Saturday, June 22, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games

Greeneville Astros 9, Bluefield Blue Jays 5
Greeneville came out swinging in this one and had four runs on the board before their opponents answered back. Tyler Brunnemann (1-0) picked up his first win, entering for the last out of the fourth and staying until the sixth. Brunnemann allowed a run on two hits and K-ed two in his time on the mound. J.D. Osbourne earned save number one on the season Friday, working the last two frames in scoreless fashion (he was the only Greenville pitcher not to allow a run in the game). Osbourne gave up two hits and struck out a trio. Five Greeneville batters had multi-hit games and none was more successful at the plate than Angel Ibanez, who went three-for-four with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Here's the rest of the box:

GCL Astros 3, GCL Braves 4 (10)
The GCL Astros came back to tie the game in the fifth and rode the tie four innings before falling in the 10th of their season opener. Ambiorix De Leon started on the mound and through four innings allowed two runs on four hits as he struck out four. Jorge Perez (0-1), who pitched the last two and a third, cruised through the eighth and ninth innings in 1-2-3 fashion before single-handedly giving up the winning run in the 10th on a walk followed by a throwing error (pickoff attempt) and a wild pitch. Perez finished with a unearned run on no hits, a walk and one strikeout. At the plate, Luis De La Rosa set his season off with a bang, batting two-for-four with a run scored, a strike out and an RBI on his fifth-inning, solo-homer.

DSL Red Sox 5, DSL Astros 1
The DSL Astros scored one run on five hits in this game as starter Edwin Villarroel (1-2) picked up his second loss of the season. Villarroel pitched the first four innings, giving up three runs on six hits (HR), a pair of walks and a wild pitch while striking out four. Randy Cesar (1X3 R 2B BB SO) had the only extra base hit of the game for the Astros, a double in the second, putting him in scoring position for the next batter, Marlon Avea (1X2 RBI), who scored him on an RBI grounder.

Tri-City Valley Cats 0,  Lowell Spinners 4
The Valley Cats were blanked on Friday for their first loss of the season, bringing their winning streak to a stop at four. Randall Fant (0-1) took the hill first and pitched the first four, allowing four runs on six hits as he struck out four and picked up the loss. Fant also recorded a wild pitch and a balk on Friday. Andrew Thurman (1 IP) and Zach Morton (2 IP), who combined to pitch the last three innings, kept theirs hitless and scoreless, striking out a batter each. Tri-City had two hits all game, a Ronnie Mitchell (1X3 SO) single in the sixth and an Ernesto Genoves (1X2 2B BB) double in the seventh inning.

Kane County Cougars 2, Quad Cities River Bandits 4
Quad Cities unloaded their bats for 15 hits in their victory at home on Friday. The River Bandits hit in every inning and every batter in the game had at least a hit—five had multi-hit games. Mike Hauschild threw the first five, allowing both opposing runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three. Jordan Jankowski (3-0) followed Hauschild for three frames and picked up the win after keeping his time scoreless, issuing a hit, three walks and K-ing six. John Neely worked the top of the ninth, earning his 12th save. Neely struck out one. While the bats were going hot, Teoscar Hernandez's feet were as well. Hernandez swiped two bags, second and third in the eighth, which led to a run on the next play when Jesse Wierzbicki singled. Jordan Scott also stole a bag in the game. Here's a look at all those hits:

 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 0, Lancaster JetHawks 14
Lancaster four-hit shut out their opponents on Friday as they amassed 14 runs for the win. Starter Luis Cruz (4-4) picked up the win after working the first five in commanding fashion. Cruz allowed a pair of hits and struck out eight, retiring the first nine batters he faced in order. Kyle Hallock came on for the next three and earned his second hold as he recorded two hits while striking out four. M.P. Cokinos (2X3 3R 2B RBI BB), Preston Tucker (2X5 R RBI 2SO), Telvin Nash (2X5 3R HR 3RBI 2SO) and Matt Duffy (2X5 R 3RBI) all had two-hit games at the plate. Nash hit a two-run homer in the third. Carlos Perdomo was the only JetHawks batter not to get a hit, going aught-for-six with a strikeout. Preston Tucker is first in the California League with 63 RBI and Matt Duffy is third with 53.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, Frisco Rough Riders 6
Corpus Christi outhit their opponents 14-9 but fell a couple runs short of the win on the road, Friday. Nick Tropeano moved his record to two and six after recording the loss. Tropeano pitched the first four and allowed all six runs on eight hits (HR) and two walks in that time. Trope' also struck out one. George Springer stole his 23rd base as he hit two-for-five with an RBI and a strikeout. Kiké Hernandez hit two-for-four with a run scored, walk and a strikeout. Michael Burgess (3X4 R 2B RBI SO) and Rene Garcia (3X5 2B RBI SO) both had three hit games and Raoul Torrez (1X3 R HR RBI 2SO) hit a solo shot in the sixth inning to pull his team within one.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 2,  New Orleans Zephyrs 3
Asher Wojciechowski pitched the first complete game of his career on Friday and took the loss on the road. Wojo (3-3) finished with three runs on six hits (2HR) and seven Ks through eight innings. Brett Wallace knocked in all of OKC's runs with one swing of the bat, hitting a two-run tater in the fourth. Wallace went one-for-four in the game with a strikeout. Jimmy Paredes and Jake Elmore both hit two-for three. Elmore had a run scored and a walk while Paredes hit a double.

Player of the Day: Teoscar Hernandez gets the nod today. Not only did he bat two-for-five yesterday and score both times he got onto the base paths, he also helped manufacture one of those runs by stealing two consecutive bases. Hernandez put in the effort on Friday and it didn't go unnoticed here. Also, a nod of approval goes out to the guys in Lancaster—they absolutely wore home plate out.

Pitcher of the Day: Simply put, Luis Cruz dominated on Friday. He came out and set the tone for a commanding win and his team noticed. Cruz now has 81 Ks in 66.1 innings pitched. Well played, Cruz.

I'd also like to give an honorable mention to Asher Wojciechowski for his first complete game. Even though it netted him a loss, he went the distance and struck out seven along the way.

Happy Birthday 6/22

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

Originally drafted in the first round by the Phillies in 1971, Thomas came to Houston in a March 1977 trade with the Mariners. Thomas pitched in only four games for the Astros (6.1 innings) with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP.

A second round draft pick by Houston in 1968, Chiles played for the Astros in 1971 and 1972 and again in 1976. In 81 games, he hit .239/.280/.351.

Tweet of the Day

Snacks_31's avatar
Bonus fireworks for the fans. Mortor's launching into the stands. Awesome.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Interview with RHP Asher Wojciechowski

I had the opportunity to talk with Oklahoma City RedHawks RHP Asher Wojciechowski on Saturday, the day before a dominating start in which he allowed one run while striking out eight batters in his six innings. Asher started out the season dominating in Corpus Christi, going 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP. He did not give up an earned run for the last 13 innings of 2012 through the first 20 and a third innings of 2013. Since his promotion to Oklahoma City, he has gone 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP. He pitches off a low to mid 90's fastball with a change up and a slider that is an effective out pitch for him.

I talked briefly with OKC Pitching Coach Steve Webber who had this to say about Wojciechowski, "He's made the transition from AA to AAA real smoothly. He had a hiccup a couple starts, but then he got back on track and he's pitched well lately. He's got a real good make up. He's a strike thrower with three pitches. That's going to take you a long way."

Here's what Asher had to say about his season thus far, the transition to AAA and a few other subjects (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

What has he accomplished so far this season?: "Just so far this year, I've been able to locate my pitches well and locate my fastball ... just being down in the bottom of the zone and just throwing quality strikes and just competing. I feel like I've been doing that well throughout this year and pretty much ever since I got traded over here. So I feel like I've been able to locate my pitches a lot better since the trade and throughout this year."

