Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Futurists - OKC Starting Pitchers

Over at The Futurists blog, I look at how the Oklahoma City pitching staff stacks up so far.  I think you'll be happy with what you'll see!

Minor League Schedule and Results


Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-1, 1.72) and LHP Brandon Parrent (0-0, 6.52)

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Tim Murphy (0-1, 7.04) and RHP Jake Buchanan (0-0, 3.97)
Available on

Albuquerque at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Michael Antonini (0-0, 5.40) and TBD
Available on

Lancaster at Lake Elsinore at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Lexington over Kannapolis 6-4
It wasn't a pretty win, but a win is a win.  Kyle Hallock was awarded his first W despite giving up 11 hits and four runs; Carlos Quevedo was excellent in three innings of relief; and Jason Chowning got his third save while still preserving his 0.00 ERA.  The story on this one was terrific offense from Delino Deshields (3x5), Zach Johnson (2x3 with 2RBI), Matt Duffy (2x5) and Alex Todd (2x4).  Now if we can just talk about those three GIDP's ...

Oklahoma City over Nashville 2-1
Oklahoma City swept Nashville in the series thanks to a pitching gem by Henry Sosa (1.69 ERA) who only gave up four hits and one walk in seven innings to earn his first win of the season. Enerio del Rosario got the hold and Jose Valdez got his fourth save despite giving up a run in the 9th to make a close game even closer.   J.B. Shuck and Jimmy Paredes both went 2x4, and Paredes and Justin Ruggiano each had a double.  It's nice to see Paredes' bat heating up.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 2-1
This one was just a shame as Wes Musick had an extremely solid complete game outing, but still got pegged with the loss.  He had no offensive support as the Lancaster crew was only able to muster three singles and a walk.  Their only run was scored by Erik Castro, thanks to a fielding error and a well-placed ground out by Rafael Valenzuela.

Corpus Christi over Frisco 6-0

What went right:  Starting pitching, relief pitching, offensive power and action on the base paths.  Corpus Christi needed this win badly, having lost their last five games.  Brett Oberholtzer, who had struggled in his previous two starts, had no trouble in this one with a very strong performance.  Kevin Chapman kept the door closed in relief.  Jonathan Singleton got his first home run of the season and Brandon Barnes added two more for good measure.  There were three stolen bases including Andy Simunic's steal of home.

Brett Oberholtzer (W, 1-0) - 7IP 3H 0R 0BB 8SO
Kevin Chapman - 2IP 3H 0R 0BB 3SO

Austin Wates - 2x4 R SB CS
Jonathan Singleton - 1x4 HR RBI SO R
Brandon Barnes - 2x4 2HR 2HR 2RBI 2R
Chris Wallace - 2x3 BB R SB
Andrew Simunic - 2x3 RBI R SB

What went wrong: One error (Thompson, fielding), one caught stealing (Wates) and one hit by pitch (Oberholtzer).

Oberholtzer gets the nod.  In his first two starts, Oberholtzer couldn't get past 4.1 innings in either.  His ERA coming in to Friday's game was 9.35 - he lowered it to 5.17 in one outing. I also really like that he hasn't walked a batter since his first outing.  I'm extremely hopeful that this excellent outing will lead to many, many more over the season.

Brandon Barnes is in beast mode.  He had two home runs last night and his current batting line after 13 games is .385/.407/.750/1.157.  Case closed.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/21

No future Astros with birthdays today, only former Astros ~

3B Ken Caminiti (died October 10, 2004 at 41)
Caminiti was originally drafted by Houston in the 3rd round in 1984 and played 10 of his 15 major league seasons for Houston from 1987 to 1994 and in 1999 and 2000. He was a three-time All Star (once for Houston), a three-time Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger winner and he was the National League MVP for San Diego in 1996.

There's no way to talk about Caminiti without talking about the demons that destroyed him. Buster Olney captures Caminiti's essence beautifully in this piece from 2005 and Richard Justice describes the touching story of Biggio's gesture of friendship in a 2007 article.

