Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blind Loyalty

I got a little hot under the collar when I saw the following come across my twitter timeline last night.

"That 08 draft that Wade/Heck used to praise is showing nothing. Castro can't hit/field and Lyles can't pitch. "

When I came to the defense of Lyles and Castro, I was accused of "blind loyalty."

Let's just set aside the fact that there are still almost a dozen other players from the 2008 draft in the system, including J.B. Shuck, Ross Seaton and Luis Cruz, who are still successfully making their way through the system. Let's just focus on Castro and Lyles.

Jordan Lyles is 21 years old. Let me repeat. Jordan Lyles is 21 years old. He made his first start in the major leagues when he was 20 years old. Through 27 games (22 starts) at the major league level, let's see how Jordan Lyles numbers compare to another young pitcher who recently came through the system through an identical number of starts.

Innings Pitched
Jordan Lyles - 131.2 IP*
Bud Norris - 119 IP

*Note that Lyles innings are higher mainly due to 5 bullpen outings.

ERA
Jordan Lyles - 5.40
Bud Norris - 5.29

WHIP
Jordan Lyles - 1.473
Bud Norris - 1.555

Hits per 9
Jordan Lyles - 10.4
Bud Norris - 9.8

HR per 9
Jordan Lyles - 1.4
Bud Norris - 1.2

SO/BB Ratio
Jordan Lyles - 2.1
Bud Norris - 2.2

Yeah, and Bud Norris was 4 years older than Jordan Lyles when he made his major league debut. "Lyles can't pitch." At 21 years of age on a rebuilding team, in a year in which Lyles has been racking up frequent flyer miles between Oklahoma City and Houston, he "can't pitch." Most 21 year olds are playing A ball right now, not the majors. I don't know how Lyles will continue to develop. He may never make it as a truly successful major league player, he may not hit his stride for another seven years, or he may continue to develop into the middle rotation starter than many of us think he will become. But to say he "can't pitch" at this point in his career is ludicrous.

And then there's Castro. He'll be turning 25 on Monday so I suppose we should put him out to pasture because he hasn't developed into a star in the 39 games he's been in since missing a season due to two separate injuries. "Castro can't hit/field."

In Castros' last 28 games, he is hitting .318/.392/.545. In his last 14 games, he is hitting .348/.333/.435. But he "can't hit." Mmm, OK. He does have five errors (second in the NL) and four passed balls (third in the NL) so far this season which I admit is high. I'd like to see him cut down on those. Do you know who led the National League in passed balls in his first full season in the major leagues? That would be Johnny Bench. He was in the top five in errors as a catcher five times and passed balls four times during his career. Now, I'm not even remotely suggesting that Castro will be another Bench, but can't we give Castro just a wee little bit more time before we decide that he "can't hit/field?"

Finally, let's examine the phrase "blind loyalty." Blind means being unable to see. Loyalty means a strong feeling of support or allegiance. I strongly support Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles because I want them to succeed even though I am unable to see what their ultimate destinies are to be. If that means that I am blindly loyal, then so be it.

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

SATURDAY'S GAMES

 DSL Astros at DSL Athletics @ 9:30 CST

Asheville at Lexington @ 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Daniel Winkler (8-3, 4.93) & RHP Jonas Dufek (3-1, 5.28)
Available on MiLB.tv

Corpus Christi at Frisco @ 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jose Cisnero  (3-6, 4.21) & Chad Bell (2-0, 1.77)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Round Rock @ 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: Armando Galarraga (0-0, 0.00) & LHP Zach Jackson (2-7, 5.08)
Available on MiLB.tv

Inland Empire at Lancaster @ 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Lay Batista (3-5, 3.69) & RHP Bobby Doran (5-4, 3.79)

FRIDAY'S RECAPS

DSL Astros 3 DSL Indians 0
The DSL Astros played a relatively quiet game Friday until the 6th inning. Juan Hernandez allowed only 3 hits over 5 in his 3rd, and longest, outing of the season.  Javier Saucedo (W, 1-1) allowed just 3 hits as well and the duo combined for 9 shutout innings. Until the 6th the Astros only had two base runners, Jarico Reynoso in the 1st and Brian Pena in the 3rd, on with a walk and single respectively.  They loaded the bases in the 6th with no outs but failed to get any runners home. In the 7th the Astros had the bases juiced again, with 1 out, after the Indian's Juan Garcia intentionally walked Brauly Mejia.  Yoel Silfa drew a walk and Randy Cesar scored. After a pitching change by the Indians, Mesac Laguna scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.  The bats clearly weren't very hot Friday morning; Brian Pena (.357) went 1 for 3 and Brauly Mejia (.286) went 0 for 3 at the plate.

Asheville 5 Lexington 3
This is one of those games that the boxscore doesn't do justice. After falling behind Asheville 2-0 in the 2nd, Luis Cruz pitched 6 more scoreless innings for Lexington and didn't leave the game with a bad line. Cruz allowed 2 runs on 7 hits over 8.  However, he did have 2 wild pitches.  Delino DeShields went 2 for 4 at the plate, scored a run and swiped stolen bases number 44 & 45 for the season. DeShields also picked up his 29th RBI and Justin Gominsky, who also went 2 for 4, picked up his 7th RBI.  In the bottom of the 8th, the Legends came alive with 3 stolen bases and 2 runs aided by a couple throwing errors by Asheville catcher Ryan Casteel.  Lexington had 4 stolen bases in the game.  The bottom fell out in the top of the 9th, as Carlos Quevedo, who came in to replace Cruz, gave up the tie and a 3 run homer to Rosell Herrera.  The final out of the game was a fly out to deep center by Chan Moon that was 2 feet short of being a 2 run homer.

Corpus Christi 2 Frisco 3
This was another close game that was decided in the final innings on Friday night.  Ross Seaton pitched 7 innings allowing only 2 runs.  Seaton also struck out 7 Frisco batters, his best this season.  Carlos Lee, in his 2nd rehab game with the Hooks, went 2 for 3 (both singles) before coming out in the 7th. Jon Singleton went 1 for 4 and picked up his 41st RBI. Kody Hinze went 1 for 4 and hit his 7th home run (and 25th RBI) to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 7th inning.  Kevin Chapman came on to pitch in the 8th and hit the first batter he faced.  This was followed by a single and a walk to load the bases (it is worth noting that after reaching this point in the game Chapman gained about 2 mph on his fastball).  With one out, Frisco's Ryan Strausborger then grounded into a force out, the go-ahead run scored and then the 5-4-3-2 double play was completed at home to end the inning (it was just as odd to watch as to read, I assure you).

Oklahoma City 0 Round Rock 2
There's not much to say about this game except there's always tomorrow. Oklahoma City was shut out for the 2nd time in the last 3 games and the 4th time this season.  Brian Bass started the game for the RedHawks and after allowing 2 runs in the first, kept his remaining 5 innings scoreless.  He finished the 6th inning with 9 hits, 4 walks and 1 strike out.  Mickey Storey came on to pitch in the 7th and threw a couple of 1-2-3 innings while collecting 2 strike outs.  The bats were quiet as the RedHawks only collected 4 hits the whole game, 2 of which came in the top of the 9th.  The last hit belonging to Brad Snyder, allowing him to continue a 13 game hitting streak.

