Saturday, April 27, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday’s Games

Lansing Lugnuts 0, Quad Cities River Bandits 4
Quad Cities shutout the opposition at home at Modern Woodmen park on Friday. Vincent Velasquez (3-0) and Joe Bircher combined for the shutout win on Friday. Velasquez threw the first five frames for Quad Cities, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out eight during his shift. Joe Bircher picked up his second save while giving up just two hits and K-ing two batters of his own.  Teoscar Hernandez hit two-for-four in the game and scored two runs. Roberto Pena went three-for-three with a walk and scored a run. Terrell Joyce helped put up the last two runs for the River Bandits on Friday when he hit his first homerun of the season, scoring Pena. Joyce finished one-for-four on the day, with those two RBIs and a run scored of his own.

Inland Empire 66ers 2, Lancaster JetHawks 3
Lancaster didn’t get on the board until the seventh inning on Friday, but when they did it was enough to seal the victory. Blair Walters took the start and allowed two runs (1ER) on three hits, walked one and struck out five. Mike Foltynewicz (1-0) earned the win after coming on in the sixth to replace Walters. Folty gave up just a pair of hits and struck out six batters, retiring the last six batters of the game in order. Matt Duffy went just one-for-three at the plate, but his one hit was a bases loaded double, scoring all three baserunners for his 20th RBI of the year and extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Nolan Fontana also had a nice night at the plate, hitting two-for-two with two walks. Telvin Nash hit two-for-four.

Corpus Christi Hooks 4, Frisco RoughRiders 2
Corpus Christi took the lead early on the road Friday and never looked back. Carlos Quevedo (1-1) took the win after pitching the first five shutout innings. Quevedo allowed just two hits and struck out two during his time. Jason Stoffel collected save number five after coming on for and recording the last out of the game. Stoffel did allow a hit first however, scoring an inherited runner that was charged to his predecessor, Alex Sogard (1IP 2H SO). Domingo Santana got Corpus on the board on Friday in the second inning, hitting his third homer of the season, a solo shot. Santana finished at two-for-four with that RBI and that run scored. Erik Castro hit one-for-three on Friday, banging out a two-run homer in the seventh inning to seal the Hooks’ lead.

New Orleans Zephyrs 0, Oklahoma City RedHawks 2 (6)
The rain shortened this home game and it was called after six frames, but the RedHawks already had enough ticks on the scoreboard to take the win. Dallas Keuchel (1-0) was the only pitcher of the game for Oklahoma City and he took the win, giving up just two hits and striking out five batters along the way. Even with three less innings Marc Krauss still managed to hit two-for-three with a double and an RBI, his twentieth of the season. Jonthan Villar and Jimmy Paredes also hit two-for-three, scoring the only runs of the game.

Player of the Day: Erik Castro and Terrell Joyce are taking the honor today because they both hit their first homer of the year on Friday and went on to enjoy a “W” with their teams. Here’s to many happy returns, guys.
Pitcher of the Day: Vincent Velasquez earns the crown for his five frames in the shutout on Friday. Velasquez earned his third win and struck out eight guys on the way to collecting it. That’s impressive.

Baseball and My Father

[REPOSTING from 4/27/12]

I grew to love baseball because of my father. And not just any baseball. Astros baseball. When I was a young girl in northeast Texas, we always listened to the games on the radio on Sunday afternoons after church and a huge dinner. There was often napping involved, and I remember that whole time through a pleasant haze.

We made a couple of pilgrimages to Houston back then to see some baseball, but I'll admit that the Astrodome scoreboard made more of an impression on me than the games did at that particular point in my life.

We kept following the Astros pretty closely even after we moved away from Texas for a few years. When I moved back to Texas as a young woman, it was Houston that I chose to be my new home and I have never looked back.

Any time my parents visited during baseball season, we always caught a game or two in person (and watched the rest on TV), and we built more and more memories over the years.

After my mother died and my father moved back to South Dakota, I called Dad often and we would talk for hours. I always loved to talk to him during the summer because we often ran out of things to say during the winter. But not during baseball season. We never ran out of things to say during baseball season.

In October of 2005, we were in constant contact by phone or email. I printed out three of those emails and I'm so glad I did. After the Astros took a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, there was this one ~
On the night that Pujols "broke" Lidge and forced a game 6, there was this one ~
I get nervous when Opie or the Beaver get in trouble. Can you imagine what those Astros are doing to me?
And finally, on the night that the Astros won the NLCS and we knew we were going to the World Series, there was this one ~
Thank goodness---------I was running low on heart medicine. I'll get refills before Saturday.
My father passed away four years ago today. I still miss him, but I miss him the most during baseball season. He would have approved of my crazy little blogging hobby. He would be reading this site everyday and bragging to anyone who would listen about it and about me.

Baseball isn't about wins or losses or big bloated contracts or new stadium deals or television rights.  Baseball is about family and love and wonderful memories. Baseball is about taking a nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the sound of a baseball game playing in the background. May you always cherish your memories as much as I do mine.

Happy Birthday - 4/27

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Raul Antonio Bare "Tony" Eusebio (46)
Eusebio was signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1985. He played in 598 games for the Astros in 1991 and 1994 through 2001, and was used mostly as a back-up catcher except in 1995 and 1999. And 1995 was his best year at the plate as he hit .299/.354/.410 over 113 games. He hit a home run in the last game played at the Astrodome.

Tony Eusebio - Astros Spring Training 2013

Runelvys Hernandez (35)
Originally signed by the Royals as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1997, Hernandez came to Houston as a free agent in 1998. He only appeared in four games for the Astros that season.

