Results tagged ‘ Tommy Mendonca ’

The RoughRiders One Year Ago

A few days ago, Stephen Harmon detailed the current seasons of many prospects in the Rangers’ system. Today, I’m here to show you how much difference a season can make. Let’s look back at how much improvement many of the key members of this year’s RoughRiders have seen over the last 12 months.

The differences between July 18, 2010, and July 18, 2011, are pretty incredible. And most RoughRiders have improved greatly. Here are ten prime examples:

Mike Bianucci: While with High-A Bakersfield, the slugger was hitting just .247 with just 11 home runs, which was good for a tie for 15th in the California League. Right now, he is in a tie for second in that category. Bianucci’s RBI total is up by 16 runs, and his OPS has improved by almost 100 points. This season, Bianucci is on pace for a career-high 30 homers.

Robbie Erlin: Erlin’s numbers were great at this point last year (4-2, 1.66 ERA), but they were in Low-A Hickory. Erlin has rolled through the Rangers’ system, and he is only two wins away from the RoughRiders’ team lead despite joining the team in late May. Erlin is only 20 years old, which should bring a smile to ‘Riders and Rangers fans alike.

Adalberto Flores: The ‘Riders’ bullpen has been solid all season long. While Flores may not be the poster man for the ‘pen, he has improved upon an average year with Frisco last season. At this point, Flores owned a 2-4 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings of work. Flores has dropped the ERA almost a run and a half (2.68), and he has been counted on more (47 innings of work). The righty also has 17 more strikeouts at this point (51) than he had last year.

Jonathan Greene: The likeable North Carolina native had only played in 16 games by this point last season. He was hitting .218 with two home runs and six RBIs. What a difference a year makes. Greene is in the top 20 in the Texas League in average (.297), home runs (11), and RBIs (52). Greene has also only committed two errors despite being bounced around between two main positions–first base and right field.

Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has arguably seen the biggest improvement from last year to this year. A year ago on this day, Mendonca was hitting .238 with three homers and 27 RBIs. To put it into perspective, Mendonca’s month of June this year featured four home runs and 30 RBIs. Mendonca dots the top 10 in most offensive categories this year in the Texas League.

Renny Osuna: Osuna’s average has only seen a minimal improvement from this point a year ago (.286 v. .307). It’s the power numbers that put Osuna on this list in a prominent way. Last season, Osuna had just two home runs and 28 RBIs through mid-July. This year, Osuna already has a career-high eight homers, which is fifth on a powerful RoughRiders squad. He also has 43 RBIs, which also places him fifth in the clubhouse. Not bad for a leadoff hitter who has missed 17 games this year.

Martin Perez: Perez is the lone former RoughRider on this list, but his renaissance has been well documented and much needed. Perez was 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA at this point of the year in 2010. In fact, he did not even have enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA category. He just won his Triple-A debut at Memphis Saturday for the Round Rock Express after dominating in Frisco for the season’s first three months.

Jose Ruiz: Ruiz has come the furthest in terms of an organization’s pecking order. The first baseman was about the join the Dominican Summer League at this point last season, and he was within the Tampa Bay system. He joined Double-A Montgomery in mid-August. The Rays let him go, and the Rangers picked up a guy who has hovered around .300 all year long.

Ben Snyder: Snyder’s ERA is slightly worse this year than it was last year (3.82 v. 3.13), but he has been Mr. Versatile for the pitching staff this season. His next start will be his sixth, which will be the highest for the southpaw since 2008. Snyder has been an unsung hero for the ‘Riders.

Joe Wieland: Remember what we said about Erlin? The same can be said for this talented righty. Wieland’s numbers weren’t as eye-popping with the Crawdads (7-4, 3.34), but he was having some success. Still, 2011 has been Wieland’s breakout season. In four Double-A starts, the Reno, Nev., native is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. If you combine his numbers with High-A Myrtle Beach, Wieland is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.09 with more than one strikeout per inning.

There have been many more contributors to the RoughRiders’ fantastic 2011 season. It has been fun to watch these men grow on the field, and there are still almost 50 games left in the regular season.

