Results tagged ‘ Nick Snyder ’

Series Preview: Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies at Hickory Crawdads June 6-9

Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies (New York Mets) (23-35, seventh place, South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (37-22, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads will wrap up the home portion of the season’s first half with four games against the Fireflies.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday, 50th anniversary of Woodstock

Friday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Post-game fireworks, Catawba Science Center Night

Saturday: Columbia at Hickory: 6:30 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Conrad Riding a Llama Bobblehead giveaway (first 1,000 fans)

Sunday: Columbia at Hickory, 3:00 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Church Bulletin Sunday (bring a church bulletin for a $6 ticket with $4 going back to the respective church), Father’s Day Celebration, Hospitality Night (hospitality/ service industry workers receive a free ticket with ID).

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory won two of the three games against the Fireflies this season at Columbia back in April.

Over the three-plays seasons since the Fireflies relocation to Columbia in 2016, the Crawdads are 17-11 overall, but are just 7-6 at home. Last year, Hickory held a 4-3 edge in the season series which included a 2-1 series win at L.P. Frans.

 

PROBABLES (Columbia/ Hickory)

Thursday:  RHP Colin Holderman vs. RHP Tim Brennan

Friday: RHP Christian James vs. RHP Yerry Rodriguez

Saturday: RHP Jose Butto vs. RHP Grant Wolfram

Sunday: RHP Simeon Woods Richardson vs. RHP Cole Winn

ABOUT HICKORY

After taking two of three from West Virginia to open the homestand, the Crawdads will close out the home portion of the first half and face elimination from the first-half Northern Division race. Hickory’s elimination number is four. The Crawdads are 18-12 at home this season.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 69 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2 (No. 71 in top-100)

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.226/.329/.280) or Melvin Novoa (.256/.330/.372); 1B Curtis Terry (.270/.329/.583); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.228/.311/.247) or Jax Biggers (.174/.269/.217); 3B Sherten Apostel (.237/.306/.412); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.283/.355/.439); LF: Pedro Gonzalez (.263/.312/.474) or Kole Enright (.389/.421/.722; CF: Miguel Aparicio (.263/.320/.442); RF: Jose Almonte (.178/.225/.306)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Miguel Aparicio – Tied for 10th triples (3)

Frainyer Chavez – Tied for 9th caught stealing (5)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 6th homers (10), tied for 10th triples (3)

Curtis Terry – 1st total bases, tied for 1st doubles (21), tied for 2nd home runs (15), 2nd RBI (46), 3rd slugging pct. (.583), 4th OPS (.912), tied for 8th runs.

Matt Whatley – Tied for 8th walks, tied for 10th stolen bases (13)

 

Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson – Tied for 4th saves (5), tied for 6th wins (5), tied for 6th games pitched (19).

Tim Brennan – Tied for 6th wins (5),

Yerry Rodriguez – 6th ERA (2.20), tied for 6th wins (5), 8th opponent’s batting avg. (.197), 10th WHIP (1.02)

Nick Snyder – Tied for 10th saves (4)

 

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.248 (3rd)/ .314 (7th)/ .420 (1st)/ .734 (3rd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 1st total bases, 2nd hits, 3rd runs, T-3rd triples, 3rd stolen bases, 11th walks

Team Pitching:

Tied for 2nd fewest hit batters, 3rd WHIP (1.18), 3rd fewest runs allowed, 5th ERA (3.40),

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): Curtis Terry (.333/.400/.778/1.178, 5 HR, 8 RBI); Kole Enright (.389/.421/.722/.1.143); Sherten Apostel (.211/.300/.639/.939 3 2B, 4 HR, 3 BB)

Pitching (last 30 days): Abdiel Mendoza (7 games, 1.29 ERA, 21 IP, 14 H, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 HB, 5 BB, 20 K, 0.90 WHIP, .203 OBA); Yerry Rodriguez (5 starts, 28 IP, 16 H, 8 ER, 2.57 ERA, 12 BB, 39 K, 1.00 WHIP, .163 OBA); Kelvin Rodriguez (6 games, 1.23 ERA, 14.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 HB, 5 BB, 16 K, 1.02 WHIP, .204 OBA)

 

ABOUT COLUMBIA:

The Fireflies take a quick road trip up to Hickory four for games before returning home for the final seven games of the first half. Columbia won both games of a shortened series against Rome (Ga.) and claimed wins in three of the last four. The Fireflies are 10-18 on the road. Though they are in last place, Columbia is still officially alive for the first-half Southern Division title, but the elimination number is three.

