Saturday, August 4, 2012

Minor League Recaps

DSL Indians 3 DSL Astros 0
The DSL woes have returned in earnest it would seem.  The DSL Astros got 4 hits and a walk over 33 trips to the plate the entire game.  That's a .125 team-BA for the game.  Add to that 3 errors and it becomes pretty hard to take the "W".  Edwin Villarroel (2-7) took the loss Friday, giving up 2 runs (1ER), with a walk and a K.  On a day when the bats weren't too hot, Cristian Murillo proved to be the deviation from the norm, collecting half of his teams hits while going 2 for 4 at the dish.

GCL Nationals 6 GCL Astros 4
Agapito Barrios (1-3) allowed 6 runs (3ER) on 8 hits through the first 4 innings Friday and paired with a couple of early errors, it proved to be a little too much for the offense to recover from.  Juan Mojica and Ambiorix De Leon came on to pitch after Barrios left and kept it scoreless; both had 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.  De Leon allowed only 2 hits and Mojica allowed none.  Juan Santana picked up 2 RBIs and a hit in 3 ABs, moving his season RBI total to 19.  Luis De La Rosa, who is hitting .143 so far this season in 28 ABs, wheeled out his second three-bagger of 2012 on Friday. 

Kingsport Mets 2 Greeneville Astros 18
No, this isn't an errant, arena league football game recap.  It's the result of an outstanding team effort in Greeneville on Friday.  The Astros had 19 hits, 17 RBIs, 5 doubles, a triple, a homer, 2 stolen bases and all while swinging the bat; there were also 9 strikeouts.  Greeneville also set club records for win-margin and RBIs in a game.  Brad Propst took the win after coming on in the fifth inning for two frames of work.  Propst (1-0) allowed 2 hits, struck out 4 and walked 1.  Michael Dimock earned save number 4 after coming on for the final 3 innings, keeping them scoreless, hitless, and striking out 3.

Here's the box, straight from  The offense was simply overwhelming:

Batavia Muckdogs 2 Tri-City ValleyCats 7
The ValleyCats had an outstanding team performance of their own on Friday.  It started with another strong showing from Brian Holmes (5-1), who also picked up the win.  Holmes was charged with 2 runs (1ER) on 4 hits and he struck out 8 through 6 innings of work.  When Holmes sat down in the sixth inning, Tri-City already had the 5-run lead.  The lead was created in large part by the bats of Andrew Aplin (2X4, 2B), Jesse Wierzbicki (1X3, HR) and Tyler Heineman (2X4, 2-2B) who all had 2 RBIs each.  Joe Sclafani (0X3) had the other RBI Friday with a sac-fly in the 6th inning to score Tri-City's final run of the game.

Lexington Legends 3 Hagerstown Suns 6
Lexington had this game in the bag until the 9th inning Friday when Murilo Gouvea (2-7) came in for the save, loaded the bases and then gave up a 2-out, walk-off grand slam.  That was Gouvea's fifth blown save this season.  Jonas Dufek started the game, going 5 innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits.  Dufek also walked 5 and struck out 2.  On the offensive side, Justin Gominsky went 2 for 4 at the plate and scored a run.  Nolan Fontana drew a couple of walks and scored a run.  Fontana has drawn 35 walks this season.      

High Desert Mavericks 11 Lancaster JetHawks 2   
As Jayne tweeted yesterday, Lancaster could of really used a "mulligan" last night.  It was a tough loss for the JetHawks at home but they did keep from being shutout with back to back homers from Jonathan Meyer and Chris Epps in the 8th inning.  Tyson Perez (7-4) took the loss after allowing 7 runs on 11 hits through the first 5 innings on the bump.  Perez also walked 1 and struck out another.  Aside from the 2 homers the only other batter of note was Rafael Valenzuela who hit 2 for 3 on the night.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5 Midland RockHounds 6 (10)
The Hooks were coasting to a victory on Friday after great pitching by starter Andrew Wojciechowski who allowed just a run on 2 hits, walked 2 and K-ed 5 through 5 and a third innings on the hill.  Alex Sogard, who came on for the next 2 frames, allowed a run on 1 hit, 1 walk and struck out 3 batters of his own.  Sogard picked up his fifth hold of the season.  Fast forward now to Jason Stoffell, who came on for the save in the ninth inning and left with his second blown save.  Stoffel had an interesting inning.  After walking back-to-back batters, he gave up an in-the-park, 3-run homer to the next batter to tie the game (Drew Locke made the failed dive in right field that allowed the round tripper).  At the plate, Drew Locke had an outstanding night however, going 3 for 5 with a double and RBI.  Bobby Borchering went 2 for 4 with a double and pair of RBIs of his own. Jonathan Singleton went 1 for 5 at the plate Friday, but his single hit was good for a RBI, his 59th of the season.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 3 Tacoma Rainiers 4 (11)
This was another tough extra-innings loss for the Astros system on Friday.  Brian Bass put the quality into his start on Friday, going 7 innings and allowing only 2 runs.  The runs came on a first inning homer.  After that, Bass settled in and allowed just 5 more hits and struck out 1; he didn't issue a walk.  Fernando Abad picked up his second blown save after allowing the game-tying solo shot in the 9th.  Abad also K-ed 2.  Jose Valdez (0-4) took the loss.  After having a 1-2-3 tenth inning, Valdez gave up the game winning home run to the first batter he faced in the 11th. At the plate, Jimmy Paredes was on fire, going 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and 2 RBIs.  Paredes now has 52 RBIs this season. Brandon Barnes went 2 for 5 with a double.        

Player of the Day: Every single player on the Greeneville Astros deserves the honor today.  Those guys put forth a great team effort and put up a number so crooked it required two digits.  Great game. 

Pitcher of the Day:  Brian Bass gets the honor today, simply because he had a tremendous outing Friday and even though he didn't take the win, he pitched a great game.   

Happy Birthday - 8/4

RHP David Martinez (25)
Martinez originally signed with the Astros out of Venezuela and began his career in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2005. Martinez is in his first season with Lancaster. In 21 appearances (20 starts), he is 5-4 with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.342 WHIP. However in his last ten games, he 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Roger Clemens (50)
A first round pick by the Red Sox in 1983, Clemens was lured out of impending retirement and signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2004. In three seasons with the Astros, he was 38-18 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.074 WHIP. In the 24 seasons that constituted his career, he was 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.173 WHIP. Clemens has a ridiculous number of achievements to his name, but the primary ones among them have to be 11 All-Star appearances and seven Cy Young awards.

RHP Scott Linebrink (36)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the second round in 1997, Linebrink was obtained in a January 2000 trade with the Giants for Doug Henry. He pitched in 48 games for the Astros from 2000 to 2003 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.645 WHIP before being selected off waivers by the Padres in 2003. He pitched very successfully in San Diego after the trade with a 27-12 record, a 2.7 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP in 306 appearances.

Tweet of the Day

Mike Kvasnicka

Hey man, tuck your shirt in. No just the very front so I can see your lame belt buckle. Yeah, perfect, just like that. Now go out in public.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Roster Moves

Oklahoma City/Houston
RHP Mickey Storey's contract was purchased by and he was assigned to Houston as Francisco Cordero was placed on the DL.

Oklahoma City
RHP Ross Seaton was assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.
RHP Garrett Mock was obtained in a trade from Boston for future considerations and will be assigned to Oklahoma City.

Corpus Christi
C Jason Castro was assigned to Corpus Christi for a rehab assignment.
RHP Bobby Doran was assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

RHP Jonas Dufek was activated from the DL.
RHP Chris Devenski was obtained from the Chicago White Sox as the PTBNL in the Brett Myers trade and will be assigned to Lexington. For more information on Devenski, please see David Coleman's post at The Crawfishboxes.

Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 12-11
Posted late - no time for a recap (plane to catch) but Mesac Laguna hit a grand slam in the 10-run 8th inning. Of course, the Astros still lost.

