Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday - 10/24

Happy Birthday to ~

Lancaster Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson (47)
Robinson has served as the hitting coach for the Lancaster JetHawks for the past five seasons. In 2013, he earned the California League Coach of the Year award. He also boasts two League Championship rings from two out of the last three seasons.

One former Astro also celebrates the day ~

RHP Mark Grant (51)
A first round pick by the Giants in 1981, Grant signed with Houston as a free agent in January of 1993. Less than four months later, he was traded to the Rockies. In the interim, he pitched in 6 games for the Astros with a 0.82 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Update on the 2008 Astros Draft Class

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to look back at some of the Astros draft classes and see where things stand. Today we'll look at 2008, the first class from the Ed Wade/Bobby Heck era. Let's look at the numbers:

52 players drafted
32 players signed
4 players still in the Astros system (plus one drafted later)
15 players still active in organized baseball in 2014*

27 position players drafted/15 signed/2 still in the system
11 from high school/4 signed/1 still in the system
5 from junior college/2 signed/0 still in the system
11 from college/9 signed/1 still in the system

25 pitchers drafted/17 signed/2 still in the system
11 from high school/6 signed/2 still in the system
8 from junior college/6 signed/0 still in the system
6 from college/5 signed/0 still in the system

*Of the 15 players who were still active in baseball in 2014, seven are high school players who did not sign with Houston, but later signed with other teams, two were released (Shuck and Simunic), one was traded (Lyles), one was drafted by Houston in a later year (Jankowski) and four are left from the original draft (Castro, Seaton, Cruz and Garcia).

Here is a little on each of them. Active Astros players are in bold. The position shown is the position at which the player was drafted, and I have also indicated in parentheses whether they were drafted out of high school (HS), junior college (JC) or college (C).]

Castro is the only one from the 2008 draft class who is currently on the Astros major league team. In four seasons at the major league level (2010, 2012 - 2014), he has a .243/.316/.399 batting line and a 27% caught stealing percentage.

1s. RHP Jordan Lyles (HS) - Traded

Lyles came as a supplemental pick as compensation for losing LHP Trever Miller in free agency. Lyles pitched in three seasons for Houston, going 14-29 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.454 WHIP before being included in a trade (along with outfielder Brandon Barnes) to the Rockies for OF Dexter Fowler and cash considerations. In his one season with the Rockies, Lyles is 7-4 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.366 WHIP.

2. OF Jay Austin (HS) - Released in 2012

Austin did not play in 2013, but showed up in independent ball in 2014. He has a career batting line of .254/.317/.354.

3. 1B Chase Davidson (HS) - Did not sign

Davidson did not sign out of high school but later signed in 2011 as he was re-drafted by the Astros in the 41st round that year.

3s. RHP Ross Seaton (HS)

The Astros received this pick as compensation for not signing Derek Dietrich in 2007. Seaton has made it as far as AAA, but injuries derailed much of his 2014 season. Between Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City and a rehab stint with the GCL, Seaton had a combined 4.20 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in 16 games (seven starts).

4. OF T.J. Steele (C) - Released in 2012

Steele was released by the Astros in May 2012 and then signed on briefly with the Padres organization before being released by them in July 2012. In the 327 games of his career, he hit .247/.284/.379.

5. LHP David Duncan (C) - Released in 2012

Duncan was actually released by the Astros in 2010, but then re-signed by them in early 2011 only to while away on the DL that entire season. In 50 games (46 starts) from 2008 through 2010, he was 10-23 with a 5.78 ERA and a 1.444 WHIP.

6. OF J.B. Shuck (C) - Released in 2012

Shuck made his major league debut for the Astros on August 5, 2011, hitting .272/.359/.321 in 37 games. He then spent all of 2012 playing in Oklahoma City and was released at the end of that season despite hitting a very healthy .298/.374/.352. Shuck was signed by the Angels shortly after his release by the Astros in late 2012. He had an excellent season for the Angels in 2013, hitting .293/.331/.366 in 129 games, but did not fare quite so well at the major league level in 2014 and was sold to the Indians in September 2014. His overall major league batting line to date is .264/.307/.333. Shuck turned 27 in June.