Speaking of the trade, how did he feel about it?: "I got a call at like 9:00 in the morning. It was real brief, saying I got traded. I was pretty excited about it because I was in High A at the time and they told me I was going to AA. I kind of got a second wind there because it was in July, through the heat of summer in Florida State League and [getting] that call, I just got a second wind and just got real excited."

On the transition from AA to AAA: "I feel like I've done pretty well so far. It's still the same game of baseball and so you've got to locate your pitches and be down in the zone. I think for the most part I've been able to do that so far. Here, your mistakes get hit more and in the big leagues, they get hit even more, so it's just being able to focus and just really minimize your mistakes as you move along through the system."

On the scoreless streak to start the season: "It was fun. I enjoyed it. Especially to start the season there on 20 scoreless innings and having 13 innings before that last year. When I was pitching on that streak, it was a lot of fun. It was a good time."

What Astros pitcher has a pitch he would like to steal?: "Probably Folty's [Mike Foltynewicz] fastball. I heard he hit 103 this year. so that would be nice to have.

What Astros hitter would he least like to face?: "Probably George Springer. Just with all the power he has, and he's fast. He can definitely take you deep and really far so I'd probably say him."

What would he do if he couldn't play baseball?: "I would try to play football if I couldn't play baseball. I really enjoyed football. I broke my thumb my senior year of high school in the second game of the football season so I didn't really have a chance to pursue my football dreams, but baseball always came easier for me. But I definitely love football a lot and would try to play that. [He was a quarterback.]

Something most people don't know about him: "That I grew up a missionary kid and pastor's kid. Most people don't know that I lived in Romania for three years. We worked in orphanages. I would say that would be the thing most people wouldn't know about me, that I grew up on the mission field and lived all over the place.

Any pitching superstitions or rituals?: "Not really superstitious. I just kind of have my routine that I do. I wouldn't say it's superstitious. Maybe a little stitious. I have my routine I do all the time. I like to chew Dentyne Ice gum when I pitch so that's something I could say is kind of superstitious, just having some gum to chew. I don't like the bubble gum. I like the minty; it helps me breathe better so I like chewing that when I pitch. Other than that, usually during the game, I'll walk up one side of the steps and walk down the other side every inning and then I'll sit in the same spot every time."

On the state of the Astros farm system: "I think that it's a very good system right now, just full of players, a lot of talent. Over the last few years, they've made so many trades and just pretty much stockpiled prospects and so it's a very talented minor league system. Lot of talent, lots of guys, lot of competition ... we're all fighting to get to the big leagues and have success in the big leagues. There's a lot of talent here and hopefully a good future for the Astros."

Thank you for your time, Asher, and best of luck as the season unfolds. I'm sure I'll see you again before too long ... in Houston.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Oklahoma City over New Orleans 4-1
Jarred Cosart got six shutout innings, eight strikeouts and the win. He gave up four hits and didn't walk a batter. Rhiner Cruz and Alex Sogard took the next two innings with Sogard giving up the lone Zephyrs' run. Josh Zeid got his fifth save in style, striking out the side. The game was scoreless until OKC put up three in the sixth on a Carlos Perez RBI single (2x5 R) and a two-run double from Che-Hsuan Lin. Perez drove in the final run in the seventh inning as well. Brett Wallace was four-for-five with two doubles and scored two runs; Jon Singleton was one-for-three and walked twice; and Brandon Laird was two-for-five with a run.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 2-0
Jake Buchanan got the start, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk before giving way to three perfect innings from Carlos Quevedo and Sergio Escalona. The Hooks were held to three hits in the shutout with two of those hits belonging to Erik Castro.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 11-3
David Rollins got the win in commanding fashion, allowing only one hit over five innings while striking out nine. Tyson Perez (5H 1BB 5SO 1HR) allowed three runs in his four innings of work. The JetHawks wasted no time in getting their second half off to a good start by scoring five in the first inning on a wild pitch, a Telvin Nash (1x3 2RBI BB R) double and a Tyler Heineman home run. They added on one in the third with Andrew Aplin scoring on a throwing error. And then they went a little bit crazy in the fourth inning with doubles from Matt Duffy, Delino DeShields and Joe Sclafani, and two-run home runs from Chris Epps and M.P. Cokinos (2x3 BB 2R).

Quad Cities over Kane County 5-3
Juan Minaya allowed two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four in four innings to start the game and was followed with a scoreless inning from Richard Rodriguez. Vincent Velasquez (5H 1R 3SO) pitched the next three frames and was awarded the win, and John Neely got his 11th save of the season. Rio Ruiz (3x4) doubled in the first run in the second before scoring later in the inning on an error. The next three came across on a Jesse Wierzbicki RBI single in the third, a Teoscar Hernandez (1x2 2B BB R) sac fly RBI in the fifth and a Rio Ruiz RBI double in the eighth. Roberto Pena was one-for-two with two walks and scored two runs.

Tri-City over Lowell 8-5 in 11 innings
Edison Frias got the start and allowed two runs on six hits and a walk in four innings and Charles Basford allowed another three in his two-thirds of an inning. Kyle Westwood only allowed one walk in his three and a third and Albert Minnis only allowed one hit in his two innings (and got the win). Chia-Jen Lo struck out the side in the 11th to earn his second save. It looked as though the Tri-City win streak might come to an end as they were shutout through seven, but they put up three in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie it and three more in the 11th to win it. Tony Kemp was two-for-five with a walk and scored two runs; Conrad Gregor was two-for-six with three RBI and a run scored; and Jose Fernandez was two-for-five and scored a run. Michael Martinez had the only extra base hit, a double. Martinez, D'Andre Toney and Jon Kemmer all had RBI.

Bluefield over Greeneville 5-0
Starter Enderson Franco allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts over five innings and was followed by two scoreless innings from Frederick Tiburcio and Jordan Mills. Gerardo Ramirez pitched the eighth and allowed three additional runs. Despite being shutout, Marc Wik (2x4 2B) and Wallace Gonzalez (2x3) had good outings.

DSL Red Sox over DSL Astros 4-3
Starter Juan Hernandez gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits and three walks while striking out three, but Junior Garcia (3.1IP 2H 1R 1BB 4SO) was charged with the loss after giving up a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth. The Astros were held to four hits with one of them being a Brian Pena home run. Jarico Reynoso was two-for-three with an RBI and a run scored.

Player of the Day: Rio Ruiz is slowly getting up to speed. I really think he's going to be a very special player and his two RBI doubles last night give us a glimpse of that.

Pitcher of the Day: I've got to give the WTHB love to Jarred Cosart today. It wasn't simply the six shutout innings or the eight strikeouts, it was also the zero walks. If he can limit those walks, he'll be in Houston very, very soon. Honorable mention to a great performance from David Rollins and a dominant save from Josh Zeid.

