Saturday, June 15, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday’s Games

DSL Astros 6, DSL Indians 4 (10)
The DSL Astros won this one after a coming from behind to tie the game in the eighth inning. They were the first on the board, scoring in the fifth inning but fell behind 4-2 after giving up four runs in the seventh frame. Juan Hernandez was the starting pitcher for the DSL Astros and he gave up a pair of hits and a walk through his five innings of work as he struck out six. Junior Garcia followed Hernandez for five outs and picked up his first blown save, as four runs (0ER) scored on three hits and a walk during his time on the mound. Angel Heredia (2-1) entered to pitch in the ninth and finished the game, picking up the win. Heredia gave up one hit and struck out one in each of his two frames. The bats were hot yesterday for the DSL Astros. Brian Pena (.429 in 21 AB) went three-for-five at the plate while Jesus Bermejo (R BB SO) and Jean Estrella (R 2B BB) both had two-for-four outings. Kristian Trompiz went one-for-two with a huge RBI triple to start the comeback in the tenth and scored a run. Trompiz also drew three walks and stole his first base of the season.

Burlington Bees 3, Quad Cities River Bandits 1
The River Bandits couldn't get the offense started at home Friday, scoring one run in the seventh frame, despite the fact they out-hit their opponents. Vincent Velasquez (4-3) took the mound first and threw for the first five innings, recording 1-2-3 innings in the second, third and fifth with three Ks. In the first and fourth he allowed three runs (2ER) on three hits, walked two and struck out another three, tallying his third loss. Jamaine Cotton came as the second half of the tandem in the sixth and went to work, retiring the first six batters he faced in order. Cotton finished the game and kept his frames scoreless, allowing two hits while striking out six of his own. Two River Bandits had multi-hit games, Jesse Wierzbicki (2X4 RBI) and Teoscar Hernandez (2X4 R BB SO). Hernandez also stole his 16th base on Friday.

Lancaster JetHawks 7, Lake Elsinore Storm 3
Lancaster exploded for six runs in the ninth to come back and win this game on the road in Lake Elsinore. The JetHawks scored first in the first inning but were then shutout until the ninth. Tyson Perez was on the hill first and worked through the first five innings, recording three runs on six hits (HR), two walks and three Ks. David Rollins (6-4) followed Perez for the next three frames and didn't give up a hit or a run, just a lone walk and two strikeouts. Rollins would go on to take the win. Travis Ballew came on to shut things down in the ninth and faced six batters. Two batters hit singles, one walked and the other three were struck out. Before the ninth inning, Lancaster had seven hits (all singles) and two walks. In the ninth inning, they hit three doubles, three singles and walked once as they hit through the order. MP Cokinos (2X4 2B 2RBI SO) and Matt Duffy (2X5 3RBI 2SO) both had two RBIs in the ninth. Delino DeShields (3X5 2R 2B RBI SO) stole a base and matched Preston Tucker (3X5 R) for a three hit performance.

Corpus Christi Hooks 3, Frisco RoughRiders 2 (11)
The Hooks came from behind to tie this game in the seventh and then went on to win it in the 11th to take the first half of the season. The win came with an exclamation point to their first half as well: the winning run was Domingo Santana's one-out, solo-homer in the eleventh. Jorge De Leon had the first shift on the mound and worked through five, tallying two runs on three hits (HR) and a walk while K-ing three. Birthday boy, Ruben Alaniz worked the next four frames as the other half of the tandem and threw four shutout frames with two hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Andrew Robinson (2-2) clocked in for the 10th and picked up the win, recording no hits, walks or runs with one K. Pat Urckfitz entered to close things out in the bottom of the 11th, gave up a hit and hit a batter but managed to close things out and earn his third save. Santana (2X5 2R HR RBI SO) wasn't the only Hooks player with a longball on Friday. In the seventh, Santana led off with a single and the next batter up, Erik Castro (2X5 R HR 2RBI SO), knocked them both in with one swing of the bat, tying the game in the process.

Round Rock Express 11, Oklahoma City RedHawks 2
The RedHawks took a beating at home on Friday. Starting pitcher Ross Seaton (2-6) took one too, giving up 10 earned runs in the first five innings on 10 hits (3HR) and six walks (Seaton stayed in to allow the OKC bullpen some rest after their 13-inning game on Thursday). Seaton also struck out three as he tallied his sixth loss of the year. Jason Stoffel pitched the next two innings and added another run on two hits as he struck out three of his own. The RedHawks had five hits in the game Friday and three came in the fourth inning as they scored their only runs. Brett Wallace (1X4 RBI SO) hit an RBI single to score Jonathan Villar (2X4 R 2B) and Justin Maxwell (0X3 RBI) followed with a sac'-fly that scored Jake Elmore (1X4 R).

Player of the Day: A lot of guys played really well on Friday. Lancaster's entire batting order is getting the crown today though, because every one of those guys stepped up in the ninth inning (literally and metaphorically) and took a turn at the plate, resulting in six runs and the win. Great game.

Pitcher of the Day: Jamaine Cotton gets the honor today for his four commanding, shutout-innings yesterday. Cotton didn't get the win but he took the mound and held back the tide, doing what he could to help his team get back in it. He also matched his career high in Ks last night. On the theme of players contributing to their teams, honorable mentions go out to outfielders Andy Simunic (1.1 IP) and Che-Hsuan Lin (.2 IP) who combined to pitch the last two innings of OKC's game yesterday in scoreless fashion. Simunic gave up a couple walks and a hit and Lin retired the two he faced in order. That's teamwork. Nice work, guys.

Happy Birthday - 6/15

IF Jake Elmore (26)
Drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 34th round in 2008, Elmore came to the Astros organization as a waiver claim in November 2012. In three games with the major league club so far this season, Elmore hit .364/.364/.455. He is currently playing in Oklahoma City where he has hit .279/.364/.403 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 58 games.

