July 2011

Torres Takes Long Road To Bigs

Former first-rounder finding success in Drillers’ bullpen

By: Todd Traub (Special MiLB.com Contributer)

Some things haven’t changed since Joe Torres first started playing in the Minor Leagues. Tulsa’s left-handed reliever can still look out on the field and see Brandon Emmanuel, with whom he once toiled as an Angels farmhand, and former coach Todd Takayoshi.

Except Emmanuel is now pitching coach and Takayoshi the manager for the rival Arkansas Travelers. Torres, on the other hand, is still in uniform as a player after 10 professional seasons.

“It’s kind of funny to see those guys and recognize their faces more than the players,” said the 28-year-old Torres, who was drafted by the Angles out of high school in 2000.

Torres was once a whip-armed youngster who threw a no-hitter for Gateway High School, located close enough to the Houston Astros’ Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., that the high school team held its tryouts there.

“When you see those fields, you never want to get off them again,” Torres said.

It was fair for Torres to assume he would be walking plenty of big league fields after the then-Anaheim Angels took him 10th overall and signed him for just over $2 million. But Torres is still looking to crack a Major League roster.

“I’ve come a long way,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of injuries. I’ve endured a lot.”

Torres looked to be well on his way to the Angels when, at 17, he went 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA with the short-season Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. But he never got past Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in the Angels system, dealing with arm trouble that cost him all of 2004 as he underwent Tommy John surgery.

His comeback did not go well as he went 0-4 with a whopping 18.00 ERA at Rancho Cucamonga in 2005 and 1-6 with an 8.50 ERA with Class A Cedar Rapids. He returned to the Kernels in 2006 and went 2-4 with an 8.14 ERA, and the Angels chose not to re-sign him.

“The first year I had a lot of issues with the elbow. The second year it was a big mental block, a big mental struggle,” Torres said. “It was one of those things — my time was up with [the Angles]. They said, ‘You know what, we gave chances with you and it’s time to move on.’ ”

The Chicago White Sox signed Torres before the 2007 season, and he found new life under pitching coach J.R. Perdew, reaching Double-A with the Southern League’s Birmingham Barons in 2008.

“It was a good time to just get away and start fresh. That’s kind of where I feel like my career started almost, in ’07,” Torres said.

He was 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 59 appearances in Birmingham and pitched solidly in Minor League stints with the Rangers and Dodgers in 2009 and again with the White Sox last year before catching on with the Colorado Rockies, who sent him to Tulsa to start the season.

No longer the loose-armed slinger, Torres has improved his velocity and, with a recently developed cutter to complement his slider, curve and two-seamer, he is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 12 holds as a middle reliever. He’s also a Texas League All-Star after filling in for injured teammate Stephen Dodson late last month.

“It’s a little thing to take away at the end of the day, saying, ‘Hey look, I’ve bounced back from some really bad things. This is pretty positive,'” Torres said.

Drillers donate $9,093 to Red Cross

The Tulsa Drillers have made a donation of $9,093.01 to the American Red Cross to help victims from the outbreak of storms and floods this spring. The funds were raised from tickets sales and from auctions of game-worn jerseys as well as from auctions and raffles that were conducted by the wives and girlfriends of the Drillers’ players.
The monies were donated specifically to help victims from the storms in Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri as well as those affected by the storms that struck Alabama. The club has several players with ties to the state of Alabama.

“We are very pleased to be able to help some of those folks that have been affected by the storms that ravaged many areas this spring,” said Drillers public relations director Brian Carroll. “This type of amount would not have been possible without the great support of our fans and our players and their spouses.”

Wheeler And Goldschmidt In Running For Bauman Award

Tulsa’s Tim Wheeler and Mobile’s Paul Goldschmidt sit atop the Minor League Baseball home run standings with 29 each with about six weeks left in the regular season and in the race for the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, presented by Musco Sports Lighting.

Tulsa outfielder Tim Wheeler is currently tied for the lead in homeruns, throughout all of Minor League Baseball. (Rich Crimi)

The player who leads all domestic leagues in homers will be presented the Joe Bauman Trophy in December at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas. The winner will also receive a check representing $200 for each regular season home run he hit.

