Results tagged ‘ round rock express ’
We’re going to carry over a feature from the blog last season and start incorporating it into this season. Before every game, home and away, we’ll post a pre-game preview of sorts. It’ll have the lineup for both teams, an interesting game note or two and Marty and myself’s “Player to Watch” prediction. Being a highly competitive person, I can’t just let it be a simple preview. We’re gong to turn it into a little competition…a friendly competition. After each game, a panel of neutral parties will select the “Pacific Star Star of the Game.” If the player we selected pre-game earns the nightly honor, we get a point. At the end of the season, we’ll tally up the points and the winner will get a big ‘ol bag of bragging rights. I’ll start writing my acceptance speech now…
One of the big questions going into the World Baseball Classic was a classic itself: “would he or wouldn’t he?” The he in question is baseball’s top prospect Jurickson Profar.
The Rangers infield prospect and Curacao native was invited to play on the roster of his national team, the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With Rangers current shortstop Elvis Andrus committed to playing for Venezuela, it opened up a window of opportunity in the Rangers spring training camp for Profar to get some exposure in the middle infield and make a strong case for making the big league club’s Opening Day roster. If he left for the WBC, that window closed a little and so, it seemed, would his chances of making the Rangers 25-man roster with limited playing time. Profar decided against playing in the Classic and stayed in Rangers camp instead.
The Netherlands team caught fire and advanced to the semi-finals in San Francisco. Andrus’ Venezuela squad didn’t fare as well and was eliminated in the first round, sending the Rangers everyday SS back to camp and back in the lineup. Profar was offered an opportunity to join the Netherland’s squad Wednesday, replacing the injured Yurendell de Caster, an opportunity he jumped at. He’ll mainly see time at 2B since that roster already has the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons at SS. The timing on this couldn’t have been better for Profar. Not only does he get to play on a world-wide stage with “his friends,” but he’ll get expanded playing time in the Classic, time that he would most likely miss in Rangers camp with Andrus’ return.
The Rangers are still undecided on where Profar will end up to start the 2013 season, but I’m pulling to see him in an Express uniform on Opening Day. I have no doubt though that he’ll get another second chance this year, this time with the big league club.
Ortiz Keeps Rolling
One of the good surprises this spring has been Joe Ortiz. Ortiz, who ended the season with us here in Round Rock, has allowed just three hits in 7.0 innings. He’s held batters to a measly .143 average and only allowed one walk to six strikeouts. I got to see him pitch in a “B” game against the Royals during our recent trip out to Arizona and the kid has some good stuff. In that game, he threw a perfect inning, throwing six of his eight pitches for strikes. Today, he threw another scoreless inning against the Giants. In 2012, Ortiz was 1-1 with a 1.97 ERA (7er/32.0ip) in 24 games with the Express. The way he’s throwing, it’ll be hard to place him in Round Rock in April…
Pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Surprise, Arizona and every spring training site in Arizona and Florida. With just 39 days until H-E-B Big League Weekend and only 45 until Opening Day, let’s dive right into week 2 of “Pre-Season Preparations.” My to-do list isn’t getting any shorter…
This week I talked to Scott “Bones” Allen, our senior director of the United Heritage Center. Let’s see how his off-season is shaping up…
When do you start preparing for the 2013 season?
In all honesty, we’re already preparing for the 2014 season. We form wait lists for some of our party areas over a year in advance. Throughout the current season, I’m taking reservations for the next season. In October, I get out the wait list and start filling in dates for the upcoming season. Some people who didn’t make the list in 2013 have already been placed on the wait list for 2014. It’s a never-ending process and goes all season long.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m setting up for the Hutto Chamber of Commerce event we’re hosting tomorrow and a bridal expo we’re hosting this weekend. With so many companies booking events, conferences and expos, to name a few, at the United Heritage Center and Intel Club, there really is no off-season here. Looking forward to the baseball season, I’m working with Sodexo, our catering company, to finalize the menus for all of the party areas. As we start reserving different party areas for different groups, we have to also make sure they choose a menu that best suits their needs. I also have to make sure we have enough wristbands and parking passes ordered for the whole year.
What’s one of the biggest off-season projects you’ve been working on?
Working with stadium operations to check each party area and make sure it’s clean and safe is always a big task. We have so many different party and group areas here at Dell Diamond and it’s a lengthy process to go through each area. It’s such an important job though because we want to make sure each area is not only clean and receives necessary updates and upgrades, but is also safe for our fans.
What’s one of the tougher projects you have to work on?