- Brian

Road Trip Highlights

The RoughRiders finished up a 5-1 road trip Tuesday night, which, believe it or not, is not even the best road swing of the season. The ‘Riders swept Arkansas after taking two of three in Springfield. Frisco begins a four-game series with Corpus Christi tonight, but let’s take a look back at a great six-game trip in today’s Frisco Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The ‘Riders swept Arkansas without the services of Tommy Mendonca, who went back home to California to be with his friends and family after two of his close friends passed away in a car accident. Mendonca is back in the lineup tonight, which is a huge boost considering all of Mendonca’s great work during the month of June.
  • Frisco won all three of its games against the Travelers by one run (3-2, 4-3, 3-2). On the season, the ‘Riders own a 19-11 record in one-run games, which is second to San Antonio in all of the Texas League.
  • During the six-game trip, Frisco starters went 3-1 with a 2.83 earned run average. The ‘Riders’ pitching as a whole held opponents to a .186 average with men in scoring position.
  • The RoughRiders’ 13-inning win at Arkansas Sunday was the club’s tenth extra-inning victory in 14 tries, which is good for the best winning percentage in the league. Midland (7) is the next closest in wins in extra-inning affairs.
  • The ‘Riders have made a living against the North Division. On the year, the squad is 23-13 against that division and 13-5 on the road against that quartet. Too bad the regular season slate features games against the North only 34 percent of the time.
  • Frisco’s defense was less than stellar for the first time in a while. During the six-game road trip, the ‘Riders committed eight errors. Still, Frisco (.979) trails only Arkansas (.980) in fielding percentage in the TL.
  • Finally, the RoughRiders are now 2-0 in season series after going 7-5 against both Arkansas and Springfield. Currently, the ‘Riders have the season-series edge against everyone except for San Antonio (6-10) and Corpus Christi (10-10).

The ‘Riders and Hooks open up a four-game series tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and plenty is planned for the quick home stand. If you aren’t coming out to the game tonight, join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Mendonca, Rodriguez Earn Honors

Current Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca earned the Rangers’ Player of the Month honor for June, and former RoughRiders shortstop Guilder Rodriguez, who is now with Triple-A Round Rock, took home the Rangers’ Defender of the Month, the Texas Rangers announced today.

Mendonca batted .375 (39-104) with 11 walks, 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, and 30 RBI over 25 games with Double-A Frisco in the month of June. Mendonca, who was also named the TOPPS Player of the Month for the Texas League, hit safely in 22-of-25 games during the month, while also boasting streaks of 13 consecutive games with a hit, 10 consecutive games with a RBI, and 11 consecutive games with an extra-base hit during the month.

The Fresno State product ranks among the Texas League leaders in hits (3rd, 97), RBI (3rd, 64), home runs (T5th, 16), doubles (T6th, 20), and batting (7th, .319), while also rating statistically as the top defender at third base in the Texas League with a .947 fielding percentage.

Even though Rodriguez is currently with the Express, he spent the entire month of June with Frisco, starting 26 of the club’s 27 games at shortstop and committing just 2 errors. Overall, Rodriguez has committed just 7 errors, while tallying the 3rd-most total chances by a Texas League shortstop this season.

The Venezuela native is in his 2nd season in the Texas organization and has collected a career-high 37 RBI in 80 games with Frisco, while batting .275 (78-284) with 9 doubles and 2 triples.

A pair of right-handers at Low-A Hickory took home the other two honors, as Nick Tepesch earned the Pitcher of the Month and Ryan Rodebaugh was named the Reliever of the Month.

The ‘Riders are back in action tomorrow night against the Corpus Christi Hooks. We’ll have another post for you then. Until tomorrow, check out the newest Dr Pepper Ballpark Planner for all you need to know about the upcoming home stand. Congrats to Tommy and Guilder!

- Brian

(photos courtesy of team photographer James Garner)

VIDEO: Pre-Game Ladder Drills

The ‘Riders have today off but we wanted to give you a sneak peak inside one of the pre-game routines designed by Frisco Strength and Conditioning Coach, Eric McMahon.  Hope you enjoy!  -AG

 

The RoughRiders players, lead by Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon, warm up using the ladders before a game in Springfield, MO.

