Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, September 1, 2014

Season finales for all, while 2 will play on later this week.

Iowa 11, Oklahoma City 1

W- Dae-Eun Rhee (3-2)
L- Alex White (3-6)

OKC home runs: None.

In their final game as an Astros affiliate, the RedHawks were down 10-0 after 3 innings and finished the season by getting swept out of Iowa. Next season, they'll be the new AAA affiliate of the Dodgers.

The lone RedHawks run came in the 9th, when Andrew Aplin hit a sac fly. Jio Mier finished 3-4, while Preston Tucker and Max Stassi went 2-4 with a double apiece.

Alex White was shelled as he allowed 9 runs (5 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 9 hits, walked 3, and struck out 1 in just 2.1 innings. Ross Seaton pitched the next 3.2 innings and gave up a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2. David Martinez allowed an unearned run on 3 hits and struck out 1 in 2 innings.

Corpus Christi 8, San Antonio 4

W- Mitch Lambson (3-1, 4-2 season)
L- Adys Portillo (1-4)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (8, 15 season; grand slam in 7th)

The Hooks used a 5-run 7th to take control of this game, capped off by Meredith's slam.

Colin Moran kicked things off with an RBI single in the 1st. Carlos Perdomo added an RBI infield single in the 2nd. Telvin Nash hit a 3rd RBI single in the 5th. In the 7th inning, Teoscar Hernandez drew a bases-loaded walk which tied the game at 4, and one batter later, Meredith un-tied the game by emptying the bases with a 4-run homer. Teoscar finished 2-3 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base (2, 33 season), while Perdomo was 2-4. M.P. Cokinos went 2-4, and Delino DeShields scored twice and stole 2 bases (54).

Jordan Jankowski went 4 innings and, other than a 32-pitch 1st and a solo homer to Hunter Renfroe to lead off the 4th, he pitched rather well. He allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Matt Heidenreich tagged in for the next 2 innings; he allowed a run, a single, walked 1, and struck out 1. Juan Minaya got 2 outs in the 7th, both via strikeout, but he also allowed a 2-run homer to Jake Lemmerman. Mitch Lambson was the next man out; he went 1.1 innings and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1. Tyson Perez allowed a hit in a scoreless 9th.

Inland Empire 10, Lancaster 3

W- Eduard Santos (4-4)
L- Vince Velasquez (7-4)
S- David Murillo (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Well, the JetHawks will be stumbling into the playoffs as the 66ers swept them in this final series of the regular season.

Roberto Peña hit a 2-run double in the 2nd, and Ronnie Mitchell added an RBI groundout in the 3rd inning.

Vince Velasquez went 2 innings and all 6 of his outs were strikeouts. However, he also allowed 4 runs on 7 hits (solo homer) in the process. Evan Grills allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and struck out 3 over 3 innings. Dan Minor allowed a hit over 2 scoreless, Tyler Brunnemann struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Gonzalo Sañudo allowed 3 runs on 4 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The JetHawks will be off until Saturday as they await the winner of the South Division mini-series, which will be contested between Inland Empire and Lake Elsinore.

Burlington 8, Quad Cities 5

W- Alex Blackford (2-4)
L- Michael Feliz (8-6)
S- Ben Carlson (14)

QC home runs: Dayne Parker (2, solo in 7th), J.D. Davis (8, 13 season; solo in 8th)

The Bees just created enough separation between them and the Bandits.

Marc Wik kicked things off with a 2-run double in the 1st. He would be back in action in the 3rd as he scored on an RBI single from A.J. Reed. Parker's 2nd homer came with 1 out in the 7th, and Davis sent out his 13th with 1 out in the 8th. Ryan Bottger finished 3-5, while Davis, Wik, and Bobby Boyd had 2 hits apiece. Wik (11, 15 season) and Bottger (6, 8 season) also stole a base.

