Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates


Salt River over Mesa 7-6
This game was tied at 1-1 going into the later innings before the scoring floodgates opened.  Jake Goebbert delivered a bases-loaded 3-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to give Salt River the lead.  Ineffective pitching by Salt River in the top of the seventh gave the lead back to Mesa, but Salt River came back to score two more times to get the win.

Jake Goebbert was 3-4 with a double, three RBI's and scored two runs for the MLB network cameras.  Josh Zeid pitched one inning and recorded one strikeout.  Zeid's control was a bit sketchy at times, but the outing was nonetheless effective.

The win gave Salt River a little more cushion as their lead in the AFL East extended to 3.5 games with 5 games left to play.  Salt River's magic number over Mesa is now at 2.

Salt River (20-13) vs. Peoria (13-18) at 7:35 CST
It should be Dallas Keuchel's turn to pitch.


Zulia over Caracas 4-3
*Wladimir Sutil was 1-3 with a run scored, a sacrific and a GIDP for Caracas.

Magallanes over Caribes 7-3
For Magallanes, Jose Altuve went 1-3 with a walk, a strikeout and recorded his seventh error.  *Andy Van Hekken got the start for Magallanes, pitching four innings and giving up four hits, two runs, two walks and a home run with two strikeouts, while Gabriel Garcia retired his one batter with a strikeout.

Maragarita over Lara 5-4
*Oswaldo Navarro was 1-6 with two strikeouts for Lara.


Aguilas over Gigantes 10-2
Jimmy Paredes got the start at third base and went 0-2 for the Gigantes.

Escogido over Licey 2-0
*Anderson Hernandez was 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout for Licey.


Caguas over Carolina 5-3
Xavier Cedeno pitched two innings for Carolina, giving up three hits and recording two strikeouts.

*Free agent

Happy Birthday - 11/12

Former Astros with birthdays today

LHP Joe Hoerner (died October 4, 1996 at age 59)
Hoerner played in eight games for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 and was picked up by the Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft in 1965.  Hoerner was later involved in the Curt Flood trade which led eventually to overturning the reserve clause and expanding free agency.

RHP Mark Small (44)
Pitched in 10 games for Houston in 1996

C Randy Knorr (43)
Played in 54 games for Houston in 1996, 1997 and 1999

Tweet of the Day

Collin DeLome
Thank u to all our ! Because of u I get to play a game I love and have the freedoms the I have... Thank you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates


Salt River over Peoria 9-5
Thanks to a huge 8th inning in which Salt River batted around and scored five runs, the Rafters have managed to keep their 2.5 game lead over Mesa with 6 games to go.  The magic number is now 4 for Salt River wins and Mesa losses in order to get to the championship game.

Kody Hinze was 1-2 with an RBI (on a bases-loaded walk) with two walks and a run scored.  Jason Castro was 0-4 with an RBI and a walk.  And Jake Goebbert was 1-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, a stolen base and a strikeout.

Salt River (19-13) vs. Mesa (16-15) at 7:10 CST
To air on MLB Network


Caribes over Magallanes 6-0
Jose Altuve was 2-4 for Magallanes.

Zulia over La Guaira 10-8
Arcenio Leon pitched one inning and got one strikeout and the win for Zulia.  He is now 2-0.

Only one game with no Astros players involved.

No games today

I'm fairly new at REALLY tracking the minor leagues and I learned something new today.  I had wondered why a few of the players that were on the main roster for the Venezuelan League hadn't played yet.  Well, several of them HAD actually played, but the Venezuelan League has its own version of the minors and some were playing there.  I know this because Appy Astros has educated me once again, and I am truly grateful.

When I update the cumulative stats next week, I will include these other players that are toiling away in the Venezuelan minor leagues.

Happy Birthday - 11/11

LHP Tommy Shirley (23)
Originally from Pennsylvania, Shirley was drafted in the 9th round in 2010 out of Xavier University.  After an injury-shortened 2010 in which he posted a 0.00 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP over five starts, Shirley pitched a few innings, mostly rehab, in 2011.  In 13 innings, he gave up six hits, three runs and five walks with 15 strikeouts and compiled a 2.08 ERA and a 0.846 WHIP.  I think we all look forward to seeing what he can do in 2012 if he stays healthy.

