Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 10-25

Checking in on the Fall/Winter League Astros, but first things first ...


10-25: RHP Gabriel Valdez (20)
10-28: RHP Reggie Johnson (23)
10-28: OF Brauly Mejia (22)
10-29: OF Carmen Benedetti (22)
10-29: 1B Tyler White (26)
10-30: SS Ozziel Sanchez-Galan (18)
10-31: OF/2B Tony Kemp (25)

Reggie Johnson - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen


10-20: RHP Moreno Polanco released

Also, Dustin has compiled a list of the Astros players he's spotted playing in fall and winter leagues so far right here.


Several of the winter leagues have started already and the Puerto Rican league will join them this Thursday.

In itty-bitty sample sizes, several Astros have gotten off to a good start. Offensively, C Max Stassi (.400/.400/.400 in 2 games - LIDOM), OF Jason Martin (.400/.500/.600 in 3 games - AFL), SS Miguel Sierra (.375/.375/.500 in 2 games - LVBP) have gotten off to a good start while OF Ramon Laureano (.345/.412/.621 in 8 games) continues to impress in the Arizona Fall League and C Garrett Stubbs (.296/.367/.481 in 8 games) has really heated up at the plate as well in that venue.

The pitching has been a mixed bag with RHP Mike Hauschild (0.00 ERA/0.938WHIP in 5.1IP) and RHP Cesar Valdez (1.93 ERA/1.286 WHIP in 4.2IP) getting off to a good start in the Dominican while RHP Rogelio Armenteros' four outings in the AFL have been mostly forgettable (22.09 ERA - ouch!). Top Astros prospect RHP Francis Martes has fallen somewhere in between with one bad outing and one mostly good outing (7.21 ERA/1.928 WHIP - AFL). RHP Jacob Dorris (AFL - 2.2IP), LHP Reymin Guduan (LIDOM - 0.1IP), RHP Jordan Jankowski (LIDOM - 1.0IP) and RHP David Paulino (AFL - 1.0IP) haven't allowed any earned runs in their limited innings.

Fall/Winter League Start Dates
Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP) - 10/9
Arizona Fall League (AFL) - 10/11
Mexican Pacific League (LMP) - 10/11
Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) - 10/20
Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC) - 10/27
Australian Baseball League (ABL) -11/7 (Exhibitions start 11/7; season starts 11/17)


Baseball America posted their report card for the Astros 2016 Draft here (insider only). Since the article is a paid article, I will just reveal that BA showed some love for RHP Forrest Whitley (1st round), 2B Ryne Birk (13th round), OF Stephen Wrenn (6th round) and C Jake Rogers (3rd round) in particular.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Saturday, October 22, 2016


Surprise 10, Glendale 8

Jason Martin got the start in center for the Desert Dogs and drew a bases-loaded walk in the 6th inning that allowed Ramon Laureano to score. Martin scored on a three-run homer from Carson Kelly later on in the frame, and he hit a double in the 7th. Nick Tanielu came on as a pinch-hitter in the 7th and stayed in the game at second base, finishing 0-2.

The Arizona Fall League has Sunday off.


Gigantes 9, Licey 0

Andrew Aplin got the start in center for Licey and finished 1-2.

Estrellas 6, Escogido 3

Mike Hauschild got the start for Escogido and allowed two unearned runs on four hits, walked one, and struck out five in 5.1 innings of work.

Águilas 6, Toros 3

Max Stassi singled in his only plate appearance, but he had to leave the game after Zoilo Almonte's follow-through hit him in the head.

Today's games in the Dominican will begin at 4:00 Atlantic. The two Cibao clubs will take on each other, as will the Santo Domingo teams and the teams out east.


Obregón 8, Hermosillo 4

Leo Heras went 2-3 with a triple in the 2nd and an RBI single in the 4th.