RoughRiders Potpourri

Yesterday, the ‘Riders Insider Blog took a rare day off. We’re back at it today with a few odds and ends, spanning everywhere from Martin Perez to whiffle ball. Here are a few wide-ranging Frisco Facts for this Thursday, the beginning of a six-game road trip to Springfield and Arkansas.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • We’ve been asked a few times, so I figured I would touch on it first here. Frisco starter Martin Perez is not scheduled to pitch again for the RoughRiders before the XM Futures Game this Sunday. His turn in the rotation would be Saturday, but Perez will skip that start in order to perform for the World Team in the event at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • As for who that starter will be, we don’t know yet. It is the very familiar talent, “TBA.” However, two good guesses would be former members of the rotation–Richard Bleier and Jake Brigham. Both have excelled at certain points as starters here in 2011.
  • Tough news out of Arlington over the last day or so. Brandon Webb is likely done for the season, that according to multiple outlets. Webb made four starts for the ‘Riders and went 0-2 with a 9.75 earned run average in 12 innings.
  • I don’t know about all of you, but I really feel for the former Cy Young Award winner. He clearly didn’t have the stuff he did when he was consistently posting 200-inning seasons with the Diamondbacks. However, he worked very hard to return to the big leagues, and he couldn’t have been a nicer person during his time with Frisco. Whether it is with the Rangers or someone else, I sincerely hope we see Webb pitch again somewhere.
  • Be sure to check out the Reebok 2011 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game this Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Larry O’Brien trophy will be there, as will many celebrities. David Archuleta, Aaron’s favorite singer, will be on hand to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. Here are the details for the event, which begins at 3 p.m. and will run until well after the sun goes down.
  • I had a chance to go to the Rangers-Orioles game last night. It was my first full game in Arlington, and I really enjoyed the park. Everyone was very friendly, except for one fan screaming “Good Job Pie” at poor O’s left fielder Felix Pie (although it was all in good fun–I enjoyed it at least). I loved the area in center field where kids can play some whiffle ball and hit home runs off a tee. It took me back to my little league “glory” days, and I wanted to join in the fun (I didn’t, by the way).
  • The second version of the “RoughRiders Roundtable” podcast will be out in the next 24 hours or so. We had great results and feedback from the first one, so check it out. You can access that podcast here when it is available. Joining me will be Aaron and Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com. The topics include Topps Texas League Player of the Month Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci, Renny Osuna, all-you-can-eat buffets and so much more.

The ‘Riders and Cardinals open up a three-game series tonight at Hammons Field. Join us on the pre-game coverage along the RBN at 6:37. Enjoy!

- Brian

Mendonca Named Topps Player of Month

Tommy Mendonca’s month of June began with a six-game hitting streak during the RoughRiders’ first road trip sweep in more than three years.

Then, Mendonca took off during the middle of the month and won the Texas League Player of the Week honor.

He finished the month with at least one RBI in 15 of the last 18 games.

All of that incredible work was enough for Mendonca to earn the Topps Texas League Player of the Month for June.

Mendonca hit .375 with four home runs and a league-leading 30 runs batted in during 25 games. The Turlock, Calif., native hit safely in 22 of those contests. During the month, Mendonca boasted a 13-game hitting streak, an 11-game extra-base hit streak and a ten-game RBI streak.

Currently, Mendonca is fifth in the league in hitting (.328), tied for fifth in homers (16), first in RBIs (64), fourth in hits (94), third in extra-base hits (39) and sixth in OPS (.971).

It has been a breakout year for Mendonca in the minors, and his efforts were honored today. He and the ‘Riders continue the July slate tonight at 7:05 against Arkansas. Join us for pre-game coverage on the RBN at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Martin, Bianucci, Osuna in Starting Lineup

Frisco outfielder Leonys Martin, who has not played with the RoughRiders since June 8, is the leadoff hitter for the South Division in tonight’s 2011 Texas League All-Star Game.

Joining Martin in the starting lineup are Mike Bianucci and Renny Osuna. Bianucci is the designated hitter, and he is hitting third. Osuna rounds out the South squad’s lineup and is playing at second base.

Catcher Jose Felix, third baseman Tommy Mendonca and first baseman Jose Ruiz are available on the South Division’s bench. Also, pitchers Adalberto Flores, Justin Miller and Martin Perez are in the South’s bullpen.

First pitch is set for 7:05. You can follow the game here.

Remember When…

The All-Star Break will be gone before we know it. That’s how these short breaks work, especially when they are only two days long.

The last time there were two straight days without a RoughRiders game that counted? April 5 and 6, right before the 2011 regular season started. A few Texas League clubs (I’m looking at you, Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas) had some games washed out because of rain. Not the RoughRiders.

