This year, for the second straight season, the Frisco RoughRiders saw two of their better players traded at Major League Baseball’s Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. In 2015, the ‘Riders had lost pitcher Jake Thompson, a Rockwall native, and outfielder Nick Williams, both among the Rangers’ top 10 prospects, right at the deadline.
Again, on August 1 2016, Frisco lost two of its better players, outfielder Lewis Brinson, Texas’ No. 2 prospect at the time of the trade, and starting pitcher Luis Ortiz, the Rangers’ No. 4 prospect and considered by most to be the best pitching prospect in the organization. Both players are going to Milwaukee since Texas acquired relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress and catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers.
However, even with the departure of Brinson and Ortiz, Frisco’s roster still has five prospects currently in the Rangers’ top 30 according to mlb.com. Let’s take a closer look…
ANDY IBANEZ – 2B
A native of Cuba, Ibanez is only 23 years old and started this season as the Rangers’ No. 16 prospect. However, with the recent trades and a strong showing this season, he has jumped all the way up to No. 3.
Ibanez started the year with Low Single-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League and hit .324 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and an OPS of .959 in 49 games for the Crawdads before earning a well-deserved promotion to Frisco.
With the ‘Riders, Ibanez has appeared in 56 games thus far and is hitting .248 with 4 home runs, 16 RBI and a .655 OPS. A second baseman by trade, he is currently blocked in Arlington by a Ranger fan favorite Rougned Odor, but is still a rising star in the system.
RYAN CORDELL – OF
This is Cordell’s second stint in Frisco after the versatile 11th-round draft pick in 2013 finished last season with the ‘Riders. Cordell has had several stays on the disabled list this season, but the 24-year-old out of Liberty University is hitting .264 with 19 home runs and 70 RBI in 107 games.
Earlier this summer, he was named MVP of the Texas League All-Star Game, an event Dr Pepper Ballpark will host next summer. Cordell is now primarily an outfielder but played infield earlier in his career. He is now the Rangers’ No. 6 prospect.
ARIEL JURADO – P
Jurado, currently the Rangers’ No. 8 prospect, recently joined the ‘Riders after being promoted from Advanced Single-A High Desert of the California League. With the Mavericks, the 20-year-old right-handed starter from Panama was 7-2 with a 3.86 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 24 walks in 16 starts in the hitter-friendly Cal League.
Jurado has made just a handful of starts for Frisco thus far, three to be exact, but the early returns are good… a 1-1 record, 1.59 ERA, 13 strikeouts and just three walks. Not a bad start for the Rangers’ new top pitching prospect.
CONNOR SADZECK – P
Sadzeck is 24 years old and the Rangers’ No. 12 prospect, but he is known as the hardest-throwing pitcher in the organization. Someone who can dial up his fastball to between 97 and 99 miles per hour. An 11th-round pick in the 2011 draft, Sadzeck is 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 20 games, 19 starts this season.
At times this season, he has had issues keeping the ball down and inside the yard, as evidenced by the 13 home runs he’s surrendered, but his 103 strikeouts and just 40 walks are numbers that are hard to ignore. Sadzeck is a possibility to earn a September call-up to Arlington.
LUKE JACKSON – P
The Rangers are in a bit of a pickle when it comes to Jackson. In 2014, the right-hander went 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA in Frisco and earned a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock. However, Jackson struggled in AAA. So last season, Texas converted him from a starter into a full-time reliever and for the most part, that paradigm shift went well. Jackson also made his big-league debut in 2015, making seven relief appearances for the Rangers.
He also pitched some in the Majors this year but has yet to show he can consistently retire opposing hitters, so the Rangers sent him back to Frisco earlier this season hoping he can rediscover how to get hitters out, something he did pretty well as a starter. This could be Jackson’s last chance in the organization, here’s hoping he makes the most of it.