Thursday, April 17, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

In addition to the moves posted yesterday, the following player moves also took place either late yesterday or this morning.

OKLAHOMA CITY
LHP Kevin Chapman optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City

CORPUS CHRISTI
LHP T.J. Geith released
LHP Patrick Urckfitz assigned from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi
1B Telvin Nash activated from the 7-day DL

LANCASTER
OF Justin Gominsky assigned to Extended Spring Training

Beat the Streak, April 17

So, I forgot that Corpus had a day off. If you picked someone on the Hooks, then we'll just treat that as a pass. But... don't forget to make your pick today, or your streak will go up in smoke.

The double-down rules will be a little more lenient than MLB.com's. If one of your picks got a hit and the other didn't, we'll treat that as a +1, instead of a lost streak.

To recap yesterday: In a bit of a panic, I doubled down with Tony Kemp and Austin Wates, and boy, did they deliver. Jayne got a double from Rio Ruiz in Lancaster, while Lee got one out of Teoscar Hernandez as well. Jeff Blogwell chose Carlos Correa and 2012's #1 delivered with a solo homer and his 3rd straight 2-hit game.

Today, I will be choosing Jon Singleton!

Tonight's Schedule

All times Central.

OKC @ Colorado Springs, 7:35
CC @ Frisco, 7:05
Lancaster vs. High Desert, 8:30
Quad Cities vs. South Bend, 7:00


TODAY'S PICKS

Jayne- Brett Phillips, OF, Quad Cities
Nance- Jio Mier, SS, Corpus Christi, and Domingo Santana, OF, Oklahoma City


CURRENT ACTIVE STREAKS

Me, Jayne, Lee White- Tied at 2

Nance, Anton Joe, Jeff Blogwell- Tied at 1

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1 A.G. (After George)

Oklahoma City 8, Colorado Springs 6

W- Raúl Valdés (1-0)
L- Dan Houston (0-1)
S- Josh Zeid (2)

OKC home runs: Jon Singleton (5, 2-run in 7th)

The RedHawks were trailing 6-1 after the 3rd inning, but finished the game on a 7-0 run which culminated in Singleton's tie-breaking blast in the 7th inning. And so, life after George began with a victory for the Oklahoma City RedHawks.

Gregorio Petit opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 3rd. Domingo Santana extended his hitting streak to 7 games with a single in the 2nd and hit a groundout that scored Singleton in the 4th. OKC got 4 in the top of the 6th to tie the game. Jonathan Meyer hit an RBI single, and then Andy Simunic hit into a force out that brought Erik Castro home. Austin Wates went 2-5 with a 2-run single. Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Simunic, who still got an RBI and scored despite going 0-4. Singleton finished 3-5, while Wates, Meyer, and Ronald Torreyes had 2 hits apiece.

Jake Buchanan was knocked around in his 2.2 innings; he allowed 6 runs (4 earned; all 6 runs came in the 3rd) on 7 hits (solo homer) and walked 2. The bullpen picked him up and limited the damage to only the 3rd inning.

Jose Cisnero got the final out of the 3rd... in fact, he retired all 9 Sky Sox he faced, striking out 6 of them. Raúl Valdés came on with 2 outs in the 6th.... and got 2 strikeouts in the inning. He struck out Jason Pridie on a wild pitch (he reached), and then got Tim Wheeler to look at strike 3 to actually end the inning. Valdés then proceeded to throw a scoreless 7th, working around a ground rule double from Ben Paulsen. Jason Stoffel struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Josh Zeid finished it with a 1-2-3 9th.

In game 3 of this series, Collin McHugh and Nick Tropeano will take on Tyler Matzek. First pitch is at 7:35.

Corpus Christi was off

So if you picked a Hooks player for Beat the Streak, it's alright. Your streak is safe and sound. Colton Cain and Brady Rodgers will be tonight's pairing for the series opener in Frisco. They will take on Nick Martinez at 7:05.

