Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sergio Escalona Out for Season

According to this piece by Brian McTaggart, Sergio Escalona will have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left elbow.  This will leave 40 players still at camp and bolsters the chances for Wesley Wright to make the team, particularly since he is out of options.  Fernando Abad would be another possibility.

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Saturday's Game:  Astros (10-9) at Pirates (7-12) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast: KTRH 740 at 11:50 CST
                    MLB Network on delay - currently scheduled for 5:00 a.m. CST Sunday
Probable Starters: RHP Kyle Weiland (2-0, 1.64) & RHP James McDonald (0-1, 9.00)

Friday's Results:  Astros over Nationals 5-1
Winning Pitcher:  Bud Norris (2-1, 5.00)
Losing Pitcher:  Jordan Zimmerman (0-1, 4.60)
HR:  WAS - Jason Michaels (1); HOU - Brian Bixler (2), Chris Johnson (3)

Happy Birthday - 3/24

RHP Josh Zeid (25)
Drafted by the Phillies in the 10th round in 2009 from Tulane, Zeid came to Houston as part of the Hunter Pence trade in July 2011.  Zeid was bumped from Low A in 2010 to AA in 2011 by the Phillies and the result was a little rocky as his strikeout rate dipped and his walk rate climbed.  Following the trade, Zeid pitched in 14 games for the Hooks and, although he managed to improve his strikeout and walk rates somewhat, his home run rate (and subsequently his ERA) took a hit.  In the Arizona Fall League, Zeid seemed to find his groove with a 5.00 ERA (3.65 over his final 10 appearances) and 10.5 SO/9 (although his walk rate was still a bit high).  Going into the 2012 season, Jonathan Mayo of MLB has pegged Zeid at #19 in the Astros system, citing a plus fastball and a good slider that will serve him well if he can harness his command.

LHP Brad Dydalewicz (22)
Drafted out of Lake Travis HS in the 8th round in 2008, Dydalewicz spent most of the 2011 season on the DL or rehabbing at the GCL.  After completing his rehab, he made 3 appearances at Lexington at the end of the season, posting a 6.75 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP over 2.2 innings pitched.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Jesus Alou (70)
Alou originally came to Houston as a part of the Rusty Staub trade with the Expos in January of 1969 and spent 1969 through part of the 1973 season with Houston and returned to the team for the 1978 and 1979 seasons as well.  In 553 games for Houston, he hit .282/.313/.366.  He spent all or parts of 15 seasons in the major leagues playing for four different teams, including the 1973 and 1974 World Series champion Oakland teams.  He is the brother of Felipe and Matty Alou and uncle to Moises Alou.

RHP Jose Cabrera (40)
Acquired in a trade with Cleveland in May of 1997, Cabrera pitched in 93 games over four seasons for Houston with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP before being claimed off waivers by Atlanta in April of 2001.  He had his most successful season in the majors for Atlanta that year, going 7-4 in 55 games with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.298 WHIP. After one final season in the majors with Milwaukee in 2002, he kept playing in the minors, in independent ball and in Mexico.  In 2011, at age 39, he pitched in 43 games for Monclova in the Mexican League, going 9-5 with 13 saves, a 2.76 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP.

RHP Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde (34)
Acquired in a trade with Arizona for Chris Burke, Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls in December 2007, Valverde pitched for Houston for two seasons, going 10-5 with 69 saves, a 2.93 ERA and a 1.159 WHIP.  A three-time All-Star for Arizona and Detroit, he has been the league leader in saves three times as well.  In 2011, he converted 100% of his 49 save opportunities for Detroit during the regular season.

Tweet of the Day

Collin DeLome

The Catfish Place in st. Cloud is hopping right now.. 

Roster Moves - 3/23

The following players have been sent to minor league camp, leaving 41 in major league camp:

Jimmy Paredes
Fernando Martinez
Aneury Rodriguez
Xavier Cedeno
Jose Valdez
Brad Snyder

In addition, Jimmy Paredes will be going back to playing second base when he gets to Oklahoma City next month.  Zachary Levine has the story here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

An Interview with Josh Zeid

Josh Zeid

Struggles are meant to be overcome.. Obstacles, leapt over.Mountains to be climbed. How we attack these makes us who we are. 