Manager: Pedro Lopez (2nd season)

Prospects – Columbia (rankings by MLB.com):

SS Ronny Mauricio – No. 2

3B Mark Vientos – No. 3

2B Shervyen Newton – No. 4

RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson – No. 6

LHP Thomas Szapicki – No. 8

RHP Christian James – No. 24

Possible Lineups: C: Juan Uriarte (.203/.246/.305) or Hayden Senger (.184/.301/.263); 1B: Chase Chambers (.274/.331/.398); 2B: Shervyer Newton (.205/.281/.311); 3B: Mark Vientos (.249/.297/.386); SS: Ronny Mauricio (.284/.327/.355); LF: Wagner Lagrange (.263/.318/.401); CF: Hansel Moreno (.283/.368/.500); RF: Gerson Molina (.217/.330/.373)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ronny Mauricio – Tied for 6th hits, tied for 6th caught stealing

Brian Sharp – 7th strikeouts

Individual pitching:

Jose Butto – 1st losses (7)

Simeon Woods Richardson – Tied for 2nd losses (6)

Willy Taveras – Tied for 2nd home runs allowed (10), tied for 6th losses (5), tied for 7th innings

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .220 (last) / .289 (last)/ .323 (13th)/ .612 (13th).

Other key rankings: Tied for 11th home runs (29), 13th runs scored, 13th total bases, last hits, last doubles, last walks, last strikeouts, last steals (20)

Team pitching: 2nd fewest walks, 4th runs allowed, 5th hits allowed, 8th WHIP (1.27), 10th ERA (3.98), 13th Ks.

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): Shervyen Newton (.343/.410/.514/.925, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 BB); Hansel Moreno (.250/.308/.500/.808, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

 

Series Preview: West Virginia Power at Hickory Crawdads June 3-5

The Crawdads open the final homestand of the first half with a three-game series against the Power.

West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners) 28-28, fourth place, South Atlantic League Northern Division

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) 35-21, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Monday: West Virginia at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Make-a-Difference Monday (Donate multi-pack of toilet paper, paper towels or water bottles and receive a free ticket)

Tuesday: West Virginia at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Dollar Dog Tuesday ($1 hot dogs, dogs admitted for $1

Wednesday: West Virginia at Hickory: 10:30 a.m.

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

This is the first series between Hickory and West Virginia with the Power as the Seattle Mariners affiliate. Last year while as a Pirates affiliate, the Power out up a 15-7 mark against Hickory, 8-5 at L.P. Frans.

 

PROBABLES (West Virginia/ Hickory)

Monday:  RHP Deivy Florido vs. RHP Ronny Henriquez

Tuesday: RHP Clay Chandler vs. RHP Cole Winn

Wednesday: RHP Ryne Inman vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads return home after losing their first road series of the season at Kannapolis. The Intimidators won 3 of 5 with the final two coming on walk-offs. The losses dropped the Crawdads elimination number for the first half to seven, as the trail Delmarva (Md.) by 7.5 games with 14 to play. Hickory is 16-11 at home this season.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 70 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2 (No. 72 in top-100)

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.224/.333/.282) or Melvin Novoa (.264/.333/.375); 1B Curtis Terry (.270/.329/.580); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.246/.338/.270) or Jax Biggers (.231/.333/.308); 3B Sherten Apostel (.242/.314/.396); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.284/.357/.438); LF: Pedro Gonzalez (.270/.321/.494); CF: Miguel Aparicio (.264/.323/.453); RF: Jose Almonte (.171/.215/.276)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Miguel Aparicio – Tied for 10th triples (3)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 6th homers (10), 9th slugging pct. (.494), tied for 10th triples (3)

Curtis Terry – 2nd home runs (14), 2nd RBI (44), tied for 2nd doubles (20), tied for 2nd total bases, 4th slugging pct. (.580), 4th OPS (.909), tied for 9th runs,

Matt Whatley – Tied for 6th walks, tied for 8th stolen bases (13)

 

Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson – Tied for 5th wins (5), tied for 6th games pitched (18), tied for 8th saves (4), tied for 10th losses (4)

Tim Brennan – 5th WHIP (0.99), tied for 5th wins (5),

Yerry Rodriguez – 4th ERA (2.20), tied for 5th wins (5), tied for 7th strikeouts (63), 8th WHIP (1.02)

Nick Snyder – Tied for 8th saves (4)

 

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.249 (4th)/ .317 (7th)/ .419 (2nd)/ .736 (3rd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 1st total bases, 3rd runs, 3rd hits, T-3rd triples, 3rd stolen bases, 11th doubles

Team Pitching:

2nd fewest hit batters, 4th ERA (3.46), 4th WHIP (1.19), 3rd fewest runs allowed, 4th fewest hits allowed.

