Results tagged ‘ Texas Rangers ’

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


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)


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


  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

As an aside, if you haven’t had a peek at the greatness that is 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:


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

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 /

Charles Slate /

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:

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 View Original Table
Generated 8/7/2013.

Nick Martinez


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:

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 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 Baseball Basics: Lingo)

The RoughRiders’ ghosts of trade deadlines passed


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 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.


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)

‘Riders on the Record: Bubble gum and Manny


‘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.

This week turned out to be an abnormally coach-happy version of ‘Riders on the Record. Some fascinating insights from a variety of people in different positions, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the highlights this week. If you want to blow gigantic bubbles, be sure to listen to the one player interview of the week, when I spoke with Joe Van Meter. James Vilade shares his touching story of involvement with Diamond Dreams and don’t miss out on Jayce Tingler discussing Manny Ramirez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele

Manager Steve Buechele sits down with Alex to catch up on the season after their hiatus the week prior. He explains why the game was postponed in Corpus Christi when it was not raining but the field had been soaked by a long day of precipitation. He talks about the silver lining of a series of rain outs. He also weighs in on the trade discussion around Neil Ramirez and how it affected his most recent start. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 22, 2013 – RHP Joe Van Meter

Joe Van Meter is the newest RoughRiders, just making his way up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. In his second stint with the RoughRiders he discusses settling into the clubhouse for the second time and breaks down his first two Double-A appearances of the season. A skilled bubble-blower, he shares the secret behind blowing unbelievably-sized bubbles. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – Coach/Scout James Vilade



Rangers Scout and ‘Riders coach James Vilade is a member of the board of Diamond Dreams, an organization dedicated to the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed coaching first base when he was struck by a line drive. Following an on-field presentation the previous day in Frisco, he talks about the lengths the organization has to promote safety in the game as well as what the loss of Mike means to him personally (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart

The RoughRiders hitting coach Jason Hart joins Nathan on the last day of the brief three-game home stand for the ‘Riders against the Midland RockHounds. He touches on the improved approach of Ryan Strausborger and Hanser Alberto at the plate and the consistency of offensive leader Brett Nicholas. He also remembers his time as a player in Frisco when he had the opportunity to compete in a Home Run Derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark with big leaguers Andre Ethier and Mike Napoli. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas

Following up last week’s conversation with the RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach, Alex sat with Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas to discuss his role with the team and his award he won last season for being the best in the Texas League. Carlos pulls back the curtain on the rehab process and explains the decision-making process to put a player on the disabled list. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 26, 2013 – Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler

Rangers Field Coordinator was with the team during the trip to San Antonio. He explains the strange lack of promotions this season in the Rangers system and his take on the Rangers plans for Manny Ramirez, who is with the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He also weighs in on the scoreless streak, in which the ‘Riders have not scored in 35 consecutive innings. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Missions Hitting Coach Jacque Jones

Former big leaguer Jacque Jones is now the hitting coach with the San Antonio Missions. He talks about his transitioning to coaching quickly after the end of his playing days. He also discusses prospects on both teams, including the RoughRiders’ Joe Benson who he saw during his time in Minnesota. (w/ Alex)

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: head of lettuce – the event when a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, that results in the main portion of the bat (the barrel) to land within the infield.

Joe Benson is Back


Announced today, outfielder Joe Benson has been activated off the disabled list and, although he is not in the lineup, Joe is listed on Steve Buechele’s bench tonight in San Antonio. Benson provided a spark for the RoughRiders when he arrived from on May 25, after he was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins (click for more on the Joe Benson story).

Benson, however, as has been the case in recent years, had issues staying on the field. In two months, Benson played just nine games for the RoughRiders.


Benson played six games for the ‘Riders in May, homering in the first three contests he played in donning a RoughRiders uniform. Straining his groin running out a groundout on May 31, Benson sat on the bench, recuperating before finally returning to play on June 9 as a pinch hitter in a come-from-behind victory for the ‘Riders 4-3 in Midland. His triple set up the game-winning RBI fielder’s choice. He went 0-for-3 the following night before he was tossed in the fifth inning for arguing a call, and on June 11, after two trips to the plate, he was lifted for a defensive replacement in right field, and we have not seen him in the lineup since.

