Saturday, December 31, 2011

Regular Season over for Venezuelan League

The regular season for the Venezuelan League is over.  How did your Astros do?  I'm glad you asked because overall they all did really well!

First, let's look at the pitchers.

Sergio Perez
Perez was the hardest working Astros pitcher in the Venezuelan League this winter, starting 14 games and pitching 65.2 innings.  He was 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.447 WHIP.  In his last 10 games, his ERA was 2.01.

Gabriel Garcia
Garcia, who pitched for the Legends last season, ended the regular season with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.463 WHIP.  He was frequently used as a LOOGY and had a 1.08 ERA and a 1.320 WHIP against lefties.  He pitched 13.2 innings over 28 games.

Arcenio Leon
Leon ended up with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.402 WHIP in 26 games (2 starts), pitching 30.2 innings.

Sergio Escalona
Up until December 17th, Escalona's ERA was 0.00.  He had one rough outing and ended the season with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.355 WHIP over 13 appearances.

In addition, there were two pitchers who started in the Liga Paralela in Venezuela and graduated to the big leagues.  As Appy Astros explained in this post, the Liga Paralela is the Venezuelan minor league system.

David Martinez
Martinez, another 2011 Legends alum, pitched 17 innings in five games (three starts) in the Liga Paralela, going 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA and a 0.706 WHIP before being called up to pitch for the Magallanes.  With the Magallanes, he was 1-3 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.662 WHIP in six games (five starts).

Carlos Quevedo
Quevedo is another Lexington Legend who excelled in the Liga Paralela, going 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and a 0.625 WHIP in 16 innings over 11 games (one start).  He had zero walks and eight strikeouts at the lower level before being called up.  For the Magallanes, he was 1-2 in 4 starts with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.463 WHIP.

Juri Perez
Perez stayed with the Liga Paralela, pitching 36.2 innings over ten games (seven starts) and going 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.418 WHIP.

Now the position players.

Jose Altuve
Despite cooling off drastically at the plate over his last few games, Altuve still managed to finish the season by hitting .339/.381/.455/.836.  For those concerned about his walk rate, you may be interested to know that he had 16 walks to 26 strikeouts for a SO/BB of 1.625, down from the 5.80 rate he had in Houston in 2011.

Joe Thurston
Thurston put up decent numbers with a .303 batting average and a .380 OBP.  His power numbers are nothing to write home about, but he did manage to walk 17 times while striking out only 16 times.

Marwin Gonzalez
Gonzalez finished the season with a .292/.341/.333/.674 batting line, not bad at all particularly for a shortstop.

Oswaldo Navarro
Free Agent Navarro ended up with a .266/.351/.406/.757 batting line for the season.

Only one position player graduated from the Liga Paralela.

Federico Hernandez
In 25 games with the Liga Paralela, Hernandez batted .280/.321/.400/.721.  He only got three AB's with Magallanes with one hit.

Three other position players, all 2011 Greeneville Astros alumni, stayed with the Liga Paralela for the season.

Jose Monzon
In 38 games, he batted .307/.410/.438/.848.

Luis Alvarez
In 17 games, he batted .300/.352/.440/.792.

Ernesto Genoves
In 22 games, he batted .299/.400/.478/.878.

Baseball Calendar for 2012

Here is the link to all of the important baseball dates for 2012.  I'll worry about the other dates later, but the one I'm focused on now is February 19th.  That is the day that the four sweetest words in the English language are spoken ... "Pitchers and catchers report."

Winter League Recaps


#1 Aragua over Zulia 4-1
Sergio Perez pitched four innings with six hits, one run, one walk and a strikeout for Aragua.

#2 Aragua over Zulia 3-0
Arcenio Leon pitched three innings with three hits, one run, one walk and two strikeouts, and was charged with the loss.

Caribes over Lara 5-4 in 12 innings
Joe Thurston was 0-5 with a walk for Lara, and *Oswaldo Navarro was 1-3 with a double, a walk and scored a run.


Ponce over Caguas 5-2
*Robinson Cancel was 1-3 with two RBI's for Ponce.

Mayaguez over Carolina 6-4
Adalberto Flores pitched 1.2 innings and gave up three hits for Carolina.


The Gigantes game was postponed.


#1 Melbourne over Sydney 15-7
Brandon Barnes was 0-5 with two strikeouts in the first game for Sydney.

#2 Sydney over Melbourne 10-8
Brandon Barnes went 2-5 with a double, four RBI's and scored two runs.  That makes 13 RBI's in the last 4 games!

