Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter League Recaps


Aguilas over Estrellas 15-2
Brian Bogusevic was the star of this game as he went 4-4 with two walks and scored three runs for Aguilas.  He is now hitting .325.  Jonathan Villar pinch hit for the Aguilas team and stayed in to play 2B.  He was 1-2 with an RBI and a run scored.  Mickey Storey did not fare as well for the Estrellas team, going a third of an inning, giving up three hits, four runs and two walks.

Licey over Toros 4-1
*Anderson Hernandez was 0-4 for Licey.  Diory Hernandez got another start at 3B for the Toros and was 1-4 with an RBI, while teammate Jonathan Aristil pitched two innings with a walk and two strikeouts.

Gigantes over Escogido 6-3
Erick Abreu pitched 1.2 innings for the Gigantes team, giving up one hit with one strikeout and was awarded the win.


Ponce over Mayaguez 2-0
*Robinson Cancel was 0-4 for Ponce.  Angel Sanchez was 0-3 for Mayaguez.

Caguas over Carolina 2-1
Luis Cruz got the start for Caguas, pitching six innings with three hits, one run (a solo homer), one walk and three strikeouts.  Rene Garcia was 1-2 with a walk for Carolina.


Aragua over Magallanes 7-5
Sergio Perez got the start for Aragua, pitching 4.1 innings with five hits, three runs (one earned), two walks and three strikeouts.  Jose Altuve was 1-5 with two RBI's and had two errors (his 11th and 12th) for Magallanes while Gabriel Garcia retired his one batter.

La Guaira over Zulia 6-0
Sergio Escalona pitched an inning for La Guaira and gave up one hit, no runs and no walks.  For Zulia, Arcenio Leon pitched two innings with no hits, a walk and two strikeouts.

Lara over Margarita 8-1
Joe Thurston was 2-5 with a double, two RBI's and a strikeout, and *Oswaldo Navarro was 0-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and an error (his 7th) for Lara.


Sydney over Brisbane 5-3
In the first game, Brandon Barnes was 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout as the DH.

Sydney over Brisbane 7-0
In the second game, Brandon Barnes was 2-3 with a double, two RBI's and scored two runs for Sydney.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/3

Only former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Dave Eilers (75)
Pitched for Houston in 1967 going 6-4 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.433 WHIP

RHP Jerry Johnson (68)
Pitched in 34 games for Houston in 1974

Tweet of the Day

Zachary Levine
Winter meetings should feature a seller's market on free agent pitching. Given demographics, also on hookers.

Roster Moves - 12/2

As I noted yesterday, the Astros have signed SS Diory Hernandez and given him an invitation to Spring Training.  Here is the story from Zachary Levine.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Part 4 of 4 - Are We Really Getting Any Better?

For Parts 1, 2 and 3, go here, here and here.

In the previous parts of this analysis, I've identified several areas that have impacted the success of the Astros farm system - bad drafts from 2002 to 2007, the relative age of the players/teams, pitching injuries, and the closing of the Astros' Venezuelan Academy after the 2008 season, in particular.  I will be referring to some of that information as we look at the farm system trends from 2007 to 2011.

In looking at how different teams/levels within the system are faring, it became immediately obvious to me that I would have to totally discount Salem/Lancaster, the GCL Astros and the DSL Astros in the overall trending analysis.  Here are my reasons.  Going from Salem in 2007 & 2008 to Lancaster in 2009 to 2011 was like going from the earth to the moon.  ERA & WHIP skyrocketed as did the batting stats.  The venues are much too different - any trends are meaningless.  The GCL has only been around for three of the five years that are part of this analysis.  In addition, since the GCL came into being, the team there has generally been composed of the rawest/youngest of the draft class, Latin NDFA's in their first season in the U.S., and players undergoing rehab assignments which inhibits meaningful analysis.  The DSL is actually starting to show slight improvement, but since my primary focus is the actual draft classes and the talent level at the DSL is notoriously unpredictable, I chose to forego this team as well.

That leaves us with Greeneville, Tri-City, Lexington and Corpus Christi which have all been consistent venues, plus Round Rock/Oklahoma City (since OKC plays similarly enough to RR for these purposes). 

