Roughriders Winning Continues
When it comes to architecture, the RoughRiders are a blueprint for success. Six of the organization’s top 15 prospects (according to Baseball America) have played (or are currently playing) for Frisco this season. Two were selected to play in the XM Futures Game, a showcase game for the best players in all of minor league baseball. Nine more were selected to play in the Texas League All-Star Game.
However even the most talented teams on paper only amount to a house of cards without a manager that can create a solid foundation.
That’s where Steve Buechele comes in. As manager of the RoughRiders, the former big leaguer has taken two (and soon to be three teams) to the Texas League playoffs. And while all of those teams were very talented, Buechele knows that this year’s squad is something special.
“In my years managing this group has been the most fun. It’s a great group of kids, the makeup of the group is very good, and they’re young and talented.”
That doesn’t mean Buechele’s job is easy. With lots of talent, it’s never easy to get everyone in the lineup, meaning Buechele is often first to arrive at the clubhouse, giving him plenty of time to weigh his options.
And although changes are made on a daily basis, two names are a constant: Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. A native of Curacao, the 19-year-old Profar is rated as the organization’s best prospect, while Olt is ranked the third best, and features the best power stroke.
Under the tutelage of Buechele both have made key strides, while the ‘Riders skipper recently had a chance to see both participate in the XM Futures Game, serving as a coach on the World Team.
Not surprisingly, he counts it among his managerial highlights.
“Having two of my guys there and being on the same team with Profar made it fun. And to see both put up really nice showings, I am just so proud of those kids.”
Another moment of pride came on June 15, when the ‘Riders clinched the first half South Division title, ensuring Frisco a spot in the Texas League playoffs. It allows Buechele to breathe easier, and to wait and see what happens, with Major League Baseball’s trade deadline right around the corner.
“We still have a deadline to get around, and some injuries to overcome, I don’t think until probably the middle of August is when we’ll probably start thinking about the playoffs.”
Despite possible changes, one thing Buechele can hold onto is his tried and true philosophy to managing a ballclub.
It’s not catchy, or adjective laced, but may explain why the ‘Riders are built like a skyscraper and not a house of cards.
“I let the kids play, and we take it from there.”