Obregón and Hermosillo will conclude their series at 5:00 Mountain.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Friday, October 21, 2016


Peoria 8, Glendale 2

W- Dylan Unsworth (2-0)
L- Chris Anderson (0-2)

Glendale home runs by Astros players: None.

Garrett Stubbs finished 2-3 with a double and scored one of the Desert Dogs' two runs. Jacob Dorris walked two and struck out the side in the 6th inning.

Glendale will face Surprise at 12:35 Mountain.


Licey 4, Escogido 3

Andrew Aplin got the start in center for Licey and finished 0-4.

César Valdéz got the start, and in 4.2 innings, he allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits and struck out 4. Old friend Tommy Shirley got Valdéz out of a jam by getting the final out of the 5th inning.

Gigantes 4, Águilas 0

Jordan Jankowski allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 9th for Gigantes.

Estrellas 5, Toros 3

Max Stassi got the start behind the plate for Toros and finished 1-4.

In today's slate of games in the Dominican Republic, Licey and Gigantes will kick off the day at 4:00 Atlantic. The other two games will start at 7:30; Escogido will face Estrellas, while Toros will take on Águilas/


Hermosillo 6, Obregón 3

Hermosillo won this game despite only getting three hits. Leo Heras went 2-4 with a double in the 1st inning and an RBI single in the 5th inning. He eventually came around to score later in the frame.

These two teams will play again at 6:00 Mountain.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy LIDOM Opening Day!


Glendale 3, Mesa 2

W- Ryan Brinley (1-0)
L- John Stilson (0-1)
S- Rogelio Armenteros (1)

Glendale home runs by Astros players: None.

Ramon Laureano got the start in center field and in three at-bats out of the #3 spot in the order, he doubled, scored a run, and stole a base (4). Garrett Stubbs was behind the plate and went 0-2 with a walk and scored a run.

Rogelio Armenteros worked around a walk to get the save, striking out two.

The Desert Dogs will take on Peoria at 12:35 Mountain.


Águilas 4, Gigantes 2

The two clubs representing the Cibao region kicked off a new season in the Dominican, and Águilas came out on top thanks to four runs in the seventh inning.

Reymin Guduan came on to pitch the eighth inning for Gigantes, allowing a single and getting the first out of the frame with a strikeout, which was the only out that he recorded.

All six clubs in LIDOM will be in action tonight. Licey will take on Escogido at 7:15 Atlantic, Gigantes and Águilas will square off again at 7:30, and Estrellas will face Toros at 7:30.

*Atlantic Time is one hour ahead of Eastern Time.


Obregón 11, Navojoa 8

Leo Heras finished 1-4 with a triple and two runs scored for Obregón.

The Yaquis are in Hermosillo tonight. First pitch is at 7:30 Mountain.

Astros in the Fall and Winter Leagues

Here is the master list of all players in the Houston Astros organization who will be playing baseball in the fall and the winter. Puerto Rico and Australia have not started their seasons yet, but I will update this list once those leagues have released their rosters.

I promise I'll do a better job of trying to keep track of the offseason leagues this year. Last year was a bit nuts on my end...


Aguilas de Zulia
C Oscar Campos
SS Kristian Trompiz

Caribes de Anzoategui
Manager Omar Lopez

Also, old friend Richard Hidalgo is serving as an assistant hitting coach for Magallanes.


The Astros' prospects in Arizona are playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs.

Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson
RHP Rogelio Armenteros
RHP Jacob Dorris
RHP Francis Martes
RHP David Paulino
C Garrett Stubbs
IF Nick Tanielu
OF Ramon Laureano
OF Jason Martin


Estrellas Orientales

Gigantes del Cibao

Leones del Escogido

Tigres del Licey

Toros del Este


Yaquis del Obregón

Monday, October 17, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 10-17

Checking in on the Fall and Winter Leagues, but first things first ...


