Saturday, July 20, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games

Princeton Rays 1, Greeneville Astros 2
Greeneville won their eighth game in a row Friday and Tyler White knocked in every run they tallied. White (2X4 R 2B HR 2RBI) doubled in the first, bringing home Marc Wik (0X3 RBB SO) to get the Astros on the board. In the eighth, White hit a solo homer that was good for the go ahead run. Frederick Tiburcio pitched the first six innings for Greeneville, giving up a run on six hits and striking out two. The win went to Austin Chrismon (2-0), who pitched the next two frames, facing one over the minimum and K-ing one.

GCL Astros 4, GCL Yankees1 3 (11)
The Astros shut out their opponents before the eighth inning when they gave up two runs, tying the game and forcing extras. Brian Holmes, on a rehab start, pitched the first two innings and retired all he faced in order, striking out three. Erick Gonzalez (1-2) took the win, working two and one-third, giving up a run, walking one and striking out two. Yonathan Mejia (2X5 RBI) and Brett Booth (2X3 BB) both had two hits in the game. Ydarqui Marte (1X2 R HR 2RBI) hit a two run shot in the 11th that put his team ahead for the win.

DSL Athletics 4, DSL Astros 3 (10)
Starter Harold Arauz gave up three runs on four hits (HR) and the Astros never recovered. Arauz worked the first five and a third and also walked one a struck out four.  The Astros rallied to tie it in the ninth when pinch hitter Marlon Avea (1X1 2RBI) singled, scoring Dariel Aquino (0X1 R SO) and Hector Roa (1X1 R 2B). Jean Estrella swung a very hot bat Friday, going three-for-five.

Auburn Doubledays 1, Tri-City Valley Cats 3
Tri-City didn’t score first, but once they did there was no looking back. The Valley Cats were outhit on Friday 9-5 but made the hits they did get count. Jake Rodriguez (1X3 R HR 2RBI) made his count, swatting a two-run homer in the seventh inning that brought Ryan Dineen (0X1 R BB) home. Kyle Westwood started and pitched four innings, giving up a run on seven hits (HR) while striking out two. Chris Cotton (2-1) came on in the sixth and threw through the eighth, picking up the win as he allowed a pair of hits and struck out the same.

Quad Cities River Bandits 6, Fort Wayne TinCaps 3
Mark Appel gave up three runs in his second professional appearance, but the bats and following pitching kept the River Bandits alive. Appel pitched the first four innings and in that time he allowed three runs on four hits (2HR) and struck out four. After Appel left, Daniel Minor and Jordan Jankowski kept it scoreless allowing just three hits in the rest of the game. Minor would pick up the win and Jankowski earned his third save. Carlos Correa was one of three River Bandits with multi-hit games. Correa (2X5 R 2B HR 2RBI) put Quad Cities on the board in the third when he hit a two-run long ball. Dan Gulbransen (2X4 R 2B) and Bobby Borchering (2X4 R RBI SO) were the other two players with more than one hit.

Lancaster JetHawks 3, inland Empire 66ers 6
The JetHawks were shutout nearly the entire game before scoring three in the ninth inning. Lancaster collected five hits in the game and also drew 11 walks, but stranded 14 on base. Aaron West (7-6) worked the first five innings on the mound and was charged with five runs on four hits (HR), walked five and struck out the same, taking the loss. Matt Duffy (1X4 2B BB 2SO) and Delino DeShields (1X5 R 2B 2SO) both hit doubles in the game.

Frisco RoughRiders 11, Corpus Christi Hooks 5 (7) –Game 1
Corpus Christi jumped ahead early in the first game of their double header against Frisco Friday on a Rene Garcia (2X4 R HR 3RBI) two-run homer, but would fall after allowing nine runs in the fifth and seventh innings combined. Mike Foltynewicz started on the hill and threw into the fifth (although he didn’t record an out in the fifth) and left, tallying five runs (4ER) on four hits (HR), two walks and three strikeouts. Kenny Long took the loss though, after working two outs in the fifth and allowing a run of his own on a home run, K-ing two. Max Stassi (1X3 R) hit a homer of his own in the fourth inning as Drew Muren (2X3 R RBI BB) and Jonathan Meyer (2X3 SO) followed Garcia with two hit performances.

Frisco RoughRiders 2, Corpus Christi Hooks 3 (7) –Game 2
The Hooks were outhit in the second game of their double dip 8-5 and went on to win anyway. David Martinez (11-2) earned the win after throwing the complete game. Martinez allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out five on Friday. Preston Tucker (2X3 R 2B RBI) and Domingo Santana (1X1 2B 2RBI) both hit doubles in the sixth inning, combining to knock in all three Hooks’ runs.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 4, Memphis Redbirds 1 (7) –Game 1
Brad Peacock recorded all but the last out in the first game of this doubleheader in Memphis. Peacock (6-2) allowed a run on five hits and struck out 10 while facing just three over the minimum in his shift. Josh Zeid came on to record the final out and did, earning his 11th save in the process. George Springer (1X3 R HR 2RBI 2SO) and Jose Martinez (1X3 R HR 2RBI SO) were responsible for all of the RedHawks runs in this one, each player hitting his own two run shot.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 1, Memphis Redbirds 5 (7) –Game 2
The RedHawks dropped four runs in the first inning and couldn’t muster a comeback in the second game Friday. Eric Berger (3-3) went the first three innings and recorded the loss, allowing all five runs (2ER) on five hits, walking two and striking out one in that time. Brandon Laird (1X3 RBI) hit an RBI single in the third that scored Jonathan Villar. Villar (1X4 R 2B SO) reached base on a double two batters before and advanced to third on a steal, his 31st steal of the season.

Player of the Day: Mr. Tyler White stands atop the stage today for single-handedly producing all of his team’s runs yesterday. 

Pitcher of the Day: Brad Peacock wrote his ticket on Friday when he pitched nearly seven quality innings and struck out 10 along the way, including all three he faced in the fifth. At one point Peacock retired 10 batters in a row. Nice game. 

Happy Birthday - 7/20

LHP Mitch Lambson (23)
Drafted in the 19th round out of Arizona State in 2011, Lambson has spent this season with the Quad Cities squad. In 29 appearances out of the bullpen, he is 6-3 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.432 WHIP.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

OF Gary Woods (59)
Woods came to Houston in a December 1978 trade with the Blue Jays and played for Houston in 1980 and 1981. In 74 games for Houston, he hit .264/.315/.368. He was first in fielding percentage in the National League as an outfielder in 1982.

Tweet of the Day

Wow after an amazing week of baseball memories I get to fulfill my dream of pitching professionally in my hometown.

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Interview with Tri-City RHP Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman just got his first professional win last night. Having seen him earlier this month in person throwing four one-hit innings in Tri-City, I knew that it wouldn't take the second round draft pick long to get to that first win. In six appearances, he has a 2.00 ERA and a 1.167 WHIP.