Keeping the calendar of dates organized is always tough. I control the calendar for not only the United Heritage Center and Intel Club, but all of our party areas around the stadium. It can be tough sometimes coordinating with the sales staff, the client, Sodexo and everyone involved. I’m always looking months in advance, trying to juggle baseball and non-baseball events. I have to make sure events that the entire staff is booking fit into the calendar. That’s where the wait-list can come into play.
I’m sure that can get a little more than confusing! How do you make sure everyone gets the tickets they need?
I actually keep inventory for all of the tickets for all of the party areas so I have to coordinate that with the sales staff. Once an area has been booked for a night, I physically get the tickets to the sales rep who then gets them to the client.
What is something the average fan might not know that you do in your job to get ready for the season?
I physically set the room for events here in the United Heritage Center and Intel Club. I get the tables and chairs set up and coordinate everything for catering with Sodexo. I also do sales, so that’s something I’m working on right now. I’m not only renewing season tickets and groups from last year, but always trying to find ways to bring in new business.
What’s at the top of your to-do list right now?
Boring stuff, like order wristbands and file papers, just get caught up.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love dealing with people and all of our clients. It’s always something new and I really enjoy that. Just from a customer service stand point, it’s fun to interact with so many different people and have the opportunity to help them with a great event. I also like the variety of events we host here. It’s always a fun challenge executing all of the different events we host.
A big thanks to Mr. Allen for taking time out of his extremely busy day to give us a little insight into the United Heritage Center and the various party areas at Dell Diamond!
Happy baseball thoughts,
P.S.- Want to hit your next event, group outing or party out of the park? Host it right here at Dell Diamond! Give us a call at (512) 255-2255 to reserve your spot today! Click here for more information on the United Heritage Center and Intel Club!
I think Annie said it best when she sang, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow.” Ok, maybe she had a different meaning behind it, but for me, tomorrow is officially the start of baseball season with pitchers and catchers reporting to Surprise, AZ and therefore, I love tomorrow!
To celebrate the eve of this glorious day, we’re going to start our “Pre-Season Preparations” series today. We’re starting this eight-week tour in the stadium operations department with David Powers, the Express’ Senior Director of Stadium Operations.
When did you start planning for the 2013 season?
We usually start planning for the next season half-way through the current season, but with a huge project like the new HD video board, we actually started making preparations back in March of 2012.
In preparing for the upcoming season, what is one of the first things you look at?
We start with quotes on different projects, looking at what needs repairs or updates.
What was the biggest project on your list this off-season?
The new LED scoreboard and video board was definitely the biggest size-wise and most noticeable. Having to take down the entire scoreboard to completely replace it with a main board, two side panels, the auxiliary board and the outfield ribbon boards was a big project in itself. Installing the premium seating (behind home plate and the 4 Topps down the first base line) and the safety railings down the isles are more time consuming than anything. There’s just a lot involved.
How did you go about deciding to install the premium seating this off-season?
The whole stadium is on a 2-7 year facility plan where we look at upgrading or replacing things as needed in that cycle. To make the final decisions, I meet with the department heads, management and the ownership group to find out what projects take precedence over others. We make that final decision by committee. We have to take everything into consideration, look at the implications of the project and breakdown what’s involved. It’s a process and it takes time, but it guarantees our facility is always state-of-the-art.
What do you do on a daily basis to prepare for Opening Day?
We do a lot of preventative maintenance, including a lot of cleaning and refreshing the paint in different areas. Every year, the suites get reworked. We touch up the paint in there, wax the floors and just make sure they’re up to the highest standards. We also update the United Heritage Center every offseason. It might be a new coat of paint or new shades on the windows, but it always gets something new. We basically go from room-to-room and see what needs to be done to get the stadium ready for Opening Day.
When do you start realizing Opening Day is just around the corner?
Typically 30-40 days out, it hits me. This year it hit me early because we’re hosting so many high school games out here. I want to make sure everything is ready to go by the time those start. I started the hiring process for all of the day-of-game staff already which means we’re getting close.
What is one pre-season project that people might consider smaller, but really is a complicated one?
Managing the game-day staff is really overlooked as a project. You have to make sure everyone is on the same page, from day-of-game staff to the front office. We instituted a program called “Express University” last year as a way to get everyone together and make sure we all are on the same page before Opening Day.
What is one thing you do in your job that would surprise the average fan?
I think just the number of things I have to deal with…everything from scraping off gum stuck on the concrete to making sure every single part of the facility is in working order on any given day. It’s a daily grind more than anything. My job is very much a behind-the-scenes job, until something goes wrong. I have to deal with a lot of things in different areas of the stadium that the average fan would never see, but it impacts the fan experience so it’s really important.