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

LHP Andy Pettitte (41)
Originally drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round in 1990, Pettitte came to Houston as a free agent signing in  December of 2003 and pitched for the Astros from 2004 to 2006, going 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.230 WHIP. He did a bunch of good stuff for the Yankees before he came to Houston and after he left. He retired; he unretired. He used human growth hormone and fessed up about it. He said Clemens did something dicey too, but he might have misremembered. Yada yada.

Tweet of the Day

Michael Dimock
Naps are good for the soul

Friday, June 14, 2013

Funky Foto Friday

I've been playing with the BeFunky photo effect site again. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Brady Rodgers

Brian Holmes

Carlos Quevedo

David Martinez

Joe Sclafani

Jonathan Meyer

Luis Cruz

T.J. Geith

Chris Devenski

David Rollins

George Springer

Kiké Hernandez

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Oklahoma City over Iowa 9-8 in 12 innings
The RedHawks re-took first place in this extra inning affair as seven pitchers took the mound for the team despite starter Brad Peacock (2H 0BB 4SO) gifting the 'Hawks with a 6-1 lead when he left after six innings. The next three innings were a little dicey as Kevin Chapman, Josh Zeid, Alex Sogard and Rhiner Cruz gave up seven runs before Jose Valdez (2.2IP 1H 1BB 2SO) came in with one out and bases loaded in the ninth to stop the bleeding. Eric Berger pitched a scoreless 12th for the win. OKC put up one run in the second on a Brandon Laird (3x4 2BB 3R) home run and then added on five in the fourth with a Marc Krauss (2x4 BB R) RBI double, a Carlos Perez bases clearing double and a Robbie Grossman sac bunt scoring Perez. A Brett Wallace RBI triple and Justin Maxwell (2x5 R) RBI single in the seventh pushed two more across. Carlos Perez was the man of the hour with a walk-off RBI single in the 12th to give the 'Hawks the "W." Jake Elmore was two-for-five with a walk, stolen base and run scored. Andy Simunic and Jonathan Villar swiped bags as well with Villar pilfering two.

Corpus Christi over Frisco 7-1
Nick Tropeano (5IP 5H 0BB 3SO) got the start and the win as he allowed the only Frisco run on a solo home run before giving way to Bobby Doran (1H 0BB 3SO) for four scoreless frames. Kiké Hernandez' (2x4 BB) RBI single in the fifth is the only run that didn't score via the long ball on Thursday. Michael Burgess (2x5 2B) got the party started with a two-run homer in the second; Jon Singleton and Erik Castro (2x4 2B BB 2R) added solo shots in the third; and Singleton tacked on a two-run blast in the fourth for good measure. Jonathan Meyer was two-for-five with a double and a run scored.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 12-3
With three games left to play, Lancaster's magic number to win the first half is down to two thanks to an Inland Empire loss. Brady Rodgers struggled mightily, allowing seven runs on six hits in only one and two-thirds innings and Chris Devenski didn't fare any better, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in only a third of an inning. The good news is that Tommy Shirley (2IP 4SO) and Cameron Lamb (2.2IP 3SO) both had perfect outings out of the 'pen. Lamb inherited bases loaded with one out in the sixth and induced a double play to get Devenski off the hook for any more runs. The 'Hawks were down 12-0 going into the seventh before getting a two-RBI double from Chris Epps and an RBI single from Preston Tucker (2x4) in the eighth. Matt Duffy was three-for-three with a walk and scored a run.

Quad Cities over Cedar Rapids 9-8
What a comeback to win out over first place Cedar Rapids! Starter Jordan Jankowski's (2H 1BB 5SO) only run allowed through four innings came via a solo home run. Juan Minaya was charged with three runs in three and a third innings with two of those coming across under John Neely's watch. Neely had a very tough outing, allowing four runs (two earned) of his own in only one third of an inning. Mitch Lambson ended the pain and suffering and was rewarded with the win. Despite giving up seven runs in the eighth inning to turn a 4-1 lead into an 8-4 deficit, the River Bandits managed to put up five runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to get the comeback win. Carlos Correa (2x5 R), Jesse Wierzbicki (2x5 2B 2RBI R), Brian Blasik (3x4 BB RBI R SB) and Jobduan Morales (1x4 2B BB 2RBI) all had productive nights.

DSL Astros over DSL Indians 8-4
Elieser Hernandez (4H 1R 1BB 5SO) pitched a very strong five innings for the win and was followed by one inning of perfect relief from lefty Cristhofer Santamaria. Rayderson Chevalier (one of my other favorite names) got the save despite allowing three earned runs in his three innings. Kristian Trompiz was a home run short of the cycle and drove in three runs. Hector Roa and Jesus Bermejo also doubled in the game.

Player of the Day: Three-for-three, two walks, two home runs, three RBI, two runs scored? Yeah, Jon Homerton ... you da man!

Pitcher of the Day: I really need to give the relief corps more credit, particularly those who can serve as stoppers when things start getting out of control. Jose Valdez did a terrific job extricating the RedHawks from a bases loaded jam and giving them the opportunity to regain not only the lead, but first place in their division.

Happy Birthday - 6/14

RHP R.J. Alaniz (22)
Alaniz orginally signed with the Astros as a non-drafted free agent out of McAllen, Texas in 2009, and is currently in his fourth season with the organization. In 15 games (10 starts) at Corpus Christi thus far this season, he is 2-6 with a 6.22 ERA and a 1.727 WHIP.

RHP Alan Abreu (23)
I knew virtually nothing about Abreu other than he was playing college baseball in Florida as an outfielder when he was signed by the Astros in September 2011 as a NDFA to pitch. I found this terrific article explaining how it all came about. If this works out, it will be an amazing story. In his first season with the 2012 GCL Astros, he was 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.600 WHIP in 14 appearances out of the bullpen.

C Brian Pena (19)
A non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, Pena is in his second season with the DSL Astros. After hitting .183/.294/.197 in 28 games in 2012, he is hitting .375/.444/.375 thus far in 4 games in 2013.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Pete Munro (38)
A sixth round pick by the Red Sox in 1993, Munro came to Houston as a free agent in November of 2001. He pitched in 80 games (35 starts) from 2002 through 2004 for the Astros with a 12-16 record, a 4.49 ERA and a 1.481 WHIP.

