Results tagged ‘ frisco ’

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.

Thursday Roster Moves

Three roster moves today for the Express:

RHP Alexi Ogando (#41) will begin a rehab assignment tonight.

RHP Justin Grimm (#40) promoted to Round Rock from Frisco (AA) and will join rotation.

1B Mike Bianucci (#3) placed on disabled list.

The roster is full at 25 players. The DL is now at two: Bianucci and 3B Tommy Mendonca.

Ramirez, Wolf Sent Down; Bell, Ortiz Promoted

By Wade Hilligoss and Larry Little

Round Rock, Texas - Right-handed pithcers Neil Ramirez and Ross Wolf were assigned to Double-A Frisco, the Rangers announced Friday. Meanwhile, left-handers Chad Bell and Joe Ortiz were assigned to Round Rock.

Bell began the season with Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach, going 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA (2 ER/11.1 IP) and 12 strikeouts against four walks in four relief outings. He made his first appearance with Frisco April 25 and moved into the RoughRiders rotation May 19.Bell was 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA (16 ER/50.2 IP) and 40 strikeouts against 13 walks in seven starts and six relief appearances with Frisco. He was the Rangers 14th-round pick out ofWaltersState [Tenn.] Community College in 2009.

Ortiz made 27 relief appearances with Frisco, going 1-2 with a 2.35 ERA (8 ER/30.2 IP), four saves and 29 strikeouts against six walks. He left Frisco with a 6.2-inning scoreless streak over his last six outings. Ortiz signed with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 28, 2006, out of Venezuela.

Ramirez had one of his best starts Wednesday, allowing three runs (two after he was removed) in 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts against Iowa. It was his longest outing since May 3 when he pitched 7.o innings against New Orleans. his eight strikeouts were a season high. However, his ERA stands at 7.66 as he had allowed six more earned runs seven times this year.

Wolf appeared in just two games for the E-Train, allowing a run on one hit in 2.0 innings. He struck out one and walked two.

Derek Hankins takes the mound tonight for the Express in the series finale with Iowa at The Dell Diamond. Yesterday we posted the revised rotation. Still no word on who will take Ramirez’s spot on Monday.

All four players will be active for their teams tonight. The Express roster now has 24 players, one short of a full group, with right-hander Roy Oswalt’s contract being purchased by Texas today.

Promotion Candidates – June Edition

Credit: Alex Yocum-Beeman, Frisco RoughRiders

By Wade Hilligoss

Round Rock, Texas – Before the season, we took a look at the guys in Double-A Frisco who might have a shot to see Round Rock in 2012. We were right on some (Bianucci, Mendonca), wrong on some (Jonathan Greene, Engel Beltre) and on others we were pretty close (Yan). But now it’s June, and the landscape of the Rangers minor league system has shifted a little. Below are a few candidates for promotions to Round Rock, with predictions on when they will come aboard the E-Train.

***POSITION PLAYERS***

3B/1B Mike Olt - Where to start… how about 18 home runs in 55 games? Or a .413 OBP in his first exposure to the higher levels? Or how about 48 RBI at the 40 percent point of the season? Sure, he has some work to do. He could cut down on the K’s (63). He could drive the ball to the gaps more (11 2B). But no matter how you spin it, Olt may be the best offensive player in the Rangers system right now.

I recently asked an Express pitcher who played with him in Spring Training if he could play at this level. He said, “Absolutely. He could play in the big leagues right now, actually. There’s just no hurry and he’ll be here eventually.” That’s high praise.

The one thing to think about is where Olt fits in right now. If he comes to Round Rock he takes away at-bats from Mike Bianucci, Ryan Spilborghs, Tommy Mendonca and Brad Nelson. Also, the Rangers are pretty set at 3B and 1B for the near future so there is no reason to push him. Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report and Rangers Rundown pointed out on our podcast this week that they could keep Olt in Double-A to have him work on learning first base and left field. But Olt is also the only only in the system who dictates how fast he moves along. If he keeps pumping homers into the Frisco night air, he should don the white and blue this year. Estimated arrival: Late July.