Former Astros with birthdays today

CF Scott Loucks (55)
Played in 69 games scattered over 1980 to 1983
Traded in 1984 to the Montreal Expos for Brad Mills

C/1B J. R. House (32)
Played in 7 games for Houston in 2006 and 2008

Tweet of the Day

Lino DeShields
when you forget the top is on you Gatorade bottle and try to drink out of it. Then notice everyone is staring at you

Fall and Winter League Updates


Mesa over Salt River 8-4
It was not a good day for the Rafters whose lead was trimmed to 2.5 games over Mesa in the AFL East with seven games left to play before the Championship Game on November 19th.  Jay Austin went 0-5 with a strikeout which did some serious damage to his batting average (now at .229).  Kody Hinze had a much better day, going 1-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk and two strikeouts.

Salt River (18-13) vs. Peoria (13-16) at 1:35 CST


Late post for Tuesday's game
Estrellas over Gigantes 4-1
Jimmy Paredes was 0-1 as a pinch hitter for Gigantes while *Erick Abreu pitched one inning, giving up three hits, two runs and one walk with a strikeout; and Enerio del Rosario retired his one batter faced.

Licey over Gigantes 5-1
Anderson Hernandez* was 0-4 with an RBI and a strikeout for Licey.  Jimmy Paredes got the start at second base and went 0-4 with a strikeout.

Toros over Aguilas 5-0
Fernando Abad got the start, going four innings with three hits and four strikeouts for the Toros.  Brian Bogusevic was 1-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a stolen base for Aguilas.

Estrellas over Escogido 6-5
Wander Alvino faced two batters and retired neither, giving up two walks and two runs (as both runners later scored) with a wild pitch for Estrellas.  Brett Wallace was 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout for Escogido and David Carpenter pitched one inning, giving up one hit and striking out one batter.


Caracas over La Guaira 4-3
Wladimir Sutil* was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored for Caracas.

Aragua over Margarita (8-4)
Sergio Perez pitched five innings, giving up six hits, two runs, two walks and striking out one as he got the win for Aragua.

Caribes over Magallanes 3-2
Altuve was 2-5 with a double, a run scored and a strikeout for Magallanes while Gabriel Garcia gave up a hit and a walk without retiring any batters.

Zulia over Lara 10-2
Arcenio Leon pitched an inning for Zulia and recorded two strikeouts.  Oswaldo Navarro* was 1-4 with a strikeout and a run scored for Lara.


Caguas over Mayaguez 10-5
Angel Sanchez was 2-5 and scored and run, and Koby Clemens* was 0-2 with two walks and a strikeout for Mayaguez.

Carolina over Ponce 3-2
Carlos Corporan was 1-3 for Carolina.  Adalberto Flores, the newest Astros farm system addition, retired his one batter while Robinson Cancel* went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts for Ponce.

*Free agent

Happy Birthday - 11/10

I hate the few days a year when there are no future or former Astros with birthdays.  I still feel compelled to come up with something and I end up going down tons of rabbit trails.  But I always seem to find something of interest, at least to me.

In looking at non-Astros players with birthdays today, one name jumped out for me - Jack Clark who is 56 today.  I remember the absolute dread of seeing him come to the plate against the Astros.  He always seem to just kill us.  Well, that wasn't all in my imagination.  Thanks to Baseball-Reference's fabulous search engine, I discovered that Jack the Ripper had a robust batting average against several of the Astros pitchers.

.385 vs. Danny Darwin
.341 vs. Joaquin Andujar
.326 vs. Bob Knepper
.306 vs. Joe Niekro

He even hit .289 vs. J.R. Richard who allowed a lifetime batting average of only .212.

But there were a few pitchers that shut him down fairly well.  He only hit .167 off Mike Scott and Frank DiPino, .190 off Dave Smith and .231 off Jim Deshaies, which brings me to the next thing I found.

I found a site that will "replay" any game in which you're interested.  This particular game was one in which JD shut down Jack Clark, striking him out three times.  As an added bonus, it will take you down memory lane in looking at that terrific 1986 team.  Hope you enjoy it.

Tweet of the Day

Bobby Doran
Daylight savings blows.

Roster Moves - 11/9/11

The Astros signed three minor league players

RHP Adalberto Flores
Flores just turned 25 and at 6'7" is described by Baseball America as having a "tremendous plane on his low 90's fastball."  He is currently pitching in the Puerto Rican League.  I will start following him for the Winter League updates.