I spoke with Tri-City Manager Ed Romero regarding Thurman and this is what he had to say, "What I've seen so far is a guy with good poise on the mound, good composure, knows what he's doing. He's under control on the mound. He has a pretty decent fastball that he knows how to spot. He has a very good curveball that he throws any time in the count whether he's ahead or behind. He's got control and command which is very important at this stage. He throws strikes, basically. He's a very good competitor. I think down the road he has a chance of being a quality starter."

Andrew Thurman - July 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Andrew earlier this month and this is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

On his draft experience: "Honestly, I hadn't really talked to the Astros too much prior to the draft. I was talking to a bunch of clubs, regarding the questionaires, where I thought I was going to get drafted and things like that. Come draft day, I didn't really know where I was going to go. But I was talking with my agent and when he let me know that the Astros were thinking about taking me with the first pick of the second round, I was beyond excited and very thankful."

On his college experience: "I went to UC Irvine. It was great. I enjoyed it very much. This past year, I lived down at the beach with a bunch of baseball guys and had a great time. I enjoyed going to school. I plan on finishing up. [Major?] Political science [If he couldn't play baseball?] Possibly law school. Possibly teach. One of those routes. Teach and coach baseball."

On his pitch repertoire: "Fastball pretty much goes any where from 90-92, usually sits 90-92. I like to throw that most of the time, start pitching aggressively with that, in and out. Probably next best pitch ... change up. I'll pretty much throw it in any count, probably the off-speed pitch I'm most comfortable with. Curveball ... I like throwing that more to lefties. I would say it's more of an out pitch and slider to righties. The slider I've been working on since this past summer. It's kind of coming along. Still working on it, but I like that too."

What does he need to work on?: "I just think consistency. Throw well each and every time out, and establish command of my off-speed pitches a little better."

Biggest surprise from his short time in pro ball?: "I think just being able to come out here every day and play baseball has been the biggest surprise. It's been great. Enjoyed every minute of it. Being out here, playing in front of 3000, 5000 people every night is a big change from college ball where I'm used to not playing in front of that many. I can't ask for much more I guess."

Whose pitch would he like to steal?: "I would probably have to say ... can I say Mark Appel's fastball? [laughter] No, Adrian Houser's curveball is a pretty good pitch. I was playing catch with him the other day and he was throwing it. It's tight and it's a good pitch for sure."

Which teammate would he least like to face in the batter's box?: "Ronnie Mitchell. He takes some healthy hacks out there. If I left one over the plate, he'd probably hit it way over the bullpen at least. He gets up there and swings it.  He's a good player. He plays a good right field too."

Which teammate makes him laugh?: "Either Chan Moon or Tony Kemp. Chan's a character and I live with Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor, and Tony's a funny guy."

I didn't talk to Andrew for long, so I will leave you with a couple observations. As I was waiting to interview him, he was finishing up a "light" workout on the field with Mark Appel. He was out there doing side planks with leg lifts which I think will attest to his strength and athleticism (and perhaps his competitiveness, if he was showing off for Appel). He is very comfortable in his own skin and displays an easygoing attitude, ready smile and a good sense of humor. And, most importantly, he wears high socks, "That's how I've worn them all my life, through college, and carried it over here."

When I asked Andrew for any final thoughts about the Astros, he left me with this, "[I'm] very thankful. This is everything that I thought it would be and I'm very thankful for the opportunity that they've given me."

Thank you for your time, Andrew, and the best of luck as the season continues.

Astro Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Oklahoma City at Memphis - Postponed

Frisco at Corpus Christi - Postponed

Lancaster over Inland Empire 6-3
Tommy Shirley went seven, allowing only one run on five hits to secure his first win of the season. He was followed by Jonas Dufek (1IP 4H 2R 1SO) and Travis Ballew who pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn his 16th save. The JetHawks scored two off the rehabbing Tommy Hanson, one in the first on a M.P. Cokinos single and one in the third as Andrew Aplin doubled in Joe Sclafani who had also doubled in the inning. They added two more in the fourth on a Delino DeShields RBI single, one in the seventh on a Cokinos double and one in the eighth on a Aplin single. Nolan Fontana was one-for-two, walked three times and scored two runs. Aplin stole his 14th base of the season and DeShields stole his 32nd.

Fort Wayne over Quad Cities 8-3
Velasquez got the start and the loss as he gave up five runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out four. He was followed by Gera Sanchez (2IP 2H 1R 2SO) and Jamaine Cotton (1IP 4H 2R 1SO). Carlos Correa drove in two of the three Bandits runs with an RBI single in the first and an RBI double in the eighth. The other run came via a Bobby Borchering home run in the second.

Tri-City over Auburn 9-3
Andrew Thurman pitched his way to his first professional win Thursday night, allowing only one run on a solo homer while striking out six over five innings. He was followed by Michael Feliz (3IP 5H 2R/1ER 3SO) and Andrew Walter (1IP 1H 1SO). The ValleyCats banged out 18 hits and got the scoring started early with a Mike Martinez (2x4) RBI double in the first and added on four more in the second in a frame that featured a Jake Rodriguez (3x4 2-2B R) double and back-to-back triples from Tony Kemp and D'Andre Toney (3x5 3B RBI 3R SB). Thomas Lindauer also doubled in the sixth, driving in a run. Conrad Gregor was two-for-four with an RBI; Ryan Dineen was three-for-five and scored twice; and James Ramsay went two-for-four with an RBI and a run.

Greeneville over Princeton 10-0 in 7 innings (Game 1)
Edison Frias (5IP 2H 1BB 2SO) and Ryan Connelly (2IP 1BB 1SO) combined on a two-hit shutout. Ricky Gingras (2x3 BB HR 4RBI 2R) and Chase McDonald (2x4 2B 3RBI 2R) had particularly good games, driving in seven of Greeneville's 10 runs, but Edwin Gomez and Angel Ibanez had multi-hit games as well, and each hit a double. Birthday boy Marc Wik had an 0-fer, but walked three times and scored once. Brian Holberton walked twice and scored two runs.

Greeneville over Princeton 4-0 in 7 innings (Game 2)
Jordan Mills tossed four perfect innings and struck out five in the process. The bullpen kept the shutout alive with two innings from Krishawn Holley (2H 2BB 1SO) and a perfect frame from Raul Rivera (1SO). Greeneville scored twice in the first on RBI singles from Edwin Gomez and Angel Ibanez, and two more in the fifth on a Brett Phillips single. Phillips also stole a base.

GCL Phillies over GCL Astros 14-2
Austin Nicely did ... nicely, that is, in his professional debut. He allowed one walk over two hitless innings. And Yonathan Mejia did nicely, going two-for-four with two doubles and scoring a run. And Brett Booth did nicely, going two-for-four with a solo home run and two RBI. But the rest of this mess? Not so nice. Not so nice at all. I decided that I don't get paid enough to recap the two two-run home runs, the grand slam and the two wild pitches from the rest of the Astros pitching staff. Or the four errors and two passed balls from the Astros catchers and position players. That's mainly because I don't get paid at all. But that's neither here nor there. As my friend Buca said, when discussing this game, "They had a bad day at the office." If you insist on looking at the train wreck, you can find the full boxscore here.

