Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Birthday - 9/21

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Che-Hsuan Lin (25)
Originally signed by Boston out of Taiwan in 2007, Lin came to the Astros organization as a waiver claim in October 2012. In 121 games for Oklahoma City this season, he hit .234/.356/.309. He also pitched an inning and two-thirds in a rather lopsided loss and was quite effective. He didn't allow a hit or a walk and struck out one.

Several former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Art Gardner (61)
A second round pick by the Astros in 1971, Gardner played for Houston in 1975 and in 1977. In 79 games, he hit .167/.216/.167.

RHP Aurelio "Senor Smoke" Lopez (died September 22, 1992 at age 44)
Lopez came to Houston as a free agent in June of 1986 and played for the Astros for a little over a year before his release in June 1987 at the end of his career. In 71 games for Houston, he was 5-4 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.207 WHIP. His best years were with Detroit where he earned a World Series ring and for whom he made his sole All-Star appearance.

C Troy Afenir (50)
A first round pick by Houston in 1983, Afenir played in only 10 games for the Astros in 1987 before being included in an April 1989 trade to Oakland. In those 10 games, he hit .300/.300/.350.

RHP Manuel Barrios (39)
Signed as a free agent in January 1993, Barrios played in only two games for the Astros in 1997 with rather inauspicious results. His entire major league career consisted of 6.2 innings pitched for three different teams with a 6.75 ERA and a 2.550 WHIP.

RHP Billy Sadler (32)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the sixth round in 2003, Sadler signed as a free agent with Houston in August 2009 and pitched 1.1 innings in one game for Houston in 2009 with forgettable results.

Tweet of the Day


Imma just lay back relax today...it won't hurt

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Tri-City ValleyCats Season in Review

Tri-City led their division most of the season, but a late season five-game skid coupled with a Lowell five-game win streak turned the tables. Fortunately, Tri-City won three of their last four while Lowell had a four-game losing streak and the ValleyCats ended up on top of the standings in the Stedler Division. They went on to make short work of Aberdeen, shutting them out in both games of the series to advance to the New York-Penn League Championship series. After losing game one of the LCS to State College in extra innings, they came back and took the final two to earn the NYPL crown. Here is how their 2013 season compared to the 2012 campaign.

2012 Win Percentage - .671
2013 Win Percentage - .579

2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 414 - 251 = 163
2013 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 324 - 267 = 57

2012 Team ERA & WHIP - 2.75 & 1.170
2013 Team ERA & WHIP - 3.01 & 1.139

2012 Team Batting Line - .271/.355/.391
2013 Team Batting Line - .246/.322/.345

As you can see, the pitching was quite good in 2013 and was very comparable to 2012. This year's staff was first in WHIP and sixth in ERA while last year's crew ranked fourth and second respectively in those areas (out of 14 teams). The 'Cats were ranked second in strikeouts (fourth in 2012) and dead last in walks (12th in 2012). Let's look at some of the individuals who contributed to those terrific numbers.

RHP Michael Feliz was, without question, the pitching star of this team. In 14 games (10 starts), he was 4-2 with a league leading 1.96 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP (second in the league). He ranked third in the league in strikeouts. Feliz fanned 78 batters while issuing 13 walks in 69 innings pitched. He will turn 20 at the end of this month.

21-year old LHP Evan Grills had a bit of a breakout season this year. In 16 games (8 starts), he went 7-1 (tied for first in the league in wins) with a 3.34 ERA (19th in the league) and a 1.258 WHIP (17th). Interestingly enough, Grills had some fairly dramatic splits between starting and relieving. In eight starts, he was 5-1 with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. In eight relief appearances, he was 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and a 0.987 WHIP.

There are so many pitchers who stood out for Tri-City that I am going to simply summarize them below ranked by number of innings pitched.

RHP Kyle Westwood (22) - 44.2IP 11G/8GS 0.81ERA 0.761WHIP
*RHP Zach Morton (23) - 32.2IP 9G/4GS 1.93ERA 0.735WHIP
LHP Chris Cotton (22) - 31IP 8G/6GS 1.74ERA 1.097WHIP
*RHP Andrew Walter (22) - 25.1IP 14G 2.49ERA 0.750WHIP
*RHP Richard Rodriguez (23) - 21IP 16G 1.29ERA 0.952WHIP
LHP Albert Minnis (21) - 14IP 14G 2.57ERA 1.143WHIP
*RHP Patrick Christensen (22) - 14IP 14G 3.86ERA 1.143WHIP

*Morton was promoted to Quad Cities where he made eight appearances (one start). His combined numbers are a 1.75 ERA and an 0.877 WHIP in 51.1 innings pitched.

*Walter was promoted to Quad Cities where he made six appearances. His combined numbers are a 1.66 ERA and an 0.711 WHIP in 38 innings pitched.

*Rodriguez started the season and ended the season with Quad Cities and did not fare as well at that venue as he did at Tri-City. In 44.1 innings combined (30 appearances), he had a 4.47 ERA and a 1.331 WHIP.

*Christensen was promoted to Quad Cities where he made nine appearances. His combined numbers are a 2.57 ERA and 1.000 WHIP over 28 innings pitched.

