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  • Frisco RoughRiders

    Alex Vispoli ‏@Vispoli
    Frisco starting rotation: Alec Asher (THU), Andrew Faulkner (FRI), Jake Thompson (SAT), Jerad Eickhoff (SUN), Victor Payano (MON).

    The Frisco RoughRiders today announced the details of the pre-game ceremonies for Opening Day on Thursday, April 9 versus the Arkansas Travelers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 7:05 p.m. game, which will mark the official debut of massive ballpark upgrades, the RoughRiders’ new uniforms and the team’s first-ever dynamic promotional schedule.

    When Chuck Greenberg and Scott Sonju purchased the Frisco Roughriders last summer, not many people could have guessed how soon the big changes would be taking effect. It took him one off season to give the club an entire new look and feel. The uniforms are brand new, President Teddy Roosevelt is the face, and several new improvements to Dr Pepper Ballpark are in store for the 2015 season. Top it off with names like Joey Gallo, Jake Thompson, Jorge Alfaro, and Nomar Mazara on the roster, and you have a recipe for one heck of a Friday Night this summer. As part of our kickoff for Minor League Monday, it’s time to break down and preview just about everything that’s set to debut this year.

    For starters, gone are the old red and black unis that this writer actually thought was a decent look. In with the new scorched red and powder blue colors. Greenberg mentions that the parent club Rangers main colors are red, white, and blue, so this is their own unique spin to stick to that combination. Along with the new unis are the Smiling Teddy, and Swinging Teddy logos. Obviously, as the former leader of the Roughriders, Teddy Ballgame is the obvious choice for face of the club. Most minor league teams only have three uniforms- a home, away, and an alternate. Chuck thinks a little big bigger, and thus Frisco will have four this year as he adds an extra alternate. Of course you can find all the new gear you can ever want in (you guessed it) the brand new team store located behind home plate.

    Speaking of a new team store, there’s many more improvements that Chuck and company have added to the park to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. To start, there’s a huge new Intouch Grille that moves from the old location to the left field line. It provides founders club members a better view of the game, and more of a feeling of still being in a ballpark than a sports bar with the open patio area. I had access to this nifty amenity one night and I had to get up and head to home plate for another frosty adult beverage thus missing the action. This new location eliminates that headache. Next they plan a big time area for the kids that get burnt on the game after five innings because they don’t recognize anyone on the field from the guys on their walls or baseball cards. The crew has combined all the playground areas together to give it a carnival atmospheric vibe. What kid doesn’t like a carnival? Even adults may wander over as they have activities like Cornhole planned. Perhaps my favorite addition will be that food trucks are coming. That’s right, food trucks. Different local companies will be pulling in to that same area and serving up their specialties. To top it off, a huge sports bar is in the works that anyone may walk up and use. I mean if the park has food trucks it has to have a bar right? I’m sure Chuck still has some surprises left in store for us along with several awesome promotions scheduled including the addition of Dallas’ own Michael Gruber running “Thirsty Thursdays’. Ready to get up to Frisco yet?

    If the juicy talent is what tickles your fancy, the Riders will have plenty of that too. Frisco has generally fielded a good team, but the 2015 bunch has a chance to be really special as long as JD doesn’t ruin it and do something like promote them to the next level. The best modern day Minor league team may be the AAA Albuquerque squadron back in 1981 when they had a ho hum .712 winning percentage. I don’t think this club will be doing something like that, but with this roster, there is no reason to think a playoff trip isn’t obtainable by winning the first half division and then topping it off by winning the second half.

    The regular lineup will begin primarily looking like Jorge Alfaro C, Drew Robinson 1B, Tyler Pastornicky 2B, Luis Mendez SS, Joey Gallo 3B, Nick Williams LF, Jake Skole CF, and Nomar Mazara RF. That is a lot of power hitting lefties. Feel good story Guilder Rodriguez is also scheduled to be on the roster as he will start the year on the DL. I imagine he will be almost acting as a player coach as the kids soak up his stories from his time with the big club last year. Just imagine an opposing pitcher’s mindset when he sees he has to navigate a Williams, Mazara, Gallo, and Alfaro middle of the order.