Joe was placed on the disabled list on June 19, as he had reaggravated the groin injury. After resting for a long while, he intensified his rehabbing and spent the past week terrorizing teenagers (mostly) in the Arizona League (Rookie). In seven games (five at CF and two at DH), Benson hit .417 with three doubles and a homer. Although those numbers are silly, they are not that much better that his performance at Double-A with the ‘Riders–the guy can hit.

In his nine games for the ‘Riders, Benson hit .333 with two triples and four home runs, driving in six of his teammates. Although the sample size is unfairly small to draw big conclusions, the numbers still speak loudly. His 1.289 OPS between Frisco and Arizona leads all Rangers minor leaguers this season.

The ‘Riders went 7-2 in games played by Benson, and with the current state of affair for the team, which has lost three in-a-row and five of six, his return is an extremely welcomed one for the offense, which has been shutout in back-to-back games and has not scored in 26 innings.

The ‘Riders step into the box against Keyvius Sampson tonight at 7:05 p.m., you can catch the game at For all the ways to listen to the game, check out our post on the new ‘Riders mobile app!

More Joe Benson nuggets can be found from his interview on the ‘Riders pregame show shortly after his arrival in May, posted on ‘Riders on the Record.

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: goat’s beard – the plastic or leather flap hinged at the bottom of a catcher’s or umpire’s mask

‘Riders on the Record: Dangerous High Fives and Pumping Iron


‘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.

Another week has passed, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Riders on the Record, number 15 in fact. The ‘Riders were joined by MLB rehabbers Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Colby Lewis on the home stand and Richard Bleier and Eric McMahon made their first appearances. Highlights include McMahon’s discussion of supplements and taking care of the ‘Riders training regimen and Ryan Strausborger’s new-found hobby.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 – Richard Bleier

Richard Bleier has settled in nicely to reliever duties in the Frisco bullpen after initially arriving as an addition to the rotation. Coming off a series in Corpus Christi in which the team played three extra-innings games, Bleier discusses the state of the bullpen and gives his assessment of the relief work by Zach Zaneski, one of his catchers, who threw in the 16-inning marathon a few days prior. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 – Craig Gentry

Rangers rehabber Craig Gentry gave us some time to talk about his rehab from a left hand non-displaced fracture. He talks about how he feels, the importance of rehab at-bats over plays in the field and his take on the “Kitten Face” nickname. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 – Jeff Baker

Back-to-back rehabber interviews brought Jeff Baker to the mic on Wednesday. The Rangers utility man was rehabbing from a sprained thumb suffered on an errant high-five by a unnamed teammate. He talks about another strange injury he saw as a player and voices his disappointment in being on the shelf.  (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 18, 2013 – Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon

The RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon joined the pregame show for the first time this season. Honored as the best at his position in 2012 in the Texas League, McMahon explains how he goes about his business and the ins and outs of keeping the players healthy and getting them stronger. He talks about the research he has to do on the ever-changing world of supplements and gives his take on the purpose of weightlifting. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – Ryan Strausborger

Coming off a big offensive game and his first start of the season at second base, Ryan Strausborger discusses his offensive adjustments as well as the challenge of playing in the infield after all those games in the outfield this year. He discusses his passion for baserunning as well as a new-found passion for the guitar. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: aspirin tablet – a fastball that is difficult to hit due to its velocity and/or movement

‘Riders on the Record: a catcher pitching and playing like a girl

071413 blog shot team riders on the record
‘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.

Without a doubt one of my favorite editions of ‘Riders on the Record this season. Steve Buechele gives some extremely high praise to Carlos Pimentel’s slide piece, Guilder Rodriguez gives his sage wisdom to the youngsters on the roster, catcher Zach Zaneski smiles over the microphone about pitching in a ballgame and Casey Candaele explains why he occasionally took batting practice naked in the big leagues. Radio gold this week.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele

Steve Buechele sits down in his weekly conversation to talk about the bounce back effort from Carlos Pimentel. Coming off his eight strikeout performance, he talks about the right-hander’s slider that has put him into the ‘Riders record books. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 8, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez

Guilder Rodriguez joins us to talk about his first ever All-Star game experience, coming two weeks prior in Springdale, Arkansas. The 13-year veteran explains how special the honor is but is quick to divert the attention to the younger players who got the honor as well. Rodriguez sheds light on how he tries to help the younger players like Herrera, Alberto and Telis improve and carry themselves professionally. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – IF Alex Buchholz

