Results tagged ‘ Tyler Tufts ’

Day Trip to SeaWorld

Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio.  One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio.  Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals.  In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins.  Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.

(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)

- Alex

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

The players loved those little guys

The players loved those little guys

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn't get to visit.

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn’t get to visit.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the "voice" of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the “voice” of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan.  Not sure where Cody learned that move.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan. Not sure where Cody learned that move.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with "Brady."

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with “Brady.”

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Brady "fin-walks" at the prompt of his trainer.

Brady “fin-walks” at the prompt of his trainer.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

Here's the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Here’s the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

My Texas League Postseason Ballot

The 2011 Texas League Postseason All-Star ballots are out to managers and media members, and both Aaron and I have a vote. Below, I have my picks along with a brief explanation why.

First off, here are a few notes. As a member of the RoughRiders organization, I cannot vote for a RoughRider. Still, I have included six ‘Riders who could be on this list. Also, anyone who has played in the TL this year is eligible. Finally, all of the ballots are due by tomorrow, so the last two weeks of the season do not factor into the decision.

Share your thoughts at the bottom in the comments section. Here we go.

Catcher: Wilin Rosario (Tulsa)

The Rockies’ number two prospect, Rosario has not had the best season offensively. But, he could get a September promotion to Colorado and he has put up the best numbers of any Texas League catcher (.254, 18 HR, 41 RBI).

First Baseman: Matt Adams (Springfield)

Triple Crown? Matt Adams has a chance in '11 (Photo courtesy of Mark Harrell/Springfield Cardinals).

With Tim Wheeler’s recent struggles and Jermaine Mitchell’s promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, Adams has an outside shot at a Triple Crown. Adams has a league-leading 30 homers (one better than Wheeler) and 94 RBIs, and he is sixth in the league in average at .313. However, the top three (Mitchell, J.D. Martinez and James Darnell) will not have enough plate appearances to qualify barring a return to the TL. His real target is Mike Trout (.326).

Second Baseman: Jose Altuve (Corpus Christi)

I like to steer away from players who did not spend much time in a league for postseason awards, but the second base spot is weak here in the Texas League and Altuve was incredible to watch. He hit .361 in his 35 games with Corpus Christi. During that short stint, Altuve drove in 25 runs and scored 21.

Shortstop: Darwin Perez (Arkansas)

Shortstop is a fairly weak position in the Texas League this season, as well, so Perez is my choice because of his on-base percentage (.378, 11th), stolen bases (22, 6th) and fielding percentage (.982, 1st among qualifiers). If I could vote for a RoughRider, Renny Osuna would be my choice here.

Third Baseman: James Darnell (San Antonio)

With apologies to Arkansas’ Luis Jimenez, Darnell was a machine in his 76 games with the Missions. Darnell hit .333, which still qualifies for third in the Texas League, and he had an OPS of 1.038. Darnell hit 17 homers and drove in 62 runs, and now his home is San Diego.

Outfielder: Mike Trout (Arkansas)

Trout was advertised as the number one or number two prospect in the minors at the start of the season, and he has not disappointed. Trout is hitting .326 with 33 stolen bases, and he earned a brief stint in the big leagues. He is incredibly fun to watch.

Outfielder: Jermaine Mitchell (Midland)

Mitchell still qualifies as the league’s leader in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.453) and OPS (1.042). He didn’t have the gaudy home run (10) or RBI (50) totals, but he was a menace atop Midland’s order.

Outfielder: Tim Wheeler (Tulsa)

Wheeler has struggled in August, but he still boasts great numbers (Photo courtesy of Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com).

Wheeler has struggled lately (.200, 0 HR, 2 RBIs in August), but you have to wonder if he is getting bored at the Double-A level. He is still second in homers (29) and tied for fourth in RBIs (79).  It was between Corpus Christi’s J.D. Martinez and Wheeler, and I went with Tulsa’s leadoff hitter, who is putting up middle-of-the-order stats. Don’t worry, Martinez fans…

Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez (Corpus Christi)

The Hooks have the worst record in the Texas League, but they are one of three teams to have two offensive representatives on my list. Martinez, like Jose Altuve, is in the big leagues now, but he is fourth in the TL in OPS (.959) and seventh in RBIs (72) despite only playing in 88 games.