OF Travis Buck (with an invite to Spring Training)
Buck will be 28 next week.

1B Nick Stavinoha (with an invite to Spring Training)
Stavinoha is from Houston and will be 30 in May.

Here is the story from Brian McTaggart and from Zachary Levine and Steve Campbell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Harvest Time Down on the Farm

With a h/t to @AppyAstros, came up with their list of 2011 Astros minor league standouts at each position.  If this doesn't make you feel better about the farm system, nothing will.

Fall and Winter League Updates


Scottsdale over Salt River 2-0
Jason Castro had a good night at the plate, going 2-3 with a walk.  Josh Zeid pitched two innings, giving up five hits, one run and one walk with four strikeouts and a balk.  One of those strikeouts came with the bases loaded and two outs. Jason Stoffel also got an inning of work in and only gave up one hit.  Thanks to a loss by Mesa, Salt River is still 3.5 games ahead in the AFL East with eight games to play.

Salt River (18-12) vs. Mesa (14-15) at 1:35 CST


Licey over Aguilas 7-5
Anderson Hernandez* was 2-4 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored for Licey.  Brian Bogusevic went 0-4 with three strikeouts for Aguilas.

Gigantes and Estrellas game not posted


Lara over Caracas 5-3
Oswaldo Navarro* was 0-4 for Lara.  Wladimir Sutil* was 1-5 with a strikeout and a run scored for Caracas.

La Guaira over Magallanes 5-4
Nothing like being named player of the week to shut off a hitting rampage - Jose Altuve went 0-4 with two strikeouts and a GIDP for Magallanes (but he's still hitting .374).


Ponce over Carolinas 3-1
Robinson Cancel* was 1-4 with a double and a run scored for Ponce.  Xavier Cedeno pitched one inning and gave up four hits, two runs and a walk and struck out one as he was charged with the loss for Carolina.  Also for Carolina, Carlos Corporan was 0-3.

Mayaguez over Caracas 2-1
Angel Sanchez went 1-3 with an RBI, while Koby Clemens* was 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout for Mayaguez.

*Free agent

Happy Birthday - 11/9

RHP Brandt Walker (24)
Brandt was born in Dallas, but we'll try not to hold that against him.  Drafted in the 8th round in 2009 out of Stanford, Brandt missed the entire 2011 season due to injuries the nature of which I do not exactly know.  He did, however, participate in the recent fall instructional league in Kissimmee as a part of his rehab.  In 2010, he had good numbers at Tri-City, pitching in 21 games out of the bullpen with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP.  He didn't fare as well in 6 starts over 8 appearances at Lexington where he compiled a 10.25 ERA and a 1.937 WHIP.  Brandt is also known for his rather humerous tweets.  Whether talking about the line at the DMV, getting separated from his mother at Michaels or Yadier Molina's eyebrows, he's always good for a giggle.

Former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Red Witt (78)
Pitched in 8 games for the Colt 45's in 1962

RHP Rick Williams (59)
Pitched for Houston in 1978 and 1979

OF Todd Self (33)
Played in 21 games for the Astros in 2005

Tweet of the Day

Austin Wates
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall and Winter League Updates


Salt River over Scottsdale 9-4
Dallas Keuchel pitched four innings, giving up six hits and two runs with three strikeouts to get the win (2-2) for Scottsdale.  Jacob Goebbert was 0-4 with a strikeout.  Salt River is now 3.5 games ahead in the AFL East with nine games left to play before the Championship game on November 19th.

Salt River (18-11) vs. Scottsdale (10-17) at 7:35 CST


Licey over Estrellas 6-1
*Anderson Hernandez was 2-4 with a double and a run scored for Licey.  Henry Sosa started for Estrellas and went 3.1 innings, giving up eight hits, five runs and striking out two as he was tagged for the loss.  Also for Estrellas, Wander Alvino pitched an inning and retired all three batters faced with no hits, no runs and no walks.

Toros over Gigantes 7-6
Jonathan Aristil pitched 2.1 innings, giving up three hits, one run, two walks and a home run for Toros.  Jimmy Paredes started at second base and went 0-5 with a strikeout.

All other Caribbean League teams had the day off.

