Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter League Recaps


La Guaira over Magallanes 1-0
Gabriel Garcia pitched two-thirds of an inning with one strikeout for Magallanes.  Magallanes is now 1-3 in the playoffs.


Escogido over Gigantes 12-10
Diory Hernandez was 1 for 5 with an RBI, a walk, two strikeouts, a GIDP and scored a run for the Gigantes team, while Enerio del Rosario pitched a third of an inning, giving up one hit.  The Gigantes are now 3-4 in the round robin playoffs.


Guasave over Obregon 8-5
Brad Snyder went 1 for 4 with a strikeout and scored a run for Guasave.  Guasave is now 2-3 in the playoffs.


#1 Canberra over Sydney 11-6
Brandon Barnes was 2 for 4 with two home runs and three RBI's for Sydney.

#2 Canberra over Sydney 10-9
Brandon Barnes was 2 for 5 with an RBI, a strikeout and scored a run for Sydney.  He is now batting .365 with a 1.102 OPS.

Happy Birthday - 1/7

C Carlos Corporan (28)
Originally drafted by Milwaukee in the 12th round in 2003 out of his native Puerto Rico, Corporan signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2010 (and recently re-signed in November of 2011).  In the minor leagues for Houston, he hit .250/.330/.413/.742, but only managed a .188/.253/.253/.506 batting line at the major league level.

Former Astros with birthdays today

UT Jim Pendleton (died March 20, 1996 at 72)
Played in 117 games for the Colt 45's in 1962

LHP Dave Meads (48)
Pitched in 67 games in Houston in 1987 and 1988

IF Craig Shipley (49)
Played in 92 games for Houston in 1995

Tweet of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela
This workout is dedicated to all the pitchers I'm about to rake this season

Friday, January 6, 2012

Don't Make Me Turn this Blog Around

First of all, I would like to thank those readers who have been with me for a while and have enjoyed the journey we've undertaken together as we learn more about the players who make up the Astros farm system.  From the interactions I've had with Terri, John, Steve, Bryan and some of my other readers, I think they have enjoyed the process of hand-picking our own little 25-man roster of prospects to follow over the 2012 season.

With that said, it appears that someone is "stuffing the ballot box" this week in order to make light of our little exercise.  What this individual or these individuals don't seem to realize is that my blog is not a democracy ... it is a benevolent dictatorship.  I can make the rules, suspend the rules, or change them at my whim.

Up until this point, I have only voted twice in my own polls for the WTH Roster.  In both of those instances, I gave players who had zero votes a last minute vote because I thought they deserved it.  I have purposefully withheld my vote in case I needed to break a tie.  These choices have been my readers' choices.  Until this week.

This week someone is repeatedly voting for a player with a .148 batting average, a .197 slugging percentage and ZERO home runs for our third base starter, traditionally a power position.  I am sure this individual is a wonderful young man and has a great deal of talent, but until I see more positive results, he will NOT be appearing on the WTH Roster.  If he's good in 2012, we'll talk again next year.  If he wins this year, I will veto the choice.

So I am asking whoever is doing this to please stop so we can get back to enjoying this look at the best players by position.  Don't make me turn this blog around.

For those interested in participating in the poll, here are the details on this week's choices.

Regular Season over for Puerto Rican League

The Puerto Rican League regular season ended on Wednesday.  I can't get as excited about these results as I did about those from the Venezuelan League or even the Dominican League, but there were a couple of bright spots.


LHP Xavier Cedeno
The one standout, pitching wise, was Xavier Cedeno.  In 13 appearances, he was 2-2 with two saves, a 1.77 ERA and a 1.426 WHIP.  He also had a decent strikeout to walk ratio (7BB:20SO) and 8.85 SO/9.  Last season, Cedeno was two different pitchers with two very different results.  As a starter at Corpus Christi, he had a 3.95 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP, and a GO/AO. of 2.00.  As a reliever at OKC, he had a 6.23 ERA and a 1.538 WHIP, and a GO/AO of 1.08.  In Houston, he had even worse results and an even lower groundball rate.  This winter he seems to have figured something out.  As a reliever, he has been pitching his game with a higher groundball rate that seems to work for him (GO/AO of 1.92), and that has resulted in a successful winter.

