Pitchers and catchers officially reported to Surprise, Arizona yesterday to begin Spring Training 2014. The main talk of spring training is the 5th starter role. A lot of signs point to Tommy Hanson, whom the Rangers signed to a Major League contract worth about $2 million dollars. But some other possible candidates are Nick Tepesch, who assumed the role of 5th starter for a per year before an injury, Colby Lewis, Robbie Ross, and Michael Kirkman. We’ll just have to see what the spring brings us.
Even though the Rangers didn’t make the play-offs this year, it was still an exciting and fun-filled season. From losing Opening Day to Houston to Josh Hamilton returning to The Ballpark (and striking out) to Yu’s near perfecto, the season never slowed down, even when we were throwing stuff at our televisions in the midst of one of the losing streaks that ultimately buried the team. But there were bright spots. The rotation did pretty well. The bullpen was pretty much shutdown. Adrian Beltre’s season. If losing this one game hurts this bad, I would hate to be an Astros fan. Next season will hold much more fun hopefully and we’ll return to the World Series and preferably win it all.
I will be able to tell my kids I witnessed a lot as a baseball fan in my first fourteen years on this Earth. The Rangers going to two straight World Series. I kind of remember the 2004 ALCS with the whole Yankees and Red Sox deal, and the Pirates miracle season. But now I can tell my children I witnessed the rare game 163. The season for the Rangers has been…well…a rollercoaster to say the least. And that’s and understatement. Bunch down, bunch up, and then back down in the standings. But it comes down to this (cue dramatic music). Martin Perez vs. David Price. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. To find out who plays Cleveland in the Wild Card game Wednesday (cue record skip). You’re now thinking “He’s writing a big hype story for a game that decides who plays in a wild card game?” The Cardinals fan says “Psh”, the Astros fan says “It would look like a Los Angeles Lakers championship party here if we got there.” But as a spoiled fan who saw a team go to two straight World Series and then get knocked out in a Wild Card game after the second trip, I. Want. To. Go. Back. So I will hope and pray and scream and jump and hopefully cry tears of joy after the game tonight because I’m a crybaby. Good-bye for right now.
Biggest Surprise (Hitting):
BA=.326 HR=9 OBP=.394 SLG=.685 OPS=1.079
Biggest Disappointment (Hitting):
BA=.254 HR=6 OBP=.355 SLG=.377 OPS=.732
Biggest Surprise (Pitching):
W=4 L=1 ERA=0.91 BAA=.167 WHIP=0.91
Biggest Disappointment (Pitching):
W=0 L=2 ERA=8.44 BAA=.326 WHIP=1.97
Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and CJ Edwards are gone. A PTBNL will be soon. So might as well update the prospect chart. Olt was the Rangers’ top prospect, but he is now the Cubs’ starting third basemen. Here are the new Top 10 charts.
1. Luis Sardinas- SS- Myrtle Beach (High-A)
2. Cody Buckel- RHP- DL
3. Jorge Alfaro- C- Rehab Assignment
4. Wilmer Font- RHP- Round Rock (AAA)
5. Jairo Beras- OF- AZL Rangers (Rookie)
6. Joey Gallo- 3B- 7-Day DL
7. Rougned Odor- 2B- Myrtle Beach (High-A)
8. Nomar Mazara- OF- Hickory (A Full)
9. Luke Jackson- RHP- Hickory
10. Roman Mendez- RHP- 7-Day DL
Great day. I was dropped off at the Administrative Entrance at the corner of Hicks & Diamond Drive at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. I walked in and told the sweet lady at the desk my name and she in return produced a media credential. I was told to sit in the lobby and wait for somebody to come get me. Ten or so minutes later, team photographer Grant Nelson was leading me towards the box. When we got up there, we were greeted by none other than the man who made this all possible: Alex Vispoli, the team’s radio broadcaster. He leads me into the main box and after introducing me to the guys, gives me a spot on an elevated platform that had a good view of the field.
Yes I did move over for the game. While I was waiting for the game to start, I took pictures of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals players and the Frisco players.
About twenty-five minutes before the game, the guys in the box went to get something to eat, leaving me and one other guy in the press box, Tepid Participation. (If you haven’t read his stuff, I highly recommend it. Here’s a link: http://tepidparticipation.com/) He invited to come watch Frisco starter Carlos Pimentel warm-up. I obliged and we took the elevator back to field level and walked to the Frisco bullpen. He told me Pimentel has great stuff, but has command issues.
His pitches were moving pretty well and he was hitting his spots very well. It was getting close to game time, so Tepid and I went back up to the box and talked for a few minutes while we waited. The team had the Masters on a TV in the box and we watched Andy Scott drive one onto the fairway. The national anthem was then upon us. Pimentel did well in the first inning allowing only 1 hit. J.C. Sulubran was starting for the Naturals and he allowed a walked, but no hits. Nothing happened until Roughriders’ outfielder Ryan Strausborger hit a 3-run home run in he bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Northwest Arkansas got a run back with a double by infielder Matt Fields. But Frisco struck again in the bottom half of the inning, with Alex Bucholz hitting a 3-run homer. In the bottom of the 4th Frisco infielder Brett Nichols hit a single to left field to drive in a run. In the bottom of the sixth, he hit a 2-run home run The bottom of the seventh inning was the first 1-2-3 inning of the game. Jake Brigham was in for Frisco for the final three innings and he was credited with the save after getting Northwest Arkansas outfielder Brett Eibner to fly-out to right field to end it. Frisco won by a score of 9-2. Pimentel got the win and Sulubran got the loss, with Brigham getting the save. Attendance for the game was9,259. Pimentel actually had his stuff working and was hitting his spots very well. After the game it was kids run the bases. Sadly I didn’t go do that. I had a fantastic time and would again like to thank Alex Vispoli, Scott Arnold, Grant Nelson and all the guys in the box. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.
UPDATE: Sorry if the pictures aren’t coming up. I’m working on it.
Toronto Blue Jays-Total team payroll: $115 million-Highest paid player: Jose Reyes, $17.7 million per year
St. Louis Cardinals-Total team payroll: $115 million-Highest paid player: Matt Holliday, $17 million per year
Chicago White Sox-Total team payroll: $117 million-Highest paid player: Jake Peavy, $17.3 million per year
Texas Rangers-Total team payroll: $120 million-Highest paid player: Adrian Beltre, $16 million per year
San Francisco Giants-Total team payroll: $137 million-Highest paid player: Matt Cain, $21.25 million per year
Detroit Tigers-Total team payroll: $150 million-Highest paid player: Prince Fielder: $23.8 million per year
Boston Red Sox-Total team payroll: $150 million-Highest paid player: John Lackey, $16.5 million per year
Los Angeles Angels-Total team payroll: $152 million-Highest paid player: Josh Hamilton, $25 million per year
Philadelphia Phillies-Total team payroll: $158 million-Highest paid player: Ryan Howard, $25 million per year
New York Yankees-Total team payroll: $210 million-Highest paid player: Alex Rodriguez, $27.5 million per year
Los Angeles Dodgers-Total team payroll: $213 million-Highest paid player: Zack Greinke, $24.5 million per year