Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pan Am Games Update

On Friday, Team U.S.A. won 11-0 over Panama and is now 2-0 in the competition.  Baseball America has the story here.

Canada (1-1) vs. Venezuela (1-1) at 10:00 a.m.
U.S. (2-0) vs. Mexico (2-0) at 7:00 p.m.

Fall and Winter League Updates


Salt River over Peoria 2-1
Jason Castro went 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout.  Maybe not a great night at the plate, but he did well behind the dish with two caught stealings.  All of the other Astros players had the night off.

Salt River (12-4) vs. Mesa (7-9) at 2:35 CST


Escogido over Aguilas 5-3
Brett Wallace went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout for Escogido.  Brian Bogusevic went 0-4 with a strikeout and Jonathan Villar had a pinch-running appearance for Aguilas.

Estrellas over Licey 8-1
Anderson Hernandez went 1-4 with a walk and a run scored for Licey.

Toros over Gigantes 6-5
Aneury Rodriguez started for the Toros and pitched four innings, giving up five hits, three earned runs, a walk, six strikeouts and a home run.  Jimmy Paredes went 3-4 with a solo home run (off Aneury) for the Gigantes.  As a side note, Paredes has been playing third base exclusively.  Erick Abreu pitched one inning, with no hits, no runs and a strikeout for the Gigantes.


Margarita over Caracas 1-0
Wladimir Sutil went 0-1 in a pinch-hitting appearance for Caracas.

Magallanes over Lara 5-0
Jose Altuve went 2-4 with a double and a walk in Magallanes' win.

Caribes over Zulia 3-0
Arcenio Leon pitched one inning with no hits, no runs and two strikeouts for Zulia.

Happy Birthday - 10/22

C Miles Hamblin (23)
This Texas native was drafted in the 12th round in 2011 out of the University of Mississippi.  He put up good numbers in his first professional season.  In 201 AB's for Tri-City, his line was .264/.346/.398/.745.

Former Astros having birthdays today

LHP Frank DiPino (55)
Pitched in 201 games for Houston from 1982 to 1986 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.304 WHIP
Came to Houston as part of the Don Sutton trade
Left Houston in a trade with Chicago for Davey Lopes

CF Gerald Young (47)
Played for Houston from 1987 to 1992
Rookie of the Year Candidate (came in 5th) in 1987 when he hit .321
Hit a composite .246 with the Astros and stole 153 bases

Bullpen Coach Jamie Quirk (57)
Played for 18 seasons with 8 different clubs (11 seasons with the Royals)
Primarily a catcher, but played all positions except CF and pitcher

Manager "Harry the Hat" Walker (died August 8, 1999 at age 82)
Managed the Astros from 1968 to 1972 and went 355-353
According to Wikipedia:  ""Harry the Hat" got his nickname from his habit during at-bats of continually adjusting his cap between pitches — there were no batting helmets in his day."

Tweet of the Day

Jake Buchanan
Astros to the AL is like lamb and tuna fish

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates


Just a note about Chris Hicks.  He was on the original roster for the Salt River Rafters and he pitched in two games, the last of which was on October 7th, and he did not have good outings in either of his appearances.  When he didn't appear again, I assumed that he had been shut down but never saw anything about that until I saw a tweet from him regarding going home about a week ago.  Bad (busy) reporter that I am, I kept forgetting to post that.

Salt River over Surprise 7-2
After Wednesday's drubbing by Surprise, Salt River came back strong for the win on Thursday.  Kody Hinze went 1-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.  Jacob Goebbert went 1-4 with his second home run this week.  And Jason Castro, in his third start of the fall season, finally got his first hit (a single) and added on a double for good measure, going 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.  Jason Stoffel pitched a strong two innings with no hits, no runs, no walks and three strikeouts.

Salt River (11-4) vs. Peoria (7-8) at 8:35 CST

Only one Winter League game involving an Astros player.


Lara over Caribes 8-7
Oswaldo Navarro went 1-4 with a double and a walk in Lara's win.

Pan Am Games Update

U.S. over Dominican Republic 20-2
Andy Van Hekken pitched brilliantly for the U.S. team on Thursday.  In seven innings pitched, he gave up six hits, two runs (neither earned), two walks and three strikeouts.  He had a no-hitter going through 4.2 innings and simply dominated as the team from the Dominican Republic was limited to singles only.

