Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arizona Fall League and Winter League Recaps

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Mesa over Surprise 12-6
DH George Springer had a very, very good game for Mesa as he went 2-for-3 with a triple, three-run home run, four RBI, two walks, one strikeout and scored three times. 3B Bobby Borchering was 1-for-4 with a two-run home run, a walk and three strikeouts. 1B Jon Singleton went 1-for-4 with a walk, a strikeout and scored a run. RHP Chia-Jen Lo pitched an inning and allowed no hits, no runs, one walk and struck out one.

Today's Game - Phoenix (2-2) at Mesa (2-2)

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caribes over Caracas 8-1
CF Brandon Barnes was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Caracas loss.

Lara over Magallanes 3-2 in 10 innings
Gabriel Garcia pitched two thirds of an inning and allowed one run on one hit for Magallanes.

Zulia over Aragua 9-0
2B Jose Martinez was 0-for-4 for Aragua.

Happy Birthday - 10/13

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Eddie Mathews (died 2/18/01 at 69)
Mathews came to Houston in a December 1966 trade with the Braves and played in 101 games for the Astros before an August 1967 trade sent him to Detroit. His .238/.333/.381 batting line with the Astros is not indicative of his Hall of Fame career. Mathews spent the greatest part of his career playing for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves for whom he made eight All-Star appearances and hit .273/.379/.517 with 493 home runs in 15 seasons.

RHP Frank LaCorte (61)
Obtained in a May 1979 trade with Atlanta, LaCorte went on to pitch for the Astros from 1979 to 1983. In 196 appearances, he had a 4.03 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP. 1980 was his best season for Houston as he was  8-5 with 11 saves, a 2.82 ERA and a 1.253 WHIP in 55 appearances.

RHP Randy Moffitt (64)
Originally a first round pick by San Francisco in 1970, Moffitt signed with Houston as a free agent in 1982. In 30 appearances for the Astros that year, he was 2-4 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP. Tennis legend Billie Jean King is Moffitt's sister.

RHP Mike Capel (51)
A 13th round draft pick by the Cubs in 1983, Capel signed with Houston as a free agent in January 1991. In one season for Houston, he went 1-3 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.469 WHIP in 25 games. Capel was a teammate of Roger Clemens on the 1983 University of Texas team that won the College World Series.

RHP Taylor Buchholz (31)
A sixth round draft pick by the Phillies in 2000, Buchholz came to Houston in a November 2003 trade with Philadelphia, along with Ezequial Astacio and Brandon Duckworth for Billy Wagner. He appeared in 22 games (19 starts) for the Astros in 2006 with a 6-10 record, a 5.89 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP. He was traded to Colorado in December 2006, along with Jason Hirsch and Willy Taveras for Miguel Asencio and he-who-must-not-be-named.

Tweet of the Day

Chelsa Messinger

Worst Job in Baseball: Closing Pitcher on any team vs. the Cardinals. Well, that and Ozzie Guillen's interpreter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Arizona Fall League and Winter League Recaps

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Mesa over Surprise 6-5
Mesa surprised Surprise with their first win of the young season. DH Jon Singleton was 2-for-5 with a double, scored two runs and struck out once. 3B Bobby Borchering went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. RHP Nick Tropeano pitched two innings in relief, didn't allow a baserunner and struck out three.

Today's Game - Surprise at Mesa at 2:35 CST

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caribes over Caracas 1-0
CF Brandon Barnes was 2-for-4 with a strikeout and stole a bag for Caracas.

Magallanes over Lara 6-4
RHP Sergio Perez got the win for Magallanes, pitching five innings and allowing one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. LHP Gabriel Garcia pitched a perfect sixth inning.

Zulia over Aragua 10-3
2B Jose Martinez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and drove in a run on a ground out.