Tyler Brunnemann did well at Tri-City in limited action after his promotion there (0.90 ERA and 0.500 WHIP in 10 innings) as did Gonzalo Sanudo (0.00 ERA and 0.308 WHIP in 13 innings). Sanudo was fourth in the league in saves (with eight) despite only pitching in nine games in the NYPL.

In the postseason, the staff compiled a 1.34 ERA and a 0.851 WHIP with Feliz, Chris Munnelly (who I discussed in my Greeneville review), Sanudo, Westwood, Grills and Brunnemann all pitching very well. In particular, Westwood contributed two wins in the postseason with a 0.692 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP and Sanudo converted saves in all four of the postseason wins.

PHEW!!! A lot of guys pitched really, really well for the 'Cats.

Now, let's look at the offense. Batting average ranked fifth in the league, on-base percentage was third and slugging was sixth (all out of 14 teams). Not bad at all, but their 2012 counterparts ranked first in all of those categories so they had some big shoes to fill. The team struck out fewer times than anyone else in the league. They ranked second in walks and home runs, in the middle of the pack in stolen bases and triples and toward the bottom of the league in doubles.

Many of Tri-Cities' best hitters didn't spend much time there. OF Dan Gulbransen (.397/.426/.638) was promoted after only 15 games there. Likewise, C Luis Alvarez (.303/.395/.485) played in only 12 games at Tri-City. 22-year old 3B Tyler White ended his season at Tri-City, hitting .286/.362/.384 with 25 RBI in 28 games. 2B Tony Kemp (21) spent the bulk of his season at Tri-City, hitting .282/.355/.362 in 48 games. He was tied for 10th in the league in stolen bases despite having played his final 27 games at Quad Cities.

Of those who spent the entire season at Tri-City, no one stands out quite as much as 21-year old 1B Conrad Gregor. Gregor ranked second in walks, third in hits (tie), sixth in on-base percentage, 10th in batting average, 10th in RBI (tie) and 13th in runs scored (tie). He hit .289/.379/.385 with twelve doubles, one triple, four home runs, 35 RBI (tied for team lead). He walked 37 times to 43 strikeouts in 317 plate appearances.

Others who ranked at the top of the New York-Penn League were 21-year old CF James Ramsay (top 10 in runs, triples and walks), 22-year old SS Chan Moon (top 10 in triples and top 20 in stolen bases), 23-year old DH/1B Mike Martinez (third in home runs, top 10 in RBI, top 20 in slugging percentage), and 21-year old OF D'Andre Toney (top 20 in stolen bases). Martinez and Toney will start the 2014 season on the restricted list.

And one final note for faithful reader John. Vamos Gatos!!!

Seasons in Review for Other Astros Minor League Teams
DSL Season in Review
GCL Season in Review
Greeneville Season in Review

Happy Birthday - 9/20

Happy Birthday to ~

Astros Announcer Bill "Brownie" Brown (66)

An announcer for the Astros since 1987, Brown has become a fixture in the broadcast booth. He also recently collaborated with Mike Acosta on this great photographic history of the Astros and their journey from inception to their first World Series appearance in 2005 - Houston Astros: Deep in the Heart.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

SS Angel Sanchez (30)
Angel was originally drafted by the Royals in the 11th round in 2001 out of Puerto Rico and came to Houston in a trade with the Red Sox in July 2010. In 175 games as an Astro in 2010 and 2011, he hit .258/.310/.314.

Tweet of the Day


I could get used to golfing every day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The 2013 Astros Minor League Bobby Awards

It's time to hand out the postseason Bobby Awards to a few deserving players and coaches for their 2013 seasons. I will start with the more serious awards and follow with the not-so-serious ones. The envelope please ...

Full Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Asher Wojciechowski
I really struggled with this one because there were many deserving players, but in the end, it all came down to one thing. Consistency. Aside from a couple of tough starts in August, Wojciechowski performed consistently well throughout the season. At Corpus Christi in April, he was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and an 0.923 WHIP. Batters hit .189 against him. After his promotion to Oklahoma City in May, he compiled a 9-7 record with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.194 WHIP. Batters hit .229 against him. He peaked in July as batters only managed a .163 batting average against him on his way to a 3-0 record, a 2.00 ERA and a 0.889 WHIP. He also led all Astros minor league pitchers with his 160 innings pitched.

Full Season Player of the Year: CF George Springer
What George Springer has accomplished this season is nothing short of remarkable. He joined the exclusive 30/30 Club early on in August and came very close to joining the even more exclusive 40/40 club, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 1956. He ended the season with 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases. In 135 games split between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, he hit .303/.411/.600 with 27 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 108 RBI.

Short Season Pitcher of the Year: RHP Michael Feliz
Michael Feliz is starting to get the attention he deserves. In 14 games (10 starts) for Tri-City, he was 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA and an 0.952 WHIP. He walked only 13 batters while striking out 78 over 69 innings pitched. And did I mention that he routinely hits the mid-90's and he won't be 20 until the end of September? Yeah, there's that.

Short Season Player of the Year: 3B Tyler White
The 2013 33rd round draft pick made quite a name for himself over the first 64 games of his professional career. He started the season with the GCL Astros where he hit .365/.474/.556 in 18 games. After another 18 games in which he dominated at Greeneville, he was once again promoted, this time to Tri-City. He ended the season with a .322/.406/.456 batting line, 14 doubles, six home runs and 52 RBI.

