Results tagged ‘ mike olt ’

News and Notes

PCL Top 20 Prospects
Baseball America announced its Top 20 Pacific Coast League prospects Monday. Outfielder Leonys Martin, a Round Rock Express member each of the past two seasons, was ranked 17th on the list. He was the lone Express/Rangers player listed.

Martin hit .359 (83-for-231) in 55 games for the Express this season with 12 homers, 42 RBI, 18 doubles, two triples, 48 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. He also had seven outfield assists. His batting average is the best in Round Rock’s Triple-A history among players with at least 200 at bats, eclipsing Brian Barden’s .357 mark from last season.

Signed by the Rangers in after defecting from Cuba the previous summer, Martin began his professional career at Double-A Frisco in 2011 before joining the Express in mid-July. He hit .263 (46-for-175) in 40 games with Round Rock that season, collecting 17 RBI, seven doubles, 27 runs and nine stolen bases.

Martin appeared in 24 games with the Rangers this season, going 8-for-46 (.174) with six RBI, five doubles, two triples, six runs scored and three stolen bases. He made his major league debut Sept. 2, 2011, and hit safely in a pinch-hit role. Martin played in eight games for the Rangers in 2011.

With the Rangers season complete, Martin is playing the Dominican Winter League, which opened its season Sunday. Martin was 1-for-3 with two walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored for Licey.

Rangers in Winter Leagues
Several Rangers farmhands other than Martin are in Winter League Baseball this offseason. … Mike Olt, who made his major league debut this season, will report Licey in the coming days. … First baseman Chris McGuiness was named Arizona Fall League Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Houston Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton. McGuiness is with the Surprise Saguaros; he was 7-for-18 with two homers, six RBI, two doubles and two runs scored. A 13th-round pick of Boston in 2009, McGuiness was acquired by the Rangers in the 2010 Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade. He hit .268 with 23 homers and 77 RBI in 123 games with Double-A Frisco this season. … Shortstop Luis Sardinas also is off to hot start with Surprise, going 4-for-9 with three runs scored in two games. … A pair of 2012 Express members are in the Dominican Winter League in addition to Martin. Catcher Robinzon Diaz is with Gigantes del Cibao, while pitcher Johan Yan is with Aguilas Cibaenas. … Much heralded outfielder Engel Beltre also is playing with Licey in the DWL.

Other News
Dallas Morning News sports writer Gerry Fraley recently reported that 2012 Express member Luis Hernandez declined an outright minor-league assignment, opting instead for free agency. Hernandez hit .262 (136-for-519) in 129 games for the Express this season with eight homers, 70 RBI, 23 doubles, six triples, 64 runs scored and nine stolen bases. He hit .302 (55-for-182) after the All-Star break, including a .390 mark (41-for-105) in 24 games during August. Hernandez played two games and garnered two plate appearances (both outs) with the Rangers in late August.

Snyder Assigned to Round Rock, Olt Skips E-Train

This today from the Rangers and Express:

RANGERS PURCHASE CONTRACT OF 1B/3B MIKE OLT FROM DOUBLE-A FRISCO;

OPTION INF/OF BRANDON SNYDER TO TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK

RHP Colby Lewis transferred from 15- to 60-day disabled list

Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers formally announced today that the club has purchased the contract of first baseman/third baseman Mike Olt (#9) from Double-A Frisco.  To make room on the active 25-man roster for Olt, the club has optioned infielder/outfielder Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Round Rock.  To make room on the 40-man roster for Olt, the team has transferred right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list.

Olt, 23, will be looking to make his major league debut in tonight’s series finale with the Angels in Arlington.  He batted .288 (102-354) with 17 doubles, a triple, 28 home runs, and 82 RBI over 95 games with Double-A Frisco.  The Connecticut native leads all Double-A players in home runs and OPS (.977), while the home run figure ranks T2nd among all minor league players. The 6-for-2, 210-pound Olt also ranks among the statistical leaders in nearly every offense category in the Texas League, including home runs (1st, 28), SLG (1st, .579), RBI (2nd, 82), total bases (3rd, 205), walks (5th, 61), OBP (6th, .398), and batting (11th, .288). He is batting .293 (12-41) with 6 walks, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, and 12 RBI over his last 11 games.  His 19 RBI since July 17 lead all Double-A players.

Olt has played primarily third base, also seeing action at first base and in right field.  He was a mid-season Texas League All-Star and played for the U.S. squad in the Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City during All-Star Weekend.  Olt was named Rangers Minor League Player of the Month in both May and June this season.  He was selected out of the University of Connecticut in the supplemental first round (49th overall) of the 2010 June draft and signed by Jay Heafner, who is now the Rangers area scout in Southern Texas and Louisiana.

