Saturday, May 12, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Hagerstown at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Taylor Hill (3-2, 2.88) and RHP Luis Ordogoitti (0-1, 14.73)
Available on MiLB.tv

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Tim Murphy (1-3, 5.04) and RHP Jake Buchanan (1-2, 5.56)
Available on MiLB.tv

Tucson at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Colt Hynes (0-3, 5.53) and RHP Paul Clemens (2-3, 6.59)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lake Elsinore at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Donn Roach (1-0, 0.00) and TBD

FRIDAY'S RESULTS

Lexington over Hagerstown 4-3
Tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, this one was won on Delino DeShields speed. He hit a one-out single,  got to second on a passed ball, stole third and scored standing up on a fairly shallow sacrifice fly. He is fun to watch and doesn't mind getting his uniform dirty. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Nick Tropeano pitched a no-hitter through five innings, gave up a single in the sixth and then things got a little dicey in the seventh as he gave up a solo home run, a walk, a two-run home run and a double that would have been a home run if the minor leagues had instant replay. Quevedo pitched the final 2.1 and got the win. Roberto Pena was 2x4 with a two run double; Brandon Meredith and Drew Muren were also 2x4; and Zach Johnson added yet another RBI to his total on the game winning sacrifice fly. The win gets Lexington to .500 for the first time this season.

Corpus Christi over Frisco 4-2
Brett Oberholtzer pitched a very strong seven innings and ended up with a no decision for his trouble. Kevin Chapman allowed a run to tie things up in the eighth and ended up getting the win as Corpus came back and scored two in the bottom of the frame thanks in large part to two passed balls by Frisco's catcher. Jason Stoffel earned his third save. In another light-hitting night for the team, 2B Jose Martinez had two of Corpus' six hits. Catcher Jair Fernandez contributed a two-run home run.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 7-2 (Game 1)
Tyson Perez (W, 2-0) pitched well through five innings and Pat Urckfitz finished things off in the shortened 7-inning double header game to get his third save. George Springers three RBI's (including a two-run home run) brought his season RBI total to 28; Domingo Santana hit a triple; and Jonathan Meyer hit two doubles. Ben Heath and Erik Castro also had two hits in the game.

Las Vegas at Oklahoma City - Cancelled due to weather

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 5-3 (Game 2)

What went right: George Springer

Jose Trinidad (W, 2-1) pitched five strong innings in his second spot start of the season. Brad Dydalewicz was less than stellar in relief but wasn't helped much by one of two Alex Todd errors for the night. Brian Streilein pitched the final one and a third and got his first save. Telvin Nash hit his 11th home run of the season, but he will need to start watching his back as the home run leader. George Springer hit his fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth home runs in consecutive at bats going back to his final at bat in the first game of the double header, a feat that has only been accomplished twice before in California League history. Here is the story.

Jose Trinidad - 5IP 5H 1R/0ER 2BB 3SO
Brad Dydalewicz - 0.2IP 2H 2R/1ER
Brian Streilein - 1.1IP 1H 2SO

George Springer - 3x3 3HR 4RBI 3R
Ben Heath - 2x3
Telvin Nash - 2x2 HR RBI

What went wrong: I went to bed and missed Springer's last two home runs. (I'm going to hate West Coast American League play!)


PITCHER OF THE DAY
Brett Oberholtzer pitched seven innings giving up five hits, one run (via a solo homer) and two walks with five strikeouts. He deserved better than a no decision so I'll send a little Pitcher of the Day love his direction.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
In two shortened double header games, George Springer went 5x7 with four home runs, seven RBI's and a stolen base. He now has 32 RBI's for the season which leads the California League.

Happy Birthday - 5/12

No future Astros, only one former Astro with a birthday today.

RF Kevin Bass (53)
Originally drafted by Milwaukee in the second round in 1977, Bass came to Houston in September of 1982 along with LHP Frank DiPino and LHP Mike Madden in a trade for RHP Don Sutton. He played in ten seasons for Houston from 1982 through 1989 and again in 1992 and 1993, hitting .278/.330/.423. His best season was his 1986 All Star season when he hit .311/.357/.486 with 33 doubles, five triples and 20 home runs, including a 20-game hitting streak. A switch-hitter, Bass had almost identical splits hitting lefty/righty for his career. In 1986, he hit over .300 from both sides of the plate.