3B Pedro Feliz (38)
Feliz was signed by the Giants as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1994 and came to Houston as a free agent in December of 2009. A .258/.288/.410 career hitter, he only managed to hit .221/.243/.311 in 97 games for Houston before being traded to the Cardinals in August 2010 for RHP David Carpenter.

Tweet of the Day

Just because you get powerade with your meal at McDonalds doesn't make it a healthy meal

Tweets of the Day

Late Thursday/Early Friday somewhere between Lake Elsinore and Lancaster with legendary bus driver Andy at the helm:

Travis Ballew
I feel like everybody I know goes to bed early and I'm always up late

Brady Rodgers

Travis Ballew
oh hey man how's it going

Brady Rodgers
just stuck in some you doing 2 rows up

Travis Ballew
oh ya know just hanging out wondering what's going on and sweating cuz it's hot

Brady Rodgers
yeah my guess is there's a standoff or a trucker had one to many cold ones and ran off the road

Travis Ballew
yea those are def two solid guesses

Zach Johnson
Frightening occurrence

Kenny Long
There is a police roadblock with only one car and us on the road. So we are deciding to reverse a mile back.

Jiovanni Mier

Drew Muren
Andy being ridiculous?

Zach Johnson
going reverse on the highway for about a mile lol

Drew Muren
wow. That's a new one

Friday, April 26, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 10-8 in 15 innings
New Orleans was leading 6-1 going in to the bottom of the ninth inning. The RedHawks came back to tie it up with a big five-run frame and they tied it up again in the 13th, but finally fell short in the 15th. Jarred Cosart got roughed up a little bit in this one, allowing five runs (four earned) in the first inning. He settled in quite nicely after that until he faced a bit more traffic in the fifth inning and one of his runs came across under Kyle Hallock's watch. The bullpen in the form of Hallock, Josh Zeid, Wes Musick and Kevin Chapman then shut the door on New Orleans, but Jose Valdez ended up allowing his first runs of the season and Lance Day was charged with the loss two innings later (and almost five hours after things got started). There were only two extra base hits in this one, doubles from Brett Wallace (2x6 BB R) and Trevor Crowe (1x6 BB R SB). As could be expected in a 15-inning affair, everyone got in the hit column, but the most productive players were Jimmy Paredes (3x6 2BB), Andy Simunic (3x7 2RBI) and Jonathan Villar (2x8 3RBI).

Midland over Corpus Christi 6-0
The pitchers weren't exactly helped out by errors as three of the six Midland runs were unearned in Thursday's game. Starter R.J. Alaniz allowed one unearned run in three and two-thirds and was followed by a scoreless frame from Jorge de Leon. Second half starter Matt Heidenreich did not fare as well as he was charged with five runs (three earned) in his two and a third innings. Andrew Robinson inherited a bases juiced situation to get the final two outs, but not before one of the runs scored. But it really didn't matter at that point because the Hooks offense could never really get any traction in the game as they were limited to seven singles and four walks. Carlos Perez (2x4) and Rene Garcia (2x3 BB) had the only multi-hit games. Jonathan Meyer stole a base and committed two errors in a one-for-four outing.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 9-8
Lancaster trailed 9-4 going into the ninth inning on the road in Lake Elsinore and came close to tying it up with a four-run outburst, but fell just short. Both halves of the tandem gave up big innings, Aaron West with a four-run fourth and Luis Cruz with a five-run seventh. In between, Jonas Dufek and T.J. Geith put up zeroes.  Tommy Shirley came in with bases loaded in the seventh to get the final out of the inning and stayed in to pitch an uneventful eighth. The 'Hawks got on the board in the second with an impressive solo home run from Telvin Nash, his first of the season, but were unable to get anyone else across until RBI doubles from Nolan Fontana (3x4 BB 2RBI R) and Andrew Aplin in the seventh. Matt Duffy and Preston Tucker (2RBI) started the scoring with two outs in the ninth on RBI singles, but despite a gallant attempt at a comeback, Lancaster came out on the losing side. Tyler Heineman was four-for-four with a double and a run scored in his first game since coming off the DL.

Lansing over Quad Cities 6-2
Jordan Jankowski had his best start of the season thus far, allowing one run on a home run in his five innings. Brian Holmes (2IP 3H 3R BB 2SO HR) and Michael Dimock (1IP 2H 2R BB SO) didn't fare quite as well and a 1-1 tie quickly turned into a 6-1 deficit. The Quad Cities crew scored their first run in the fifth due in large part to three wild pitches from Lansing starter Roberto Osuna (he had a total of four wild pitches, but still struck out eight batters), and then scored one more time in the ninth on a Ryan Dineen single. But the bats were mostly quiet as the Bandits collected only five singles and an Austin Elkins double. There were, however, four stolen bases -- from Elkins, Teoscar Hernandez, Dineen and Jordan Scott. Carlos Correa wore a golden sombrero for the evening.

Player of the Day: Tyler Heineman gets the nod for his excellent return from the DL.

Pitcher of the Day: Jordan Jankowski, come on down! Other than the solo homer, he only allowed five scattered singles, walked zero batters, picked off a runner at first and struck out three.

Happy Birthday - 4/26

Happy Birthday to ~

SS/2B Ben Orloff (26)
Drafted by Houston in the ninth round in 2009 out of UC Irvine, the California native split his 2012 season between Lancaster and Corpus Christi and hit a very solid .290/.361/.327. But it is Orloff's defense and leadership on the field that set him apart. In 15 games at Corpus Christi in 2013, he is hitting .293/.380/.317.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Mike Scott (58)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the second round in 1976, Scott came to Houston in a trade for OF/1B Danny Heep in December of 1982. In 263 games pitched for Houston from 1983 to 1991, he was 110-81 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.144 WHIP. But it was the magical 1986 season that made Scott a Houston folk hero as he won the Cy Young Award and went 18-10 with a 2.22 ERA and a 0.923 over 275.1 innings pitched. And there was the little matter of clinching the NL West by pitching a no-hitter.