    The starting pitching will include Jake Thompson, Andrew Faulkner, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, and Victor Payano. If you read SDI’s top prospect countdown, then you should be very familiar with Jake, but don’t sleep on Faulkner or Asher. The latter got a bit of major league taste when he came in relief against the Mets on Saturday, and was touched up, but he still slots in as a decent 40+ FV prospect. The bullpen will feature former big time prospect Cody Buckel, who is back from Australia and wants another chance to get back to prior form. Perhaps the switch from Starter to Reliever will do some good. Other bullpen pieces include Jose Leclerc, Will Lamb, Josh McElwee, Jesus Pirella, Francisco Mendoza, Kyle Lotzkar, and Chad Bell.

    The Frisco Roughriders were honored as Forbe’s 4th most valuable minor league franchise back in 2012, and with everything that’s happened in the past year, it would not surprise me if they ended up in the top five this year. Gallo will be hitting long homers, Thompson tossing sexy sliders, and the scouts will be aplenty. Frisco has always had fantastic attendance and with all the new changes, perhaps Chuck should have added more seats to accommodate the growing number of fans that will be packing the stands.

  • #2
    Take Me Out To Frisco

    Fans attending Thursday's 7:05 p.m. Frisco RoughRiders home opener at Dr Pepper Ballpark will have the first opportunity to enjoy a completely revamped food and beverage experience, including lower beer prices, improved quality of staple ballpark items and the addition of a new State Fair-themed food destination.

    The announcement of significant food and beverage enhancements at Dr Pepper Ballpark was made by RoughRiders CEO & General Partner Chuck Greenberg. Chuck is well-known in the Metroplex for his fan-friendly approach to the ballpark food experience and food promotions from his tenure as Texas Rangers CEO & Managing Partner.

    Among the highlights of the new and improved food and beverage experience at RoughRiders home games for the 2015 season include:

    16-ounce and 24-ounce domestic drafts, and 16-ounce domestic bottled beer prices have been reduced by 50 cents. This price reduction provides fans with the lowest beer prices in these sizes among all major sports venues in the DFW market.
    No price increase on staple ballpark concession items such as Dr Pepper products, water, hot dogs, pretzels and nachos, while offering a dramatically improved ballpark hot dog (Hebrew National), pretzel and nacho brands.
    The brand-new "State Fairway" area, located on the third base side of the ballpark behind the main building structure, will provide an all new food and beverage experience, with similar options to a visit to the State Fair. Local favorites Fletcher's Corny Dogs, Fletcher's Funnel Cakes and Bavarian Nut Company Roasted Almonds will be joined by tasty options such as Burgertopia (Made-to-Order Burgers), Steakadelphia (Philly-style Cheesesteaks), Snow Cones, Cotton Candy, Lemonade, Dippin Dots and more.
    Also in the State Fairway throughout the season will be a rotating series of locally owned and operated food trucks. Among the concepts already scheduled to appear during RoughRiders home stands are Texas Burrito Company, The Butcher's Son (Gourmet Sausages), Gandolfs (New York-style delicatessen), Ruthie's Rolling Cafe (Grilled Cheese Sandwiches), Cousins Maine Lobster and Cajun Tailgators (Gourmet Cajun Cuisine).
    Located adjacent to the State Fairway and the McAfee and Primrose Playgrounds along the third-base concourse, the brand-new Bull Moose Saloon Sports Bar will feature specialty drafts and bottled beers in a modern rustic bar setting with a great view of the field. Ten (10) HD TVs will keep fans tuned in to the RoughRiders, Rangers and other sports action.
    Founder's and Teddy Season Ticket Holders will enjoy improved food quality, service and amenities in the JC Penney Club, the brand-new InTouch Grille (now located along the main concourse in right field), and the Carnival Getaway Grill
    A first-ever daily promotional schedule will highlight weekly discounted food and beverage specials. "Thirsty Thursday" will headline the daily schedule and feature $1 12 oz. domestic draft beers and $1 small Dr Pepper products from 6-8 p.m. each Thursday. Other daily food specials will include "Weiner Wednesdays" ($1 hot dogs all game long) and "Taco Tuesdays" ($2 tacos, $3 specialty beers and half-price margaritas). Also, Kids Sunday Funday will offer $1 ice cream sandwiches throughout the game.
    Nightly "Blue Light Specials," announced at mid-game, will offer fans significant on-the-spot savings on food and merchandise items
    In the event of an unusually-chilly Texas summer evening, Riders fans can warm up with $1 hot chocolates during the season