Josh Zeid (pronounced Zide) was drafted by the Phillies in the 10th round in 2009 and will turn 25 tomorrow. His first two seasons in the Phillies organization were very impressive. In 2009 he was 8-5 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP over 15 starts in the New York-Penn League. In 2010, at Lakewood in the Sally League, he was 8-4 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP in 43 appearances (12 starts). Following the jump to AA and the subsequent trade to Houston in 2011, Zeid didn't show his earlier success as he finished the season with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.494 WHIP over 35 appearances (12 starts), but most think that the 2011 season was just a hiccup in his development. Going into the 2012 season, he is ranked by Jonathan Mayo as #19 in the Astros system for his "plus fastball" and "nasty slider." On to the questions ...

WTH: I've really had a hard time getting a handle on who Josh Zeid is. I've heard glowing reports of a plus fastball and a plus slider, but I've also seen some mixed results since you came over from the Phillies organization. Can you tell me where you think you will be able to fit into the organization and what you bring to the table?

JZ: I'm thrilled to be here in the Astros organization. I think there is a tremendous opportunity here for upward movement, and I'm just looking forward for the chances to come. I think that the mixed results since I came over come from a very small sample, because once the fall league started, I was able to turn the ship around. My month in Corpus was a great experience. No one can quite prepare you for when you get traded, or what comes with it; but I believe that it has made me a better person and teammate. It can be a very stressful time: starting over with a completely new team, with a whole new staff, teammates, and culture, and that takes a little bit of time to work through.

I bring a fire to the table. A real desire to win. In 2010 I played on a South Atlantic League championship team, and that was a great experience, and feeling to be a part of; and I want to be a part of that as a Houston Astro.

WTH: I followed the Arizona Fall League closely and you seemed to have found your groove after a bit of a rough start. Can you tell me a little about the experience (and winning the championship) and what you were able to take away from it?

JZ: 2011 was actually my second year in the AFL. I went as a starter in 2010 with the Phillies, and had a great experience out there. This year's Salt River Rafters team was a very well constructed team. We had a ton of talent, but we also had a lot of team players, who were willing to move guys over and get guys in, when the situation called for it. I was able to pitch out of the pen in a very consistent role, 7th or 8th inning just about every other game, so I was able to get into a bit of a groove. Pitching is all about consistency and getting to go out there more frequently when things are going well. The competition is fierce out there. Especially as a pitcher, every batter you face is one of the top 5 or 6 hitting prospects from every Major League organization. You can not have a mental let down in that league. If you do, you'll get beat every time.

WTH: You played with Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar in 2010 in the Sally League. Did that help in your transition in coming to the Astros? Any insights you'd like to share about any of those players?

JZ: Coming over here with such talents as Jarred, Singleton, Santana and Villar, really helps me feel more comfortable in completely new surroundings. They are all such different personalities, with tremendous skillsets, that I can assimilate at my own pace. The benefit is that with their talents being at such high levels, I feel the need to step up my game to new heights. All I know is that Astros Nation is going to have to get used to hearing "Cosart" "Singleton" "Santana" and "Villar" over the PA system at Minute Maid Park for the next 10-15 years, that's what I have to say about those guys.

WTH: What are you currently working on in Spring Training and how is it going so far?

JZ: I am currently working on just getting ready for the season - to pitch as often as possible, and be as much of a help in any way, shape, or form, to which ever ball club I am placed on this season. Because no matter where you begin the season, the most important thing is where you end.

Spring training is going well. I've been down here since February 24th, getting ready for the 2012 championship season. I've thrown to hitters about 8 times, and every time coming out of those outings feeling way more confident. The level of competition in camp is extremely high this year. The new ownership expects a lot of us, and I think we are in a prime position to really surprise a bunch of people.

WTH: In your college and minor league career, have you encountered any problems or perceived prejudices because of your Jewish faith or has it been a non-issue for you?

JZ: I have not encountered any serious problems with my religion over my long career (high school all the way to current times). One thing that has been kind of illuminating has been the amount of people that have either never met a Jewish person, or who see my necklace, and are taken aback that a Jewish person could play professional sports. I never get offended by it, because Judaism isn't as prevalent in the South or midwest, but that it is growing. I never try to separate myself from guys with other religions. If they say grace before a meal, or pray before a game, I don't walk out, or I don't turn my back to it; I embrace it, and I appreciate their religious background as I hope they would with mine.

