Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

Tracking the Offseason

The off-season is in full-swing here in Round Rock with only 112 days left to savor the silence. In reality, there’s just under four months until baseball is back at The Dell Diamond and all is right in the world. Silence is overrated anyways.

As is normal in the off-season, there have been a few moves and changes in the Rangers farm system. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with some of your favorite Express players from 2012…

The Rule V draft took place last Thursday in Nashville towards the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. The Rangers selected Marques Smith from the Reds (Double-A Pensacola) and saw Tommy Mendonca selected by the Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento).

Smith split 2012 with the Piratas de Campeche (Triple-A Mexican League) and the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston, Double-A). In 12 games with the Piratas, he hit .261 (12-for-46) with four doubles, one home run and six RBI. He spent the majority of the season in Portland at third base. He batted a solid .293 (82-for-280) with 22 doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 37 RBI in 71 games. He struck out 52 times and drew 23 walks. Smith elected free agency in November and was quickly signed by the Reds before being selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft.
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Mendonca split the 2012 season between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He struggled at times with the Express, hitting just .208 (48-for-231) with 14 extra-base hits and 31 RBI. He struck out 84 times while only walking nine. In his 63 games with Round Rock, only 12 were multi-hit games. He improved in Frisco with a .277 average (28-for-101) in 28 games and improved his OBP and SLG by over 100 points each (.342/.455 vs. .249/.329). He also showed a little more patience at the plate, drawing 10 walks in his 114 plate appearances.

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In other Rule 5 draft news, both RHP Justin Miller and LHP Joe Ortiz had their contracts selected by the Rangers and were placed on the 40-man roster. Miller was injured in 2012 and didn’t pitch, but had to be put on the 40-man to be protected before the Rule 5 draft. (For more information on the Rule 5 draft, check out this great article in Baseball America.) Twenty-two-year-old Ortiz had a 1-1 record with a 1.97 ERA (7er/32ip) in 24 appearances with Round Rock last year. He started the season in Double-A Frisco, posting a 1-2 record with a 2.35 ERA (8er/30.2ip) in 27 games. He converted six of 10 save opportunities between the two clubs. Ortiz’s contract was purchased on Nov. 20, the last day to protect a player before the Rule 5 draft.

Now we get into the fun that is minor league free agency. Here’s a list of the following players in the Rangers farm system who have either elected or declared free agency along with the team they have since signed with (where applicable).

Dusty Brown, C – Unsigned
Fabio Castillo, RHP – Giants
Robinzon Diaz, C – Unsigned
Willie Eyre, RHP – Unsigned
Alberto Gonzalez, SS – Cubs
Derek Hankins, RHP – Unsigned
Aaron Heilman, RHP – Unsigned
Luis Hernandez, 2B – Indians
Zach Jackson, LHP – Unsigned
Matt Kata, 3B – Unsigned
Val Majewski (Double-A), OF – Unsigned
Brad Nelson, 1B – Unsigned
Greg Reynolds, RHP – Unsigned
Ben Snyder, LHP – Unsigned
Yangervis Solarte, 2B – Rangers
Ryan Spilborghs, OF – Seibu Lions (Japan)
Johan Yan, RHP – Rangers

For a complete, up-to-date listing of all minor league free agents, click here.

What has been your favorite move of the off-season?

Express Get MLB Vets Hill, Gonzalez

This today from the Rangers and Express:

RANGERS SIGN CATCHER KOYIE HILL TO MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT

Major league veteran reports to Round Rock

 New York, NY—The Texas Rangers today announced the signing of catcher Koyie Hill to a minor league contract. Hill will join Triple-A Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League tonight at Reno.

Hill, 33, was released by the Washington Nationals on August 3 after hitting .163 with 2 homers and 9 RBI in 31 games at Triple-A Syracuse. The switch-hitter signed as a minor league free agent last winter with St. Louis before being released on March 25. Hill signed with the Cincinnati organization on April 28 and hit .195 in 14 games at Double-A Peninsula before being traded to the Chicago Cubs on May 19. He batted .179 (7-39) with one RBI in 11 games with the Cubs before being designated for assignment on June 14 and granted free agency on June 17. Hill signed with Washington on June 19.

Hill has a career major league average of .210 with 8 homers and 76 RBI in 313 games with the Dodgers (2003), the Diamondbacks (2004-05), and Cubs (2007-12). He set career highs with 83 games with Chicago in 2009.

Also joining the E-Train is infielder Alberto Gonzalez. The 29-year-old has been with the Rangers all season until he was designated for assignment this weekend.  He hit .241 with four RBI in just 24 games with Texas.

To make room, C Elio Sarmiento has been placed on the seven-day disabled list and IF Guilder Rodriguez has been assigned to Double-A Frisco.