    • #3
      Starting Lineup


      • #4
        Ace Feltman(21 days) ‏@MFFeLtman
        Buckel's line: 1+ IP 7 hits 1 walk 5 runs all earned. Nowhere to go but up. Hopefully.


        • #5
          Top 10 Most Talented Minor League Teams


          Affiliation: Rangers

          League: Double-A Texas

          Top 100 Prospects: 3B Joey Gallo (No. 6), RHP Jake Thompson (No. 43), C Jorge Alfaro (No. 67), OF Nomar Mazara (No. 87).

          Top 30 Prospects: Gallo (No. 1), Thompson (No. 2), Alfaro (No. 3), Mazara (No. 4), OF Nick Williams (No. 5), RHP Alec Asher (No. 13), LHP Andrew Faulkner (No. 20), RHP Jose LeClerc (No. 21).

          The Skinny: Joey Gallo is on the disabled list after ankle surgery that should sideline him for three or four weeks. Once he returns, the Rangers will have their top five prospects on one roster, led by the player with the best raw power in the minors. As an added bonus, three of the four Top 100 Prospects are position players, so anyone making a trip to see Frisco can expect to see most of these prospects day in and day out.


          • #6
            Billy ‏@BCasey55
            I'm pulling so hard for Buckel. Struggling with FB command but is commanding his curve well. Both doubles have been off FB

            Scott Lucas ‏@scottrlucas Buckel's control doesn't worry me much. Issue now is re-establishing command. FB is down a few ticks.

            Scott Lucas ‏@scottrlucas
            Buckel looked fine to me in March. Interestingly, during control lapses, his fallback is a curve, not a FB. Can almost always get it over.


            • #7
              Tepid Participation @TepidP
              Crafty lefty Chad Bell pitched really well for Frisco tonight. Moved the FB all around, threw some nice CHs. 3ip, 2h, 1er, 0bb, 5k.


              • #8
                Gallo was immediately quizzed by Anthony Andro about the pain he felt in the heel that led him to getting it checked out:

                “The Pain? Anytime I put pressure on it, felt like someone was like putting a knife in my heel. I was like I couldn’t even walk. We got to get an MRI or something, just to figure out what it is. Then obviously they figured it out what it was.”

                Andro followed up by asking Gallo how long the heel had been bothering him before they got it looked at:

                “Probably like five days? We thought it would just go away, it just didn’t go away. So [we] just figured out what to do.”

                Stefen Stevenson got in on the action by asking Gallo if the ankle had ever given him pain before, or if it had just come out of nowhere.

                “No, no. Yea, they said it’s just an extra bone back there and I must’ve did something to jar it loose and then after that you either gotta inject it or take it out. So, decided to take it out.”

                Stevenson followed up by asking if he had gotten close to Beltre during big league camp:

                “Yea, yea, I got closer than I thought I would. He’s nicer than I thought. Yea he’s quiet but he was awesome. Him and Prince were great to me, Elvis everybody was really nice, so Im excited.”

                Stevenson went for the three point play and quizzed Gallo on his thought process during big league camp and whether or not he let himself think he had a shot to make the big league squad:

                “I didn’t, I mean I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I kinda set that in my head, ya know no matter how good I do, I wasn’t going to make it. So when I did get sent down, it wasn’t a big deal, I understood it.”

