Saturday, April 30, 2016

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, April 29, 2016

Astros affiliates split their contests with Padres affiliates on Friday night.

El Paso 6, Fresno 5

W- Derek Eitel (1-0)
L- James Hoyt (0-2)

Fresno home runs: Jon Singleton (5, solo in 3rd)

The Grizzlies rallied to tie the game at 5 with a 3-run 8th inning.... only to see El Paso break the tie with the eventual winning run in the top of the 9th.

A.J. Reed put Fresno on the board with an RBI double in the 1st. Jon Singleton added another run in the 3rd with his 2nd homer in as many nights. In the 8th, Colin Moran hit a 2-run single, and Singleton struck again, driving in the tying run with an RBI single. Singleton finished 2-4 for the second straight night.

Brady Rodgers allowed 4 runs on 9 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 3 in 4.1 innings. César Valdez allowed a hit and struck out 1 over 2.1 scoreless. Kevin Chapman got the final out of the 7th with a strikeout. Juan Minaya allowed a run on a double and walked 1 in the 8th. James Hoyt allowed the go-ahead run on a sac fly in the 9th inning.

In game 3 of this series, Mike Hauschild takes on Jeremy Guthrie. First pitch is at 7:05.

Frisco 8, Corpus Christi 7

W- Cody Palmquist (1-0)
L- Francis Martes (1-2)

CC home runs: Chase McDonald (4, grand slam in 7th)

The Roughriders spoiled a huge night from Chase McDonald as they went ahead with a 5-run 8th.

McDonald was effectively the Hooks offense as he went 3-4 and drove in 6 of their 7 runs. He opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st, added a sac fly in the 3rd, and clubbed a grand slam in the 7th that put Corpus up 7-3 at that point. Alfredo Gonzalez had an RBI groundout in the 4th. D.J. Fisher went 2-4 with a double and scored a run.

Brian Holmes went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Francis Martes will be looking to put a tough first month behind him. He allowed 6 runs (5 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 2.1 innings. Michael Freeman got the final 2 outs of the 8th, but not before the go-ahead run that was charged to Martes scored.

Edison Frias will get the start tonight. He'll take on Frank Lopez at 7:05.

Lancaster 1, Lake Elsinore 0

W- Trent Thornton (1-0)
L- Dinelson Lamet (3-1)
S- Josh James (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks took game 1 from the Storm thanks to a combined 1-hitter from Trent Thornton and Josh James.

Thornton allowed the hit and struck out 5 in 5 innings, while James walked 1 and fanned 6 in 4 innings.

Nick Tanielu went 2-3 and drove in the only run of the night with an RBI single in the 1st. Tanielu is currently on a 6-game hitting streak. Bobby Boyd stole 2 bases, making him the first man in the system to reach double digits in stolen bases.

Brock Dykxhoorn will start game 2 of this series. He'll face Thomas Dorminy at 6:00 Pacific.

Quad Cities 2, West Michigan 1

W- Sebastian Kessay (1-2)
L- Toller Boardman (1-3)
S- Andrew Thome (3)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos scored the last 2 runs of the game to edge the Whitecaps in game 1. They won despite going 0-13 with runners in scoring position.

Brooks Marlow drove in Quad Cities' first run of the evening on a fielder's choice that scored Christian Correa in the 5th. Connor Goedert hit a single in the 8th, and Kyle Tucker scored the go-ahead run on the ensuing error. Bobby Wernes went 3-3 with 2 doubles, while Correa finished 2-3.

Kevin McCanna went 4 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Ryan Deemes was the first man out, and he worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 5th. Sebastian Kessay allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6 over 3 scoreless to get the win, and Andrew Thome shut the door despite allowing 2 hits in the 9th.

In game 2, Justin Ferrell will make his 2016 debut. He'll take on Beau Burrows at 6:00.

Four Stars

3.

Sebastian Kessay, LHP, Quad Cities
W (1-2), 3 IP, 3 H, BB, 6 K


2.

Chase McDonald, 1B, Corpus Christi
3-4, Grand Slam (4), 6 RBI


1.

 

Trent Thornton and Josh James, RHPs, Lancaster
Thornton: W (1-0): 5 IP, H, 5 K
James: Save (1), 4 IP, BB, 6 K

Honorable Mentions

Jon Singleton, 1B, Fresno: 2-4, solo HR (5), 2 RBI
- Another good performance for Singleton as he's trying to shake off that slow start.

Nick Tanielu, IF, Lancaster: 2-3, RBI
- He's a professional hitter. No matter where's he at, Tanielu has always performed.

