas and speculates on potential September call-ups to the Rangers. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: baseballese – the overall language of baseball, comprising official terminology, slang, and jargon. 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Rougned Odor Walk-off Madness

081713 Odor web

What an exciting weekend we had here in Frisco. Big crowds, beautiful August weather and a sweep of the Drillers.

On back-to-back nights, the Rangers’ top second base prospect Rougned Odor knocked a walk-off single to send Frisco past the Tulsa Drillers by a 6-5 score. Odor has impressed with his mere presence in Double-A, as he is the youngest player in not only the Texas League but also the entire Double-A level, besting top Cleveland prospect Francisco Lindor by a few months.

His feats on Friday night and Saturday night are unprecedented in RoughRiders history.

Thanks to our friends over at MiLB.com for cutting up the clip. Unfortunately, on Saturday, they chose a different clip, but we do have a GIF from baseball blogger Kazuto Yamazaki, who spends a good chuck of time following the Rangers and their affiliates.

Roogie walk-offNever before has a RoughRider walked it off on back-to-back nights. Four other times, the RoughRiders have collected walk-off wins on consecutive nights.

Hank’s brother Jake Blalock followed Luke Grayson‘s walk-off with one of his own on May 7, 2006.

Jake Blalock walk-off

A wild pitch from Sam Demel made a walk-off winner of the ‘Riders on May 19, 2007, one night after Emerson Frostad singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning against the Midland RockHounds.

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Joey Butler and Andy Jenkins beat the Missions with extra-innings walk-off singles on consecutive nights here at Dr Pepper Ballpark in late August of 2010.

Last season, the ‘Riders picked up back-to-back game-ending hits in the South Division Championship Series against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Chris McGuiness doubled in the winning run on September 5 and Leury Garcia knocked a home run to right field to end game two on September 6. The ‘Riders would sweep the series before falling to the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League Championship Series.

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Rougned Odor was the first to end games on two straight nights in team history. To further the rarity, he did in the same way (a single), against the same team (Tulsa Drillers) and by the same score (both wins were 6-5 RoughRiders victories). Friday’s came in the 13th inning, while Saturday’s contest finished in the bottom of the ninth.

The 19-year-old has impressed to start his Double-A career. He hit safely in his first nine Texas League games. He hit in each game this weekend and has four doubles, adding to his absurd Myrtle Beach two-bagger total for a season tally of 37–the most by any Rangers minor leaguer and tied for fifth in all of minor league baseball.

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 19 Frisco 16 78 9 20 4 1 3 9 1 1 5 16 .278 .333 .486 .819

The ‘Riders open a series with the San Antonio Missions tonight, trying to extend their hopes at a playoff berth. Frisco needs to win three of the four games over the Missions in the series to avoid San Antonio clinching against them. You can learn more about the ‘Riders of late in tonight’s game notes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: massage – to bat a ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: getting knighted and swinging at a tire

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A jam-packed home stand had lots of new faces looming in the tunnels and on the field at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tony Fernandez was here as the active hitting coach for Jason Hart, Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler was in town for a bit, as was the Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik and Infield Instructor Casey Candaele. Newcomers Nick Martinez, Jerad Eickhoff, Ryan Rua and Kalian Sams all made their Dr Pepper Ballpark debuts, and the ‘Riders were joined by Rangers rehabber Lance Berkman.   Highlights this week include the knighthood of Sir Kalian Sams, Lance Berkman talking about the development of his left-handed swing and the insights of Tony Fernandez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The skipper sits down with Alex as he does on Sunday to discuss the past week. Steve Buechele explains why he was ejected in the ballgame the previous night and the goes over the frustrating one-run losses of the previous week. He talks about what it is like for a manager after being ejected. As a former big league third baseman, he also explains how difficult a transition that Ryan Rua is making mid-season to go from second base to third. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – OF Kalian Sams


Kalian Sams began the season in the San Diego Padres system and faced the RoughRiders as a member of the San Antonio Missions. Now in the Texas system, he talks about getting acquainted with his new teammates and the hardest part of adjusting to a new clubhouse. A knight in his native Netherlands, he explains how he came to be knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands and what that process was like. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Lance Berkman


Rangers rehabbing DH Lance Berkman talks about his decision not to retire and what he feels like he contribute to the major league team the rest of the day. He explains the value, in his opinion, of a rehab assignment and why he has been so successful in rehab assignment overs the years. He also talks about becoming a switch-hitter and how he learned. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Special Assistant to the GM Tony Fernandez