Michael Feliz allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 12 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 6 over 5 innings. Jandel Gustave tagged in for 2 innings and gave up a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1, and Jordan Mills allowed a 2-run homer to Brandon Bayardi in the 8th. He walked 1 and struck out 2.

Tri-City 3, Vermont 2

W- Brandon McNitt (2-1)
L- Jerad Grundy (4-7)
S- Ryan Thompson (12)

TC home runs: Ricky Gingras (3, solo in 9th)

The ValleyCats finished strong as they wrapped up the regular season with 5 straight victories.

Jose Solano opened up the scoring when he hit an RBI triple in the 3rd. He would score himself as Jason Martin grounded into a fielder's choice. In the 9th, Ricky Gingras hit his 3rd home run of the season. He and Mott Hyde both finished 2-4.

The first 3 Tri-City pitchers went 2 innings. Austin Chrismon allowed a hit and struck out 1. Brandon McNitt struck out 3, and Junior Garcia allowed a hit and fanned 1. Aaron Vaughn got 2 outs in the 7th, but also allowed a solo homer to Jose Brizuela. He walked 1 and fanned 1. Bryan Radziewski walked 1, but he got the final out of the 7th via strikeout. The Closer, Ryan Thompson, got a 2-inning save; he was dinged by a solo homer from Seong-min Kim with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. He walked 1 and struck out 1.

After a day off, the ValleyCats begin their quest for a repeat as they take on the Connecticut Tigers in a best-of-3 beginning Wednesday. First pitch is at 5:35.


Getting to Know Your Newest Astro: RHP Nick Tropeano

RHP Nick Tropeano will be the newest member of the Astros when he is officially added to the roster (presumably later today) as major league rosters are expanded. I really like Nick Tropeano, and not just because he's easy on the eyes.

Nick Tropeano - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Let me introduce you to him a little bit. I wrote this profile on him back in 2012, and did this interview back then as well, and then interviewed him again last year in Corpus. Enjoy!

Gulf Coast League Season Recap

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be looking at some of the standout players from each of the Astros minor league teams. Last week I looked at the offensive standouts and the pitching standouts on the Astros Dominican Summer League teams. Today, let's look at the Gulf Coast League Astros.

The team finished with a 28-32 record (.467 win percentage). As a team they ranked within the league as follows:

GCL Team Batting
.254 BA - 5th out of 16 teams
.337 OBP - 6th
.354 SLG - 6th

They were also first in strikeouts (ouch!) with 490 and second in stolen bases with 91.

GCL Team Pitching
3.90 ERA - 11th
1.425 WHIP - 13th
497 SO - 2nd
227 BB - 4th

Below I am indicating the player's current age with his birthday in parentheses. I am also including information as to how many years the player has been playing and whether or not this is his first season playing in the U.S. Any players who were promoted to Greeneville or above prior to the end of the season will be addressed in the season recap for that team.

CATCHERS

Brian Pena - 20 (6/14); 3rd season/1st in U.S.
The Dominican-born Pena only played in 17 games in the GCL, hitting .260/.315/.300 and catching 29% of would-be base stealers.

Ruben Castro - 18 (7/10); 1st season
Castro was drafted in the 19th round out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. In 20 games, the lefty hit .241/.349/.259. He only caught in seven games (22% caught stealing rate) and served as the DH in the remainder of the games.

Marlon Avea - 21 (8/31); 4th season/1st in U.S.
Avea, from Nicaragua, has been a plus defender throughout his career and his first stint in the U.S. was no different; he put up nice defensive numbers and caught 41% of base runners in the 15 games in which he caught. In 21 total games, he hit .279/.383/.353.

INFIELDERS

2B Frankeny Fernandez - 17 (12/7); 1st season
Fernandez played his first 50 games in the DSL, hitting .320/.435/.440 before being promoted to the GCL where he hit .250/.329/.294 in 19 games. In total, he hit 13 doubles, four triples and one home run and stole 35 bases. His defensive numbers were somewhat below average, but since he's not even 18 yet, I'm not too worried! Fernandez is from the Dominican Republic.

