Results tagged ‘ Texas Rangers ’

‘Riders on the Record: Tongo, Neil’s curveball and a bundle of rehabbers

062213 Blog Shot Team

‘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 season’s longest home stand was bolstered by the addition of rehabbers Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria, both of who were kind enough to take some time to chat with us this week. Highlights from this week include updates from Keith Comstock on a number of injured, rehabbing and retooling Rangers hurlers, and James Vilade imparting some interesting insight on to the days leading up to the MLB draft for the Rangers’ player development wing. Teodoro Martinez explains the origin of his “Tongo” nickname, and be sure to tune in to Mitch’s interview to find out why David Murphy got the call from Ron Washington to pitch in the blowout in Boston and not the former college pitcher himself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In the weekly sit down with Manager Steve Buechele, we hear about the progress of Richard Bleier in his work out of the bullpen this year. He hits on the quietly dominating year that Brett Nicholas is putting together. The manager shares his story about telling Guilder Rodriguez that he had made his first ever all-star team. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, June 17, 2013 – RHP Neil Ramirez


Texas League All-Star starting pitcher Neil Ramirez is not focused on his selection but still proud of it. He breaks down the state of his curveball as well as his improved mental approach to the game this season. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 – Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland

Rangers rehabbing first baseman Mitch Moreland sat down after his first rehab game with the ‘Riders to talk about his health and his second incarnation of hamstring issues in his pro career. A former pitcher, Moreland explains how the decision was made to focus on hitting as a Rangers’ farmhand and if he ever missed pitching. He tells us how David Murphy got the nod over him to pitch in the blowout at Fenway Park earlier this season. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – ‘Riders Coach / Rangers Scout James Vilade


‘Riders coach and Rangers scout James Vilade joined the pregame show for the first time this season to talk about his work with the ‘Riders and the Rangers. He talks about the Rangers pre-draft workouts and his involvement. He talks how he got into baseball operations and the value of personal connections in the scouting process. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 – OF Teodoro Martinez


It’s been a great few weeks for Teodoro Martinez. A late addition to the Texas League All-Star game, Martinez followed up the honor just days later being named Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for May. One of the team’s offensive leaders this year, he talks about his feel for the leadoff spot and his increased power. He also explains the origins of his nickname “Tongo.” (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 21, 2013 – RHP Joakim Soria


Texas Rangers rehabber Joakim Soria joined the pregame to talk about his rehab from “Tommy John” surgery. He explains his decision to sign with the Texas Rangers and outlines a potential timetable for his return to the big leagues. He explains how he was “found,” the turning point in his career and his path to stardom in Kansas City. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 22, 2013 – Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock


Texas Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock joined the broadcast to talk about a number of Rangers rehabbers, including Cody Buckel, and what the process is like out in Arizona. He touches on Joakim Soria and Justin Miller as well. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: foozler - a lucky base hit

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Moreland completes historically excellent rehab

Mitch Moreland completed a three-game rehab assignment yesterday with the RoughRiders. He was instrumental in the 9-5 win over the RockHounds yesterday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Moreland has put together back-to-back seasons of outstanding rehab stints with the RoughRiders:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 26 Frisco 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819
2013 27 Frisco 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500

The sample size for a rehab assignment is usually small, as the case certainly was with Moreland in both years. His 2013 rehab stint is hard to argue against as the best position player RoughRiders rehab stint of all time. Let’s take a look at the history for potential contenders:

2013 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ian Kinsler 31 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .111 .000 .111
Mitch Moreland* 27 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500
A.J. Pierzynski* 36 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333

Even the most ardent Kinsler and Pierzynski supporters aren’t arguing here. While playing the more physically demanding positions of second base and catcher, the two just don’t stack up.

2012 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Mitch Moreland* 26 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819

Mike Napoli also rehabbed for the RoughRiders, although it came in the post-season so Baseball Refrence doesn’t list it. He went 1-for-10 with a two-run home run in the 2012 Texas League Championship series against the Springfield Cardinals.

Moreland’s 2012 effort was impressive, and still stands as one of the best rehab efforts in ‘Riders’ history, but he hit more doubles, homers and RBI this week as a ‘Riders hitter.

2011 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Julio Borbon* 25 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Nelson Cruz 30 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 .182 .250 .273 .523
Josh Hamilton* 30 2 7 3 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 .286 .375 .714 1.089

So Josh Hamilton homered. Not bad considering he’s the last rehabber to do so until Moreland did yesterday. He took Shawn Haviland deep, a two-year RockHounds pitcher and former Harvard Crimson. But the sample is even smaller, and it was his only extra base hit. Moreland’s 2013 numbers are better across the board.