Kevin Bass, 2012 Fan Fest

Tweet of the Day

Adam Bailey, RF for the JetHawks, was guest tweeting for the Jethawks on Friday and taking questions from fans. Adam has a wickedly dry sense of humor.
~~~~~~~~~

Jiovanni Mier

hey Adam, is it true if you don't use it, you lose it? 

Lancaster JetHawks
 well hello Jio thank you for your question, word on the street is no. So you are good to go.

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Interview with LF Jordan Scott

LF Jordan Scott opened some eyes in 2011 as he hit .323/.380/.406 in 79 games between Greeneville, Lexington and Tri-City. He went from a relative unknown to being listed by Jonathan Mayo as the #11 prospect in the Astros organization who says of him, "His best tool is his bat, with a solid left-handed swing and good approach that should enable him to hit for average."

Scott started out the 2012 season at Lexington extremely well but then slumped a bit. He is showing signs of coming back around as of late with two doubles and three RBI's in his last three games and is currently hitting .257/.378/.294. Josh Bonifay, the hitting coach for Lexington, noted that he was working with Scott on getting him back to being aggressive with the fastballs early and taking fewer strikes in the zone. But as Bonifay put it, "Skinny's [as the 6'2" 180 lb. lefty is called] got an idea how to swing the bat and he'll come back around."



The impression I got of Scott was one of quiet confidence. He is an exceedingly polite southern gentleman with a delightful accent, signs of his Greenville, South Carolina upbringing leaving their mark. I get the feeling that Scott will never get too high or too low as he makes his way through the system. Here is what he had to say when we talked on April 29th.

On his 2012 season so far: "I started out pretty well but I've struggled a lot lately. Just been working with hitting coach Bonifay and trying to get stuff sorted out so hopefully I'll get back on track here soon."

On his strengths and weaknesses as a hitter: "Mainly doubles guy, singles double guy and try to get on base, get runs in for my team. What I need to improve on is probably my power, just getting stronger and hopefully I can use that to my advantage later on. I put on like 25 pounds this off-season but I've lost about 10 of it already so hopefully I can try to maintain."

On his fielding: "When I first came in I struggled because I first got drafted as a centerfielder, came in and started playing left all the time but I've gotten a lot better. It was a little rusty at first but I've been working a lot and it's getting a little bit better so hopefully I can keep working hard and I'll get even better."

On his increased walk rate: "Last year I didn't draw many walks because it's not that my approach is messed up, it's that I'm taking a lot more pitches that are good to hit so I'm getting deeper in the count. I'm glad I'm drawing walks but that's not what I want to do. I want to be ready to hit that first fastball, that first pitch strike that comes in there but some reason I'm hesitating and not swinging at it so that's pretty much why I'm drawing more walks."

On his success in hitting against lefties: "I've always hit lefties pretty well ever since I've gotten to pro ball. The first year I actually hit better against lefties than righties. Last year it was about the same. It helps me a lot in my swing because I don't try to do too much with a lefty. I let the ball get deep and try to really focus on going middle to the other way so it actually helps me a lot."

On how he likes the top of the Lexington batting order: "It's good. Definitely a huge number three guy with Zach [1B Zach Johnson]. I like our 1-2-3-4. Delino [2B Delino DeSheilds] gets on base. I hopefully can move him over. And then give 3 and 4 guys a chance to move [us] over."

On what he would do if he couldn't play baseball: "Probably be a pilot."

On what teammates he likes to watch play: "Trope [RHP Nick Tropeano]. I like watching Delino a lot."

On who he likes to field behind: "It would probably be Trope because you don't have to do much."

On which of his teammates he'd least like to face on the mound: "Trope. He throws pretty hard and he mixes everything up and he can throw everything for strikes."

Any final words?: "Just a great place to be. I love Lexington. We've got a really good fan base It's just fun playing here. The fans are so supportive. Nice facility.  I love it here. Great town."

Minor League Schedule and Results

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Hagerstown at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.28) and RHP Nick Tropeano (2-2, 1.87)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lake Elsinore at Lancaster at 7:00 CST (Game 1)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Matthew Andriese (2-2, 5.08) and RHP Tyson Perez (1-0, 1.50)

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jacob Brigham (2-1, 3.11) and LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-2, 6.67)
Available on MiLB.tv

Las Vegas at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Aaron Laffey (1-4, 5.63) and RHP Henry Sosa (2-0, 5.12)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lake Elsinore at Lancaster (Game 2)
Probable Pitchers: LHP Mark Hardy (2-3, 4.37) and TBD

THURSDAY'S RESULTS

Lexington over Hagerstown 6-3
Now who was that who said Zach Johnson was due to break out at the plate again? Oh, that's right ... it was me! Zach had a really nice 2x4 night with a home run and three RBI's. Drew Muren (2B) and John Hinson both went 2x4 as well. Jonas Dufek pitched one out shy of a quality start, but it was Murilo Gouvea who really shone in 2.1 innings of relief with no hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Gouvea picked up the win and Dayan Diaz picked up his fourth save.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 10-2
The bad news is that Corpus was held to five hits (two each from Austin Wates and Jose Martinez). The good news is that they were held to those five hits by pitchers with very good records (Barrett Loux, 7-0, 2.37 ERA and Chad Bell, 0.68 ERA). Lately, the Corpus staff has been unable to manage many hits against pitchers with records ranging from mediocre to downright bad. The worst news, though, is that Jose Cisnero, Arcenio Leon, Alex Sogard and Erick Abreu combined to allow ten runs, 17 hits, five walks and a home run. No pitcher escaped unscathed.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 5-1
