Saturday, February 16, 2013

Astros Uniform Number History

Ever wonder who wore #11 for the Astros before Matt Dominguez got his hands on it? Think Bob Watson, Dennis Menke, Frank DiPino, Davey Lopes, Ken Caminiti and Brad Ausmus, among others.

Did you remember that Craig Biggio once wore #4? Who did he give up #4 to when he started wearing #7?

Who once wore #00 and who once wore #99 for the Astros?

Baseball-Reference just got better with the addition of the history of every uniform by every number in every organization. Here is the Astros page, but you can see every team page, every player who ever wore #7, sortable by WAR and number of years worn, and all of the retired numbers for every team on one page.

Any blogger who tells you that they can get along just fine without Baseball-Reference is a liar. It is a fantastic reference tool that just keeps getting better.

Happy Birthday - 2/16

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

Originally drafted by the Rangers in the second round in 1980, Henry signed as a free agent with Houston in March 1991. In 52 appearances for the Astros in 1991, he had a 3-2 record with a 3.19 ERA and 1.330 WHIP.

SS Glenn Vaughan (died December 18, 2004 at 60)
Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1962, Vaughan played in 9 games for the Colt .45's in 1963, hitting .167/.219/.167.

A first round pick by the Astros in 1981, Bullock played in 24 games for Houston in 1985 and 1986, hitting .174/.191/.217.

Tweet of the Day

I'm excited for my son's season to start but gonna miss him so much! GO ASTROS!!! 
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Birthday - 2/15

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Brian Williams (44)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1990, Williams pitched in 130 games (36 starts) for Houston in 1991 to 1994 and again in 1999 with a 19-17 record, a 4.66 ERA and a 1.538 WHIP.

LHP Don Arlich (70)
Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1961, Arlich pitched in eight games for Houston in 1965 and 1966 with an 8.10 ERA and a 2.100 WHIP.

OF Mark Davidson (52)
Originally drafted by Minnesota in the 11th round in 1982, Davidson came to Houston in a May 1989 trade with the Twins. In 175 games for the Astros from 1989 to 1991, he hit .231/.295/.318. He won a World Series with the Twins in 1987.

RHP Larry Yount (63)
A fifth round pick by the Astros in 1968, Yount appeared in only one game for Houston in 1971, but never faced a batter. His brother is Hall of Famer Robin Yount.

Tweet of the Day

Happy Valentine's Day!! Ya gotta start young.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hey, Don't Forget About Me!

It's easy to forget about players who lose whole chunks of seasons due to injuries or other issues. Lest we all forget, here is a reminder about some of those players who disappeared from view for all or a part of 2012.

RHP Kyle Weiland (26)
Weiland came to Houston in the December 2011 Red Sox trade for Mark Melancon and last pitched for the Astros on April 21, 2012.  He underwent shoulder surgery on May 1, 2012 to clean out an infection. When I asked GM Jeff Luhnow about Weiland (when I interviewed him back in November), he indicated that Weiland's situation was not a routine one, but he was building his strength up and Luhnow hoped he would be ready for Spring Training. We will soon see. Weiland was taken off the 40-man roster during the off-season and will presumably start at AAA if healthy.

LHP Kyle Hallock (24)
Hallock, the Astros 10th round pick from 2011, had a terrific freshman season, putting up a 2.63 ERA and 1.216 WHIP in 13 starts. After struggling to start the 2012 season at Lexington, Hallock underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. He made several rehab appearances toward the end of the season and should be healthy coming in to the 2013 season.

Kyle Hallock - Lexington April 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP Jack Armstrong (23)
Armstrong was drafted in the third round in 2011 and is still awaiting his Astros debut after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2011/2012 off-season. When I spoke with Luhnow, he expected Armstrong to be ready for the season and was looking forward to finally seeing him compete as an Astro.

LHP Christopher Lee (20)
Lee was drafted by the Astros in the fourth round in 2011. Lee only pitched eight and two-thirds innings in five appearances with Greeneville in the 2011 season, the last appearance being July 26th. As far as I know, he was never officially placed on the DL.

