Saturday, October 19, 2013

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps

Friday's Games


Salt River over Peoria 5-3

Peoria Javelinas
SS Nolan Fontana - 0x3 BB
1B Japhet Amador - 2x4 R GIDP
CF Delino DeShields - 0x4 SO GIDP

Today's Game - Scottsdale at Peoria at 2:35 CST


La Guaira over Aragua 9-7

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 0x4 SO


A couple of games from Thursday posted late and weren't included in yesterday's recaps so I'm including them today.


Seattle over Tiburones 5-3 (suspended in middle of 6th)

CF Brett Phillips - 1x2 RBI SO R SF
C Marlon Avea - 0x3 SO
RF Marc Wik - 0x2 RBI SF
DH Ricky Gingras - 1x3 3B
3B Ryan Dineen - 1x3 R

Boston over Bravos 4-1

SS Carlos Perdomo - 0x3 SO


Boston over Zulia 2-0

3B Arturo Michelena - 0x2 BB E

La Guaira over Tiburones 4-3

CF Brett Phillips -3x5 2B SO R E
SS Alex Gonzalez - 1x2 RBI 2BB SO SF
DH Ricky Gingras - 0x5 2SO
RF Marc Wik - 1x4 SO
3B Ryan Dineen - 1x2 2BB SO R E

RHP Joe Musgrove - 3.0IP 4H 1R0ER 0BB 0SO
RHP Michael Dimock - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO
LHP Blair Walters 1.0IP 1H 1R 1BB 0SO

Magallanes over Cardenales 11-1

1B Luis Alvarez - 2x5 HR 3RBI 2R


Nothing to report


Escogido over Licey 4-1

Tigres del Licey
OF Domingo Santana - 0x4 2SO

Happy Birthday - 10/19

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jordan Lyles (23)
A 2008 supplemental first round draft pick by the Astros out of high school in South Carolina, Lyles started the season in Oklahoma City where he was 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.521 WHIP in six games (five starts) in April before being recalled to Houston for the rest of the season. In his 27 appearances (25 starts) for the Astros, he was 7-9 with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.511 WHIP.

Several former Astros celebrating birthdays today ~

LHP J.A. Happ (31)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd round in 2004, Happ came to the Astros in July 2010 in the Oswalt trade and he departed Houston in a huge July 2012 10-player trade with the Blue Jays. In between, he was 18-28 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.461 WHIP in 59 starts. For Toronto this season, he went 5-7 in 18 starts with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.468 WHIP.

OF/1B Walt Bond (died September 14, 1967 at age 29)
A member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, Bond played for the Colt 45's in 1964 and the Astros in 1965.  I was not aware of Bond's history until I read this entry from the TBHOF site.
"Standing at 6' 7" tall and weighing between 235–250 lbs, Big Walt Bond had his best year as a Houston Colt .45 in 1964 when he hit 20 home runs and drove in 85 runs—the first true power hitting ballplayer in team history."
But that was only part of the story.  He was one of many silent heroes who helped to integrate baseball.  He was active in the community, working to support local school sports programs.  And he showed enormous courage and strength in his fight against leukemia which he sadly lost at the age of 29.  I encourage reading the entire entry.

OF Brock Davis (70)
Originally signed as a NDFA by Houston in 1963, Davis played for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 and for the Astros in 1966. In 45 games for Houston, he hit .176/.263/.247. Davis made his major league debut at 19. He went on to have a couple of modestly successful seasons with the Cubs and the Brewers in 1971 and 1972 respectively before a knee injury ended his career.

RHP Dave Veres (47)
A fourth round draft pick by Oakland in 1986, Veres signed with Houston as a free agent in May 1992 and eventually pitched in 104 games for Houston in 1994 and 1995. In those games he was 8-4 with a 2.31 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP. He was traded to the Expos in December of 1995 for Sean Berry.

OF/2B Joe McEwing (41)
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 28th round in 1992, McEwing was purchased from Kansas City in March of 2006. McEwing appeared in only seven games for the Astros in 2006 and never got a hit. In 2013, McEwing was the third base coach for the White Sox.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

2013/2014 Astros Off-Season Transactions

Last off-season, I started keeping a master list of transactions because they were coming so fast and furious, I was having trouble keeping track of everything. I intend to do so again this off-season. I will update the list as various moves are made and keep it pinned to the front page of the blog for easy reference.