GCL Astros over GCL Cardinals 10-4
Jandel Gustave got the start but only pitched 1.1 innings and gave up four runs (one earned) on two hits and three walks. Ricardo Batista, Jose Montero, Krishawn Holley and Rodney Quintero took it the rest of the way with scoreless relief. Down 4-1 through three innings, the Astros bats kicked it into high gear, collecting a total of 14 hits to come from behind. Juan Santana (4x5 2-2B 3RBI R), Carlos Correa (3x5 RBI R) and Wallace Gonzalez (2x4 RBI 2R) had particularly good days at the plate. Correa made an error on a missed catch, his 11th error of the season.

Kingsport over Greeneville 7-4
Kingsport got five runs off Francis Ramirez in the first two innings which turned out to be all they needed. Cristian Garcia provided 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. Tanner Bushue got pegged for two runs in his three innings but they were unearned and he struck out seven which is a very encouraging sign after this season's struggles. Scott Zuloaga pitched a perfect ninth. The Astros were held to five hits, but three of them were for extra bases including a Brian Blasik RBI triple and doubles from D'Andre Toney and Angel Ibanez.

Tri-City over Batavia 6-2
Aaron West went to 6-0 for the season with yet another great outing. In six innings, he gave up one run on five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts and his ERA increased to 1.05. Travis Ballew and Kenny Long combined for scoreless relief before giving way to Juan Minaya who gave up the final Batavia run. Tied 1-1 after the top of the sixth, Tri-City broke things open by scoring five runs over the next two frames. Austin Elkins hit a solo shot early, his fourth of the season; Jobduan Morales was three-for-four with a double and an RBI; Tyler Heineman, Preston Tucker and Ryan Dineen each had two hits on the night; and Jarrod McKinney had two RBIs.

Stockton over Lancaster 6-3
Blair Walters went to 0-2 on the season as he was roughed up for the second time in as many starts. Walters gave up six runs (5 earned) on five hits, including two home runs, and three walks. Carlos Quevedo and Andrew Robinson were both scoreless in relief but the damage had already been done and Lancaster couldn't quite make it back on top. The top of the order had a good night with Alex Todd going three-for-five, George Springer hitting his 22nd home run and Erik Castro going two-for-five with an RBI.

San Antonio over Corpus 8-7
Ross Seaton and Erick Abreu each allowed four runs and that proved to be too steep a hill for the Hooks to climb despite Marc Krauss providing four RBIs on two home runs (four home runs in his first three games as a Hook). Krauss ended the night three-for-four with a double and two home runs. Drew Locke said, "Don't forget about me," as he went three-for-five with a double, home run and two RBIs of his own, as did Robbie Grossman with a two-for-five, two double outing.

Oklahoma City over Tacoma 7-1
Jose Cisnero has now had two terrific starts since his promotion to AAA. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks in seven innings with seven strikeouts to earn his second win in as many starts. Juan Abreu and Mark Hamburger capably preserved the one run game out of the bullpen. Travis Buck was two-for-five with an RBI; Mike Hessman was one-for-four with his 29th home run and two RBIs; Matt Dominguez was two-for-four; and Chris Wallace was one-for-three with a two run double.

Lexington over Asheville 9-5
It wasn't the prettiest win, but Luis Ordosgoitti went to 5-3 for the season with a 5.2 inning, eight hit, four run (three earned) outing. Evan Grills allowed the final run in his 2.1 innings of work, and Gabriel Garcia pitched a scoreless ninth. Lexington took charge early and held on. Home runs from Zach Johnson and Brandon Meredith and a triple from Delino DeShields set the tone. Johnson was two-for-five with three RBI (to bring his season total to 94) and Meredith was two-for-five with two RBI. Nolan Fontana stole two bases and Meredith swiped one. With the win, Lexington has taken sole possession of second place in the division, trailing Rome by five games in the second half standings. The bad news is that Rome has won 11 in a row so Lexington has their work cut out for them.

Pitchers of the Day: If Aaron West keeps pitching the way he has been, he will undoubtedly be my pitcher of the day approximately every five or so days. He will have to share the podium with Jose Cisnero, though, who has made quite a statement since his promotion to Oklahoma City.

Players of the Day: You've got to love the still 17-year old Juan Santana going four-for-five with two doubles and three RBI. He is hitting .364/.364/.515 in his last 10 games. Marc Krauss' two two-run home runs has him sharing the gold medal.

Happy Birthday - 8/3

LHP Sergio Escalona (28)
Escalona came from the Phillies in a January 2011 trade for 2B Albert Cartwright. The Venezuelan native made his mark for Houston in 2011, pitching in 49 games with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.265 WHIP. He is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

1B Sid Bream (52)
A second round draft pick by the Dodgers in 1981, Bream signed with Houston as a free agent in January of 1994 and played in 46 games for Houston that year. Bream hit .344/.429/.426 in 70 plate appearances, .406 as a pinch hitter. His final game was July 27, 1994. He definitely went out on a high note.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

Still... On pace to win every game in August!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
RHP Henry Villar was placed on the 7-day DL.
RHP Erick Abreu was activated from the 7-day DL.
According to Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, C Rene Garcia will be assigned to the GCL for a rehab assignment and IF Brandon Wikoff is being shut down for the remainder of the season due to a wrist injury.

OF/C Mike Kvasnicka was placed on the 7-day DL.
OF Emilio King was assigned from Tri-City to Lexington.

RHP Brad Propst was assigned from Tri-City to Greeneville.

Who's Hot - Oklahoma City Redhawks

We've been looking at each of the full season teams to see who's been hot lately. So far, we've looked at the Lexington Legends, the Lancaster JetHawks, and the Corpus Christi Hooks. Our final look will be at the Oklahoma City Redhawks.

SS Angel Sanchez
Sanchez has had a good season at the plate, hitting .307/.385/.398, but he has been even better of late. He is hitting .429/.529/.571 in the last 10 games.

OF Travis Buck
Buck has hit .364/.417/.491 in the 19 games since he accepted his assignment to Oklahoma City, but an even more impressive .452/.500/.677 in the last 10.

OF J.B. Shuck
Shuck tends to fly under the radar because he's not a flashy player, but he is definitely solid at the plate. For the season he is hitting .302/.381/.359 and .407/.484/.407 in his last 10.

OF Brad Snyder
Snyder has put up good power numbers all season as he has compiled a .310/.388/.558 batting line with 16 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs. Over the last 10 games, he is even more impressive, hitting .371/.436/.657 with three home runs.

C Chris Wallace
Wallace has only played in eight games since his promotion to Oklahoma City but has done so to the tune of a .333/.417/.381 line.

3B Matt Dominguez
Dominguez has hit .292/.342/.417 with six doubles and a home run in 19 games since coming over from the Marlins organization. That is a substantial upgrade from his .234/.291/.357 with the Marlins AAA club.

LHP Fernando Abad
In nine appearances, Abad has a 2.92 ERA and a 1.378 WHIP. If you back out his one bad appearance, he has a 0.00ERA and a 1.114 WHIP.

RHP Mickey Storey
Storey has been strong out of the bullpen all season. He is 7-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.169 WHIP, 72 strikeouts to only 14 walks. But he has an even stronger 2.08 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP over his last 10 games with 17 strikeouts to three walks.

LHP Brett Oberholtzer
Oberholtzer is 4-3 with a 6.02 ERA and a 1.520 WHIP since his promotion to Oklahoma City. However, over his last four outings he has a 4.32 ERA and a 1.040 WHIP. Even better, if you throw out his one bad outing during that period, he has a 2.84 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.

RHP Jose Cisnero
Cisnero has only had one start since his promotion to Oklahoma City, but it was a good one as he got the win and has a 1.29 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP.

Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 8-4
Harold Arauz pitched three very nice innings allowing only one single and no walks with two strikeouts. But the rest of the pitching staff left something to be desired as they allowed eight runs over the final six innings. The Astros runs came via a Mesac Laguna sac fly, a Luis Reynoso RBI single and a Hector Roa 2-run home run.

