Thursday, July 24, 2014

Astros Minor League Snapshot

We are now 16 weeks in to the minor league season. Let's take a look at where things stand.

OKLAHOMA CITY

3rd    53-53    .500    4.0GB    W1

The RedHawks remain in third place in the American Southern Division after going 3-4 last week. They trail second place Omaha by a game and a half. Iowa has once again leap-frogged Omaha to take the division lead. Oklahoma City will try to salvage a series split against Round Rock (51-51) in their final game of that series at home before hitting the road for four against Nashville (55-50). That will be followed by four more on the road, this time in a quick rematch with Round Rock.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 8th (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 6th
SLG - 8th
HR - 9th
BB (Hitters) - 3rd
SO (Hitters) - 10th
SB - 4th
ERA - 6th
WHIP - 5th
BB (Pitchers) - 11th
SO (Pitchers) - 9th
HR Allowed - 15th

CORPUS CHRISTI

For the season:
4th    50-53    .485    8.5GB    L5

For the second half:
4th     16-17     .485     4.0GB     L5

The good news is that only four games separate the Hooks from second half leader Midland. The other good (?) news is that Corpus Christi will play Midland for eight of their next 11 games so they have a chance to make their move in the standings. The bad news is that the Hooks are once again mired in a five-game losing streak at the hands of division rivals Frisco and San Antonio. They will play four at home against Midland, followed by three at home against San Antonio. With 25 of the final 37 games versus division rivals, the Hooks have to start winning now if they hope to have a chance at a second half title.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 2nd (out of 8 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 4th
HR - T3rd
BB (Hitters) - 2nd
SO (Hitters) - 8th
SB - 1st
ERA - 4th
WHIP - 1st
BB (Pitchers) - 8th
SO (Pitchers) - 2nd
HR Allowed - 1st

LANCASTER

For the season:
1st    60-42    .588    -.-GB    W4

For the second half:
3rd     16-16     .500     4.0GB     W4

After going 4-2 for the week, the JetHawks reclaimed sole possession of first place for the season standings, and went from fourth place to third place in the second half standings. After an off day on Wednesday, they will hit the road for four against Stockton (57-45), and then head to Adelanto for three against division rivals High Desert. 23 of Lancaster's final 38 games are within the division, but they are not scheduled to play second half first place team Rancho Cucamonga again during the regular season. As a reminder, as winners of the first half of the season, the JetHawks are assured a playoff berth.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 2nd (out of 10 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 2nd
HR - 7th
BB (Hitters) - 1st
SO (Hitters) - 9th
SB - T1st
ERA - 8th
WHIP - 3rd
BB (Pitchers) - 10th
SO (Pitchers) - 5th
HR Allowed - 3rd

QUAD CITIES

For the season:
5th    51-49    .510    13.5GB    W4

For the second half:
T5th     16-15     .516     4.0GB     W4

The River Bandits made a tiny bit of progress this week as they went 4-2, but are still mired in a tie for fifth place in the second half. They won the first of three in Dayton (50-49) last night, and will then head to Bowling Green (45-55) for three at the conclusion of the Dayton series. On Tuesday, they will head back home to host a three-game set with division rival Clinton (currently in seventh place in the second half standings). Starting with that Clinton series, Quad Cities will play ONLY within their division the rest of the way; since they are only four games behind, they have a legitimate chance of earning a playoff berth.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 1st (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 1st
HR - T4th
BB (Hitters) - 1st
SO (Hitters) - 14th
SB - 7th
ERA - 9th
WHIP - 9th
BB (Pitchers) - 16th
SO (Pitchers) - 14th
HR Allowed - 12th

TRI-CITY

1st     27-12     .692     -.-GB     W4

The ValleyCats went 6-1 for the week to increase their Stedler Division lead to eight games over second place Connecticut. Tri-City is in the midst of a very long stretch in which they will be playing solely outside their division. Starting tonight, they will host Staten Island (21-18) for three games before heading to Aberdeen (12-26) for three. The 'Cats will then return to Troy next Wednesday to host Mahoning Valley (16-23). The Tri-City schedule was so front-loaded with division games that they won't be returning to division play until August 20th and then will only face one division rival (Vermont) for the rest of the regular season. (Seriously, these schedule makers!)

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 1st (out of 14 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 2nd
HR - 4th
BB (Hitters) - 3rd
SO (Hitters) - 13th
SB - 7th
ERA - 9th
WHIP - 5th
BB (Pitchers) - 9th
SO (Pitchers) - 4th
HR Allowed - T4th

GREENEVILLE

4th     15-17     .469     4.5GB     W1

Greeneville went 3-4 for the week to drop to four and a half games behind first place Elizabethton in the West Division, but they are only a half game behind Johnson City and Kingsport (tied for second place). The Appy Astros will try to take the rubber game from Kingsport at home tonight before heading to Bristol (9-21) on Saturday for a double-header (including a make-up game). Sunday finds them back at home for one against Bristol. They will then head to Elizabethton for three starting Monday.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 6th (out of 10 teams)
OBP - 5th
SLG - 4th
HR - 8th
BB (Hitters) - 2nd
SO (Hitters) - 9th
SB - 8th
ERA - 8th
WHIP - 10th
BB (Pitchers) - 1st
SO (Pitchers) - 5th
HR Allowed - 8th