Postseason MVP (Player): 3B Rio Ruiz
Rio Ruiz' constant improvement throughout the season was simply outstanding. After hitting only .167 in April, he improved to .246 in May, .269 in June, .279 in July, .298 in August, and .333 in September. He ended the season with 33 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 63 RBI. And he hit .370 in the postseason with three home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases.

Postseason MVP (Pitcher): LHP Josh Hader
There were so many incredible postseason pitching performances, but Josh Hader's two postseason wins stood out. His second appearance, in the winning game of the Championship Finals, was particularly impressive as he threw seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts. His postseason ERA and WHIP were 0.64 and 0.571, respectively.

Comeback/Breakthrough Pitcher of the Year: LHP Chris Lee
Chris Lee, a fourth round 2011 draft pick, had a less than impressive freshman season in 2011 and then was shut down after pitching only a handful of innings in 2012. But he came back strong and healthy and throwing a mid-90's fastball in 2013 and the results came. In 11 games (10 starts), he was 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.095 WHIP. He also got the win in his only postseason start.

Comeback/Breakthrough Player of the Year: OF Dan Gulbransen
After getting drafted in the 16th round in 2012, Gulbransen hit only .218/.317/.354 in his first professional season at Tri-City. Fast forward a year and Gulbransen ended up with two promotions and a .321/.385/.502 batting line.

Manager of the Year: Josh Bonifay/Greeneville Astros
Yes, Ed Romero and Omar Lopez led their teams to Championship wins, but Josh Bonifay took his team to the Appy League Championship Finals despite having a team with one of the weakest offensive lines in the league and despite having lost quite a number of players to promotion. And he did all of that as a first year manager. That is impressive, to say the least.

Hitting Coach of the Year: Darryl Robinson/Lancaster JetHawks
It almost doesn't seem fair to single out D-Rob in light of the incredible talent he had to work with, but that .289/.384/.469 team batting line reflects more than just the talent on the team. It also reflects the hard work that Robinson put in with the team and the respect that he earned from both players and peers.

Pitching Coach of the Year: Rick Aponte/Dominican Summer League Astros
Aponte returned to coach in the Dominican Summer League this year and his pitchers had a CUMULATIVE ERA of 2.35 and a CUMULATIVE WHIP of 1.127. Last year the team had a 4.20 ERA and a 1.494 WHIP. Case closed.

Team of the Year: Quad Cities River Bandits
The River Bandits had some early struggles and ended up in fourth place in the first half, albeit with a very nice .551 win percentage. They had a .623 win percentage in the second half and ended both the second half and the season in second place in their division and then went on to win the Midwest League Championship.

Now for some of the not-so-serious awards ~

Studmuffin of the Year: RHP Mike Foltynewicz
Last year, I borrowed the studmuffin tag from Folty's girlfriend and he became a frequent Studmuffin of the Day on my game recaps and ultimately was named Studmuffin of the Year. Folty is a repeat winner, mostly due to the frequency of seeing this when he pitches:


Studmuffin in Training: RHP Vincent Velasquez
There are several pitchers who can bring the heat, such as Velasquez, Lance McCullers, Michael Feliz and Jandel Gustave, but I'm going with Velasquez because I don't think he gets the recognition that he deserves. I'm certain that a prestigious award like this will change all that (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

Most Likely to buy Stock in Alleve: 3B Matt Duffy
Duffy cut down his hit by pitch total from 41 in 2012 to 21 in 2013, but still led the Astros minor leaguers in the category.

The Jandel Gustave Award for Most Improved Control: RHP Jandel Gustave
Gustave issued 33 walks with 21 wild pitches and five hit batters in only 19+ innings pitched in 2011. In 2013, he issued 23 walks with two wild pitches and four hit batters in 43+ innings.

The Oh-So-Close Award: RHP Jake Buchanan
Buchanan was in the running for both my Pitcher of the Year and my Comeback/Breakthrough Pitcher of the Year and he was certainly deserving of either. He bounced back from a not-so-terrific year in 2012 to an excellent season in 2013. Between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, he had a 12-7 record with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP. He only walked 22 batters in 158+ innings.

The Brad Ausmus Award: IF Joe Sclafani
Much like Ausmus, Sclafani went to Dartmouth. And much like Ausmus, Sclafani is also charming, intelligent, funny and not too hard on the eyes. Oh, and he's a Really Good Player, too.

Funniest Tweeters: LHP Brian Holmes and LHP Kenny Long
When it came right down to it, I couldn't pick between the two. I like both Holmes' dry wit and Long's ability to poke fun at himself. I don't think it's a coincidence that both are lefties. Here are a couple of my favorites from the duo ~

Tweet of the Day

Do you ever flex your wrist back just to make sure you aren't Spiderman?

Tweet of the Day

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

Best Twitter Handle: LHP Chris Cotton - @58percentCotton

Best Astros Minor League Inspired Hashtag: #DailyDoseOfCoke
C/DH M.P. Cokinos inspired the twitter hashtag with his early season heroics for the Lancaster team.

Best Name in the Astros System: RHP Erasmo Pinales
I still really like Rayderson Chevalier and Geronimo Franzua (last year's winners), but when I saw that, according to a baby name book, Erasmo means "to love," I couldn't resist picking him.