Lancaster was in striking distance until the ninth when a rare off outing from Kirk Clark and a throwing error by Rene Garcia combined to result in three Lake Elsinore runs scored. Bobby Doran (L, 3-2) and Andrew Robinson both pitched well. Doran has really shown a great deal of improvement this season which is something I was really hoping for from him. Kike Hernandez was 2x4 with an RBI double, George Springer hit his fourth triple of the season and Ben Orloff was 2x3. Three errors in this one (one from Hernandez and two from Garcia) did not help.

GAME OF THE DAY
Oklahoma City over Las Vegas 1-0

What went right: A combined pitching shutout brought a seven game losing streak to an end.

Jordan Lyles, Xavier Cedeno and Jose Valdez combined for the shutout and took Lyles record to 5-0 for the season. The Redhawks only managed four hits but one of them turned out to be a game-winning home run from Brett Wallace.

Jordan Lyles - 6.2IP 8H 0R 1BB 6SO
Xavier Cedeno - 1.2IP 1BB 1SO
Jose Valdez (SV, 6) - 0.2IP 1BB 1SO

Brett Wallace - 1x3 HR RBI SO R
Brian Bixler - 2x4


PITCHER OF THE DAY
I'm going to send a little love to relief pitcher Murilo Gouvea. He was simply dominant in this outing. I heard good things about his "stuff" from one of his fellow relievers when I was in Lexington last month. Gouvea may be one to watch.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Zach Johnson is my man for getting back in the groove and improving his RBI total to 34. He is again tied for the RBI lead in the South Atlantic League.

Happy Birthday - 5/11

LHP Gabriel Garcia (23)
A non-drafted free agent signing out of Venezuela in 2007, Garcia had a solid season in Lexington in 2011 with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP and an excellent SO:BB ratio. I had thought that he would be a bad fit for Lancaster with his extreme flyball tendencies, but he's actually doing just fine at home.  In six appearances so far this season, he is 1-0 with a 7.04 ERA and a 2.608 WHIP, but at home he is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 2.052 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Zach Johnson

great win tonight. good to be back home 

Roster Moves - 5/10

OKC/CC
RHP Jarred Cosart was assigned from OKC to CC.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Hagerstown at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Nathan Karns (0-0, 1.35) and RHP Jonas Dufek (0-0, 5.14)
Available on MiLB.tv

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Barrett Loux (6-0, 2.20) and RHP Jose Cisnero (2-2, 4.61)
Available on MiLB.tv

Las Vegas at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Tim Redding (0-2, 10.80) and RHP Jordan Lyles (4-0, 4.22)
Available on MiLB.tv

Bakersfield at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Mark Pope (2-3, 4.74) and RHP Bobby Doran (3-1, 3.13)

WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

Las Vegas over Oklahoma City 2-1
Dallas Keuchel pitched another gem, but it was all for nothing. A Fernando Martinez solo home run represented the only run scored in this game through the first eight innings. Unfortunately, you  have to play that ninth inning whether you want to or not. An error on a pickoff attempt led to an unearned run and blown save for Xavier Cedeno as Las Vegas tied it up in the top of the ninth. Jose Valdez gave up one run in the 10th and was charged with the loss. The Redhawks were held to three hits.

Lexington - Off Day

Corpus Christi - Off Day

Bakersfield over Lancaster 7-4
Lancaster had the lead 4-3 going in to the seventh inning but David Martinez got roughed up in that frame and Jose Trinidad and Jorge de Leon weren't able to bail him out as four runs came across. George Springer had a great night, going 3x4 with a solo home run and two RBI's. All four players at the top of the order were hitting well -- Ben Orloff (2x4, BB), Rafy Valenzuela (2x4, 2B), Springer and Telvin Nash (2x5, 2B, RBI).

GAME OF THE DAY
No win - no game of the day

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Dallas pitched 7.1 innings giving up four hits, no runs and no walks with five strikeouts. He lowered his ERA from 2.18 to 1.85. He really is having a phenomenal start to his season.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
George Springer earned the honors.

Happy Birthday - 5/10

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Merritt Ranew (died October 18, 2011 at 73)
Drafted by Houston from Milwaukee in the 1961 expansion draft, Ranew played in 71 games for the Colt .45's in 1962 before being traded to the Cubs in March of 1963. Check out this very interesting story about Ranew being hit on the head with a bat during an in-game fracas during his time in the Seattle Pilots system.

LHP Pete Shourek (43)
A second round signing by the Mets in 1987, Shourek started 15 games for Houston in 1998, with a 7-6 record, a 4.50 ERA and a 1.475 WHIP. He came in second in Cy Young voting to Greg Maddux in 1995.

CF Glen Barker (41)
Barker came to Houston as a Rule 5 pick from Detroit in 1998. In 235 games played for the Astros in 1998 through 2000, Barker only had 197 plate appearances with a .232/.330/.323 batting line.

Tweet of the Day


Andy Simunic@AndySimunic
Hamilton hit 4 hr's tonight I hit 5 last SEASON

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WTH 25-Man Roster - Position Player Update

As promised, let's check in with the position players from the WTH 25-man roster and see how they're doing. [Note - The What the Heck 25-man roster was compiled through reader votes throughout the off-season.]



100 AB's into the season Jonathan Singleton leads the WTH crew in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. With a minimum of 100 AB's, only three players in the Astros system have higher averages - Brandon Barnes, Matt Duffy and Fernando Martinez; no one has a higher on-base percentage; and only Brandon Barnes and Telvin Nash have higher slugging percentages.

George Springer leads this group with 23 RBI's. Zach Johnson leads all Astros minor league players with 31 RBI's. No one has more stolen bases than our one-two punch of Delino DeShields and Jonathan Villar.