GCL Cardinals over GCL Astros 5-1 (called after the top of the 7th)
Raul Rivera allowed two runs on four hits and a walk over four innings and was charged with his first loss of the season. Edison Frias gave up another three runs (two earned) in his two innings. Brett Phillips was two-for-three with a triple and promptly scored on a Jio Mier sac fly. Mier played for five innings in his second rehab start and hit a double as well. The fourth and final hit mustered by the Astros belonged to Teoscar Hernandez.

Greeneville over Kingsport 7-4
Frederick Tiburcio allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in his four innings, and Mike Hauschild allowed the final run in his two innings of work. Euris Quezada was the beneficiary of a late scoring run by Greeneville as they put up a 4-spot in the 7th, and was rewarded with the win. Then J.J. Jankowski came in for the 9th to get his second save and to add two additional strikeouts to his already ridiculous total. I think with a 15.5 SO/9 rate, J.J. should be renamed K.K. Angel Ibanez was three-for-five and scored two runs. Ibanez was one of the few Astros to NOT get an RBI as Brian Blasik, Ricky Gingras, D'Andre Toney, Michael Martinez and Terrell Joyce each got one RBI, and Jean Batista got two via a ground rule double. Batista and Toney each stole a bag as well. Appy Astros has an eyewitness report here. He notes that Jean Batista now has a 15 game hitting streak.

Batavia over Tri-City 1-0
This one was a pitcher's duel until the ninth. Vincent Velasquez had a great start as he allowed only two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. Jamaine Cotton kept the shutout going in his two innings allowing only one hit with two strikeouts. Unfortunately, Blake Ford didn't have a save opportunity this time and gave up Batavia's only run in the ninth. Tri-City did have eight hits (two from Tyler Heineman and two from Preston Tucker) but they were never able to scratch across a run.

Lexington over Asheville 3-2
Luis Cruz had a great start until the seventh inning when he gave up back to back singles and was pulled for Murilo Gouvea who allowed both runners to score, leaving Cruz with a pitching line of two runs on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. Despite Gouvea's best efforts to the contrary, Cruz got his eighth win and Dayan Diaz pitched the ninth to earn his 16th save. Asheville gifted two of Lexington's runs to them via a throwing error and a wild pitch, and Justin Gominsky pushed across one run the conventional way, with an RBI double. Matt Duffy was two-for-three with a walk and Brandon Meredith was two-for-four.

Lancaster over Stockton 15-2
David Martinez had another good outing as he allowed only two runs (one earned) on seven hits in six innings. Pat Urckfitz converted a three inning save, his eighth save of the season, as he provided scoreless relief. Stockton wouldn't score beyond the first inning. Lancaster, with a six run first, wouldn't need any additional runs beyond the first but they scored nine more anyway in this laugher. Erik Castro and Carlos Perez had fantastic nights, but there were many good performances:

Erik Castro - 2x4 2B HR 5RBI BB 3R SB
Carlos Perez - 4x6 2B 3RBI 2SO 3R
Alex Todd - 2x6 2B RBI 2SO R
George Springer - 0x2 3BB SO 2R SB CS
Domingo Santana - 2x3 2B RBI 2BB 2R
Drew Muren - 1x5 RBI BB 3SO 3R SB Outfield Assist
Kike Hernandez - 2x5 3RBI SO

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 10-9
Paul Clemens got the win despite allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks while recording ten strikeouts in five innings of work. Four of Clemens runs came off two Missions' home runs. Adalberto Flores and Alex Sogard worked the next three innings as two more runs came across to make the game a little close for comfort. With the Hooks leading 10-8 heading into the ninth, Jason Stoffel suddenly decided to make things way too interesting on his way to his 21st save as he allowed one run to score via the long ball and loaded up the bases with a hit by pitch before inducing the final ground out. New guys Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss each only got one hit, but the one hit happened to be a three-run home run for each of them. Drew Locke contributed a two-run triple; Jon Singleton was two-for-four and scored twice; and Ben Orloff was two-for-four with a double.

Tacoma over Oklahoma City 7-4
Jake Buchanan, who had been pitching out of the bullpen, got the start and the loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks while only recording one strikeout. Fernando Abad and Hector Ambriz provided three innings of scoreless relief. Jose Valdez allowed another two runs in his one inning of work. The Redhawks actually led the game briefly but Tacoma just kept playing add-on and they did a better job of it than OKC. Travis Buck was two-for-four with a double; Brad Snyder was three-for-four with two RBI; and Brian Bixler was one-for-four with two RBI.

Player of the Day: I think we can officially declare Erik Castro's slump dead. In his last four games, he is hitting .438 with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBI, two walks and he's scored six runs.

Pitcher of the Day: Vincent Velasquez is showing us why he was such a highly regarding prospect prior to his TJ surgery.

Happy Birthday - 8/2

No future Astros and only one former Astro with a birthday today ~

C Humberto Quintero (33)
Originally signed by the White Sox out of Venezuela in 1997, Quintero came to Houston in a March 2005 trade with San Diego for Tim Redding. In 344 games from 2005 through 2011, he hit .234/.266/.319. He was sent to Kansas City, along with Jason Bourgeois, in a March 2012 trade that netted the Astros LHP Kevin Chapman and OF D'Andre Toney. He recently signed with Milwaukee. My favorite memory of Q is this one:

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

In August we're on pace to go 28-0... 

Roster Moves

Oklahoma City
RHP Aneury Rodriguez was placed on the Temporary Inactive List.
RHP Hector Ambriz was activated from the DL.

Corpus Christi
C Jair (Jay) Fernandez was assigned from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.

C Ryan McCurdy was assigned from Corpus Christi to Lexington.

Angel Heredia was activated from the restricted list.
LHP Erick Hurtado was assigned to the DSL.
RHP Jesus Castillo was assigned to the DSL.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm A Busy Girl ...

I have a couple of new posts up with The Crawfish Boxes and The Futurists. In this piece at TCB I look at some under the radar pitching prospects. And in this one for The Futurists, I look at the success of the Tri-City team and those players who are contributing to that success.

Who's Hot - Corpus Christi Hooks

Let's take a look at each of the full season teams and see who's been hot lately. So far, we've looked at the Lexington Legends and the Lancaster JetHawks. Today the Corpus Christi Hooks ~

OF Drew Locke
Ever since coming back into the Houston organization 45 games ago, Locke has been hitting up a storm leaving him with a .311/.359/.458 batting line. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .441/.500/.529.

1B Jon Singleton
Singleton has hit .284/.400/.491 for the season and .387/.472/.613 in his last 10 games. He leads the Texas League in runs scored and is second in walks.

OF Adam Bailey
Bailey has a way of sneaking up on you. After his promotion to Corpus, he started slowly but now has his batting average up to .263. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .308/.296/.500. He's hitting much better but he's not drawing walks.

2B Jose Martinez
Martinez is another one of those players that you can't really call hot because he was never really cold. For the season he is hitting .305/.363/.474 and .316/.372/.368 over his last ten. He ranks second in hits in the Texas League and fourth in RBI.

3B Andy Simunic, OF Austin Wates and C Rene Garcia were also having good stretches at the plate before going on the DL.

RHP Jason Stoffel
Stoffel's ERA has actually been creeping up a tiny bit as of late, but eight saves in July (out of his 20 total saves) keeps him on the hot list. Stoffel has a 1.87 ERA and a 0.992 WHIP in 42 appearances. He is second in the Texas League in saves, first in the Houston organization.

LHP Kevin Chapman
Despite a slight hiccup against Midland on Sunday, the normally reliable Chapman has been just that in July as he has a 2-0 record with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.771 WHIP in nine appearances.

LHP Alex Sogard
Sogard has had his troubles this season but he has had a nice stretch lately. In his last 10 games, he is 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA and a 1.119 WHIP.

RHP Matt Heidenreich
Since joining the Houston organization, Heidenreich is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.769 WHIP in two starts. He has struck out 11 while walking only one batter.

RHP Asher Wojciechowski
Similarly, Wojciechowski has done well in his first two starts with the Hooks. Despite some wildness in his last outing, he is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.083 WHIP.

