Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter League Recaps


It had been reported that Jimmy Paredes would be in the line up for the Gigantes for the first time since his car accident last Saturday, but the Gigantes game was postponed.

Aguilas over Toros 8-5
Jonathan Villar finally saw some action for the Aguilas team in a rare start at short. He had two hits in five at-bats with three strikeouts. He also swiped a bag and scored a run.


Caribes over Magallanes 5-0
2B Jose Altuve went 1-for-4 with a double for Magallanes. Sergio Perez (L, 7-4) got the start and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks over four and a third innings. He struck out six.


Carolina over Manati 3-1

2B Kiké Hernandez was 1-for-4 for Carolina. C Carlos Corporan had a great night hitting two doubles with an RBI and a run scored. C Rene Garcia came in as a late inning defensive replacement and didn't get an at-bat.

Happy Birthday - 12/8

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

C John Mizerock (52)
Drafted by the Astros in the first round in 1979, Mizerock, born in Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania (the home of Groundhog Day) played in 92 games for Houston in 1983, 1985 and 1986.  As the back-up back-stop for Alan Ashby, Mizerock didn't warrant a great deal of playing time and his .181 batting average for Houston helped ensure that would be the case.

Tweet of the Day

Marc Krauss

Someone can't wait for Xmas this year...she has been crying for the toy all afternoon!! Way to go  haha
Embedded image permalink

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roster Moves

In addition to the players acquired in the Rule 5 draft yesterday, the Astros also re-claimed RHP Mickey Storey from the Yankees. Storey had been claimed off waivers by the Yankees last month when he was removed from the Astros 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft. Storey has been placed back on the 40-man roster which now stands at 40.

RHP Cameron Lamb, one of yesterday's Rule 5 draft picks, is currently playing for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League. Tom Fee, a writer covering the Heat, posted this article about Lamb which may be of interest as we get to know Lamb a bit better. Be warned, though, that there is an oddly placed Public Service Announcement that is a tad confusing.

I have re-configured the Off-Season Transactions list in an attempt to make it more coherent (yet still comprehensive) and I have added these latest moves.

Winter League Recaps


Caguas over Carolina 2-1 in 7 innings (Game 1)
2B Kiké Hernandez continues hitting well for Carolina, gong 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a strikeout and a run scored in the first game of the double-header. C Rene Garcia was 0-for-2 before being lifted for pinch hitter Jobduan Morales, who stayed in to catch and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout. Carlos Correa was used as a pinch runner only.

Carolina over Caguas 4-3 in 7 innings (Game 2)
For Carolina, 2B Kiké Hernandez got another two hits in the second game of the double-header, including an RBI single. He struck out twice and scored a run as well. Hernandez is hitting .359/.412/.526 over 21 games. C Jobduan Morales went 1-for-3 before being replaced by pinch runner Carlos Correa. C Rene Garcia then came in as a defensive replacement but did not get an at-bat. Carlos Corporan came in to the game in the bottom of the seventh and hit a pinch hit RBI double to win the game. C Robert Pena went 1-for-3 with a strikeout and scored a run for Caguas.


Caribes over Magallanes 4-3
2B Jose Altuve was 2-4 with an RBI double for Magallanes.

Lara over Caracas 3-2
SS Marwin Gonzalez went 0-for-3 for Caracas.

Aragua over Margarita 14-6
Jose Martinez was 0-for-2 as the DH for Aragua before being pulled for a pinch hitter.


It appears that Jimmy Paredes will return to the Gigantes team for tonight's game. He has not appeared since being injured in a car accident last Saturday.

Aguilas over Gigantes 4-2
Jonathan Villar drew pinch running duty again, stayed in the game as DH for Aguilas and drew a walk. For the Gigantes, *RHP Erick Abreu pitched two scoreless innings allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout.  *RHP Enerio del Rosario allowed two runs (his first runs allowed in 11 appearances in the DWL) on two hits and two walks with one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss. One of Rosario's runs was an inherited runner allowed to score by *RHP Rhiner Cruz who pitched two-thirds of an inning with a walk and a strikeout.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/7

OF/C Mike Kvasnicka (24)
Drafted as a supplemental pick in the first round in 2010 out of the University of Minnesota, Kvasnicka spent his second season with Lexington in 2012, starting off back at catcher after spending most of 2011 at third base, but then moving to right field later in the season and spending a lot of time as the DH. Kvasnicka had a bad start leading to his overall batting line of .232/.275/.412 for the season. But he hit his stride in June and July hitting .275 with a .492 slugging percentage during those two months before missing most of August on the DL. Kvasnicka also seems to have found his power. After hitting only four home runs in 128 games in 2011, he hit 15 home runs in only 88 games in 2012.

