Saturday, March 2, 2013

World Baseball Classic Update

Astros farmhand Murilo Gouvea pitched three innings for Brazil in today's 5-3 loss to Japan. He allowed one run in his first inning of work on a walk, single and sac fly, but faced the minimum number of batters in his next two innings of work. His final line was 1H 1R/ER 2BB 1SO.

UPDATED TO ADD: I totally forgot about the Astros OF Che-Hsuan Lin participating in the WBC for the Chinese Taipei team. Chinese Taipei prevailed over the Australian team 4-1 last night with Lin going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Spring Training Update

After a solo home run from Thursday's hero 3B Brandon Laird brought the Astros to only one run down in the bottom of the ninth, C Rene Garcia singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Delino DeShields who took advantage of Cardinal mistakes to score the tying run. The offense for the Astros kept clicking along with a two-run home run from LF Chris Carter and a solo shot from CF Brandon Barnes to go with doubles from 3B Brett Wallace, SS Tyler Greene and Laird. PH-DH Jason Jaramillo and Garcia were both 2-for-3 in the game and George Springer had his first stolen base of the spring. Jose Veras, Josh Zeid, Rhiner Cruz and Josh Fields each contributed an inning of scoreless relief.

Spring Training Record: 4-2-2

Spring Training Game 8 Results: Astros 8, Cardinals 8
Game 8 Minor League Standouts: C Rene Garcia went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a key single in the ninth.

Spring Training Game 9:
Braves at Astros at 12:05 CST (Radio only)

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7
Spring Training Game 3 Results: Cardinals 10, Astros 2
Spring Training Game 4 Results: Rays 7, Astros (SS) 2 in six innings
Spring Training Game 5 Results: Astros (SS) 9, Detroit 4
Spring Training Game 6 Results: Astros 10, Blue Jays 1
Spring Training Game 7 Results: Astros 7, Yankees 6

Happy Birthday - 3/2

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP David Stefan "Bud" Norris (28)
A sixth round pick by the Astros in 2006, Norris was 7-13 in 29 starts in 2012 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP. My birthday wish for Bud is that he transfers his Cardinal-whipping abilities to the Angels in the new season.

SS Ryan Dineen (22)
Drafted in the 25th round in 2012 out of Eastern Illinois University, Dineen played his first professional season with the Tri-City team. In 66 games, he hit .217/.314/.287.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
About to head to bed early tomorrow morning ill be on my way to Florida to start another season of baseball. I have the best job ever!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Training Update

Thursday's game was looking a little rough with the Yankees parlaying a Ross Seaton throwing error into a big inning in the top of the sixth. But the Astros came back with a vengeance in the bottom of the frame with a little help from ineffective Yankee's pitching and a lot of help from Brandon Laird who provided an exclamation point on a six-run inning in the form of a grand slam. Rick Ankiel hit his first dinger of the spring while Brandon Barnes and Jake Goebbert doubled and Jose Martinez tripled in the game.

Spring Training Record: 4-2-1

Spring Training Game 7 Results: Astros 7, Yankees 6
Game 7 Minor League Standouts: 2B Jose Martinez went 2-for-2 with a triple, run scored and a stolen base.

Spring Training Game 8:
Cardinals at Astros at 12:05 CST
This will be the second televised game of the season. If you're one of the lucky 40-percenters, tune on in to CSN.

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7
Spring Training Game 3 Results: Cardinals 10, Astros 2
Spring Training Game 4 Results: Rays 7, Astros (SS) 2 in six innings
Spring Training Game 5 Results: Astros (SS) 9, Detroit 4
Spring Training Game 6 Results: Astros 10, Blue Jays 1

Happy Birthday - 3/1

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Hector Roa (18)
Roa spent his first professional season with the DSL Astros in 2012. In 33 games, he hit .221/.258/.369 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs. Roa was born and raised in the U.S., but according to this post, he moved to the Dominican Republic to train prior to his signing last summer.

Tweet of the Day

Brady Rodgers
Headin to the movies...not much else to do 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Average Astros Fan

Dear Average Astros Fan ~

I'm not really sure how to break this to you, so I'll just say it. I'm just not that into you. You're all about bringing your kids to the games and trying not to break your budget so you buy cheap tickets and bring in your own food and you just don't spend nearly enough. And I can't count on you for anything. This occasional ticket buying thing is just not cutting it. Surely you can scrape together enough to buy season tickets for the whole family. Just cut down on things like food and rent ... I'm sure you can find the cash.

