Saturday, July 27, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games

Pulaski Mariners, Greeneville Astros - suspended until today due to rain

GCL Tigers 2, GCL Astros 1  
The Astros only allowed three hits in this matchup and still went on to lose despite more than doubling their opponent's hit output (7). Austin Nicely started and through the first three gave up a run on one hit and a walk. Troy Scribner (5-2) followed Nicely, recording a run on two hits over the next five innings, while striking out half a dozen. Scribner took the loss. Luis De La Rosa hit two-for-three in the game and Jose Fernandez went nothing-for-two, but drew two walks.

DSL Royals 5, DSL Astros 1
The DSL Astros shut out the DSL Royals yesterday until the seventh inning, when one run scored for the tie. An inning later in the ninth, Carlos Vazquez (1-1), one of three pitchers in the inning, recorded four runs and picked up the loss. Juan Hernandez threw the first two and two-thirds, keeping them hitless and scoreless, while walking five and striking out two. Victor Mesa came on to pitch in the sixth and allowed the tying run in the seventh on a walk, wild pitch and a single. Mesa left with a blown save, four hits, a run, a walk and two Ks in his outing. Vazquez tallied his four runs through two outs in the ninth and left having allowed a hit and four walks. The DSL Astros had two players with multi-hit games, Hector Roa and Jean Estrella. Roa went two-for-three with a walk and Estrella went two-for-four.

Tri-City Valley Cats 3, Vermont Lake Monsters 5
The Valley Cats fell behind early and never quite recovered in this one. Starter Kevin Comer (2-3) lasted just an out into the third, allowing all five runs on six hits and striking out one for the loss. Evan Grills would pitch the last four innings for Tri-City, giving up only three hits and striking out six—including the first two and last two batters he faced. Conrad Gregor hit three-for-five in the game with a strikeout. Jon Kemmer and Ryan Dineen both batted two-for-four. Kemmer also scored a run, had an RBI and struck out twice.  

Quad Cities River Bandits 1, Burlington Bees 0
The River Bandits only needed one run on Friday as they two-hit, shut out the Bees on the road behind dominant pitching by starter Vincent Velasquez (7-4). Velasquez pitched seven innings, recording just two hits and striking out seven. Jordan Jankowski followed with a perfect inning in the eighth (2 K) and Juan Minaya picked up his fourth save after working the hitless ninth (although he did walk two), striking out three. Teoscar Hernandez went two-for-four at the plate (SO) and scored the winning run in the eighth. After advancing on a wild pitch Hernandez was brought around by Austin Elkins' (1X4, SB) only hit of the day, an RBI single.

Lancaster JetHawks 2, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1 (10)
The JetHawks didn't score until the seventh, but were able to ride some very solid pitching into the 10th inning Friday before Chris Epps hit a go-ahead homer that would win the game. Mike Hauschild pitched the first six and a third, allowing a run, five hits and striking out seven before making way for Blair Walters, who would pick up the win. Walters (5-1) worked through the ninth, facing the minimum and striking out four, including the last three he faced, to force extras. Kenny Long picked up save number four after striking out the last batter of the game. Lancaster tied things up in the seventh when Carlos Perdomo (1X4 2B RBI) doubled to score Joe Sclafani (0X4 R). Epps (1X4 R HR RBI 3SO) hit his go-ahead, solo shot with one out in the 10th—his 13th long ball of the year. Delino DeShields was the only Lancaster player with multiple hits in the game, finishing two-for-four with a double and a stolen base.  

Corpus Christi Hooks 12, Midland RockHounds 6 (7)
In the first game of the double header Friday the Hooks jumped out to an early lead and by the fourth inning had scored four runs. Nick Tropeano (5-7) threw all but the last inning, earning the win after allowing five runs on six hits, walking a pair and striking out six. Theron Geith worked one out in the seventh and added another run on three hits. The Hooks had 15 hits in this seven inning game and three were homers (Stassi, Santana, Tucker). Three guys had three hits, two had two hits apiece and Domingo Santana topped them all with three RBI. Here's the box to make sense of it:

Corpus Christi Hooks 2, Midland RockHounds 0 (7)
In the second game of the day, the Hooks shut out the RockHounds to claim the double header with authority. Brady Rodgers was called up from Lancaster for a spot start and pitched five innings in his debut. Rodgers (1-0) allowed five hits and not much else, striking out six to take the win. Pat Urckfitz gave up a hit and struck out two in the seventh, earning him his sixth save of the season. Kiké Hernandez (2X3), Ronald Torreyes (2X4 2SO) and Zach Johnson (2X3) all had two hits in this game. Hernandez also swiped a bag.     

Iowa Cubs 6, Oklahoma City RedHawks 10
The RedHawks had eight on the board before the Cubs were able to answer back Friday. Wade LeBlanc (2-1) pitched the first five and earned the win, allowing three runs on five hits while walking four during his shift. Alex Sogard followed for and inning and two-thirds, allowing three more runs on four hits, striking out one. Oklahoma City had a ton of hits on Friday and Robbie Grossman and Jose Martinez led the charge with three apiece. Grossman stole a base to boot and the second inning, in which the RedHawks scored six runs, saw the opposing manager and hitting coach ejected as OKC hit around the order. Here's the box:

Player of the Day: Chris Epps takes the cake today for his go-ahead homer in the 10th inning yesterday. What better way to support his pitchers for their superb outings than to blast one into the cheap seats and secure the win?

Pitcher of the Day: There were several good pitching performances yesterday, but Vincent Velasquez was a head above everyone. He not only threw a career-high seven innings and was a huge part of that magnificent shut out, but he also retired the first twelve batters he faced in order. Put simply, Velasquez was on fire yesterday.  

Brady Rodgers also earned a shout out for his call-up, spot start in Corpus. He came out and dominated, earning a win as part of another shutout and struck out six. Rodgers threw 88 pitches in his five innings and 65 of them were strikes—impressive.

Happy Birthday - 7/27

RHP Brandon Culbreth (21)
Drafted by Houston in the 8th round in 2011 out of high school in North Carolina, Culbreth is in his third season with the GCL Astros. After three appearances (one start), he is 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.636 WHIP in 7.1 innings of work.

Quad Cities Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis (46)
Chimelis was drafted by Oakland in the 11th round in 1988 and spent time in the Oakland, San Francisco and New York Mets organizations as well as playing in the Mexican League and Independent League baseball. Chimelis has been a hitting coach in the Astros organization for Tri-City (2006-2010), Lexington (2011), Corpus Christi (2012) and is now in his first season as hitting coach for Quad Cities.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

C Jack Hiatt (71)
Hiatt came to Houston from the Cubs organization in December of 1970. He played in Houston from 1971 until he went to the Angels in July of 1972. In 79 games, he hit .266/.393/.347.

Tweets of the Day

shoved it tonight! Good Team W

Great 2 wins today nation!!! Outstanding pitching by and !!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Roster Moves

Oklahoma City
IF Raoul Torrez was assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City

Quad Cities
RHP Jamaine Cottom was placed on the DL retroactive to 7/23
OF Terrell Joyce was activated from the DL

SS Jack Mayfield was assigned from Greeneville to Tri-City

A Look at the Greeneville Astros

Earlier this week, I took an in-depth look at the DSL Astros team and the GCL team and how they are faring thus far in the season. Today, it's the Greeneville Astros turn. Coming in to today, the Greeneville team is 23-10 with a 2.51 ERA, a 1.107 WHIP, and a cumulative batting line of .238/.336/.338.