Best Nickname in the Astros System: 1B Erik Castro/Big Sexy
I overheard the Astros coaches in Corpus Christi calling Erik "Big Sexy" when he was taking BP. It's hard to beat that.

Name Most Likely to be Misspelled: LHP Christopher Christofer Cristopher Cristhopher Santamaria

Best Mustache (Old School): LHP Eric Berger

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What you guys think?
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Best Mustache (Contemporary): RHP Michael Dimock


Armed and Dangerous, Part I: C Roberto Peña
Peña caught 43 of 83 would-be base stealers this season for a whopping 53% caught stealing percentage.

Armed and Dangerous, Part II: OF Drew Muren and OF Teoscar Hernandez
Hernandez led the Astros minors in outfield assists with 14 in 123 games. Muren had 12 in only 89 games.

The Mighty Mouse Award: RHP Travis Ballew and RHP Gonzalo Sanudo
Ballew led the Astros crew with 21 saves in 50 appearances. Sanudo had 19 saves in only 30 appearances. And for those who don't get the Mighty Mouse reference, go here.

Most Likely to Feed the Hungry: LHP Luis Cruz
If Luis Cruz starts the 2014 season in Corpus Christi, he is apt to feed a lot of hungry fans. Hooks fans get a free taco coupon for every game in which the home squad records 10 strikeouts. With an organization-leading 150 strikeouts, Cruz should be able to earn the fans a few of those.

The Good Sons Award: LHP Kyle Hallock and LHP Luis Cruz
Pitching a combined no-hitter on Mother's Day this year had to make their mamas proud.

Most Likely to Outrun a Coyote: 2B Delino DeShields
DeShields is definitely a roadrunner and is a repeat winner in this category with 51 stolen bases. Meep meep!

Walk Like a Man Award: SS Nolan Fontana
Fontana led the Astros system with an astonishing 102 walks in only 104 games.

The Wizard of Oz Award: CF George Springer
There's no place like home and that's precisely where this wizard sent 108 players as he led the organization in RBI.

One for the Money: OF Preston Tucker
Tucker led the Astros minor leagues in hits with 159.

Two for the Show: SS Carlos Correa, IF Brandon Laird and 3B Rio Ruiz
This trio tied for most doubles in the system with 33 each.

Three to Get Ready: 2B Delino DeShields
DeShields' 14 triples led the organization.

Go, Cat, Go: CF George Springer
Springer's organization-leading 37 home runs earn him a pair of blue suede shoes.

The Superman Award: OF Andrew Aplin
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Andrew Aplin in centerfield!!!

And Here Is The Play ...

Here is the play that had Jason Schwartz gushing with praise for Andrew Aplin in last night's game courtesy of this tweet from Manager Rodney Linares. The original photographs are credited to Terry Lawton.

Rodney Linares
CF Andre Aplin made one of the best plays my eyes have ever seen of the boyz
Embedded image permalink

The Cyborg Award: RHP Brady Rodgers
This one was Buca's idea and I loved it. Rodgers was relentless, striking out 7, 8, 9 and 11 in his last four games of the season (with that final 11-strikeout game being a playoff game). And with some of the best command in the system, maybe he really is a Cyborg.

The K-K-K-K-K-K-K-BB Award: RHP Aaron West
West ended the season with an almost 7:1 strikeout to walk ratio, the highest among any full season starting pitchers.

The Jeff Bagwell Award (2013 Edition): C Max Stassi
This award goes to the player obtained in a trade who is most likely to make the trading team regret it. There were a number of players picked up in 2013 via trade that could fit the bill, but I'm going to go with Max Stassi. He looks to be a very special player and Oakland may very well regret ever letting him go.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<

I wish I could have given an award to every player in the system after such a terrific year, but, alas, I finally ran out of time and ideas.

Any player wanting a certificate commemorating your honor may contact me via the email address on the front page of the blog or via direct message on twitter.

Happy Birthday - 9/19

Happy Birthday to ~

1B Yonathan Mejia (21)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, the switch-hitting second baseman was a standout with the GCL Astros this season, hitting .324/.356/.437 in 59 games, earning him an end-of-season promotion to Tri-City.

OF George Springer (24)
Houston's first round 2011 draft pick out of the University of Connecticut split his 2013 season between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City. His composite batting line was .303/.411/.600 with 27 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases.

Two former Astros with birthdays today ~

2B Joe Morgan (70)
Originally signed by the Colt .45's as a free agent in 1962, Morgan played for the Colt 45's and Houston Astros from 1963 to 1971 and again in 1980. In 1032 games over 10 seasons for Houston, Morgan hit .261/.374/.393 and earned two of his ten All-Star Nods. Following his trade to the Reds in November of 1971, Morgan hit his stride. It was with the Reds that the future Hall of Famer earned two National League MVP awards, two World Series rings, five Gold Gloves and made his other eight All-Star appearances.

C Joe Ferguson (67)
An eighth round draft pick by the Dodgers in 1968, Ferguson came to Houston in a November 1976 trade with the Cardinals. In 183 games for the Astros in 1977 and 1978, he hit .243/.375/.420

Tweet of the Day


I truly love that it has rained everyday I've been home no joke i missed the rain

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Greeneville Astros Season in Review

Despite dominating in the standings for a large part of the summer, Greeneville ended up in second place in their division two and a half games back after some late season struggles. They went on to win the West Division series 2-1 before falling 0-2 in the Appy League Championship series. Here is how their 2013 season compared to the 2012 campaign.

