Friday, September 4, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/JetHawks 1B Chase McDonald

I've been watching Lancaster 1B Chase McDonald since he was first drafted in the 12th round in 2013 out of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, partly because at 6'4" 265#, he's hard to miss. But mostly because once I saw him for the first time playing for the Appy League Astros in 2013, I knew that he had the chance to develop into quite the power hitter.

And that is precisely what has happened. In his first season, 7.3% of his plate appearances resulted in an extra base hit. In 2014, that increased to 9.9%. And this year, through Thursday's game, McDonald's XBH% is 13.3%. He has collected 27 doubles, one triple and 28 home runs in 100 games. He is in second place in the organization for home runs, trailing Astros minor league leader A.J. Reed by six, but Reed has played in 31 more games than McDonald too.

And don't attribute all of McDonald's home runs to the "Lancaster effect," a reference to the tendency of the wind in his home ballpark to turn long doubles into home runs. I talked to Lancaster Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson earlier this week about that topic and asked him whether McDonald has legit power. According to Robinson, "Oh my goodness, yes, he does! (People) are going to talk about the ballpark, but I think he may have had one wind-aided home run all season. The ones that he has hit have been home runs, legit! He's got big power."

That is not to say that McDonald doesn't still have some challenges ahead of him as a hitter, but Robinson has seen McDonald's hard work and he thinks Chase can put it all together and find the consistency that he will need in order to get to the next level.

Chase McDonald - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

When I spoke with McDonald last week, I asked him about the Lancaster effect. He told me that a couple hits probably should have been doubles instead of home runs, but added, "But a lot of them, I had pretty good swings on the ball and knew they were going out." The longest ones he remembers hitting this season were one over the light pole to the left of the scoreboard and one over the scoreboard at Lancaster. But he hasn't hit one on the freeway on-ramp ... yet. In any event, McDonald told me, "I don't really keep a tab on them. I'm just happy that I can hit it out and get around the bases."

But when I brought up the home run he hit recently in Lake Elsinore, he remembered that. "That place is ridiculous. I was so surprised when I hit it out," McDonald said. He went on to describe balls that teammate Marc Wik had crushed in batting practice; they reached the wall and then just dropped dead. People tend to think that all of the California League ballparks are hitter-friendly, but that is simply not the case and Lake Elsinore is Exhibit A. Through Thursday's game, 58 home runs have been hit in Lake Elsinore's ballpark as compared to 165 at Lancaster's The Hangar.

Aside from the playing conditions, how has he liked playing in Lancaster this season? McDonald said, "Playing in Lancaster's OK. The boosters are going to be your biggest support out here. They're the most (passionate) fans and they're great people. Coming out here on a Tuesday, there were probably 1500 people out in the stands which is great. The fan base, they love coming out and watching the game. You always hear them heckling the other team up in the stands."

McDonald continued, "Playing out in the desert is a little tough, especially for me. I'm from eastern North Carolina where I'm used to seeing nothing but trees and grass and it's humid. Out here, it's dry. There's not a whole lot of grass. It's quite a culture shock."

When asked what he feels that he's accomplished this season, McDonald said, "I've gotten extra base hits up, and I don't really attribute that to the Lancaster effect. I mainly base that off the different approach I've taken this year. I'm trying to drive the ball in the gaps. If it goes out, it goes out. If it's a double, it's a double." And because of the work he's been doing, McDonald said, "I'm hitting a lot of my home runs now toward center, left center, right center, in that area, not down the lines."

McDonald does have a fairly high strikeout rate, but one adjustment he's working on is to make contact earlier in the count. "I foul a lot of pitches off and I put myself in a position where I've either got to put the ball in play or go for the extra base hit and I strike out. But honestly, I don't let the strikeouts get me down because it's going to happen, especially for a guy that they're looking to hit extra base hits and home runs." As Chase put it, it would be different if he was a "guy that they wanted to slap the ball around and get on all the time."

In describing himself defensively, he said, "I hear people say that I need to work on that, but I feel I'm pretty good at it. I dive for balls and I try to keep balls in front. Every now and then, if I dive, I'll miss one, but I like to say I'm pretty solid. I trust myself playing first base. I've got a pretty good arm. I'm not ever concerned about throwing the ball around the infield. If I turn a double play, I know I'm going to get it there and I'm going to make a good throw on it. I'm pretty solid over there."

As a power hitter, McDonald is often called upon to DH as well. On playing first vs. DH-ing, he told me, "It's completely different. Playing first base, you're in the game the whole time. You're mentally focused. You're out there playing defense and then you come in and it's your time to bat. You're already at that point where you've been focusing on the game. (When you) DH, you're in the dugout just hanging out, waiting for your turn to hit, just hanging out, talking to other guys in the dugout and you've kind of got to get it going again, the mental side. You make the preparation before you go up there and hit. Sometimes it's good to DH. It's kind of a mental break. I enjoy doing either, but I really do like playing first base."

What pitcher in the Astros system would McDonald least like to face? "Honestly, it would be (Jandel) Gustave if anyone in the whole organization because of just how hard he throws and that slider that he throws now. I've faced a few guys this year that have been throwing 95, 98, maybe touching 100, but to sit 100 and possibly hit 102, 103? That's just unheard of," said McDonald.

If he couldn't play baseball, McDonald assumes that he would probably have gone on to play football in college, a sport he also (unsurprisingly) played in high school, or he would have gone into construction management. "I went to school in the beginning as an engineer, but that wasn't going to work out with baseball, with the timing and everything, so I went into construction management and I fell in love doing that. I had a good time in those classes so I would probably be a project manager somewhere right now. And I hunt and fish all the time. Either way I'd be enjoying life," said McDonald.

McDonald definitely looks the part of a football player, so I was curious why he ended up playing baseball instead of football. "I don't know. I guess I just enjoyed being around the guys I was with in high school more than I did playing football. And I was pretty decent at it, and I had some schools call me and offer me some scholarships. I ended up going to East Carolina and I pursued my dream there and I had a lot of fun there as well. It was a great school. I had a great time. I met a lot of life-long friends, and it just happened that I had a good enough season there (that) Houston decided to draft me."

As always, I asked him to tell me something about himself that most people didn't know and might be surprised to hear. And I was surprised with his answer because McDonald isn't exactly built like Michael Phelps. "I was a swimmer in high school for two years. My mom and her sister both swam in college. That whole side of the family, everybody just loves water sports. I grew up on the water. Being around my Dad, we were always out on a boat. If I was with my mom's side of the family, we were always out skiing or doing something out on a boat whenever we were visiting. I guess you could say I'm like a water child."

Something else people may not know is that McDonald got engaged during the last offseason. "Her name is Morgan Squatriglia. People can't ever pronounce it." And, yes, she is taking his last name.

Until last week, I had never sat down and talked with Chase one on one and I really wasn't sure what to expect. But I came away impressed by his quiet confidence, intelligence and good nature. And I like that he understands and appreciates what playing baseball is all about. "I try my best everyday. I play hard. But I'm pretty easy-going during the game. I just feel like I'm playing a game out there. I'm having fun. I'm always enjoying it whenever I'm out there."

Thank you for your time, Chase, and best of luck in the playoffs!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, September 2, 2015 and Thursday, September 3, 2015

Francis Martes returned to form in Corpus.