GCL ASTROS

2nd     16-13     .552     1.0GB     W3

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 4th (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 4th
SLG - 7th
HR - 7th
BB (Hitters) - 4th
SO (Hitters) - 3rd
SB - 1st
ERA - 10th
WHIP - 9th
BB (Pitchers) - 7th
SO (Pitchers) - 2nd
HR Allowed - 11th

DSL ASTROS ORANGE

T9th     16-29     .356     22.0GB     L3

The Orange team's elimination number from playoff contention is now down to the single digits (6). Barring a miracle, it is likely that they will be the first Astros minor league affiliate to be taken out of contention for the post-season.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 21st (out of 36 teams)
OBP - 5th
SLG - 12th
HR - 11th
BB (Hitters) - 2nd
SO (Hitters) - 3rd
SB - 2nd
ERA - 36th
WHIP - 35th
BB (Pitchers) - 9th
SO (Pitchers) - 20th
HR Allowed - 16th

DSL ASTROS BLUE

5th     20-25      .444     6.0GB      L1

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in a few selected batting and pitching categories ~

BA - 23rd (out of 36 teams)
OBP - 6th
SLG - 16th
HR - 17th
BB (Hitters) - 1st
SO (Hitters) - 10th
SB - 29th
ERA - 26th
WHIP - 16th
BB (Pitchers) - 23rd
SO (Pitchers) - 16th
HR Allowed - 13th

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oklahoma City 12, Round Rock 8

W- Jorge De Leon (3-2)
L- Michael Kirkman (3-5)
S- Jason Stoffel (9)

OKC home runs: Gregorio Petit (10, 3-run in 3rd), Matt Duffy (10, 16 season; 2-run in 5th)

The RedHawks scored in fewer innings, but their 3 4-run innings topped Round Rock's 5 scoring innings.

Jonathan Villar drew a 2-out walk in the 3rd. He then stole his way to 3rd and scored the first OKC run on a passed ball. In the process, Austin Wates and Ronald Torreyes walked, and Gregorio Petit brought them both home with his 10th home run of the season. Petit added an RBI groundout in the 5th. Later in the inning, Preston Tucker added an RBI single, and one batter later, Duffy went deep. That 4-run inning gave the RedHawks an 8-6 lead. After the Express cut the lead to 1, they responded with the 3rd 4-run inning in the 8th. Tucker drew a bases-loaded walk, Duffy added a 2-run single to his line, and Carlos Perez hit an RBI single. Villar (3 SB [9, 23 season]) and Tucker both finished 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Duffy and Perez had 3 hits apiece.

David Martinez allowed 6 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 2. Jorge De Leon allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 in 2.1 innings. Pat Urckfitz was next up; he threw 1.1 scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out 1. Jason Stoffel allowd a run on 3 hits and struck out 4 as he got the 2-inning save.

In the series finale, Alex White will take on Justin Germano at 7:05.

San Antonio 5, Corpus Christi 4

W- Luis De La Cruz (5-8)
L- Luis Cruz (7-6)

CC home runs: Tony Kemp (3, 7 season; led off game)

The Hooks were swept out of San Antonio in walk-off fashion, as they were unable to hold a 4-0 lead.

Tony Kemp opened up the scoring by homering to begin the game. In the 3rd, Corpus got 3 RBI singles from Conrad Gregor, Jonathan Meyer, and Andrew Aplin. Meyer and Aplin both finished 2-4; Aplin also stole his 17th base on the season.

Brady Rodgers went 4.1 innings and allowed a single, had an inherited runner charged to him, walked 1, and struck out 3. Luis Cruz also went 4.1 innings; he allowed 4 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits and struck out 5.

The Hooks will head home looking to snap a 5-game losing streak. They'll begin a 4-game series with Midland at 7:10. Colton Cain will take on Sean Murphy.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will begin a 4-game series in Stockton tonight at 9:05. Mark Appel will get the start.

Quad Cities 6, Dayton 3

W- Albert Minnis (2-1)
L- Joel Bender (4-2)
S- Tyler Brunnemann (3)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos took the opener as they took control with a 4-run 8th and despite their miscues in the field (4 errors).

They got a pair in the 4th as Brett Phillips scored on an error and Jose Fernandez hit an RBI single. Ronnie Mitchell and Chase McDonald both went 2-4, and they each smacked a 2-run double in that decisive 8th inning. Phillips also went 2-4; he doubled and scored 2 runs.

Kevin Comer went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 8. Albert Minnis allowed 2 hits and fanned 2 over 3 scoreless, and Tyler Brunnemann struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th for the save.

Chris Lee will take on Dan Langfield at 6:00 in the middle game of this series.

Tri-City 1, Connecticut 0

W- Aaron Vaughn (1-0, 1-1 season)
L- Confesor Lara (0-4)
S- Ryan Thompson (4)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats got the sweep as Ariel Ovando broke a scoreless tie in the 7th with an RBI single. He finished 3-4 and was the only player on either side to record a multi-hit game.