2010 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Joaquin Arias 25 8 31 4 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 .194 .257 .194 .451
Endy Chavez* 32 4 15 3 5 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 3 .333 .412 .333 .745
Nelson Cruz 29 3 11 1 4 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 .364 .385 .455 .839
Cristian Guzman# 32 4 13 1 4 0 0 0 3 1 0 3 1 .308 .438 .308 .745
Ian Kinsler 28 6 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368 .716

A fewer larger samples here makes for a potential challenger. Arias wasn’t exactly the Babe Ruth of the Texas League during his eight games, however. Kinsler provides a decent challenge, especially considering he stole two bags as well. Still, Moreland posted a higher BA, OBP, SLG and OPS and only struck out once in three games. Advantage Moreland.

2009 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Josh Hamilton* 28 1 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Andruw Jones 32 3 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 .222 .417 .222 .639
Ian Kinsler 27 2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000 .222
Jarrod Saltalamacchia# 24 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333

Ugh. Not so good this year. 3-for-24 combined with no extra base hits? NEXT!

2008 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Hank Blalock* 27 6 19 5 8 3 0 0 4 1 0 4 5 .421 .522 .579 1.101

Hammerin’ Hank jumps out. Blalock was a tremendous minor leaguer (and a darn good big leaguer as well). This is extremely impressive. 8-for-19 is not too shabby. The triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) still isn’t as good as Moreland’s this year but the sample is larger and for the first time, he has been bested by one category. Blalock’s .522 OBP  is the highest in ‘Riders rehabbing history for a player with more than four plate appearances (Teixeira in 2007). A stolen base to boot! This one is close, but without a homer and nearly a strikeout per game, we will go with Moreland here.

2007 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Frank Catalanotto* 33 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .200 .000 .200
Jerry Hairston 31 3 12 2 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .500 .667
Mark Teixeira# 27 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .500 .000 .500
Brad Wilkerson* 30 3 10 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 .200 .429 .300 .729

No explanation needed. On to ’06.

2006 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jason Botts# 25 5 16 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 3 .125 .250 .125 .375

And onto 2005…

2005 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Gary Matthews# 30 1 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800

The triple slash looks good, but one game for GMJ? Apparently the left hammy wasn’t so bad.

2004 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Brian Jordan 37 6 19 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .158 .158 .211 .368
Kevin Mench 26 4 16 3 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 .313 .353 .500 .853
Laynce Nix* 23 7 26 2 7 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 10 .269 .296 .308 .604
Herbert Perry 34 8 29 4 12 3 0 0 4 0 0 3 7 .414 .455 .517 .972
Mark Teixeira# 24 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .250 .000 .250

34-year-old Herbert Perry is not only the oldest position player to ever rehab with Frisco, but he very well could stand the test as the most impressive RoughRiders rehabber ever, especially when you stack up his two stints together between 2003 and 2004. Again, no home runs here though. He is in the conversation without a doubt though.

2003 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Doug Glanville 32 4 15 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .133 .188 .133 .321
Todd Greene 32 3 9 3 3 0 0 2 4 0 0 2 2 .333 .455 1.000 1.455
Kevin Mench 25 3 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258
Herbert Perry 33 9 34 5 11 2 0 1 6 0 0 3 3 .324 .410 .471 .881

Another Herbert Perry campaign for Frisco, and another fine one at that. His seventeen game total between 2003 and 2004 puts him at .365 with the batting average and a .492 slugging percentage.

And say Hello to Todd Greene! The only RoughRiders rehabber ever to blast two home runs, and the veteran catcher/utility man put on quite the show in the RoughRiders’ inaugural year. The OPS is still a shade lower than Mitch’s, but it is quite the performance.

So Maybe Moreland’s 2013 stint isn’t the most impressive, but it is at least top four all time. And now he can be included in the same sentence as Todd Greene and Herbert Perry, which is interesting at the very least.

You tell us? Was Mitch Moreland’s three-day run the most impressive RoughRiders rehab stint among position players ever? Post in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @RidersBaseball!

It was fun while it lasted, and we wish Mitch the best of luck back with the Rangers.