Fresno

The Grizzlies split the two games they played with Albuquerque, winning 3-0 on Wednesday and dropping a 4-3 game on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Luis Cruz, Travis Ballew, and Jordan Jankowski joined forces on a 5-hit shutout. Cruz allowed 4 hits and struck out 9 over 7 innings. Ballew walked 1 and struck out 1 in the 8th, and Jankowski allowed a hit and fanned 1 in the 9th and got the save.

Nolan Fontana opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 2nd. He later moved to 3rd on a sac bunt and scored on an Alex Presley groundout. Joe Sclafani added an RBI single in the 3rd inning. He, Tyler Heineman (2B, R), and Jon Singleton (2B, R) had 2 hits apiece.

The Grizz also got 2 runs in the 2nd inning on Thursday as Sclafani hit a sac fly to score L.J. Hoes. Later in the frame, Andrew Aplin scored on an error. Heineman hit a homer in the bottom of the 9th to make it a 1-run game, but that was all that Fresno could muster up. Tyler White finished 2-4.

Dan Straily allowed 4 runs on 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5 in 5 innings. Juan Minaya was the first man out; he allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 2 scoreless innings. Kevin Chapman struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th, and James Hoyt allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 9th.

In their final series of the regular season, the Grizzlies will take on Salt Lake. In the first of 4 games, Asher Wojciechowski will face Adam Wilk at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi


The Hooks took their series against Frisco, winning 5-0 and 3-1.

Francis Martes notched his first AA win with yet another brilliant performance on Wednesday as he joined forces with Aaron West and Tyler Brunnemann to keep the Roughriders off the board. Martes allowed 5 hits, walked 3, and struck out 9 over 6 innings. West was first; he allowed a hit and fanned 4 in 2 innings, and Bruno struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

All 5 Corpus runs on Wednesday came in the first 3 innings. A.J. Reed kicked it off with an RBI single in the 1st. In the 2nd, Danry Vásquez hit an RBI single and Leo Heras added a sac fly. Jio Mier ripped an RBI double in the 3rd and later scored when Chan-Jong Moon grounded into a force out. Danry finished 4-5 from the top of the order, while Jio and Alfredo Gonzalez had 2 hits apiece.

George Springer served as the DH on Thursday and went 1-2 with a stolen base and a run scored in what may possibly be his final rehab game. (Here's hoping.)

Mr. Reed opened up the scoring again on Thursday; this time he did so with a 2-run double. Jack Mayfield drew a bases-loaded walk in the 8th. Danry finished 2-4 with a double and a run scored.

Edison Frias went 5 innings and allowed a run on 6 hits, walked 3, and struck out 7. Gonzalo Sañudo struck out 5 over 2 perfect frames. Chris Cotton struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Jandel Gustave ran into a bit of trouble in the 9th, but he closed it out without incident. He struck out 1.

The Hooks will look to sweep the series as Chris Devenski takes the mound. He'll face Phil Irwin at 7:05.

Lancaster

The JetHawks dropped their final road series of the regular season in Bakersfield. They scored 3 in the 9th on Wednesday to win 5-4, but they lost the rubber game 6-2.

Enrique Chavez has spent the vast majority of his career in the complex leagues, but he fared well in his first start in the California League. He went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Christian Powell tagged in for 3 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and fanned 3. Steve Naemark walked 1 and got the first out of the 9th, and The Closer, Ryan Thompson, got the final 2 outs of the game to seal the win.

D.J. Fisher put Lancaster on the board with an RBI single in the 5th inning. Mott Hyde added an RBI single of his own in the 6th. The JetHawks took the lead in the top of the 9th thanks to an RBI single from Ronnie Mitchell and a 2-run double from Sean McMullen. Hyde and J.D. Davis both finished 2-5, and they both hit a double.

Fisher's 2-run homer in the 1st inning of Thursday's game represented their only runs on the evening. That was his 16th in Lancaster, and he now has 22 home runs on the season. Hyde had another 2-hit night.

Keegan Yuhl went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 2. Jordan Mills allowed a solo homer to Austin Wilson in the 6th, which was the only run that he allowed in his 2.1 innings. Mills allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 1.

The JetHawks will close out the regular season with 4 against High Desert beginning tonight at 6:30 Pacific. Lancaster's starter is TBA. Whoever he is, he'll take on Reed Garrett.

Quad Cities


The Banditos' series with Kane County is currently even at 1. They lost 8-6 on Wednesday after the Cougars scored 4 in the top of the 8th, but rebounded for an 11-5 win on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jason Martin had 2 hits, and both of them resulted in an RBI. He singled in the 2nd and ripped a double in the 4th inning. Ryan Bottger also had 2 hits; one of them was an RBI single in the 4th. Drew Ferguson finished 3-5 with a double and a run scored. Bryan Muñiz walked twice and hit a sac fly in the 1st. Garrett Stubbs ripped an RBI double in the 8th, and Kristian Trompiz hit a sac fly in the 9th.

Rogelio Armenteros allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, walked 4, and struck out 7 in 5 innings. Lachlan Madden allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 2.1 innings, and Zach Davis allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and walked 2 in 1.2 innings.

Quad Cities returned the favor by scoring 7 in the 5th inning of Thursday's game to blow it wide open. Ramon Laureano opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 1st. Drew Ferguson scored on an error in the 4th, and then Laureano opened the floodgates with an RBI triple in the 5th. He later scored on a bases-loaded walk. Wander Franco added a 2-run single, and then Marlon Avea smacked a 2-run double. Jason Martin finished it off with an RBI single. Jose Fernandez hit an RBI single in the 6th, and Bryan Muñiz hit a solo homer (4, 6 season) to begin the 8th. Everyone in the lineup had a hit on Thursday; the top 4 in the order of Martin, Bobby Boyd, Muñiz, and Laureano had 2 apiece.

Josh James went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 8 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Jacob Dorris was the first man out and all he did was strike out 3 in 2 perfect frames. Angel Heredia allowed a 3-run homer to Victor Reyes in the 9th inning. That was the only hit he allowed in the inning, and he walked 2.

Brock Dykxhoorn will start the series finale. He'll take on Josh Taylor at 7:00.

Tri-City

The ValleyCats were held in check in a 3-0 loss on Wednesday, but with a 6-1 win in 10 innings on Thursday, they were crowned as champions of the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division.

Bobby Wernes had 2 of their 4 hits on Wednesday.

Harold Arauz went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 4. Jose Luis Hernandez allowed a run on 5 hits and struck out 5 in 3 innings.

Chris Murphy was excellent on Thursday as he allowed just 2 hits and fanned 6 over 5 shutout frames. Ryan Deemes went 2.1 innings and had an inherited runner charged to him in the 8th. He allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Yeyfry Del Rosario struck out 2 over 2.2 innings. The tying run scored in the 8th on a sac fly and was charged to Deemes.

Dex McCall opened the scoring on Thursday with an RBI single in the 6th. The ValleyCats broke a 1-1 tie in emphatic fashion in the first extra frame. After Wernes put them in the lead with an RBI single, McCall provided the insurance with a 3-run homer (4). Kolbey Carpenter followed with a double and scored the final run of the evening on an RBI single from Keach Ballard. McCall finished 3-5, while Wernes and Hector Roa had 2 hits apiece. Johnny Sewald stole his 30th base of the season and scored 2 runs in this game.

Zac Person will start the ValleyCats' final road game of the regular season. He'll take on Luis Cedeño at 7:00 Eastern.

Thursday: Kingsport 2, Greeneville 1

W- Chase Ingram
L- Samil De Los Santos
S- Wilt Haggard

Greeneville home runs: Connor Goedert (1st of playoffs, solo in 4th)

Kingsport leads series 1-0. The Appy Astros will have to win twice in Kingsport.