Next up - Last stop Oklahoma City

Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

DSL Giants over DSL Astros 6-1 in 10 innings
Yes, you read that correctly. The score was tied 0-0 through nine innings and Victor Mesa coughed up six runs (four earned) in the tenth. Ouch! Francisco Baso, Juan Hernandez and Johan Arias combined for 8.2 innings of shutout ball. The Astros were held to four hits. More words won't make this game any better.

GCL Marlins over the GCL Astros 2-1 in 13 innings
Seven pitchers combined in this one. Lance McCullers got the start and went three innings with three hits, one walk and five strikeouts. A good three inning outing by Brandon Culbreth was sandwiched between perfect innings from Ambiorix de Leon and Krishawn Holley. Erick Gonzalez was charged with a blown save as he couldn't make one run hold up and Alan Abreu was pegged with the loss. These Astros also only managed to scrape together four hits. Juan Santana had two of them, including an RBI single and a double.

Bluefield over Greeneville 5-1
Adrian Houser got his third loss of the season in a rain delayed game in which he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 5.2 innings thanks in large part to two wild pitches and a hit batter. Zach Dando gave up the final run in 2.1 innings of relief. The worst part of this game is that Greeneville outhit Bluefield 10 to 6 and yet were outscored 5-1. D'Andre Toney, Brian Blasik, Jean Batista and Ricky Gingras each contributed two hits, including doubles from Toney and Batista. Unfortunately, their only score was courtesy of a Brian Blasik RBI single.

Tri-City - Off Day

Lexington over Asheville 9-6
Asheville has often had their way with Lexington this season so it's always gratifying to see Lexington win. It is particularly gratifying when Delino DeShields hits his ninth home run, Brandon Meredith hits his 11th home run, Matt Duffy hits his 13th home run and Mike Foltynewicz gets his 12th win. Folty was in good form, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Unfortunately, Mitch Lambson had a rare hiccup as he allowed four runs in 1.1 innings before giving way to Evan Grills and Dayan Diaz (S, 15) to shut the door. The offense was en fuego for Lexington with multi-hit nights for DeShields, Ruben Sosa and Duffy and multi-RBI nights for Zach Johnson and Duffy. Zach Johnson now has 91 RBI for the season.

Stockton over Lancaster 6-5 in 10 innings
Just not a good day for the farm system in extra inning games. Colton Cain gave up four runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts in his four inning debut. It was the three-run shot in the fourth that was his undoing. He was followed by Chia Jen-Lo who gave up his first run of the season in his two innings of work. Two scoreless from Jorge de Leon and then Carlos Quevedo had a rare stumble as he allowed the winning run in the 10th. Erik Castro is starting to convince me that his slump is in the rearview mirror as he went two-for-five with a home run. George Springer aka Superman was two-for-five with a triple, home run, two RBI, and scored two runs.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 8-7
Six pitchers in this one. You guys really don't care whether I sleep or not, do you? Here goes. Matt Heidenreich - 5IP 4H 2R 0BB 4SO 1HR. Then messiness from Arcenio Leon, Alex Sogard and Josh Zeid as they combined to allow five runs in 2.2 innings. Then Adalberto Flores and Kevin Chapman (S, 2) shut the door. It should never have gotten this close as the Hooks led 6-2 at one point, but it did and Jon Singleton's solo home run in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the game winner. Singleton had a good night all around as he went two-for-three with the solo homer, a walk and scored three runs; Jose Martinez was two-for-three with a walk and scored two runs; Marc Krauss launched a two-run bomb in his first at bat with Houston; and Drew Locke and Jordan Kreke also drove in two runs each.

Omaha over Oklahoma City 12-5
Everybody's ERA took a hit in this one: Rudy Owens (five runs over 4.1 innings), Mark Hamburger (two runs over 1.2 innings), Enerio del Rosario (three runs over one inning), and Aneury Rodriguez (two runs over two innings). Oklahoma City had the early lead with a five-run third but they were never able to get another run across the plate. Mike Hessman and Brad Snyder each contributed two run home runs to the cause; Angel Sanchez was four-for-four with a double, a triple and a run scored.

Players of the Day: George Springer and Matt Duffy get to share the honors. Springer may be flashier, but Duffy just gets it done day in and day out.

Pitcher of the Day: Mike Foltynewicz earned his 12th win to reclaim the Sally League lead. I agree with Folty's girlfriend; he is indeed a studmuffin.

Happy Birthday - 8/1

No future Astros with birthdays today, only former Astros ~

OF Greg Gross (60)
Drafted in the fourth round by Houston in 1970, Gross played for the Astros from 1973 to 1976 and again in 1989 at the end of his career. Gross only played in a handful of games in 1973 and was thus eligible for Rookie of the Year consideration in 1974; he came in second to Bake McBride as he hit .314/.393/.377 with 21 doubles and eight triples that season. In five seasons for the Astros he hit .293/.376/.351 in 490 games. He won a World Series with Philadelphia in 1980.

C Milt May (62)
Originally drafted by the Pirates in the 11th round in 1968, May came to Houston in an October 1973 trade with Pittsburgh. In 238 games for the Astros in 1974 and 1975, he hit .265/.319/.360 with a caught stealing percentage that averaged around 40%. May was first in the National League in fielding percentage as a catcher in 1974, and was first in both caught stealing and assists as a catcher in 1975.

RHP Travis Driskill (41)
A fourth round pick by Cleveland in 1993, Driskill came to Houston as a free agent. He only pitched in three games for Houston at the major league level, one in 2005 and two in 2007. In seven innings, he was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP. He was a pitching coach in the Astros system through 2011.

Tweet of the Day

Greg Rajan

 RHP Matt Heidenreich on running the bases: “I didn’t know how hard it was. I couldn’t breathe. ... But it was fun.”

Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
3B Andy Simunic was placed on the 7-day DL.
IF Bobby Borchering wa activated.
OF Marc Krauss was activated.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All-Time Astros Minor League Stolen Base Leaders*

Lou Frazier - 87 in 1988
Josh Anderson - 79 in 2004
Delino DeShields Jr - 77 in 2012 (so far)

*According to Baseball-Reference

Who's Hot - Lancaster JetHawks

Let's take a look at each of the full season teams and see who's been hot lately. Yesterday, we looked at the Lexington Legends. Today the Lancaster JetHawks ~

CF George Springer
It's rather deceptive to say someone is hot when they never really cooled down, but let's just say that George Springer is even hotter. He is hitting .327/.407/.564 for the season and a whopping .388/.467/.621 in July. Here is how he ranks in the California League and in the Houston farm system in several categories.
  • 92 Runs Scored - 1st in CALL/1st in Houston system
  • 130 Hits - 2nd in CALL/2nd in Houston system
  • 8 Triples - 3rd in CALL/1st in Houston system
  • 20 Home Runs - Tied for 2nd in CALL/3rd in Houston system
  • 76 RBI - 4th in CALL/3rd in Houston system
  • 224 Total Bases - 1st in CALL/1st in Houston system
  • 26 Stolen Bases - 5th in CALL/4th in Houston system
LF/DH Telvin Nash
Nash is hitting .221/.323/.510 for the season with 23 home runs and 39 walks to 146 strikeouts. However, in the last 10 games he is hitting .267/.436/.533 with two home runs and eight walks to 14 strikeouts. He ranks first in the California League in home runs, second in the Houston system.

SS Alex Todd
Todd is hitting .252/.336/.382 at Lancaster since his promotion from Lexington and is hitting .282/.333/.436 over his last 10 games, with a double, a triple and a home run.

C Carlos Perez
It's only been four games since the trade, but Perez is hitting .308/.400/.385 with a 36% caught stealing rate.

RHP Bobby Doran
Doran is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA and a 0.950 WHIP in his three starts since returning from Corpus Christi.

RHP Chia-Jen Lo
Lo has only made two appearances at Lancaster since coming off a rehab assignment but has not allowed a hit, a walk or a run yet.

RHP David Martinez
In Martinez' last 8 appearances (7 starts), he is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA, a 1.058 WHIP and five walks to 35 strikeouts.