2012 Win Percentage - .529
2013 Win Percentage - .559

2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 339 - 297 = 42
2013 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 289 - 271 = 18

2012 Team ERA & WHIP - 3.76 & 1.301
2013 Team ERA & WHIP - 3.30 & 1.233

2012 Team Batting Line - .262/.328/.379
2013 Team Batting Line - .237/.339/.337

It doesn't take long to see what the strengths and weaknesses of this team were. The pitching was superior and was even better than last season. The team ranked first in the league in WHIP, third in ERA and strikeouts and ninth (out of 10 teams) in issuing free passes. The offense, on the other hand, ranked in the bottom four in almost all offensive categories (including dead last in triples and stolen bases) except for walks (ranked first) and on-base percentage (in a virtual tie for first).

In looking at offensive achievements for the season, three players stand out. OF Tanner Mathis ranked first in the league in walks and second in the league in on-base percentage (.425). The 22-year old lefty was also in the top 20 in the league in runs scored and just outside the top 20 in batting average (.277). OF Marc Wik was first in the league in OBP with a .433 mark and second in the league in walks; Wik is a 21-year old lefty. 21-year old 1B Chase McDonald was tied for 10th in the league in home runs and in the top 15 in the league in RBI and led the team in those categories.

Other players in the top 20 in various categories in the league include C Brian Holberton (home runs and walks), 2B Juan Santana (RBI) and OF Ariel Ovando (walks). C Ricky Gingras only appeared in 16 games, but had some of the best offensive numbers on the team with a .275/.383/.471 batting line. 3B Tyler White had great numbers in his 18 games at Greeneville as he passed through on his way to Tri-City, hitting .344/.411/.484.

The pitching on the other hand has almost too many success stories to note. Let's start with 22-year old RHP Frederick Tiburcio. He led the team in innings pitched and was the only pitcher on the team with enough innings to qualify as a league leader. He ranked fifth in the Appy League in ERA (2.43) and sixth in WHIP (1.096) in 12 games (11 starts). He was also tied for 15th place in strikeouts.

LHP Christopher Lee, who only recently turned 21, ranked 12th in the league in strikeouts and would have been in the top 15 in ERA (3.10) and sixth in WHIP (1.095), edging out Tiburcio, but fell just short of having enough innings to qualify. He appeared in 11 games (10 starts). RHP Jandel Gustave ranked 20th in the league in strikeouts and, similarly would have ranked seventh in ERA (2.68) and in the top 20 in WHIP (1.397) in his 10 starts. He will turn 21 in October.

21-year old LHP Jordan Mills with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.028 WHIP in 14 games (six starts) and 22-year old RHP Edison Frias with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in nine games (eight starts) would also have been among the league leaders had they pitched just a few more innings.

Among the relief crew, there were several standouts as well. 21-year old RHP Krishawn Holley (18G 2.41 ERA 1.307 WHIP) and RHP Austin Chrismon (11G 3.06 ERA 1.021 WHIP) pitched exclusively at Greeneville in 2013. Chrismon turned 21 on Monday. RHP Raul Rivera (22) started the season with the GCL before coming to Greeneville and putting up a 2.14 ERA and a 0.905 WHIP in 12 appearances.

RHP Gonzalo Sanudo (21) spent the bulk of his season pitching for Greeneville. He had a 1.29 ERA and a 0.571 WHIP in 18 appearances before graduating to Tri-City for his last nine appearances of the regular season (0.00 ERA 0.308 WHIP 8 Saves). He was second in the Appy League in saves with 11 and was second in the Astros organization in saves with 19 total for the season.

22-year old RHP Chris Munnelly's second stop of the season was Greeneville. He started the season in the GCL, pitched in 10 games at Greeneville (with a 0.53 ERA and a 0.647 WHIP) and ended up in Tri-City to end the season. Overall, he had a 1.24 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP in 20 appearances at three levels. 22-year old LHP J.D. Osborne pitched in eight games at Greeneville (with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP) before subsequently being promoted to Tri-City and Quad Cities to end the season. He ended with a cumulative 1.88 ERA and 1.395 WHIP over 21 appearances. He had eight saves.

Seasons in Review for Other Astros Minor League Teams
DSL Season in Review
GCL Season in Review

Happy Birthday - 9/18

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Ross Seaton (24)
Drafted in the third round as a compensation pick in 2008 out of Second Baptist High School in Houston, Seaton split his 2013 season between Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. In 15 games (14 starts at Oklahoma City) he was 3-7 with a 7.34 ERA and a 1.824 WHIP. In 10 games (9 starts) with Corpus Christi, he was 3-1 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.226 WHIP.

1B Jon Singleton (22)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the eighth round in 2009, Singleton came to the Astros in the Hunter Pence trade in July 2011. After a few tune-up starts at Quad Cities and Corpus Christi, Singleton played 73 games for Oklahoma City. His overall batting line for the season was .230/.351/.401 with 17 doubles, one triple and 11 home runs.

RHP Juan Minaya (23)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, this is Minaya's fifth season in the Astros organization. In 24 appearances (5 starts) for Quad Cities this season, Minaya was 3-6 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP.