7. OF Jon Gaston (C) - Released in 2012

Gaston was released by the Astros in March of 2012 and spent time in independent ball and in the White Sox organization that year. After his release by the White Sox in June 2012, he continued to play in independent ball up through 2014. His career batting line is .254/.330/.446.

8. LHP Brad Dydalewicz (HS) - Released in 2012

Dydalewicz made it as far as Lancaster, but was released at the end of 2012 after putting up a career 6.41 ERA and 1.668 WHIP.

9. LHP Luis Cruz (HS)

Cruz spent the majority of his 2014 season at Corpus Christi and received a late season call-up to Oklahoma City. In 26 games (22 starts) in 2014, he had a 3.68 ERA and a 1.243 WHIP. He walked 38 while striking out 118 in 124.2 innings of work. He just turned 24 in September.

10. LHP Jarred Holloway (JC) - Released in 2010

Holloway only played in the organization for one season in 2008 (and did not play at all in 2009). In 13 starts, he was 4.05 with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.541 WHIP.

11. OF Jacob Priday (HS) - Released in 2010

Priday played only 32 games in the Astros system in 2008, hitting .216/.331/.324. He was on the restricted list for all of 2009 before being formally released in 2010.

12. SS Jeff Hulett (JC) - Released in 2009

Hulett played two seasons for the Astros (playing more at third base than at short) and then another three in independent ball. He had a career batting line of .216/.296/.293.

13. RHP Kyle Godfrey (JC) - Released in 2011

Godfrey played from 2008 through 2010 in the Astros system. After his release in March 2011, he played independent ball for one season. He has a career ERA of 4.14 and WHIP of 1.522.

14. RHP Chris Hicks (C) - Released in 2012

Hicks pitched in the organization from 2008 through his release in June 2012, although he missed the entire 2010 season on the DL. He made it as far as AAA and had a career ERA of 5.49 and a WHIP of 1.571.

15. C Phil Disher (C) - Released in 2010

Drafted as a catcher, Disher actually played first base for the organization in 2008 and 2009 before being released in early 2010. In a total of 110 games, he had a batting line of .257/.343/.451.

16. LHP Josh Poytress (HS) - Did not sign

Poytress was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 18th round in 2011 and played for them for two seasons before being released in early 2013. He played one more season in independent ball and had a career ERA of 3.57 and a WHIP of 1.422.

17. 2B Andy Simunic (HS) - Released in 2014

Simunic played in the Astros system until his release in early June of 2014. He was briefly picked up and subsequently released by the Braves organization. In his seven seasons with the system, he became a utility player, eventually playing at every position except catcher and hitting a career .276/.357/.339.

18, 3B David Flores (C) - Released in 2012

Flores played in the Astros system from 2008 through 2011 and was released in early 2012. For his career, he hit .258/.312/.430.

19. RHP Ashton Mowdy (JC) - Released in 2010

Mowdy pitched from 2008 to 2010, with a career 4.55 ERA and 1.477 WHIP.

20. C Shea Robin (C) - Did not sign

It appears that Robin never played professional baseball.

21. OF Rodarrick Jones (HS) - Did not sign

Jones was drafted by the Pirates in the 37th round in 2011 out of Southern University and A&M in Baton Rouge, and played in that system for two seasons, hitting .231/.352/.375 before his release in July 2012.

22. LHP Terrance Jackson (spelled Terrence in Baseball-Reference) (JC) - Did not sign

Jackson was subsequently drafted by the Mets in the 45th round in 2010 out of Oklahoma City University, but it appears that he did not sign with them either. According to B-R, his only professional experience was with a team in the Frontier League in 2011 for whom he pitched a total of 4.1 innings (12.46 ERA and 2.769 WHIP).

23. LHP Chase Huchingson (JC) - Did not sign

Huchingson was signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in July 2010 and is still in their system, having reached AA in 2014. He has a career 2.94 ERA and 1.277 WHIP in 132 games (318 innings).