With a h/t to Appy Astros, Jose Altuve was named player of the week for the Venezuelan League with a torrid week at the plate.  You owe it to yourself to read the press release as translated by Google Translator for a really good chuckle (I guffawed).

Here are the cumulative stats for all Astros players on rosters for the Arizona Fall League or Caribbean Winter League teams through 11/7.  If there are no stats, the player hasn't been in a game yet.  For now, I am including those players who played for the Astros in 2011 but are now free agents as some of those players may still end up re-signing with the Astros at some point.  I will mark the free agents with an asterisk on the stats table and in the recaps.

*Free Agents

Happy Birthday - 11/8

Only former Astros with birthdays today

OF John Fishel (49)
Played in 19 games for Houston in 1988
Traded with 2 others to the Yankees for Rick Rhoden

OF Eric Anthony (44)
Played for Houston for five seasons
Traded to the Mariners for Mike Felder and Mike Hampton

Tweet of the Day

Alex Sogard
PERFECT Wedding!!! Now off to St. Lucia...see you in a week

Monday, November 7, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster - Closer

As posted over the weekend, 2B Delino DeShields Jr. overwhelmingly won the eighth spot on the WTH roster.  Also receiving votes were Yonathan Mejia, John Hinson, Jose Thompson and Luca Martone.  Go here for more info on the What the Heck 25-Man Roster.

Next, let's pick our closer.  I am only including those players who actually got saves in a significant number of games pitched.  I am not including individuals such as Jack Armstrong who may project to have closer-type stuff, but you will have the opportunity to vote on Armstrong and others later for another bullpen spot.  I didn't establish a minimum number of appearances.

You can go several different ways on this one.  Jorge de Leon has strong numbers with a 1.102 WHIP and a .225 BA against, plus strong strikeout numbers.  Jose Valdez has an absurdly high SO/9 of 12.04.  Blake Ford has a 1.90 ERA plus decent peripheral numbers.  But for me, I really like Ryan Cole with his good solid 2.33 ERA, a SO/9 of 8.33 and a SO/BB ratio of 4.17.  I will admit I have another, very superficial gut-instinct reason for liking Cole.  The persona he projects on twitter is one of a strong, in control, no-nonsense, no excuses, sure of himself individual.  In other words, I see the mentality of a closer written all over him.  I know it's not exactly scientific, but sometimes you just have to go with the gut.

With all that said, here are the 2011 stats for the players.  Look them over and vote for one.

Fall and Winter League Updates


No game on Sunday

Salt River (17-11) vs. Scottsdale (10-16) at 8:35 CST


Caguas over Ponce 6-0
Luis Cruz pitched four innings with four hits, no runs, three walks and two strikeouts for Caguas.  Robinson Cancel was 0-3 with a walk for Ponce.

Carolina over Mayaguez 6-4
Rene Garcia was 0-3 with a walk, three strikeouts and a stolen base for Carolina.  Angel Sanchez was 1-2 with two walks and a run scored for Mayaguez, and Koby Clemens was 0-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and a run.


Escogido over Toros 3-2
Brett Wallace was 0-3 with a walk for Escogido, while David Carpenter pitched 0.2 innings with one hit, two runs and a walk.

Aguilas over Licey 10-2
Brian Bogusevic was 3-6 with a double, a triple, an RBI, two strikeouts and a run scored for Aguilas.  For Licey, Anderson Hernandez went 1-4 with a strikeout and a run scored and Domingo Santana was 1-1.  Also for Licey, Henry Villar pitched one inning with three hits, three runs and a walk.

Estrellas over Gigantes 6-5
Jimmy Paredes was the DH for this game and went 2-4 with two RBI's and a strikeout for the Gigantes team, and Erick Abreu retired the one batter he faced.


Caracas over Margarita 6-0
Wladimir Sutil went 0-2 with two walks, a stolen base and scored a run for Caracas.

Magallanes over Caribes 5-4
Jose Altuve was 3-5 with two RBI's and is now hitting .394 for Magallanes.  Andy Van Hekken pitched 5.1 innings for Magallanes, giving up six hits, two runs (one earned), a walk and three strikeouts, and Gabriel Garcia pitched 0.2 innings with one strikeout.

Lara over Aragua 6-5
Oswaldo Navarro was 1-4 with a two run home run, three RBI's and a walk for Lara.