GAME OF THE DAY

Inland Empire 4 Lancaster 14
David Martinez got the win (2-3) and threw 7 shutout innings, giving up only 2 hits while striking out 5 Inland Empire batters.  Brad Dydalewicz replaced him in the 8th inning and Inland Empire finally got on the board with 4 runs.  That wasn't nearly enough however, as the JetHawks already had 13 runs by that point in the game and would score one more in the bottom of the 8th.  George Springer and Domingo Santana both went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI's between them. Erik Castro and Chris Epps both went 3 for 5 and collected 7 RBI's combined.  Epps hit the only home run of the game, his 2nd of the season for Lancaster (he also had 2 for Lexington this year).  Every JetHawk starting player got at least one hit, 6 had multiple hit games and all but Enrique Hernandez scored a run.  Lancaster scored in every inning except the 7th. 

What went right: What didn't? A season high 19 hits, 4 players with 3 hit nights, a shutout performance by the starting pitcher, Stormtroopers in attendance, and to top it all off, Lancaster defeated the "Empire" on Star Wars night.

What went wrong: Brad Dydalewicz did give up 4 runs in one inning. He has now allowed 11 earned runs over 11.2 innings pitched for a 8.49 ERA this season. 

David Martinez 7IP 2H 0R 0BB 5SO
Brad Dydalewicz 2IP 7H 4R 2BB 1SO 0HR 

Erik Castro 3x5 2B 3RBI BB SO 2R
Chris Epps 3x5 3B HR 4RBI SO 2R
Ben Heath 2x5 SO R
Domingo Santana 3X4 2B 3RBI BB 2R
George Springer 3X4 2B RBI BB SO 3R
Rafael Valenzuela 2X4 3B RBI R

Pitchers of the Day
David Martinez gets the honor for throwing 7 shutout innings and allowing only a pair of hits.  Honorable mention goes to Juan Hernandez and Javier Saucedo for the combination shutout in the DSL.

Players of the Day
Hats off to Brad Snyder for extending his hitting streak to 13 games and Delino Deshields for adding 2 more steals to bring his total to 45.  A tip of the cap to Jon Singleton as well for collecting his 41st RBI.

Happy Birthday - 6/16

1B Zach Johnson (24)
A 15th round pick by Houston out of Oklahoma State in 2011, Johnson has really opened some eyes with his production at Lexington in his sophomore season. In 65 games, he has 61 RBI's, currently second in the South Atlantic League. He is hitting .250/.348/.440 with 16 doubles, a triple and ten home runs. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Johnson has been invited to participate in the Home Run Derby on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina next week.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Ken Johnson (79)
Drafted from the Reds in the 1961 expansion draft, Johnson spent four seasons with the Colt .45s and Astros from 1962 to 1965. In 113 games (106 starts), he was 32-51 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.174 WHIP. According to Baseball-Reference, he didn't have the best of luck playing for the Colt .45s.
He is the only Major League pitcher to lose a nine-inning complete game no-hitter. On April 23, 1964, while with the Houston Colt .45's he was beaten 1 - 0 by the Cincinnati Reds despite having thrown a no-hitter. After eight innings of no-hit ball, in the top of the ninth, Johnson faced his counterpart, Joe Nuxhall, who grounded out to third. Then Pete Rose reached second after Johnson made an errant throw to first on a bunt. After a sacrifice to the pitcher, Rose was 90 feet from home with two outs. Vada Pinson then sent a grounder to second baseman Nellie Fox who booted it, allowing the run to score. Johnson got the next batter to fly out, but the Colt .45's couldn't score in the last of the ninth, pegging him with the loss.

Tweet of the Day

Nate Pettus

If you don't like mountain dew you can't be trusted 

Roster Moves - 6/15

Oklahoma City
LHP Fernando Abad was recalled to Houston to replace RHP Wilton Lopez who went on the DL.

Lexington
C Luis Alvarez was assigned from Greeneville to Lexington.
SS Jose Fernandez was assigned from GCL to Lexington.

Greeneville
Jimmy Howick was assigned from Lexington to Greeneville.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Free Agent Signing

I forgot to post this yesterday, but ...

The Astros signed NDFA Brian Blasik, a SS from the University of Dayton and teammate of 33rd round draft pick RHP Mike Hauschild. This story tells us a little more about these players who have been assigned to the Greeneville Astros to start their careers together.

Baseball is a Game of Inches

Some sayings become cliches because they're true. Baseball is a game of inches and boxscores don't usually tell us the full story of any game. There is no differentiation between a fabulous diving catch at short and a routine pop up to short when it comes to the boxscore. And a 399' smoked line drive that is caught in front of the 400' sign in centerfield is still an out no matter how well the ball was hit.

That's why I like to watch as many minor league games as I can, either in person as I've been able to do at Lexington and Corpus this season, or on the computer. I even try to listen to some of the Lancaster games out in the California league, but having to get up at 5:00 on many days doesn't really allow me that luxury very often. Watching or listening to a game tells you so much more than simply reading a boxscore can.

Last Friday, I was in Corpus for the beginning of four days of baseball. When I got back to the hotel, I started writing my minor league recaps for the next day. When I pulled up the Corpus Christi boxscore, I was struck by something. RF Adam Bailey was one-for-four with an RBI and an outfield assist. It was a respectable night on paper, but not something you would think about twice.

But that's not what I saw that night. Bailey crushed a ball 399' to dead center right in front of the 400' sign for an out. Inches. Bailey made an acrobatic diving tumbling attempt in right field that had the crowd around me literally gasping. Unfortunately, he didn't come up with the ball. Inches. And Bailey was caught off of third base on a fielder's choice that was actually a foul down the third base line. Keith Bodie argued the call to no avail. Inches.

Adam Bailey is an interesting player. Despite being second in the entire Astros minor league organization in RBIs in 2011, he has largely flown under the radar. But as Corpus Christi Manager Keith Bodie described him to me, "He's a gamer. He's a bulldog out there." That's what I saw.

Two games later, Bailey again crushed a ball 399' to the exact same spot in dead center. This time it was a double. Inches.


Admitting You Have A Problem Is The First Step

Hi, I'm Jayne and I'm a blogoholic. I love my blog ... maybe a little too much. I am also a control freak. I admit that as well. But there comes a time when one must ask for help. And that time for me is now.

I have recruited the estimable Buca Morris to help me with the minor league recaps. He will be writing the recaps this weekend and depending on whether or not that sends him screaming into the night, he will be helping me out from time to time. We're going to play it by ear.

If you don't already follow Buca on twitter, I suggest that you drop everything and do so immediately.

He is quite intelligent ...


Buca Morris@BucaMorris
omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina

He is quite funny ...

Buca Morris@BucaMorris
Lady asked me how old I was this morning at the store, I lied so I didn't have to say the #. I even lie to cardio machines.

And he is quite insightful ...

Buca Morris@BucaMorris
Blum got his bronze statue in 2008 for his achievements in 2005. J.R. Richard got a star that gets walked on a little over a week ago.

Welcome Buca!