Happy Birthday - 6/21

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

RHP Gene Pentz (60)
Originally drafted by Detroit in the seventh round in 1971, Pentz came to Houston in a December 1975 trade. In 91 games pitched for the Astros from 1976 through 1978, Pentz was 8-5 with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.437 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Appy Astros
Opening day in the Appy League! Appy, Appy, Appy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Roster Moves

Lots of moves over the last two days:

Oklahoma City
OF Marc Krauss called up to Houston as Trevor Crowe goes on the DL

Corpus Christi
RHP Carlos Quevedo activated from the DL

RHP Andrew Thurmon assigned to Tri-City
RHP Charles Basford obtained in trade for OF Fernando Martinez and assigned to Tri-City

SS Parker Hipp assigned to Greeneville
RHP Ryan Connolly assigned to Greeneville
RHP Gerardo Ramirez assigned to Greeneville
RHP Gonzalo Sanudo assigned from Corpus Christi to Greeneville

RHP Zach Dano assigned to the GCL
RHP Francis Ramirez assigned to the GCL
RHP Juan Santos assigned to the GCL
RHP Joe Musgrove assigned to the GCL
LHP Reymin Guduan placed on the 7-day DL
RHP Erick Gonzalez assigned to the GCL
RHP Jorge Perez assigned to the GCL
RHP Javier Lozano assigned from the DSL to the GCL

An Interview with Astros Utility Player Andy Simunic

Back on August 2, 2011, Andy Simunic made his professional pitching debut at Lancaster in what ended up being a 20-7 blowout loss to Bakersfield. It wasn't the best debut as Andy allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in his inning of work. Fast forward to June 14, 2013. Andy was again called upon to save the bullpen in an 11-2 loss, and did much better in his second outing, allowing only one hit and no runs in one and a third innings.

Obviously, Andy is not a pitcher. But he is versatile. Very versatile. In six minor league seasons, he has played every position except catcher, including one game at DH and two games as pitcher. And he is a good teammate, well respected by his fellow players not only for his work on the field, but for his good humor and ability to keep the clubhouse loose.

I talked to Andy on Saturday, the day after his latest outing on the mound, and I found him to be funny, self-effacing and very sincere. Here is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

Andy Simunic - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

On his limited experience as a pitcher: "The first one [in 2011], I got roughed up. Last night was good. I got a little tender with my elbow and it scared me a little bit so I shut it down, but any time [I can] help the team out and save the bullpen, I'll get out there and do what I can. It was a blast. You never want to be in that position, getting beat or not being able to have the real pitchers out there, but it is fun. Thinking about pitching in a triple A game is pretty funny, but it was a good experience."

On his season so far: "It's been great. I started in Extended, had a setback with my finger in Spring Training. I tore a ligament so that kind of stunk but I got to come up here, got the opportunity to play and I'm having a great time. It's a great group of players and I'm really just enjoying being here."

On his versatility being the key factor in potentially making it to the majors: "That's how I've always looked at it. I was always taught at a young age that the more you can play, the more chances you have of being in the lineup. I've just continued that through high school, college and even in pro ball. I enjoy what I do and I think it's fun to come to the ballpark and [to] never know where you're going to be playing. [It makes it kind of exciting] when you come to the park."

On the dance studio that he and his wife own in Nashville: "We have about 200 girls ... girls from ages 3 to 18. We have five teams that travel and compete. My wife, she runs all the day-to-day stuff and all the classes. And I'm the head janitor and I guess security guy. (The mom's get pretty crazy in there.) It's been a really cool experience. I knew nothing about dance. I still don't know a whole lot. I get pretty excited when we go to competitions and see the girls do well. I get pretty excited and it's a really neat thing."

On his own rumored dance moves in the locker room: "I do a lot of dancing. Most of it is pretty awful, but I have a good time. I try to keep the locker room light wherever I'm at. That's just kind of my personality. My wife definitely does not endorse my dance moves because they're pretty bad. I have a good time and try to have fun with whatever I'm doing."

I asked Andy about a game delay in Corpus Christi last season when the lights went out, in which he and Kiké Hernandez took to the field and entertained the crowd with some dance moves: "The guys, knowing me and knowing my personality, came to me and offered money. And I was going to do it and Kiké's got some actual good moves so he wanted to join in. I told him I'd split the profits with him. He got out there and, thank goodness, because I'd have struggled doing a solo act. I did all right with the duet. It was fun. Again, just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Simunic has been the answer in a number of my interviews as to who makes some of our minor leaguers laugh. So, who makes him laugh?: "In Corpus, Kiké. He's pretty funny. Here, I think [Austin]  Wates makes me laugh because he knows how to push my buttons. We're really good friends so we have a good time. He's hard on me, gives me a hard time a lot. He keeps me laughing. He's a great friend."

What Astros pitcher would he least like to face?: "I think Folty [Mike Foltynewicz], he looks pretty tough. I've seen him throw in some games, but I haven't faced him. I have faced Joe Valdez and he made me look like a little leaguer. Throwing that nasty splitter. I'll never forget, facing him in Spring Training and just being overwhelmed. I had no chance. I wouldn't want to face him too many times because he's got some nasty stuff."

If he couldn't play baseball, what would he do? Keep helping out with the dance studio?: "That would definitely be a big part of my life still, but I'd probably go into law enforcement. That's something I always wanted to do outside of baseball. I studied it at the University of Tennessee. I was a criminal justice major. I think that's something that I'd really get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to help people. That's probably the avenue I'd go if I wasn't playing ball."

Something that most people don't know about him and might be surprised to hear: "Well, I didn't technically play baseball in high school until my senior year. I got cut my freshman and sophomore year, and I got to be the scorekeeper and the bullpen catcher. I try to encourage people who have struggled, if they haven't made a team or stuff like that, I think it's a good story to tell people that if you work hard and you really want to do something, you can do it."

Would he like to add an inning or so as a catcher to his resume?: "I caught my freshman year of college. It's always in the back of my mind. I could do it. It probably wouldn't be good. Might as well. If I've got eight, I might as well do nine. I always wanted to be a catcher when I was a kid. At five, I had my first set of catcher's gear. [He's not exactly built like a catcher.] I'm built more like a sprint runner."

In case you missed it, here is Andy getting a fly out from Round Rock's Greg Miclat in his June 14th outing.

Thank you for your time, Andy, and best of luck as the season unfolds. I'll be watching the boxscores and hoping to see a "C" by your name one of these days. Might as well do nine.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 4-3
A pitchers' duel through six, Oklahoma City took a 3-0 lead in the seventh which it held until Zephyrs' Catcher Kyle Skipworth, a career minor league .215 hitter (hitting .161 this season), hit a walk-off grand slam in the ninth off Jose Valdez. Thus ended a shutout thrown by Philip Humber (5IP 3H 3BB 6SO), Kevin Chapman (1IP 1H 2SO) and Jason Stoffel (2IP 2H 3SO). The RedHawks were held to six hits, with an RBI double from Che-Hsuan Lin being the only extra base hit. Jonathan Villar was two-for-four with a walk and Jon Singleton was hitless with three strikeouts.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 4-2
Mike Foltynewicz pitched four and a third innings and allowed two runs on an Eddy Rodriguez home run, one of only five hits given up. He walked one and struck out eight. Kenny Long got the second out of the fifth before giving way to David Martinez (4.1IP 3H 2SO) who cruised to his tenth win of the season. The Hooks only managed to get five hits so they had to make them count. The Hooks took the lead early with a two-run home run from Domingo Santana in the first, two runs which were quickly answered in the second by the Missions. The final two runs came across in the seventh inning on a Rene Garcia RBI single and a fielding error.

Lancaster - Day Off

Quad Cities - Day Off

Tri-City over Vermont 8-2
Michael Feliz dealt five strong innings allowing one run on only one hit and three walks while striking out nine and was followed by three innings from Andrew Walter (3H 1R 3SO) and a scoreless frame from Christian Garcia. D'Andre Toney (2x3 2R) had the big four RBI night, including a three run home run and Mike Martinez was three-for-four and scored two runs. Tony Kemp went one-for-four with a walk, RBI and stolen base, and Dan Gulbransen went two-for-three with an RBI and scored a run.

DSL Astros over DSL Mariners 6-2 in 17 innings
Six Astros pitchers combined in this one with Elieser Hernandez (5IP 3H 1R/0ER 3BB 3SO) and Angel Heredia (4.1IP 2H 1R 3BB 6SO 1HR) giving up the only two runs and Victor Mesa getting the win in extras. The Astros did this the hard way. They didn't tie it up until the top of the ninth when Victor Tavarez hit a two-run home run. Fast forward to the top of the 17th and a four spot by the Astros sealed the deal. Hector Roa was four-for-eight with a double; Jean Estrella went three-for-seven and scored a run; and Luis Payano drove in two and stole a base.