What is your favorite part about your job?
For me, having a background in construction, it’s the fact that this whole stadium is my office. I’ve really gotten to know the facility through the years. I know all of the nooks and crannies throughout the entire stadium; I know when something is wrong or out of place. I also truly enjoy working with the staff here. The entire operation is a team effort and I’m glad to have not only great people in the stadium operations department, but throughout the entire front office. It’s easy to do my job when you have the support and backing of management and the ownership group in all of our projects and the ultimate vision of the facility.
I know there’s still so much work the great people in stadium operations have to do before April 4, so I appreciate David taking the time out to give us a little glimpse into what goes on in his world to prepare for the season.
We’ll be back next Monday with week 2 of “Pre-Season Preparations” when we’ll check in with some of the party areas at Dell Diamond!
Until then, happy baseball thoughts!
P.S. – If you have any questions about some of our pre-season preparations or just want to know more about what it takes to get ready for Opening Day, send them my way! We might even do a mailbag just before we open the gates on April 4! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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?
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 7 on our list.
May 2: at Express 10, New Orleans 5
A six-run eighth inning gave the Express a 10-5 victory over the visiting Zephyrs at The Dell Diamond. Matt Kata’s two-run single keyed the scoring outburst, which gave Round Rock the season’s first victory when trailing after seven innings.
Trailing 5-4, Tommy Mendonca sparked the comeback with a leadoff single. Yangervis Solarte later singled home Mendonca to tie the game, and Kata’s two-run single proved to be the game-winner. Joey Butler added a two-run double and later scored on a two-out New Orleans error.
The six-run inning matched Round Rock’s highest-scoring frame of the season to that date and remained the team’s highest-scoring eighth inning throughout the season. Coincidentally, the Express also scored six ninth-inning runs at New Orleans two weeks prior.
Ben Snyder was credited with the victory in relief of starter Martin Perez after working around Sergio Pedroza’s leadoff single for a scoreless top of the eighth. Tanner Scheppers retired the side in order in the top of the ninth with two strikeouts in a non-save situation. It was part of an eight-outing stretch for Scheppers in which he did not allow a run, also part of an 11-appearance span in which he allowed one run in 11.0innings (0.82 ERA) with five saves in as many opportunities.
Mendonca finished 3-for-4, including a home run and two RBI. Eight of nine Express starters hit safely; Kata, Solarte, Luis Hernandez, Brad Nelson and Luis Martinez all enjoyed two-hit nights. It was the 13th game of Solarte’s eventual franchise-record, 22-game hitting streak. Greg Miclat, the lone Express batter without a hit, had two sacrifice bunts, including one following Mendonca’s eighth-inning leadoff single.
The victory was part of a 6-1 stretch for the Express that included series victories over New Orleans and Memphis. That run got Round Rock to 17-16, unfortunately the season’s lone day over .500.
No. 8: at Express 2, Oklahoma City 1 (Aug. 20)
No. 9: Express 10, at New Orleans 0 (April 22)
No. 10: at Omaha 9, Express 8 (16 innings; April 10)
No. 11: Express 6, at Oklahoma City 3 (Sept. 1)
No. 12: Express 14, at Reno 1 (Aug. 15)
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 8 on our list.
Aug. 20: at Express 2, Oklahoma City 1
In his antepenultimate start with the Express, Martin Perez delivered the best start of his professional career. The left-hander tossed his complete game and used only 97 pitches in the process. The lone run he allowed was unearned, scattering six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was the third of his 21 starts in which Perez did not walk a batter.
Consecutive one-out doubles from Luis Hernandez and Matt Kata in the bottom of the first gave the Express a 1-0 lead. Brandon Snyder doubled with two outs in the fifth and later scored on Julio Borbon’s double.
Oklahoma City’s lone run came in the sixth. Oklahoma City catcher Carlos Corporan squibbed a single down the third-base line. Snyder scooped the ball just in front of the bag; his attempt to get Corporan at first skipped away, allowing Corporan to reach second. Two batters later, Jimmy Paredes lined a 2-2 pitch off Perez’s leg. The ball ricocheted into shallow right-center, and Corporan scored.
Perez buckled down from there. He struck out the next batter – J.D. Martinez – on three straight pitches and induced an inning-inning pop-out from cleanup batter Matt Downs. Mike Hessman led off the seventh with a double but was stranded at third.