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

FRIDAY'S GAMES

DSL Astros at DSL Indians at 9:30 CST

Asheville at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Chris Jensen (6-2, 5.32) and LHP Luis Cruz (5-3, 3.63)
Available on MiLB.tv

Corpus Christi at Frisco at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (5-3, 4.28) and TBD
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Round Rock at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Brian Bass (1-0, 5.17) and LHP Martin Perez (3-5, 5.40)
Available on MiLB.tv

Inland Empire at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Manny Correa (3-3, 3.29) and RHP David Martinez (1-3, 6.58)

THURSDAY'S RECAPS

DSL Astros over DSL Indians 6-4
Edwin Villarroel already has his second win of the young season in what appeared to be a strong start despite questionable defense behind him. He allowed four runs (no earned runs) on seven hits and three walks in his 7.2 innings. Elieser Hernandez got his first save despite coming in for Villarroel and immediately allowing a run to score on a wild pitch. 3B Randy Cesar was two-for-four with a double and three RBIs and  LF Brauly Mejia was two-for-four with a triple.

Asheville over Lexington 5-4
Luis Ordosgoitti got hit just a little too hard and a little too often, giving up four runs on nine hits over six innings. He didn't get the loss as Lexington came back to tie the game in the sixth. Blake Ford and Murilo Gouvea shared relief duties and it was Gouvea (L, 1-3) who got the loss as he gave up the winning run in the ninth. The highlight of the night for the Legends had to be the 420 foot solo home run by Matt Duffy, his 11th of the season. Duffy has reportedly been added to the upcoming All-Star home run derby contest and will compete with teammate Zach Johnson. Justin Gomiskey was two-for-four and Jesse Wierzbicki was two-for-four with a double and an RBI. Delino DeShields stole his 43rd base of the season and Zach Johnson drove in his sixty-first run. Now if they had just won, it would have been just about perfect.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 4-3
Jarred Cosart (L, 3-4) didn't have a terrible outing, but he also wasn't good enough to beat the first place team on Thursday. Cosart gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts and a wild pitch. Arcenio Leon followed with two effective innings but Corpus wasn't able to get back on the board after the fifth inning. Carlos Lee provided two runs via the long ball in his first appearance with Corpus on a rehab assignment. The final run was scored by Adam Bailey on a Jay Fernandez double. And thus a very well played and very hard fought seven game winning streak comes to an end.

Oklahoma City over Round Rock 10-6
Sergio Perez got a spot start in place of scheduled starter Dallas Keuchel. (I don't know why Keuchel was pulled, but you may start with your Keuchel to Houston conjecture now.) Perez wasn't particularly sharp as he walked five in 3.2 innings, but he only gave up one run. Adalberto Flores got his fourth win in relief although Jonnathan Aristil did his darnedest to cough it up, allowing five runs in 1.1 innings. Enerio del Rosario sealed the deal with his first save. Brandon Barnes contributed a three-run home run and an RBI single as he continues to hit since his promotion to AAA; he is currently hitting .371 over 17 games for the Redhawks. Jimmy Paredes (three-for-five with a double) and Scott Moore (four-for-four with two RBIs) also had great nights. Mike Hessman contributed with a two-run single.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Inland Empire 12-8

What went right: A great bullpen and hot bats.

Ruben Alaniz didn't get to celebrate a personal win on his 21st birthday as he suffered through his worst outing of the season, but his teammates picked him up to get a true team win. Brian Streilein (W, 2-3), Pat Urckfitz and Andrew Robinson (S, 3) combined to allow only three hits and one walk over the final five innings to keep Lancaster from falling behind in this high-scoring affair. The long ball played a big role in the game as the teams combined for eight home runs, including two from George Springer and an inside-the-parker from Kike Hernandez. Telvin Nash walked three times and only struck out once; he's only walked 30 times in 61 games. Alex Todd and Springer both had three hits for the night.

Ruben Alaniz - 4IP 11H 8R 2BB 5SO 3HR
Brian Streilein - 2.2IP 1H 0R 0BB 2SO
Pat Urckfitz - 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 1SO
Andrew Robinson - 1.1IP 1H 0R 1BB 1SO

Alex Todd - 3x4 2B HR 2RBI BB SO 2R
George Springer - 3x4 2HR 3RBI BB 3R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 HR 2RBI SO R
Ben Heath - 2x5 R
Kike Hernandez - 2x5 2B HR 2RBI 2R
Rene Garcia - 2x4 RBI SO R

What went wrong: Erik Castro had a rare hitless night, but even he had a sac fly RBI.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
None of the starting performances were anything to write home about so my pitcher of the day is Brian Streilein. Allowing only one hit in 2.2 innings of relief to keep a lid on the Inland Empire staff (who had already hit three home runs in the game) helped seal the deal.

PLAYERS OF THE DAY
George Springer, he of the two home runs, is going to have to share the honors with Brandon Barnes, he of the four RBIs. Honorable mention goes to Matt Duffy for his 420' blast. Nice job, gentlemen!

Happy Birthday - 6/15

No future Astros and only one former Astro with a birthday today ~

LHP Andy Pettitte (40)
Originally drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round in 1990, Pettitte came to Houston as a free agent signing in  December of 2003 and pitched for the Astros from 2004 to 2006, going 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.230 WHIP. He did a bunch of good stuff for the Yankees before he came to Houston and after he left. He retired; he unretired. He used human growth hormone and fessed up about it. He said Clemens did something dicey too, but he might have misremembered. Yada yada.

Tweet of the Day

Matt Hicks

Gnomeo tried his best tonight, but the Hooks fell 4-3 at Frisco. Here's his post-game quote... 
Embedded image permalink

Roster Moves - 6/14

In addition to the announced short season rosters which you can find here, the following moves were also made effective 6/14:

Oklahoma City
2B Jordan Kreke was assigned to Oklahoma City from Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi
1B Carlos Lee was sent on rehab assignment to Corpus Christi.
3B Andrew Simunic was assigned to Corpus Christi from Oklahoma City.

Lancaster
OF Emilio King was assigned to Tri-City from Lancaster.
RHP Ruben Alaniz was activated from the temporary inactive list.

Greeneville
C Ernesto Genoves was assigned from Lexington to Greeneville.

Also, the following change will be made effective 6/15:

Lexington
OF Jay Austin will be assigned to Lexington.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tri-City, Greeneville and GCL Rosters

TRI-CITY

PITCHERS
Ballew, Travis
Bircher, Joseph*
Cotton, Jamaine
Holmes, Brian*
Long, Kenneth*
Meiners, Jeremiah*
Minaya, Juan
Neely, John
Perez, Juri
Propst, James
Rodgers, Brady
Shirley, Thomas*
Velasquez, Vincent
West, Aaron

CATCHERS
Cokinos, M.P.
Morales, Jobduan#

INFIELDERS
Davidson, Chase*
Dineen, Ryan*
Elkins, Austin#
Johnson, Neiko
Sclafani, Joe#

OUTFIELDERS
Aplin, Andrew*
Gulbransen, Dan*
McKinney, Jarrod

GREENEVILLE

PITCHERS
Bushue, Tanner
Dando, Zachary
Dimock, Michael
Garcia, Christian
Hardoin, Zachary*
Hauschild, Mike
Houser, Adrian
Jankowski, Jordan
Lambson, Mitchell*
Lee, Chris*
Minor, Daniel
Ramirez, Francis
Rodriguez, Richard
Tiburcio, Frederick
Zuloaga, Scott*

CATCHERS
Genoves, Ernesto
Gingras, Ricky*
Moronta, Cristian

INFIELDERS
Batista, Jean#
Blasik, Brian
Ibanez, Angel*
Magee, Joshua
Martinez, Michael
Sosa, Ruben#