U.S. (1-0) vs. Panama (1-0) at 10:00

Cuba over Canada 9-5
Jimmy VanOstrand went 3-4 with an RBI in Canada's loss.
Canada has an off-day

Happy Birthday - 10/21

2B Luca Martone (19)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent from Italy, Luca is in his second year in the organization.  His numbers this season with the GCL Astros equal a vast improvement over last season's .173 BA.  This year, in 70 AB's, he hit .314/.385/.386/.770.

Former Astros with birthdays today

1B,LF Franklin Stubbs (51)
Played for Houston in 1990
Had a .261 BA with 23 doubles, 2 triples and 23 home runs

OF Ron Davis (died September 5, 1992 at age 50)
Played for the Colt 45's in 1962 and for the Astros in 1966-1968

RHP Cecil Upshaw (died February 7, 1995 at age 52)
Pitched for Houston in 1973

2B Keith Drumright (died August 7, 2010 at age 55)
Played in 17 games for Houston in 1978

Tweet of the Day

Jiovanni Mier
Nasty knuckle curve to Napoli and some guy has the nerve to say he gets millions to hit those, thats an embarrassment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Houston to the AL? The Five Stages of Grief


When rumors first started floating around a few months ago that Bud Selig wanted the Astros to move to the American League West, I pooh-poohed the whole idea.  "That's a ridiculous idea.  Nobody's going to go for that," I thought to myself and continued about my everyday life.


And then I read this post from Greg Lucas.  Not only was it becoming more likely that a move to the American League would happen, but Astros fans were going down quietly.  As I drafted this letter to Bud Selig and Drayton McLane, I started thinking about my lengthy history as an Astros fan, all of my memories, the importance of history and tradition in baseball and I started getting truly pissed off.  I don't particularly enjoy the feeling that I am getting kicked while I'm down.


The last couple of weeks I've been rationalizing.  Surely Jim Crane isn't stupid.  He didn't get to be as wealthy as he is by doing something as dumb as alienating the fan base from day one.  He's just playing Bud Selig for a fool until he gets approved and then he'll tell Bud what he can do with the American League.  After all, Crane is a baseball guy.  He played the game.  He understands why this is such a big deal.  Doesn't he?


The last few days ... damn, this isn't looking good, is it?  Yeah, I'll sign the on-line petitions but it's too late.  Everybody should have gotten up in arms about this months ago.  The machinery is in motion.  Nobody can stop it.  It's just one last FU from Bud Selig before he supposedly retires and goes back to whatever part of hades he calls home.


Yesterday, I went to MMP with my sister.  We were renewing our tickets and wanted to upgrade our location.  We told our account guy that we wouldn't renew for 2013 if the Astros go to the American League, but I was lying and I knew I was lying.  I don't know if he knew or not.  And then today, I get a tweet from @sciaastro asking if I've seen this New York Post article.  I think the writing is on the wall so I am bracing myself for a change that I never thought would happen.  But am I going to turn my back on these young men that I follow on this blog?  Can I say goodbye forever to Jake Buchanan and Dallas Keuchel and Chris Wallace and Kody Hinze and Austin Wates and so many other players that I've been watching and pulling for?  No.

It will still be the same basic set of players.  It will still be Minute Maid Park.  It will still be Houston.  It will still be my Astros.

Fall and Winter League Updates


Surprise over Salt River 6-0
Salt River got surprised by Surprise in a lopsided match.  The bad news is that Salt River only got two hits to Surprise's 13.  The good news is that one of those belonged to Jay Austin who went 1-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and two stolen bases.  Kody Hinze went 0-4 with three strikeouts and Jacob Goebbert went 0-4 with two strikeouts.  It wasn't Dallas Keuchel's best performance either. Keuchel pitched 4.0 innings - 9H 5R/ER 0BB 3SO 1HR 1WP.  Josh Zeid pitched one inning - 1H 1R/ER 2BB 3SO 1HR.

A rematch between Surprise (11-2) and Salt River (10-3) at 2:35 CST


Escogido over Aguillas 13-3
Brett Wallace hit his first home run of the off-season for Escogido, going 1-2 with three RBI's, two walks and two runs scored.  Brian Bogusevic went 1-2 with a SO and Jonathan Villar walked in his one plate appearance for Aguillas.

Gigantes over Toros 6-5
Paredes went 0-4 with two strikeouts for Gigantes while Erick Abreu pitched one inning (one strikeout) to get the save.

Estrellas over Licey 6-2
Anderson Hernandez went 2-3 with a walk and a strikeout for Licey.


Lara over Zulia 7-3
Oswaldo Navarro went 2-4 with a strikeout for Lara.  Arcenio Leon pitched 1.1 innings - 1H 1R/0ER 1BB.