Bobby Wernes, 3B, Quad Cities: 3-3, 2 2B
- Wernes is trying to find the form that made him the NYPL batting champion last year. This is a good start.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Getting to Know Hooks RHP Brendan McCurry

Mention Brendan McCurry's name to any of his coaches or teammates and you will likely get the same response I did -- a quick grin and a shake of the head. You get the sense that McCurry is just a little bit crazy, but in a good way. In any event, the small-statured Oklahoma native loves nothing more than to prove his doubters wrong, something that he has done since he was drafted by the Athletics in the 22nd round in 2014.

Brendan McCurry - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Before interviewing McCurry last weekend in Corpus Christi, I read him this excerpt from the 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook.
Brendan McCurry is the Rodney Dangerfield of minor league relief pitchers. He gets no respect. Pundits seem to think that he's an over-achiever who will fall back to earth from the lofty heights of converting 27 of 28 save opportunities and striking out almost 44% of all the batters he faced in 2015. Fangraphs seems to think he's doomed to fail because of his Mahalanobis distance comps. [Note to Fangraphs: This is why a war still rages between the casual or old school fan and the statheads. Seriously, linking to a Wikipedia page that only a math major could love to explain why McCurry is destined to fail is just rude. Seriously. If you want to convert the casual fan, explain things in English, not High Level Mathematics! Rant over.]
But despite this take from Fangraphs, McCurry has been very successful to date playing in the A's organization prior to his November 2015 trade to the Astros for IF Jed Lowrie. Corpus Christi Hooks Manager Rodney Linares was very familiar with McCurry, pointing out that "he was the guy who beat us last year in the playoffs" when he was on the A's AA Midland RockHounds team. Linares only exaggerates a little when he attributes McCurry's success to the fact that he "throws from like 17 different angles, throws like 30 different pitches."

Hooks Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski calls McCurry "very creative" citing his ability to show hitters a lot of different looks by throwing several pitches from varying arm angles. "It's really hard for [hitters] to pick up. It's a lot of fun to watch," said Borkowski. Borkowski also noted that McCurry "competes like crazy" with a bulldog mentality.

Here's what McCurry had to say about his expansive pitch repertoire, advanced metrics and his favorite way to unwind at the end of the day.



The final thing I wrote about McCurry in my book was this ...
As to McCurry's prospects for success, I'll just say that the Astros statheads probably knew what they were doing when they looked at obtaining him. It is my sincere hope that he continues with his excellent results and that he makes those Mahalanobis distance comps look as silly as he does those hitters.
>>>>>>><<<<<<<

Thank you for your time, Brendan, and best of luck as the season unfolds.


Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, April 28, 2016

Let's play 2 in the Quad Cities!

Fresno 4, El Paso 2

W- Asher Wojciechowski (2-1)
L- Greg Reynolds (1-2)
S- Jandel Gustave (1)

Fresno home runs: Eury Perez (1, solo in 3rd), A.J. Reed (5, solo in 5th), Jon Singleton (4, solo in 6th)

The Grizz put on a show of power as they took game 1 from the Chihuahuas.

Asher Wojciechowski also delivered a fine performance on the mound as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 9 in 7 innings of work. Jordan Jankowski and Jandel Gustave carried him to the finish line with a scoreless inning apiece. Jankowski worked around a hit in the 8th and struck out 1, while Gustave fanned 1 in a 1-2-3 9th to earn the save.

Eury Perez finished 3-4 and put Fresno on the board with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. He also drove in the only run that wasn't the product of a home run with an RBI single in the 4th. A.J. Reed clubbed a solo shot of his own in the 5th, and ditto for Jon Singleton in the 6th. Jay Sing finished 2-4.

In game 2 of this series, Brady Rodgers will take on Carlos Pimentel. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Midland 8, Corpus Christi 1

W- Dylan Covey (1-1)
L- Kyle Smith (0-3)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks suffered the sweep as their offense continues to be mired in a haze following Alex Bregman's injury. In the last 39 innings of this series, they only scored 2 runs.

Chase McDonald opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st, and that was all the scoring that Corpus did in this one.

Kyle Smith went 4 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Aaron West was the first man out and he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits (solo homer) and struck out 2 in 2 innings. Brendan McCurry struck out 3 over 2 perfect frames, and Reymin Guduan, who struck out 2 in the 9th, yielded his first run of the year when Matt Chapman took him deep for a solo shot, which was the only hit he allowed in his outing.

Corpus will now head to Frisco for a 4-game series. Brian Holmes will start game 1. First pitch is at 7:05.