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): Curtis Terry (.351/.429/.757/.1.185, 5 HR, 9 RBI); Pedro Gonzalez (.371/.405/.686/.1.091, 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI); Miguel Aparicio (.293/.326/.756/.1.082, 2 3B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 2 BB); Matt Whatley (.417/.462/.528/.989, 4 2B, 6 RBI, 3 BB); Sherten Apostel (.281/.378/.563/.941 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB)

Pitching (last month): Tyree Thompson (4 starts, 18.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .197 OBA, 14 K); Yerry Rodriguez (5 starts, 28 IP, 16 H, 8 ER, 2.57 ERA, 12 BB, 39 K, 1.00 WHIP, .163 OBA)

 

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA:

The Power are in the middle of a two-city stop through North Carolina and come to Hickory after taking 3 of 5 from Asheville. They are 6-3 after losing six in a row in mid-May. West Virginia is 11-17 on the road and just 5-12 against Northern Division opponents.

Manager: Dave Berg (1st season)

Prospects – West Virginia (rankings by MLB.com):

OF Keegan McGovern – No. 28

Possible Lineups: C: Jake Anchia (,218/.288/.398) or Dean Nevarez (.203/.289/.473); 1B: Onil Pena (.239/.345/.420); 2B: Cesar Izturis, Jr. (.204/.246/.212) or Joseph Rosa (.273/.387/.370) 3B: Bobby Honeyman (.226/.281/.312); SS: Cesar Izturis, Jr. or Joseph Rosa LF: Ryan Ramiz (.217/.340/.319); CF: Charlie McConnell (.205/.275/.333); RF: Johnny Slater (.138/.265/.276)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ryan Ramiz – Tied for 3rd walks

Individual pitching:

Dayeison Arias – Tied for 6th games pitched (18)

Damon Casetta-Stubbs – Tied for 9th earned runs allowed, tied for 10th losses (4)

Clay Chandler – Tied for 5th wins (5), 7th hits allowed

Ryne Inman – Tied for 5th wins (5), tied for 8th strikeouts (63), tied for 10th losses (4)

Steven Moyers – 3rd earned runs allowed, 5th runs allowed, tied for 8th strikeouts (63), tied for 10th losses (4)

Benjamin Onyshko – Tied for 2nd home runs allowed

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .230 (10th) / .317 (8th)/ .368 (7th)/ .685 (7th).

Other key rankings: fewest caught stealing, tied for 4th home runs, 8th runs scored, 10th hits, 11th triples, 12th stolen bases

Team pitching: 3rd hits allowed, 3rd earned runs allowed, 3rd hit batters, 4th runs allowed, 10th WHIP (1.30), 12th ERA (4.35)

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): J.R. Davis (385/.467/.577/1.044, 2 2B, HR, 3 BB); Ryan Ramiz (.273/.448/.500/.948, 2 2B, HR, 7 BB); Onil Perez (.286/.389/.536/.925, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB

Pitching (last month): Dayeison Arias (7 games, 11 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 14 K, 0.55 WHIP.111 OBA).

Defense Dooms Crawdads; Asheville Takes Series Finale 5-3

Defensive miscues and lapses played a big role Friday night in the Hickory Crawdads 5-3 South Atlantic League loss to the Asheville Tourists at L.P. Frans Stadium.

A crowd of 2,999 saw the Crawdads (22-11) drop the final game of a three-game series and, in turn, lose their first series of the season. The Crawdads had won seven and tied two others prior to the series with the Tourists, which improved to 11-22 with the win. Hickory did not lose any ground to first-place Delmarva (Md.) in the Northern Division, but did fall back into a tie for second with Greensboro after its win over the Shorebirds. Both Hickory and Greensboro are four games behind Delmarva.

Hickory entered play Friday as the second-best fielding team in the South Atlantic League with 27 errors committed in 32 games. The Crawdads showed their defensive skills early on in support of starter Grant Wolfram.

Luke Morgan and Grant Lavigne hit back-to-back doubles in the first, but centerfielder Miguel Aparicio was able to field a carom of the wall on Lavigne’s double and quickly relay the ball to the infield to hold Morgan at third and save a run.

In the second, Frainyer Chavez ranged far to his left to make a sliding grab of a roller in the outfield grass and throw out Daniel Montano at first.

Curtis Terry started the Hickory offense with his seventh home run of the season in the third. But the defense played a role in allowing the Tourists to get even in the fourth.

