Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter League Recaps

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Carolina over Santurce 5-1

Kiké Hernandez got another start at third base for Carolina. He went hitless in five at-bats with two strikeouts while C Carlos Corporan was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Hernandez wasn't the only player who had a tough day. *RHP Adalberto Flores got the start for Santurce and allowed five runs on seven hits (including a two-run home run) and two walks with seven strikeouts over five innings for the loss. But it was the seven stolen bases allowed by Flores that really hurt! Both Carolina and Santurce are 3-5 and two games back in the round robin playoffs.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 1/12

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Francis Ramirez (21)
Ramirez was signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic and first played for the DSL Astros in 2009. In 2012, he started 13 games for the Greeneville Astros with a 5-4 record, a 4.05 ERA and a 1.463 WHIP. His 10.0 SO/9 for 2012 was the highest of his career so far.

OF Mesac Laguna (21)
A non-drafted free agent from Nicaragua, Laguna has now played three seasons with the DSL Astros. In 2012, he compiled a .248/.315/.374 batting line with 13 doubles and six home runs in 68 games. Against lefties, he hit .338/.395/.515.

Former Astros with birthdays today

2B/OF Casey Candaele (52)
Obtained from the Montreal Expos in a trade for Mark Bailey, Casey Candaele played for Houston from 1988 to 1993, hitting .249/.311/.338 in 512 games.  His mother, Helen Callaghan, played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, giving Casey the distinction of being a part of the only mother/son combination ever to play professional baseball. Casey liked to keep things loose.  In case you missed this interview from 2011, Casey talks about naked batting practice, the Moneyball movie and more.  And then there was the break-dancing at the Astros Wives Gala.  You may also enjoy this Jayson Stark column from 2000 in which Casey reveals his dream to join the Latvian ski-jump team.

1B/OF Mike Simms (46)
A sixth round draft pick by the Astros in 1985, Simms played in 181 games for Houston from 1990 to 1992 and in 1994 to 1996, hitting .219/.298/.388. He went on to play for the Rangers from 1997 to 1999, hitting .281/.352/.555 in 149 games.

Tweet of the Day

Jordan Jankowski
Coffee makes everything better

Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter League Recaps

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Lara over Caracas 5-4 in 11 innings
RHP Rhiner Cruz pitched a perfect ninth inning (with one strikeout) to send Caracas to extra innings. Caracas lost the game in the 11th, but they are still tied for the lead in the round robin playoffs with a 4-3 record.

No Astros players played in the Dominican playoffs last night, the Puerto Rican League had the night off and the Astros players in the Mexican Pacific League didn't advance so they're done. One stinking inning from Rhiner Cruz is all the action I have to tell you about. The season cannot get here fast enough!

Happy Birthday - 1/11

Happy Birthday to ~

3B Randy Cesar (18)
A NDFA from the Dominican Republic, Cesar played his first professional season with the DSL Astros. In 59 games, he hit .213/.307/.257 with six doubles and a home run.

Tweet of the Day

Austin Elkins
I wish both bagwell and biggio could have made it in the HOF especially Craig because I have learned so much just from watching him!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Astros Free Agent Signing

According to Baseball America, the Astros signed C Jason Jaramillo to a minor league contract. Although Jaramillo has had some major league experience with Pittsburgh in 2009 to 2011, he spent the 2012 season playing exclusively in the minor leagues for Milwaukee and for Oakland. I think this is a good, albeit unspectacular, signing of a solid back-up catcher with major league experience. Since Landon Powell hasn't been re-signed by the Astros, I am assuming that Jaramillo will probably be taking his spot on the AAA roster.

I have updated the Off-Season Transaction list with this signing.

Tomorrow is Another Day

Yesterday was a tough day for Astros fans as the BBWAA, in its infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), failed to do what is right and, in my mind, inevitable by giving Craig Biggio the requisite 75% of the vote necessary to be enshrined in Cooperstown. It didn't help matters when it was announced shortly thereafter that Astros top prospect 1B Jon Singleton was suspended 50 games for using a "substance of abuse," which substance was widely reported to be marijuana.