Lancaster 5, Bakersfield 4

W- Eric Peterson (1-0)
L- Ramon Morla (0-2)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The late innings were much more kind to the JetHawks this time around as they walked off with the win.

Ramon Laureano put Lancaster on the board with an RBI double in the 1st inning and struck again with an RBI triple in the 3rd. After the Blaze broke the 2-2 tie, Alejandro Garcia pulled a run back with an RBI groundout in the 8th, and the JetHawks mounted their rally in the 9th.

Nick Tanielu, who came on as a pinch-hitter, hit a 1-out single and advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch. Bobby Boyd followed with an infield single. Jason Martin went down on strikes for the 2nd out, but Laureano drew a walk to load the bases. One batter later, Jamie Ritchie came through with a game-tying RBI single, and the bases remained loaded for Garcia, who took one for the team and got plunked, which allowed Boyd to trot home for the winning run. Unconventional, but a win is a win no matter how it's obtained. Laureano finished a home run shy of the cycle, while Ritchie went 2-5.

In his California League debut, Rogelio Armenteros went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs (both in the 1st), a double in the 3rd, walked 3, and struck out 5. The 2 runs he allowed came on a wild pitch and a groundout. Ryan Thompson allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 2.2 innings, and Eric Peterson threw 1.1 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 2, and striking out 2.

Lancaster will finish April with a weekend series in Lake Elsinore. In game 1, Trent Thornton will take on Dinelson Lamet. First pitch is at 7:00 Pacific.

Game 1: Quad Cities 11, South Bend 2

W- Chris Murphy (1-2)
L- Justin Steele (1-3)

QC home runs: Connor Goedert (1, 2-run in 6th)

The Banditos struck early and often in game 1 and dealt the knockout blow with 5 runs in the 6th to turn game 1 into a laugher.

Chris Murphy was the beneficiary of some tremendous run support, but he had a solid outing himself, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits (7 singles and a double) and striking out 2 in 6 innings of work. Adam Whitt worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 7th.

South Bend scored first, but it was all Quad Cities in this one. Connor Goedert put them on the board with a sac fly in the 1st following a double steal by Osvaldo Duarte and Daz Cameron. Daz then stole 3rd and scored on the ensuing error.

The Bandits got 4 in the 2nd as Tony Nuñez hit an RBI single and Goedert cleared the bases with a double. In the 6th, Nuñez scored on an error following a Duarte single. Kyle Tucker smashed an RBI triple, and Goedert capped off a career game with a 2-run homer. Brooks Marlow drove in the final run of game 1 with an RBI single.

Everyone in the lineup for game 1 had a hit; Anthony Hermelyn went 3-3 with 2 doubles. Dex McCall's 2 hits were doubles. Duarte, Tucker, and Nuñez all scored twice; Marlow was the only player who didn't score a run. Johnny Sewald (8), Duarte (4), and Daz (2 steals; 4 season) stole some bases. Basically, the Banditos put on an offensive clinic in game 1.

Game 2: Quad Cities 3, South Bend 0

W- Matt Bower (1-0)
L- Ryan Kellogg (2-2)
S- Ralph Garza Jr. (2)

QC home runs: Dex McCall (1, 2-run in 4th)

The Banditos wound up sweeping the twinbill. They were held to 4 hits, but they held the Cubs off the scoreboard.

Aaron Mizell hit the first of his 2 triples in the 3rd and scored the first run of game 2 on a Bobby Wernes sac fly. Dex McCall smacked his first homer of the year, a 2-run shot in the 4th.

Matt Bower allowed 5 hits and fanned 6 over 5 shutout innings. Ralph Garza Jr. finished off the shutout with a 2-inning save; he allowed 2 hits and struck out 1.

Quad Cities will welcome West Michigan to Modern Woodmen Park for the weekend. In game 1, Kevin McCanna will take on Matt Hall. First pitch is at 7:00.

Three Five Stars

*Doubleheader stats are cumulative

5.

Ramon Laureano, OF, Lancaster
3-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, R

4.

Photo from MiLB.com
Dexture McCall, 1B, Quad Cities
3-6; 2 2B in game 1, 2-R HR (1) in game 2, 2 R total

3.


Eury Perez, OF, Fresno
3-4, solo HR (1), 2 RBI

2.

Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, Fresno
W (2-1), 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 9 K

1.

Connor Goedert, IF, Quad Cities
3-5; 2 2B (1 in game 1, 1 in game 2), 2-R HR (1) in game 1; 6 RBI in game 1, 2 R total

Honorable Mentions

Brendan McCurry, RHP, Corpus Christi: 2 IP, 3 K
- McCurry hasn't missed a beat since joining the Astros organization.