Mike Kvasnicka April 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Former Astros with birthdays today

C Hal Smith (82)
Drafted from the Pirates in the 1961 expansion draft, Smith played in 140 games for the Colt .45's in 1962 and 1963, hitting .236/.287/.365. His best season was probably 1957 when he hit .303/.328/.483 for the Kansas City Athletics with a 37% caught stealing rate. He got his one World Series title with the Pirates in 1960.

LHP Bo Belinsky (died November 23, 2001 at 64)
A Rule 5 pick from the Phillies in 1966, Belinsky pitched in 27 games (18 starts) for Houston in 1967, going 3-9 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.439 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Wesley Wright

Sounds like  is back. How did you enjoy your time in the Yankees organization? Lol

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Greeneville Astros - August 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, I've attempted to cull through and organize hundreds of photos I took at the various minor league venues during the 2012 season. Here are a few you may enjoy. I have also uploaded photos to Flickr. You can find my Greeneville photos from August 2012 here. Unfortunately, I haven't tagged the photos yet, but hope to do so at some point during the off-season. I promise I will try to upload and post pictures in a more timely manner in the coming season!

Ariel Ovando

Adrian Houser

Marc Wik

Angel Ibanez

Richard Rodriguez

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

*The players and coaches featured in these photos are hereby granted permission to use these photos for personal uses. All other uses require permission and acknowledgment. 

Astros Rule 5 Draft

The Astros picked 27-year old RHP Josh Fields as the first pick in the Rule 5 draft. I predicted that Jeff Luhnow would be tempted to take the former first round Mariners pick. Click on the above link for more info on Fields and why I thought he might be a possibility. (Am I getting to know the ways of Jeff Luhnow or what?)

In the second round of the Rule 5 draft, the Astros picked 1B Nate Freiman. Freiman was drafted by the Padres in the 8th round out of Duke. He has proven power and RBI potential while limiting his strikeouts to a reasonable level. I really like this pick and had my eye on him after his terrific performance for Team Israel in the WBC Qualifier. He also participated in the Arizona Fall League and his stats for that are here. He will be 26 in December.

In the first round of the AAA phase of the draft, the Astros picked RF Michael Burgess of the Cubs organization. No huge surprise that Luhnow was interested in Burgess as yet another former first round pick that he is acquiring for the organization. The 24-year old Burgess was drafted by the Nationals out of a Tampa area high school in 2007. Burgess appears to be one of those players with a lot of talent and power potential who has never quite gotten to that next level as a player. This article from March 2012 was high on Burgess' potential.

In the second round of the AAA phase of the draft, the Astros picked RHP Cameron Lamb of the Giants organization. The native of Australia has been in the Giants organization since 2007. His results were great, but his innings were greatly limited in 2012. He is currently playing in the Australian Baseball League and has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.500 WHIP with two save in five games. I wasn't able to find any information on him quickly. If I do, I will update.

The Astros did not lose anyone (including the higher profile Marc Krauss, Josh Stoffel and Carlos Perez) in the draft.

Lancaster JetHawks - August 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, I've attempted to cull through and organize hundreds of photos I took at the various minor league venues during the 2012 season. Here are a few you may enjoy. I have also uploaded photos to Flickr. You can find my Lancaster photos from August 2012 here. Unfortunately, I haven't tagged the photos yet, but hope to do so at some point during the off-season. I'll be posting photos of my August trip to Greeneville this afternoon.

Enrique (Kiké) Hernandez

Telvin Nash and Batting Coach Darryl Robinson

Nick Tropeano

Pat Urckfitz

Robert Peña

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

*The players and coaches featured in these photos are hereby granted permission to use these photos for personal uses. All other uses require permission and acknowledgment. 