Alex Buchholz talks about his current hot streak, which was highlighted by a blast of a home run to finish the home stand. He talks about his mental and physical adjustments this season and the importance of staying healthy. He weighs in on the swing of Chih-Hsien Chiang and the fan environment in Frisco. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, July 11, 2013 – C/”RHP” Zach Zaneski

During the longest game in RoughRiders history, catcher Zach Zaneski made his professional appearance on the mound. Impressively, Zach tossed three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He talks about his unforgettable experience and what he learned from former big leaguer Kyle McClellan in the bullpen to get ready for his outing. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 12, 2013 – Rangers Infield Coordinator Casey Candaele

Casey Candaele is the Rangers infielder coordinator, and for the series in Corpus Christi served as the acting manager. He talks about the whirlwind of a first game played in the series that took 16 innings. He weighs in on what the young infielders Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera need to do to keep getting better and reminisces on his impressive, long, and occasionally amusing big league career. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – IF Greg Miclat

One of the newer RoughRider Greg Miclat has played two positions in his first five professional seasons–shortstop and second base. In Corpus Christi, he twice played third base. He talks about the adjustment to that spot and the last time he has played there. Not known for his power, Greg tells us that he remembers each one of his home runs and he recalls his pro homer. (w/ Alex)


We will post our “Home Sweet Home” preview of the whole home stand tomorrow, but the ‘Riders begin a four-game series today. Pitching matchup has RHP Nick McBride (1-5, 5.84) vs. RHP Keyvius Sampson (6-4, 2.90)

Sunday, July 14   |  6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
TV:  KTXD    Radio:    Webstream: 

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: pool table – a smooth infield

Metroplex Mysteries: a 10-Hour Tie Game?

So we are now over 24 hours beyond the longest game in RoughRiders history. MiLB does a great job compiling minor league baseball statistics, but their records only go back to 2005, when they began tracking and storing minor league data. Therefore when we claimed the game on Wednesday as the “Longest Game in RoughRiders History,” it comes with an implied “in known history”–even explicitly stated so by us, like in the game notes from Thursday.

We do have some records from 2003 and 2004, the first two years in RoughRiders history, but they are not official and sometimes incomplete. The first broadcaster for the ‘Riders, Scott Garner left his scorebooks for the archives here, and those help a ton.

In perusing the data I could find there were a pair of 13-inning contests–nothing longer that I could find. One in particular was intriguing and just might be the true longest game in team history. For starters, here is the old box score still available in MiLB’s archive (although the box score was not produced by Minor League Baseball Advanced Media (MILBAM), so they can not verify it’s correctness–good thing too, as you will see):

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

So a couple of things jump out.

  1. There is no official game time.
  2. The game was tied at 4-4 but the Travelers never had their half of the 13th.
  3. At the top the the winner is listed “TIE GAME”.
  4. Steve Andrade is listed as a pitcher in line to pitch the 14th for the Travelers but never threw a pitch.

Now, games can get called and never “count” in a league, but it typically happens late in either half of  the season when the game won’t be able to be made up because the two teams will not play in the same site again. Trouble is, the two teams played in Arkansas the following day. They should have been able to play the game after suspending it. The ‘Riders did play another tie game earlier that year on April 23, 2004 in Wichita despite traveling to Wichita again later in the season, so it seems the Texas League rules have changed some since then.

Still, the game appears to be an enigma.

Neither team was given a win or loss for the game, but it’s not that the game was scrapped from the records all-together, which is what happens when games are postponed before they become official (Rangers fans might remember when Mitch Moreland hit the grand slam that never happened). The stats still counted from the game.

Confounded by this game, I went to Scott’s old scorebook:


Finding the game in this book confirms that it was a tie. Paging forward to the following game shows that each team’s record did not change following the July 16 contest. The ‘Riders were 48-44 when they began on July 16 and 48-44 when they started their contest on July 17. Arkansas was 40-51 for both. So how did this game end? Well, the ‘Riders were retired in the top of the 13th:

Frisco Top 13th

The ‘Riders were retired in order: strikeout, line out, and 1-3 ground out from the 5-6-7 batters in the order (Tydus Meadows, Edgar Gonzalez, and Jason Bourgeois).

How about the supposed never-finished bottom of the 13th? Remember the box score above showed an “x” in the bottom of the 13th, a symbol usually reserved for the bottom of the ninth when the home team wins without the benefit of batting in the bottom of the ninth.