DSL Astros over DSL Athletics 6-4 (completion of 7/2 suspended game)
Juan Hernandez pitched the first two innings, allowing one run on two hits and three walks, and then giving way to four scoreless innings from Junior Garcia (3IP 1H 2BB 1SO) and Juan Delis (1IP 1H 1SO). Delis got the win, and Victor Mesa got the save despite allowing three runs (two earned) over his three innings. Several Astros had good outings at the plate: Hector Roa (2x5 3B RBI 2R), Randy Cesar (2x4 2B 2RBI R), Brian Pena (2x4) and Dariel Aquino (2x4 RBI R SB). Jarico Reynoso also contributed with a solo home run.

DSL Athletics over DSL Astros 3-1 in 7 innings
Scoreless outings from Elieser Hernandez (2IP 1BB 2SO) and Yonquelys Martinez (1IP 1SO) sandwiched a less effective three innings from Javier Saucedo (3H 3R 1BB 3SO) who was pegged with the loss. The Astros lone run came in the first inning as Arturo Michelina (2x3) doubled in Jean Estrella.

Player of the Day: Ricky Gingras drove in four, including a three-run home run, in his great night at the plate. Honorable mention goes to his Greeneville teammate, Chase McDonald, for his three RBI night.

Pitcher of the Day: Jordan Mills, a 28th round pick, not only pitched four perfect innings on Thursday, he's been busy putting up a very nice start to his professional career. He has a 0.90 ERA and a 0.950 WHIP in his first seven appearances.

Happy Birthday - 7/19

A few former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Wilton Lopez (30)
Originally signed by the Yankees as a NDFA out of Nicaragua, Lopez was selected off waivers from the Padres in April 2009. In 213 games for the Astros from 2009 through 2012, Lopez had a 13-13 record with a 3.14 ERA, a 1.207 WHIP and 11 saves. He was traded, along with Jose Monzon, to the Rockies for Alex White and Alex Gillingham in December 2012. He was the 11th Nicaraguan national to make it to the U.S. major leagues.

CF Preston Wilson (39)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the first round in 1992, Wilson came to Houston as a free agent in January 2006 and was released in August of that year after hitting .269/.309/.405 in 102 games. In 1999, he was second in Rookie of the Year voting to Reds pitcher Scott Williamson. In 2003, Wilson was an All-Star for Colorado.

OF Rick Ankiel (34)
Ankiel was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round in 1997 as a pitcher, but re-invented himself as an outfielder starting in 2005. He came to Houston as a free agent in January 2013 and was subsequently released on May 9th after hitting only .194/.231/.484 in 25 games (and striking out 35 times in that span). He was subsequently picked up by the Mets for 20 games.

Tweet of the Day

Got heeeeeeeeem!!!!!
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

International League All-Stars over Pacific Coast League All-Stars 4-3
Jarred Cosart (1.2IP 3H 4R 2BB 1SO) started for the PCL and allowed four runs, three of those coming on a Tony Sanchez three-run home run in the second, and was pegged with the loss. Jason Stoffel pitched the fourth inning and allowed no hits or runs, walked a batter and struck out one.

Corpus Christi at Midland - Postponed

Lancaster over Inland Empire 11-5
Luis Cruz allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out four batters in his five innings of work. He was followed by one inning from Tyson Perez (2H 2BB 2SO) and three from T.J. Geith (1H 2SO). Geith inherited three runners from Perez in the seventh with no outs and retired the side on four pitches, inducing a double play and a ground out. The JetHawks cranked out 14 hits with all players collecting at least one. Everyone collected a run as well, except for Delino DeShields (2x5 2B 3RBI SB) who drove in three. But it was Brandon Meredith (2x3 2BB HR 4RBI 2R) who set the tone with a grand slam in the first inning. Nolan Fontana (2x5 R), Matt Duffy (2x5 2B RBI R) and M.P. Cokinos (2x5 2B R) had good nights at the plate as well.

Quad Cities over Fort Wayne 4-3
Lance McCullers gave up only two singles (and three walks) over his first six innings, before getting touched for a two-run home run in the seventh. He struck out eight in his six and a third innings. Mitch Lambson (1.2IP 1H 2SO) got the win in relief and Juan Minaya (1IP 1H 1R/0ER 2SO) got his third save. Jordan Scott was three-for-five with an RBI single, a stolen base and a run scored; Austin Elkins was 0-for-three, but walked twice, including a bases loaded walk in the seventh; and Jesse Wierzbicki had a sac fly RBI.

Auburn over Tri-City 3-1
Adrian Houser (3.2IP 5H 3R 2BB 3SO) got the start and the loss. Albert Minnis inherited bases loaded in the fourth, stranded the runners and pitched one and a third perfect innings of relief. He was followed by four innings from Tanner Bushue in which he allowed only one hit and struck out five batters. In six appearances, Bushue has walked three and struck out 23. The ValleyCats were held to five hits and scored their lone run in the fifth as Chan Moon singled in Jon Kemmer. Conrad Gregor had the only extra base hit, a double.

Princeton at Greeneville - Postponed

GCL Phillies over GCL Astros 9-1 over 7 innings (Game 1)
Joe Musgrove allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits over four innings, and Javier Lozano allowed three more runs (all unearned) in his two innings. Jason Martin drove in the only Astros run of the game with a double in the fifth. Jacob Nottingham doubled as well. Ydarqui Marte went two-for-three.

GCL Astros over GCL Phillies 3-1 in 7 innings (Game 2)
Agapito Barrios gave up the only Phillies run and three of their four hits allowed in the first inning and then settled in for four additional scoreless innings. Juan Santos and Chris Munnelly continued the scoreless streak with one perfect inning each. The Astros got one in the first as Alex Gonzalez scored on a throwing error and two more in the second on a Jose Solano home run. The Astros won despite managing only two hits in the game, the Solano homer and a Mesac Laguna double.

DSL Astros over DSL Indians 7-0
Great 1-2 combo with Rayderson Chevalier (5IP 4H 1BB 7SO) and Joselo Pinales (4IP 1H 1BB 5SO) combining for the shutout. Arturo Michelina went two-for-four with a triple, drove in three runs and scored one. Luis Payano (2x4 2B BB RBI 2R) and Randy Cesar (2x4 2B BB RBI R) had good days at the plate as well.

Player of the Day: Brandon Meredith has been en fuego. In addition to his great night last night, Meredith is hitting .405/.500/.730 over his last 10 games.

Pitchers of the Day: Rayderson Chevalier and Joselo Pinales get the WTHB honors for their combined shutout which featured 12 strikeouts between them. Chevalier has a 1.72 ERA and a 0.957 ERA in nine appearances. Pinales has a 0.63 ERA and a 0.837 WHIP in eight appearances. Honorable mention goes to T.J. Geith for his Houdini impression for Lancaster in the seventh inning last night.

Happy Birthday - 7/18

OF Marc Wik (21)
A 21st round draft pick in 2012 out of Chabot College in California, the lefty hitting outfielder is currently hitting .261/.382/.348 over 16 games in his second season at Greeneville.