First, let's look at the Win Percentage.  As you can see, the average (dark blue line) and the trendline based on the average indicate a positive trend over the five seasons even though this season trended downwards on all but OKC (which consists largely of free agents, waiver claims, etc. at this point).  If you do a trendline on each team, you will find that all are going up except for Corpus which is still being impacted by the 2007 and earlier drafts and the 2009 draft pitching injuries which has forced younger players into service at this level.

Also note the huge jump in win percentage from 2007 to 2008 at Greeneville as the team segued from 44% primary players from the 2007 draft to 56% Latin NDFA's and the big dip in the Lexington win percentage in 2008 as the 2007 draft class came through there.

Next, you will see that the overall trend on ERA and WHIP is downward.  If you add a trendline for each team, all teams have a decrease except RR/OKC with the largest decrease coming for Tri-City.  Although the overall trend for CC is down mostly due to the 2010 numbers, it is up dramatically for 2011 which I attribute partly to the pitching injuries and the age factor that I discussed earlier.  Again, you can see how the ERA at Greeneville peaked with the 2007 draft class and has never gotten quite that high again despite some volatility.

Now, let's look at the batting stats.  Overall, batting average is up slightly, OBP is up a little more, and slugging percentage is down slightly.  Corpus Christi is trending down across the board in all categories although the swings aren't as severe and show slight improvement overall in 2011 over 2010.  RR/OKC is down slightly in BA and down in SLG.  Tri-City is also down slightly in SLG.  Lexington is trending up in all categories, Tri-City is up in BA & OBP and Greeneville is up sharply in all batting categories.

Lexington has the most volatile numbers.  In 2008 and 2009, they had a large number of the 2007 draft class.  In 2010, they had Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez; in 2011, they didn't.

So what does all of this actually mean?  I'm a little concerned with the downturn on many of the stats in the 2011 season even though the overall trends show as positive.  But I'm hoping that the downturn in 2011 has more to do with youth and the lack of depth from prior year debacles than it does with lack of talent in the system.  After all, these numbers are simply averages.  A large number of players have stats that are superior to these, but lack of quality depth in the system will bring those averages down.

In closing, the Astros farm system teams simply must show improvement in 2012 and there is every reason to believe that they will.  The average age of those left in the system works in our favor, as does the potential positive impact from the late signings and trade deadline acquisitions.  If we can start getting contributions from the previously injured pitchers and get the DSL to really start producing as well, that will be enormously helpful.  And, although I'm not wild about some of the changes to the draft, it will result in getting our draft picks signed and playing earlier.  Based on all of this, I believe that 2012 should be the year that we start to see more positive results.  At least I hope so.

Winter League Recaps


Aragua over Magallanes 11-6
Jose Altuve was 3-5 with an RBI double and a run scored for Magallanes.  David Martinez got the start for Magallanes, going four innings with seven hits, five runs (three earned), one walk, four strikeouts and gave up a home run (to Lastings Milledge); he was charged with the loss.

No games in the Dominican or Puerto Rican leagues on Thursday.


Sydney over Brisbane 4-3 in 15 innings
This was the continuation of the suspended game I noted yesterday.  It took all 15 innings but Brandon Barnes finally got his first hit in the Australian league, a single.  He was 1-6 with a HBP and a caught stealing.

Brisbane over Sydney 6-4
After breaking the ice in the first game, Brandon Barnes went 2-4 with a double, a strikeout and scored a run for Sydney in the second game.

Happy Birthday - 12/2

1B Justin Shults (24)
Drafted in the 46th round in 2011 out of UC Riverside, Justin played in 51 games with the GCL Astros in his first season.  His batting line of .224/.317/.379/.696 isn't indicative of his improvement at the plate as the season progressed or of his improved numbers with runners on and RISP.

Former Astro with a birthday today

RHP Darryl Kile (died June 18, 2002 at 33)
It's hard to believe that it's been almost 10 years since DK left us. In 209 games pitched for Houston from 1991 to 1997, Kile was 71-65 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.408 WHIP.  In post-season pitching for Houston, he was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA and a 0.571 WHIP.  Kile was an All-Star for the Astros in 1993 and 1997 and is honored with a memorial plaque on the outfield wall at Minute Maid Park.

Tweet of the Day

Evan Grills
Working out at Twist, Third workout of the day. One goal in mind, To possess the quads of young sidney crosby

Roster Moves - 12/1

According to Baseball America, the Astros have signed minor league free agent Diory Hernandez.  In MiLB, he is listed as a SS, but he is currently playing 3B for the Toros in the Dominican League.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Part 3 of 4 - Are We Getting Any Better?