OUTFIELDERS
Joyce, Terrell
Monzon, Jose
Ovando, Ariel*
Toney, D'Andre
Wik, Marc*

GULF COAST LEAGUE

PITCHERS
Abreu, Alan
Barrios, Agapito
Batista, Ricardo*
Culbreth, Brandon
De Leon, Ambiorix*
Dennison, Steve
Feliz, Michael
Franco, Enderson
Frias, Edison
Gonzalez, Erick
Guduan, Reymin*
Gustave, Jandel
Mojica, Juan
Montero, Jose
Quintero, Rodney
Walter, Andrew

CATCHERS
Diaz, Kenny
Gonzalez, Alfredo
Polanco, Franny

INFIELDERS
Correa, Carlos
Fernandez, Jose
Martone, Luca#
Mejia, Yonathan#
Redinger, Kyle
Rivera, Darwin
Solano, Jose

OUTFIELDERS
De La Rosa, Luis#
Gonzalez, Wallace
Hernandez, Teoscar
Marte, Ydarqui
Phillips, Brett*
Reynolds, Javaris*
Vizcaino, Kelvin

*Left hand pitcher or hitter
#Switch hitter

Roster Moves

Baseball America is reporting three releases from the Astros minor league system ~

C Joe Witkowski (GCL)
1B Mario Gonzalez (DSL)
SS Max Ayarza (GCL)

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

THURSDAY'S GAMES

DSL Indians at DSL Astros at 9:30 CST

Asheville at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD
Available on MiLB.tv

Corpus Christi at Frisco at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jarred Cosart (3-3, 4.50) and LHP Tim Murphy (2-7, 6.62)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Round Rock at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-4, 4.26) and RHP Neil Ramirez (6-6, 7.88)
Available on MiLB.tv

Inland Empire at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Max Russell (3-5, 4.77) and RHP R.J. Alaniz (6-2, 4.10)

WEDNESDAY'S RECAPS

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 10-5
Luis Abad (L, 0-2) gave up two runs on four hits and two walks over three innings; Victor Mesa added another five runs on eight hits in his three innings; and Frangy Colon followed with another two runs on two hits in the final two. The Astros lost the lead in the bottom of the second and never got it back. 1B Mesac Laguna was two-for-five with a two-run home run. SS Arturo Michelena was one-for-four with a triple.

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 3-0
The Zephyrs threw a two-hitter against Oklahoma City and Wes Musick (L, 1-2) was charged with the loss despite giving up only one unearned run on three hits over five innings. Aneury Rodriguez allowed two additional runs in 1.2 innings of relief, including an inherited runner that Chris Hicks allowed to score in his 1.1 innings. Brad Snyder and Carlos Corporan owned the only two Redhawk hits, both singles.

Lexington over West Virginia 9-2
A pitcher's duel through the top of the fifth turned into a laugher in the bottom of the frame as Lexington batted around and put up six runs to lead 7-1 after five. Mike Foltynewicz (W, 9-1) loaded the bases in the top of the seventh with one out. Wouldn't a six run lead be the perfect time to see if Folty can get out of trouble? But no, he was pulled. Granted Evan Grills did a fantastic job as he allowed only one of his three inherited runners to score and allowed only one hit over his 2.2 innings. The big hero of the night was Chan Moon who hit his second three-run home run in the past three days plus got another RBI on a bases loaded walk. Delino DeShields got his 42nd stolen base of the season; Zach Johnson got his 60th RBI of the season; and Brandon Meredith hit a two-run triple.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 3-2
Another pitcher's duel through five, this one didn't turn out with as happy an ending as Lexington's. Both teams scored two runs in the sixth and that is where things stood until Zach Grimmett allowed a solo home run, which was ultimately the winning run, in the eighth. Jorge de Leon had one of his best starts of the season as he allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 5.2 innings. Erik Castro drove in both of the JetHawks runs on a deflected single. The worst thing about this one? Not that Lancaster is all but eliminated from winning the first half, although that's a close second. It's that the winning pitcher for Rancho Cucamonga was some guy named Purpura. Grrrrr.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over San Antonio 10-6

What went right: Drew Locke came to the rescue again.

This one was most decidedly NOT a pitcher's duel. Jake Buchanan got roughed up early, giving up four runs on a triple, two doubles, a single and a walk in the first inning. Thankfully, he settled down after that and only gave up three hits and a walk over the next six innings, striking out eight for the night. Corpus Christi chipped away at the Missions lead until blowing it wide open with seven runs in the eighth inning. Kevin Chapman (W, 4-2) was the beneficiary of the Hooks output as he got the win in relief and also contributed at the plate with an RBI groundout. 11 batters came to the plate in the eighth inning. What had been a 4-3 deficit quickly became a 7-4 lead as Drew Locke hit his second grand slam in as many nights. The Hooks added on in the frame with a Chris Wallace RBI double, a Drew Muren RBI triple (in his first AA game), and the Chapman RBI to make it 10-4 before all was said and done in the inning. Lots of other crazy stuff went on in this game as well as Jonathan Villar was pulled from the game, Jordan Kreke was move from third to short and C Jay Fernandez took over at third (and had a very nice defensive game there, by the way); Keith Bodie got tossed; and Kevin Chapman got tossed for throwing at a Missions batter an inning after Jay Fernandez had been drilled. Ironically, Chapman totally missed the batter as the ball sailed behind him.

Jake Buchanan - 7IP 7H 4R 2BB 8SO
Kevin Chapman - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO
Josh Zeid - 1IP 2H 2R 0BB 0SO HR

Jay Fernandez - 2x2 2B RBI BB 2R
Jordan Kreke - 2x5 2B RBI SO
Drew Locke - 1x4 HR 4RBI SO R
Adam Bailey - 2x4 2B SO 2R
Chris Wallace - 3x4 2B 2RBI SO R
Drew Muren - 1x3 3B RBI BB 2R

What went wrong: A two-run home run issued by Josh Zeid in the ninth and Jon Singleton with three strikeouts for the second night in a row.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
If Mike Foltynewicz keeps this up, he will probably be my pitcher of the day every five days. This is Folty's ninth win. He hasn't had a loss since the first game of the season.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
When Drew Locke's contract was picked up from the Skeeters a mere five days ago, he tweeted to Jimmy Van Ostrand that he was coming after his Corpus RBI record. He started out 58 RBIs shy of Jimmy's mark but has twelve in five games and is on a pace to break JVO's record in 20 games. Not likely, but a fun fact nonetheless.

Happy Birthday - 6/14

RHP Ruben Alaniz (21)
Alaniz orginally signed with the Astros as a non-drafted free agent out of McAllen, Texas in 2009. He is currently in his third season with the organization and has really made a statement in his time at Lancaster this season. In 13 starts, he is 6-2 with a 4.10 ERA, a 1.224 WHIP and 55 strikeouts to 17 walks.

RHP Alan Abreu (22)
I knew virtually nothing about Abreu other than he was playing college baseball in Florida as an outfielder when he was signed by the Astros in September 2011 as a NDFA to pitch. I found this terrific article explaining how it all came about. If this works out, it will be an amazing story.