There is no shortage of pursuers chasing Goldschmidt and Wheeler, a pair of 23-year-olds, for the honor. Ten players are within five homers of the pair, including Bryan LaHair of Iowa who is just one back.

The top home run hitter in each classification level, provided he is not the overall winner, receives $500. Goldschmidt captured the Class A prize last season with 35 roundtrippers, just one less than overall winner Mike Moustakas.

LaHair leads Triple-A™ with his 28 longballs, two more than Cody Ransom of Reno and Trayvon Robinson of Albuquerque.

Goldschmidt and Wheeler are the top two in Double-A, five ahead of Tyler Moore (Harrisburg).

Michael Choice of Stockton and Ian Gac of Winston-Salem share the Class A lead with 27. South Bend’s Yazy Arbelo is their closest pursuer and is four behind the leaders.

Jeff Malm of Hudson Valley and Murray Watts of the Burlington Royals are tied for the short season/rookie classification lead with 11. Stephen McQuail of Vancouver and Elizabethton’s Eddie Rosario are just one back of the duo.

Wheeler And Rosario Honored, Beerer Promoted To Triple-A

Tim Wheeler and Wilin Rosario were once again honored by Baseball America for each having great weeks from July 15 – July 22. The prospect hot sheet is not a re-ranking of the top 100 in baseball, but instead a snapshot of the prospects that excelled over the given week.

Scott Beerer was recently promoted to Triple-A Colorado Spring where he will serve primarily as an outfielder. The former second round pick and Texas A&M product was originally drafted as a pitcher but has since attempted a comback playing the outfield. (Rich Crimi)

This is what Baseball America had to say aboutRosario’s week:

Combine Rosario’s two half-seasons at Double-A and you’ve got a .272/.322/.514 hitter with 35 homers and 22 doubles in 551 at-bats. In that time, he’s gunned down and above-average 38 percent of 132 would-be base thiefs. Rosario’s raw tools suggest that the power and arm strength he’s shown with Tulsa are very real, and it’s easy to see why scouts project him to be an above-average regular at the big league level, possibly as soon as next season. One caveat:Rosario has

 

mashed 12 of 16 homers this season versus Texas League righthanders, but he’s also gone just 43-for-192 (.224) against them.

Being listed at No. 6 on the list, Baseball America talked about Wheeler:

It’s been a bounce back year for Wheeler, the 32nd overall pick in 2009 who hit .249/.341/.384 in the high Class A California League last year. He’s been noted for his plus raw power before, but he’s been on a major surge of late. Wheeler has gone deep nine times in his last 18 games (he hit 12 in 129 games last year), moving into a tie for the minor league home run lead with 28 on the year. It’s worth noting the left handed-hitting Wheeler still has a fairly sizable platoon split, a carryover from last year. But he did hit one of his homers this week against a lefty, his sixth long ball against a southpaw out of his 28 this year.

Also this week, local legend and mythical baseball player, Scott Beerer was called up to Triple-A. Beerer has moved to Colorado Springs and is one step closer to making his major league debut. Congrats Scott!

Tulsa Time: 60 Second Interview With Reliever Sean Jarrett

Besides seeing the Tulsa Drillers play at ONEOK Field during the season, what do you really know about the 2011 Drillers players outside of the baseball setting? It is quite hard for Drillers fans to get to know the players throughout the year as the team is either on the road or in the midst of a long homestand.

Where is their favorite restaurant in Tulsa? Do you have a pre-game routine? Facebook or Twitter? These are just a couple of the questions we sat down and asked the players if they could answer.

However, during the interview each player would be allowed only one minute to answer all 17 questions.

A native of Westminster, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, Sean Jarrett is extremely familiar with the Rockies system.

Tulsa Drillers reliever Sean Jarrett is in his second year with the Drillers. Jarrett was selected by the Rockies in the 20th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Besides growing up outside of Denver, Jarrett also attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is also home to the Rockies Double-A affiliate Tulsa Drillers. 2011 will be Jarrett’s second year with the team as the reliever went 3-1, with a 1.80 earned run average in 2010. His 1.80 earned run average was good enough for second on the team.

