by OSC Special Edition
March 24, 2017 - Texas League (TL)
The 2017 MiLB season is right around the corner, lets take a look at the Texas League to get an idea of what the new season holds. Will the Midland RockHounds win an unprecedented fourth championship in a row? Or will a new team emerge after three years to take the crown?
RHP James Naile was a major component for the RockHounds and pitched them to the final win of the Texas League championship. He has been rewarded for the effort with a call-up to the major league affiliate Oakland A's as of late February. Also a part of the regular season heroics, 1B Viosergy Rosa was called up to Oakland March 20th. The A's unique "Moneyball" style of management will ensure a throng of new players to fill the empty slots.
The other side of that Championship series featured the Arkansas Naturals. RHP Jake Junis won the Naturals pitcher of the year award, and the Royals organization picked up his contract. As of this article, he had been optioned to the Omaha Storm Chasers, but he is likely to move up and down given his talent level. The Chasers also picked up 3B Hunter Dozier, the top position player in the organization. The Royals number 7 overall prospect 1B Ryan O'Hearn was invited to spring training camp, but there is no word yet if he has made the club or will return to the Naturals in April.
South Division Corpus Christi Hooks have a lot to be excited about this season. RHP Angel Heredia (ERA 2.71 over 95 games), RHP Jose Luis Hernandez (ERA 3.04 over 35 games), LHP Brian Holmes (ERA 3.56 over 89 games), and youngster LHP Michael Freeman (ERA 4.75 over 45 games) lead the Hooks solid pitching stable. The offense takes shape with OF Alejandro Garcia and 1B Conrad Gregor. Both returning starters are expected to make an impact and lead the team.
Speaking of pitchers, the Frisco Roughriders are proud to have been a part of LHP Yohander Mendez's stellar minor league career. Mendez, 21, posted a tremendous season across three minor league levels before making his Major League debut on September 5. Between Frisco, Class A-Advanced High Desert, and Triple-A Round Rock, Mendez combined to go 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA across 111 innings of work. He recorded 113 strikeouts against just 41 walks and held opponents to a .184 average. Mendez finished the season leading all Rangers minor leaguers in wins and was fourth in strikeouts. He is currently listed as the Rangers top prospect and expected to start with Round Rock.
The Roughriders are also excited to host the Texas League All-Star game on June 27th at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. Celebrate the half-way point of the season watching the leagues' best and float the lazy river. Baseball doesn't get better than that!