Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baseball World Cup Update

Not a good day for any of the teams we are following, but a good day personally for Jimmy VanOstrand as he went 2-5 lowering his batting average to .467.  Canada was handed its first loss by undefeated host-country Panama, the U.S. lost to an undefeated Netherlands team, and Marlon Avea went 0-3 with a walk in the defeat of his Nicaraguan team by South Korea.

Today's action:
Canada (4-1) vs. the Netherlands (5-0)
U.S. (3-2) vs. Panama (5-0)
Nicaragua (1-4) vs. Dominican Republic (2-3)

Arizona Fall League Update

The Salt River Rafters improved to 3-1 with a win over the Mesa Solar Sox.  Kody Hinze went 1-3 with a walk and a two run home run.  Keuchel started the game and in 3IP gave up 2H 2R(1ER) 3SO 0BB and a home run.  Chris Hicks also pitched an inning, giving up 2H 1ER 0SO 0BB.  He was charged with a blown save but he did manage to lower his ERA from 135.00 to 40.50!

Next game will be today at 6:35 MST (8:35 CST) against the Mesa Solar Sox.

Happy Birthday - 10/8

IF Fredwin Campusano (20)
An NDFA out of the Dominican Republic, Campusano played for the DSL Astros in 2009 and 2010, but did not play in 2011.  I have not been able to find out any additional information about his status, but it appears that he is still in the Astros organization.  And I certainly hope he is.  In 2010, his line was .326/.425/.461/.885 over 31 games.

Former Astro with a birthday today:

3B Enos Cabell (62)
Played for the Astros in 1975 through 1980 and again in 1984 and 1985
Played in 162 games in 1978, hitting .295 for the season

Tweet of the Day

Maury Brown
Unreal.... Future headlines read: "MLB Sees Lowest Ratings Ever for World Series"... Screw headlines. This is great baseball.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Damn You, A Girl in the South (shakes fist)!

So, I'm minding my own business watching the Cardinals/Phillies game on Wednesday and reading my twitter timeline about rogue squirrels and bad toupees, when @AGirlintheSouth (a.k.a. Terri), without provocation of any kind, posts this:

RT : Time For The Geek: Astros 2011 Battery Combinations

So, of course, after having my inner geek appealed to in such a brazen, come-hither manner, I clicked on the link immediately to see this lovely chart in brilliant autumnal hues telling me all about the different battery pairings that Brad Mills used in the 2011 Astros season.  I enjoyed reading the analysis and the origin of the term battery and then went back to watching the game.

But then this annoying little thought started to nag at me, "But how did the different battery pairings do?  I wonder if there are any trends to be found there."  Before you know it, I was in full-on research mode and two hours of my life were gone.

So, here's what I found.  I looked at the win-loss record for games started by a particular pairing and then I sorted by win percentage.

Overall records and win percentages for the four catchers:
Cancel - 1-1 (50%)
Towles - 16-25 (39%)
Quintero - 25-46 (35%)
Corporan - 14-34 (29%)

Some general conclusions - Corporan should not be catching Lyles, anybody can catch Wandy and Quintero does a much better job catching Happ than the others.  You can draw your own conclusions after you review the numbers.

And, Terri, I forgive you, but please don't entice me with any more geek alerts!

Arizona Fall League Update

The Salt River Rafters are now 2-1 after a win over the Scottsdale Scorpions.  Kody Hinze went 1-3 with a walk, Jacob Goebbert had an 0-4 day and Roberto Pena went 1-4 as DH.  After Jason Stoffel went 2/3 of an inning walking 3 batters, he was bailed out by Josh Wall of the Dodgers organization who didn't allow any of Stoffel's runners to score.

Today, they play the Mesa Solar Sox at 12:35 MST.

Baseball World Cup Update

Jimmy VanOstrand is having a terrific tournament.  In yesterday's win over Chinese Taipei, Jimmy went 2-3 with a walk and 2 runs scored to help the Canadian team to a 4-0 record and to boost his BA to .500.  The U.S. team prevailed over Greece.  And Marlon Avea did not play in the Nicaraguan team's loss to Australia.

Tonight, Canada (4-0) faces the host country Panama (4-0), the U.S. team (3-1) meets the Netherlands (4-0) and Nicaragua (1-3) is matched with South Korea (2-2).

Happy Birthday - 10/7

RHP Mike Foltynewicz (20)
Folty was drafted in the 1st round in 2010 out of high school in Illinois.  His second season in the organization, spent with the Lexington team, started out rough and ended up rough.  He went 5-11 for the season with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.493 WHIP.  Looking at May through July, however, he went 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA.  He pitched 134 innings this season as compared to 44.2 in 2010.   With his increase in innings pitched and his sustained success through the middle of the season, Folty has established something solid on which to build.