From Olney's article ~
At Caminiti's memorial service in Houston last fall, Craig Reynolds, who played with Caminiti in Houston, stood and spoke directly to his friend's three girls: "You're going to hear some really, really good things about your Dad here today. And later, after you leave, you're going to hear some bad things about your Dad, and when you do, remember that those people didn't know him the way everybody in this room did."
Those who knew Ken Caminiti counted themselves lucky to have known him, demons and all.

IF Jeff Keppinger (32)
Originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the 4th round in 2001, Keppinger came to Houston in a trade with Cincinnati for Drew Sutton in 2009. He spent 2+ seasons playing for Houston before being traded to San Francisco in 2011 for Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel. In 287 games for Houston he hit .281/.336/.398. He is currently playing for Tampa Bay.

Jeff Keppinger 2010

3B/1B Chris Donnels (46)
A first round pick by the Mets in 1987, Donnels came to Houston as a waiver claim in December 1992.  In 161 games for Houston from 1993 to 1995, Donnels hit .264/.341/.393. He hit a respectable .274 as a pinch hitter for Houston, a role he frequently was called on to fill.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

Everyday I play baseball I am thankful This year many guys i have played ball with are done.. Imma play until they tell me I can't. And some

Friday, April 20, 2012

WTH Roster - Position Player Update

Now that we're two weeks into the minor league season, let's check in on the position players from the WTH 25-man roster and see how they've done so far. [Note - The What the Heck 25-man roster was compiled through reader votes throughout the off-season.]

Everyone who thought that, two weeks into the season, Jonathan Meyer (who had a .264/.343/.399 batting line in 2011) would lead this roster of studs in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS, raise your hand.  I see one hand there in the back and it appears to belong to Meyer's gammy.  With our lack of depth at third base, it's nice to see Meyer showing some encouraging signs although it's obviously too early to read much into his numbers.

The results are a mixed bag with strong starts from Wates, Singleton and Scott and slow starts from Villar, Wallace and Hinze.  Santana hasn't been off the DL all that long so his numbers are an extremely small sample size.  Other than Meyer, Delino DeShields (who only hit .220 last season) has had the most encouraging start at the plate, plus he already has eight stolen bases to boot.  Springer doesn't have flashy numbers, but he does lead this roster in RBI's with 11.

Two players not on the WTH Roster who have had really great starts are Telvin Nash (who really should have been our DH instead of Chase Davidson - no offense intended, Chase) and Brandon Barnes.  These two lead all of the minor league players in OPS (minimum of 50 plate appearances) with Telvin Nash having a 1.062 OPS and Brandon Barnes having a 1.046 OPS.

Other Astros minor leaguers with notably good starts at the plate are Zach Johnson, Fernando Martinez, Jose Martinez, Erik Castro and Jake Goebbert.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Kyle Hallock (0-0, 11.12) and RHP Kevin Vance (1-0, 0.90)

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jacob Brigham (1-0, 1.64) and LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-0, 9.35)
Available on

Oklahoma City at Nashville at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Henry Sosa (0-0, 3.00) and RHP Wily Peralta (0-1, 2.12)
Available on

Lancaster at Lake Elsinore at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Frisco over Corpus Christi 1000-0
Okay, it was 10-0, but it might as well have been 1000-0 as the pitching staff in the form of Jose Cisneros, Erick Abreu and Jonnathan Aristil did their impression of the 2011 Astros in meltdown mode.  Adalberto Flores had a clean inning. Jonathan Singleton, Brandon Barnes (2B) and Jair Fernandez were the only three players to get a hit and they only got one each.  Austin Wates stole his first base. That's about it.  The Hooks have now lost five in a row.