Magallanes over La Guaira 13-4
Altuve went 3-4 with a double, four RBI's, one walk and a run scored for Magallanes.

Pan Am Games Update

Navigating the Pan American Games website was not the easiest thing I've ever done, but I did find the link for baseball finally.  It's very basic but you can get the scores and box as the games progress.

In Wednesday's action, Canada won over Puerto Rico 5-4.  Jimmy VanOstrand went 2-4 with an RBI, a walk and a strikeout.  Emerson Frostad did not fare as well, going 0-4 with a strikeout.

U.S. vs. Dominican Republic at 2:00
Cuba vs. Canada at 7:00

Happy Birthday - 10/20

RHP Michael Ness (24)
Originally from New Jersey, Ness was drafted out of Duke in the 33rd round in 2010.  He wasn't able to duplicate his good numbers from 2010 (at Tri-City) after being moved to hitter-friendly Lancaster in 2011.  He was 4-6 with a 5.98 ERA and a 1.613 WHIP with the Jethawks.

DH Rafael Valenzuela (24)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent from Arizona in 2010, Rafy spent the majority of his season at Tri-City and put up some pretty good numbers.  His batting line for 2011 was .307/.359/.441/.800 over 127 AB's.

Tweet of the Day

Brandt Walker
Which is higher: US national defense budget or Yadier Molina eyebrow waxing budget?

Roster Moves - 10/19/11

According to Baseball America

RHP Jose Valdez elected free agency and then re-signed with Houston
RHP Jonnathan Aristil re-signed with Houston

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates

Just a general note.  I can't do these recaps both fast and pretty so I'm opting for fast.  So sometimes I'm going to abbreviate and sometimes not.  Sometimes I'm going to type out numbers, sometimes not.  I don't think most people care, but any grammatical purists out there are just going to have to get over it.


Salt River improved its record to 10-3 in a wild 12-9 win over Mesa.  Combined, there were 14 pitchers, 5 wild pitches, 14 walks, 3 home runs, 2 errors and a passed ball.  One of those home runs belonged to Jacob Goebbert (his first of the off-season) as he went 1-3 with a home run and a walk.

Salt River (10-3) vs. Surprise (10-2) at 2:35 CST
If the rotation holds, Dallas Keuchel should be pitching for Salt River.


Escogido over Gigantes 5-3
Brett Wallace went 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout, and David Carpenter pitched one inning with no hits, no runs and a strikeout for Escogido.  Jimmy Paredes went 1-3 with a triple, 2 RBI's, a walk and two strikeouts for the Gigantes, while Erick Abreu pitched 0.2 innings - 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO and a wild pitch.

Toros over Licey 9-4
Jonnathan Aristil pitched 2.1 innings with a walk and two strikeouts to earn the win for the Toros.  Anderson Hernandez went 2-5 and scored a run for Licey.  Pitching for Licey, Henry Villar went 1.1 innings with one hit, 2R/1ER and a strikeout and Sammy Gervacio pitched two innings - 2H, 2ER and 2SO.  (Note - Henry Villar wasn't on the roster earlier so I'll add him.)

Aguillas over Estrellas 3-1
Brian Bogusevic went 0-2 with two walks and scored a run for Aguillas.


Aragua over Margarita 2-1
Sergio Perez pitched five innings for Aragua - 2H, 1ER, 2BB, 3SO - and earned the win.

Lara over Zulia 5-0
Oswaldo Navarro went 1-3 with an RBI and a strikeout for Lara.

La Guaira over Magallanes 6-5 in 11
Jose Altuve went 1-5 for Magallanes while Gabriel Garcia pitched 0.2 innings with no hits, no runs and a strikeout.

Happy Birthday - 10/19

RHP Jordan Lyles (21)
A 2008 supplemental first round draft pick by the Astros out of high school in South Carolina, Jordan is the second player (behind Jason Castro) from that draft class to make it to the bigs.  After starting the year in Oklahoma, Jordan made his major league debut on May 31st.  At Oklahoma City, Jordan was 3-3 in 12 appearances (10 starts) with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.299 WHIP.  At Houston, he was 2-8 in 20 appearances (15 starts) with a 5.36 ERA and a 1.415 WHIP.

LHP J.A. Happ (29)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd round in 2004, Happ came to the Astros in 2010 in the Oswalt trade.  Happ struggled during much of the season until he was sent to Oklahoma City to work on his mental game mostly.  For the season, he was 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was much improved in August and September as he went 2-2 in 7 starts with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP.