Player of the Day: D'Andre Toney earns his first WTHB honors of the season for his four RBI night. Honorable mention goes to Hector Roa who went four-for-eight with a double for the DSL. He is hitting .275 with a .500 slugging percentage over his last eight games.

Pitcher of the Day: Michael Feliz intrigued us last season with his dominance in the GCL. The 6'4" 210# 19-year old seems to be carrying that forward. Despite a bit of wildness in the second inning which allowed one run to score, Feliz was otherwise dominant again last night with nine strikeouts.

Happy Birthday - 6/20

RHP Tanner Bushue (22)
Bushue was drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 out of high school in Illinois. 2012 was a rough season for Bushue as he got hammered at Lexington to start the season, was sent back to Extended Spring Training and then spent the remainder of the season pitching for the Rookie League Greeneville team mostly out of the bullpen where he compiled a 1-3 record with a 5.65 ERA and a 1.849 WHIP in 16 appearances (1 start). Bushue has had one start with Tri-City this season.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

SS Dickie Thon (55)
Originally signed by the Angels as a NDFA in 1975, Thon came to Houston in an April 1981 trade for RHP Ken Forsch. In seven seasons for the Astros, he hit .270/.329/.395 with his best season being his All-Star 1983 season as he hit .286/.341/.457 and won the Silver Slugger. In early 1984, Thon was hit in the eye by a Mike Torrez pitch threatening his career just as he was hitting his stride. Although he eventually was able to be effective at the plate again, most Astros fans who saw him in 1983 were left to wonder what if. In 1983, Thon led the National League in WAR at 7.2.

C Paul Bako (41)
A fifth round pick by the Reds in 1993, Bako came to Houston in a January 1999 trade. In 74 games with Houston in 1999 and 2000, he hit .253/.329/.355.

LF/1B Carlos Lee (37)
Signed as a NDFA out of Panama by the White Sox, Carlos Lee came to Houston as a free agent signing in November of 2006. In six seasons with the Astros, Lee hit .286/.338/.479 with 187 doubles, 8 triples, and 133 home runs. He was traded to the Marlins on July 4, 2012 (hereafter known as Freedom from Carlos Lee's Contract Day) for Rob Rasmussen and Matt Dominguez, proving that there is justice and mercy in the world. Lee was an All-Star from 2005 to 2007 and won Silver Sluggers in 2005 and 2007. He recorded five 30 home run seasons and six 100 RBI seasons in his career.

Tweet of the Day

Brady Rodgers
Gotta love coming back to Lancaster
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Interview with Astros RHP Jarred Cosart

I caught up with Jarred Cosart in Oklahoma City on Sunday, the day after he got his sixth win of the season for the team. I had talked with his OKC Pitching Coach, Steve Webber, the day before to get his take on how Cosart has progressed this season, "I think he's developing a consistent delivery and being able to throw downhill more, use his secondary pitches more ... his curveball , his changeup. He's got three quality pitches so it's just a matter of him commanding the strike zone." And according to Cosart, that is precisely what he's working on and he feels good about his progress.

Thanks for your time, Jarred. We hope to see you in Houston soon. And, by the way, any time you want to trash talk the Cowboys, the door is wide open!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Midwest East All-Stars over Midwest West All-Stars 6-5
Starter Lance McCullers pitched one perfect inning for the West, striking out two. Jordan Jankowski allowed four runs (none earned) in a third of an inning and was charged with a blown save. Carlos Correa, the starter at short, was two-for-three with a strikeout.

Carolina All-Stars over California League All-Stars 12-2
Brady Rodgers pitched a perfect sixth for the Cal League All-Stars, striking out one. Andrew Aplin started the game and went one-for-three with a double. Matt Duffy also got a start at third and went one-for-three with a double, a sac fly RBI, a strikeout and an error. Preston Tucker entered the game in the sixth and was one-for-two with a double, a strikeout and a run scored.

Oklahoma City over New Orleans 3-1
Starter Brad Peacock (6.1IP 6H 1BB 5SO) pitched a beauty and was rewarded with the win. Eric Berger and Josh Zeid took it the rest of the way, with Zeid allowing the only New Orleans run in the ninth. The RedHawks did all of their scoring in the seventh by way of a little small ball and taking advantage of a couple of Zephyr errors. OKC only managed seven singles, two each from Jake Elmore and Che-Hsuan Lin (RBI), but it was enough.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 8-4
Three errors and a passed ball came back to bite the Hooks as R.J. Alaniz (4IP 6H 4R/2ER 3BB 2SO) and Jorge de Leon (2.2IP 7H 3R/2ER 1BB 2SO) took the mound. Gonzalo Sanudo allowed the final run across in the ninth on a home run. Corpus Christi put one run across in the sixth on a Jonathan Meyer double and added three more in the eighth on a Domingo Santana double and a Meyer two-run home run. George Springer was three-for-four with a double, a run scored and two stolen bases (his 20th and 21st of the season).

Tri-City over Vermont 9-6
Tanner Bushue (4.1IP 4H 2R/2ER 1BB 3SO) got the start, and Albert Minnis got the win. Minnis only pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed his inherited runner to score. Adrian Houser pitched two innings and was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits, although two of those runs came across on Patrick Christensen's watch. Chia-Jen Lo was perfect in the ninth, striking out two and earning his first save. Tri-City scored early and often, first putting one run across in the second on a Luis Alvarez (2x3 BB R) double and one in the third on a Tony Kemp home run and then putting up crooked numbers in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Dan Gulbransen hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth. James Ramsay was two-for-four and scored a run.

DSL Astros over DSL Mariners 10-3
Geronimo Franzua (5IP 5H 2R 1BB 8SO) got the win and had plenty of breathing room as his team spotted him with seven runs in the second inning, an inning that featured four singles, a walk, a sac bunt, a throwing error, two wild pitches, a triple and a Hector Roa two-run home run. Luis Payano (2x4 BB 3RBI R), Arturo Michelena (2x5 2R) and Jarico Reynoso (2x4 RBI 2R) all hit triples in the game. Jesus Bermejo was two-for-four with an RBI and scored two runs.

Player of the Day: Jonathan Meyer has definitely found his power stroke of late. On Tuesday, he was two-for-four with a double, home run and three RBI. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .293 with a whopping .610 slugging percentage.

Pitcher of the Day: I'm going to have to go with the six and a third shutout innings from Brad Peacock. The RedHawks have gotten blown out a couple of times as of late so they needed a stopper and they got it in Peacock.

Happy Birthday - 6/19

LHP Sebastian Kessay (20)
Drafted by Houston in the 22nd round in 2013 out of Scottsdale Community College, Kessay will start his professional career playing for the Greeneville Astros Rookie League club.

LHP Cristhopher Santamaria (17)
I have no information on Santamaria other than the fact that he has pitched one perfect inning for the DSL Astros in his one appearance so far this season.

C Tyler Heineman (22)
Drafted by Houston in the eighth round in 2012 out of UCLA, Heineman spent his first short season with Tri-City winning the New York-Penn League batting title with a .358 average which earned him a promotion to Hi-A Lancaster for 2013. In 49 games for the JetHawks so far this season, he is hitting .274/.373/.390.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Bob Aspromonte (75)
Aspro the Astro was one of the original Colt .45s and Astros players, having been obtained in the expansion draft in October of 1961. In seven seasons with the Astros, Aspromonte hit .258/.313/.345 with his best season being 1967 when he hit .294/.354/.401. He was traded in December 1968 to Atlanta for utility player Marty Martinez. He led the National League in fielding percentage in 1964 and 1971.