Game 1 - Oklahoma City over Nashville 4-3
Jordan Lyles got his third win and Xavier Cedeno his first save in the 7-inning 1st game. Brian Bixler really, really, really doesn't want to be in Oklahoma City.  He wants to be in Houston and he's making a case for himself as he has hit .520/.571/.880/1.451 over the first six games since being sent to OKC, including a 3x4 night on Thursday.  Scott Moore contributed a couple of RBI's and Brad Snyder went 2x3 with a double.

Game 2 - Oklahoma City over Nashville 4-2
Sergio Perez got the spot start in place of an ailing Paul Clemens (back spasms).  He and Mickey Storey pitched the first five, giving up one run each. Fernando Abad pitched the final two innings and earned the win as he gave up only one hit (with four strikeouts) and preserved his ERA at 0.00.  Jimmy Paredes was practically a one-man wrecking crew as he went 2x3 with a home run and a two-run single in the 9th.  J.B. Shuck contributed the other RBI.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 8-1
After playing much better fundamental baseball the last several days, Lancaster regressed in this one with a fielding error by Castro, two passed balls by Heath and two wild pitches by Doran helping to seal their fate as Bobby Doran was charged with the loss.  Andrew Robinson continues to struggle in the bullpen as he gave up  one hit, three runs and two walks in only one inning pitched.  The offense consisted of singles by Jio Mier and Adam Bailey and a triple by Domingo Santana.  Jio also stole two bases, his first of the season.

Lexington over Kannapolis 2-0

What went right:  Pitching and one very timely double.  Nick Tropeano dealt for eight innings and Jason Chowning closed the door.  Between the two of them, they had 12 strikeouts.  There wasn't much in the way of offense in this one as the game was tied at 0-0 going into the top of the 9th, but a Matt Duffy walk, an Alex Todd single and a two-run double for Roberto Pena turned out to be all that they needed.

Nick Tropeano (W, 1-0) - 8IP 4H 0R 2BB 9SO (0.47 ERA)
Jason Chowning (S, 2) - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 3SO (0.00 ERA)

Alex Todd - 3x4 SO R
Roberto Pena - 2x3 2B 2RBI BB

What went wrong: The offense didn't take advantage of early chances and made the opposing pitcher look better than he really was.

I'm going with co-pitchers of the day because both Nick Tropeano and Jason Chowning are deserving.  Tropeano had nine strikeouts on Thursday - eight swinging and one looking.  He now has a total of 27 over 19 innings.  Chowning only faced three batters and got three strikeouts - two swinging and one looking.  As his tweet indicated, that is indeed a great one two punch.

Jimmy Paredes earns the honors for getting hot at just the right time to allow Oklahoma City to sweep the doubleheader.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/20

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Jimmy Jones (48)
A first round draft pick by the Padres in 1982, Jones came to Houston as a free agent in 1991.  In 1991 and 1992, he went 16-14 in 51 games (45 starts) with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.340 WHIP.

OF/1B/PH Tim Tolman (56)
Tolman played in 107 games spread out over 1981 through 1985 for Houston. Despite a .296 career minor league batting average, Tolman hit only .196 in his best season with the Astros.

RHP Jim Dickson (74)
Dickson pitched in 13 games for the Colt .45's in 1963 before being traded to the Reds in 1964 for Eddie Kasko.

MGR Preston Gomez (died January 13, 2009 at 85)
The Cuban born Gomez managed the Astros to an 81-81 record in 1974 but was replaced late in the 1975 season by Bill Virdon after he had managed the Astros to a 47-80 record.  Twice during his managerial career, he removed a starting pitcher for a pinch-hitter late in a game when the pitcher had a no-hitter going, with the Astros Don Wilson being one of them.  Both of those games were lost.

Tweet of the Day


Great night for  and  - 12 strikeouts between them and a much needed win for Lexington!!!!!!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

WTH Roster - Pitching Update

Now that we're two weeks into the minor league season, let's check in on the pitchers from the WTH 25-man roster and see how they've done so far. [Note - The What the Heck 25-man roster was compiled through reader votes throughout the off-season.]