Three toughest offensive omissions:
1. Arkansas 3B Luis Jimenez (barely edged by Darnell and Martinez)
2. Springfield OF Alex Castellanos (gave Wheeler edge despite being in recent funk)
3. San Antonio OF Blake Tekotte (outfield was the most loaded position)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. Renny Osuna (2B/SS)
2. Tommy Mendonca (3B)
3. Leonys Martin (OF)
_________
Pitchers:

1. Matt Shoemaker (Arkansas)

Matt Shoemaker has the best ERA in the TL, and it's not even that close (Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Travelers).

Shoemaker started the season in Triple-A, but he came down to the Texas League in early May and began his dominance. He leads the league, by a wide margin, in ERA (2.18) and WHIP (1.00) among qualifiers. He also paces all Texas Leaguers in strikeouts with 121 and is tied at the top with 12 wins.

2. Garrett Richards (Arkansas)

Richards is the man who is deadlocked with Shoemaker in wins. Both hurlers are 12-2, and Richards is the league leader in innings with 141. Richards, who is currently with the Angels, is 12-2 with an ERA of 3.06, which is second to Shoemaker among qualifiers.

3. Dallas Keuchel (Corpus Christi)

Don’t let his 9-7 record fool you—Keuchel has been a legitimate ace all season long. The lefty has worked through five innings in all but one of his 19 starts, and he has only surrendered more than three runs four times. He is not overpowering (76 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings), but he is second among qualifiers in WHIP at 1.12.

Joe Wieland tossed a no-hitter with Frisco, and he is now dominating with San Antonio (Photo courtesy of James Garner).

4. Joe Wieland (San Antonio)

Casey Kelly is San Diego’s top prospect, and Jorge Reyes has the best numbers of any San Antonio starter who has been on the club all year. However, who has made a bigger impact in the Texas League this season than Wieland? Wieland tossed a no-hitter with the RoughRiders against San Antonio, and then he went to the Missions. Wieland’s ERA is 1.50 in Double-A, and he has a 1.85 overall this season.

5. Nick Vincent (San Antonio)

Vincent has made more appearances (58) than anyone else in the Texas League. The reliever is 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 70 innings, and he has 82 strikeouts to 14 walks. In the eighth inning, the righty owns a 1.91 ERA. In the ninth, that mark falls to 1.50. The Missions have been dominant all year long, and the bullpen is a big reason why.

6. Brad Brach (San Antonio)

Closers are not that common in the minors, but Brach was the man who dominated the ninth inning while in San Antonio. Brach had a 2.25 ERA and went 23 for 25 in save opportunities with the Missions before earning a promotion to Triple-A Tucson. When ahead in the count, the TL’s save leader held his opposition to an .097 average (7-for-72).

Three toughest pitching omissions:
1. Springfield’s Shelby Miller (good numbers, but not good enough to overcome small sample size)
2. Tulsa’s Juan Nicasio (better numbers than Miller, but fewer innings)
3. San Antonio’s Jorge Reyes (4th in ERA, but only worked more than five innings once)

Three most likely RoughRiders on the list:
1. LHP Martin Perez
2. RHP Justin Miller
3. RHP Tyler Tufts

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Springfield’s Matt Adams

He is the most dangerous hitter in the Texas League right now, and he has a chance at the Triple Crown. He may not have the upside that some other players in this league possess, but he has been the best hitter on the best offense, by far, in the TL.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Mike Trout; 3. San Antonio’s James Darnell.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker

The Travelers earned a first-half title because of their pitching staff, and Shoemaker has been the go-to guy. Shoemaker stumbled a bit in Triple-A earlier this season, but he figures to do much better in his second go-around at that level after an incredible season at the Double-A level.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Arkansas’ Garrett Richards; 3. Corpus Christi’s Dallas Keuchel.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: San Antonio’s Doug Dascenzo

The Missions have the best record in minor league baseball, and they have had many good players. However, Dascenzo has navigated his club through many promotions, and they haven’t slowed down at all. This San Antonio club is a dominant force that will go into the playoffs as the heavy favorites, and Dascenzo is a big reason why.

ON THE MEDAL STAND: 2. Frisco’s Steve Buechele; 3. Northwest Arkansas’ Brian Poldberg.

- Brian

‘Riders Fantasy Football Advice

I made my way around the ‘Riders clubhouse in Northwest Arkansas before batting practice yesterday and found a few guys who are pretty passionate about fantasy football (like I am). It was fun learning who they believe are this year’s sleepers, busts, and breakout players.

