The Texas Rangers have finally landed much coveted ace, Cole Hamels…but how will the Hamels trade affect the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders?
After all, a small army of current and former RoughRiders will now switch allegiances from the Rangers to the Phillies. Here’s a look at who is gone and who might replace them going forward…
OF Nick Williams
Since Jorge Alfaro is currently on the DL with an ankle injury, and might miss the rest of the season, Nick Williams was perhaps the key prospect that allowed the Phillies to pull the trigger on last week’s Cole Hamels’ trade.
Williams, a toolsy outfielder and second round pick by the Rangers just three years ago, displayed an increased patience at the plate at Double-A this season. If he can prove this new-found willingness to work the count is sustainable, he could find himself in the Phillies’ outfield mix as soon as 2016.
On the rise: Lewis Brinson
Brinson, the Rangers first-round choice–the same summer they selected Williams in the second round–has started to flash his first-round promise.
Brinson was promoted from High-A to the Frisco RoughRiders late last week, after putting up a dazzling .337/.416/.628 line over 64 games with the Mavericks.
C Jorge Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro is a name near and dear to prospect hounds. He has been heralded as the Rangers’ next coming of Pudge Rodriguez.
High praise, even though Alfaro has had enough nagging injuries that leads some to question his durability.
No one questions Alfaro’s upside, however, as the strong-armed backstop is still raw defensively, but with his quick feet and ability to square up the ball, it appears he is headed for a solid major league career.
On the rise: Patrick Cantwell
Cantwell’s tools don’t scream as loudly as Jorge Alfaro’s. However, the 2012 third-rounder out of Stony Brook Univesrity, has the makings to become a serviceable big league backup.
RHP Jake Thompson
With stuff stout enough to project him as a legitimate number two or three starter, Thompson might have been a potential call-up to the Rangers later this summer.
He could likely be effective right now out of the bullpen, and don’t be surprised if he’s a September call-up for the Phillies.
On the rise: RHP Richelson Pena
Pena has been the Mavericks’ workhorse this season. Although he is still a bit raw, a promotion to Double-A Frisco might be in the works for the 21-year-old Dominican.
Over his last 10 starts in High-A, he’s gone 7-2 with a 4.36 ERA and a 40:10 SO/BB ratio.
RHP Jerad Eickhoff
Jerad Eickhoff was a mainstay on the RoughRiders roster over the last two years. All told, he went 12-10 with a 4.52 ERA with 171 strikeouts over 193 1/3 innings of work.
His consistent effectiveness earned him a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock after just two games this season. The promotion paid off as he went 9-4 with a 4.25 ERA and kept his strikeout rate close to his Double-A numbers, producing 93 punchouts over 101 2/3 innings pitched. Look for Eickhoff to join the Phillies rotation as soon as September.
On the rise: LHP Andrew Faulkner
Faulkner presents an intimidating presence on the mound, standing at just over 6’ 3” tall.
He features more swing-and-miss stuff, but with that nasty movement comes some wildness. Over 21 starts for Frisco, the lean left-hander has averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched (SO/9).
His walk rate is sky-high though, as he surrenders nearly five free passes per nine innings pitched (BB/9). His tendency to dish-out walks is part of the reason why he has been transitioned into a bullpen piece of late.
RHP Alec Asher
Like Eickhoff, Asher parlayed a strong start at Double-A this year into a quick promotion to Triple-A.
During his career for the RoughRiders, Asher went 12-15 with a 3.84 ERA, coupled with 165 strikeouts over 197 innings pitched. Asher is most likely to finish out the season in the Phillies’ Triple-A rotation, at Lehigh Valley.
On the rise: Jose LeClerc
Jose LeClerc, a diminutive Dominican, may be under-sized but his stuff is reminiscent of a fire-breathing giant.
Generously listed as 6’ tall, LeClerc, was pigeon-holed as a potential closer early on. Last season at High-A Myrtle Beach, he led the team in saves (14) while striking out 12.4 batters per nine innings.
Granted, he issued more free passes than the law should allow (5.8/9) his ability was on display and spoke loudly. The Rangers are seguing him into a starter, where he has had mixed success at Double-A. The strikeouts are still there (80 in 88 1/3 IP)—but so are the walks (6.1/BB).