Congratulations! You picked a great pitching staff. The WTH pitchers have a 2.86 ERA and a 1.124 WHIP with 8.3 SO/9; our starting pitchers are 4-1; and Fernando Abad and Dayan Diaz have been perfect in relief.  Despite Juan Abreu's continued command issues, he somehow has two saves already.  Alex Sogard started out slowly but was terrific in his last two appearances.  Unfortunately, Chris Hicks had one terrific outing followed by a terrible outing followed by a trip to the DL.

Other pitchers who are not on the WTH roster who are currently sporting a 0.00 ERA are Sergio Perez, Jose Valdez, Kirk Clark, Jose Cisnero, Jason Chowning and Xavier Cedeno.  There are also a total of 16 pitchers on the minor league clubs with a WHIP of 1.200 or under.

Quite a number of pitchers are having very strong starts to the season, but the Oklahoma City staff is really a cut above the rest.  Their staff ERA is 2.27 with a WHIP of 1.181.  I would love to see that dominance continue.

Tomorrow we'll check in on our WTH Roster position players and see how they're doing.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and RHP Kevin Vance (1-0, 0.90)

Oklahoma City at Nashville at 6:05 CST (1st game of DH)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jordan Lyles (2-0, 2.08) and RHP Josh Butler (0-2, 3.86)
Available on

Oklahoma City at Nashville (2nd game of DH)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Sergio Perez (1-0, 0.00) and RHP Brian Baker (1-1, 4.82)
Available on

Frisco at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Barrett Loux (2-0, 1.69) and RHP Jose Cisnero (1-0, 0.00)
Available on

Lancaster at Lake Elsinore at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Greenville over Lexington 4-2
Starting pitcher Jonas Dufek was taken out of the game after 1.2 innings after he was hit by a pitch on his forearm (he tweeted that it didn't appear to be serious).  Nathan Pettus and Dayan Diaz stepped in for long relief, with Diaz having the better outing of the two (by far). 3B Matt Duffy was 3x4 with a two-run RBI in the bottom of the 9th, but it was too little too late.

Corpus Christi - Off Day

Oklahoma City over Nashville 7-5
Dallas Keuchel really let me down in this one as he gave up his first two runs of the season and his ERA skyrocketed to 0.90.  Seriously, another fantastic outing by Dallas Keuchel earned him his third win of the season. Juan Abreu was a little dicey in relief (again) and Juan Valdez closed it out capably.  Brian Bixler, Scott Moore and Justin Ruggiano all homered in the game and Fernando Martinez also had a strong outing.

Lancaster over High Desert 8-6

What went right:  Two wins in a row against a team that simply creamed them to start the season is a good thing.  Timely hitting was the key to this win as Lancaster was actually outhit by High Desert.  The pitching staff kept Lancaster in the game, but other than a clean inning by Jose Trinidad, could have been better.

Zachary Grimmett - 6IP 9H 4R 0BB 6SO 2HR
Jose Trinidad (W, 1-0) - 1IP 1H 0R 0BB
Jorge de Leon (S, 1) - 2IP 4H 2R 2BB 2SO

Jio Mier - 2x4 2B 3RBI R
Telvin Nash - 1x4 HR RBI 2SO R
Ben Heath - 2x3 BB 2R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 2B SO R
Domingo Santana - 2x4 2RBI 2SO R

What went wrong: Three of the four runs Grimmett allowed were on home runs. There was also a hit batter by Grimmett and a wild pitch by de Leon.

As enamored as I am of Dallas Keuchel, it's going to be difficult for anyone else to get pitcher of the day on the days that he pitches as long as he keeps this up, so Dallas Keuchel it is!

I've got to send Jio Mier some love for his 3RBI night and for getting his batting average up to .277.  I haven't given up on Jio and I don't think you should either..