LHP Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz is also a success story in that he held his own, despite being only 21.  He had a couple of rough outings that inflated his ERA, but a 4.31 ERA and a 1.521 WHIP over 10 starts for one of the youngest pitchers on the roster is a great accomplishment.

RHP Adalberto Flores
Flores had a 0.61 ERA and a 0.818 WHIP in his last seven appearances.

LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (Free Agent)
Despite a decent 3.63 ERA and 1.432 WHIP, Hyphen has been a bit inconsistent.  14BB:13SO just isn't going to cut it, particularly when 8 of those strikeouts came in one game.


C Rene Garcia
If I have to pick a standout among position players, I'm going to go with Rene Garcia.  In a very limited sample size (39 AB's over 21 games) he managed a very good .333/.409/.487/.896 batting line.  The fact that he's a catcher makes that batting line even better.

The rest of the catchers ~
Roberto Pena  - 7 AB's over 6 games .429/.500/.571/1.071
Free Agent Robinson Cancel - 141 AB's over 39 games .234/.329/.348/.677
Carlos Corporan - 41 AB's over 15 games .220/.300/.220/.520

Of the rest...
SS Angel Sanchez did the best - 92 AB's over 24 games .293/.350/.380/.730
1B Free Agent Koby Clemens - 16 AB's over 5 games .188/.350/.250/.600
2B Enrique Hernandez - 32 AB's over 17 games .125/.152/.188/.339

Winter League Recaps


Gigantes over Licey 3-1
Diory Hernandez was 0-3 with an RBI and a strikeout for the Gigantes, and Jimmy Paredes was 0-2 with a walk and two strikeouts in another start in left field.  Erick Abreu, also for the Gigantes, pitched two-thirds of an inning with two walks and a strikeout.  The Gigantes are now 3-3 in the playoffs.


Caribes over Zulia 7-2
Arcenio Leon pitched one inning for Zulia with no hits, no runs and one walk.  Zulia is down 0-3 in the playoffs.

La Guaira over Aragua 3-1
Sergio Escalona pitched to two batters for La Guaira in the 7th inning and gave up two hits without recording any outs.  La Guaira is now 2-1 in the playoffs.


Since I missed that OF Brad Snyder joined Guasave of the Mexican Pacific League in late December, let me get you caught up on his post season results.

1/1 - He was 0-4 with two strikeouts.
1/2 - He was 0-5 with a strikeout and scored a run.
1/4 - He was 2-4 with a 2-run home run, three RBI's and a strikeout.

Now last night ...
Guasave over Obregon 5-4
Brad Snyder was 0-3 with an RBI and a strikeout for Guasave.  Guasave is 1-3 in the playoffs.


Canberra over Sydney 4-2
Brandon Barnes was 2-4 and recorded an outfield assist for Sydney.

Happy Birthday - 1/6

Only one former Astro with a birthday today

LHP Alvin Morman (43)
Morman pitched in 53 games for Houston in 1996.  His record was 4-1 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.595 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela
This workout is dedicated to all the Astros bloggers that always show us some love :) 

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Jordan Comadena
Much love to  for their list...proud to be an honorable mention!!  

I could have told Baseball Digest that Jordan Comadena is a great person to follow on twitter!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Almost Final Winter League Regular Season Cumulative Stats

With the Puerto Rican league playing its final regular season game last night, we only have one Astros player still playing regular season games - Brandon Barnes in the Australian League.  Except for Brandon, these are the final cumulative stats for all Astros players participating in Winter Leagues.