5 pitchers combined on a 4-hitter. Troy Scribner allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6 over 5 shutout innings. In his ValleyCats debut, Aaron Vaughn struck out 2 over 2 perfect innings to get his first win as a pro. Kyle Weiland struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th. Jordan Mills got an out in the 9th but also allowed a hit and a walk, but Ryan Thompson was able to induce a double play to end the game.

Tri-City will welcome Staten Island to the Capital Region for 3 starting at 6:00. Francis Ramirez gets the start in game 1.

Greeneville 6, Kingsport 3 in 10 innings

W- Angel Heredia (4-1)
L- Jimmy Duff (1-1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros broke their scoring drought and rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the 2nd of this 3-game set. The rally culminated with 3 in the first extra frame to break a 3-3 tie.

Jason Martin saw his 16-game hitting streak come to an end on Tuesday, but he wasted little time in beginning a new one as he led off the game with a single. He advanced on a sac bnt and a groundout and scored the game's first run on a wild pitch. Trent Woodward doubled to lead off the 7th and scored on a Jake Nottingham sac fly. Luis Reynoso doubled to begin the 8th, and he scored the tying run on an RBI single from Antonio Nuñez. Martin broke the tie in the 10th with an RBI double. Sean McMullen followed with an RBI double of his own, and Woodward brought home the final run of the night with an RBI single. Martin finished 3-5, while Nuñez and Woodward had 2 hits apiece.

Robert Kahana went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Reymin Guduan went 2 innings and allowed an unearned run on a double in the 6th, walked 2, and struck out 3. Angel Heredia walked 1 and fanned 3 over 3 scoreless.

The series finale will take place in Greeneville. Dean Deetz will face Martires Arias at 6:00.

GCL Astros 3, GCL Braves 0

W- Harold Arauz (4-0)
L- Garrett Fulenchek (0-3)
S- Juan Delis (4)

GCL home runs: Hector Roa (3, solo in 4th)

4 pitchers combined on a 2-hitter for the Kissimmee Stros.

Roa, who finished 2-4 and scored 2 of the 3 GCL runs, led off the 4th with his 3rd homer of the year. They got a pair in the 6th as Randy Cesar grounded into a force out that scored Dex McCall, and Arturo Michelena hit an RBI single. Alex Melendez went 2-3 with 3 steals (12), and Edwin Medina walked twice and swiped 2 of his own, giving him 15 steals on the year.

Harold Arauz continues his impressive US debut season, as he allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 5 over 5.2 shutout innings. He left with 2 men on for Samil De Los Santos, who issued a walk to the first man he faced, but he ended the 6th with a strikeout. Christian Perdomo walked 2 and struck out 2 in 1.1 innings. Juan Delis got the 5-out save, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 2.

The Kissimmee Stros will play the Braves again at Disney World at 11:00 A.M.

DSL Rays 8, DSL Astros Blue 4

W- Cristopher Sanchez (1-0)
L- Albert Abreu (2-2)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team was stuck in mud as the Rays raced out to a 6-0 lead.

Jonathan Matute hit an RBI double in the 7th to put them on the board. Nestor Tejada went 3-5 with an RBI single in the 9th, and Marcos Almonte added a 2-run single later on in the inning.

Albert Abreu pitched 5 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Juan Cuevas went 3 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Ezequiel Madera allowed a run and walked 1 in the 9th.

Both teams will play again at the Rays complex at 9:30 A.M.

DSL Cubs 8, DSL Astros Orange 5

W- Santiago Rodriguez (6-0)
L- Carlos Pizzolato (0-2)
S- Luiz Escanio (3)

Orange home runs: None.

Well, the Orange team made it somewhat interesting as all 5 of their runs came in the final 2 innings. They did strand the bases loaded in the 8th after getting 3 runs.

Frankeny Fernandez went 2-5 and put them on the board with a 2-run double in the 8th. He would score on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Bryan De La Cruz. Fernandez also hit a pop-fly RBI single in the 9th. He then stole 2nd (25), and an error on the play allowed Juan Fuentes to score. Fernandez, Fuentes, Wilson Amador, and Jose Benjamin had 2 hits apiece.

Carlos Pizzolato went 4 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Carlos Sanabria allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and struck out 4 in 3 innings, and Ramon Rodriguez allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in the 9th.

Both teams will be back at it at the Astros complex at 9:30 A.M.

Happy Birthday - 7/24

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one former Astro celebrates the day ~

IF/PH Jason Smith (37)
Originally drafted by the Cubs in the 23rd round in 1996, Smith signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2009. In 21 games for Houston (27 plate appearances), he didn't collect a single hit or walk, but he did score one run and recorded one RBI so he's got that going for him.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tyler Heineman Taken to the Extreme

OK, so I kind of got carried away. Last year, one of my favorite things to do was to "funkify" some of my photos by using the different effects available through BeFunky.com. I haven't had much time to do that this season, but wanted to get back into it. I particularly liked this photo of Corpus Christi C Tyler Heineman ...