1. Subway, Quiznos, or Which Wich?

Sean Jarrett: “Tough one…..hum…..Quiznos”

2. Facebook or Twitter?

SJ: “Embarrassingly enough, I am on both.”

3. What is your favorite type of Music?

SJ: “Country.”

4. What is your favorite TV show? Past or Present?

SJ: “I really don’t watch too much television, so I really couldn’t tell you my favorite show.”

5. What is your favorite sport other than baseball?

SJ: “Golf.”

6. And who is your favorite non-baseball athlete?

SJ: “Sam Salabura. He is just dominate on the golf course.”

7. Who was your idol when you were growing up?

SJ: “……I’d say my grandpa.”

8. What is your favorite meal?

SJ: “I don’t have a favorite meal per say, I just love food in general.”

9. Do you have a pre-game routine?

SJ: “Not really being a relief pitcher. But warming up out there I have a few things that I do consistently before coming in the game.”

10. What is your favorite restaurant in Tulsa?

SJ: “Cheddars. It’s really good food for a very affordable price.”

11. Who is the funniest Drillers teammate?

SJ: “Friedrich. No contest.”

12. Most embarrassing moment while playing?

SJ: “My cleats stuck together one game and I tripped running in from the bullpen.”

13. What is your nickname?

SJ: “Don’t ask me why…..but it’s Pablo.”

14. Chuck Norris or Scott Beerer?

SJ: “Chuck Norris. Only because Scott Beerer really scares me.”

15. Smooth or Crunchy Peanut Butter?

SJ: “Smooth.”

16. Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore?

SJ: “Either. Both are funny movies.”

17. Seinfeld or The Office?

SJ: “Seinfeld.”

Drillers Host Travelers Again 2.0

For the second time in a week, the Tulsa Drillers are hosting the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) in a four-game series at ONEOK Field. The series will begin on Friday, July 22 and run through Monday, July 25.

All four games in the series will begin at 7:05PM.

The two teams split the earlier four-game set. For the season, the Drillers are 10-10 against the Travelers, including a 6-6 mark at ONEOK Field.

The headline promotion for the homestand will be an appearance by the world-famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on Saturday, July 23. A group of 10 cheerleaders will perform before and during the game.

Other promotions will include Friday Night Fireworks following the opening game on July 22, Turn Back the Clock Night/50¢ Hot Dogs on July 24 and Dollar Dog Monday Night on July 25.

A complete list of promotions with descriptions is below. Tickets for all four games are now on sale at the ONEOK Field Ticket Office at 201 N. Elgin Ave. and at TulsaDrillers.com.Tickets are also available by calling the Ticket Office at (918)744-5901.

Wheeler Tough On Travelers:Outfielder Tim Wheeler has enjoyed success against Arkansas this season. Wheeler has played in 19 of the 20 games against the Travs, hitting .319 with 7 home runs and 14 runs batted in.

Turpen Closer:Since moving into the closer’s role for the Drillers, reliever Daniel Turpen has appeared in 12 games, registering 7 saves. He has allowed runs in only two of those outings and has recorded a 2.19 ERA.

Hot In July:Second baseman Tommy Field’s bat has warmed up with the weather. In his first 17 games in July, Field was hitting .354 with 7 extra-base hits and 9 runs batted in.

Making History:On July 19, the Drillers did something that no Tulsa team has done in over 80 years. The seven home runs they hit in the game against Springfield matched the all-time Tulsa professional baseball record for most homers in a game by a Tulsa team. The record was first set in 1924 and then duplicated in 1929.

Chasing San Antonio:The big power night moved Tulsa to within four homers of San Antonio for most home runs in the Texas League this season. Through July 19, San Antonio had totaled 121 homers this season, while Tulsa had hit 117. In the month of July, the Drillers have hit 32 round-trippers, while the Missions have totaled 23.