The 2012 team finished with a 36-32 record or a .529 win percentage. As of today, they have a .697 win percentage despite ranking toward the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. How have they accomplished this? Pitching, pitching and more pitching!

But let's talk a little more about that offense first. Yes, the team trails their 2012 counterparts in several categories, but they do shine in a couple of areas. Their OBP is slightly higher than the 2012 number and that can be directly attributed to the fact that they rank first in the league in walks and ninth (out of 10 teams) in strikeouts.

The only Greeneville player who shows up consistently atop the batting leaders is OF Tanner Mathis. Mathis is tied for 10th in the league in batting average (.309) and is second in OBP (.467). That's directly related to the fact that he is tied for first in the league with 22 walks and has only struck out four times in 29 games. 2B Juan Santana is tied for 10th in the league in RBI.

1B Tyler White, with a .357 BA and .536 SLG, and C Ricky Gingras, with a .321 BA and .571 SLG, are actually the team leaders in those categories, but have only played in eight games and don't qualify as league leaders. CF Brett Phillips doesn't lag too far behind with his .291/.394/.418 batting line, but he has only played in 18 games. Despite playing in fewer games, though, he leads the team in doubles with five.

Now, let's look at that pitching. The 2.51 ERA and 1.107 WHIP cited above is substantially better than the 3.76 ERA and 1.301 WHIP that the 2012 squad had at the end of last season. The staff leads the league in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, while being tied for dead last in walks allowed.

The only pitcher showing up as a league leader as of today is RHP Frederick Tiburcio, but that is primarily due to his having just pitched and having the requisite number of innings to qualify. Tiburcio is currently second in the league in ERA (1.09), fourth in WHIP (0.939) and 11th in strikeouts. LHP Chris Lee (3.04 ERA/1.109 WHIP) is tied for fifth in the league with 32 strikeouts in only 23.2 innings. Bullpen pitcher RHP Krishawn Holley (0.84 ERA/1.125 WHIP) is tied for first in the league with three wins. And J.D. Osborne (0.00 ERA/1.143 WHIP) and Gonzalo Sanudo (2.19 ERA/.0.811 WHIP) are tied for second in saves with six, despite Osborne having already moved on to Tri-City.

There are two other pitchers that are just short of qualifying innings-wise to be league leaders who actually have numbers that would put them in the top ten in ERA and WHIP, RHP Jordan Mills (1.08/0.920) and RHP Jandel Gustave (1.59/1.059). RHP Edison Frias (2.92 ERA/1.095 WHIP) would fall just short. Another pitcher who has been extremely effective has been LHP Sebastian Kessay (0.75 ERA/1.000 WHIP) but he has not pitched since July 12th.

The Greeneville team is currently in first place, leading second place Kingsport by four games, and boasts a 13-game win streak. [As a side note, they did have one suspended game during that streak that is scheduled to be completed on August 12th. If they ultimately lose that game (which they were leading by a margin of one run), their win streak could be disrupted on a technicality.] If the Greeneville team can produce a little more offense with the help of the recently promoted Tyler White, it will go a long way toward helping out a pitching staff who has gone 10-1 in one-run games (h/t to Appy Astros for that fact) and keeping them atop the leader board.

Steve at Appy Astros looked at the pitching in a little more detail earlier today. You can find his post here.

Appy Astros - G-Stros Pitching Leads The Way

What is behind the Greeneville Astros rise from a 10-10 team to a 23-10 team?  Their pitching staff!

The 2013 Greeneville Astros got off to a 1-5 start.  During that stretch, they allowed 40 runs. That is averaging giving up 6.67 runs per game.  In the 27 games since then, the G-Stros are 22-5 and have only given up 67 runs.  That is an average of 2.48 runs per game.  That is a dramatic difference and points to the strength of this edition of the Greeneville Astros.   For a closer at the team pitching staff's stats jump over to Appy Astros.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Omaha over Oklahoma City 2-1 in 12 innings
Jake Buchanan (8H 1R 1BB 4SO) allowed a solo home run in the first inning, but went on to put up zeroes in the next six innings. Kevin Chapman (1H 2SO) threw the next two scoreless frames, and Jason Stoffel (2.2IP 1H 1R 5BB 1SO) took it the rest of the way, giving up the winning run in the 12th on a sac fly after walking the bases loaded (one intentional walk). OKC got their only run on a Jimmy Paredes solo shot in the fifth. Robbie Grossman went two-for-four with a walk and a stolen base. Ruben Sosa was also two-for-four. Speaking of Sosa, I did not realize that his inside-the-park home run on Wednesday was the first home run of his professional career. Belated congratulations to him.

Corpus Christi over Midland 5-1
David Martinez is a stud. He pitched a seven-inning complete game his last time on the bump, and promptly followed with a nine-inning complete game on Thursday, the first of his career. He allowed only one run on nine hits and one walk and struck out eight. He threw 109 pitches, 71 for strikes. The Hooks got their first run in the third on a double steal, with Domingo Santana (2x5) stealing second base and Drew Muren (1x3 2B 2BB 2R) stealing home. They put up four more in the sixth as Preston Tucker drove in two with a single, and a Ronald Torreyes sac bunt and Max Stassi sac fly accounted for the other two runs. Zach Johnson was two-for-three with a walk and scored a run. Jio Mier was two-for-three with a double and scored a run.

San Jose over Lancaster 4-3
Aaron West (6IP 6H 3R 1BB 5SO) allowed three runs in the second before settling in. Tyson Perez (3H 1R 4SO) pitched the next three, allowing a solo home run in the ninth. The JetHawks were being no-hit until an Andrew Aplin double with two outs in the seventh put an end to that, and didn't get on the board until the eighth inning when Matt Duffy tripled and was driven in by a Chris Epps double. They added on two more in the ninth on a Nolan Fontana RBI triple and an Andrew Aplin RBI single, but ultimately fell short.

Burlington over Quad Cities 5-2
Mark Appel pitched the first two, allowing one run on one hit and four walks while striking out four. Daniel Minor (2.2IP 5H 2R 2BB 3SO) and Mitch Lambson (3.1IP 2H 2R 1BB 3SO HR) took it the rest of the way. Quad Cities did all of their scoring in the second inning as Brian Blasik doubled in two runs. Carlos Correa went two-for-four with a double and stole a base.

Tri-City over Hudson Valley 1-0
Zach Morton (5IP 1H 1BB 3SO), Albert Minnis (1IP 1H) and Randall Fant (3IP 0H 3SO) combined to hold Hudson Valley to two singles. The 'Cats were held to seven hits, but two of those were for extra bases, a double from Brett Booth and a ninth-inning solo home run from Jon Kemmer. James Ramsay was two-for-four and Tony Kemp stole his 14th stolen base of the season.