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/19

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

LF Aaron "Hawk" Pointer (70)
Pointer played in 40 games for the Colt .45's and Astros in 1963, 1966 and 1967 with less than auspicious results.  His minor league numbers and his family ties are what brought him some degree of fame.  Pointer is the last person to hit over .400 over a full summer in U.S. minor league ball when he batted .402 in 93 games for the Salisbury Braves in the Western Carolina league in 1961.  He is also brother to Anita, June, Bonnie and Ruth, also known as The Pointer Sisters.  I'm so excited.  For more of his story, visit Baseball-Reference's great Bullpen writeup.

OF Jose Cruz Jr. (38)
Originally drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 1995, Cruz went on to play for nine teams over 12 seasons including 38 games for Houston at the end of his career.  He came in second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1997, losing to Nomar Garciaparra, and won a Gold Glove in 2003 while playing for the Giants.  His best season was 2001 for Toronto when he hit .274/.326/.530 with 38 doubles, four triples, 34 home runs, 88 RBI's and 32 stolen bases.

MGR Harry Craft (died August 3, 1995 at 80)
Craft played CF for the Reds in the late 30's and early 40's before going into the military during WWII.  He managed for the Kansas City Athletics and the Chicago Cubs before coming to Houston to manage the expansion Colt .45's from 1962 to 1964.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Jason Schwartz

I think Telvin Nash just hit the longest home run I've ever seen. Cleared the batter's eye by plenty! Look out Avenue I. Wow.

Tweet of the Day

Lancaster JetHawks

Picture of 's fall last night He went from neutral to 5th gear to park. "He had it coming"- J. Meyer said

Apparently, Telvin Nash had an issue running the bases on Tuesday night.  Jonathan Meyer and George Springer had some fun with it.

Roster Moves - 4/18

OF Brad Snyder was activated from the 7-day DL.
RHP Paul Clemens was placed on the 7-day DL retroactive to 4/16.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crawfishboxes Blog Posting

Because I just don't have enough to do, I will be contributing an occasional Astros minor league blog posting over at The Crawfishboxes site.  My first post looks at the Lancaster Jethawks starting pitchers, how they've done so far in the fledgling 2012 season and what they'll need to do to succeed in a very difficult home ballpark.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Greenville at Lexington at 9:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD
Available on

Oklahoma City at Nashville at 11:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.00) and RHP Mark Rogers (0-0, -.--)
Available on

Corpus Christi has the day off

High Desert at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  LHP James Gilheeney (2-0, 0.87) and RHP Zachary Grimmett (0-1, 7.00)


Tulsa over Corpus Christi 4-0
Tulsa's Edwar Cabrera had a perfect game going until Chris Wallace singled on the first pitch of the ninth inning.  That would be Corpus Christi's only hit.  Ross Seaton pitched well through four innings, but gave up home runs in the fifth and the sixth.

Nashville and Oklahoma City Postponed
The game will be made up as part of a double-header (7 innings each) on Thursday.

Greenville over Lexington 10-6
Tanner Bushue got roughed up for his third straight start. In only two innings pitched, he gave up five hits, six runs (four earned), one walk, two strikeouts and a home run. (Note: The official scorer changed one of the runs to unearned after I tweeted that five of the runs were earned last night.)  He did not help himself as he made two throwing errors.  At this point I really wouldn't be surprised to see Bushue sent back to extended spring training to get through whatever demons are currently plaguing him.  The Legends did get back within one run, but a rough ninth from Murilo Gouvea effectively snuffed any rally.  Delino DeShields went 2x5 and Zach Johnson got two more RBI's to put him on top of the Sally League leaderboard with 16.

Lancaster over High Desert 11-3

What went right:  After going 0-5 against High Desert in this young season, the Jethawks broke through in a big way scoring nine runs in the bottom of the second with 14 batters coming to the plate.  Every starter except Rene Garcia got in on the action.  Domingo got his first hit since coming off the DL (and his first hit of the season) as he hit a two-run shot.  Ruben Alaniz got his first win of the season in his first start at The Hangar.