Updated through 3/27/14


1B/DH/OF Chris Carter

*Left-handed hitter
#Switch hitter


LHP Raul Valdes (Waiver Claim from Philadelphia) - designated for assignment
LHP Darin Downs (Waiver Claim from Detroit)
IF Ryan Jackson (Waiver Claim from St. Louis) - traded to San Diego
OF Dexter Fowler (Trade with Colorado)
RHP Scott Feldman (Free Agent Signing)
RHP Chad Qualls (Free Agent Signing)
RHP Anthony Bass (Trade with San Diego)
RHP Matt Albers (Free Agent Signing)
RHP Collin McHugh (Waiver Claim from Colorado)
1B/LF Jesus Guzman (Trade with San Diego)
RHP Jesse Crain (Free Agent Signing)
RHP Jerome Williams (Free Agent Signing)

RHP Peter Moylan - no longer with the Astros by mutual agreement
OF Adron Chambers
IF Cesar Izturis - released
IF Gregorio Petit

OF Ravel Santana - Drafted from the Yankees
LHP Carlos Vazquez - Drafted from the Mets - Outrighted to the Mexican League
LHP Blaine Sims - Drafted from the Braves


RHP Tanner Bushue
OF D'Andre Toney
LHP Wes Musick
RHP/1B - Jack Armstrong, Jr.
1B/DH Chase Davidson

RHP Philip Humber
LHP Erik Bedard (signed by the Rays)
IF Brandon Laird
LHP Wade LeBlanc
IF Jose Martinez
C Matt Pagnozzi
OF Che-Hsuan Lin
OF Trevor Crowe
RHP Edgar Gonzalez
RHP Hector Ambriz

OF Jimmy Paredes - Claimed off waivers by the Marlins
IF Jake Elmore - Claimed off waivers by the White Sox

RHP Alan Abreu
RHP Charles Basford
IF Jean Batista
LHP Joe Bircher
RHP Jesus Castillo
RHP Ryan Connolly
IF Jean Carlos Cortorreal
RHP Zach Dando
OF Luis de la Rosa
IF Ryan Dineen
RHP John Ely
LHP Geronimo Franzua
RHP Christian Garcia
C Ernesto Genoves
RHP Alex Gillingham
RHP Erick Gonzalez
LHP Kyle Hallock
IF Parker Hipp
IF Angel Ibanez
IF Cesar Izturis
OF/1B Mesac Laguna
LHP Kenny Long
RHP Javier Lozano
OF J.D. Martinez
1B/DH Mike Martinez
RHP Yonquelys Martinez
RHP Victor Mesa
C Cristian Moronta
RHP Euris Quezada
OF Javaris Reynolds
OF Jarico Reynoso
3B Darwin Rivera
RHP Rauldison Rodriguez
RHP Gera Sanchez
LF Edward Santana
LHP Javier Saucedo
1B/DH Victor Tavarez
OF Eric Thames
RHP Carlos Vasquez
1B Brett Wallace
LHP Blair Walters
1B Jesse Wierzbicki
IF Brandon Wikoff

RHP Jordan Lyles - Traded to the Rockies for Dexter Fowler and a PTBNL
OF Brandon Barnes Traded to the Rockies for Dexter Fowler and a PTBNL
IF Ryan Jackson - Traded to San Diego for Jesus Guzman

RHP Enderson Franco

LHP Carlos Vazquez

Cody Clark - Hired as a replay coordinator for Kansas City
RHP Peter Moylan - left the Astros my mutual agreement


LHP Raul Valdes

LHP Luis Cruz
OF Domingo Santana
1B Jon Singleton
RHP Asher Wojciechowski

RHP Paul Clemens
LHP Darrin Downs

C Cody Clark - hired by the Royals as a replay coordinator
OF Trevor Crowe - signed with the Tigers
RHP Philip Humber (option declined) - signed with the A's
IF Brandon Laird - signed with the Royals
C Matt Pagnozzi - signed with the Brewers
OF J.D. Martinez - released
RHP Rhiner Cruz

