Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday - 9/10

It must be the day for left-handed pitchers!

LHP Luis Cruz (21)
Drafted in the 9th round in 2008 out of high school in Puerto Rico, Cruz split his time this season between Lancaster and Lexington. In 22 starts, he was 5-5 with a 5.71 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP and a SO/BB ratio of 3.51.

LHP Shane Wolf (25)
Shane was born in New York and was drafted in the 26th Round of 2008 out of Ithaca College. Pitching out of the bullpen in Corpus Christi and in Lancaster, he compiled a 2-5 record, with a 6.10 ERA, 1.659 WHIP and 1.86 SO/BB ratio in 41 appearances.

Former Astros birthdays today:
LHP Randy "Big Unit" Johnson (48)
Randy is well-remembered by Houston fans for his dominance during the 1998 playoff run. Obtained at the trade deadline, he went 10-1 in 11 starts with a 1.28 ERA and a 0.984 WHIP. He helped to get the Astros to the post season, but even with an impressive 1.93 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP, he went 0-2 and Houston lost the NLDS to San Diego 3-1.

1B Craig Cacek (57)
Craig's sole major league experience consisted of 7 games played for Houston during the 1977 season. He did manage to get his one hit in the bigs, but that's about it.

Tweet of the Day

@Dr_VanOstrand Jimmy VanOstrand
Just got told I had a Texas accent by someone with no prior knowledge about me... Not sure how to feel about this #eh? vs #mayorofcorpus

(In case you didn't know, Jimmy is from Canada, but he's been in Corpus a long time now.)

Roster Moves - 9/9/11

HOU
RHP Lance Pendleton claimed off waivers from the Yankees

Also signed RHP Alan Abreu out of Lander University as a non-drafted free agent

And, according to Zachary Levine, Sergio Escalona is likely out for the remainder of the season after a freak accident http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2011/09/09/astros-escalona-sprains-ankle-in-freak-batting-practice-injury/ .  Which begs the question, whose glove did he trip over?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blake Ford is not Blake King, and Other of Life's Imponderables

Let me preface this by saying that my memory isn't what it used to be, but I think that getting confused in my feeble little brain by two right-handed pitchers named Blake is somewhat understandable. So I'm going to share my journey of discovery with any of my readers who harbor similar confusion (even if they won't admit it aloud).

Blake King
King is 24. He was picked up off of waivers from the Cardinals in May and pitched in Corpus Christi - 33 appearances, 40.2 IP, with an ERA of 3.76, WHIP of 1.549 and a S0/BB ratio of 1.32. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 44th Round in 2005 and this is his 6th year in the minors. His picture shows him to be a fairly beefy guy ... listed as 6'1", 195 lbs. He bats right.

Blake Ford
Ford is 23. He was drafted by Houston in the 44th Round (seriously, they're both 44th round players as well?) in 2011 out of Lamar University. He pitched for the GCL Astros in this, his first, season - 18 appearances, 23.2 IP, with an ERA of 1.90, a WHIP of 1.394, a SO/BB ratio of 3.33 and 8 saves. Being in the GCL, he rates no picture on milb.com, but in looking at a Lamar University photo he doesn't look particularly beefy despite his listed height and weight of 6'5" and 215. He bats left (although he won't have any official opportunities to show us his prowess with a bat until he gets to AA).

OK, this is easy to remember. Blake King is King of Corpus, not figuratively, not metaphorically, but alliteratively (I think I made up a word there). As a mnemonic device, King of Corpus works. And Blake Ford is fording his way upstream in the minor league hierarchy.

Done. Now I know which big, early 20's, drafted in the 44th round, right-handed pitcher named Blake is which.

Happy Birthday - 9/9

We have four former Astros with birthdays today:

OF Jerry Mumphrey (59)
Born in Tyler, Texas, Mumphrey spent several years in the Cardinals organization, as well as the Padres and Yankees, before making it to Houston in 1983. Received in a trade from the Yankees in August of 1983, the switch-hitter compiled a .291 BA and .354 OBP in 325 games over 3 seasons with the Astros and was named to the All-Star game in 1984. Mumphrey was traded to the Cubs in December of 1985 for Billy Hatcher.

