Thursday, October 11, 2012

Astros Minor League Awards Presentation

I wanted to hand out a few awards to deserving players and coaching staff for their 2012 seasons. Awards will be divided into the serious (The Bobbies) and the not-so-serious (The Heckies). The envelope please ...


Full Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Mike Foltynewicz
I know this isn't a very original choice, but there is a reason that Folty was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Astros and Outstanding Pitcher for the South Atlantic League. He made huge strides forward as he compiled a 14-4 record with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP this season at Lexington.

Full Season Player of the Year: 2B Delino DeShields
Again, not original, but DeShields showed everyone why he was a first round pick in 2010 as he stole 101 bases while hitting a combined .287/.389/.428 between Lexington and Lancaster. He was also named MVP of the California League Championship Finals.

Short Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Aaron West
This was a difficult decision with great seasons from so many, but ultimately Aaron West made the decision for me. Aaron put together a 6-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP in 12 starts for Tri-City. He walked only nine batters in 61+ innings and put up a 6.56 SO/BB ratio. In the post-season, he had a 2.45 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP.

Short Season Player of the Year: CF Andrew Aplin
This was the most difficult decision of all with Tyler Heineman and Jean Batista, in particular, making very good cases for themselves, but Aplin's speed, on-base skills and emerging power gave him the edge. Aplin hit .313/.386/.493 combined between Tri-City and Lancaster with 13 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 38 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 68 games.

Comeback Pitcher of the Year: RHP Bobby Doran
No one else even came close! In 2011, Bobby was 1-3 with a 9.04 ERA and a 2.010 WHIP in 22 appearances (13 starts) at Lancaster. In 27 starts between Lancaster and Corpus Christi in 2012, he was 14-6 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.284 WHIP. Enough said.

Comeback Player of the Year: 2B Kiké Hernandez
Being healthy and getting regular playing time agreed with Kiké. Everything except for his walk rate showed substantial improvement from 2011 to 2012. In 62 games for Lexington in 2011, he hit .247/.341/.326 with 11 doubles, no triples, two home runs, 17 RBI and no stolen bases. In 2012, between Lancaster and Corpus Christi, he hit .270/.314/.399 with 27 doubles, seven triples, six home runs, 52 RBI and six stolen bases in 123 games.

Manager of the Year: Rodney Linares of the Lancaster JetHawks
Rodney Linares not only guided his team to the California League Championship, he also managed to keep an even keel with his players. When I visited Lancaster, I was extremely impressed with how loose, yet focused the players were when going through on-field drills and BP, and how supportive the players were of each other. That comes from the top.

Pitching Coach of the Year: Hector Mercado
This is based solely on the glowing reports I received on Mercado from every single pitcher I talked to in Greeneville. Each and every one of those pitchers credited Mercado for his help and for keeping his advice  simple.

Hitting Coach of the Year: Josh Bonifay
Again, I heard great things about Bonifay from his players in Lexington, but it was Bonifay being honored as  hitting coach for the South Atlantic League All-Star game that put him over the top.

Team of the Year: Lancaster JetHawks
Other teams may have had better overall records, but the JetHawks crew never quit believing in themselves or in each other. They fought and scratched and clawed their way to a wild card berth and then rode that all the way to the California League Championship crown. It was my sincere pleasure to get to know many of the players on this team just a little bit better.


Studmuffin of the Year: Mike Foltynewicz
For those who may not know, Folty's girlfriend frequently refers to him as Studmuffin on twitter. She was gracious enough to allow me to borrow the phrase and he became my Studmuffin of the Day on recaps when he had a good game. This reward is only fitting after the year he had.

Most Likely to Buy Stock in Alleve: Matt Duffy
Duffy was hit by pitches an incredible 41 times in 2012.

Most Likely to Go Over the Wall for an Out: Austin Wates
In case you somehow missed it (or just want to see it again), here it is.

Best Middle Name Ever: We have a tie - Brett Maverick Phillips and Erik Beauchamp Castro

Best Name in the Astros Farm System: Another Tie - Rayderson Chevalier and Geronimo Franzua

Name Most Likely to be Misspelled: Asher Wojocowski Wojakoski Wojecowski Wojciechowski

Most Likely to Star in a Broadway Revival of 42nd Street: Joe Musgrove
Ever since I heard that Musgrove tap danced as a child, I've been daydreaming of seeing him under the lights.