WTH: If you couldn't be a ballplayer, what would you do?

JZ: Ive always wanted to go to law school, and become a sports agent; but in another life I think I was meant to be a FBI or CIA agent, because those movies, books, and tv shows always intrigue me.

WTH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?

JZ: I really enjoy writing. I studied English and political science at college, and really took a liking to creative writing/fiction.

WTH: Any final words (i.e., anything else you think that Astros fans should know about you)?

JZ: I'm really looking forward to my first full season with the Astros organization, and I hope you all enjoy watching whichever team I'm on, play and win a lot of games this year.

We will, indeed, enjoy that! Thanks for your time and good luck in the 2012 season, Josh.

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Friday's Game:  Nationals (5-11) at Astros (9-9) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast: KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters: RHP Jordan Zimmerman (0-0, 3.38) & RHP Bud Norris (1-1, 7.50)

Thursday's Results:  Mets over Houston 8-2
Winning Pitcher:  R.A. Dickey (1-1, 4.05)
Losing Pitcher:  Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 8.10)
HR:  NYM - Ruben Tejada (1)

Happy Birthday - 3/23

SS Chan Moon (21)
Signed as a NDFA from South Korea in 2009, Moon played his second season in 2011 at Greeneville.  Despite a .207 season batting average, Moon improved over the season and hit .256 in the month of August.  In 37 games at SS, he had a .954 fielding percentage with 7 errors and 23 double plays.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Danny Coombs (70)
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Colt 45's prior to the 1963 season, Coombs spent parts of 7 seasons playing for Houston.  In 90 appearances, he was 8-7 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.551 WHIP, with his best season for Houston being 1968 when he went 4-3 in 40 appearances (2 starts) with a 3.28 ERA.  In 1970 he  was used primarily as a starter for the Padres, compiling a 10-14 record with a 3.30 ERA.  1971 was his final year in the major leagues.

1B Lee "Big Bopper" May (69)
According to Baseball-Reference, here is how May came to Houston and how he left Houston:

In between, he played in 448 games for Houston, hitting .274/.317/.471 with 81 doubles, five triples and 81 home runs with one All-Star appearance.  All told, May played in 2071 games over 18 seasons for four teams, hitting 354 home runs and making three All-Star appearances.

Tweet of the Day

Erik Castro

 truly left your stamp on the ... Respected by all and loved by most. You will be missed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Revised Top Prospect List

Jonathan Mayo has revised his top 20 prospect list for the Astros to include Kevin Chapman at #14.  This moves a couple of people down and Ariel Ovando falls off the list presumably to #21.

Here is the revised list and here is the link.

1.  Jonathan Singleton
2.  Jarred Cosart
3.  George Springer
4.  Jonathan Villar
5.  Mike Foltynewicz
6.  Paul Clemens
7.  Brett Oberholtzer
8.  Delino DeShields Jr
9.  Domingo Santana
10.  Telvin Nash
11.  Jordan Scott
12.  Tanner Bushue
13.  Austin Wates
14.  Kevin Chapman
15.  Jake Buchanan
16.  Nick Tropeano
17.  Juan Abreu
18.  Kyle Weiland
19.  Josh Zeid
20.  Mike Kvasnicka


I meant to post this earlier.  Baseball America has ranked the Astros organization as #18 out of 30 teams, up from 26th last year and dead last before that.  To those who doubted me when I said earlier that I thought we were toward the bottom of the middle third of teams (i.e., 18-20), I gleefully and gloatingly say, "HA!"  And to Kevin Goldstein who thinks we're still 26th, I say disdainfully, "Pfffftt."  Here is the link to Baseball America's full list.

The good news is that we are, indeed, getting better.  The bad news is that Texas, Oakland and Seattle rank ahead of us and the Angels are nipping at our heels.  But I will take the good news any way I can get it.

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Thursday's Game:  Astros (9-8) at Mets (4-12) at 12:10 CST
Broadcast: MLB Network,,, KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (1-1, 9.95) & RHP R.A. Dickey (0-1, 6.43)

Wednesday's Results:  Off Day

Happy Birthday - 3/22

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Sean Berry (46)
Drafted by the Royals in the 1st round in 1986, Berry came to Houston in a trade with the Expos in 1995 and played for the Astros from 1996 through 1998.  He hit .283/.342/.476 with 79 doubles, three triples and 38 home runs in 330 games.  He served as hitting coach for the Astros from July of 2006 until July of 2010.