RHP Carlos Quevedo
Quevedo has appeared in six games for Lancaster and has compiled a 2-1 record with three saves, a 0.66 ERA and a 0.659 WHIP.

RHP Andrew Robinson
In Robinson's five appearances in July, he is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.600 WHIP. He also has one of the highest SO/9 rates in the Houston organization with 11.1 SO/9.

LHP Pat Urckfitz
Urckfitz has three saves in eight appearances in July with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.277 WHIP.

 Next Up: Corpus Christi

An Interview with LHP Brett Oberholtzer

"This is Brett Oberholtzer ... with the Astros," came the voice on the answering machine. Yes Brett, I know who you are, I laughed to myself. It was a little difficult to get in touch with Brett, but it was definitely worth the trouble.

LHP Brett Oberholtzer came to the Houston organization, along with RHP Paul Clemens, CF Jordan Schafer and RHP Juan Abreu, in a July 31, 2011 trade with Atlanta for Michael Bourn. He is the first to admit that his season has been up and down, but he works to improve every day. In 13 starts with Corpus Christi this season, he was 5-3 with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.325 WHIP before his promotion to Oklahoma City where he is 4-3 with a 6.02 ERA and a 1.520 WHIP.

When I went to Corpus Christi in June, Brett Oberholtzer was the only one of the then Corpus Christi starters that I didn't get to see pitch in person. But I did get to see him prepare. No one on that field was working harder during pre-game workouts than Brett. No one worked harder during pitcher's fielding practice. And no one worked harder when no one was paying attention. But I was paying attention, and I was impressed. In the interview, Brett may come across as overconfident, even cocky at times, but that is not how I would describe him. I would describe him with two words - steely determination.

Here's what we talked about [edited for brevity (believe it or not) and clarity] ~

On his season so far: "Going in to the season, I'd repeated AA for the first half. When I was there [at Corpus], it was kind of up and down. I knew I could dominate at that level. I'd done it before with the Atlanta Braves, but I just wasn't having the start in AA which I was expecting. But I think around June, late May, I had a very good month, month and a half, and I got promoted. And I've been learning a lot here [at Oklahoma City], learning a lot about myself -- what I do well, what I need to do better, what I need to work on, and that's ultimately making me better so that's kind of where I'm at right now."

On what he still needs to work on: "Just consistency. That's just pretty much the story of my season so far. It's been up and down, up and down. Not so much with me, it's just making certain pitches here that maybe will have an effect on the outcome of the game. Maybe just that one inning in my six or seven innings that I pitch in one start may be factoring into the outcome of the game. So just really going from pitch one to maybe pitch 95 or pitch 100, whatever it may be, to the end of the game. Just taking each pitch, throwing it with conviction and really throwing with a purpose because there's not too much room for error from now [and on into] the big leagues. You can get away with it at the lower levels, even AA they don't hit mistakes, but here they do, so that's pretty much what I'm working on, making every pitch count."

On whether he considered the trade from Atlanta a step down or an opportunity: "Definitely not a step down, definitely a step towards a better future, I would say. I kind of explain it to [people who ask him about it] as a regular job. If you're working a 9 to 5 that has little room for improvement as far as climbing the ladder to the higher ranking, then you don't see the light. I did see the light with the Braves, but when I came over in the trade with Houston, it was definitely a lot better opportunity here to move up in the rankings. So I try to explain that to people as if it was a regular job.  It's a lot better opportunity here, but that also means I still have to perform to earn that job. But from the trade standpoint, me and Paul Clemens were roommates and the manager came in and gave us the thumb, told us we'd been traded. We were off to Houston, well Corpus Christi, but we were off to the Houston organization and I didn't know too much about Houston at the time, how they were doing, what they needed, but after a while, I kind of realized I was in good hands over here so the trade definitely worked out and hopefully I can be the guy to rely on for years to come down the road."

On playing in Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City: "Corpus was a nice town, great ballpark to play in, not so much to pitch in because the bay breeze, the ocean breeze, the winds tended to blow out straight to left field so it was a little tougher to pitch there at home than it would be on the road, but it was a nice town. Here in Oklahoma, it's also nice. We're in the city, downtown Oklahoma City and our field's right here very close. We get a good crowd, especially on the weekends. It's not a tourist city so we get a lot of good fans, fans that actually know the game, and that always makes it fun. They're more into it. But they're both great cities to play for. Hopefully, Houston as well."

On his pitch repertoire: "I throw a four-seam fastball. It's usually around 90 - 93. I throw a 2-seam every now and then. I throw a curveball, knuckle curve, spike curve which is more my strikeout pitch. Then I throw a changeup that's probably my best pitch, to keep guys off-balance. I use it also for a strikeout. And then I've been working on a cutter as of last year.  It's been coming around well. Like I said earlier, I just have to get it to be more consistent and I think I'll be in great shape there, I mean that's four pitches for a lefty, 90 - 93. Like I said, I've just got to keep making better pitches and being more consistent with them and everything will play out well."

On his workout regime: "It's a long season, I mean, in the off-season it's even more so, I wouldn't say strenuous, but my workouts are more strenuous mentally because I know I have to do them to be the best. It's tough in the off-season for me because I have to prepare for 160 games, excuse me, see I'm already thinking about 160 instead of 140 minor league games so you can already see where my mind is when I want to work out to prepare for the ultimate goal which is 160 games plus more, so for me it's just a mindset getting in the gym and being the strongest. I want to compete in the game so it takes a lot out of you when you pitch 7, 8 innings, 100, 110 pitches in 100-degree heat. People don't even like to walk in 100-degree heat let alone pitch all night in it.  My workouts definitely help. I'm a pretty strong guy. I take pride in my work ethic, especially like you said when no one else is out there on the field, I love to look around and see I'm the only one out here. I take pride in that. It's fulfilling. And ultimately, it's going to help my career so what can go wrong with putting in a little extra time in a weight room or running on the field? That's how we have to prepare."

On whose pitch he would steal: "Mickey Storey has some pretty good off-speed. His curveball, his arm action is good on it. The only reason why I wouldn't say that is because my curveball I think is pretty good too. I would say his slider, Mickey Storey's slider. And Jarred Cosart's fastball. If I had his fastball I think I wouldn't need any more money for the rest of my life.  If I had his fastball with the stuff I know ... I guess I would say those two."

On which hitter he would least like to face: "We have a lot of good hitters especially here in AAA. I would say Brandon Barnes right now. I haven't seen him in the last five years that he's been with the Astros but this year he's been unreal. Great kid. He gives it 110% every time he steps out on the field but he's also developing into a hitter now, knowing his weaknesses, his strengths, and he's trying to work on his weaknesses so I would say Brandon Barnes. [Pause] I would definitely strike him out but he's probably the least one I'd like to face."

On what he'd do if he couldn't play baseball: "[Long pause] See, I think that's what got me so far in baseball is because I never planned a Plan B. I would say go to school, maybe do something physical, be a police officer. I always liked the SWAT team, what they do. I think I would be very good at that. I don't know much about it, but if baseball ended today ... Yeah, those two things, police enforcement, the SWAT, depending on the education and all that. Something outside would also fit me really well. I don't think I could pinpoint it. I like to do a lot of things, but I'm sure baseball is the one that I'll be doing for a very long time."

On something most people don't know about him and might be surprised to hear: "I grew up a Phillies fan, being from Delaware, and a lot of people wouldn't like to hear that but I'm sure every baseball player had a team at one point they liked and they're not playing for. I don't know if [anyone would] be surprised but I love the beach. I love being outdoors. I love to fish. Definitely an outdoors guy. I had two boats growing up with my Dad. We went crabbing, fishing so we were outside a lot doing a lot of things on the bay, the ocean. Like I said, I don't know if [anyone would] be surprised at it but that's something I love to do in my spare time is fish and be outdoors. I picked up hunting. People ought to be surprised at that. I picked up hunting two years ago. If my career develops, [I'd like to] buy some land to be able to get back into it a little more, buy a boat and buy some property."