2B/SS/3B Arturo Michelena - 19 (10/15); 3rd season; 1st in U.S.
This young Venezuelan, however, put up plus defense at second base (average +/- at third and short). In 45 games, he hit .235/.320/.301.

SS Joan Mauricio - 17 (10/22); 1st season
Maurcio started his season in his home country of the Dominican Republic, playing his first 43 games with the DSL and hitting .275/.376/.444. However, the lefty only hit .127/.271/.211 in his 22 games with the GCL and his defense is still a bit rough. Maurcio hit nine doubles, ten triples and one home run for the season.

SS Osvaldo Duarte - 18 (1/18); 1st season
Also from the Dominican Republic, Duarte was having a great season at the plate before he was placed on the 60-day DL in late July. In 15 games in the DSL, he hit .270/.325/.378. After his promotion to the GCL, he hit .280/.341/.347 in 20 games. For the season, he hit seven doubles and three triples while collecting 19 RBI and 16 stolen bases in his 35 games. On paper, his defense at short was somewhat below average.

1B/DH Dexture McCall - 20 (1/29); 1st season
McCall was drafted by Houston in the 31st round this year. In 50 games with the GCL, he hit .258/.338/.343 and was starting to heat up in August when he hit .280/.386/.400. For the season he hit eight doubles, two triples and one home run with 29 RBI. He exhibited plus defensive skills at first base.

2B Will Dupont, who was obtained in a trade from the Blue Jays, only played in six games for the GCL Astros before being placed on the 60-day DL. Dupont was a 16th round pick in 2012, will be 21 in December and is in his third professional season.

OUTFIELDERS

Luis Payano - 18 (5/12); 2nd season/1st in U.S.
Payano was the only notable outfielder from the team who wasn't promoted. In 42 games with the GCL, Payano hit .257/.314/.434 (.284/.326/.494 in August). His defensive numbers skewed above average.

LEFTY PITCHERS

Yhoan Acosta - 19 (6/17); 2nd season/1st in U.S.
Acosta actually performed better after his promotion to the GCL (3.00 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 8 games/3 starts) than he did with the DSL (5.29 ERA and 1.647 WHIP in 8 games/7 starts). He struck out exactly one batter per inning pitched (67 in 67 innings) while walking only 22. He is from the Dominican Republic.

Kyle Gehrs - 23 (6/10); 1st season
Gehrs, a non-drafted free agent out of Central Missouri, had an unremarkable season, but was coming on strong in August with a 0.90 ERA and a 1.100 WHIP in seven games (10IP).

Cristhopher Santamaria - 18 (6/19); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
The Panamanian-born Santamaria put up excellent numbers in his first six games (five starts) in the DSL (2.20 ERA and 0.942 WHIP) before his promotion to the GCL. In 10 games (five starts) in the GCL, he had a 4.91 ERA and a 1.485 WHIP. Over a total of 61.2 innings pitched, he walked 11 batters while striking out 55.

RIGHT-HANDED PITCHERS

Francis Martes - 18 (11/24); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
Martes came to the Astros from the Marlins in the Cosart et. al. trade and only pitched in four games (three starts) for the GCL Astros in which he had a 0.82 ERA and a 0.727 WHIP. He is from the Dominican Republic.

John Gatlin - 23 (12/14); 1st season
Gatlin is a work in progress. A non-drafted free agent out of Ole Miss, he is being converted to a pitcher. For the season, he had a 1.29 ERA and a 1.643 WHIP in 13 games. In August, he had a 2.00 ERA and a 1.444 WHIP in eight games and walked four batters while striking out 11.

Justin Ferrell - 20 (4/21); 1st season
Ferrell was drafted by Houston in the 36th round this year. In 12 games (five starts), he had a 3.67 ERA and a 1.311 WHIP. He walked 12 batters while striking out 39 in 34.1 innings.