Longtime major league shortstop Tony Fernandez joined the RoughRiders for the first few games of the home stand to serve as the acting Hitting Coach in place of vacationing Jason Hart. He talks about the process of serving as a temporary hitting coach and what it takes to ensure the growth of the hitters are not thrown off. He also talks about his work in the Rangers system and the key to success for the young middle infielders Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 16, 2013 – C Brett Teschner


While not a highly touted prospect, undrafted catcher Brett Teschner has one of the more interesting stories among those who have donned the RoughRiders red this summer. In his short time in the Rangers system after a mid-season signing this year, Brett has been on every single Rangers US-based affiliate roster, completing the set of his here with the ‘Riders. He talks about the crazy travel. He explains what it is like for the undrafted professional after the MLB draft and if he ever considered calling it quits. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 17, 2013 – RHP Nick Martinez


One of the newest RoughRiders pitchers, Nick Martinez, joins us following his second Double-A start and home debut to discuss his early success with the ‘Riders. Primarily a second baseman in college, Nick talks about his transition to a full-time role on the mound, the development of his repertoire and the origin of his mechanics. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: curvist – a curveball pitcher

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Lance Berkman: a photographic history

Lance Berkman spent a couple games with the RoughRiders on rehab assignment this week. The decorated former outfielder and first baseman spends most of his time nowadays as a DH for the Rangers.

On assignment, he joined an ever-growing list of MLB rehabbers the ‘Riders have this season (in chronological order): Justin Miller (rehabber because of his place on the 40-man roster, despite zero big league time), A.J. Pierzynski, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria, Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Matt Harrison. That list does not include: Martin Perez, who was optioned to Frisco but his time here served a similar purpose, Kyle McClellan, who before his current stint on the active roster was on a rehab-like schedule with the ‘Riders before an early season call up, and Mike Olt who was on a minor league rehab of sorts, playing just three games with Frisco before returning to Triple-A.

If Berkman is indeed done with his rehab (he departed from assignment in Frisco yesterday), he complete a solid all-around rehab outing between the two levels.

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA-AA 4 14 11 3 4 0 0 1 3 3 2 .364 .500 .636 1.136
2013 Round Rock PCL AAA 2 7 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
2013 Frisco TL AA 2 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 .250 .571 .250 .821
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

He has been good as a rehabber over the course of his career, although he writes off the success: “It’s a small sample size, so if you have a couple bad at-bats or if you feel good and get a couple good pitches to hit” it can really affect the numbers Berkman explained on Wednesday. For him, the rehab assignment is more about seeing the ball well and “to take some of the pressure of performing off.”

Some look past the spectacular career of Berkman, who ranks in the top-5 all-time switch hitters in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

But…if you want those numbers like those, you can go any number of place. Like here or here or look right below at this handle little chart:


Rank: Player: bWAR: fWAR: Average:
1 Mickey Mantle  109.70  112.30  111.00
2 Chipper Jones  85.20  85.10  85.15
3 George Davis  84.80  84.60  84.70
4 Pete Rose  79.40  80.20  79.80
5 Ozzie Smith  76.50  74.80  75.65
6 Frankie Frisch  70.40  72.00  71.20
7 Tim Raines  69.10  67.60  68.35
8 Eddie Murray  68.20  66.30  67.25
9 Carlos Beltran  67.10  64.60  65.85
10 Roberto Alomar  66.80  63.90  65.35
11 Reggie Smith  64.40  63.90  64.15
12 Max Carey  53.90  60.00  56.95
13 Lance Berkman  52.10  56.10  54.10
14 Tony Phillips  50.80  54.20  52.50
15 Ted Simmons  50.20  46.60  48.40

bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference and fWAR is the same statistical concept, calculated by FanGraphs. Anyway, enough numbers. Well, nearly enough numbers.

Instead, I present to you a photographic timeline of the career of Lance Berkman, complete with one of the few (if not only!) high-quality Berkman-in-RoughRiders-uniform photos in existence. From clean-shaven to goatee to clean-shaven to bearded back to clean-shaven to speckled-gray beard…1999 to 2013.

And a few more numbers.