OF John Weekly (died November 24, 1974 at 37)
Drafted in the Rule 5 draft in 1961 from the Giants, Weekly was with the Colt .45s for three seasons from 1962 to 1964, hitting .207/.293/.364 in 53 games.

Tweet of the Day

Brian Holmes
The perpetual cycle of me cleaning my room, telling myself I will keep it clean this time, and then dirtying it again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Corpus Christi By the Numbers

From late April to late May, I traveled every two weeks to an Astros minor league ballpark, gathering up hours of audio and video and literally hundreds of photographs. I finally took last weekend off from writing and traveling to go through and organize all of the material I gathered. I also slept. A lot. And just in time ... I'm headed to Oklahoma City this weekend and back to Lancaster the following weekend. The next three days, I'll be looking at how three of the teams are doing two months in and then recapping all of the links I published previously so that you'll have another opportunity to see some of the material you may have missed. Earlier this week, I posted info on Quad Cities and Lancaster.

Today, Corpus Christi by the numbers:

40-25 - Record after 65 games
34-31 - Record after 65 games in 2012

14-11 - April record
19-10 - May record
7-4 - June record so far

3 - Games ahead
1st - Place in the standings

326 - Runs scored
275 - Runs allowed
78 - Team leading strikeouts by George Springer (2nd in the league)
70 - Team leading hits from George Springer (tied for 5th in the league)
59 - Team leading strikeouts issued by Nick Tropeano in 60.2 IP (5th in the league)
52 - Team leading runs scored by George Springer (1st in the league)
50 - Team leading RBI by George Springer (1st in the league)
38 - Percent of runners caught stealing by Catcher Rene Garcia
36 - Team leading walks drawn by George Springer (4th in the league)
18 - Team leading doubles from George Springer (tied for 4th in the league)
18 - Team leading home runs from George Springer (1st in the league)
18 - Team leading stolen bases by George Springer (3rd in the league)
9 - Most wins for a pitcher by David Martinez (1st in the league)
7 - Fewest number of walks allowed by a pitcher pitching a min. of 50 innings (Jake Buchanan)
6 - Team leading hit by pitches from Domingo Santana
6 - Team leading outfield assists by Domingo Santana
5 - Team leading saves by Nick Tropeano
0 - Home runs allowed by Pat Urckfitz in 17 relief appearances
0 - Wild pitches and hit batters by Carlos Quevedo in 44.1 IP

Team leaders (minimum 100 AB):
.302 - Batting average for George Springer (7th in the league)
.405 - OBP for George Springer (4th in the league)
.612 - SLG for George Springer (1st in the league)

Team leaders (minimum 50 IP):
1.39 - ERA by Jake Buchanan (1st in the league)
0.841 - WHIP by Jake Buchanan (1st in the league)

Team leaders (relievers):
2.96 - ERA for Pat Urckfitz
1.296 - WHIP for Jorge de Leon

Out of 8 teams in the Texas League, this is how the Hooks rank:

1st - Runs scored
1st - Doubles
1st - Home Runs
1st - Batters striking out
2nd - Hits
2nd - OBP
2nd - SLG
2nd - Walks drawn
3rd - Batting average
4th - Team ERA
4th - Team WHIP
5th - Stolen bases
6th - Walks allowed
7th - Pitcher strikeouts
8th - Triples

Links and Pictures from my late May Corpus Christi Visit

A Video Interview with Mike Foltynewicz

An Interview with RHP Jake Buchanan

An Interview with SS Jio Mier

An Interview with SS Ben Orloff

An Interview with RHP Nick Tropeano

An Interview with OF Domingo Santana

Random Thoughts on My Corpus Christi Trip

Other than the Foltynewicz interview, I didn't take any video on my Corpus trip, but I did take a ton of photos, none of which have been posted yet. Here are a few of my favorites and the rest can be found here (most, but not all, are labeled).

Carlos Quevedo

David Martinez

Erik Castro showing off after George Springer did a handstand

George Springer
Jorge de Leon

Kiké Hernandez

Michael Burgess

Josh Fields

Rene Garcia

Zach Johnson

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

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

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Iowa over Oklahoma City 5-1
Brett Oberholtzer (7IP 8H 4R 1BB 7SO) got the start and the loss for the RedHawks. Oberholtzer allowed a two-run home run in the second and a two-run home run in the seventh. Eric Berger and Jason Stoffel shared the last two innings and the final run as Stoffel allowed one of Berger's runners to score. The offense consisted of seven singles and two walks. Jose Martinez, recently recalled from Corpus, was two-for-four and drove in the lone OKC run in the eighth.

Corpus Christi over Frisco 8-5
Starter Jake Buchanan proved that he is, after all, human as he allowed five earned runs on nine hits over four innings. Buchanan had only given up six total earned runs in his other 15 appearances of the season before last night. The bullpen and the Hooks offense had Jake's back, though, and the good guys got the win. Sergio Escalona pitched three scoreless innings for the win and Pat Urckfitz pitched two to get his second save of the season. The Hooks put up three on back-to-back RBI singles from Erik Castro (1x5 2RBI) and Jonathan Meyer (2x5 2RBI R) in the third, three more on a three-run Rene Garcia (1x3 2BB 2R) home run in the fourth and the final two on RBI singles from Meyer and Kiké Hernandez in the seventh. Domingo Santana was two-for-four with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored.

Lancaster over High Desert 10-3
Aaron West put his last start far, far behind him as he came out and dealt on Wednesday at The Hangar. In five no-hit innings, he allowed one walk and struck out five. T.J. Geith carried the no-no through the sixth before allowing two singles in the seventh. Michael Dimock got touched in the eighth for three runs on two home runs before Cameron Lamb came in to pitch a perfect ninth. The JetHawks put up a run in the first as Delino DeShields (3x4 3R) scored on a M.P. Cokinos (2x4 2B HR 4RBI) ground out and then piled on four more in the second, scoring all the runs on two outs as they took advantage of two hit batters, a walk and a fielding error. Those runs would ultimately be enough to secure the win, but a five-run sixth featuring an RBI single from Andrew Aplin and back-to-back home runs from Cokinos and Preston Tucker (2x4 BB 3RBI) put the game out of reach for High Desert.