Snyder has been on the Rangers 25-man roster for the entire season, batting .281 (18-64) with 3 home runs, 2 doubles, and 9 RBI in 38 games.  He has seen action at 5 different positions, as well as designated hitter, for Texas in 2012.

Lewis was placed on the disabled list July 23 (retroactive to July 19) and underwent season-ending surgery on Friday to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

With these moves, the Rangers still have a full 40-man roster.

To make room for LHP Martin Perez yesterday, RHP Aaron Heilman was placed on the seven-day disabled list. To make room for Snyder today, 3B Tommy Mendonca was sent to Double-A Frisco.

A look back at July

1B Brad Nelson

By Will Weinstock

In Part III of an Express Tracks series chronicling the highlights of each month of the Round Rock Express 2012 season. This article covers the highlights of July. One game left in July the E-Train are 11-16 (48-62 overall) this month and are now 16.0 games back in the Southern Division. 

Player of the Month: 1B Brad Nelson

Highlights of July:

  • Former Express players OF Hunter Pence and LHP Wandy Rodriguez were traded to the Giants and Pirates respectively.
  • Season-best five game winning streak from July 26-29.

Quote of the Month: RHP Justin Grimm on his MLB debut

“I did not know if I was going to be able to throw a strike or not,” Grimm said. “I was shaking and then hearing the crowd after that first strike, I knew that is where I want to be. 

Impact Hitter: 1B Brad Nelson (.286, 7 HR, 16 RBI in July)

After a disappointing month of June, 1B Brad Nelson has turned it around in a big way in July. In a month that the E-Train struggled to score runs, most nights the offense usually went through Nelson. Since the All-Star Break the 29-year-old has been in a class of his own, hitting .348 with 7 home runs and 14 RBI. With opposing pitchers starting to work around him, Nelson has adjusted well and raised his on base percentage significantly and walked 18 times. Expect him to continue to be an integral part of this team.

Impact Pitcher: RHP Justin Grimm (1-0, 2.57 ERA in July)

Expectations were high for RHP Justin Grimm when he arrived in Round Rock. Grimm obliterated hitters at Double-A (8-3, 1.80 ERA), on his way to making two major league starts for the Rangers. Since coming to the Express the 23-year-old has done nothing to dispel the pedigree that follows him. What has impressed the Express Tracks staff the most is not only his great stuff and numbers, but Grimm’s makeup. You can tell off the bat that Grimm is a player that is out there trying to get better each and every day, and a guy that any team would love to have in their clubhouse. For more on Grimm click here and check out our interview with him last week

Month of the Rehab: Although Express fans never root for injuries at the big league level. One of the advantages of so many Rangers going down so far this season was the large amount of MLB rehab assignments in Round Rock. July might have set a record with five rehabs. LHP Derek Holland came first, and was followed by RHP Alexi Ogando, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Neftali Feliz, and lastly 1B Mitch Moreland. All had their varying degrees of success. But most impressive was Ogando’s sheer dominance. When he pitched onlookers knew the hitters had no chance. In his 3.0 innings of work Ogando gave up one hit and struck out five.

SportsCenter Da Na Na: In a stretch of four nights in late July the Express played three extra inning games. The E-Train won two of those three extra inning games in game winning fashion. The first night the Express came back from a five run deficit in the ninth to win in the 11th inning on OF Ryan Spilborgh’s game winning single down the right field line. Two nights later, another comeback and another game winning single in the 11th inning. The only difference was it was C Elio Sarmiento this time in a 3-2 Express win.

Oh So Sweet: The E-Train have won five of their last six games and are on a roll going into the last full month of the season. August is looking more exciting because of what the lineup could look like in the coming weeks. The lineup has been hitting better of late and will be adding at least one stud and possibly another soon. First, the Rangers optioned OF Leonys Martin to Round Rock when they called up 1B Mitch Moreland yesterday. And there is a chance 3B Mike Olt could be promoted to Triple-A for a late season challenge. The following lineup should be taken with a grain of salt, by no means are they derived from inside information or knowledge. However, this is what the Express lineup could look like if the Olt is brought up to Triple-A. Enjoy.

LF Borbon (.300, 8 HR, 40 RBI)

CF Martin (.344, 5 HR, 22 RBI)

3B Olt (.277, 28 HR, 80 RBI at Frisco)

1B Nelson (.281, 18 HR, 63 RBI)

DH Spilborghs (.293, 6 HR, 40 RBI)

RF Butler (.280, 14 HR, 49 RBI)

2B Solarte (.278, 7 HR, 40 RBI)

SS Hernandez (.232, 7 HR, 47 RBI)

C Martinez (.268, 2 HR, 21 RBI)

Overall Records:

(MLB) Texas Rangers: 59-42, 3.5 game lead

(AA) Frisco Roughriders: 17-20, 8.0 games back

(Advanced-A) Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 22-15, 1.0 game lead

(A) Hickory Crawdads: 21-17, 1.0 game lead

(Short Season) Spokane Indians: 4-2, 1.0 game lead

(Rookie) Texas Rangers: 19-13, 1.0 game lead

Promotion Candidates: July Edition

Photo Credit: Alex Yocum-Beeman, Frisco RoughRiders

By Andrew Brown

Round Rock, Texas - Last month we gave a report of several players we thought may get called up from Double-A Frisco and see time up in Round Rock. In some cases (four to be exact) we were dead on. Justin Grimm, Chad Bell, Fabio Castillo, and Joe Ortiz all got the nod to come pitch for the Express. In a few other cases we were a little off. On that note, we will try again this month to highlight a few names that Round Rock fans may see playing in the Dell Diamond this year.