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

1998 Jackson Generals, Astros Double-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 22 Jackson TL AA HOU 122 517 82 130 34 0 24 89 6 4 85 82 .306 .424 .555 .979
1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

1999, New Orleans Zephyrs , Astros Triple-A

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 New Orl. PCL AAA HOU 64 267 42 73 20 0 8 49 7 1 39 47 .323 .419 .518 .937
2002, Astros

2002, Astros

2006, National League All-Stars

2006, National League All-Stars

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, National League All-Stars (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

2008, Astros

2008, Astros

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

2010, Astros (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

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2010, Astros (David J. Phillip / AP)

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1999 23 HOU 34 106 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 .708
2000 24 HOU 114 417 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 .949
2001 25 HOU 156 688 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 1.051
2002 26 HOU 158 692 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 .982
2003 27 HOU 153 658 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 .927
2004 28 HOU 160 687 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 1.016
2005 29 HOU 132 565 76 137 34 1 24 82 4 1 91 72 .293 .411 .524 .934
2006 30 HOU 152 646 95 169 29 0 45 136 3 2 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041
2007 31 HOU 153 668 95 156 24 2 34 102 7 3 94 125 .278 .386 .510 .896
2008 32 HOU 159 665 114 173 46 4 29 106 18 4 99 108 .312 .420 .567 .986
2009 33 HOU 136 563 73 126 31 1 25 80 7 4 97 98 .274 .399 .509 .907
2010 34 HOU 85 358 39 73 16 1 13 49 3 2 60 70 .245 .372 .436 .808
HOU (12 yrs) 1592 6713 1008 1648 375 26 326 1090 82 42 1040 1121 .296 .410 .549 .959
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.
2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

2010, Yankees (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 34 NYY AL 37 123 9 27 7 0 1 9 0 0 17 15 .255 .358 .349 .707
2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, Cardinals (Scott Kane/ Icon SMI)

2011, National League All-Star (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, National League All-Stars (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

2011, Cardinals

2011, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

2012, Cardinals

2012, Cardinals

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2011 35 STL NL 145 587 90 147 23 2 31 94 2 6 92 93 .301 .412 .547 .959 AS,MVP-7
2012 36 STL NL 32 97 12 21 7 1 2 7 2 0 14 19 .259 .381 .444 .826
STL (2 yrs) 177 684 102 168 30 3 33 101 4 6 106 112 .295 .408 .533 .940
Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Spring 2013, Rangers (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

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Rangers, 2013 (Kelly Gavin / Texas Rangers)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 37 TEX AL 68 282 27 62 10 1 6 34 0 0 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/16/2013.

And then there was Frisco.

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

2013, RoughRiders (Andrew Weaver)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swish hitter a power hitter who strikes out frequently

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: The Franchise Hits Record and Modeling off Tim Lincecum

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Lots of new faces, lots of new voices this week for ‘Riders on the Record. Wednesday through Saturday we heard from folks we have yet to hear from this season, including three players who joined the team this month. If you have seen Luke Jackson pitch, you might make the Tim Lincecum comparison in terms of his windup. Jackson addresses that notion; turns out its not a coincidence. Be sure to tune in to the always poignant G-Rod, who became the RoughRiders All-Time hits leader on Sunday before a promotion to Triple-A on Friday. Why is Ryan Rua hitting so many home runs this year? He tries to explain the uptick in long balls as well.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


The ‘Riders manager saw a bevy of changes to his roster of the week prior. Steve Buechele discusses the promotion of Carlos Pimentel to Triple-A, the addition of some highly-touted prospects from Myrtle Beach included Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Luke Jackson, as well as the challenge of telling players that they have to go down a level. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 – UTIL Guilder Rodriguez


With a pair of hits on Sunday August 4, 2013, Guilder Rodriguez became the all-time franchise leader in hits, passing Renny Osuna who had 347 hits for the club. He discusses the significance of the record, especially in light of him passing a friend and a former teammate. He also shares his parting words with Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera when they were sent down to Myrtle Beach. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 – SP Jerad Eickhoff


Fresh off his Double-A debut, the big right-hander Jerad Eickhoff sat down with Alex Vispoli. Jerad had some family in town for the outing, he talks about how often his family gets to see him pitch. He talks about how he had honed his control and what he makes of Nick Tepesch comparisons. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, August 8, 2013 – SP Arlett Mavare


Arlett Mavare has not been a starting pitcher since his first year in professional ball. Sliding into the rotation of the ‘Riders this season, Arlett has really found a groove. He talks about his curious strikeout numbers, which he piles up despite the lack of an overpowering fastball. (w/ Alex)

Friday, August 9, 2013 – SP Luke Jackson


Rangers top-10 prospect Luke Jackson fired six shutout frames in his first Double-A start. With an unconventional delivery, Jackson is a very hard thrower. He talks about the tinkering of his mechanics as a professional and how he developed the motion in the first place. He also talks about the adjustment to Double-A and the new clubhouse which is now home to a bunch of his Myrtle Beach teammates. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, August 10, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


A “career year” only begins to describe the kind of season that Ryan Rua is putting together this year. At or near the top in the minors in home runs for most of the season, Ryan talks about how he has been able to unlock the power this season and about his journey from small Lake Erie College to Double-A pro ball. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: blinker – the back pocket lining of baseball pants

Rangers bestow Buchholz with hardware, we weigh in and post cool graphics

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Kudos to Buch. The ‘Riders primary third baseman this season, Alex Buchholz, promoted for the second time this season to Triple-A on July 30, earned Rangers’ minor league Player of the Month for a scorching hot effort at the plate in July (.347/.413/.622).  New RoughRiders reliever Francisco Mendoza was also honored as the Reliever of the month; he was promoted to Frisco one day after he completed his excellent July.

