Results tagged ‘ Tulsa ’

Riders aim to end North Division nightmare

The Riders open a six-game homestand tonight with three games against Springfield and three more with Tulsa over the weekend.

Since Frisco won the first three series and nine of the first 10 games against North Division opponents this year, the North squads have had a large amount of success against the Riders.

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Frisco has gone a dismal 7-24 in the last 31 cross-divisional matchups, and the RoughRiders have won just two of the last 11 series (June 3-5 vs. Springfield and July 9-11 vs. Northwest Arkansas). The Riders have not won a road series against a North Division opponent since opening the season with five straight wins in Springdale and North Little Rock (April 7-9 at Northwest Arkansas, April 10-12 at Arkansas).

However, Frisco has won three of their five home series against North Division opponents this year. The Riders won both series against Northwest Arkansas and took two of three games from Springfield in June.

This week, the Riders begin a six-game homestand against Springfield and Tulsa. It marks the final meetings between Frisco and opponents from the North Division in the regular season. The Riders went 1-5 in games at Hammons Field, with a 2-1 record at home. However, Frisco has yet to beat Tulsa in eight tries this year.

If the Riders hope to stay in contention for a final playoff spot, they will need to survive through this week. Frisco still has six games remaining against Midland over the final two weeks of the season. Whether the Riders still have playoff hopes when they square off with Midland has yet to be determined. But Frisco definitely has an opportunity to make an impact on the postseason race.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: cement mixer – A mediocre pitch. Roger Clemens used the term for a backup slider that spins badly (The Sporting News, March 25, 2005).

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Wind of change: Texas League roster turnover

During a Minor League baseball season, there is a whirlwind of player movement in every farm system. Players are shuffled around to different levels nearly every day.

Matt Bush, who began the 2016 season with Frisco, is currently on the Texas Rangers roster.

However, this season, the RoughRiders have maintained a majority of core players from the Opening Day roster. 17 players, to be exact. Matt Bush and Jose Leclerc reached the Majors, with Bush currently remaining on the Rangers 25-man roster. Several others have played for the Triple-A squad this year, with four still remaining in Round Rock. One player is currently with High Desert, and two are no longer in the Rangers organization.

The curiosity bug stung me, and I was interested to find out how Frisco’s totals compared to the other seven teams in the Texas League. After going back into the archives and digging up every team’s Opening Day roster (including players on the disabled list, temporary inactive list, and suspended list), it was much easier to see the breakdown.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.33.09 AM

To fully understand this color-coded mess, note the key at the bottom left of the spreadsheet. Players highlighted in red are currently in the Majors, orange for Triple-A, clear for Double-A, and green for a lower level (Class-A or Class A-Advanced). A yellow highlight indicates a player who is no longer with the Texas League team’s parent club (either released or currently in a different organization). Blue font is a special marker for Evan Gattis, who opened the season on a Major League rehabilitation assignment with Corpus Christi.

Breakdown

With the data collected, it turned out the RoughRiders do indeed have the largest number of players from Opening Day (17 of 25) still on their active Texas League roster as of yesterday.

San Antonio had the biggest turnover, with just 12 players remaining from their 25-man Opening Day roster. Seven of those original 25 are no longer in the San Diego Padres organization, which is also a league-high.

In addition to Bush, three other players who opened the campaign in the Texas League are on a Major League roster at the moment. Pitcher Daniel Mengden and infielder Ryon Healy went from Midland to Oakland. Pitcher Cesar Vargas, who started the year in San Antonio, is now with the Padres (although currently on the disabled list).

Northwest Arkansas’ Opening Day roster was quite unique. The Naturals top the other seven clubs with a whopping 10 players currently at Triple-A Omaha. In addition, all 27 players from their April 7 roster are still in the Royals organization. They are the only team in the league who has not had an Opening Day player released or traded yet.

In addition to the Riders holding on to 17 of their initial 25 players, Frisco is tied with Tulsa for the fewest players (four) on an active Triple-A roster. The Drillers had the largest Opening Day roster with 28 total (25 + three on the disabled list).