                That about did it for the real media folks, that’s when SDI’s own Billy Casey gets in on the action by asking Gallo what he thought of Kris Bryant’s spring? Laughing, Gallo responded:

                “It was ridiculous. I mean, he’s unreal.”

                Casey’s follow up was naturally what Gallo thought about how the Cubs handled the Bryant situation:

                “Yea I mean obviously you kind of figured it would happen. It just kind of sucks, it sucks for baseball that that happens. A guy who’s probably one of the most exciting players in baseball is going to Iowa to play in front of a couple thousand people instead of on TV and promoting the game. It sucks, ya know. But obviously I think he’ll be up there in what, two or three weeks. It’s tough for him to do that and then have them say you’re going back down to the minor leagues.”



                • #9
                  Frisco plated seven runs in the first two innings while Northwest Arkansas utilized the long ball to produce offense in a 7-2 loss at Dr. Pepper Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. Naturals designated hitter Mike Bianucci blasted his Texas League leading third big fly in the fifth.

                  The Naturals look to another key hurler from 2014 in game two of the series in Frisco on Monday as right-hander J.C. Sulbaran makes his first start of the season against left-hander Victor Payano for the RoughRiders. This will be Payano's Double-A debut.


                  Eric Longenhagen ‏@longenhagen
                  Rangers lefty Victor Payano 94-97, flashing above average curveball. Was Rule 5 eligible in December.


                  • #10

                    Victor Payano 4.0IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 5BB, 4SO


                    • #11
                      BP Eyewitness Accounts

                      Victor Payano

                      Build: Big, broad, strong frame; athletic looking; strong legs; workhorse-type pitcher's body

                      Mechanics: Very deliberate, yet fluid and smooth mechanics throughout; high three-quarters arm slot; very good timing and rhythm with leg and hands separation; loses rhythm and timing with slide step and holding runners; directionally straight drive to plate (hips, shoulder, elbow, landing foot all aligned); Finishes tall on curveball and offspeed (lacks follow through); back foot releases early from rubber; slows body and arm down with curveball and changeup; gets good downward plane on fastball when release point is consistent; below-average command of all pitches; lacks any type of lefty pick-off move to first; starter projectability if command develops


                      Payano creates quite the conundrum when observing him. He physically looks big-league ready now and has all the attributes you want in a power starter. His pre-game warm-ups looked polished, smooth, and consistent. However, the bullpen did not transfer to game speed. He looked inconsistent, unsure, and with runners on, very awkward. He failed to look at baserunners multiple times and was very predictable with his timing in the stretch. He looked uncomfortable with the slide step, leaving everything up in zone. He managed to get out of the game with with no runs in four innings and only one hit, but walked five. Still only 22, I'd like to see him develop more of a feel for the game and a plan of attack with his fastball. The lack of command of the fastball was bothersome, however it would only be minute mechanical adjustments to improve upon that aspect. With experience, he should mature and grasp the game better. I'd still keep him around to develop two to three more seasons, because there is a much higher ceiling achievable for him than where he is at now.



                      • #12
                        Today Frisco RoughRiders third baseman Joey Gallo was activated off the seven-day disabled list and added to the team's 25-man roster. In a corresponding move, infielder Guilder Rodriguez was placed on the seven-day disabled list.


                        Stefan Stevenson ‏@StevensonFWST
                        Joey Gallo will play in Game 2 today. Game 2 starts no earlier than 7:05. Or 30 minutes after first game concludes.


                        • #13
                          Glad to see Gallo is back. I have the feeling that the development of the teams at Frisco and maybe Round Rock halfway through the season will be more important than what is happening at the major league level.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by andymoteach View Post
                            Glad to see Gallo is back. I have the feeling that the development of the teams at Frisco and maybe Round Rock halfway through the season will be more important than what is happening at the major league level.
                            Very likely, I agree. If I was in North Dallas I know where I'd be driving to watch a game.


                            • #15
                              Got to love looking at tonight's box score. Gallo, Mazara, Alfaro, and Williams all are hitting above 0.320.