24. OF Danny Meier (HS) - Released in 2009

After playing in only 64 games in the Astros system in 2008 and 2009, Meier was released in July 2009. He played in three additional games in the independent leagues as well in 2009. His career batting line was .196/.263/.366.

25. LHP Mike Hacker (JC) - Released in 2010

Hacker played in the Astros system in 2008 and 2009. After his release in March 2010, he played independent ball until signing with the Red Sox organization in July 2010. He was released by the Red Sox in July 2011 and played independent league ball through 2012. He has a career ERA of 4.68 and a WHIP of 1.626.

26. LHP Shane Wolf (C) - Released in 2012

Wolf pitched in the system from 2008 through 2011 with a career ERA of 5.08 and a WHIP of 1.468 before his release in January 2012.

27. RHP Nate Pettus (JC) - Released in 2012

Pettus pitched from 2008 through 2012 and was released in November 2012. For his career, he had a 4.60 ERA and a 1.504 WHIP.

28. RHP Zach Grimmett (HC) - Released in 2013

Grimmett was in the Astros system for five seasons. After his release in March of 2013, he was signed by the Phillies and spent a short time in that organization in May and June of 2013. For his career, he had a 6.62 ERA and a 1.635 WHIP.

29. SS Chris Jackson (C) - Released in 2010

Jackson spent two seasons in the organization, hitting .208/.269/.279 in 144 games.

30. 2B Mike Diaz (C) - Released in 2010

Diaz played two seasons in the Astros system. After his release in March 2010, he played a season in the independent leagues. Over his career, he hit .262/.316/.348.

31. RHP Philip Rummel (HS) - Released in 2010

Rummel was released in March 2010 after pitching in the Astros system for two seasons and went on to play one season of independent ball. He had a career ERA of 5.41 and a WHIP of 1.609.

32. SS B.A. Vollmuth (HS) - Did not sign

Vollmuth was drafted by Oakland in the 3rd round in 2011 out of the University of Southern Mississippi and played in that system from 2011 until his release in August of 2014. He had a career batting line of .231/.311/.391, playing mostly at third base.

33. RHP Shawn Armstrong (HS) - Did not sign

Armstrong was drafted by Cleveland in the 18th round in 2011 out of East Carolina University. He ended his season with Cleveland's AAA affiliate and has a career ERA of 2.43 and a WHIP of 1.248.

34. C Jordan Jankowski (HS) - Did not sign

Jankowski did not sign as a catcher back in 2008, but was re-drafted by the Astros (again in the 34th round) in 2012 out of Catawba College as a RHP. He has a 3.17 ERA and a 1.078 WHIP for his career thus far.

35. C Rene Garcia (HS)

Garcia spent his 2014 season at AA Corpus Christi where he had a 37% caught stealing percentage. His career batting line is .258/.300/.335.

36. RHP Austin Wood (HS)

Wood was drafted by the Rays in the 4th round in 2010 and did not sign and then again in the 6th round in 2011 by the Angels -- this time he did sign. Woods was a highly ranked prospect in the Angels system after the 2012 season, but missed much of the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to injury. In his four seasons in the Angels system, he has a 3.94 ERA and a 1.492 WHIP in 44 games (40 starts).

37. LHP Kirkland Rivers (C) - Released in 2010.

Rivers pitched in the Astros system for two seasons and then in independent league ball for another two seasons, ending his career with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.480 WHIP.

38. LHP Kris Castellanos (HS) - Did not sign

Castellanos played for Florida State one year and for Tampa University for one year, but it appears that he never played professionally.

39. C Tyson Van Winkle (C) - Did not sign

Van Winkle was drafted in the 10th round in 2009 by the Diamondbacks and played for four seasons in that organization with a career batting line of .231/.321/.293.

40. 2B Scott Lawson (JC) - Did not sign

Lawson was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 29th round in 2010 out of the University of Miami and played just one season in that organization, plus one additional season in independent ball. He had a career batting line of .273/.377/.407, playing at second base and third base.

41. OF Tony McClendon (HS) - Did not sign

McClendon was drafted again in 2010 in the 47th round by Oakland, but did not sign, and it does not appear that he ever played professionally.