Greeneville over Johnson City 3-2
Greeneville made it lucky 13 as they have now won 13 in a row on their way to a first place 23-10 record. Frederick Tiburcio got the start, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and five walks with four strikeouts. Raul Rivera threw the next three scoreless innings and earned the win. The Astros got one in the first on a Chase McDonald RBI single, one in the third on a Brett Phillips RBI single, and the go-ahead run in the eighth on a McDonald sac fly. Tanner Mathis was three-for-four, stole a base and scored a run. Tyler White went two-for-four.

GCL Braves over GCL Astros 3-1 (game called early with one out in the bottom of the 8th)
This was a continuation of a suspended game from Wednesday. As I wrote in yesterday's recap, Brian Holmes pitched extremely well in his rehab start, going four innings. Joe Musgrove started in the fifth in the continuation and did great through his first three innings, striking out five and allowing one hit, a double. Unfortunately, the eighth inning didn't go quite as well as he allowed three singles and was hurt by a passed ball. He allowed one run across and two more came across after Kevin Ferguson replaced him in the game. The Astros got nothing going at the plate as they only collected two hits in the game, a single from Jason Martin and a Jose Solano two-out triple. The one run came across on a ground out after the bases were loaded due to a throwing error, hit batter and walk in the first inning on Wednesday. The scheduled second game was called due to rain.

DSL Red Sox over DSL Astros 7-5 in 19 innings
The score was tied 2-2 in the eighth, was re-tied at 5-5 in the 14th and finally ended in the 19th in a crisply played five hour, five minute game. The Astros actually only used four pitchers in this one. Starter Harold Arauz gave up two unearned runs on three hits, striking out six in five innings and was followed by three scoreless frames from Junior Garcia (1H 1BB 2SO) and five scoreless from Angel Heredia (2H 5SO). Yonquelys Martinez pitched the final six innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out four, for a total of 17 from the staff. Randy Cesar tripled and scored in the second inning on an Arturo Michelena sac fly. Another run came across in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded walk by Kristian Trompiz. And they managed to re-tie the game in the 14th on a Jarico Reynoso two-RBI triple and a Luis Payano single driving in Reynoso.

Players of the Day: I'm going to split the honors today. Drew Muren had a good game for Corpus anyway, but stealing home is always a unique accomplishment. And Andrew Aplin allowed everyone in Lancaster to breathe again when he broke up six and two-thirds innings of perfection from opposing pitcher Clayton Blackburn with a well-placed double.

Pitcher of the Day: As I said, David Martinez is a stud. He leads the Texas League in wins (12), ERA (1.98), WHIP (0.985) and now complete games (2).

Bonus Tweet of the Day

If you didn't know already, SS is really good at Gangnam style

Great job from Brendon Phillips and the rest of the Tri-City team on this one!!! Ernesto Genoves and Luis Alvarez are Moon's back-up dancers. Also, look for brief cameos from Matt Appel and Chris Chenes.

Happy Birthday - 7/26

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

RHP Carroll Sembera (died June 15, 2005 at 63)
First signed by Houston in 1961, Sembera pitched for the Astros from 1965 to 1967. In 71 games, he was 3-9 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.450 WHIP. Semberra was drafted by the Expos in the December 1968 Rule 5 draft. Semberra was born and died in Shiner, Texas.

Tweet of the Day

Movie Night with some of the guys to watch The Conjuring. Nothing like a bunch of guys holding onto each other

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Roster Moves/Transactions

Oklahoma City
RHP Jorge de Leon assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City

Corpus Christi
RHP Jonas Dufek assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
According to Jason Schwartz, RHP Brady Rodgers is also being assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi for what is anticipated to be a spot start.

RHP Michael Dimock activated from the DL

SS Thomas Lindauer tweeted that he is being assigned from Tri-City to Greeneville

SS Jose Fernandez assigned from Tri-City to the GCL
OF Trevor Crowe to the GCL for a rehab assignment

International Free Agent Signing
SS Wilson Amador from the Dominican Republic

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Oklahoma City over Omaha 11-4
Starter Brad Peacock pitched the first six innings and left a 2-4 deficit behind him as he allowed eight hits, including two home runs; he walked one and struck out six. Philip Humber pitched three perfect innings, striking out four, for the win. A two-run Brandon Laird (2x4 2R) home run represented all the RedHawks scoring going in to the eighth inning, but five singles, a double, a wild pitch, a throwing error and a Ruben Sosa (2x4 2RBI) inside-the-park home run later, the RedHawks were leading 9-2. Two more came across in the ninth. Jose Martinez, George Springer and Jimmy Paredes all had three hit nights; Martinez had two doubles and Springer had one.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 5-0
Mike Foltynewicz was straight dealing in his eight shutout innings (6H 2BB 8SO). Reports were that he hit 100 mph on the radar gun on his 109th and final pitch of the game to get a swinging strikeout. He threw 80 of those 109 pitches for strikes. Time of game? A crisp 2:28. Be still, my beating heart! Chia-Jen Lo pitched the final frame, allowing one hit and striking out one. The Hooks put up one in the first as Ronald Torreyes scored on a Max Stassi sac fly. Stassi got another RBI in the fourth on a solo home run. Drew Muren was two-for-four with an RBI double in the fourth and Zach Johnson tacked on another run with a solo shot in the seventh.

Lancaster over San Jose 8-7
From all reports, the playoff atmosphere continued as Lancaster took on the Northern Division leading San Jose team for the second in the series. Tommy Shirley (8H 4R 4BB 5SO) left the game after seven innings with a 7-4 lead, but no lead is really safe at The Hangar. Cameron Lamb loaded the bases in the eighth as one batter reached on a Nolan Fontana fielding error, the next one walked and the third was hit by a pitch. Exit Cameron Lamb and enter Kenny Long. A swinging strikeout and an RBI single later, Travis Ballew came in to get two strikeouts and keep the lead at 7-5, but gave up two on an RBI double in the top of the ninth for a 7-7 tie. With two outs in the ninth, Tyler Heineman doubled, Brandon Meredith walked and Chris Epps provided the magic with a walk-off RBI single. Delino DeShields (2x3 BB 2R 2SB), Andrew Aplin (1x4 SF 2RBI), Joe Sclafani (2x5 RBI R), Matt Duffy (2x5 2B R) and Chris Epps (3x4 2B BB 2RBI) all had great games, but Tyler Heineman was on another planet. See the Player of the Day for details on his heroics.

Quad Cities over Burlington 8-5
Lance McCullers gave up two hits in the first inning, including a two-run homer, but then didn't allow another hit in his five innings of work. He walked four, struck out six, hit a batter and had one wild pitch. Juri Perez gave up two additional runs in his inning and was followed by two scoreless frames from Gera Sanchez. Jordan Jankowski allowed the final run to score in the ninth. The River Bandits countered the Burlington two-run first with a five-run second, featuring a Rio Ruiz (1x2 3B 2RBI R) RBI triple and a Teoscar Hernandez (2x4 BB) two-run home run. They went on to score two more in the seventh and one in the ninth to secure the lead. Roberto Pena was two-for-four with a double and scored a run. Austin Elkins doubled as well. Dan Gulbransen was one-for-three with a walk, RBI and two runs scored.