RHP Jim Corsi (50)
After 2 years with Oakland, Corsi was signed as a free agent by Houston in 1991. In one season with the Astros, Corsi was 0-5 in 47 games with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.275 WHIP. After being released at the end of the 1991 season, he went on to play for Oakland, Florida, Boston and Baltimore.

LHP Mike Hampton (39)
Mike pitched for the Astros from 1994 to 1999 and again in 2009, with the prior stint being decidedly more successful than the latter. In his seven seasons with the Astros, he was 76-50 with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.370 WHIP. In 1999, as an Astros, he was named to the All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger award and placed second in Cy Young voting to Randy Johnson. He went on to win four additional Silver Sluggers, another All-Star nod and a Golden Glove while playing for the Mets, the Rockies and the Braves. After a few appearances with the Diamondbacks in 2010, he retired in March of this year.

RHP Dan Miceli (41)
In 97 appearances out of the bullpen for the Astros in 2003 and 2004, Dan was 7-7 with 2 saves, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.207 WHIP. A very well-travelled player, Dan spent 14 seasons in the majors playing for 10 teams.

Tweet of the Day

@MilesHamblin24 Miles Hamblin
Dove huntin with the boys. #cantgetanybetter

"Huntin" - guy is Texas all the way.

Neiko, on the other hand, needs to get back into baseball soon if this is all he has to tweet about:

@ThisIsNJJ Neiko Johnson
Car clean now shower time

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pitching Category Winners - Full Season Teams

Leaders in all categories through end of season

Wins
Dallas Keuchel (CC,OKC) - 10

Losses
Robert Donovan (LAN) - 14

Highest Win Percentage (min. 15 starts)
Andy Van Hekken (OKC) - .600

Lowest Starter ERA (min. 15 starts)
Andy Van Hekken (OKC) - 3.40

Lowest ERA in Relief (min. 30 appearances)
David Carpenter (CC,OKC) - 1.91

Appearances
Ross Wolf (OKC) - 56

Games Started
Ross Seaton (CC) - 28

Complete Games
Andrew Robinson (LAN,CC) - 1
Dallas Keuchel (CC,OKC) - 1
Jake Buchanan (LAN,CC) - 1
Robert Donovan (LAN) - 1

Shutouts
Dallas Keuchel (CC,OKC) - 1
Jake Buchanan (LAN,CC) - 1

Saves
Kirk Clark (LAN) - 19

Innings Pitched
Jake Buchanan (LAN,CC) - 165.2

Hits Allowed
Carlos Quevedo (LEX) - 193

Runs Allowed
Ross Seaton (CC) - 103

Earned Runs Allowed
Robert Donovan (LAN) - 96

Homeruns Allowed
Andrew Robinson (LAN,CC) - 22
Zach Grimmett (LAN) - 22
Carlos Quevedo (LEX) - 22
Luis Cruz (LEX,LAN) - 22
Erick Abreu (OKC,CC) - 22

Walks Allowed
Jose Cisnero (LAN) - 75

Strikeouts
Jose Cisnero (LAN) - 152

Hit Batters
Sergio Perez (OKC) - 10

Wild Pitches
Jose Cisnero (LAN) - 16

Batters Faced
Jake Buchanan (LAN,CC) - 694

Lowest Starter WHIP (min. 15 starts)
Jake Buchanan (LAN,CC) - 1.201

Lowest WHIP in Relief (min. 30 appearances)
Sammy Gervacio (CC,OKC) - 1.071

Highest Starter Strikeout to Walk Ratio (min. 15 starts)
Carlos Quevedo (LEX) - 5.79

Highest Strikeout to Walk Ratio in Relief (min. 30 appearances)
Fernando Abad (OKC) - 5.50

Lowest Starter Batting Average Against (min. 15 starts)
Jose Cisnero (LAN) - .246

Lowest Batting Average Against in Relief (min. 30 appearances)
Wesley Wright (OKC) - .111