C Ben Heath (23)
This Virginia native was also drafted in 2010, in the 5th round out of Penn State.  His offense fell off slightly in his second season in which he posted a .252/.310/.408/.718 line between Lancaster and Lexington, but he still demonstrated some pop in his bat with 22 doubles and 10 homeruns.

RHP Yoiner Angulo (20)
Signed as a NDFA out of Columbia, Yoiner only pitched in one game for the DSL Astros in this his first season.  He went 1.2 innings on May 29th, giving up no hits, one walk, two strikeouts and no earned runs.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

LHP Butch Henry (43)
In 28 starts in 1992, he went 6-9 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP

MGR Grady Hatton (89)
Managed the Astros in 1966, 1967 and part of 1968, with a record of 164-221

Tweet of the Day

The Bill Walton Trip
What does $200 million buy you? Evidently not a World Series Championship.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SO/BB Ratio for Position Players

I don't think anyone will be surprised to see in black and white that Humberto Quintero strikes out a lot more than he walks or that J.B. Shuck walks a lot more than he strikes out.  But how is the rest of the group doing?  I included the national league average so you can see who falls above and below that line.

Here's a look at the 2011 SO/BB Ratio for all position players in the Astros system.  If the player played for both the major league club and a minor league club, both sets of stats are included.  For those players traded to the Astros during the season, only stats while with the Astros organization are included.  The lower the number, the better.

Arizona Fall League & Baseball World Cup Updates

The Salt River Rafters lost 13-7 to the Peoria Javelinas and all was not well in Astroland.  First the good news.  Jacob Goebbert went 1-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored.  Not the not-so-good news.  Over 1/3 of an inning, Chris Hicks gave up 4 hits, 5 ER (3 scored after he left the game), 1 SO and 1 BB.  And Josh Zeid gave up 3 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB and 2 SO over 1 inning pitched.  Ouch.  Next game against Scottsdale at 12:35 MST today.

Over at the World Baseball Cup, the U.S. beat Japan 7-3 to improve their record to 2-1.  Today the U.S. takes on Greece while Marlon Avea's Nicaraguan team faces Australia.  The unbeaten Canadian team, featuring Jimmy VanOstrand and Emerson Frostad will play Chinese Taipei tonight.

Happy Birthday - 10/6

Former Astros with birthdays today:

C Jerry Grote (68)
Grote plays for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 and went on to have a long career with the Mets, Dodgers and Royals.  In 1421 games over 16 seasons, Grote had a .252 lifetime batting average and a career .991 fielding percentage.

LHP Darren Oliver (41)
Oliver pitched in 9 games for Houston in 2004, going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP.  The well-travelled Oliver has played for Texas, St. Louis, Boston, Colorado, Florida, the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels.  Prior to this post-season, he has played in 10 post-season series in 6 different seasons with the Rangers, Mets and Angels, going 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA.  So far this post-season, he has given up 2 hits and 1 run over 1-1/3 inning for the Rangers.  He has a lifetime ERA of 4.60.

Roster Moves - 10/5

*Astros outrighted RHP Lance Pendleton to OKC
*Astros outrighted LHP Xavier Cedeno to OKC

*Astros outrighted RHP Blake King to Corpus Christi

RHP Kelvin Santana released effective 9/26 (suspended 50 games for testing positive for PED's)
This move was either posted late or back-dated

*These were part of the 40-Man Roster moves that I wrote about here and here and there will definitely be more moves to come.  Blake King will now be subject to the Rule 5 draft, but Pendleton (who can elect to become a free agent with this move) and Cedeno (who becomes a free agent after the World Series) can be re-signed by the Astros.

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand
epic off day! back at it tomorrow... this resort is amazing

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

40-Man Roster Changes

As tweeted by Alyson Footer and Steve Campbell, the Astros have removed RHP Blake King, RHP Lance Pendleton and LHP Xavier Cedeno from the 40-Man Roster.  King will be assigned to Corpus, Pendleton can elect to be a free agent and Cedeno automatically becomes a free agent after the World Series.

Carl Jung and the SO/BB Ratio for Pitchers

Without getting too deep, Carl Jung established a principle called synchronicity in which he examined the relationship between meaningful coincidences and the collective unconcious.  You know how you think about some friend of yours that you haven't talked to in 10 years and then they suddenly call you the next day?  That's synchronicity.