LF, Mitch Hilligoss

10 TDs for Ochocinco and Brady? Hilligoss thinks so.

Favorite team: Chicago Bears
Sleepers: Chad Ochocinco
Busts: Arian Foster, Kevin Kolb
Players targeting the most: Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco
Draft philosophy: RB, QB, WR in the first three rounds
Leagues: Mitch plays two leagues: one with current teammates, and one with former teammates from when he played in the Yankees’ system.

Mitch told me a great story about when he played in the minors for New York, he and his teammates would meet back at the hotel late after a game near the end of the season, order and bunch of pizzas, and do a live fantasy draft.

 

 

 

LHP, Derek Hankins

After a monster 2010 season, Hilligoss and Hankins don't believe Arian Foster can repeat in 2011.

After a monster 2010 season, Hilligoss and Hankins don't believe Arian Foster can repeat in 2011.

Favorite team: Chicago Bears
Sleepers: Felix Jones (especially in a PPR league), Jordy Nelson
Busts: Arian Foster, Brandon Lloyd
Player targeting the most: Ray Rice
Draft philosophy: In a PPR league, two WRs with his first three picks
Leagues: Derek, like Mitch, plays in two leagues: one with some former teammates from Round Rock, and another with some friends he played with while in the Pirates’ farm system.

After talking with Derek, it obvious he’s a huge football fan.  He loves his Bears and has already purchased a Roy Williams and Marion Barber jersey – two free agent signings this off-season. Although he doesn’t live in Chicago, he gets to a few Bears’ games each season.

Congrats to Derek who is getting married during the off-season. Hopefully his fiancee knows he has a standing appointment with his couch every Sunday afternoon.

 

 

RHP, Tyler Tufts

If Tyler wants Andre Johnson he'll have to be willing to spend a first-round pick.

If Tyler wants Andre Johnson he'll have to be willing to spend a first-round pick.

Favorite team: Cleveland Browns (poor guy)
Sleeper: Ryan Williams (who suffered a potentially season-ending injury in a preseason game against Green Bay.
hours after Tyler and I talked  Chalk it up the the ‘Riders Insider Curse.) Also, Plaxico Burress.
Busts: Michael Vick, Reggie Wayne
Players targeting most: Andre Johnson, LeSean McCoy
Draft philosophy: RB, RB, RB with first three picks (non PPR)
Leagues: Tyler plays in the ‘Riders team league with Mitch and also plays in a league with his family.

Tyler, like our own Brian Boesch, has lead a tortured life as a Cleveland sports fan.  Fortunately, both have fantasy football to keep them going no matter how the Browns play.

Although we didn’t talk about it, Greg Little is a nice mid-tier sleeper for the Browns this season.  He had two catches, one for a touchdown, Friday night in a preseason loss to Detroit.  Other than TE Ben Watson, who else does Colt McCoy have to throw to?  Little is a big target (6-2, 220 lbs.) who has a chance for a nice year.  I was able to get him with my final pick in my first fantasy draft of the season.

-AG

 

RoughRiders’ All-Gridiron Team

With the NFL lockout over and August underway, football is in the air.  The ‘Riders have some solid athletes this season which prompted the question “who would play where if the RoughRiders were a football team”? Seems logical.  After consulting with Frisco strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon, here is the ‘Riders All-Gridiron Team. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions.  -AG

Offense

Quarterback: Ben Snyder
Although he was a two-time All-State wide receiver in high school, Snyder like the logical fit as QB. He has good athleticism, is a veteran, and has the intelligence the position demands.

Wide Receiver/Flanker: Justin Miller
At 6’4″, Miller is the prototypical deep threat. He has nice leaping abilities and is will force matchup problems for opposing defensive backs. “Snyder to Miller” is something we’ll be saying a lot.

Wide Receiver: Carlos Pimentel
He might be the most athletic pitcher of the ‘Riders staff. Pimentel has a quick burst off the line and is the perfect over-the-middle compliment to Miller going deep.

Running Back: Davis Stoneburner
Although he’s not the prototypical pounding back some might desire, Stoneburner possesses the quickness and elusiveness to to run effectively. What he lacks in size he makes up for in determination and confidence. Stoney is a nice open field runner who also contributes in the passing game.

