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Saggese Wins Texas League MVP, Four RoughRiders Collect Honors

September 26, 2023 - Texas League (TL) - Frisco RoughRiders News Release


FRISCO, Texas - On Tuesday, Minor League Baseball announced that the Frisco RoughRiders had four players named as 2023 Texas League All-Stars and infielder Thomas Saggese garnered MVP honors. Saggese was also named the All-Star at second base while Evan Carter was named an outfield All-Star, Luisangel Acuña was the utility All-Star and Antoine Kelly was a relief pitcher All-Star.

Saggese, who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals organization on July 30th, 2023 along with LHP John King and RHP Tekoah Roby for LHP Jordan Montgomery and RHP Chris Stratton, played his first 93 games of the season with the RoughRiders. During that time, he hit .313/.379/.512/.891 with 15 home runs, 78 RBIs and 67 runs scored. Including his time with the Springfield Cardinals, he led all of Double-A with a .318 batting average, 107 RBIs, 158 hits, 60 extra-base hits and 274 total bases. On the season overall, including 13 games with Triple-A Memphis, Saggese paced all of Minor League Baseball with 170 hits and 294 total bases while placing second in RBIs (111). Saggese is the first RoughRiders player in franchise history to win Texas League MVP or Player of the Year. He is currently the Cardinals' No. 9 prospect.

Carter was the No. 1 prospect for the Rangers coming into the season and he proved his worth with the RoughRiders prior to his promotion to the Rangers on September 8th, 2023. In 97 games with Frisco, he hit .284/.411/.451/.862 with 15 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs, 62 RBIs, 74 walks, 68 runs and 22 steals. He finished second in the Texas League with his .411 on-base percentage and fifth with 74 walks. His .862 OPS was also seventh in the league. In addition to being the No. 1 prospect for Texas, MLB.com ranks him as the No. 8 prospect in all of Minor League Baseball.

Like Saggese, Acuña was traded at the deadline in 2023, being sent to the New York Mets on July 30th in exchange for Max Scherzer. With the RoughRiders, Acuña played in 84 games, hitting .315/.377/.453/.830 while collecting 25 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 51 RBIs, 68 runs and 42 steals. He finished the second with Double-A Binghamton and totaled 57 stolen bases, which was second in all of Double-A. The speedster also ended his second sixth in Double-A in average (.294), second in hits (150), ninth in doubles (28) and second in runs (93). He is currently the No. 1 prospect in the Mets' system by MLB.com.

Kelly went 3-1 with 11 saves, a 1.96 ERA (12 ER/55.0 IP), and 76 strikeouts in 47 relief outings between Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock in 2023. Kelly ranked among Texas Minor League pitchers (min. 50.0 IP) in ERA (1st), saves (1st), and strikeouts per 9.0 innings (5th, 12.44). The left-hander spent most of the campaign with Frisco, where his 1.95 ERA (11 ER/50.2 IP) in 43 appearances placed second in the Texas League (min. 50.0 IP). The southpaw had the longest streak in Double-A of appearances without an earned run in 2023, lasting 20 games and 21.2 innings from June 13th to August 11th.

Texas League All-Stars and Awards:

First Base: Chandler Redmond (Springfield)

Second Base: Thomas Saggese (Frisco/Springfield)

Shortstop: Jordan Lawlar (Amarillo)

Third Base: Yunior Severino (Wichita)

Catcher: Pedro Pagés (Springfield)

Outfield: Joey Loperfido (Corpus Christi)

Outfield: Evan Carter (Frisco)

Outfield: Caleb Roberts (Amarillo)

Designated Hitter: Ryan Bliss (Amarillo)

Utility: Luisangel Acuña (Frisco)

Starting Pitcher: Emmet Sheehan (Tulsa)

Starting Pitcher: Pierson Ohl (Wichita)

Starting Pitcher: Rhett Kouba (Corpus Christi)

Starting Pitcher: Ryan Gusto (Corpus Christi)

Reliever: Prelander Berroa (Arkansas)

Reliever: Antoine Kelly (Frisco)

Manager of the Year: Mike Freeman (Arkansas)

Most Valuable Player: Thomas Saggese (Frisco/Springfield)

Pitcher of the Year: Rhett Kouba (Corpus Christi)

Top MLB Prospect: Jordan Lawlar (Amarillo)

For more information on the Frisco RoughRiders, visit RidersBaseball.com or call 972.731.9200.


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