Riders Reflections, part one: Breakout player

Today begins a six-part series looking back at the year that way in 2017. Today, we start with our breakout players from this season.

RYAN: Isiah Kiner-Falefa

This one’s a pretty easy call for me. Kiner-Falefa has had a resurgent season, especially at the plate, showing us a whole new side of him. He has already surpassed career-highs in just about every statistical category — games (123), hits (144), doubles (31), triples (3), homers (5), RBIs (48) and stolen bases (17) — and he still has six games left to improve on those stats.

Kiner-Falefa talked with us earlier in the year about trying to “do damage” (see below) at the plate and those results are certainly showing off.

Additionally, he’s continued to progress as a catcher, while still excelling elsewhere around the infield. The Rangers will need to add the super utility man to the 40-man roster this offseason if they’re going to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, which would probably be a good move on their part given how fast his stock is rising.

KEITH: Tyler Davis

Tyler Davis takes the cake as far as a breakout player and performer on this club.

Though he’s putting up Texas League Pitcher of the Year numbers, the display has been staggeringly impressive because of his past seasons of mediocrity. But that’s what makes this a breakout season for him.

Davis has had many moments of tremendous untouchability with the RoughRiders. He threw Frisco’s first complete game in six years when he shut out San Antonio and allowed just three hits on August 22. At Corpus Christi on July 18, he held the Hooks to one run over eight innings. He put together dynamite start after dynamite start. With still a start on the horizon, Davis checks in with 4–2 record and 2.45 ERA over 11 starts. He’s fanned 42 batters and walk just nine men.

It’s a great underdog story for him because of his past inconsistencies in finding a niche on the mound. Davis fumbled back and forth between Class-A Hickory and Advanced-A Down East, posting a 7.29 ERA as both a starter and reliever. To go directly from Hickory to the Texas League, where players are called up to the big leagues quite often, and dominate as a full-time starter makes his 2017 season the best of his career.

It’s also why he’s my choice for Frisco’s breakout player of the year.

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RIDERS REFLECTIONS

Wednesday: Breakout player
 Thursday: Craziest moment
 Friday: Best moment
 Saturday: Best single-game performance by an individual
 Sunday: Best game
 Monday: Final reflections on the 2017 season

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TONIGHT’S GAME: Riders vs. Corpus Christi, 7:05 p.m.
 PROBABLES: LHP Yohander Mendez (7–7, 3.54 ERA) vs. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (MLB rehab)
 TICKETS: Click here
 WEBCAST: MiLB.TV
 AUDIO: RidersBaseball.com, TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch App

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Baseball term of the day: Window-wearer — A player who wears eye glasses on the field.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)