The 2015 rendition of Rangers Spring Training looks to foster intense competition at the catcher position. Major league experience, tenacity and professionalism make up the three catchers below and they all will be vying for spots in the Rangers system. Here is a look at who could be behind that plate at Dell Diamond this season.
CHRIS GIMENEZ- C – 2014 Statistics:
TEX: AB: 107, R: 13, H: 28, 2B: 10, 3B: 0, HR: 0, RBI: 11, SB: 0, CS: 1, BB: 11, SO: 26, AVG: .262, OBP: .331, SLG: .355, OPS: .686
CLE: AB: 9, R: 0, H: 0, 2B: 0, 3B: 0, HR: 0, RBI: 0, SB: 0, CS: 0, BB: 1, AVG: .000, OBP: .100, SLG: .000, OPS: .100
RR: AB: 134, R: 18, H: 38, 2B: 4, 3B: 2, HR: 6, RBI: 22, SB: 0, CS: 1, BB: 19, SO: 30, AVG: .284, OBP: .365, SLG: .478, OPS: .843
After finishing last season with the Cleveland Indians, the Rangers welcome back Gimenez to the team he started with in 2014. Gimenez caught 26 games for the Rangers, two for the Cleveland Indians and 39 for the Express. As a Ranger, Gimenez recorded a fielding percentage of .991 while behind the plate and .986 in his time with the Express. He batted .284, hit six home runs and added 19 walks with Round Rock, Gimenez will attend Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
JORGE ALFARO- C – 2014 Statistics:
MYR: AB: 398, R: 63, H: 104, 2B: 22, 3B: 5, HR: 13, RBI: 73, SB: 6, CS: 5, BB: 23, SO: 100, AVG: .261, OBP: .318, SLG: .440, OPS: .758
FRI: AB: 88, R: 12, H: 23, 2B: 4, 3B: 0, HR: 4, RBI: 14, SB: 0, CS: 0, BB: 6, SO: 23, AVG: .261, OBP: .343, SLG: .443, OPS: .787
Alfaro enters Rangers Spring Training as an Active Roster member after an impressive 2014. In 75 games with Myrtle Beach behind the plate, Alfaro caught 19 players stealing and had 65 assists to go along with a .979 fielding percentage. Alfaro continued to produce in Frisco by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage while catching 38% of base runners attempting to steal. The competition will be fierce in the catching department at Rangers Spring Training and Alfaro looks to turn some heads.
CARLOS CORPORAN- C – 2014 Statistics:
HOU: AB: 170, R: 22, H: 40, 2B: 6, 3B: 0, HR: 6, RBI: 19, SB: 0, CS: 0, BB: 14, SO: 37, AVG: .235, OBP: .302, SLG: .376, OPS: .678
Corporan started 48 games for the Houston Astros and has earned his way to an Active Roster spot heading into Spring Training with the Rangers. In 2014 Corporan recorded his highest fielding percentage (.992) of his Major League career (minimum 20 games) to go with four double plays turned. Considering he only played 55 with Houston, Corporan’s 22 runs placed him 11th on the Astro’s runs scored list. Corporan was a staple of the Astros organization for the past four seasons and his experience and work ethic will be a great addition to the Rangers organization.
Now that we have completed our look at potential Pitchers and Catchers, we shift out attention to the Infielders who might be playing on the dirt of Dell Diamond this coming season.
A consistent bullpen is a luxury in the game of baseball and the Express are looking for just that in 2015. Below are the possible relief pitchers that could be trotting from the bullpen to the mound at Dell Diamond this summer. A mix of fresh faces and veteran grinders has the makings of an eclectic group of relief pitchers.