... so I decided to play with it. And I just kept going. Enjoy!















Look for more funkified photos next week.

All photos are the copyrighted property of Jayne Hansen. All rights reserved.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Round Rock 4, Oklahoma City 1

W- Robbie Ross (2-3)
L- Paul Clemens (5-2)
S- Spencer Patton (15)

OKC home runs: None.

After the RedHawks opened the scoring in the 4th, the Express scored 4 unanswered to finish the game.

Matt Duffy's RBI single in the 4th represented the lone RedHawks run. He and Ronald Torreyes had 2 hits apiece. Jonathan Villar stole his 6th base, giving him 20 on the year.

In his first rehab appearance, Collin McHugh went 5 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Paul Clemens allowed a solo homer to Jared Hoying in the 7th which gave Round Rock a 2-1 lead. He went 2 innings and allowed 2 other hits while striking out 4. Pat Urckfitz allowed 2 unearned runs, a hit, and struck out the side in the 8th. Jason Stoffel worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out 1.

In game 3 of this series, David Martinez will take on Jerome Williams at 7:05.

San Antonio 11, Corpus Christi 1

W- Bryce Morrow (3-2)
L- Kyle Smith (4-3, 8-3 season)

CC home runs: Jonathan Meyer (2, 4 season; solo in 7th)

After Meyer put Corpus on the board with his blast, the Missions buried them with 8 unanswered runs. Conrad Gregor had a double in 3 at-bats.

Kyle Smith pitched 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 8 hits (2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 3. Mitch Lambson went 1.1 innings and allowed a 2-run homer to Yeison Asencio in the 7th. He allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Tyson Perez bore the brunt of a 6-run 8th. He allowed 5 hits (2-run and 3-run homers) and walked 1 in the inning.

The Hooks will look to avoid the sweep as Brady Rodgers will take on Justin Hancock. First pitch is at 7:05.

Lancaster 11, Modesto 8

W- Pat Christensen (1-0, 4-1 season)
L- Tyler Gagnon (0-1)

Lancaster home runs: Jon Kemmer 2 (4, 8 season; 2-run in 2nd, 3-run in 6th)

The JetHawks got the sweep thanks to Jon Kemmer's huge night. They seized control with 5 runs in the 8th to take an 11-7 lead.

Kemmer finished 3-4 with 6 RBI and 3 runs scored. His first homer put Lancaster on the board in the 2nd, down 4-2. Jobduan Morales hit a sac fly that turned into a double play in the 3rd. Kemmer struck again with a 3-run blast in the 6th that tied the game at 6. After the Nuts got 1 in the 7th to re-take the lead, Kemmer re-tied it with an RBI single in the 8th. He scored the go-ahead run on a single from Danry Vásquez. Tyler White, who drew a walk after Kemmer's single, scored on a passed ball. Jack Mayfield followed with an RBI double, and Chan-Jong Moon brought home the final JetHawks run with an RBI single. Teoscar Hernandez went 2-5 with a run scored and a stolen base (29). He was joined in the 2-hit club by Rio Ruiz and Catfish Elkins.

Zach Morton allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits (solo and 2-run homers) and walked 1 in 5 innings of work. Pat Christensen was the first man out; he went 3 and allowed a run on a sac fly, a triple, and struck out 2. Dan Minor allowed a run on 2 hits in the 9th.

The JetHawks will have today off, and then they'll start a 4-game series with Stockton on Thursday.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits will begin a 3-game series in Dayton tonight at 6:00. Kevin Comer will face Sal Romano.

Tri-City 4, Connecticut 3

W- Ryan Thompson (2-0)
L- Paul Voelker (0-1)

TC home runs: Alfredo Gonzalez (2, solo in 3rd)

After the Tigers tied the game at 3 in the 8th, the ValleyCats responded by re-taking the lead in the top of the 9th, thanks to a D.J. Fisher RBI infield single.

Alfredo Gonzalez's homer led off the 3rd and put TC on the board. In the 4th, Bobby Boyd got plunked with the bases loaded to tie the game at 2, and Ryan Bottger grounded into a force out that scored Juan Santana and gave the ValleyCats a 3-2 lead. All 4 runs were scored by the bottom third of the order. Mott Hyde scored on Boyd's bases-loaded HBP, and Gonzalez scored twice, including the go-ahead run on Fisher's infield single in the 9th. Gonzalez and Hyde had 2 hits apiece.

Luis Ordosgoitti went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and striking out 3. Chris Munnelly had an inherited runner charged to him on 5 hits and struck out 2 in 2.2 innings. Ryan Thompson allowed a hit in 1.1 innings.

The ValleyCats will look to sweep the 2-game set as Troy Scribner will face A.J. Ladwig at 10:05 A.M.

Yes, that is the time for the scheduled first pitch. Well, in Central time.

Kingsport 5, Greeneville 0

W- Blake Taylor (1-0)
L- Austin Nicely (1-5)

Greeneville home runs: None, obviously.