Pitching Category Winners - Short Season & Rookie Teams

Leaders in all categories through end of season

Wins
Dayan Diaz (TCV) - 7

Losses
Mitchell Lambson (TCV) - 6

Win Percentage (min. of 10 starts)
Jamaine Cotton (GRN,TCV) - .750

Lowest Starter ERA (min. of 10 starts)
Reymin Guduan (DSL) - 2.17

Lowest ERA in Relief (min. of 20 appearances)
Ryan Cole (TCV) - 2.33

Appearances
Scott Zuloaga (GRN) - 24

Games Started
Reymin Guduan (DSL) - 13
Kyle Hallock (TCV) - 13
Agapito Barrios (DSL) - 13
Tyson Perez (GRN) - 13
Christopher Lee (GRN) - 13

Complete Games
Jonas Dufek (TCV) - 1

Saves
Ryan Cole (TCV) - 10

Innings Pitched
Kyle Hallock (TCV) - 61.2

Hits Allowed
Jamaine Cotton (GRN,TCV) - 71

Runs Allowed
Tyson Perez (GRN) - 37

Earned Runs Allowed
Tyson Perez (GRN) - 31

Homeruns Allowed
Tyson Perez (GRN) - 10

Walks Allowed
Reymin Guduan (DSL) - 42

Strikeouts
Dayan Diaz (TCV) - 70

Hit Batters
Rodney Quintero (GRN) - 13

Wild Pitches
Jandel Gustave (DSL) - 21

Batters Faced
Kyle Hallock (TCV) - 263

Lowest Starter WHIP (min. of 10 starts)
Nick Tropeano (TCV) - 1.181

Lowest WHIP in Relief (min. of 20 appearances)
Travis Blankenship (TCV) - 1.067

Highest Starter Strikeout to Walk Ratio (min. of 10 starts)
Luis Ordosgoitti (GRN,GCL,TCV) - 4.90

Highest Strikeout to Walk Ratio in Relief (min. of 20 appearances)
Matison Smith (GRN) - 5.00

Lowest Starter Batting Average Against (min. of 10 starts)
Luis Abad (DSL) - .191

Lowest Batting Average Against in Relief (min. of 20 appearances)
Travis Blankenship (TCV) - .209

Happy Birthday - 9/8

One former Astro celebrating today:

RHP Ken Forsch (65)
Drated by the Astros in the 18th round in 1968, Forsch pitched for Houston from 1970 to 1980. In 421 appearances, he was 78-81 with 50 saves, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.250 WHIP. Even more impressive in this day and age of bullpen specialists, Forsch threw 36 complete games for Houston. He was an All-Star in 1976 for Houston and in 1981 for the California Angels to whom he was traded in April of 1981 for Dickie Thon.

Tweet of the Day

@BradDyd11 Brad Dydalewicz
just woke up from a much needed 7 and a half hour nap

And the Brandt Walker Tweet of the Day:

@BrandtWalker Brandt Walker
I look at some athletes' twitters and they seriously make me want to vomit (and not the good kind of vomit).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hitting Category Winners of 2011 - Full Season Teams

Leaders in all categories through end of season ...

Games Played
Anderson Hernandez (OKC) - 136

Plate Appearances
Austin Wates (LAN) - 592

At Bats
Adam Bailey (LEX,LAN,CC) - 533

Runs Scored
Kody Hinze (LAN,CC) - 87

Hits
Austin Wates (LAN) - 158

Doubles
Mike Kvasnicka (LEX) - 32

Triples
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - 10

Homeruns
Kody Hinze (LAN,CC) - 29

RBI's
Kody Hinze (LAN,CC) - 98

Stolen Bases
Jonathan Villar (LAN,CC) - 34

Caught Stealing
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - 14

Walks
Kody Hinze (LAN,CC) - 94

Strikeouts
Jonathan Villar (LAN,CC) - 156

BA (Min. 300 AB)
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - .389

OBP (Min. 300 AB)
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - .426

SLG (Min. 300 AB)
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - .591

OPS (Min. 300 AB)
Jose Altuve (LAN,CC) - 1.017

Total Bases
Kody Hinze (LAN,CC) - 262

Grounded into Double Plays
Mike Kvasnicka (LEX) - 17

Hit by Pitch
Ben Orloff (LEX) & Chris Wallace (LEX,CC) - 13

Sacrifice Hits
Jonathan Villar (LAN,CC) - 11

Sacrifice Flies
J.D. Martinez (CC) - 7

Errors
Jonathan Villar (LAN,CC) - 36

Hitting Category Winners of 2011 - Short Season & Rookie Teams

Leaders in all categories through end of season ...