42. OF Ryan Danbury (JC) - Did not sign

It appears that Danbury did not ever play professionally.

43. C Austin Green (HS) - Did not sign

Green was drafted by the Tigers in the 13th round in 2013 out of the University of San Diego and has played two seasons in that organization with a batting line of .261/.310/.416.

44. C Edmond Sparks (JC) - Did not sign

It appears that Sparks never played professionally.

45. LHP Grayson Garvin (HS) - Did not sign

Garvin was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round (supplemental) in 2011 out of Vanderbilt. In three seasons (2012-2014) in the Rays organization, he has a 3.75 ERA and a 1.224 WHIP.

46. LHP Mike Modica (C) - Did not sign

Modica was re-drafted by the Astros in the 24th round in 2009 and played for the Astros for two seasons before being released in April 2011. He had a 4.18 ERA and a 1.546 WHIP for his career.

47. OF Nathan Metroka (JC) - Released in 2009

Metroka played in the Astros system for two seasons, hitting .252/.317/.357.

48. RHP Danny Meszaros (C) - Released in 2013

Meszaros played in the system from 2008 through 2011 and sat out 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After his release in March 2013, he played one season of independent ball. He has a 4.05 ERA and 1.357 WHIP for his career.

49. RHP Chase Lehr (JC) - Released in 2009

Lehr pitched in the organization for one season with a 6.52 ERA and a 2.276 WHIP before his release in May of 2009.

50. OF Jamal Austin (HS) - Did not sign

Austin was drafted by Seattle in the 13th round in 2013 out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is still playing in that organization. In a total of 360 games, he has hit .290/.343/.356.

Previous draft reviews:

2007 Draft
2012 Draft

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

I forget to post one day... and you don't get to hear about Leo Heras' 2-homer night south of the border.

Results for Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Salt River 5, Peoria 0

W- Vince Velasquez (1-1)
L- Aaron Northcraft (1-2)

Salt River HRs by Astros players: None.

4 Salt River pitchers combined to throw a 2-hitter, and Vince Velasquez led them off as he allowed a hit and struck out 2 over 4 innings. Rio Ruiz got the start at 3B and went 1-2 with a couple of walks and scored a run. 


Águilas 10, Estrellas 6

W- Johan Yan (1-0)
L- Esmerling Vasquez (0-1)

Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.

Águilas seized momentum by putting up a 5-spot in the 7th to take a 7-4 lead, and added 3 more to push it to 10-4. Jonathan Villar was 1-5 with 2 runs scored; that 1 hit was an RBI single in the 8th. René Garcia, who scored on the play, was 1-4. 

Toros 5, Licey 3

W- Raul Valdes (1-1)
L- Kastuki Matayoshi (0-1)
S- Edwar Cabrera (1)

Toros HRs by Astros players; None.
Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

The Bulls of the East scored 5 unanswered runs before Licey could answer.

Teoscar Hernandez went 2-4 with a double and a run scored in the 8th. For Licey, Domingo Santana was 1-4 with 2 strikeouts, and Ruben Sosa flied out as a pinch-hitter in the 8th.


Caracas 4, Magallanes 3

W- Loiger Padron (2-0)
L- Jose Mijares (0-2)
S- Jesus Pirela (5)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

Danry Vásquez went 1-3 with an RBI single in the 8th for Caracas, while David Martinez got the start for Magallanes. He went 5 innings and allowed a solo homer to Henry Rodriguez in the 1st, 2 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 5 in 5 innings of work.


Tampa Bay 7, Caracas 3

W- Alberto Casanas (1-0)
L- Andres Mendoza (0-1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

Jonathan Matute was 1-2 with an RBI single in the 4th, and Nestor Tejada struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 9th.


Jalisco 6, Navojoa 4

W- Orlando Lara (2-0)
L- Mario Gonzalez (0-1)
S- Brian Broderick (4)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: Leo Heras 2 (3; solo in 1st, solo in 5th)

Leo Heras had a big night for los Charros (the Horsemen) as his 2 solo shots were key. All 3 of his hits went for extra bases and resulted in an RBI; he had an RBI double in the 3rd sandwiched in between his homers. Japhet Amador went 1-4. 