Happy Birthday - 10/12

RHP Jandel Gustave (20)
A non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Gustave just finished his third season in the Astros system and his first with the GCL Astros. He ended the season going 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.821 WHIP in 10 appearances (four starts). That might not sound that impressive until you consider that last season he had a 12.10 ERA and a WHIP of 3.000. He also had 21 wild pitches (plus five hit batters) in only 19 and a third innings last season. This year he lowered that to only three hit batters and seven wild pitches in 28 innings. Baby steps.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

LHP Sid "El Sid" Fernandez (50)
The Hawaiian born pitcher was the third round pick of the Dodgers in 1981. He was best known, however, for the ten years he spent pitching for the Mets from 1984 to 1993. He was an All-Star for New York in 1986 and 1987. He went on to play for Baltimore and Philadelphia, before pitching in one game for the Astros in 1997. His one start for Houston, a win, proved to be his last major league appearance.

Tweet of the Day

Rudy_Owens's avatar



How am I supposed to get anything done with my day when there is#postseason #baseball on all day. I can't even find the time to eat anymore

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Astros Minor League Awards Presentation

I wanted to hand out a few awards to deserving players and coaching staff for their 2012 seasons. Awards will be divided into the serious (The Bobbies) and the not-so-serious (The Heckies). The envelope please ...

THE BOBBIES

Full Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Mike Foltynewicz
I know this isn't a very original choice, but there is a reason that Folty was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Astros and Outstanding Pitcher for the South Atlantic League. He made huge strides forward as he compiled a 14-4 record with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP this season at Lexington.

Full Season Player of the Year: 2B Delino DeShields
Again, not original, but DeShields showed everyone why he was a first round pick in 2010 as he stole 101 bases while hitting a combined .287/.389/.428 between Lexington and Lancaster. He was also named MVP of the California League Championship Finals.

Short Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Aaron West
This was a difficult decision with great seasons from so many, but ultimately Aaron West made the decision for me. Aaron put together a 6-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP in 12 starts for Tri-City. He walked only nine batters in 61+ innings and put up a 6.56 SO/BB ratio. In the post-season, he had a 2.45 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP.

Short Season Player of the Year: CF Andrew Aplin
This was the most difficult decision of all with Tyler Heineman and Jean Batista, in particular, making very good cases for themselves, but Aplin's speed, on-base skills and emerging power gave him the edge. Aplin hit .313/.386/.493 combined between Tri-City and Lancaster with 13 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 38 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 68 games.

Comeback Pitcher of the Year: RHP Bobby Doran
No one else even came close! In 2011, Bobby was 1-3 with a 9.04 ERA and a 2.010 WHIP in 22 appearances (13 starts) at Lancaster. In 27 starts between Lancaster and Corpus Christi in 2012, he was 14-6 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.284 WHIP. Enough said.

Comeback Player of the Year: 2B Kiké Hernandez
Being healthy and getting regular playing time agreed with Kiké. Everything except for his walk rate showed substantial improvement from 2011 to 2012. In 62 games for Lexington in 2011, he hit .247/.341/.326 with 11 doubles, no triples, two home runs, 17 RBI and no stolen bases. In 2012, between Lancaster and Corpus Christi, he hit .270/.314/.399 with 27 doubles, seven triples, six home runs, 52 RBI and six stolen bases in 123 games.

Manager of the Year: Rodney Linares of the Lancaster JetHawks
Rodney Linares not only guided his team to the California League Championship, he also managed to keep an even keel with his players. When I visited Lancaster, I was extremely impressed with how loose, yet focused the players were when going through on-field drills and BP, and how supportive the players were of each other. That comes from the top.

Pitching Coach of the Year: Hector Mercado
This is based solely on the glowing reports I received on Mercado from every single pitcher I talked to in Greeneville. Each and every one of those pitchers credited Mercado for his help and for keeping his advice  simple.

Hitting Coach of the Year: Josh Bonifay
Again, I heard great things about Bonifay from his players in Lexington, but it was Bonifay being honored as  hitting coach for the South Atlantic League All-Star game that put him over the top.

Team of the Year: Lancaster JetHawks
Other teams may have had better overall records, but the JetHawks crew never quit believing in themselves or in each other. They fought and scratched and clawed their way to a wild card berth and then rode that all the way to the California League Championship crown. It was my sincere pleasure to get to know many of the players on this team just a little bit better.