Former Astros with birthdays today

1B/PH Harry Spilman (59)
Spilman came to Houston via a trade from the Reds in June 1981 for SS/2B Rafael Landestoy. In 223 games from 1981 to 1985, he hit .222/.286/.313, much of that as a pinch hitter. After retiring from baseball, Spilman went into coaching and served as the Astros hitting coach from mid-2000 to 2004.

RHP Josh Banks (31)
A second round pick by the Blue Jays in 2003, Banks signed with Houston as a free agent in 2009 and pitched in only one game for the Astros in 2010 going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA and a 3.000 WHIP in four innings.

Tweet of the Day

He sat his son down and said, "one day you'll find a woman who you truly love. But then she'll leave you and date a baseball player."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Roster Moves/Transactions

The Astros signed another prospect from the Dominican Republic, SS Wander Franco. As the linked story from Baseball America states, this Wander Franco should not be confused with his older brother, also named Wander Franco. Also, according to a tweet yesterday from Oz Ocampo, our Wander also has a 12-year old brother named Wander and a father named Wander.

LHP J.D. Osborne assigned from Greeneville to Tri-City

RHP Raul Rivera assigned from the GCL to Greeneville

An Interview with Tri-City OF Ronnie Mitchell

One of the players in the 2013 draft class that piqued my interest early on was 38th rounder Ronnie Mitchell, a lefty-hitting outfielder out of Dallas Baptist. His good start, displaying power, speed and range, had me thinking that the Astros might have gotten a steal in the 38th round, sentiments that are echoed by Tri-City Manager Ed Romero, "You see it the same way I see it. I love him. He's very athletic. He's got a lot of tools. He can play all three outfields. He has a plus arm. He's a good defender, runs well. He's got power. Right now, there's a couple things he needs to work on with his swing. He tends to get a little too long at times, but that's very correctable. He's a great kid. Works hard and plays hard. I really like Mitchell."

Ronnie Mitchell - July 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I talked to Mitchell earlier this month and this is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

On his draft experience: "Obviously, it was a long one for me, being the 38th round pick, had to wait until the last day. Waiting around all day with my family was pretty emotional, but once I got picked, I was just very relieved and happy to get a chance to play professional baseball. [Did he know that the Astros were interested?] I talked to the scout that had interest in me, Jim Stevenson, probably a few weeks before the draft, and there were some other teams I was talking to a couple days before the draft. Jim just asked me if I wanted to play professional baseball and I told him 'yes,' and they drafted me late and I was grateful.

On his college experience: "It was a long journey for me. I went to three different colleges. It's a long story. My freshman year, I went to the University of Nevada-Reno, and ended up transferring. In between those schools, I had foot surgery and transferred to a junior college in Oklahoma, battled through some more injuries and ended up back at Dallas Baptist [where I] continued to battle injuries and tried to stay on the field. In my senior year I was just so grateful that I was able to stay on the field the entire season. I didn't miss a game and eventually got drafted by the Astros.

Any dirt on his former college teammate and fellow Astro Austin "Catfish" Elkins?: "He's a pretty up front guy. I'm sure you know everything about him. [Remembering] He cannot run sprints. That's something I remember even at DBU, we'd try to do conditioning and after 2 or 3 sprints, he's crying to the coach that he can't go anymore. [Laughs] You could say he's a great athlete, very explosive and powerful, but that guy cannot run sprints to save his life."

What has been the biggest surprise for him about playing pro ball so far?: "Obviously just the mental and physical grind every day. Showing up early six or seven hours before the game, working on fundamentals, getting early work in. You have to really focus in and take care of your body to be able to keep up that level of play, so many great guys playing professional baseball at this level."

What has he accomplished so far?: "There's no real sense of accomplishment yet. Like you said, it's early. I'm just showing up every day, trying to be as consistent as I can, level-headed. I just approach every day just giving it my all, playing with energy. Just whatever happens, happens."

What will he need to do to get to the next level as a player?: "Just overall consistency in every aspect - fielding, working on the fundamentals of throwing, catching. Obviously just getting a consistent approach, especially two-strike approach is a big thing at this level, transitioning from aluminum to wood bats, you really have to focus in. I would think that would be the biggest thing, just two-strike approach and fighting off pitches and that kind of thing."

What does he bring to the game?: "Honestly, I don't think about it that much. I just show up and try to play as hard as I can. I guess a consistent energy on a daily basis. I do my best to bring confidence and swagger to encourage my teammates. I just try to have as much fun as I can on the field, hopefully just try to uplift people through my play and off the field."

What would he do if he couldn't play baseball?: "I'd probably be a clothing designer, whether it be sports apparel or formal wear. I like drawing and sketches and that kind of stuff. Even throughout my baseball career, however long I play, I'll do that on the side. That's something that most people don't know about me. I've been blessed with artistic ability and I like to draw and sketch free-hand. Whatever I visualize in my mind, I do a pretty decent job of being able to transfer it to paper."

Who on the team makes him laugh?: "Zach Morton. He's a clown. He just doesn't stop either. A couple of games I got mad at him because I was trying to visualize and focus on my at bat and he's cracking jokes [in the dugout] and I ended up losing focus for a second. I've got to tell him to ease up during the game, but he is hilarious."


The last question I asked Ed Romero was if there was anyone on the team who had surprised him. Mitchell's name came up again, "Mitchell has been a big surprise for me. I think he's much better than a 38th rounder. We did a very good job scouting him. I want to congratulate our scout in that area. He did an outstanding job with Mitchell."

On a personal level, I really enjoyed talking to Ronnie. He's soft-spoken and thoughtful with a sly sense of humor. But one last question cemented him as one of my new favorites to watch. I did not realize that he spent much of his childhood in Port Arthur and has a special fondness for the Astros, "I remember going to Astros games as a kid, and I was just enamored with the [idea that I would] be able to hopefully one day get a chance to play professional baseball. It's great that I was able to get picked up by a team that I was so familiar with, growing up 70 or 80 miles from the ballpark. It's just a great opportunity for me. I'm just enjoying every minute of it."

Thanks for your time, Ronnie, and the best of luck as the season continues.

Astro Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Oklahoma City - All-Star Break

Corpus Christi over Midland 8-5
Ross Seaton allowed only three scattered hits and no runs through the first six innings, but then ran into a little trouble in the seventh, allowing two runs on three hits before Pat Urckfitz came in for the final out of the inning. Seaton got the win despite Pat Urckfitz and Andrew Robinson allowing three additional runs to score in the eighth and the ninth innings because the Hooks offense gave them plenty to work with. Corpus had only scored one run in the first on a Preston Tucker (2x4 BB) single when they broke things open in the sixth with a six-run inning, featuring a solo home run from Max Stassi, a two-run dinger from Erik Castro (2x5) and a bases-clearing triple from Drew Muren. Rene Garcia was three-for-five and scored a run.