Tri-City over Hudson Valley 4-0
Chris Cotton (5.1IP 3H 1BB 4SO), Andrew Walter (2.2IP 2H 3SO) and J.D. Osborne (1IP 1H 1BB 3SO) combined for the shutout. The ValleyCats did all their scoring in a four-run fifth inning. Brett Booth scored on a Adam Nelubowich sac bunt and a throwing error, and Conrad Gregor (1x4 2RBI) and Mike Martinez (2x4 RBI) drove in the other three with RBI singles. A Chan Moon double and a James Ramsay triple were the only two extra base hits.

Greeneville over Johnson City 9-7 in 13 innings
The streak is alive. Greeneville has now won 12 straight games with the latest win coming in walk-off fashion. Edison Frias (5IP 4H 3R/1ER 1BB 6SO) got the start and was followed by two scoreless innings from Chris Munnelly (1H 3SO). Tyler Brunneman then took the bump and got charged with his first blown save as he allowed three runs in the eighth (Brunneman had not allowed a run in his prior eight outings). Krishawn Holley threw three and allowed the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, but was spared a loss as Jack Mayfield (2x6 HR 3RBI) drove in a run to re-knot the game in the bottom of the frame. Gerardo Ramirez pitched the final two innings and was rewarded with his first professional win. Greeneville drove in two in the first with RBI singles from Edwin Gomez (3x5 2B BB 2RBI R) and Darwin Rivera (2x5 2BB), added on three more in the fifth with RBI singles from Gomez, Ricky Gingras and Brian Holberton (1x3 2BB 2RBI), one in the seventh on a Holberton bases-loaded walk, tied it back up in the 11th on the Jack Mayfield single, and then capped it off with a two-out two-run walk-off dinger from Mayfield to end it. Juan Santana was two-for-five with a double, two walks and scored two runs.

GCL Astros at GCL Braves suspended after the top of the fifth
The game is scheduled to be completed today, but note that Brian Holmes, in his second rehab start, pitched four innings giving up only one single and striking out six batters, three looking and three swinging. I would say that he is probably ready to rejoin the Quad Cities crew. I predict that Mark Appel will be on his way after one more scheduled start for Quad Cities today, and that Brian will rejoin the River Bandits at that point. That is a pure guess, though, and I may be totally off-base, but it makes sense to me.

DSL Astros over DSL Red Sox 3-2
Elieser Hernandez gave up only one single, didn't walk a batter and struck out two in his five innings of work, but didn't get the win. Javier Saucedo allowed the meager 1-0 lead slip to a 3-1 deficit during his three-inning watch, and he ultimately got the win when the Astros scored two in the ninth. Victor Mesa got his fourth save of the season. The Astros put up one in the first on a Randy Cesar (2x4) single and waited until the ninth to get two more on a Luis Payano (2x5 2R) home run. Kristian Trompiz was two-for-four with a double and a walk, and Jean Estrella was two-for-three with a walk and scored a run.

Player of the Day: Tyler Heineman was four-for-five with three doubles, a home run, three RBI and scored two runs, including the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He is my WTHB Overachiever of the Day!!! Jack Mayfield gets honorable mention for keeping the Greeneville streak alive in heroic fashion. And how can you not acknowledge an inside-the-park home run? Honorable mention goes to Ruben Sosa as well.

Pitcher of the Day: What can you say to a pitcher who throws strikes, throws gas, doesn't allow a run over eight inning and does it all quickly? You say, Mike Folltynewicz, you are my Pitcher of the Day!

Bonus Tweet of the Day

My boy with the walk off BOMB in the 13th to push the winning streak to 12!!
Embedded image permalink

Happy Birthday - 7/25

LHP Alex Sogard (26)
Drafted in the 26th round out of North Carolina State by Houston in 2010, Sogard started his season with Corpus Christi, but was called up to Oklahoma City after only 10 appearances in which he had a 0.71 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP. He has not fared quite so well in OKC where he currently has a 8.05 ERA and a 2.105 WHIP in 18 appearances.

Several former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Billy Wagner (42)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1993, Billy the Kid pitched for Houston from 1995 to 2003. In 464 appearances, he was 26-29 with a 2.53 ERA, a 1.039 WHIP and 225 saves. A three-time All Star for Houston, Wagner would go on to receive four additional All Star nods. He had eight 30-save seasons and two 40-save seasons.

RHP Doug Drabek (51)
Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 11th round in 1983, Drabek signed with the Astros as a free agent in December of 1992. In four seasons with Houston (1993-1996), Drabek was 38-42 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.319 WHIP in 118 starts. His best season for Houston was his All-Star 1994 season when he went 12-6 with a 2.84 ERA. His best season overall was 1990 for Pittsburgh when he won the Cy Young award after compiling a 22-6 record with a 2.76 ERA.

RHP Larry Sherry (died December 17, 2006 at 71)
Sherry came from Detroit in a June 1967 trade. In 29 games for Houston that season, he was 1-2 with a 4.87 ERA and a 1.623 WHIP. His most notable season was 1959 when he earned the World Series MVP for the Dodgers. According to Baseball-Reference:
In 1959, he was 7-2 with a 2.19 ERA on a team whose team ERA was 3.79. In the World Series, he appeared in four games, pitching 12 2/3 innings with a 0.71 ERA. He won two games, the fourth game and the sixth - which was the winning one for the Dodgers. Sherry also recorded saves in other two Dodger victories.
LHP Fred Schermann (69)
Obtained in a December 1973 trade with Detroit, Schermann was with the Astros in 1974 until he went to the Expos in June of 1975. In 69 games for Houston, he was 2-6 with a 4.29 ERA and a 1.519 WHIP. His most successful season was his 1971 season for Detroit when he was 11-6 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.239 WHIP.

SS Mick Kelleher (66)
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 3rd round in 1969, Kelleher came to Houston in October of 1973. He played in only 19 mostly forgettable games for Houston in 1974 before going back to St. Louis in December of that year. In 1081 official major league at bats, Kelleher never recorded a home run.

Tweet of the Day

Joe Mauer had twins. How fitting

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Omaha over Oklahoma City 4-3 in 11 innings (Game 1)
This was a continuation of an earlier suspended game so technically Ross Seaton (3H 1R 1BB) is shown as pitching the first two-thirds of an inning, but in actuality, the game started with two outs in the bottom of the first and that is where Asher Wojciechowski came in. In seven and a third innings, Wojo gave up only one run on seven hits, walking two and striking out two. Unfortunately, Josh Zeid was charged with a blown save as he allowed the third run across in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, and Alex Sogard got the loss with a run allowed in the 11th. The RedHawks collected three runs in the fifth on a Jimmy Paredes home run. Brandon Laird was two-for-five with two doubles. As an interesting side note, since this was a continuation of a suspended game, the starters include four players currently in Houston (Brett Wallace, Jonathan Villar, Jake Elmore and Marc Krauss) and one who was traded (Fernando Martinez).