But if you insist on buying tickets just every now and then, one game at a time, I'm afraid I'm going to have to establish some new rules for our relationship. Sure, you can bring in your own food if you insist, but I'm going to have to double the ticket prices for opening day and if you can't afford that, well then I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles now, isn't it? You should have thought about that before you paid that doctor's bill. So you've been to opening day every year for the last 30 years. So what? You can always watch the game on ESPN. Of course, it will be the last one you'll see since you insist on having that crappy Dish thing. Because if you think we're going to cut a CSN Houston deal just to make the fans happy, you may want to lay off the 'shrooms because that ain't happening.

Yeah, so the Astros lost way over 100 games each of the last two years. So what? You get to come to a beautiful park and look at the lovely scenery.

You can sample the cuisine, like the fairly priced (really!) nachos that bear no resemblance to anything found in a Mexican restaurant (or in nature for that matter), but I have it on good authority that heavily processed foods are fantastic for you. You can watch the fireworks on Friday nights that are in NO WAY BLOCKED by the aforesaid lovely scenery (don't believe what anyone tells you). And your kids are going to love the train. There. Right there! Behind the lovely freaking scenery!!! What are you, blind? You just don't appreciate any of the nice things I do for you!

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. So you came to 15 games last year and spent the least possible money. We just can't have that. So, any game that you are even possibly interested in coming to? You're going to have to pay. Angels? Extra. Tigers? Extra. Weekend Rangers games? Puhleeze. Did I just fall off the turnip truck? My good friends from Dallas are going to come in and spend a lot more money than you (and they appreciate over-processed foods way more than you do). Red Sox? Extra (plus we're bringing back Pam Gardner for the series to make the Red Sox fans feel right at home). Yankees? Are you kidding me? It's going to be nothing but Yankee fans anyway. You don't really want be there. So, you've been to every closing day for the last 30 years ... It's the freaking Yankees. Of course we're charging more. Jeez, what's with this needy sense of entitlement?

I will, however, be happy to get you non-dynamic priced tickets to select games. I believe that there is a Wednesday game in May against the Royals and a Wednesday day game in September against the Twins that are what we call "right-priced" just for you. Your kids will be in school? Seriously, is there anything that you don't whine and complain about? Just take them out of school for the day. It's the Twins. We may be in a race for worst record in the majors about then. That is history in the making, people!

I'm sorry that I'm being forced to do this, but it's for your own good. If you'd just pony up enough cash to buy season tickets, I'd treat you soooo special. I promise you, baby. And if you really wanted to make me happy, you'd give me enough so that I could put your name right there, right on the lovely scenery with my other special friends.

What? You're not interested in spending extra money to see a team projected to lose over 100 games yet again play in the American League? What about me? What about my needs? You and your stinking family. Let them eat nachos!

Yours truly,

Spring Training Update

On Wednesday, the Astros loudly announced that they welcome American League competition with a total smackdown of the Blue Jays. Yeah, yeah, it's only Spring Training, but it was a sweet win nonetheless. Offensively, it was a good day for Carlos Corporan (2-2B, RBI, R), J.D. Martinez (2x3, 2B, RBI), Matt Dominguez (2x2, 2B, RBI, 2R), Fernando Martinez (1x3, 2B, 2R, 2RBI) and some lad by the name of George Springer (more on him below). Wesley Wright was the only one of seven pitchers to allow more than one hit in his outing and the only one of the seven to have an ERA north of 0.00 right now.

Spring Training Record: 3-2-1

Spring Training Game 6 Results: Astros 10, Blue Jays 1
Game 6 Minor League Standouts: George Springer got his first start of Spring Training and responded with a two home run, five RBI game. According to a tweet from GM Jeff Luhnow, the second home run hit the scoreboard. It's still early, but if he keeps this up, he will be starting the season at AAA instead of AA. Jarred Cosart pitched two innings and allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout and is trying to make a case for breaking into the Astros starting rotation sooner rather than later. Jose Cisnero and Chia-Jen Lo also had good outings.

Spring Training Game 7:
Yankees (SS) at Astros at 12:05 CST
If you're one of the lucky ones to get CSN Houston, you can see Alan Ashby's TV debut as he comes home to where he belongs. The game will re-air on the MLB Network at 1:00 a.m. CST Friday. Set your DVR's.