TULSA DRILLERS SCHEDULE & PROMOTIONS (July 22-25)

Friday, July 22. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM
FRIDAY NIGHT FIREWORKS / DINGER PERFORMS
The homestand begins with a bang as Friday Night Fireworks returns to ONEOK Field courtesy of Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills and Mix 96. Following the game, the skies of downtown Tulsa will light up with a spectacular fireworks display!
In addition, Colorado Rockies mascot, Dinger, will entertain and humor fans during the game with his crazy antics and skits.

Saturday, July 23. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM
GRAND SLAM SATURDAY / DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS / BEAT THE HEAT SPLASH ZONE
It’s the biggest Grand Slam Saturday of the season as the world-famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders come to ONEOK Field courtesy KFC and NewsChannel 8. Ten cheerleaders will perform on the field throughout the game. After their performances, they will be available for approximately 30 minutes along the concourse for autographs and photos.
Young fans are encouraged to wear their bathing suits and “beat the heat” with several great water activities on the outfield concourse. Stations will include two 18 ft. water slides and 32 ft. double, slip ‘n slide. A $5 wristband will allow kids to enjoy all the water activities plus all the games at Hornsby’s Hangout.

Sunday, July 24. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM
FAMILY FUNDAY SUNDAY / TURN BACK THE CLOCK NIGHT / 50¢ HOT DOGS / BEAT THE HEAT SPLASH ZONE / KIDS EAT FREE
It’s an ultimate night of promotions as the Drillers Turn Back the Clock to an earlier time. Drillers players will wear replica, 1948 Tulsa Oilers uniforms during the game and prices for ONEOK Field hot dogs will be rolled back to only 50¢ each while Crack Jack will be on sale for only $1.00 each. It’s all courtesy of 2 News Works For You and K95.5FM.
Young fans are encouraged to wear their bathing suits and “beat the heat” with several great water activities courtesy of EMSA and the Tulsa Fire Department. Stations will include two 18 ft. water slides, a 32 ft. double, slip ‘n slide and a giant waterspout. A $5 wristband will allow kids to enjoy all the water activities plus all the games at Hornsby’s Hangout.
The first 500 kids, ages 12 and under, will receive a voucher that is redeemable for a free hot dog, milk, and an ice cream dessert at the concession stands courtesy of Borden Dairy, K95.5FM and 2 News Works For You.
Lastly, from 6:15-6:30PM, a pair of Drillers players will be in Black Gold Outfitters signing autographs for all fans. After the game, all kids will be allowed on the field to run the bases.

Monday, July 25 . . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM
$1 DOG MONDAY NIGHT
It’s another $1 Dog Monday and dog owners can bring their best friend to the park to enjoy an evening of relaxation together courtesy of Southern Agriculture and 94.1, The Sound. In addition, the famous “Driller Dog” hot dogs will be on sale all evening long for only $1 each! All dogs are admitted FREE, but their owners must present proof of up-to-date vaccinations. Fans with dogs should enter the park through either the Oil Derrick Entrance or the Arvest (Brady Street) Entrance.

Beach Towel Giveaway Update!

Specifics on tonight’s Beach Towel Giveaway have been changed due to a shipping delay. The first 1,500 fans with paid admissions for tonight’s (Saturday, July 16) game will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for the beach towel beginning on August 2. In addition to the towels, the vouchers can also be redeemed for a free Field Reserved ticket ($8 value) for any remaining Saturday regular season game at ONEOK Field in 2011. Tonight’s vouchers will only be distributed at the Oil Derrick and Arvest (Brady Street) Entrances of ONEOK Field. For those receiving the vouchers, the beach towels will be available beginning on Tuesday, August 2 at the Drillers Administrative Offices (8:30am – 5:00pm Monday-Friday) or at Guest Services during games.

Drillers Promotional Schedule For July 14 – July 17

The Tulsa Drillers return to ONEOK Field for a brief four-game series against the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) that will run from July 14-17.  It will be the first of two four-game sets with the Travelers in Tulsa during a 12-day period.   

Arkansas won the first-half North Division title and has again been atop the standings for much of the second half.  So far this season, the Drillers and Travelers have split their 16 meetings, with each team compiling an 8-8 record in its own park.