Enjoy the shots from his three-day stint in Frisco below.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: county-fair playera player who shows off

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com. All photos courtesy Grant Nelson / Frisco RoughRiders

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RoughRiders’ Average First Half Lineup Card

70 down, 70 to go.

Frisco finished the first half with a 2-1 win over Midland last night. While we look ahead to what will come, including hopefully a ‘Riders second half title and a playoff berth, now is as good a time as ever to look back at what has been.

Remember when Odubel Herrera was the primary leadoff hitter? How about when Jared Hoying hit third every single one of his first 32 starts, a spot now clearly controlled by Brett Nicholas. Or how about the revolving door in the #2 spot in the order that saw Ryan Strausborger bat in eight times but only once since April 25.

The lineup has changed quite a bit over the course of the year, and I thought it might neat to take a closer look. Thus, I present the unofficial Steve Buechele RoughRiders Average First Half Lineup Card:

1st Half Lineup

This was an inexact science, but the idea was to present the amalgamation of the most common occurrences in the lineup over the first 70 games. I started with the top nine position players in terms of games started. Jared Hoying played more often than Guilder Rodriguez when on the active roster but his injury and subsequent promotion but him a few starts behind Rogirguez, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Tomas Telis for total starts.

I could have gone with the player who has played the most at each position, but that would mean Selen would be the DH (with 21 starts at DH, Chiang was second with 10 starts at DH), but Selen only made 32 overall starts in the first half, which ranked 11th on the team in total starts, so that didn’t make as much sense.

From there, I tried to place the most common spot in the lineup for each of the nine players, but that led to a few problems as well. For example: of the nine players, Chiang made the most starts in the #5 spot (22) but he made more starts in the #6 spot (28), which was also the most among the nine players, so he was the obvious choice there. Odubel Herrera and Teodoro Martinez batted leadoff more than anywhere else, but as you will see, Odubel became the #7 hitter, which has been the most inconsistently filled spot in the lineup. It’s the only spot that hasn’t had at least one player with more than 20 starts in that position of the lineup card.

The good news is, filling out the defense was easy. Of the nine players, each player’s most common position did not overlap save for one situation. Both Rodriguez and Buchholz played 3B more than anywhere else. Buchholz played almost twice as many times at the hot corner than G-Rod, though, so Rodriguez became the DH by default.

Martinez_Teodoro1. #3 Teodoro Martinez LF – Cafe has led off 23 times, including 22 of his last 23 starts. The one aberration in that stretch was batting second behind Ian Kinsler when he rehabbed with the RoughRiders last week–not a shameful move into the #2 spot. That consistency, along with the fact that he has really only hit in the #9 spot consistently otherwise (which needed to go to Alberto as you will see) won him the choice over Odubel Herrera in this spot. The ‘Riders are 14-9 when Martinez bats in the top spot. He is hitting .270 as the #1 batter, which is actually his lowest average at any spot in the lineup with more than 4 at bats; his .731 OPS, however, is the second highest (.759 in the #9 spot). As far the position goes, Teo has been the left fielder on 47 of the 70 lineup cards, which only trails Ryan Strausborger among outfield starts at one position.

Rodriguez_Guilder2. #6 Guilder Rodriguez DH – It’s ironic that the super-utility man Rodriguez is the DH. Or maybe it’s just stupidity on my part. G-Rod has actually only DH’d 3 times. Only Zach Zaneski and Hanser Alberto have DH’d less, but I had nowhere else to put him. If I could fill out the lineup card with him as the UTIL player, I would, but that’s just not allowed. The 29-year-old Venezuelan has played 12 games at 1B, 9 at 2B, 21 at 3B and 6 at SS. He leads the team in walks and on-base percentage (.0008 better than Brett Nicholas) and makes good contact, making him a good #2 hole hitter. He is hitting .309 in this spot this year and boasts a better than .400 OBP. He also has only one homer this year (and second of his career) in the spot in the order, which is good enough reason by itself. The fact that he has hit there more than anywhere else in the order, no one has any many starts in that spot as him, and no one else has primarily been the #2 hitter make G-Rod the obvious choice here.

Nicholas_Brett3. #29 Brett Nicholas 1B – Brett Nicholas made 28 of his first 30 appearances in the cleanup spot. Since that point, Nicholas has been the consistent pencil-in at number three. Nicholas has hit third more than any other player has hit in a single spot in the lineup. It has changed much as far as his production. In 33 games in the three spot, he is hitting .314/.383/.529. His production in the cleanup spot was nearly identical .291/.364/.556. He has struck out 50% more in the three hole (33 Ks vs. 22 Ks). As far as first base goes, only Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera have made more starts at one position (64 at SS, 60 at 2B) than Nicholas has at 1B (57)–a no brainer.