New Express Rotation ***FRIDAY UPDATE***

By Wade Hilligoss

Round Rock, Texas - With RHP Roy Oswalt’s promotion to the Rangers today, the Express will change up their rotation a little bit heading into the All-Star break. RHP Derek Hankins, who is 1-1 in three spot starts this season, will slot in for the time being. He will start Friday, pushing Zach Jackson to Saturday on five days rest. After that, things we have to be reevaluated.

The new rotation:

Thursday vs. Iowa: LHP Martin Perez

Friday vs. Iowa: RHP Derek Hankins

Saturday at Iowa: LHP Zach Jackson

Sunday at Iowa: RHP Greg Reynolds

Monday at Iowa: LHP Ben Snyder

Tuesday at Iowa: Perez

Wednesday vs Nashville: LHP Chad Bell

Thursday vs Nashville:  Hankins*

Friday vs Nashville: Jackson*

Saturday 6/30 vs New Orleans: Reynolds*

Sunday 7/1 vs New Orleans : TBA

*Projected

Express Postgame 6/19/12

Records:  Express (32-40), Cubs (30-42) 

- Express lead series 1-0 … Express lead season series 5-4

- Game 2 of series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. CDT

Express Player-to-Watch: 

Well, you can’t get it right every night. I took a gamble on Hernandez tonight because of the recent hot streak he had been on but he had an off night offensively. Bianucci picked me up tonight though by belting two homeruns and supplying the offense.

Defensively Hernandez was sound as ever though. Although he didn’t make the stand out play that we have grown accustomed to seeing, he didn’t make an error and fielded his position cleanly, converting every put-out opportunity that he had. The great defensive players don’t always make the best plays, because often they put themselves in positions where they don’t have to.

All in all, the bat was cold tonight but Hernandez did what was asked and expected from him and in the end it is those little things that make the difference in games.

– 4-1 is now the Express’s record in Tuesday home games following tonight’s 6-3 victory over the Iowa Cubs.

Express Pregame 6/19/12

Express Starters

Starting Pitcher: RHP Greg Reynolds (5-5, 4.57 ERA)

  1. CF Julio Borbon (.331, 6 HR, 32 RBI)
  2. SS Luis Hernandez (.243, 4 HR, 32 RBI)
  3. LF Ryan Spilborghs (.349, 3 HR, 24 RBI)
  4. DH Brad Nelson (.297, 8 HR, 38 RBI)
  5. RF Joey Butler (.285, 11 HR, 39 RBI)
  6. 3B Yangervis Solarte (.274, 6 HR, 31 RBI)
  7. 1B Mike Bianucci (.271, 12 HR, 42 RBI)
  8. 2B Greg Miclat (.241, 1 HR, 10 RBI)
  9. C Dusty Brown (.231, 3 HR, 12 RBI)
Express Player-to-Watch:
          Luis Hernandez, the rock of the Express defense, is the Player-to-Watch for tonight’s game. Hernandez has been dazzling all year on defense, routinely making sliding, diving, leaping, acrobatic, “Web Gem” caliber plays, like this one. With a splendid combination of agility, hand-eye coordination, range in the hole, and arm strength, Hernandez has the ability to make every play that could be demanded from a major league level short stop. Luis is consistent too, committing only four errors in 162 attempts (a .986 fielding percentage). Hernandez is in many ways the anchor of the E-Train’s D.
          Hernandez has struggled at times this season at the plate. He is hitting .243 on the year, however he does a good job silencing critics by driving in runs (32 RBIs this season). And while .243 is an auspicious number, do not be too put off by it, as Hernandez is currently enjoying a bit of a hot streak, recording a hit in six out of the last seven games (five of those six being multi-hit games). In that stretch Hernandez has gone 12-31 (.387 average), and scored  five runs while driving in four.
           Long story short, Hernandez is a major league talent in the field, and if he ever gets his batting average consistently in the .275-.300 range, then he will find himself, in a good position to get another shot in The Show.
Express Stat of the Night: 13-11 - This stat represents the E-Train’s record when they score in the first inning of games. It seems obvious, but when you jump ahead early your chances of winning increase by a significant margin.
Bonus Express Stat: 3-1 - This is the Express’s record on Tuesday home games, so look for a strong showing tonight to start this series.
Cubs Starters
Starting Pitcher: RHP Rodrigo Lopez (1-1, 3.41 ERA)
  1. SS Alfredo Amezaga (.284, 4 HR, 18 RBI)
  2. RF Dave Sappelt (.232, 3 HR, 22 RBI)
  3. 1B Anthony Rizzo (.364, 23 HR, 59 RBI)
  4. 2B Blake DeWitt (.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
  5. 3B Josh Vitters (.282, 9 HR, 35 RBI)
  6. CF Brett Jackson (.261, 8 HR, 28 RBI)
  7. LF Ty Wright (.278, 4 HR, 24 RBI)
  8. DH Blake Lalli (.186, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
  9. C Brian Esposito (.212, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
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