In the NLCS that season, Scott was 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and a 0.500 WHIP with 19 strikeouts. If the series had gone to seven games, Scott would have been the pitcher. Any Astros fan who was alive at the time (and most Met fans, if they're being honest) know in their hearts that it would have been the Astros facing the Red Sox in the World Series that year if Scott had gotten that opportunity.

Blum played for Houston during two stints, in 2002 and 2003 and again in 2008 to 2010. A seventh round draft pick by the Expos in 1994, he first came to Houston in a trade with the Expos for 3B Chris Truby before being traded away two years later to Tampa Bay for RHP Brandon Backe. The second time around Blum signed as a free agent. In a total of 580 games for Houston, he hit .259/.317/.394. Most Astros fans have a love-hate relationship with Blum. He was a very popular player in Houston, but he also hit a game-deciding home run against the Astros in the World Series in 2005 so there's that. He finished his career playing for the Diamondbacks in 2012 and is currently (allegedly) a television announcer for the Astros, reportedly broadcasting on some network called CSN Houston, but I have no way of independently verifying that since I have DirecTV.

Originally drafted by the Twins in the ninth round in 1981, Lombardozzi played in 23 games for the Astros in 1989 and 1990, hitting .211/.302/.421.

McFadden played in 62 games for Houston over 1968 to 1970, hitting only .215/.275/.240 before being traded to the Cardinals in June 1970.

A tenth round pick by the Expos in 1997, Strickland only pitched for Houston in five games in 2005 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

We never sound as good we think we sound singing a song. Accept it

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Roster Moves

2B Raoul Torrez assigned from Lancaster to Oklahoma City

C Tyler Heineman activated from the DL
RHP Tyson Perez placed on the Temporary Inactive List

DH Chase Davidson assigned from Quad Cities to Extended Spring Training
LHP Colton Cain assigned from Quad Cities to Extended Spring Training
3B Ryan Dineen assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities (just sent to EST 4 days prior)
C Miles Hamblin assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities

Also, Grant Hogue tweeted today that he was moving on. Hogue is a terrific individual that was well loved by teammates and fans alike. I met him on a couple of occasions and could see why. Those who are privileged to have Grant in their midst next will definitely be the richer for it.

Astros Minor League Snapshot - Who's Hot for Lancaster?

A quick look at some of the players with the Lancaster team who are having good stretches ~

Matt Duffy
In Duffy's last 10 games, he is hitting .385/.478/.692 with three doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI.

Preston Tucker
Tucker has hit .333/.391/.571 with a double, three home runs and nine RBI in his last 10.

M.P. Cokinos
Cokinos has a .419/.471/.548 batting line in eight games.

Nolan Fontana
Fontana's BA and SLG over his last 10 games are down from his season average, but his OBP is up to .510. He has 13 walks in that stretch, 21 for the season.

Fontana Season - .348/.500/.565
Fontana Last 10 - .333/.510/.417

Andrew Aplin
Aplin is hitting .295/.373/.545 with four doubles, two triples, a home run and 12 RBI in his last 10 games. He has six walks to five strikeouts in that period.

Telvin Nash
Nash has only played in two games since being activated from the DL, but it is worth noting that he has three walks and only one strikeout thus far.

Brady Rodgers
In Rodgers' last three appearances, he has a 1.92 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP with two walks to 13 strikeouts.

Mike Foltynewicz
In Folty's last three outings, he has a 2.08 ERA and a 1.230 WHIP.

Travis Ballew
In six relief appearances, Ballew has a 1.35 ERA and a 0.900 WHIP. He has walked three batters while striking out 15.

David Rollins had an excellent outing last night. If you could erase his prior appearance, he would have a 0.00 ERA and a 0.647 WHIP.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Oklahoma City - Off Day

Corpus Christi over Midland 6-3
After 20 and a third innings, Asher Wojciechowski proved that he was human after all and gave up his first run of the season on a sac fly. According to the Hooks twitter account, his scoreless streak goes back through his final 13 innings of the 2012 season, giving him 33+ consecutive innings of scoreless pitching. His final line for the night - 5IP 5H 2R 2BB 6SO. Wojo was followed by David Martinez (3.1IP 3H 1R/0ER 2BB 2SO) who was awarded the win as the Hooks scored late. Jason Stoffel got the last two outs and his fourth save of the season.

The Hooks put up a four-spot in the seventh inning which started with a George Springer double and a Carlos Perez walk and was followed by singles from Jonathan Meyer (RBI), Rene Garcia, Jio Mier (two RBI) and a Michael Burgess fielders choice scoring Rene Garcia (3x4 2B R). Carlos Perez added an exclamation point in the eighth, hitting a two-run home run.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 8-4
Starter Tyson Perez got his first W of the season thanks in large part to timely offense. Perez allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over five innings. He was followed by David Rollins who allowed one measly little single in four innings, walking zero and striking out three. The 'Hawks drew first blood with a Matt Duffy (3x5 BB 2R) RBI single in the first, but then started scoring in earnest with a four-run third and a three-run fourth powered in large part by doubles from Telvin Nash (2x3 2BB RBI 2R), Chris Epps (2x5 2-2B 2RBI R) and Preston Tucker (RBI BB R). Nolan Fontana (2x3 3BB R) drove in two with an RBI single. Brandon Meredith was hit by pitches twice and scored once.