Pitcher Lefties Would Least Like To Face: Brett Oberholtzer
Brett was named by several left handed hitters that I interviewed as someone they really wouldn't want to get in the batter's box against.

Pitcher Righties Would Least Like To Face: Nick Tropeano
Similarly, quite a few righties (and a few lefties as well) were reluctant to face Nick.

Most Sarcastic Tweeter: Mike Kvasnicka
And I mean that in a good way.

Best Impression of Pudge Rodriguez: Tyler Heineman
Heineman was not only the New York-Penn League Batting Champ with his .358 average, he also boasted a .997 fielding percentage and a 41% caught stealing rate behind the dish.

Armed and Dangerous, Part I: Jarred Cosart
When I saw Cosart in early June, his fastball was sitting in the mid-90's and regularly hitting 97-98.

Armed and Dangerous, Part II: Pedro Coa
In Coa's second year with the DSL Astros, he caught 25 of 42 base stealers, a whopping 60% caught stealing percentage.

Armed and Dangerous, Part III: Justin Gominsky and Teoscar Hernandez
Gominsky led the Astros minors in outfield assists with 15 in 93 games. Hernandez had 12 in only 48 games.

The Mighty Mouse Award: Jason Stoffel
Stoffel with 27 saves led the Texas League as well as the Astros minor league system. And if you don't get the Mighty Mouse reference, go here.

Most Likely to Outrun a Lion: Drew Muren
The extremely long-legged 6'6" Muren has oft been compared to a gazelle with his long, graceful strides in the outfield.

Most Likely to Outrun a Coyote: Delino DeShields
Yes, I'm calling him a roadrunner. 101 stolen bases - nuff said. Meep meep!

Walk Like "The Man": Nolan Fontana
With 65 walks in only 39 games, if Fontana makes it to Houston, he could very well be the guy to break Jeff Bagwell's single season record of 149 walks (1999) and his single game record of six walks (9/20/99).

The Wizards of Oz: Erik Castro and Zach Johnson
There's no place like home and that's precisely where these two wizards sent 108 players each as they tied for the organization's RBI lead.

One for the Money: Jimmy Paredes
Paredes led the Astros minor leagues with 161 hits.

Two for The Show: Brandon Barnes
Barnes hit an organization leading 39 doubles before getting called up to The Show.

Three to Get Ready: George Springer
Springer's 10 triples led the organization.

Go, Cat, Go: Mike Hessman
Hessman's organization-leading 35 home runs earn him a pair of blue suede shoes.

Pitcher Least Likely to Embrace the Move to the American League: Ross Seaton
Seaton had a .364 slugging percentage at Corpus Christi this year, a mark that many position players might envy.

Player Most Likely to Make Another Team Regret a Trade: Jon Singleton
Singleton hit .284/.396/.497 with 27 doubles, four triples, 21 home runs, 79 RBI, 88 walks and seven stolen bases at AA Corpus Christi in 2012. And he just turned 21.

Most Likely to Pitch a No Hitter: Chris Devenski
As a matter of fact he already did! Devenski's 16 strikeout complete game no-hitter in his final appearance of the season allowed him to go out on a high note, a very high note.

Laugh Most Likely to Result in a Call to 911: Brett Phillips
Phillips' laugh has been described as the sound that a dying donkey would make.

The Bad Timing Award: Adam Bailey
Bailey missed the Hooks playoffs because he was busy with an emergency appendectomy (having one, not performing one).

And that concludes this first annual awards presentation. I wish I could have given out more awards, but my time and my imagination ran out. Thank you and good night. Don't forget to tip your waiters.


  1. Great insight on the awards, I'm one of your blog fans who follows in Lexington. We had a lot of good players come through this year but my favorite player was Justin Gominsky. His defense was the best I've seen since they opened this team up in 2000. If he plays like he did last year, he has big things coming his way. My comparison to him was hunter pence. We had pence here when he was in A ball and Pence user to be my favorite player. Now I would say Gominsky is my favorite player to watch. He's got a cannon for an arm and is very accurate. He showed signs of power in the last month as he drilled 2 HRs in the month of August. I see a bright future for this kid.

  2. I love hearing comments from those of you who have seen these players in person. I didn't get to see "Gomer" when I was in Lexington because he was day-to-day with a minor injury at the time, but I wish I had the chance to have seen him play in person. I hate that we're not going to be in Lexington anymore. It really was a great operation and a fantastic experience for me. Thanks for your comment. I hope you keep following our lads!