IF Billy Goodman (died October 1, 1984 at 58)
After having spent the majority of his playing days with Boston, as well as stints with the White Sox and Orioles, Goodman played in 82 games for the Colt 45's in 1962 at the end of his career.  He hit .255/.306/.292, but his career line over 16 seasons was .300/.376/.378 in 1623 games.  He was a two-time All-Star and led the American League in batting average in 1950 when he hit .354 over 110 games.  Bryan Trostel of Astros County tells us more about Goodman in this Random Random Astros segment.

MGR Matt Galante (68)
Matt Galante managed the Astros for 27 games in 1999, going 13-14, as Larry Dierker recovered from brain surgery.  He is currently special assistant to the General Manager.

RHP Jeremy Griffiths (34)
Drafted by the Mets in the 3rd round in 1999, Griffiths pitched in a total of 10 games in his major league career, one of those for the Astros in 2004.  Griffiths came to Houston with David Weathers in the Mets trade for Richard Hidalgo in June 2004.

Tweet of the Day

Miles Hamblin

Glad I had the chance to play with  and become great friends off the field. Good luck man. Can't wait to see Bo all grown up

Bubby Williams 
 thanks hambone love ya big cat!!

Roster Moves - 3/21

Larry McCoy

 Comadena, Lane, Ness, Vargas, Alvino, and Williams released Tuesday. Best of Luck guys!
Still no official word yet, but if this is accurate, the following players have been released:

C Jordan Comadena - confirmed
C Bubby Williams - confirmed

In addition, it appears that C Kevin Gonzalez was a voluntary retirement.  In any event, it is confirmed that he is no longer with the club.

Also, Baseball America is showing that former Astro IF Oswaldo Navarro has signed with the Mets.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Training Schedule and Results

Wednesday's Game:  None - A well-deserved day off!

Tuesday's Results:  Cardinals over Astros 6-1
Winning Pitcher:  Kyle Lohse (1-1, 3.95)
Losing Pitcher:  Jordan Lyles (0-1, 6.55)
HR:  HOU - Chris Johnson (2)

Happy Birthday - 3/21

C Rene Garcia (22)
Garcia was drafted in the 35th round in 2008 out of high school in his native Puerto Rico.  In 86 games for Lancaster in 2011, he hit .242/.288/.303 and had a 30% caught stealing percentage (37% for his minor league career).  During the winter, he played in 21 games for the Puerto Rican league.  Getting some home cooking must have agreed with him as he hit .333/.409/.487 in the winter.

RHP Bobby Doran (23)
Drafted in the 4th round in 2010 out of Texas Tech, Doran did not fare well in the launching pad at Lancaster in 2011.  Even though his home run rate was up, it was his elevated walk rate that really hurt him.  I'm not going to post his 2011 stats since it's his birthday.  A new season is beginning and Doran gets a fresh start to show us why he was a 4th round pick.

Photo by Bryan Green

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Prentice Almont "Pidge" Browne (died June 3, 1997 at 68)
Browne played in 65 games for the Colt 45's in 1962, a rookie at 33.  According to Baseball-Reference:
Pidge Browne was a long time minor league star who at the age of 33 finally got a shot at the major leagues with the expansion Houston Colt .45's in 1962 ... He was the Texas League home run champion in 1955 when he hit 33 home runs for Shreveport. He later became a fan favorite playing for the Houston minor league team in the late 1950s. 
He hit .210/.298/.320 with four doubles, two triples and a home run for Houston that season and never played in the major leagues again.

OF Tommy Davis (73)
Davis came to Houston in a trade with the Seattle Pilots in August of 1969 and played for Houston for parts of the 1969 and 1970 seasons, hitting .271/.308/.377 over 81 games.  Davis spent parts of 18 seasons in the major leagues, playing 1999 games for 10 teams and earning All-Star nods and National League batting titles in 1962 and 1963.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

Today was my first experience with people being released. honestly one of the saddest things I've ever seen. Good luck to all of them!