At this point, I thought I'd wind down the interview, asking for any last thoughts. I already knew that Brett was a highly regarded prospect with a good pitch repertoire that he mixes well with plus command and control. I had witnessed his work ethic firsthand, and everything I had heard from him so far had convinced me that, for Brett, failure was not only not an option but that the word failure didn't exist in his vocabulary. He really hadn't ever considered a life outside of baseball. And he was doing whatever he needed to do to get better.

So I asked about last words or thoughts for Houston fans, and we ended up talking for another 15 minutes about where Houston stood, what the plan was and how the fans felt about it all. Brett really wanted to know what we thought and how we were feeling. So I told him from my perspective. I told him that we were frustrated with the big league play, but that we understood that there was finally a plan in place and we were encouraged with the talent in the farm system. I told him that we were getting impatient to see the young players in Houston and get them on their road. I told him that I hoped the average fan would be patient with the learning curve, but that I doubted that would be the case.

We talked about the current Astros record and he uttered a stunned "Wow," when he found out that there were only ten road wins to 41 losses. He talked about being in the first wave of players coming in to turn things around, "We were the first wave of guys. From what I've seen, the fans were excited about that. Now this year we made a couple more trades. I would surely imagine they're excited for the next few years. I know we want to win as soon as possible. Hopefully next year we'll make a huge improvement and years to come.

"I truly believe history repeats itself. We have some good pitching like when Roger and Pettitte were here, when we had all those position players, Biggio and Bagwell doing work. I could see that being the future in the next five years with the team that they [the Astros] had 5 or 10 years ago.

"A lot of guys in AA, and here in AAA, feel like we could fill spots anytime so I hope they're not hesitant on  pulling the trigger. What more can you lose?"

Exactly, what more can we lose?

"This is Brett Oberholtzer ... with the Astros," came the voice on the answering machine. Yes Brett, I know who you are, and before too much longer, Astros fans all over will know who you are as well.

Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

DSL Dodgers over DSL Astros 10-5
As far as the DSL pitching staff on Monday goes, Luis was Abad, Frangy was fringy and Geronimo strayed off the reservation as they combined to give up 10 runs on eight hits and nine walks. The good news is that  Saucedo was saucy and Delis was delightful in relief. (Hey, you try to find something interesting to write about a team that loses this much. I feel Zachary Levine's pain.) The Astros did manage five runs on 10 hits, including multi-hit games from Cristian Murillo, Mesac Laguna, Marlon Avea and Jarico Reynoso, with Reynoso and Frederick Serrano both hitting doubles.

GCL Astros over GCL Marlins 4-2
Enderson Franco earned his third win in a very nice start, allowing two runs on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts over 5.1 innings before giving way to a very effective Ricardo Batista and Gera Sanchez (S, 1). Yonathan Mejia drove in two runs with a single in the first and stole a base. Rio Ruiz contributed an RBI double. Darwin Rivera and Jon Carnahan also doubled. Jio Mier made his first rehab appearance since his hamstring injury in May. He walked and scored a run before being lifted after two plate appearances.

Bluefield over Greeneville 8-3
Daniel Minor was charged with his first loss as he got roughed up in 4.1 innings to the tune of six runs on nine  hits. Tanner Bushue gave up the other two while recording only one out. Michael Dimock and Scott Zuloaga rounded things out with effective outings. Zuloaga hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 10 outings. Jimmy Howick was two-for-three with an RBI double; Marc Wik, Jean Batista and Ernesto Genoves also doubled.

Auburn over Tri-City 9-5
Despite a late comeback attempt by Tri-City as they scored five runs in the ninth, the ValleyCats simply fell short. Brady Rodgers was pegged with his second loss of the season as he gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings. Brad Propst tacked on another three runs while only recording one out, and Blake Ford allowed the final run to score. Tri-City's scoring in the ninth came via a three-run shot from Jesse Wierzbicki and RBI singles from Emilio King and Joe Sclafani. Neiko Johnson was two-for-three with two walks, and Preston Tucker was two-for-four.

Asheville over Lexington 9-8 in 10 innings
David Rollins' debut didn't go particularly well as he allowed three runs on three hits (including a solo home run) in 1.2 innings. He was followed by Juri Perez who gave up four runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings and Gabriel Garcia and Murilo Gouvea (L, 2-6) who each allowed a run. Lexington struck early scoring five runs in the first courtesy of a two-run Zach Johnson homer and a three-run Nolan Fontana (2x5 4RBI) bomb. After falling behind, Lexington came back to tie things up in the top of the ninth with RBI singles from Johnson and Brandon Meredith (3x5 2R), but ultimately fell short as Asheville scored in the tenth on a walk-off home run. Zach Johnson ended the night with three RBIs to bring his season total to 89. Delino DeShields stole two more bags to bring his total to 77 for the season.

Visalia over Lancaster 11-4
Nick Tropeano has got to hope he never sees Visalia again. Tropeano has a 9.64 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP against Visalia and a 0.95 ERA and a 1.158 WHIP against teams not named Visalia. Trope got the loss after allowing six runs on six hits (including two home runs) over only three innings. Zach Grimmett didn't fare much better in his three innings of work as he coughed up an additional five runs (four earned). Brad Dydalewicz stopped the bleeding, but not until the game was too far gone to hope for a comeback. Erik Castro was two-for-four with a double and Jonathan Meyer was two-for-four with two RBI.

Corpus Christi over Midland 3-2
Rob Rasmussen went to 2-2 as he pitched a strong 7.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and walk with seven strikeouts. Jason Stoffel converted his 20th save in 21 opportunities. The Hooks scored early on a Bobby Borchering RBI single and a two-run double from Ben Heath in the third. Jonathan Singleton was three-for-four with a double and scored a run.

Omaha over Oklahoma City 7-6
Brett Oberholtzer had a very nice start as he allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings of work, but the bullpen in the guise of Fernando Abad (four runs in 0.2 innings) and Mickey Storey (one run in 2.1 innings) couldn't hold things. Brandon Barnes (2x4 2B 2RBI), Jimmy Paredes (2x4 BB), Travis Buck (2x2 2BB 2R) and J.B. Shuck (2x4 RBI) all had nice nights at the plate. Matt Dominguez also contributed with a two-run single in the first.

Pitchers of the Day: Rob Rasmussen and Jason Stoffel will have to share the honors today.

Player of the Day: A three-run home run and four RBIs? Nolan Fontana, come on down!

Happy Birthday - 7/31

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Gordie Pladson (56)
Signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent in 1973, Pladson pitched in 20 games scattered over the four years from 1979 to 1982 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.757 WHIP.

LF Jay Schlueter (died May 13, 2010 at 60)
A second round draft pick in 1967, Schlueter's entire major league career consisted of seven games and only three at bats in 1971. He got one hit, scored one run and retired with a .333 major league batting average and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

Hey.. What do u know... Another rain delay... Hawsome!!!

Roster Moves

RHP Euris Quezada was assigned from Lexington to Greeneville.

SS Jio Mier was assigned to the GCL for a rehab assignment.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Who's Hot - Lexington Legends

Let's take a look at each of the full season teams and see who's been hot lately. First up, the Lexington Legends.

2B Delino DeShields
DeShields is now hitting .298/.402/.430 for the season and .368/.455/.500 over his last 10 games. Here's how he ranks in the South Atlantic League and in the Houston farm system in several categories.
  • 75 Stolen Bases - 1st in SAL/1st in Houston system
  • 86 Runs Scored - 1st in SAL/2nd in Houston system
  • 119 Hits - 3rd in SAL/4th in Houston system
  • 65 Walks - Tied for 3rd in SAL/2nd in Houston system (98 strikeouts)
1B Zach Johnson
Johnson is hitting .249/.345/.421 for the season and .273/.419/.515 with ten RBI in his last ten games. Here's how he ranks.
  • 86 RBI - 1st in SAL/1st in Houston system
  • 30 Doubles - Tied for 1st in SAL/2nd in Houston system
  • 57 Walks - 6th in SAL/3rd in Houston system (only 70 strikeouts)
C/OF Mike Kvasnicka
After a very slow start, Kvasnicka is now hitting .233/.275/.415 for the season and .324/.375/.595 in his last 10 games. His 15 home runs have him tied for fourth place in the Sally League and tied for seventh place in the Houston organization.