Quad Cities - Off Day

Player of the Day: Chris Epps gets the nod for his two RBI doubles.

Pitcher of the Day: After a seriously tough outing his last go around, David Rollins was back on top of his game in a big way.

With that said, I also want to acknowledge Asher Wojciechowski with this ...

slow clap photo: Slow Clap orson_wells_Slow-Clap.gif

Happy Birthday - 4/25

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Carlos Perdomo (23)
Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela by the Phillies prior to the 2008 season, Perdomo signed with Houston as a minor league free agent during the off-season. He spent the last two seasons playing for the Phillies Low A affiliate. Perdomo played in five games with the Quad Cities squad, hitting .294/.429/.294 before being sent to Lancaster where he has appeared in four games thus far.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Chuck Harrison (72)
Harrison was the first major league player to have come out of Texas Tech University. He played for the Astros from 1965 to 1967. Although quite a slugger in the minor leagues where he hit 40 home runs in one season in 1964, he was never able to even come close to that kind of power in the Astrodome. He was traded to Atlanta along with Sonny Jackson in 1967 for Denny Lemaster and Dennis Menke.

RHP Bill Greif (63)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 1968, Greif only pitched in seven games for the Astros in 1971 before being shipped to San Diego as part of a trade for LHP Dave Roberts. His first major league victory came when he went in to pitch in relief in the 20th inning of a 21 inning affair against the Padres.

Tweet of the Day

Jeff Luhnow
Welcome to the Big Leagues, Robbie Grossman... grab a bat, you are hitting first!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Astros Minor League Snapshot - Who's Hot for Corpus Christi?

Let's take a quick look at the Corpus Christi crew and see who's hot.

The pitching for the Hooks has been mostly exceptional thus far, but here are the best of the best.

Jake Buchanan
In five appearances, Buchanan has a 1.57 ERA and a 0.696 WHIP. He has walked only two batters and struck out twelve. Batters are hitting only .175 against him.

David Martinez
Martinez was perfect through five innings in his last start. Through four outings, he has a 1.88 ERA and a 0.698 WHIP and batters are hitting .157 against him.

Asher Wojciechowski
Wojo has not allowed a run, earned or otherwise, in his first four games and has walked four while striking out 19. He is holding hitters to a .157 batting average. His WHIP is 0.667

Alex Sogard
In five relief appearances, Sogard has a 0.00 ERA and a 1.167 WHIP.

And here's a look at how some of the hitters have fared in their last 10 games.

Austin Wates
Surprise, surprise. Austin Wates continues to hit, just like he always has. He is .333/.435/.538 with a double, two triples, a home run and six stolen bases in his last 10.

Carlos Perez
In the last 10 games, Perez has managed a .364/.417/.485 batting line with four doubles. He has a 50% caught stealing rate for the season.

George Springer
Springer is .306/.432/.667 over the last 10 with a double, four home runs, eight RBI and three stolen bases. He has walked seven times while striking out 12 times during that period.

Ben Orloff
Orloff is hitting .333/.371/.367 over his last 10.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 12-2
Jordan Lyles did his best impression of a recent Houston start as he allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk and only lasted one inning. Things didn't go much better for the rest of the pitching crew as C.J. Fick, Eric Berger and Lance Day combined to allow seven runs in the final seven innings. The RedHawks only managed to put up a couple of singletons on the scoreboard, one on a Jimmy Paredes home run. Paredes was two-for-four and scored two runs. Jake Elmore (3x5) and the newly promoted Robbie Grossman (2x5 2B) had good outings as well. Grossman was hitting .324/.452/.353 at the time of his call up.

Corpus Christi over Midland 7-6 in 10 innings
Starter Nick Tropeano dug an early hole for the team allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks in three innings while striking out three. That was followed with two very strong innings from Alex Sogard who has yet to allow a run this season. The Hooks scratched out a tenuous lead for Bobby Doran (2.1IP 3H 1R 2BB 4SO 1HR), but Jason Stoffel (1.1IP 2H 2R/0ER 2SO) couldn't hang on to it and the game went to extras. Pat Urckfitz (0H 0R 1BB 4SO) pitched the final one and a third and was rewarded with the win as Michael Burgess came home on a Ben Orloff sac fly in the 10th to take the lead once and for all. Orloff was one-for-four with two sac fly RBI and Eric Castro went two-for-three as he is starting to heat up at the plate. But it was pretty much the George Springer show as his two dingers of the night drove in three runs. Castro, Springer and Drew Muren each stole a base as well.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 5-4
Brady Rodgers provided solid starting pitching over five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts, and was followed by three innings from Chris Devenski. Devenski allowed two additional runs to come across which cut Lake Elsinore's deficit to one going into the ninth inning. Devenski pitched to one batter in the ninth before giving way to Kenny Long who had just been activated from the DL and promptly recorded his first save of the season. There were no extra base hits in this one, but Nolan Fontana collected three singles, a walk and a stolen base, and M.P. Cokinos had two hits, including a two-RBI single in the second. Telvin Nash was one-for-three with an RBI single and a walk in his first appearance since being activated from the DL.

Wisconsin over Quad Cities 9-1
Mike Hauschild had an excellent outing in his fourth appearance of the season. In five innings, he allowed one unearned run on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. But things quickly started to unravel as Colton Cain and Gera Sanchez combined to allow eight runs on ten hits in the final three frames. The Bandits only mustered five hits with two of those belonging to Chase Davidson, whose solo homer in the sixth made up the entirety of the QC scoring output. Terrell Joyce was one-for-three with a double and stole two bases.