Winter League Recaps - 12/5


Magallanes over Zulia 10-0
2B Jose Altuve led off the sixth inning with a solo home run and then added on a two RBI double later in the same inning as Magallanes sent 15 batters to the plate in a 10-run frame.

Aragua over Lara 6-3
Jose Martinez hadn't played for a few days but was back in the line up for Aragua last night as the DH. He had one hit over four at-bats


Aguilas over Licey 8-7
Jonathan Villar hasn't gotten much work this winter. He has been used primarily as a pinch runner and/or late inning defensive replacement, which was the case again last night. But I suppose that's going to happen when you have Miguel Tejada playing at short. Villar has only gotten 16 at-bats in 18 games.

Estrellas over Gigantes 1-0
Just a quick note that Jimmy Paredes has still not played in a game since he, his wife and two other players were involved in a car accident on Saturday. *RHP Enerio del Rosario retired his one batter faced for the Gigantes team and has still not allowed a run in 10 appearances.


Santurce over Carolina 4-3
2B Kiké Hernandez continues to be hot at the plate as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for Carolina last night. C Carlos Corporan went hitless, but drew a walk. SS Carlos Correa was 0-for-3 and struck out twice.

Ponce over Caguas 7-6
*RHP Adalberto Flores gave up one run on one hit and two walks in one third of an inning for Ponce.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/6

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Jay Dahl (died June 21, 1965 at 19)
Dahl's entire major league career consisted of pitching two and a third innings for the Colt .45's at the ripe old age of 17. The game featured an all rookie line-up, including such notables as Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn and Rusty Staub. For the story of his all too short life, his tragic death and the aftermath, go here.

C Kevin Cash (35)
Cash signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2010 and played in 20 games for Houston, hitting .204/.271/.333, before being traded to Boston in July of that year for Angel Sanchez.

Tweet of the Day

Austin Wates

Soo, if anybody is looking for a role model, I just closed a Ziploc bag on the first try 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Corpus Christi Hooks - June 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, I've attempted to cull through and organize hundreds of photos I took at the various minor league venues during the 2012 season. Here are a few you may enjoy. I have also uploaded photos to Flickr. You can find my Corpus Christi photos from June 2012 here and from the September 7th playoff game here. Unfortunately, I haven't tagged the photos yet, but hope to do so at some point during the off-season. I'll be posting photos of my August trips to Lancaster and Greeneville tomorrow.

Josh Zeid

Jon Singleton

Jarred Cosart's radar reading (he got to 98 that day)

Jair "Jay" Fernandez

Ross Seaton

Brandon Wikoff

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

*The players and coaches featured in these photos are hereby granted permission to use these photos for personal uses. All other uses require permission and acknowledgment. 

Lexington Legends - April 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, I've attempted to cull through and organize hundreds of photos I took at the various minor league venues during the 2012 season. Here are a few you may enjoy. I have also uploaded photos to Flickr. You can find my Lexington Legends photos from April 2012 here. Unfortunately, I haven't tagged the photos yet, but hope to do so at some point during the off-season. I'll be posting additional photos over the next couple of days.

Mike Kvasnicka warming up Luis Cruz

Mike Kvasnicka taking infield

Roving Coach Paul Runge working with Jordan Scott

Delino DeShields taking a breather

Jordan Scott

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

*The players and coaches featured in these photos are hereby granted permission to use these photos for personal uses. All other uses require permission and acknowledgment.

Roster Moves

The Astros traded relief pitcher Wilton Lopez and a PTBNL* for two right-handers from the Rockies last night, Alex White and Alex Gillingham. White has been added to the 40-man roster while Lopez was removed from it, leaving the 40-man at 37 with three openings.

Alex White was drafted by Cleveland out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the first round (15th overall) in 2009 and was traded to Colorado in July 2011 as a part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. In 2012, he appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies, compiling a 2-9 record with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.684 WHIP. In 44 starts over three seasons in the minors, White was 15-15 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP. He just turned 24 in August.