UPDATED TO ADD:  I had one slip by me. OF Brad Snyder (free agent signing from November) played in three games at the end of December for Guasave in the Mexican Pacific League.  In 10 AB's, he hit .400/.500/.700/1.200.  I'll post his post-season info in tomorrow's Winter League Recaps.

*Free Agents

Winter League Recaps


Carolina over Caguas 3-0
Enrique Hernandez was 1-4 with an RBI double and scored a run for Carolina.  For Caguas, Roberto Pena was 1-3 with a double and a walk, while Luis Cruz pitched two innings with four hits, two runs and two strikeouts and was charged with the loss.


Magallanes over Aragua 3-2
Gabriel Garcia retired his one batter faced for Magallanes.  Sergio Perez got the start for Aragua, pitching 4.1 innings with five hits, two runs, three walks and three strikeouts and was charged with the loss.  Magallanes is now 1-2 in the round robin playoffs, and Aragua is 1-1.


Canberra over Sydney 7-1
Brandon Barnes was 1-3 for Sydney.

Happy Birthday - 1/5

Only one former Astro with a birthday today

OF Milt Thompson
Thompson played for Houston in 101 games over two seasons in 1994 and 1995.  He was unable to duplicate his earlier success for Atlanta (.302 BA over 98 games), Philadelphia (.279 BA over five seasons), and St. Louis (.274 over four seasons) as he batted only .229 for Houston.

Tweet of the Day

Jarred Cosart
Let the haters be motivators. Keep saying im not ready. See ya in 2012 Houston

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter League Recaps

In case you missed this yesterday, Baseball America posted a good story about Brian Bogusevic's positive experience in the Dominican League.


I missed one on this from the first night of play ~
1/2 - Caribes over Magallanes 5-2
Gabriel Garcia pitched a third of an inning for Magallanes allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout.

1/3 - La Guaira over Zulia 11-5
Sergio Escalona pitched two-thirds of an inning for La Guaira with no hits, no runs and no walks.  Arcenio Leon pitched two-thirds of an inning for Zulia, giving up two hits and one run (via a home run).


Gigantes over Aguilas 7-2
Jimmy Paredes started in left field again and went 0-2 with a walk, a strikeout and scored a run for Gigantes, and Diory Hernandez went 2-4.  Also for the Gigantes, Enerio del Rosario retired his one batter; Rhiner Cruz didn't retire any batters as he walked two and was charged with a run; and Erick Abreu pitched one inning with a walk and a strikeout.  The Gigantes are now 2-3 and in third position in the round robin playoffs.


Caguas over Ponce 5-4
*Robinson Cancel was 0-4 with a strikeout for Ponce, and *Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched five innings, giving up five hits, four runs, five walks, two home runs and had one strikeout.

Carolina over Mayaguez 2-0
Enrique Hernandez was 1-3 with a walk and scored a run for Carolina, and Rene Garcia went 1-2 with a strikeout.  Adalberto Flores pitched 2.1 innings for Carolina with one hit, one walk and three strikeouts.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 1/4

CF Jason Bourgeois (30)
Jason was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2nd round in 2000 out of Forest Brook High School in Houston and came to the Astros as a waiver claim in 2000.  After putting up rather pedestrian numbers in 69 games for Houston in 2010, Jason found his groove in 2011 as he got more regular playing time.  In 93 games for Houston in 2011, he compiled a .294/.323./.357/.680 batting line with 31 stolen bases.

RHP Zach Dando (21)
Originally from Colorado, Zach was drafted by the Astros in the 32nd round in 2011 out of a community college in Arizona.  In 19 appearances in relief for Greeneville in 2011, he had a 4.91 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.  He had a nice SO:BB ratio and his SO/9 was 9.55.  Interestingly enough, this RHP was better against lefties (2.53) than righties (6.04).  If he can improve his numbers against right-handed hitters, this could be one to watch.