Lancaster 10, High Desert 0

W- Kyle Smith (2-0)
L- Dylan Unsworth (1-1)
S- Lance McCullers (1)

Lancaster home runs: Tony Kemp (2, led off game), Carlos Correa (2, solo in 7th)

The JetHawks took the series in emphatic fashion as Kyle Smith and Lance McCullers combined on a 3-hit shutout, and the offense completely overwhelmed the High Desert pitching staff. Everyone in the starting 9 had a hit, paced by Tony Kemp, who was a double shy of the cycle in 5 at-bats, and Carlos Perdomo, who finished 3-3. Lancaster scored in 5 straight innings (3rd-7th).

Kemp wasted no time in kicking off the scoring as he took Dylan Unsworth deep to begin the game. Teoscar Hernandez hit an RBI ground-rule double and Carlos Correa added a sac fly in the 2nd. Dan Gulbransen had a 1-out triple in the 4th and came home on a Perdomo sac fly.

Ruben Sosa led off the 5th with a single and scored on a triple from Kemp. An error from High Desert SS Tyler Smith allowed Kemp to score and Hernandez to reach; Teoscar was later credited with an RBI on the play. He would steal 2nd (6) and eventually score on Roberto Peña's single. Perdomo doubled to lead off the 6th and came around to score on a Danry Vasquez single. Correa led off the 7th with a homer (2), and one batter later, Rio Ruiz hit a double. Perdomo brought him home for the JetHawks' final run of the game, although he was thrown out between 1st and 2nd to end the inning.

Kyle Smith doesn't seem to be fazed by High Desert's reputation as being the most extreme hitter's park in baseball; remember, he threw a complete game shutout while allowing 2 hits in his 2nd start with the JetHawks on August 10, 2013. This time, he tossed 5 shutout innings and allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Lance McCullers finished it off with 4 scoreless and gave up a hit, walked 2, and struck out 2.

The JetHawks will head home to face these very same Mavericks. In the opener, Chris Devenski and Josh Hader will take on Tyler Pike at 6:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities 3, West Michigan 2 in 11 innings

W- Zach Morton (1-0)
L- Julio Felix (1-1)

QC home runs: None.

The Bandits won the series as Chase McDonald delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th. The big man finished 3-5 as he's looking to get himself going at the plate. They opened up the scoring with a pair in the bottom of the 1st; both runs came with 2 outs. Jack Mayfield doubled, then scored when Conrad Gregor sent a ball back up the middle. After a McDonald single put runners on the corners, Brian Holberton brought Gregor home with an infield single that was grounded to the pitcher. Gregor now has a 7-game hitting streak.

Michael Feliz got the start and threw 4 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 3, and striking out 4. Evan Grills allowed 2 runs (both in the 6th) on 6 hits and issued a walk in 3.2 innings. Tyler Brunnemann walked 1 and struck out 2 over 2.1 scoreless frames, and Zach Morton worked around a hit and a walk to pitch a scoreless 11th, striking out 1.

In a rematch of last year's Midwest League Championship Series, the River Bandits will welcome the South Bend Silver Hawks to Modern Woodmen Park for a 3-game series. Gonzalo Sanudo and Adrian Houser will take on Braden Shipley at 7:00.

Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Carlos Perdomo, Utility, Lancaster
3-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R


2.




Tony Kemp, 2B, Lancaster
3-5, 3B, solo HR (2), 2 RBI, 3 R

1.




Jon Singleton, 1B, Oklahoma City
3-5, 2B, 3B, 2-R HR (5), 2 R

Honorable Mentions: Chase McDonald, Austin Wates, Carlos Correa

Three Stars: Pitchers

Kyle Smith and Lance McCullers were dominant in pitcher's hell, while Jose Cisnero had a stellar relief outing in an environment that's not exactly easy to pitch in as well.

3.


Jose Cisnero, RHP, Oklahoma City
3 IP, 6 K




1.