ANTHONY BASS – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
HOU: W-L: 1-1, ERA: 6.33, IP: 27, H: 32, R: 20, ER: 19, HR: 6, BB: 7, SO: 7
OKC: W-L: 0-2, ERA: 3.31, IP: 16.1, H: 15, R: 9, ER:6, HR: 3, BB: 6, SO: 14
QC: W-L: 0-0, ERA: 0, IP: 4, H: 2, R: 2, ER: 0, HR: 0, BB: 0, SO: 6
Bass brings a Major League level arsenal with him into the 2015 season. Stops with the San Diego Padres from 2011-2013 and the Houston Astros in 2014 have given Bass the professionalism needed to make an impact anywhere he goes. Bass finished 2014 with the Oklahoma City Dodgers primarily coming out of the bullpen. Bass will be attending Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
JUAN CARLOS OVIEDO – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
TB: W-L: 3-3, ERA: 3.69, IP: 31.2, H: 27, R: 14, ER: 13, HR: 3, BB: 16, SO: 26
DUR: W-L: 0-0, ERA: 3.86, IP: 7, H: 5, R: 3, ER: 3, HR: 1, BB: 1, SO: 10
Oviedo started 2014 with the Durham Bulls before getting the tap from the Tampa Bay Rays. While in Durham, Oviedo pitched strong middle relief in seven total innings with the Bulls only giving up five hits and three runs. Oviedo notched his first win of 2014 with Tampa Bay on May 23 with a 1-0 victory against Boston. Oviedo looks to impress at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
ROSS WOLF – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
SK: W-L: 2-2, ERA: 4.85, SV: 4, IP: 85.1, H: 88, R: 48, ER: 46, HR: 10, BB: 27, SO:41
Wolf spent the 2014 season with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization after installments with Frisco and Round Rock in 2012 and 2013. The Illinois native was originally used as a starting pitcher with the Express, but was called from the bullpen during his time with the Rangers. Like Bass, Wolf has the experience and professionalism to work his way into a productive role. Wolf plans to bounce back with a strong showing at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
KEONE KELA – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
FRI: W-L: 2-1, ERA: 1.86, SV: 5, IP: 38.2, H: 22, R: 14, ER: 8, HR: 1, BB: 27, SO: 55
MYR: W-L: 0-1, ERA: 2.61, SV: 5, IP: 10.1, H: 9, R: 3, ER: 3, HR: 0, BB: 4, SO: 13
Kela proved to be a strong bullpen asset for Frisco in 2014 coming in as a closing pitcher with occasional set up roles. From June 12-July 12, Kela went seven consecutive appearances for the RoughRiders without giving up a hit. Kela recorded back-to-back saves for Frisco on August 1 and 2, both times pitching an inning of work. Kela will be continuing his progression as a Non-Roster Invitee at Rangers Spring Training.
MICHAEL KIRKMAN – LHP – 2014 Statistics:
TEX: W-L: 0-1, ERA: 1.59, IP: 5.2, H: 5, R: 1, ER: 1, HR: 0, BB: 1, SO: 3
RR: W-L: 5-5, ERA: 4.47, IP: 54.1, H: 50, R: 34, ER: 27, HR: 6, BB: 29, SO: 62
The only lefty on this list, Kirkman has been a staple of the Rangers system since 2005. The veteran spent 2014 in Round Rock until August before getting the call from the Rangers in September. After a slow start with the Express, Kirkman went six straight appearances without giving up a run. As a Ranger, Kirkman appeared in 12 games and was used primarily as a set up man. Kirkman will look to make an impact at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Jesse Johnson – USA Today Sports
Marco LaNave – Quad City Bandits
Patrick Semansky- AP
Jake Roth – US Presswire
Spring Training is approaching and that calls for a preview of the potential starting pitchers, relief pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders that could be wearing an Express jersey this season. The boys of summer will be ascending upon Spring Training sites in Arizona and Florida very soon. Are your senses tingling?
Potential Starting Pitchers:
LUKE JACKSON – RHP – 2014 STATISTICS:
RR: W-L: 1-3, ERA: 10.35, IP: 40, H: 56, R: 49, ER: 46, HR: 9, BB: 28, SO: 43
FRI: W-L: 8-2, ERA: 3.02, IP: 83.1, H: 58, R: 28, ER: 28, HR: 5, BB: 24, SO: 83
Jackson had impressive stints with Frisco and Round Rock in 2014. As a RoughRider, Jackson went 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 starts. On June 14 against the Corpus Christi Hooks, Jackson gave up only one hit in five innings of work resulting in a 10-2 RoughRider victory. Jackson started 10 games for the Express, including a 10-4 win over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on July 10, striking out eight batters. Jackson will continue his maturation in 2015 by attending Rangers Spring Training.