10-17: OF Myles Straw (22)
10-18: RHP Riley Ferrell (23)
10-18: LHP Patrick Sandoval (20)
10-18: RHP Carlos Sierra (22)
10-18: RHP Andrew Walter (26)
10-20: C Ihan Bernal (20)
10-21: RHP Manual Gonzalez (22)
10-22: SS Joan Mauricio (20)
10-23: RHP Gerardo Bojorquez (19)

Patrick Sandoval - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen


Friend of the Blog Wallee Wright is back with some first-hand observations about the Astros participating in the Arizona Fall League!

Wednesday, October 12th

Today was the home opener in Mesa, Spring Training home of the Cubs and A's, so both teams featured Chicago players ... and once again, a lone position player from the Astros was starting - Ramon Laureano. Ramon is clearly too good at this point for the other AA players on the opposition ... first at bat, a two-hopper to the third baseman, playing behind the bag, and when the third-sacker nonchalantly played the ball Ramon beat the throw to first and scored a batter later on a home run. Second at bat, a laser over the center fielder's head, one-hopping the 410 sign for a triple, then scoring on a sac fly ... third at bat another laser splitting the left and center fielders, one-hopping the fence for a ground rule double.

Ramon Laureano - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Ramon Laureano was a man among boys in that game ... the balls he hit for the triple and double looked and sounded like batting practice home runs - you almost expected the hide to fly loose from the core. I did not stay for more since Laureano was the whole show in a very dull game at a second-rate ball park surrounded by obnoxious Cubbie fans.

Friday, October 14th

Interesting evening, sitting amongst the New Yawkers, like an evening watching Friends ... no Tebow on the field but two or three Tebow jerseys on youngish ladies in the stands. Jason Martin powdered a ball to left center his first time up, one-hopping the wall ... the league is getting an introduction to Jason and Ramon Laureano - both those young men really square up the ball. Forewarned is forearmed though ... by Martin's third time up the left and center fielders were playing well back and his high fly to left center was corralled on the warning track. In an odd move in the sixth the Glendale manager, Aaron Rowland, pinch hit Laureano for his DH ... odd because his DH was two-for-two with a double at that point. Ramon made him look good nonetheless with a base hit to right for an RBI ... Laureano was one-for-two on the evening, Martin was two-for-four. Rogelio Armenteros made a cameo appearance as an informal batting practice pitcher in the Scottsdale fourth inning ... he throws hard but does not appear to know how to pitch - one powder river pitch went off the catcher's glove and nearly knocked the home plate umpire down.

General Observations on Week One

To summarize the week for our guys: hitting, great; catching, good; and pitching, not so great - though a very small sample.

Garrett Stubbs got three starts during the week, catching two of the Desert Dogs five games and DH-ing the other ... only two-for-eleven hitting, though with a home run and a walk, but he threw out three of five steal attempts. Jason Martin, who is apparently the Astros' Taxi Squader, sneaked into one game going two-for-four with a double and a walk ... the double was a rocket to left center that jumped the fence. Ramon Laureano did not see action until Wednesday, but played in every one of the remaining four during the week ... small wonder, all he did was go eight-for-fourteen with two infield and two outfield singles, two doubles, two triples, two walks and, just for variety's sake, three stolen bases. Ramon leads the league in batting average and triples, is tied for the lead in stolen bases, and is second in OPS ... not so bad for a 2014 sixteenth round pick. [Laureano is hitting .571/.588/1.000 in his first four games.] Nick Tanielu has not appeared and may not be healthy or in Arizona.

Rogelio Armenteros endured a really rough inning-and-two-thirds in two appearances ... enough said. Francis Martes had a similarly tough inning-and-two-thirds in a start ... though 1.2 innings is hardly a reasonable sample to make an assessment of their ability to compete successfully at this level. Jacob Dorris and David Paulino each threw one inning this week, each giving up a hit but no runs ... Dorris also earned a relief win while striking out two batters.

Wallee Wright

As a side note, in Jacob Dorris' one appearance, he was throwing his specialty ...