However, five of them are now playing in a lower level of the Dodgers’ farm system. Comparatively, there are only three other players who started the year in the Texas League, stayed in the farm system, but are playing below the Double-A level (Frisco, Corpus Christi, and Northwest Arkansas each have one).

There is still a month and a half remaining in the season, so I am sure we will continue to see plenty more roster turnover as the weeks move along.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: get-small-quick ball – A home run, so named because of the way the ball appears to get smaller and smaller as it travels into the stands or out of the ballpark.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Double trouble: Riders struggles in twinbills this year

The RoughRiders are set to play their sixth doubleheader of the season this evening. Overall, Frisco is just 4-6 when playing multiple games in a single day.

The struggles have been especially magnified in game two, where the Riders are 1-4 (0-3 at home). Some of the worst offensive performances of the season have come in doubleheader. Let’s take a closer look:

Game One Game Two
Record: 3-2 1-4
Runs scored: 18 7
Runs allowed: 17 22
Hits: 23 18
Hits allowed: 34 32
Home runs: 1 1
Home runs allowed: 5 6
Highest run total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 4 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest run total: 0 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 0 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Highest hit total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 9 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest hit total: 1 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 1 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Largest margin of victory: 3 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/19 at Midland) 2 (5/19 at Midland)
Largest margin of defeat: 4 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 6 (2x, 5/13 at Corpus Christi, 6/13 vs. Midland)

In total, the RoughRiders are being outscored 39-25, outhit 66-41, and outhomered 11-2. In game one, however, Frisco has actually tallied more runs (18) than opponents (17), despite still being outhit 34-23.

Frisco has run into three dominant starting pitchers who allowed just one hit in their outings. Kyle McGowin (Arkansas) and Evan Grills (Corpus Christi) both tossed complete-game, one-hit shutouts. Brock Stewart (Tulsa) pitched six scoreless, one-hit innings, and then Scott Griggs recorded the final three outs.

The Riders have a chance to put the past behind them, with another doubleheader coming up tonight at home against Corpus Christi. It represents a chance for the past troubles to be buried. After all, Frisco trails the Hooks by 5.5 games with seven remaining, so every game is a must-win from this point forward.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: lobby sitter – A player who hangs out in hotel lobbies between games on road trips.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Texas League Scrabble

In the Texas League, logos with letters are a common theme among all eight teams. During the Riders’ recent road trip to San Antonio, I couldn’t help but think of a Scrabble board when viewing the Missions’ “SA” logo.

So I began to devise a list of words that could be created from Texas League teams’ logos. Some of the best: catamarans, tsars, maracas, cataracts, transacts, and mascara.

The most difficult thing about finding words is only having the power to use one vowel, thanks to the Arkansas Travelers’ logo. The other seven teams use consonants.

The following is an attempt to compile as many words as possible made up of all the Texas League logos, arranged accordingly on a Scrabble board. Enjoy!

Tulsa_Drillers14.ai

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: first and fifteenth player – A player who thinks only of paydays, such as the first and fifteenth days of the month.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

2016 Texas League All-Star Game, featuring the best player names

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With the Texas League All-Star Game coming up on June 28 in Springfield, it is time to start considering who will be representing the North and South Division squads this year.

Surely, many players have put up All-Star Game-worthy numbers. However, we are completely disregarding statistics in this blog post and focusing solely on awesome names alone.