THE HECKIES

Studmuffin of the Year: Mike Foltynewicz
For those who may not know, Folty's girlfriend frequently refers to him as Studmuffin on twitter. She was gracious enough to allow me to borrow the phrase and he became my Studmuffin of the Day on recaps when he had a good game. This reward is only fitting after the year he had.

Most Likely to Buy Stock in Alleve: Matt Duffy
Duffy was hit by pitches an incredible 41 times in 2012.

Most Likely to Go Over the Wall for an Out: Austin Wates
In case you somehow missed it (or just want to see it again), here it is.

Best Middle Name Ever: We have a tie - Brett Maverick Phillips and Erik Beauchamp Castro

Best Name in the Astros Farm System: Another Tie - Rayderson Chevalier and Geronimo Franzua

Name Most Likely to be Misspelled: Asher Wojocowski Wojakoski Wojecowski Wojciechowski

Most Likely to Star in a Broadway Revival of 42nd Street: Joe Musgrove
Ever since I heard that Musgrove tap danced as a child, I've been daydreaming of seeing him under the lights.

Pitcher Lefties Would Least Like To Face: Brett Oberholtzer
Brett was named by several left handed hitters that I interviewed as someone they really wouldn't want to get in the batter's box against.

Pitcher Righties Would Least Like To Face: Nick Tropeano
Similarly, quite a few righties (and a few lefties as well) were reluctant to face Nick.

Most Sarcastic Tweeter: Mike Kvasnicka
And I mean that in a good way.

Best Impression of Pudge Rodriguez: Tyler Heineman
Heineman was not only the New York-Penn League Batting Champ with his .358 average, he also boasted a .997 fielding percentage and a 41% caught stealing rate behind the dish.

Armed and Dangerous, Part I: Jarred Cosart
When I saw Cosart in early June, his fastball was sitting in the mid-90's and regularly hitting 97-98.

Armed and Dangerous, Part II: Pedro Coa
In Coa's second year with the DSL Astros, he caught 25 of 42 base stealers, a whopping 60% caught stealing percentage.

Armed and Dangerous, Part III: Justin Gominsky and Teoscar Hernandez
Gominsky led the Astros minors in outfield assists with 15 in 93 games. Hernandez had 12 in only 48 games.

The Mighty Mouse Award: Jason Stoffel
Stoffel with 27 saves led the Texas League as well as the Astros minor league system. And if you don't get the Mighty Mouse reference, go here.

Most Likely to Outrun a Lion: Drew Muren
The extremely long-legged 6'6" Muren has oft been compared to a gazelle with his long, graceful strides in the outfield.

Most Likely to Outrun a Coyote: Delino DeShields
Yes, I'm calling him a roadrunner. 101 stolen bases - nuff said. Meep meep!

Walk Like "The Man": Nolan Fontana
With 65 walks in only 39 games, if Fontana makes it to Houston, he could very well be the guy to break Jeff Bagwell's single season record of 149 walks (1999) and his single game record of six walks (9/20/99).

The Wizards of Oz: Erik Castro and Zach Johnson
There's no place like home and that's precisely where these two wizards sent 108 players each as they tied for the organization's RBI lead.

One for the Money: Jimmy Paredes
Paredes led the Astros minor leagues with 161 hits.

Two for The Show: Brandon Barnes
Barnes hit an organization leading 39 doubles before getting called up to The Show.

Three to Get Ready: George Springer
Springer's 10 triples led the organization.

Go, Cat, Go: Mike Hessman
Hessman's organization-leading 35 home runs earn him a pair of blue suede shoes.

Pitcher Least Likely to Embrace the Move to the American League: Ross Seaton
Seaton had a .364 slugging percentage at Corpus Christi this year, a mark that many position players might envy.

Player Most Likely to Make Another Team Regret a Trade: Jon Singleton
Singleton hit .284/.396/.497 with 27 doubles, four triples, 21 home runs, 79 RBI, 88 walks and seven stolen bases at AA Corpus Christi in 2012. And he just turned 21.

Most Likely to Pitch a No Hitter: Chris Devenski
As a matter of fact he already did! Devenski's 16 strikeout complete game no-hitter in his final appearance of the season allowed him to go out on a high note, a very high note.