Ruben Alaniz (W, 1-0) - 6IP 8H 3R 0BB 7SO
Gabriel Garcia - 2IP 3H 0R 0BB
Kirk Clark - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB (0.00 ERA)

Adam Bailey - 3x5 HR RBI SO 2R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 2RBI SO 2R
Domingo Santana - 1x3 HR 2RBI  BB 2SO 2R
Kike Hernandez - 2x4 2B RBI R

What went wrong: Rene Garcia went 0x4, but other than that it was a solid win without the errors, wild pitches and passed balls that have plagued the team early this season.

Ruben Alaniz gets the nod for getting his first win in his first start at the pitcher-unfriendly confines of The Hangar.

Normally I would go with Adam Bailey for his great night in Lancaster, but I've got to give this to Corpus Christi's Chris Wallace for his hustling single to break up Tulsa's no-no and perfect game.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/18

RHP Luis Abad (18)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Abad started 12 games for the DSL Astros in 2011.  He was 0-4 with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.794 WHIP in 34 innings pitched.  He had 7.1 SO/9 but the 10.3 BB/9 might be a bit of an issue.  Since he was only 17 at the time, I think we'll have to cut him some slack.

Tweet of the Day

Corpus Christi Hooks

Congrats to former  pitcher  on being named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week! Congrats, Dallas Keuchel!

Roster Moves - 4/17

LF Collin Delome was released (I wouldn't be surprised if Jake Goebbert gets sent up to OKC from CC)

OF Dan Adamson was released

There may be other moves, but MiLB has been slow to post transactions the last couple of days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And Then There Were None

Collin DeLome

Officially no longer a Houston astro...looking forward to opening a new chapter in my baseball career..
And with this news, the chapter is officially closed on the disaster that was the Astros 2007 draft class.  Collin was the last man standing.  The Astros did not get one single player out of that draft to make it to the major leagues.  It is sad but somehow fitting that this chapter had to close so the next chapters can be written.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Greenville at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Henry Owens (1-1, 12.15) and Tanner Bushue (0-2, 21.94)
Available on

Oklahoma City at Nashville at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.00) and RHP Mark Rogers (0-0, -.--)
Available on

Corpus Christi at Tulsa at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (0-1, 5.63) and LHP Edwar Cabrera (1-1, 2.25)
Available on

High Desert at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Chris Sorce (0-0, 4.63) and RHP Ruben Alaniz (0-0, 3.38)


Tulsa over Corpus Christi 7-1
This one was mostly forgettable as Henry Villar started in place of Jarred Cosart who has missed two starts now with a blister on his pitching hand.  Villar and Erick Abreu each gave up three runs in three innings pitched.  Adalberto Flores was flawless in relief and Jason Stoffel gave up the final run.  Jose Martinez hit a solo home run that accounted for Corpus Christi's only run.  Martinez leads the Texas League with 14 RBI.

Memphis over Oklahoma City 2-0
This one featured a solid start by Aneury Rodriguez and a solid relief outing by Mickey Storey in which they gave up one run each and perfect outings by Xavier Cedeno and Enerio del Rosario.  Unfortunately, Oklahoma City could only muster five hits and no runs.  Two of those hits were from Jimmy Paredes.

High Desert over Lancaster 7-3 in 13 innings
I'm so glad I didn't wait up for this one to be over.  David Martinez got the start and gave up three runs over seven innings followed by three terrific innings each from Alex Sogard and Pat Urckfitz.  Brian Streilein and Jorge de Leon were unable to hold the tie.  The offense consisted of a two-run home run from Erik Castro and and RBI double from Jio Mier, while Jonathan Meyer contributed a triple.  Of note - Domingo Santana appeared in this game for the first time since April 5th and went 0x5 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Lexington over Greenville 6-2

What went right:  They needed this one and Foltynewicz came through with his second straight terrific performance.  Jordan Scott and Zach Johnson have been a great 3-4 combo in the lineup and now that Matt Duffy is heating up at #5, they could be even more dangerous.