The RedHawks hardly made Perez work after he was hit by the comebacker. He used only 23 pitches (20 strikes) the rest of the way, retiring 11 of the game’s 13 batters. The lone Oklahoma City hit after Hessman’s double was a Downs one-out bunt single in the ninth. Perez then got consecutive pop-outs from Hessman and Matt Dominguez to end the game.
Of Perez’s 97 pitches, 71 were strikes. The outing came on the heels of a win at Reno in which he held the Pacific Coast League’s top hitting team to one run on six hits over eight innings. It was his fourth victory in a five-start span.
Perez also continued his dominance of Oklahoma City, improving to 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts against the RedHawks.
Round Rock snapped a three-game losing streak with the win, ending their final skid of at least three games and their lone such slump in the season’s final six weeks. The Express won their next four games, continuing a stretch in which they won 10 of 13 and 15 of 20 games.
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 9 on our list.
April 22: Express 10, at New Orleans 0
Neil Ramirez, Aaron Heilman and Mark Hamburger combined on a three-hit shutout at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La. It proved to be the most productive start of the season for Ramirez during his time with the Express. Meanwhile, Round Rock batters pounded out 12 hits, including four home runs, pulling away with a six-run ninth inning.
Ramirez struck out six, scattered three hits and walked one over six innings. Heilman then took the baton and struck out two over a pair of perfect innings. Hamburger retired the side in order in the ninth with one strikeout.
Matt Kata led off the second with a double and later scored on a Luis Martinez groundout. Then, the home runs. Joey Butler, who played collegiately at the University of New Orleans, clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth, and Yangervis Solarte added a solo shot in the sixth.
Round Rock sent 11 men to the plate in the six-run ninth. Solarte led off with a double, and Martinez followed with a two-run homer. After walks from Julio Borbon and Luis Hernandez, Mike Bianucci drilled a three-run homer that was his fifth in 18 games at the Triple-A level. Back-to-back doubles from Kata and Butler capped the scoring.
Solarte finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk, while Bianucci, Kata, Butler and Martinez all enjoyed two-hit games.
The win began a 16-game stretch during which the Express were 11-5 – the season’s best stretch until the torrid stretch over final five weeks.
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.
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.
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 10 on our list.
April 10: at Omaha 9, Express 8 (16 innings)
The lone loss that makes our list was a definite memorable game, simply for the length. It went down as the longest game in franchise history both in terms of innings and time of game (five hours, 24 minutes). The game started at 11:06 a.m. and concluded during rush hour.
It was a boat race for the first five innings, and neither starter made it that far. David Lough was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, starting the scoring spree. Tommy Mendonca’s two-out RBI double tied the game in the top of the second, but the Storm Chasers answered with a three-spot in the bottom half that included a Johnny Giavotella’ two-run homer.
Round Rock again tied the game in the top of the third on Mike Bianucci’s three-run homer, but Omaha again answered with a three spot – this time on an Irving Falu three-run homer. The Express knotted the game in the top of the fifth on a Yangervis Solarte RBI double and a Mendoca two-run single.
That 6-6 score held until the 10th inning when Greg Miclat scored on a Leonys Martin RBI groundout. Once again, Omaha answered in the bottom of the inning when Derrick Robinson plated Irving Falu with a single to right. The Storm Chasers finally put the game away in the 16th when Falu reached on a two-out infield single and Jerrod Dyson followed with a game-winning triple.
Both teams had ample opportunities throughout the final nine innings. The Express stranded two runners in the seventh and two in the 15th. The Storm Chasers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and stranded two runners in the 10th and 11th innings.
Mendonca had four of Round Rock’s 16 hits, while Robinson and Falu both enjoyed four-hit games for Omaha. The game’s only players to get at least three at bats and not get a hit were Express catcher Luis Martinez (0-for-3) and Storm Chasers catcher Max Ramirez (0-for-4, two walks). Round Rock used six pitchers, while Omaha used seven.
It was the first of seven straight one-run games for the Express – also a franchise record. It also was the first of seven Round Rock games to last at least 11 innings, including a pair of 13-inning games.
As we’ve mentioned before, several former Express players are now enjoying a postseason run with the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Davis is 4-for-10 through three games, including a two-run double that erased a 1-0 deficit in the Orioles’ 3-2 Game 2 win. He had two hits in each of the first two games before going 0-for-2 with a walk in Wednesday’s Game 3. Fellow former Express member Endy Chavez replaced Davis for defensive purposes in the late innings. Another former Express member – Darren O’Day – worked one scoreless inning of relief Thursday night after striking out the lone batter he faced in Game 2 and working a scoreless frame in the series opener.