Joselo Pinales - 19 (11/16); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
Pinales started his season with the DSL team, starting four games with a 4.43 ERA and a 0.934 WHIP. He walked four batters and struck out 14 in 20.1 innings. After his promotion to the GCL, he had a 4.66 ERA and a 1.422 WHIP in 13 games (four starts) and walked 18 batters while striking out 24 in 38.2 innings pitched.

Later this week, we'll take a look at the Rookie League Greeneville Astros team.

A Farewell to the Regular Season and a Look at the Post-Season

It is with zero regret that I bid adieu to the 2014 regular season. Each year around this time I've hit a wall and those 5:00 a.m. writing sessions start to take their toll. I absolutely hate making mistakes in what I post, but each year it seems that more and more mistakes creep into my work toward the end of the season when I become mentally exhausted. I apologize for those mistakes. I always try to be accurate.

Many thanks to Dustin who has toiled thanklessly to get you the minor league recaps every day. With his post today, he will have recapped all but a handful of the 904 games played in the system this year. I do not know how he does it, but thankfully he has agreed to continue doing it again next year. And I would be remiss if I didn't thank DeAnna as well for handling the Facebook duties. She's done a great job with that.

I will continue to post regularly throughout the off-season as we follow those Astros players who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League and in Winter League ball in the more tropical climes. I will also continue interviewing players over the off-season and, hopefully, I can sweet talk Jeff Luhnow into continuing our annual State of the Farm System talk.

More immediately, over the next couple of weeks I'll be doing a season recap on each of the minor league teams (I've already done the DSL team), and I will have my Players of the Week, Month and Year coming out before too long. In other words, the posts will keep coming regularly and I hope that you will come back to read them.

But first, there are two Astros minor league teams in the playoffs ~

LANCASTER JETHAWKS

As the South Division first half champions, the JetHawks have a "bye" in the first round of the playoffs which is a Mini-Series between the second half champion (Inland Empire) and the Wild Card (Lake Elsinore). Those two teams will play a best-of-three series starting Wednesday so Lancaster will not know who their opponent in the South Division Finals will be until Thursday or Friday.

The best-of-five South Division Finals will start on Saturday, September 6th at 6:00 local time (8:00 CST) at The Hangar. The 'Hawks will play two at home on Saturday and Sunday; two on the road on Monday and Tuesday (if necessary); and will return to The Hangar for Game 5 on Wednesday the 10th if necessary. The Championship Series will start on Thursday the 11th.

The rotation for the Division Finals has already been announced: Vince Velasquez, Kent Emanuel, Kyle Westwood, Brian Holmes and Lance McCullers.

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS

The ValleyCats clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with their win on Monday. They will play Connecticut who won the Wild Card berth on Monday. Tri-City is 7-3 against Connecticut for the season. In a best-of-three series, the 'Cats will travel to Connecticut for the first game on Wednesday the 3rd at 6:35 local time (5:35 CST) on Wednesday and then return to The Joe on Thursday and Friday (if necessary). I have not seen the probable pitchers announced for that game yet.

Happy Birthday - 9/2

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Ronald Torreyes (22)
Originally signed by the Reds as a NDFA out of Venezuela, Torreyes came to the Astros system in a trade that sent two international bonus signing slots to the Cubs in July 2013. In 125 games with AAA Oklahoma City this season, he hit .298/.346/.377 with 20 doubles, five triples, and two home runs. He only walked 25 times, but then again, he only struck out 25 times over those 125 games as well!