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/31

Only one former Astro with a birthday today

RHP Brian Moehler (40)
Played for Houston in 2003 and again in 2007 to 2010
Pitched long relief and started

Tweet of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela
Just caught myself sitting next to mom watching a novela... Man I need to get to playing baseball!!

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Jordan Schafer 
Good morning, got a workout in extra early this morning n now headed to the airport to go to NYC 4 NYE
Jordan Schafer in New York City for New Year's Eve? What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter League Recaps


I'm behind because I forgot that they are so far ahead of us that it's already tomorrow there.  What happened to Friday?

12/29 - Sydney over Melbourne 9-7
Brandon Barnes had a monster game, going 3-5 with a double, two home runs and FIVE RBI's.  His late three-run home run was a game winner for Sydney.

12/30 - Sydney over Melbourne 15-5
Barnes slipped off the pace a little in this one, batting 3-5 with only one home run, four RBI's and a strikeout and scoring two runs.  He is currently hitting .386 for the Blue Sox.


#1 Ponce over Carolina 2-1
*Robinson Cancel was 0-3 with a strikeout for Ponce.  Rene Garcia was 0-2 for Carolina.

#2 Ponce over Carolina 2-1
*Robinson Cancel was 1-3 with a double, a walk and scored a run for Ponce.


Escogido over Gigantes 4-1
Jimmy Paredes went 2-4 as DH for the Gigantes and Diory Hernandez was 0-4 with two strikeouts.  Erick Abreu pitched one inning for the Gigantes with two strikeouts.  The Gigantes are now 0-3 in the round robin playoffs.


Lara over Caribes 5-1
Joe Thurston was 0-4 for Lara.

Magallanes over Caracas 10-0
Jose Altuve was 1-5 with a double, two RBI's and scored a run for Magallanes.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/30

LHP Wes Musick (25)
Obtained in the Matt Lindstrom trade with the Rockies in December 2010, Musick was originally drafted by that organization in the 9th round in 2009 out of the University of Houston.  (He had been drafted by Houston earlier but did not sign.)  In 21 games (5 starts) for Lancaster in 2011, he was 4-5 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.558 WHIP.  Away from the "launching pad" at Lancaster, he had a 3.07 ERA.

CF Jose Monzon (20)
Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela, Monzon played in 53 games for Greeneville in 2011 with a .200/.327/.253/.580 battting line.  He had been playing winter ball in Venezuela and batted .307 there.

Tweets of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela
Woke up realizing that spring training is right around the corner

Josh Zeid
Man vs Wild Re-Runs. Im gonna now sky dive into the middle of Birmingham and survive my way to the gym within the next 72 hrs

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Bobby Heck Conundrum

As you probably know by now, it has been reported that Keith Law has been interviewed for a possible job in the Astros front office, and one of those jobs may be Director of Scouting, a position currently held by the namesake of this blog, Bobby Heck.

A lot of talk has gone on throughout the day about Law, but while I was out, it appears that there was a little debate going on over on Twitter about Bobby Heck.  It started with this ...

Timothy De Block
Looks like people are bailing off the Bobby Heck bandwagon.

And, of course, there was some back and forth about whether or not Bobby Heck has been a good Director of Scouting.  And Sean Feist hit the nail on the head with this one.

Sean Feist
   This could of been more org philosophy than Heck. Drafting slot over best available.

We simply don't know what parameters Bobby Heck was given, what his marching orders were from the top. Yes, I wish we had drafted more players with the potential to be superstars, but Heck has drafted a number of good solid players that will make it to Houston or on to other big league rosters over time.

When I put together my Farm System Analysis, I really was shocked at how bad the system had gotten by the time Heck came on board.  The hole was huge and I'm not sure that people really understand how long it takes to turn a system around.  It will still be several years before we can determine whether or not Heck was successful and, if so, how successful.

In the meantime, for those asking if "What the Heck, Bobby?" will be renamed if Bobby Heck is replaced, the answer is no.  It's a catchy name and Bobby Heck is, in my opinion, the man who started the Astros on a road back to respectability; that will still be the case even if someone else finishes paving that road.

Winter League Recaps


Mayaguez over Caguas 11-6
Roberto Pena was 0-1 with a strikeout for Caguas.  Luis Cruz got the start for Caguas pitching four innings with eight hits, six runs, one walk, one strikeout and a home run, and was charged with the loss.

Carolina over Ponce 2-1 in 11 innings
Xavier Cedeno pitched three innings in relief for Carolina with three hits, no runs, four walks and five strikeouts to get the win.  *Robinson Cancel was 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout for Ponce.


Licey over Gigantes 6-4 in 13 innings
Diory Hernandez was 0-6 for the Gigantes, while Jimmy Paredes went 2-6 with a strikeout as DH.  Enerio del Rosario faced two batters and hit two batters ... not one of his better outings.  The Gigantes are now 0-2 in the playoffs.