From the Rangers:

Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers announced today the club’s minor league award winners for July. Right-hander David Ledbetter was named Pitcher of the Month, infielder Alex Buchholz was named Player of the Month, outfielder Lewis Brinson was named Defender of the Month, and right-hander Francisco Mendoza was named Reliever of the Month.
 
Buchholz, 25, combined to bat .347 (34-98) with 9 doubles, 6 home runs, 15 RBI, 15 runs, and 8 walks over 26 games with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock in the month of July. The 6 home runs by Buchholz raised his season total to a career-high 15, eclipsing his previous best of 8 with Bakersfield in 2010. He hit a pair of long balls in Frisco’s 4-3 victory over Midland in game one of a doubleheader on July 17, including a walk-off home run in the 9th inning. Buchholz hit safely in 21 of 26 games in July, including a 9-game hit streak from July 4-13, during which he batted .432 (16-37). Overall, Buchholz has combined to bat .281 (105-374) with 25 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 50 RBI, and 48 runs in 100 games with the ‘Riders and Express. He was selected from Cincinnati in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 8, 2011.
 
Mendoza, 25, permitted just one unearned run and whiffed 16 batters over 13.1 innings of work in 10 relief appearances with High-A Myrtle Beach in July. The right-hander converted 6 of 7 save chances during the month, recording the 2nd-most saves in the Carolina League in July. Mendoza stranded 7 of 10 inherited runners, while holding opponents to a .227 average (10-44). He was promoted to Double-A Frisco on August 1 and has gone 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA (15 ER/40.0 IP), 7 saves, and 50 strikeouts in 29 relief appearances overall between Myrtle Beach and Frisco. The Dominican Republic native was signed as a non-drafted free agent on May 19, 2008 by Rodolfo Rosario.
In addition to aforementioned exploits for Buchholz, he ranked tops or near the tops in a number of areas among Rangers minor leaguers for the month of July:

Buchholz stacking up to the system in July

Batting Average:

  1. Kevin Mendoza .395 (43 AB)
  2. Jorge Alfaro .382 (34 AB)
  3. Paul Cantwell .362 (58 AB)
  4. Nick Williams .349 (86 AB)
  5. Alex Buchholz .347 (98)

Slugging Percentage*:

  1. Jorge Alfaro .647 (34 AB)
  2. Fernando Vivilli .633 (30 AB)
  3. Alex Buchholz .622 (98 AB)
  4. Mike Bianucci .591 (44 AB)

* #1 and #2 had around 1/3 of the AB of Buchholz. Second to Buchholz in the system with more than 75 AB was Nick Williams with a SLG of .535 (86 AB)

Hits:

  1. Kevin Torres 35
  2. Alex Buchholz 34
  3. Luis Sardinas 34

Doubles:

  1. Alex Buchholz 9
  2. Rougned Odor 9
  3. Jake Skole 9

Home Runs:

  1. Alex Buchholz 6
  2. Jim Adduci 5
  3. Ryan Rua 5

Total Bases:

  1. Alex Buchholz 61
  2. Kevin Torres 48
  3. Brett Nicholas 47

(All data from MLBFarm.com)

As an aside, if you haven’t had a peek at the greatness that is MLBFarm.com yet, you should. Alex’s page here has all sort of interesting goodies and charts.

Tying it back in, here is Alex’s spray chart for the season:

Buchhspray

Okay, so someone misplaced a groundout point somewhere in Ruthian left field. Let’s let that go.
And here is his “heat” map, which is essentially the same thing. Minus the details. With more cool factor. Or heat factor, I guess…okay, I will stop.
Alex  Buchholz_HeatMapFinally, we come the illuminating bar graph. Less cool but my favorite nonetheless.
buchholz bar graph
Breaking this chart down a bit, here is what he did before July 1:
Buch early chart
Here is what Buch did in July:
Buch july chart
The point, largely, is that it doesn’t change a whole lot. Yes, he hit the ball on the ground a bit less, but the ratios are similar across the board. Outside of maybe striking out slightly less often and walking a shade more often, Alex Buchholz has been a similar player for most of the season. He is having a great year. July was tremendous. But July not a fluke.
- Nathan
Baseball term of the day: fall on a pitcherto get many hits off a pitcher during an inning or over the course of a game