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7
Spring Training Game 3 Results: Cardinals 10, Astros 2
Spring Training Game 4 Results: Rays 7, Astros (SS) 2 in six innings
Spring Training Game 5 Results: Astros (SS) 9, Detroit 4

Happy Birthday - 2/28

Happy Birthday to ~

C Luis Alvarez (23)
A NDFA from Venezuela, Alvarez first played in the VSL in 2007. Alvarez split the 2012 season between Lexington and Greeneville, hitting a combined .271/.338/.500 in 23 games with a 50% caught stealing rate. In the Liga Paralela (the Venezuelan minor leagues) this winter, he batted a robust .340/.398/.474 in 28 games. He went on to be a rock star in the playoffs leading his team to the Liga Paralela crown as he went 6-for-7 with two home runs and five RBI.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Ricky Stone (38)
Originally drafted in the fourth round by the Dodgers in 1994, Stone came to Houston as a free agent in November 2000. In 165 appearances for Houston from 2001 to 2004, he was 10-8 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.401 WHIP over 187 innings. Stone was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008 and his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011.  This follow-up from December 30, 2011 found them both to be cancer free. I haven't seen a follow-up since the December 2011 article.

Tweet of the Day

Adrian Houser
My buddy Will just stopped by to tell me bye before I left for ST. I almost started to cry. I'm going to miss him!
Embedded image permalink

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Catching up with Astros OF Adam Bailey

It's been a while since I first interviewed Astros OF Adam Bailey. As a matter of fact, it's been almost a year. But that doesn't mean I haven't been keeping my eye out for him. I wrote this post after watching him play in Corpus last June. Bailey's 2012 season was a bit more up and down than his excellent 2011 season, but he definitely held his own. He was scheduled to DH for the Hooks in the Texas League playoffs when a rather inconvenient bout of appendicitis landed him in the hospital.

Adam Bailey - Corpus Christi June 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I caught up with Adam via email to see how he spent his off-season and what his goals for Spring Training are. This is was he had to say.

"Well I spent my off-season lifting, following the program the Astros gave me ... sometimes haha. I found a nice place in Kansas to hit and throw. I do enjoy the off-season because I get to spend time with Mariah, my girlfriend, and my pets but I do begin to miss the guys and the competing in all aspects of the game. My goals for spring training are usually always the same but this year will be a little different. I am known for having a below average spring training according to me. I am going to prove to myself that I belong in the starting lineup for a team. I am going to try to roll with the punches, try and not get so frustrated when I fail, and above all else I am going to have fun."

Sounds like a plan Adam. Good luck in the coming season!

Spring Training Update

Tuesday consisted of two split squad games. The first was called after six innings due to rain, but not before Jordan Lyles got roughed up to the tune of six runs in two innings. The second game went just a tad bit better  with the offense showing some serious power. Robbie Grossman doubled; Rick Ankiel and Trevor Crowe had triples; and Jason Castro and Brett Wallace both homered in the win.

Spring Training Record: 2-2-1

Spring Training Game 4 Results: Rays 7, Astros (SS) 2 in six innings
Game 4 Minor League Standout: None.

Spring Training Game 5 Results: Astros (SS) 9, Detroit 4
Game 5 Minor League Standout: Robbie Grossman continues to impress with a double and two RBI in this game; he's hitting a brisk .571 so far this spring. LHP Kevin Chapman provided a perfect inning of relief.

Spring Training Game 6:
Astros at Blue Jays at 12:05 CST

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7
Spring Training Game 3 Results: Cardinals 10, Astros 2

Happy Birthday - 2/27

1B Connor MacDonald (17)
Signed in 2012 out of Queensland, MacDonald was the first Australian prospect signed by the Astros in over twenty years. He will embark on his professional career once he has finished high school.

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

OF Carl Warwick (76)
Obtained in a trade with the Cardinals for LHP Bobby Shantz, Warwick appeared in 280 games for the Colt .45's in 1962 and 1963 with a batting line of .257/.315/.373. He was traded to the Cardinals in February of 1964 for 1B/OF Jim Beauchamp and RHP Chuck Taylor and was used as a pinch hitter in that year's World Series, going 3 for 4 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored as the Cardinals beat the Yankees 4-3 to win the series.

Tweet of the Day

Brett Phillips
My best skill would have to consist of hitting every red light on a crowded road    


Sounds like somebody must be driving on 192 in Kissimmee!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More on the July 2012 Astros/Blue Jays Trade

Yesterday I posted a piece showing the net gains for the two teams in the July 2012 Astros/Blue Jays trade. Today, I continue my look at the trade with a little input from Jonathan Mayo of The second piece is posted at The Futurists blog if you are so inclined as to mosey on over there for a peek.