LHP Jerry Reuss (64)
A second round pick by the Cardinals in 1967, Reuss came to Houston in a trade in April 1972, was traded away in October of 1973 and came back to Houston as a free agent 17 years later in 1990 toward the end of a 22-year major league career (but didn't pitch for Houston again at the major league level). In 1972 and 1973, Reuss was 25-26 in 74 games for the Astros with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP. He won 18 games in three different seasons and was an All-Star in two of those, in 1975 for the Pirates and in 1980 for the Dodgers. He came in second in Cy Young voting in 1980 to Steve Carlton.

2B Craig Smajstrla (51)
Originally drafted in the fourth round in 1981 by the White Sox, Smajstrla (can I buy a vowel?) came to Houston as a free agent in November of 1987. His eight games for the Astros in 1988 constituted his entire major league career. Used mostly as a pinch runner, he scored two runs but never got a hit in his three at bats.

LHP Bruce Chen (36)
Atlanta signed Chen as a free agent out of Panama in 1993. He came to Houston as a free agent in March of 2003 and only pitched in 11 games before being placed on waivers. In 12 innings, he had an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.833. He is currently pitching for the Kansas City Royals.

Tweet of the Day

Travis Ballew
Tired of seeing all this stuff at stores. Where's all the stuff?!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random Thoughts on My Oklahoma City Trip

This trip wasn't as successful for me, karma-wise, as most of my minor league sojourns have proven to be. I only brought the RedHawks one win out of three games, but I was still able to get a few pictures and grab a couple of interviews that I'll be posting over the next few days. In the meantime, a few random thoughts and pictures to tide you over ...

First off, do yourself a favor if you go to Oklahoma City to catch a few games. Stay at the Hampton Inn in Bricktown in one of the ballpark view rooms. Here was my view:

It took all my self-control not to run back to the room on Sunday to watch the game rather than sitting through Sunday's excess heat and humidity (with nary a breeze to be found).

By the way, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is a very nice park and really incorporates a great deal of Oklahoma baseball history into the park with statues of Johnny Bench, Warren Spahn and Mickey Mantle adorning the exterior, among many other nods to the past.

Note to self: You are apparently allergic to Oklahoma City. Pack extra allergy meds next time.

[NOTE: Serious baseball people, i.e., those with no sense of humor, may want to skip this next part.] I've never seen so many players with beautiful blue eyes on one team before. In particular, I kept staring at Ross Seaton and Robbie Grossman. I was already feeling stalkerish with the camera, but dang, they have pretty eyes. (The picture of Seaton does not do his eyes justice!)

Ross Seaton - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Robbie Grossman - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Note to Self: Getting on an early morning flight back to Houston and then trying to work a 10-hour day? Bad idea.

I tweeted on Friday that Justin Maxwell was NOT wearing high socks, a fact that caused much consternation among some of his Houston fans who follow me on twitter. I asked him about it the next day, and he had a very simple explanation. He didn't have the right socks to wear with the RedHawks uni. His orange socks would have clashed.

Josh Zeid and Brett Oberholtzer are both really nice guys. I enjoyed talking with both of them about all things baseball. I also met Zeid's wife of roughly five months. Let me just say this ... he did good (and they are going to have some very tall children).

I really enjoy watching Jake Elmore play. He puts maximum effort into everything he does and he has fun doing it. Jonathan Villar also stood out for me. Not only was he pretty impressive with the bat, he now also seems much more comfortable in the field. I have been tough on Villar in the past, but he looks much more polished and ready now than what I've seen from him in the past.

Note to Self: Traveling two weekends in a row? Another bad idea.

It seems as though something noteworthy always happens when I visit a minor league venue. On Sunday I got to see Jon Singleton's AAA debut in which he hit two doubles that were very close to leaving the ballpark.

Jon Singleton - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

But it was Friday night's pitching that was probably the most unusual feature of my visit. The game was a lopsided losing proposition and the bullpen was taxed by extra innings from the prior night, so outfielders Andy Simunic and Che-Hsuan Lin were called upon to pitch and did quite nicely, thank you very much! I recorded a portion of the action. I also talked to Andy the next day and my interview with him will be coming out later this week. 

In addition to the interview with Simunic, I'll have interviews with Jarred Cosart and Asher Wojciechowski coming out this week as well. Many thanks to Alex and Lisa for their assistance!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Round Rock over Oklahoma City 12-2
This one started off badly and then just got worse. Brett Oberholtzer (4R/3ER) gave up two hits and four straight walks while only recording one out before being lifted for Alex Sogard. Sogard got a quick double play to limit the damage and went on to strike out the side in the second, but things went south again in the third as five hits and two walks (one intentional) blossomed into another six Round Rock runs. Rhiner Cruz allowed the final two runs in the fourth before he, Jason Stoffel, Kevin Chapman and Che-Hsuan Lin provided scoreless relief the rest of the way. It is the second time that OF Lin has been called upon to pitch in the last four games. OKC put up one run in the seventh and one in the eighth (RBI from Fernando Martinez and Jose Martinez), but "too much, too little, too late." Jake Elmore went two-for-four; Marc Krauss was two-for-four with a double and a run scored; and Jon Singleton was one-for-four with a double and a strikeout in his second AAA appearance.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 8-6
Bobby Doran (3IP 6H 3R 1BB 4SO) got the start and Corpus was leading until a four-run fifth derailed the team. Nick Tropeano (4IP 7H 4R 4SO) was charged with the loss. Andrew Robinson pitched the final two frames and gave up a solo home run, one of only two hits he allowed. The Hooks put two across in the first on a George Springer single and a Jonathan Meyer (1x3 2B BB) sac fly. Jio Mier (2x5 2R) followed up with a two-run home run in the second, his fifth long ball of the season. Kiké Hernandez added on a solo homer in the third, and George Springer doubled in Zach Johnson (2x4 2B 2R) for the final Hooks run in the fourth. Rene Garcia was two-for-five with a double and a run scored.

Lancaster - All-Star Break

Quad Cities - All-Star Break

Tri-City over Vermont 9-3
Evan Grills got the first start of the Tri-City season and gave up one run by way of a solo home run in his four innings of work. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out two. Edison Frias (3H 2R 1SO) provided one inning of relief before the second half of the tandem came in. Kevin Comer allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out five in his four innings. The offensive output was rather impressive with LF Jon Kemmer leading the charge.

 Ronnie Mitchell and Tony Kemp each swiped a bag as well.

DSL Athletics over DSL Astros 1-0 in 12 innings
This was an unbelievable pitcher's duel in the DSL with Harold Arauz (5IP 4H 5SO), Javier Lozano (3IP 1H 6SO) and Gerardo Juarez (3IP 2H 4SO) allowing zero runs and zero walks in the first 11 innings before Victor Mesa got touched for a solo home run in the 12th. The Astros were held to four hits with 2B Arturo Michelina getting two of them.

Player of the Day: Jon Kemmer gets the nod in his first professional appearance -- four-for-four with a two-run home run and a walk is certainly a nice start by any measure.

Pitcher of the Day: I'm going to give Kevin Comer honorable mention for his excellent first Tri-City start, but I've got to go with the DSL pitchers (Arauz, Lozano and Juarez) for their 11 shutout innings. The fact that they didn't walk a batter in those 11 innings puts them over the top. Great job!

Happy Birthday - 6/18

C Jason Castro (26)
Castro the Astro was born in Castro Valley, CA and was drafted by Houston in the first round in 2008 out of Stanford. He made his major league debut in June 2010 and played in 67 games that season. Due to a torn ACL suffered in a base-running incident in Spring Training in 2011, he missed the entire 2011 season. Castro also suffered another injury in Spring Training 2012 somewhat so one could argue that 2013 is really the first healthy (knock wood) major league season of his career. He is showing what he can do when healthy, hitting .270/.328/.426 with 18 doubles and ten home runs in 60 games.