Let’s take you back to the last time this club enjoyed an off day similar to this one. What was this world like back on April 6? Let’s tell you about it in an All-Star edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Dr Pepper Ballpark had been without a meaningful baseball game for 209 days.
  • Texas League fans’ lasting memory of San Antonio was that the club’s offense was bad.
  • Tommy Mendonca and Martin Perez were hoping for bounce-back seasons. Wish granted.
  • The most ridiculous stat of them all: defending MVP Josh Hamilton had not posted a Double-A home run. He hit his first this year.
  • Martin Perez had not had a perfect game in his career.
  • Leonys Martin was very much a free agent.
  • The Rangers won their sixth straight game to start their A.L. pennant defense.
  • Baltimore, Kansas City and Pittsburgh were a combined 13-6.
  • Boston and Tampa Bay were a combined 0-12.
  • South Carolina’s baseball program had only won six straight College World Series games.
  • California’s baseball program was not scheduled to survive past 2011.
  • The Dallas Mavericks were an afterthought.
  • The greatest poll ever had not been created: Can you name the player who has won an NBA Title between LeBron and Dirk?)
  • Kemba Walker was the talk of the basketball world.
  • The NFL was in a lockout. Oh wait…
  • VCU and Butler’s application numbers were going up. Big time.
  • Osama bin Laden was alive.
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri, looked very different.
  • I had never heard of a “Royal Wedding.”
  • Oprah was still on the air.

There are many more changes than those 20, but this is a good start. Enjoy another day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back with you for more coverage in advance of the ‘Riders and the Springfield Cardinals Thursday.

- Brian

“Dad, wanna play catch?”

Every Father’s Day I can’t help but think of that scene from Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner plays catch with his dad (once your done reading you can watch it here).

I’m not ashamed to say it makes me cry every time.  I wanted to ask some of the ‘Riders what some of their favorite baseball memories were with their dads, and I’m glad I can share their answers with you.

Manager, Steve Buechele: From playing in little league, to college baseball at Stanford, all the way to the major leagues, Boo’s dad supported him the entire way.

“To this day, I remember my dad, and my mom, always being there and watching every game my brothers and I played.

I then asked Boo about the first time his dad got to see him play in the major leagues.

“We were playing the Angles and I had a bunch of friends and family come out to the game.  I remember hugging my dad after the game and him telling me that he had tears in his eyes during the National Anthem.”

LHP, Robbie Erlin: Growing up in Santa Cruz, Calif., Erlin’s father probably never imagined that his son would be the Rangers’ No. 4 prospect at just 20-years-old.  But as Erlin’s coach in the Scotts Valley Little League, he greatly influenced his son’s future career.

“When I was 9-years-old my dad told me that before I could throw a curveball, I had to be able to locate my fastball.  He and I worked after practice on throwing a curve and finally one day during a game I was pitching he signaled to our catcher to call for a curveball.”

As we all know, Robbie’s curveball is now one of the best in the Rangers’ minor league system.  I then asked Robbie if 9-years-old was a bit early to be throwing a curve.

“Not if you know how to throw it.”  

3B, Tommy Mendonca: By now, we all know how well Tommy has been playing lately.  And we all know how hard he’s been working out.  Most are aware of the magical ride he went on when playing for Fresno State University in 2008 when the Bulldogs won the College World Series and Mendo was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player as a sophomore.

“Both of my parents were at every game in Omaha during our playoff run.  My dad was my little league coach and it was great having him and my mom watching me and supporting me when we were playing in such big games.”

RHP, Jake Brigham: One of seven kids (four brothers, two sisters) , Jake grew up in Florida where his dad was a barber.  He had to cut a lot of hair to support all those hungry mouths and thus had one day off a week: Wednesday.

“Every Wednesday afternoon he’d take us seven kids to Barnett Park and we had practically enough players to field a team.  I remember him pitching to us … We all got a chance to field, catch, hit, and play the outfield.”

LF/DH, Mike Bianucci: “Nuch” had the big blast last night in the 13th inning to give the ‘Riders the win, but it was his dad who saw him hit has a kid.

“It was great having my dad coach me in Babe Ruth League.  Once I turned pro, he first had a chance to watch me play in Hickory.  My best memories are of him watching me in high school, though.  It was great then because I always had lots of family at the games.”


 

2B, Davis Stoneburner: His real name is Ralph, which, so conveniently for today’s article, is his father’s name.  After asking him a baseball memory he shared with his dad, Stoney gave me an answer in a way that only he could.