Lancaster - Day Off (their first day off after 26 straight games which I put in perspective here in case you misssed it)

Quad Cities - Day Off

Tri-City - Day Off

Greeneville - Day Off

GCL Pirates over GCL Astros 6-3
Francis Ramirez went the first four, giving up two runs on two hits and three walks and striking out six, and was followed by scoreless outings from Kevin Ferguson (2IP 2H 1SO), Juan Santos (1IP 1BB) and Chris Munnelly (1IP 1H 2SO). The Astros had a 3-2 lead going into the ninth. And then this happened:

GCL Pirates Top of the 9th
  • Pitching Change: Erick Gonzalez replaces Chris Munnelly.
  • Ulises Montilla walks.
  • Adam Landecker reaches on a force attempt, throwing error by pitcher Erick Gonzalez. Ulises Montilla to 2nd.
  • Daniel Arribas ground bunts into a force out, catcher Brett Booth to shortstop Luis Reynoso. Ulises Montilla out at 3rd. Adam Landecker to 2nd. Daniel Arribas to 1st.
  • Carlos Ozuna reaches on a throwing error by shortstop Luis Reynoso. Adam Landecker scores. Daniel Arribas to 3rd.
  • Justin Maffei walks. Carlos Ozuna to 2nd.
  • Pitching Change: Zachary Dando replaces Erick Gonzalez.
  • Nick Buckner walks. Daniel Arribas scores. Carlos Ozuna to 3rd. Justin Maffei to 2nd.
  • Austin Meadows walks. Carlos Ozuna scores. Justin Maffei to 3rd. Nick Buckner to 2nd.
  • Reese McGuire singles on a fly ball to right fielder Luis De La Rosa. Justin Maffei scores. Nick Buckner to 3rd. Austin Meadows to 2nd.
  • Luis Urena strikes out swinging.
  • Ulises Montilla strikes out swinging.
The Astros scored one in the first on a Yonathan Mejia single, one in the fifth on a Jose Solano home run and one in the sixth on a Luis Reynosa single. Jason Martin had the only other extra base hit, a double. The Astros were limited to six hits.

DSL Indians over DSL Astros 5-1
Geronimo Franzua and Cristhopher Santamaria each pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits each and were followed by Juan Delis. Delis walked three straight batters without recording an out and was replaced by Angel Heredia. Before all was said and done, those three batters plus two more scored in the frame. The Astros were held to four hits with the only extra base hit being a Luis Payano (2x3) double. The lone Astros run scored in the sixth inning on a Kristian Trompiz sac fly.

Player of the Day: Drew Muren's three-run triple, plus his two walks, gives him the edge.

Pitcher of the Day: In seven appearances this season (10.2IP), Cristhopher Santamaria has not allowed a run. This latest appearance was his longest of the season.

Happy Birthday - 7/17

2B Jean Carlos Cortorreal (19)
Cortorreal signed as a NDFA from the Dominican Republic and is spending his second season with the DSL Astros. He has only played in six games thus far this season and has not gotten a hit.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Jason Jennings (35) aka He Who Must Not Be Named
A first round pick by the Rockies in 1999, Jason Jennings was obtained (by Tim Purpura in his infinite wisdom) in a trade with the Rockies for Willie Taveras, Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh in December 2006. It was later rumored that Purpura had not adequately checked out Jennings' medical records (he had been playing injured before the trade). In 19 games (18 starts) for Houston, he was 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP. But it was his seventh loss that is forever etched in my mind.

Tweet of the Day

Watching the with the Sogards grilling out and enjoying the break

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baseball is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Never has a saying seemed more true as, rather than 26 miles, the Lancaster team just slogged through 26 straight days of baseball without a day off. Just let that sink in for a moment. Most of you who work nine-to-fives had eight weekend days off, plus the 4th of July, during the last 26 days. Some of you, like me, might have taken some vacation time during that spell as well.

On June 20th, when the team started their 26-day marathon:
  • The George Zimmerman trial hadn't started yet.
  • Morsi was the President of Egypt.
  • Paula Deen and all her advisers were gainfully employed.
Since the marathon started:
  • The Dow dropped 453 points and went back up 824 points.
  • The Super Moon came and went.
  • Approximately 284,888 children were born in the U.S.
Thankfully, only one of the 26 games went to extra innings, but half of them (and 13 out of 16 straight) were commuters. In addition to a full day of early work, batting practice, bullpens and the actual game, the JetHawks had to sit on a bus for anywhere from two to four additional hours per day for those 13 games, traveling almost 2000 miles. No hotel rooms to crash in, just a sweltering bus ride in record-breaking heat, day after day after day. 

So, how did the JetHawks crew fare during that stretch?
  • They went 17-9.
  • They won the first seven, sweeping a four-game series against Rancho Cucamonga at home and a three-game series against Bakersfield on the road.
  • They split the next four-game series at Rancho.
  • They were 2-1 against Bakersfield at home, as well as Inland Empire and High Desert on the road.
  • It was only the final two series of the stretch at home, against Inland Empire and Modesto, that they lost 1-2
  • They were outhit 275 to 272, but outscored their opponents 209 to 149.
  • They hit 51 doubles, seven triples and 41 home runs.
  • They stole 26 bases, with 14 of those belonging to Delino DeShields.
Three players played in all 26 games - Andrew Aplin, M.P. Cokinos and Chris Epps. Aplin almost missed out on number 26, only going in as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning last night. Matt Duffy was close behind, playing in 23 games, but was probably sidelined for a couple of games due to one too many hits by pitch.

How did the individual players fare over the long haul?
Again, let that sink in. All of that happened without a single day off.

But the most important fact of all about the Lancaster Marathon? They started the marathon in first place and they ended the marathon in first place. Great job, guys. Now take a well-deserved rest before you start all over again. Hmmm. Maybe it's not a marathon, after all. Maybe it's actually Groundhog Day.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Oklahoma City - All-Star Break

Corpus Christi over Midland 4-1
Bobby Doran (6IP 7H 1R 1BB 1SO) got the start and allowed the one run on a solo homer on his way to his eighth win of the season. Doran was supported by his 'pen as Chia-Jen Lo (1.1IP), Pat Urckfitz (1IP 1BB 1SO) and Jorge de Leon (0.2IP 1H) provided scoreless relief. The Hooks recorded one run in the first on a Max Stassi home run, his sixth of the season, added two more in the third on a Stassi sac fly and a Preston Tucker single, and the final run in the fifth as Drew Muren (2x3 2B 2R SB) stole second and then motored around to score on a throwing error.

Modesto over Lancaster 12-7
This was a hard way to end playing 26 straight games (check back for more on this later this morning). After getting six innings from David Rollins (4H 3R 3BB 5SO) and one and two-thirds from Jonas Dufek, Lancaster was leading 7-3 with two outs in the top of the eighth when Travis Ballew came in to the game. He allowed one run to score on a wild pitch and two more came across on a home run. The ninth went even worse. Four runs scored as Ballew issued three singles, a double and hit a batter. Michael Dimock came in with one on and no outs and two more runners made it across the plate before he stopped the bleeding. The 7-3 lead was now a 12-7 deficit. Five of the 'Hawks seven runs scored via the long ball, with Telvin Nash (2x4) hitting a two-run homer in the second and M.P. Cokinos driving in three in the fifth. Brandon Meredith went two-for-four with a double, walk and a run; Chris Epps was two-for-four and scored two runs; and Nolan Fontana had an 0-fer but walked twice and stole a base.