C Brian Pena (18)
A non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, Pena is in his first season with the DSL Astros. Since the DSL just recently started their season, he doesn't have much of a track record yet, but in three games, he is hitting .250/.400/.250.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Pete Munro (37)
A sixth round pick by the Red Sox in 1993, Munro came to Houston as a free agent in November of 2001. He pitched in 80 games (35 starts) from 2002 through 2004 for the Astros with a 12-16 record, a 4.49 ERA and a 1.481 WHIP.

OF John Weekly (died November 24, 1974 at 37)
Drafted in the Rule 5 draft in 1961 from the Giants, Weekly was with the Colt .45s for three seasons from 1962 to 1964, hitting .207/.293/.364 in 53 games.

Tweet of the Day


Enrique Hernandez@kikehndez
every pitch counts, every at-bat is a clutch situation!! gotta love it!!

Roster Moves - 6/13

Corpus Christi
OF Austin Wates was placed on the 7-day DL.
OF Drew Muren was assigned from Lexington to Corpus.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hooks Manager Keith Bodie on Player Development

Over at The Crawfishboxes, I posted a portion of my interview with Corpus Christi Hooks Manager Keith Bodie. Click if you are so inclined.

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

DSL Astros at DSL Rays at 9:30 CST

Oklahoma City at New Orleans at 11:30 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Wes Musick (1-1, 3.80) and RHP Alex Sanabia (4-4, 3.48)
Available on MiLB.tv

West Virginia at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and RHP Michael Foltynewicz (8-1, 2.07)
Available on MiLB.tv

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Andrew Cashner (0-0, -.--) and RHP Jake Buchanan (3-4, 5.32)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jorge de Leon (1-5, 8.51) and RHP Brandon Martinez (1-1, 4.67)

TUESDAY'S RECAPS

[Note: Well, the DSL Astros blew it for us, so I can only report that four of five Astros minor league affiliates are at .500 or better.]

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 12-6
Samil de los Santos, Johan Arias (blown save and loss), Geronimo Franzua and Frangy Colon combined to allow 12 runs on 11 hits and three walks, although Franzua's and Colon's runs were of the unearned variety thanks in large part to a whopping six errors committed by the Astros in the game. There was also a passed ball, three wild pitches and three hit batters by Astros players. You've got to love the DSL! Mesac Laguna had a couple of knocks with a double. Luis Reynosa and Yoel Silfa doubled as well.

West Virginia over Lexington 9-7
Lexington trailed from the start of this one, but made a valiant effort to come back only to fall short in the end. Nick Tropeano (L, 5-4) just wasn't sharp as he lasted only four innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks. Gabriel Garcia and Carlos Quevedo combined to allow another three runs in relief before Nathan Pettus came in for an effective inning in the ninth to keep the Legends close. Matt Duffy was three-for-five, but Zach Johnson one-upped Duffy with a four-for-five night, including a two-run home run, as Johnson started early practice for the All-Star game Home Run Derby. Johnson had three RBIs for the night and now has 59 RBIs for the season, second in the South Atlantic League. Delino DeShields also had a terrific night, going two-for-four with two RBIs, two runs scored and three stolen bases to give him a league-leading 41 for the season.

Oklahoma City over New Orleans 10-7
I'll just come out and say it. Paul Clemens is lucky to have gotten his eighth win already. With a 6.31 ERA  and only two quality starts out of his last ten, he is getting by because of the Redhawks offense. Put him on a low-scoring team and he wouldn't have half of the wins he has right now. So, if anyone starts calling for a promotion anytime soon, I'll just go on record as saying that he needs to stay in the oven a little bit longer; he's not done baking yet. But I digress (I do that a lot). Clemens (W, 8-4) allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings, and Jonnathan Aristil added another couple of runs in his one inning before Mickey Storey and Fernando Abad (S, 2) came in to shut down the Zephyrs' offense. Jimmy Paredes was four-for-five with two RBIs; Mike Hessman hit his 18th home run of the season; J.B. Shuck was two-for-five with a double and two RBIs; and Landon Powell was three-for-five with three runs scored.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 3-2
A good team takes advantage of mistakes. Domingo Santana scored the winning run on a throwing error in a tied game in the top of the ninth. For the first time in his last five starts, Tyson Perez allowed fewer than five runs as he gave up only two on four hits while recording eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The bullpen then went into lockdown mode allowing only one additional hit the rest of the way. Jose Trinidad got the win and Andrew Robinson got his second save of the season. Kike Hernandez' RBI double and Ben Heath's ground out RBI in the fifth accounted for the rest of the scoring. Rafy Valenzuela was feeling frisky as he stole two bags; Domingo Santana had one stolen base.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over San Antonio 5-1

What went right: Excellent pitching and a locked in Drew Locke.

Brett Oberholtzer (W, 5-3) pitched beautifully but it looked as though he might get a no decision as Keyvius Sampson of the Missions had a no-hitter going through six until I personally broke up the no-no by sending out a twitter jinx (with a little help from Lee and Sean). A Jordan Kreke walk, a Jose Martinez single to break up the no-hitter, a Jon Singleton walk and a Drew Locke grand slam sent Sampson packing. The Hooks added on a couple of extras in the eighth on a RBI double from Jason Stoffel (yes, that Jason Stoffel -- the relief pitcher in only his fourth plate appearance of his minor league career) and another RBI double from Jose Martinez scoring Stoffel (yes, still the same Stoffel who now has a .500/.500/.750 batting line). The only Missions run came on a triple and an Oberholtzer wild pitch.

Brett Oberholtzer - 7.2IP 6H 1R 0BB 8SO
Kevin Chapman - 0IP 1H 0R 1BB 0SO
Jason Stoffel - 0.2IP 1H 0R 0BB 2SO
Erick Abreu - 0.2IP 0H 0R 0BB 0SO

Jose Martinez - 2x4 2B RBI SO R
Drew Locke - 1x4 HR 4RBI R

What went wrong: Lots of 0-fers, but that's what happens in a no-hit bid.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Brett Oberholtzer gets the love for a great performance and for matching zeroes in the run column through Sampson's no-hit bid.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
A grand slam will get you player of the day any day. And it doesn't hurt that Drew Locke is hitting .412 in his first four games back as an Astros farmhand.

Happy Birthday - 6/13

LHP Evan Grills (20)
Grills was drafted in the tenth round in 2010 out of high school in Ontario. He spent his first two seasons in the organization with the GCL Astros, and was promoted to Lexington at the start of the 2012 season. In 16 appearances out of the bullpen with Lexington this season, he is 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.345 WHIP. Keep your eye on this player -- a ton of upside!!!

Tweet of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela

Just Friends about to play on the bus right now... yeah we're really about to let this happen... minor league bus rides

Roster Moves - 6/12

Lexington
1B Jesse Wierzbicki was assigned to Lexington from Tri-City.

DSL Astros
OF Brauly Mejia was assigned to the DSL Astros.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some Random Observations on Corpus Christi

I will be rolling out interviews and other posts from my Corpus Christi sojourn over the next couple of weeks as I cull through almost two hours of interview material, but I wanted to record some random thoughts while they are still fairly fresh in my mind.

After having been to see the Lexington LoA team back at the end of April, I was struck immediately by one huge difference. The players at AA look like ballplayers. It's hard to define. It's not just that most of them have filled out and are heavier, more muscular. It's also an attitude, a way of carrying themselves. Maybe it's because by the time they have made it to AA, they know that they belong and carry themselves with more confidence.