Buchholz_Alex4. #5 Alex Buchholz 3B – Buch has started 40 of the RoughRiders 70 games at the hot corner and only Brett Nicholas has more starts in the cleanup spot than him. This is all despite a three-week stint for the former Reds farmhand with the Rangers Triple-A club in Round Rock (where he hit eighth mostly and split time between DH and 3B, in case you were curious). He has 19 starts in the #5 spot but the cleanup spot really has suited him nicely. He is hitting .299 there with four of his six home runs. He is batting just .222 in the middle spot of the lineup.

Telis_Tomas5. #13 Tomas Telis C – Telis has been a shifting part of the middle to back-end of Buechele’s lineup. With 13 starts in the five and six spots of the lineup and 12 in the seven spot, he sort of defaulted into this position. Both Buchholz and Chiang have more starts than Telis at #5 but made more sense where they are at #4 and #6. He has received the bulk of the catching starts (38 of 70), 13 more than Zaneski. This has also been Telis’ best spot in the order as far as the batting average (.321), although all three of his home runs have come batting sixth, including the shot that won a fan a brand new Jeep.

Chiang_Chih-Hsien6. #11 Chih-Hsien Chiang RF – This one was easy. The first ever Taiwanese-born RoughRider was the most often used player in right field this season as well as the number six spot in the order. The same was true of Chiang’s starts. He made 22 in the number five spot, six less than number six. His starts in left (14) and DH (10) were far outweighed by his playing time in right field (36). He hasn’t hit his best in the number six spot. In fact his .202 batting average hitting sixth is the worst of the five spots in the order that he has hit in.

Herrera_Odubel

7. #7 Odubel Herrera 2B – The hardest man to place, Herrera actually spent more time in the leadoff spot than any other player and hit second more often than seventh. He hasn’t hit leadoff since May 22 though. At least his position was easy to place. Outside of Alberto at SS, Herrera has made the most starts at one position with 60 at second base. He is hitting .304 in the #7 spot, his highest average of any spot in the lineup in which he has started more than one game, so that helps. I’ll run with that stat and leave it at that. Plus, he is hitting there tonight to begin the second half.

Strausborger_Ryan8. #4 Ryan Strausborger CF – With 63 starts in the outfield, Ryan Strausborger has been by far the most commonly placed player into the lineup as an outfielder. His 54 centerfield starts is most for any ‘Riders player at one spot in the outfield. His spot in the order has been less predictable. Ryan has hit second (8 starts), fifth (2), sixth (12), seventh (20), eighth (23), and ninth (1). His .247 average and .301 on-base percentage batting eighth is best of any spot he has hit in the order.

Alberto_Hanser9. #2 Hanser Alberto SS – Alberto began and finished the first half in the last spot of the order. He did 26 other times in between, beating out the second spot in the order for most starts for him. The 64 out of 70 day shortstop was the most commonly started position player at one position and his 28 starts in the #9 spot trail only Brett Nicholas in the three and four spot (33,32), Hoying in the three spot (32), and Herrera in the leadoff spot (29) for most starts in one spot of the order. Hanser hit .222 in the first half in the last spot in the order while he hit .288 in the #2 spot, but that is more of a function of him hitting second while hitting well and not hitting well because he was batting second. The youngest player in the Texas League at season’s open finished behind only Brett Nicholas and Ryan Strausborger with 65 starts.

The rest…

  • The bench players are all of the position players who didn’t make the starting nine that have played for the ‘Riders this year.
  • Neil Ramirez made it on the card as the most oft-used starting pitcher on the staff. He has made 14 starts. Carlos Pimentel checks in second with 13 games started.
  • The #5 spot is the only one in the lineup in which every active member of the roster has made at least one start in. Even Joe Benson has a start there, and he has only made eight starts in total.
  • Brett Nicholas and Jared Hoying were the most stable forces in the Frisco lineup in the first half. The two appeared in only three different spots (#3, #4, and #5). Every other RoughRider was placed in at least four different spots in the order in the first half.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: rabbit – a player with great speed

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

‘Riders on the Record: Kinsler’s ribs, “Pudge” teaching the youth and three All-Stars

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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 star-studded week for ‘Riders on the Record brings us conversations with three ‘Riders selected to the Texas League All-Star roster, a Rangers Hall-of-Famer and an All-Star big league rehabber.