After Lavigne singled, Willie MacIver reached when third baseman Sherten Apostel mishandled a double-play grounder at third. The Crawdads got a brief reprieve when Johnny Cresto lined into a double play. However, Montano doubled in MacIver, who circled around from first to make it 1-1.

The Tourists scored twice in the fifth to take the lead. With one out, Javier Guevara walked and Will Golson lined a single to right. On the play, Jose Almonte allowed the ball to get by and roll to the wall. His error allowed Guevara to score and moved Golson to third from were he came in on Terrin Vavra’s sacrifice fly.

Hickory got even in the sixth with the help of control issues by reliever Mike Nikorak. Jonathan Ornelas started the inning with a double and strolled home on Curtis Terry’s single. Nikorak walked the bases loaded, then hit Aparicio to force in a run and tie the score at three.

Crawdads reliever Nick Snyder had his best outing of the season in relief. Picking up for Wolfram in the fifth, Snyder retired all seven he faced and struck out four through the seventh.

However, the game fell apart for Hickory in the eighth with Grant Anderson (3-3) on the mound. Vavra doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch. Morgan battled through a 14-pitch at-bat to earn a walk, then stole second. Anderson struck out Lavigne, but after Morgan stole second the Crawdads opted to intentionally walk MacIver to load the bases. The next hitter, Cresto, hit a slow grounder to Chavez at second. The runner, MacIver, stopped en route to second, which prompted Chavez to get the sure out at first. Vavra scored on the play and when MacIver extended the rundown, Morgan also scored from second for what turned out to be the final margin.

Derrik Watson worked out of Nikorak’s jam in the sixth, then got out of a mess of his own making to strand two in the seventh for the win (1-0).

Raymells Rosa pitched a scoreless eighth and Alexander Martinez threw a perfect ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Crawdads Strikeout History

(The following story is based on records I have at my disposal since 2005, as well as sporadic records kept by the Crawdads prior to that season. If others have further information, I welcome their inclusion here and will update.)

At Thursday’s home-opener win over Kannapolis, the Hickory Crawdads tied a club record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The trio of Jake Latz (8), Tai Tiedemann (5) and Nick Snyder (4) struck out 17 hitters during a 4-1 win.

With that game in mind, I thought Crawdads fans might want a look back at some of the other big strikeout games in the team’s history.

Hickory first registered 17 Ks in a nine-inning game back on May 25, 2009 in a game at Hagerstown, Md, when a pair of future major leaguers turned the trick. Right-hander Jake Brigham twirled the first five innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight and allowing three hits. Martin Perez then came in and upstaged him. The 18-year-old left-hander, then one of the pitching prospects in the minors, struck out nine over four innings and finished off a seven-hit shutout in a 6-0 win.

The individual pitcher with the most strikeouts in a single game was right-hander Jason Lakman, who on July 31, 1997 struck out 16. During that contest, he became one of the few pitchers in baseball history to struck out five in one inning when he turned the trick in the fifth.

The all-time single-game record for the team in a came back in August 2000 as part of a game that set the South Atlantic League record for most combined strikeouts in a game. Asheville and Hickory played 20 innings that day and rang up 53 strikeouts. In what was a loss, the Crawdads pitchers set 23 down on strikes. Unfortunately, the Hickory hitters set the league’s record for most whiffs in a game when they fanned 30 times.

The Crawdads got close to catching that mark a couple of times. During a 17-inning affair on May 9, 2015, Brett Martin (4), Trey Lambert (2), Adam Parks (7), David Perez (6) and Kelvin Vasquez (3) combined to strikeout 22 against Savannah. Their chance to catch and break the club mark ended on Crawdads walk-off homer by Jose Cardona.

The Crawdads has two other extra-inning games during which they struck out 20 or more batters. In a home game on May 4, 2010 against Asheville. Two future major league pitchers were among a quartet of Crawdads hurlers that fanned 20 during a 13-inning game. Starter Joe Wieland (8) and closer Josh Lueke (5), both of whom would go onto the big leagues, collected 13 with Braden Tullis (5) and Hector Nelo (2) filling in for seven others.

The other 20+ strikeout contest came during a loss in 19 innings to Rome (Ga.) on May 15, 2016. Peter Fairbanks had a pedestrian four over six innings with Blake Bass added two more in the seventh and eighth. Reliever and future big leaguer Jeffrey Springs had five over three innings before Omarlin Lopez dominated the Braves with eight in five innings. Sitting at 19 after 16 innings, the club record was in reach. Matt Ball tallied just one more in the 17th and 18th innings. With the Crawdads out of fresh arms, position player Dylan Moore threw in the 19th and was not able to register a K.