Pitchers of the Day: Relief pitchers are the unsung heroes of tight games, and lefty relievers Alex Sogard, Pat Urckfitz and Kenny Long were pivotal in getting W's for Corpus Christi and Lancaster on Tuesday.

Player of the Day: In the words of Morgan Ensberg, George Springer is a really good player, and his three-for-four, walk, two home runs, three RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base make for a really good night.

Happy Birthday - 4/24

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Javier Lozano (20)
Lozano was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of El Salvador in 2010 and last played for the DSL Astros in 2011.  In five innings pitched over 4 games, he was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.400 WHIP. As far as I know he is still in the Astros system.

OKC Manager Tony DeFrancesco (50)
Drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round in 1984, Tony spent several years in the Boston and Cincinnati minor league systems, but never made it to the bigs. After coaching in the Oakland system for several years, DeFrancesco helmed the Redhawks team for the first time in 2011. After spending the bulk of the 2012 season with OKC, he took over as Manager for the Astros for the final 41 games of the season going 16-25. This season he is once again managing the RedHawks.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Ivan Murrell (died October 8, 2006 at 63)
Signed by the Colt 45's in 1963 out of Panama, Murrell played in 54 games for the 45's and the Astros in 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1968 before being selected by San Diego in the 1968 expansion draft.

RHP Todd Jones (45)
A first round draft pick by Houston in 1989, Jones played for the Astros from 1993 to 1996 before being included in this trade to Detroit (according to Baseball-Reference):
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
He went on to play in 16 seasons for eight different teams. While with Houston, he was 18-12 with 39 saves in 194 games, and had a 3.27 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP. He was the AL saves leader and an All-Star in 2000 for Detroit.

CF Carlos Beltran (36)
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 1995, Beltran came to Houston in this trade:
June 24, 2004: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sent Mark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.
In 90 regular season games for Houston in 2004, he hit .258/.368/.559 with 17 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs and 58 RBI. In post-season play for Houston, he hit .435 in 12 games with eight home runs and 14 RBI.

There are many awards and superlatives associated with Beltran's career, but because of the way he left Houston, one of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking of him is a sign I saw in the stands during the 2005 World Series reading "How's the view from your couch, Beltran?"

Beltran is currently in his second year with St. Louis.

Tweet of the Day

Michael Dimock
must be a jaw dropping movie
Embedded image permalink

Roster Moves

OF Justin Maxwell placed on the 15-day DL
OF Robbie Grossman assigned from Oklahoma City to Houston

LF Telvin Nash activated from the DL
LHP Kenny Long activated from the DL
2B Raoul Torrez placed on the Temporary Inactive List

LHP Joe Bircher assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities (Note: This was effective Sunday and he was just sent down five days prior to that.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Astros Minor League Snapshot - Who's Hot for Oklahoma City?

Let's take a quick look at the Oklahoma City staff to see who's hot.

Jarred Cosart
For the season, Cosart is 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA and a 0.872 WHIP in four appearances. He has walked five while striking out 21.

Jordan Lyles
Throw out Lyles first appearance and he has done quite nicely with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP over his last three outings.

Wes Musick
Similarly, Musick's numbers look a lot better after throwing out his first appearance. Since then, he has a 0.82 ERA and a 0.636 WHIP in his last three.

Jose Valdez
Valdez has been strong since the start. In seven appearances out of the bullpen, he has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.955 WHIP with five saves.

Josh Zeid
Zeid has fared well in his seven appearances as well with a 1.23 ERA and a 1.090 WHIP.

Marc Krauss
In his last 10 games, Krauss has hit .406/.475/.781 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 12(!) RBI.

Jonathan Villar
Villar has a .395/.410/.605 batting line over his last 10 with four doubles, two triples and three stolen bases.

Trevor Crowe
Crowe sports a healthy .351/.429/.432 line with one double, one triple and three stolen bases over the last 10. His 15-game hitting streak came to an end on Monday night.

Che-Hsuan Lin
In his last 10 games, Lin is hitting .323/.447/.355.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 8-1
Starter Rudy Owens (L, 0-3) got touched for five runs in his fourth and final inning of work, three more runs than he'd given up in his previous three outings combined. Kyle Hallock only allowed two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in his three innings -- unfortunately, one of those hits was a two-run home run. Lance Day finished things off by allowing one additional run in his inning. But whether it was eight runs allowed or two runs allowed didn't really matter in this one since OKC was held to five hits and only scored thanks to a Cody Clark home run. Jonathan Villar was two-for-four with a double (and his sixth error of the season) and Che-Hsuan Lin collected two walks to go with his one hit.

Midland over Corpus Christi 2-1
Starter Jake Buchanan pitched another beauty (5IP 2H 0R 1BB 4SO) but was denied the win as Carlos Quevedo allowed one run too many in this pitcher's duel. Corpus was held to seven hits and scored their only run by way of a Rene Garcia single scoring Jonathan Meyer, who went two-for-four in the game. Jio Mier was feeling frisky on the base paths and swiped two bags while George Springer stole one.

Lancaster - Day Off

Quad Cities over Wisconsin 7-2 in 11 innings
This game was knotted from the sixth inning on until Quad Cities broke things open in a big way in the top of the 11th, scoring five runs with two outs in the inning. Quad Cities benefited from four walks, two wild pitches, two singles (including a Jordan Scott RBI single) and a bases-clearing triple from my man Teoscar Hernandez in the frame. Quad Cities had nine hits with Austin Elkins (3-for-6, 2 runs) and Rio Ruiz (2-for-4, RBI single, double and run) accounting for five of them. And the pitching was solid! Daniel Minor got the start and allowed only one hit and one run over five innings and was followed by Lance McCullers who gave up one run on three hits and three walks. McCullers struck out five, including striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras. John Neely got the win in relief.