RHP Danny Meszaros (27)
The 48th round draft pick by the Astros in 2008, Meszaros did not play in 2012. He last played for the AA Corpus Christi Hooks in 2011, but also appeared in Oklahoma City that season. It is my understanding, although I never saw anything official from the Astros, that he underwent TJ surgery.

LHP Wes Musick (26)
Musick came to the Houston organization in the Matt Lindstrom trade in December 2010. Musick was having a great season, starting at Lancaster and receiving two quick promotions. He last pitched for AAA Oklahoma City on June 19th before going on the DL.

C Miles Hamblin (24)
Hamblin appeared in only two games for Lexington at the start of the 2012 season before being placed on the DL for the remainder of the season. I do not know the nature of his injury or his current status. Hamblin was the 12th round pick by the Astros in 2011.

C Rene Garcia (22)
Garcia, the Astros 35th round pick in 2008, was having a very good season at Lancaster which led to his call-up to Corpus Christi. He only appeared in nine games at Corpus before being shut down for the remainder of the season at the end of July. He did, however, play in winter ball in Puerto Rico.

C Ben Heath (24)
Heath was the Astros fifth round pick in 2010. Much like Garcia, Heath was having a good season at Lancaster before a call-up to Corpus Christi. Exactly like Garcia, Heath only appeared in nine games at Corpus before being shut down for the remainder of the season.

2B John Hinson (24)
Hinson, the Astros 13th round pick from 2011, started the 2012 season with Lexington and was doing extremely well at the plate before being shut down on June 1st for the remainder of the season. Although I don't know his status, I would say from looking at his twitter timeline, he's ready for baseball season.

IF Brandon Wikoff (24)
Wikoff, the Astros fifth round pick in 2009, last played on July 7th for Corpus Christi. After a solid start to the season, he was struggling offensively prior to being shut down. I do not know his status.

1B Chase Davidson (23)
Davidson was first drafted by the Astros in the third round in 2008, but didn't sign. He was drafted again in the 41st round in 2011. Davidson only appeared in nine games for Tri-City in June before being shut down June 28th. Jeff Luhnow mentioned Davidson as someone he was looking forward to seeing this season.

OF Javaris Reynolds (20)
Reynolds, the seventh round 2011 pick, was never placed on the DL (to my knowledge) during the 2012 season, but he played in only 11 games, the last of which was on July 13th. Again, I do not know his status.

Getting this group of players healthy and productive again will help provide the Astros with even more depth towards rebuilding the system. I'm looking forward to seeing them back in action soon.

Happy Birthday - 2/14

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Paul Clemens (25)
Originally drafted by Atlanta out of a community college in North Carolina in the seventh round in 2008, this South Carolina native came to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade in 2011. In 20 starts with AAA Oklahoma City to start the 2012 season, he was 8-8 with a 6.73 ERA and a 1.741 WHIP. He ended the season back at AA Corpus Christi where he was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP in seven starts.

Happy Birthday to Craig Bjornson, roving pitching instructor for the Astros, who turns 44 today.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

IF Larry Milbourne (62)
Drafted from the Cardinals in the 1973 Rule 5 draft, Milbourne played in 244 games for Houston from 1974 to 1976, hitting .245/.297/.282.

Tweet of the Day

Delino DeShields

It's been real Atlanta. Time to get this grind on  #2013 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Birthday - 2/13

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Andrew Robinson (25)
Drafted in the 12th round in 2010 out of Georgia Tech, Robinson pitched for Lancaster exclusively out of the bullpen in 2012. In 44 appearances, he was 4-5 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.326 WHIP. In the post-season, he had one win and one save with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in three appearances.

Corpus Christi Manager Keith Bodie (57)
Bodie was manager for the Hooks in 2012 after spending three seasons as a hitting coach at Corpus Christi (2009) and Oklahoma City (2010-2011). He will manage for the Hooks again in 2013. His record as a manager is 1063-959.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RF Matt Mieske (45)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the 17th round in 1990, Mieske came to Houston in a June 1999 trade with the Mariners. In 116 games for the Astros in 1999 and 2000, he hit .237/.286/.384 (although he hit substantially better in 1999 than in 2000).