Cedar Rapids over Quad Cities 12-4
The River Bandits were actually in this game until a disastrous eight-run eighth inning did them in. Starter Colton Cain allowed three runs in his four innings and the score was tied at 4-4 when this happened:

Cedar Rapids Top of the 8th
  • Adam Walker singles on a ground ball to third baseman Rio Ruiz.
  • Travis Harrison singles on a ground ball to right fielder Ariel Ovando. Adam Walker to 2nd.
  • Tyler Grimes doubles (6) on a ground ball to left fielder Ruben Sosa. Adam Walker scores. Travis Harrison to 3rd.
  • Pitching Change: Gerardo Sanchez replaces Mike Hauschild.
  • Candido Pimentel singles on a ground ball to left fielder Ruben Sosa. Travis Harrison scores. Tyler Grimes to 3rd.
  • Jeremias Pineda strikes out swinging. Candido Pimentel steals (11) 2nd base.
  • Byron Buxton doubles (15) on a line drive to center fielder Teoscar Hernandez. Tyler Grimes scores. Candido Pimentel scores.
  • J. D. Williams singles on a ground ball to right fielder Ariel Ovando. Byron Buxton to 3rd.
  • Jorge Polanco doubles (19) on a ground ball to right fielder Ariel Ovando. Byron Buxton scores. J. D. Williams to 3rd.
  • Dalton Hicks singles on a ground ball to left fielder Ruben Sosa. J. Williams scores. Jorge Polanco to 3rd.
  • Adam Walker singles on a ground ball to third baseman Rio Ruiz. Jorge Polanco scores. Dalton Hicks to 2nd.
  • Travis Harrison walks. Dalton Hicks to 3rd. Adam Walker to 2nd.
  • Pitching Change: Richard Rodriguez replaces Gerardo Sanchez.
  • Tyler Grimes flies into a force out, right fielder Ariel Ovando to second baseman Austin Elkins. Dalton Hicks scores. Adam Walker to 3rd. Travis Harrison out at 2nd. Tyler Grimes to 1st.
  • Candido Pimentel grounds into a force out, second baseman Austin Elkins to shortstop Carlos Correa. Tyler Grimes out at 2nd.
It didn't help that Quad Cities was held to five hits. Jesse Wierbicki had two of them, including a two-run home run. Teoscar Hernandez had an RBI single.

DSL Astros over DSL Rays 6-5 in 15 innings
Geronimo Franzua (arguably one of the best names in the Astros system) pitched the first five innings of this marathon, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits. A trio of pitchers came in for three scoreless innings each with  Juan Delis getting the win. Victor Mesa pitched the 15th inning for the save. Marlon Avea (3x7 2R) got the Astros on the board in the third with a three-run home run; in the sixth, he hit a single to advance Hector Roa (2x7 2B R) who then scored on an error and then came around to score himself on a Jarico Reynoso single. Neither team scored after the sixth until Brian Pena (3x6 BB R) scored as Reynoso was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Player of the Day: M.P. Cokinos just continues to hit, but he'll take one for the team as well; one of his four RBI came on a bases-loaded hit by pitch.

Pitcher of the Day: After giving up eight earned runs on fourteen hits in his last two outings, West shook it off and got the JetHawks one game closer to that elusive first half clincher with his five brilliant no-hit innings.

Happy Birthday - 6/13

LHP Evan Grills (21)
Grills was drafted in the tenth round in 2010 out of high school in Ontario. He spent his first two seasons in the organization with the GCL Astros, and pitched for Lexington in 2012, going 4-1 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.458 WHIP in 37 appearances out of the bullpen. He has spent the last couple of months at Extended Spring Training awaiting his short season assignment.

Tweet of the Day

Morgan Ensberg
Dear fans. They're coming. Wait until you see the players we have in Lancaster . These guys can play.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lancaster By the Numbers

From late April to late May, I traveled every two weeks to an Astros minor league ballpark, gathering up hours of audio and video and literally hundreds of photographs. I finally took last weekend off from writing and traveling to go through and organize all of the material I gathered. I also slept. A lot. And just in time ... I'm headed to Oklahoma City this weekend and back to Lancaster the following weekend. The next three days, I'll be looking at how three of the teams are doing two months in and then recapping all of the links I published previously so that you'll have another opportunity to see some of the material you may have missed. Yesterday, I posted info on Quad Cities.

Today, Lancaster by the numbers:

36-29 - Record after 65 games
33-32 - Record after 65 games in 2012

14-10 - April record
19-11 - May record
3-8 - June record so far

2 - Games ahead
1st - Place in the standings

426 - Runs scored
369 - Runs allowed
79 - Team leading hits from Preston Tucker (3rd in league)
68 - Team leading strikeouts issued by Luis Cruz in 58.1 IP (8th in league)
67 - Team leading strikeouts by Telvin Nash (tied for 7th in league)
58 - Team leading RBI by Preston Tucker (1st in league)
52 - Team leading runs scored by Preston Tucker (2nd in league)
43 - Percent of runners caught stealing by Catcher Tyler Heineman
37 - Team leading walks drawn by Nolan Fontana (4th in league)
17 - Team leading doubles from Preston Tucker and Andrew Aplin (tied for 6th in league)
15 - Team leading stolen bases by Delino DeShields (9th in league)
13 - Team leading hit by pitches from, of course, Matt Duffy
13 - Fewest number of walks allowed by a pitcher pitching a min. of 50 innings (Brady Rodgers)
11 - Team leading home runs from Matt Duffy and Preston Tucker (tied for 9th in league)
10 - Team leading saves by Travis Ballew (tied for 4th in league)
6 - Team leading outfield assists by Preston Tucker
5 - Most wins for a pitcher by David Rollins, Brady Rodgers and T.J. Geith
5 - Team leading triples from Andrew Aplin and Delino DeShields (tied for 7th in league)
0 - Wild pitches and hit batters by Aaron West

