Results tagged ‘ Tommy Mendonca ’
2012 marks the RoughRiders’ 10th season as a franchise, all as the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate. Since 2003, there have been hundreds of talented players come through Dr Pepper Ballpark, but some have stood out more than others. With the help of Michael Damman, the RoughRiders’ Director of Statistical Research, we’ve come up with the All-’Riders Team: the best player at each position in franchise history. Today we continue with the RoughRiders all-time best third baseman.
The only current RoughRider position player to make it, Tommy Mendonca enjoyed a breakout season with Frisco in 2011. Mendonca batted .278 with 27 doubles, 3 triples, 25 homeruns, and drove in 87 runs while scoring 75. Mendonca got off to a great start as he hit .345 with 6 homeruns and a .990 OPS in April and was hitting .335 with 19 doubles, 15 homeruns, 59 RBI, and a .983 OPS in the first half of the season. However, during the all-star break, Mendonca learned that his friend was involved in a fatal car crash. Between those emotions and possibly of it being the hottest summer in Dallas history, his numbers came crashing down to earth in the second half when he batted just .214 with 18 extra base hits (10 homeruns) and a .635 OPS in the second half. Mendonca’s 25 homeruns are still the 4th most hit by a RoughRider in a single season and his 87 runs batted in are the 5th most by a RoughRider, 2 behind teammate Mike Bianucci. At one point in the season, it seemed as though Mendonca would never be stopped on the road as the third baseman rode a 41 game road on base streak throughout much of the first half of the season and he finished with a .304 average and .849 OPS on the road. Perhaps his most memorable game came at home, however, when Tommy blasted 3 homeruns and drove in 6 runs in a 19-4 Riders victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks on July 22nd. Mendonca finished with a 2011 team high 13 total bases in the game. One of the most fascinating and intriguing aspects of Mendonca’s game is his ability to go to the opposite field and not only go there, but drive the ball with power. Of his 25 homeruns, 16 of them were hit to left field or centerfield. With power and a strong arm at third base, the former second round pick Tommy Mendonca has the potential to reach the big leagues within the next couple of years.
Up Next: Shortstop
Every September when the minor league season comes to an end and fall sets in, many think that it’s time for our RoughRiders to take a well earned vacation. However, what many don’t realize is that minor leaguers around the country travel around the world to play winter and fall ball. These leagues provide the players a chance for additional income and the opportunity to improve their game. Here’s where some RoughRiders, and other Rangers’ farm-hands, will be sending post cards from this off-season:
Arizona Fall League
Players: Miguel De Los Santos, LHP; Leury Garcia, INF; Ryan Kelly, RHP; Leonys Martin, OF; Justin Miller, RHP; Mike Olt, INF; Neil Ramirez, RHP; Elio Sarmiento, C; Ryan Strausborger, OF; Johan Yan, RHP. (All play for the Surprise Saguaros).
Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt was named the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week on Monday, batting .571 (8-14) with a double, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 walks the previous week. The 23-year-old matched the Fall League’s single-game high with a 6 RBI effort on Friday and represented the Rangers and Saguaros in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday. The 6 RBI performance gave the University of Connecticut product a share of the AFL RBI lead (30), while he also leads the league in both home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.705).
OF Leonys Martin has seen action with the Saguaros as a member of the club’s taxi squad and hit a home run in his Fall League debut on October 19…OF Ryan Strausborger has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, raising his season average to .327 (17-52). The Arizona Fall League regular season continues through November 17.
Mexican Winter League
Players: Cody Eppley, RHP (Obregon); Jose Felix, C (Guasave)
RHP Cody Eppley has worked out of the bullpen for the Mexican Winter League’s Obregon, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER/15.0 IP) over 14 appearances.
Dominican Winter League
Players: Engel Beltre, OF (Licey); Julio Borbon, OF (Escogido); Fabio Castillo, RHP (La Romana); Andres James, INF (Licey); Carlos Pimentel, RHP (Escogido).