Connor Goedert's solo homer represented Greeneville''s only run. Osvaldo Duarte was 2-3 with a triple.

Erasmo Pinales allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 in 3 innings. Hector Perez allowed an unearned run on 2 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2 in 4 innings. Luis Ramirez got 2 outs in the 8th inning via strikeout and allowed a hit and walked 1. Darryl Knight hit the go-ahead solo homer off of Samil De Los Santos with 2 outs in the 9th. De Los Santos allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 as he got the final out of the 8th and 2 outs in the 9th. Starlyng Sanchez got the final out of the 9th.

In game 2 of this series, Diogenes Almengo will face Nabil Crismatt. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

Astros Daily Farm Report - 9/4

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

First things first. With the Tri-City ValleyCats clinching a playoff berth last night, this is the number of Astros minor league teams (out of nine total) that made the playoffs this season.

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ...

3B Nick Tanielu (23)
Tanielu was born September 4, 1992 in Huntsville, Alabama, and was drafted by Houston in the 14th round in 2014 out of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. He is currently playing for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

TWEET OF THE DAY
Keep up with the latest Astros minor league roster moves here.

Yeah, we know, but thank you for noticing ...

1B Connor Goedert won MVP for the Greeneville team and 2B Ford Stainback won the Oscar Padron award for character and leadership. The story is here.

And a LEAGUE MVP here ...

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Record: 1st 81-58 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Thursday's Game: Albuquerque 4 over Fresno 3

After scoring two in the second, the Grizzlies just couldn't get anything going offensively until Tyler Heineman hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But, alas, it was too little, too late.

Playoff Picture: Fresno's first two playoff games in the best-of-five Conference series will be at home on Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th. The next three games (if three are necessary) will take place at the home ballpark of the PCL Pacific Southern Division winner from Friday the 11th through Sunday the 13th. But we still don't know who Fresno will face in that series. The El Paso Chihuahuas are now a half game in front of the Las Vegas 51's in the Southern Division.

CORPUS CHRISTI

Record: 1st 86-50 -.-GB W3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Thursday's Game: Corpus Christi 3 over Frisco 1
It was a good start from Edison Frias and excellent relief from Gonzalo Sanudo, Chris Cotton and Jandel Gustave (who closed it out for his 19th save of the season). The four pitchers combined to strike out 14 Frisco batters. Danry Vasquez continued with his recent hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a double.

Playoff Picture: Much like Fresno, Corpus Christi will host the first two playoff games next Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th, but unlike Fresno, they know who they will be facing. Midland (an Oakland affiliate) clinched the second playoff spot last week. The next three games (if three are necessary will be played in Midland. Corpus Christi owns the season series against Midland 18-14 and split their last series 2-2.
LANCASTER

Record: 3rd 73-63 3.0GB L1 (2nd in 2nd half; 3.0GB; clinched wild card)

Thursday's Game: Bakersfield 6 over Lancaster 2
Unfortunately that was it as the 'Hawks couldn't get another run across for the next eight innings.

Playoff Picture: Lancaster is in the playoffs, but if the season ended today, they would be in as a wild card. However, Lancaster lags High Desert by three games in the second half standings with four games left to play, and those final four games of the regular season will be between these two teams so they still have a chance to win the second half which would get them home field advantage as these two teams will face each other again in the best-of-three mini-series being played September 9th, 10th and 11th (if necessary). The winner of the mini-series will face Rancho Cucamonga (the first half winner) in the Division Finals. Got all that? Good!

QUAD CITIES

Record: 1st 86-48 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Thursday's Game: Quad Cities 11 over Kane County 5
Playoff Picture: In the Midwest League, eight teams advance to the playoffs. As the Western Division first half champion, the River Bandits play the second place team from the first half, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in a best-of-three division quarter final. The first game will be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, September 9th and the second and third (if necessary) will be back in Davenport on Thursday, the 10th and Friday, the 11th. The River Bandits won the season series against the Kernels 9 games to 4.

TRI-CITY

Record: 1st 40-31 -.-GB W1

Thursday's Game: Tri-City 6 over Staten Island 1 in 10 innings
The Gatos broke a 1-1 tie wide open, scoring five runs in the top of the 10th to seal their fate and advance to the playoffs. Dexture McCall contributed three of those five runs via the long ball and ended the night going 3-for-5 with four RBI.

Playoff Picture: Now that Tri-City has clinched the Stedler Division, it's time to look forward to the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Wild Card (West Virginia leading) would play the Division winner with the best record (currently Williamsport) in the Semifinals. The other two Division winners would play each other, which means that it looks as though Tri-City will play the winner of the McNamara Division, a race which is currently undecided. Staten Island leads Aberdeen and Hudson Valley by only a half game in that Division.

GREENEVILLE

Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth)

Playoff Record: 0-1 in best-of-three semifinals

Thursday's Game: Kingsport 2 over Greeneville 1

Greeneville's only run came off the bat of Connor Goedert as he knocked one out in the 4th inning. The game was tied headed to the 9th inning, but Kingsport's Darryl Knight hit a two-out solo home run to take the lead.

Playoff Picture: Greeneville's win on Tuesday got them to the playoffs with no time to reflect. They will host Game 1 of a best-of-three Division Series starting this Thursday, September 3rd. Games 2 and 3 will be in Kingsport on Friday, September 4th and Saturday, September 5th (if necessary); the Mets affiliate won the season series with Greeneville 6 games to 5.

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1

Season over.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Astros Daily Farm Report - 9/3

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ...

C Brandon Benavente (18)
Benavente was born September 3, 1997 in Caracas, Venezuela and signed with the Astros in July 2014. He played his first season for the Dominican Summer League Astros Orange team in 2015.

Keep up with the latest Astros minor league roster moves here.

In case you missed it, my Astros Minor League Players of the Month for August.

And the Astros announced their Minor League Players of the Month for each affiliate.

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Record: 1st 81-57 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Wednesday's Game: Fresno 3 over Albuquerque 0
Luis Cruz, along with relievers Travis Ballew and Jordan Jankowski, completed a 5-hit shutout in a crisp 2 hours and 17 minutes. The win tied the Grizzlies previous high franchise win total with five games left to play.

Playoff Picture: Fresno's first two playoff games in the best-of-five Conference series will be at home on Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th. The next three games (if three are necessary) will take place at the home ballpark of the PCL Pacific Southern Division winner from Friday the 11th through Sunday the 13th. But we still don't know who Fresno will face in that series. The Las Vegas 51's are currently only a half game ahead of the El Paso Chihuahuas in the Southern Division.

CORPUS CHRISTI

Record: 1st 85-50 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Wednesday's Game: Corpus Christi 5 over Frisco 0
Martes (6IP 5H 3BB 9SO) combined with Aaron West (2IP 1H 4SO) and Tyler Brunnemann (1IP 1SO) on shutting out the RoughRiders. After a 4-for-5 night, OF Danry Vasquez is hitting .467 in his last 10 games.

Playoff Picture: Much like Fresno, Corpus Christi will host the first two playoff games next Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th, but unlike Fresno, they know who they will be facing. Midland (an Oakland affiliate) clinched the second playoff spot last week. The next three games (if three are necessary will be played in Midland. Corpus Christi owns the season series against Midland 18-14 and split their last series 2-2.