The 23-year old Alex Gillingham was drafted by the Rockies in the 11th round in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In 19 starts for the LoA Asheville Tourists in 2012, Gillingham was 6-8 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.220 WHIP. According to, his ground out to air out ratio was 3.29 which would automatically make him one of the most prolific groundball pitchers in the Astros minor league system.

*According to Baseball-Reference, the trade was actually for Lopez plus a player to be named later or cash.

I have updated my ongoing Off-Season Transaction List to account for these moves. Jeff Luhnow has hinted at another move coming soon. Bud Norris is the name most frequently rumored to be at the center of talks.

Winter League Recaps - 12/4


Zulia over Magallanes 3-0
2B Jose Altuve was 2-for-4 with a strikeout and stole his eighth bag of the season for Magallanes.

Caracas over Margarita 10-7
SS Marwin Gonzalez went 1-for-4 and committed two errors for Caracas.


No Astros players played in the Dominican last night. Jimmy Paredes has not returned to the lineup since his car accident a few days ago in which he reportedly received minor injuries to his arm.


Carolina over Ponce 7-2
Kiké Hernandez got the start at third for Carolina and went 2-for-5 with a double, a strikeout and scored two runs. In his last 10 games Hernandez is hitting .417/.447/.667. C Carlos Corproran also had two hits, struck out once and scored once while teammate SS Carlos Correa went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, scored a run and stole his first base of the winter season.

Happy Birthday - 12/5

C Cristian Moronta (23)
Signed by Houston as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Moronta spent his first two seasons in the DSL before landing in Greeneville in 2011. This season he played in 16 games for four different teams, hitting .263/.326/.368.

RHP Sergio Perez (28)
A native of Florida, Perez was drafted in the second round in 2006 out of the University of Tampa. In 2012 at Oklahoma City, he was 4-2 with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.540 WHIP in 40 games (four starts). This winter, he is pitching for Magallanes in the Venezuelan winter league and is 7-3 in 10 starts with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.265 WHIP. He currently leads the league in wins.

1B Mike Martinez (23)
Martinez was drafted in the 36th round in 2012 out of Florida International University. In 48 games for Greeneville in 2012, Martinez hit .277/.366/.380. The right-handed batter actually hit very well against right-handed pitchers, hitting .336/.399/.450 against them.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Steve Shea (70)
Shea signed with Houston as a free agent in August 1965 and pitched in 30 games for the Astros in 1968, going 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.486 WHIP.

RHP Buddy Harris (64)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1968, Harris pitched in 22 games for the Astros in 1970 and 1971 with a 6.32 ERA and a 1.486 WHIP. In six seasons in the minor leagues, he was 44-40 with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Daniel Minor

I smell like Christmas trees

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An Interview with C Tyler Heineman

Drafted out of UCLA by the Astros in the eighth round in 2012, C Tyler Heineman immediately made his mark playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats in 2012. Heineman hit .358/.452/.430 with 14 doubles in 55 games on his way to winning the New York-Penn League batting title. He drew 26 walks to only a dozen strikeouts, and he swiped six bases himself while catching 41% of opposing base stealers. A catcher with a good arm that can also hit, doesn't strike out a lot and can steal an occasional base? Be still, my beating heart!

Tyler did this interview with Baseball Life 365 a couple months back that has some great background information on him. I tried not to cover the same ground when I "talked" with him via email. Here's what he had to say (edited for clarity only) ~

WTH: Did you know that the Astros were interested in you before they drafted you in the 8th round? Had you heard from other teams? Did you think your lack of playing time prior to your junior year might lead to your being undervalued in the draft? (I ask this because one site called you the most underappreciated catcher in college baseball.)

TH: I received interest from all 30 teams via questionnaire or talking on the phone to scouts or both. So I knew the Astros were interested in me, but I felt like they were not one of the top teams interested in me. I talked to about five other clubs every week leading up to the draft so I thought one of those teams was going to draft me. I am not sure if my lack of playing time led me to be undervalued in the draft. I would like to say 'yes' but who knows! I wouldn't change my road to getting drafted at all because I loved playing for UCLA and Coach John Savage. Learning from him and the other coaches for three years really helped my growth tremendously as a ballplayer.