Rogelio Armenteros, RHP, Lancaster: 5 IP, H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
- A nice debut for the young Cuban following his promotion, especially when you take into account that he put up that line in Pitcher's Hell, aka The Hangar.

Matt Bower, LHP, Quad Cities: W (1-0), 5 IP, 5 H, 6 K
- The last man from the 2015 draft class to sign, Bower has provided some outstanding early returns.

Jon Singleton, 1B, Fresno: 2-4, solo HR (4)
- I may be one out of like 5 people who still think this, but I really do hope that Jon can finally put it all together. He's way too talented of a player to not do so.

Anthony Hermelyn, C, Quad Cities: 3-3, 2 2B, BB, R
- Hermelyn has come out swinging; 8 of his 15 hits on the year are doubles.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another light slate as one team was off and another got rained out.

Fresno was off

The Grizzlies are back home tonight as they begin a 4-game series with El Paso at 7:05 Pacific. Asher Wojciechowski will take on Greg Reynolds.

Midland 3, Corpus Christi 1

W- Joel Seddon (1-2)
L- Juan Carlos Santos (0-1)
S- Corey Walter (1)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks offense has gone ice cold; after scoring 7 runs in the first 2 innings of this series, they have been held to just 1 run in the last 30 innings.

2 of their 3 hits in this game were doubles; J.D. Davis hit one to lead off the 5th and scored Corpus Christi's only run of the evening after Conrad Gregor followed with a double of his own.

David Paulino allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7 over 4 scoreless. Juan Carlos Santos went 2 innings and allowed 2 runs (both in the 5th) on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in his season debut. Chris Cotton threw 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 2, and Michael Freeman allowed an unearned run, a hit, and walked 1 in the 9th.

The Hooks will look to avoid the sweep as Kyle Smith takes the mound. He'll face Dylan Covey at 7:05.

Bakersfield 9, Lanc2 aster 5

W- Kyle Schepel (2-0)
L- Yeyfry Del Rosario (0-1, 1-1 season)

Lancaster home runs: Nick Tanielu (2, solo in 1st)

The JetHawks were torched late as Bakersfield scored 4 in the 8th and 4 more in the 9th to take this one.

Drew Ferguson hit a 1-out double in the 1st and scored the first run of the evening on a Ramon Laureano sac fly. Nick Tanielu followed with a solo blast, his 2nd of the season. Jason Martin added an RBI single in the 5th. Laureano scored on an errant pickoff throw in the 8th, and Kristian Trompiz ripped an RBI double in the 9th. He and Alejandro Garcia (3B, R) both went 2-4.

Dean Deetz went 5 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Angel Heredia was the first man out, and he allowed a hit, walked 2, and fanned 2 over 2 scoreless. Yeyfry Del Rosario struggled, and let's just leave it at that. Eric Peterson put out the fire as he worked around a walk to stop the bleeding in the 9th, striking out 2.

In the series finale, Rogelio Armenteros will make his Lancaster debut. He'll take on Andrew Moore at 6:35 Pacific.

Quad Cities and South Bend was postponed

Due to rain. They'll play 2 tonight, with game 1 starting at 6. Chris Murphy will take on Justin Steele in game 1, and Matt Bower will start game 2.

Two Stars

David Paulino and Dean Deetz share the honors in an abridged slate.

Dean Deetz, RHP, Lancaster
5 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K

David Paulino, RHP, Corpus Christi
4 IP, 4 H, BB, 7 K


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reno 7, Fresno 3

W- Jake Barrett (1-0)
L- Kevin Chapman (1-1)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizzlies managed to tie this one with 3 in the top of the 8th.... only to see the Aces take the series by scoring 4 in the bottom of the 8th.

Colin Moran ripped a bases-clearing double in the 8th that tied the game and constituted the only offense for Fresno. Danny Worth went 2-3 and scored on that double.

Brad Peacock allowed a 3-run homer to Peter O'Brien in the 3rd; those 3 runs were the only ones he allowed in 5.2 innings. He allowed 6 other hits, walked 3, and struck out 9. Juan Minaya retired all 4 Reno batters he faced, retiring 2 on groundouts and 2 on flyouts. Kevin Chapman got knocked around in the 8th as he allowed 4 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 3 hits and walked 1. Jordan Jankowski got the final 2 outs of the 8th, striking out 1, but he also uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the runner he inherited from Chapman to score.