LANCASTER

Record: 3rd 73-62 3.0GB W1 (2nd in 2nd half; 3.0GB; clinched wild card)

Wednesday's Game: Lancaster 5 over Bakersfield 4

19-year old Enrique Chavez held his own in his first start in the High A California League after his recent promotion from the rookie level Gulf Coast League (5IP 4H 2R 2BB 3SO). The 'Hawks trailed 4-2 with two outs in the top of the 9th, but a Ronnie Mitchell RBI single and a 2-run double from Sean McMullen salvaged the win.

Playoff Picture: Lancaster is in the playoffs, but if the season ended today, they would be in as a wild card. However, Lancaster lags High Desert by three games in the second half standings with five games left to play, and the final four games of the regular season will be between these two teams so they still have a chance to win the second half which would get them home field advantage as these two teams will face each other again in the best-of-three mini-series being played September 9th, 10th and 11th (if necessary). The winner of the mini-series will face Rancho Cucamonga (the first half winner) in the Division Finals. Got all that? Good!

QUAD CITIES

Record: 1st 85-48 -.-GB L2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Wednesday's Game: Kane County 8 over Quad Cities 6
Unfortunately Madden, who had just been promoted from the Astros Rookie League Greeneville team yesterday, got into a little trouble in his third inning of work and was charged with two inherited runners who subsequently scored after he was pulled. The Quad Cities bullpen allowed four runs in the 8th to fall behind Kane County. The River Bandits outhit the Cougars 10 to nine, but stranded seven runners. LF Drew Ferguson was 3-for-5 with a double and is hitting .325 in his last 10 games.

Playoff Picture: In the Midwest League, eight teams advance to the playoffs. As the Western Division first half champion, the River Bandits play the second place team from the first half, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in a best-of-three division quarter final. The first game will be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, September 9th and the second and third (if necessary) will be back in Davenport on Thursday, the 10th and Friday, the 11th. The River Bandits won the season series against the Kernels 9 games to 4.

TRI-CITY

Record: 1st 39-31 -.-GB L1

Wednesday's Game: Staten Island 3 over Tri-City 0
The good new is that Tri-City's magic number to clinch the division was only two going into play on Wednesday rather than three as they had previously reported. The bad news is that Lowell won and Tri-City lost so the magic number remains unchanged. Tri-City was held to four hits in the shutout with two of those belonging to 3B Bobby Wernes.

Playoff Picture: Lowell won on Tuesday, reducing Tri-City's lead over them to four games with five games left to play. Connecticut has now been eliminated so it's down to Tri-City and Lowell with the magic number for Tri-City to clinch the division standing at two. The three division leaders plus one wild card (the non-division leader with the best record) advance to the playoffs.

GREENEVILLE

Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth)

Wednesday's Game: Off Day

Greeneville had an off day as they prepared to host Kingsport in the best-of-three Division Series starting tonight at 6:00 p.m. Central.

Playoff Picture: Greeneville's win on Tuesday got them to the playoffs with no time to reflect. They will host Game 1 of a best-of-three Division Series starting this Thursday, September 3rd. Games 2 and 3 will be in Kingsport on Friday, September 4th and Saturday, September 5th (if necessary); the Mets affiliate won the season series with Greeneville 6 games to 5.

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1

Season over.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, September 1, 2015

One affiliate punched its playoff ticket on the first day of September.

Albuquerque 3, Fresno 2

W- Aaron Laffey (5-3)
L- Mike Hauschild (6-5, 11-6 season)
S- Tommy Kahnle (5)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizzlies couldn't get much of anything going on offense. They did have an opportunity in the 7th, but they stranded runners on 2nd and 3rd to end the inning.

L.J. Hoes went 2-3 and scored on a wild pitch in the 2nd, and Tyler White hit an RBI groundout in the 8th.

Mike Hauschild had a bare minimum quality start (all 3 Albuquerque runs came in the 1st), allowing 8 hits, walking 1, and striking out 8. Kevin Chapman, Juan Minaya, and James Hoyt all pitched a scoreless inning. Chapman struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th, Minaya allowed a hit and struck out 2 in the 8th, and Hoyt struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In game 3 of this series, Luis Cruz will face Eddie Butler. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 10, Frisco 2

W- Kyle Westwood (10-7)
L- Jose Leclerc (6-7)

CC home runs: A.J. Reed (11, 34 season; solo in 7th)

The Hooks buried the Roughriders early and cruised to the win.

George Springer doubled and scored a run in 4 at-bats as his rehab continues. Here's hoping that he's good to go by the weekend.

Colin Moran kicked things off with an RBI single in the 1st, and then Corpus opened the floodgates in the 2nd inning.

Moran added another RBI single to his ledger, and an error on the play resulted in Danry Vásquez scoring another run. Moran, who went to 3rd on the error, scored on a wild pitch. A.J. Reed, who was at the plate at the time, drew a walk and came all the way around to score on a triple from Jon Kemmer. Jack Mayfield brought him home with a double, and Conrad Gregor finished the scoring in the inning with an RBI single. In the 6th, Alfredo Gonzalez hit an RBI single, and Chan-Jong Moon ripped an RBI double. Reed capped off the scoring with his Minor League-leading 34th home run, a solo shot in the 7th. Moon finished 3-5, while Moran, Kemmer, Gregor, and Gonzalez all had 2-hit nights.

Kyle Westwood allowed 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 over 7 shutout innings. In his AA debut, Albert Minnis allowed a 2-run homer to J.T. Wise in the 8th, which were the only 2 runs he surrendered in his 2 innings. Minnis allowed 2 other hits and walked 1.

Francis Martes will make his 2nd start with the Hooks tonight. He'll go up against Chad Bell at 7:05.

Bakersfield 2, Lancaster 0

W- Brett Ash (8-8)
L- Troy Scribner (2-6)
S- Emilio Pagan (7)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks outhit the Blaze 9-4, but they were unable to scratch a run across.

James Ramsay finished 4-4, while Alex Bregman and D.J. Fisher both went 2-4. Ronnie Mitchell had a double, as did Fisher. Bregman extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

Troy Scribner and Michael Freeman both went 3 innings. Scribner allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 4, and struck out 4. Freeman allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 3. Kevin Comer struck out 4 over 2 perfect innings.

Enrique Chavez will make his first start for the JetHawks tonight at 7:15 Pacific. He'll face Scott DeCecco.

Burlington 7, Quad Cities 4

W- Justin Anderson (9-9)
L- Elieser Hernandez (2-3, 2-4 season)
S- Jordan Piche (8)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos were foiled in their bid to sweep the series as they couldn't overcome a 5-0 deficit after 2 innings.

Kristian Trompiz tripled with 1 out in the 5th and scored on a Luis Reynoso sac fly. Drew Ferguson cleared the bases with a double in the 6th inning. Trompiz, Ferguson, and Bryan Muñiz had 2 hits apiece.

Elieser Hernandez went 5 innings and allowed 7 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 6. Eric Peterson allowed 3 hits and struck out 4 over the final 3 innings.

The River Bandits are back home and they'll begin a 3-game series with Kane County tonight at 7:00. Rogelio Armenteros will face Jared Miller.

Tri-City 5, Brooklyn 4

W- Scott Weathersby (3-1)
L- Corey Taylor (1-1)
S- Yeyfry Del Rosario (1)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats withstood a 4-run 4th inning from the Cyclones and swept them out of The Joe. At 39-30, they lead Lowell by 4.5 games in the NYPL Stedler Division with 6 games remaining.