Happy Birthday - 11/7

Only former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Joe Niekro (died October 27, 2006 at 61)
Joe Niekro played in 22 seasons, from 1967 to 1988, for a total of seven different teams.  For his career, Niekro was 221-204 with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.319 WHIP over 702 games and 3584.1 innings pitched.  In 11 seasons for Houston, he was 144-116 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.264 WHIP over 397 games and 2270 innings pitched.  His most successful season was in 1979 when he was 21-11 and led the National League in wins.  1979 was an All-Star year for Niekro and he also placed second in NL Cy Young voting that year, behind Bruce Sutter and in front of 3rd place finisher J.R. Richard and his brother Phil in 6th place.

Niekro simply dominated in post-season pitching.  In the 1980 NLCS, he pitched 10 innings of shut-out ball in a game against Philadelphia which the Astros ultimately won 1-0 in 11 innings.  In the 1981 NLDS, he pitched eight innings of shut-out ball against the Dodgers in another 11-inning 1-0 win for the Astros.  In 1987, Niekro finally got his shot at a ring and pitched two innings for Minnesota in the World Series.  The Twins won the series and Joe got his ring.  For the post-season, Niekro had an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.950.

Neikro was purchased by the Astros from Atlanta for $35,000 in 1975 where he had played with his brother Phil.  Joe and Phil both largely owed the longevity of their careers to their mastery of the knuckleball, a pitch that their father first taught them.  Joe left the Astros via trade to the Yankees for Jim Deshaies in 1985.

Joe is probably as well-known for the emory board incident as anything else in his career.  For more on Joe, here is his Wikipedia page.  He died in 2006 of a brain aneurysm, and his daughter has established a foundation in his name to raise money for aneurysm treatment and research.

RHP Russ Springer (43)
Springer pitched in a total of 18 seasons for 10 different teams, four with Houston.  In 204 games with Houston, he had a 4.03 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

J.P. Shadrick
"Hoosiers" earlier on another channel; Now "Rudy" is on versus. I'm going to run through a brick wall before I go to bed

Sunday, November 6, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster

The eighth player selected for the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was Second Baseman Delino DeShields Jr. who was elected in a landslide.  Also receiving votes were Yonathan Mejia, John Hinson, Jose Thompson and Luca Martone.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Let's pick our closer.

Fall and Winter League Updates


Rising Stars Game - West over East 11-2
After Gerrit Cole coughed up five runs in the bottom of the first while only recording two outs, this game was all but over.  The only Astro involved was Jason Castro; in a late inning AB, he was 0-1 with a fly out.

No game today


Aguilas over Escogido 5-2
Brian Bogusevic was 1-4 with a solo home run (his second of the winter league season) for Aguilas.  Brett Wallace was 1-2 with a walk for Escogido while Jorge de Leon pitched one inning allowing a solo homer and recording two strikeouts.

Gigantes over Toros 8-3
Jimmy Paredes started at second base and went 1-4 with an RBI, a strikeout and stolen base (his 4th) and he scored a run for the Gigantes team.  Aneury Rodriguez started for the Toros and went five innings, giving up five hits, two runs, one home run and had three strikeouts.


Mayaguez over Carolina 7-2
Koby Clemens went 2-4 with a double and two runs scored and Angel Sanchez was 0-4 with a walk and an error for Mayaguez.  Carlos Corporan was 0-3 with a walk for Carolina.

Caguas over Ponce 2-0
Robinson Cancel was 1-3 with a walk for Ponce.


Zulia over La Guaira 4-0
Arcenio Leon pitched one inning for Zulia and gave up no hits or runs and one walk.

Margarita over Caracas 12-7
Wladimir Sutil was 1-5 with an RBI and a run scored for Caracas.  He also recorded his fourth error of the winter league season.

Happy Birthday - 11/6

C Kevin Gonzalez (24)
This Houston native and Texas A&M alumni was drafted in 2011 in the 36th round.  Gonzalez barely got his feet wet, playing in only 13 games for the GCL Astros.  He hit .250 with an OBP of .333.  His batting average improved to .333 with runners on and .400 with runners in scoring position.

Tweet of the Day

Brett Dolan
3 undefeated teams playing in the state of Alabama tonight. Maybe the UH can get into a round robin with LSU and Bama.