After a day off, the Grizzlies will welcome the El Paso Chihuahuas to Chukchansi Park for 4 beginning on Thursday.

Midland 2, Corpus Christi 0

W- Dan Mengden (2-0)
L- Joe Musgrove (1-1)
S- Andres Avila (1)

CC home runs: None.

A fine outing from Joe Musgrove went by the wayside as the Hooks' bats went silent.

Musgrove allowed an unearned run on 5 hits and struck out 7 in 5 innings. Keegan Yuhl pitched 4 innings, and the only run he allowed came on a solo homer from Matt Chapman. Yuhl allowed one other hit and struck out 4.

D.J. Fisher's triple was Corpus Christi's only extra-base hit. Fisher also walked twice and stole a base (2). Danry Vásquez went 2-3 and was the only player on either side to have a multi-hit game.

David Paulino will be on the mound in game 2. He'll face Joel Seddon at 7:05.

Lancaster 5, Bakersfield 4

W- Evan Grills (2-0)
L- Tyler Pike (0-2)
S- Riley Ferrell (4)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks took game 1 over the Blaze thanks to an excellent outing from Evan Grills. They had to hang on to get the W, though.

Grills started it off with 5 no-hit innings, walking 1 and striking out 4 in the process. Elieser Hernandez tagged in for 2.1 innings and allowed a couple of 2-run homers. He allowed two other hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Riley Ferrell allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 to get the save. It got a bit hairy in the 9th as the Blaze had 2 runners on base against him in the 9th, and a wild pitch put them both in scoring position. However, Ferrell pulled himself together to strike out Austin Cousino to end the game.

Drew Ferguson smacked a 1-out triple in the bottom of the 1st and scored the first run of the evening on a Jason Martin double. Alejandro Garcia hit an RBI single in the 4th, then stole 2nd. Jamie Ritchie took advantage of the errant throw down to 2nd and scampered home. In the 6th. Ritchie drove in another run with an RBI single, and Garcia struck again by adding an RBI double to his ledger.

Alejandro Garcia was the only player on either side to have a multi-hit game as he went 2-4. The stolen base was his 4th of the season. Nick Tanielu and Jamie Ritchie scored 2 runs apiece.

In game 2 of this series, Dean Deetz will take on Eddie Campbell. First pitch is at 6:35 Pacific.

South Bend 7, Quad Cities 5

W- Casey Bloomquist (2-0)
L- Albert Abreu (0-2)
S- Greyfer Eregua (3)

QC home runs: None.

This game was tied at 4, but the Cubs closed this game by breaking the tie with 3 runs in the final three innings.

Bobby Wernes put Quad Cities on the board with an RBI double in the 2nd. In the 5th, Brooks Marlow scored on a wild pitch, and Connor Goedert hit a 2-run sac fly. Yes, that's right, he hit a 2-run sacrifice fly that scored Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker. Tony Nuñez hit an RBI single in the 9th to pull a run back.

Marlow had himself a night as he finished 5-5 with a triple. Wernes went 2-4.

Jose Luis Hernandez went 3.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Zac Person was the first man out; he went 1.2 innings and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1. Albert Abreu allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3 in 2 innings, and Jacob Dorris allowed a run, a hit, walked 1, and struck out 4 in 2 innings.

Game 2 of this series will start at 11:00 A.M. as Chris Murphy takes on Justin Steele.

Three Stars

3.

Joe Musgrove, RHP, Corpus Christi
L (1-1), 5 IP, 5 H, unearned run, 7 K

2.

Photo from MiLB.com
Brooks Marlow, 2B, Quad Cities
5-5, 3B, R

1.

Evan Grills, LHP, Lancaster
W (2-0), 5 IP, BB, 4 K

Honorable Mentions

Riley Ferrell, RHP, Lancaster: Save (4), 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
- Ferrell has only yielded an unearned run in his first 7 appearances. Could he be on the cusp of heading to Corpus?

Alejandro Garcia, OF, Lancaster: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI
- Garcia seems to be getting himself going with hits in 3 of his last 4 contests.

Keegan Yuhl, RHP, Corpus Christi: 4 IP, 2 H (solo HR), ER, 4 K
- Both tandem starters were solid; their offense couldn't pick them up, though.