Jonathan Meyer has continued to hit well after his strong start. Kody Hinze and Roberto Pena have continued to struggle. And Jonathan Villar is showing signs of improvement. I've not seen any word about Brandon Wikoff's DL status so we'll leave him on the roster for now.

Roster Moves - 5/9

Sorry I didn't post this sooner, but I wanted to get confirmation. Due to Jio Mier's hamstring injury, SS Alex Todd is being assigned from Lexington to Lancaster. To fill the vacancy at Lexington, SS Chan Moon is being assigned from extended Spring Training to Lexington. I haven't heard anything about the severity of Jio's injury yet, but he was being checked out in Houston on Tuesday.

An Interview with 1B Zach Johnson

1B Zach Johnson made a statement early this season by driving in runs at a ridiculous rate for the Lexington Legends team. In April he had 30 RBI's over 24 games. Unfortunately, his bat has cooled off somewhat in May. Through 6 games in May, he is hitting only .200 with one RBI but he's getting the ball in play (only one strikeout and two walks during that time frame). Once he starts finding some holes again, those numbers should correct themselves. In any event, his 31 RBI's are the most of any Astros minor leaguer at this point by a wide margin.

In explaining Zach's great start, Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay noted that, "He cleaned up his lower half and he made an adjustment mechanically. He doesn't have as much drift in his lower half so he's able to get to some fastballs that he probably wasn't able to get to last year. He stays aggressive with runners on base which is hard to do for a young hitter ... A little guy like that with some power. He's got some torque in his lower half and it really comes through."


I talked to Zach for a very brief few moments, but came away with the impression of a quiet, thoughtful and dedicated young player, one who was willing to put in the time and work needed to be successful. This is what he had to say.

On his fast start to the season: "I changed some things in the off-season. I'm just seeing the ball a little better and I think from my stats point I'm doing a lot better with people on base which is correlating to the RBI's obviously. It's going good so far. Hopefully everyone can start clicking together and I think we'll be really good."

On the top of the lineup (Delino DeShields, Jordan Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Duffy): "I played with Duff last year so we kind of know how each other hit and stuff. Delino - he gets on a lot. Scott - he walks a lot and gets a lot of hits. It's easier for me and Duff when there's people on and then our job, makes it a lot easier."

On his strengths and weaknesses as a hitter: "Hitting opposite field with more power is something I've been working on a lot. I feel my strength right now is pulling and driving the ball to left field, but trying to work on driving the ball to right field more [and] center field is probably my biggest weakness."

On which Legends pitcher he would least like to face: "Probably Trope [Nick Tropeano] or [Dayan] Diaz. I faced Trope the last day of Spring Training; he wasn't throwing as many change ups that day. From playing defense, I see his change up and so many people swing and miss on that. So in Spring Training, I was looking for his change up and he was throwing fastballs by me [laughs]. Probably Trope in a game would be tough."

On who on the team makes him laugh: "Probably Duffy. He's really funny."

On what he would do if he couldn't play baseball: "Probably want to be a golfer if I could. I think that would be the ultimate job. It's hard to get away from sports."

On something most people don't know about him: "I have a twin brother. A lot of people probably don't know that. Fraternal. He's still in school. He's still playing baseball and hoping that works out. Probably a lot of people don't know that unless from back home. [He goes to] Sonoma State where Alex Todd went to school up in northern California."

Oh, and one more thing. He's got an awesome dog back home. Meet Drama.

Minor League Schedule and Results

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Las Vegas at Oklahoma City at 11:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Scott Richmond (3-2, 6.75) and LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 2.18)
Available on MiLB.tv

Bakersfield at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Daniel Renkin (3-1, 4.64) and TBD

TUESDAY'S RESULTS

Las Vegas over Oklahoma City 4-1
Jarred Cosart had a reasonably good first start at AAA, pitching six innings and giving up eight hits, four runs (three earned) and two walks with five strikeouts. Adalberto Flores and Juan Abreu were extremely effective in relief. Mike Hessman was 2x3; and Justin Ruggiano and Fernando Martinez both hit doubles. The team only managed six total hits.

Lexington over Asheville 2-1
Luis Cruz got the win, Carlos Quevedo got the hold and Jason Chowning got his fifth save and has still not allowed an earned run in 11 appearances. John Hinson and Roberto Pena both went 2x4, and Hinson is now hitting .387 in eight games since being called up. Jordan Scott had a double and an RBI.

Bakersfield over Lancaster 3-2
I wish Lancaster had pulled this one out. They had the tying run on second with no outs but couldn't push across the run. Ruben Alaniz pitched a very strong eight innings and only gave up two runs in his final frame. Pat Urckfitz pitched the last inning and was charged with the loss as he gave up the go ahead run via the long ball. Lancaster only managed four hits, but three of them were doubles by Kike Hernandez, Telvin Nash, and Erik Castro.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over San Antonio 17-3 (no, that is not a typo)

What went right: Are you not paying attention? Corpus scored 17 runs - that's what went right. Plus Ross Seaton had a very good start, which he really needed.

San Antonio absolutely imploded in this game, using six pitchers to get through it. How exactly does a team score 17 runs while only getting one home run? 16 hits and 10 walks. Seriously. Corpus Christi needed this win in the worst way and they got it in the best way. Oh, and there was this:
Andrew Simunic out on a sacrifice fly to right fielder Cody Decker. Jake Goebbert scores. Jonathan Singleton scores. Brandon Barnes scores. Throwing error by right fielder Cody Decker.