WTH: Were you aware that you were in the running for the NYPL batting title? If so, how did you handle that pressure?

TH: Yeah, I knew that I had one of the best batting averages in the league. I didn't know what my average was, but when I would get interviewed after games they would tell me that stuff. I didn't really take it as pressure. More of a challenge to see if I could go out and continue to hit well game by game. By focusing one game at a time and one at-bat at a time, it made me not think ahead five games from now or how the other top hitters in the league were hitting that day. So, no pressure, just tried to take it one game at a time and make every game a season in and of itself. What I mean by that is if I go 2-for-4 in a game, I'm hitting .500 on the season. Not bad. Then it starts over the next day. Makes every day and every game interesting. Helps me not waste at-bats.

WTH: For Tri-City, you hit .333 vs. LHP and .366 vs. RHP. Have you always been that consistent from both sides of the plate?

TH: I usually feel more comfortable when I am hitting left-handed. But ever since I got to pro ball, the extra batting practice that I was allowed to take enabled me to switch off and hit more right-handed than I was used to doing in the past. I was a natural right-handed hitter in high school until I decided to try and switch hit when I was a sophomore.

WTH: The 2012 Tri-City team was stacked with good pitching. What was the best part and the most challenging part in working with that staff? What are the biggest challenges for you overall as a catcher?

TH: Everyone on our staff was great and really fun to work with. I would say the best part was knowing that almost every guy had more than one good pitch that could get guys out so it made calling a game pretty fun. There weren't really any challenges working with the staff in Tri-City. I really enjoyed every pitcher and I learned a lot from them and I hope they learned some things from me as well. The biggest challenge for me as a catcher is tough. But again, I think of each thing like a game that I try and get better at each time I do it. I really enjoyed calling my own game for the first time since high school. It forces you to think multiple pitches, sometimes even hitters ahead. And that part of the game is extremely fun and addicting. But I love every bit about catching there is. I don't think there is any position like it.

WTH: What surprised you most about playing professional baseball? What was the best part of the season for you?

TH: Nothing really surprised me. I knew a lot coming in just by asking friends of mine how it was that were drafted before me. So I wasn't surprised. One thing that I had to get used to was playing everyday as opposed to four times a week. Those three extra games make a difference and really make you focus on eating right and working out the right way in order to feel good later on down the road. The best part of the season was the playoffs. Just as a whole team striving for one goal and pulling for each other, it is a really good bonding experience.

WTH: Which pitcher from the Tri-City team would you least like to face in the batter's box?

TH: Wow, that's a tough one. We had a ton of tough guys. From Travis Ballew and [John] Neely out of the 'pen to [Brady] Rodgers, [Aaron] West, and [Vince] Velasquez in the rotation. Even Kenny Long before he got promoted. I would have to say Vince Velasquez though. He has an electric fast ball and I think it would be real fun to face him. Plus we would always joke around with each other about me facing him.

WTH: Was there a player or pitcher on the team that you just enjoyed sitting back and watching?

TH: Probably Preston Tucker and M.P. Cokinos. I loved watching Tucker take BP. Just the way the ball came off the bat and had so much back spin and [how it would] fly out of the park on a dead line was fun to watch. I just loved the energy Cokinos brought out on the field every day. He has so much fun on the field and you can tell [that].

WTH: Who on the team made you laugh?

TH: Again, I would have to say Cokinos and Tucker. Tucker was my roommate so we had some good times together. But any time you came into the locker room, you would look around for me or MP and you would see us together laughing. Almost every time.

WTH: What are you doing in the off-season? How are you preparing for the full season grind?

TH: Training hard with a personal trainer making sure my body is ready to go for the full season. I am learning so much about how to prepare the body the right way by nutrition and stretching before and after competition that I believe will really help my game. And just coming back as strong as I possibly can be.

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

TH: I am a pretty good artist. I took AP art in high school and I did really well. I try and draw things so they look as close to the actual picture or object as possible. A photorealist. Not very many people know that about me.
It doesn't take a photorealist to draw the conclusion that Tyler Heineman has a very bright future in the Astros organization.

Thank you for your time, Tyler, and the best of luck in the 2013 season. I hope to see you play in person very soon.