RHP Carlos Pimentel has posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) with 15 strikeouts against 5 walks in 8 relief outings with Escogido.
Venezuelan Winter League
Players: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).
Pan American Games
3B Tommy Mendonca and INF Chad Tracy each took home silver medals as part of Team USA in the Pan American Games hosted by Guadalajara, Mexico on October 19-25. Mendonca batted .333 (6-18) with one home run and a tournament-high 10 RBI in 5 games for Team USA, while Tracy hit .182 (2-11) with 2 RBI in 4 games. The Americans fell 2-1 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.
Yesterday I wrote about the success lefty Miguel De Los Santos is having in the prospect laden Arizona Fall League. Hours after my posting, the AFL released the rosters for the annual Rising Stars Game played this Saturday at Surprise Stadium at 1 p.m. CST.
Among the 50 prospects that will be on display, the lone Rangers’ farm-hand selected was third baseman Mike Olt. In 16 AFL games, Olt is tied for the league lead with six home runs. His 22 runs batted in are the second-most. Some great power numbers over a small sample size while hitting .309.
You might remember Olt had a bit of an abbreviated 2011 season due to a home plate collision in early June that caused him to suffer a broken left collarbone. The injury resulted in Olt essentially playing the equivalent of a short-season schedule: 69 games. In that time the former supplemental first round pick out of Connecticut hit .267/14-HR/42-RBI.
The log-jam at third base from top to bottom in the Rangers’ system is a good problem for Texas to have and should be interesting to watch develop in 2012 and beyond.
RoughRiders’ fans are well aware of the abilities of 2011 RoughRiders’ third baseman, Tommy Mendonca. Tommy was a Midseason Texas League All-Star and had a incredible month of June when he hit .375 and was named the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month. Mendo would be the first to say he struggled down the stretch, primarily with strikeouts. Nevertheless, Mendonca played well defensively, proved to be a force in the ‘Riders lineup, and was a second-round draft pick.
Not to look too far up the ladder, but it is interesting to note that at the major league level, first-year Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre received his third career Gold Glove last night. In January the Rangers inked the former Dodger, Mariner, and Red Sox to a six-year, $96 million contract.
So much for him only playing well in a contract year.
Does Mendonca open up 2012 in Round Rock and Olt in Frisco? We’ll have to wait until April to find out.
P.S. A big thanks to RoughRiders’ team photographer James Garner for the pics in today’s blog. He is somehow everywhere, including Surprise, Ariz. to take in some AFL baseball.
As you might have seen on ESPN, Team Canada topped Team USA yesterday to take the gold medal in the Pan American Games. A familiar name to RoughRiders’ fans, Jimmy Van Ostrand, drove in both of Canada’s runs as they edged Tommy Mendonca and the US team, 2-1. For what’s it’s worth, Matt Hicks, the “Voice of the Hooks,” told me at one point during the season that Van Ostrand was one of the best guys he’s ever met in minor league baseball.
Mendonca, the ‘Riders 2011 everyday third baseman, batted seventh in the championship game and finished 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. However, those numbers aren’t a fair representation of his overall performance during the Games. In the opener of the Pan American Games, the Fresno State product went 3-for-4 with two doubles, six RBIs and two runs scored as the United States thumped the Dominican Republic, 20-2. In his first three tournament games he hit .455 with nine RBIs.
Along with Van Ostrand, the Canadian team featured Northwest Arkansas’ Tim Smith and Jamie Romak. Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker, the Texas Leauge Pitcher of the Year, joined Tommy on the US squad. As did Matt Clark (San Antonio, ’10) and former RoughRider Chad Tracy.
Game 6 of the World Series is tonight (maybe). The Cardinals’ batting practice is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. with the Rangers hitting an hour later if possible. Game 6 has officially be postponed due to rain. We’ll have to wait until Thursday.