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day!) and enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


‘Riders manager Steve Buechele breaks down the most recent start from Carlos Pimentel and discusses the keys to his success. He also talks about managing Tyler Tufts, who has been shifted into the RoughRiders rotation, and how to gauge his readiness later into games. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – 1B Brett Nicholas

Brett Nicholas sits down to talk about his recent All-Star nod and the excitement he has to play on the squad. He talks about his admiration for fellow All-Star, Midland’s Anthony Aliotti. He also weighs on the best conversationalist in the league, based on his chit-chats at the first base bag. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 – C Tomas Telis


The ‘Riders All-Star Catcher Tomas Telis comes to share his story of finding out the news about the All-Star game. He tells us who he would like to catch in the All-Star game that he has had to face as a batter. He also explains what his “off” days are like and how being a student of the game as a catcher helps his approach at the plate. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, June 13, 2013 – Rangers HOF Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez


Legendary Rangers catcher, now Special Assistant to Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, Ivan Rodriguez joined the pre-game show to talk with us about his new role with the Rangers and the development of the young catchers in the Rangers system. He also touches on how it feels to be a part of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 14, 2013 – Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler


Texas Rangers rehabbing All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler talks about the state of his rehab, the importance of playing in the field while on the assignment and the history of his rib injury. He also reminisces on his time in Frisco as a member of the RoughRiders. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 – RHP Ben Rowen

RoughRiders All-Star reliever Ben Rowen talks about how he heard about his Mid-Season All-Star honors and what it means to him in his first Double-A level. He talks about the influence of Chad Bradford. He also touches on his love for hockey and his beloved LA Kings. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: diamond artist - a 1930s term for a ballplayer

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas Honored by Rangers

Teodoro Martinez and Brett Nicholas were honored by the Texas Rangers Friday, earning “Player of the Month” and “Defender of the Month” respectively for May. From the ‘Riders press release:

 Martinez, 21, was second on the team in batting average during May, hitting at a .322 clip. He also picked up 10 runs, 10 walks, 2 doubles, 5 home runs and 17 RBI over 26 games, taking over as the RoughRiders’ leadoff hitter by the end of the month. Martinez reached base safely in 22 of 26 games and hit safely in 19 of those games. On May 15 at home against the Midland RockHounds, Martinez picked up his first two-home run game as well as his first ever four-RBI performance. The four hits he collected tied a career high. His seven home runs for the season is a career-best as well; his previous personal high was set last year when he hit six long balls as a member of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. After a slow start, Martinez is hitting .300 since April 21 and is fourth on the team at .272 for the year.

Martinez

 Nicholas, 24, started 24 games at first base and 3 games behind the plate for the ‘Riders in May. He committed only one error during the month, which came as a catcher. As a first baseman, he is fielding .998 (1 / 492 TC) for the season. As a catcher, he threw out 2-of-5 attempting basestealers in May. The former Missouri Tiger leads the RoughRiders in hitting with a .305 average and a team-high 38 runs, 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 65 games. He has a triple as well and is second on the team in walks with 21. The Phoenix, Arizona native is near the top of multiple categories among Texas Leaguers, including fourth in batting average and RBI, fifth in runs and home runs and third in total bases (129). Like Martinez, Nicholas has set a career-high in home runs this season; his previous high also came last year in Myrtle Beach when he hit eight as the Pelicans’ everyday first baseman.

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The two join Randy Henry and Tomas Telis to be honored by the Rangers this season. Henry was tabbed the Rangers Reliever of the Month, while Telis picked up Defender of the Month in April.

Martinez had an exceptionally big day on Friday, as he was also selected to replace injured San Antonio outfielder Reymond Fuentes on the South Division All-Star team. Teodoro joins Nicholas and seven other ‘Riders as Mid-Season All-Stars, tying the Arkansas Travelers for the most selections among Texas League teams with eight.

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: junkballer – A pitcher who relies on off-speed pitches and trickery rather than the fastball or curveball

Ian Kinsler: a RoughRider again

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Kinsler’s second at-bat on Thursday night

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Thursday’s lineup card

Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, rehabbing from a right intercostal muscle strain, made his first rehab appearance last night, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, serving as the designated hitter and batting leadoff.