Play has also started in the Venezuelan Winter League and the Mexican Pacific League, but the only Astros farmhand to participate so far is OF Leo Heras who spent the majority of his 2016 season on loan to the Mexican League. In five games for Obregon, he is hitting .118/.250/.353 (his only two hits so far have been a double and a home run).

The Dominican Winter League is scheduled to start on Thursday. Those rosters haven't been published yet, but I have seen that Fresno OF Andrew Aplin will be participating, as well as Fresno RHPs Mike Hauschild and Jordan Jankowski.

Fall/Winter League Start Dates
Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP) - 10/9
Arizona Fall League (AFL) - 10/11
Mexican Pacific League (LMP) - 10/11
Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) - 10/20
Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC) - 10/27
Australian Baseball League (ABL) -11/7 (Exhibitions start 11/7; season starts 11/17)



Baseball America finished rolling out their League by League Top 20 prospects. Here are the Astros minor (and some now major) leaguers who made the cut.

Gulf Coast League
#20: RHP Lupe Chavez

Appalachian League
#14: SS Miguelangel Sierra

New York-Penn League
#19: OF Daz Cameron

Midwest League
#4: OF Kyle Tucker
#10: RHP Franklin Perez
#14: RHP Albert Abreu

California League
#20: OF Ramon Laureano

Texas League
#1: SS Alex Bregman
#3: RHP Francis Martes
#5: RHP David Paulino
#9: OF Teoscar Hernandez
#18: OF Derek Fisher

Pacific Coast League
#8: 1B A.J. Reed
#9: RHP Joe Musgrove
#14: OF Teoscar Hernandez


Voting for the annual MiLBy Awards is open through October 5th. Vote early and vote often!!! You can vote for the Astros system, the Hooks, the JetHawks, James Hoyt, Alex Bregman and Joe Musgrove in various categories. Old WTHB friends Brett Phillips and Josh Hader are also in the mix.

Friday, October 14, 2016

An Interview with IF Antonio Nunez

After an uninspiring April in Low A Quad Cities, IF Antonio Nunez started heating up with the bat in May and never looked back, receiving two promotions on the season and ending the season in AA Corpus Christi after a late July call-up. Nunez has always been effective at getting on base, but he really ramped up his running game as well in 2016, collecting 21 stolen bases and 62 walks in 106 games. In his final 23 games of the season with Corpus Christi, the 18th round 2014 draft pick hit .304/.402/.319. I caught up with Nunez by email toward the end of the season and asked him about his season.

Antonio Nunez - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

JH: You've really had a breakout season with the bat this year. What do you feel has made the difference for you?

AN: Preparation has been the biggest key. I have been taking a different approach at the plate this year, just being patient, getting comfortable with every AB, and taking it one at-bat at a time with the help of my coaching staff and my father, who also happens to be my first coach and continues to support me.

JH: What, aside from your increased offensive output, have you accomplished this season?

AN: This has been a roller coaster season for me having been called up twice to face better pitching and better ball players with higher IQs of the game. Just being around these guys makes me feel like I'm accomplishing a lot soaking up as much baseball knowledge as I can while I'm here. I told my family, hitting coach and my trainer back home in Santiago, Dominican Republic that this year with GOD in front I will finish in AA. Also staying healthy was my #1 goal and thank GOD I've done that this year.

JH: What do you feel like you need to accomplish to get to the next level developmentally?

AN: I feel like as long as I put my team first and continue seeking advice from my coaching staff, surround myself with ball players that are just as hungry for success, all the pieces will fall right in place. I'm never content with my level of play; I always see different tools I can sharpen in my game. As long as I'm not complacent I think I should do just fine.

JH: Can you give me a scouting report on yourself as far as your intangibles go?

AN: Well as for as my intangibles go I'd have to say my IQ for the game of baseball has definitely improved. Also the level of confidence I have in myself has also increased and all have come as a result of the constant support from teammates and coaching staff. Another intangible would be that I play with a lot of heart and at times it shows when I'm out there being super animated for my teammates when they score a run or steal a base. I just really wear my emotions on my sleeve and with a chip on my shoulder because I feel like I have something to prove to those who doubted me and said I couldn't but also to those who root for me and support me.