The Appy Astros were shut out for a 3rd straight game. Yonathan Mejia went 2-4 with a double; he had all the Greeneville hits. Jason Martin's 16-game hitting streak came to a close.

Austin Nicely got saddled with the loss despite a solid line; he allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 over 5 innings. Aaron Greenwood allowed a solo homer to Wuilmer Becerra in the 7th. He went 2 innings and allowed one other hit and struck out 1. Eric Peterson alloweed 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and struck out 1 in the 8th.

Greeneville has not scored since the 4th inning on Saturday against Danville. That's a 31-inning drought. In game 2 of this unusual series, Robert Kahana will take on Gaby Almonte at 6:00.

GCL Astros 4, GCL Blue Jays 2

W- Justin Ferrell (1-1)
L- Daniel Rodriguez (0-3)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros used a 3-run 8th to get the win.

Luis Payano went 2-2 and tied the game at 1 with an RBI single in the 7th. Hector Roa delivered the big blow in the 8th with a 2-run double; he advanced to 3rd on the throw home and scored on a sac fly from Richard Gonzalez. Roa finished 3-4 with 2 doubles, while Dex McCall and Jean Estrella both finished 2-4 with a run scored.

Vince Velasquez started it off with 4 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 10. Alejandro Solarte worked around 2 hits and a walk to throw a scoreless 5th. Junior Garcia allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings. Justin Ferrel also went 2 innings and allowed a run and struck out 2, but he allowed 3 hits.

The GCLstros will welcome the Braves to Kissimmee at 11:00 A.M.

DSL Astros Blue 8, DSL Royals 3

W- Gabriel Valdez (3-3)
L- Frandy Diaz (0-1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team rattled off 8 unanswered after they fell behind 3-0 after 3 innings.

Jonathan Matute put the Blue team on the board with a single in the 5th; an error allowed Carlos Canelon to score. Later in the inning, Rodrigo Ayarza ripped a 2-run double. Oscar Campos swatted a 2-run triple in the 6th and would score on a sac fly from Andy Piñeda. Joan Mauricio added an RBI double in the 7th, and Matute brought home the final run of the day with a sac fly in the 8th. Canelon and Campos had 2 hits apiece. Piñeda was the only player in the lineup without a hit, but he had that sac fly in the 6th.

Salvador Montaño allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 8 in 4 innings. Gabriel Valdez allowed 3 hits and struck out 2 over 5 scoreless.

The Blue team will host the Rays at 9:30 A.M.

DSL Mets2 18, DSL Astros Orange 7

W- Randinson Suazo (2-0)
L- Adonis Peña (2-3)

Orange home runs: Felix Lucas (1, solo in 6th)

For once, a DSL game proved to be too daunting for me to recap, so I will simply leave you with the link to the box score for this game.

The Orange team will head to the Cubs complex for a game at 9:30 A.M.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Rule 5 Draft Primer and 2014 Astros Eligible Players

I wasn't planning on doing a post about the Rule 5 draft until sometime in August, but the fiancée and sister of a certain Astros pitcher started DM-ing me on Saturday, peppering me with questions about how the process works. I will likely expand on my thoughts about who will be protected closer to the deadline, but here is a primer based on my understanding of how the Rule 5 draft works, as well as some preliminary information about this year's draft eligible players. The draft will be held on December 11th in San Diego, California at the conclusion of the Baseball Winter Meetings.

RULE 5 ELIGIBILITY

The Rule 5 draft (don't call it the Rule V draft or baseball purists will jump down your throat) has both a major league phase and minor league phases which I'll cover later, but first things first ... eligibility. Those players who are eligible this year are as follows:


[That is directly from the 2008 Major League Rules which can be found here. If it has changed since then, I haven't seen that information.]

What that means in English is that eligible players basically include: 1) any player who signed prior to the end of the 2010 season; and 2) players who signed after the end of the 2010 season and prior to the end of the 2011 season who were 19 years old or older when they signed. That means most 2011 drafted college players are eligible, but high school players (and some community college players) drafted in 2011 are not eligible until next year. For the international free agents, you need to know when they signed their first professional agreement and their age at signing to make the determination. There are exceptions, but that is the basic gist of it.

MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

The first phase of the Rule 5 draft is the major league phase. In order to protect an eligible player from being drafted in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, they must be on the major league club's 40-man roster prior to November 20th (if that falls on a business day). Players on the 40-man roster at that deadline are considered "protected."

Obviously not all of a team's best players can be protected on the 40-man roster. That is where the 38-man AAA Reserve List helps. If a player from the AAA Reserve List is drafted in the Rule 5 draft, that player must remain on the drafting team's 25-man major league roster for the full season or he will have to be put through waivers. If claimed, the new team will be subject to the same conditions regarding that player. If not claimed, the player will be offered back to the team from which they were drafted.

The cost of drafting a player in the major league phase of the draft is $50,000. If the player is offered back to the team from which he was drafted, the original team must pay $25,000 back to the drafting team. If the original team declines, the player will be put on waivers.