Omaha over Oklahoma City 3-2 in 7 innings (Game 2)
Bobby Doran pitched very well in his spot start in Oklahoma City as he allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out two in five and a third innings. Eric Berger pitched a clean inning, handing it off to Rhiner Cruz to get the final two outs. Cruz only managed to retire one batter before giving up two runs and was charged with a blown save and the loss. The RedHawks scored one in the second on a Jose Martinez sac fly and one in the fifth on a Marwin Gonzalez RBI single. Robbie Grossman was two-for-four with a double, and Brandon Laird was two-for-two and scored a run.

San Antonio over Corpus 11-3
The good news is that Carlos Quevedo only allowed two hits and no runs in his inning of work. The bad news is that R.J. Alaniz, T.J. Geith, Sergio Escalona and Pat Urckfitz combined to allow 18 hits and 11 runs (10 earned) in the other eight. Further bad news ... the Hooks were held to four hits. More good news ... they somehow parlayed those four hits into three runs, despite none of them being extra base hits, as they were helped out by two San Antonio errors, a wild pitch and a hit batter.

Lancaster over San Jose 7-4
Six of Luis Cruz' seven innings pitched were terrific. Unfortunately, he allowed four runs on four hits in the second inning of the game. Cruz only allowed six singles in the game and struck out six, but was somewhat hampered by three errors in the field behind him. In all the JetHawks committed four errors in the game. Jonas Dufek pitched one inning and allowed no hits and two walks and came away with the win. Kenny Long, in his return to The Caster, pitched a perfect ninth for the save. The 'Hawks scored two in the first, one in the third on Andrew Aplin's (2x4 BB) second RBI single of the game and one in the sixth on a Chris Epps double. They entered the bottom of the eighth tied at four apiece. In the eighth, Joe Sclafani (2x3 2B 2R) scored from first on a Brandon Meredith (2x3 BB) double, Meredith scored on a Chris Epps (2x4 2B) single, and Epps scored on a Nolan Fontana (2x5 R) double. Delino DeShields was two-for-five with two doubles and scored two runs. [UPDATED TO ADD: The JetHawks are the first Astros MiLB affiliate to get to 60 wins this season. They did not get to 60 wins until August 10th last season in a win that also happened to be over San Jose. They did not get to 60 wins for the entire season from 2009 through 2011.]

Hudson Valley over Tri-City 4-3
Michael Feliz (5IP 5H 2R 2BB 3SO) gave up two runs and took the road loss. He was followed by Andrew Thurman (3H 2R 1BB 6SO) who allowed another pair of runs in his two and a third innings. Patrick Christensen inherited two runners from Thurman and erased them quickly with a double play in the eighth. The ValleyCats didn't get on the scoreboard until Conrad Gregor (2x5) hit an RBI single in the eighth driving in former Vanderbilt teammate Tony Kemp (2x5 2B). They scored two more runs in the ninth on a James Ramsay (2x2) RBI single, but ultimately fell just short. Michael Martinez was one-for-four with a double.

Greeneville over Johnson City 5-4
The Astros made it 11 in a row. Jordan Mills pitched the first five, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five. He was followed by three innings from Austin Chrismon who allowed three runs on only two hits (with one of those hits being a two-run triple). Chrismon walked one and struck out three. Gonzalo Sanudo pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn his sixth save. The Greeneville team scored three in the third, one on a Brett Phillips double with two additional runs coming across on an error. A Juan Santana (1x3 BB SB) RBI single in the fourth and an Ariel Ovando RBI double in the fifth accounted for the final two Greeneville runs. Tanner Mathis was two-for-three with a walk.

GCL Blue Jays over GCL Astros 6-1
Agapito Barrios had a solid start (5IP 2H 1R 2BB 4SO), but then the bullpen in the guise of Reymin Guduan, Jorge Perez and Zach Dando combined to allow five runs on six hits over the next three innings. The Astros were held to five hits and didn't get a run across until a ninth inning RBI single from Mesac Laguna (2x4) driving in Jacob Nottingham.

DSL Astros over DSL Mariners 6-2
Rayderson Chevalier (5IP 3H 2R/1ER 2SO HR) allowed two runs in the second and then combined with teammate Joselo Pinales (4IP 2H 4SO) to keep the Mariners off the board the rest of the way. It was Pinales' first professional win. Offensively, the win was a true team effort as all but one of the Astros starters collected a hit and five contributed in the RBI column. Luis Payano (2x4 2B RBI R), Arturo Michelena (2x5 2B RBI R), Randy Cesar (1x5 2B 2RBI), and Brian Pena (2x4 2B BB 2R) had particularly good games. Jean Estrella and Victor Tavarez drove in runs as well. Estrella and Jarico Reynoso each stole a bag.

Player of the Day: When I got home from the Astros game last night, I tuned into the Lancaster game just in time to hear Joe Sclafani single with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Maybe it was just Jason Schwartz' call of the next play as Sclafani motored around from first to score on the next play, a double from Brandon Meredith, but it was an exciting, close play that was pivotal in the game. It gave Lancaster the lead, and ultimately the win, against the Northern Division leading San Jose team. Those are the kind of plays that gave the JetHawks the nickname "Heart Attack Hawks" last season, and the kind of plays that propelled them to the Championship. Joe Sclafani gets today's WTHB nod just for reminding me of how thrilling last season was and for giving me a possible glimpse into how the rest of this season may unfold.

Pitcher of the Day: Jose Pinales not only got his first professional win, the 18-year old also lowered his ERA and WHIP even further to 0.55/0.796.

Happy Birthday - 7/24

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

IF/PH Jason Smith (36)
Originally drafted by the Cubs in the 23rd round in 1996, Smith signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2009. In 21 games for Houston (27 plate appearances), he didn't collect a single hit or walk, but he did score one run and recorded one RBI so he's got that going for him.

Tweet of the Day

is the real deal ladies and gents

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Look at the GCL Astros

Yesterday, I took a little bit more of an in-depth look at the DSL Astros team. Today, let's see how the GCL Astros team is doing. Coming in to today, the GCL team is 14-12 with a 3.56 ERA, a 1.316 WHIP, a cumulative batting line of .249/.324/.366 and a run differential of +2. Their team pitching stats put them in the middle of the pack vis-à-vis the league and their offensive stats are overall slightly above average.

However, one cannot really make much out of the GCL team record, team ERA/WHIP or team batting statistics because the GCL is generally a catch-all, with Latin NDFA's in their first year or two in the States playing alongside older players who are rehabbing injuries, as well as the youngest, most inexperienced players from the recent draft and other new draftees just getting their feet wet before they head to the next level. The most you can really do is to look at some of the individual players and how they are doing. So, let's do that.

3B Tyler White is still among the leaders in the Gulf Coast League despite having been promoted to the Greeneville Astros around a week ago. Tyler's .365/.474/.556 batting line (18 games) has him ranked 4th/2nd/4th in those respective categories. In addition, C Brett Booth was among the team leaders in these categories before his reported promotion to Tri-City today with his .308/.431/.462 batting line over 16 games.