Winter League Recaps - 12/3


Magallanes over Lara 2-1
2B Jose Altuve went 1-for-3 with a walk for Magallanes. Altuve is hitting .318/.402/.400 with five doubles, one triple, 17 RBI and 7 stolen bases in 21 games. And he has walked 12 times to only nine strikeouts.

And that's it! Only one game was played in the Dominican Winter League, but no Astros players participated. The other leagues had the night off.

Happy Birthday - 12/4

RHP Joe Musgrove (20)
A first round pick by the Blue Jays in 2011, Musgrove came to the Astros organization as a part of the July 2012 10-player trade with that team. His innings were severely limited in 2012 due to a minor shoulder injury; he had a 4.24 ERA and a 1.352 WHIP in six appearances (one start) for the Blue Jays and Astros Appy League teams in 2012.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

2B Lee Bales (68)
Obtained in an October 1966 trade with Atlanta, Bales played in 19 games for Houston in 1967, hitting .106/.311/.106.

LHP Gustavo Chacin (32)
Chacin came to the Astros as a free agent in December 2009. In 44 games for Houston in 2010, he had a 4.70 ERA and a 1.852 WHIP. Chacin pitched in Independent League ball in 2012 and is currently pitching for the Magallanes team in the Venezuelan winter league.

Tweet of the Day

Rio Ruiz

I swear I screamed louder than the 13 year old girls behind me for  

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Owner Checklist

2011 Attendance - 2,067,016

_____ Start major rebuild

_____ Announce move to American League

_____ Suggest a name change

_____ Erect hideously ugly sign that everyone hates

2012 Attendance - 1,607,733 (22% decline)
2012 FSN Houston Viewers, according to Neilsen - 1046 households on 9/9/12

_____ Fire radio team and allude to their fantastic replacements
           (Two months later *crickets*)

_____ Start up a fancy new regional sports network that 60% of Houston doesn't get

_____ Don't re-sign Jim Deshaies to a long-term contract, again alluding to great replacement

_____ Continue rebuilding

_____ Move to the American League

_____ 9:00 West Coast games

_____ Pretend you care how this all affects the fans

2013 Estimated Attendance - 1,559,680 or lower (the lowest in 2012 was 1,559,681 - I think we can beat that easily)
Seriously, I love what Luhnow is doing on the baseball side, but Crane needs to start getting some good PR and he needs to start getting it soon. Other than the uniforms, it's been the drip, drip, drip of Chinese water torture on Astros fans. Get a couple of former players in the radio and TV broadcast booth that people can get excited about and do it soon for the love of Milo and all that's holy!

I want to get excited about the Astros again, but frankly I'm just numb at this point. For the first time ever, I can honestly say that I don't care if I miss a bunch of games next year because they won't be available on my provider. I'll have more time to watch the minor leagues on my computer. And if I'm saying that, if I'm feeling that way, you have a serious PR problem.

First (Round) Things First

I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but Jeff Luhnow loves to roll the dice on former first round draft picks from other teams, whether he picks them up via free agency, waiver claims or trades. Some former first rounders that he brought into the Astros organization (including one who didn't stick for long) include Travis Buck, Jack Cust (the non-stickee), Jed Lowrie, Scott Moore, Landon Powell, Brad Snyder, Bobby Borchering, Matt Dominguez, Tyler Greene, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, Kevin Comer and his latest pick-ups, Trevor Crowe and Phil Humber.

With that said, it occurred to me that if there were any former first round picks available in this week's Rule 5 draft, Mr. Luhnow and company are undoubtedly giving them an extra long look. It turns out there are two such players listed on Jonathan Mayo's Top 20 list of Rule 5 prospects:

Heckathorn was a first round supplemental pick (47th overall) by the Brewers in 2009 out of Kennesaw State University in Georgia. His numbers at AA for the Brewers in 2012 were marginal, but Mayo indicated that he improved slightly when he was moved to the bullpen after having command issues as a starter. His strikeout numbers leave something to be desired, but that is to be expected for someone who has a tendency to pitch to contact and to induce groundball outs with sink on his fastball. Heckathorn is 24 and is listed as 6'6" 225 lbs. (And he has a "Heck"uva great name!)