Kyle Smith, RHP, Lancaster
W (2-0), 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K



Lance McCullers, RHP, Lancaster
Save (1), 4 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K




Astros MiLB League Leaders

After two full weeks of minor league play, let's look at some of the Astros minor leaguers who are league leaders. (Note that some stats are based on a minimum number of plate appearances or innings pitched. Therefore, some of the Astros farm hands with great numbers may not have enough PA or IP to qualify as league leaders.)

OKLAHOMA CITY/PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Jon Singleton
4th in SLG - .792
T4th in R - 15
T5th in H - 19
T3rd in 2B - 6
T2nd in HR - 5
1st in RBI - 18
T5th in BB - 10

George Springer
1st in R - 17
T9th in H - 18
T9th in BB - 9

Austin Wates
T6th in R - 13
T9th in H - 18
T9th in BB - 9
T2nd in SB - 5

Domingo Santana
T8th in 2B - 5

Max Stassi
T8th in 2B - 5

David Martinez
6th in WHIP - 0.92

Jason Stoffel
T2nd in Saves - 3

CORPUS CHRISTI/TEXAS LEAGUE

Preston Tucker
10th in BA - .327
8th in R - 8
3rd in H - 17
T4th in 2B - 4
T6th in RBI - 8

Andrew Aplin
6th in OBP - .439
T6th in RBI - 8
T1st in BB - 13
T7th in SB - 3

Matt Duffy
T8th in H - 13
1st in 2B - 6

Delino DeShields
T3rd in R - 10
T8th in BB - 7
T4th in SB - 5

Nolan Fontana
T 9th in R - 7

Kike Hernandez
T6th in R - 10
T8th in H - 13
T10th in 2B - 3

Tyler Heineman
T10 in 2B - 3

Jio Mier
T4th in RBI - 9

Brady Rodgers
7th in ERA - 1.29

Ross Seaton
8th in ERA - 1.42
T6th in SO - 14

Aaron West
5th in WHIP - 0.87

Travis Ballew
T5th in Saves - 2

Tommy Shirley
4th in SO - 16

Luis Cruz
T10th in SO - 12

LANCASTER/CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Tony Kemp
4th in BA - .357
2nd in OBP - .449
7th in SLG - .589
1st in R - 21
T2nd in H - 20
T5th in 2B - 5
T6th in BB - 9
T8th in SB - 4

Teoscar Hernandez
9th in BA - .345
9th in OBP - .409
4th in SLG - .655
T7th in R - 11
T2nd in H - 20
T5th in 2B - 5
1st in 3B - 5
4th in RBI - 15
5th in SB - 6

Rio Ruiz
T9th in H - 18
T5th in 2B - 5

Carlos Correa
T5th in RBI - 14

Vincent Velasquez
6th in ERA - 1.69
2nd in WHIP - 0.63
5th in SO - 19

Kyle Westwood
9th in ERA - 2.00
7th in WHIP - 0.89

Josh Hader
10th in ERA - 2.08
4th in WHIP - 0.85
4th in SO - 20

Jamaine Cotton
T4th in Saves - 2

Lance McCullers
T7th in SO - 17

Kyle Smith
T10th in SO - 16

QUAD CITIES/MIDWEST LEAGUE

Chan Moon
6th in BA - .355
10th in OBP - .412

Jack Mayfield
T2nd in R - 11
T9th in 2B - 4

James Ramsay
T8th in R - 10
T10th in H - 14
T1st in 3B - 2
T6th in SB - 6

Brett Phillips
T10th in H - 14

Jon Kemmer
T9th in 2B - 4

Tyler White
T9th in 2B - 4

Conrad Gregor
T6th in BB - 9

Andrew Walter
T1st in Saves - 2

I'll take a look at the standings and how the Team Batting and Team Pitching stack up against the other teams in the respective leagues tomorrow.

Happy Birthday - 4/17

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Nestor Tejada (17)
A July 2013 international signing out of  Venezuela, Tejada has yet to make his professional debut with the Astros. Expect him to play with the Dominican Summer League Astros later this season.