Here is a list of what I consider to be the best names by position in the Texas League from the North and South Divisions. (* = not on team’s active roster as of June 1)

From the North Division…

Catcher: *Anthony Bemboom (Arkansas)

First Baseman: Frank Schwindel (Northwest Arkansas)

Second baseman: Breyvic Valera (Springfield)

Third baseman: Brandon Trinkwon (Tulsa)

Shortstop: *Erisbel Arruebarrena (Tulsa)

Outfielder: Bo Way (Arkansas)

Outfielder: *Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas)

Outfielder: Kyle Garlick (Tulsa)

Designated Hitter: Jacob Scavuzzo (Tulsa)

Pitcher: *Alan Busenitz (Arkansas)

Pitcher: Daniel Poncedeleon (Springfield)

Pitcher: Ralston Cash (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Tim Shibuya (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Ronnie Shaban (Springfield)

Pitcher: *Estarlin Cordero (Northwest Arkansas)

From the South Division…

Catcher: *Rocky Gale (San Antonio)

First Baseman: Conrad Gregor (Corpus Christi)

Second baseman: Evan Van Hoosier (Frisco)

Third baseman: *Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Frisco)

Shortstop: *River Stevens (San Antonio)

Outfielder: Teoscar Hernandez (Corpus Christi)

Outfielder: Danny Oh (Midland)

Outfielder: Brett Vertigan (Midland)

Designated Hitter: Chan-Jong Moon (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Keegan Yuhl (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Cy Sneed (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: *Reymin Guduan (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Ryne Slack (Frisco)

Pitcher: Trey Cochran-Gill (Midland)

Pitcher: Jose Valdespina (Frisco)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: jam sandwich – Throwing a pitch near the batter’s fists with a fastball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meaning behind the mascots

NORTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

Arkansas-Primary

Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.

 

Northwest_Arkansas_Naturals_Main

Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

 

Springfield_Cardinals15.ai

Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.
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Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.

 

SOUTH DIVISION OPPONENTS:

CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.

 

Midland_RockHounds

Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.

 

San_Antonio_Missions

San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.

 

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Very Long Travel Guide

In the Florida State League, no bus trip takes more than four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is less than five hours. It is much different here in the Texas League.

Thanks to billsportsmaps.com for the image.

To fans, a series finale doesn’t mean too much. To minor league baseball players, a series finale normally means a night on the bus. By the end of the regular season, the RoughRiders will have boarded the bus shortly after 29 of their 40 series finales. You can see how one of those bus trips went here.

Even though the RoughRiders are in the South Division, they actually have longer trips within their division than they do when playing against the North.

The longest trip for the RoughRiders is from Frisco to Corpus Christi, and it takes a little more than seven hours. The trip takes the ‘Riders through Waco, Round Rock, Austin, and San Antonio.

Speaking of San Antonio, that is the shortest trip in the division. Still, it is five hours away, which is a healthy trip in the bus, especially after a game that ends around 10 p.m. The other divisional trip takes the ‘Riders to Midland, and that journey takes around six hours.

The North road trips are a little easier (which is not the case for the other three teams–I’ll get to that in the moment). The bus ride to Springfield–seven hours–is the longest in the North and the second longest in the TL for the ‘Riders. The trips to Northwest Arkansas (five and a half hours), Arkansas (five hours) and Tulsa (four hours) are fairly manageable.

The unfortunate outlier in the TL is Corpus Christi. We mentioned that the RoughRiders’ longest trip is to Corpus. Well, that happens to be the Hooks’ second shortest ride of the season! It takes almost eight hours for them to get to Midland, and they go to Citibank Ballpark four times each season.

How about these trips to the North for the Hooks: Arkansas (11:19), Tulsa (11:21), and Northwest Arkansas (12:31). The big one is the journey to Springfield, which is right around 14 hours. And the Cardinals will make that journey from Corpus back home after their game at Whataburger Field Monday night. That doesn’t sound fun, and things aren’t much easier for San Antonio (longest trip is almost 12 hours) and Midland (longest trip is around 11 and a half hours).

There have been other fun trips in the Texas League throughout the years, such as El Paso, Texas to North Little Rock, Ark. (15:42); Albuquerque, N.M., to Memphis, Tenn. (16:01); El Paso, Texas to Jackson, Miss. (17:17). I don’t know how the schedules or the travel worked during these times. Regardless, the TL has spanned quite an area during its history.

Life in the minor leagues is not as glorious as it sounds. Fortunately for the RoughRiders, they only have five more regular season bus trips left.

– Brian

*Note: All times are according to Google Maps.

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