First things first. I'll admit that even though I didn't expect Biggio to make it on the first ballot after reading all the reports of hang-wringing and angst among many of the so-called "Keepers of the Purity of Cooperstown," I was disappointed that he wasn't closer. He led all vote-getters with 68.2%, but I had really hoped and expected to see him get slightly higher. But ultimately only 39 votes separated him from a trip to Cooperstown this summer.

Many people who are much smarter and more eloquent about these matters have written reams about the problems with the BBWAA and the candidacies of all of the players who were snubbed this year, including our own Jeff Bagwell who inched slightly closer in the voting, but seems destined to be slow-walked into the Hall. I will leave it to them to opine on those things, but I do hope that more people who follow baseball for a living are given the opportunity to vote on these things eventually.

But I have learned in life that worrying about things over which I personally have no control is not healthy or productive. I will vent my anger and then I will move on. I may be totally misguided, but I have faith that enough members of the BBWAA will do the right thing next year, even if they are shamed into doing so by their peers, that I went ahead and put down a deposit for a Cooperstown bed and breakfast for July 2014 as I cancelled a different reservation for this year.

I want to see Biggio go in to the Hall of Fame because for us Houstonians he is Mr. Baseball. He has given us so many wonderful memories and given so much back to the community. And as trite as it may sound, Biggio really did play the game "the right way." I would love to see Biggio and Bagwell go in to the Hall of Fame together, but I really don't see that happening. If Biggio becomes the first player wearing an Astros cap to be inducted, that will feel right.

The second piece of news from yesterday about Singleton's suspension was met with moans and groans (and a few bad jokes) by Astros fans. Yes, it is unfortunate, but Jonathan Mayo wrote this piece that should keep Astros fans from jumping off any cliffs. The worst part is that Singleton tested positive twice which shows a real lapse in judgment.

Singleton is young, though. He only turned 21 in September. Sometimes people need to see real consequences to their actions to wake up and face up to their responsibilities. This whole episode can eventually become a distant, unpleasant memory. That is up to Singleton. There was another player for the Astros who did something very stupid when he was a young man, much stupider than what Singleton just did and he turned out OK.

Winter League Recaps

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Mayaguez over Carolina 10-4

Kiké Hernandez got a start at third base and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and a walk in Carolina's loss on Wednesday. C Rene Garcia was also 1-for-4. Carolina is now 2-5 and three games out in the round robin playoffs.


VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caracas over Magallanes 10-9 in 10 innings
RHP Rhiner Cruz pitched one inning in relief for Caracas as his team went to 4-2 in the round robin playoffs. *RHP Sergio Perez got the start for the Magallanes team, but only worked two and a third innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two. Magallanes fell to 3-4 in the playoffs.

*RHP Sergio Perez

Happy Birthday - 1/10

RHP Erick Gonzalez (21)
A 15th round draft pick in 2012 out of Gateway Community College in Arizona, Gonzalez spent the majority of his season with the GCL Astros (plus one game with Greeneville). In 20 appearances, he was 2-0 with 10 saves, a 1.67 ERA and a 1.222 WHIP.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Sammy Gervacio (28)
Gervacio was originally signed by the Astros as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2002.  He pitched in 35 games for the Astros in 2009 and 2010.  In 2009, he was particularly effective with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP in 29 games. He quickly became a fan favorite in Houston, mainly because of his elaborate wind-up and unconventional pitching style. He played in the Mexican League in 2012.

RHP Larry Hardy (65)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the 23rd round in 1970, this Bellaire, Texas native came to Houston in a December 1975 trade with San Diego. In 15 games for Houston in 1976, he had a 7.06 ERA and a 2.031 WHIP.

1B Jim Lindeman (51)
A first round pick by the Cardinals in 1983, Lindeman signed with Houston as a free agent in February 1993. In nine games with Houston, he hit .348.348/.478.

Tweet of the Day

My timeline on twitter BLEW UP yesterday after the Hall of Fame vote was announced. Much was said by many, but sometimes the simplest thoughts are the most eloquent.