Laugh Most Likely to Result in a Call to 911: Brett Phillips
Phillips' laugh has been described as the sound that a dying donkey would make.

The Bad Timing Award: Adam Bailey
Bailey missed the Hooks playoffs because he was busy with an emergency appendectomy (having one, not performing one).

And that concludes this first annual awards presentation. I wish I could have given out more awards, but my time and my imagination ran out. Thank you and good night. Don't forget to tip your waiters.

A Note to my Readers

I started writing this blog because of my love for the Astros. I never intended it to be a money-making operation and have never allowed ads. But I also never thought I would be traveling so much to the various minor league ballparks, something I intend to do again next season.

With that said, I am going to allow one small ad on the sidebar of the blog. It will be showing up over the next few days. If I ever find the ads that Google places to be objectionable or otherwise out of character with a classy joint like this, I will pull them.

I doubt that I will make much off of the ads, but if it covers the cost of my next Baseball America Prospect Handbook, I'll consider it a win.

Thank you for your indulgence and thank you, as always, for sharing my journey as we follow the Astros on the road back to respectability.

Jayne

Arizona Fall League Recap

Wednesday's Game

Salt River over Mesa 11-3
Jon Singleton drove in all three of Mesa's runs with an RBI triple and a two-run home run. George Springer was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, and Jio Mier, with a start at second base, was 1-for-4. Alex Sogard pitched one and a third innings and allowed three runs (all unearned) on two hits and a walk, while Chia-Jen Lo pitched one inning, allowing a solo home run and striking out two.

Today's Game - Mesa at Surprise 2:35 CST

Also, the Venezuelan Winter League starts tonight at 7:00 CST.

Happy Birthday - 10/11

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Bob "Scrap Iron" Stinson (67)
A first round pick by the Dodgers in 1966, Stinson came to Houston in a trade with the Cardinals in November 1971. In 27 games during the 1972 season, he hit .171/.211/.200.

RHP Gregg Olson (46)
Originally drafted by Baltimore in the first round in 1988, Olson was Rookie of the Year for Baltimore in 1989 and an All-Star in 1990 before coming to Houston in an August 1996 trade with Detroit. Olson pitched in only nine games for the Astros in 1996 with a 4.82 ERA and a 2.036 WHIP.

IF Ty Wigginton (35)
A 17th round pick by the Mets in 1998, Wigginton came to Houston from Tampa Bay in a trade for Dan Wheeler and played primarily at third base. His lifetime line over 11 seasons is .263/.324/.438.  In Houston, he was .285/.347/.506.  In addition to Houston and Tampa Bay, he has also played for the Mets, Pirates, Orioles (2010 All-Star), Rockies and most recently the Phillies.

Tweets of the Day

Jiovanni Mier

I love baseball


Rafael Valenzuela

Today has been the best day of baseball 


Alex Todd

Playoff baseball!!! Gotta love it! 


Drew Muren

Playoff baseball! Nothing better in sports!


Jiovanni Mier

Let me say that again, I love baseball

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arizona Fall League Recap

Salt River over Mesa 6-5
Jarred Cosart got the first start for Mesa and breezed through the first three and a third innings. With one out in the fourth, Cosart allowed two singles and then loaded the bases on a missed catch error. One single and two runs later, Cosart's night was done. He allowed three hits, two runs and no walks with two strikeouts. Jon Singleton got the start at first base and went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts and scored a run and Bobby Borchering was 0-for-2 with a walk, two strikeouts and scored a run as he got the start at third. George Springer had one at-bat in the ninth inning and grounded out.

Today's Game
Salt River at Mesa at 2:35 CST

Happy Birthday - 10/10

OF Fernando Martinez (24)
Signed by the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Houston obtained Martinez off waivers from New York in January 2012. In 90 games with AAA Oklahoma City this season, he hit .314/.367/.507 with 23 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs. In 41 games with the Astros, he hit .237/.300/.466 with seven doubles, one triple and six very, very long home runs.