ARK BOT 13thSo the inning began with Nick Gorneault striking out. Derrick Gibson then reached and was erased on the fielder’s choice by Jeff Mathis, going 5-4 for the second out of the inning. Then comes Mike Eylward. The box score at the top claims that Eylward went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. To this point on the scorecard, Eylward was 0-for-5 with a strikeout, two fly outs, a ground out, and a line out. Deduction would assume that he struck out.

Taking a look at the card though, the last marks of his plate appearance in the 13th shows he had a 2-1 count. Maybe he struck out and it was never indicated (I have been known to not put the last play sometimes, having to go back later, as I can get busy totaling up line scores and such when the game concludes). There are also some instances in which a broadcaster would go on to another page; perhaps Scott did this at this point with how cramped the space was, and we have lost that extra card.

What seems likely is that the game was either called due to weather during that plate appearance or immediately after it. Perhaps Steve Andrade came into the ballgame and warmed up in the top of the 14th and then they called the game before the inning officially began, which is why he was entered into the scoring system but never threw a pitch.

Weather data from July 16 and July 17 indicates that it was indeed raining and didn’t stop until 1:00 a.m.

On the right side of the page, Scott typically noted the attendance and the time of game. And here is the kicker…and really the reason for the whole post. Remember, the box score lists no game time. photo4

10 hours and 56 minutes! That must have included multiple rain delays as well. Or at least you would think so, but it didn’t begin raining in Little Rock (which at the time was the home of the Travelers at Ray Winder Field), until around 11:00 p.m. Maybe this is when they called the game, which would make the game just under four hours (assuming a 7 o’clock start). That also seems unlikely since, according to the above weather data, the rain would have been starting up at that time.

With the 17th’s game played under no threat of rain, and on a Saturday, it seems strange that they didn’t finish this suspended game.

So…the mystery continues. If you have any idea what happened on this day, let us know in the comments or tweet us at @RidersBaseball ! We will try and update the post if we hear any additional info. For now, be baffled and amused.

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wilted lilly  a batter who lets his bat droop as he awaits for the pitch

#TakeTanner to the 2013 All-Star Game

Yu DarvishNelson Cruz and Joe Nathan were selected to represent the Rangers at the 2013 All-Star Game.

Now, Rangers relief pitcher and Frisco RoughRiders’ alumni  Tanner Scheppers is one of five pitchers in contention for the 34th and final spot on the American League team based on fan vote for the 2013 All-Star Game Tuesday, July 16 at New York’s Citi Field.

Scheppers is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 42 appearances for the Rangers in 2013. He is tied for the A.L. lead in relief wins, is tied for fourth with 17 holds, and is tied for the ninth lowest relief ERA. He is seeking his first All-Star appearance.

Cast your vote here to take Tanner to the All-Star Game!  Voting is unlimited and you can also vote by texting A4 to 89269. Voting ends Thursday, July 11 at 3 p.m. CT.

For the second consecutive year, the All-Star Game Final Vote will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the 10 candidates’ fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, July 11, any tweet that includes #TakeTanner will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners.


 The ways you can vote for Tanner:

 – Cast your vote at

 – Text A4 to 89269

– On Thursday, July 11, tweet
  #TakeTanner anytime from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT

Voting ends July 11 at 3 p.m. CT

Scheppers was a member of the ‘Riders squad in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and posted a 2-1 record with a 2.38 ERA in 23 games.  Scheppers split the 2012 season between Triple-A Round Rock and the Rangers,making his major league debut on June 7, 2012.


2010 Frisco 0 0 0.82 6 2 11.0 3 1 1 1 0 19 0.273
2011 Frisco 2 1 3.13 17 0 23.0 18 10 8 1 9 24 1.174
AA (2 seasons) 2 1 2.38 23 2 34.0 21 11 9 2 9 43 0.882
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/8/2013.

To encourage fans to help pitcher Tanner Scheppers be elected to the 2013 American League All-Star Team, the Texas Rangers are offering a special sweepstakes.