JH: Who was your favorite player growing up and why?

AN: My favorite player growing up has always been Jose Reyes! He's from my hometown (Santiago, DR) hahaha and because of the spark he brings to a team and the energy he brings. Also he can change the game real quick and can get something started, can make something happen in many ways. He's explosive, energetic, fast, live arm and just a player that keeps you out of your seat. However right now it's Starlin Castro I love the way he plays, hard and aggressive!!

JH: What Astros minor league pitcher would you least like to face in the batter's box?

AN: Definitely Guduan!!!! hahaha [That would be hard-throwing lefty Reymin Guduan.]

JH: What has been your most memorable experience so far in your pro career?

AN: Umm a pinch hit base hit to win the game this year in Lancaster. I had the day off and came in to hit in the bottom of the 9th and hit a line drive to win the game.

JH: Yes, I remember that well! I was at that game and got a shot of you breaking out of the box after the hit!

JH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?

AN: Well if I go out to eat with my family and friends, my mom orders my food for me because I get shy.


I will leave it there, particularly because that last tidbit is VERY surprising for anyone who has spent time around the very outgoing Nunez! Thank you for your time, Antonio, and the best of luck as your journey continues!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Scottsdale 9, Glendale 6

W- Corey Oswalt (1-0)
L- Austin Voth (0-1)
S- J.P. Feyereisen (1)

Glendale home runs: Garrett Stubbs (1, solo in 2nd)

Garrett Stubbs served as the DH, and his solo shot in the 2nd inning was the first homer of the Arizona Fall League season. Rogelio Armenteros was the first man out of the Desert Dogs bullpen, and in 1.1 innings, he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, one of which was a solo homer, and walked 1.

Glendale will face Mesa at 12:35 Mountain.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 10-10

I dusted off the soapbox to talk about minor league pay, but first things first.


10-11: 3B Wander Franco (20)
10-12: RHP Jandel Gustave (24)
10-13: LHP Zac Person (24)
10-14: 2B/OF Aaron Mizell (23)
10-14: OF Ronny Rafael (19)
10-15: OF Teoscar Hernandez (24)
10-15: IF Arturo Michelena (22)
10-16: RHP Jheyson Caraballo (21)
10-17: OF Myles Straw (22)

Zac Person - May 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen


10-3: Fresno IF Danny Worth elected free agency


The Venezuelan winter league (LVBP) started on Sunday with only a couple of Astros players and one minor league manager listed on the rosters. With the current situation in Venezuela (massive food and supply shortages throughout the country), there may very well be fewer U.S. players playing there as have played there in past years.

Aguilas de Zulia
C Oscar Campos
SS Kristian Trompiz

Caribes de Anzoategui
Manager Omar Lopez

The Arizona Fall League will start tomorrow. As a reminder, the Astros on the Glendale Desert Dogs roster are the following:

Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson
RHP Rogelio Armenteros
RHP Jacob Dorris
RHP Francis Martes
RHP David Paulino
C Garrett Stubbs
IF Nick Tanielu
OF Ramon Laureano
OF Jason Martin

The Mexican Pacific Leagues start tomorrow as well, but the rosters haven't been posted yet.

Fall/Winter League Start Dates
Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP) - 10/9
Arizona Fall League (AFL) - 10/11
Mexican Pacific League (LMP) - 10/11
Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) - 10/20
Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC) - 10/27
Australian Baseball League (ABL) -11/7 (Exhibitions start 11/7; season starts 11/17)



Baseball America has been rolling out their League by League Top 20 prospects. Of the leagues that have been posted thus far, the following Astros minor leaguers have made the cut.