C Luis Alvarez
RHP Hector Ambriz - signed by the Padres
LHP Erik Bedard - signed by the Rays
OF Michael Burgess
C Cody Clark - hired by the Royals organization
OF Trevor Crowe - signed a minor league deal with the Tigers
RHP Jorge de Leon - re-signed by the Astros
LHP Sergio Escalona
RHP Edgar Gonzalez - signed with the Reds
RHP Murilo Gouvea - re-signed by the Astros
RHP Philip Humber - signed a minor league deal with the A's
IF Brandon Laird - signed with the Royals
RHP Cameron Lamb
LHP Wade LeBlanc - signed with the Angels
OF Che-Hsuan Lin - signed with the Rangers
2B Jose Martinez - signed with the A's
C Matt Pagnozzi - signed with the Brewers
RHP Carlos Quevedo

RHP Jorge de Leon
RHP Murilo Gouvea

LHP Patrick Schuster - Drafted from the Diamondbacks & traded to San Diego

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Thursday's Games


Mesa over Peoria 6-1

Peoria Javelinas
CF Delino DeShields - 0x4 4SO

Today's Game - Peoria at Salt River at 8:35 CST


Aragua over Margarita 3-1

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 2x4 SO


Tiburones game called early due to rain. No boxscore available.


Nothing to report


Games start today

Happy Birthday - 10/18

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Andrew Walter (23)
Originally from Arizona, Walter was signed by the Astros as a NDFA in 2011. Splitting his third season  between Tri-City and Quad Cities, he was 2-0 in 20 appearances with a 1.66 ERA and a 0.711 WHIP. In post-season pitching for Quad Cities, he had one win and three saves with a 0.706 WHIP in five appearances.

C Ricky Gingras (23)
Drafted in the 18th round in 2012 out of Point Loma Nazarene University in California, Gingras played in 21 games between Greeneville and Lancaster this season, hitting .212/.307/.364. He is currently playing for the Tiburones team in the Liga Paralela where he is listed on the roster as Ricky Gringos. Really.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Terry Clark (53)
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 23rd round in 1979, Clark played for Houston in 1990 and again in 1996. In six games for the Astros, he had a 12.19 ERA and a 2.903 WHIP. In 2013, Clark was a pitching coach in the Seattle organization and was moved up, along with some of his pitchers, at mid-season from AA to AAA.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Wednesday's Games


Mesa over Peoria 3-1

Peoria Javelinas
SS Nolan Fontana - 1x4 SO
1B Japhet Amador - 2x4 2B RBI 2SO
3B Jonathan Meyer - 0x3 BB SO

RHP Matt Heidenreich - 3.0IP 1H 0R 3BB 4SO
RHP Jonas Dufek - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO

Today's Game - Peoria at Mesa at 8:35 CST


La Guaira over Lara 4-2

Tiburones de La Guaira
LHP Sergio Escalona (H,2) - 0.1IP 0H 0R 0BB 0SO (foul pop up to only batter faced)

Aragua over Margarita 6-1

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 0x2 HBP R


The Tiburones did not play on Wednesday and the link to the boxscore for Tuesday's game is still broken.

Zulia over Seattle 6-4

3B Arturo Michelena - 0x3 BB R

Bravos over La Guaira 2-1

PH/2B Carlos Perdomo - 0x1

Caracas over Caribes 7-4

LHP Edwin Villarroel - 2.1IP 7H 6R 3BB 1SO


Happy Birthday - 10/17

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Alex Gillingham (24)
Originally drafted by the Rockies in the 11th round in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount University, Gillingham came into the Astros system in a December 2012 trade with the Rockies for Wilton Lopez. Gillingham only pitched eight innings in April with forgettable results before going on the DL. He spent the last few months of the season on Team Rehab at Kissimmee.

Lancaster Pitching Coach Don Alexander (55)
Alexander is one of the longest tenured coaches in the Astros system and has had the unenviable task for four of the last five seasons of mentoring young pitchers in one of the most hitter-friendly minor league ballparks in the country.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

C Chris Tremie (44)
Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 39th round in 1992, Tremie signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2000 and toiled for four seasons in the Astros minor league system before getting into one game in September 2004. A late inning defensive replacement, he didn't get an at-bat with the Astros. In 2013, Tremie managed the Columbus Clippers, a Cleveland affiliate, in the International League.