Two More Pelicans Migrate to Frisco: Eickhoff and Martinez

080613 Pelicans pitchers

Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Martinez arrived in Springfield, Missouri yesterday to join the team as they opened a six-game road trip with three against the Springfield Cardinals. Eickhoff made an immediate impact, starting the game for the ‘Riders last night in the 4-3 walk-off defeat. After a shaky three-run first inning, Eickhoff faced two over the minimum through the next four innings. He allowed a walk and a lone single–that was it. He picked up a no-decision.

Nick Martinez makes his Double-A debut at ONEOK Field on Saturday against the Tulsa Drillers.

To introduce you to these two guys a bit, an excerpt from the press release over at RidersBaseball.com:

Eickhoff, 23, receives his first career promotion to Double-A and is expected to start tonight’s series opener at the Springfield Cardinals. Drafted by Texas in the 15th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft, the right-hander has spent the entire season in the Pelicans rotation. In 21 starts, he posted a 7-3 record and a 3.41 ERA. The Evansville, Illinois native struck out 80 batters in 116 innings with 26 walks allowed. A reliever in his first professional season in 2011, Eickhoff has pitched just once out of the bullpen over the last two seasons. In 2012 with Hickory, he posted a 13-7 record, and his 13 wins were tied for the second most in team history.

Martinez, 23, was drafted by the Rangers in 2011 as well, taken in the 18th round out of Fordham University. Like Eickhoff, Martinez began 2013 in the Myrtle Beach rotation (aside from one relief appearance) and is making his first trip to Double-A. In 22 outings for the Pelicans, he went 10-7 with a 2.87 ERA. Ranked #27 by Baseball America among Rangers prospects entering 2012, the Carolina League All-Star fanned 105 and walked 38 in 119.1 innings before his promotion. The former Fordham Ram pitched in relief and played second base in college. His All-Star selection this season marked the second straight year he has participated in his league’s mid-season All-Star Game, as he earned the same honors in the South Atlantic League in 2012.

Jerad Eickhoff

Charles Slate / thesunnews.com

Charles Slate / thesunnews.com

A bit outdated at this point, Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus wrote this in July 2011:

Since signing with the Rangers, the 6-foot-4 hurler has displayed solid command of a 91-94 mph fastball. He also mixes in a 73-75 mph curveball, which has good shape but is deliberate out of the hand and lags behind his fastball.

I got an update from Jason today though, who saw Jerad in early July of this year:

Eickhoff is almost like a Nick Tepesch starter kit. The arsenal is very similar, and he’ll have to make some of the same improvements Tepesch made. I think he profiles as a no. 4 or 5 starter at the end of the day. He’s a big right-hander with a durable build and a nice command/control profile.

When I saw him with Myrtle Beach last month, he sat comfortably in the low-90s with his four-seam fastball and not only held velocity, but he also touched 94-95 mph pretty consistently while working out of his jam near the 100-pitch mark. He’s also got an upper-80s cutter, a changeup that has progressed well this year, and a curveball.

For me, the curve will be the biggest key for Eickhoff. It’s a fringy pitch right now. If he can bring the curveball along over the next year or two into even an average offering, it’s going to make a big difference. He doesn’t project for a plus secondary pitch and won’t miss a lot of bats, but he should throw strikes with a big body and a deep arsenal.

The velocity stuck around last night as well, with Jerad throwing in the low to mid 90s near the end of his 81 pitch start (touching 97 mph on what appeared to be a hot gun in Springfield). His next start comes Sunday night in Tulsa in the road trip finale. He lines up to make his Dr Pepper Ballpark debut on Saturday, August 17.

Here are the numbers on Eickhoff:

Year Tm Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9
2011 2 Teams A–Rk 1 2 2.37 14 0 19.0 9 5 5 1 4 22 0.684 4.3 1.9 10.4
2011 Rangers Rk 0 1 1.93 4 0 4.2 1 1 1 0 1 4 0.429 1.9 1.9 7.7
2011 Spokane A- 1 1 2.51 10 0 14.1 8 4 4 1 3 18 0.767 5.0 1.9 11.3
2012 Hickory A 13 7 4.69 26 25 126.2 132 75 66 22 38 90 1.342 9.4 2.7 6.4
2013 2 Teams A+-AA 7 3 3.50 22 22 121.0 114 55 47 9 29 83 1.182 8.5 2.2 6.2
2013 Myrtle Beach A+ 7 3 3.41 21 21 116.0 110 52 44 9 26 80 1.172 8.5 2.0 6.2
2013 Frisco AA 0 0 5.40 1 1 5.0 4 3 3 0 3 3 1.400 7.2 5.4 5.4
3 Seasons 21 12 3.98 62 47 266.2 255 135 118 32 71 195 1.222 8.6 2.4 6.6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/7/2013.