RHP Franklin Perez - May 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Gulf Coast League
#20: RHP Lupe Chavez

Appalachian League
#14: SS Miguelangel Sierra

New York-Penn League
#19: OF Daz Cameron

Midwest League
#4: OF Kyle Tucker
#10: RHP Franklin Perez
#14: RHP Albert Abreu

California League
#20: OF Ramon Laureano

Still to come: Texas League and Pacific Coast League


Voting for the annual MiLBy Awards is open through October 5th. Vote early and vote often!!! You can vote for the Astros system, the Hooks, the JetHawks, James Hoyt, Alex Bregman and Joe Musgrove in various categories. Old WTHB friends Brett Phillips and Josh Hader are also in the mix.


And let's end this post with a subject that's near and dear to my heart ... minor league pay (or the lack thereof). Ben Badler of Baseball America quantified what anyone involved with minor league baseball, from minor league players to coaches to office staff to broadcasters and pretty much everyone in between, already knew. Baseball players aren't paid enough and the argument that signing bonuses make up the difference is pure horse hockey for a really large chunk of players. So Rob Manfred needs to just shut it. That argument doesn't hold water. I agree that paying an hourly wage would probably be far too difficult and unwieldy to work.

But, with pay reportedly starting at $1,100 a month at the lower levels, a significant increase in monthly pay is in order. Let's say that a player averages a minimum of 10 hours a day, from the time that they are required to report to the ballpark, through strength and conditioning work, other early work, batting practice, bullpens, required team meetings, pre-game activities, the actual game and any post-game activities. And that doesn't even include travel time. Then factor in playing an average of 28 games every month. 28 days of work x 10 hours a day = 280 hours a month (not including travel). At $1,100 a month, that works out to around $3.93 an hour. And a 10-hour day is generally the MINIMUM. Long travel, double-headers, extra innings, community events, and other factors can easily push that day to 12 hours and longer.

$3.93 an hour and the player is still required to supply their own bats, gloves and cleats. On top of all that, they also have to pay clubhouse dues. And they don't get paid anything in the off-season, but are expected to adhere to a given workout regimen and are often given other requirements they must fulfill as well. And, unless something has changed, they aren't paid for fall instructional league or spring training. Yes, some of the lower levels provide housing, but by the time you hit Low A, you are completely on your own. And, yes, the players are provided with a pre-game spread. I've seen those spreads and, generally speaking, the teams spend as little as possible on the food that they put out. I don't blame the minor league franchises. They work on a shoestring. I blame MLB for deciding that a player who is willing to sign for a $1,000 bonus to follow his dream isn't deserving of being paid any better than a factory worker in a third world country. I blame MLB for doing that because they can get away with it. It is reprehensible. It is unconscionable. It is indefensible. It is wrong.

$3.93 an hour. At best.

Friday, October 7, 2016

WTHB's 2016 Awards Presentation

WTHB's Astros Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year came out a couple of weeks ago, but there are FAR more players who deserve acknowledgment for their efforts during the 2016 season. In addition to the awards that went to Brady Rodgers, Jose Luis Hernandez, James Hoyt, Ramon Laureano, Garrett Stubbs, Stephen Wrenn, Ryne Birk, Enrique Chavez, Jheyson Caraballo, Yeremi Ceballos and Gabriel Bracamonte, here are a few of the other players who stood out in 2016.

Warning: Some of these awards and acknowledgments are serious and some ... not so much.

RHP Chris Devenski earns the honors as he put up a 2.16 ERA and a 0.914 WHIP in 48 appearances for the Astros. Phenomenal season for The Dragon.

IF Alex Bregman, the 2015 first round pick, flew through the Astros system, making his debut one year and one month after the day he signed. After collecting only one hit in his first 32 at-bats, Bregman had a .308/.355/.562 batting line the rest of the way to silence his detractors.

LHP Zac Person wins the honor, following in the footsteps of other lefty pitchers such as Kenny Long and Brian Holmes. Here are a few samples of the Person charm.

2B/3B Nick Tanielu led the system in hits with 145 in 130 games. OF Myles Straw collected 124 hits in only 87 games!!!