OF Brandon Meredith
Meredith also had a somewhat slow start, but is now hitting .273/.373/.489 with 14 doubles, three triples and ten home runs for the season (64 games) and .417/.488/.722 with five doubles and two home runs over the last ten games.

C Luis Alvarez
In 13 games with Lexington, Alvarez is .306/.340/.488 with a double, a triple and two home runs.

SS Nolan Fontana
Fontana hasn't been hitting particularly well over his last ten games, but he continues to draw walks at a high rate. In 20 games for Lexington, he already has 30 walks. His OBP is .516.

LHP Mitch Lambson
Lambson is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA and a 0.725 WHIP for the season, and he has a 1.74 ERA and 0.870 WHIP since his promotion to Lexington. Most impressively, Lambson has allowed only five walks to 36 strikeouts.

LHP Tommy Shirley
Shirley is 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.178 WHIP for the season and has a 3.00 ERA and 1.238 WHIP since his promotion to Lexington.

There are two players who didn't make my "hot" list because they are never very hot or very cold. They are the most consistent players on the team.

3B Matt Duffy
Duffy is hitting .297/.387/.465 for the season with 28 doubles, one triple and 12 home runs. He is tied for fifth in doubles and is tied for fourth in hits and total bases in the Sally League (and ranks in the top five in the Houston system in those categories as well). He has continued to do what he did in his first season as he hits consistently on the road and at home, against lefties and righties, month after month.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz
Folty has had a couple of rough outings in July, but he is still tied for the league lead in wins with 11 and is in fifth place in the league with a 3.05 ERA.

Next Up: Lancaster

Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Greeneville over Bluefield 8-7
Things were a bit rougher for Michael Feliz in his Appy League debut than they were for him with the GCL. The 18-year old allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts over 3.2 innings. Christian Garcia and Andrew Walters each gave up a run in relief before Jordan Jankowski pitched two perfect innings and recorded four strikeouts to give the Astros a chance to break the tie in the ninth which they did via a Jean Batista RBI single. Ernesto Genoves (3x4 3R) hit his third home run of the season and Ariel Ovando (2x5) unloaded a two-run shot. D'Andre Toney was three-for-five with two RBI, a run and a stolen base. In addition to driving in the winning run, Batista stole two bases. Jankowski now has 37 strikeouts in only 21.2 innings pitched.

Tri-City over Auburn 9-4
Joe Bircher got his first professional win as he gave up three runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in five innings pitched. John Neely allowed one additional run in his three innings of work and Jeremiah Meiners provided a hitless ninth. Tri-City scored early and had all the runs they would ultimately need by the second inning. Andrew Aplin and Jobduan Morales hit back to back solo shots in the first inning. Aplin ended up going four-for-five with two RBI.

Hagerstown over Lexington 6-0
Tommy Shirley got the start and the loss as the two runs he allowed were two more than Lexington got the whole game. Nate Pettus gave up another three to pretty much seal the deal. Mitch Lambson, in 2.2 innings, was the only Lexington pitcher to go unscathed with Euris Quezada allowing the final run. The Legends only managed four hits, two of which belonged to Brandon Meredith. After a slow start to the season, Brandon is now .273/.373/.489 for the season and .417/.488/.722 over his last 10 games.

Lancaster over Inland Empire 5-4
Bobby Doran allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and zero walks with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings but it was Andrew Robinson who earned the win as he took it the rest of the way in his latest good outing. Robinson has only allowed one earned run in his last eight appearances. The lead flipped a couple of times, but the JetHawks would utltimately prevail on a much-needed Erik Castro home run (much needed by the team, but also by Castro who had been slumping of late). Rafy Valenzuela had a very good night as he went two-for-four with a double, a two-run dinger and two runs scored.

Corpus Christi over Midland 9-6
The Hooks drew first blood, literally. A pitch from starter Asher Wojciechowski actually drew blood as he caught Midland 3B Miles Head in the coconut. Yikes. Wojo (as I insist on calling him) ultimately gave up two runs (both scoring on Kevin Chapman's watch) on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts (and two hit batters) in five innings. Chapman had a rocky night as he allowed both of Wojo's runners to score and added on a pair of his own to get charged with the blown save. Henry Villar added on another two runs but ended up with the win as the Hooks piled on six runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Drew Locke (3x4 3RBI) two RBI single and a grand slam from unlikely hero Jordan Kreke. I say unlikely because, as CC Caller Times' Greg Rajan pointed out, Kreke was on an 0 for 25 streak at the plate. Kody Hinze also contributed a two-run bomb in honor of his birthday.

Omaha over Oklahoma City 11-1
Brian Bass was charged with his fifth loss in 11 starts as he gave up nine runs on 11 hits and two walks in four innings pitched. Sergio Perez allowed the other two runs (one earned) in his three innings of work before Aneury Rodriguez and Juan Abreu shut things down for the final two. The Redhawks were never able to string too much together (and never managed an extra base hit) and the sole run scored on an Angel Sanchez single. Sanchez and Matt Dominguez each had two hits.

Player of the Day: Ending an 0 for 25 streak with a grand slam to take the lead? Yeppers, Jordan Kreke gets today's WTH love.

Pitcher of the Day: Joe Bircher gets his first professional win and his first tip of the cap from WTH.

Happy Birthday - 7/30

Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay (34)
Josh Bonifay was drafted by the Pirates in 1999, but ended his minor league career with the Houston organization. After serving as Hitting Coach for Greeneville in 2011, he was moved to Lexington for the 2012 season.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Doug "The Red Rooster" Rader (68)
Rader was signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1965 and played for the Astros for nine seasons, from 1967 to 1975. In 1178 games, he hit .250/.318/.402 with 197 doubles, 20 triples, 128 home runs and 600 RBI. He won Gold Gloves five seasons straight from 1970 to 1974.

C Gus Triandos (82)
Triandos came to Houston from Philadelphia in June 1965 and played in only 24 games for the Astros at the end of his career, hitting .181/.244/.292. Triandos was a three-time All Star for Baltimore with a lifetime caught stealing percentage of 47%.

Tweet of the Day

Bobby Doran

How is synchronized diving an  sport and baseball isn't?

Roster Moves

Houston/Oklahoma City
1B/3B Brett Wallace was recalled to Houston (yay!).
IF Brian Bixler was optioned to Oklahoma City.

Corpus Christi
IF/OF Bobby Borchering was assigned to Corpus Christi.
LF Marc Krauss was assigned to Corpus Christi.
C Rene Garcia was officially placed on the DL.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chris Johnson Trade

3B Chris Johnson was traded to the Diamondbacks for OF Marc Krauss and IF Bobby Borchering. (Borchering has actually been playing OF this season, but the Astros have listed him as an IF in the release so they may be planning on moving him back to the 3B/1B which he played earlier in his career.)

Bobby Borchering is currently listed as #11 on Jonathan Mayo's list of Arizona's top 20 Prospects. He is a switch-hitting slugger with plus power and a high strikeout rate. Baseball America had him ranked at #10 in the Diamondbacks system coming into 2012 noting he has "as much raw power as anyone in the system." He was recently promoted from Hi-A to AA.

Marc Krauss is currently listed as #20 on Mayo's list of prospects for Arizona. Baseball America had him at #16 coming in to the 2012 season. The lefty hitter started out strongly in his pro career but had a significant drop-off in 2011 causing him to repeat the AA level where he is having some success this season, including being named a Southern League All-Star. According to both sources, his bat remains a question mark.

Minor League Recaps

Saturday’s Results

DSL Astros 6 DSL Royals 9
The DSL Astros’ winning streak stopped yesterday at 3 games. Edwin Villarroel (2-6) picked up the loss after being charged with 5 runs (1ER) on 4 hits in 1 and 2-thirds innings of work. Villarroel also struck out 2 batters and walked 1.  Cristian Murillo went 2 for 4 at the plate with a walk and a double.  Michael Medina picked up his first DSL triple ever with his only hit in 3 ABs Saturday.  Medina also scored a run and had an RBI.