Ah, there's that word ... confidence. There were two words that I heard more frequently than any others in talking to players and coaches ... confidence and consistency. Those two things are the key to their impending success or failure and they know it. But more about that later.

I was able to watch several rounds of on-field workouts and batting practice. I found it interesting because I'm interested in the routine, in the day-to-day of the players as a backdrop to their overall experience, but once you've seen a couple of them, it's fairly dull viewing. But I will admit that I am just baseball nerd enough that I was actually excited to get to see pitchers fielding practice one day.

Two players stood out to me as I watched them go through their daily routines. One was Adam Bailey and that was for one reason only. He has a cannon for an arm and throws with great accuracy. During throwing drills as the players moved further and further apart, his long throws were always on the money and looked simply effortless, as could be expected from a former pitcher I suppose.

The other player to stand out during work-outs was Brett Oberholtzer. I really hate that he was the only pitcher that I wasn't able to see in person. He was the most intense, most passionate player on the field. Period. Everything he did was done with maximum effort. He was always out running sprints when no one else was. I seriously worried about him getting heatstroke because of how intensely he was working. If he can channel that passion into his pitching, he is certain to be a success.

The ballpark itself is wonderful. As long as you are seated in the shade, the breeze off the gulf is enough to keep you comfortable even during the day. The staff was excellent, everyone was friendly and Michael Coffin in the front office went out of his way to accommodate me with incredible patience and grace.

Something else has been fomenting in my addled brain since my trip to Lexington and it more or less coalesced during this trip to Corpus. I had the opportunity in Lexington to meet the Boosters Club and some of the host families that open their doors to the players. In Corpus, I also met one of the host "moms" and talked with her at length about some of the issues that minor league players face. Just finding an affordable place to live when you may be called upon to move at a moment's notice can be an ordeal, particularly if you are required to sign a lease. Extended stay facilities are often out of the price range of a minor league player (not everyone gets a big signing bonus), and it is a myth that there are plenty of host families to go around. I was told that there are no host families in Oklahoma City at all. What is a player supposed to do in the case of a temporary call up? And that's just the housing issue.

I would like to emphasize that no player complained to me about any of these things. They are happy to just have the opportunity to play and are willing to jump through whatever hoops they are required to jump through. But something occurred to me. The Astros should hire a minor league ombudsman, someone who can help the players with everything from housing to equipment to budgeting to finding a secure place to park their cars so they don't get vandalized during road trips (which just happened to five of the Lexington players). I am certain there are countless other everyday problems and issues that an ombudsman could help with, problems that otherwise take a player's focus off of the field and ultimately hinder his development.

And why should the Astros do this? As I said earlier, the players are just happy for the opportunity. There are plenty of other players that would trade places with them in a heartbeat. The Astros should do this because it's the right thing to do. If that's not enough, just think of it as an investment in the future. When those players from the system that make it to the big leagues get to free agency, maybe they'd be willing to take a little hometown discount because they would be loyal to an organization that had been loyal to them. Just another random thought.

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

TUESDAY'S GAMES

DSL Rays at DSL Astros at 9:30 CST

West Virginia at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and Nick Tropeano (5-3, 2.82)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at New Orleans at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Paul Clemens (7-4, 6.10) and RHP J.D. Martin (3-5, 6.50)
Available on MiLB.tv

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Keyvius Sampson (2-6, 6.19) and LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-3, 4.83)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Tyson Perez (4-1, 5.80) and RHP Zach Lee (2-2, 4.37)

MONDAY'S RECAPS

[Note: For the third straight day, all Astros minor league affiliates are at .500 or better. DSL Astros, it's up to you to make it four days!]

DSL Dodgers over DSL Astros 12-1
The Astros were held to five hits while allowing 16. As good as Harold Arauz (L, 0-1) was in his first start, he was equally bad in his second as he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, a wild pitch and a hit batter and was lifted after only 0.1 innings. He was followed by a virtual parade of bad pitching until Frangy Colon struck out his only batter faced. An Arturo Michelina triple was pretty much the only offensive highlight of the game.

Lexington over West Virginia 6-4
Jonas Dufek (W, 3-1) didn't have an overwhelming performance as he allowed four runs on eight hits and no walks with six strikeouts but it was definitely a solid one. Murilo Gouvea pitched a perfect eighth and Dayan Diaz converted his sixth save. Lexington led this one from the start with good offensive performances from Matt Duffy (two RBIs), Mike Kvasnicka (double, two-run home run), Drew Muren (two RBIs) and Delino DeShields (two-for-four).

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 4-3
Armando Galaragga pitched a scoreless 4.2 innings in his first start for the Redhawks and was followed by relief pitching with mixed results as Adalberto Flores gave up two runs and three walks; Juan Abreu pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings; and Jose Valdez had his second straight rocky outing and was charged with the loss as he gave up two runs in the ninth. Angel Sanchez hit his fourth RBI of the season; Carlos Corporan was two-for-three with a double and two runs scored; and Brandon Barnes was one-for-three with two RBIs.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 5-4
This one was a heartbreaker. A win would have put Lancaster in a 4-way tie for first place. Unfortunately, Jason Chowning's continued struggles as he adjusts to HiA Lancaster resulted in a blown save and the loss. Bobby Doran had another good start as he only gave up one earned run (two runs) in six innings and was followed by a resurgent Andrew Robinson who gave up no runs and has a 1.84 ERA over his last ten appearances. Jason Chowning (L, 0-1) struck out his first batter in short order, but then allowed two runs on three hits before being pulled for Kirk Clark who allowed the winning run to score. Domingo Santana is feeling fine since coming off the DL as he added another two RBIs to his total. Kike Hernandez was two-for-three with a run scored. George Springer had been day to day, but appeared to be none the worse for wear as he hit a solo home run in his first at bat.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over San Antonio 5-1

What went right: Excellent pitching and Jose Martinez' walk up music.

The Hooks broke this one open in the sixth on the weight of a three-run Jose Martinez home run after only getting one hit in the first five innings. Jose Cisnero (W, 3-6) had a very strong start followed by solid relief from Josh Zeid and Jason Stoffel. I was just about to tweet that I couldn't take Jose Martinez' walk up music  even one more time after listening to it for four days solid when he hit his home run. I guess I could learn to like it. Adam Bailey also had two RBIs for the night and Jon Singleton who has been slow at the plate as of late hit two very convincing doubles.

Jose Cisnero (W, 3-6) - 7IP 6H 1R 0BB 6SO
Josh Zeid - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO
Jason Stoffel - 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 1SO

Jose Martinez - 1x4 HR 3RBI R
Jon Singleton - 2x3 2-2B BB 2R
Jair Fernandez - 2x3 SO R
Adam Bailey - 0x3 2RBI

What went wrong: Brandon Wikoff had a very unusual hitless night to go with his first error of the season.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Jose Cisnero was one of the only Hooks players that I didn't get to at least say hello to over the past four days. I'm glad to know that he benefited from the WTH juju anyway.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
That song. That song. I can't get it out of my head. Jose Martinez, you are my player of the day for helping to ensure a fifth straight Corpus victory and for driving me insane with your walk up music.

No Birthdays Today So ...

Here's another installment of Baseball Card Theatre from the very, very funny T. Sean Shannon.