Nick Martinez

1095990

An interesting story, Martinez is just two years removed from being drafted by Texas and converted to a full-time pitcher. The Fordham University product was a middle-of-the-order bat that played second base and was used out of the bullpen as a college player, but has quickly adapted to the starting rotation as a pro.

Jason Cole sent over his thoughts on Martinez as well, who he saw on the same trip to Salem while the Pelicans were in town last month:

Martinez is an intriguing guy because he was primarily a second baseman in college. He’d come in and relieve maybe once per weekend. The Rangers liked the arm, athleticism, and delivery, though, and snapped him up as a pitcher in the draft. Martinez took to full-time pitching immediately and showed good command of an 88-94 mph fastball in his first season. The velocity is the same today.

He, like Eickhoff, doesn’t necessarily have a dominant secondary pitch, but he has pitchability with a mix of four usable pitches – fastball, slider, curveball, changeup. It’s a back of the rotation ceiling or perhaps long man/up-and-down profile, but an overall intriguing arm worth watching. He has adjusted his delivery a bit this year to get a little more downward angle on his stuff, and I think it has translated well. As a result, his ground-ball rates have improved and the command/control has remained the same as last year, which is solid.

Baseball America, who ranked Martinez #27 among Rangers prospects entering 2013, adds that “his breaking ball has made the most progress of any of his secondary pitches since he signed.”

Following his ‘Riders debut on Sunday, he would line up to make his Dr Pepper Ballpark debut in the home stand finale on Sunday, August 18.

And the stats on Martinez:

Year Tm Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9
2011 2 Teams A–Rk 3 3 2.30 15 11 58.2 58 24 15 0 18 56 1.295 8.9 2.8 8.6
2011 Rangers Rk 2 1 1.83 6 4 19.2 21 6 4 0 2 19 1.169 9.6 0.9 8.7
2011 Spokane A- 1 2 2.54 9 7 39.0 37 18 11 0 16 37 1.359 8.5 3.7 8.5
2012 Hickory A 8 6 4.83 31 20 117.1 121 66 63 8 37 109 1.347 9.3 2.8 8.4
2013 Myrtle Beach A+ 10 7 2.87 22 21 119.1 106 47 38 5 38 105 1.207 8.0 2.9 7.9
3 Seasons 21 16 3.53 68 52 295.1 285 137 116 13 93 270 1.280 8.7 2.8 8.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/7/2013.

_________

‘Riders notes:

  • ‘Riders return to action in Springfield tonight at 7:09 p.m.
  • Neil Ramirez returns from disabled list tonight and makes his first outing since July 19. He was placed on the DL on July 24, retroactive to July 21, with an injury to his right shoulder.
  • Correspondingly, the RoughRiders have placed LHP Alex Claudio on the 7-day disabled list.
  • Read more in tonight’s game notes
  • Want to tune in…find out how

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: yakker – curve ball

(Term from MLB.com Baseball Basics: Lingo)

The RoughRiders’ ghosts of trade deadlines passed

Blog_Trade

So Matt Garza pitched well for the Rangers on Wednesday. He tosses for the Rangers tonight. The newest addition to the organization was acquired on Tuesday from the Chicago Cubs for Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (and 2012 RoughRiders hurler), Round Rock third baseman Mike Olt (and 2012 RoughRiders home run leader), Hickory Crawdads ace C.J. Edwards and….a player to be named later.

Not a ton is known about Edwards in the national media since he is a lower-level guy. It’s from a website with a fantasy baseball focus, but RotoGraphs has a good piece up on what he brings to the table if you are curious.

There is rather strong speculation that the player to be named later (PTBNL) could end up being RoughRiders starting pitcher, and recently placed on the disabled list man, Neil Ramirez:

060513 ram web article

Neil Ramirez, 2013

Search “Neil Ramirez” on Twitter and your browser might explode. OK, it won’t, but there is plenty of speculation out there on the subject. If you are looking for that, here you go.