Tweet of the Day

Rio Ruiz
You gotta make sacrifices to get somewhere you've always dreamed of. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Interview with Astros RHP Jake Buchanan

Astros RHP Jake Buchanan had a bit of an up-and-down year in 2012, but I look for the 2011 Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year to come back strong in the new season. Earlier this season, I learned a little more about Jake in a somewhat unusual way by interviewing his girlfriend Chelsa Messinger, a Columbus, Georgia sports anchor. Now it's Jake's turn to talk.

WTH: I wasn't sure you'd agree to an interview since I interviewed your girlfriend before you and I insulted your playoff beard.

JB: It was a sweet playoff beard, so I forgive you.

WTH: You were named Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2011 season, but the 2012 season didn't go quite as smoothly as planned as you experienced some ups and downs. What went right? What went wrong? And what did you take away from the season?

JB: It didn't go as well as I would've liked. For me it felt like a lot went wrong more than right but you have to learn from that and I feel like I did the last part of the year for the most part and hopefully I can build off that going into this season.

WTH: You had been used exclusively as a starter prior to this season, but you were used out of the bullpen toward the end of the season. Did you enjoy working out of the bullpen?

JB: I really enjoyed pitching out of the bullpen the last month. I feel like I can be more effective that way by pitching off of adrenaline. I think I would be good at filling the role of long relief since I was formerly used as a starter. I think that will be my best shot at making it to the big leagues.

WTH: Can you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire, best pitch, velocity, movement, anything you're working on, etc.

JB: Sinker - normally 88-90, Curve - 76-78, Changeup - 79-81, Cutter - 84-87, and I am working on a slider. Hopefully it turns out like Jason Stoffel's.

WTH: You're more of a groundball pitcher. Who did you particularly like playing behind you in Corpus this past season, helping you get those groundball outs?

JB: All of them were great, but I'd say Ben Orloff, even though he was only there for the last part of the year. But he made every play and then some.

WTH: What Astros pitcher has a pitch you'd like to steal?

JB: Jason Stoffel's slider - it was lights out for him all year and is one of the best I have seen.

WTH: Which Astros hitter would you least like to pitch to?

JB: I would have to say Jonathan Singleton. When he's locked in, there isn't much you can do as a pitcher. [You] just hope he hits it at somebody.

WTH: Who on the team made you laugh?

JB: Andy Simunic is probably the funniest guy on the team with his pregame dancing and shenanigans.

WTH: What have you done to prepare for the 2013 season and what goals do you have for Spring Training?

JB: Just trying to get in the best shape possible and get my arm ready to go on day one. My goals are to just have fun and enjoy playing baseball. I didn't really do that last year and I think that's what led to the down year for me.

WTH: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?

JB: Well if I couldn't find anything in baseball, which is about all I know... But I have been watching a lot of food network this off-season and that really makes me want to run a restaurant maybe one day. lol


Thank you for your time, Jake, and good luck in the new season. Hopefully, you can put your restaurant career on hold for a good long time.

Happy Birthday - 2/12

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Chris Snyder (32)
A second round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2002, Snyder signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2012. In 76 games for the Astros in 2012, he hit .176/.295/.308. He has a lifetime caught stealing percentage of 29%. He recently signed as a free agent with the Nationals.

RHP Tim Redding (35)
Drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 1995, Redding pitched in 91 games (72 starts) for Houston from 2001 to 2004 with a 21-28 record, a 4.75 ERA and a 1.506 WHIP. He was traded to the Padres for Humberto Quintero in March 2005. He most recently pitched for the Blue Jays, but was released by them in August 2012.

OF Cameron Drew (49)
A first round pick by Houston in 1985, Drew played in only seven games for Houston in 1988, hitting .188/.188/.313.