Team leaders (minimum 100 AB):
.374 - Batting average for Joe Sclafani
.493 - OBP for Joe Sclafani
.572 - SLG for Chris Epps

California League qualifying leaders:
.312 - Batting average for Preston Tucker ranking 8th in the league
.430 - OBP for Nolan Fontana ranking 3rd in the league
.396 - OBP for Matt Duffy ranking 7th in the league
.389 - OBP for Chris Epps ranking 9th in the league
.572 - SLG for Chris Epps ranking 7th in the league
.538 - SLG for Matt Duffy ranking 10th in the league

Team leaders (minimum 50 IP):
4.41 - ERA by Brady Rodgers
1.269 - WHIP by David Rollins (10th in the league)

Team leaders (relievers):
2.25 - ERA for Michael Dimock (6 appearances)
2.49 - ERA for T.J. Geith (19 appearances)
0.500 - WHIP for Michael Dimock (6 appearances)
1.015 - WHIP for Travis Ballew (21 appearances)

Out of 10 teams in the California League, this is how the JetHawks rank:

1st - Batting average
1st - OBP
1st - SLG
1st - Doubles
1st - Walks drawn
1st - Runs scored
1st - Hits
T2nd - Home runs
4th - Triples
5th - Stolen bases
6th - Walks allowed
6th - Team WHIP
7th - Pitcher strikeouts
10th - Team ERA*
10th - Batters striking out

*Team ERA has taken a hit with the pitching staff's recent struggles. According to Jason Schwartz, team ERA in April was 4.88, 5.03 in May and 5.77 so far in June.

Links and Videos from my early May Lancaster Visit

An Eyewitness Account of the Mother's Day No-Hitter (including video)

Lancaster Trip Photos with link to more (now mostly labeled)

Random Thoughts on My Lancaster Trip

An Interview with 1B Telvin Nash

An Interview with RHP Travis Ballew

Checking in with Delino DeShields

An Interview with Infield Coach Morgan Ensberg

An Interview with OF Preston Tucker

An Interview with OF Andrew Aplin

An Interview with LHP David Rollins

An Interview with OF Brandon Meredith

An Interview with SS Nolan Fontana

Here are a couple of videos not already posted:

Blair Walters Striking out Dusty Robinson

Travis Ballew Fly Out from Max Muncy

Luis Cruz striking out Myrio Richard during Mother's Day No-Hitter

Kyle Hallock from the 1st inning of the Mother's Day No-Hitter

Corpus Christi Hooks All-Stars

As was announced yesterday, the following Corpus Christi Hooks players have been named to the Texas League All-Star squad:

CF George Springer
C Rene Garcia
RF Domingo Santana
RHP David Martinez
RHP Jake Buchanan
RHP Mike Foltynewicz

Springer and Garcia were announced as starters in the game which will take place on Tuesday, June 25th in Springdale, Arkansas.

Congratulations to all!!!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games
OK, yesterday I got a little cranky and I called out some starting pitchers. I'm not proud of it, but ... IT WORKED!!! Four out of five Astros MiLB teams won yesterday and the loss was close. It's so much more fun writing about wins than losses. Thanks guys!!!

Oklahoma City over Iowa 8-5
Thank you Asher Wojciechowski for starting off my day right. After the last couple of rough days for the farm system, the RedHawks didn't waste any time removing that losing taste from my mouth as they prevailed in a day game. Wojo gave up one in the first on a solo home run and one in the sixth on an RBI single, but put up four very pretty zeroes in the interim and struck out seven batters. Kevin Chapman, Alex Sogard and Rhiner Cruz combined to allow three runs (one earned) in two and a third before giving way to Jose Valdez who struck out the side to earn his 13th save of the season. The RedHawks took the lead in the bottom of the first on a Brett Wallace (3x4 BB 2R) two-run home run and managed to keep the lead the rest of the way, staying just ahead of Iowa. Cody Clark was two-for-four and scored a run. Andy Simunic drove in three via a single and sac bunt. There were five stolen bases in the game, with Che-Hsuan Lin and Jonathan Villar each getting two, and Simunic getting one.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 6-2
Mike Foltynewicz got the start and his second AA win as he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out five (and he reportedly lit up the radar gun to 100 and 101 on several occasions). He was followed by four scoreless innings from David Martinez (2H 4SO). Corpus took the lead in the third as Jon Singleton (2x4 BB) drove in two with a triple and then scored on a throwing error on the play. A Kiké Hernandez (3x4 2B 3B HR) home run in the fourth, a Justin Maxwell RBI single in the fifth, and a Domingo Santana home run in the eighth accounted for the rest of the scoring. Maxwell's RBI single broke an 0-for-19 streak. George Springer was one-for-five with a double, but struck out four times.

Lancaster over High Desert 3-1
Manager Rodney Linares burned incense and brought in some sacrificial KFC and it worked. The JetHawks 8-game losing streak is now in the rearview mirror! Luis Cruz (5H 2BB 5SO) threw the first five frames and did a terrific job, getting a key strikeout in the fifth to strand runners at second and third. Kyle Hallock (W, 4-1) threw the next three and a third and allowed one run in the ninth before giving way to Travis Ballew who converted his tenth save of the season as he erased the inherited runner on a double play. The 'Hawks did all of their scoring with two outs in the sixth inning, with runs coming across on a Preston Tucker (4x4 2-2B R) RBI single and a two-run M.P. Cokinos double. Joe Sclafani was two-for-four with two doubles and scored a run.