So, yesterday I was working on a post for today on SO/BB ratios for position players.  I finished pulling the numbers together, wrote up the draft and had a little time left over so I decided to work on the next post which was to be SO/BB ratios for pitchers.  I pulled the info from my database, sorted it high to low and saw one name at the very top.  Dustin Kellogg.  I hadn't taken his name out of my database yet and there he was.  That is a meaningful coincidence.

So, I'm switching my posts for today.  Because I'm supposed to tell you that Dustin Kellogg, in his limited time in the Astros family, could strike out batters.  On August 15th, he pitched 2 innings and got 4 strike outs.  In 6 appearances, he only walked 1 batter and struck out 9.  And I'm supposed to tell you that.   For that one thing, for that one moment in time, he was the best.

With that said, here's a look at the 2011 SO/BB Ratio for all pitchers in the Astros system.  If the pitcher played for both the major league club and a minor league club, both sets of stats are included.  For those players traded to the Astros during the season, only stats while with the Astros organization are included.  The higher the number, the better.

Arizona Fall League

Not much to report on this front.  The Salt River Rafters won their first game 12-9 over the Peoria Javelinas, but of the Astros minor leaguers, only Jason Stoffel saw any action with 1IP 3H 1R 1ER 1BB 1SO.

Next game at 6:35 MST this evening.

Baseball World Cup Update

The Astros have 4 minor league players involved in the World Cup.  Here is how they are currently faring:

Nicaraguan Team (1-2)
C Marlon Avea has 2 hits over 8 AB's

U.S. Team (1-1)
LHP Andy Van Hekken got the win last night with 6IP 4H 1R 1ER 1BB 2SO

Canadian Team (3-0)
1B Jimmy VanOstrand had 3 hits in 7 AB's with 4 RBI, 1 HR and 1 2B in the first 2 games
C Emerson Frostad had 2 hits in 5 AB's with 1 RBI in the third game

The only action today is U.S. vs. Japan, rescheduled from an earlier rain-out.

Happy Birthday - 10/5

Former Astros with birthdays today:

RHP Felipe Paulino (28)
First signed by the Astros as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Paulino was never quite able to put it together for Houston.  In 34 starts over 47 appearances for the Astros in 2007, 2009 and 2010, Paulino went 6-21 with a 5.83 ERA and 1.598 WHIP.  Traded to the Rockies for Clint Barmes in November of 2010, Paulino only spent a short time with the Rockies, compiling a 0-4 record and a 7.36 ERA, before being dealt to the Kansas City Royals.  He showed much improvement in a Royals uniform, going 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP.  Time will only tell whether or not Paulino has finally found his groove.

CF Al Heist (died October 2, 2006 at 78)
Played 27 games for the Colt 45's in 1962

OF Alex Diaz (43)
Played in 30 games for Houston in 1999

RHP Brandon Puffer (36)
Pitched in 68 games in Houston in 2002 and 2003

Tweet of the Day

Michael Schlact
RIP prospect Dustin Kellogg. Professional baseball is one big family, and it's terrible to lose one of our own. MiLB

Roster Moves - 10/4/11

C Robinson Cancel elected free agency

RHP Dustin Kellogg deceased

Also, Baseball America is reporting that RHP Kelvin Santana of the DSL Astros has been suspended 50 games for PED's and according to the the MiLB player page, he has been released although I haven't seen an official transaction listed for that move.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Horrible, horrible news

It makes me very sad to pass on the news that 2011 34th round draft pick Dustin Kellogg was killed in an auto accident early this morning in Montgomery County, Texas.  He was only 18.  My thoughts go out to his family.


I could not possibly cover this better (or with more humor) than Astros County, so please take a peek over there for the latest on the Jordan Schafer pot bust.

However, I do recall someone saying something about him being a bit of a punk recently.  Now who was that?  Oh, I remember, it was ME!

Blogging the AFL

Josh Zeid is blogging the AFL here.

2011 Stats for AFL Players

A reminder of the 2011 stats for those participating in the Arizona Fall League.  In the cases of Stoffel & Zeid, numbers are for time with Astros organization only.


Position Players:

Happy Birthday - 10/4

No future Astros, only former Astros celebrating today:

OF Billy Hatcher (51)
Billy Hatcher came to Houston via a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Jerry Mumphrey.  He played for the Astros from 1986 to 1988 and part of 1989, hitting .266 during that time.  His best year offensively for the Astros was 1987 when he hit .296 for the season.  Billy is best remembered by Houston fans for postponing the inevitable.  In Game 6 of the NLCS in 1986, he hit a homerun in the 14th inning against the Mets to re-tie the game which the Astros eventually lost in the 16th inning to lose the series.  In 1989, he was traded to Pittsburgh for Glen Wilson and later played for the Reds, the Red Sox, the Phillies and the Rangers.  He is now the 1B Coach for the Reds.