Former Astros with birthdays today

RHP Don McMahon (died June 29, 1987 at 57)
Pitched in 100 games for the 1962 and 1963 Colt 45's
ERA of 2.81 and WHIP of 1.245 for Houston

RHP Larry Yellen (69)
Pitched in 14 games for the 1963 and 1964 Colt 45's

Also, it is the 41st birthday of Jose Martinez, 2011 Pitching Coach for the DSL Astros.

Tweet of the Day

Ryan Cole
Working in a winter wonderland

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Astros Minor League Coaching Staffs for 2012

Here is the complete list of all the coaching changes announced for all Astros minor league affiliates for 2012.

I went through the list and noted all of the changes for Manager, Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach for each team.  The odd men out are John Moses (Hitting Coach for Corpus), Tom Spencer (Manager for Lancaster) and Travis Driskill (Pitching Coach for Lancaster).  Leon Roberts (Hitting Coach for OKC) is new to the system.  Ivan de Jesus (Manager for Lexington) and Cesar Cedeno (Hitting Coach for Greeneville) are returning to the system.


Field Coordinator - Paul Runge
Pitching Coordinator - Jon Matlack
Hitting Coordinator - Ty Van Burkleo
Roving Infield Instructor - Tom Lawless
Roving OF / Base Running - Milt Thompson
Roving Catching Instructor - Danny Sheaffer
Strength & Conditioning - Frank Renner
Medical Coordinator - Jamey Snodgrass
Rehab Coordinator - Daniel Roberts

Manager - Tony DeFrancesco
Pitching Coach - Burt Hooton
Hitting Coach - Leon Roberts – New to system
  (Replaced Keith Bodie who went to Corpus)
Athletic Trainer - Mike Freer
Strength & Conditioning - Gary McCoy

Manager - Keith Bodie – was hitting coach at OKC
   (Replaced Tom Lawless who became roving infield instructor)
Pitching Coach - Gary Ruby – was pitching coach at Tri-City
   (Replaced Don Alexander who went to Lancaster)
Hitting Coach - Joel Chimelis – was hitting coach at Lexington
   (Replaced John Moses)
Athletic Trainer - Eric Montague

Manager - Rodney Linares – was manager at Lexington
   (Replaced Tom Spencer)
Pitching Coach - Don Alexander – was pitching coach at Corpus Christi
   (Replaced Travis Driskill)
Hitting Coach - Darryl Robinson
Athletic Trainer - Bryan Baca

Manager - Ivan De Jesus – Back in organization for 1st time since 2006
   (Replaced Rodney Linares who went to Lancaster)
Pitching Coach - Dave Borkowski
Hitting Coach - Josh Bonifay – was hitting coach at Greeneville
   (Replaced Joel Chimelis who went to Corpus Christi)
Athletic Trainer - Grant Hufford

Manager - Stubby Clapp
Pitching Coach - Rick Aponte – was pitching coach at Greeneville
   (Replaced Gary Ruby who went to Tri-City)
Hitting Coach - Mark Bailey
Athletic Trainer - Michael Rendon

Manager - Omar Lopez
Pitching Coach - Hector Mercado – was pitching coach for GCL
   (Replaced Rick Aponte who went to Tri-City)
Hitting Coach - Cesar Cedeno – back in organization for 1st time since 2001
   (Replaced Josh Bonifay who went to Lexington)
Athletic Trainer - Corey O'Brien

Manager - Ed Romero
Pitching Coach - Jaime Garcia – was minor league pitching coordinator
   (Replaced Hector Mercado who went to Greeneville)
Pitching Coach - Charley Taylor
Hitting Coach - Edgar Alfonzo
Assistant Coach - Gordy MacKenzie
Athletic Trainer - Steve Miller

Manager - Luis Martinez
Pitching Coach - Jose Martinez
Bullpen Coach - Joel Santo
Hitting Coach - Luis Mateo
Infield Instructor - Johan Maya
Assistant Coach - Ramon Garcia
Outfield Instructor - Juan Zapata
Catching Instructor - Sixto Ortega
Athletic Trainer - Ambiorix Reyes
Assistant Trainer - Edwin Garcia
Strength & Conditioning - Geremias Guzman