Yeah, that throwing error? It was Cody Decker thinking that there were three outs and throwing the ball into the crowd.  Really. That happened. Ouch. And with a h/t to Appy Astros, here it is.

Ross Seaton (W, 2-3) - 7IP 4H 1R 0BB 2SO
Alex Sogard - 1IP 3H 2R/0ER 1BB
Josh Zeid - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO

Austin Wates - 3x5 3B BB 3R
Jake Goebbert - 3x5 2B 2RBI BB 3R
Jose Martinez - 2x6 2B 3RBI R
Jonathan Singleton - 1x3 HR RBI 3BB 4R
Brandon Barnes - 2x2 RBI 4BB 3R
Jonathan Villar - 1x4 3RBI
Ryan McCurdy - 2x4 2B RBI BB R
Ross Seaton - 1x4 2RBI 3SO R

What went wrong: A Jonathan Singleton error and two Ross Seaton hit batters. But why quibble?

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Despite the fine start from Luis Cruz, Ross Seaton really needed a good outing to right the ship and he got it so he's my guy.

PLAYERS OF THE DAY
The entire Corpus staff for breaking out of their run-scoring funk in a really big way.

Happy Birthday - 5/9

C Kenny Diaz (20)
Drafted in the 49th round in 2010 out of high school in his native Puerto Rico, Diaz played for the DSL Astros in 2010.  In a limited number of games with the Gulf Coast Astros in 2011 (13 games), he hit .281/.378/.438.  He has a 35% caught stealing percentage in his time behind the dish.

Tweet of the Day


Nick Tropeano@PaPaTropeano
Enjoy yourself and have fun. These are the good days you're going to miss in the years ahead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Roster Moves - 5/8

Oklahoma City
*Jonnathan Aristil assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.
Enerio del Rosario assigned from Houston to Oklahoma City.
UPDATED TO ADD: Aneury Rodriguez optioned back to Oklahoma City after Tuesday's game to make room for Rhiner Cruz to come off the DL.

*By my count, this is the sixth move back and forth for Aristil already this season.

WTH 25-Man Roster - Pitching Update

It's been a while since we checked in on the pitchers from the WTH 25-man roster. Let's see how they're doing. [Note - The What the Heck 25-man roster was compiled through reader votes throughout the off-season.]



Note that since Jack Armstrong is out for the season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Jason Chowning will take his place on the roster as the runner up in voting for that position. Jason has had an excellent start and has one of the highest SO/9 in the entire Astros minor league system (behind only Kevin Chapman for pitchers with at least 15 innings).

Our collective staff has slipped a bit since we last checked in on them, but are still performing better than the system average. The WTH pitchers have a 3.59 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP with 8.0 SO/9 (as compared to 4.68 ERA, 1.431 WHIP and 7.8 SO/9 for the system as a whole). Our starting pitchers are 10-11. Jason Chowning and Fernando Abad (minor league numbers only) have yet to give up an earned run. Jason Chowning also leads the staff in saves.

The only other pitcher not on the WTH roster with a 0.00 ERA is Xavier Cedeno. The most impressive starting pitcher missing from our roster is Lexington's Mike Foltynewicz (4-1, 1.60 ERA and 1.220WHIP). The most impressive relief pitchers missing from our roster are Lancaster's Kirk Clark (1-1, 1.74 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 2 saves in 10 games); Corpus Christi's Jason Stoffel (0-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.868 WHIP, 2 saves in 10 games); and Oklahoma City's Jose Valdez (0-0, 2.84 ERA, 1.105 WHIP, 5 saves in 13 games).

Tomorrow we'll check in on our WTH Roster position players and see how they're doing.

Happy Birthday - 5/8

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Mike Cuellar (died April 2, 2010 at 72)
The Cuban born Cuellar was signed by Cincinnati in 1957 and came to Houston in a trade with the Cardinals in June 1965.  In 127 games (88 starts) for Houston from 1965 to 1968, Cuellar was 37-36 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.162 WHIP (with one All Star nod) before being traded to Baltimore. In eight seasons with Baltimore, Cuellar was a three-time All Star winner and one-time Cy Young Winner.

2B Dave Rohde (48)
Drafted in the 5th round by Houston in 1986, Rohde played in 88 games for Houston in 1990 and 1991. Despite hitting .353 at AAA in 1990 and .372 in AAA in 1991, he only managed a collective .165 batting average during his time in Houston during those two seasons.

Tweet of the Day

Dallas Keuchel

I thought this bus ride back to okc was Gunna suck.. Until we popped in Cool Runnings on DVD! Feel the rhythm baby 

Injury Updates

In addition to the news on Monday that 2011 third round pick RHP Jack Armstrong was recovering from Tommy John surgery two weeks ago (a surgery that no one seemed to have reported previously), Zachary Levine also reported that C Chris Wallace is out with a hip flexor injury and that SS Jio Mier's hamstring injury will require him to miss at least several weeks. Mier was headed to Houston on Monday to be examined.

Minor League Schedule and Results

TUESDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Asheville at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  LHP Luis Cruz (1-1, 4.15) and RHP Alex Gillingham (2-2, 6.08)

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Keyvius Sampson (2-1, 3.94) and RHP Ross Seaton (1-3, 5.25)
Available on MiLB.tv

Las Vegas at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Andrew Carpenter (0-0, 3.38) and TBD
Available on MiLB.tv

Bakersfield at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and RHP Ruben Alaniz (3-0, 3.89)

MONDAY'S RESULTS

Omaha over Oklahoma City 8-4
To say that Paul Clemens had a terrible outing is an understatement of epic proportions. In only 3.1 innings, he gave up eight runs on 10 hits (including a grand slam). He was actually cruising along nicely through two innings, but things started to unravel after he made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt in the third inning. Six runs later, most of the damage was done. Justin Ruggiano had a particularly good day at the plate going 3x4 with two doubles, two RBI's and a walk. Jimmy Paredes hit his first triple of the season and Mike Hessman hit his fourth home run. Sergio Perez, Xavier Cedeno and Rhiner Cruz were excellent in relief.

Asheville over Lexington 4-3