Four former Astros with birthdays today ~

CF Tony Scott (62)
Originally drafted by Montreal in the 71st(!) round in 1969, Scott came to Houston in a June 1981 trade with the Cardinals. In 292 games played for the Astros from 1981 to 1984, he hit .249/.283/.320.

RHP Roger Mason (56)
Mason signed as a free agent with the Astros in February 1989 and pitched in only two games for the Astros that year. In one and a third innings pitched, he had a whopping 20.25 ERA and a 3.000 WHIP.

RHP Chris Holt (42)
Originally drafted by Houston in the third round in 1992, Holt pitched in 103 games (90 starts) for the Astros from 1996 to 2000 with a 21-42 record, a 4.51 ERA and a 1.456 WHIP before being traded to Detroit in December 2000.

C Mitch Meluskey (40)
A 12th round draft pick by Cleveland in 1992, Meluskey came to the Houston system in an April 1995 trade with Cleveland. He played in 135 games for the Astros from 1998 to 2000 before being included, along with fellow birthday boy Chris Holt, in a December 2000 trade to Detroit. He came back to play in 12 games for Houston again in 2003, signing as a free agent. All in all, he hit .287/.389/.465 for the Astros.

Tweet of the Day


wears the same size as 's 11 year old brother. Thanks for the shirts Travis.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Gulf Coast League Astros Season In Review

The GCL team is the only Astros affiliate that didn't compile a winning season in 2013, and one of only two teams (along with the DSL) that didn't make it to the post-season. But that doesn't mean that there was no good news to be had even though most of the good news centered around individual performances.

2012 Win Percentage - .475
2013 Win Percentage - .450

2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 227 - 240 = (13)
2013 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 272 - 289 = (17)

2012 Team ERA & WHIP - 3.45 & 1.387
2013 Team ERA & WHIP - 3.95 & 1.383

2012 Team Batting Line - .244/.307/.342
2013 Team Batting Line - .246/.321/.355

As you can see, there were no really dramatic changes one way or the other. The GCL team ranked 13th out of 16 teams in ERA and 14th in WHIP. They were second in walks allowed and fifth in strikeouts. In the offensive categories, the team ranked in the top five in slugging percentage, triples and home runs; and in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, doubles and stolen bases. They were 11th out of 16 in striking out and 14th in drawing walks. Again, nothing really outstanding or dramatic one way or the other. So let's focus on those individual performances.

First, let's look at the pitching. 19-year old RHP Agapito Barrios is the only pitcher who appears in the top 15 in the league in ERA (3.44) and WHIP (1.433). There are several other pitchers on the team whose numbers are superior to those, but they did not pitch enough innings to qualify as league leaders. A number of those were rehabbing pitchers such as LHP Brian Holmes (10.1IP 0.00 ERA 0.484 WHIP) and RHP Luis Ordosgoitti (15.2IP 1.15 ERA 0.766 WHIP). And a number were either promoted quickly like LHP Kevin Ferguson (11IP 0.82 ERA 0.818 WHIP) and RHP Justin Hess (8.2IP 1.04 ERA 0.808 WHIP) or extremely limited such as LHP Kent Emanuel (9IP 0.00 ERA 0.889 WHIP).

Of those who pitched a minimum of 20 innings in the GCL, two pitchers stood out. 22-year old RHP Troy Scribner pitched in eight games (two starts) in the GCL, going 3-2 with a 1.26 ERA and an 0.663 WHIP before being promoted to Greeneville and then to Tri-City. Over the three venues, he was 4-4 with a 2.55 ERA and a 0.962 WHIP. He struck out 78 batters while walking 14 over 53 innings. His 13.2 SO/9 is one of the best rates in the Astros organization. The other pitcher who stands out is Ambiorix de Leon. In five games (three starts), the 22-year old had a 2.82 ERA and a 1.209 WHIP.

In looking at the offensive side of the coin, 1B Yonathan Mejia was the closest thing to a star on the GCL team. The switch-hitter who will turn 21 later this week, ranked fifth in the league in batting average (.324), ninth in slugging percentage (.437), first in doubles and was tied for fifth in RBI. For players spending the bulk of the 2013 season in the GCL, Mejia led the team in batting average and was second in on-base percentage with a .356 mark (followed closely by Jose Solano and C Jacob Nottingham). He was promoted to Tri-City for the last three games of the season.

For those spending most or all of the season with the GCL, lefty-hitting CF Jason Martin, who just turned 18 on September 5th, led the team in OBP (.357). He was tied for fifth in walks in the league and was in the top 15 in triples and in the top 20 in stolen bases. 2B/3B Jose Solano was tied for first in the league with six home runs and was tied for 10th in RBI. On the team, he was first in slugging percentage and second in batting average for those who played a significant amount of the season with the GCL. The 21-year old was promoted to Greeneville for the final seven games of the season.

Others of note are Jean Batista who spent time rehabbing with the GCL and was tied for second in the league in triples despite playing in only 24 games there. 3B Tyler White (.365/.474/.556 in 18 games) and C Brett Booth (.308/.431/.462 in 16 games) both graduated from the GCL quickly, but had great offensive numbers in their limited time at the level. Both will turn 23 in October.

For my earlier look at the DSL season in review, go here.