Dayton over Quad Cities 5-1
Colton Cain pitched seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five. Juan Minaya did not fare quite as well as he allowed five runs (three earned) in only two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss. Juri Perez followed with a scoreless one and a third innings. The Bandits only managed one run on six hits, only one of which was for extra bases. Jesse Wierzbicki went two-for-three with a double, walk and run. Rio Ruiz was two-for-four and stole a base.

Tri-City over Batavia 8-4
Kevin Comer (3.1IP 4H 3R 2BB 4SO) and Charles Basford (1IP 2H 1R 1SO) got things started, but Evan Grills (2H 1BB 2SO) brought it on home for the win with four and a third scoreless innings. Tri-City got on the board in the second inning with a two-run home run from Jon Kemmer, immediately followed by Thomas Lindauer's first professional home run. After falling behind, The ValleyCats regained the lead in the seventh as Ernesto Genoves (3x5 2B 4RBI) cleared the bases with a double (that he unsuccessfully tried to stretch to a triple), and they added two insurance runs in the ninth on RBI singles from James Ramsay (2x4 R SB) and Genoves. Tony Kemp was two-for-four with a walk and scored a run. It was Tri-City's sixth win in a row.

Greeneville over Elizabethton 3-1
Greeneville made it five in a row and took first place in their division in the process. Jandel Gustave got his second win, pitching five innings and allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. He was followed by scoreless relief from Gerardo Ramirez, J.D. Osborne and Gonzalo Sanudo. Osborne has not allowed a run in his eight appearances. Greeneville only managed six hits, but they walked 10 times, with Brian Holberton and Juan Santana (1x2 2R) drawing two each. Tyler White was three-for-four with a walk and an RBI, and Tanner Mathis was one-for-four with a walk and an RBI.

GCL Astros over GCL Pirates 9-4
Ambiorix de Leon allowed three runs over three innings before giving way to Troy Scribner (1H 6SO) who earned the win with three scoreless innings. Raul Rivera allowed one unearned run in his inning of work and Jorge Perez pitched the final two hitless innings. Brett Booth was the man of the hour, driving in one in the first with a single, two in the third with a triple and drawing a bases loaded hit by pitch in the seventh for his fourth RBI of the day. Jose Solano drove in three as well with a solo home run and an RBI single. Alex Gonzalez (2x5 2R), Jacob Nottingham (1x3 2BB RBI 3R), and Yonathan Mejia (2x5 R) all had good outings at the plate as well.

DSL Rays over DSL Astros 6-3
Edwin Villarroel (1.2IP), Gerardo Juarez (5IP) and Rauldison Rodriguez (0.2IP) were each charged with two runs in their outings. The Astros didn't score until the eighth inning when Jean Estrella drove in Alexander Melendez (2x4) with a sac fly and Arturo Michelina plated two with an RBI triple.

Player of the Day: Ernesto Genoves gets a little WTHB love today for his three-for-five, four RBI game. Honorable mention goes to Brett Booth who had four RBI as well.

Pitcher of the Day: The very least I can do for Colton Cain, who pitched a beauty on Monday and didn't come away with the win, is to give him WTHB honors. In Cain's last 10 outings, he has a 2.18 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP.

Happy Birthday - 7/16

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Charles Basford (23)
Originally drafted by the Yankees in the 37th round in 2012 out of Samford University in Birmingham, Basford came to the Houston organization in a June trade which sent Fernando Martinez to the Yankees. In six appearances for Tri-City since the trade, Basford is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 2.167 WHIP.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Jonathan Johnson (39)
A first round pick by the Rangers in 1995, Johnson came to Houston as a free agent in October of 2002. In four games for the Astros in 2003, he was 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA and a 2.283 WHIP. According to Baseball-Reference, he was 1-1 with a 3.84 ERA for Team USA in the 1994 Baseball World Cup.

Tweet of the Day

I don't think anyone can beat us right now#sorryboutit

Monday, July 15, 2013

Roster Moves

Quad Cities
RHP John Neely retired

1B Tyler White assigned from GCL to Greeneville

An Interview with Tri-City 2B Tony Kemp

The first thing that struck me when I sat down to talk with the Astros fifth round draft pick from 2013, 2B Tony Kemp, was not his size (listed generously as 5"6"), but his energy. I had seen him play the evening before so I knew that he plays the game with the throttle wide open. And he is fast, even when he talks. There was no hesitation in his answers. He knows his mind and speaks his mind clearly and quickly.

So it's no big surprise that Tri-City Manager Ed Romero refers to Kemp as a leader. Romero likes the Division 1 Vanderbilt experience that Kemp brings, "He's been in a good program in a winning atmosphere." Romero acknowledges that Tony has been working on his defensive skills at second base and is getting better, but Kemp's other skills have him excited. "He's a guy that has a lot of speed. He [has] a good eye at the plate, good discipline and [he] knows how to steal bases. He can score runs and pretty much set the table for the other guys down the order. He's going to be a big plus for this club."

Tony Kemp - July 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Tony earlier this month and here is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

On the Draft: "It was a great experience, very exciting and indescribable moment at the same time. My former teammate Conrad Gregor went in the fourth round and then the next round later, I went to Houston in the fifth round, so it was kind of a surreal moment."

On Gregor: "He's a great guy. He's always in tune with the game. Never misses a beat. Works out relentlessly. Like a machine out there."

On his college experience: "The three years at Vandy changed my life. I couldn't imagine coming into this situation without being at Vanderbilt University. The three years under Coach [Tim] Corbin, Travis Jewett and Josh Holliday ... I owe everything to those guys because they took me under their wing and showed me everything. I'm still learning about baseball right now, but they taught me a lot of things [about hitting and infield and defense]. It was just a great time. We won the SEC twice and went to Omaha one of those times, first time in school history, and got two World Series wins. It was a great time. College was awesome."

On switching from outfield to second base: "My sophomore year, Riley Reynolds had a foot injury and our coach asked me if I played infield and I said the last time I played infield was middle school at shortstop. So he just kind of kicked me out there and said 'go swim.' I went out there and it was rusty at first because I haven't gotten a ground ball in four years or something like that. It was about sophomore year around May sometime [that] I started playing second base."

On comparisons to Jose Altuve: "He's an unbelievable player. I don't even think we can be compared because he's so much better than me. I heard he came through here [Tri-City] and he was an unbelievable player and he works really hard. If you are being compared to someone like that, you just want to work as hard as they do and try to do what they did."

What has been the biggest surprise in his short time in pro ball?: "I think the biggest surprise is maybe how much other teams pay attention to detail. I would say in stealing bases, teams call pitch outs in smarter counts. They're really watching everything you do, your body language, if you're going to steal. Or on defense, which guys covering the bag. Or even with hitting, what they throw in what counts. I think the teams just pay a lot more attention to the player they're pitching to."