Mike Foltynewicz pitched seven innings and lowered his ERA from 1.62 to 1.60 as he gave up five hits, two runs (one earned) and four walks with four strikeouts in the no decision. Dayan Diaz was charged with a blown save and a loss. Delino DeShields had a good night, going 2x4 with two RBI's. Jordan Scott and John Hinson both had two hits (with a double each). After a torrid start, Zach Johnson has been in a bit of a slump, hitting only .209 over his last 10 games. Errors have been a recurring problem with this team; last night they had three, plus a passed ball.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 1-0
This could easily have been a win for Corpus as Wes Musick pitched a brilliant AA debut, allowing only one run in the sixth of his seven innings pitched, but Musick ended up with a loss and Corpus ended up with a nine game losing streak instead. Once again, the Corpus hitters are making a pitcher with a marginal record look like Cy Young as they only managed four hits (three of them from Jose Martinez). Brandon Barnes had the only extra base hit, a double. T.J. Steele was 0x3 and is now hitting .145.

Bakersfield over Lancaster 9-6
Zach Grimmett (L, 1-3) dug an early hole for the team giving up seven runs on seven hits in only three innings. Andrew Robinson allowed two more runs in four innings of relief while Brian Streilein only allowed one hit over his two innings. Telvin Nash went 3x4, hitting his fourth double and 10th home run of the season. Rene Garcia also had a 3x4 night, and Rafy Valenzuela had a triple and two walks.

GAME OF THE DAY
No win? No game of the day!

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Wes Musick gets the nod for a great Texas League debut. He pitched seven innings, giving up six hits, one run and two walks while striking out seven (and deserved a better fate).

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Telvin Nash gets the honors for a 3x4, two RBI night, including his 10th home run.

Monday, May 7, 2012

RHP Jack Armstrong Out With TJ Surgery

Brian McTaggart tucked away a little bombshell in his minor league notebook today.  If the surgery was announced previously, I missed it.

"In other injury news, right-hander Jack Armstrong, whom the Astros selected in the third round out of Vanderbilt in last year's Draft, is still wearing a brace after undergoing Tommy John surgery two weeks ago. Nelson said team doctors are pleased with his progress, but he'll miss all of 2012."

An Interview with Mike Foltynewicz

Mike Foltynewicz was a first round pick in 2010 out of high school in Illinois. In 26 starts in 2011, he was 5-11 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.493 WHIP. This season, through six starts, he has improved dramatically to 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a 1.170 WHIP. Batters are hitting only .214 against him.

I talked with Mike at length last weekend. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't expect to find him so completely charming and easy to talk to. It certainly makes it easy to pull for him to be successful. The following is a verbatim transcript of most of his answers to me.



On his approach on the mound: "I'm real competitive and everything and I'll do everything I can to get a guy out. I'm just going to go at him and not back down. I don't care who it is. Just go right at him. Who cares?"

On how his curveball is coming along: "I feel it's gotten a lot better since Greeneville a couple of years ago. I kind of had trouble with it a lot so I got into instructs that year and then spring training and then instructs again and I've worked on it a lot. Made it a lot sharper, made it break more and it's coming along at a decent pace right now. I'm still trying to get the hang of it, trying to throw it where I want to throw it more than just a guess where it's going to go. So it's coming along for me."

On his pitches: "Fastball has to be my best pitch. Change up is coming along real nice ... It's a 4-seam circle change up and it's just slower really. I just throw it just like my fastball and it's gotten a lot of swing and misses, a lot of pop ups to first base, grounds out to first base. It's basically night and day on my change up when I first came into professional baseball. It's coming along real well. It's probably my second best pitch."

On his velocity: "Fastball the last couple games I've been sitting, I think Bork [pitching coach Dave Borkowski] told me 93-94, getting up to 96 a couple times in the game. It's getting there. It's staying the same. I'm getting it above 92."

On what he works on in the off-season: "I try to gain weight. It's hard for me. I don't know why. I just lose it. I eat and eat like a horse. Just get big and work out and work on the mechanics. That's what we worked on a lot in instructs last year was my mechanics, so I just took that in the off-season as well."

On the biggest difference between this season and last: "Just the confidence, I think, and just a little tweak in the mechanics and in my motion. After Hagerstown [his second start], I had a pretty good outing and I just felt real confident after that. I just felt like no one could hit me - just go out there, let them try and hit me. I'm just really in the zone a lot of people like to be in. Just go along with it. I'm getting a lot of strikeouts so far this year, a lot better than last year.  I feel like I'm putting guys away better than last year, making them hit it on the ground better. It's all starting starting to come together for me."

On the long delay in getting his first professional win: "It didn't really bother me. Borkowski would joke with me all the time about it. It was just kind of in the back of my head. It's like ... I gotta get that first win, I gotta get that first win. It was a pretty fun time when I got that first win."

On whether workload contributed to his late-season fade in 2011: "It might have been. It was my first full season. There was just a lot of hype on me, a lot of people watching me because it would be my first year to see what I could do. I was a little nervous all year, didn't know what to expect and it was a real long year. But now I know. I know how to train in the off-season. I know what to expect."