2019 Hickory Crawdads bios

PITCHERS                                                                                                           

Grant Anderson (6-0, 180 lbs., 21 y/o) RHP

Was the 21st round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2018 out of McNeese St. (La.). Native of Port Arthur, Tex. Obtained by the Rangers in a trade on April 1. Struck out 13 in 13 innings with three Mariners farm teams last summer.

Dylan Bice (6-4, 220, 21) RHP

Was the 23rd round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2016 out of Heritage High in Ringgold, Ga., where he is a native. Signed away from a commitment to East Tennessee St. Made four appearances with the Arizona Summer League (AZL) Rangers (rookie) in 2018 and registered two saves.

Tim Brennan (6-4, 200, 22) RHP

Was the 7th round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of St. Joseph’s Univ. Native of Philadelphia. Named first-team All-ECAC last year after leading Division I with a 16.80 K/BB ratio and 0.51 BB/ 9 IP ratio. Will make his pro debut with Hickory.

Hever (eh-vehr) Bueno (6-2, 179, 24) RHP

Was the 9th round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Arizona St. Missed 2018 with a right elbow injury. Has made just 11 appearances (8 starts) in pro seasons following “Tommy John” surgery in 2016. Signed with Texas eight days after the 2016 surgery. A native of Meza, Ariz.

Jean Casanova (6-3, 155, 21) RHP

Was the 35th-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Waukegan (Ill.) High. Moved to the U.S. in fifth grade from the Dominican Republic. Made 27 appearances (8 starts) for the Crawdads in 2018 with 55 Ks in 71.1 innings. His cousin Raul played in the majors from 1996 to 2008.

Sean Chandler (6-5, 200, 22) RHP

Was the sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of Iowa Western CC. Native of Bellevue, Neb. Named Iowa Community College Athletic Conf. player of the year in 2018 after striking out 123 in 74 innings. Played two years at Nebraska before transferring. Posted 1.27 ERA with Spokane (short-season) last summer.

Hans Crouse (6-4, 180, 19) RHP

Was the second-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Dana Hills High, Dana Point, Calif., where he is a native. Led Dana Hills to championship game of the National High School Invitational in Cary in 2017. Pitched for Team USA in the under-18 gold-medal winning game against Cuba. Had committed to USC. Tabbed a Short-Season All-Star by Baseball America after fanning 47 in 38 innings and posting a 0.95 WHIP. Made five starts for Hickory (0-2, 2.70 ERA, 15 Ks in 16.2 IP). Currently the Rangers No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Scott Engler (6-4, 220, 22) RHP

Was the 16th-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Cowley County (Kan.) CC. Native of Wichita. Returned to action with Spokane last year after missing 2017 following “Tommy John” surgery. Fanned 49 in 53.2 innings over 13 games (9 starts).

John King (6-2, 215, 24) LHP

Was the 10th-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Univ. of Houston. Native of Missouri City, Tex. Missed 2017 after left elbow surgery. Made one start each for AZL Rangers and Spokane (4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 K). Pitched two seasons at Angelina College before going to Houston. Went 8-1 with a 3.11 ERA as a senior with the Cougars.

Jake Latz (6-2, 185, 22) LHP

Was the fifth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Kent State. Born in Boerne, Tex., but attended school at Lemont High near Chicago. Pitched for LSU in the NCAA regional championship before transferring. At Spokane in 2018, was among top-10 Northwest League leaders in wins (2nd), strikeouts (4th), WHIP (7th)and ERA (8th). Fanned 67 in 71 innings.

Abdiel Mendoza (5-10, 160, 20) RHP

Originally signed with Oakland in 2015, traded to the Rangers in 2018. Native of Chitre, Panama. Made one appearance with Hickory in 2018 after the trade (3 IP, 2 H, 1 K.) Had a 3.32 ERA in 57 IP at short-season Vermont.

Wes Robertson (6-2, 190, 23) RHP

Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Rangers in 2017 out of Washington College (Md.). Native of Cheshire, Conn. Transitioned from catcher to pitcher in college. Posted a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 IP last year between AZL Rangers and Spokane.

Yerry Rodriguez (6-2, 198, 21) RHP

Signed as an international free agent by the Rangers in 2015. Native of Santiago, D.R. Split last season with AZL Rangers and Spokane. Led AZL in fewest walks/ 9 innings (0.70) and Ks/ 9 IP (12.91). Posted a 1.82 ERA with 27 Ks in 24.2 innings over four starts for Spokane.

Nick Snyder (6-4, 190, 23) RHP

Was the 19th-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Indian River St. (Fla.) College. Native of Palm City, Fla. Was a shortstop in college and named Florida NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Threw just 2.2 innings in college. Struck out 12 in 12 innings last year with AZL Rangers.