Games Played
Zach Johnson (TCV) - 72

Plate Appearances
Zach Johnson (TCV) - 311

At Bats
Zach Johnson (TCV) - 271

*Runs Scored
Juan Santana (DSL) - 44

*Hits
Zach Johnson (TCV) - 71

Doubles
Darwin Rivera (DSL,GRN) - 14

Triples
Teoscar Hernandez (DSL) - 7

Homeruns
Chase Davidson (GRN,TCV) - 11

RBI's
Chase Davidson (GRN,TCV) - 44

Stolen Bases
Jose Solano (DSL) - 21

Caught Stealing
Javaris Reynolds (GCL) - 8

Walks
Mario Gonzalez (DSL) - 50

Strikeouts
Michael Medina (DSL) - 67

BA (150 min. AB)
Chase Davidson (GRN,TCV) - .327

OBP (150 min. AB)
Mario Gonzalez (DSL) - .443

SLG (150 min. AB)
Chase Davidson (GRN,TCV) - .630

OPS (150 min. AB)
Chase Davidson (GRN,TCV) - 1.047

*Total Bases
Teoscar Hernandez (DSL) - 110

Grounded into Double Plays
Darwin Rivera (DSL,GRN) - 12

Hit by Pitch
Matt Duffy (TCV) - 13

*Sacrifice Hits
Justin Gominsky (TCV) - 5

Sacrifice Flies
Zach Johnson (TCV) - 5

Errors
Darwin Rivera (DSL,GRN) - 35

*General Note: Even though Jordan Scott played the majority of his games for short season teams, he technically played more games than the other short season players as he started with LEX for several games prior to the start of the other teams. If you back out his numbers for LEX, he would lead or tie in the categories marked with an asterisk.

Happy Birthday - 9/7

Two former Astro birthdays today:

OF Willie Crawford (died in 2004 at 57)
After playing most of his career with the Dodgers, Willie played 42 games for the Astros in 1977, posting a .254 BA and .341 OBP before being traded to the Oakland A's for Denny Walling.

2B David Newhan (38)
After spending time in the Padres, Phillies, Orioles and Mets organizations, David played for the Astros in 2008. In 64 games, he had a .260 BA and a .297 OBP. His father is Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan.

Tweet of the Day

@JioMier Jiovanni Mier
Nothing better than grandparents cooking! Great way to start my time off. #thebest #lettheweightgainbegin

And just because he makes me laugh ...

@BrandtWalker Brandt Walker
I go to bed at night praying that my name will never be written in the same sentence as '16-foot Tiger Shark.'

Roster Moves - 9/6

HOU
LHP Sergio Escalona activated from the DL

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 Draft How Did They Do? Pitchers Edition

Stats are for full season

2011 Draft How Did They Do? Hitters Edition

Stats are for full season

Zachary Levine's Minor League Notebook

If you haven't read this, it's a great look at how some key minor league Astros players performed this season vs. expectations.

http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2011/09/05/minor-league-notebook-promise-and-problems-on-the-farm/

Twitpic of the Day

@JetHawks Lancaster JetHawks
Awesome photo from last night's game --> RT @calragamuffin: Beautiful rainbow at the Lancaster #JetHawks baseball game. http://twitpic.com/6g9ahc


Happy Birthday - 9/6

RHP Daniel Meszaros (26)
Born in Florida and drafted by Houston in the 48th round in 2008 out of the College of Charleston (SC), Meszaros has been one of the hardest working Astros minor league bullpen pitchers with 48 appearances this season. He is 1-5 with 5 saves, posting a 4.87 ERA and 1.66 WHIP between Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi.