Of those remaining on the team, there are a few standouts. Other than the rehabbing Jean Batista (who hasn't played since 7/11), 1B Yonathan Mejia leads the way as far as batting average. His .311 mark over 25 games is enough to rank him in 21st place in the league as well. In addition, he ranks sixth in the league in hits (28) and is tied for 6th with eight doubles. Mejia's .433 slugging percentage ranks at 19th in the league, although his teammate 2B Jose Solano actually has a higher mark at .436, but does not have the requisite number of at bats to qualify. Solano is however tied for second in the league with four home runs and for 15th in RBI with 14. Solano has played in 17 games entering today.

C Jacob Nottingham leads the way with a .384 OBP (ranking him 20th in the league) and 13 walks (tied for seventh in the league, along with his teammate OF Jason Martin) in 19 games. Martin is also tied for third in the league with 18 runs scored in his 25 games. OF Javaris Reynolds is tied for fourth in the league with his eight stolen bases in 21 games.

RHP Troy Scribner is leading the league in ERA (1.14), WHIP (0.676) and strikeouts (36) in his seven appearances (23.2IP). He has only walked two to go with the 36 strikeouts. RHP Agapito Barrios is ninth in the league in ERA (2.42) and 14th in WHIP (1.119) and LHP Ambiorix de Leon is 14th and 20th respectively with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.209 WHIP.

LHP Kevin Ferguson has appeared in six games (8IP) with a 1.12 ERA and a 0.750 WHIP. RHP Juan Santos has appeared in eight games (11IP) with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP. RHP Chris Munnelly just received a promotion to Greeneville after putting up a 2.35 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP in seven appearances (7.2IP). Austin Nicely has only made one appearance since signing but did not allow a run.

The GCL Astros are currently ranked in third place (out of four team) in their division and are two and a half games behind.

Roster Moves

[UPDATED to add Corpus Christi and Lancaster moves]

Oklahoma City
RHP Bobby Doran assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
(According to Greg Rajan, this is a temporary assignment to make a spot start.)

Corpus Christi
RHP Matt Heidenreich placed on the DL
LHP T.J. Geith assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi

LHP Kenny Long assigned from Corpus Christi to Lancaster

According to a tweet from C Brett Booth, he is being assigned from the GCL to Tri-City

RHP Chris Munnelly assigned from GCL to Greeneville

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Oklahoma City over Omaha 6-1
Brett Oberholtzer (who hasn't had any work since July 5th) got the win as he struck out nine and allowed only one hit, one run and one walk over six innings. Kevin Chapman (2IP 1H 2BB 4SO) and Jason Stoffel (1IP 1H 1BB) provided scoreless relief. The RedHawks scored one in the first on a Brandon Laird RBI single, but didn't score again until an RBI triple from Ruben Sosa (2x4) in the sixth gave them what proved to be the winning margin. RBI singles from Laird in the seventh and Robbie Grossman in the eighth padded the lead, and a Jose Martinez RBI single and a Jon Singleton (1x3 2B BB) sac fly RBI in the ninth sealed the deal. Jimmy Paredes was two-for-five and stole a base. George Springer was one-for-five, stole two bases and scored two runs (and struck out three times).

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 6-4
Ross Seaton got the start and the win, allowing four runs (three earned) on ten hits over seven and two-thirds innings. Chia-Jen Lo retired his one batter and then Jorge de Leon pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save. Corpus trailed in this one until a five-run fifth put them on the board, featuring an RBI single from Rene Garcia (3x4), an RBI double from Jonathan Meyer and a two-run home run from Erik Castro (his 14th of the season). Garcia doubled in another run in the seventh.

Lancaster over Bakersfield 3-2
Who knew it was this easy? I asked David Rollins for a win via twitter yesterday afternoon and he obliged! Rollins (5H 1BB 3SO) went six innings and allowed two runs via the long ball on his way to his eighth win of the season. Jonas Dufek pitched a perfect two innings, striking out three, and Travis Ballew allowed one hit and struck out one in the ninth to earn his 17th save of the season. The 'Hawks did all of their scoring in the third as Andrew Aplin (2x4) drove one out with two ducks on the pond.

Quad Cities over Lake County 7-4
Colton Cain got the start and allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over four innings. He was followed by two scoreless innings from Daniel Minor (1H 1BB 3SO) and two more scoreless innings from Mitch Lambson (3H 1SO). Juan Minaya gave up the final Lake County run in the ninth. The River Bandits came from behind with three in the fourth on a Jordan Scott bases clearing triple. Scott drove in two more in the sixth with an RBI single before being driven in by Carlos Correa's seventh home run of the season. Rio Ruiz and Brian Blasik both doubled in the game. And the Bandits were busy on the base paths as well as Scott stole his 21st of the season, Teoscar Hernandez stole his 20th of the season, and Ruiz and Dan Gulbransen each stole one as well.

Tri-City over Hudson Valley 4-3
Starter Tanner Bushue (5IP 5H 3R 2BB 2SO) got the win and was followed by scoreless relief from Albert Minnis (0.1IP 1H), Adrian Houser (2IP 1H 1SO), J.D. Osborne (0.2IP 0H) and Richard Rodriguez (1IP 2H). The ValleyCats got on the board with two in the second on a Jon Kemmer (2x3 BB) home run, and got two more in the fifth as Mike Martinez (2x4) drove in one with a double and later came around to score on a wild pitch. Ernesto Genoves had two hits as well.

Greeneville at Johnson City - Suspended in the fifth with Greeneville leading 5-4
Game to be completed 8/12

GCL Astros over GCL Blue Jays 4-3
Francis Ramirez pitched the first four and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three. He was followed by four innings from Samil de los Santos (2H 3SO) and one from Erick Gonzalez (1H 1R/0ER 1BB). De los Santos was awarded the win and Gonzalez converted his third save. The Astros scored early with runs driven in by Brett Booth, Jacob Nottingham and Jose Solano (2x4 R) in the first, and late with Javaris Reynolds (2x2 BB) driving in the pivotal run in the eighth. Yonathan Mejia was two-for-three with a double, walk and run scored. Brett Booth, who was hitting .308/.431/.462 in 16 games, tweeted that he was on his way to join the Tri-City team after Monday's game.

DSL Astros over DSL Mariners 5-1 (Completion of 7/4 suspended game)
Harold Arauz pitched the first three innings without allowing a run and was followed by five from Gerardo Juarez (5H 1R/0ER 1BB 5SO) and one perfect inning from Yonquelys Martinez. Jean Estrella was one-for-four with a double; Alexander Melendez was one-for-four with two RBI; and Luis Payano was four-for-four and scored twice.

DSL Mariners over DSL Astros 3-2 in 7 innings
Geronimo Franzua gave up all three Mariner runs in his two and two-thirds innings and was followed by scoreless outings from Cristhopher Santamaria and Juan Delis. The Astros scored both of their runs in the second inning on a Jarico Reynoso (1x2 BB SB) RBI single. Alexander Melendez and Kristian Trompiz were both two-for-three with a run scored.

Player of the Day: Jordan Scott had a heckuva day, going two for two-for-four with a triple, walk, stolen base, run scored and driving in five of the seven Quad Cities runs.

Pitcher of the Day: Samil de los Santos did a great job keeping a razor thin margin intact and allowing his team to win late. Only two singles and no walks over four innings? Nice job. Honorable mention goes to Brett Oberholtzer.