For Parts 1 and 2, go here and here.

Next, let’s look at the overall age of those players still in the system.  I looked at the age of all drafted players as of 1/1/12 and I was somewhat surprised with what I found.  (Note: I did not include those who have graduated to the MLB.)

2007 Draft Average Age – 23.9
Pitchers – 22.8 (Colton Pitkin, Kyle Greenwalt)
Position Players – 26.1 (Colin DeLome)

2008 Draft Average Age – 23.9
Pitchers (9) – 23.6
Position Players (6) – 24.2

2009 Draft Average Age – 22.7
Pitchers (6) – 22.7
Position Players (11) – 22.7

2010 Draft Average Age – 22.3
Pitchers (18) – 22.6
Position Players (15) – 21.9

2011 Draft Average Age – 22.2
Pitchers (15) – 21.9
Position Players (19) – 22.3

The average age for those drafted in 2007 that are still in the system is only one year and approximately eight months older than the average age of those drafted in 2011.  Only about six months separate the average age of the 2009 and 2011 draftees.  What does this tell us?  It’s a bit early to be writing any of these prospects off, regardless of the year signed.  Of 39 high school players signed from 2007 through 2011, 28 are still in the Astros minor league system, and they are still young enough to show us something.

Another factor I looked at was team age and how that has fluctuated over the 2007 to 2011 seasons.  (Note: I had to average the ages of pitchers and hitters from Baseball-Reference so the exact averages may vary slightly from this, but generally the pitchers were slightly younger and the hitters were slightly older than the average ages given below.)

The trend as looked at year over year is slightly younger with a couple of exceptions.  In 2011, the average age at Tri-City jumped by about 7 months as the 2011 draft class was particularly heavy in college/community college players (86% as opposed to an average of 75% in the prior four drafts).  But the biggest change, by far, was that the average age in Corpus Christi dropped by approximately one year and six months from 2009 to 2011, which happens to correspond precisely with when the 2007 draft should have been making an impact there.  Instead, as you can see on the team composition chart from yesterday, more free agents and Latin players were being used to fill the void, and younger players were being pressed into service.

There are other factors that have impacted the success of various teams, at least for the short term, and I will touch on those briefly.

Pitching injuries - Of six pitchers remaining in the system from the 2009 draft, only two (Dallas Keuchel & Robby Donovan) were healthy for virtually the entire season.  Of the remaining four, three were on the DL for the entire season (Raul Rivera, B.J. Hyatt and Brandt Walker) and one was on the DL for a large chunk of the season (Tanner Bushue).  Since the 2009 draft should be getting to Corpus between 2011 and 2013, most of these players are well behind schedule.  On top of this, you have Vincent Velasquez from 2010 and David Duncan from 2008 who were high draft picks but did not throw one pitch in a regular season game in 2011.  Bobby Heck has an incomplete at this point on some of these pitchers.

Late signings/additions – In 2011, two of our top three picks signed late.  In George Springer’s case, he only played a handful of games and in Jack Armstrong’s case, none.  In addition, very few of the players acquired at the trade deadline, particularly the pitchers, got enough starts to make much of a difference to their respective Astros teams.

Shutting down the VSL in 2009 – In my opinion, this was a huge blow to the system.  The VSL Astros averaged a .590 win percentage from 2005 to 2008.  The DSL has never had that kind of success, although they did have a .500 win percentage the year after the VSL team disbanded.  Very few of the Venezuelan players go to the DSL.  Most of them come directly to the U.S. and participate with the GCL Astros or are mainstreamed into Greeneville.  I think that the importance of transitioning to a professional career in familiar territory cannot be underestimated.  And the number of Venezuelan-born players has dropped significantly.  We currently only have seven players in the minor league system (3 pitchers and 4 position players) who were signed after the Venezuelan Academy closed.

In Part 4, we will look at the trends on Win Percentage, ERA, WHIP, BA, OBP and SLG from 2007 to 2011.

Winter League Recaps


Ponce over Caguas 3-1
*Robinson Cancel was 2-4 with three RBI's, including a 2-run home run (off Nelson Figueroa), a walk and a strikeout for Ponce.

Mayaguez over Carolina 4-1
Carlos Corporan was 1-4 and Enrique Hernandez was 0-3 for Carolina.


