RoughRiders sweep minor league awards

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By Heath

The Frisco RoughRiders had a very successful 2022 season, and it was reflected in the players sweep of the annual Texas Rangers minor league awards.

The Texas Rangers Minor League award winners for 2022

  1. Tom Grieve Player of the Year: Evan Carter
  2. Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year: Cole Ragans
  3. Reliever of the Year: Chase Lee
  4. Defender of the Year: Jonathan Ornelas
  5. True Ranger Award: Thomas Saggese

That list features 3 players listed in the Texas Rangers top prospects: Carter (3), Saggese (19) and Jonathan Ornelas (21).

Evan Carter: Tom Grieve Player of the Year

Evan Carter had a fantastic season in 2022, impressing at both the high-a and AA levels. In 100 games for Hickory, he slashed a line of .287/.388/.476/.864 with 11 home runs and 66 RBI. He also showed off his speed with 26 stolen bases.

He was then promoted to Frisco where he helped the RoughRiders secure a spot in the postseason. In 6 games there, he batted .429/.536/.714/1.250 with 1 home run and 7 RBI.

Since Josh Jung has now made his Major League debut, Carter becomes the Rangers’ top prospect in my mind. At only 20 years old, he looks like he belongs out there and I’m excited to see what he can do in the future.

Cole Ragans, photo by Eddie Kelly/ProLook Photos

Cole Ragans: Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year 2022

Cole Ragans had an outstanding 2022 season, especially in the minors. In Frisco, he pitched 10 games (51.1 IP) with a phenomenal 2.81 earned run average. Batters simply couldn’t keep up, working only 19 walks and striking out 65 times.

Ragans’ outstanding performance led to a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock. In 8 starts (43.1 IP), he has a 3-2 win-loss record with a 3.32 earned run average, 12 walks, and 48 strikeouts.

Ragans made his Major League Debut on August 4, 2022, against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched 5 innings, allowing only one unearned run. For the season, he has a 0-3 win-loss record with a 5.40 earned run average.

Chase Lee Side-arm delivery

Chase Lee: Reliever of the Year

Chase Lee aka ‘The Viper’ was almost untouchable out of the bullpen for the Frisco RoughRiders. He quickly became one of my favorite pitchers to watch.

In 24 innings with Frisco, Lee had a 2.25 earned run average. He issued 8 walks and struckout 30.

In Triple-A Round Rock, Lee had an impressive 41 strikeouts in just 31.1 innings pitched, while only issuing 11 walks.

In total, he struckout 71 of the 242 batters he faced.

Jonathan Ornelas: Defender of the Year

Ornelas had an incredible season both on the field and at the plate.

He can play multiple positions well. He played four different positions this season: shortstop (86 Gms), third base (29 Gms), second base (4 Gms) and center field (4 Gms).

His .973 fielding percentage at shortstop was amazing, and he even earned back-to-back honors in July and August for the Rangers minor league Defender of the Month.

At the plate, Ornelas tied the RoughRiders single-season record for hits in a season with 157 which also led the Texas League.

He slashed a line of .299/.360/.425/.785 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI. That’s easily a career-high in both homers and RBI for Ornelas.

Ornelas was a key cog in the RoughRiders lineup and set the table for the entire season. He is rule-5 eligible this winter and will be snatched up by a different team if the Rangers don’t protect him.

Thomas Saggese: True Ranger Award

Like Carter, Saggese is only 20 years old, which makes his accomplishments this season even more impressive.

He was named Texas League Player of the Week in the week of his Double-A debut with Frisco.

He slashed an impressive .381/.409/.857/1.266 line with 1 home run and 9 RBI in only 5 games at the Double-A level. The home run was a grand slam – talk about making an impact!

In High-A Hickory he slashed a line of .308/.359/.487/.846 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI.

The RoughRiders had an amazing season and it’s no surprise that current and former players swept the Texas Rangers Minor League awards. Congratulations to all the award winners!

Stay tuned to The Prospect Times for more news and updates on the team.