In the first inning, he struck out looking on a borderline fastball on the outside corner from Corpus Christi starter Nick Tropeano. He flew out to shallow right field in the third. In his third trip to the plate, it was shades of the first, as he was called out again on strikes on a similar pitch near the outside corner. He made good contact against reliever Bobby Doran in the eighth, lining out to left fielder Michael Burgess to complete his night.

Originally expected to make his return to the Rangers lineup in early June, it was found that Kinsler also had a stress reaction in his ribcage as well, adding a couple weeks to his recovery time.

Now that time has come. Kinsler is expected to play in the field, at second base, tonight and tomorrow for the ‘Riders, and if all goes well, he will return to the Ranger lineup on Sunday. And they sure could use their spark plug.

The Rangers are just 4-8 in June and the offense is scoring an average of three runs per game in the 12 contests this month. Texas was 27-14 before Kinsler sat out of a start with the first pains in his rib cage. Since then, Texas is 11-14 and scoring 4.12 runs per game, and that includes three extra-innings games (one that took 18 innings). They scored 4.9 runs a game with him in the lineup.

For some perspective the #15 and #16 ranked MLB clubs in runs per game have scored 4.27 and 4.22 respectively. The Kinsler-powered Rangers would currently rank sixth in the majors, while the Kinsler-less squad would check in at 19th in runs per game.

For ‘Riders fans, Kinsler is a familiar face. This is the third season Kinsler has rehabbed with the club (first stints coming in 2009 and 2010). In 2004, the second baseman was still playing as a shortstop, and exclusively so, in the minors. He split his ’04 campaign between Low-A Clinton and Double-A Frisco (skipping Advanced-A Stockton). He led the Midwest League in batting average (.402), doubles (30), RBI (52) and on-base percentage (.465) before his promotion to the RoughRiders in June.

The 22-year-old proved ready for Double-A pitching:

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Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2004 22 Frisco 71 326 277 51 83 21 1 9 46 7 4 32 47 .300 .400 .480
2009 27 Frisco 2 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000
2010 28 Frisco 6 23 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368
2013 31 Frisco 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000
AA (4 seasons) 80 362 307 55 88 21 2 9 52 9 4 35 53 .287 .388 .456
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2013.

In his first week in Frisco he clubbed a home run off Andy Pettitte, making a rehab start for the Astros for then Double-A Houston affiliate Round Rock (now the Rangers Triple-A club). He earned Texas League Player of the week honors that week and was the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month in June. At season’s end he was named Texas Rangers Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year.

At Triple-A the following season, the Rangers converted Kinsler to second base, he clubbed 23 home runs and hit .274 against Pacific Coast League pitching. In 2006, he broke camp with the big league club, and the rest, as they say, is history.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: ungodly shota hard line drive
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Kinsler’s 2004 season with the RoughRiders

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‘Riders on the Record: owning seven gloves and hunting hogs

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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.

This week, highlights include the Manager’s appreciation for the submarining right-hander, a fascinating conversation with Danny Clark (editor’s note: my favorite interview of the year thus far), and hunting stories from Kevin Pucetas.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


This week’s Sunday chat with ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele finished up the home stand for the RoughRiders. He hits on Mike Olt‘s strange vision issues and the torrid start for Joe Benson. He lauds Ben Rowen for getting his team out of so many jams. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 – RHP Nick McBride


Nick McBride joins us for the first time this season. He talks about his bouncing around the Rangers system. He weighs on his favorite pitching role, whether he wants to be a starter or reliever. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 – Danny Clark


The Rangers Minor League Pitcher Coordinator Danny Clark took some time out of his day to join the pregame show to discuss the state of the Rangers arms. He tells us that Randy Henry will be pitching in short stints following his return from the DL. He talks about the inconsistencies of Wilmer Font, the enigma of Ben Rowen and the philosophies of the Rangers in promoting their pitchers. He also outlines a number of guys who could be the next RoughRiders pitcher coming up from the lower levels. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, June 6, 2013 – Missions Broadcaster Mike Saeger


Missions broadcaster Mike Saeger chats with the Voice of the RoughRiders Alex Vispoli before the game Friday night. They discuss the Missions inability to field against the RoughRiders. Saeger talks about the quietly impressive year of Padres prospect Matt Andriese and Kalian Sams bursting onto the scene. (w/ Alex)

Friday, June 7, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez


The RoughRiders utility infielder owns nearly enough gloves to field a whole team. Guilder Rodriguez talks about playing multiple positions and how he prepares for the combination of situations he must be ready for on a day-to-day basis. He talks about his big hit the previous night, which gave the RoughRiders a big one-run win in San Antonio. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, June 8, 2013 – RHP Kevin Pucetas


RoughRiders starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas joins us and breaks down where he is mentally and physically close to the mid-way point for the season. He also shares his favorite hobby, hunting, and tells a story of nearly breaking a North Texas record! (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: coop –  dugout

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

‘Riders on the Record: the first day of school, home runs over touchdowns and the return of Mike Olt

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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.  