Quad Cities over Cedar Rapids 8-4
Starter Lance McCullers (4IP 5H 4R 2BB 6SO) would probably like to have the third inning back to do over as four of his five hits allowed and all of his runs came across in the frame. But the team had Lance's back and took the lead in the seventh to get him off the hook. Daniel Minor (3.1IP 3H 1BB 4SO) cruised to his fourth win of the season and John Neely pitched a perfect one and two-thirds to earn his 10th save of the season. It was mostly a small ball offense, taking advantage of errors and stealing bases (Rio Ruiz, Austin Elkins, Carlos Correa and Ruben Sosa all swiped bags) until Jesse Wierzbicki (3x5 4RBI 3R) put things out of reach with a three-run home run in the eighth. Correa was two-for-two with three walks and three runs scored; Jobduan Morales was one-for-four with two RBI; and Ruben Sosa was two-for-four.

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 7-6
Five pitchers worked for the Astros in this one and none of the performances really stood out one way or the other. The boxscore is here if you so desire. The lead changed on this one five times before the Astros finally ran out of outs. The bad news is that the Astros only had six hits. The good news is that four of them were doubles, including two doubles from 2B Arturo Michelina. RF Brauly Mejia was one-for-two with a double and two walks. C Marlon Avea doubled as well.

Player of the Day: Jesse Wierzbicki has been in a bit of a funk with the bat lately. It's great to see him break out in a big way and win the WTHB honors. Kiké Hernandez only lacked a single in his quest to hit for the cycle on Tuesday, an admirable feat, and earns honorable mention.

Pitcher of the Day: Luis Cruz gets all my love today and then some. The five shutout innings he tossed Tuesday night gave the JetHawks the chance to stay in the game, get the bats going and end their eight-game losing streak. The 'Hawks needed a stopper and they got one.

Happy Birthday - 6/12

No future Astros or former Astros with birthdays today, but I would like to wish a happy day to friend of the blog DeAnna Williamson. Happy Birthday, De!

De and Jayne

Tweet of the Day

Jason Schwartz
went with incense and fried (sacrificial) chicken before tonight’s game. Worked last year in Lake Elsinore, worked again tonight.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quad Cities By the Numbers

From late April to late May, I traveled every two weeks to an Astros minor league ballpark, gathering up hours of audio and video and literally hundreds of photographs. I finally took last weekend off from writing and traveling to go through and organize all of the material I gathered. I also slept. A lot. And just in time ... I'm headed to Oklahoma City this weekend and back to Lancaster the following weekend. The next three days, I'll be looking at how three of the teams are doing two months in and then recapping all of the links I published previously so that you'll have another opportunity to see some of the material you may have missed.

First up, Quad Cities by the numbers:

34-28 - Record after 62 games
35-27 - Lexington Legend's record through 62 games in 2012

15-8 - April record
15-15 - May record
4-5 - June record so far

5 - Games behind
4th - Place in the standings

288 - Runs scored
269 - Runs allowed
63 - Team leading strikeouts issued by Vincent Velasquez in 58.1 IP
63 - Team leading strikeouts by Teoscar Hernandez
58 - Percent of runners caught stealing by Catcher Roberto Peña
55 - Team leading hits from Teoscar Hernandez and Carlos Correa
41 - Team leading RBI by Carlos Correa
40 - Team leading runs scored by Teoscar Hernandez
36 - Team leading walks drawn by Jordan Scott
15 - Team leading stolen bases by Teoscar Hernandez
12 - Team leading doubles from Carlos Correa and Jesse Wierzbicki
11 - Fewest number of walks allowed by a pitcher pitching a min. of 50 innings (Daniel Minor)
10 - Team leading sacrifice hits by Teoscar Hernandez
9 - Team leading saves from John Neely
7 - Team leading hit by pitches from Jesse Wierzbicki
5 - Most wins for a pitcher by Michael Dimock (since promoted to Lancaster)
4 - Most wins for a pitcher (not named Michael Dimock) from Mike Hauschild and Vincent Velasquez
4 - Team leading triples from Teoscar Hernandez
4 - Team leading home runs from Carlos Correa
0 - Home runs allowed by Lance McCullers in 2013 so far

Team leaders (minimum 100 AB):
.285 - Batting average from Carlos Correa
.411 - OBP from Jordan Scott
.420 - SLG from Carlos Correa

Team leaders (minimum 50 IP):
1.57 - ERA by Lance McCullers
1.158 - WHIP by Mike Hauschild

Team leaders (relievers):
2.96 - ERA for John Neely
1.216 - WHIP for Gera Sanchez

Out of 16 teams in the Midwest League, this is how the River Bandits rank:

1st - Walks drawn
1st - Batters striking out
4th - OBP
5th - Stolen bases
5th - Pitcher strikeouts
5th - Team WHIP
6th - Team ERA
6th - Runs scored
10th - Doubles
13th - Triples
13th - Hits
14th - BA
14th - Home runs
15th - SLG
15th - Walks allowed

Links and Videos from my late April Quad Cities Visit

Quad Cities Trip Photos with link to more

Quad Cities Moustache Competition (Photos)

An Interview with RHP Vincent Velasquez

An Interview/Profile with C Roberto Peña

An Interview with 2B Austin Elkins

An Interview with LHP Joe Bircher

Talking with Quad Cities Coaches Dave Borkowski and Joel Chimelis

Random Thoughts on my trip to Quad Cities

And here are a few random videos that I guess I never posted:

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games - This is the one where Jayne starts getting cranky. If the Astros MiLB pitchers are going to phone it in, so am I, so short recaps today. Sounds harsh, but I have a headache and two days of nothing but losing is not helping!!!

Iowa over Oklahoma City 7-6
Phil Humber gave up a bunch of runs, like six times as many runs as the other four Astros pitchers combined. So there's that. Which means that Robbie Grossman's three-for-four game with two doubles, a triple, a walk, and a run was all for naught. As was Marc Krauss' three-for-four, double, home run, walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Grrrr.

San Antonio over Corpus 10-4
And then there's that whole R.J. Alaniz giving up six earned runs in one and a third innings thing. Did it really matter at that point that Jon Singleton went three-for-four with a double, RBI and a run, or that Jonathan Meyer hit a two-run home run? Not really, because they were behind the eight-ball at that point.