Tweet of the Day

Dallas Keuchel

New orleans... Hot and muggy with a side of hot and muggy

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Little Advice for New Draftees

I asked several of the Hooks players what advice they would give the players who were drafted last week, what they wish someone had told them when they were first drafted. This is what they had to say.

RHP Jason Stoffel - a fourth round draft pick in 2009 out of the University of Arizona
"Get ready! Minor league baseball's a grind. It's a long season. I came from college. We played 56 games or whatever and you almost triple that, and it's every day. It's tough and it takes some getting used to. That's my best advice. Don't underestimate it."

1B Jon Singleton - an eighth round draft pick in 2009 out of Millikan HS in Long Beach, CA
"Not to be in a rush. A lot of guys went to college. They had a great experience. [For players drafted out of high school] it's definitely a learning experience. It's three or four years of your life that you really want to enjoy and have fun so just take your time. You shouldn't be in any rush."

OF Jake Goebbert - a thirteenth round draft pick in 2009 out of Northwestern
"What do I wish someone had told me? Give it all you have every day and have no regrets. Really play like you've got nothing to lose because eventually for all of us being in the game a while, we see it ends and not too many people get to finish out on their own accord. So when you're given the opportunity which is a special opportunity, make sure you give it all you've got and don't take it for granted."

OF Austin Wates - a third round draft pick in 2010 out of Virginia State University
"My best advice is keep your head down, keep playing. You never know how far away you are and you never know how close you are either so you've got to kind of keep your head down and keep playing."

LHP Kevin Chapman - a fourth round pick in 2010 out of the University of Florida
"What do I wish I'd known? Just how to pace yourself throughout the season because it's a long season. In college you get into long season but you're not playing 13 out of 14 days every time, and to be able to pace yourself and keep yourself in shape is huge. I feel like last year, my first full season, towards the end of the year I sort of just fell off a little bit because of that. I feel like coming into this year I had a lot better idea what I needed to do."

Minor League Schedule and Recaps

MONDAY'S GAMES

DSL Astros at DSL Dodgers at 9:30 CST

West Virginia at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Zach Von Rosenberg (0-0, 0.00) and TBD
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at New Orleans at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Armando Galarraga (0-0, -.--) and RHP Tom Koehler (6-5, 3.51)
Available on MiLB.tv

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Tom Layne (0-1, 6.00) and RHP Jose Cisnero (2-6, 4.58)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 10:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and RHP Garrett Gould (1-5, 5.05)

SUNDAY'S RECAPS

[Note: All Astros minor league affiliates are at still at .500 or better.]

Greensboro over Lexington 13-4
If you're going to lose, go ahead and lose spectacularly and get it out of your system. After taking two games from the Northern division leading Greensboro team, Lexington did just that as starter Luis Cruz (L, 5-3) gave up five runs (three earned) over four innings; Nathan Pettus added another five runs in only one inning of relief; and Blake Ford added three more in his first inning of work as a Legend. Only Euris Quezada went unscathed as he pitched the final two innings and allowed only three hits and no runs. Adding insult to injury, there were errors on Delino DeShields, Matt Duffy and Chan Moon, a passed ball from Roberto Pena, a wild pitch from Ford and a hit batter by Pettus. Again, if you're going to lose spectacularly, go all the way. But there were a couple of bright spots. Mike Kvasnicka hit two two-run home runs, one from each side of the plate, and Matt Duffy was three-for-three with a walk and two runs scored.

Inland Empire over Lancaster 8-7
David Martinez had another tough start as he allowed seven runs over six innings, but he ended up with a no decision as Lancaster battled back to tie it in the top of the ninth, only to lose in the bottom of the frame. Kirk Clark was charged with the loss. Domingo Santana hit a triple in his first game back from injury; Telvin Nash hit his 18th home run of the season; and Ben Orloff was three-for-four with a walk.

Oklahoma City over New Orleans 12-9
This one was not exactly a pitcher's duel. As a matter of fact, Brian Bass and five other pitchers came in for the Redhawks and collectively allowed nine runs on 13 hits and five walks. Of those, Mickey Storey got the win; and Enerio del Rosario and Fernando Abad (S, 2) on a rehab assignment were the only pitchers who didn't allow a run. The offense may wish they saved a little for the next game with Jimmy Paredes having another four-hit game; Mike Hessman hitting two more home runs; Scott Moore going two-for-five with a home run and four RBIs; and Angel Sanchez going two-for-four with three RBIs.

I feel the need to interject here. Some people have gotten a little overly excited about Mike Hessman's gaudy home run numbers as of late. Here are the facts. Mike Hessman is 34 years old. He has a career minor league average of .232 and a career major league average of .188 (albeit a small sample size). If you are calling for Hessman to get  ticket to Houston, who goes back down to AAA? That would be Brett Wallace because Hessman is a first baseman and we're not in the American League yet so there is no DH. Brett Wallace appears to finally be figuring something out and getting in a rhythm. Do you really want to send him down while he's hitting .400 with two bombs because that is what would happen.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over San Antonio 11-6

What went right: Good pitching (if you just kind of forget about that whole fifth inning) and solid offense.

It looked like this one was going to be a laugher for a while, but a five run fifth inning from San Antonio made it a bit closer than it should have been. Ross Seaton was cruising through the first four innings, but he wasn't fooling too many batters as he gave up five runs on a single, three doubles and a home run before finally inducing a ground out to end it. Alex Sogard pitched two very effective innings of relief. All of the starters had hits except for Jon Singleton and Ryan McCurdy. Adam Bailey had two doubles and two RBIs; Jonathan Villar hit his fourth home run of the season; and Jose Martinez was three-for-five. Ross Seaton also got into the act with a double and a run scored to help his own cause. Sunday night was the return of T.J. Steele to Corpus. As a San Antonio Mission, he was one-for-five with a single and two strikeouts. He also tried to kill me with a flying bat but that's another story.

Ross Seaton (W, 5-3) - 5IP 6H 5R 1BB 5SO 1HR
Alex Sogard - 2IP 2H 0R 1BB 3SO
Henry Villar - 2IP 4H 1R 1BB 2SO

Jonathan Villar - 1x4 HR RBI BB SO 2R
Brandon Wikoff - 2x3 RBI BB 2R
Jose Martinez - 3x5 BB 2R
Drew Locke - 2x5 2B 2RBI 2R
Kody Hinze - 2x5 RBI
Adam Bailey - 2x4 2-2B 2RBI SO
Jordan Kreke - 1x3 BB SO R 2SB

What went wrong: Jon Singleton was hitless with three strikeouts for the night.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
I'm going to go a little outside the box on this one tonight. Alex Sogard has really struggled as of late so it was particularly good to see him have a really solid outing.

PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Mike Kvasnicka gets the honor for accomplishing something that no Legend has done to this point ... hitting a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game.

Happy Birthday - 6/11

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Frank Thomas (83)
No, not that Frank Thomas, but this one was good in his own right. Thomas was purchased from the Phillies and played only part of one of his 15 seasons for Houston in 1965, playing in only 23 games before getting shipped out to the Milwaukee Braves. He was a three time All-Star for Pittsburgh in the 1950's and arguably his biggest claim to fame was getting the last put out at the Polo Grounds in September 1957.