Former Astros with birthdays today

OF,1B Walt Bond (died September 14, 1967 at age 29)
A member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, Bond played for the Colt 45's in 1964 and the Astros in 1965.  I was not aware of Bond's history until I read this entry from the TBHOF site.

"Standing at 6' 7" tall and weighing between 235–250 lbs, Big Walt Bond had his best year as a Houston Colt .45 in 1964 when he hit 20 home runs and drove in 85 runs—the first true power hitting ballplayer in team history."

But that was only part of the story.  He was one of many silent heroes who helped to integrate baseball.  He was active in the community, working to support local school sports programs.  And he showed enormous courage and strength in his fight against leukemia which he sadly lost at the age of 29.  I encourage reading the entire entry.

OF Brock Davis (68)
Played for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 and for the Astros in 1966

RHP Dave Veres (45)
Compiled a 2.31 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP in 104 appearances in 1994 and 1995

2B Joe McEwing (39)
Appeared in 7 games in 2006

Tweet of the Day

Bobby Doran
Heath and I jamming out at 6:45am.... Bc it's our LAST day of instructs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates


Mesa over Salt River 13-7
This was not a pretty game for any of the Astros players.  Jason Stoffel was effective for his first four outs and then the wheels came off with a double, walk, home run and another walk issued without getting another out and that was all for him.  Kody Hinze went 0-4 with a strikeout.  Jason Castro is still hitless in two starts in the AFL as he went 0-3 with a walk, three strikeouts and a run scored.

The Salt River Rafters are now 9-3 but still lead the Mesa Solar Sox by five games.  They will face Mesa again today at home at 2:35 CST.

Only one game was scheduled and no Astros played.

Every week or so, I'm going to post the cumulative stats for all of the players participating in the Arizona Fall Leagues and the Caribbean Winter Leagues.  If there are no stats, that means that the player is listed on the roster but hasn't played yet.

Happy Birthday - 10/18

RHP Andrew Walter (21)
Originally from Arizona, Walter was signed by the Astros as a NDFA in 2011.  Splitting his time between Tri-City and the GCL Astros, he was 0-0 in 6 appearances (2 starts) with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.298 WHIP.

RHP Ross Wolf (29)
This Illinois native was drafted by the Marlins in 2002 and signed with the Astros as a free agent in 2010.  In 56 appearances (73.2IP) with Oklahoma City this year, Wolf was 4-3 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.508 WHIP.

One former Astro with a birthday today

RHP Terry Clark (51)
Pitched in 6 games for the Astros in 1990 and 1996

Tweet of the Day

Jordan Comadena

Monday, October 17, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster - Catcher

As posted over the weekend, RHP Chris Hicks won the fifth spot on the WTH roster as our first right-handed relief pitcher.  Close runners-up included Sammy Gervacio, Josh Zeid, Blake King and Jason Stoffel.  Go here for more info on the What the Heck 25-Man Roster.

Next, let's pick our first catcher.  I tried to limit the list by leaving off some of the older catchers such as Robinson Cancel and Brian Esposito who really can't be considered prospects anymore, but I did leave on Emerson Frostad who is borderline at 28, partly because of his strong showing in the Baseball World Cup.  I also didn't include J.R. Towles because I find it highly unlikely that he will be with the organization come spring.  And, finally, I only went with players who had appeared in a minimum of 30 games.

I know that Chris Wallace will probably win this first spot, but I want to give everyone a chance to vote on it.  Personally, I have a soft spot in my heart for Jordan Comadena and I would really like to see him get more playing time in 2012.  And I've heard good reports on Ernesto Genoves and some of the others.  I do think that the Astros are finally getting a bit more depth at this position and I hope to see some movement up through the ranks by several of these catchers.

With that said, here are their 2011 numbers.  After you look them over, please vote in the poll.

Winter League Update

No Arizona Fall League game on Sunday
Today - Salt River vs. Mesa at 2:35 CST


Lara over Zulia 1-0
Oswaldo Navarro was 0-3 for Lara.  Arcenio Leon pitched one inning, giving up one hit, no runs, no walks and no strikeouts.

Caribes over Caracas 9-3
Sutil was 1-1 in a pinch hitting appearance for Caracas.

Magallanes over Aragua 7-6
Altuve went 0-4 for Magallanes.


Aguilas over Gigantes 3-2
Brian Bogusevic went 2-4 with a double, a strikeout and a run scored for Aguilas.  Jimmy Paredes was 1-5 with two strikeouts and a GIDP for Gigantes.