High Desert over Lancaster 8-3
And David, sweet David Rollins ... what are you doing to me? After a fantastic first inning, you forgot how to get an out in the second? Seven batters faced in the second without recording an out leading to seven earned runs from Rollins? It made the solo home runs from Nolan Fontana and Matt Duffy kind of worthless as well as Chris Epps' three-for-four outing with a double and a run.

Peoria over Quad Cities 5-1
And when Jamaine Cotton got lit up for five runs, the two singles each from Carlos Correa and Ruben Sosa and the one extra-base hit, a double from Roberto Pena, just didn't go very far.

DSL Astros at DSL Dodgers - Suspended due to rain after 3 innings with the Astros leading 4-0 (BUT AT LEAST THEY WERE AHEAD!!!)

Players of the Day: I am giving this to Robbie Grossman and Marc Krauss, who not only had very good outings, but also came very close to overcoming the pitching struggles for their team.

Pitcher of the Day: I will hand it to Tyson Perez. He did come in and give Lancaster four scoreless innings of two-hit ball, walking one and striking out four. See, it can be done guys.

[Editor's Note: No actual pitchers were injured in the writing of this commentary, but if they don't start putting up some W's today, all bets are off!!!]

Happy Birthday - 6/11

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Frank Thomas (84)
No, not that Frank Thomas, but this one was good in his own right. Thomas was purchased from the Phillies and played part of only one of his 15 seasons for Houston in 1965, playing in 23 games before getting shipped out to the Milwaukee Braves. He was a three time All-Star for Pittsburgh in the 1950's and arguably his biggest claim to fame was getting the last put out at the Polo Grounds in September 1957.

PH/UT Jimmy Stewart (died November 12, 2012 at age 73)
No, not that Jimmy Stewart. Stewart was obtained from the Reds as a part of the Joe Morgan - Lee May trade in November of 1971 and played in 129 games for Houston in 1972 and 1973, hitting .207/.273/.262.

Tweet of the Day

My heart is officially broken. reported tonight that the 'stache is no more.
Embedded image permalink

[Editor's Note: Michael Dimock subsequently reported to me that he shaved the 'stache to mix it up and to bring the 'Hawks some luck. After losing 8 straight, it couldn't hurt.]

Monday, June 10, 2013

This and That


As you may have noticed, I didn't post anything to do with the draft. That's because I couldn't possibly give it the time and detailed attention that so many others have. The Crawfish Boxes, in particular, has put in countless hours putting together scouting reports and analysis. Astros County put together relevant links on each of the players as they were drafted. And my friend @itsDTrain put together this ongoing comprehensive list which he will update with player signings and bonuses as the information becomes available. I suggest you bookmark it as I have.

I'll admit that I cared far less about 1.1 than most Astros bloggers. No matter now successful Mark Appel proves to be, the strength of the 2013 draft class will be determined by the totality of all the players who sign and eventually contribute in the major leagues, not just Appel. Right this minute, I care as much about 40th round pick Tyler Brunnemann as I do about first overall pick Appel.

My job, in conjunction with the 2013 draft, is just starting. I will undoubtedly try to see Appel in person and interview him at some point, but I will be just as zealous (if not more so) in getting to know an Adam Nelubowich or a Randall Fant or an Alex Schick should those players sign. Last year at this time, I knew virtually nothing about Aaron West or Daniel Minor or Austin Elkins or Kenny Long. My job is to bring these young men to life for you through Tweets of the Day, through interviews, through recaps, through photos and video. It is a lot of work, but it is a labor of love.


The California/Carolina League All-Star Game will be next Tuesday, June 18th, in San Jose, California. Outfielders Preston Tucker and Andrew Aplin, third baseman Matt Duffy and RHP Brady Rodgers will represent the JetHawks.

The Midwest League All-Star Game will also be on the 18th, and will be held in Dayton, Ohio. Shortstop Carlos Correa and RHPs Jordan Jankowski and Lance McCullers will represent Quad Cities.

The Texas League All-Star Game is scheduled for June 25th in Springdale, Arkansas. All-Stars have not been announced yet.

The AAA All-Star Game will be in Reno, Nevada on July 17th.


The Dominican Summer League Astros are already seven games into their season, and the rest of the teams will follow shortly.

The Class A Short Season Valley Cats will start their season on Monday, June 17th, at home against Vermont.

The Rookie League Greeneville Astros will start their season on the road against the Bluefield Blue Jays on Thursday, June 20th. Their home opener will be Sunday, the 23rd.

The Gulf Coast League Astros will start their season on Friday, June 21st at the Braves complex in Florida.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Omaha over Oklahoma City 7-0
Jarred Cosart (5IP 2H 4R/3ER 4BB 5SO) got the start and the loss. He wasn't exactly helped by Josh Zeid who allowed three of Cosart's runs to score and then added on three unearned runs of his own in the sixth. Kevin Chapman and C.J. Fick shut the barn door, but not in time to save any of the livestock. And frankly, it wouldn't have mattered much anyway as the 'Hawks only managed to put up five singles in the game.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 7-4
Starter Bobby Doran (4IP 3R 1BB 4SO) only gave up five hits, but three of those were doubles with men on base. Sergio Escalona led off the fifth with back-to-back triples and rounded out the inning with an RBI single and a two-run home run on his way to being charged with the loss. Nick Tropeano pitched three scoreless, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out five. The Hooks scored early as a Domingo Santana walk was followed by back-to-back long balls from Erik Castro and Jonathan Meyer in the second. George Springer's solo home run in the fifth accounted for the final Hooks run. Jose Martinez was two-for-four and is hitting .455/.500/.485 in his seven games since joining the Hooks squad.

San Jose over Lancaster 5-3
Lancaster has now dropped seven straight, going 0-7 on the road trip. What makes it worse is that Lancaster had won 11 of 12 in the games immediately preceding the road trip and were a decent 14-10 on the road prior to the trip. Granted San Jose has the best record in the California League and Stockton is tied for second in the North Division with a now identical record to that of Lancaster, but Lancaster will need to learn how to win against the best teams on the road if they want to repeat as California League Champions. Let's hope that they can put the trip behind them, lick their wounds and start a new win streak tonight.