Aaron Mizell opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 1st. Bobby Wernes and Dex McCall followed by hitting RBI singles. In the 3rd, McCall reached on an error that allowed Alex Melendez to score. Brooklyn tied the game at 4 with 4 in the 4th, and it remained that way until the 8th inning. Brooks Marlow led off the inning with a single, advanced to 2nd on a sac bunt, made his way to 3rd on a walk/wild pitch, and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single from Johnny Sewald, who finished 3-4 with a steal (29). Melendez went 2-4 with 2 runs scored.

Alex Winkelman went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Adam Whitt was the first man out; he allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 in a scoreless 5th. Scott Weathersby tagged in and all he did was strike out 5 over 3 perfect innings. Yeyfry Del Rosario shut the door by striking out the side in order in the 9th.

Harold Arauz will be on the mound for Tri-City tonight as they begin their final road series of the regular season on Staten Island. He'll face Domingo Acevedo at 7:00 Eastern.

Greeneville 2, Princeton 0

W- Salvador Montaño (2-3)
L- Spencer Moran (3-1)
S- Albert Abreu (1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

On the final day of the Appalachian League season, the Appy Astros clinched a playoff berth by virtue of finishing 2nd in their division.

Salvador Montaño and Albert Abreu joined forces to keep the Rays off the scoreboard. Montaño allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and fanned 1 in 5 innings, and Abreu allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 over 4 innings to get the save.

Rodrigo Ayarza opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. Greeneville put this game out to pasture with 4 in the 8th inning. Kyle Tucker hit an RBI single and scored on an RBI double from Connor Goedert, who came home on an RBI single hit by Randy Cesar. Cesar advanced to 3rd on a couple of wild pitches and scored on Ayarza's 2nd RBI single of the evening. Ayarza finished 3-4, while Cesar and Goedert had 2 hits apiece.

The Appalachian League playoffs begin tomorrow at Pioneer Park. Greeneville will have a best-of-3 with Kingsport.

WTHB August Astros MiLB Players of the Month

With no further ado, I present you with WTHB's August Players of the Month ...

Jon Kemmer - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Before I give you my Player of the Month, let's just look at what I had to chose from. This was a difficult prospect this month! In no particular order, these were some of the players under consideration:

1B A.J. Reed (Corpus Christi)
.369/.424/.577 in 28 games
8-2B 5HR 21RBI

1B/3B Tyler White (Fresno)
.375/.500/.594 in 27 games
7-2B 1-3B 4HR 32RBI

SS Alex Bregman (Lancaster)
.377/.426/.553 in 26 games
6-2B 4-3B 2HR 20RBI 8SB

2B Mott Hyde (Lancaster)
.395/.486/.581 in 25 games
11-2B 1-3B 1HR 17RBI 1SB

1B/3B Matt Duffy (Fresno)
.317/.412/.564 in 27 games
8-2B 1-3B 5HR 28RBI 3SB

1B Bryan Muniz (Quad Cities)
.310/.442/.512 in 24 games
8-2B 3HR 18RBI 1SB

OF Ronnie Mitchell (Lancaster)
.340/.369/.602 in 26 games
6-2B 6-3B 3HR 26RBI

IF Nicolas Miranda (DSL Orange)
.403/.461/.448 in 18 games
1-2B 1-3B 8RBI 2SB

OF James Ramsay (Lancaster)
.373/.441/.534 in 28 games
8-2B 1-3B 3HR 24RBI 8SB

OF/2B Juan Fuentes (DSL)
.377/.492/.566 in 16 games
5-2B 1-3B 1HR 8RBI 6SB

OF Johnny Sewald (Tri-City)
.340/.451/.404 in 26 games
6-2B 12RBI 11SB

OF Sean McMullen (Lancaster)
.333/.440/.571 in 17 games
6-2B 3-3B 1HR 11RBI 3SB

I was also wowed with 1B Chase McDonald's .680 slugging percentage for the month. He hit five doubles, one triple and 12 home runs in 25 games in August! And, although C Brian Holberton just came off the DL a few days ago and only played in six games in August, he was on fire, hitting .545/.538/1.000 in those games.

But when it came right down to it, the two players who rose to the top for me were Lancaster 3B J.D. Davis and Corpus Christi OF Jon Kemmer. J.D. Davis had a simply astounding run of it in August. He hit .382/.466/.842 with five doubles, 10 home runs, 27 RBI and one stolen base in 19 games. But he missed 10 days on the DL and, since he didn't have to sustain those numbers for as long a period, I instead went with Kemmer. Kemmer hit .373/.458/.676 with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs 20 RBI and five stolen bases in 27 games in August. He also did a terrific job limiting the strikeouts and collected 13 walks to 13 strikeouts and ended the month on a 10-game hitting streak. Really very impressive job from Kemmer, my Player of the Month for August.

PITCHER OF THE MONTH

Dean Deetz (2nd from left) - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP Dean Deetz (Quad Cities)
Dean Deetz simply took things to a different level in August. In five starts in August, Deetz was 4-1 with a 0.33 ERA and a 0.704 WHIP in his 27 innings of work. He walked nine batters and struck out 22. And he held those batters to a very, very stingy .106/.184/.128 batting line. On August 24th, he pitched seven no-hit innings before being removed from the game (the game was ultimately a one-hitter). As a result of that start, he was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week earlier this week.

Runners-Up

RHP Michael Feliz (Corpus Christi)
Feliz went 1-1 with a 0.87 ERA and a 0.903 WHIP in five starts (31 innings), walked nine batters while striking out 33, and held batters to a .176/.239/.222 batting line.

RHP Justin Ferrell (Quad Cities)
Ferrell is currently on the DL, but before he got there, he went 2-1 with a 0.70 ERA and a 0.935 WHIP in his four starts (25.2 innings). He walked nine, struck out 23 and held batters to a .174/.260/.244 line.

RHP Edgardo Sandoval (GCL/Greeneville)
The (barely) 19-year old Sandoval also impressed in August. He was 1-0 with a 0.86 ERA and a 0.810 WHIP in five appearances (three starts). In 21 innings of work, he allowed six walks while striking out 21. Batters hit .155/.221/.211 against him.

RELIEF PITCHER OF THE MONTH

Mike Freeman (from MiLB.com)

LHP Michael Freeman (Quad Cities/Lancaster)
Freeman was lights out in August, allowing only four hits and one earned run in 17.2 innings of work despite making five of his seven appearances at the hitter-friendly Lancaster home ballpark. He was 1-0 with two saves, a 0.51 ER and a 0.566 WHIP during the month, walking six batters while striking out 20. Hitters only managed .071/.161/.125 against him.

Runner-Up

RHP Jordan Jankowski (Fresno)
Equally deserving was Jankowski who was 3-0 with two saves in 10 appearances. Jankowski did not allow a run, earned or otherwise, in 12 innings of work and ended the month with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP. He walked four batters and struck out 19, holding them to a .150/.244/150 batting line.

Honorable mention goes to Samil de los Santos (Greeneville), Jacob Dorris (Tri-City/Quad Cities), Diosward Gonzalez (DSL), Tyson Perez (Fresno), Eric Peterson (Quad Cities), Joselo Pinales (Greeneville), Scott Weathersby (Tri-City) and James Hoyt (Fresno).

CATCHER OF THE MONTH

C Jamie Ritchie (Lancaster)
Ritchie is a repeat winner, having won this honor in July as well. In 21 games in August (19 behind the plate), he hit .338/.430/.486 with seven doubles, two triples, five RBI and two stolen bases. He walked 10 times while striking out 14 times and has boasted a 30% caught stealing rate since his mid-July promotion to Lancaster.