Astros Farm Report: 4/27

A few birthdays, lots of roster moves, MiLB standings and a few links for your reading pleasure ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

4-27: 3B J.D. Davis (23)
4-27: RHP Yeyfry del Rosario (22)
4-28: 2B Jonathan Matute (19)
5-1: RHP Jose Hernandez (21)
5-1: RHP Gabriel Pirela (22)

Birthday Boy J.D. Davis - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

TRANSACTIONS/ROSTER MOVES

Dustin has been keeping up with all the moves! In addition to those listed, we have OF Jake Marisnick and RHP Michael Feliz switching places with Feliz being recalled to Houston and Marisnick being optioned to the Grizzlies. And here are a few other moves from the last few days.

4-26: RHP Juan Santos assigned to Corpus Christi from extended Spring Training
4-25: 3B Luis Reynoso assigned to Lancaster from extended Spring Training
4-25: RHP Rogelio Armenteros assigned to Lancaster from Quad Cities
4-23: IF Jose Fernandez placed on the Lancaster 7-day DL

STANDINGS

Fresno has gone 3-5 since we last checked in with them, but have remained in second place only 2.5 games behind the league leading Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners). The Hooks have scuffled over the past week, going 1-5 in their last six games and dropping into third place in the division. Lancaster has also had a tough week as they went 2-5 over the past week. The River Bandits were the only team with a winning week, going 5-2. They were also in desperate need of that good week after their very slow start to the season.

AAA Fresno 2nd 8-10 .444 2.5GB L1

AA Corpus Christi 3rd 9-8 .529 4.0GB L2

A+ Lancaster 4th 6-10 .375 7.5GB W1

A- Quad Cities 8th 7-12 .368 5.0GB L1

NEWS AND LINKS

In case you missed any of these ...

I checked in on the independent leagues to find a few former Astros.

Derek Fisher entertained (or bemused) the Hooks team during pre-game Saturday night.

Reymin Guduan is starting to fine-tune his command which is a good sign for the flame-throwing lefty.

I asked Hooks SS Alex Bregman about the elephant in the room.

And Terri and I chatted about my book over at The Crawfish Boxes.

Keep an eye out for two more interviews I got last weekend in Corpus Christi. They're good ones!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, April 25, 2016

Light slate to begin the work week as both A teams were off.

Fresno 7, Reno 4

W- Tommy Shirley (3-0)
L- Matt Buschmann (0-2)
S- James Hoyt (5)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizzlies went berserk in the 2nd as they scored 6 runs. Reno cut into that lead, but the Grizz were able to find that insurance run and the bullpen kept the Aces at bay. This win snapped a 4-game slide.

Tommy Shirley's scoreless streak went by the wayside, but he did enough to help his team earn the W. In 5.1 innings, Shirley allowed 4 runs on 8 hits (2 solos and a 2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 6. César Valdez was the first man out, and he struck out 2 over 1.2 perfect innings. James Hoyt locked it down as he allowed a hit and struck out 5 to get his 5th save of the season.

Colin Moran and Jon Singleton opened up the 2nd by whacking a double and drawing a walk, respectively. One batter later, Eury Perez opened the scoring with a 2-run triple, and then Jon Kemmer brought him home with a double. Kemmer moved over to 3rd on a Tyler Heineman single, and Aplin walked to load the bases. Kemmer scored on a Tony Kemp groundout, and then Danny Worth added a sac fly that scored Heineman, and A.J. Reed capped off the scoring with an RBI single. Worth drove in the final run of the evening with an RBI single in the 8th.

Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Aplin, who still contributed by walking and scoring a run. Moran, Kemmer (2 2B), and Kemp all finished 2-4.

Brad Peacock will take on Braden Shipley in the series finale; first pitch is at 11:35 Pacific.

Midland 8, Corpus Christi 7 in 14 innings

W- Aaron Kurcz (1-0)
L- David Schmidt (1-1)
S- Wade Kirkland (1)

CC home runs: James Ramsay (1, 3-run in 1st), Jack Mayfield (4, 2-run in 2nd)

The Hooks got off to a torrid start as they held a 7-0 advantage after the 2nd.

Unfortunately, they were kept off the scoreboard for the final 12 innings and could only muster up 5 baserunners in that span.

James Ramsay's 3-run blast in the 1st opened the scoring. In the 2nd, Teoscar Hernandez ripped a 2-run double, and two batters later, Jack Mayfield slammed a 2-run home run, his 4th of the year. Ramsay and Chase McDonald had 2 hits apiece.

Cy Sneed went 3.2 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits and struck out 6. Aaron West was the first man out; he allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 1.1 innings. Michael Freeman went 2 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits and walking 1. Brendan McCurry allowed a game-tying solo homer to Franklin Barreto in the 8th, which was the only hit he allowed in the inning. He also walked 1 and struck out 2. Reymin Guduan struck out 2 in 2 perfect frames, and David Schmidt pitched well in his 4 innings... the only hitch was that he was taken deep by Matt Chapman for what turned out to be the game-winning home run to begin the 14th. Schmidt allowed two other hits and struck out 1.