*** Position Players ***

3B/1B Mike Olt - This one seems inevitable. Olt is leading Double-A in homers this year with 27, and is in the top 10 in pretty much every offensive category. Simply put, Olt is destroying Double-A pitching and has proven himself ready for a new challenge. When he is called up (and it really is a matter of when rather than if) it will be because he has earned it, not because the Express need him. As it is now, Bobby Jones already has a tough task of juggling all of the infielders, trying to get them equal playing time, and once Bianucci gets back his job will be even tougher. Throwing Olt into that equation would make the Express skippers job a nightmare.

That being said though, it would be a great problem for any manager to have. Olt would be an instant upgrade over any Express bat (maybe with the exception of Brad Nelson right now), and would provide an offensive spark to a team that, until just recently, has seemed to struggle at the plate all summer. Olt may stay down in Double-A a little bit longer than expected though as they try to move him around different positions and experiment with him at first base and in left field. Olt’s path to the big leagues will not be rushed, especially now that the Texas Rangers front office has made it pretty clear that he is almost as close to untradable as Jurickson Profar (Nolan and JD refused to part with Olt in exchange for Zack Greinke, which is what landed him in LA).

Even if the Rangers decide to take their time with Olt, I just simply cannot see a situation where he is not sporting an Express jersey at the end of the season. He is just too good for Double-A pitching and is ready for a new challenge. Estimated Arrival Time: Mid/Late August.

SS Jurickson Profar - I almost hate to write this, because I hate to get anyone’s hopes up. Heck, I hate to get my own hopes up. I just do not think, despite how phenomenal he is, and despite how well he has played this year, and despite how quickly he has adjusted to the Double-A level of play, there is anyway we see Profar in Round Rock this season.

Like Olt, he would be an immediate upgrade over anyone we have (that’s not to say anything about our middle infield, but just a comment on how amazing Profar is) but the Rangers are in absolutely no rush to move him up. And I completely agree with them. Profar is only 19, and already in Double-A. Why rush him up to Triple-A? Especially when he is blocked at the MLB level for a while, barring some kind of big move of Kinsler to the outfield or (God forbid) a trade of Andrus.

On top of that, the Express have now begun an experiment of trying Greg Miclat at shortstop (and to be honest he looks surprisingly good at the position, displaying a strong enough arm to make many of the throws). With this, it looks like the organization is committed to keeping Profar down in Frisco for the rest of the year. Estimated Arrival Time: Start of the 2013 Season.

*** Pitchers ***

RHP Barret Loux - Loux has been hurt this year which has been a road block in his path to Round Rock. But let’s get one thing straight: this guy is a stud. Loux has posted a record of 12-1 this season, while striking out 77 batters in 93.1 innings. Keeping Loux down in Frisco will be tough, but it may have to happen. Grimm and Bell have already secured spots as starters in Round Rock, and with the Rangers’ expected addition of a starting pitcher before tomorrow’s trade deadline, Martin Perez’s return to the Dell Diamond also seems inevitable. Jackson has a pretty secure spot in the rotation as well, which leaves on opening for all of the promotion candidates. Even that is not a sure this, considering how well Greg Reynolds pitched in his last start. Loux will get a serious look though, and if he does not end up with the Express this season, it will likely be due to his health set backs this season. Estimated Arrival Time: Start of the 2013 Season.

RHP Neil Ramirez -  Ramirez began the season with the Express, as well as a ton of expectations. Ramirez was one of the Rangers’ top five prospects at the beginning of the year, and got started in Round Rock this season with the idea that he would continue to dazzle the way he had at lower levels and maybe receive a shot at pitching in Arlington at some point. Ramirez struggled though to start the year, seeing a dip in his velocity and experiencing issues with his control. He appeared to be on the upswing after getting a chance to work with Greg Maddux, but was demoted to Frisco anyway. Since being moved a level down, Ramirez has rediscovered his mojo, and is dominating again. Because he started the year at the Triple-A level, I would expect to see him back in Round Rock this season. Especially because of how he has bounced back in Frisco. Estimated Arrival Time: Mid/Late August/After the Trade Deadline

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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