Winter League Recaps


Gigantes over Licey 9-1
In a bit of a twist, Jimmy Paredes got a start in left field and went 2-5 with two RBI's and a strikeout and scored two runs for the Gigantes.  In glancing at the recap, it appears that he didn't get much action recording only one out at that position.  Also for the Gigantes team, Diory Hernandez was 2-4 with two RBI's, and Erick Abreu pitched two-thirds of an inning with one hit, no runs and no walks.  This was the Gigantes first win in the round robin playoffs.  They are now 1-3.

Escogido over Aguilas 8-3
Anuery Rodriguez got the start for Escogido, pitching 4.1 innings with ten hits, two runs, no walks and five strikeouts.  Escogido is 4-0 in the round robin playoffs.

Happy Birthday - 1/3

OF Tomas de la Cruz (19)
De la Cruz was signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011.  In his first season with the DSL Astros, he put up a .237/.324/.282/.607 batting line.

One former Astro with a birthday today

IF Luis Rivera (48)
Played in 7 games for Houston in 1997

Also, Omar Lopez, manager of the 2011 Greeneville Astros turns 35 today.

Tweet of the Day

Jarred Cosart
Cowboys good luck in the playoffs!........ Oh wait there's only one Texas football team in the playoffs. Lets go Texans

Monday, January 2, 2012

Write-Up on Brandon Barnes

This is a great write-up on Brandon Barnes current success in Australian League winter ball!

WTH 25-Man Roster - Third Baseman

As posted over the weekend, we did not add a name to the WTH Roster as we were only trying to narrow down our candidates for the final two relief pitchers.  Top vote-getters Evan Grills, Chia-Jen Lo, Jack Armstrong, Matison Smith, Zach Dando, Rodney Quintero and Brad Dydalewicz will join runners-up from previous votes to compete for the final spots at a later time.  For more information on the WTH Roster, go here.

This week we're going to pick our starting Third Baseman.  The list isn't lengthy as this has been a position that has been a problem area for the Astros in recent years, but there are some worthy candidates to consider.  Matt Duffy has the best overall batting line and hasn't had a lot of errors.  Jonathan Meyer has good power numbers, and David Flores has good RBI numbers.  Mike Kvasnicka led all Astros minor leaguers in doubles.  And, although Fredwin Campusano didn't play in 2011, his batting line for 2010 with the DSL Astros was .326/.425/.461/.885.

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

Winter League Recaps

Only one game to report on from January 1st.


Melbourne over Sydney 12-5
Brandon Barnes went 1-4 with a 2-run home run and a strikeout for Sydney.  He now has two doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI's over his last 5 games despite going 0-5 in one of those games.

Happy Birthday - 1/2

OF Luis de la Rosa (20)
Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2008, Luis spent 2009 and 2010 with the DSL Astros but did not play in 2011.  This switch-hitter compiled a .270/.345/.407/.752 batting line in 2010.

One former Astro with a birthday today

LHP Greg Swindell (47)
Pitched in 96 games in Houston from 1993 to 1996

Tweet of the Day

Josh Zeid
This year I'm gonna work harder, have more fun out there, and take it to um. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

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 relief pitchers.  Top vote getters included Evan Grills, Chia-Jen Lo, Jack Armstrong, Matison Smith, Zach Dando, Rodney Quintero and Brad Dydalewicz.  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 two relief pitchers.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - We will vote for our starting Third Baseman.

Happy Birthday - 1/1

LHP Dallas Keuchel (24)
Drafted by Houston in the 7th round in 2009 out of the University of Arkansas, this Oklahoma native split the 2011 season between Corpus Christi (9-7 in 20 starts with an ERA of 3.17, WHIP of 1.120) and Oklahoma City (1-1 in 7 starts with an ERA of 7.50, WHIP of 1.777).  In the Arizona Fall League, Keuchel was 3-2 in 7 appearances (6 starts) with an ERA of 5.08 and a WHIP of 1.306.  Most impressive was his ratio of 1BB:22SO.  In the regular season, he had 5.00 SO/9 which increased to 6.99 SO/9 in the Arizona Fall League.