RHP Don Bradey (77)
Pitched in 3 games for the Colt 45's in 1965

RHP Joe Boever (51)
Pitched 81 games in relief for Houston in 1992, with a 2.51 ERA and 1.329 WHIP

2B Mark McLemore (47)
Appeared in 21 games for Houston in 1991

OF Chris James (49)
Appeared in 61 games for Houston in 1993

MGR Jimy Williams (68)
Managed the Astros in 2002, 2003 and part of 2004
Compiled a 215-197 record with Houston

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Josh Zeid
@ Peoria javelinas. AFL 2011 begins at 1235 ! 9:30 bus in the am!

Play Ball!

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand
Another good win today 3-1 over japan! has never say never!! gotta keep it going

Another good game for JVO.  1-4 with an RBI double.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Arizona Fall League Info

Whew, that was a really long five days without any Astros baseball action, wasn't it?  AFL starts tomorrow.  Here is the schedule for your Salt River Rafters and here is the roster.

Astros on the roster:
RHP Chris Hicks
LHP Dallas Keuchel
RHP Jason Stoffel
RHP Josh Zeid
C Roberto Pena
IF Kody Hinze
OF Jay Austin
OF Jacob Goebbert

Although not listed, I have still not seen anything to indicate that Jason Castro is not participating.  I will post if I find out something more on Castro's status.  According to Zachary Levine, Roberto Pena is temporarily subbing for Jason Castro as he nurses a ribcage injury.

What the Heck 25-Man Roster - Right Fielder

As posted over the weekend, LHP Dallas Keuchel was the third player selected for the WTH roster.  Go here for more info on the What the Heck 25-Man Roster.

Today, let's pick a Right Fielder.  Since outfielders get moved around a lot in the minors, I took a little license in determining which players would be eligible to be considered right fielders for purposes of the WTH roster.  For example, Emilio King technically played more CF than RF this season, but he played a great deal in RF last season.  When this is the case, I will either nominate the player at multiple positions (as is the case with King) or they will be included in a later list for 4th or 5th outfielder.

With that said, I don't find this to be a particularly easy choice.  Do you pick Domingo Santana based on gaudy numbers over a limited time?  Do you pick the power potential of Adam Bailey with 24 homeruns?And what about Hogue's stolen bases, King's average, Epps' OPS, the potential of Ariel Ovando, and Goebbert's overall numbers?  Again, not an easy task, but please look over the numbers and vote.

Happy Birthday - 10/3

3B Michael Medina (18)
Signed as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Medina played his first professional season for the DSL Astros this year.  I'm always trying to find something positive to say about players for the birthday write-up no matter how dire their stats may be.  I thought I might have met my match in Medina when I first saw the .113 batting average.  But the kid managed to get a .346 OBP which made me do a double-take and a triple-take.  He didn't hit very well, but he did manage to get 36 walks which gave him an OBP that many of the current Astros players would envy.  And he's only 18 so I have great hope for improvement on that .113 BA.  Go, Michael!

Former Astros with birthdays today:

RHP Jack Lamabe (died December 21, 2007 at 71)
Pitched in 3 games for Houston in 1965

RHP Bert Roberge (57)
Pitched for Houston in 1979, 1980 and 1982, compiling a 3.73 ERA and 1.293 WHIP in relief

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand
Great opener for the kids!! 9-1 win against Puerto Rico. Gotta keep it going tomorrow against Japan

Jimmy did very well, too, going 2-3 with a homerun, a walk, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI's!  U.S. vs. Japan game was rained out.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster

The third player selected to the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was LHP Dallas Keuchel.  Also receiving votes were Andy Van Hekken and Kyle Hallock.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Let's pick a right fielder.

Happy Birthday - 10/2

3B Oswaldo Navarro
Originally signed as a NDFA out of Venezuela by the Mariners in 2001, Navarro came to the Astros organization as a free agent in 2009.  He had a .267 BA and .348 OBP for Oklahoma City in 2011, slightly higher than his .260/.332 career minor league numbers.  Navarro appeared in 4 games with the Mariners in 2006 and in 14 games with the Astros in 2010.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

UT IF Ernie Riles (51)
Appeared in 39 games for the Astros in 1992

C Eric Munson (34)
Backstop back-up for Brad Ausmus in 2006 and 2007

Leo "the Lip" Durocher (died October 7, 1991 at 86)
Managed the Astros for part of the 1972 season and in 1973 at the end of his career
Compiled a 98-95 record with the Astros during those two seasons

Tweet of the Day

Zachary Levine
I will root for whichever team can resist giving its fans those white towels to wave at playoff games.