Wide Receiver/Running Back (Flex): Corey Young
His quick hips and burst make Young a versatile offensive weapon both in the backfield and in the slot. He can lineup in a split-back set with Stoneburner, or can run complimentary routes over the middle with Pimentel in-between the first and second layers of the defense. His run after the catch abilities can turn a five yard dump pass into a 15 yard pick up.

Tight End: Tanner Scheppers
This is a natural fit. At 6’4″ with a long wingspan, Scheppers is the perfect red zone target for Snyder. He’s great over the middle of the field and, as a former short stop in college, has more athleticism than anyone on the line.

Right Tackle: Adalberto Flores
Big, tall, and physical, Flores shoulders the responsibility of protecting Snyder’s blindside. He has the quick feet and powerful arms to move quickly and keep a clean pocket.

Right Guard: Robbie Ross
With a low center of gravity, Ross wards off the blitz well. He also has enough quickness to pull on running plays and open up holes for Stoneburner.

Center: Jose Felix
Another natural fit. “Chief” is the anchor of the offensive line.

Left Guard: Richard Bleier
Bleier has the intelligence to read the defense and the athleticism to pull.

Left Tackle: Fabio Castillo
Pound-for-pound the biggest guy on the line.  Fabio is aggressive with string hands and a wide upper-half.

Defense

Defensive End: Mike Bianucci
Has the size to stay in on running downs, but the athleticism and burst to rush the passers. His low center of gravity helps keep him on his feet, and his motor will wear down offensive tackles by the fourth quarter.

Defensive Tackle: Jose Ruiz
As one RoughRider told me, if Jose joined a Division I football program today, in four years he’d be an All-American. Ruiz has elite lateral movement and a sharp burst. He’s a beast clogging up the middle and has the speed to rush the passer.

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham
Fear the beard.  Brigham has the strength and aggressiveness to compliment Ruiz next to him. He also has the long arms to knock down passes when rushing.  He brings the intensity and heart his position demands.

Defensive End: Johan Yan
Love this choice. His height and weight profiles as a rush defensive end. He runs well, has a long wingspan, and is big and strong enough to play the run.

Outside Linebacker: Elio Sarmiento
Thick and strong, Sarmiento can stuff the run but also has the quickness to cover a tight end who releases from the line. He can cover the flat and is disciplined enough to be trusted take down a running back in the open field.

Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Greene
His physical build and tools make Greene a nice choice here. He stuffs the run well and isn’t afraid of contact.

Middle Linebacker: Tommy Mendonca
Like Greene, Mendonca has the build to stuff the run. His strong forearms help him wrap up well and he has the quickness to move in a confined space well.

Outside Linebacker: Mitch Hilligoss
Aside from having a linebackers neck, Hilligoss can drop back like a safety, rush like a defensive end, and stop the run. Like Sarmiento, Hilli is a good fit here.

Cornerback: Engel Beltre
Beltre has big play, pick-six potential. His elite speed matches up with any wide receiver. He has all the makings up a shut-down corner.

Cornerback: Renny Osuna
While Renny may not have the speed of Beltre, he is ultra reliable and can cover the run as well. Has the athleticism to cover all types of receivers and has a nose for the ball.

Free Safety: Tyler Tufts
Perfect combination of size and speed to cover the entire third layer of the defense. Tufts has nice range and is a sound safety blanket for Renny and Osuna on the outer thirds. His big hits make receivers think twice before coming over the middle.

Peaks and Valleys

Right now, Mavericks fans are feeling the valley of a game two loss after being on a peak prior to that contest. Ultimately, I think the Mavs will pull off this series, but it will not be easy.

Reid, our media relations stud, is a big time Dallas fan. I know he will be on pins and needles like everyone while following tonight’s game. I’ll say Dirk goes in and gets a road win with another 30+ point performance, but hey, I’m also one who said the Twins were a World Series contender.

