Meet the RoughRiders Opponent: Tulsa Drillers


For 26 seasons the Tulsa Drillers were the Texas Rangers Double-AA affiliate. Former Rangers owner Tom Hicks actually wanted to move the team to Frisco in 2002, but instead 2003 saw the birth of the Frisco RoughRiders. Yay.

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Ivan Rodriguez, Gabe Kapler and Sammy Sosa made the rounds through Tulsa, Oklahoma before eventually becoming impact Major League players.

From 2003-2013 the Drillers were affiliated with the Colorado Rockies and saw Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday pass through among others.

Now the team resides in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. As does AAA Oklahoma City, another team formerly associated with the Texas Rangers organization. They just want all our stuff, don’t they? (They can have Adrian Beltre for Corey Seager if they want!)

With any Minor League team comes the discussion of prospects, and the Dodgers have some great ones. Mostly they reside at the top, with outfielder Joc Pederson breaking through to the big leagues this year, the aforementioned Corey Seager graduating from AA on the first of May and Julio Urias currently present with Tulsa, however out with injury as he undergoes eye surgery to remove a benign mass from his left sight-seer.

Pederson is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate, Seager hit .355 in 2 AA seasons and just last night had a 6-6 ballgame where he homered, doubled twice and brought in six runs. He’s that good. (Only Houston Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa has a bigger value attached to his name at that position right now)

Source: MiLB.Com

Julio Urias is a crazy story himself. At just 18 years old he’s pummeling through hitters at the Double-AA level.

The Dodgers signed him out of Mexico just after his 16th birthday. At age 18 he’d be a prized prospect if he was dominating the rookie league. Instead he’s gunning past top prospects, veteran players and anyone who steps in the box against the teenage lefty.

L.A. has been aggressive with Urias, who was discovered by Dodger scouts in 2012 who were on a trip to see Yasiel Puig.

From A ball at age 16, he’s progressed a level each birthday, on track to be a Major Leaguer by 20, but that seems incredibly enough, pessimistic, at this point.

His numbers have simply been through the roof so far in his Minor League career, and despite the procedure on his left eye, the fourth one of his lifetime coming just 11 days ago, he can see his progress just fine. He even joked, “That’s how God works. He gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm.”

I’d venture to go beyond good, because this kid can throw.

Despite Urias not being active, Seager promoted and Pederson long promoted, there’s still a lot to watch with the Tulsa Drillers.

Even with their top prospects making major waves, their breakout prospect could be starting pitcher Jose De Leon, not to be confused with teammate Jorge De Leon.

L.A.’s 24th round pick in 2013, De Leon started the year in High A-Rancho Cucamonga (right?) but a 1.67 ERA in 7 starts earned him a promotion to Tulsa, where while he’s run into the usual road bumps that come with promotions (unless you’re Clayton Kershaw), he’s still missing a ton of bats and his 4.50 ERA that resembles a quality start is only going to come down.

He starts Game 1 Friday in Frisco.

Other top Dodger prospects that reside with the Drillers are starting pitcher Chris Anderson and Chris Reed.

Anderson, 23 and Reed, 25, don’t have the sizzle or frankly the value they used to have and have been passed by in the organization by Urias, De Leon, Zach Lee (AAA) and Grant Holmes (2014 first round pick), but still profile as players to keep an eye on.

Reed has been working out of the bullpen recently and Anderson, although not confirmed by the team site, is scheduled to pitch this weekend in Frisco.

Promotions this weekend in Frisco include Fireworks Friday and Military T-Shirt Saturday.

One more note of totally obscure interest. With the Boston Red Sox in Arlington this weekend, I might as well note that former top Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson is currently with the Tulsa Drillers. Now 27, Anderson plays first base and was traded by Boston to Cleveland at the 2012 Trade Deadline. He’s since bounced around between Arizona, Chicago (AL), Toronto, back to the White Sox, the Chicago Cubs and now is property of the Dodgers.

Now you know. Knowledge is power, even though that last paragraph probably did nothing for you.