In game 2 of this series, Joe Musgrove takes on former Astros farmhand Dan Mengden, who is still sporting an 80 'stache. First pitch is at 7:05.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will welcome the Bakersfield Blaze to The Hangar for 4 beginning tonight at 6:35 Pacific. Evan Grills will face Tyler Pike in the opener.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits will be back in action tonight as South Bend comes to town for a 3-game set. Jose Luis Hernandez will start game 1; he'll take on Preston Morrison at 7.

Three Four Stars

3.

Reymin Guduan, LHP, Corpus Christi
2 IP, 2 K

2.


César Valdez, RHP and James Hoyt, RHP, Fresno
Valdez: Hold (3), 1.2 IP, 2 K
Hoyt; Save (5), 2 IP, H, 5 K

1.

James Ramsay, OF, Corpus Christi
2-6, 2B, 3-R HR (1)


Honorable Mentions


Jon Kemmer, OF, Fresno: 2-4, 2 2B, RBI, R
- Hopefully this game gets his bat going.

Jack Mayfield, IF, Corpus Christi: 1-5, 2-R HR (4), 2 R
- Outside of Alex Bregman, no one in the Hooks lineup has been more dangerous than Jack Mayfield.

Getting to Know Astros/Hooks SS Alex Bregman

Unfortunately, in my weekend trip to Corpus Christi, Astros 2015 first round pick SS Alex Bregman didn't have his finest performance of the season as he went 0-for-4 for the evening and ended up on the DL as he came up lame trying to reach on a groundout. But, despite the 0-for-4, the Texas League Player of the Week for the week of April 17th managed to get wood on the ball in each of his four at-bats. Known for making good contact, he has only struck out five times in the first 13 games of his 2016 campaign.

Alex Bregman (L) with Joe Musgrove - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

In the 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook, I wrote the following about Bregman before I had even seen him in person.
As the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Bregman came with certain expectations and he fulfilled them nicely. His bat speed helps him make solid consistent contact to all fields (athough much of his power has been to the pull side so far). He is not a particularly speedy runner, but makes up for it with good baserunning instincts. And he has quickly become the best defensive shortstop in the Astros minor league system. He doesn't have the spectacular skill set of a Carlos Correa, but he more than makes up for it with hard work, aggressiveness and good baseball instincts.
Now that I've had a chance to watch Bregman in person, I would add to that assessment that Bregman is a natural leader. He leads by example with a quiet confidence and calm energy. In the dugout, he's not a number one draft pick; he's just one of the guys. I found him to be personable and genuine with a quick smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Corpus Christi Manager Rodney Linares said of Bregman, "What's not to like? He started off really hot. He's got a lot of good attributes. He's a leader, shows up, works hard, smart, pretty good defensive shortstop so he's got a lot of things going for him." Bregman's hot start (.340/.431/.660) is no surprise to Linares given Bregman's knowledge of the strike zone. Linares sees a lot of potential for Bregman to hit for high average and collect more than his share of extra base hits.


Alex Bregman - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Of Friday night's injury, the general consensus seems to be that Bregman will be on the DL a week to 10 days, but I feel certain that the Astros will play things very cautiously and the DL stint could be somewhat longer. I caught up with Bregman on Sunday morning after he spent about an hour and a half in the training room. We didn't talk about the injury in this interview, but he is anxious to do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible. We did talk about several other topics, though, including the elephant in the room.


Thank you for your time, Alex, and best of luck as the season continues.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Checking in with Hooks LHP Reymin Guduan

I had the opportunity to see Corpus Christi Hooks LHP Reymin Guduan in action on Saturday night. He routinely hit 97 mph with his fastball and in collecting his fourth strikeout of the night, he clocked in at 98 twice. In this video, he hit 98, 97, 98, 86, 88 and 96 for strike three.


Guduan was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft last December and wasn't claimed because, despite his impressive velocity, he has had less than impressive command in the past. However, according to Hooks Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski, Guduan has improved tremendously on that front.

Borkowski called Guduan's four strikeout appearance on Saturday his worst appearance command-wise of the young season. "That's the worst he's been so far. So, yeah, he's coming along really well throwing strikes. He was able to throw a 2-1 slider for a strike which he's going to have to do. He's going to have to throw behind-in-the-count sliders to lefties."