JERAD EICKHOFF– RHP – 2014 STATISTICS:
FRI: W-L: 10-9, ERA: 4.08, IP: 154.1, H: 129, R: 76, ER: 46, HR: 17, BB: 52, SO: 144
Eickhoff started 2014 strong with a notable outing against the Arkansas Travelers on April 14. Against the Travelers, Eickhoff went five innings surrendering one hit, one run, one walk and threw eight strikeouts. Eickhoff displayed great stamina in 2014 by going six or more innings in 19 games, including an eight inning performance against San Antonio on April 30. By attending Rangers Spring Training, Eickhoff looks to continue his progression and prepare for 2015.
ROSS OHLENDORF– RHP – 2014 STATISTICS:
SYR: W-L: 1-0, ERA: 0, IP: 8, H: 2, R: 0, ER: 0, HR: 0, BB: 1, SO: 6
POT: W-L: 0-1, ERA: 11.81, IP: 5.1, H:13, R: 7, ER: 7, HR: 1, BB: 1, SO: 4
NAT: W-L: 0-0, ERA: 5.4, IP: 1.2, H: 2, R: 1, ER: 1, HR: 0, BB: 1, SO: 3
From 2007-2013 Ohlendorf saw action with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals. In 2013 with Washington, Ohlendorf went 4-1 with an ERA of 3.28 in seven starts. Ohlendorf’s 2014 was a season of recovery as he was placed on the 60-day disabled list by the Nationals with a back injury. Ohlendorf looks to bounce back in 2015 with a strong showing at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
ALEX GONZALEZ– RHP – 2014 STATISTICS:
FRI: W-L: 7-4, ERA: 2.7, IP: 73.1, H: 67, R: 30, ER: 22, HR: 3, BB: 25, SO: 64
Gonzalez joined the Roughriders this past June and has blazed a path ever since he arrived in Frisco. In his first start with the RoughRiders on June 10 against Midland, Gonzalez gave up only one hit through five innings of work. Gonzalez posted another one hit performance against Midland on July 30, this time through six innings. The gem of Gonzalez’s 2014 came on August 10 when he did not allow a single hit in five innings of labor against Tulsa. The righthander will be attending Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee to continue his development.
ALEC ASHER– RHP – 2014 STATISTICS:
FRI: W-L: 11-11, ERA: 3.8, IP: 154, H: 139, R: 74, ER: 65, HR: 18, BB: 32, SO: 122
Asher was quite the workhorse for Frisco in 2014. Starting 28 games and throwing a total of 154 innings portrayed Asher’s value to the RoughRiders. The pinnacle of Asher’s 2014 campaign came on June 6 when he only surrendered two hits through seven innings of play. The game resulted in an 8-0 win for the RoughRiders and gave Asher his sixth win of the season. Asher will gain even more experience as he participates in the Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Henry Huey – Austin American Statesman
Grant Nelson – Frisco RoughRiders
Cameron Varnau – Frisco RoughRiders
Brad Mills – USA Today Sports
The holiday season is in full-swing! Do you need some last-minute gift ideas for the baseball fans in your life? We’ve got you covered! Here are a few things that will make every baseball fans of all ages happy. All gifts are available online or in the Railyard Team Store. (Please note, our store will be closed December 24th – January 5th so don’t wait!)
1. Junior Stripes T-shirt (S, L, XL – $20)
2. Ladies Heart Baseball T-shirt (S – 2XL, $20)
3. Letterpress Youth T-shirt (S-XL, $16)
4. Express New Era Home Cap, fitted ($25)
5. Rangers Retro T-shirt (S-2XL, $30)
6. Sweatshirt bag (one size, $22)
7. Youth Sharpcut Cap (adjustable, $18)
8. Playground Ball (one size, $8)
9. Girls Jersey T-shirt (S-L, $18)
10. Gordie Camo Cap (adjustable, $22)
11. Infant Future Big Leaguer T-shirt (6 – 18 mo., $12)
12. Express Mesh Road Jersey (S-3XL, $60)
The Rangers made a few changes to their 40-man roster overnight.
-RHP Luke Jackson was added to the 40-man while former Express OF Jim Adduci was designated for assignment.
-Former Express RHP Miles Mikolas and LHP Aaron Poreda were both placed on unconditional release waivers. Both players are expected to play in Asia in 2015.