On where he sees himself and the key to getting there: "Where I see myself ... I always thought of myself as 2-3 [in the rotation], maybe 1, maybe some day down the road. The key there is to stay healthy and work hard every day. When I'm between those lines, it's 100%. I'm going at it. There's a time to joke around and a time to have fun, but when I'm out there to work on something, I'm going to do it the best I can and I think that's going to take me where I need to go. Whatever Bork says or Matlack [Jon Matlack, roving Pitching Coordinator] has to say to try to fix my mechanics or something, I'll do it and see how it works and try to work on that every day and get better and that's what I think is going to get me there. And stay healthy."

On who on the team makes him laugh: "Chowning, it's gotta be Chowning. [Jason] Chowning, [Tanner] Bushue and [Nathan] Pettus ... all those guys are funny. [More on Jason Chowning] He's a good guy. Basically took me in last year. He was in Lexington with me last year, and we just hit it off in Spring Training. He's a real good guy. I love hanging around with him. He's one of those people to look up to. He's done it all already."

On what he would do if he couldn't play baseball: "If I couldn't play baseball, I'd more than likely try to play golf, try to get on the tour. Or play basketball. Try to get in the NBA. Because I was decent in high school in basketball. [Did he ever play football?] Mom wouldn't let me. Mom wouldn't let me play football."

On which teammate he would least like to face in the batter's box: "Johnson [1B Zach Johnson] right now because he's been on a tear. He's hitting anything. [Matt] Duffy - he kind of scares me in there, just a big figure. Looks like he's got a ... tree trunk for a bat. He's got good power."

On something most people don't know about him: "I play the drums. I play the drums all the time, and I used to be in a band in high school, high school days. That's what a lot of people don't really know about me. I used to play the drums a lot. I used to play them every time before a game in high school."

Any final words?: "I'm a real competitive guy and I'll do anything to win out there. I'll lay it on the line for the team every day and try to get a win, hopefully a championship ring down the road some day."

Minor League Schedule and Results

MONDAY'S GAMES

Oklahoma City at Omaha at 11:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Paul Clemens (2-2, 4.50) and LHP Everett Teaford (0-0, 0.00)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lexington at Asheville at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Michael Foltynewicz (4-1, 1.62) and RHP Ben Alsup (4-0, 3.98)

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 8:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Juan Oramas (1-4, 8.46) and LHP Wes Musick (0-0, -.--)
Available on MiLB.tv

Bakersfield at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and Zach Grimmett (1-2, 7.18)

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

Asheville over Lexington 8-5
Luis Ordosgoitti pitched two terrific innings which were unfortunately followed by 1.2 really tough innings. Ordosgoitti ended up giving up 11 hits, seven runs (6 earned) and two home runs to go with his five strikeouts. Nathan Pettus (one run allowed in 3.1 innings) and Euris Quezada got things under control, but the Legends were never able to catch up. And that is really a shame because there were several very nice days at the plate from Legends hitters - John Hinson (2x5, HR), Matt Duffy (3x4, 2B, RBI), Alex Todd (2x4, BB) and Mike Kvasnicka (2x5, 2-run HR).

Omaha over Oklahoma City 10-7
Henry Sosa had a rough outing, but Juan Abreu was handed the opportunity for a win and allowed a three-run home run instead. Scott Moore and Justin Ruggiano contributed home runs and Brett Wallace had a 3x5 two RBI day. Ruggiano, Mike Hessman and Fernando Martinez each had two hits. The worst part of this loss was that Ruggiano's home run in the top of the ninth tied it up, only to have OKC get the loss in relief in the bottom of the inning.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 10-0
This was the eighth loss in a row. I really do not understand why a team with this much talent is imploding this badly even in the tough Texas League. Jake Buchanan (L, 1-2) got touched for seven runs on nine hits in only four innings. Jose Martinez and Jonathan Villar each had two hits with Andy Simunic getting the only other hit. T.J. Steele was 0-2 and is now hitting .157.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Stockton 6-2

What went right:  A stellar debut by Tyson Perez and multi-hit games by several of the Jethawks hitters.

Tyson Perez was mentioned by Baseball America as being one of the better late round draft signings by the Astros in 2011. In his first start after being called up from extended Spring Training, he showed just why BA thought that. Ben Orloff had a monster day at the plate as he filled in for Jio Mier at short and is now hitting .321. Lancaster got to .500 with this win, the fourth in a row, and is now in third place in their division, only 1.5 games behind the leader.

Tyson Perez (W, 1-0) - 6IP 2H 0R 0BB 4SO 1HR
Gabriel Garcia - 0.2IP 3H 1R
Jose Trinidad - 1.1IP 0H 0R 1SO
Kirk Clark - 1IP 0H 0R 1SO

Ben Orloff - 3x5 3RBI SB
George Springer - 2x5
Domingo Santana - 2x5 HR
Adam Bailey - 2x5 2B 2R SB
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 2R SB

What went wrong: Other than a Meyer throwing error and a GIDP by Orloff, there wasn't much to complain about in this one.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Tyson Perez for a terrific debut. Watch this guy!

PLAYER OF THE DAY
The only 3RBI day belongs to Ben Orloff so Orloff it is.

Happy Birthday - 5/7

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Claude "Frenchy" Raymond (75)
First signed by Milwaukee in 1955, Raymond played for Houston from 1964 to 1967. In 154 games for the Colt .45's and Astros, he was 19-18 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.127 WHIP. The one-time All Star for Houston was traded to Atlanta in June 1967 for LHP Wade Blasingame.  He would ultimately play for Montreal in 1969 through 1971 where (from Baseball-Reference):

"Claude Raymond [was] considered a baseball hero in Quebec as the first Québécois to play for the Montreal Expos. He was an Expos French-language color broadcaster from 1972 to 2001, and was the public address announcer for the 1996 Olympics baseball tournament in Atlanta."