Magallanes over Zulia 12-4
Jose Altuve went 2-5 with an RBI and scored a run for Magallanes, and Gabriel Garcia retired his one batter.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/29

RHP Enderson Franco (19)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela, Franco was with the GCL Astros in his second professional season.  He was 1-2 in 10 starts with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.553 WHIP.

Former Astros with birthdays today

OF James Mouton (43)
Played for Houston from 1994 to 1997

IF Tomas Perez (38)
Played in 8 games for Houston in 2008

Tweet of the Day

Jonas Dufek
99 days til opening day! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter League Recaps


Caguas over Ponce 4-2
*Robinson Cancel was 2-4 with a walk for Ponce.  *Ryan Rowland-Smith got the start for Ponce, pitching five innings, with five hits, three runs, four walks, one home run and eight strikeouts and was charged with the loss.

Carolina over Mayaguez 9-1
Enrique Hernandez was 0-1 for Carolina, and Adalberto Flores pitched three innings with two hits, one run, one walk and two strikeouts to earn the win.


Aguilas over Gigantes 3-0
Diory Hernandez, who had been playing for the Toros team, is now playing for the Gigantes in the playoffs at third base while Jimmy Paredes continues to DH.  Hernandez was 0-4 with a strikeout and Paredes was 1-4 with a strikeout.  Pitching for the Gigantes, Erick Abreu pitched 1.2 innings with one hit and two strikeouts and Enerio del Rosario retired his one batter.


La Guaira over Magallanes 6-1
Sergio Escalona pitched one inning for La Guaira, giving up one hit.  Jose Altuve was 0-4 for Magallanes.

Aragua over Lara 4-2
Joe Thurston went 2-4 with an RBI and scored a run for Lara, and *Oswaldo Navarro was 0-2 with a strikeout.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/28

C Ryan McCurdy (24)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, this Florida native spent the 2011 season at Tri-City (plus one AB at Lexington) where he put up a .324/.388/.382/.770 batting line.  He was even better with runners on (.347) and runners in scoring position (.357).

Former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Jose Sosa (59)
Pitched in 34 games for Houston in 1975 and 1976

1B/3B Ray Knight (59)
Played for Houston from 1982 to 1984 (All-Star in 1982)
Batted .283/.331/.393/.724
Broke my heart when he married Nancy Lopez

IF Bill Hall (32)
Played in 46 games for Houston in 2011

Tweets of the Day

Jiovanni Mier
Trying to catch  and on the squat rack! Legs feed the wolf. 

Jonathan Gaston
Working full time, responsibilities of marriage and trying to train for the season=exhausting. Looking forward to the season to rest haha

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter League Cumulative Stats

Here are the cumulative stats for all Astros players participating on winter league teams through 12/26.

*Free Agent

Winter League Recaps


Margarita over Magallanes 12-11
Jose Altuve went 1-3 with an RBI double for Magallanes. David Martinez had a hard luck start for the Magallanes team, pitching 1.1 innings and giving up three hits, five runs and three walks with one strikeout to get the loss.

Caribes over Zulia 3-2
Arcenio Leon pitched a third of an inning for Zulia with a strikeout.

The Dominican League playoffs start today.

Happy Birthday - 12/27

RHP Tyson Perez (22)
Drafted in the 17th round in 2011 out of Fresno Community College, Perez spent his first professional season with the Greeneville Astros.  In 13 starts, he was 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP, numbers which are skewed by a rough July.  He has good strikeout numbers with almost a strikeout per inning and a SO/BB ratio of 3.76.  Perez was singled out by Baseball America as a later signing that they thought could be a sleeper.

Former Astros with birthdays today

1B Norm Larker (died March 12, 2007 at 76)
Played in 147 games for the Colt 45's in 1962

OF Byron Browne (69)
Played in 10 games for Houston in 1968

CF Michael Bourn (29)
Played for the Astros from 2008 to 2011
Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2010 & All-Star in 2010
Batted .271 for Houston with 193 stolen bases

SS Craig Reynolds (59)
Played in 1170 games for Houston from 1979 to 1989
Batted .252 for Houston (.333 in 1986 NLCS)
All-Star in 1979 for Houston

LHP Nate Bland (37)
Pitched in 22 games in 2003

Tweet of the Day

John Hinson
The strong keep gettin stronger

Monday, December 26, 2011

WTH 25-Roster - Relief Pitchers (Narrowing Down our Options)

As posted over the weekend, LF Jordan Scott won the 14th spot on the WTH roster.  Also receiving votes were Jake Goebbert, Brandon Meredith and Kellen Kiilsgaard.  For more information on the WTH Roster, go here.

