Express hopes to promote players to MLB

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Jason Wood’s ultimate goal is to see his entire team leave. 

The Round Rock Express kicked off the Pacific Coast League baseball season winning three of five games against the defending American Southern Division champion Nashville Sounds at home. 

“My goal is to get each everyone to the big leagues,” Wood said. “At the same time, you’re trying to manage a ball club you and preach competitiveness and winning. They’re still developing and learning.”

Wood is in his third season in charge of the Express and won the division and took Round Rock to the Pacific Coast League semifinals in his first year. He spent there years managing high-A Myrtle Beach and one with the AA team in Frisco before joining the Express. 

He said last season, the team had nearly 280 transactions, whether that be call-ups, players moving to the disabled list or trades. The team has seven transactions in three days with two players going to the disabled list and adding four other

players.  

“It’s hard to win at this level with the transactions you have,” Wood said. “It’s supply and demand as to what they need at the top level. You’re trying to win, but you’re 25-player roster changes almost daily.”

Three pitchers on the opening day roster spent time in the major leagues last season as Dillon Gee, Keone Kela and Tyler Wagner spent significant time in the big leagues last year. Wagner was the opening day starter for the Express and lasted five innings with four strikeouts. 

Ronald Guzman is the highest rated prospect on the team according to MLBPipeline.com. In 25 games with the Express last season, he had a .216 average with one home run and 11 RBIs. In four games this year, he already has one homer and two RBIs. 

Round Rock has a few new signings that have major league experience as well. Most notably Will Middlebrooks, who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, signed with the Texas

organization in the summer and already has three home runs, including a grand slam. 

“You have players that have played at the highest level and know how to get there,” he said. “They’re going to help out the younger players. You get a good mix of young guys too and the talent will play itself out.”

The Express continues their seven-game road trip at the Omaha Storm Chasers on Thursday before headed to Iowa for a three-game set against the Cubs. Round Rock returns home next Thursday against the Storm Chasers.

There are some old faces that have been around the team fro a while and there are some new that joined the Rangers organization for the first time this season. The only advantage to being in the system for some time is the amount of time seen. But it comes down to what have they done lately. 

“Baseball is universal,” Wood said. “They all have stories as to where they’ve been and how that worked out. Now they’re here and they’re a part of this team and they’re welcomed with open arms. It’s a matter of getting them to play on the same page.”

 

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