IF Luis Reynoso (20)
Reynoso was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and first played for the DSL in 2012. Reynoso spent the 2014 season with the Greeneville Astros, hitting .233/.298/.310 in 36 games.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Iowa 11, Oklahoma City 8

W- Marcos Mateo (3-0)
L- Anthony Bass (0-2)

OKC home runs: Joe Sclafani (2, 3 season; solo in 2nd), Ruben Sosa (1, 5 season; 2-run in 5th)

What a kick to the dong. The Cubs scored 6 in the bottom of the 8th to erase the RedHawks' 8-5 lead, and coupled with Omaha's victory, OKC was eliminated from playoff contention.

Matt Duffy opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 3rd. One batter later, Ronald Torreyes laid down a sac bunt, and an error resulted in Preston Tucker scoring. Domingo Santana added a 2-run single. Sclafani sent one out in the 4th, his 3rd home run of the season, and Sosa smacked his 5th homer in the 5th, a 2-run shot that gave OKC a 7-4 lead. Sclafani finished 3-5 and added an RBI triple in the 8th.

Asher Wojciechowski went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs, all in the 3rd, on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Jason Stoffel was the first man out; he allowed a run on 4 hits and struck out 1 over 2 innings. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in the 8th. Anthony Bass only got 1 out and allowed 4 runs (3 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits (solo homer). Pat Urckfitz allowed a 3-run homer to Ryan Kalish and did not record an out. He allowed 2 runs, one of which was an inherited runner that was charged to him. Jorge De Leon finally got the last 2 outs of the inning, but he allowed a single that allowed one of Urckfitz's runners to score.

In the final game of the 2014 season, Alex White will take on Dae-Eun Rhee at 12:05.

San Antonio 7, Corpus Christi 1

W- John Hussey (5-5)
L- Darin Downs (0-1)

CC home runs: Telvin Nash (22, solo in 2nd)

Well, that home run you see above constituted the Hooks' offense.

Darin Downs allowed a run on a double play, a single, and walked 2 as he got 2 outs in the 1st. Mark Appel tagged in and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Travis Ballew allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 1.2 innings, and David Rollins allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1 over 2 innings.

In the season finale, Jordan Jankowski will take on Bryce Morrow at 4:10.

Inland Empire 9, Lancaster 5

W- Chris O'Grady (4-4)
L- Kent Emanuel (9-5, 9-7 season)

Lancaster home runs: Ronnie Mitchell (3, 16 season; solo in 4th), Brett Phillips (4, 17 season; solo in 7th)

The JetHawks' hopes of taking both halves in the California League South were dashed with this loss.

In the 3rd, an error on a force out attempt resulted in Chan-Jong Moon and Brett Phillips scoring the first 2 JetHawks runs. Mitchell led off the 4th with his 16th homer of the year, and then Danry Vásquez added an RBI single. Phillips sent out his 17th to lead off the 7th. He also added a stolen base (5, 23 season). Moon finished 3-4, while Catfish Elkins went 2-3 with a double.

Kent Emanuel went 4.1 innings and allowed 6 runs on 11 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Zach Morton allowed a run on 4 hits in 2.2 innings, and Pat Christensen pitched the final 2 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs on 3 hits, walking 3, and striking out 2.

Vince Velasquez will be on the mound in the final game of the regular season. He'll face Ray Hanson at 7:00.

Quad Cities 9, Burlington 4

W- Troy Scribner (1-2, 10-3 season)
L- Daniel Hurtado (2-4)
S- Keegan Yuhl (2)

QC home runs: J.D. Davis 2 (7, 12 season; solo in 2nd, 3-run in 6th), Chase McDonald (16, solo in 4th)

The Banditos did their part by winning, but the team they were chasing, Wisconsin, also won, which knocked them out of the playoff chase.

J.D. Davis kicked things off by sending out his first homer of the day in the 2nd inning. Chase McDonald followed suit in the 4th. Davis was back at it again as he delivered a haymaker in the form of a 3-run homer in the 6th inning. After the Bees scored 3 in the 7th to cut the Quad Cities lead to 6-4, the Bandits responded with a pair in the final 2 innings. Ryan Bottger hit an RBI double in the 8th, and he later scored on a sac fly from McDonald. Bobby Boyd ripped an RBI triple in the top of the 9th, and he scored on a sac fly from Dayne Parker.