As someone not on the beat of the Rangers or Cubs, someone who does not communicate on a daily basis with the front office of either side, weighing in on the subject seems meaningless and pointless. As would a look back at Neil Ramirez as a RoughRiders pitcher and Rangers prospect…because, at least for now, he still is a RoughRiders hurler and still could be in a day, a week, a month or a year. (tease: IF he is traded, we will probably do a post on his career as a RoughRiders player…stay tuned! No promises though.)

IF he is indeed traded, he joins a list of RoughRiders traded while on the roster, and looking at the old transactions, there is quite the interesting mix. With the July 31 Trade Deadline fast approaching (Wednesday!), it seemed as good a time as any to look back at the trades made by the Texas Rangers near the trading deadline that involved RoughRiders players.

To qualify for the list, the player had to be on the RoughRiders roster at some point during the same year they were traded, but I excluded some after that filter. Ideally, these are players that were on the ‘Riders roster at the time of the trade, or at least played significant time on the team. Mike Olt, for example, was on the RoughRiders roster for three days this season, but doesn’t seem to really fit the point of this list. He was on the roster in a pseudo-rehab role before returning to Triple-A.

There are also a handful of trades made by Texas in the months of April, May, November and December–I only included deals from June, July and August. If you are interested in this sort of thing, check out baseballreference.com for their trade history machine–it’s pretty neat. Additionally, each player is linked to their baseball reference page, so you can see what those players’ career shaped up like.

Anyway, enough digressing…here it is! An exhaustive list (barring the author’s mistakes and editorial omissions as always) of the Rangers deadline or near-deadline deals involving RoughRiders:

July 21, 2005: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Matt Lorenzo to the Atlanta Braves for Kevin Gryboski.

Interestingly enough, Matt Lorenzo went from High-A Bakersfield, the Rangers affiliate at the time to High-A Myrtle Beach, the Rangers current High-A affiliate (then with the Braves). His time in Frisco was brief, making ten appearances, nine starts for the ‘Riders in April and May. He didn’t pitch very well (3-5, 7.14 ERA, 1.99 WHIP) and only reached Double-A one more time in his career. It came with the Pirates in 2006. His tenure in Atlanta’s system didn’t outlast the 2005 season, and his career wrapped up at the conclusion of 2007.

Gryboski on the other hand made 11 largely mediocre appearances for the Rangers in 2005 and signed with Washington the following offseason.

June 29, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Fabio Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Daniel Haigwood and cash

Although not a RoughRiders pitcher for very long, his inclusion on the Rangers big league roster for some time made it impossible for me to filter this trade off the list. Yes, Fabio Castro was a Ranger.

For four appearances, the then 21-year-old pitched against the Tigers, Angels, Rays and Diamondbacks as a member of the Rangers. In five outings, four starts, for the RoughRiders Castro went 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA. He went on to pitch well for the Phills for the remainder of 2006, but didn’t have much of a big league career after that. This season, he is pitching in Cancun for Tigres de Quintana Roo in the AAA Mexican League.

July 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Bryan Corey to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Mendoza

Bryan Corey made his comeback to the bigs through Frisco in 2006. He was dominant in 13 games for the ‘Riders, saving eight ballgames in 13 appearances with a 2.08 ERA. After 12 games at Triple-A, the Rangers promoted the righthander in June, and he went on to pitch 16 games for the club.

Texas designated him for assignment, however, and got Luis Mendoza in exchange before a team could nab him off the waiver wire. Mendoza would debut in the majors with Texas the following season and is still pitching at the highest level–now for the Royals.

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

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

The cost was Jose Diaz, who got a quick promotion to Triple-A after a stellar start for the ‘Riders in 2006. In eight games, four starts, Diaz posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. He pitched in just four games in the majors for the Royals, all coming in 2006. The Rangers actually signed him again in 2008. He pitched for Frisco again, and made it up to Arlington for a single appearance with the big league club. He was last heard from in 2011, playing for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.

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

As someone who grew up in Texas and was in high school at the time, I thought I would have remembered this deal. I forgot Kip Wells was a Ranger. That’s because he made two starts for the club and was then shutdown for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. Texas reportedly had some interest in resigning Kip Wells when he became a free agent at the end of the season but did not. Chavez has carved out a decent major league career for himself.

Almost the first man on the list to actual be on the ‘Riders roster when traded, Chavez made 38 appearances before his promotion to Triple-A in late July and was traded after one appearance for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks (then a Rangers affiliate). Seven years later, he is now in the Oakland bullpen and at age 29, is having the best year of his career.

August 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded Mike Nickeas to the New York Mets for Victor Diaz

Finally! We come the first RoughRiders player to be traded at the deadline. The previous men were all ‘Riders at some point during these respective seasons, but Mike Nickeas was an active member of the ‘Riders roster when traded in late August, just prior to the “second trade deadline” which takes place on August 31 (for more info on MLB Transactions rules, go here).