Daniel Minor
No Biggio? people are dumb

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Astros Winter League Cumulative Stats - Position Players

The regular seasons are over for all of the winter season leagues except for the Australian Baseball League so let's take a look at how your Astros did. On Monday, we looked at the pitchers. Today, let's look at the position players. There were several outstanding performances.

OF George Springer (Arizona Fall League)
Springer had a particularly good fall campaign. In 21 games, he hit .286/.412/.600 with four doubles, three triples, four home runs and five stolen bases. His OPS was fourth in the league and his SLG was third in the league. He was the only Astros winter league player with an OPS over 1.000.

SS Jio Mier (Arizona Fall League)
Jio Mier was designated as a taxi squad player (only intended to play twice a week), but ended up working his way into regular playing time later in the season and played some third base as well as shortstop. In 17 games, he hit .297/.333/.422 with eight doubles. This was particularly good to see since Jio missed a large chunk of the season due to injury. Also, it's harder to discount Jio's good stats at Lancaster this season when he was able to repeat good numbers against some of the best players in the minor leagues.

2B Jose Altuve (Venezuelan Winter League)
BREAKING NEWS!!! Jose Altuve can hit. What else is new? .336/.406/.441 with 10 doubles, a triple, a home run and eight stolen bases in 35 games sounds about right.

2B Enrique "Kiké" Hernandez (Puerto Rican Winter League)
I was very pleased to see Kiké build on his 2012 comeback season. In 39 games in the regular LBPRC season, he hit .320/.379/.469 with 12 doubles, two triples, two home runs and four stolen bases. He was sixth in the league in BA, 13th in OBP, eighth in SLG and fifth in OPS. Watch out Altuve, Kiké is catching up to you (and he's just as big a hit with the fans!). Although he primarily played second base, he also played several games at third.

OF Brandon Barnes (Venezuelan Winter League)
And speaking of fan favorites, Brandon Barnes quickly wowed the LVBP fans with his style of play. Brandon only played in 28 games and was back in the States in time to spend Thanksgiving with his wife and daughter, but the Caracas crowd had already adopted him as one of their own. He hit .292/.353/.491 with three doubles, three triples and four home runs.

Others of Note
2B Jose Martinez hit a healthy .287/.358/.401 with seven doubles and four home runs in 46 games and ranked in the top 20 in BA and OBP in the LVBP. C Carlos Corporan hit .293/.377/.466 with four doubles and two home runs in 23 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League regular season. C Carlos Perez hit a more than respectable .324/.398/.500 with 13 doubles and two home runs in 32 games in the Liga Paralela. And last, but certainly not least, C Luis Alavarez not only hit a robust .340/.398/.474 in 28 games in the Liga Paralela, he also went 6-for-7 with two home runs, five RBI and three runs scored in the playoffs as his Magallanes team won the Liga Paralela crown.

Here are the full regular season stats for all Astros position players participating in winter league play.

Winter League Recaps

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Santurce over Carolina 11-7 in 14 innings
Carolina dropped to 2-4 in the round robin playoffs as RHP Raul Rivera got roughed up in his third inning of work last night. Despite tossing two scoreless innings of relief, he allowed four runs on three hits and two walks (one intentional) in the final frame. 2B Kiké Hernandez went 3-for-6 with a double and a walk. Three Astros catchers shared the catching duties in the marathon game. Both Rene Garcia and Carlos Corporan (with two strikeouts) were hitless. In between, Jobduan Morales was 1-for-1 with an RBI.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Escogido over Aguilas 6-3
*RHP Enerio del Rosario gave up two hits over one and two-thirds innings of relief for Aguilas. Unfortunately one of the hits was a solo home run. Aguilas is 6-4 and one game back in the round robin playoffs.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 1/9

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Jay Powell (41)
Drafted by the Orioles in the first round in 1993, Powell came to Houston in a July 1998 trade with the Marlins. He pitched in 160 games for Houston in 1998 to 2001 with an ERA of 4.02 and WHIP of 1.549. He was the winning pitcher of record in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for the Marlins.