Chris Lee allowed 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 over 4 scoreless. Troy Scribner tagged in for 3 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits (solo and 2-run homers), walked 3, and struck out 2. Keegan Yuhl allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 4 over the final 2 innings.

Michael Feliz takes the hill in the season finale. First pitch is at 2.

Tri-City 4, Vermont 1

W- Randall Fant (2-3)
L- A.J. Burke (6-4)
S- Derick Velazquez (4)

TC home runs: Terrell Joyce (11, solo in 5th)

The ValleyCats scored the game's final 4 runs as they took the first of 2 in this season-ending series.

Alex Hernandez hit an RBI single in the 3rd, which tied the game at 1. Terrell Joyce's 11th homer of the year led off the 5th and put Tri-City on top, and in the 8th, Nick Tanielu had an RBI double, and Jose Solano added an RBI infield single. Kristian Trompiz went 2-4 with 2 doubles and a run scored.

Randall Fant allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Francis Ramirez tagged in for 2 innings and allowed a hit and struck out 2. Aaron Vaughn threw a 1-2-3 8th, and Derick Velazquez allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in the bottom of the 9th.

Austin Chrismon will take on Jerad Grundy in the season finale. First pitch is at 4:05.

Astros Minor League Playoff Update

Only one game left in the minor league regular season and all has been decided except for opponents. Here is the latest. But first a word from our sponsor ~


OKLAHOMA CITY - Eliminated

Oklahoma City seems to have run out of gas as they went into their final series with Iowa. After winning five straight to get into the division lead, they then promptly dropped three in a row while Omaha won four straight. In the process, Omaha re-took the lead and last night they clinched the division. It was a valiant effort, but the 'Hawks fell just short.

CORPUS CHRISTI - Eliminated

LANCASTER - Clinched

The JetHawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half, but they were eliminated from holding the second half title in last night's loss to Inland Empire. Inland Empire currently leads Lake Elsinore by one game for the second half title with one game left to play. Those two teams will face off in the mini-series next week to see who will take on Lancaster in the Divisional Finals which will start next Saturday at The Hangar.

QUAD CITIES - Eliminated

Quad Cities did its part by winning yesterday, but Wisconsin also won, thus eliminating both Quad Cities and Peoria for the final playoff berth. They will play their final game today at 2:00 CST with Michael Feliz schedule to take the mound in search of his ninth win of the season.

TRI-CITY - Clinched

The 'Cats have won the Stedler Division and are in the playoffs. And headed into the last game of the season, they still don't know who they will be facing in the Semi-Final Championship Series. As things stand today, Tri-City is in a tie with State College for best league record (with Hudson Valley one game behind). The team with the best record will take on the Wild Card in that Semi-Final Series, but the Wild Card is also up for grabs as well with Brooklyn and Connecticut tied for that final spot. With a win today in their final game of the regular season, the ValleyCats would assure home field advantage throughout the playoffs because they hold the tie-breakers with both State College and Hudson Valley.

GREENEVILLE - Eliminated

GCL ASTROS - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS ORANGE - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS BLUE - Eliminated

Happy Birthday - 9/1

No future Astros with birthdays today, but two former Astros celebrate the day ~

LHP Dean Stone (84)
Stone played for the Colt 45's for part of the 1962 season. His first two games were complete game shutouts. When he was traded to the White Sox in June of that year, he had a 3-2 record with a 4.47 ERA. His best season was his 1954 All-Star season for the Washington Senators.

LHP Pat House (74)
Obtained from the Braves in the minor league draft in November of 1966, House had a short major league career, pitching for parts of two seasons with the Astros in 1967 and 1968. He was 2-1 with one save in 24 appearances over 20.1 innings, with a 7.08 ERA and a 1.475 WHIP.

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