Player of the Day: Teoscar Hernandez broke the game wide open with his three RBI triple in the 11th. Despite going 3-for-18 in his last four games, he has five RBI during that stretch.

Pitcher of the Day: Jake Buchanan is becoming a regular in receiving Pitcher of the Day honors. After five appearances, he has a 1.57 ERA and a 0.696 WHIP and has only walked two batters in 23 innings.

Happy Birthday - 4/23

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Yonquelys Martinez (20)
The Astros signed Martinez as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. In his second season with the DSL Astros in 2012, he had a 4.43 ERA and a 1.721 WHIP in 18 appearances out of the bullpen.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Tom Dixon (58)
Obtained from the Cardinals, Dixon played in 58 games (24 starts) for Houston from 1977 to 1979. He was 9-14 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.434 WHIP.

CF Luis Durango (27)
Selected off waivers from San Diego, Durango played in 2 games for Houston in August of 2011, getting one hit in seven plate appearances before getting sent back to AAA. He is currently in the White Sox minor league system.

Tweet of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela
I love baseball

Roster Moves

I missed one from Sunday. 3B Ryan Dineen was assigned from Quad Cities back to Extended Spring Training.

Also, as I'm sure you're aware by now, RHP Jose Cisnero was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston and did a terrific job in his major league debut with three and two-thirds scoreless innings. In a corresponding move, LHP Brett Oberholtzer was returned to Oklahoma City after his one major league appearance.

Many on twitter expressed surprise that Oberholtzer was optioned back to Oklahoma City so quickly. It was not a surprising move to me at all. Because of the Astros pitching woes, they needed warm bodies to help out at the major league level and Oberholtzer was the freshest arm in OKC. I don't think the promotion was intended to be more than a stopgap measure at this time and I don't think Keuchel's move back to Oklahoma City was a demotion either. I think we will see both of them back in Houston sooner than later.

The front office is simply re-arranging the deck chairs as Astros pitching has been gouged by a Titanic-sized iceberg and is sinking rapidly. Luhnow rolled the dice on a lot of low risk, high reward types over the winter to shore up the pitching staff until some of the younger players in the system were ready. Right now, it's looking like he crapped out, but the season is still young. If one or two players like Cisnero, Oberholtzer or Keuchel can help patch the hole in the ship while the rest of the team bails water, the good ship Astros should be able to limp along through the season until she can be restored to her former glory.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Former Astros in Independent League Ball

The last couple of days constituted a new experience for me. I had never been to Constellation Field in Sugar Land and I had never been to an Independent League game. Both were good experiences. It's a beautiful ballpark, very accessible, good food, reasonably priced beer (compared to MMP) and easy in and out.

What prompted me to finally go was my realization that Adam Bailey, a recently released Astros farmhand, had hooked on with the Long Island Ducks and the Ducks would be in Sugar Land for a four-game set. I contacted Adam's host family from Corpus and we made plans to catch a couple of games over the weekend and lend Adam a little moral support in this new chapter in his life. We didn't exactly bring Adam luck during the two games, but you could tell that he was happy to see some familiar faces nevertheless. And we were happy to see him.

Following the minor leagues is a funny thing. As a blogger, I have the liberty to become attached to a player from time to time and not really worry about being accused of bias. Of course I'm biased. We all are. We all have players that we root for just a little bit more than others for some intangible, esoteric reason. I have a mental list of "my guys" that keeps growing and growing. They don't get crossed off that list just because they are no longer in the Astros organization. They will still be my guys, in baseball, out of baseball and in whatever they do with life after baseball. I will continue to root for them. There are several names on the following list of former Astros-affiliated players toiling away in Independent Leagues who I will be keeping an eye on and hoping the best for. You may find one or two as well.


[Note: I have probably missed a name here or there, and the rosters are still in flux as the Atlantic League is the only one of these leagues which has already started to play. If you see any that I've missed, let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list.]

Atlantic League
Season underway

1B/DH Daryle Ward (37) - Lancaster Barnstormers
Obtained in a December 1996 trade with Detroit
Played in the Astros system from 1997 to 2002

C Ralph Henriquez (26) - Long Island Ducks
Drafted by Houston in the 2nd round in 2005
Played in the Astros system from 2005 to 2007

OF Adam Bailey (25) - Long Island Ducks
Drafted by Houston in the 23rd round in 2010
Played in the Astros system from 2010 to 2012

1B Ray Navarrete (34) - Long Island Ducks
Played for the Corpus Christi Hooks in 2005

RHP Jeff Fulchino (33) - Bridgeport Bluefish
Came to Houston as a waiver claim from Kansas City
Played in the Astros system from 2009 to 2011

OF Collin DeLome (27) - Bridgeport Bluefish
Drafted by Houston in the 5th round in 2007
Played in the Astros system from 2007 to 2012

RHP Brian Bass (31) - Camden Riversharks
Pitched at AAA Oklahoma City in 2012

C Koby Clemens (26) - Sugar Land Skeeters
Drafted by Houston in the 8th round in 2005
Played in the Astros system from 2005 to 2011

LHP Jason Lane (36) - Sugar Land Skeeters
Drafted by Houston in the 6th round in 1999
Played in the Astros system from 1999-2007 as an outfielder

RHP Gary Majewski (33) - Sugar Land Skeeters
Pitched for Houston in 2010

RHP Scott Elarton (37) - Sugar Land Skeeters
Drafted by Houston in the 1st round in 1994
Played in the Astros system from 1994 to 2001

IF Wladimir Sutil (28) - South Maryland Blue Crabs
Signed by Houston out of Venezuela around 2004
Played in the Astros system from 2004 to 2011

American Association
Exhibition Games start May 5th
Regular Season starts May 16th

OF Mitch Einertson (27) - El Paso Diablos
Drafted by Houston in the 5th round in 2004
Played in the Astros system from 2004 to 2009

RHP Jason Hirsh (31) - Amarillo Sox
Drafted by Houston in the 2nd round in 2003
Played in the Astros system from 2003 through 2006

RHP Ryan Mitchell (25) - Amarillo Sox
Drafted by Houston in the 20th round in 2005
Played in the Astros system from 2005 to 2006

OF Yordany Ramirez (28) - Laredo Lemurs
Signed by the Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2002
Played in the Astros organization from 2008-2011
After being converted to a pitcher for several years, he is listed on the roster as an outfielder again.