Tai Tiedemann (Tie Tee-de-man) (6-6, 195, 22) RHP

Was the eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Long Beach (Calif.) CC, where he is a native. Named South Coast Conference player of the year as a sophomore. Posted a 4.84 ERA in 57.2 innings over 13 games (12 starts) for Spokane last year.

Cole Uvila (6-4, 206, 25) RHP

Was the 40th-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of Georgia Gwinnett Univ. Native of Port Angeles, Wash., where he attended high school. Also pitched for Pierce College (Wash.) and Georgia St. Had 80 Ks in 55 innings his college senior season. Posted a 1.42 ERA and fanned 48 over 31.2 innings for Spokane last summer.

Grant Wolfram (6-6, 210, 22) LHP

Was the 18th-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of Davenport (Mich.) Univ. Native of Hamilton, Mich., originally pitched for Central Michigan Univ. before transferring. Struck out 13 in a no-hitter last year at Davenport. Made eight appearances (1 start) for AZL Rangers with 10 Ks and 6 BBs in 10.2 IP.

 

CATCHERS

Sam Huff (6-4, 215, 20) B-T: R-R

Was the seventh-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia High in Phoenix. Named to Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona baseball team in 2016. Tied for the AZL lead in 2017 with nine homers. Played for Hickory last year and posted a .241/.292/.439 slash line. Named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Tied for the Crawdads lead in homers with 18. Currently the Rangers No. 21 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Isaias Quiroz (Key-Rose) (5-10, 234) B-T: R-R

Was the 20th-round pick of the Rangers in 2014 out of St. Joseph Regional in Montvale, N.J. Born in New York City. Played at Spokane last year and threw out 37% of attempted base stealers while posting a .224/.333/.402 line. Played 11 games for Hickory in 2017 going 3-for-35.

Matt Whatley (5-10, 200, 23) B-T: R-R

Was the third-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Oral Roberts Unix. Native of Claremore, Okla. Received the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s best college catcher in 2017. Three-time first-team all -Summit League pick. Played in 52 games for Down East (high-A) and Hickory last year, missing time due to an illness. Went 3-for-19 in seven games last year with the Crawdads.

 

INFIELDERS

Sherten Apostel (6-4, 200, 20) B-T: R-R

Originally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a non-drafted free agent in 2015. Traded to the Rangers in 2018. Native of Willemstad, Curacao. Spent last year at Bristol (Pittsburgh-rookie) and Spokane. Posted a .351/.469/.459 line in 12 games after the trade. Currently the Rangers No. 22 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Frainyer Chavez (5-10, 170, 19) B-T: S-R

Was the 22nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of Midland (Tex.) JC. Born in Valencia, Venezuela, but attended Little Elm (Tex.) High School. Named to first-team All-Western JC Athletic Conference after batting .387 with 13 HRs and 66 RBI. Posted a .306/.378/.405 line in 45 games at AZL Rangers.

Jonathan Ornelas (6-1, 178, 18) B-T: R-R

Was the third-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of Kellis High school in Glendale, Ariz., where he is a native. Named 5A co-player of the year by the Arizona Baseball Coaches Assoc. Won 5A state title with his school in 2017. Posted a .302/.389/.459 line in 48 games with the AZL Rangers and named as the 10th best prospect in the Arizona Summer League. Signed out of a commitment to Tennessee. Currently the Rangers No. 18 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Chris Seise (cease) (6-2, 175, 20) B-T: R-R

Was the first-round pick (29th overall) of the Rangers in 2017 out of West Orange (Fla.) High in Winter Garden. Born in Schenectady, N.Y. Named to Arizona Summer League All-Star team in 2017 after posting a .336/.395/.509 line in 27 games with the AZL Rangers. Missed all of 2018 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Currently the Rangers No. 12 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Curtis Terry (6-3, 264, 22) B-T: R-R

Was the 13th-round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga. Native of nearby Snellville. Named Northwest League MVP after leading the league in home runs (15), RBI (60), total bases (149), runs (51) and OPS (1.040). Batted .337, the second-best in the Rangers minor league system. Named to Baseball America’s short-season all-star team.

OUTFIELDERS

Jose Almonte (6-3, 205, 22) B-T: R-R

Signed by the Rangers as international free agent in 2013. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R. Played 57 games for Hickory in 2016 and posted a .278/.343/.444 line with 8 homers and 26 RBI. Missed parts of the season with shoulder injuries. Returned to the Crawdads in 2017 and again struggled with injuries, playing only 66 games with a .185/.251/.300 line. Played in 11 games last year in the AZL.