Two former Astros celebrate today as well ~

SS Jed Lowrie (30)
A first round draft pick by Boston in 2005, Lowrie came to Houston, along with Kyle Weiland, in a trade for Mark Melancon in December of 2011. In 97 games for Houston in 2012, he hit .244/.331/.438. He was traded in February 2013 to Oakland, along with Fernando Martinez for Max Stassi, Brad Peacock and Chris Carter. In 15 games for Oakland so far this season, he has a .357/.429/.625 batting line.

UT Denny Walling (60)
Walling was a first round pick by Oakland in 1975 and came to Houston in a trade in June of 1977 where he became a fixture until traded to the Cardinals in August of 1988 for Bob Forsch. Denny Walling was the quintessential utility player, moving among first base, third base, the outfield and a pinch-hitting role with ease and effectiveness. In 13 years for Houston, he hit .277/.345/.402 in 1072 games. One of his career highlights was hitting the game-winning home run in the division-clinching no-hitter pitched by Mike Scott in September 1986. Most recently, Walling has been the hitting coach for the Orioles AAA Norfolk affiliate since 2012.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

In addition to the news that some guy named George Springer got promoted to Houston, I found a couple more transactions for today.

OKLAHOMA CITY
2B Enrique Hernandez was assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
OF Robbie Grossman was optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City

LANCASTER
IF/OF Ruben Sosa was assigned from Oklahoma City to Lancaster

There was also this tweet noting that Telvin Nash was being assigned to Corpus Christi, but the transaction has not been posted on MiLB.com yet.

Beat the Streak, April 16

4-6 on Day 1.

Jayne, Lee, Nance, Anton Joe (@AntonJoeMLB) all saw Brandon Meredith, Preston Tucker, and Carlos Correa get their respective streaks going. Anton was actually the first to double down, as he also chose Jio Mier, who did not play last night.

Rip Noblin, who went with Jobduan Morales, and I, who picked Jack Mayfield... well, today's another day. I'm absolutely horrid when it comes to games of chance, so I will be invoking the double down every day for the foreseeable future. I'm just glad that we're not involving money in this..... yet. 

Today, my 2 will be OKC CF Austin Wates and Lancaster's dynamo 2B, Tony Kemp. Who's your pick(s)? Send them to me on Twitter using the hashtag #AstrosBTS, leave a comment at the bottom of this post (if anonymous, please leave a name), or on the WTHB Facebook page.

Today's Picks

Lee- Teoscar Hernandez
Jayne- Rio Ruiz
Nance- Jio Mier
Tyler Stafford (also known as the one and only Jeff Blogwell)- Carlos Correa & Delino DeShields

Of course, Mrs. Wates will be choosing her son. 

CURRENT ACTIVE STREAKS

Jayne Hansen, Lee White, Nance M, and Anton Joe- All tied at 1


Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let's play 2 in Davenport!

George Springer is coming! George Springer is coming!




Oklahoma City 11, Colorado Springs 9

Nothing in this game matters. All that matters is that GEORGE SPRINGER IS COMIN' TO HOUSTON, BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whoops, sorry. Got carried away there.

W- Mike Foltynewicz (1-1)
L- Christian Friedrich (0-2)
S- Josh Zeid (1)

OKC home runs: George Springer (3, grand slam in 2nd)

The RedHawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead after 2 innings, and then they needed to hang on for dear life. Nevertheless, they came out on top in the series opener.

George Springer, in what might have been his final game in the Minor Leagues, made it an unforgettable one. He went 3-4 with a 2nd-inning grand slam (3 home runs) and scored 4 runs.

OKC got 3 in the 1st from Gregorio Petit scoring on an error and a pair of RBI singles from Domingo Santana and Max Stassi. It is actually Stassi who has the longest hitting streak in the organization; he has a hit in all of the 11 games that he has played. Santana grounded into a force out in the 5th, which allowed Jon Singleton to score. Springer scored on a Stassi GIDP in the 7th, and in a 1-run game in the top of the 9th, Stassi hit a 2-run double to create some much, much-needed separation. Singleton, who was 2-5, and Santana, who went 1-5 are both on 6-game hitting streaks.