Licey over Escogido 4-2
Anderson Hernandez was 0-4 with an RBI for Licey while Brett Wallace went 1-2 with a walk and a strikeout for Escogido.

Happy Birthday - 10/17

RHP Jason Chowning (24)
Originally from Kentucky, Jason was drafted in the 28th round in 2010 out of the University of Oklahoma.  In 2011 he had a very strong season for Lexington, going 4-4 in 35 appearances (58.2IP) with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.261 WHIP.  Via twitter last month, Jason indicated that he was found to have a small labrum tear, but the doctor deemed it "fixable" and is recommending rehab and not surgery.

Former Astros with birthdays today

C Chris Tremie (42)
Played in 1 game for Houston in 2004

IF Edwin Maysonet (30)
Played in 46 games for Houston between 2008 and 2009
Currently in the Milwaukee minor-league system

Also, Don Alexander, pitching coach for the CC Hooks, is celebrating his 53rd birthday today.

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand
Got a little something to remember Panama by! Now if we could get a flight out of here that'd b gr8

Sunday, October 16, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster

The fifth player selected to the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was RHP Chris Hicks who squeaked out a victory over Josh Zeid and Sammy Gervacio.  (As mentioned earlier, some of the top vote-getters will be recycled as candidates as we complete our bullpen.)  Also receiving votes were Blake King, Jason Stoffel, Juan Mojica, Jose Valdez, Steve Martin, Krishawn Holley, Ebert Rosario, Joan Belliard, Arcenio Leon, Daniel Meszaros and Mark Jones.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Let's pick our first catcher.

Fall and Winter League Updates


The Salt River Rafters are now 9-2 on last night's walk-off wild pitch 8-7 win over Phoenix.  Kody Hinze went 1-4 with an RBI, 1BB, 1SO and scored a run while Jay Austin went 1-3 with 2BB, a stolen base (his first) and scored two runs.  Josh Zeid pitched one inning, giving up one hit and striking out one on seven pitches (all for strikes).

No game today


Magallanes over Margarita 9-0
Gabriel Garcial pitched a perfect inning with a SO, while Jose Altuve went 2-4 with 1BB, 1SO and scored two runs in Magallanes win.

Zulia over Lara 11-0
Oswaldo Navarro went 0-3 with 1SO and a HBP for Lara.


Escogido over Estrellas 3-2 in 10 innings
Brett Wallace went 1-4 with an RBI and a SO, while Jorge de Leon pitched 0.2 innings and gave up two hits.

Aguilas over Toros 6-1
Aneury Rodgriquez pitched a strong four innings for Toros, giving up 1H 0R 1BB and 3SO for the Toros.  Brian Bogusevic went 2-4 with an RBI for the winning Aguilas.

Licey over Gigantes 7-3
Anderson Hernandez went 0-4 with 1BB 2SO and a run scored for Licey.  Jimmy Paredes went 3-5 with 1SO and a run scored for Gigantes.


Mexicali over Obregon 12-4
Luis Durango went 0-4 with 2SO in Obregon's loss.

Baseball World Cup - Final Update

The bronze medal game has been cancelled due to the field conditions. USA and Canada will be co-bronze medalists this year.

Bummer, I was looking forward to this.  Andy Van Hekken was scheduled to pitch for the U.S. team and Jimmy VanOstrand was in the line-up for Canada.  Final stats for the tournament:

Andy Van Hekken - 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA
Jimmy VanOstrand - .250 BA with a double, a home run and 5 RBI's
Emerson Frostad - .409 BA with a double and 5 RBI's

Happy Birthday - 10/16

RHP Enerio del Rosario (26)
Acquired from the Reds in 2010 for cash considerations, this Dominican native earned an opening day roster spot on the 2011 Astros due in large part to terrific spring training numbers.  In 12 games, he had a 0.00 ERA with 3BB and 11 SO's.  In 54 appearances during the regular season, he was 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.700 WHIP.  And just because I love it so much, here is del Rosario's rookie road trip photo from Alyson Footer's blog.

LHP Travis Blankenship (24)
Drafted in the 31st round in 2010 out of the University of Kansas, Travis had a strong second year in the Astros organization.  Over 21 appearances with Tri-City, he went 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA, a 1.067 WHIP and a very good SO/BB ratio of 3.50.  His ERA against lefties was 0.00 with 1BB and 11 SO's.

Tweet of the Day

Josh Zeid
Salt river rafters win again on a wild pitch. It doesn't matter how you win, just that you do. We have fun and we play hard!!