OF Stan Javier (49)
Javier came to Houston in an August 1999 trade with the Giants and played in 20 games for the Astros that season with a batting line of .328/.405/.422. Javier was the first player to hit a home run in an interleague game (against the Rangers) when he played for the Giants. He got his World Series ring when he played for Oakland in 1989.

RHP T. J. Mathews (43)
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 36th round in 1992, Matthews signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2002 and pitched in 12 games for the Astros that season with an ERA of 3.44 and WHIP of 1.309.

Tweet of the Day

marc wik
Nothing better than Mexican food after a good round of batting practice 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Interview with Astros LHP Brian Holmes

Getting in touch with Astros lefty Brian Holmes for an interview wasn’t exactly an easy proposition, but that is understandable as he has been extremely busy in the off-season. Naturally, he’s working out and getting ready for the season, but he’s also been getting one step closer to his degree in Communications at Wake Forest. I finally caught up with him over the holidays.

Holmes made quite an impression in his first season with the Astros organization after being drafted in the 13th round. On July 16th, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of a 7-inning game for Tri-City, finally allowing a single with one out in the sixth. On July 27th, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning of a 7-inning game, ultimately allowing one single and no walks. And on September 3rd, he provided seven innings of hitless relief, walking only one while striking out seven. Flirting with no-hitters is nothing new for Holmes. It turns out that he tossed a no-hitter for Wake Forest in March of last year.

On a Tri-City team that was stocked with pitching talent, Holmes was one of the best. He ended the short season with a 7-2 record in 13 games (12 starts), an ERA of 2.57 (11th in the league), and a WHIP of 0.960 (tied for sixth in the league). He was also tied for sixth in the league in strikeouts, having fanned 65 batters in 66 and two-thirds innings and was tied for third in wins.

On to the interview (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

On his pitching repertoire: “I throw fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. I like to pitch with my fastball. I don’t have a lot of velocity, but I like to think I can command it well. I’ll usually throw anywhere 87, 88 ... 90 on a good day. I really like my changeup. I throw off my fast ball. With that I can set them up pretty well with the changeup. And then my curveball is more of a kind of a show-me pitch. And then I can use the slider as a swing-and-miss pitch time to time, but mostly fastball, changeup.”

On the type of pitcher he is: “I wouldn’t call myself a strictly command guy. I don’t throw very hard but I like to attack hitters, get ahead in counts and let them put the ball in play, especially now that I’m in pro ball. I know that the defense is going to make plays so [I like to] get them to put the ball in play and use [my pitches].”

Who did he like to have playing defense behind him?: “He got called up about halfway through our summer but Andrew Aplin who ended up finishing up in Lancaster was incredible. Not the fastest centerfielder I’ve ever pitched with, but his jumps and his reads were just incredible. He’s definitely a great centerfielder.”

On his no-hitter and near no-hitters: “Yeah, I threw one in the spring. That was the first one I’ve ever thrown and that was a great accomplishment that I’m really proud of. And then it just so happened in the summer I think I had… I had like a six inning one. The one that was real close, I had the perfect game going into the seventh inning and I gave up the single to start the seventh. It’s just fun. I think any pitcher that goes out and doesn’t try to throw a no-hitter every day is not approaching the game right. I don’t want to let up for any hitter in the box so I’m trying to throw a no-hitter from the first batter of the game every time I go out there. There’s been a couple times in college and then this past summer, it got a little further than usual and that’s always a fun day.”

What has he accomplished and what is he working on? : “I feel like this summer and the short season was a great opportunity to obviously break the ice and know that you can succeed at a professional level. It’s kind of a nervous type thing when you go into it because you don’t know what to expect, but now that I have a season under my belt, you have a little bit more confidence. Obviously, pitching every five or six days is a new thing. In college, you only throw once a week so getting used to bouncing back quick and what you need to do preparation-wise is really important, and I got a good feel for that. This off-season I’ve been trying to work hard in the weight room, get some flexibility, get some strength because as a left-hander, you’re not expected [to have] as much velocity, but it’s still important. If I could gain a couple miles an hour on my fastball, I think that would help me improve a lot.”