RHP Robbie Donovan (24) - Sioux City Explorers
Drafted by Houston in the 23rd round in 2009
Played in the Astros system 2009-2011

LHP Adam Champion (25) - Sioux Falls Canaries
Drafted by Houston in the 24th round in 2010
Played in the Astros system 2010-2011

RHP Kirk Clark (24) - Sioux Falls Canaries
A non-drafted free agent signed by Houston in 2009
Played in the Astros system from 2009 until 2012

RHP Mark Hamburger (26) - St. Paul Saints
Pitched in 17 games for AAA Oklahoma City in 2012

Can-Am League
Season starts May 16th

RHP Kyle Greenwalt (24) - New Jersey Jackals
Drafted by Houston in the 20th round in 2007
Played in the Astros system from 2007 to 2011

OF Jon Gaston (26) - Rockland Boulders
Drafted by Houston in the 7th round in 2008
Played in the Astros system from 2008 to 2011

C Emerson Frostad (30) - Trois-Rivieres Aigles
Played in Houston system in 2011

Frontier League
Season starts May 16th

LHP Garrett Bullock (26) - Evansville Otters
Signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent in 2009
Played in the Astros system from 2009 to 2011

C Marcus Nidiffer (26) - Traverse City Beach Bums
Signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent in 2010
Played in the Astros system in 2010

RHP Jimmy Howick (22) - Gateway Grizzlies
Drafted by Houston in the 21st round in 2011
Missed the 2011 season due to injury
Played in the Astros system in 2012 as an infielder

OF Neiko Johnson (25) - Gateway Grizzlies
Signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent in 2011
Played in the Astros system from 2011 to 2012

C Bubby Williams (24) - Normal Cornbelters
Drafted by Houston in the 11th round in 2009
Played in the Astros system from 2009 to 2011

RHP Brad Propst (24) - River City Rascals
Drafted by Houston in the 38th round in 2011
Played in the Astros system from 2011 to 2012

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Oklahoma City over Albuquerque 10-7
Apparently Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Villar and Eric Berger don't like Ross Seaton very much -- two errors from Paredes and one from Villar in the field behind Seaton, while Berger came in and allowed two of Seaton's three runners to score. That left Seaton with a messy line that made his outing look worse than it really was - 4.1IP 7H 6R/3ER 1BB 1SO. Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman and Jose Valdez combined to allow one hit and two walks over the final three. Valdez already has his fifth save of the season and an unused, shiny, new, still-in-the-box ERA of 0.00.  The RedHawks' bats were in good working order as they took the lead in the second and never gave it back. Jason Jaramillo is the only RedHawk who didn't get at least one hit, and several had multi-hit games. Robbie Grossman had two RBI singles and a double; Jonathan Villar had an RBI single, a double and a walk; Marc Krauss had a solo home run, a double and a walk; Jimmy Paredes was three-for-five with a two-run home run; and Che-Hsuan Lin had an RBI single, a double and a walk. Brett Wallace was one-for-four with a solo home run.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 7-1
Neither end of the tandem had a particularly good outing as Matt Heidenreich gave up four runs on eight hits while striking out five in his five innings, and R.J. Alaniz allowed three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in the final four frames. And the offense never really got much going either. Carlos Perez singled and then went first-to-third on a Rene Garcia single, setting up the lone Hooks run which scored on a Kiké Hernandez GIDP in the second. George Springer had the only extra base hit, a double, and Jonathan Meyer had the only multi-hit game with two singles. Austin Wates stole his ninth base of the season and Drew Muren was credited with an outfield assist.

Lancaster over Bakersfield 6-5
Starter Mike Foltynewicz allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out three in his four innings and was followed by a scoreless frame from Jonas Dufek. Blair Walters (3IP 3H 2BB 4SO), the second half of the tandem, was touched for a three-run home run that put Bakersfield up 5-4 in the seventh. Travis Ballew came in for the top of the ninth in what was then a 5-5 tie and extended his consecutive strikeouts to 12 before loading the bases on a walk, single and hit batter. He then proceeded to strike out the final batter to preserve the tie. Andrew Aplin (2x5 2B 3RBI SB) was the hero in the bottom of the frame with a walk-off RBI double. Delino DeShields was two-for-five with a double and scored two runs. Chris Epps was two-for-four with a two-run home run.

Quad Cities over Wisconsin 12-5
Starter Joe Bircher allowed back-to-back home runs in the first as he was touched for five runs on seven hits and a walk over four innings before giving way to a perfect frame from Michael Dimock. Vincent Velasquez then took his turn in a very impressive four-inning outing in which he allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five. Quad Cities scored early and padded their lead with a three-run fifth and a three-run eighth. Several Bandits had good days at the plate, including Austin Elkins (RBI double, two walks, two runs, stolen base); Jesse Wierzbicki (two-for-three, two-run home run, two walks, two runs); Rio Ruiz (two-RBI double, two walks); and Jordan Scott (two-for-three, two RBI, walk, run). But Carlos Correa was the standout, hitting a solo shot in the first and and a two-run bomb in the eighth. He was three-for-four with a walk and scored four times.