Jamie Ritchie - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen


April Players of the Month:
SS Carlos Correa
RHP Chris Devenski
RHP Ryan Thompson
C Tyler Heineman

May Players of the Month:
OF Derek Fisher
RHP Chris Devenski
RHP Travis Ballew
C Jacob Nottingham

1B A.J. Reed
RHP Francis Martes
RHP Angel Heredia
C Alfredo Gonzales

July Players of the Month
1B A.J. Reed
RHP David Paulino
RHP Jandel Gustave
C Jamie Ritchie

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/2

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ...

IF Luis Reynoso (21)
Reynoso was born September 2, 1994 in San Francisco de Macoris, Duarte, Dominican Republic and signed with the Astros in July 2011. He is currently playing for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

Luis Reynoso - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

TWEET OF THE DAY
Keep up with the latest Astros minor league roster moves here.

More honors today ...

Also, the players participating in the Arizona Fall League were announced yesterday afternoon. Lefties Chris Cotton and Albert Minnis, RHP Aaron West and Keegan Yuhl, 1B A.J. Reed, 3B J.D. Davis and OF Derek Fisher will join the Glendale Desert Dogs. IF Chan Moon will also participate and will be a taxi squad player, meaning that he will only play a couple times a week unless he is needed to replace a player who leaves the team. Baseball America breaks down all the teams here. They will start play on October 13th. Here is the full schedule.

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Record: 1st 80-57 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Tuesday's Game: Albuquerque 3 over Fresno 2
Unfortunately, that goal gets pushed back another day as Fresno only managed four hits on the night and couldn't overcome a 3-run first by the Isotopes.

Playoff Picture: Fresno's first two playoff games in the best-of-five Conference series will be at home on Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th. The next three games (if three are necessary) will take place at the home ballpark of the PCL Pacific Southern Division winner from Friday the 11th through Sunday the 13th. But we still don't know who Fresno will face in that series. The Las Vegas 51's are currently only a half game ahead of the El Paso Chihuahuas in the Southern Division as they lost the first of four games to the Chihuahuas.

CORPUS CHRISTI

Record: 1st 84-50 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Tuesday's Game: Corpus Christi 10 over Frisco 2

Moon did it at the plate as well, going 3-for-5 with an RBI double while A.J. Reed contributed his 34th home run of the season and Jon Kemmer's second inning triple extended his hitting streak to 11 games in support of a terrific start from Kyle Westwood (7IP 5H 0R 1BB 5SO).

Playoff Picture: Much like Fresno, Corpus Christi will host the first two playoff games next Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th, but unlike Fresno, they know who they will be facing. Midland (an Oakland affiliate) clinched the second playoff spot last week. The next three games (if three are necessary will be played in Midland. Corpus Christi owns the season series against Midland 18-14 and split their last series 2-2.

LANCASTER

Record: 3rd 72-62 3.0GB L1 (2nd in 2nd half; 3.0GB; clinched wild card)

Tuesday's Game: Bakersfield 2 over Lancaster 0
This was a tough loss. Not only did the JetHawks falter in their quest to catch High Desert in the second half standings, they lost despite outhitting Bakersfield nine to four. Michael Freeman and Kevin Comer provided five innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen and James Ramsay collected four of the JetHawks nine hits.

Playoff Picture: Lancaster is in the playoffs, but if the season ended today, they would be in as a wild card. However, Lancaster lags High Desert by three games in the second half standings with six games left to play, and the final 4 games of the regular season will be between these two teams so they still have a chance to win the second half which would get them home field advantage as these two teams will face each other again in the best-of-three mini-series being played September 9th, 10th and 11th (if necessary). The winner of the mini-series will face Rancho Cucamonga (the first half winner) in the Division Finals. Got all that? Good!

QUAD CITIES

Record: 1st 85-47 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Tuesday's Game: Burlington 7 over Quad Cities 4

Quad Cities trailed 6-0 at one point and battled back, but ultimately came up short. Drew Ferguson drove in three of the four River Bandits runs with a bases clearing double. Eric Peterson threw three innings of scoreless relief for the second time in as many appearances.

Playoff Picture: In the Midwest League, eight teams advance to the playoffs. As the Western Division first half champion, the River Bandits play the second place team from the first half, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in a best-of-three division quarter final. The first game will be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, September 9th and the second and third (if necessary) will be back in Davenport on Thursday, the 10th and Friday, the 11th. The River Bandits won the season series against the Kernels 9 games to 4.

TRI-CITY

Record: 1st 39-30 -.-GB W4

Tuesday's Game: Tri-City 5 over Brooklyn 4

Tri-City inched closer to the playoffs with their sweep of Brooklyn. Johnny Sewald went 3-for-4 with a walk and stole his 29th base of the season; he is hitting .357/.466/.480 since the first of August. Adam Whitt, Scott Weathersby and Yeyfry del Rosario contributed five scoreless innings of relief to keep Tri-City in the game and allow them to get the go ahead run in the bottom of the 8th.

Playoff Picture: Lowell and Connecticut both won on Tuesday as well, but Tri-City still leads Lowell by 4.5 games and Connecticut by 5.5 games in the Stedler Division with 6 games left to play. The magic number to eliminate Lowell stands at 3 while Connecticut is hanging on by a thread with an elimination number of 1. The three division leaders plus one wild card (the non-division leader with the best record) advance to the playoffs.

GREENEVILLE

Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth)

Tuesday's Game: Greeneville 5 over Princeton 0

And that's a wrap! Greeneville punctuated their playoff-clinching win with a big four-run bottom of the 8th. But it was the excellent pitching from Salvador Montano and Albert Abreu that made all the difference as they combined to toss a 6-hit shutout on the final day of the regular season in a must-win game.

Playoff Picture: Greeneville's win on Tuesday got them to the playoffs with no time to reflect. They will host Game 1 of a best-of-three Division Series starting this Thursday, September 3rd. Games 2 and 3 will be in Kingsport on Friday, September 4th and Saturday, September 5th (if necessary); the Mets affiliate won the season series with Greeneville 6 games to 5.

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1

Season over.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, August 31, 2015

How did the farm fare on this final day of August?

Fresno 10, Albuquerque 5

W- Mark Appel (4-2, 9-3 season)
L- Boone Whiting (3-9)

Fresno home runs: Tyler White 2 (7, 14 season; solo in 3rd, 3-run in 5th)

The difference in this game was a 6-run 5th for the Grizzlies. Oh, and Mr. White's 2 home runs.

Jon Singleton opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 2nd, and he later scored when Trent Woodward grounded into a double play. Tyler White's first homer of the night was a solo shot that came with 2 outs in the 3rd. He sent another one out in the 5th; this one was of the 3-run variety. Singleton followed with another RBI double, and he came around to score on an RBI single from L.J. Hoes. Tony Kemp capped off the scoring with an RBI triple. In the 6th, Matt Duffy hit a sac fly.

White, Duffy, and Singleton all had 2-hit nights, as did Nolan Fontana, who scored 2 runs and drew a walk after coming on for Jonathan Villar, who has been summoned to Houston thanks to roster expansion.

Mark Appel had a bare minimum quality start, allowing 4 hits, walking 4, and striking out 6. Jake Buchanan was the first man out; he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 1, and fanned 1 in 2 innings, and in his AAA debut, Travis Ballew allowed a hit and struck out 1 in a scoreless 9th inning.