Miguel Aparicio (6-0, 188, 20) B-T: L-L

Signed by the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela. Spending his third season with Hickory. Named South Atlantic League hitter of the week for July 9-15, 2018 after batting .385/.407/.769 with two homers and eight RBI.

Pedro Gonzalez (6-5, 190, 21) B-T: R-R

Originally signed by the Colorado Rockies as an international free agent in 2014. Traded to the Rangers in 2017. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R. Played in 92 games for Hickory and posted a .234/.296/.421 line. Battled leg injuries through the year with two DL stints due to quad strains.

Julio Pablo (J.P.) Martinez (5-9, 174, 23) B-T: L-L

Signed by the Rangers as an international free agent in 2018. Native of Baracoa, Cuba, currently resides in Miami. Tabbed the 6th-best prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America. Posted a .252/.351/.436 line in 60 games with Spokane. Debuted in the Cuban National Series at 16-years-old and played five seasons in the country’s top league. Currently the Rangers No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com.

 

Starting Fresh: A look at the Crawdads pitching staff with pitching coach Jose Jaimes

When Hans Crouse toes the rubber at First Energy Park in Lakewood, N.J. he will be one of just three pitchers that threw for Hickory in 2018. In contrast, a year ago at this time, Hickory had seven returnees, including two three rotation members from the previous season. The three that will return to Hickory, only Jean Casanova had more than five appearances. One of the five, Abdiel Mendoza, showed up the final weekend of the season and made one relief outing.

So, this is an inexperienced group to full-season baseball. In fact, for a couple of guys, pithing is relatively new to them after their conversion to the mound in college (Nick Snyder was a shortstop, Wes Robertson a catcher). Yet, It is the task of Crawdads pitching coach Jose Jaimes to see what he has and take the same developmental magic he used to turn relative unknowns such as Kyle Cody, Joe Palumbo, Tyler Phillips, Demarcus Evans and CD Pelham, to name a few, into ready-made MLB prospects.

When I sat down with Jaimes, the fourth-year Crawdads coach started with a laugh as he said, “So many new names”. So, Jaimes is still learning who has what and where to begin with the young pros that are here. The feeling from him is this group, overall, will not have light-up-the-radar stuff, but will throw strikes. 

This interview was conducted an afternoon following Hickory’s exhibition win over Lenior-Rhyne. We tried to get through everybody, but without a roster at hand, we didn’t make it.

Here is an overview of several key members of the 2019 pitching staff to start the season.

You’ve got all new guys except for Hans (Crouse) and Jean Casanova. How do you work with that?

Jaimes: I’m excited about having a complete new group. I feel like our rotation is going to be pretty good for the most part. Then, when you look at our bullpen we have a bunch of guys that can run it up to 95, 96. That’s pretty exciting.

 

Hans is obviously the focus of a lot the attention here. He came here and got a little last year. How has grown from last year at this point?

Jaimes: A lot. He had a great spring training and did really good. The expectations for him is really high. He knows he’s coming here to prove something because of what happened last year. So, I think he’s going to handle the league a lot better than last year. We’ll see what happens but I’m pretty excited about him.

Hans Crouse Salinas

Hans Crouse returns to Hickory as the Texas Rangers No. 1 prospect (Ashley Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

You’ve got all new guys except for Hans (Crouse) and Jean Casanova. How do you work with that?

Jaimes: I’m excited about having a complete new group. I feel like our rotation is going to be pretty good for the most part. Then, when you look at our bullpen we have a bunch of guys that can run it up to 95, 96. That’s pretty exciting.

 

Hans is obviously the focus of a lot the attention here. He came here and got a little last year. How has grown from last year at this point?

Jaimes: A lot. He had a great spring training and did really good. The expectations for him is really high. He knows he’s coming here to prove something because of what happened last year. So, I think he’s going to handle the league a lot better than last year. We’ll see what happens but I’m pretty excited about him.

 

He dominated so much at Spokane, then he got hit a little bit. Was that a wakeup call for him? Was it surprising to him?

Jaimes: Maybe surprising to him. I think, maybe, he wasn’t expecting that, especially happening multiple times. He’s taking that as a challenge, and I think he’s ready for it.

 

The other guy coming back is Casanova. Is he going to be in the rotation this year?

Jaimes: He’s going to be in the rotation.

 

He’s a guy that doesn’t run it up on the radar gun real high, but has some moxie and pitch backwards if he needs to.