CF Ydarqui Marte (20)
A non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Marte first played for the DSL Astros in 2010. He has spent the last two seasons with the GCL Astros, this year hitting .210/.222/.306 in 33 games.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

RHP Brian Powell (died 10/5/09 at age 35)
A second round pick by Detroit in 1995, Powell came to Houston in a December 1999 trade. In ten games (six starts) for the Astros in 2000 and 2001, he was 2-2 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.602 WHIP.

SS Roger Metzger (65)
A first round pick by the Cubs in 1969, Metzger came to Houston in an October 1970 trade. In eight seasons for the Astros (from 1971 to 1978) he hit .229/.291/.293 and led the league in triples in 1971 and 1973. He also led the league in fielding percentage for a shortstop in 1973 and 1976 and won a Gold Glove in the first of those two years.

IF Rob Sperring (63)
Originally drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round in 1971, Sperring came to Houston in a March 1977 trade with the Giants. In 58 games played with the Astros that season, he hit .186/.254/.233.

Tweet of the Day

Lino DeShields

192 in Kissimmee might be the worst highway ever. Literally 1000 stop lights within 7 miles

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An Interview with LHP Kenny Long

LHP Kenny Long should probably be pinching himself. A 22nd round draft pick in 2012, he rapidly became a bullpen stalwart for the dominating New York-Penn League Tri-City ValleyCats team. He then skipped Lo-A Lexington altogether and was promoted to the Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks just in time to be a part of a fairy tale playoff run that culminated in Long recording the final out as the JetHawks won the California League Championship Finals.

Long had an amazing season. In 22 and a third innings, he had a 1.61 ERA and a 0.627 WHIP, but against lefties he had a ridiculous 0.61 ERA and 0.205 WHIP. He gave up one hit, one run and three walks against lefties while striking out 28. His 12.6 SO/9 at Tri-City jumped to 20.2 at Lancaster for a combined 15.3 SO/9 for the season.

I got to "talk" to Kenny via email recently. Here is what he had to say ~

WTH: Can you tell me a little about your college experience, the Cape Cod League and the draft?

KL: My experience at Illinois State University was instrumental in preparing me for professional baseball. Coming out of college I was one of the older guys to be drafted. I spent 5 years playing in college so I gained a lot of valuable playing experience that I feel had helped me mature as a pitcher. Also, playing in the Cape Cod League was an amazing experience. I was able to pitch against the top talent in the country. I believe this is when I started gaining some looks from scouts, although I do not think they were sold on me. I wasn't even sure I would be picked up in this past draft. Thankfully the Astros saw something in me. They say that I was able to get guys out consistently at the college level and also in my two years in the Cape.

WTH: What was the biggest surprise for you during your first season in professional ball? Worst part? Best part?

KL: I guess my biggest surprise was how many dedicated fans there were for our minor league teams. Before my first professional games the fans came up and already knew who I was. It is great that the fans are so involved and informed about baseball. I really did not have a bad experience. I had former teammates who play professional baseball warn me about a lot of what it is like. Also, I think going to a Mid-Major school at Illinois State prepared me. I was used to long bus rides and some of the playing conditions because we did not have the money to fly everywhere like the big time schools. As far as the best part, I would have to go with winning a ring in my first year of pro ball. This was an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to be the last pitcher on the mound to get the last out of the game. There was no greater feeling than being smashed at the bottom of the dogpile. I was one game away from winning two rings but unfortunately Tri-City couldn't finish off the magical season they had out in New York.

WTH: Were you surprised to bypass Lo-A completely and get the call to Lancaster? How different was the experience on the two teams?

KL: I was completely caught off guard with the call up! I had no idea that there was even any thought of me moving up at the time. I had done pretty well in Tri-City and got almost every lefty I faced out but it was in such little amount of innings. I figured I would be in Tri-City the rest of the year. The little sample size was enough for the promotion. There were some differences between the teams. The Tri-City team were mostly guys coming right out of college so we were all going through our first experience of pro ball together. In Lancaster, these guys were a few years into pro ball so they knew what to expect. I have to say that the guys on both teams were amazing teammates. Both groups were amazing and I couldn't have asked for better groups of guys.