In game 2 of this series, Brett Oberholtzer will take on Aaron Laffey. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

San Antonio 11, Corpus Christi 9

W- Elliot Morris (4-9)
L- Chris Cotton (2-1, 3-3 season)
S- Eury De La Rosa (7)

CC home runs: Chan-Jong Moon (3, 4 season; solo in 3rd)

The Missions got to Chris Cotton late to foil the Hooks' bid to sweep the series.

In his 2nd rehab game, George Springer went 1-4 and scored a run. Chan-Jong Moon put Corpus on the board when he led off the 3rd with a home run. Later in the inning, Danry Vásquez scored on an error. Moon added an RBI single to his ledger in the 4th, which sparked a 6-run inning for the Hooks. Danry followed with a 2-run double, which was one of 3 two-baggers that he smacked on the night. Jon Kemmer ripped a 2-run double of his own and came around to score on an RBI single from Conrad Gregor. Danry scored his 3rd run of the game in the 8th, when A.J. Reed grounded into a fielder's choice. Gregor finished 2-5.

Chris Devenski went 6.1 innings and allowed 6 runs (5 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 10 hits (solo and 2-run homers), walked 1, and struck out 7. Reymin Guduan got 1 out in the 7th; he allowed a run of his own, a hit, and walked 1. Gonzalo Sañudo got the final out of the 7th inning. Chris Cotton allowed 4 runs (all in the 9th) on 6 hits (3-run homer), walked 1, and fanned 1 in 1.1 innings. Tyler Brunnemann got the final 2 outs of the 9th, but the damage had been done. The Hooks fought back in the bottom of the 9th and had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out, but that threat was squashed.

Kyle Westwood will be on the mound in the first of a 4-game series with Frisco. He'll face Jose Leclerc at 7:05.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will begin a 3-game series in Bakersfield tonight at 7:15 Pacific. Troy Scribner will be on the mound for Lancaster.

Quad Cities 5, Burlington 2

W- Dean Deetz (4-1, 8-3 season)
L- Keynan Middleton (5-11)
S- Jacob Dorris (1, 7 season)

QC home runs: Kristian Trompiz (6, solo in 4th), Bryan Muñiz (3, 5 season; 3-run in 4th)

The Banditos got a pair of 4th-inning home runs and a nice outing from Dean Deetz in this one.

Deetz allowed 2 hits over 5 shutout innings. Juan Robles was the first man out of the Quad Cities bullpen. He went 1.1 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 on a wild pitch and 1 on a groundout), walked 5, and struck out 1. Robles, who is still 17, had an outstanding debut season in the complex leagues. While he was clearly wild in this outing, I wouldn't read too much into it. Jacob Dorris allowed a hit and fanned 3 in 2.2 innings to get the save.

Wander Franco opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 2nd. Kristian Trompiz doubled the lead by leading off the 4th with a homer, and Bryan Muñiz extended it even further with a 3-run homer. He and Bobby Boyd (SB [34], R) finished with 2 hits apiece.

The River Bandits will look for the sweep as Elieser Hernandez will go up against Justin Anderson. First pitch is at 6:30.

Tri-City 4, Brooklyn 2

W- Matt Bower (1-0, 3-1 season)
L- Gaby Almonte (6-7)
S- Zac Grotz (4, 5 season)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats won the series thanks to a 3-run 6th inning.

Dex McCall put Tri-City on the board and in the lead with a 2-run single in that 6th inning, and Bobby Wernes later scored on a wild pitch. Aaron Mizell added an RBI single in the 7th. Mizell finished 2-3 and had a triple to go with his run-scoring hit.

Trent Thornton allowed a run on 4 hits and struck out 4 in 3 innings. Juan Carlos Santos allowed a hit, walked 1, and fanned 2 in the 4th inning. In his Tri-City debut, Matt Bower allowed a run on 6 hits and struck out 2 in 4 innings, and Zac Grotz walked 1 and fanned 2 in the 9th for the save.

Alex Winkelman will start the series finale. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

Princeton 3, Greeneville 2

W- Deivy Mendez (2-2)
L- Yhoan Acosta (1-4)
S- Alberto Casanas (9)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros' miscues doomed them in this game; they committed 6 errors.

Connor Goedert hit an RBI single in the 1st. Kyle Tucker finished 3-4 with 2 stolen bases (13, 17 season) and an RBI single in the 8th.

Makay Nelson went 2 innings and allowed an unearned run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Starlyng Sanchez went 2 innings and allowed 3 hits while striking out 1. Yhoan Acosta allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 6 in 4 innings. Luis Ramirez fanned 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In Greeneville's season finale, Salvador Montaño will take on Spencer Moran at 7:00 Eastern.

Astros Daily Farm Report - 9/1

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...



And if that isn't enough, J.D. Davis was the Player of the Week in the California League too. Quite a Day!

TWEET OF THE DAY
Keep up with the latest Astros minor league roster moves here.

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Record: 1st 80-56 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Monday's Game: Fresno 10 over Albuquerque 5
Nothing like getting back to home cooking (or maybe a Frankenslice?) to finally nail down that elusive 80th win! It is only the second time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have reached that mark.

Playoff Picture: Fresno's first two playoff games in the best-of-five Conference series will be at home on Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th. The next three games (if three are necessary) will take place at the home ballpark of the PCL Pacific Southern Division winner from Friday the 11th through Sunday the 13th. But we still don't know who Fresno will face in that series. The Las Vegas 51's are currently only a half game ahead of the El Paso Chihuahuas in the Southern Division as they lost the first of four games to the Chihuahuas.

CORPUS CHRISTI

Record: 1st 83-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Monday's Game: San Antonio 11 over Corpus Christi 9

With 29 hits and 20 runs, this one wasn't exactly a pitchers' duel. Danry Vasquez had a particularly great night, going 3-for-5 with all three hits being doubles. He also drove in two runs and scored three times. The loss officially eliminated Corpus Christi from contention for the second half title.

Playoff Picture: Much like Fresno, Corpus Christi will host the first two playoff games next Wednesday, September 9th and Thursday, September 10th, but unlike Fresno, they know who they will be facing. Midland (an Oakland affiliate) clinched the second playoff spot last week. The next three games (if three are necessary will be played in Midland. Corpus Christi owns the season series against Midland 18-14 and split their last series 2-2.

LANCASTER

Record: T2nd 72-61 2.0GB W4 (2nd in 2nd half; 2.0GB; clinched wild card)

Monday's Game: Lancaster finally received a much deserved off-day on Monday after playing 20 days in a row. And it was an off-day for the entire league so nothing has changed as it pertains to the playoff picture.

Playoff Picture: This one could get interesting. Lancaster is definitely in the playoffs, but if the season ended today, they would be in as a wild card. However, Lancaster only lags High Desert in the second half standings by two games with seven games left to play, and the final 4 games of the regular season will be between these two teams. At stake ... bragging rights as the second half winner and home field advantage as these two teams will face each other again in the best-of-three mini-series being played September 9th, 10th and 11th (if necessary). The winner of the mini-series will face Rancho Cucamonga (the first half winner) in the Division Finals. Got all that? Good!

QUAD CITIES

Record: 1st 85-46 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Monday's Game: Quad Cities 5 over Burlington 2

Dean Deetz may earn another Pitcher of the Week honor next week after his great outing on Monday as he allowed only two hits and no walks over five shutout innings.

Playoff Picture: In the Midwest League, eight teams advance to the playoffs. As the Western Division first half champion, the River Bandits play the second place team from the first half, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in a best-of-three division quarter final. The first game will be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, September 9th and the second and third (if necessary) will be back in Davenport on Thursday, the 10th and Friday, the 11th. The River Bandits won the season series against the Kernels 9 games to 4.