Another busy week of player transactions, the RoughRiders saw the return of Alex Buchholz and Arlett Mavare from Triple-A, the departure of Barret Serrato (back to extended spring training), Roman Mendez sustain a season-ending injury, Mike Olt return from the DL and Alexi Ogando make a rehab start for the Rangers at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Highlights from this week eight’s ‘Riders on the Record include Steve Buechele’s assessment of his two aces in Neil Ramirez and Carlos Pimentel, Dennis Higgins (The Voice of the Drillers) talking about former Clemson QB Kyle Parker’s focus on baseball, Joe Benson’s acclimation to the RoughRiders clubhouse, and Mike Olt on his lengthy journey back to health from a vision issue he dealt with in spring training and while at Triple-A Round Rock.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In their weekly sit-down, ‘Riders Manager Steve Buechele speaks about the gritty outing of Neil Ramirez, the continued success of recently named Texas League Pitcher of the Week Carlos Pimentel, the return of Alex Buchholz from Triple-A, and the addition of Joe Benson from Minnesota. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, May 27, 2013 – Tulsa Broadcaster Dennis Higgins 


Tulsa broadcaster Dennis Higgins joins Alex to give us a Drillers perspective. He talks about Kyle Parker‘s commitment to baseball after starring at Clemson as a QB in addition to playing baseball. They talk about the Rockies relationship with the Tulsa franchise and the new instructional program put in place by Colorado this offseason. (w/ Alex)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 – OF Joe Benson


The Texas Rangers claimed Joe Benson off waivers from Minnesota on Saturday. He sat down with Nathan Barnett before his home debut at Dr Pepper Ballpark and discussed his whirlwind of a weekend. He explains his speedy home run trot and expresses his excitement for a fresh start in the Rangers organization. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 – Hanser Alberto


RoughRiders shortstop Hanser Alberto talks about his big three-run home run that lifted the ‘Riders over the Cardinals on Tuesday. He explains the origins of his nickname “Radio” as well. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, May 31, 2013 – 3B Alex Buchholz


In his first week back at Double-A, Alex Buchholz discusses his time with Triple-A Round Rock. In his ever stint at the highest minor league level, Buchholz excelled, and he explained the differences between Double-A and Triple-A pitching as well as the routine of the players around him. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 1, 2013 – 3B Mike Olt


Mike Olt returned from the disabled list and played over the weekend for the RoughRiders. In his first game, he homered to left field, just his second of the season. He hit only one as a member of the Express in his 20 games, but with his vision issues resolved, Mike says he feels more like himself. He talked about his long road to recovery and the legions of doctor visits. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: tobasco tapa hard-hit ground ball
(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Mike Olt’s Return to Frisco

Last night, Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando pitched six solid innings for the RoughRiders in a rehab start, and allowed two runs, including a home run, on four hits while striking out four.

Mike Olt also made his return to Frisco last night against the Tulsa Drillers, though Ogando’s rehab assignment seemed to overshadow the third baseman’s return to the ‘Riders. Olt went 1-for-4, striking out swinging his first two at-bats. In the sixth, Mike flied out to the left warning track, just feet away from knocking it over the wall and then in his final at-bat in the eighth, Olt slammed a two-run home run over the left wall.  Frisco beat the Drillers 7-4.

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See Mike Olt’s two-run blast in his return to Frisco.

After hitting a Texas League- and RoughRiders-best 28 home runs last year, and despite getting called up to the big leagues in early August, Olt has struggled this year, opening this season at Triple-A Round Rock where he hit just .139 in 20 games with one home run with the Express before being placed on disabled list with vision problems.

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Mike Olt at batting practice before Friday night’s game agains the Tulsa Drillers

Other links 

MLB.com contributor Christian Corona spoke with Olt about his vision issues last night prior to the game.