Don’t forget about a big Texas League series continuing tonight between the ‘Riders and the Missions. Let’s get into today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The Missions scored more runs yesterday than they had in any of the previous eight meetings with the RoughRiders. It also pushed San Antonio up in the season series 5-4. Only Arkansas (4-2) has a better record against the ‘Riders this season.
  • Travis Adair had a big night last night. After playing only twice during the eight-game home stand, Adair hit two home runs, the first ones of his Double-A career. Before yesterday, Adair only had four home runs in his professional career.
  • Renny Osuna also had a great effort Friday night. Osuna became the second ‘Rider (David Paisano being the first) to notch a four-hit day. In the ninth, Osuna had a chance to become the first Frisco swinger to have five hits in a game since Joey Butler did it April 16, 2010, in Springfield. However, Osuna grounded out.
  • Osuna is now fourth in the Texas League in batting average (.336). The ‘Riders have three in the top ten in average. Jose Ruiz (.339) is third, and Tommy Mendonca (.314) is ninth. Only one other team (Corpus Christi) has more than one hitter in the top ten.
  • The recent pressure on the bullpen continued last night, but only a pair of arms were needed to eat up four and two-thirds innings. Mike Perconte allowed two runs in three innings, and Tyler Tufts struck out three of the five men he retired. Tufts did not surrender a run. In the last three games, Frisco’s ‘pen has tossed 17 and two-thirds innings and allowed only five runs.
  • After starting in the first 39 games of the season, Mike Bianucci has not played in the last two. We’re not sure why, but it is something to monitor. Bianucci is tied for second in the league with 11 home runs and tied for six with 31 runs batted in.
  • During Aaron’s pre-game interview with manager Steve Buechele, fans got an idea on how the team will handle the open spot in the rotation. Frisco will not need a fifth starter until next Sunday (May 29) because of the off day Tuesday. As for that starter, Buechele said, “TBA is the word of the day.” He also said that he has not heard any news on Miguel De Los Santos, who was the fifth member of the rotation until a shoulder injury.
  • If this same process is used into June, then the next “open” slot would not come until June 5. There are a few pitchers in high-A Myrtle Beach who have pitched well, so that is a possibility moving forward, too.
  • In Triple-A Round Rock, Nelson Cruz went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run into Dell Diamond’s swimming pool in right field. Josh Hamilton went 1-for-4 and was the other run to score on that splashing blast. They are both scheduled to continue their rehab assignments tonight for the Express.
  • Finally, tonight’s starter for San Antonio, Rob Musgrave, will make only his 21st start in the minor leagues. He has appeared in 123 games, including eight this year (six for the Missions and two for Triple-A Tucson). Five of those appearances this year are starts, and he has struggled in those outings. He is 1-1 with a 5.55 ERA.

Catch the pre-game show at 6:35 on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Congrats

It is in order for the Dallas Mavericks, who swept the two-time defending champion Lakers in the second round. It was swift. It was surprising. It was impressive.

And it was pretty awesome.

I’m a huge fan of parity in sports. I don’t like repeats or three-peats, so I’m excited that the NBA Champion this year will be a different team. And the Mavericks are definitely at or near the top of the list of favorites after embarrassing Los Angeles in Game 4.

Good for the Mavs. Let’s get into today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • We have talked about the bullpen’s recent string of success, and this stat, among other ones, proves it: Tyler Tufts’ loss yesterday was the first loss for the ‘Riders’ bullpen since April 26. During that span of 11 games, Frisco relievers boasted a 6-0 record. The starters, on the flip side, went 1-4. In other words, when the starters kept Frisco in the game, the ‘pen seemed to nail down the win. If not, the RoughRiders were in trouble.
  • On the flip side, the offense continued to struggle yesterday. Frisco matched a season low with only three base hits, dropping the team batting average to .263. That mark is still fourth in the Texas League, but the RoughRiders are last place in runs per game (4.4).
  • The RoughRiders have scored six or more runs in only three of their last 16 games. It is quite an achievement that the club is still 7-9 during this span. Even if you throw away the first six games in that span when the ‘Riders were only 1-5, Frisco has hit .237 in the last ten contests.
  • Individually during the last week and a half, one player (Renny Osuna) is hitting above .300. Two others–Travis Adair and Mike Bianucci–are above the .250 plateau. 
  • Despite the low batting average as of late, Frisco leads the Texas League in home runs during the month of May. The ‘Riders have clubbed 11 home runs, three more than anyone else. Because of this spurt, the RoughRiders are tied for second overall with 32 homers. But first-place San Antonio (47) is still far away.
  • The two teams in action yesterday at Citibank Ballpark were the two Texas League clubs that led the league in one- or two-run games. Frisco’s mark has been very respectable in both instances–5-5 in one-run games and 4-3 in two-run games. However, Midland is one of the best in what the cool kids call “nail biters.” The RockHounds are 10-7 in games decided by two runs or less. Only Tulsa (9-3) is better in those situations.
  • Congrats to former RoughRider Taylor Teagarden for hitting three home runs in Triple-A Round Rock’s 18-9 annihilation of Nashville yesterday. Teagarden became the second player in the Pacific Coast League to hit three home runs in a game. The other was another former RoughRider–Round Rock’s Chris Davis, who did it on April 9. 
  • Only six players in all of minor league baseball have hit three home runs in a game. I just mentioned Teagarden and Davis, who are both in the same organization. The other four belong to two teams: the Cleveland Indians (Columbus’ Chad Huffman and Lake County’s Jesus Aguilar) and the Houston Astros (Lexington’s Telvin Nash and Chris Wallace).
  • Corpus Christi’s J.D. Martinez missed his fourth straight game this afternoon after injuring his leg Thursday. Martinez, the Astros’ Minor League Player of the Year, has 30 RBIs in 27 games.
  • By the way, we’ve had some cool features over the weekend. Check out our first Texas League Power Rankings and the RoughRiders’ Mothers Day special.