TRI-CITY

Record: 1st 38-30 -.-GB W3

Monday's Game: Tri-City 4 over Brooklyn 2
Tri-City's win brought them just that much closer to a playoff berth!

Playoff Picture: Lowell and Connecticut both cooperated nicely by losing on Monday, and Vermont was eliminated with Tri-City's win. Tri-City now leads Lowell by 4.5 games and Connecticut by 5.5 games in the Stedler Division with 7 games left to play. The three division leaders plus one wild card (the non-division leader with the best record) advance to the playoffs.

GREENEVILLE

Record: 2nd 33-33 5.5GB L1

Monday's Game: Princeton 3 over Greeneville 2

RF Kyle Tucker collected three of Greeneville's five hits along with two stolen bases just for grins, but Tucker wasn't enough to carry Greeneville to victory. Which means the playoffs will be decided on the final day of the Appalachian League season.

Playoff Picture: With Greeneville's loss and Elizabethton's win, Greeneville's lead going in to the final game of their season has been reduced to a half game. Greeneville must win on Tuesday or Elizabethton must lose in order for Greeneville to advance to the playoffs. If they advance, they will play a best-of-three division series against the Kingsport Mets against whom they have compiled a 5-6 record this season.

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season over.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1

Season over.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, August 30, 2015

Michael Feliz shined once again in Corpus.

Omaha 4, Fresno 2

W- Buddy Baumann (2-4)
L- Asher Wojciechowski (8-4)
S- Michael Mariot (8)

Fresno home runs: Preston Tucker (11, 2-run in 1st)

The Grizzlies were swept out of Omaha as their bats went cold after the 1st inning.

Preston Tucker's 2-run homer in the 1st constituted the only Fresno runs. It was also their only extra-base hit of the afternoon,

Asher Wojciechowski went 5.2 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, walked 4, and struck out 3. Jordan Jankowski struck out 1 in 1.1 innings, and Joe Thatcher struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th.

The Grizzlies will close out the regular season at home. First up is 4 with Albuquerque beginning tonight at 7:05 Pacific. Mark Appel will take on Boone Whiting.

Corpus Christi 2, San Antonio 1

W- Gonzalo Sañudo (1-0, 3-0 season)
L- Eury De La Rosa (1-1)
S- Jandel Gustave (18)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks took the 2nd of 3 games behind a fine pitching performance.

Michael Feliz allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6 in 6 innings in what may possibly be his final outing in Corpus before rosters expand tomorrow. Gonzalo Sañudo, back from the Mexican League, threw 2 perfect innings, striking out 1. Jandel Gustave allowed a hit as he closed it out.

Jon Kemmer scored the first run of the game when Conrad Gregor grounded into a force out in the 2nd inning. Colin Moran broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the 8th inning. Kemmer and Moran had 2 hits apiece.

Chris Devenski will be on the mound tonight. He'll take on Dennis O'Grady at 7:05.

Lancaster 19, Lake Elsinore 2

W- Akeem Bostick (5-4, 8-4 season)
L- Michael Kelly (0-5)

Lancaster home runs: J.D. Davis 2 (26; solo in 3rd, 2-run in 8th)

The JetHawks pounded out 20 hits as they absolutely obliterated the Storm.

J.D. Davis was the 3rd player in the system to join the 100-RBI club with his 6 RBI.


Akeem Bostick went 6 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 4. Jordan Mills, Enrique Chavez, and Andrew Walter pitched 1 inning apiece. Mills walked 1 and struck out 1 in the 7th, Chavez, making his Lancaster debut, allowed a hit and struck out 1 in the 8th, and Andrew Walter allowed a solo homer to Daniel Bravo in the 9th. He allowed one other hit and fanned 1.

The JetHawks will head up to Bakersfield for their final roadtrip of the regular season. In game 1, Troy Scribner will take the mound. First pitch is tomorrow evening, at 7:15 Pacific.

Quad Cities 2, Burlington 1

W- Brock Dykxhoorn (8-4)
L- Mike Bolaski (9-11)
S- Angel Heredia (12)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos were held to 4 hits, but they won in the column that counts.

Wander Franco hit a sac fly in the 2nd to open the scoring. In the 8th, Bobby Boyd hit a triple with 2 outs and ended up breaking a 1-1 tie by scoring on a wild pitch. Boyd's triple was the River Bandits' only extra-base hit.

Brock Dykxhoorn went 7 innings and allowed a run on 6 hits and struck out 3. Zach Davis allowed a hit and struck out 1 as he got 2 outs in the 7th. Angel Heredia struck out 1 and got a 4-out save.

In game 2 of this series, Dean Deetz will take on Keynan Middleton. First pitch is at 6:30.

Tri-City 13, Brooklyn 4

W- Kevin McCanna (3-2)
L- Kevin Canelon (5-5)

TC home runs: Cesar Carrasco (4, 2-run in 2nd), Aaron Mizell (4, solo in 3rd), Anthony Hermelyn (2, 2-run in 4th), Hector Roa (5, 11 season; 2-run in 4th)

Tri-City brought out the big guns as they bashed 4 homers in the span of 3 innings.

Hector Roa opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 1st. Then came the homers. Carrasco launched one in the 2nd. Aaron Mizell followed with a solo shot in the 3rd, and in the 4th, Anthony Hermelyn and Roa both smacked 2-run homers. They scored 4 more runs in the 6th as Brooks Marlow hit a sac fly, and Roa, Bobby Wernes, and Kolbey Carpenter hit RBI singles. Dex McCall drove in the final run of the evening when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the 8th. That 8th inning got a bit testy as Roa got plunked. I have no idea what happened afterwards, but I imagine that words were exchanged, and Juan Carlos Santos and two Brooklyn players ended up getting tossed.

Johnny Sewald (SB [28], 2 R), Roa (2-run homer, 4 RBI), Mizell (solo homer, 2 R), McCall (2B, RBI, 2 R), and Carrasco (2B, 2-run homer, 2 R) all had 2-hit nights.

Zac Person allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits and struck out 6 in 3.1 innings. Kevin McCanna allowed a 3-run homer to Zach Mathieu in the 4th, and 2 runs were charged to Person. In 3.2 innings, McCanna allowed one other hit and struck out 1. Ralph Garza Jr. allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings.

In game 2 of this series, Trent Thornton will take on Gaby Almonte. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

Greeneville 6, Princeton 2

W- Andrew Thome (2-1)
L- Bryan Bonnell (2-1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros sit 1.5 games ahead of Elizabethton with 2 games remaining. It's coming down to the wire.

Andrew Thome was excellent in his 5 innings as he allowed 2 hits and struck out 6. Cris Santamaria allowed a run and a hit in 3 innings, and Dylan James allowed an unearned run on 2 hits and struck out 1 in the 9th.

Kyle Tucker opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 1st, and Arturo Michelena added an RBI single. Greeneville got 3 runs in the 5th without a hit. Ford Stainback and Myles Straw scored on wild pitches, and Christian Correa scored on an error that allowed Straw to reach. That was the only ball that they put in play in that entire inning. Tucker hit an RBI single in the 8th inning. Daz Cameron stole 2 bases, giving him 24 on the season. Stainback (3), Straw (21), and Tucker (11, 15 season) also stole a base.

In game 2 of this series, Makay Nelson will take on Alexis Tapia. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern. The mission is simple: win, and they're in.