I always thought Castro would look good with a Clark Gable "Gone with the Wind" mustache so Steve Eisenhour aka (@KevinBassStache) indulged me with a little photoshop. Many thanks!

C M.P. Cokinos (23)
A Houston native, Cokinos was drafted in the 31st round in 2012 out of St. Mary's University. He spent his first professional season with the short season Tri-City team with good results. Cokinos bypassed Quad Cities and headed straight to Lancaster in 2013. In 42 games, he is hitting .318/.403/.500, playing some first base and a lot of DH, in addition to occasional catching duties.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Fernando Rodriguez (29)
Originally drafted by the Angels out of high school in El Paso in 2003, Rodriguez came to Houston as a free agent in December 2010. In 118 games for Houston in 2011 and 2012, he had an ERA of 4.77 and a WHIP of 1.492. He was traded (along with Jed Lowrie) to Oakland for Max Stassi, Chris Carter and Brad Peacock in February 2013. Rodriguez recently underwent Tommy John surgery.

OF J.B. Shuck (26)
Shuck was a sixth round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2008 and made his major league debut in August of 2011. In 37 games with the Astros, he hit .272/.359/.321 with 11 walks to only seven strikeouts. In five minor league seasons in the Astros organization, Shuck hit .301/.382/.382. Shuck signed with the Angels as a free agent in November 2012.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
WWF commercials are so depressing. I want to adopt a wild polar bear

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting to Know Your 2013 Greeneville Astros

[A NOTE FROM JAYNE: Our good friend Steve at Appy Astros has agreed to cross-post some of his great content and analysis, such as this roster analysis and his eyewitness accounts of games on the the Rookie League Greeneville Astros over here at What the Heck, Bobby? He'll also be posting links to some of his other terrific work. It will give my readers a more in-depth look at the Rookie League team and introduce Steve to some of you who may not be familiar with his work as he covers the current team and past Greeneville players no matter where they might end up. This is his third season of writing Appy Astros. Welcome aboard, Steve. Buca and I are very happy to have you come along for the ride!]

The coaching staff is here. The clubbie is stocking the club house. The players are getting settled in their lodging for the next few months. Let's learn a little bit about the guys who will wear the G star on their caps this season.

This preliminary roster that was released only shows 22 players.  I would expect more drafted and non-drafted free agents (NDFA) to join this group as we approach the start of the season. 

Alan Abreu (GCL) - This is a great story.  Abreu was signed as a non drafted free agent out of Lander University by the Astros after a private workout in September of 2011 as a pitcher.  They signed this guy who:
"never pitched in his two years at Lander. Nor did Abreu pitch for Eastern Kentucky University, where he played his freshman year. Abreu didn't even pitch in high school. Believe it or not, he never even pitched in little league ball."
The right handed pitcher posses a 95 MPH fastball and is still learning to pitch. He was effective but not dominant in the GCL with just eight strike outs in 20 innings but still had a low 2.70 ERA.  

Tyler Brunnemann (40th Rd 2013) - Brunnemann was the final draft pick of 2013 for the Astros.  He is out of Hardin Simmons University in Texas.  The righty throws in the low to mid 90's with a curve, a change and is developing a slider. Pitching in tough situations shouldn't bother him much since he has already faced having a non-malignant brain tumor removed when he was 11!

William "Austin" Chrismon - (26th Round 2013) - Chrismon spent his first two college seasons at East Carolina before transferring to Christopher Newport University.  He is the first player from CNU to be drafted.  In one outing this season, the right hander struck out 18 batters in eight innings.

Enderson Franco (GCL) - The 20 year old right handed pitcher from Venezuela comes to Greeneville after spending two years in the GCL.  He has pitched mostly as a starter and really improved his control in 2012, cutting his walks from 3.3/9 innings to 1.4/9 innings.

Jandel Gustave (GCL) - A 20 year old from the Dominican Republic.  Appears to have good stuff with 22 Ks in 28 innings but struggles with control with 27 walks.  Let's hope the young righty learns to harness the stuff.

Krishawn Holley (GCL) - A 39th round pick in 2009 by the Astros. He made just one appearance in the GLC in 09 due to signing late.  He has spent the last two years in the GCL with limited action. When he has pitched, his numbers are impressive.  In 31 innings as a pro, he has an ERA of 1.45 with 24K and a WHIP of 0.968.   An intriguing right handed pitcher that I am excited to see in person.

Sebastian Kessay (22nd Round - 2013) - A lefty from Scottsdale Community College, Kessay fanned 98 in 72 innings this season.

Chris Lee (Greeneville) - This will be the 2010 4th round pick's third time to be in Greeneville.  He has struggled to stay healthy. The lefty threw just 8 2/3 innings in 2012.  Here's hoping the third time is the charm.

Jordan Mills (28th round 2013) - Was surprised to hear his name called on draft day.  The tall (6' 5") left handed pitcher throws a fastball (88-92), a slider and a change up.

J.D. Osborne (36th Round 2013) - Another left handed pitcher, Osborne was a fifth year senior with Wofford prior to being drafted.  He made 27 relief appearances for the Terriers with 37 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings pitched.

Frederick Tiburcio (Greeneville) - The second of our returners this season.  Tiburcio showed flashes of promise last season.  He struck out 55 batters in 58 1/3 innings pitched.  He is a 22 year old right handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic.

Ricky Gingras (Greeneville) - Gingras returns to Greeneville where he showed some pop hitting three HR in 29 games last season.  He and Alfredo Gonzalez will split most of the catching duties.

Alfredo Gonzalez (GCL) - The 20 year old from Venezuela showed significant improvement in his second year in the GCL.  He raised his average from .172 to .244 and cut his passed balls down from 15 to 9.  He threw out 37% of base stealers in 2012.

Cristian Moronta (Greeneville) - The 23 year old from the Dominican Republic returns to Greeneville for his third season.  It is likely he will likely see limited game action and will be the bullpen catcher.  However, he brings some maturity and leadership to the team.  He received the 2011 Oscar Pedron award for leadership. 

Edwin Gomez (GCL) - Signed last season after being released from the Tigers system.  He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 draft and had made it as far as A ball before being released.  He is a 21 year old from Puerto Rico who primarily played first for the GCL Astros but has history playing the corner outfield spots. That may come in handy with just three outfielders on the roster thus far.

Angel Ibanez (Greeneville) - Ibanez finished strong last season hitting .305 in 24 games in August. The 22 year old was drafted in the 28th round of the 2012 draft.  He primarily plays third. 

Jack Mayfield (NDFA 2013) A non drafted free agent signed out of the University of Oklahoma, Mayfield plays mostly 2nd base.  He hit .254 in 2013 with seven HR in his senior season.

Darwin Rivera (GCL) - This is Rivera's second trip to Greeneville.  He came here as an 19 year old and struggled in the field committing 30 errors. He spent last year in the GCL and hit well (.310) and made just 15 errors at 3rd.

Juan Santana (GCL) - He is a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic who plays the middle infield positions.  He hit .268 with 12 doubles for the GCL Astros last year. 

Wallace Gonzalez (GCL) - Drafted in the 29th round of the 2011 draft, Gonzalez has spent two seasons in the GLC prior to coming to Greeneville.  He showed more power in his second season raising his slugging percentage almost 100 points.  Expect to see him manning the corner outfield spots.

Tanner Mathis (NDFA) - Mathis was drafted by the Astros in 2012 out of Ole Miss, but chose not to sign.  After not getting drafted in 2012, he signed on with the Astros as a non drafted free agent.