On the draft experience: “Other than an e-mail and filling out a questionnaire, I had not talked to the Astros at all. I never got a call from a scout or anything … pretty unexpected. I never talked to any of them in person or even on the phone. The Astros were definitely not one of the [teams] that I thought was going to pick me. And then the draft was … crazy with the new rules. [No one really had an] idea what to expect so it was really going in blind, but it ended up working out great and I’m happy with how it went. I feel like the draft that we had last year has been really successful so far. We’ve had a lot of good players come in so hopefully we can start working our way up. I’m just going to keep pitching and hopefully that will lead to results and move-ups in the future. That’s all I can hope for.”

On the pitching heavy Tri-City staff: “I really enjoyed it. I think that there [was] a lot of competition within [the] staff because we’d have [Aaron] West go out and throw a shutout start and Brady [Rodgers] would do the same and you’d feel compelled to keep that going. When everyone’s pitching well, there’s a lot of eagerness to keep that trend going so it was a really fun pitching staff to pitch on.”

What was the biggest surprise of his first professional season? : “Probably the success that I had. I wanted to succeed and I expected to succeed, but to have that good of a summer … it was really, really fun and I had a great time.”

Whose pitch would you like to steal?: “I don’t know how many Tri-City guys you’ve talked to but if you talked to a few you probably heard this one. Travis Ballew had one of the best sliders I’ve ever seen. It was a pitch that he could throw almost every pitch in any count and it would just make professional hitters look foolish. Travis Ballew’s slider would definitely be the one.”

What hitter would he least like to face? : “I’d have to say again, Aplin, even though [he’s] a left-handed hitter. I can probably count on one hand the amount of at-bats he had that he was really beaten. Even when he got out, he would take good swings and put the ball in play real hard. He was just a tough out and not a guy you’d really want to face.”

Who on the team made him laugh? : “The whole pitching staff. All of us really had a good time from [Joe] Bircher and Brady and West, and [Jeremiah] Meiners and [John] Neely in the bullpen. We just all had a really good time. The whole pitching staff really jelled on that team and I think that’s why we had so much success. [I asked him about something Brady Rodgers had mentioned involving Creed.] Me and Brady and a few of the other pitchers would imitate the lead singer’s voice. It was kind a running joke that we had … the Creed voice.”

Who on the team filled a leadership role? : “He won the player of the year I think for the ValleyCats, Jesse Wierzbicki. He wasn’t really a rah-rah guy that would be yelling around in the dugout and in the locker room. But I think what he did that really helped the team was that he never took a day off. He always went out and played as hard as he possibly could, and you could tell that he really loved playing and he loved the game, and I think when you have that kind of guy in the dugout, it really helps other people keep their energy level up over the course of a long season.”

Who did he like to sit back and watch play? : “I personally really liked watching Brady pitch. He is really methodical and precise in his pitching. He very rarely misses a spot and he doesn’t walk anybody. And how he mixes his four pitches is really fun to watch. Every game that he pitched I was in the stands so I really got to just sit back and watch him work and it was a joy.”

On something most people may not know about him: “I’m a big gamer. I play a lot of video games, probably more than the average college student. I play a lot of Halo on the Xbox, and I play a computer game called League of Legends. I play a good bit of video games.”

On the Astros future: “I think we’re great. We went out and we traded for a bunch of really promising prospects and then if you take a look at Tri-City, obviously the 2012 class is off to a rolling start, and I think we’re just going to continue with that pace. We’re struggling up top but we’ve got some players coming in who can help in the future.”

Brian recently broke down and joined the world of twitter. You can follow him at @BHolmes130. Ironically, his mom (and biggest fan) has been on twitter for a while and it was she who helped me get in touch with Brian.

Thank you for your time, Brian. I hope to see you pitch in person very soon. By the way, I’ve never actually seen a no-hitter in person, but no pressure ...