WTH: What do you feel you accomplished in the short season? What do you need to work on to get to the next level developmentally?

KL: I feel like I showed to people that I can get people out at this level. Some people were worried that my non-traditional pitching style would not work. I had to re-prove myself again after the promotion with my style and as I move up each level I will have to do the same. I need to always be looking to improve. Right now my main goal is to put on weight [Note: he's listed as 6'1" 155# on the MiLB site] and become more consistent with my fastball. I love the challenge of improving myself and finding new ways of getting better.

WTH: Could you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire? Anything you're working on?

KL: I have two sets of pitches since I throw from two different arm slots. I throw from a traditional over the top slot and also I drop down sidearm. Over the top I throw a fastball and a curveball. The over the top fastball I throw the least out of all my pitches and it usually sits around 86-88 mph. Then my curveball has 12 to 6 action typically coming in at about 70 mph. Then I have my other set of pitches from the sidearm with a fastball and slider or "Frisbee" as I like to call it. This fastball has some very good arm side run at around 83-85 mph. Then there is my best pitch, the Frisbee. This a very slow sweeping pitch that has sideways and downward action. I throw this pitch, no joke, about 70% of the time. I'll vary speeds from 64-72 mph. It best works to lefties where I start it almost behind them and it comes back right over the plate. I am thinking about bringing back a changeup over the break so I can be more effective against a righty if I face one.

WTH: Which teammate from Tri-City or Lancaster has a pitch you'd like to steal?

KL: I would have to choose from one of two pitches. I would love to have Chia-Jen Lo's fastball. He lights up the gun -- one pitch he hit 102! If I can't have that pitch I would take Nick Tropeano's changeup.

WTH: Which teammate at Tri-City or Lancaster would you least like to face in the batter's box?

KL: The hitter that I would least like to face is Andrew Aplin. Even though he is a lefty I would still have to pick Ap. He is such a great hitter it would be tough to get him out and has very few weak spots in his swing. The main reason I picked him is because I have played with him the past few summers now. He was my teammate in the Cape, in Tri-City, and Lancaster. He always is telling me [that he tells] the left or right fielder what pitch I will throw before I get the sign from the catcher. It would be an interesting game of cat and mouse if I faced him.

WTH: Was there one player on either of the teams that you just enjoyed sitting back and watching?

KL: One pitcher in particular that you can just sit back and just enjoy watching was Nick Tropeano. When he is on, it is a treat to watch especially when his changeup is working. He just makes some hitters look silly.

WTH: Who on the teams made you laugh?

KL: Just about everybody made me laugh. It's hard to pick just one especially when you endure some of the conversations you can have in the bullpen. If I were to pick one person that had me laughing the most it was M.P. Cokinos. There was no telling what questions he would be asking next.

WTH: Who gave you the nickname Boogie and why?

KL: There is a good story behind Boogie! I am still not positive of who coined the nickname but I will give credit to Grant Hogue since he is the first person I heard call me [that]. I earned this nickname my very first day after joining Lancaster. I arrived in San Jose and met up with the team to play in the game that night and I got in to pitch. The second batter of the inning hit a tapper right back to me and I went to tag him. He tried to swim move around me but we collided. (Might I add the hitter was an Ex-NFL safety and I'm pretty sure I put a bigger hit on him than [he did] on me!! haha) After the collision my hat was bent upwards and the base runner literally "knocked the snot out of me." I went to strike out the next batter and ran into the dugout to be congratulated by my new teammates that I had just met. Little did I know I had a big "boogie" hanging out of my nose!! That's where the nickname took off and I actually like it.

WTH: If you couldn't play baseball, what would you do?

KL: I went to college intending on becoming a teacher. I love history! I majored in History Education and also received a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Without baseball I would be teaching high school History and hopefully coaching baseball.

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

KL: I was very close to [being out of baseball]. Going into my sophomore year of college I contemplated quitting baseball altogether. The kind way to put it was that before my 2010 year in college I wasn't very good. Luckily I came to my senses and realized I had an amazing opportunity to still be playing baseball at that point. So many people would love just to be on a team playing. I stuck it out and [started having success] that 2010 year. I think I made the right decision in continuing to play!