SS Jurickson Profar – The other high-profile prospect in the RoughRiders infield, Profar has been outstanding considering he is only 19. He is hitting .291 with six home runs and 26 RBI in 56 games, but what is truly impressive has been his ability to get on base consistently. His on-base percentage has hovered around .360 and he had a 50-game on-base streak already this year. Since he is only 19, and since the Rangers have long-term solutions at second base and shortstop, Profar can take his sweet time to learn all he can while in the minors.

Consider this the likely scenario: Profar finishes 2012 with Frisco, has a decent spring with the big league club and spends all or most of 2013 with the Express. He then makes his debut after rosters expand and is ready for opening day 2014 at age 21 and has six years of control with Texas remaining. Sound good? This may be what Jon Daniels has in mind. However, injuries and stellar play can speed things up or slow them down. For now Profar is a RoughRider, but 2013 will be a lot of fun in Round Rock. Estimated arrival: Start of 2013.

C Zach Zaneski – Zaneski is an intriguing prospect. He played well at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach in 2011 and so far in 2012, he’s been a force at the place in Frisco (.338, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 15K/10BB in 20 games). His defense is not ready yet, and with Dusty Brown and Luis Martinez entrenched with the Express, he is not needed yet. Catchers usually need more time than other position players to develop, so an appearance by Zaneski could happen due in to injury, but he’s most likely not destined for a long-term stay with the Express until next year. Estimated arrival: Start of 2013.

***PITCHERS***

RHP Jacob Brigham – The 24-year-old had a decent 2011: 6-6, 4.49 ERA, 114 K in 114.1 innings, including 14 starts. His start to 2012 has been even better: 2-2, 3.68 ERA, 60 K, 16 BB in 67.2 innings, including 11 starts. Some thought he might have a chance to see Round Rock early thanks to his 40-man roster status, but with Roy Oswalt and three other young pitchers in the Express’ rotation, he’ll have to wait his turn. Estimated arrival: Late August 2012.

RHP Barret Loux – Loux has been nothing short of amazing so far in 2012. He is 11-0 in his first 12 starts with 62 K’s to only 20 BB’s. If anyone is to bust through the barrier from Double-A to Triple-A, it could first be Loux if he keeps up his stellar performance. Estimated arrival: Mid-July 2012

RHP Justin Grimm – The third arm in the Frisco trifecta, Grimm has been just as good, if not better than his rotation-mates above. He is 8-3 with a sparking 1.67 ERA in 70.0 innings. He also has 59 K’s to go along with a .237 opponent batting average. Grimmm is considered by some to have the highest upside of these three, but he may be third in line to snag a promotion. However, each has their own strengths and weaknesses and any of the three could leapfrog the other. It may also depend on who’s turn it is the rotation if somebody goes down in Round Rock.  Estimated arrival: August 2012

RHP Carlos Pimentel – Sometimes left out of the conversation, Pimentel has had a promising 2012 as well. In 13 games (five starts) he has a 2.91 ERA with 44 K’s to 24 BB’s . The K/BB seems a tad high right now, but he will be given every chance to work it out before a promotion. Estimated arrival: Start of 2013

LHP Chad Bell - The bullpen at Round Rock has been a constant stream of pitchers for the last two seasons. This year, there was little change until recently. However, what change their is often results in other major league-quality arms or Triple-A veterans coming in to provide depth. Johan Yan has been the only promotion from Frisco this season, and we may not see any more barring injury in 2012. Bell has pitched well enough (1-0, 2.12 ERA, 27 K 34.0 IP)  that he could get a look this season, but he may be well to keep it up in hopes of making his PCL debut next season.  Estimated arrival: Start of 2013

LHP Joe Ortiz - This is another guy, like Bell and Pimentel, who has pitched well (1-2, 2.88 ERA, 22K) but has to pay his dues and work on some things before he sheds the red and black for good. Estimated arrival: Start of 2013

RHP Fabio Castillo – Castillo has appeared in 62 games for Frisco over the last three seasons. He is not in the same boat as the previous bullpen guys simply because he is further along in his development. Castillo debuted with Frisco in 2010 and looked over-matched, but promising in 3.2 innings. He put up a 6.36 ERA in 2011 but showed flashes of something good many times. This season, he is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 17 games. The next logical step for the 23-year-old may be to push him to Round Rock to see what he has there. It could be the bench mark for how much he has progressed before they potentially lose him as a minor league free agent. Estimated arrival: Late August 2012.

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