All four games in the initial series against the Travelers will begin at 7:05PM. 

The series has been labeled Beach Party Weekend with the promotions lineup including Margaritaville Night and Thirsty Thursday on July 14, Friday Night Fireworks on July 15 and Grand Slam Saturday and Drillers Beach Towels on July 16.  

The homestand will conclude with Family FunDay Sunday and Super Splash Day on July 17.

A complete list of promotions with descriptions is below.

Tickets for all four games are now on sale at the ONEOK Field Ticket Office at 201 N. Elgin Ave.and at TulsaDrillers.com.  Tickets are also available by calling the Ticket Office at (918)744-5901.

Holcomb At Home:  Third baseman Darin Holcomb has found ONEOK Field to be to his liking.  He is second on the Drillers with a .302 batting average in home games this season.  Scott Beerer leads Tulsa with a .311 average at ONEOK Field.

Friedrich Stingy:  Christian Friedrich has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April 27.  In his last eight starts, Friedrich has compiled a 2.42 ERA, dating back to May 30.  

Turpen Time:  Daniel Turpen has not allowed an earned run in seven outings against Arkansas this year.  The reliever has surrendered only five hits and no walks in 10.2 innings against the Travs.

Driller Killer:  Former University of Oklahoma pitcher Garrett Richards has accounted for nearly half of the Travs’ wins against the Drillers this season.  Richards is 3-1 in four starts against Tulsa. 

Wheeler HR Pace:  Tim Wheeler hit 24 home runs inTulsa’s first 88 games, a pace that would give him a chance to break the season, franchise record of 32 homers co-held by Kevin Buckley (1983) and Bubba Smith (1996).

 

 

TULSA DRILLERS SCHEDULE & PROMOTIONS (July 14-17)

BEACH PARTY WEEKEND!!!

 

Thursday, July 14. . . Arkansas Travelers  (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM

MARGARITAVILLE NIGHT / THIRSTY THURSDAY 

One of the most fun promotions of the year returns to ONEOK Field with Margaritaville Night compliments of Saint Francis Health Zone and Star 103!  Get out your flip-flops and your Hawaiian shirts and enjoy the soothing sounds of Something Steel as well as $5 margaritas and buy one, get one free cheeseburgers in paradise!  The Parrot Head Club of Tulsa will be passing out leis to the first 2,000 fans, and it is also a Thirsty Thursday with 12 ounce servings of Miller Lite and Coors Light and 21 ounce servings of Pepsi products on sale for only $1 each. 

Friday, July 15. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM

FRIDAY NIGHT FIREWORKS

Beach Party Weekend continues with Friday Night Fireworks at ONEOK Field, presented by Cox.  Concession stands will feature $2 Coronas, $5 pina coladas and $4 teriyaki chicken and pineapple sandwiches!

Saturday, July 16. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM

GRAND SLAM SATURDAY / BEACH TOWELS

It’s a Grand Slam Saturday and first 1,500 fans of all ages will receive a colorful, Drillers beach towel that features Hornsby and downtown Tulsa, compliments of Pepsi and News Channel 8. 

Tulsa players will be wearing special beach-themed jerseys that will be available via auctions during the game with proceeds benefiting the American Parkinson’s Disease Association. 

Beach Party concessions specials will include $3 lemonade servings, $5 strawberry daiquiris and $4 Big Kahuna Burgers with pineapple.

Sunday, July 17. . . Arkansas Travelers (7:05PM) – Gates Open at 6:00PM

FAMILY FUNDAY SUNDAY / SUPER SPLASH DAY / KIDS EAT FREE

ONEOK Field will be turned into a water park with fun water slides and games courtesy of EMSA, the Tulsa Fire Department and Bounce Toyz.  Activities will include two 18 ft. water slides, a 32 ft. double, slip ‘n slide and a giant waterspout.

The first 500 kids, ages 12 and under, will receive a voucher that is redeemable for a free hot dog, milk, and an ice cream dessert at the concession stands courtesy of Borden Dairy, K95.5FM and 2 News Works For You.