The ‘Riders and ‘Hounds get going at a unique time of 6:30 tonight. Pre-game coverage along the RoughRiders Baseball Network begins at 6:00. Enjoy!

- Brian

Successful Trial Run

After a few games with the RoughRiders at the beginning of the season, outfielder Joey Butler got the call up to Triple-A Round Rock. During his 15 games with the Express, Butler was a consistent bat. He hit .276 with a homer and eight runs batted in.

Today, Butler, who was carrying a ten-game hitting streak, was sent back to Frisco. For a young man who was one step from the big leagues for the first time, this was a very impressive showing. He made the most of his short time with the Express, which will only make it easier for him to get another crack in Round Rock sometime soon.

Notes on Butler and others in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Prior to that ten-game hitting streak, Butler got off to a slow start with Round Rock. He went 3-for-22 (.167) in his first six games. After that, though, Butler settled in and went 13-for-36 (.361) with seven RBIs, six of which came in his final two games of this Triple-A stint.
  • Before departing Frisco, Butler went 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and four RBIs. He also walked six times, which gave him an on-base percentage of .500. He is back in the order tonight in right field. He will bat third.
  • The ‘Riders made one other roster move today. First baseman Jose Ruiz was placed on the Temporary Inactive List to travel home for the birth of his child. When on the TIL, one must sit out at least three games. On the year, Ruiz is hitting .306 with a homer and six RBIs. He has started at first base for the ‘Riders 22 times thus far this season.
  • The bullpen continued to thrive last night for the RoughRiders. The quartet of Tyler Tufts (3.0 IP), Ben Snyder (0.2), Ramon Aguero (0.1) and Mark Hamburger (1.0) allowed only one hit and struck out eight. With apologies to the other three, Tufts’ showing was the most impressive. He inherited a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the fifth and did not allow a runner to score. He then set down the Missions in order in the sixth and seventh.
  • In this three-game series, the ‘Riders’ bullpen (excluding Tommy Hunter’s rehab effort behind Neftali Feliz) has worked 14 and a third innings and has not allowed a run. Over that span, the relievers have struck out 20 and surrendered only five hits. Impressive stuff.
  • Martin Perez’s sixth start of the season was fairly similar to a few others this season. Perez labored through four innings and threw a season-high 94 pitches. He allowed three runs on six hits, and it could have been worse if not for Tufts’ Houdini act in the fifth.
  • In the four starts during which Perez has allowed at least two runs, he has averaged 19.8 pitches per inning. On the flip side, during his two shutout efforts, Perez has only tossed 14.8 pitches per frame.
  • A few lineup notes for tonight: Guilder Rodriguez is getting the day off, just his second of the season. Travis Adair, who has hit safely in the last five games, moves up to the two-hole. Davis Stoneburner moves up to the seventh spot after homering last night.

Enjoy tonight’s series finale, as the ‘Riders aim for their first sweep of the season. Pre-game along the RBN begins at 6:35. And again, look for the Texas League Power Rankings this weekend.

- Brian

Loving the Draft

I’m a sports nerd. I will never try to deny it. That’s why I enjoy this weekend. A lot.

The NFL Draft is addicting. All of these teams instantly adding to their rosters. All of these players living out a dream. Great stuff.