By voting and selecting Tanner Scheppers as your 2013 Final Vote choice, all fans will be entered into the Texas Rangers Vote #TakeTanner All-Star Game Final Vote Sweepstakes for the chance to win one of five fantastic prizes. Fans will be automatically registered for the sweepstakes each of the first 25 times they vote for Scheppers in the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by at

There is no limit to the number of times that fans may vote in the All-Star Game Final Vote.  However, fans will be registered to win for the sweepstakes just the first 25 times they vote for Scheppers. All rules for the sweepstakes can be found on

The Rangers All-Star Sweepstakes prizes are:

Two Innings with Nolan Ryan – Winner and a guest have the opportunity to sit with Nolan Ryan in his home plate seats, during a mutually agreeable game, for 2 innings.  Prize includes two tickets to the game.

Boomstick Ride Around – Winner and one guest will have the opportunity to ride in the Boomstick around the warning track prior to a mutually agreeable game, plus two tickets to the game.

Photo Opportunity In Washington’s Seat + Batting Practice – Winner and one guest will receive game tickets and will have the opportunity to visit the Rangers dugout before the game and take a photo from Manager Ron Washington’s bench.  After the photo, you’ll watch the visiting team take  BP from the area behind home plate.

Sit with the Voice of Rangers Ballpark, Chuck Morgan, for an inning – One winner will visit the in-park PA room, run the ribbon panels for half an inning, & visit with Chuck Morgan, voice of Rangers Ballpark, for half an inning for a mutually agreeable game.  Prize includes tickets for winner and three (3) guests.

Ozarka Race Finish Line Holder – Get the chance to hold the finish line on the field during the Ozarka Texas Legends Race or Dot Race (one (1) winner.)  Opportunity will include tickets for winner and one (1) guest, and winner’s name to be announced and shown on the main video board.

For the second consecutive year, the All-Star Game Final Vote will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the 10 candidates’ fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, July 11, any tweet that includes #TakeTanner will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners.

Vote now to support the #TakeTanner campaign and help send another Ranger to the All-Star Game in NYC!



Baseball Term of the Day: Lallapalooza –  A spectacular play.

‘Riders on the Record: Three pitchers, two managers and a broadcaster


‘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 pitching-heavy week on ‘Riders on the record provided some gems from our guests. Kevin Pucetas spoke with R.A. Dickey about his knuckleball apprenticeship–good stuff. Other highlights include Tyler Tufts channeling his old college routine to starting pitching, Nick McBride’s July 4th tradition, Travelers’ manager Tim Bogar comparing Terry Francona and Joe Maddon and Naturals broadcaster Steven Davis’ impressions of flamethrower Yordano Ventura.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday! (and belated Happy Independence Day!)

Sunday, June 30, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele

In their weekly chat, Alex spoke with ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele about the week that was after the All-Star break. He touches on the resiliency of the offense in their big come-from-behind win. He also talks about the promotion of 2012 ‘Riders outfielder Engel Beltre to the big leagues. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 1, 2013 – Voice of the Naturals Steven Davis

Steven Davis, the voice of the Naturals, talks about the success of the All-Star Game at Arvest Ballpark. He discusses the improved offense and the no-hitter from Brooks Pounders and reminisces on the most impressive Royals pitching prospects he has seen in his time in Springdale. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – RHP Tyler Tufts

Tyler Tufts made just one start in his pro career before 2013. This year, he has made 12. He has been great as a starter as well. He talks about his routine adjustment and explains what his timeline is like on the day his spot in the rotation is due up. He explains his current health situation and tosses aside the notion 100% in favor of day-to-day assessment. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, July 4, 2013 – RHP Nick McBride

On Independence Day, RoughRiders starting pitcher Nick McBride talks about his family’s July 4th tradition on what is now his property. A fixture in the ‘Riders rotation for over a month, McBride began the season in the bullpen at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach; he discusses the change in routine and adjustment as a starter as well as the development of a new pitch. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 5, 2013 – Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar

Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar joined the pregame show for the final meeting of the regular season between the RoughRiders and the Travelers. He talks about his coaching tree and breaks down the play of some of the key Angels prospects on his roster. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, July 6, 2013 – RHP Kevin Pucetas

Starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas has begun throwing a knuckleball in addition to his more conventional pitch mix. He talks about the development of that pitch and the advice given to him by R.A. Dickey. (w/ Nathan)


The RoughRiders meet up with the Naturals tonight at 6:00 p.m. from Dr Pepper Ballpark. As always, you can find the game over at! Here Alex’s interview with the manager live tonight at around 5:50 as part of the pre-game show.

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: raw-raw – a knuckleball 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)


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