From 6:15-6:30PM, a pair of Drillers players will be in Black Gold Outfitters signing autographs for all fans.  After the game, all kids will be allowed on the field to run the bases. 

Beach Party food and beverage specials will feature $2 pineapple snow cones!

 

Wheeler Placed On Baseball America’s Hot Sheet

One of, if not the, most respected baseball magazine has added Tulsa Drillers centerfielder to its Hot Sheet for the week of July 1 through July 8. Baseball America is widely known as being the Holy Grail for those who seek baseball knowledge. The magazine reports from high school baseball, to the major leagues and anything in between.

 

Baseball America publishes a weekly report ranking the top minor league players from the previous week in their eyes. The rankings are determined not only be statistical information the players produce over the week but also how Baseball America ranks them as a future MLB prospect.

 

The magazine had this to say about Wheeler:

Wheeler’s breakout season keeps rolling. The 2009 first-round pick out of Sacramento State hit .252/.338/.383 with 17 home runs in his first season and a half, and this year his power outburst has produced one of the best offensive seasons in the minors. Wheeler has 22 homers in 82 games, with a .316/.398/.602 line that gives him a pretty 1.000 OPS. He has always had plus raw power, but there were questions about how usable it would be. Wheeler is answering those questions with a home run total that ties him for fourth in the minors, just three behind minor league leader Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks.

 

Wheeler increased his Texas League home run total Thursday night against the Corpus Christi Hooks. Not only did he hit two home runs on Thursday, Wheeler showed his power to all fields as his home run to left field was an impressive display of opposite field power.

Baseball America writer J.J. Cooper talked about the centerfielder earlier Friday in an open chat session with fans, “I did a personal Top 100 before we put together out Top 50 and I had him at No. 53 on that list. If he keeps this up over the second half of the season he’s a sure-fire Top 100 Prospect next February.”

Tulsa Time: A 60 Second Interview With Christian Friedrich

How well do you know your Tulsa Drillers?  No matter how big of a fan you are, we want to help you get to know the players that make up the Tulsa Drillers roster.

What is their favorite restaurant in Tulsa? Do they have a pre-game routine? Facebook or Twitter? These are just some of the questions we will ask the players to help you get to know them.   

However, each player has only one minute to answer all 17 questions.

Christian Friedrich was glad to be the first to sit down with us and answer all the questions in a fast paced setting. Friedrich is currently the leader of the Drillers pitching staff and ranked the number two pitcher in the Colorado Rockies farm system by Baseball America.

Through 16 starts in 2011 Christian Friedrich is 6-5 with a 3.93 earned run average. Friedrich is currently ranked the second best pitching prospect in the Colorado Rockies system by Baseball America. (Rich Crimi)

1. Subway, Quiznos, or Which Wich?

Christian Friedrich: “Subway for sure.”

2. Facebook or Twitter?

CF: “I’ll have to go with Twitter.”

3. What is your favorite type of Music?

CF: “Rock.”

4. What is your favorite TV show? Past or Present?

CF: “Fringe.”

5. What is your favorite sport other than baseball?

CF: “Hockey.”

6. And who is your favorite hockey player?

CF: “Patrick Kane…..hands down.”

7. Who was your idol when you were growing up?

CF: “Barry Zito.”

8. What is your favorite meal?

CF: “…….Steak and broccoli”

9. Do you have a pre-game routine?

CF: “Listen to music to get me going then drink a cup of coffee.”

10. What is your favorite restaurant in Tulsa?

CF: “Fat guys.”

11. Who is the funniest Drillers teammate?

CF: “…..I would have to say Daniel Turpen”

12. Most embarrassing moment while playing?

CF: “I guess not getting a hit or something. I really don’t know.”

13. What is your nickname?

CF: “Bird…”

14. Chuck Norris or Scott Beerer?

CF: “Scottie.”

15. Smooth or Crunchy Peanut Butter?

CF: “Smooth.”

16. Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore?

CF: “Happy Gilmore.”

17. Seinfeld or The Office?

CF: “Oh The Office.”