And I’m glad that Major League Baseball is starting to devote some attention to the MLB Draft. Because players do not instantly join big league rosters, it will never get to the level of the NFL or NBA Drafts. It still can be a great event for the league, especially because it takes place during the season.

Just a quick aside. Anyways, off we go to today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Sometimes, you are good and someone is better. That was the case for Frisco starter Wilfredo Boscan last night. Boscan lasted six and two-thirds innings, his longest outing of the season by almost two frames. Of the 20 men he retired, 12 came by virtue of the groundout. In fact, the only inning he registered a fly out was in the second, when all three of his outs came that way.
  • Overall, manager Steve Buechele has been pleased with the rotation’s improvement as a whole. “So far, so good,” Buechele said. “Jeff [Andrews] and I are really pleased with what we’re seeing out of the starters…We don’t see any reason why they can’t go out and keep doing what they’re doing.”
  • It was also a nice debut for Tyler Tufts, who had a stint with the ‘Riders last year. Tufts set down all four men he faced, including Brandon Wikoff with men at first and second and two away in the seventh.
  • However, Corpus Christi starter Xavier Cedeno was dominant. He scattered five hits over seven innings. It wasn’t just the low number of hits, but it was the timing of the hits. Two of them were two-out singles. The other three were one-out singles. Cedeno did not allow a leadoff runner to get on base all night long.
  • The ‘Riders only had one legitimate opportunity to score. It came in the seventh after back-to-back one-out singles. That was when Cedeno buckled down and struck out both Elio Sarmiento and Travis Adair. After missing out on that chance, it was just a matter of time before Frisco would suffer a shutout.
  • It was the first shutout suffered by the RoughRiders’ since September 1, 2010, at Corpus Christi. The ‘Riders have blanked three teams since that date, for what it’s worth.
  • Mike Bianucci’s single in the top of the first extended his hitting streak to nine games, which is the longest for a RoughRider so far this season. Tommy Mendonca’s eight-game hitting streak, which had been the best in Frisco this year, came to an end in Thursday’s game.

Game two of this four-game set is tonight at 7:05. Pre-game at 6:35 on the RBN. Enjoy!

- Brian

Malls Are Big

Normally, I try to take it easy during the morning and early afternoon before road games. Today, though, I went to the mall.

I’m not a shopper at all, but my girlfriend is a self-proclaimed pro. However, I happened to leave the mall (after about three hours worth of shopping, I might add) with more items (a pair of sunglasses) than her.

This shopping thing just doesn’t make sense if you aren’t going to get anything, but she’s the pro. Not me.

Here’s the Thursday edition of the Facts, free of charge.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The ruling is in for Frisco center fielder Engel Beltre. The Texas League has suspended Beltre for 15 games after his altercation in San Antonio. The suspension includes yesterday’s game and will hold him out of action until May 13th.
  • There were other moves by the RoughRiders today. Infielder Renny Osuna has been activated from the disabled list after suffering a broken nose April 14th. Osuna had been the leadoff hitter while in the lineup, so I would expect him to return to that spot with Beltre out for a while.
  • Also, left-hander Corey Young has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a back injury and infielder Edwin Garcia, who made his debut with the ‘Riders yesterday, is heading back to extended spring training. Garcia was only a stopgap with a few position players out of the mix.
  • The RoughRiders received two players from high-A Myrtle Beach. Outfielder Travis Adair is now with the club after hitting .365 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games with the Pelicans. In those 16 games, Adair has played left field nine times. He has been the designated hitter in the other seven games. It would seem likely, then, to see Adair and Mike Bianucci split those two roles.
  • Also getting the bump up to Frisco is Tyler Tufts. The right-hander was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in six outings for the Pelicans this year. This will be Tufts’ second stint with the ‘Riders. Last year, he had a 2.50 ERA in 14 outings in North Texas. He has to be good because he’s from Ohio.
  • I’ve been meaning to put this link up for a few days, but I have neglected to do so. Here’s a feature on Frisco starter Martin Perez from the Texas League home page. Pretty good stuff here.
  • How about Nick Derba squeezing the S-Cards past Northwest Arkansas yesterday for a walk-off victory. Not bad for a catcher. Springfield starter Nick Additon also took a perfect game into the seventh. 

The ‘Riders aim to snap a five-game losing streak tonight in San Antonio. Carlos Pimentel looks for his first win of the season. Pre-game along the RBN begins at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

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