Mexicali 4, Culiacán 2

W- Francisco Rodriguez (1-1)
L- Oscar Villarreal (0-1)
S- Anthony Slama (2)

Gonzalo Sañudo was the first reliever in for Culiacán; he allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 6th inning.

Results for Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Salt River 9, Surprise 2

W- Jayson Aquino (2-0)
L- Nick Howard (1-1)

Salt River HRs by Astros players: None.

The Rafters used a pair of 4-run innings to sink the Saguaros. 

Andrew Aplin went 0-4 with a walk and a run scored, while Joe Sclafani came through with a 2-hit day. His first was a 2-run single in the 2nd that put Salt River up 4-0, and he plated the final Rafter run of the afternoon with an RBI double in the 8th.

Mitch Lambson threw a scoreless 6th despite walking 2. 

The Rafters and Saguaros will play again at Salt River Fields; they'll be the late game. First pitch is at 6:35 Mountain.


Águilas 2, Escogido 1

W- Johan Yan (2-0)
L- Merrill Kelly (0-1)
S- Matt Ramsey (1)

Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.

Águilas' 2 in the 4th held up, despite a choppy 9th inning. Jonathan Villar went 1-4 with a double and scored 1 of the 2 runs. 

These two teams will play again on Friday at 7:30 Atlantic. Águilas has today off. 

Gigantes 4, Toros 1 in 10 innings

W- Jhonny Nuñez (1-0)
L- Frank Garces (0-1)
S- Ramon Ramirez (2)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.

Teoscar Hernandez went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout, but he scored the lone Toros run on a Tyler Moore groundout in the 5th. 

Gigantes will take on Escogido tonight in the lone game on the LIDOM slate. Toros have the day off, but they'll hit the road to face Gigantes again tomorrow night in San Francisco de Macoris. 

Estrellas 11, Licey 1

W- Radhames Liz (1-0)
L- Mitch Atkins (0-2)

Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

Ruben Sosa served as the DH in this game, which was all Estrellas. He led off the bottom of the 6th with a triple and scored Licey's only run on a groundout from Elmer Reyes.

Both teams have the day off and will play each other again on Friday. Estrellas will be the host that night.


Navojoa 6, Jalisco 1

W- Eddie Gamboa (1-0)
L- Juan Delgadillo (0-3)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: None.

Navojoa rattled off a pair of 3-run innings, and their pitchers shackled the Jalisco offense in the south of Sonora.

Leo Heras went 1-3, and Japhet Amador finished 2-4. 

Both of these teams will conclude their series tonight at 7:30 Mountain.

Happy Birthday - 10/23

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

2B George Williams (died May 14, 2009 at age 69)
Drafted from the Phillies in the 1961 expansion draft, Williams played in only five games for the Colt 45's in 1962, hitting .375/.375/.500 in eight plate appearances.

RHP Bo McLaughlin (61)
A first round pick for the Astros in 1975, McLaughlin played for Houston from 1976 to 1979.  He had a 9-15 record over 87 appearances with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.352 WHIP.  He was traded to the Braves in 1979 for Frank LaCorte. In 2014, he was the Bullpen Coach for the Colorado Rockies.

2B Kazuo Matsui (39)
Matsui signed with Houston as a free agent in November 2007 and played for the Astros from 2008 until his release in May of 2010. In 255 games with Houston, he hit .259/.315/.370. After his release, he played briefly in the Rockies minor league system. He has played in the Japan Pacific League for the past four seasons for Rakuten. Matsui was responsible for placing the phrase "anal fissure" in the lexicon of Astros lore. Thanks for that.

OF Ben Francisco (33)
Francisco came to Houston in the 10-player megatrade with the Blue Jays in July 2012 and departed via trade to Tampa Bay six weeks later. In the interim, he played in 31 games, hitting .247/.289/.365. Ah, Benny Fresh, we hardly knew ye.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Astros AFL Eyewitness Report and Random Observations

Wallee Wright has your eyewitness account of yesterday's Arizona Fall League action, along with some random observations ...