Granted Fields is a bit old at 27, but the former first round 2008 pick by the Mariners out of the University of Georgia (traded to the Red Sox in July 2011) had great numbers in his time with Boston's AA and AAA affiliates in 2012. In 42 games out of the bullpen, he had a combined 2.01 ERA and a 0.960 WHIP. As Mayo notes, he substantially reduced his walk rate from the prior year while putting up an impressive 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

According to Mayo, both of these players have had command issues in the past, but may be getting past those. Seeing as the easiest area for a Rule 5 player to "stick" is out of the bullpen and seeing as the Astros bullpen for 2013 will be a work in progress and seeing as Jeff Luhnow really, really likes those former first round picks, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he decides to take a flyer on one of these players.

Winter League Recap and Player Stats

UPDATE: Jimmy Paredes was not in the line-up for the Gigantes again last night. According to this article, his wife had surgery (spleen) due to an injury received in Saturday's car accident in the Dominican Republic involving Paredes, Jean Segura (Brewers) and Ivan Contreras (Rangers). Paredes' left arm was injured in the crash, but from all accounts, the injury appears to be minor.

Recaps for Sunday's Astros winter league games plus player stats for winter leagues to date (I'm including only players that have played in the last week):


Caracas over Zulia 5-4
SS Marwin Gonzalez was 0-for-3 with a strikeout for Caracas.

Magallanes over Aragua 3-0
2B Jose Altuve was 0-for-4 for Magallanes. *RHP Sergio Perez got the start and his seventh win for Magallanes as he pitched five shutout innings with six hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

LVBP Player Stats to Date:

Jose Altuve - .317/.398/.402 5-2B 1-3B 17RBI 7SB in 20 games
Marwin Gonzalez - .185/.297/.241 3-2B 3RBI 3SB in 16 games
Jose Martinez - .291/.363/.417 4-2B 4HR 21RBI in 34 games

*Sergio Perez - 7-3 4.41 ERA 1.27 WHIP 13BB/41SO in 10 starts

Liga Paralela Player Stats to Date:

Luis Alvarez - .268/.333/.338 2-2B 1HR 11RBI in 20 games
Ernesto Genoves - .274/.379/.466 5-2B 3HR 12RBI in 22 games
Carlos Perez - .325/.391/.506 8-2B 2HR 15RBI in 23 games
Alfredo Gonzalez - .234/.294/.362 3-2B 1HR 6RBI in 18 games

Carlos Quevedo - 4-1 1.42 ERA 0.88 WHIP 4BB/27SO in 7 games (4 starts)
Enderson Franco - 0-2 4.11 ERA 1.49 WHIP 11BB/29SO in 9 games (7 starts)


Aguilas over Licey 14-1
Jonathan Villar went 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter for Aguilas and stayed in to play short.

Estrellas over Gigantes 5-4
*RHP Erick Abreu pitched two and a third innings for the Gigantes allowing only one hit and one run (a solo home run) while striking out three and was charged with the loss.

Escogido over Toros 9-4
DH Fernando Martinez was 1-for-4 with an RBI double, a walk and a run scored for Escogido.

LIDOM Player Stats to Date:

Fernando Martinez - .208/.269/.235 1-2B 1HR 3RBI in 7 games
Jimmy Paredes - .229/.267/.349 4-2B 3HR 19RBI 4SB in 28 games
Jonathan Villar - .250/.294/.250 3SB in 17 games (only 16 at-bats)

*Erick Abreu - 3-1 3.47 ERA 0.64 WHIP 4BB/28SO in 16 appearances
Rhiner Cruz - 1-0 2.35 ERA 1.57 WHIP 4BB/11SO in 8 appearances
*Jorge de Leon - 0-1 7.71 ERA 3.00 WHIP 4BB/1SO in 3 appearances
*Enerio del Rosario - 0-0 0.00 ERA 0.71 WHIP 2BB/3SO in 9 appearances
*Aneury Rodriguez - 3-1 3.38 ERA 1.22 WHIP 8BB/29SO in 8 starts