WTH: What would you tell frustrated Astros fans about the state of the Astros farm system?

KL: I am sure they have been hearing this a lot lately, but just have some patience. It takes a lot of time to rebuild and get back in the winning ways. We are on the right track with the young players we have on the big league team and in the minors. It will just take a few more years until we start to see it in the Wins column.

With one Championship ring under his belt in only his first season in pro ball, Kenny can pinch himself all he wants, but this season wasn't a dream. There are a few lefty hitters out there, though, who may still be having nightmares about facing him. Thanks for your time "Boogie," and the best of luck in the 2013 season!

Arizona Fall League Starts

The Arizona Fall League starts up today. For a reminder as to which Astros players are participating on the Mesa Solar Sox team, go here. The Sox first game is scheduled for 8:35 CST tonight at Salt River. You will be able to access Game Day here. Pitching matchups for Game 1 weren't available at the time of posting. RHP Jarred Cosart will face RHP Tyler Chatwood of the Rockies organization.

Happy Birthday - 10/9

RHP Nathan Pettus (24)
Drafted out of community college in Oklahoma in the 27th round of the 2008 draft, Pettus sat out the bulk of 2010 and 2011 due to injury. In 2012, he pitched in 31 games (63 innings) for Lexington with a 5.86 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP. I'm not sure why, but his friends call him Carl.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B/OF Joe Pepitone (72)
After eight seasons with the Yankees in which Pepitone was a three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, he came to Houston in a December 1969 trade. He only played in 75 games for Houston in 1970 before being picked up by the Cubs. During his time in Houston, he hit .252/.298/.470 with nine doubles, five triples and 14 home runs.

2B/SS Alex Taveras (57)
Originally signed by Houston in 1974 out of the Dominican Republic, Taveras played in only 14 games at the major league level for the Astros in 1977, hitting .217/.250/.217.

LHP Mark McLemore (32)
A fourth round pick by Houston in 2002, McLemore pitched in 29 games in 2007 with a 3-0 record, a 3.86 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. He last pitched in the Marlins organization in 2011 at the minor league level.

Tweet of the Day

Nick Tropeano

That win for the Texans is like making out with a ugly chick, your not proud of it but in the end you got it done. Good game...

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 Fall and Winter League Rosters and Dates

2012 Important Dates and Participating Astros Players
(Updated 12/7 to add RHP Cameron Lamb)

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
10/9/12 - Opening Day
11/3/12 - Rising Star Game
11/17/12 - Championship Game

Mesa Solar Sox
MGR Rodney Linares
RHP Jarred Cosart
RHP Chia-Jen Lo
LHP Alex Sogard
RHP Nick Tropeano
*SS Jio Mier
1B Jon Singleton
OF Bobby Borchering
CF George Springer

*Taxi Squad

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE
10/14/12 - Opening Day
12/11/12 - All-Star Game
12/21/12 - Season Ends

Toros del Este
LHP Fernando Abad
SS Jose Fernandez
C Cristian Moronta
RHP Aneury Rodriguez

Gigantes del Cibao
**RHP Jose Cisnero
**RHP Rhiner Cruz
RHP Enerio del Rosario
**2B/OF Jimmy Paredes
RHP Erick Abreu

Leones del Escogido
Pitching Coach Gary Ruby
RHP Jorge de Leon
OF Fernando Martinez

Aguilas Cibaenas
OF Emilio King
**SS Jonathan Villar

Tigres del Licey
RHP Juan Minaya
**OF Domingo Santana
2B Ruben Sosa
**RHP Jose Valdez
RHP Henry Villar

Estrellas de Oriente
Bench Coach Rodney Linares
**RHP Jose Trinidad

**Listed as Primary. All other players are listed as Secondary and not all players will necessarily get playing time.

MEXICAN PACIFIC WINTER LEAGUE
10/13/12 - Opening Day
11/22/12 - Second Half Starts
12/30/12 - Season Ends