Roster Moves - 3/20

The Astros traded Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois to the Royals for Kevin Chapman and a PTBNL.  I was one of Q's biggest supporters but I totally approve of this trade even without knowing who the PTBNL is.  You don't lose much, if anything, defensively with Chris Snyder as the back-up and you gain a lot offensively.  Let me put it this way: Q=37BB in 1137 PA; Snyder=272BB in 2177 PA.  And as much as I enjoy watching the Bourgeois Boogie on the basepaths, I realistically understand that he will probably be past his base-stealing prime by the time the Astros are back in the playoffs.  Chapman sound like a great pick-up and I trust Luhnow to make the team better with the PTBNL.  Zachary Levine has the story here.

In any event, we'll always have this ~

That's the good news.  The bad news is that it was cut day at the minor league camp.  None of the cuts have been made official yet, but we know that C Jordan Comadena was released yesterday and I believe that is the case with C Kevin Gonzalez and C Bubby Williams as well (based on tweets I saw yesterday).  Once the cuts are made official, I will post them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Unexpected Journey

Jordan Comadena @Funky2414
This morning I was released from my contract by the Houston Astros, I will look to continue my playing career elsewhere.
I have become very attached to some of the Astros minor league players since I started this blog, but none so much as Jordan Comadena (who I will always think of as "Funky" with great affection).  I know the odds were against him, but seeing him cut feels deeply personal.

Jordan is smart and determined, loyal to his friends and passionate about the things he believes in.  Jordan will be fine.  He will find the path that he is meant to find and he will succeed.  There is not a doubt in my mind.

I have left the door open for him to come back and post anytime he wants.  No matter where he goes, I know that my readers will continue to be interested.  I will leave you with the old chapters of his journey as he starts to write the new ones.

Funky -
May all your hits be for extra bases.  May you never allow another stolen base or passed ball.  May you never have another broken bat.  May you always have roommates who don't snore.  May all of your children excel at sports (with at least one lefty in there).  May all of your friends be as true to you as you are to them.  May you look back on this day not as an end, but as the start of something wonderful.  Good luck.  We will miss you.

2012 Comeback/Breakthrough Candidates - Pitchers

I looked through all of the current Astros minor league players and identified some of those who either showed early promise before getting bitten by the injury bug or who have not been able to make a decisive step to the next level.  I looked at those who have played in at least parts of three seasons and I capped it at age 22.  The pitching candidates I came up with follow:

LHP Brad Dydalewicz (turns 22 on Saturday)
An 8th round draft pick in 2008, Dydalewicz first started playing in 2008 and showed great promise as a starter in Lexington in 2009, going 8-5 with a 3.93 ERA and 1.309 WHIP in 22 starts at age 19.  After struggling somewhat in 2010, his progress stalled out completely in 2011 as he battled injuries, going 0-5 with a 10.86 ERA and 2.315 WHIP in 18 games (7 starts) between Lexington and a rehab assignment with the GCL Astros. The key to a comeback is not only staying off the DL, but getting his walk rate down and his strikeout rate up.

RHP Jose Perdomo (20)
A native of Venezuela, Perdomo first played for the DSL Astros in 2009 with impressive results (particularly for a 17-year old).  At 18, he started 11 games for the GCL Astros with a 4-3 record, a 1.67 ERA, a 0.978 WHIP and 10.5 SO/9.  I am assuming Perdomo was injured in 2011 as his last of five starts was July 18th and he didn't pitch again last season.  In those 5 starts at Greeneville, he was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.278 WHIP.  Despite getting lit up in the hit column, he still managed a 10.5 SO/9.  His continued development, if healthy, should be worth watching.

RHP Juri Perez (21)
Another Venezuelan product, Perez first played in the VSL in 2007.  His best season, at age 18, was 2009 when he was 3-1 at Greeneville in 15 games (8 starts) with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP.  After spending the majority of 2010 on the DL, Perez was unable to recapture his earlier effectiveness in 2011.  However, he had a very successful winter campaign in the Venezuelan Liga Paralela, going 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.418 WHIP in 10 games (7 starts).  I'm looking for a strong comeback from Perez in 2012.