Toros over Gigantes 13-4
Jimmy Paredes got a start at second base and was 0-2 with a strikeout for the Gigantes.

Estrellas over Licey 6-5
Henry Sosa pitched a little batting practice in his start for Estrellas.  He went four innings, giving up five hits, four runs, two walks and THREE home runs with three strikeouts.  *Anderson Hernandez was 3-4 with a solo home run (off Sosa) for Licey.

Aguilas over Escogido 7-6 in 12 innings
Brian Bogusevic was 1-3 with four walks, a strikeout and scored a run, and Jonathan Villar came in as a pinch runner and scored a run for Aguilas.  For Escogido, Jorge de Leon pitched one-third of an inning, giving up one hit and one walk and allowing his inherited runner to score the winning run.


Caribes over Magallanes 4-1
Jose Altuve was 2-3 with a double, an RBI and a walk for Magallanes, while Gabriel Garcia gave up a hit to his one batter and was charged with a blown save.

Lara over La Guaira 10-9
Sergio Escalona pitched one inning for La Guaira with one hit and two strikeouts.


Brisbane over Sydney 1-0 (Game suspended after two innings)
Brandon Barnes showed up on the Sydney Blue Sox team down under.  In one plate appearance before the game was suspended, he was hit by a pitch and was caught stealing.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/1

Only former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Jim "Sting" Ray (67)
Ray pitched for Houston in 1965, 1966 and 1968 to 1973.  He was 42-27 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.293 WHIP and 23 Saves in 280 games.  One of the highlights of Ray's career had to be pitching in the 24-inning affair with the Mets on April 15, 1968, the longest shutout in baseball history.  He pitched seven innings of relief, gave up two hits, one walk and struck out 11.  This entertaining story about the game put it well:

"As the innings wore on, pitchers looked more and more like Walter Johnson, and it became apparent that short of a negotiated truce, the only way this contest would end was through a mistake."

LHP Dan Warthen (59)
Pitched in 5 games for Houston in 1978

LHP Dan Schatzeder (57)
Pitched in 81 games for Houston in 1989 & 1990 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.459 WHIP

Tweet of the Day

Jimmy VanOstrand
It's been a good month of now it's time for the 'stache to ride off into the sunset

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Part 2 of 4 - Are We Getting Any Better?

For Part 1 of this analysis, go here.

Based on a look at the historical make-up of the AAA and AA Astros teams, I was able to determine when drafted players are most likely to make it to those levels on average.  Obviously there will be over-achievers like J.D. Martinez that will zoom through the system and there will be younger players like Javaris Reynolds that may very well take a bit longer, but on average this is when most of the drafted players got to or are projected to get to those levels:

2002 – 1997 to 1999 drafts
2003 – 1998 to 2000 drafts
2004 – 1999 to 2001 drafts
2005 – 2000 to 2002 drafts
2006 – 2001 to 2003 drafts
2007 – 2002 to 2004 drafts
2008 – 2003 to 2005 drafts
2009 – 2004 to 2006 drafts
2010 – 2005 to 2007 drafts
2011 – 2006 to 2008 drafts
2012 – 2007 to 2009 drafts
2013 – 2008 to 2010 drafts

2002 – 1998 to 2000 drafts
2003 – 1999 to 2001 drafts
2004 – 2000 to 2002 drafts
2005 – 2001 to 2003 drafts
2006 – 2002 to 2004 drafts
2007 – 2003 to 2005 drafts
2008 – 2004 to 2006 drafts
2009 – 2005 to 2007 drafts
2010 – 2006 to 2008 drafts
2011 – 2007 to 2009 drafts
2012 – 2008 to 2010 drafts

In looking at these projections, starting in 2012 in Corpus Christi and starting in 2013 in Oklahoma City, Bobby Heck will have to own those teams in terms of performance as his own draft picks work their way up the food chain.

But as you well know, no minor league team is made up completely of draft picks.  This led me to look at the historical make-up of the minor league teams to see if I could find any factors there that impacted performance of the system as a whole.

These percentages are based on the approximately 24-29 players on any given team in any given season who got the majority of the IP, AB’s and games played.  It does not include every player listed on the roster for the entire season.  Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.  “Other” includes free agents, waiver claims, players obtained by trades and non-Latin NDFA’s.  I did not include the GCL team as it only started in 2009 or the DSL team for obvious reasons.