Following Frisco’s victory, Josh Jackson, contributor for MiLB.com, talked with Olt about his return:

“It feels really good to finally be able to feel like myself again,” Olt said. “Obviously, when we couldn’t figure things out and I couldn’t see the ball, that was a frustrating time. Tonight it felt good to just work toward finding my normal timing and being able to see the ball.”

Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com caught up with Olt this week in Surprise, AZ at extended spring training during his rehab for an interview about the vision troubles. (Note: Subscription to Lone Star Dugout needed to view the article.)

Mike Olt was the 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft pick by the Texas Rangers.  The Newberg Report recapped day one of the 2010 Rangers draft picks on June 8, 2010 with this scouting report on Olt coming out of UConn:

The 21-year-old has good hands and feet, solid range, and a strong arm from third. There are holes in his right-handed swing – he struck out 54 times in 264 at-bats this season – but the bat speed is there, and scouts believe in his approach at the plate and coachability. It’s been a long time since third base was so uniformly thin in the big leagues, and in Olt the Rangers see a player they obviously believe could give them an developmental asset, particularly if he can make more consistent contact and take advantage of his power potential while providing lockdown defense at third.

Baseball Term of the Day: Monster shot – a tremendous home run out of the ballpark

-Ryan

‘Riders Rehabber: Alexi Ogando’s Road to the Rangers

Rangers’ starter Alexi Ogando will make the start for the RoughRiders in tonight’s game against the Tulsa Drillers. The 29-year-old is currently on the Rangers 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendinitis.

Ogando

Alexi Ogando pitching for the Texas Rangers

In the past three years, Ogando has played a dominant role on the Rangers’ pitching staff.  However, his path to Arlington has been unique and bizarre.

Ogando’s road to the Rangers:

In 2005, Alexi Ogando was selected by the Rangers from Oakland in the minor league phase of the 2005 Rule 5 Draft. He was an outfielder in the Oakland system, but was instantly converted to pitcher with the Rangers.

Caught up in a marriage-visa scam in the Dominican Republic with former Rangers right-hander Omar Beltre, guilty of gullible involvement before Texas acquired him, Ogando was essentially quarantined in the Dominican for five years after joining the organization. Around 30 Dominican players were involved in the scam, promised $5,000 by a Dominican crime syndicate to agree to a sham marriage to women they didn’t know. The women would then gain entry into the US with their newly acquired visas and obtain divorces shortly after arriving.

In his five years stuck in the Dominican, Alexi pitched for the Rangers’ Dominican Summer League clubs in 2006 and 2007. He didn’t pitch in 2008 but was back on a DSL mound in 2009, making 10 appearances in July and August.

In Februrary 2010, the U.S. State Department notified the Rangers that the Dominican right-handers had been provided waivers allowing them to apply for work visas.   All immigration restraints to their entry into the United States were also removed. The two prospects reportedly spent their last year in the Dominican speaking publicly to educate citizens about these human trafficking scams.

Then-Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine reportedly played a significant role in the process from the organization’s side. Ogando and Beltre were top-tier prospects, but at age 26 and 28 respectively, pitching dominantly for five years against largely overmatched Dominican Summer League competition, their ability to get outs against major league batters in the US could have been an issue in the MLB. Texas kept both on the restricted list for three years (adding Ogando to the 40-man roster before doing so in his case) rather than moving on, as all other clubs did with the other 30 Dominican players around the league caught up in the scandal.

Ogando’s Career with the Rangers:

Ogando is in his fourth season with the Rangers and second season as a member of the starting rotation.  He has appeared in 142 major league games with 39 starts, with a record of 23-11 and a 3.12 ERA.

Ogando_2010

Alexi Ogando as a RoughRider in 2010

The Dominican right-hander made nine starts this season for Texas with a 4-2 record and a 3.08 ERA before heading to the disabled list on May 16 with right biceps tendonitis. In 50 innings this season, the converted outfielder has 37 strikeouts and 19 walks.

He was a member of the RoughRiders in 2010, a year he finished in Arlington making 44 appearances out of the bullpen for the Rangers in his rookie season. As a RoughRiders hurler, he made seven outings, including three starts.

In two years of post season play, Ogando has gone 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings pitched.  He was particularly effective in the 2011 series against the Tigers, going 2-0 in four games pitching 7.2 innings allowing one run on three hits and striking out ten.

*Sources
Newberg Report

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: rainmaker- a very high pop fly, usually in the infield

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