San Antonio squeaked past the RoughRiders 5-3 in Game 3 of the Texas League South Division Series to take a 2-1 advantage. Here are some thoughts after a tremendous game, but an unfortunate loss, from Dr Pepper Ballpark.
- Credit the Missions–they never gave up the lead and scored in five different innings. The ‘Riders battled back three different times, but the Missions kept firing away. It is tough to continue to rally back from deficits, even if a team only trails by one in all of those instances.
- Cody Decker entered Game 3 with an average of .200 (10-for-50) against the ‘Riders this season, but he was the difference in the game. Decker barely cleared the boards with a solo homer in the fourth. Four innings later, his opposite-field blast proved to be the game-winning swing.
- The heroes of the game for Frisco were Renny Osuna and Mitch Hilligoss. Osuna went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. He also drew a walk and put down a sacrifice bunt which led to a seventh-inning tally. Hilligoss went 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs. Hilligoss is hitting .385 (5-for-13) in this series, which is the best mark on the squad.
- San Antonio will make pitchers work, and that’s exactly what happened to Carlos Pimentel. Like Robbie Ross and Ben Snyder did, Pimentel kept the ‘Riders in the game and avoided any big innings. However, he needed 80 pitches to get through four innings.
- The Missions’ bullpen is ridiculously good. Nick Vincent was machine-like during the eighth when he whiffed all three men he faced. Then, Miles Mikolas calmly worked around a leadoff single to post his second save in this series. We still have not seen solid arms like Pedro Hernandez, Craig Italiano and Eddie Kunz this week, so the Missions are loaded with talent for the final game or two.
- If the RoughRiders want to win this series, the bullpen will need to be awesome. Adalberto Flores, a reliever for much of the season, will start for Frisco tomorrow. This will be his third start in 2011. Game 5’s starter has yet to be announced. The bullpen has been solid this year, but this is probably the unit’s toughest assignment yet.
- Another key for the ‘Riders tomorrow night–the production of the heart of the order. As discussed yesterday, Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene need to produce for Frisco’s offense to really click. In Game 1 and 3, both losses for the ‘Riders, they went a combined 0-for-9. In Game 2, Frisco’s lone win in this series so far, they had five hits.
- It was another rough night for the Rangers’ farm system. Low-A Hickory’s season is done after a 2-0 loss at home to Greensboro. The Grasshoppers swept the ‘Dads 2-0. High-A Myrtle Beach will face elimination Saturday after losing at Kinston 7-0. Triple-A Round Rock barely avoided a sweep in a 9-8, 11-inning win over Omaha. The Storm Chasers still lead the set 2-1.
- No doubt, this was a tough loss for the ‘Riders. However, you know the saying–anything can happen in baseball. Frisco is still alive, but the RoughRiders must win. Tomorrow should be a nerve-racking but fun evening at Dr Pepper Ballpark. We hope you enjoy.
Texas League South Division Series
San Antonio Missions at Frisco RoughRiders
Friday, September 9 – 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Series tied 1-1
GAME 3 BACKGROUND:
The RoughRiders return home to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a crucial Game 3 after nipping the San Antonio Missions 2-1 Thursday night in Game 2 of this best-of-five series. The ‘Riders scored twice in the top of the fourth and upheld that lead behind the pitching of starter Ben Snyder and relievers Richard Bleier, Johan Yan and Justin Miller. This will be the RoughRiders’ 17th meeting at home against the Missions this year, and each team has won eight of the previous 16 contests.
Frisco – RHP Carlos Pimentel (7-9, 4.74 ERA): Pimentel was the only RoughRiders pitcher to remain in the starting rotation throughout the regular season. Pimentel led the ‘Riders in innings pitched (142 1/3) and quality starts (12), and he finished second in strikeouts (110). Since August 7, Pimentel is 2-1 with an earned run average at 1.60. The righty is 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA in seven starts against the Missions this year.