Spring Training Update

Monday's game wasn't very pretty for most of the pitching staff with the exception of C.J. (can I please keep calling him Chuckie) Fick who pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one single and no walks. Marwin Gonzalez had a nice 2-for-3 game with a double. Jake Elmore, Rick Ankiel and Nate Freiman also doubled.

Spring Training Record: 1-1-1

Spring Training Game 3 Results: Cardinals 10, Astros 2
Game 2 Minor League Standout: No real standouts, but CF George Springer and PH-DH Chris Wallace were responsible for the only Astros runs via a groundout RBI and a bases loaded hit by pitch, respectively.

Spring Training Games 4 & 5:
Tigers at Astros (SS) at 12:05 CST
Astros (SS) at Rays at 12:05 CST

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7

Happy Birthday - 2/26

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Steve Hertz (68)
Signed by the Colt .45's as a free agent in 1964, Hertz appeared in five games (four at-bats) for Houston that season, and those five games constituted his entire major league career. He was unable to get that elusive hit in the majors. However, he went on to have a very successful career coaching for Miami Dade College. As an interesting side note, in 2007 he managed the Tel Aviv Lightning in the Israel Baseball League.

RHP Don Lee (79)
Acquired in a trade with the Angels for OF Al Spangler in June 1965, Lee pitched for the Astros in 1965 and 1966. In 16 games, he was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP. Lee played in nine major league seasons for five teams.

RHP Gary Majewski (33)
A Houston native, Majewski signed with Houston as a free agent in December 2009 and only appeared in two games for Houston in the 2010 season. Since it's his birthday, I will be charitable and not post the results of those two appearances. Majewski had his most effective season in 2005 for the Nationals, going 4-4 in 79 appearances with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.360 WHIP. In 2012, Majewski came out of retirement and pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.305 WHIP in 56 appearances.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
I've decided when I become a Dad I'm going to be that guy who wears Jorts and high white sox

Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking at the Astros/Blue Jays July 2012 Trade

Going into July 20, 2012, the Toronto Blue Jays were 45-47. They were in 5th place in their division, 12 and a half games out. And then Astros GM Jeff Luhnow came in and robbed them blind. That day a 10-player trade went through sending RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP David Carpenter and LHP J.A. Happ to the Blue Jays in exchange for MLB OF Ben Francisco and RHP Francisco Cordero, and minor-leaguers RHP Asher Wojciechowski, C Carlos Perez, LHP David Rollins, RHP Joe Musgrove and RHP Kevin Comer as the player to be named later.

Toronto went 28-42 the rest of the season and ended in 4th place, 22 games behind in their division. Here's what they got:

Brandon Lyon (currently 33)
Lyon pitched 25 innings in 30 appearances for Toronto. He was 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.120 WHIP. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Mets on February 8th.

David Carpenter (currently 27)
Carpenter only pitched in three games at the MLB level for Toronto. In two and two-thirds innings, he had a 30.38 ERA and a 3.750 WHIP. In 16 minor-league appearances, he was 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.245 WHIP. He was part of an October trade that brought 31-year old infielder Mike Aviles to Toronto from Boston. A month later, Carpenter was selected off waivers by Atlanta.

J.A. Happ (currently 30)
In ten starts for Toronto, Happ was 3-2 with a 4.69 ERA and a 1.289 WHIP. For his MLB career, he is now 35-35 with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.388 WHIP. He is still with the Blue Jays.

Net for the Blue Jays: A 30-year old LHP (Happ) and a 31-year old infielder (Aviles)

Here is what the Astros got in the trade:

Francisco Cordero (currently 37)
Cordero was released by the Astros on September 10th after going 0-3 with a 19.80 ERA and a 3.400 WHIP in six games (five innings).

Ben Francisco (currently 31)
Francisco played in 31 games for the Astros, hitting .247/.289/.365 before being traded to Tampa Bay on August 31st for a player to be named later. The player turned out to be Theron Geith, a 23-year old lefty relief pitcher who had a 2.98 ERA and a 1.086 WHIP in 31 appearances in High A.

Asher Wojciechowski (currently 24)
A first round draft pick in 2010, Wojciechowski was ranked #14 in the organization in the recent Baseball America Prospect Handbook and #15 by Jonathan Mayo of In eight starts for AA Corpus Christi after the trade, he was 2-2 with a 2.06 ERA and a 1.008 WHIP.