PH/UT Jimmy Stewart (73)
No, not that Jimmy Stewart. Stewart was obtained from the Reds as a part of the Joe Morgan - Lee May trade in November of 1971 and played in 129 games for Houston in 1972 and 1973, hitting .207/.273/.262.

Tweet of the Day

Nick Tropeano

Stony Broooook!! Shocking the baseball world! Gotta believe people! College World Series!!! Great day to be a Seawolf!! 

Roster Moves - 6/10

Oklahoma City
LHP Fernando Abad was sent to OKC for a rehab assignment.

Lancaster
*OF Emilio King was assigned to Lancaster from Extended Spring Training.
OF Grant Hogue was placed on the 7-day DL.
OF Domingo Santana was activated from the DL.
RHP Ruben Alaniz was placed on the temporary inactive list.

*Note: I think that King is most likely temporary at Lancaster as Springer has been day-to-day with a hip flexor injury.

Greeneville
D'Andre Toney was acquired as the PTBNL in the Quintero/Bourgeois trade with Kansas City and assigned to Greeneville.

We should find out much more about where players are being assigned over the next couple of days as Tri-City and GCL players report on Tuesday and Greeneville players report on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

SUNDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Greensboro at 3:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD

Lancaster at Inland Empire at 3:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP David Martinez (1-3, 6.18) and RHP Manny Correa (3-3, 3.03)

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Josh Geer (1-1, 3.70) and RHP Ross Seaton (4-3, 3.90)
Available on MiLB.tv

New Orleans at Oklahoma City at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Wade LeBlanc (3-4, 3.42) and RHP Brian Bass (1-0, 3.18)
Available on MiLB.tv

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

[Note: All Astros minor league affiliates are once again at .500 or better. Oh Happy Day!!!]

DSL  Astros over DSL Dodgers 4-2
RHP Juan Hernandez got the start, going four innings and allowing a run, and was followed by RHP Rayderson Chevalier (W, 1-0) who allowed another run over his three innings. RHP Victor Mesa got his second save in a two-inning save opportunity as he allowed only two hits with one strikeout. PH Tomas de la Cruz was the hero of the day with a two run single in the seventh that put the Astros on top for good.

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 12-7
This one was much closer than it sounded despite four errors contributing to four of six runs allowed by Dallas Keuchel and Enerio del Rosario to be unearned. The bullpen was a bit dicey all evening, but in a rare implosion for Jose Valdez who has been having a very good year, the Redhawks' 7-6 lead turned into a 12-7 deficit in the ninth as Valdez allowed six runs with two outs. Sergio Perez came in to finally shoot the horse and get it out of its misery. Jimmy Paredes was on fire with a four-for-six night with two RBIs; Angel Sanchez was three-for-five with an RBI; Brad Snyder was two-for-four with two RBIs; and Brandon Barnes and J.B. Shuck had two hits as well. Brandon Barnes is hitting .415 since the callup.

Lexington over Greensboro 4-1 in 10 innings
A pitcher's duel with an unlikely hero gave the Legends their fourth win in a row. Luis Ordosgoitti, newly off the DL, pitched five innings and allowed only one run on five hits and a walk. He was followed by four solid innings from Evan Grills (W, 2-0). Dayan Diaz pitched the tenth inning for his fifth save. Until the tenth inning, Lexington's only run was 1B Zach Johnson's solo home run (his ninth of the season) which, by the way, gives him his 56th RBI of the season. The unlikely hero of the night, though, was none other than SS Chan Moon who picked this particular moment to hit the second home run of his entire career, a three run moon shot (pun intended).

Lancaster over Inland Empire 4-2
RJ Alaniz (W, 6-2) pitched eight innings of shut out ball on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Jason Chowning struggled to get through the ninth, allowing two runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning before giving way to Kirk Clark (S, 7) to get the final out. Telvin Nash clubbed his 17th home run of the season, but also added another two strikeouts to his already prodigious total. Kike Hernandez, Erik Castro and Jonathan Meyer all had two hit nights with doubles from Castro, Meyer and Chris Epps.

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over Midland 6-5

What went right: Jonathan Villar's speed, Drew Locke's htting and Arecenio Leon's lockdown relief.

It was a wild one at Whataburger with the lead changing hands four times. Jarred Cosart gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts over six innings. I would not call Cosart a "thrower" like some other unnamed individual <cough*Fred Nelson*cough>, but he does have issues commanding the fast ball. In the second inning he was frankly lucky to have only given up two runs as he missed location with the fast ball time and again and had to rely on his change up to bail him out. His command got better as the game progressed, but as impressive as a 98 mph fast ball is (and he did hit that on Saturday), you have to have good command or the Jeremy Barfields of the world are going to smoke that 97 mph heater, just like he did last night. Cosart was followed by Kevin Chapman (one walk and two strikeouts in an inning pitched) and Arcenio Leon (W, 1-0) who did a beautiful job keeping Midland in check with his two hitless, scoreless innings of relief.

On the offensive side, it was the Jonathan Villar and Drew Locke show. Villar had three hits and four stolen bases (28 for the season) and scored twice. Drew Locke was three-for-five in his triumphant return to the Hooks, including a two run 405' blast to left field. And both Villar and Locke were factors in the ninth inning rally as Villar singled and scored the tying run and Locke advanced Jose Martinez to third on a ground out which put Martinez in position to score the winning run on a wild pitch. It was a fun game to be a part of, particularly since it put the Hooks back at .500.

Jarred Cosart - 6IP 7H 5R 3BB 6SO
Kevin Chapman - 1IP 0H 0R 1BB 2SO
Arcenio Leon - 2IP 0H 0R 2BB 3SO

Jonathan Villar 3x3 RBI BB 2R 4SB
Jonathan Singleton - 1x3 RBI 2BB R
Drew Locke - 3x5 HR 2RBI R
Jordan Kreke - 1x3 BB SO R 2SB

What went wrong: 0-fers from Brandon Wikoff, Adam Bailey and Chris Wallace.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
RJ Alaniz had a tremendous bounceback after a rather disastrous prior outing. Nicely done!

PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Chan Moon could not have picked a better time to hit the second home run of his career.

Happy Birthday - 6/10

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Alfonzo is in his second year as hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Astros.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

Edwards came to Houston in a trade with St. Louis in October 1968 and spent six seasons with the Astros from 1969 to 1974. In 634 games, he hit .237/.310/.336. His career caught stealing percentage was 39%. Edwards' best years were with Cincinnati where he made three All-Star appearances and won two Gold Gloves.

A first round pick by Houston in 1976, Bannister only pitched in 52 games (39 starts) for the Astros in 1977 and 1978, going 11-18 with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.538 WHIP, before being traded to Seattle for SS Craig Reynolds. He went on to have a solid career pitching for six different teams over 15 seasons. He made one All-Star appearance in 1982 for Seattle, the same season that he led the American League in strikeouts with 209.

Tweet of the Day

Justin Gominsky

Gotta love waking up to  yelling and cheering for  

Roster Moves - 6/9

Oklahoma City
UT Matt Downs was recalled to Houston from Oklahoma City.
OF Jacob Goebbert was assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.
RHP Armando Galarraga was assigned from Lexington  to Oklahoma City.

Corpus Christi
OF Drew Locke's contract was purchased from the Sugarland Skeeters and was assigned to Corpus Christi.

Lexington
RHP Luis Ordosgoitti was activated from the DL.