Carolina over Ponce 3-1
For Carolina, 2B Kiké Hernandez went 3-for-4 with an RBI and THREE stolen bases; C Rene Garcia was 0-for-2 with a sac fly RBI; and SS Carlos Correa went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

LBPRC Player Stats to Date:

Carlos Corporan - .222/.250/.222 1RBI in 8 games
Carlos Correa - .276/.323/.245 2-2B in 11 games
Rene Garcia - .265/.270/.294 1-2B 5RBI in 11 games
Kiké Hernandez - .328/.388/.508 6-2B 1-3B 1HR 9RBI 4SB in 17 games
Jobduan Morales - .261/.370/.261 3RBI in 9 games
Roberto Pena - .176/.263/.353 1HR 4RBI in 8 games

*Adalberto Flores - 1-1 4.32 ERA 0.84 WHIP 1BB/6SO in 6 games (2 teams)
Raul Rivera - 1-0 9.00 ERA 2.71 WHIP 3BB/2SO in 5 games


Obregon over Hermosillo 4-3 in 11 innings
RHP Edgar Gonzalez got the start and gave up two runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts in five innings pitched for a no-decision.

LMP Player Stats to Date:

Edgar Gonzalez - 1-1 3.97 ERA 1.28 WHIP 6BB/18SO in 5 starts

LBPN (Nicaragua) Player Stats to Date:

Mesac Laguna - .212/.333/.455 2-2B 2HR in 14 games

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/3

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Dave Eilers (76)
Drafted by Houston from the Mets in the 1966 minor league draft, Eilers pitched for the Astros in 1967 going 6-4 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.433 WHIP in 35 appearances.

RHP Jerry Johnson (69)
Johnson first came to Houston in a November 1973 trade with Houston and pitched in 34 games for the Astros in 1974 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.578 WHIP. His best season was for the Giants in 1971 when he was 12-9 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP in 67 appearances.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter League Recaps

Reports from the Dominican Republic last night indicated that Jimmy Paredes, along with Jean Segura (Brewers) and Ivan Contreras (Rangers) were involved in a car accident and were scratched from the Gigantes game. One source said that they did get banged up a little, but that their injuries weren't serious and they were released from the hospital last night.


Gigantes over Toros 7-4
*RHP Enerio del Rosario made his ninth appearance for the Gigantes without allowing a run as he pitched one hitless inning with a strikeout. *RHP Aneury Rodriguez got the start for the Toros and pitched three innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts.

Aguilas over Escogido 3-2
Jonathan Villar scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as he came in as a pinch runner and advanced on an error and a sac bunt before scoring on a single. LF Fernando Martinez was 1-for-3 with a walk for Escogido.


Magallanes over Lara 14-5
2B Jose Altuve was 2-for-6 with an RBI single and a two RBI double for Magallanes. He also stole a base and scored a run. Oh yeah, and he was also involved in converting four double plays. Just another day's work for our little man.

Caracas over Zulia 1-0
2B Marwin Gonzalez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout for Caracas.


Manati over Ponce 3-2
*RHP Adalberto Flores gave up three runs on three hits (including a home run) in a third of an inning for Ponce and was charged with the loss.

Santurce over Caguas 2-1
C Roberto Pena was 0-for-1 for Caguas before being lifted for a pinch hitter.

Mayaguez over Carolina 9-2

Kiké Hernandez got another start at third base for Carolina and was hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts. C Carlos Corporan was 2-for-4 with two strikeouts and scored a run. SS Carlos Correa was 2-for-3 with a walk. Jobduan Morales was 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter and scored a run.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/2

SS Kristian Trompiz (17)
All I really know about Trompiz is that the Astros signed him this July as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela.

Former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Darryl Kile (died June 18, 2002 at 33)
A 30th round pick by the Astros in 1987, Kile pitched in 209 games (182 starts) for Houston from 1991 to 1997, going 71-65 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.408 WHIP. In post-season pitching for Houston, he was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA and a 0.571 WHIP. Kile was an All-Star for the Astros in 1993 and 1997 and is honored with a memorial plaque on the outfield wall at Minute Maid Park.

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I have mastered the photobomb at the zoo. People are going to have lovely surprises in there pics