Some observations based on this table:

The 2007 draft class (highlighted for your convenience) quickly fizzles out.  In particular you can look at Salem/Lancaster for an illustration of this.  Each year in High-A, the draft class from two years prior is the largest group until 2009 when the 2008 class was pressed into early service.

The poor draft classes from 2002 forward take a toll on the AA and AAA teams as well.  In 2007, 52% of the primary players on the Round Rock team were players who had been drafted.  The average of drafted players from 2008 to 2011 was 32%.  In Corpus, drafted players made up 60% and 70% of the primary players on the 2007 and 2008 teams, and then averaged 48% in 2009 to 2011 (with a slight uptick in 2011).

There are probably other observations that can be taken from the table, but I will leave that to the reader at this point.  In summary, the 2002 through 2007 draft classes have had a definite negative impact on the farm system, but that impact is starting to fade as the new players make their way through the system.

In Part 3, we will look at age, injuries and other factors that have impacted the farm system.

Winter League Recaps


Aguilas over Estrellas 3-1
Brian Bogusevic was 1-4 with a double and a run scored for Aguilas.  Mickey Storey pitched one inning with one walk and one strikeout for Estrellas.

Escogido over Gigantes 7-0
Jimmy Paredes came in to pinch hit for the Gigantes team and stayed in at second base and was 1-2.  Also for the Gigantes, Erick Abreu pitched a third of an inning with two hits, two runs, one walk and one strikeout and Enerio del Rosario pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit and one walk with a strikeout.

Toros over Licey 1-0
*Anderson Hernandez was 2-4 for Licey.


Lara over La Guaira 12-8
*Oswaldo Navarro came in to pinch hit and was 1-1, WITH A GRAND SLAM!!!  That's what I call a pinch hit!


Caguas over Ponce 9-5
*Robinson Cancel went 2-4 with an RBI and a strikeout for Ponce.

Carolina over Mayaguez 3-2
Enrique Hernandez was 0-4 for Carolina, while Xavier Cedeno pitched two innings with one hit and one strikeout to earn his second save.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 11/30

RHP Agapito Barrios (18)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Panama, Barrios pitched for the DSL Astros in 2011.  In 13 games started, he pitched 58.2 innings with a 3-4 record, a 4.60 ERA and a 1.398 WHIP.  His ERA dropped to 3.63 after the All-Star break.  And he's just turning 18.

RHP Jonnathan Aristil (25)
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Aristil came to Houston from Colorado as a part of the Matt Lindstrom trade.  In 2011, for Corpus Christi (plus 1.0 IP at OKC), Aristil had a 6.08 ERA with a 1.624 WHIP.  He is currently pitching in the Dominican winter league.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith
No shave November comes to an end

brandon meredith
The question to keep the mustache or to not??

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Kellen Kiilsgaard
When I first got my license, turned my music up, put the car in reverse and went right thru the garage door.
Presumably, that was before he got into Stanford.

Roster Moves - 11/29

C Carlos Corporan was signed to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.

Also, Astros Bullpen Coach Jamie Quirk is leaving to accept a bench coach position with the Cubs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Part 1 of 4 - Are We Getting Any Better?

Where is the Astros farm system in terms of rebuilding?  That seems like a fairly straightforward question, but it turns out that there are so many factors involved that, in my analysis, one thing led to another and to another and to another.  I’m still not sure that I know the answer to the question, but I think I now have a better understanding of the system as a whole.  Read on to be frustrated and encouraged, often simultaneously.

2011 was not only a bad year for the Astros major league club, it was also a bad year for the Astros minor league teams as a whole.  How bad?  Out of 30 farm systems, this is how we ranked as a whole in six areas:

Win Percentage – 30 out of 30
ERA – 30 out of 30
WHIP – 30 out of 30
BA – 18 out of 30
OBP – 19 out of 30
SLG – 23 out of 30

It's nice to see that we're not dead last in the hitting categories, but the rankings are not exactly encouraging.  When I saw those numbers, I questioned whether or not we were actually getting any better.  I sensed that we were, but if so, what could explain this.  Here is part of what I found.

Knowing that it takes several years for players to work their way through the system and knowing that the Astros drafts were almost universally panned from 2002 through 2007, I went back to look at the attrition rate at three years and at five years out, what prominent players, if any, came from that class and who remains in the Astros system from that class.