-Former Express OF Daniel Robertson was traded to the LA Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Here’s the full release from the Rangers will all of the other moves:
RANGERS PURCHASE CONTRACTS OF HANSER ALBERTO, JORGE ALFARO,
JERAD EICKHOFF, AND LUKE JACKSON FROM MINOR LEAGUES
Club removes Adduci, Mikolas, Poreda, and Robertson from major league roster to make room
Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers tonight announced the following roster moves:
–Purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson from Triple-A Round Rock.
–Purchased the contracts of infielder Hanser Alberto, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and right-handed pitcher
Jerad Eickhoff from Double-A Frisco.
–Designated outfielder/first baseman Jim Adduci for assignment.
–Placed right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas and left-handed pitcher Aaron Poreda on unconditional release waivers for the purpose of both playing abroad in Asia in 2015. Each player should finalize the signing with the respective club in the next few days.
–Traded outfielder Daniel Robertson to the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later or cash.
Alberto, 22, won a 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove as the top defensive shortstop in the minors, splitting the campaign between Myrtle Beach (High-A) and Frisco (AA). He rated statistically as the best defensive shortstop among Texas League shortstops with at least 50 games played, and was also chosen as the Rangers Minor League Defender of the Month for July. The Dominican Republic native combined to bat .273 (120-440) with 21 doubles, 4 triples, 7 home runs, and 58 RBI in 120 games with the Pelicans and ‘Riders. Alberto was signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 23, 2009 by Rodolfo Rosario, Willy Espinal, and Mike Daly.
Alfaro, 21, combined to bat .261 (127-486) with 17 home runs and 87 RBI in 121 games between Myrtle Beach and Frisco. He was a Carolina League midseason and postseason All-Star selection, ranking among the league leaders in both RBI (3rd) and home runs (T6th, 13). The backstop also threw out 19 of 72 (26.4%) attempted basestealers, good for the 3rd-highest percentage in the circuit. The Columbia native was the starting catcher for the World Squad at the All-Star Futures Game in July. Alfaro was signed as a non-drafted free agent on January 19, 2010 by Don Welke, Rodolfo Rosario, and Hamilton Sarabia.
Eickhoff, 24, led all Double-A pitchers and Texas farmhands with 144 strikeouts in 2014, going 10-9 with a 4.08 ERA (70 ER/154.1 IP) over 27 games/26 starts for Frisco. In addition to leading the circuit in strikeouts, Eickhoff ranked among Texas League leaders in innings (3rd, 154.1), WHIP (4th, 1.17), and wins (T8th, 10). He was selected in the 15th round of the 2011 draft out of Olney Central (IL) Community College.
Jackson, 23, combined to go 9-5 with a 5.40 ERA (74 ER/123.1 IP) and 126 strikeouts over 26 games/24 starts with Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. He was selected for the Texas League All-Star Game and started the contest for the South team. He was tabbed the 7th-best prospect in the Texas League by Baseball America and led the circuit in both wins and strikeouts at the time of his promotion to Round Rock. Jackson finished with the 3rd-most strikeouts among all Texas minor leaguers. The Florida native was selected in the supplemental first round (45th overall) of the 2010 June draft.
Adduci batted .168 with one home run and 8 RBI in 44 games for Texas last season, making the Opening Day roster before missing the bulk of the season due to injuries. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release, or outright Adduci to the minor leagues.
Mikolas went 2-5 with a 6.44 ERA (41 ER/57.1 IP) in 10 games/starts for Texas last season, his first major league action as a starter. He did not pitch after a start on August 25 due to right shoulder fatigue. Poreda went 2-1 with a 5.91 ERA (14 ER/21.1 IP) over 26 relief appearances for Texas in 2014, his first major league action since 2009.
Robertson batted .271 over 70 games with Texas in his major league debut last season, spending all but 11 days on the major league roster after he was acquired in an April 23 trade with San Diego.
With tonight’s moves, the Rangers still have a full 40-man roster.
Just four months, 26 days and 8 hours until first pitch…
Halloween is just one week away and that means there’s only one weekend left to hit the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect pumpkin. We’ve helped you out a little bit and come up with the perfect thing to carve to express your love of baseball: the iconic E-Train!