RHP Manny Hernandez (51)
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1978 by Houston, Hernandez only pitched in 15 games (7 starts) for the Astros in 1986 and 1987, going 2-7 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.520 WHIP. In 13 minor league seasons, he was 83-68 with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.310 WHIP.

UPDATED TO ADD:

Zachary "Lefty" Levine (?)
Seinfeld afficianado, saber geek, super funny smart guy and baseball writer extraordinaire.

Tweet of the Day (and then some)

Corpus Christi Hooks

Here's 's call from last night's  catch...

Roster Moves - 5/6

LAN
RHP Tyson Perez assigned from extended spring training to LAN.
SS Jio Mier placed on the 7-day DL.

Great story here on Tyson's call up and his first start on Sunday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

SUNDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Asheville at 1:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Luis Ordosgoitti (0-0, -.--) and RHP Daniel Winkler (2-2, 6.75)

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 1:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Robbie Erlin (0-1, 2.66) and RHP Jake Buchanan (1-1, 4.20)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Omaha at 2:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Henry Sosa (2-0, 4.39) and LHP Will Smith (0-2, 4.31)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Stockton at 4:09 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 6-0
Corpus Christi is now on a seven game skid. They have played badly on the road (3-11) but this stinker was at home. Brett Oberholtzer (L, 1-2) served up three home runs in the first four innings and Erik Abreu allowed another in the ninth. The Hooks only managed six hits and two of those belonged to Jake Goebbert. I don't know what's going on with this team, but they made a guy with an 0-3 record and a 10.98 ERA coming in to this game look like Cy Young. Ugly, ugly loss.

Omaha over Oklahoma City 10-9 in 10 innings
Oklahoma not only lost the game, they also slipped to second place in their division. Jordan Lyles gave up five runs in his six innings as his wildness (three hit batters and a wild pitch) took its toll. The only member of the relief corps to emerge unscathed was Xavier Cedeno. The good news is that they battled back to put up four runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead. The bad news is that Jose Valdez gave up back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game back up. Scott Moore, Justin Ruggiano, Brad Snyder (HR) and Mike Hessman (HR) all had two hits. Brett Wallace only had one hit, but it happened to be a three-run home run so I'm good with that.

Lancaster over Stockton 8-7
Bobby Doran's (W, 3-1) great start almost became a no-decision as Jorge de Leon gave up five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Pat Urckfitz replaced de Leon for the final out and thanks to a diving catch by Kike Hernandez, he got the out along with his second save of the season. Ben Orloff, Erik Castro and Jonathan Meyer all had two hit nights, but it was the Adam Bailey show for the second night in a row as Adam went 2x3 with two home runs, a walk and five RBI's. He is now hitting .301 for the season.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lexington over Asheville 5-1

What went right:  A fantastic start by Nick Tropeano and hitting across the board.

After being a little off (for him) in his last outing, Nick Tropeano (W, 2-2) came back and dealt on Saturday pitching seven strong innings with two hits, two walks and eight strikeouts. To say that Tropeano is someone to watch is a vast understatement. The only Asheville run was a home run allowed by Murilo Gouvea as he pitched the final two. All of the starters got hits, including five doubles.

Nick Tropeano - 7IP 2H 0R 2BB 8SO
Murilo Gouvea - 2IP 2H 1R 2SO HR

Brandon Meredith - 2x4 2B RBI R
Chris Epps - 1x4 2B 2RBI 2SO

What went wrong: The Murilo Gouvea home run was about the only blemish on this team win.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Nick Tropeano, hands down.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Who else? Adam Bailey has had four home runs and seven RBI's in the last two games.

Happy Birthday - 5/6

2B Jose Altuve (22)
Altuve was first signed by the Astros as a free agent out of Venezuela in 2007 and played on the Astros Venezuelan Summer League team that year. After starting in Greeneville in 2008, Altuve rapidly moved up the ranks until his major league debut in July of 2011. A minor league career .327 hitter (.389 at HiA and AA in 2011), Altuve has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate.  Over his first 25 games of 2012, Altuve is hitting .360/.404/.550 for Houston.  I look forward to seeing Altuve continue to prove that he's not a novelty act despite his 5'5" frame.

RHP Tomas Lopez (18)
The Astros signed Lopez over the winter and he is slated to play in the Dominican Summer League this year.  Here is what DPLBaseball.com had to say about the young righty.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Larry Andersen (59)
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the seventh round in 1971, Andersen came to Houston as a free agent in 1986. In five seasons with the Astros, he pitched in 268 games going 22-16 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.211 WHIP. Andersen was known for his sense of humor and his Steven Wright style one-liners. According to this post, Andersen was the instigator of the SNL-inspired conehead masks sported by Andersen, Charley Kerfeld and Dave Smith. Andersen is best known (and loved) by Astros fans for being part of the most lopsided trade in baseball history as he was traded to the Red Sox for future Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

Roster Moves - 5/5

OKC
RHP Jarred Cosart assigned from CC to OKC made official.
RHP Rhiner Cruz assigned from HOU to OKC for rehab purposes

CC
LHP Wes Musick assigned from LAN to CC

It was also announced that RHP Aneury Rodriguez will be called up to Houston to make a start in place of the injured Kyle Weiland on Tuesday.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Enrique Hernandez

no hits for me? No hits for anyone then!!! 

Tweet of the Day

Andy Simunic

8 hour bus ride w 30 of my closest friends...tough times don't last but tough people do