Naranjeros de Hermosillo
**RHP Edgar Gonzalez
RHP Garrett Mock

**Primary

NICARAGUAN WINTER LEAGUE
10/19/12 - Opening Day

Orientales de Granada
**C Marlon Avea

Tigres del Chinandega
**1B/OF Mesac Laguna

**Primary

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE
11/8/12 - Opening Day

Gigantes de Carolina
**LHP Xavier Cedeno
**C Carlos Corporan
SS Carlos Correa
RHP Adalberto Flores
**C Rene Garcia
**2B Enrique Hernandez
**C Jobduan Morales
RHP Raul Rivera

Criollos de Caguas
**LHP Luis Cruz
1B/OF Edwin Gomez
**C Roberto Pena

Indios de Mayaguez
**SS Angel Sanchez (Free Agent)

Leones de Ponce
Pitching Coach Hector Mercado

**Primary

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE
10/11/12 - Opening Day
12/2/12 - All-Star Game
12/30/12 - Season Ends

Navagantes del Magallanes
**2B Jose Altuve
C Luis Alvarez (Liga Paralela)
RHP Enderson Franco (Liga Paralela)
**LHP Gabriel Garcia
**C Ernesto Genoves (Liga Paralela)
**RHP David Martinez
OF Jose Monzon (Liga Paralela)
**RHP Juri Perez
RHP Sergio Perez
**RHP Carlos Quevedo (Liga Paralela)

Leones del Caracas
#CF Brandon Barnes
**SS Marwin Gonzalez
**RHP Luis Ordosgoitti
**C Carlos Perez (Liga Paralela)
C Alfredo Gonzalez (Liga Paralela)

Aguilas de Zulia
RHP Elieser Hernandez
SS Kristian Trompiz
**RHP Arcenio Leon
SS Arturo Michelena

Tigres de Aragua
**2B Jose Martinez

Caribes de Anzotegui
Third Base Coach Omar Lopez
LHP Edwin Villarroel
OF Jake Goebbert

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Perth Heat
RHP Cameron Lamb

**Primary
#Import

Happy Birthday - 10/8

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

3B/1B Enos Cabell (63)
Originally signed by Baltimore in 1968, Cabell came to Houston in a December 1974 trade with the Orioles and played for the Astros in 1975 through 1980 and again in 1984 and 1985. In eight seasons for the Astros, he hit .281/.313/.381. In 1978, he played in all 162 games, hitting .295 for the season.

Tweet of the Day

rawdeezy14

3 more days then back in the sweet state of TX

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Birthday - 10/7

RHP Mike Foltynewicz (21)
Folty was drafted in the first round in 2010 out of high school in Illinois. After a somewhat uneven season at Lexington in 2011, he repeated the level and this time he dominated. His 14-4 record with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP in 27 starts (152 innings) led to his being named as the minor league pitcher of the year for the Astros organization as well as the South Atlantic League's most outstanding pitcher. He was also named a mid-season and post-season All-Star for the league.

C Ben Heath (24)
This Virginia native was also drafted in 2010, in the fifth round out of Penn State. He spent the bulk of his season at Lancaster before getting called up to Corpus in late July. He played in only nine games with the Hooks before his season was derailed by injury. His combined batting line was .290/.335/.411. Heath also boasted a 29% caught stealing percentage, his best season thus far in that category.

RHP Yoiner Angulo (21)
Signed as a NDFA out of Columbia, Yoiner only pitched in two games for the DSL Astros at the end of this season, his second in the system. Since he last pitched in May of last season, I am assuming he was coming back from an injury. In two innings, he gave up two hits and one run with no walks and no strikeouts.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

LHP Floyd Bluford "Butch" Henry (44)
If my name was Floyd Bluford, I'd go by Butch too! Originally drafted by the Reds in the 15th round in 1987, Henry came to Houston in September 1990 as a part of the Bill Doran trade with the Reds. Two years later, he was drafted from Houston by the Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. In 28 starts in 1992, he went 6-9 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP.

Manager Grady Hatton (90)
Hatton managed the Astros in 1966, 1967 and part of 1968, with a record of 164-221.

Tweet of the Day

Kevin Comer

What's for dinner tonight? Pizza, pizza, or pizza?