Mike Foltynewicz (W, 2-1) - 7IP 3H 2R/1ER 2BB 6SO PO (1.72 ERA)
Scott Zuloaga - 2IP 1H 1BB 4SO

Zach Johnson - 2x4 2B 2RBI R
Matt Duffy - 2x4 RBI
Mike Kvasnicka - 1x2 3B 2BB R
Jimmy Howick - 1x3 RBI BB R 2SB

What went wrong: Two fielding errors on DeShields, his 4th and 5th

Folty has really needed to take the next step, and in the last two games, he has shown signs that he is prepared to do just that. I want to see him continue to build on his last two strong starts.

Zach Johnson has been showing great consistency at the plate. After a two RBI night last night, he is now second in the Sally League in RBI with 14.  He's currently hitting .317/.408/.561.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/17

SS Jed Lowrie (28)
A first round draft pick by Boston in 2005, Lowrie came to Houston, along with Kyle Weiland, in a trade for Mark Melancon in December of 2011.  In 256 games for Boston over 4 seasons, he hit .252/.324/.408.  In his first three games for Houston after coming off the DL, he hit .250/.438/.250.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

UT Denny Walling (58)
Walling was a first round pick by Oakland in 1975 and came to Houston in a trade in June of 1977 where he became a fixture until traded to the Cardinals in August of 1988 for Bob Forsch.  Denny Walling was the quintessential utility player, moving among first base, third base, the outfield and a pinch-hitting role with ease and effectiveness.  In 13 years for Houston, he hit .277/.345/.402 in 1072 games.  One of his career highlights was hitting the game-winning homerun in the division-clinching no-hitter pitched by Mike Scott in September 1986.  Most recently, Walling has been a roving hitting instructor in the Orioles organization, but he will take over as hitting coach in their AAA Norfolk affiliate in the 2012 season.

Tweets of the Day

Brandon Barnes

Congrats to my boy  for Co Texas league player of the week

Jacob Goebbert

 named player of the week in the Texas league

Yes, Jake and Brandon were co-players of the week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

In Luhnow We Trust?

Despite the extreme angst from bloggers and tweeps over Jeff Luhnow's off-season signing of Jack Cust, I really didn't have a huge problem with it because of what I'd seen from the way that Luhnow had operated up to that point.  And, of course, Cust was subsequently released and the whole thing became a non-issue.  There were only two off-season Luhnow signings that were, to me, puzzlers ... Jose Martinez and Mike Hessman.

Let's start with 2B Jose Martinez.  After Martinez was signed, the first problem was figuring out which Jose Martinez, as Baseball-Reference currently lists 23 gentlemen with that name having played in the minor leagues.  Once I determined that this was the correct individual, I was immediately concerned with the holes in his resume.  He sat out all of 2009, only played 6 games in 2010 and sat out all of 2011.  So, what happened to Martinez? Bryan Trostel at Astros County performed his Google-Fu magic and found this.

Despite the injuries and tragedy in Martinez' past, Jeff Luhnow felt that there was enough talent there to give the 26-year old former Cardinals farmhand another chance.  How has Martinez repaid him for that chance?  Through nine games with Corpus Christi, Martinez has 11 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run and thirteen RBI's (which leads the team).  His batting line is .333/.385/.576/.961 with four walks and only two strikeouts.  He has no errors.  Certainly it is too early in the season to know if Martinez will continue to perform at a high level, but he was certainly worth taking a chance on.

On the other side of the coin, we have the 34-year old 1B Mike Hessman.  Hessman is a career .231 hitter in 17 seasons in the minor leagues (.188 in 109 games in the majors).  He spent last season playing for the Orix Buffaloes in Osaka, Japan hitting .192.  He has 1942 strikeouts in 6010 AB's in the minor leagues.  What does he have going for him, you ask?  Home runs.  Hessman is the career active leader in the minors with 330.