RHP Ross Seaton (22)
A third round pick in 2008, Seaton's most effective season to date was in 2009 in Lexington when he was 8-10 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.288 WHIP in 24 starts.  He wasn't bad in 2011, but he wasn't third round good either.  He ended the season at Corpus Christi with a 4-9 record, a 5.23 ERA and a 1.387 WHIP over 28 starts, but there's more to the story.  At 21, he was young for the AA level and he did show some improvement over the season as he compiled a 3.00 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP over his 6 starts in August.  I would like to see improvement in his strikeout rate, his groundball out rate, or both, but the key to a more effective season in 2012 may have already been accomplished - he'll be a year older.

RHP Tanner Bushue (20)
Bushue, who will turn 21 in June, was a second round draft pick in 2009 and immediately impressed by going 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA and a 1.030 in 5 starts with the GCL Astros that year.  He also managed a very respectable 7-8 record with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP in 25 starts in 2010 at Lexington.  His 2011 campaign wasn't bad by any means, but his inability to stay off the DL tempered his results.  He only managed 85.1 IP in 2011, down from 133.2 IP in 2010.  It will be a significant breakthrough for Bushue if he can manage to stay off the DL for an entire season.

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Tuesday's Game:  Cardinals (8-6) at Astros (9-7) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast: FS-H, & KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
                    MLB Network at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday
Probable Starters: RHP Jordan Lyles (0-0, 6.00) & RHP Kyle Lohse (0-1, 5.19)

Monday's Results:  Astros over Marlins 7-4
Winning Pitcher:  Kyle Weiland (2-0, 1.64)
Losing Pitcher:  Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 11.57)
HR:  HOU - Brett Wallace (1)

Happy Birthday - 3/20

No future Astros with birthdays today, only former Astros ~

RHP Jim Golden (76)
Obtained by Houston from the Dodgers in the 1961 expansion draft, Golden pitched for the Colt 45's for two seasons before being included in a trade to the White Sox in 1963 for Nellie Fox.  He was 7-12 for Houston with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.428 WHIP in 40 appearances (19 starts).

OF Rick Parker (49)
Drafted by the Phillies in the 16th round in 1985 out of the University of Texas, Parker was signed by Houston as a free agent in January of 1992 and spent one season with the Astros.  In 49 plate appearances over 45 games, he hit a solid .333/.375/.400.

RHP Blas Minor (46)
Minor was drafted three times before he finally signed with Pittsburgh on the fourth try as a 6th round pick in 1988.  His best season was for the Mets in 1995 when he went 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.221 WHIP.  Having signed with Houston as a free agent in November of 1996, Minor pitched in only 12 innings for the Astros in 1997 with a 1-0 record, a 4.50 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP.

LHP Wilfred Rodriguez (33)
A non-drafted free agent first signed by Houston in 1995 out of Venezuela, Rodriguez's whole major league career consists of  three innings pitched over 2 games in 2001 with an ERA of 15.00 and a WHIP of 2.333.  In 8 seasons of minor league and independent ball, he had a 4.17 ERA and a 1.384 WHIP.  He was named as a #25 prospect by Baseball America before the 2000 season and a #57 prospect by Baseball America before the 2001 season.

Tweet of the Day

Ryan Cole

Florida highway patrol 256 -me 0 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Monday's Game:  Astros (8-7) at Marlins (7-6) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast: KBME 790 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters: RHP Kyle Weiland (1-0, 0.00) & RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 0.00)

Sunday's Results:  Astros over Mets 9-5
Winning Pitcher:  Livan Hernandez (1-1, 4.38)
Losing Pitcher:  Mike Pelfrey (0-2, 14.90)
HR:  NYM - Ronny Cedeno (1), Rob Johnson (1); HOU - Carlos Lee (1), Jed Lowrie (1)

WTH 25-Man Roster

After 27 rounds of voting (including a couple of rounds to winnow down our pitching choices) over 27 weeks, the WTH 25-Man Roster is at long last complete.  I hope that my readers have enjoyed getting to know the players a little bit better, one position at a time, as much as I have.  Now we'll get to see how we did as I track their stats as a group over the season.  First, let's see how they did in 2011 ...

First the pitchers (stats include prior organization if applicable) ~

And the position players (also includes stats for prior organization if applicable) ~

As a composite, the pitchers on this team had a .519 win percentage with a 3.68 ERA, 1.260 WHIP, 7.65 SO/9 and 2.53 SO/BB (as compared to a .408 win percentage, 4.87 ERA, 1.490 WHIP, 7.6 SO/9 and 2.03 SO/BB for the 2011 average for the entire organization).