53% out of system in three years
70% out of system in five years
Still in system - None
Notable players – Mitch Talbot

68% out of system in three years
88% out of system in five years
Still in system – None
Notable players – Jason Hirsh, Josh Anderson

52% out of system in three years
82% out of system in five years
Still in system – Brad James (free agent) & J.R. Towles (free agent)
Notable players – Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist, Troy Patton, Drew Sutton, J.R. Towles

63% out of system in three years
78% out of system in five years
Still in system – Brian Bogusevic, Brandon Barnes, Koby Clemens (free agent)
Notable players – Brian Bogusevic, Tommy Manzella

64% out of system in three years
86% out of system in five years
Still in system – Sergio Perez, Jimmy VanOstrand, Bud Norris, Chris Johnson
Notable players – Bud Norris, Chris Johnson

79% out of system in three years
91% out of system in five years
Still in system – Collin DeLome, Kyle Greenwalt, Colton Pitkin
Notable players – None

Let’s carry this forward and look at Bobby Heck’s first two drafts

44% out of system in three years
Still in system – 18 players (3 in majors)
Notable players (to date) – Jason Castro, Jordan Lyles, J.B. Shuck

50% out of system in three years
Still in system – 18 players (1 in majors)
Notable players (to date) – J.D. Martinez, Dallas Keuchel

I think it is safe to argue that the farm system bottomed out in 2007 and that we are still feeling the repercussions from those earlier bad drafts in terms of depth in the system.  Because of that, I will be using 2007 as the starting point in the next portions of my analysis.

I will leave you with one last stat in this part of my analysis – average win percentage of Astros farm system teams, as a whole.

From 2002 to 2006 - .525 Average Win Percentage
From 2007 to 2011 - .427 Average Win Percentage

In Part 2, we will look at the historical make-up of the farm teams and how that may reflect the strength of the draft classes and other circumstances.

Winter League Recaps

Most of the teams had the day off.  Only two games to report on.


Licey over Estrellas 3-2
*Anderson Hernandez was 1-5 with an RBI for Licey, while Henry Villar pitched a third of an inning and gave up one hit, no runs and no walks.

*Free Agent


Magallanes over Carcas 10-4
Jose Altuve went 1-5 with two strikeouts, and Gabriel Garcia pitched one inning, giving up no hits, no runs and no walks for Magallanes.


Per a tweet yesterday evening, Brandon Barnes is headed out to play in the Australian League.  When I find his information, I will add him to the appropriate roster.

In case you missed it, I posted cumulative stats through 11/27 yesterday for all Astros players in the Winter League.  Two more Astros players showed up in the Dominican - RHP Jose Cisnero and RHP Mickey Storey.  They have been added to the rosters and to the cumulative stats.

Happy Birthday - 11/29

Former Astros with birthdays today

LHP Pedro Martinez (43)
Pitched in 25 games for Houston in 1995

LF Mike Easler (61)
Pitched in 26 games for Houston in 1973 to 1975

SS Jason Alfaro (34)
Played in 7 games for Houston in 2004

Happy Birthday - 11/28

Okay, so I got a little confused on dates over the holidays.  This should have been posted yesterday.  Oops!

Former Astros with birthdays today

1B/OF Jim Fuller (61)
Played in 34 games for Houston in 1977

RHP Pedro Astacio (43)
Pitched 28.2 innings for Houston in 2001, going 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.186 WHIP

Tweet of the Day

Austin Wates
Back on my offseason diet game... Man-plan + beast mode + crazy amounts of quality food = not dying after 100+ games

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cumulative Winter League Stats

Here are the updated cumulative stats for all Astros players on rosters for the Caribbean Winter League teams through 11/27.  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

WTH 25-Man Roster - Starting Pitcher

As posted over the weekend, we were able to narrow down the pool for Starting Pitcher candidates, including those with fewer innings (Adrian Houser) and those coming off the DL (Vincent Velasquez), etc.  Now that the field has been narrowed, we are going to vote for our third Starting Pitcher (the fourth & fifth will also be coming from this list).

This is not an easy vote.  Cosart and Houser probably have the best stuff of all of these guys, but Cosart has three years on Houser.  Clemens and Oberholtzer are probably ready to go today while Nick Tropeano, Kyle Hallock and Luis Ordosgoitti have me excited for what may come.  Ross Seaton is a workhorse and is only 22 at Corpus so look for improvement this season.  And what will a healthy Velasquez be capable of?