Tweet of the Day

Tyler Heineman
Less than two weeks away until I report! Can't wait!! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Astros Minor League Depth - Position by Position

Over the past four weeks, I put together a position-by-position look at the depth of the Astros minor league system. Admittedly, this series is simply a snapshot in time. It looks at the players who had the best seasons in 2012. Some of those players will continue their upward trajectory through the Astros system. Some will fall by the wayside. New and unexpected heroes will emerge. Players will come and players will go as the adventure of following the minor league system continues for another season. I can scarcely wait.

With that said, I'm going to incorporate links to those posts into this one post and keep the link on the front page throughout the season as a reminder of where we started.

First Base

Second Base


Third Base

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers from Full Season Clubs

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers from Short Season Clubs

Right-Handed Relievers from AA and AAA Clubs

Right-Handed Relievers from A and Rookie League Clubs

Left Fielders

Center Fielders

Right Fielders

Left-Handed Starting Pitchers

Left-Handed Relief Pitchers


Also, in case you missed these posts from the weekend, I looked at the Astros place in organizational rankings and put together a consensus list of Astros top prospects.

Organizational Rankings of the Astros Farm System

2013 Consensus Astros Top Prospects

Happy Birthday - 2/11

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Wallace Gonzalez (20)
Drafted in the 29th round in 2011 out of high school in California, Gonzalez spent his second professional season with the GCL Astros. In 41 games, he hit .256/.295/.384.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RF John Paciorek (68)
Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1963, Paciorek had the ultimate cup of coffee in the majors.  In one game for the 1963 Colt 45's, he went 3-for-3 with two walks, scored four runs and drove in three, all at the ripe old age of 18! He ended his career with a 1.000/1.000/1.000 batting line.

RHP Matt Lindstrom (33)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the 10th round in 2002, Lindstrom came to Houston in a December 2009 trade with the Marlins. In 58 games for the Astros in late relief in 2010, he was 2-5 with 23 saves, a 4.39 ERA and a 1.650 WHIP. He was traded to Colorado in December 2010 for Jonnathan Aristil and Wes Musick. He played most recently with the Diamondbacks, but recently signed with the White Sox as a free agent.

C J.R. Towles (29)
A 20th round pick by the Astros in 2004, Towles played in 155 games for Houston over five seasons from 2007 to 2011. Although he started out with a bang in a September call-up in 2007, hitting .375/.432/.575 and breaking the Astros single game RBI record with eight RBI's in one game, he ultimately ended up with a .187 batting average at the major league level. In eight seasons at the minor league level, he had a .295/.394/.465 batting line. Towles played most recently in the Twins organization. He signed as a free agent with the Cardinals in December.

RF Ollie Brown (69)
Purchased from the Angels in March 1974, Brown played in 27 games for Houston that season, hitting .217/.260/.362. Out of 13 major league seasons, his best season was 1970 for the Padres when he hit .292/.331/.489 with 31 doubles, a triple and 23 home runs in 139 games.

Tweet of the Day

Lucas Harrell
Day one. Headed to the field

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday - 2/10

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF/1B/DH Lance Berkman (37)
Berkman, also known as the Big Puma or Fat Elvis, was the Astros first round draft pick in 1997.  In 14 seasons (thus far), he has a .296/.409/.544 batting line with 412 doubles, 29 triples and 360 home runs. Berkman played for Houston from 1999 to 2010, when he was traded to the Yankees for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes.  He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in December of 2010. A 6-time All-Star, Berkman was named the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year. In 2012, Berkman only appeared in 32 games for the Cardinals as injuries derailed his season. In January, he signed as a free agent with the evil empire the Texas Rangers the Dallas Rangers the Arlington Rangers the South Oklahoma Rangers.

RHP Ryan Bowen (45)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1986, Bowen pitched in 25 games (22 starts) for Houston in 1991 and 1992, going 6-11 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.775 WHIP.

SS Eddie Zosky (45)
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round in 1989, Zosky came to Houston via Pittsburgh in August of 2000. Zosky had a total of four at-bats for Houston and went hitless.

Tweet of the Day

Jason Jaramillo
Time to go to work! 
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