This week we're not going to vote for a final spot on the roster, but we're going to narrow down some of our choices for Relief Pitcher.  There are quite a few pitchers who haven't been included in a poll yet because they didn't pitch enough innings last season to qualify or, in the case of Jack Armstrong, they didn't pitch at all.  I would like to give some of those players a chance to compete with some of the others that received votes in earlier rounds.  For example, Matison Smith has some eye-popping strikeout numbers, but didn't make the earlier list due to a cut-off on innings pitched.  Similarly, Evan Grills has good overall numbers and, at only 19, I think he deserves a good look.  And then there's Zach Dando with one of the stingiest WHIP's in the Astros system.  We'll put the high vote getters from this list up against the runners-up from prior votes (Alex Sogard and Jason Stoffel, for example).

I know it sounds confusing because it is!  All you really need to know is this.  Vote up to five times for those pitchers you would like to see make it to the next round for a final vote.  With all that said, here are the 2011 stats for the players.  Look them over and vote.

Happy Birthday - 12/26

No former or future Astros with birthdays today, but I have no problem celebrating two Hall of Famers!

SS Ozzie Smith (57)
C Carlton Fisk (64)

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith
Sitting here on Christmas wishing it was baseball season.. I can't wait until its go time..

Sunday, December 25, 2011

WTH 25-Man Roster

The fourteenth player selected to the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was LF Jordan Scott.  Also receiving votes were Jacob Goebbert, Brandon Meredith and Kellen Kiilsgaard.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Let's narrow down our options for relief pitchers.

Happy Birthday - 12/25

OF Garen Wright (21)
Drafted in the 29th round in 2009 out of high school in Oklahoma, Garen spent the 2011 season at Greeneville.  His .253/.309/.356/.665 batting line shows steady progress over his first two seasons in the system.  He batted .275 with runners on and .286 with runners in scoring position.

I caught up with a very busy "G" as everyone calls him to ask him about his off-season in Oklahoma City.  After following him on twitter for a while, I wanted to know more about what he was doing.  It turns out that he is doing a lot!

"(R)ight now I'm a teachers assistant up at my old high school basically helping a student with disabilities with his work and stuff at school.. I'm also doing a lot with the special education kids at the school as well.. I'm also working with a lot of kids in both baseball and basketball to work on their skills, doing camps and stuff like that.. When I first got home, I was umpiring a lot to stay busy [for a high school fall league], and just because I enjoy being around the game.. And of course I'm doing my workouts and doing my hitting and stuff everyday.."

In a follow-up, G told me that he works with kids from kindergarten age to college age in his baseball and basketball clinics.  And when I asked him about working with special needs children, he had this to say:

"The thing I love about working with these kids is that these kids are always smiling and having a good time, even through all the pain & their disabilities.. Really makes me count my blessings and really makes me change how I think about life, especially during hard times.."

I also asked G how he feels about having his birthday on Christmas.  Despite having to wait "allllll year long" to get his presents, he knows that "Christmas is about way more than presents.. And for the most part, I enjoy it..!"

Once the baseball season starts, I'll try to catch up with G again and ask him some baseball-related questions.  But I thought that his work with kids and his impact on their lives was more important today of all days.

G working with CJ

1B Mario Gonzalez (20)
A non-drafted free agent signed by the Astros out of Panama in 2009, Gonzalez has played three seasons with the DSL Astros.  His has a .273/.443/.398/.841 batting line.  His batting average was .347 Post All-Star, .315 with runners on and .313 with runners in scoring position.

Former Astros with birthdays today

2B Nellie Fox (died December 1, 1975 at 47)
Played in 154 games for Houston in 1964 & 1965 at the end of his career
Voted into the HOF by the Veterans Committee in 1997

IF Julio Gonzalez (59)
Played for Houston from 1977 to 1980

OF Ty Gainey (51)
Played in 57 games for Houston in 1985 to 1987

CF Willy Tavares (30)
Played for Houston from 2004 to 2006
Placed 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005
Batted .284 for Houston

Tweets of the Day - Dedication

Chris Johnson

Ryan Cole
Great Christmas Eve workout, now time to be merry an jolly 

Rafael Valenzuela
Workout on Christmas Eve? I don't see why not!

Neiko Johnson
Guess I'll go get a quick workout in before I watch football all day

Garen L. Wright
Jus got done pickin up some last minute stuff.. Bout to go get this workout in before I do anything else..

Jarred Cosart
Training day and night to prepare and fight for everything I have ever believed in, dreamed about and those who believe in me. Merry Xmas!