Player of the Day: Carlos Correa was hitless in his three previous games before breaking through in a big way on Sunday. With a h/t to Appy Astros, here is Correa's second home run of the game.

Pitcher of the Day: Vincent Velasquez is showing precisely why he was a second round draft pick back in 2010. In four appearances, he is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.611 WHIP.

Happy Birthday - 4/22

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Eric Berger (27)
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the eighth round in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, Berger came to the Houston system just last week in a trade with the Tribe for C Chris Wallace. In 135 appearances (78 starts) in six seasons prior to coming to the Astros, he had a 3.91 ERA and a 1.399 WHIP. He is currently playing for the Oklahoma City RedHawks.

SS/2B Joe Sclafani (23)
Drafted by Houston out of Dartmouth in the 14th round in 2012, Sclafani played his first professional season with Tri-City, hitting .271/.355/.338 with 16 stolen bases in 70 games, playing all games at short. So far this season with Quad Cities, he has played primarily second base and, although his batting average has yet to heat up, he has managed to put up a .350 OBP in his first 10 games.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

LHP Carlos Hernandez (33)
The Venezuelan lefty was signed by the Astros in 1997 and pitched in 35 games for Houston in 2001, 2002 and 2004. In his first three starts in the major leagues, he was 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP and was considered one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Then a jammed pitching shoulder diving back in to second base derailed his budding career. Though he continued to pitch after that injury for both the Houston and Tampa Bay organizations, he continued to suffer injuries that kept him from ever making a real comeback. Since sitting out all of 2011, he has pitched for Mexico City in the Mexican League where he is in his second season.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Brian Holmes' mom posted this picture showing why it was probably a good thing that the River Bandits were on a road trip Sunday.

Sherry Jennings

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Tweet of the Day

Morgan Ensberg
Congrats to game winning hitter guy Andrew Aplin. He's a "Really Good Player".
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday’s Games

Quad Cities River Bandits 3, Kane County Cougars 7 (7)
The River Bandits fell behind early in this one and never got the offense to catch up. Brian Holmes (1-1) took the loss after starting on the rubber and pitching for two and a third, giving up five runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out a pair. Ariel Ovando went two-for-two at the plate with a run scored, RBI and a walk. Teoscar Hernandez collected a couple ribbies, batting one-for-four with a double-his seventh of the season.

Quad Cities River Bandits 3, Kane County Cougars 4 (7)
This was the second game of the day for Quad Cities, a make up of the postponed game from Friday. Jordan Jankowski started this one on the mound and threw for 3 frames, allowing two runs on four hits and walking a trio. Mitchell Lambson (0-1), who came on for the next two and two thirds, took the loss after giving up two runs of his own on four hits, walking a pair and striking out four batters. Jesse Wierzbicki was the hot bat in this one, going two-for-three with a pair of RBIs. Teoscar Hernandez hit one-for-four with a triple and scored a run in the fourth.

Bakersfield Blaze 4, Lancaster JetHawks 11
The JetHawks got ahead on Saturday night at The Hangar and never looked back. Luis Cruz (1-0) collected the “W” after pitching the first five frames and giving up just a single hit, walking one and K-ing five. Aaron West earned his first hold after taking the mound for the next three innings, giving up four runs (1ER) on four hits and striking out four. At the plate it was all about Delino DeShields. DeShields finished the game batting three-for-three with three runs scored, two RBIs, two triples and a walk. Preston Tucker was equally hot, hitting three-for-four with a run scored, two RBI and solo homer in the sixth frame-his fifth of the season. MP Cokinos hit two-for-four with a double and scored 3 runs Friday.

Frisco RoughRiders 0, Corpus Christi Hooks 1
Saturday saw dominant pitching all around for the Hooks at home in a shutout at Whataburger Field. David Martinez started the game and threw a perfect first five frames, striking out three batters. Tandem partner, Asher Wojciechowski, replaced Martinez in the sixth and went on to strike out five more batters, giving up just two hits. Wojciechowski earned his second win of the season, improving his record to 2-0. At the plate it was relatively quiet for the Hooks, who tallied four hits all night. George Springer came through with a big one out, solo-homer in the seventh to give Corpus Christi the lead. That was Springer’s fourth dinger of the season.

Albuquerque Isotopes 1, Oklahoma City RedHawks 3
The RedHawks won this one on the road at Isotopes Park with help from commanding pitching from all three pitchers on Saturday. Jarred Cosart (2-0) started the game and took the win after going five innings on the mound. Cosart allowed one run on five hits and struck out six batters, including the last three he faced. Wes Musick (H,2) came on for the next three frames and allowed just a hit in his shift, walking one and striking out three. Jose Valdez came out in the ninth for Oklahoma City and sent the batters down in order, striking out the last two and earning his fourth save of year. Mark Krauss hit his first triple of the year, scoring Trevor Crowe. Krauss finished one-for-four with a run scored and that RBI. Robbie Grossman hit two-for-three with a walk and Jonathan Villar also had multiple hits, going two-for-four on Saturday.

Player of the Day: It’s got to be Mr. Baseball, Delino DeShields. If anyone ever goes three-for-three with TWO triples and two RBIs and doesn’t get a nod, let me know-I’ll handle it. Great game, Delino.

Pitcher of the Day: David Martinez takes the whole cake today for his perfecto five innings on Saturday at Whataburger Field. The tandem dictated that he exit after five, but man, did he pitch those five in style.