Chris Devenski (5IP 6H 3R 2BB 5SO) got the start and gave up one run in the second and two in the fourth on a two-run home run. Brady Rodgers (4H 2R 1BB 4SO) pitched three frames and was charged with the loss. Lancaster came back to tie it up twice, in the third and the seventh, but a final comeback wasn't in the offing. Matt Duffy scored in the third on an Andrew Aplin sac fly, and a Joe Sclafani (2x4) single drove in two in the seventh. The 'Hawks were held to five hits, all singles.

Peoria over Quad Cities 9-1
In his second appearance since being promoted from Extended Spring Training, Juan Minaya (L, 0-1) went four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out three. Jordan Jankowski (2H 1R 1BB 1SO) and Richard Rodriguez (6H 4R 2BB 1SO 1HR) each threw two frames. The River Bandits were the third Astros farm team held to five hits on Sunday, but at least two of them were doubles, including an Ariel Ovando RBI double in the fifth. Rio Ruiz also doubled.

Player of the Day: Joe Sclafani continues to impress since his promotion to Lancaster. After yesterday's two-for-four outing, he is now hitting .374/.500/.495 in 27 games with the JetHawks, and .424/.568/.576 in his last 10.

Pitcher of the Day: Nick Tropeano almost wins this by default as his scoreless outing was one of the only ones in the system yesterday, but his five strikeouts to one walk clinches it for him. He has done a nice job limiting walks in his last couple of appearances.

Happy Birthday - 6/10

Happy 21st Birthday to Astros 9th round draft pick C Brian Holberton.

GCL Manager Edgar Alfonzo (46)
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Alfonzo spent two seasons as the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Astros before being named Manager of the 2013 squad.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

Edwards came to Houston in a trade with St. Louis in October 1968 and spent six seasons with the Astros from 1969 to 1974. In 634 games, he hit .237/.310/.336. His career caught stealing percentage was 39%. Edwards' best years were with Cincinnati where he made three All-Star appearances and won two Gold Gloves.

A first round pick by Houston in 1976, Bannister only pitched in 52 games (39 starts) for the Astros in 1977 and 1978, going 11-18 with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.538 WHIP, before being traded to Seattle for SS Craig Reynolds. He went on to have a solid career pitching for six different teams over 15 seasons. He made one All-Star appearance in 1982 for Seattle, the same season that he led the American League in strikeouts with 209.

Tweet of the Day

Delino DeShields
Baseball is the most humbling sport In the world. No doubt about it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday’s Games

DSL Dodgers 3, DSL Astros 6 (8)
The DSL Astros crept back in the sixth inning and went on to win this one. Juan Hernandez started on the mound and allowed a run, three hits, a walk and struck out two in his three innings of work. Hernandez was followed by Junior Garcia (1-0), who picked up his first win after pitching the next four and striking out five while recording one hit. Hector Roa hit a grand slam in the sixth inning to get the DSL Astros on the board and finished at two-for-four, a run scored, that homer, five RBI and two strikeouts. Randy Cesar had the only other multi-hit game, going two-for-two with a run scored and a walk.

Quad Cities River Bandits 0, Peoria Chiefs 1
The River Bandits were shutout on the road Saturday after a pitchers’ duel of a game. Mike Hauschild was first on the hill for Quad Cities and he tossed five innings, allowing four hits as he K-ed five. Colton Cain came on to pitch the next three frames and recorded one hit, a couple walks and a strikeout. Gera Sanchez (2-1) entered to close in the ninth and after issuing a walk and a single, threw a wild pitch to tally the game’s only run and the loss. There were 11 hits total in the game and the River Bandits had five of them.

Lancaster JetHawks 0, San Jose Giants 7
The JetHawks were also shutout on the road Saturday, but this game wasn’t a pitchers’ duel. Aaron West (2-3) started on the bump for Lancaster and worked through three frames, giving up five runs in his shift. West allowed nine hits and struck out one as he recorded the loss. Jonas Dufek entered next and threw two innings of perfect ball with a K. Andrew Aplin snuck a multi-hit game in, going two-for-four at the plate.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, San Antonio Missions 1
The Hooks flirted with their second shutout win in a row Saturday, before allowing an unearned run in the ninth. Carlos Quevedo (2-4) picked up his second win after pitching five scoreless innings to start the game. Quevedo allowed four hits and struck out three in his time at the helm. Jake Buchanan was the back half of the tandem and he earned his first save after tallying a run (0ER), a hit, a walk and one strikeout as he finished out the game. Domingo Santana (2X4 R HR RBI 2SO) and Rene Garcia (2X4 R HR 2RBI SO) both hit longballs in the game while Erik Castro went two-for-four at the dish.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 0, Omaha Storm Chasers 1 (1) -SUSPENDED
Play was suspended after the first inning of this game in Omaha due to rain. Ross Seaton had so far recorded two outs in the bottom of the first and allowed a run on three hits and a walk. Oklahoma City had no hits yet.

Player of the Day: Hector Roa is the hero today for his grand slam in the DSL. Roa marked his first homer of the year in style while batting in all but one of his team's runs. That's a red letter day.

Pitcher of the Day: Carlos Quevedo had an excellent outing and set the Hooks up for success on Saturday. So he picked up a “W” and the WTHB honors today.

Happy Birthday - 6/9

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Tom Edens (52)
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the 14th round in 1983, Edens was obtained in a trade with the Marlins in November 1992 and left for the Phillies in July of 1994. In between, he pitched in 77 games for Houston, going 5-2 with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.394 WHIP.

IF Julio Gotay (died July 4, 2008 at 69)
Gotay came to Houston in a June 1966 trade with the California Angels and played in 202 games for Houston at the major league level between 1966 and 1969, hitting .264/.305/.328.

MGR Bill Virdon (82)
Bill Virdon managed the Astros from 1975 to 1982, compiling a 544-522 record. Under his watch, the Astros won their first National League West division title in 1980.

Tweet of the Day

Brady Rodgers
Random tweet but when ppl take a pic with a mascot..does the person inside the costume smile?