Happy Birthday - 9/17

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Brady Rodgers (23)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 2012 out of Arizona State, Rodgers spent most of the 2013 season at Lancaster where he compiled a 10-8 record with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.411 WHIP. He made two spot starts at the higher levels, one at AA Corpus Christi and one in AAA Oklahoma City and shone in both, allowing only one run over the two games and getting a win in the Hooks start. He also impressed in his final start against Inland Empire in the post-season as he pitched seven and a third innings, allowing one run on four hits and no walks while striking out 11.

Three former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Jim Umbricht (died April 4, 1964 at age 33)
Umbricht was drafted from the Pirates as the 35th pick in the 1961 expansion draft and played for the Colt 45's for two seasons in 1962 and 1963. In 69 appearances for the Colt 45's, he was 8-3 with a 2.33 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP. From Wikipedia:

"Umbricht underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his leg in March 1963 but was able to return to the Colt .45s to post a 4-3 won/loss record and a solid 2.61 earned run average in 35 games that season."

He played his final game on September 26, 1993 and died less than seven months later. His uniform number - 32 - was retired immediately.

Pinch Runner Alonzo "Candy" Harris (66)
Harris didn't get much of a chance. Used primarily as a pinch runner for the Astros in 1967, he only got one AB in 6 games and he struck out. And that, at the ripe old age of 19, was the extent of his major league career.

LHP John Franco (53)
Franco spent his final season (out of 21 total) pitching for the Astros out of the bullpen in 2005, compiling a 7.20 ERA and a 2.133 WHIP before being released on July 2, 2005. His career as a whole makes a much better story though. Franco was 90-87 with 424 saves, a career ERA of 2.89 and a career WHIP of 1.333 (1.88 ERA and 0.977 WHIP in 15 post-season games). He spent six seasons with the Reds and 14 seasons with the Mets, leading the league in saves for three seasons and getting an All-Star nod four times. Currently, at 1119 appearances, he trails only two pitchers in games played.

Tweet of the Day


So glad to be back in sd. Got to see all my boys and even went surfing yesterday!! Time to get some new clubs and hit the links

Monday, September 16, 2013

Astros Fall Instructional League Roster and Schedule

The following players will be participating in the Fall Instructional League in Kissimmee. The first workout is today and the first game is on Saturday. Click on the player's name to go to their Baseball-Reference page.

RHP Michael Feliz (20) - 2010 NDFA from the Dominican Republic
RHP Devonte German (18) - 2013 11th round draft pick
LHP Reymin Guduan (21) - 2009 NDFA from the Dominican Republic
RHP Jandel Gustave (20) - 2010 NDFA from the Dominican Republic
LHP Josh Hader (19) - 2013 Trade/2012 19th round draft pick by Baltimore
LHP Christopher Lee (21) - 2011 4th round draft pick
LHP Jordan Mills (21) - 2013 28th round draft pick
RHP Zach Morton (23) - 2013 32nd round draft pick
RHP Joe Musgrove (20) - 2012 Trade/2011 1st round draft pick by Toronto
LHP Austin Nicely (18) - 2013 10th round draft pick
LHP J.D. Osborne (22) - 2013 36th round draft pick
RHP Jorge Perez (20) - 2013 30th round draft pick
RHP Francis Ramirez (21) - 2008 NDFA from the Dominican Republic
RHP Juan Santos (18) - 2013 39th round draft pick
RHP Kyle Smith (21) - 2013 Trade/2011 4th round pick by Kansas City

C Ernesto Genoves (22) - 2007 NDFA from Venezuela
*C Ricky Gingras (22) - 2012 18th round draft pick
C Alfredo Gonzalez (21) - 2008 NDFA from Venezuela
*C Brian Holberton (21) - 2013 9th round draft pick
C Jacob Nottingham (18) - 2013 6th round draft pick

*1B Conrad Gregor (21) - 2013 4th round draft pick
*2B Tony Kemp (21) - 2013 5th round draft pick
SS Thomas Lindauer (21) - 2013 23rd round draft pick
SS Jack Mayfield (22) - 2013 NDFA out of the University of Oklahoma
1B Chase McDonald (21) - 2013 12th round draft pick
#SS Chan Jong Moon (22) - 2009 NDFA out of South Korea
*3B Adam Nelubowich (22) - 2013 18th round draft pick
SS Luis Reynoso (19) - 2011 NDFA out of the Dominican Republic
3B Tyler White (22) - 2013 33rd round draft pick

*CF/LF Leo Heras (23) - 2013 Free Agent signing from the Mexican League
CF Teoscar Hernandez (20) - 2011 NDFA out of the Dominican Republic
*LF Jon Kemmer (22) - 2013 21st round draft pick
*CF Jason Martin (18) - 2013 8th round draft pick
*CF/RF Ronnie Mitchell (22) - 2013 38th round draft pick
*RF Ariel Ovando (20) - 2010 NDFA out of the Dominican Republic
*CF Brett Phillips (19) - 2012 6th round draft pick
*CF James Ramsay (21) - 2013 7th round draft pick
*LF Danry Vasquez (19) - 2013 Trade/2010 NDFA signed by Detroit out of Venezuela

*Left-handed hitter
#Switch hitter

If you live in the Kissimmee area, the game schedule is as follows:

9/21 at 10:00 a.m. - Nationals at Astros
9/23 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Braves
9/25 at 1:00 p.m. - Nationals at Astros
9/27 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Tigers
10/1 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Nationals
10/2 at 1:00 p.m. - Tigers at Astros
10/4 at 1:00 p.m. - Braves at Astros
10/5 at 10:00 a.m. - Astros at Nationals
10/7 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Braves
10/9 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Nationals
10/10 at 1:00 p.m. - Astros at Canada (playing at Disney)
10/12 at 10:00 a.m. - Braves at Astros

Astros 2013 Minor League Season By The Numbers

Just a few numbers of note from the Astros 2013 minor league season:

867 - Games played by all of the Astros minor league affiliates in the regular season (836) and postseason (31)

867 - Games recapped on WTHB

652 - Batters faced by RHP Asher Wojciechowski

601 - Plate appearances by OF Preston Tucker

299 - Additional runs scored by Lancaster over and above the next closest Astros team

135 - Games played by CF George Springer and OF Preston Tucker

.600 - Slugging percentage for CF George Springer

.433 - On-base percentage for OF Marc Wik

.322 - Batting average for 3B Tyler White

161 - Strikeouts by CF George Springer

159 - Hits by OF Preston Tucker

108 - RBI by CF George Springer

106 - Runs scored by CF George Springer

102 - Walks drawn by SS Nolan Fontana

51 - Bases stolen by 2B Delino DeShields

37 - Home runs hit by CF George Springer

33 - Doubles hit by SS Carlos Correa, IF Brandon Laird and 3B Rio Ruiz

21 - Times Matt Duffy was hit by pitches this year (down from 41 last year)

14 - Triples hit by Delino DeShields

4.19 - DSL Team ERA in 2012

2.35 - DSL Team ERA in 2013

1.494 - DSL Team WHIP in 2012

1.127 - DSL Team WHIP in 2013

150 - Batters struck out by LHP Luis Cruz

21 - Saves by RHP Travis Ballew

14 - Wins for RHP David Martinez

13.2 - Strikeouts per nine innings for RHP Troy Scribner, LHP J.D. Osborne and RHP Travis Ballew

12.75 - Strikeout to walk ratio for RHP Gonzalo Sanudo in 30 appearances

12.67 - Strikeout to walk ratio for RHP Patrick Christensen in 23 appearances

10.50 - Strikeout to walk ratio for LHP Chris Cotton in 8 games (6 starts)

9.0 - Strikeouts per nine innings for the entire Greeneville staff combined

2 - Complete games from RHP Asher Wojciechowski and RHP David Martinez

1 - Shutouts from LHP Luis Cruz, RHP Asher Wojciechowski and RHP Kyle Smith

1 - Combined No-Hitter from LHP Kyle Hallock and LHP Luis Cruz

0 - Home runs allowed by RHP Zach Morton (51+ IP) and RHP Gerardo Juarez (59+ IP)

0 - Wild pitches and hit batsmen from RHP Carlos Quevedo in 85 innings pitched

0.761 - WHIP for RHP Kyle Westwood in 11 games (8 starts)

0.711 - WHIP for RHP Andrew Walter in 20 appearances (38 IP)

0.621 - WHIP for RHP Gonzalo Sanudo in 30 relief appearances (38+ IP)

7 - Pitchers with a minimum of 50 innings pitched and a sub-1.000 WHIP (RHP Zach Morton, RHP Harold Arauz, RHP Gerardo Juarez, RHP Michael Feliz, RHP Troy Scribner, RHP Jorge de Leon, RHP Elieser Hernandez)

0.3 - Home runs allowed per nine innings by RHP Lance McCullers in 104+ innings pitched

1.3 - Walks per nine innings allowed by RHP Jake Buchanan in 158+ innings pitched

+1206 - The swing in cumulative run differential for all teams from 2011 (-761) to 2013 (+445)

+184 - The swing in cumulative run differential for all teams from 2012 (+261) to 2013 (+445)

177% - Increase in wins from 2012 to 2013 for the DSL Astros

139 - The increase in number of cumulative wins from 2011 to 2013

37 - The increase in number of cumulative wins from 2012 to 2013

30 - Rank out of 30 teams in cumulative win percentage in 2011

4 - Rank out of 30 teams in cumulative win percentage in 2012

2 - Rank out of 30 teams in cumulative win percentage in 2013 (.569, behind San Francisco's .574 mark, with SF fielding one fewer team than Houston)

40 - Number of 2013 draft picks

32 - Number of 2013 draft picks signed

14 - Number out of the top 15 2013 draft picks signed

9 - Total Number of Mariners, Rangers, A's and Angels players on Jonathan Mayo's Top 100 Prospect List

7 - Number of Astros players on Jonathan Mayo's Top 100 Prospect List

8 - Number of Astros minor league affiliates

7 - Number of Astros minor league affiliates with .500 or better records in 2013 (all except the GCL Astros)

6 - Number of Astros minor league affiliates advancing to the playoffs (all except the DSL and GCL Astros)

3 - Number of Astros minor league affiliates advancing to the finals (Greeneville, Tri-City and Quad Cities)

2 - Number of Astros minor league affiliates winning a League Championship Series (Tri-City and Quad Cities)

1 - Number of very, very happy and very, very tired Astros minor league bloggers

0% - Chance that the Astros will remain a last place team much longer