Reymin Guduan - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

When I mentioned how Guduan made it look so easy, Borkowski responded, "And that's what's changed. In year's past, it didn't look easy. He was high anxiety, over work. He put a lot of pressure on himself (to throw strikes). And this year he looks really relaxed. Mechanically, I haven't done anything with him here. It's just his attitude that he's a lot more relaxed, a lot more under control with himself."

Guduan won't make it through another Rule 5 draft without being picked off. But that may be a moot point. With his continued improvement, he will likely make the Astros 40-man roster and his major league debut long before the November deadline to protect players.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reno 12, Fresno 7

W- Kyle Drabek (1-2)
L- Mike Hauschild (1-2)

Fresno home runs: A.J. Reed (4, grand slam in 7th)

The Grizzlies got a nice offensive outburst... however, it came a little late.

A.J. Reed's grand slam put Fresno on the board in the 7th. Andrew Aplin tripled with 1 out in the 8th and scored on a Tony Kemp groundout, and Roberto Peña hit a 2-run single in the 9th.

Reed, Colin Moran, Jon Singleton, and Matt Duffy all had 2 hits in this game as everyone in the lineup recorded a hit.

Mike Hauschild and Edwar Cabrera got roughed up. I'll... just leave it at that. Probably for the best that I do. On the bright side, Jordan Jankowski struck out 5 over 2 perfect frames, and Jandel Gustave struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In game 3 of this series, Tommy Shirley will take on Matt Buschmann. First pitch is at 6:35.

Corpus Christi and Frisco was postponed

Due to rain. Makeup date TBA.

The Hooks will now begin a 4-game series with Midland. Cy Sneed, who was originally scheduled to start the finale against Frisco, will get game 1 instead. He'll face Raúl Alcantara at 7:05.

High Desert 8, Lancaster 4

W- Joe Filomeno (1-0)
L- Scott Weathersby (0-2)
S- David Perez (1)

Lancaster home runs: Drew Ferguson (1, 2-run in 5th)

The JetHawks suffered the ignominy of a 4-game sweep as they were doubled up in the series finale.

Drew Ferguson opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 3rd. He struck again in the 5th with a 2-run shot, his 1st of the season. Before Ferguson went deep, Richard Gonzalez scored on an error following a Bobby Boyd single. Boyd (2 SB) and Ferguson both went 2-5; Boyd's 2 thefts give him 9 on the season.

Scott Weathersby went 3.2 innings and allowed 7 runs on 6 hits (2 2-run homers), walked 3, and struck out 2. Brock Dykxhoorn allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and fanned 4 in 4.1 innings.

After a day off, the JetHawks will welcome Bakersfield to The Hangar for a 3-game series on Tuesday.

Quad Cities 3, Kane County 1

W- Alex Winkelman (2-1)
L- Cody Reed (0-1)
S- Andrew Thome (2)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos were outhit again, but they'll gladly take the win... and the series.

This game was scoreless until the top of the 6th. Tony Nuñez led it off with an infield single and advanced to 2nd on the ensuing error. Johnny Sewald followed by beating out a bunt single, and then Daz Cameron laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Nuñez... and another error allowed Sewald to score. Sewald was plunked with 1 out in the 8th, stole 2nd, and scored on a Kyle Tucker single. Little Tuck finished 2-4, while Aaron Mizell's double was Quad Cities' only extra-base hit.

It's been a mixed bag for Alex Winkelman to start off the year; he's had a couple of clunkers and a couple of fine outings. In this game, it was the latter, as he allowed 6 hits (5 singles and a double), walked 1, and struck out 3 over 5 shutout innings. Ryan Deemes went 2 innings, and the only run he allowed was a solo homer to Jason Morozowski in the 7th. Deemes allowed two other hits. Andrew Thome got the 2-inning save, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1 in the process.

The Banditos will have Monday off before they kick off a 3-game series against South Bend on Tuesday. In game 1, Jose Luis Hernandez will take on Preston Morrison.

Three Stars

3.

Photo from MiLB.com
Alex Winkelman, LHP, Quad Cities
W (2-1), 5 IP, 6 H, BB, 3 K

2.

A.J. Reed, 1B, Fresno
2-5, Grand Slam (4)

1.

Jordan Jankowski, RHP, Fresno
2 IP, 5 K

Honorable Mentions

Drew Ferguson, OF, Lancaster: 2-5, 2-R HR (1), 3 RBI

Brock Dykxhoorn, RHP, Lancaster: 4.1 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 4 K

Andrew Thome, RHP, Quad Cities: Save (2), 2 IP, 2 H, K