Carlos Perez (currently 22)
Perez's rankings are a mixed bag. Baseball America has him at #27, Mayo at #20, but Fan Graphs liked him enough to rank him #9. In 26 games after the trade, Perez hit .318/.368/.409 at High A Lancaster and boasted a 47% caught stealing percentage.

David Rollins (currently 23)
Rollins was 1-3 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.161 WHIP in six starts at Low A Lexington after the trade. For the season, he was 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP in 24 starts.

Joe Musgrove (currently 20)
A 2011 first round pick, Musgrove is currently ranked by Jonathan Mayo at #19 in the Astros system. Musgrove was coming off an arm injury in 2012 and only pitched 17 innings with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.353 WHIP for the season in the Rookie Appalachian League.

Kevin Comer (currently 20)
Comer was also a first round pick by the Blue Jays in 2011, but signed late and did not play until 2012. Comer was 3-4 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.277 WHIP in 12 appearances (eight starts) for the season, playing in the Rookie Appalachian League. He is currently ranked by Jonathan Mayo at #17 in the Astros system.

Net for the Astros: A 24-year old AA RHP (Wojciechowski), a 23-year old High A lefty reliever (Geith), a 23-year old Low A lefty starter (Rollins), a 22-year old High A catcher (Perez), and two 20-year old rookie league first round RHP's (Musgrove and Comer). Four of the six are ranked in the Astros top 20 by Jonathan Mayo. In Luhnow we trust.

Tomorrow I'll be posting more on this topic over at The Futurists blog, including thoughts from Jonathan Mayo. [UPDATED with the link to the second post.]

Spring Training Update

'Stros Tie! 'Stros Tie! 'Stros Tie! It may not be glamorous, but it beats losing. It was a nice combination of speed plus power. Delino DeShields came in to pinch run for Brett Wallace, promptly stole second base, took third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch. That is how to manufacture runs. Add in a little home run power from Fernando Martinez, with a solo shot in the second, and Jason Castro with a two-run dinger in the fourth and the offense is looking good early.

Spring Training Record: 1-0-1

Spring Training Game 2 Results: Astros 7, Mets 7
Game 2 Minor League Standout: George Springer came in to pinch run for Rick Ankiel and scored on the Jason Castro homer. He stayed in to play centerfield and drew two walks before hitting an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game.

Spring Training Game 3: Astros at Cardinals at 12:05 CST

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3

Happy Birthday - 2/25

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

CF Cesar Cedeno (62)
Cedeno signed with Houston as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 1967 and played in 1512 games for the Astros from 1970 to 1981 with a batting line of .289/.351/.454. Cedeno won five Gold Gloves and earned four All-Star nods during his tenure with Houston. He also led the National League in doubles in 1971 and 1972, outfield put-outs in 1974 and fielding percentage in 1971 and 1977. He was traded to the Reds in December of 1981 for Ray Knight. In 2012, he served as hitting coach for the Greeneville Astros in the Appy League, a position that he will be repeating in 2013.

LHP Denny Lemaster (74)
Lemaster pitched for Houston from 1968 to 1971 after being acquired in a trade with the Braves along with IF Dennis Menke.  An All-Star for Atlanta in 1967, Lemaster had a 3.40 ERA and a 1.335 WHIP in 152 games (90 starts) for the Astros.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
If 34 degrees feels warm to me right now I can't wait to feel what Florida feels like 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Training Update

'Stros Win! 'Stros Win! 'Stros Win! It was nice to get that first win under the new Bo Porter regime under the belt. Jeff Luhnow tweeted that the running game will be a big part of "Bo Ball," and I for one like it.

Spring Training Record: 1-0

Spring Training Game 1 Results: Astros 8, Phillies 3
Minor League Standouts: LF Robbie Grossman went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Jarred Cosart pitched two innings in relief and allowed no hits, no runs and no walks while striking out one.

Spring Training Game 2: Mets (split squad) at Astros at 12:05 CST

Happy Birthday - 2/24

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

A first round pick by the Giants in 1971, Riccelli came to Houston in a June 1978 trade with the Cardinals and pitched in 13 games for the Astros in 1978 and 1979 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.640 WHIP.

A fifth round pick by the Red Sox in 2000, Esposito came to Houston as a free agent in November 2008. He played in three games in the major leagues (two for Houston in 2010) with three plate appearances and he is still looking for that elusive first major league hit. He played most recently in the Cubs organization.

Tweet of the Day

Jarred Cosart
The boys came to play today! Total team effort by the  and everyone has each others back.