Seattle has replaced RHP Taijuan Walker on the roster of the Surprise Saguaros with LHP Scott DeCecco … as previously noted, AFL hitters were overmatched with Taijuan in the two games he started – nine innings, two runs, seven hits, two free passes and eleven strikeouts for a 2.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. It seems Walker, 22, made the decision himself to go home, not the Mariners … though Taijuan had a shoulder issue last year that delayed his 2014 season start to June, the M’s reported he is in good health – a young man from Louisiana would find little to like in the deserts of Arizona, and that is particularly true of shrimp and seafood - I’m sure the AFL hitters will heartily endorse Taijuan’s return home for a little gumbo and some LSU football.

With Taijuan gone fishing, the Peoria Javelinas’ and Kansas City’s Kyle Zimmer was the last remaining challenger to Mark Appel for King of the Mountain, or Desert in this case … but in the first inning of Saturday’s start Kyle tweaked the shoulder he had injured earlier this season and now the Arizona Fall League Week Two Pitcher of the Week is shut down for the remainder of the AFL season – this after striking out eleven in a five inning stint last week. That is no typo folks … and while your Salt River Rafters/Astros wish Kyle a rapid recovery I’m confident they won’t miss the opportunity to face him this fall. And that brings us to our man, Mark Appel …

Following a third consecutive outstanding performance, each building upon the previous, one can’t help but wonder what more Mark Appel has to prove this year … though I’m sure his detractors will note that Mark didn’t throw a 96MPH fastball until the fifth inning yesterday – what the hell, it was only ninety degrees for his 12:30 local time start. Appel needed only 54 pitches in his five innings work to dispatch a very good Peoria team … in three appearances Mark has now thrown twelve scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three bases on balls while striking out twelve – that’s a 0.00 ERA and 0.58 WHIP for those of you who rely upon those measures. It might be fair to ask at this point if it is worth the risk of injury to keep rolling Mark out when it has become quite clear that Appel is best pitcher still in Arizona.

Vincent Velasquez threw again today … and it was the antithesis of his only previous start in Glendale last Wednesday. The AFL had not been a pleasant experience for the 22-year-old California League strikeout artist who had given up two home runs in his four innings of work prior to this afternoon’s start … Velasquez carried an 11.25 ERA and 2.25 WHIP into today’s start and was in the unenviable position of having to follow Appel’s beat down of a Peoria Javelinas team starting three MLB Top-100 players. No problems today Astros fans … four innings, twelve batters, fifty pitches – thirty-one for strikes – and Houston, we have a winner. It was not the same guy I drove eighty miles round trip to see get creamed by a 5-6-1 Glendale Desert Dogs team … Vincent was completely in charge today and his teammates appeared genuinely excited for him.

Good hitting requires many things but very few of these can be more important than confidence … and right now Andrew Aplin could use a little of that commodity. After leading the AFL in hitting for ten days Andrew suddenly cannot buy a hit, going oh-for-nine and striking out four times since last Friday … his batting average has dropped from .529 to .346 with this slump which began when he fouled a pitch off home plate and into his nether regions. Hopefully a day or two off will give Andrew a chance to regroup, refocus, and get back into the batting title race.

Tyler Heineman continues to get the short end of the stick in the four-way battle for time behind the dish … yesterday the Arizona Diamondback’s Peter O’Brien caught Mark Appel, taking with it the one opportunity every week that Tyler had to play. It’s obviously a conspiracy … O’Brien and Miami’s Chad Wallach have caught eight of the twelve games thus far while Colorado’s Chris O’Dowd, a Taxi Squad member of the roster, has the other two starts – I also have the straight poop on Area 51 and the shooter on the knoll, but the authorities won’t allow me to divulge my sources. Tyler is a 23-year-old switch hitter who has two hits and two walks in his seven plate appearances … however, when he returns home to California and he’s asked how the Fall League went he can truthfully say: ‘I raked it – a .400/.579/.400 slash line’.