No Birthdays Today ...

No Birthdays today, so how about a bonus tweet (in reference to Greeneville RHP Jandel Gustave) ~

Gustave records 102mph on the scout gun, well worth a tweet

Tweet of the Day

It was pouring last night. And today it's 400 degrees.. Or maybe that's just this bus:)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Look at the DSL Astros

With all of the traveling I've been doing this season, I haven't had much of a chance recently to take a long look at each of the minor league affiliates to see how they are doing. I will start with the DSL Astros because we haven't spent much time looking at them and the team represents a HUGE improvement over last year's.

I'll be honest. Last year's team was painful to cover. They ended the season 22-47. Coming in to today, they are 21-18. What constitutes the big turnaround? The offense has improved somewhat (which frankly didn't take much as it ranked at or close to the bottom in most offensive categories in 2012), but the pitching has improved exponentially over last season.

Here is how the DSL team currently ranks in several offensive categories (out of 35 teams):

22nd - Batting Average
30th - OBP
19th - SLG
26th - Doubles
T17th - Triples
T6th - Home Runs
27th - Walks (only 7 teams had fewer strikeouts, though)
34th - Stolen bases

As you can see, not great offense but at least not dead last. OF Hector Roa ranks 11th in the league in slugging percentage with .455 and fifth in the league in home runs (five). SS Jean Estrella leads the DSL Astros in average (.294) and OBP (.381). He has only struck out ten times in 34 games. OF Jarico Reynoso leads the team in stolen bases with nine in 38 games. OF Luis Payano leads the team in runs scored (25), doubles (8) and walks (25) in 38 games. Unfortunately, he also leads the team in strikeouts, with 39. And finally, 2B Arturo Michelena leads the team in hits (35), triples (4) and RBI (19) over his 37 games.

The pitching, which had a few bright spots here and there last season, is full of bright spots this season. The team ranked generally around two-thirds of the way down the list in most pitching categories last season. This season they are second in ERA with a cumulative 2.05 mark and second in WHIP at 1.089. In addition, they are tied for fifth in strikeouts and are tied for 27th in walks allowed.

Of the players who have pitched enough innings to qualify, two are in the top 20 in the league in ERA - RHP Elieser Hernandez at 0.84 is third and RHP Rayderson Chevalier at 1.72 is 20th. Chevalier is also in the top 20 in WHIP at 0.957. RHP Angel Heredia, with his 1.66 ERA, is seventh in the league in saves with six.

Others with an outstanding ERA and WHIP include RHP Joselo Pinales (0.63/0.837 in eight appearances), RHP Gerardo Juarez (1.26/0.736 in eight appearances) and LHP Junior Garcia (2.03/0.975 in nine appearances). LHP Cristhopher Santamaria has only pitched 10.1 innings (seven appearances), but he has not yet allowed a run, earned or otherwise, and has a 0.375 WHIP. In all, there are 11 pitchers on the team with a WHIP of 1.171 or less. Only one pitcher has an ERA higher than 4.01 (but that pitcher has only pitched two-thirds of an inning this season).

As a side note, the two main catchers on the team, Brian Pena and Marlon Avea, have caught stealing percentages of 50% and 53% respectively.

The DSL Astros are currently ranked in third place (out of eight teams) in their division, six games back. But that is far and away better than their 2012 counterparts who were in last place in the division for the biggest chunk of the season.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Oklahoma City over Memphis 3-2
Wade LeBlanc got the start and the win on the road in Memphis, allowing two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. Jason Stoffel pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two. Josh Zeid got the save despite allowing a single and two walks as he struck out the side in the ninth. The RedHawks didn't get on the board until a fifth inning solo home run from Jose Martinez put them there. Che-Hsuan Lin then scored in the sixth on a fielding error and in the eighth on a sac bunt and throwing error. Aside from the Martinez home run, the only hits were singles from George Springer (SB) and Lin.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 11-10
Looks like a close game, right? Well, it didn't start out that way as Frisco pounced on Matt Heidenreich and Carlos Quevedo to the tune of 10 runs in the first two innings. Andrew Robinson provided three innings of scoreless relief before giving way to Pat Urckfitz who gave up one run on a solo homer in his two innings. Chia-Jen Lo and Jorge de Leon each provided a scoreless frame. The Hooks scored one in the fourth on an Erik Castro home run, but were trailing 11-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. Three doubles, two singles, a triple and a walk later, the Hooks had scored six runs. They continued to chip away at the Frisco lead with solo homers from Max Stassi and Kike Hernandez in the next two frames and an RBI single from Stassi in the ninth to bring the Hooks within one. It was definitely a roller coaster of a game, but the Hooks ultimately fell just short. There were too many good performances to recap them all so take a gander at the boxscore.

Bakersfield over Lancaster 10-7
This was another rough start for a pitching staff as Kyle Hallock and Cameron Lamb combined to allow ten runs (nine earned) on 14 hits over four innings. Mike Hauschild, after a very rough indoctrination into the California League his last time out, righted the ship and provided four scoreless innings, allowing only three singles and a walk while striking out four. The JetHawks put up four runs in the third on a two-run M.P. Cokinos double and a two-run Tyler Heineman (3x5 2R) home run, added one in the eighth on a Joe Sclafani (2x5 R) RBI single, and the final two on a Matt Duffy (2x4) two-run single in the ninth. Nolan Fontana was two-for-five and scored a run, and Delino DeShields swiped his 35th bag of the season (and his 15th so far in July).

Lake County over Quad Cities 7-3
Joe Bircher, in his first appearance since completing his rehab, got touched for six runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out four. Jamaine Cotton then provided two scoreless innings before giving way to Gera Sanchez who allowed one run in his two innings of work. Luis Alvarez was two-for-four with a double and Bobby Borchering doubled as well.

Tri-City over Hudson Valley 9-3
Evan Grills gave up two runs (one earned) on nine hits and struck out three in his five innings. Kevin Comer (1.1IP 4H 1SO) gave up the final Hudson Valley run before giving way to scoreless relief from Andrew Walter and Charles Basford. The 'Cats hit the run column with solo home runs from Mike Martinez and Ernesto Genoves (2x3 BB 2R) in the fourth, added two more in the fifth on a Tony Kemp RBI single, and then put an exclamation point on the game with a five-run seventh, featuring a bases clearing double from Ronnie Mitchell (3x4).

Greeneville over Johnson City 7-4
Starter Chris Lee allowed three runs (one earned) on three singles and two walks and didn't make it out of the first inning, despite striking out two. He was followed by four and a third scoreless innings from Ryan Connolly (3H 1BB 4SO), two and two-thirds innings from Krishawn Holley (4H 1R 4SO) and Gonzalo Sanudo (1.1IP 1SO) brought up the rear for his fifth save. After solo home runs from Chase McDonald in the second and Jack Mayfield (2x3 BB) in the fifth, Greeneville trailed 3-2 going into the top of the seventh. With two outs in the frame, the Astros put up five as they walked four, and hit three singles (including RBI singles from Tyler White and McDonald) and one double, a Juan Santana (2x4) two-RBI double. Greeneville has now won 10 in a row.