Marc Wik (Greeneville) - Drafted in the 21st round of the 2012 draft, Wik played mostly left field in Greeneville last season, though he did play in right some and got a few games at 2nd.  He started hot at the plate last year but faded as the year drug on. 

Astros Minor League Short Season Rosters

According to Brian McTaggart, the initial rosters for the three domestic short season teams have been announced and are as follows. I am including where the player came from (if known) and a partial list of some of the missing players.


Bushue, Tanner - Drafted 2009
Christensen, Pat - Drafted 2013
Comer, Kevin - Trade 2012
*Fant, Randall - Draft 2013
Feliz, Michael - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
Frias, Edison - NDFA 2011 - Dominican Republic
Garcia, Christian - Drafted 2012
*Grills, Evan - Drafted 2010
Houser, Adrian - Drafted 2011
Lo, Chia-Jen (Rehab) - NDFA 2008 - Taiwan
*Minnis, Albert - Drafted 2013
Morton, Zach - Drafted 2013
Walter, Andrew - NDFA 2011
Westwood, Kyle - Drafted 2013

Alvarez, Luis - NDFA 2006 - Venezuela
Carnahan, Jon - NDFA 2012
Genoves, Ernesto - NDFA 2011 - Venezuela

*Dineen, Ryan - Drafted 2012
Fernandez, Jose - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
*Kemp, Tony - Drafted 2013
Lindauer, Thomas - Drafted 2013
Martinez, Michael - Drafted 2012
#Moon, Chan Jong - NDFA 2009 - South Korea

*Gregor, Conrad - Drafted 2013
*Gulbransen, Dan - Drafted 2012
*Kemmer, Jon - Drafted 2013
*Mitchell, Ronnie - Drafted 2013
*Ramsay, James - Drafted 2013
*Toney, D'Andre - Trade 2012

#Switch hitter


Abreu, Alan - NDFA 2011
Brunnemann, Tyler - Drafted 2013
Chrismon, William - Drafted 2013
Franco, Enderson - NDFA 2009 - Venezuela
Gustave, Jandel - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
Holley, Krishawn - Drafted 2010
*Kessay, Sebastian - Drafted 2013
*Lee, Chris - Drafted 2011
*Mills, Jordan - Drafted 2013
*Osborne, J.D. - Drafted 2013
Tiburcio, Frederick - NDFA 2008 - Dominican Republic

*Gingras, Ricky - Drafted 2012
Gonzalez, Alfredo - NDFA 2008 - Venezuela
Moronta, Cristian - NDFA 2008 - Dominican Republic

#Gomez, Edwin - Free Agent 2012
*Ibanez, Angel - Drafted 2012
Mayfield, Jack - NDFA 2013
Rivera, Darwin - NDFA 2008 - Dominican Republic
Santana, Juan - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic

Gonzalez, Wallace - Drafted 2011
*Mathis, Tanner - NDFA 2013
*Wik, Marc - Drafted 2012

#Switch hitter


Barrios, Agapito - NDFA 2010 - Panama
Connolly, Ryan - NDFA 2013
Culbreth, Brandon - Drafted 2011
*De Leon, Ambiorix - NDFA 2009 - Dominican Republic
De Los Santos, Samil - NDFA 2011 - Dominican Republic
*Ferguson, Kevin - NDFA 2013
Montero, Jose - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
Ramirez, Gerardo - FA 2013
Rivera, Raul - Drafted 2009
Scribner, Troy - NDFA 2013

Booth, Brett - Drafted 2013
#Clements, Brett - NDFA 2013
Coa, Pedro - NDFA 2011 - Venezuela
Nottingham, Jacob - Drafted 2013

Gonzalez, Alexander - FA 2013
*Hipp, Parker - NDFA 2013
#Mejia, Yonathan - NDFA 2009 - Dominican Republic
Reynoso, Luis - NDFA 2011 - Dominican Republic
Silfa, Yoel - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
Solano, Jose - NDFA 2010 - Dominican Republic
White, Brian "Tyler" - Drafted 2013

#De La Rosa, Luis - NDFA 2008 - Dominican Republic
Laguna, Mesac - NDFA 2010 - Nicaragua
Marte, Ydarqui - NDFA 2009 - Dominican Republic
*Martin, Jason - Drafted 2013
*Reynolds, Javaris - Drafted 2011

#Switch hitter

Jack Armstrong - Injured
Jean Batista
Bobby Borchering - UPDATE: Baseball America said he was just placed on the DL (h/t to Appy Astros)
Chase Davidson
Lance Day - UPDATE: Day has retired from baseball
Justin Gominsky - Rehabbing from wrist surgery
Murilo Gouvea - On the 60-day DL
Joe Musgrove - Rehabbing a minor injury; should be activated soon
Luis Ordosgoitti
Francis Ramirez
The Mythical Kyle Weiland

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Round Rock over Oklahoma City 9-4
Ouch. I think my good mojo finally ran out. Either that or it just doesn't work in Oklahoma City. Asher Wojciechowski had a terrific start, allowing only one run on a solo home run in his six innings of work. He gave up four hits, walked two batters and struck out eight. The next two innings (Eric Berger 1.2IP and Jose Valdez 0.1IP) were also smooth sailing and the RedHawks took a 4-1 lead into the top of the ninth. They left the top of the ninth with a 9-4 deficit as Jose Valdez had a very rare implosion and ended up charged with seven earned runs while recording only two outs in the ninth. Philip Humber allowed one more run across before all was said and done and the 'Hawks went down meekly in the bottom of the frame. Up until the ninth inning, all of the scoring was via the long ball with Brandon Laird and Justin Maxwell hitting solo home runs and Jonathan Villar (3x5) hitting two of them. In his first appearance at AAA, Jon Singleton was two-for-four with two doubles (both of which were very close to being home runs as well) and a strikeout. Brett Wallace was three-for-four with a double.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 7-2
Jake Buchanan got his first loss of the season, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits in five and two-thirds innings. His ERA climbed north to 1.99 in the process. Matt Heidenreich was charged with one run in his two and a thirds innings. The Hooks scored one in the fifth as Drew Muren hit a lead-off triple and was driven in by a Jio Mier (2x4) single and one more in the sixth on an Erik Castro (2x4) home run.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 4-2
Aaron West got the start and the loss as he allowed two runs via the long ball in his three innings of work. He allowed four hits and struck out three. He was followed by one and two-thirds from Blair Walters (4H 2R 3SO). Cameron Lamb and Tommy Shirley took it the rest of the way with perfect outings. The JetHawks did all of their scoring in the sixth as Telvin Nash doubled in Ryan McCurdy (2x3 2B BB) and then scored on a ground out.

Quad Cities over Burlington 5-4
Starter Mike Hauschild gave up three runs on six hits in four and a third innings. Two of those runs came across under Mitch Lambson's watch, but he and Colton Cain (3IP 1H 2SO) didn't allow any runs of their own. Juan Minaya got the save despite allowing a solo home run in the ninth. Quad Cities put up a four-spot in the third, starting out with a Jordan Scott double and then playing small ball ... singles, stolen bases, a sac bunt and taking advantage of errors. The final run in the fifth came across in similar fashion as Teoscar Hernandez (2x4 RBI 2R SB) reached on an error, stole second and took third on an error and scored on a Carlos Correa (2x3 2RBI R SB) sac fly.

Player of the Day: Jonathan Villar's two home run game is only a part of it. He looked very smooth and polished in the field as well. All the pieces look to be falling into place for Villar very nicely.

Pitcher of the Day: Asher Wojociechowski was dealing and really deserved the win. I suppose he'll have to settle for a little WTHB love.

