Welcome to "Chatter from the Pressbox", the website dedicated to the Pressbox of the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

Today's Matchups Around the Ranger's System

Today's (5/20) Match-Ups Around the Ranger's System

Round Rock: Martin Perez (3-3 5.27) vs. Fresno Grizzlies: Andrew Kown (3-1 2.61) @ 1:00 PM CT

Myrtle Beach: Kyle Hendricks (1-4 2.91) @ Wilmington Blue Rocks: Sugar Ray Marimon (3-0 2.65) @ 12:30 PM CT

Hickory : Santo Perez (2-2 6.19) @ Asheville Tourists: Daniel Winkler (4-2 6.06) @ 1:05 PM CT

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Texas League Best of the Best: Center Field

Team Rankings

1. Midland Rockhounds

Statistics: .323/.402/.517/.919 63 Extra Base Hits 81 RBI 115 Runs 74 BB-123 K

For the first half of the 2011 season, the story of the Texas League was Jermaine Mitchell's insane production. The then 26 year old centerfielder had 13 triples by the end of May and combined that with double digits doubles (15) and homeruns (10) by the time he was promoted to Sacramento (AAA). Mitchell also drew a boat load of walks to go with his high average making him an opponent's nightmare. While Mitchell was good on the road, he dominated at home where he hit .414/.497/.711/1.208 in Midland making him one of the few players that actually loved playing in Midland. Once Mitchell was promoted, top prospect Grant Green was switched from shortstop to centerfield. Green batted .300 with a .763 OPS as a centerfielder, although his walk to strikeout ratio was just 9 to 44. Green did have 16 extra base hits in 218 plate appearances as a centerfielder. Shane Peterson and Tyler Ladendorf appeared in a combined 28 games at centerfield as well. Peterson stole an impressive 8 bases in 8 attempts in his 21 games as the centerfielder.

2. Tulsa Drillers

Statistics: .289/.367/.533/.900 67 Extra Base Hits 87 RBI 108 Runs 60 BB-145 K

While Jermaine Mitchell one of the stories of the first half, Tim Wheeler was one of the stories of the whole year in the Texas League. Tulsa's prime power hitter, despite batting leadoff the whole year, finished the year with 33 homeruns, a Tulsa Driller franchise record. Wheeler led Texas League centerfielders in pretty much every individual statistic except stolen bases, and even then he stole 21 for the season. Wheeler played in 137 games in centerfield and piled up 632 plate appearances there. He had 67 extra base hits, drove in 86 runs, scored 105 runs, and posted a .288/.367/.538/.904 batting line. The only other player for Tulsa to appear in centerfield was Michael Mitchell, who made 3 cameo appearances there.

3. Arkansas Travelers

Statistics: .301/.382/.489/.871 56 Extra Base Hits 60 RBI 104 Runs 62 BB-113 K

No prospect in the Texas League in 2011 received more accolades (and deserving accolades) than the player that manned centerfield for 88 games for the Arkansas Travelers. If this ranking was based on how the players would fare in the future in the MLB, then the Arkansas Travelers would have been listed as #1 by a mile. Arkansas fans got the pleasure of watching 19 year old Mike Trout play centerfield the majority of the season for Arkansas before he was promoted to the big league club on July 8th. While with the Travelers, Trout did just about everything imaginable on a baseball field. Want contact? Trout batted .326. Want patience? Trout walked 45 times in 400 plate appearances, and got on base at a .416 clip. Want power? Trout had 41 extra base hits in 400 PA, including 11 homeruns. Want Speed? Trout stole 33 bases in 43 attempts and dashed out 13 triples as well. Want defense? Trout is a plus defender with elite speed. You can see Mike Trout taking batting practice on the Frisco RoughRider's insider blog here: http://mlblogsridersinsider.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/roughriders-vs-big-leaguers/ 

Once Trout was promoted, the Travelers used a caravan of players to play centerfield as Clay Fuller (23 games), Matt Long (17 games), Rian Kiniry (5 games), Blake Gailen (2 games), and Chris Giovinazzo (2 games) took over.

4. San Antonio Missions

Statistics: .284/.380/.468/.849 61 Extra Base Hits 79 RBI 106 Runs 78 BB-128 K

Keeping up with the single player making noise, perhaps no individual opponent was talked about more during the 2011 season than San Antonio's Blake Tekotte. And it has nothing to do with the Missions playing in Frisco every other weekend. Tekotte was a favorite of Aaron Goldsmith's, who was Frisco's radio voice the last two years, and now a broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2012. Tekotte led the Missions in games played in centerfield with 102 games played and 482 plate appearances. He batted an impressive .293/.400/.510/.910 while in centerfield with 47 extra base hits (19 homeruns) and 36 stolen bases. Like Trout, Tekotte displayed good power, patience (65 walks), and speed. He also managed to hit a foul ball into the radio booth during the season. Daniel Robertson also saw 37 games in centerfield for the Missions and hit .259/.325/.367/.693 as a centerfielder. Jaff Decker (4 games), Sawyer Carroll (1 game), and Danny Payne (1 game) filled in the rest of the time in centerfield.