After a rough beginning to life in AAA, Mike Foltynewicz spun his best start of the season, as he went 5 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6. Rudy Owens struggled through 1.1 innings, giving up 5 runs (4 earned, 1 inherited) on 6 hits (2-run HR) and striking out 1. Chia-Jen Lo got the final 2 outs of the 7th, but allowed a pair of home runs (solo and 2-run shots) in the process. Jason Stoffel was the only RedHawks pitcher to not allow a run; he allowed 2 hits and struck out 1. Josh Zeid shook off a solo homer from Ben Paulsen to close the door.

Game 2 will feature TBA (this spot was vacated by Paul Clemens) and Jake Buchanan as they take on Christian Bergman. Early start for this one; first pitch will be at 11:05 A.M. Mountain.

Springfield 2, Corpus Christi 1

W- Zach Petrick (2-0)
L- Tommy Shirley (1-2)
S- Ronnie Shaban (2)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks dropped the series as they dropped their 2nd straight 2-1 decision.

Leo Heras hit an RBI single in the 2nd which tied the game at 1 at that point in time. Preston Tucker went 2-4 with a double. Other than the 2nd inning, the Hooks' chances for runs were few and far between; they stranded runners on the corners to end the 5th, which was the only time that the Hooks had more than one person on base at any point in the game.

Tommy Shirley got the start and went 4.1 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 inherited) on 5 hits, walking 1, and striking out 6. Andrew Robinson got the final 2 outs of the 5th, but he allowed the go-ahead single that resulted in one of the 3 runners he inherited from Shirley to score. Matt Heidenreich tagged in for 3 perfect innings, striking out 5. T.J. Geith (1st out) and Jorge De Leon (final 2 outs) combined on a 1-2-3 9th.

The Hooks will have a day off before they head up to the Metroplex to begin a 4-game series with Frisco. In Thursday's opener, Colton Cain and Brady Rodgers will take on Nick Martinez at 7:05.

Lancaster 5, High Desert 4

W- Vince Velasquez (3-0)
L- Blake Hauser (1-1)
S- Jamaine Cotton (2)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks got even as a run in the 9th broke a 4-4 tie in their favor.

Everyone in the lineup had a hit; Carlos Correa, Teoscar Hernandez, and Dan Gulbransen had 2 apiece. Correa tied the game in the 3rd with an RBI triple. Lancaster got a pair in the 4th on a couple of RBI singles from Carlos Perdomo and Tony Kemp, and Brandon Meredith added an RBI single of his own in the 5th. Kemp led off the top of the 9th with a walk, advanced all the way to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored the go-ahead run on a Hernandez double.

Kyle Westwood went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. This was the first time that Westwood has allowed 2 earned runs in any appearance. He did allow 2 runs 3 times with Tri-City last year, but each time, there was an unearned run. Vince Velasquez tagged in for 3 innings and was dinged by a 2-run homer from Patrick Kivlehan in the 6th, which tied the game at 4. Vince allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 3. Jamaine Cotton worked around a single to close the door, getting Tim Lopes to fly out to end the game. Cotton's one strikeout was of Steven Baron for the 2nd out of the 9th inning.

In the series finale, Kyle Smith and Lance McCullers will face Andrew Kittredge at 7:05 Pacific.

Game 1: West Michigan 6, Quad Cities 4

W- Matt Davenport (1-0)
L- Chris Cotton (0-2)
S- Joe Mantiply (2)

QC home runs: Brian Holberton (1, solo in 4th)

The Whitecaps put up 3 in the top of the 5th to take a 5-4 lead and scored 1 more in the 6th to take the first game in the twinbill.

QC got in the board first with 2 in the 2nd inning. Tanner Mathis reached on a force out which scored Conrad Gregor, and he would score on a Jon Kemmer double. James Ramsay went 2-3 with a double and led off the bottom of the 3rd with a triple; he scored on a Gregor single. Brian Holberton led off the 4th with a homer to put the River Bandits up 4-2 at that point in time.