Happy Birthday - 6/17

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

LHP Mike Magnante (48)
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the 11th round in 1988, Magnante came to Houston as a free agent in December of 1996. In 88 games for the Astros in 1997 and 1998, Magnante was 7-8 with a 3.62 ERA, a 1.329 WHIP and 3 saves. Apparently, he fielded his position pretty well, too, as he was first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 1992 and first in range factor for a pitcher in 1998 and 2000.

Tweet of the Day

Aaron West
I can see a dust storm. We must be getting close to Lancaster.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Roster Moves

According to Astros County, the following Non-Drafted Free Agents have been signed by the Astros:

RHP Ryan Connolly
RHP Troy Scribner
IF/RHP Jack Mayfield

Some of these transactions are a couple of days old, but just recapping in case you missed any of them:

Oklahoma City RedHawks
RHP C.J. Fick released
OF Justin Maxwell to OKC for rehab assignment

Corpus Christi
RHP Carlos Quevedo placed on the 7-day DL

RHP Chris Devenski placed on the 7-day DL
LHP Blair Walters activated from the DL
OF Brandon Meredith placed on the 7-day DL
C Ryan McCurdy activated from the 7-day DL

Quad Cities
RHP Juri Perez assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities
OF Brett Phillips assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities
RHP Jamaine Cotton placed on the 7-day DL
LF Terrell Joyce placed on the 7-day DL

4th round pick OF Conrad Gregor assigned to Tri-City
5th round pick 2B Tony Kemp assigned to Tri-City
7th round pick OF James Ramsay assigned to Tri-City
13th round pick RHP Kyle Westwood assigned to Tri-City
21st round pick OF Jon Kemmer assigned to Tri-City
23rd round pick SS Thomas Lindauer assigned to Tri-City
25th round pick LHP Albert Minnis assigned to Tri-City
27th round pick RHP Patrick Christensen assigned to Tri-City
29th round pick LHP Randall Fant assigned to Tri-City
32nd round pick RHP Zach Morton assigned to Tri-City
38th round pick OF Ronnie Mitchell assigned to Tri-City

22nd round pick LHP Sebastian Kessay assigned to Greeneville
26th round pick RHP (William) Austin Chrismon assigned to Greeneville
30th round pick RHP Tyler Brunneman assigned to Greeneville

GCL Astros
6th round pick C Jacob Nottingham assigned to the GCL Astros
8th round pick OF Jason Martin assigned to the GCL Astros
34th round pick C Brett Booth assigned to the GCL Astros

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday’s Games

DSL Astros 0, DSL Athletics 2
The DSL Astros were one-hit shutout on Saturday. Edwin Villarroel (1-1) took the loss after pitching the first five innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out two. Joselo Pinales followed to finish out the final three and during his time he gave up no hits, walked one and struck out a pair as another, un-earned, run scored in the seventh-the result of consecutive errors to lead off the bottom of that frame. The DSL Astros had four errors on the day and three in the seventh inning. Kristian Trompiz went one-for-four with the only hit of the day, a single in the first inning.

Burlington Bees 5, Quad Cities River Bandits 6 (9) Game 1
The River Bandits won their first match in the double dip at home Saturday. Quad Cities was behind five runs after the second inning, but steady pitching after that and Brian Blasik’s (2X4 R HR 4RBI) grand slam helped them get back to tie the game and eventually win. Daniel Minor was the first on the mound for the River Bandits and after the five runs (2ER) scored in the first two frames, he settled in to allow just one more hit in his remaining two and two thirds, finishing with six hits, a walk and a K. Juri Perez pitched next and gave up a single hit in his three-inning long shift while walking two and striking out a trio. Mitchell Lambson (4-3) closed out the final one and a third to pick up the win, striking out one with two hits allowed. In the bottom of the ninth, Teoscar Hernandez (2X5 2R HR RBI 2SO) led off with single and scored the winning run after he was followed by Carlos Correa’s (3X5 R 2B RBI SO) walk- off single. Hernandez also hit a solo-homer in the third to get Quad Cities on the board.

Burlington Bees 2, Quad Cities River Bandits 1 (8) Game 2
The second game of the day in Modern Woodmen Park went into extras too, but did not see a win for the home team. The River Bandits recorded three hits all game and scored their only run in the third, utilizing two of those hits-a Brett Phillips double and a Ruben Sosa RBI-single. The only other hit was a single by Carlos Correa to lead off the home half of the seventh frame. Lance McCullers threw the first five innings and tallied a run on six hits as he struck out six. John Neely (1-4) worked the last inning and picked up the loss, allowing the winning run on two hits. Gera Sanchez pitched the sixth and seventh, and aside from giving up two walks and a hit, struck out every other batter he faced, tying his career high of six.

Lancaster JetHawks 5, Lake Elsinore Storm 1
The JetHawks clinched the first half Saturday and secured a return to the post season with their second consecutive win on the road in Lake Elsinore. Kyle Hallock started on the mound and even though he gave up five hits and five walks through his four and two thirds, he kept them scoreless. Theron Geith entered for one out in the fifth to resolve a bases loaded situation and struck out the batter he faced to end the inning. Luis Cruz (3-4) took the hill for the next three innings, allowing the only run on two hits and a walk while striking out five and earning the win. Matt Duffy went wild at the plate on Saturday, batting three-for-four with a run scored, two doubles, two RBI and a walk. Preston Tucker (2X5 R 2SO) and Andrew Aplin (2X5 R) also had multi-hit games as well and Delino DeShields, who batted one-for-three, scored a run, walked twice and hit his sixth triple of the season.

Corpus Christi Hooks 0, Frisco Rough Riders 3
The Hooks were three-hit shutout on Saturday after winning their last four games in a row. David Martinez picked up his first loss of the season, moving his record to nine wins and one loss. Martinez tossed the first five frames for Corpus, allowing one run, three hits and struck out four. Aside from a single in the second, Martinez retired every batter he faced in order before reaching the fifth. Mike Foltynewicz followed on the hill for the next two and a third and allowed another pair of runs on three hits, walked three and K-ed two. Jonathan Singleton went nothing-for-two with a couple of walks and a strikeout and Max Stassi hit one-for-two with a walk and a double in the fifth inning.

Round Rock Express 4, Oklahoma City RedHawks 6
Oklahoma City didn’t score after the fourth inning, but by then they had already recorded a big enough crooked number for the win at home. Jarred Cosart (6-3) picked up the win after hurling the first six innings. Cosart gave up two runs on four hits (HR), walked four and struck out three. Kevin Chapman (2IP H ER 2SO) and Rhiner Cruz (.1 IP 2H ER BB HR) followed Cosart on the hill and each added another run before Josh Zeid stepped in to record the last two outs of the game and his third save of the season. Zeid faced two batters: the first lined out and the second was whiffed. Half of the RedHawks’ runs were the products of the longballs hit by Brett Wallace (1X4 R RBI HR 2SO) and Jake Elmore (2X3 2R HR 2RBI). Wallace hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the third and Elmore clubbed his in the fourth, scoring Robbie Grossman (1X4 R 2SO). Marc Krauss hit an RBI single in the first inning to draw first blood, scoring Elmore. Krauss finished at two-for-four with a double, RBI and a strikeout.

Player of the Day: Brian Blasik hit a big one Saturday and a grand slam always takes the honors here. Not only that, it was Blasik’s first homer of the season and the second of his minor league career. Way to make it count.

Pitcher of the Day: Two guys are splitting the honors today, Theron Geith and Josh Zeid. These two combined for just three outs of work all told on Saturday, but they stepped in and helped their teams when they needed them the most. Geith faced just one batter, but it was to end a two-out, bases-loaded jam and Zeid entered to record the last two outs of the game and secure the win for his team when things started to get too close for comfort. A very honorable mention goes out to Gera Sanchez and his six Ks in two innings as well.