Winter League Recaps

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Carolina over Santurce 7-6
C Carlos Corporan was right smack in the middle of a six-run sixth inning comeback for Carolina, providing a pinch-hit two-run double as Carolina went to 2-3 in the round robin playoffs. 2B Kiké Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a walk before being moved to third base in the late innings. C Rene Garcia was hitless in two at-bats. Jobduan Morales got the start at first base and later moved behind the dish. He was 1-for-4 with a strikeout, a run scored and a stolen base. RHP Raul Rivera was the beneficiary of the big six-run inning as he won the game in relief after allowing one run on two hits and a walk in his inning of work.

Happy Birthday - 1/8

RHP Samil de los Santos (19)
Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2011, de los Santos spent his second season with the DSL Astros in 2012. In 12 games (9 starts), he went 2-3 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.075 WHIP, a decided improvement from his 7.04 ERA and 2.152 WHIP in 2011.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

CF Jim Busby (died July 8, 1996 at 69)
Busby came to Houston as a free agent and played in 15 games for the Colt .45's in 1962 at the end of his career, hitting .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats. He was an All-Star with the White Sox in 1951 but his best season was for the Washington Senators in 1953 when he hit .312/.358/.415 in 150 games.

3B Gene Freese (79)
Freese came to Houston in a July 1966 trade with the White Sox and played in 21 games for the Astros at the end of his career with forgettable results. His best season was arguably his 1961 season with the Reds when he hit .277/.307/.466 with 27 doubles, two triples and 26 home runs. In all, he played in the major leagues for 12 seasons.

OF Wilbur Howard (64)
Originally drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the 19th round in 1968, Howard came to Houston in a March 1974 trade with the Brewers. In 450 games played for the Astros from 1974 to 1978 he hit .252/.285/.327. He led the National League in fielding percentage as an outfielder in 1975.

RHP Julio Solano (53)
Solano was signed by Houston as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1979, and pitched in 82 games for Houston from 1983 to 1987 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.405 WHIP before being traded to Seattle in September 1987.

2B Dave Matranga (36)
A sixth round pick by the Astros in 1998, Matranga played in 6 games for Houston in 2003. In 5 at-bats, he got one hit -- a home run in his first major league at-bat. He only had one more major league plate appearance (with the Angels in 2005), and did not get a hit.

Tweet of the Day

Rio Ruiz
Thank The Lord for cruise control  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Astros Winter League Cumulative Stats - Pitchers

The regular seasons are over for all of the winter season leagues except for the Australian Baseball League so let's take a look at how your Astros did. Today, let's look at the pitchers. To me, there were two real standouts among them.

RHP Nick Tropeano (Arizona Fall League)
Tropeano pitched out of the bullpen to minimize his innings after having pitched 158 innings during the regular season. After putting together a very successful season at Lexington and Lancaster, he continued to impress in the AFL. His 1.00 WHIP was tied for sixth and he held some of the best prospects in the minor leagues to a .189 batting average.

RHP Carlos Quevedo (Liga Paralela & Venezuelan Winter League)
Quevedo was credited with helping the championship Liga Paralela Magallanes team make it to the playoffs. His dominance in the Liga Paralela led to a call-up to play for the main Magallanes team where he made one successful appearance before the regular season ended. Quevedo's 1.38 ERA led the Liga Paralela for pitchers pitching a minimum of 30 innings and he continued to put together a very healthy strikeout to walk ratio.

Others of Note
I was happy to see RHP Chia-Jen Lo continue his comeback from surgery with a successful AFL season. Several 2012 Astros who are currently free agents had good seasons as well, particularly RHP Sergio Perez who led the Venezuelan Winter League in wins and was tied for second in WHIP and strikeouts. Free agents  Erick Abreu, Adalberto Flores and Enerio del Rosario also had strong campaigns.

And finally, after having mixed results out of the bullpen for Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League, 21-year old RHP Raul Rivera finished off his season with an excellent seven-inning start for Carolina. After missing all of 2011, Rivera put up some strong numbers for the GCL in 2012. It may not sound like much, but the combination of those two factors intrigues me enough that I will be paying closer attention to Rivera in 2013.