Jaimes: He has four pitches he can throw for strikes. Last year, with it being his first time with a full-season club, we tried to control innings and that was the main reason why he pitched out of the pen for the most part of the year. We feel now that he’s growing. he’s bigger and stronger. I think he’s going to be able to handle the innings as a starter.

Jean Casanova

Jean Casanova is the only pitcher returning to the Crawdads that made more than five appearance for the team. (Tracy Proffitt)

 

So what is your rotation starting Thursday night and going through the six-man?

Jaimes: We’re going Crouse, (Jake) Latz, Casanova, (John) King, (Tim) Brennan and (Yerry) Rodriguez

Seeing Latz last night, the fastball looked like it had some life. He was able to drop a curveball in there and used a change a couple of times. What can you tell me about him?

 

Jaimes: King is another lefty and is very similar to Latz. Maybe the biggest difference is he throws a two-seam fastball, which is probably his best pitch. He throws a really good changeup. Again, another guy that competes and throws strikes. I think he’s going to help the team a lot.

Brennan has a two-seam fastball. He’s a low, three-quarter kid. He doesn’t have much experience in pro ball, but I think he’s ready. It’s going to be a challenge for him, no doubt, to pitch every five or six days.

Yerry Rodriguez is a kid from the Domincan. A good fastball and he can get it up to 95-96. He can throw strikes. He pitched in Spokane last year a little bit. He’s working on his offspeed pitches.

 

Seeing him pitch last night, it looks like he slings it more to the plate.

Jaimes: He has a really different mechanics and arm action, but he makes it plays for him. That’s what makes him good. The hitter really can’t see the ball that well.

 

Over the last couple of years, you’ve had Kyle Cody, Tyler Phillps, Reid Anderson, and so on. From this group, who do you see in that sort of mold that has the potential to take that step forward?

Jaimes: That’s a tough question, right now. I hope everybody does.

 

But at this time last year, you told me about Reid and his improvement maturity-wise.

Jaimes: Crouse will be one of them, simply because of the name and he pitched here last year. Latz and King both have the potential to be our best starters.

 

Out of the bullpen, who are some arms to keep an eye on at the beginning.

Jaimes: I’ve got a lot of names. (Nick) Snyder, he’s been a surprise for me. You saw him yesterday in the eighth. A good fastball and he throws strikes and a decent slider. Wolfram is one to keep your eyes on. I think he has the potential to be a starter.

(Cole) Uvila could be another guy. We like his fastball and it has a lot of life. If he’s able to throw it over the plate consistently, I think he’s going to be good. A lot of vertical movement with his fastball and I think it will play good.

 

Hever Bueno had the top speed last night

Jaimes: He’s another one that I think could be good. He’s at 95-96 and he’s been up to 98. I think his biggest challenge is going to be consistency. He’s done it for the past two weeks finishing up spring training and he threw the ball well last night. He gave up the one run, but I think it was more lucky for the other guys than him making bad pitches. I thought he throw the ball well.

 

Engler is another one that threw well.

Jaimes: He struck out the side. He’s a strike thrower. When you’re able to throw strikes, you’re going to have the advantage. He a decent fastball and a decent breaking ball.

 

Matt was telling me that the two of you talked about the difference this year where you have guys that don’t light up the radar gun like Demarcus Evans or CD Pelham in the past. They are more strike throwers than guys who light up the radar gun. Is that a fair read?

Jaimes: That is correct. The guys this year are going to be able to handle the strike zone better the guys from the past two years did the first two months, when they struggled. I think these guys are going to be able to throw strikes more consistent than in the past.

 

The last couple of years, I know you guys are always emphasizing the fastball, guys worked on command, they struggled. Do you see more success for that this year because they are able to strikes as opposed to the last couple of years where you guys had tough starts and it took a while to get it together?

Jaimes: It definitely will be a lot easier (laughing). I hope so. We’re still emphasizing a lot on the fastball, but this year we are taking a different approach. We are actually preaching a lot of swing-and-miss stuff, so we are going to be using the breaking ball early on and the changeup. It’s not going to be fastball, like we did in the past the first time through the order.

 

Jaimes: At the end of the year, what do you see as success for these guys?

Like I said, we are talking about swing-and-miss. So at the end of the year, we are at the top of the league in strikeouts. Obviously, a minimal amount of walks.

I know the Rangers are going through a deal with the American guys, they are drafted and then they will sit out for the summer and retooled to the Rangers way of doing things. There are no teenagers this year. As you get these younger guys, do you expect to see more maturity at this level than perhaps before?

Jaimes: Definitely, yes. I think it’s going to make it easier to handle the failure and all that stuff, because you’ve got  more mature group.