Follow these step-by-step instructions to get a great looking design on your pumpkin just in time for the ghoulish holiday!
1. Purchase a pumpkin. We have three different sizes of the stencil available depending on if you get a big, medium or small pumpkin. We went with a medium one.
2. Gather your tools. Here’s what you’ll need, besides the pumpkin: the E-Train stencil printed out, a scraper to get out the “guts” of the pumpkin, a simple pumpkin carving tool and a pointed object. We used nails for the pointed object, but you can also use a push pin, toothpick, safety pin, etc. You just need something that will make small holes on the pumpkin. Please use caution when working with the pointed object. Kids, leave this up to an adult.
3. Tape your stencil to the pumpkin to hold it steady.
4. Using the pointed object, poke small holes around the outline of your stencil. This will create an outline for you to carve when you take off the printed stencil. (Note: just mark where the four bolts are located because you won’t actually carve those out.)
5. This is where it starts to get messy. Cut a hole around the stem at the top and clean out all of the guts. A scraper tool comes in really handy here because the cleaner you get the inside now, the less you have to clean out at the end. (Don’t forget you can save the pumpkin seeds for a fun snack! Here’s a simple recipe to roast them.)
6. Once you’ve removed the guts, remove the stencil off the front of the pumpkin. You might want to have a pencil handy to “connect the dots.” Also, keep your stencil handy as a reference to make sure you connect the right dots.
7. Time to carve! Using a carving tool, follow the outline of the dots and carve your pumpkin. We suggest starting with the four bolts which are actually just etched in the surface and not fully carved. Then carve out the six pillars at the bottom. Then move on to the outline of the E-Train. Remember to not carve all the way through the white spaces or else your entire design will fall through. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste, do you? When you’re done, it should look something like this:
The lines don’t have to be perfect and ours certainly weren’t. Once you’re done with the whole design and have removed the cutout pumpkin pieces the whole thing really comes together. Good luck and happy carving!
Bonus step: Get a tea light candle and drop it in the middle. Have an adult light the candle and enjoy your handiwork!
While we’ve been breaking down former Express players in the Division Series, it’s time to move on to the Championship Series in both the American and National Leagues. The battles are between the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles in the American League and the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League. With the Royals (Omaha), Giants (Fresno and now Sacramento going into 2015) and Cardinals (Memphis) affiliates in the Pacific Coast League, we’ve seen a lot of familiar faces come through Dell Diamond in the opposing dugout. Here’s a list of some of those names you might recognize:
Those who played for the Express, counting rehabbers:
Those who played against the Express:
Thanks to Express broadcaster Mike Capps for the research lead on this.
With the amount of roster moves (203) we officially had this season, it’s kind of hard to think that there might be any left to make this offseason. But where there’s a will, there’s a way and the following six players were outrighted to Round Rock:
-3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
-C/1B J.P. Arencibia
-P Pedro Figueroa
-P Wilmer Font
-OF Engel Beltre
-INF/OF Guilder Rodriguez
Additionally, the Cubs clamied P Joseph Ortiz on waivers.
Since being outrighted, both Kouzmanoff and Arencibia have elected free agency and are going to test the market.
207, 208, 209…
The NL Wildcard play-in game took place last night between the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. There was one former Express player in both dugouts with OF Hunter Pence (2007) wearing the victorious black and orange and RHP Mark Melancon (2010) donning the Pirates’ black and yellow. The Giants have another former Round Rocker in their system, RHP Juan Gutierrez (2007) who was reassigned before the beginning of the postseason. Gutierrez and Pence were teammates for a grand total of 23 games on that ’07 squad (April 5 – 27, August 18).
Good luck to Hunter as the Giants continue on in the postseason!
The MLB postseason starts tonight with the AL wild card play-in game between the Rangers division rivals the Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals. There are three former Express players on the A’s active roster and none on the Royals. There were a total of six former E-Train players who played with the A’s at some point this season… and none on the Royals. This might be the only time we say this, but go A’s!
Here’s the list of all six with the current players bolded:
P Fernando Abad (2010)
OF Craig Gentry (2011)
P Josh Lindblom (2013)
P Brad Mills (2013)
INF Andy Parrino (2014)
C Geovany Soto (rehab – 2014)
Who are you cheering for tonight?