Last season Asher Wojciechowski, Luis Cruz, Jon Singleton and Domingo Santana were all added to the 40-man roster in advance of the deadline. The front office made the determination that these four players were the most likely players to be taken in the Rule 5 draft. Presumably, the front office took a calculated risk by not adding players such as Jake Buchanan and others to the 40-man roster, but only included them on the AAA Reserve List. They made a determination as to which players, if drafted, were more likely to "stick" on a major league roster for a full season.

Since players taken in the Rule 5 draft have to remain on the drafting team's 25-man roster for the full season, pitchers are taken much more frequently than position players simply because it's fairly easy to use a pitcher sparingly out of the bullpen. Position players can't be tucked away quite so neatly if they struggle. It all comes down to another team's ability to find room on their 25-man roster for a full season. It's simply not that easy to do and that's why so very few players are drafted in the Rule 5 draft and stick with a team.

It's also the case that often minor league fans overvalue prospects. We may think much more highly of a player than the other teams' front offices do. When all is said and done, the Astros front office will take some risks in leaving players unprotected, but it will be a highly educated guess based on many factors.

MINOR LEAGUE PHASES OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

There are two minor league phases of the Rule 5 draft as well. The players on the 40-man roster and the 38 players on the AAA reserve list aren't eligible to be taken in the minor league phases of the draft. So, in essence, you are protecting your top 78 players from the minor league phases. (As far as I know, AAA Reserve Lists are not made public so we are left to guess who the Astros will be shielding from the minor league phases of the draft.)

In the AAA Phase of the draft, a player who is on the AA Reserve List or lower can be drafted for inclusion on the drafting team's AAA Reserve list for a cost of $12,000. In the AA Phase of the draft, players at all of the levels lower than AA can be drafted for inclusion on the drafting team's AA Reserve List for a cost of $4,000.

The kicker on the minor league phase of the draft is that the drafted player basically becomes that team's property. There is no requirement to offer the player back if he doesn't work out. He can be traded, released, etc. at a team's discretion. In the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 draft, the Astros drafted OF Ravel Santana who was released recently, LHP Blaine Sims who is currently pitching for Quad Cities, and LHP Carlos Vazquez who was outrighted to the Mexican League in January. The Astros, in turn, lost RHP Enderson Franco who is currently pitching for the Tampa Bay short season team in the New York-Penn League.

ASTROS 2014 RULE 5 ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

As best I can figure, the following are those players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if they are left unprotected. (I may be missing a couple of international free agents as I don't have information on the actual signing date of a couple of those.) I have organized them by the level at which they are currently playing. Players who were listed by Baseball America as top prospects prior to the season have been *'d. Obviously, there will be some tough choices ahead and I will re-visit the topic closer to the November 20th deadline.

AAA Position Players
3B Matt Duffy
C Ryan McCurdy
IF Jio Mier
C Carlos Perez
SS Gregorio Petit
*2B Ronald Torreyes
OF Austin Wates

AAA Pitchers
RHP Jorge de Leon
*RHP Mike Foltynewicz
RHP Richard Rodriguez
RHP Ross Seaton (DL)
LHP Tommy Shirley
IF/OF Ruben Sosa
RHP Jason Stoffel
*RHP Nick Tropeano
LHP Patrick Urckfitz

AA Position Players
*OF Delino DeShields
C Rene Garcia
1B/OF Brandon Meredith
3B Jonathan Meyer
1B Telvin Nash
IF Carlos Perdomo

AA Pitchers
RHP R.J. Alaniz
LHP Colton Cain
RHP Chris Devenski
LHP Mitch Lambson
RHP Tyson Perez
LHP David Rollins

Position Players at High A or lower
1B Bobby Borchering (DL)
2B Jose Fernandez
C Alfredo Gonzalez
OF Ydarqui Marte
1B Yonathan Mejia
SS Chan Moon
C Jobduan Morales
OF Ariel Ovando
C Roberto Pena
OF Jordan Scott
OF Jose Solano
*OF Danry Vasquez

Pitchers at High A or lower
RHP Jamaine Cotton
*RHP Michael Feliz
RHP Edison Frias
LHP Evan Grills
*LHP Reymin Guduan
*RHP Jandel Gustave
RHP Matt Heidenreich
RHP Angel Heredia
RHP Krishawn Holley
RHP Juan Minaya
RHP Jose Montero
RHP Luis Ordosgoitti
RHP Francis Ramirez
RHP Raul Rivera
*RHP Gonzalo Sanudo
LHP Blaine Sims
RHP Frederick Tiburcio
*RHP Vincent Velasquez
RHP Andrew Walter

DL
LHP Ambiorix de Leon
RHP Jonas Dufek
RHP Murilo Gouvea
RHP Kyle Weiland (Rehab Assignment)

Here is some basic information from MLB about the Rule 5 draft.

Thank you to Virginia and Lindsey for helping me get my bootie in gear to write this up!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, July 21, 2014

Round Rock 11, Oklahoma City 9

W- Ben Rowen (2-0)
L- Jorge De Leon (2-2)

OKC home runs: Austin Wates (2, grand slam in 2nd), Jio Mier (1, 4 season; solo in 8th)

The RedHawks tied the game at 9 in the bottom of the 8th only to see the Express re-take the lead with 2 in the top of the 9th.