Since the Arizona Fall League finished, Dallas has been spending his off-season in Tulsa.  I asked him a little about his 2011 season and his time in the Arizona Fall League.  Here is what he had to say.

On what he took away from his experience in the Arizona Fall League:

“In my time in Arizona, I had a blast. My personal goal I set for myself there was to just attack every hitter and see what they can do with it. As I got the first couple starts under my belt I began to redirect my thought process and aimed more at not walking anyone. It’s tough to do but I was close and am now more confident than ever in my ability to command the zone no matter who is hitting. Overall I think the command and location of all 5 of my pitches got a whole lot better and I couldn’t be happier. My time with the Rafters was more than I could’ve ever asked for.  All the guys were awesome and it was cool to see other pitchers mindsets for attacking hitters and what their thought process was going into each game. Not to mention there was some pretty damn good talent there. It’s nice to compete against the best minor league players because more than 75% of them will probably make the big leagues sometime.”

On how the fall league experience differed from his time at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City:

“The Arizona experience was different in the way of confidence.  My confidence was at an all time high in Corpus where I just went out relaxed and threw the ball like I knew I could.  In OKC it was a little different.  I started out slow and was immediately frustrated that I wasn’t making pitches like I was earlier in the year. I feel though I started getting back into my comfort zone the last couple starts and I think it showed in the box scores.  I wasn’t just playing the game; I was pressing in OKC and that’s not who I am. When I got out to Arizona it was just straight forward mindset and let the good times roll. I knew I was there because they wanted to see what I could do against the best prospects in minor league baseball.  I didn’t think of it that way though; I thought of it more as a chance to better myself and get myself to where I was back in the middle of the season and to work on some things that I wouldn’t necessarily be doing in the offseason.”

And on his goals for the New Year:

“As for my New Year’s goals, it’s simple....come out to spring training and compete to the best of my ability and win a spot somewhere, whether it's OKC or Houston.  Everything will fall into place sooner or later and I want to be ready when that time comes.”

RHP Justin Gill (23)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, Gill spent 2011 with the GCL Astros.  In 20 appearances in relief, he compiled a 3.32 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP, with 7.59 SO/9.

RHP Johan Arias (20)
Since being signed by the Astros as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Arias has spent two seasons pitching for the DSL Astros.  In 17 games in relief, he had a 7.98 ERA and a 1.739 WHIP.  His ERA with bases empty was 0.00.

One former Astro with a birthday today

IF Joe Pittman (58)
Played in 67 games for Houston in 1981 and 1982 with a .276 BA

Tweets of the Day - Happy New Year!

Brian Bogusevic 
Happy New Year Everyone!


Drew Locke
Happy new year! Here's to a great #2012 with 


Jonathan Gaston
New years resolution.... Workout less. Bet nobody else put that one. At least when I break my resolution it'll be a good thing


Bud Norris 
Happy NYE West Coast. Life is good, life is great, much to be thankful for. God Bless. Houston tomorrow.


Rafael Valenzuela
Oh why hello 2012!! Here's the Macarena to get u started


Chris Johnson
Happy new year everyone. God bless!!!


Adrian Houser
Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's a great year!


Josh Zeid
Happy new year!!!!! ?


Brett Wallace 
Happy new years everyone


Jordan Comadena
Happy new year central time zone!


Neiko Johnson
 to keep working hard and pursuing my dreams


Garen L. Wright
Happy New Year everybody..!


Andrew Robinson
Happy new year!!

Enrique Hernandez
Happy New Year! 


Ryan Rowland-Smith 
Have shell shock here in San Juan, amazing (should be illegal) fireworks! Happy NeW YEar