Texas Rangers: Ryan Spilborghs

Rangers Magazine: Tim Purpura

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
2:00
PM CT
The Texas Rangers have a solid first-place standing in the American League West, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at their minor league system. The current major league team could experience injuries, they may acquire new pieces via trade later this season and certainly there will be September call-ups when the minor league season ends.

PODCAST
Rangers senior director of player development Tim Purpura talks about Leonys Martin and others in the minor league system.

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Thus, it’s not too early to check in with Tim Purpura on what’s happening in the Rangers' farm system. Purpura is the Rangers' senior director of player development, and he was a guest on the recent edition of Rangers Magazine (ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM).

A player who creates plenty of conversation is outfielder Leonys Martin. Recently at Triple-A Round Rock, Martin tried bunting his way on and slid head first into first base. He tore a ligament in his left thumb and could miss up to eight weeks. The injury delays the plan for Martin that was implemented at the beginning of this season. That was to move him to the top of the lineup rather than be in the middle because he projects to being more of a top/bottom part of the lineup hitter. He also has been asked to bunt more often.

His injury contributed to the Rangers needing another major league-ready outfielder if a need arises, and that’s where the trade for outfielder Ryan Spilborghs comes into play.

“Ryan is a very versatile player, plays all three outfield positions and plays them well, runs and makes good routes in the outfield,” Purpura said. “Offensively, he’s more of a contact guy. Not a real big power guy, but has very good at-bats. Very competitive guy, and from what we heard a very good guy on the team.”

From a Triple-A perspective down to the high-A level at Myrtle Beach, right-handed starting pitcher Cody Buckel is a standout with his 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 12 walks in six starts.

“He’s someone who is mature beyond is years. There’s no doubt about it ... as a pitcher and as a person,” Purpura said of the 19-year-old who was the Rangers' second round draft pick in 2010 out of Royal High School in California. “A very, very competitive guy. Has three plus pitches. Attacks the strikes zone and pitches down in the zone. He’s got some swagger about him.”

Purpura talked about Martin, Spilborghs, righty Neil Ramirez, first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe staying at Frisco rather than moving to Round Rock, whether Tanner Scheppers can be a contributor at the MLB level, the Cody Ross factor, the depth of the organization and more. Listen to the podcast.

Bryan Dolgin is the host of Rangers Magazine (weekends on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM) and the radio pre and postgame show of the Texas Rangers. Follow him on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.

Rangers Magazine: Ryan Spilborghs

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
11:00
AM CT
What if the Texas Rangers had an experienced right-handed pinch-hitting option? What if they had a right-handed pinch hitter who was versatile fielder? Those were questions that have come up from time to time in the past. On Friday, the Rangers acquired outfielder Ryan Spilborghs from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations.

PODCAST
Rangers minor leaguer Ryan Spilborghs joins Rangers Magazine to talk about pinch hitting, Clint Hurdle's influence and more.

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The right-handed hitter can play all three outfield positions and is a career .272 hitter in 619 major league games. He played all those games with the Colorado Rockies and played in the 2007 World Series when the Rockies lost to Boston.

“Once you get there, you understand how important it is and how big of a deal it is,” Spilborghs recalled of that World Series. “You’re talking about one or two percent of guys that have ever played baseball have actually won a World Series. We’re talking handfuls of guys. For the Rangers to be close two years in a row, I know it’s eating at them. They want to get back, and they want to win it. Just like it’s been eating at me for years.”

Former Rangers hitting coach and current Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was the manager of that ’07 Rockies team. He played a pivotal role in the 32-year-old Spilborghs becoming a .305 career pinch hitter.

“Without Clint, I probably didn’t get the opportunities that I would have had to establish myself as a big leaguer. He obviously believed in me. Gave me opportunity when I was starting to come up to pinch-hit in situations, you know, with the game on the line,” Spilborghs recalled. “That led to other stuff. Without Clint believing in me the way he did, potentially I don’t have the type of career I have because of the opportunities. He means a lot to me.”

That .305 pinch-hitting average equates to being 53-for-174 with 39 RBIs and 32 walks. He has a .411 OBP and .837 OPS in his career as a pinch hitter.

“I love every opportunity to pinch hit,” Spilborghs said sincerely. “Usually, if you are pinch hitting, you are in a situation that’s important for the game. Those are moments that I live for.”

Currently, Spilborghs is not on the Rangers' 40-man roster. He has played two games for the Round Rock Express, the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate. He’s already 4-for-7 with two doubles, two stolen bases and three RBIs. He’s played left field in both games.

Spilborghs was a guest this past weekend on Rangers Magazine (ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM). Spilborghs also discussed the approach he takes in his new organization, why he was in the Cleveland Indians organization, his relationship with Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine, trade rumors of the past and that 2007 World Series. Listen to the podcast.

Bryan Dolgin hosts Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and the Rangers radio pre and postgame shows on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. Follow him on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.

Rangers acquire OF Ryan Spilborghs

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
12:40
PM CT
The Texas Rangers acquired Ryan Spilborghs from Cleveland in exchange for cash considerations and assigned the outfielder to Triple-A Round Rock. He will not be on the 40-man roster.

Spilborghs, 32, had a .250 batting average with Triple-A Columbus with one homer, 13 RBI and 12 runs in 21 games. He is a career .272 hitter with 42 home runs and 218 RBI in 619 major-league games with the Colorado Rockies from 2005-11.

Rangers have interest in Ryan Spilborghs

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
9:59
AM CT
The Rangers have expressed interest in free agent outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, according to a source.

Spilborghs, 32, was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies last month after hitting just .210 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 98 games (200 at-bats). He went on the disabled list in August with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and missed a month. He ended up being put on the 60-day DL with a right foot strain.

Spilborghs for his career is a .272 hitter with similar splits between right-handed and left-handed pitchers (.273 career vs. lefties; .271 career vs. righties). He has 619 at-bats against lefties and 942 against righties. Spilborghs has hit. 306 at home in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field and just .239 on the road.

Spilborghs is intriguing for a few reasons:

* He can play all three outfield positions. In 2011, he played in all or part of 29 games in left field, 29 games in right field and 13 games in center. That would give the club some nice depth and versatility out there if he can show enough with the bat in spring training.

* He'll come in highly motivated and would be yet another of those low-risk, possible high-reward signings the Rangers like. His career numbers are inflated by Coors Field, it certainly appears, but it's not as if Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is known as a pitchers' park, either.

So we'll see what may happen with it. At this point, the club has Josh Hamilton in left, Nelson Cruz in right, and several guys fighting for the center field job -- Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin, Julio Borbon. The club also has the versatile David Murphy as well, let's not forget.

The Rangers' interest in Spilborghs was first reported by CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman on twitter.

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