DSL AL All-Stars over DSL NL All-Stars 3-1
Two Astros were picked for the All-Star squad, RHP Angel Heredia and 1B Hector Roa. Heredia came in for the bottom of the ninth and retired the only two batters he faced, one on a swinging strike out and one on a ground out. Roa only had one at bat and flew out to right field.

Player of the Day: Max Stassi is being ridiculous (and I mean that in a good way). Not only was he three-for-five with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in Sunday's game, he has hit home runs in five straight games. That is ridiculous.

Pitcher of the Day: Although the JetHawks didn't win, Mike Hauschild had a very nice bounce back performance to give his team a chance.

Happy Birthday - 7/22

RHP Angel Heredia (21)
The Dominican-born Heredia has a few holes in his resume. He played shortstop in the Pirates organization in 2009 when he was 16, but there is no record of him playing in 2010 or 2011. He was apparently picked up by the Astros at some point prior to the 2012 season, this time as a pitcher. He spent the majority of 2012 on the restricted list for PEDs and only pitched in eight games for the DSL Astros toward the end of last season. This year, he is again with the DSL team and was named to the All-Star squad. In 14 games this season, he is 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

1B/C Cliff Johnson (66)
Drafted by Houston in the fifth round in 1966, Johnson did not make his major league debut until six years later. He played in 376 games for Houston from September 1972 until his trade to the Yankees in June of 1977, hitting .256/.370/.471. As a player without a fixed position, Johnson was often used as a pinch hitter until moving to the American League where he was often used as a DH with modest success.

And according to this very silly Baseball Card Theater video from ex-pat Astros fan T. Sean Shannon, Cliff Johnson didn't smile a lot.

Tweet of the Day

It's a Christmas in July miracle. Raining in Lancaster?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Games

Greeneville Astros 11, Johnson City Cardinals 10 (10)
This game was the opposite of a pitchers' duel and Greeneville took advantage of four opposing errors, seven hits and nine walks to come out on top. They have now won nine games in a row. The Astros used five pitchers in their game Saturday and no one worked longer than two and two-thirds. Starter Enderson Franco pitched one and two-thirds and after a 1-2-3 first, gave up a hit and walked four in the second to be charged with four runs. The win went to Tyler Brunnemann (2-0) after taking the hill for the final two innings. Brunnemann hit two batters and threw a wild pitch, but didn't give up any hits and struck out two. Brian Holberton (1X3 2R HR RBI 2BB) and Juan Santana (2X5 R HR 3RBI 2SO) both homered in the game while Tyler White (1X3 2R 2RBI 2BB) collected a couple RBIs, including the go ahead run in the 10th. Tanner Mathis (1X5 2R BB) stole second twice on Saturday.

GCL Yankees1 2, GCL Astros 1
The Astros only allowed three hits to their opponents outside of the first inning but still lost this one at home. Troy Scribner (3-1) went six innings in his start before picking up his first loss. Scribner was charged with two runs (1ER) on five hits and struck out ten. Brett Booth went two-for-four at the plate with a double, a strikeout, stole a base and scored the Astros' only run in the fourth.

Hudson Valley Renegades 7, Tri-City Valley Cats 5
Tri-City was in control of this game until the seventh inning when they allowed five runs to score, four of which were unearned. Randall Fant took the mound to start and threw five innings, allowing a pair of runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out one. Zach Morton entered in the seventh and finished the game, becoming the owner of the five runs (1ER) that upset the Valley Cats on Saturday after two errors, three hits, a HBP and a passed ball all occurred in the seventh. Morton (1-1) would retire the last seven batters of the game in order. Michael Martinez went three-for-four in the game and put the Tri-City on the board in the first with a two-out, two-run homer, finishing with three RBI. James Ramsay went two-for-three, scored a run, walked and collected an RBI.  

Quad Cities River Bandits 3, Lake County Captains 5
Chris Devenski had a rough outing from the get go on Saturday. Before leaving the first inning, Lake County had already connected for two home runs and a couple doubles, good for four scores. Devenski (0-2) pitched four innings and left with five runs on nine hits, a walk and seven strikeouts along the way. Quad Cities hit a pair of homers of their own on Saturday: Teoscar Hernandez (1X4 R HR RBI) put the River Bandits on the board in the sixth with a solo shot and Luis Alvarez (3X4 R HR RBI SO) followed suit in the seventh. Rio Ruiz didn't hit any homeruns but did finish two-for-four with an RBI.

Lancaster JetHawks 3, Bakersfield Blaze 6
Lancaster was down five runs before they scored one of their own Saturday and that momentum proved to be a little too much to hurdle. Brady Rogers (8-6) threw the first five innings and tallied five runs on seven hits and a walk through the third inning before retiring the final eight batters he faced. Rogers K-ed four. Five JetHawks had multi-hit games and Delino DeShields (3X5 R 2B) topped them all with three hits. DeShields also stole two bases. Matt Duffy (2X3 R HR 2RBI) hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, good for Lancaster's first score of the game. Chris Epps (2X4 R), Carlos Perdomo (2X4) and Ryan McCurdy (2X4 SO) were the other three players with two hits.   

Frisco RoughRiders 1, Corpus Christi Hooks 9
The Hooks scored first and scored often on Saturday, collecting all nine of their runs before finally allowing one to Frisco in the seventh. Nick Tropeano (4-7) pitched the first seven innings and conceded the only opposing run on four hits, walked one and struck out five during his shift. Max Stassi had just one hit in three at bats, a two-run shot in the fifth—his ninth homer of the year—and accumulated three RBI. Erik Castro (3X4 2R 2B 3RBI) hit three-for-four and hit three RBI of his own while Jonathan Meyer (2X5 2R RBI SO) and Rene Garcia (2X5 R SO) had two hits apiece.    

Oklahoma City RedHawks 8, Memphis Redbirds 1
Oklahoma City too, collected all of their runs before finally allowing one in the seventh. Jake Buchanan (2-2) was on the mound for the scoreless, first six innings of the game and would earn the win, allowing five hits, four walks while striking out five. The RedHawks hit twice as many times as their opponents in the game (14-7) and Robbie Grossman (5X5 2R 3B RBI) had more than a third of their hits, finishing five-for-five on Saturday. Marwin Gonzalez (2X5 2B RBI), Jimmy Paredes (2X5 R) and Carlos Perez (2X4 R 2RBI 2SO) combined, have just one more hit than Grossman on the day. Just because "5X5" is fun to look at, here's the box:

Player of the Day: Robbie "The Machine" Grossman had a tremendous game at the plate yesterday and deserves the honors today. Even though it was an eight run game with no homers, Grossman found a way to include some fireworks. Great game.

Pitcher of the Day: I am going against convention today and giving it to a couple of guys who lost on Saturday but still stuck it out. First, Troy Scribner did take a loss Saturday, but he also regained his composure after two runs scored in the first to strike out the last three batters of the inning—the first of his 10 Ks in the game. Second, there is Tri-City's Zach Morton who entered the game yesterday to scoring as well and left having retired the last seven in order. Both of these guys faced adversity Saturday and overcame it, maybe not on the scoreboard, but right out there on the mound.