GCL Nationals 6 GCL Astros 3
The GCL Astros just didn’t get enough base runners home on Saturday.  There were 12 players left on base in the game.  Rio Ruiz (2 for 5) got a couple base runners in Saturday though, with 2 RBIs, a double and a run scored. Agapito Barrios (1-2) picked up the loss.  Barrios allowed 4 runs (3ER) on 6 hits and struck out 1 in 5 innings on the mound.

Greeneville Astros 0 Elizabethton Twins 5
Greeneville was shutout and only managed 4 hits on Saturday.  Not a single Astro even drew a walk in the game.  In other words, it was a rough game.  Jean Batista, who is now batting .328, picked up his 11th double of the season with his only hit of the game in 4 trips to the plate.  Francis Ramirez (4-2) took the loss after going the first 6 frames, allowing 4 runs (2 ER) on 7 hits, with a walk and 3 Ks.

Tri-City ValleyCats 5 Auburn Doubledays 1
Tri-City didn’t get on the board until the 6th inning Saturday, but since their pitchers only gave up a run all day they had time to spare.  Austin Elkins had an impressive showing at the dish, batting 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI.  Emilio King had a couple of RBIs, 2 runs scored and a double in his 2 for 4 game at the plate.  King also clubbed a 2-run homer in the 9th inning to seal the deal.  Andrew Aplin went 2 for 4 with a walk on Saturday and stole 2 bases.  On the mound, Lance Day (2-0) took the “W” after giving up just a run on 6 hits in 6 innings of work and striking out 3. Jamaine Cotton came on for the last frame, gave up a single to the first batter he faced and then struck out the last 3 in a row.

Hagerstown Suns 1 Lexington Legends 8
The first game of the day for Lexington was the completion of the postponed game from Friday.  The game was suspended in the 3rd due to rain.  The Legends had a very impressive pitching performance by their pitchers, shutting out the opponents until the 9th inning.  Evan Grills (4-1), who started the resumed game Saturday in the 4th inning, picked up the win after allowing a single hit, walking 1 and striking out 4 in 4 innings of work.  Zachary Johnson hit 2 homers in the game (although, in reality they were a day apart), had 5 RBIs and ended up 2 for 2 with a walk.  Delino DeShields picked up his 73rd SB.  

Hagerstown Suns 0 Lexington Legends 2 (7)
In the second game of 2 on Saturday, Lexington’s Luis Ordosgoitti was dominant on the mound.  Ordosgoitti moved to 4-3 with the win after allowing just 2 hits, walking 2 and striking out 7 through the first 6 innings of work. Murilo Gouvea got save number 4 after he came on for the final frame and was perfect, striking out 2.  Offensively, there wasn’t much going in this game, but Matt Duffy and Brandon Meredith both went 2 for 3 with and RBI each.  Nolan Fontana didn’t have any hits, but drew a pair of walks and Delino DeShields stole 2nd base twice in the game moving his total to 75 SBs on the season.

Inland Empire 66ers 7 Lancaster JetHawks 1
Lancaster couldn’t get the offense started Saturday and defensively had a rough day too, committing 3 errors. Tyson Perez (7-3) took the loss, along with his team, after giving up 5 runs (3ER) on 9 hits, walking 2 and striking out a pair in the first 4 and 2-thirds. Pat Urckfitz, who worked the next 2 and a third, didn’t allow any runs or hits and walked 3.  George Springer scored the lone run in the 4th inning with a homer.  Springer finished 2 for 4 at the plate. 

Midland RockHounds 8 Corpus Christi Hooks 3
Corpus Christi scored 3 runs, but had 11 hits in the loss at Whataburger Field on Saturday.  Jake Goebbert, Adam Bailey and Drew Locke all went 2 for 4 at the plate.  Locke and Goebbert had an RBI each. Ross Seaton (6-8) picked up the loss after allowing 5 runs on 5 hits (2HR), walking a pair and striking out 5 in 5 innings on the mound. 

Omaha Storm Chasers 2 Oklahoma City RedHawks 6
The RedHawks were in control of the game Saturday the whole time.  Brett Wallace made sure of that with a 3-run shot in the 3rd inning.  Wallace, who now has 16 HRs, ended up 1 for 2 on the day.  Matt Dominguez was swinging a heavy stick too Saturday, hitting 2 for 4 with a double and a couple RBIs.  Jose Cisnero took his first “W” in his AAA debut out of Corpus Christi.  Cisnero had a strong outing, allowing 1 run on 6 hits, 2 walks and striking out 3 in 7 innings on the bump.

Player of the Day: Two guys are sharing the honor today.  Zachary Johnson gets a half share for his 2 homers in support of Lexington and Brett Wallace takes the other half for knocking the snot out of the ball on Saturday with his 3-run shot.

Pitcher of the Day:  There are two pitchers today too: Luis Ordosgoitti and Murilo Gouvea get the nod for shutting out Hagerstown Saturday. Ordosgoitti made it a 2-hitter with his dominance on the mound and Gouvea sealed it with a final inning of perfection.


Happy Birthday - 7/29

1B/DH Kody Hinze (25)
The Astros signed the Houston native prior to the 2008 season. Hinze split 2011 between Lancaster and Corpus Christi where he hit .281/.358/.422 in the 55 games after his promotion. In 2012 for Corpus, he has shown signs of the offensive prowess he has demonstrated in the past, but he has been highly inconsistent. He hit .278 in April, .106 in May, .306 in June and .152 so far in July. My birthday wish for him is to go back to whatever he was doing in June!

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

2B/SS/OF Felix Mantilla (78)
Mantilla came to Houston in April 1966 in a trade with Boston and played in 77 games for the Astros at the end of his career, hitting .219/.279/.371. A one-time All Star for Boston, his best season was 1964 when he hit .289/.357/.553 with 30 home runs for Boston. He played with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 as a part of their winning World Series team.

1B Dan Driessen (51)
Driessen signed as a free agent with Houston in June 1986 and played in only 17 games for the Astros, hitting .292/.414/.458. Driessen played for the Reds from 1973 to 1984 as a part of the Big Red Machine and won two World Series with the Reds in 1975 and 1976. He was the first National League player to be used as a DH as that position was introduced in the 1976 World Series with the Yankees.

RHP Mike Williams (44)
A 14th round draft pick by the Phillies in 1990, Williams came to Houston in a July 2001 trade with the Pirates. In 25 games for the Astros in 2001, he was 4-0 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.567 WHIP before going back to Pittsburgh. A two-time All Star for the Pirates, his 2002 season was his best as he had a 2.93 ERA, a 1.223 WHIP and 46 saves.

Tweet of the Day

One of our newest Astros, Rudy Owens has been roadtripping with his friend Ted and sharing his journey along the way. This was one of his best posts (note the matching T-shirts).

Rudy Owens

Gas station t-shirt!?! Don't mind if I do :)    @ on the road 
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Roster Moves

Houston/Oklahoma City
The Astros claimed utility player Steve Pearce off waivers from Baltimore. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Pearce and for RHP Armando Galarraga, RHP Aneury Rodriguez and RHP Enerio del Rosario were outrighted (removed from the 40-man roster) to Oklahoma City. In order to make room on the active 25-man roster for Galarraga, LHP Fernando Abad was optioned to Oklahoma City. A corresponding move to the 25-man roster will have to be made before today's game in order to activate Pearce. Got all that? Phew.

Oklahoma City
RHP Jarred Cosart has been placed on the 7-day DL (blister problems again).

Corpus Christi
C Ryan McCurdy was assigned from Lexington to Corpus Christi (made official)

RHP Jose Trinidad was placed on the 7-day DL.
OF Drew Muren was assigned from Corpus Christi to Lancaster (made official).

C Cristian Moronto was assigned from Greeneville to Lexington.

LHP Chris Lee was assigned from Greeneville to the GCL.