Kent Emanuel went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned; 2 of those 4 runs were inherited) on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Chris Cotton couldn't hold the lead; he allowed both of the runners he inherited from Emanuel in the 5th to score, and then gave up 2 more of his own on 6 hits while striking out 1 in 3 innings.

Tough way to end game 1; would game 2 bring some good news for the River Bandits?

Game 2: Quad Cities 2, West Michigan 1 in 8 innings

W- Andrew Walter (1-1)
L- Scott Sitz (1-1)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits walked off with a split as Catfish Elkins delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 8th! Jon Kemmer led off the 8th with a double, advanced to 3rd on a James Ramsay sac bunt, and Elkins brought him home.

Ramsay scored the River Bandits' other run in the 3rd as he reached on an error from Willy Adames and scored on another Adames error, which allowed Conrad Gregor to reach. Gregor hit a double to lead off the 2nd to extend his hitting streak to 6 games, although he saw his 5-game RBI streak come to an end.

Jandel Gustave allowed an unearned run on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6 in 4.2 innings. Pat Christensen threw 1.1 scoreless and allowed a hit while striking out 2, and Andrew Walter tossed 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and fanning 2. He'd get the victory, thanks to Elkins' heroics.

In the series finale, Michael Feliz and Evan Grills will take the mound for QC, and they will be opposed by Chad Green. First pitch is at 7:00.

Three Stars

Today, there is only one.


George Springer, CF, Oklahoma City Houston
3-4, Grand Slam (3), 4 R

Welcome to Houston, Welcome to the Future

I was at the Astros game last night and it wasn't pretty. The starting pitcher, who only threw 56 of his 101 pitches for strikes, wasn't exactly helped out by an error from his left fielder, but that really wasn't the problem.

The Astros offense was, well, offensive. I'm not taking anything away from the Royal's Yordano Ventura, who at only 22 years of age, already looks like he could be a fixture in the Royals' rotation for a good long time. But it wasn't just last night's performance at the plate that was the problem.

At the beginning of last night's game, only two of the starters had batting averages over the Mendoza Line. Factor in Monday night's 12 strikeouts and the Astros team batting line for the nascent season is a very dismal .185/.258/.347.

As I left the game, I knew that this had to be the straw, the straw that would bring George Springer to the people. The dwindling crowd of diehard fans, including me, was starting to get restless, particularly after news spread that Springer had hit out a moon shot Grand Slam in Colorado Springs for the RedHawks last night. "It's time," I thought to myself, "How can the Astros not bring him up now?"

I wasn't home long when the news came that Springer did get the call and would be headed to Houston. Even though I thought Luhnow and Company would do their best to keep Springer down on the farm until the Super Two window closed, I knew that was no longer feasible. The long-suffering fans needed this. We can only take so much and the limit had been reached, at least mine had.

As fans, we don't need George Springer to be a superstar overnight. That is a lot of pressure to put on a pair of 24-year old rookie shoulders. But we need the hope that he represents. We need to see the light at the end of a very, very, very long tunnel. We've started to see some encouraging signs from the pitching staff, but now it's time to see a spark from the offense.

George Springer - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Springer will provide a spark in more ways than one. He is a very special player. He is shy and quiet and thoughtful away from the field. But on the field, Springer is silly and gregarious and charismatic and very, very talented. His teammates have a nickname for him.
I don't know what to expect from Springer when he gets to Houston tonight. Will he be a Rookie of the Year candidate like Ryan Braun or Mike Trout? Or will he take a while to settle in, like a Jose Bautista? My best guess is he will fall somewhere in between. Fans will need to be patient with him at times and realize that sometimes he will be Superman, but sometimes he will be Clark Kent.

What I do know is that Springer will provide a much-needed spark for both the Astros and their fans. Welcome to Houston, George. Welcome to the future, Astros fans.