As a composite, the position players on this team batted .282 with an approximate OBP of .361+ and a slugging percentage of .437 (as compared to .258/.334/.379 for the entire organization in 2011).


I am encouraged by this roster.  Yes, we still lack depth in the Astros farm system, but we do not lack talent. In addition to the players that made the roster, there are many more waiting in the wings.  Adrian Houser, Brett Oberholtzer, Kyle Hallock, Vincent Velasquez, Mike Foltynewicz, Tanner Bushue, Telvin Nash and Jio Mier are already on the radar screen.  And there others out there on the cusp.  Will Luis Ordosgoitti, Tommy Shirley, Ernesto Genoves, Emilio King, Roberto Pena, Mitch Lambson, Matt Duffy and Teoscar Herrnandez be the next wave to prove themselves?  And don't forget about Mike Kvasnicka; with his move back to catcher, he could really come into his own this season.  With a new front office (and a new philosophy) in place, a first round draft pick coming soon and some very talented players already making progress through the system, I'm excited about the Astros future for the first time in a long time.

Happy Birthday - 3/19

UT Matt Downs (28)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the 36th round in 2006 out of the University of Alabama, Downs became an Astro after being claimed off of waivers in August of 2010.  Downs was put to good use in 2011, playing at 2B, 3B, 1B, RF and SS (and pinch-hitting) in 106 games.  His batting line was .276/.347/.518/.864 with 18 doubles and ten home runs over 199 at-bats.

C Landon Powell (30)
The newest Astro, Powell was signed only last week after being released by the Oakland A's.  A first round draft pick by Oakland out of the University of South Carolina in 2004, Powell has only played in 123 games over three seasons in the major leagues with a .207/.284/.328 batting line and a 40% caught stealing percentage.  In the minor leagues, he has hit .256/.362/.430 to date, with a 47% caught stealing percentage.  His health issues were well-documented in this excellent article by Steve Campbell.  Also interesting is this Baseball-Reference piece about earlier attempts to sign Powell as a free agent back in 2000.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B/2B Jose Castillo (31)
Claimed off waivers from Houston in 2008, Castillo played in 15 games for Houston that year, hitting .281/.314/.313/.627.  In 2011, he played in Mexico and Japan.

UT Chuck Jackson (49)
Drafted by Houston in the 7th round in 1984, Jackson played in 81 games for Houston in 1987 and 1988, hitting .218/.281/.321.  In 12 seasons in the minors, he hit .288/.369/.426.

Tweet of the Day

Bryce Lane

Today was a good day 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

WTH Roster

The 25th player and final infielder selected for the What the Heck 25-Man Roster was Kody Hinze.  Also receiving votes were Telvin Nash, Matt Duffy and Luca Martone.  (For more information on the WTH 25-Man Roster, go here.)

Coming Monday - Some observations on the final WTH Roster.

Spring Training Schedule & Results

Sunday's Game:  Mets (3-10) at Astros (7-7) at 12:05 CST
Broadcast: KTRH 740 at 12:00 CST
Probable Starters: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 10.29) & RHP Livan Hernandez (0-1, 1.93)

Saturday's Results:  Yankees over Astros 6-3
Winning Pitcher:  Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 4.00)
Losing Pitcher:  Bud Norris (1-1, 7.50)
SV:  Dellin Betances
HR:  NYY - Robinson Cano (1), Bill Hall (1)

Happy Birthday - 3/18

RHP James Propst (23)
Propst was drafted in the 38th round in 2011 out of Oklahoma State and spent his first season at Greeneville pitching out of the bullpen (plus one start).  He was 1-3 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.413 WHIP, but those numbers were skewed by a rough August.  In his first 2 months, he had a 4.30 ERA and a 1.174 WHIP.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Brian Fisher (50)
Originally drafted by Atlanta in the 2nd round in 1980, Fisher pitched for Houston in 4 games in 1990.  His best season was his rookie season for the Yankees in 1985 when he was 4-4 with an ERA of 2.38 and a WHIP of 1.078 over 55 games.

And one almost Astro with a birthday today ~

Craig Tatum (29)

Tweet of the Day

Ryan Cole

I'm a leprechaun