Tweets of the Day

@JakeBuck33 Jake Buchanan
24 hours and I will be in beautiful NC, can't wait miss the family and home. #carolinacallingmehome

@MilesHamblin24 Miles Hamblin
Back in Texas. Eating Mexican food. Drinkin a beer. Country music is playin. #inheaven

@Obi_1koby Koby Clemens
H-town bound! song coming home on repeat till I get through the door! @rogerclemens @debbieclemens @KClemens21 can't wait to see you guys!

@ZiggyJay12 Zach Johnson
Next stop oakland... in n out I'm coming for you

@RafyVvv Rafael Valenzuela
"Welcome to the Tucson international airport" has never sounded sooo good.. #ohitdoesnthurtanymore

@tbush26 Tanner Bushue
#PartyRockin on the way back to Illinois....

@ASoggyBottom Alex Sogard
Home Sweet Home #offseason

@Funky2414 Jordan Comadena
End of the season is always bitter sweet...good to go home, but I'll miss all the guys. Nothing better than a baseball clubhouse.

Roster Moves - 9/5

HOU
RHP Brett Myers activated from the paternity leave list

OKC
LHP Sergio Escalona assigned to HOU from OKC (Rehab assignment)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday - 9/5

Only one former Astro has a birthday today:

OF Jeff Baldwin (46)
Blink and you probably missed him. In 7 games for the Astros in 1990, with only 9 PA, he had one walk and scored a run but he never had a hit. And that was the sum total of his major league career.

Tweets of the Day

@RafyVvv Rafael Valenzuela
Gonna miss this group of guys. Met some cool new people and kicked it with all my old teammates from spring training stay safe.. God bless

@blackdiamondd0 brandon meredith
Damn. Kinda crazy saying bye to the guys that have been involved in ur life for months. Hope everyone makes it home safe. Love u all #nohomo

@ChampTheMan45 Adam Champion
The season is done....time to saddle up for the road

@ZiggyJay12 Zach Johnson
Season done. Heading home tomorrow morning #westcoast

@JTScott1 Jordan Scott
Just want to thank God for such a wonderful season. Had an awesome time and met a lot of great guys! Flying home in the morning!

@MilesHamblin24 Miles Hamblin
Going back home toTexas. Can't wait to see @DanielHamblinJr and @nhamblin08

@rycole1024 Ryan Cole
That's a rap! Back to syracuse tonight#noregrets

@ThisIsNJJ Neiko Johnson
Season is over had fun with the guys enjoyed every minute of it now heading home tomorrow #ALLREADY

@BrianEspo41 brian esposito
I'm in a new York state of mind #behomesoon


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Birthday - 9/4

CF Jordan Schafer (25)
Originally from Hammond, Indiana, Jordan was drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 by the Braves out of Winter Haven HS in Florida. He compiled a .223BA and .310OBP in 102 games for the Braves in 2009 and 2011 before being included in the Michael Bourn trade in July. Since joining the Astros, he has a .310BA and .383OBP in 11 games. In 7 seasons in the minors, the lefty has a .260BA and .327OBP.

One former Astro with a birthday today:

RF Paul Householder (53)
Only played 14 games for Houston in 1987 at the end of his major league career after spending the majority of his time playing for the Reds and the Brewers

Tweet of the Day

@zacharylevine Zachary Levine
Astros draftee Jack Armstrong: Throwing 97 and looking like a model is an OK way to go through life. http://yfrog.com/kkqpnvslj

Roster Moves

We're coming to that time of year, as the minor league seasons come to an end, that moves will become sporadic until March and April come around. And the transactions we will be seeing over the next few months will mostly be the ones we hate to see ... releases and retirements. When you follow the minor leagues closely, you start getting attached to certain players. In particular, with so many of the guys tweeting, you really feel like you know some of them personally. I will continue to monitor the transactions and report those to you over the next few months, but it won't be happy news as often as it has been lately.

With that said, there were no reported roster moves from 9/3.