What does he bring to the game?: "I'd probably say energy and excitement. One of those things, an intangible thing. There's a lot bigger guys than me. I'm just a little guy out there, just trying to play hard every day. If you have a bad game the day before, if something didn't go your way, you always have the next day. I think that's what's good about pro ball. You've got to have a short term memory. If you can't do it defensively, make sure you try to do it offensively and vice versa."

What is he working on improving?: "I think, from the hitting standpoint, just making sure that you're not giving at-bats away, making sure that you're not just going up there swinging at the first pitch you see and making weak contact. You've got to make sure that you're staying within your approach and you're not going outside that. From a defensive standpoint, I think that you can always get better in all aspects of the game, knowing the [hitter's tendencies]. So there's a lot of things when you're out there that you've got to make sure that they're going through your head constantly, I think just mentally staying in the game for every pitch."

What Astros pitcher would he least like to face?: "I'd probably say Bushue. He does a really good job of pitching in on people's hands and he goes hard in and soft away. He does a good job with that so I think it would be tough to face him if I ever got the chance."

Something most people don't know about him: "I'm a candy fanatic and I think if I don't have candy for two days, I go on a candy binge and I eat probably Skittles, Twizzlers, all that good stuff. Skittles is my favorite candy, but other than that I go Swedish fish or maybe a ring pop."


As a final question, I had to ask Tony exactly how tall he really is. He answered, "How tall am I really? [I'd say] 5'8" when I had my old hair with the Afro, but I'm going to go 5'6½". I'll leave it at that." And I'll leave it at that as well.

Thank you for your time, Tony, and the best of luck as the season continues.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

All-Star Futures Game - U.S. over World 4-2
George Springer was the only one of three Astros players in the game to get a hit as he went one-for-three with a single and also reached on a hit by pitch. He saw no action in right field other than to watch a Arismendy Alcantara home run soar high overhead. Delino DeShields was 0-for-2 with a strikeout, but made all the defensive plays he should have before being replaced by Kolten Wong. Carlos Correa entered the game late and immediately had a ball hit to him with George Springer beating out his throw to first for the single. Correa was on deck as the game ended and didn't get an at bat.

New Orleans over Oklahoma City 7-6
Wade LeBlanc allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out five over the first six innings and was followed by Brad Peacock (0.1IP 3H 1R 1BB), Jason Stoffel (1.2IP 2H 2SO) and Josh Zeid (1IP 3H 3R 2BB 2SO). Oklahoma City got on the board with solo home runs in the first and second from Robbie Grossman and Jon Singleton, and added two more in the fourth. The two RBI triple from Ruben Sosa in the eighth gave them a 6-4 lead, but Zeid had a rare rough outing in the ninth and was charged with the blown save and the loss, his first of each for the season. Carlos Perez was two-for-four and scored a run.

Midland over Corpus Christi 5-0
Nick Tropeano got the start and allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings with two of those runs coming from solo homers. He walked two batters and struck out six. Tropeano was followed by three innings from Carlos Quevedo (2H 1R 1BB 3SO). Quevedo allowed an additional run to score via the long ball. The Hooks were held to six hits in the shutout, three of those being doubles from Kike Hernandez (2x4), Rene Garcia and Max Stassi (2x4).

Modesto over Lancaster 12-3
Mike Hauschild got a rude welcome in his first start since his promotion to High A Lancaster, allowing four of his five runs via two long balls in his three and two-thirds innings. Cameron Lamb came in to get the final out of the fourth inning and was followed by Kyle Hallock who got hammered to the tune of six runs on eight hits over two innings. Blair Walters took it the rest of the way and gave up the final run over his three innings. Lancaster managed three runs despite only having six hits as runs scored in the first on a Tyler Heineman sac fly and a Matt Duffy single, and in the fourth on a Duffy sac fly.

Quad Cities over Dayton 9-2
In his third start, Mark Appel increased his load to four innings and allowed only two hits and a walk while striking out three. Daniel Minor pitched the next three and a third and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and was followed by one and two-thirds from Mitch Lambson (1H 2SO). Bobby Borchering (3x4 2-2B R) drove in three for the Bandits, and the recently promoted Luis Alvarez went three-for-four with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Austin Elkins (2x5), Jesse Wierzbicki (2x4 BB RBI), Roberto Pena (2x5 R) and Dan Gulbransen (2x3 2B BB 2R) all had multi-hit games as well.

Tri-City over Batavia 7-0
Zach Morton had a tremendous start for Tri-City, six no-hit innings with one walk and three strikeouts, and was rewarded with his first win of the season. He was followed by Randall Fant who scattered three hits over the final three innings while striking out four. The 'Cats picked up the only run they would need in the first as Tony Kemp (2x5 3R) scored on a wild pitch, but they added on four more in the fourth on a Ernesto Genoves solo home run and RBI singles from Chan Moon (2x3 RBI) and Mike Martinez (2x4 BB 2RBI). A Conrad Gregor RBI single in the sixth and an Adam Nelubowich sac fly in the seventh accounted for the final two runs. James Ramsay was two-for-three and scored a run.

Greeneville over Elizabethton 5-3
Chris Lee had another nice start and this time was rewarded with his first win of the season. Lee allowed only one run (a solo homer) on three hits over five and a third innings; he didn't walk a batter and struck out eight. He was followed by Christian Garcia (0.2IP 3H 2R), Jordan Mills (2IP 2H 4SO) and Tyler Brunnemann (1IP 1H 1SO). One of the Astros runs came across in the first on a Darwin Rivera double and two more in the second on RBI singles from Jack Mayfield (3x4 2B RBI 2R) and Brett Phillips (2x3 BB 2RBI SB). Phillips drove in another run in the fourth and Juan Santana drove in an insurance run in the eighth.

Players of the Day: It's a tie! Luis Alvarez and Bobby Borchering both deserve the honors for their great games on Sunday.

Pitcher of the Day: Zach Morton, six no-hit innings is one heckuva way to get your first professional win. Congratulations.

Happy Birthday - 7/15

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Mark Appel (22)
Drafted by Houston as the number one overall draft pick in 2013 out of Stanford, Appel is currently making the tour of the Astros minor league ballparks as the organization slowly acclimates him to professional baseball. In three starts (nine innings) between Tri-City and Quad Cities, Appel has a 2.00 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. He has walked one and struck out nine.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Dave Adlesh (70)
Adlesh was signed by the Colt .45's as an amateur free agent in 1963 and played a handful of games over six seasons (from 1963 to 1968) for Houston. In 106 games, he hit .168/.227/.199. He was 19 years old when he started playing for the Colt .45's in 1963.

C Kirt Manwaring (48)
A second round pick by the Giants in 1986, Manwaring came to Houston in a July 1996 trade and spent only 37 games as an Astro, hitting .220/.264/.256. With the Giants, he earned a Gold Glove in 1993 and led the National League in caught stealing percentage in 1992 and 1993 with a 50.5% and 45.9% respectively.