5. Springfield Cardinals

Statistics: .292/.381/.458/.839 50 Extra Base Hits 64 RBI 106 Runs 66 BB-107 K

No Texas League team used more players in centerfieldin 2011 than the Springfield Cardinals. Nine players saw time in centerfield for the Cardinals with Tommy Pham leading the way with 37 games played there. Five different players had at least 16 games played in center: Pham, James Rapoport, D'Marcus Ingram, Alex Castellanos, and Daryl Jones. Pham, who's always been known to have a high ceiling, looked like he was having a breakout year before getting hurt in May and then again in June. Pham batted .293 with an .894 OPS in centerfield. He had 19 extra base hits in 163 plate appearances. Perhaps no player with at least 70 plate appearances dominated at a position like Alex Castellanos did. With 71 plate appearances in centerfield, Castellanos batted .444/.507/.841/1.348. He had 12 extra base hits (6 homeruns) in 17 games. Shane Robinson, Jose Garcia, Aaron Luna, and Chris Swauger combined for 15 games in centerfield as well.

6. Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Statistics: .257/.334/.343/.678 28 Extra Base Hits 48 RBI 81 Runs 62 BB-107 K

Short on power, but tough on speed, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals got mediocre production from centerfield compared to the rest of the league. The Naturals had the least amount of extra base hits from centerfield in the league, but had the most amount of steals with 48. Derrick Robinson is a main cause of this, as the switch handed speedster led the team with 93 games and 419 plate appearances in centerfield. Robinson had just 9 extra base hits (1 homerun), but used his elite speed to steal 42 bases. In six minor league seasons, Robinson has stolen 291 bases in 384 attempts, including 4 consecutive seasons with at least 50 steals. Nick Van Stratten was second on the team with 23 games in centerfield. He batted .247 with 7 extra base hits and a .746 OPS. Top prospect Wil Myers saw 13 games in centerfield for the Naturals and had 8 extra base hits and a .271/.386/.542/.928 batting line. Brazilian born outfielder Paulo Orlando also had 13 games in centerfield for Northwest Arkansas.

7. Frisco RoughRiders

Statistics: .250/.316/.347/.662 34 Extra Base Hits 50 RBI 84 Runs 42 BB-111 K

Perhaps no player in the Texas Ranger's system was more disappointing than the player that held down centerfield for 102 games for Frisco in 2011. After what seemed like a promising year in 2010, Beltre regressed in 2011 to the point where any streak seemed like an accomplishment. Beltre batted just .240/.295/.313/.608 and had 20 extra base hits in 421 plate appearances as a centerfielder. He drove in 27 runs and stole 14 bases in 20 attempts. Leonys Martin also saw 23 games in centerfield for Frisco and dominated to the tune of .344/.419/.559/.978 in his short time in centerfield. Perhaps nothing speaks to the difference of the two than the fact that Martin had almost as many RBI (22) as Beltre (27) in 79 less games and 313 less plate appearances. David Paisano, Guilder Rodriguez, and Jonathan Greene combined for 17 games in centerfield for Frisco as well.

8. Corpus Christi Hooks

Statistics: .219/.257/.340/.597 37 extra base hits 68 RBI 65 runs 25 BB-139 K

One of the interesting things to watch in the Texas League in 2011 was the BB/K ratio of T.J. Steele for the Corpus Christi Hooks. If Steele was a pitcher, he'd be one of the best pitchers in baseball with a K/BB ratio like that. Unfortunately for Hooks/Astros fans and T.J. Steele he is a hitter, however, and with that comes a ridiculous ratio. In 413 plate appearances (103 games), Steele struck out 108 times and walked just 15 times. Amazingly, however, his 15 walks (16 overall) is a career high in the minor leagues, so at least people can pin hopes on he's improving! Steele batted .205 with a .569 OPS as a centerfielder, including 25 extra base hits (10 homeruns). Jon Gaston and Brandon Barnes each saw 22 games and 20 games in centerfield, respectively. Gaston, who had a huge season in the hitters haven California League in 2009 (31 doubles, 15 triples, and 35 homeruns with 14 steals), has struggled since reaching AA (.720 OPS in 2010 and .646 OPS in 2011). Barnes proved to be the best centerfielder that the Hooks had as he hit .273/.304/.394/.698 with 6 extra base hits in 70 plate appearances. Major League player and former Frisco RoughRider Jason Bourgeois and Jake Goebbert combined for 4 games in centerfield for Corpus Christi as well.

Previous Positions:
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
Starting Pitcher

No comments:

Post a Comment