“The first time my dad saw me play as a professional was in Clinton, Ia. when I was playing for the LumberKings.  I was a shortstop at the time and he came out to watch me play a four-game series.  Bad part was I didn’t get a single hit.”

Fortunately, he’s now riding a nine-game hitting streak.  Looks like he’s recovered.

We’ll have more of a tribute to Father’s Day on the pre-game show tonight.  Along with Mother’s Day, it’s one of my favorite pre-game segments all season long.  First pitch tonight in the series finale in Corpus Christi crosses home plate at 6:05, pre-game coverage kicks off at 5:35.

If for some reason you miss the pre-game segment of all the ‘Riders wishing their dad’s a happy Father’s Day but would like to hear it, feel free to email me at agoldsmith@ridersbaseball.com and I’ll send you the .mp3 version.

Talk with you tonight,

AG

RoughRiders on the Green

I am not a golf fanatic. In fact, I haven’t golfed more than twice in a summer since high school, mainly because my skill level is just below awful. I don’t know what word describes “just below awful,” but it can’t be good.

However, I make sure to watch as much of pro golf’s four majors as possible. As I’m perched in my room watching the U.S. Open’s third round, let’s take a look at how some golfers compare to those who are down at Whataburger Field this weekend. It’s a special edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS (U.S. Open style):

  • Rory McIlroy (-11; first place) = Tommy Mendonca: McIlroy has dominated the U.S. Open so far with a first-round 65 and a second-round 66. He heads into day three with a six-stroke lead. We have talked about Mendonca recently on this blog. Since that post, Mendonca has gone 3-for-7 with a homer and two RBIs. In June, the ‘Riders’ third baseman is hitting an absurd .433 with 21 RBIs. Both men are dominating their field right now.
  • Y.E. Yang (-5; second place) = Renny Osuna: Both men are undersized a bit (Yang: 5’9″, 190 lbs; Osuna: 6’0″, 180 lbs), yet both have had solid years and careers. Yang took down Tiger Woods (well get to him in a bit) in the ’09 PGA Championship, but he still is a surprise in this year’s event. Osuna continues to hit well, but other RoughRiders tend to get the attention. Osuna is hitting .304 with a career-high five home runs. He’ll have plenty of chances to blow that old career high in homers (four) out of the water.
  • Phil Mickelson (+1; T-26th place) = Mike Bianucci: Mickelson is very much on the outside looking in this weekend, but he is probably the most marketable golfer on tour right now with Woods on the shelf. Bianucci has struggled a bit lately, too. However, Bianucci still sits in a tie for third in homers (14) and a tie for fourth in RBIs (49). Fortunately for Bianucci, he has more than half the season left. Mickelson has 36 holes and a scorching up-and-comer 12 strokes ahead. Advantage: Bianucci.
  • Sergio Garcia (-2; T-third place) = Jake Brigham: Both Garcia and Brigham are not flashy, but they both tend to hang around and give themselves a chance to win at the end. Garcia posted a 69 in round one and followed it up with an even-par 71 yesterday. Brigham has gone at least five innings in all but one of his 13 starts this year. Tonight’s starter has allowed more than three runs only three times. These two won’t grab the headlines, but they get the job done.
  • Michael Barbosa (+24; last place) = Corpus Christi Hooks: This is not me unnecessarily ripping on the Hooks, I promise. Both Barbosa and the Hooks had rough starts to their week/season, and next week both will get a chance with clean slates. I’m sure they are thrilled.
  • Tiger Woods (DNP – injury) = Josh Hamilton: Woods has been in the PGA Tour this year. Hamilton has been with the RoughRiders this year. Thousands follow Woods around when he is on the course. Thousands waited for Hamilton to sign some autographs when he visited Dr Pepper Ballpark, and he rewarded many of them. Golf fans hope Woods returns soon. However, I think RoughRiders and Rangers fans alike would like Hamilton to stay right where he is for the rest of the season.
  • Other quick connections: Davis Love III (-1; T-eighth place) and Guilder Rodriguez = thriving veterans; Patrick Cantlay (highest-ranked amateur) and Robbie Erlin = future stars; Louis Oosthuizen and Davis Stoneburner = names that flow; Chubby Chandler (McIlroy’s manager) and Steve Buechele = successful managers.

Catch the pre-game coverage for tonight’s 6:05 showdown at 5:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

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