San Antonio – RHP Casey Kelly (11-6, 3.98 ERA): After a sluggish first half, Kelly boasts a 5-3 mark and a 3.21 earned run average since starting the Texas League All-Star Game June 29. One of the key prospects in the Padres’ deal with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Kelly went 1-1 with a 3.10 earned run average against Frisco this season. Over his last 13 innings of work, Kelly has allowed just one earned run and six hits.
- The RoughRiders are 1-3 all-time in Game 3 with the series tied at one game apiece. The lone victory came in the Texas League Championship Series against Round Rock in 2004, when the ‘Riders won their first and only league title.
- Frisco’s starting pitchers have worked 12 innings and given up just one run in this series. During those 12 frames, the Missions have stranded 13 base runners.
- Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene went a combined 0-for-9 in Frisco’s Game 1 loss. Last night, the trio went 5-for-12 and scored both of the ‘Riders’ runs. Each notched a hit in the RoughRiders’ two-run fourth.
- Want proof that this series has been pitching-heavy? The two teams have hit a combined .157 (19-for-121). Only five hitters have mustered two hits in the series.
- The RoughRiders’ Game 4 starter has not been officially announced yet, but whoever it is will square off with a former Frisco hurler. Robbie Erlin will take to the mound for the Missions in Game 4, either trying to keep San Antonio alive or hoping to eliminate his former team from the postseason.
- There have been only ten runs scored through two days of the Texas League playoffs. This series has featured six runs, while Arkansas’ battle with Northwest Arkansas has only brought with it four runs. The Travs lead the series 2-0 thanks to a pair of walk-off wins.
- Triple-A Round Rock faces elimination tonight at Omaha, trailing 2-0 in that best-of-five set. Low-A Hickory is also one loss away from elimination. The Crawdads host Greensboro in Game 2 of that three-game series. High-A Myrtle Beach spoiled a five-run lead in an 8-6, 11-inning loss to Kinston. That series is even at 1-1.
You can catch tonight’s game, along with every 2011 playoff game, on 1630 KKGM or online here. You will hear from Frisco skipper Steve Buechele in addition to a player or two on the pre-game show, which begins at 6:35.
Tonight’s game embodied everything that is exciting, fascinating, frustrating, and gratifying about playoff baseball. The ‘Riders edged San Antonio 2-1 to even this best-of-five South Division Series at one game apiece. Here are some thoughts.
- Knowing what we know now, San Antonio lost this game in the first three innings. The Missions stranded seven runners in those frames against Ben Snyder (I’ll get to him in a moment). After that, they only mustered five more runners. With Simon Castro on the bump and their awesome bullpen, the Missions could have made this series 2-0 with a few key hits in the early innings.
- Snyder did not have his best stuff, but he battled to post six scoreless innings. This outing was just as impressive as Robbie Ross’ effort last night in Game 1. Snyder has now posted six straight quality starts, and he has been one of the biggest reasons the ‘Riders succeeded in the regular season. His moxie in tough situations tonight kept the RoughRiders in the game and the series.
- Snyder’s escapes in the first three innings were impressive, but the biggest pitch of the game came in the seventh. Richard Bleier allowed a double and an RBI single to begin his relief appearance. Then, Bleier induced a double play to erase the possible tying run from the bases. The Missions did not get another hit the rest of the game.
- I know two runs may not seem like much, but getting a pair off Castro is tough. Frisco’s offense rolls when the heart of the order–Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene–is swinging well. In Game 1, the trio went 0-for-9. Tonight, they went 5-for-12 with both runs scored. Each notched a hit in the RoughRiders’ two-run fourth.
- Johan Yan has been incredible for the RoughRiders. If you include his work in Games 1 and 2, Yan has a 0.31 earned run average. That’s one earned run in 29 innings. Tonight, Yan zoomed through the heart of San Antonio’s order and retired all four he battled, two of those outs coming on strikes.