In Hessman's first at bat for Oklahoma City, he hit a home run.  Is Luhnow on to something?  Not so much, at least not so far.  After hitting well in the first three games, Hessman is hitless in the last six.  He is hitting .194 with two walks and 13 strikeouts.  Obviously, the season is young and anything can happen but at this point, I would have much preferred to have seen Jimmy VanOstrand at first base in Oklahoma City.

Luhnow appears to be batting .500 on these two moves.  I will be interested to see if that changes during the course of the season.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Corpus Christi at Tulsa at 12:35 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jarred Cosart (0-0, 0.00) and RHP Joe Gardner (0-0, 4.76)
Available on

Greenville at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD
Available on

Oklahoma City at Memphis at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Aneury Rodriguez (1-0, 4.66) and RHP Brian Broderick (0-2, 8.00)

High Desert at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Kannapolis over Lexington 5-4 in 11 innings
LHP Kyle Hallock pitched much better in his second outing (5IP 7H 3R 2BB 3SO), but still wasn't particularly sharp.  Carlos Quevedo pitched well in four innings of relief.  Jason Chowning pitched two innings and wasn't quite as crisp as usual, but was charged with the loss thanks in part to a Matt Duffy error.  Chowning maintains a 0.00 ERA.  Delino DeShields Jr. homered and Justin Gominsky went 2x4 with a double.

Tulsa over Corpus Christi 2-1
Jake Buchanan re-grouped from his last somewhat shaky start and put up a solid six innings.  Kevin Chapman pitched two innings of relief and gave up a solo home run for the loss.  Austin Wates started a new hitting streak with a 2x4 performance and Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with a home run.

Memphis over Oklahoma City 5-4
An excellent start by Paul Clemens (6IP 3H 1R 2BB 5SO) was wasted as the bullpen was unable to shut the door.  Collin Delome, J.B. Shuck and Landon Powell led the scoring with a little help from an RBI single by Clemens.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 7-5
Wes Musick had a mixed bag of an outing.  Over five innings, he gave up six hits, five runs (four earned), one walk, seven strikeouts and a home run.  Andrew Robinson was charged with the loss.  Telvin Nash (sixth home run), Erik Castro and Ben Orloff had the best days offensively.  But overall, it was an ugly game with three throwing errors (Mier and Meyer), an Orloff GIDP, a Bailey caught stealing and a Heath pickoff at first.

None - I'm cranky because all of my boys lost on Sunday.

Although Paul Clemens was once again excellent, I need to send a little love to Jake Buchanan for his six innings pitched with four hits, one run, one walk and three strikeouts.  Nice comeback from his last outing and something on which to build.

Let's make it a Two Jakes day.  Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with a HR (that represented all of the Corpus scoring) and is currently hitting .429.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/16

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Bruce Bochy (57)
A first round draft pick by Houston in 1975, Bochy was an Astro from 1978 to 1980 before playing for the Mets and the Padres. As an Astro, he hit .239/.308/.321 over 132 games.  Shortly after he quit playing in 1988, he started managing in the minor leagues, graduating to manager of the San Diego Padres in 1995 at the ripe old age of 40.  After a dozen years at the helm in San Diego, he started managing the Giants in 2007.  Going in to the 2012 season, Bochy is 1360-1376 with 2 Pennants and a World Series title on his resume.

SS Tommy Manzella (29)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 2005, Manzella played in 90 games for Houston in 2009 and 2010.  Despite hitting .289/.339/.417 in 133 games at AAA in 2009 prior to his September call-up that year, he struggled at the plate in the majors, hitting .224/.266/.262.  He was claimed off  waivers by the Diamondbacks in August of 2011.

Tweet of the Day

Chelsa Messinger

Look at  hitting lasers!! He just got robbed by that 2nd baseman. Still a good AB for a pitcher 
Shhh.  Nobody remind Jake's girlfriend that the Astros are moving to the AL next year.