Preseason Starting Pitchers

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
Luke Jackson Action Shot 2
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
Jerad Eickhoff Action Shot

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
Ross Ohlendorf Action Shot

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
Alex Gonzalez Action Shot

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
Alec Asher Action Shot
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.

Due Up:
This coming Monday we will address what the 2015 bullpen might look like for the Express.  Be sure to follow the Express on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Photo Credit:
Henry Huey –  Austin American Statesman
Grant Nelson – Frisco RoughRiders
Cameron Varnau – Frisco RoughRiders
Brad Mills – USA Today Sports

Holiday Gift Ideas

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)

Junior Stripes

2. Ladies Heart Baseball T-shirt (S – 2XL, $20)Ladies Heart Baseball

3. Letterpress Youth T-shirt (S-XL, $16)Letterpress

4. Express New Era Home Cap, fitted ($25)New Era Home

5. Rangers Retro T-shirt (S-2XL, $30)Rangers Flanker_retro

6. Sweatshirt bag (one size, $22)Sweatshirt Bags

7. Youth Sharpcut Cap (adjustable, $18)Youth Sharpcut

8. Playground Ball (one size, $8)Baseball Playground Ball

9. Girls Jersey T-shirt (S-L, $18)Girls Jersey Tee

10. Gordie Camo Cap (adjustable, $22)Gordie Cap

11. Infant Future Big Leaguer T-shirt (6 – 18 mo., $12)Infant Big Leaguer_2

12. Express Mesh Road Jersey (S-3XL, $60)

RoadJersey2Button

Rangers Make Changes to 40 Man Roster

The Rangers made a few changes to their 40-man roster overnight.

Of note:

-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.

#30#

Just four months, 26 days and 8 hours until first pitch…

Pumpkin Carving, Express Edition

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!

Click here to download the stencil: Small, Medium, Large

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.

Here's our medium-sized pumpkin.

Here’s our medium-sized pumpkin.

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.

Here are our supplies (L-R): Scraper for the guts, carving tools, E-Train stencil. Not pictured is the nail we used.

Here are our supplies (L-R): Scraper for the guts, carving tools, E-Train stencil. Not pictured is the nail we used.

3. Tape your stencil to the pumpkin to hold it steady.

Here's our stencil taped to the center of the pumpkin.

Here’s our stencil taped to the center of the pumpkin.

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.)

Poke small holes around the outline of your design.

Poke small holes around the outline of your design.

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.)

Time to clean this pumpkin out!

Time to clean this pumpkin out!

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:

Here's our finished design!

Here’s our finished design!

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!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Familiar Faces in the ALCS/NLCS

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:

Nelson Cruz
Tommy Hunter
Bud Norris
Darren O’Day
Hunter Pence

Those who played against the Express:

Baltimore:
Kelly Johnson
Adam Jones
David Lough
Jimmy Paredes
Nick Hundley

Kansas City:
Jason Vargas
Yordan Ventura
Kelvin Herrera
Danny Duffy
Salvatore Perez
Eric Hosmer
Christian Colon
Alcides Escobar
Mike Moustakas
Alex Gordon
Lorenzo Cain
Jarrod Dyson
Josh Willingham
Billy Butler

San Francisco:
Jeremy Affeldt
Jean Machi
Yusmerio Petit
Ryan Vogelsong
Andrew Susac
Joaquin Arias
Brandon Belt
Brendon Crawford
Joe Panik
Travis Ishikawa
Michael Morse

St.Louis:
John Lackey
Lance Lynn
Shelby Miller
Randy Choate
Marco Gonzalez
Pat Neshak
Michael Wacha
Tony Cruz
Matt Adams
Matt Carpenter
Daniel Descalso
Kolten Wong
Pete Kozma
Matt Holliday
John Jay
Randall Grichuk
Oscar Taveras

Thanks to Express broadcaster Mike Capps for the research lead on this.

Off-season Roster Updates

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…

Postseason: Giants vs. Pirates – Express Edition

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).

060207 #152 Pence

Good luck to Hunter as the Giants continue on in the postseason!

Postseason: A’s vs. Royals – Express Edition

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)

RR EXPRESS Gentry_Craig 2011-d OKC 62 Garner

P Josh Lindblom (2013)

130409_RREvsIOW_BrianSullivan_0029

P Brad Mills (2013)

Brad_Mills_Credit_BS

INF Andy Parrino (2014)

Andy_Parrino

C Geovany Soto (rehab – 2014)

Who are you cheering for tonight?

Rangers Farmhand to the … Super Bowl?!

That’s not a typo… as I’m sure you’ve heard by now.

Russell Wilson's Rangers baseball card.

Russell Wilson’s Rangers baseball card.

Rangers minor leaguer (and current Express infielder) Russell Wilson is headed to the Super Bowl. Oh, he’s also the star quarterback of the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.

The multi-sport talent was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies and hit .229 in 315 career at-bats, reaching Class-A in 2010 and ’11.

The Rangers selected Wilson in the Triple-A round of the 2013 Rule Five draft at the Winter Meetings, placing him on the Express roster. We haven’t made Wilson’s jersey up yet since that whole football thing seems to be working out pretty well for him now.

Either way, best of luck to the Rangers farmhand as he prepares to play on football’s biggest stage.

More from the Austin-American Statesman: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/sports/baseball/russell-wilson-pops-up-on-express-roster-but-baseb/nchnX/

More from MLB.com: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/rangers-pick-nfl-qb-russell-wilson-in-rule-5-draft?ymd=20131212&content_id=64621900&vkey=news_mlb

 

Where Are They Now? 2013 Edition

The off-season is full of moves on both the minor and major league side. This off-season is no different. Take a look and see where some of your favorite Express players from 2013 have landed:

Free Agents:

Collin Balester – Pirates

Joe Benson – Marlins

Travis Blackley – Japan

Jake Brigham – Pirates

Aaron Cunningham – Cubs

Ryan Feierabend – Rangers

Brendan Harris – Dodgers

Kyle McClellan –

Evan Meek –

Carlos Pimentel – Cubs

Scott Richmond –

Nate Robertson –

Yangervis Solarte – Yankees

Eli Whiteside – Cubs

Ross Wolf – Korea

Johan Yan – Rangers

To follow along with all of the off-season signings with the Rangers and Express, both past and present, click here!

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