- He has been the ‘Riders’ best arm in the bullpen since his promotion in mid-July. However, this was the first time this year that Yan has worked in back-to-back games. The righty threw 20 pitches in Game 1 and another 15 this evening. I would be surprised to see him available for Game 3.
- Justin Miller’s efforts in the ninth inning always seem to get a bit interesting, but the right-hander always seems to get the job done. Miller has recorded 14 saves this year, and he has not blown a save since May 23. Tonight, the mid-season All-Star recorded another great showing out of the ‘pen.
- The theme of the Texas League playoffs through two days has been pitching. This series has featured six runs, while Arkansas’ battle with Northwest Arkansas has only brought with it four runs. The Travs lead the series 2-0 thanks to a pair of walk-off wins.
- Friday night’s Game 3 is the biggest contest at Dr Pepper Ballpark since September 15, 2008, which was Game 5 of the TL Championship Series. Hope you can come out to the yard for what should be a tremendous game. Tickets are still available, so join us for a pivotal Game 3.
We have been working on a special version of the PlayBall! game program for the playoffs, and you can get a sneak peak at the feature story here. It is a summary of the 2011 season, and it brings back some memories from a tremendous five-month.
The RoughRiders’ Run to the Playoffs
For the sixth time in franchise history, the RoughRiders are in the Texas League playoffs. Find out how the ‘Riders reached this point in our season rewind.
A Texas League season is a grind, with long trips, steamy temperatures, and few breaks. It is a long journey with peaks and valleys. Here in the RoughRiders’ ninth season, there were enough peaks for Frisco to enjoy playoff baseball for the sixth time.
April was a struggle for second-year skipper Steve Buechele’s club. The ‘Riders finished the month in the South Division’s basement at 8-14. The signature moment of the rough April was quite a notable one, though. Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, tossed a rain-shortened perfect game at Arkansas April 19.
By May 13, the ‘Riders worked their way back to the .500 mark. Later in the month, Frisco staked its claim to second place with a four-game sweep of Midland at Dr Pepper Ballpark. From this point on, the ‘Riders spent more time in second place than any other team in the Texas League.
The RoughRiders received some temporary help in May. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton hit a home run during his two-day rehab stint in Frisco. Nelson Cruz also graced the middle of the ‘Riders’ order for three games while battling back from an injury. Big name pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb rehabbed in Frisco, too.
Also, outfielder Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders after the Rangers inked Martin to a $15.5 million dollar contract. Martin hit .348 in 29 games with the ‘Riders before heading to Triple-A Round Rock.
Frisco finished the first half strongly, but a 40-30 mark was not good enough to notch a division championship after San Antonio’s 49-win showing. Individually, Tommy Mendonca was the star of the show in June. Mendonca was the Texas League’s Player of the Month after boasting a .375 batting average and driving in 30 runs.
July was a month for the record books in Frisco. The ‘Riders matched a franchise-high in runs in their 19-4 thumping of Corpus Christi July 22. Mendonca hit three of the RoughRiders’ record-setting eight home runs.
One week later, Joe Wieland became the first RoughRider to single-handedly throw a nine-inning no-hitter at San Antonio. Less than 48 hours after the no-no, the Rangers dealt Wieland and Robbie Erlin to San Diego for big league reliever Mike Adams. As a result, the former Frisco duo joined San Antonio’s loaded rotation.
The RoughRiders spent the month of August holding off Midland for a playoff berth. They officially clinched a spot in the season’s final week, a few days after the ‘Riders took three of four from their first round opponent—San Antonio.
Over the course of 140 games, the ‘Riders played well enough to earn a chance to vie for the Texas League’s richest prize. The club has been among the best in the league in most categories this season, and Frisco is well positioned to have a September to remember for the first time since 2004—the franchise’s first and only championship season.
The RoughRiders have won regularly here in 2011, and now only six playoff wins separate the ‘Riders from a title.