If Tyler has been short-changed this Fall, Rio Ruiz has not … Rio has started nine Rafters games at either 3B or DH and has been one of the few reliable gloves in a very porous infield for the Rafters. And now his bat is beginning to show some life. Ruiz got the start today at third, batting sixth, and hit well as Dustin will inform you … he’s making very solid, loud, contact now as opposed to ground balls of two weeks ago. Nothing close to going deep as yet, but Salt River Field is no grade school playground … 345-390-410-390-345, left to right – or right to left if you read that way.

Tyson Perez handled the ninth inning is very typical Tyson style … here it is, hit it if you can boys. Ten pitches, eight strikes … .000 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, seven strikeouts and one stinkin’ walk in seven innings to date. Tyson is so automatic he’s almost boring … good times are coming folks, just you wait and see.

Gonna take a pass on the bobble-head giveaway in Surprise Wednesday afternoon, so I’ll check back with you on Friday with my perspective on Thursday’s game with the Saguaros. But fear not, Dustin is back!

~Wallee Wright~

Happy Birthday - 10/22

Happy Birthday to ~

SS Joan Mauricio (18)
An international free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic, Mauricio had a very successful freshman season in 2014. In his first 43 games for the Dominican Summer League Astros, Mauricio hit .275/.376/.444, leading to his promotion to the Gulf Coast League for his final 22 games of the season (.127/.271/.211).

Several former Astros mark the day as well ~

SS/OF Brian Bixler (32)
A second round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2004, Bixler was claimed by Houston off waivers from the Nationals in November 2011. In his only season with the Astros, he split his time between Oklahoma City and Houston. In 75 games with the Redhawks, he hit .269/.346/.361. In 36 games with Houston, he hit .193/.253/.330. Most recently, he played in the Padres minor league system in 2014.

LHP Frank DiPino (58)
DiPino came to Houston as a part of a September 1982 trade with Milwaukee for Don Sutton. In 201 games pitched for the Astros from 1982 to 1986, he had a 3.65 ERA and a 1.304 WHIP. He left Houston in a July 1986 trade for Davey Lopes.

RHP Cecil Upshaw (died February 7, 1995 at age 52)
Upshaw came to Houston in an April 1973 trade with Atlanta. In 35 games out of the bullpen that season, he was 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.383 WHIP. After the season, he was traded to Cleveland.

CF Gerald Young (50)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the fifth round in 1982, Young came to Houston in an August 1984 trade with New York. Playing for the Astros from 1987 to 1992, Young hit .246/.330/.302 and stole 153 bases.

Manager "Harry the Hat" Walker (died August 8, 1999 at age 82)
Walker managed the Astros from 1968 to 1972 and compiled a 355-353 record. According to Wikipedia:
"Harry the Hat" got his nickname from his habit during at-bats of continually adjusting his cap between pitches — there were no batting helmets in his day.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

It's good to be back after spending the past week grieving for my grandpa. Although he is no longer with me, I take great solace in the fact that he is now at peace.

Now, without further ado...


Salt River 4, Peoria 2

W- Mark Appel (1-0)
L- Jaime Schultz (0-3)

Salt River home runs by Astros players: None.

The Rafters doubled up the Javelinas in the afternoon, but it was Mark Appel's fine start that got the headlines.

Appel tossed 5 shutout innings and allowed just 2 hits while striking out 4. Rio Ruiz went 0-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a run scored, and Andrew Aplin went 0-4 with 2 Ks.

Both of these teams will play again today at Salt River Fields at 12:35 Mountain.


Águilas 7, Gigantes 1

W- Frank Batista (1-0)
L- Fabio Castro (0-1)

Águilas home runs by Astros players: None.

This game between the two teams representing the Cibao region of the DR was originally scheduled for the 17th but was postponed. Águilas busted out for 5 in the final 3rd of the game (2 in the 7th, 3 in the 9th) to blow open a 2-0 game. Jonathan Villar went 0-5 with a strikeout, but he also scored twice.

Águilas will travel east to take on los Estrellas del Oriente, or the Eastern Stars. Gigantes will have Tuesday off.