Here are the full regular season stats for all Astros pitchers participating in winter league play. Cameron Lamb is the only player whose team hasn't finished the regular season.



*Free Agent

Next Up: I'll be looking at the position players on Wednesday.

Winter League Recaps

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Aguilas over Estrellas 11-4
Jonathan Villar pinch hit for Aguilas in the eighth inning, reached on a fielding error and later scored in the inning. Aguilas is now 6-3 and is tied for first place in the round robin standings.

No other Astros players participated in playoff games yesterday. Since the regular season is over for all but the Australian Baseball League, I'll be posting the cumulative pitcher stats for all Astros participating in winter league ball later today.

Happy Birthday - 1/7

Happy Birthday to ~

C Carlos Corporan (29)
Originally drafted by Milwaukee in the 12th round in 2003 out of his native Puerto Rico, Corporan signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2010. For Oklahoma City this season, he hit .286/.349/.447 with 15 doubles and six home runs in 68 games. In Houston, he hit .269/.310/.449 with two doubles and four home runs in 27 games. In 29 regular season games this winter in the Puerto Rican Winter League, he hit .293/.377/.466.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Jim Pendleton (died March 20, 1996 at 72)
Pendleton was purchased from the Reds in October 1961 and played in 117 games for the Colt .45's in 1962, hitting .246/.279/.371.

LHP Dave Meads (49)
Drafted by the Astros in the sixth round in 1984, Meads pitched in 67 games in Houston in 1987 and 1988 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.438 WHIP.

IF Craig Shipley (50)
Originally from New South Wales in Australia, Shipley came to Houston in this trade (according to Baseball-Reference):
December 28, 1994: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Derek BellDoug BrocailRicky GutierrezPedro Martinez and Phil Plantier to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Ken CaminitiAndujar CedenoSteve FinleyRoberto Petagine andBrian Williams. The Houston Astros sent Sean Fesh (minors) (May 1, 1995) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.
In 92 games for Houston in 1995, he hit .263/.291/.345.

It appears that I missed a birthday from last week. Rule 5 pick-up 1B Nate Freiman turned 26 on December 31st. A belated Happy Birthday to Nate.

Tweets of the Day

Travis Ballew
I wanna be for the  just because Russell Wilson was good at baseball... Is that fair


Aaron West
 yes completely fair.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter League Recaps

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Santurce over Caguas 2-1
*RHP Adalberto Flores got his first start and first win of the playoffs for Santurce. In five innings, he allowed one run on six hits and no walks while striking out two.

Carolina over Mayaguez 7-2
Carolina got its first win of the round robin playoffs. 2B Kiké Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. He also scored a run for Carolina. C Rene Garcia was hitless with one strikeout for Carolina.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

Culiacan over Hermosillo 3-1
*RHP Erick Abreu came into the game in the ninth inning after Culiacan's winning runs had already scored. He allowed one hit and one walk. Hermosillo is down 0-3 in the best of seven series.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 1/6

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

LHP Alvin Morman (44)
Drafted by Houston in the 31st round in 1991, Morman pitched in 53 games for the Astros in 1996.  His record was 4-1 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.595 WHIP. He went on to pitch for Cleveland, San Francisco and Kansas City.

Also, a Very Happy Birthday to my writing partner-in-crime, Buca Morris (aka Brandon, aka Bartholomew, aka Bart Howe, but he'll answer to anything). Happy Birthday and thanks for saving what little was left of my sanity during the 2012 season!

Bonus Tweets of the Day

These guys really need Spring Training to start soon.

Kenny Long
Played catch by myself and a cement wall for a half hour. Anyway to get better

Aaron West
 throw a ball with my home address on it in the mailbox from 60 feet away. When I get it I will do the same. It will be fun.

Kenny Long
 that would be fun now that's what I call long toss!

Tweet of the Day

Brady Rodgers
Almost forgot what winning felt like!! Time to go back to New England!!