RHP Fernando Nieve (31)
An amateur free agent signed out of Venezuela by Houston in 1999, Nieve pitched in 51 games for Houston in 2006 and 2008 before being picked up off waivers by the Mets in March of 2009. In those 51 games (11 starts), he was 3-4 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.374 WHIP. He once again signed with the Astros in March 2011 but was released a month later. He is currently playing for Cleveland's AAA team.

CF Reggie Abercrombie (32)
A 23rd round pick by the Dodgers in 1999, Abercrombie was selected by Houston off waivers from the Marlins in October of 2007. He played in 34 games for Houston in 2008, hitting .309/.339/.539. He has spent the last two seasons playing in the Mexican League.

RHP David Carpenter (28)
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 12th round in 2006 out of West Virginia University, Carpenter came to Houston in an August 2010 trade with St. Louis for Pedro Feliz. In 65 games for Houston in 2011 and 2012, he was 1-5 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.709 WHIP. He was included in the 10-player July 2012 trade with the Blue Jays. He is currently pitching for Atlanta with good success. In 21 appearances out of the bullpen, he is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.179 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

27 yr old playing in the MILB ???

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Roster Move

C Jon Carnahan released (note that this was dated 7/6 but just showed up on the transaction page yesterday or today)

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Games

Elizabethton Twins 1, Greeneville Astros 2
For the second day in a row Greeneville scored both runs in one inning and then took advantage of solid pitching to secure the win—their third in a row. Starter Enderson Franco (2-2) recorded the win after allowing just three hits and an unearned run through six innings on the hill while walking one and striking out four. Gonzalo Sanudo came on to close out the ninth and retired the side, striking out one to notch his second save. Ariel Ovando (1X3 R SO) crossed the plate for Greeneville's first score in the third on a Jack Mayfield (2X4 R RBI) RBI single. Later in the inning Brett Phillips (1X4 3B RBI SO) hit a triple to bring Mayfield home. 

GCL Yankees2 7, GCL Astros 8
The Astros battled back several times in this game and hung on to score the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. After the first two batters in the ninth were retired for the Astros, Ydarqui Marte (3X5 2R 2B RBI 2 SO) singled and then stole second. Yoel Silfa (2X5 RBI SO), who was at the plate during Marte's steal, followed with a single of his own, bringing Marte around for the walk-off win. Alex Gonzalez (3X5 2B RBI 2SO) also had a three-hit game while Yonathan Mejia (2X5 2R RBI SO) and Jacob Nottingham (2X5 R SO) added two hit performances. The GCL Astros sent five pitchers to the mound Saturday and all but the last, Kevin Ferguson, allowed at least a run. Ferguson (0-1) would also take the win after facing five batters, allowing two hits, walking one and striking two out.   

DSL Rays 0, DSL Astros 3
The DSL Astros came back in a big way after losing the last three in a row, shutting out their opponents yesterday while allowing just three hits. Harold Arauz (1-0) started and picked up the win, pitching six innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out four. Starting with the last batter of the second inning, Arauz retired the last 15 he faced in order (If you are paying attention, that is two more than he should have faced in that time. Two of his strikeouts ended with the pitch getting away from the catcher, so in both the third and fifth innings there were four outs). Junior Garcia entered in the seventh and collected his first save after completing the game, allowing only a hit and striking out three. Jean Estrella went two-for-three at the plate with a run scored.

Tri-City Valley Cats 5, Batavia Muckdogs 4
The Valley Cats allowed a pair of two-run innings in the eighth and ninth but tallied the win nonetheless. Chris Cotton (1-1) was on the mound for the first five frames and earned his first win after retiring every batter he faced, striking out five. Patrick Christensen got the save (2) after working the ninth inning. Ronnie Mitchell went two-for-three at the dish with two runs scored, a double, a walk and two RBI on his eighth inning blast. Four other Tri-city players recorded multi-hit games, although no one besides Mitchell had any XBHs. Here's a look at the box:

Dayton Dragons 4, Quad Cities River Bandits 3
Despite seven shutout innings by starter Jordan Jankowski, the River Bandits lost after allowing a four-run eighth inning. Jankowski allowed four hits and struck out six in his time on the hill. Quad Cities got on the board Saturday in the seventh when Luis Alvarez (1X4 R  HR 2RBI 2SO) hit a two-out homer, scoring Rio Ruiz (0X4 R SO). Dan Gulbransen collected three hits in the game, going three-for-four with a double and an RBI.   

Modesto Nuts 6, Lancaster JetHawks 10
Lancaster scored ten runs for the second night in a row and tallied another win. In the first inning Lancaster batted around the order and scored five runs on five singles, a double and a walk. Five JetHawks had two hit games and four of them also had two RBI in addition. Brady Rogers (8-5) tossed the first five innings, gave up five runs on eight hits (HR), walked one, struck out six, and escaped with the win. Michael Dimock allowed another run in the ninth on a triple and a double while striking out three amongst the hits. Here's a peek at Lancaster's offense on Saturday:

Frisco RoughRiders 4, Corpus Christi Hooks 3 (11)
This was the Hooks' third extra-inning game of their last four and it was close throughout. Corpus blanked Frisco until the eighth inning before falling in the 11th. David Martinez threw the first seven and a third, giving up a pair of runs over six hits and three walks while striking out two. Jorge De Leon (0-3) toed the rubber for the last two innings and took the loss, allowing a run in the final frame on one hit and a walk and K-ing one. Jonathan Meyer (2X5 R HR RBI SO) brought the scores all square in the eighth inning when he hit his 12th homer of the season. Domingo Santana was swinging his bat, finishing three-for-five with an RBI and strikeout in the game. Rene Garcia was in multiples as well, batting two-for-five with a strikeout of his own.

New Orleans Zephyrs 4, Oklahoma City RedHawks 2
Oklahoma City had seven hits, but couldn't string any together on Saturday and fell to their opponents at home. Their first run in the fifth came after Jimmy Paredes (2X3 R BB) reached on a single and then advanced on a stolen base and throwing error before crossing the plate on a Jose Martinez (0X3 RBI SO) ground out. The second RedHawks run came by way of a Brandon Laird (1X4 R HR RBI) solo shot in the ninth inning. Asher Wojciechowski started and pitched six innings, allowing a run on five hits, walking a pair and striking out three. Hector Ambriz (0-1) clocked in for the next two innings and left with the loss. Ambriz gave up another two runs (1ER) on three hits (HR) and struck out two. Wojo was the only RedHawks pitcher to not allow a homer in the game.

Player of the Day: Instead of splitting hairs, I'm going with the diplomatic route today and awarding the honors to Joe Sclafani, Matt Duffy, Chris Epps and
Brandon Meredith of Lancaster. They all put out on Saturday and all deserve a big pat on the back.

Pitcher of the Day: There are split honors here today too. Why? Because Harold Arauz retired fifteen in a row yesterday and that is definitely worthy of a nod. Also, Chris Cotton came along and retired all fifteen he faced, like dominoes. So he gets a nod too. That's how it works here at WTHB.