A .248 hitter in 2006 for the RoughRiders, Nickeas was the cost for outfielder Victor Diaz, who hit a little bit for the Rangers in the final month of the season…not enough for Texas to make postseason play, however. After six plus seasons as a Mets farmhand, playing in Major League action in three different seasons, Nickeas is now in the Toronto system, pitching at Triple-A.

Jose Vallejo, 2009

Jose Vallejo, 2009

August 18, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded a PTBNL and Matt Nevarez to the Houston Astros for Ivan RodriguezThe Texas Rangers sent RoughRiders 2B Jose Vallejo (August 20, 2009) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.

Ah yes. The return of Pudge. Another August move for a push at the postseason, Pudge likely at least filled the seats a bit for the Rangers. Ivan became the primary catcher in a season filled by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Kevin Richardson. Vallejo was off the ‘Riders roster and off to Triple-A in early May, never hit much for the Astros organization and never made the majors.

July 9, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders 2B/OF Matt Lawson, RoughRiders SP Blake Beavan, RoughRiders RP Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff LeeMark Lowe and cash.

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Blake Beavan, 2010

The trade of the franchise. Right alongside the Josh Hamilton deal as arguably the most positively impactful acquisition in team history, I don’t really need to elaborate here. At least not on the big league side.

On the RoughRiders side, Matt Lawson was a productive RoughRiders hitter, batting .277 in 76 contests for the squad. Beavan was a high-floor Rangers pitching prospect who has since made over 40 starts for the Mariners. As a ‘Rider, the 6’7″ Irving, Texas native went 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 2010. He fired 12 quality starts in his total of 17 before the trade. Lueke flashed lights-out stuff for Frisco out of the bullpen, saving five ballgames with 26 Ks in just 18.2 innings as a Texas Leaguer. He has spent parts of the last three seasons in the Show, most recently with Tampa Bay. He is still striking a ton of guys out but with mixed results.

July 29, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded P Omar Poveda and RoughRiders RP Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for Jorge Cantu.

Jorge Cantu…one of the vaunted additions (along with Guzman just below) that were supposed to help the Rangers get over the hump. Nothing compares to the addition of Cliff Lee this season (how could it!), but Cantu was quite the disappointment. After hitting .262/.310/.409 for the Marlins before the trade, the declining corner infielder hit .235/.279/.327 for the Rangers in 30 games and had a grand total of eight plate appearances in the postseason (going 0-for-8), including one measly at-bat in the World Series.

Poveda was hampered by injuries and never panned out, but Evan Reed, a stalwart of the 2010 RoughRiders bullpen, had an up-and-down minor league jaunt with the Marlins. This April, the Tigers took him off waivers, and he has spent significant time with Detroit’s major league club, making his debut in the majors on May 16 against his former club, allowing a run on two hits to the Rangers. He is currently on the roster getting big leaguers out.

July 30, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP/RPs Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Washington Nationals for Cristian Guzman.

Guzman was pretty awful for the Rangers (.152/.204/.174) after posting very solid numbers for the Nationals over three plus seasons. In 2012 he was signed by the Indians but released before the start of the season. After not making the postseason roster for Texas in 2010, he never played in a professional game again.

To get him, the Rangers gave up Tatusko, of Newberg Report fame. A solid arm for the ‘Riders that season as well, the righthander went 9-2 with a 2.97, largely as a starter. His last outing as a RoughRiders pitcher was one of his better outings: six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Corpus Christi Hooks at home on July 26. Tatusko tossed a nine-inning complete game shutout on July 16 as well, in an efficient 94-pitch effort over the Hooks at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tanner Roark was another member of the rotation primarily, splitting his time between the ‘Riders pen and starting quintet. The ‘Riders rotation took quite the hit from this trade…just like they did after the following trade:

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

Joe Wieland, 2011

Joe Wieland, 2011

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

Erlin and Wieland were both staples of the 2011 ‘Riders rotation. Erlin was 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, after his late May promotion from Myrtle Beach. Wieland was not called up from the Pelicans’ squad until mid-June but adapted quickly to Texas League batters. The big righthander was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA as a RoughRiders pitcher and pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in his final start as a Rangers farmhand on July 29, 2011. This elicited a series of blog posts on this site, including one of my favorite ‘Riders Insider Blog posts of all-time. Both have had big league time with the Padres and still are poised for solid careers.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: Ryanitisa mock disease causing faux symptoms that batters used to try and get out of the lineup rather than face Nolan Ryan

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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