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

Winter League Recaps


Caribes over Aragua 2-1
Sergio Perez got the start for Aragua and went three innings, giving up two hits and five walks with four strikeouts.

Caracas over Lara 5-4
Joe Thurston was 0-3 with a walk and *Oswaldo Navarro was 1-1 in a pinch hit appearance for Lara.

La Guaira over Magallanes 6-5
Sergio Escalona retired his one batter faced for La Guaira.  Jose Altuve was 1-4 with an RBI double and a strikeout.

Zulia over Margarita 7-3
Arcenio Leon pitched two-thirds of an inning for Zulia, giving up a run on two walks.


Toros over Estrellas 5-2
Wander Alvino pitched a third of an inning for Estrellas, retiring his one batter with a strikeout.

Gigantes over Aguilas 9-5
Brian Bogusevic was 3-5 with a 2-run home run and scored two runs for Aguilas.

Licey over Escogido 5-2
*Anderson Hernandez was 1-3 with an RBI and a walk and scored a run for Licey.


Ponce over Mayaguez 6-4
*Robinson Cancel was 1-4 with a solo home run, a walk and a strikeout for Ponce.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 11/27

Only former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Dave Giusti (72)
Pitched for the Colt 45's in 1962 & 1964 and for the Astros in 1965 to 1968
47-53 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.284 WHIP in 913.1 IP

C Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (40)
Played in 93 games for Houston in 2009
Traded to the Rangers for Matt Nevarez and Jose Vallejo

Tweet of the Day

Josh Zeid
Just crushed some orange chicken. Tomorrow starts my offseason workout program.

No Announced Roster Moves Today But ...

With a h/t to @farmstros, Baseball America is showing that Wladimir Sutil was signed by the Diamondbacks system.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster

There is no winner this week in the WTH 25-Man Roster as we were only trying to whittle down our choices for Starting Pitchers.  Top vote getters included Jared Cosart, Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer, Adrian Houser and Vincent Velasquez.  Also receiving votes were Tommy Shirley, Tanner Bushue, Ruben Alaniz, Luis Cruz, Edison Frias, Christoper Lee, Zachary Grimmett and Brandt Walker.  All of these pitchers will join our runners-up from the previous rounds of voting and will make up the pool from which we will chose our final three starting pitchers.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - We will vote for our third Starting Pitcher.

Winter League Recaps


Magallanes over Lara 12-2
Jose Altuve was 0-3 with a sacrifice fly RBI and Federico Hernandez was 1-1 with an RBI in a pinch hitting appearance for Magallanes.  David Martinez got the start for the Magallanes team, pitching 4.1 innings with five hits, no runs, two walks and five strikeouts.  Joe Thurston was 2-4 with a double and *Oswaldo Navarro was 0-2 for Lara.

La Guaira over Caracas 4-3
Sergio Escalona retired his one batter faced for La Guaira.  *Wladimir Sutil was 1-3 with a walk and scored a run for Caracas.


Gigantes over Licey
*Anderson Hernandez was 1-4 with a triple, a walk and scored a run for Licey, while Sammy Gervacio pitched 0.2 innings with one hit (and allowed two inherited runners to score) and Henry Villar pitched one inning with one hit, no runs, one walk and a strikeout.

Aguilas over Toros 5-2
Brian Bogusevic was 1-3 with an RBI double, a walk, two strikeouts and scored a run for Aguilas.

Estrellas over Escogido 3-2
Jorge de Leon pitched a third of an inning and gave up one hit and one walk for Escogido.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 11/26

RHP Victor Mesa (18)
A non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, Victor pitched in 11 games (25.2 IP) for the DSL Astros in 2011, going 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.480 WHIP.  After the All-Star break, his ERA was 1.98 and he had a WHIP of 1.171.  All of this was done at the ripe old age of 17.

Former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Jeff Fulchino (32)
Jeff pitched for Houston from 2009 to 2011.  In his first season with the Astros, he was a very effective part of the bullpen, going 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP.  Unfortunately, he was never able to recapture that effectiveness on the major league level for Houston and was selected off waivers by the Padres in September.  He is currently a free agent.

RHP Mike Mendoza (56)
This is the way to get a cup of coffee.  Mike pitched one inning in one game in the majors and it was perfect.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith
Ha ha ha look at me sophomore year in college...