3B J.D. Davis collected a system-leading 34 doubles in his 126 games while OF Drew Ferguson collected 29 doubles in 105 games.

OF Bobby Boyd earns the Astros Triple Crown by collecting 10 triples in his 105 games.

3B J.D. Davis (126 games) and OF Jason Martin (110 games) tied with 23 home runs each.

Yes, I made LHP Austin Nicely take off his sunglasses for this shot. Very Nicely.

The Quad Cities bullpen not only unified with mustachioed solidarity this season, they also managed a reportedly decent version of the National Anthem!
RHP James Hoyt was so dominant that he should have his own award! He led the Astros system in saves (29), lowest WHIP for 50+ innings pitched (0.873), lowest ERA for 50+ innings pitched (1.64), and strikeouts per nine innings (15.2)  Show off.

You just can't beat Carmen Benedetti for a good old school baseball name. And he wears high socks too!

RHP Cesar Valdez led the Astros system with 140 strikeouts in 127.1 innings. LHP Matt Bower had only four fewer striketouts (136) in his 110.1 innings of work.

OF Jason Martin and IF Antonio Nunez appear to be kindred spirits.

Garrett Stubbs caught 51% of would be base stealers in his 67 games behind the plate. Carlos Canelon matched that mark for short season teams.

OF Ramon Laureano was a terror on the basepaths this season, leading the Astros system with 43 in 116 games!

Former Astros outfielder and current Astros minor league hitting coach Cesar Cedeno may be 65 years old, but he's still got a few moves in him.

OF Derek Fisher (129 games) and 1B Jon Singleton (124 games) each walked a whopping 83 times this season.

OF Frankeny Fernandez was on point.

Both RHP Brady Rodgers and RHP Jose Luis Hernandez collected complete game shutouts this season. On May 4th, Rodgers allowed 4 hits and no walks, striking out 9 on his way to a nine-inning complete game shutout. Hernandez accomplished his in a 7-inning game on August 24th, allowing 7 hits and striking out 6.

The Greeneville bullpen (RHP Devon Carr, RHP Lucas Williams, RHP Reggie Johnson and LHP Luis Ramirez) are cool, collected and ready to go!

OF Drew Ferguson and OF Ramon Laureano managed to take a base the hard way 13 times each as the co-hit-by-pitch leaders in the system.

On July 17th, Greeneville C Gabriel Bracamonte singled with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored from second on a single from Abraham Toro. Sure, a catcher scoring from second on a single isn't that rare, but when you take into consideration that it was Bracamonte's 9th at-bat and he had caught all 20 innings of a 20-inning game, it's surprising that he could even walk!

SS Jonathan Arauz was on fleek.

Kyle Tucker (105 outfield games) and Ramon Laureano (110 outfield games) led the system in OF assists with 12 each. But Johnny Sewald (11 outfield assists in 83 outfield games) and Osvaldo Duarte (11 in only 38 games playing the outfield!) were breathing down their necks.

The Bromance of OF Andrew Aplin and IF Nolan Fontana is one for the ages ...

but RHP Joe Musgrove and IF Alex Bregman tried to give them a run for their money.
OF Frankeny Fernandez not only learned English in one year at the Astros Dominican Academy, he is quite fluent. Doris Gonzalez, the Astros Supervisor of Language Development and Acculturation, has had many success stories but she has to be particularly proud of Frankeny.

And Australian native 1B Connor McDonald's hair was fair dinkum! As was his second game of the season in which he hit for the cycle (yes, the triple was last and he was busting it!), and he collected a walk as well ... just for grins.

Sometimes there is more to a comeback than just putting up great numbers. Try coming back from Tommy John surgery and cancer. That's what LHP Ben Smith did this year.

And since I can't top that, I'll bring this post to a conclusion. Hope you enjoyed the 2016 Astros minor league season and getting to know a few of these players as much as I did.