Marc Krauss put OKC on the board with an RBI double in the 1st. Wates' slam in the 2nd tied the game at 5. Jonathan Villar went 2-5 with an RBI single in the 4th. Preston Tucker had an RBI double in the 7th. Jio, who finished 2-3 with 3 runs scored, hit a solo homer with 1 out in the 8th to bring OKC to within 1. Later in the inning, Krauss, who finished 3-5, hit an RBI single. He advanced to 3rd on Matt Duffy's single, but they were both stranded there. Wates also finished 3-5.

Mike Foltynewicz has been out of sorts for the past couple of months. He was rocked in this one, as he allowed 8 runs on 9 hits (3-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 3 in 4 innings. Richard Rodriguez was the first man out and allowed a solo home run to Ryan Rua in the 7th. That was the only hit that he allowed in 3 innings of work, and he struck out 2. Jorge De Leon allowed 2 runs (1 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 5 hits and struck out 1 in 1.2 innings. Kevin Chapman got the final out of the 9th, but not before he allowed a hit that allowed the runner he inherited from De Leon to score.

In game 2 of the series, Collin McHugh is set to begin a rehab assignment, according to last night's game notes. He'll take on Robbie Ross at 7:05.

San Antonio 8, Corpus Christi 3

W- Joe Ross (1-0, 9-6 season)
L- Jordan Jankowski (3-4)

CC home runs: Telvin Nash (15, solo in 7th)

The Hooks fell behind 7-0 after 4 innings. Having 3 baserunners through 5 innings didn't help their cause either.

In his AA debut, Conrad Gregor went 2-4 out of the #6 spot in the order. The Hooks got a pair in the 6th on a Delino DeShields RBI groundout and an RBI single from Andrew Aplin. Nash's 15th homer of the season led off the 7th. Aplin also finished 2-4.

Jordan Jankowski allowed 7 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 5 innings. Travis Ballew pitched the final 3 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1.

In game 2 of this series, Kyle Smith will take on Bryce Morrow. First pitch is at 7:05.

Lancaster 7, Modesto 6 in 12 innings

W- Dan Minor (7-3)
L- Rayan Gonzalez (4-5)

Lancaster home runs: Rio Ruiz (10, 3-run in 8th)

After shenanigans got scored as a double and gave Modesto a 6-5 lead in the top of the 12th, the JetHawks rallied in the bottom of the inning and walked off with their 3rd straight win.

Chan-Jong Moon opened the scoring when he came home on an error after a double steal. He took 3rd (4, 29 season) while Teoscar Hernandez stole 2nd (28); the error also allowed Teoscar to advance to 3rd. Moon, who finished 2-5 with 3 runs scored, added an RBI groundout to his line in the 5th. The Nuts got 4 unanswered to take a 5-2 lead heading into the 8th. But after 2 straight singles, Rio Ruiz tied the game with his 10th home run of the year. Danry Vásquez went 2-4 with 2 runs scored.

Now, the play in question in the 12th was an RBI double for Modesto's Michael Tauchman that went down the left-field line and went into foul territory. As Danry was chasing it down, one of the Nuts' pitchers apparently made contact with him, and Lancaster manager Rodney Linares wondered why obstruction wasn't called. Apparently the contact was thought to have been inadvertent.

Danry led off the bottom of the 12th with an infield single and advanced to 3rd on 2 wild pitches. He scored the tying run on a single from Moon, and Teoscar won the game with a double. Teoscar finished 2-6 and is on the cusp of a 20-20 season.

Brian Holmes went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (3-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 4. Juan Minaya pitched 2 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 3. Jamaine Cotton allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 over 3 scoreless, and Dan Minor allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out the side in the 12th.

The JetHawks will look for the sweep as Zach Morton will take on Devin Burke at 8:30.

Quad Cities 5, Lake County 2 in 10 innings

W- Andrew Walter (4-2)
L- Alexis Paredes (3-2)

QC home runs: Chase McDonald (9, walk-off 3-run in 10th)

The River Bandits swept the Captains out of the Quad Cities thanks to the big man's blast in the first extra frame.

The other 2 QC runs came in the 2nd on a Jose Fernandez triple and a double from Marc Wik, who finished 2-3. J.D. Davis went 2-4.

Adrian Houser allowed an unearned run on 3 hits, walked 3, and fanned 6 over 6 innings. Frederick Tiburcio was the first man out; he worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 7th and struck out 1. Andrew Walter allowed the game-tying run in the 9th, which was unearned. Otherwise, he was solid in his 3 innings, allowing 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 5.

The Banditos will be on the road for the rest of this week, starting with 3 against the Dayton Dragons. In the opener, Kevin Comer will face Sal Romano at 6:00.

Tri-City 4, State College 1

W- Joe Musgrove (3-1)
L- Daniel Poncedeleon (1-2)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats took 2 of 3 from the Spikes as they got a great night on the mound from Joe Musgrove.

Musgrove threw 6 shutout frames and allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Bryan Radziewski tagged in and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 5 in 2 innings. The Spikes spoiled the shutout when they got a run off of Jordan Mills in the 9th. Mills allowed 2 hits in the inning.

Mott Hyde doubled to lead off the 3rd and scored the first run of the game on a single from Bobby Boyd. TC got a pair of RBI singles from D.J. Fisher and Nick Tanielu, and an RBI double from Jamie Ritchie in the 5th. Fisher and Ritchie had 2 hits apiece; Fisher (8) and Boyd (9) also had a steal apiece.

The ValleyCats are in Connecticut for 2 games starting tonight at 6:05. In the opener, Luis Ordosgoitti will face Tanner Bailey.

Danville 4, Greeneville 0

W- Alec Grosse (3-0)
L- Josh James (0-1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

After winning the opener, the Appy Astros were blanked in the final 2 games of the series.

Jason Martin had 2 of Greeneville's 4 hits; he extended his hitting streak to 16 games. The other 2 hits belonged to Jake Nottingham and Ydarqui Marte.

Josh James went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and struck out 3. Jose Montero pitched the final 4 innings and allowed a solo homer to Tanner Murphy in the 7th. Montero allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 6.

Greeneville will now begin a 3-game series against Kingsport. The first 2 will be road contests. Austin Nicely will take on Blake Taylor at 6:00.

GCL Astros 8, GCL Blue Jays 3

W- Cristhopher Santamaria (2-0, 3-1 season)
L- Turner Lee (1-1)
S- Joselo Pinales (1)

GCL home runs: None.

Down 3-2 after 5 innings, the Kissimmee Stros finished the game on a 6-0 run.

Brian Peña opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd. Ruben Castro went 2-5 and added an RBI single in the 5th. They busted out in the 6th as Arturo Michelena hit a sac fly and Luis Payano swatted a 2-run triple. Payano would score himself on a wild pitch. Alex Melendez ripped an RBI double in the 9th, and one batter later, Castro hit his 2nd RBI single of the day. Peña finished 2-4. Brauly Mejia, Jean Estrella, and Payano scored 2 runs each.

Cristhopher Santamaria went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits (solo homer) and struck out 9. John Gatlin struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 6th, and Joselo Pinales walked 2 and struck out 2 over 3 scoreless.

These two teams will be back in action in a matter of minutes in Kissimmee.

DSL Royals 4, DSL Astros Blue 2

W- Samuel Adames (2-0)
L- Jose Rosario (1-4)
S- Jose Veras (5)

The Blue team was largely shackled on offense, as they were held to 3 hits.

Their 2 runs came on bases-loaded walks drawn by Joan Mauricio and Oliver Toribio in the 1st. Mauricio and Toribio had 1 hit apiece, and the 3rd hit belonged to Jonathan Matute, who has a 5-game hitting streak going.

Moreno Polanco allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2 in 3.2 innings. Jose Rosario pitched the final 4.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and walked 2.

Both teams are currently in a game at the Astros complex.

DSL Astros Orange 7, DSL Mets2 3

W- Juan Hernandez (2-2)
L- Luis Carreno (1-4)

Orange home runs: None.

5 guys on the Orange team got plunked in this one. I have no idea how it didn't get heated. They also went 6-6 on stolen bases. They also won despite being held to 3 hits.

Wilson Amador went 2-2 on steals, giving him 21 on the season. He stole 2nd in the 1st and advanced to 3rd on an error. Frankeny Fernandez also went 2-2 on steals; he has 24 on the year. After Fernandez took 2nd, an error allowed Amador to score the Orange team's first run. Fernandez would score on a Luis Vasquez groundout. Cristopher Luciano hit an RBI single in the 4th. Marcos Almonte had an RBI triple in the 7th. An error on the same play allowed him to score. Fernandez scored on another error that allowed Orlando Marquez to reach; Marquez also scored on an error, which stemmed from an errant pickoff throw.

Gerald Benzant pitched 4 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits, walked 3, and struck out 1. Ramon Rodriguez worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 5th. Juan Hernandez allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4 in 4 innings.

The Orange team is currently in a game at the Mets complex.

Happy Birthday - 7/22

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Angel Heredia (22)
The Dominican-born Heredia has a few holes in his resume. He played shortstop in the Pirates organization in 2009 when he was 16, but there is no record of him playing in 2010 or 2011. He was apparently picked up by the Astros at some point prior to the 2012 season, this time as a pitcher. This is Heredia's first season pitching in the U.S. In 10 games for Greeneville, he is 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.340 WHIP.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

1B/C Cliff Johnson (67)
Drafted by Houston in the fifth round in 1966, Johnson did not make his major league debut until six years later. He played in 376 games for Houston from September 1972 until his trade to the Yankees in June of 1977, hitting .256/.370/.471. As a player without a fixed position, Johnson was often used as a pinch hitter until moving to the American League where he was often used as a DH with modest success.

And according to this very silly Baseball Card Theater video from ex-pat Astros fan T. Sean Shannon, Cliff Johnson didn't smile a lot.