IF Edwin Maysonet (32)
Drafted by Houston in the 9th round in 2003, Maysonet played in a total of 46 games for the Astros in 2008 and 2009, hitting .276/.317/.342. He played in the Cubs minor league system in 2013.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

An Interview with LHP Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz is one of those guys that you kind of forget about. He just quietly goes about his business and does his job. He wasn't a high draft signing. As a matter of fact, he wasn't drafted at all, having signed as a free agent in 2008. That also makes him one of the old-timers in the Astros system. His trajectory hasn't always been linear, but he made it to AAA Oklahoma City this season, showing the consistency that had been missing the last couple of seasons. In 50 games combined over Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City this season, he was 6-3 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.381 WHIP and seven saves. He gave up only two home runs in those 50 outings.

I caught up with Patrick by phone over the weekend and asked him about both his career with the Astros and his 2013 season. This is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

Patrick Urckfitz - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

WTHB: Your path through the minors hasn't always been on a straight line. Can you tell me a little about how your career has unfolded?

PU: When I signed in 2008, obviously there were all different higher-ups and player development guys and I tried to establish myself with those guys. Then in 2011, everything kind of changed and I had a down year that year between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City. Then I finished in Lancaster so I bounced around a lot that year. Then the next year, they kind of told me, "You've got to  prove yourself to the new regime." So they sent me back to Lancaster last year and I had a pretty good year and then this year, I just tried to build off that. So, yeah, it's been a little crazy throughout the years, just bouncing around, but I guess that's part of it sometimes.

WTHB: Why weren't you drafted?

PU: I'm not too sure. I was at a junior college here in New York [Monroe Community College in Rochester] and we played a lot of good teams around the country and then we played in the Junior College World Series at the end of the year. That's when Houston saw me pitch and they were kind of interested, I guess, and saw me through the summer ball league and then they offered me a free agent contract after the draft and I took it.

WTHB: Can you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire?

PU: Last year, I started throwing mainly two-seam fastballs, trying to work on movement and keep the ball on the ground, induce a few ground balls. I also throw a kind of a slider. That would be my main off-speed pitch. And then at times [I] use the change up mainly to right-handed hitters. [Fastball velocity?] I've been anywhere this year 90-96, anywhere in there.

WTHB: I noticed that your strikeout rate has been down this year and your groundball rate is up. Is that by design? Are you pitching more to contact?

PU: That went along with mainly moving to two-seam fastballs. When I was throwing four-seamers, I was getting more pop up and strikeouts and now you see last year and this year, it's been more ground out to fly out ratio and lower strikeouts. Not necessarily by design, but moving to a two-seam I think had something to do with that. It [groundball rate] definitely went up from the way I pitched before. I basically transformed the way I pitch and the way I think about pitching the last two years.

WTHB: Tell me more about that.

PU: I used to try to overpower guys and that got me into trouble at times so the last two years, I've been working with the different pitching coaches at different levels and we kind of lowered my arm angle, moved to more two-seam so [that] just gives the hitters a slightly different look than what I did before. Just kind of switch it up a little bit and I've been happy with it. I feel like my command has been better from that arm angle and everything that follows I'm happy with. I'm just trying to improve on it.

WTHB: What do you feel like you've accomplished this season and what are you still working on?

PU: I feel like I've definitely proven that I can get left-handers out. I think with that different arm angle, it definitely gives them a little tougher of an angle so I feel like I've done that well. And what I'm working to improve on, and I definitely focused on it in the second half of this season, was kind of a swing-and-miss off-speed pitch [that] I  can go to in a tough situation and know it will be there. Second and third with less than two outs and you need a strikeout ... a pitch that I can go to to definitely get it. So that's what I've been working on from basically the All-Star break of last year to now.

WTHB: Changing gears now, who in the Astros system has a pitch you would like to steal?

PU: Jason Stoffel's slider has been nasty since I met him three years ago when we traded for him. That pitch ... he can throw it at any time and these hitters can't seem to lay off it. If I could get anything close to that, I would be more than happy. Very impressive.

WTHB: What hitter in the system would you least like to face in the box?

PU: I think Austin Wates would be a tough hitter to face. Obviously, [George] Springer ... you wouldn't want to see him in the box. His numbers have proved that and every time you see him hit, he kind of shows you that. Playing with Wates at the beginning of the year in Corpus, I was very impressed with the way he handles that bat. Springer has come a long way discipline-wise so I'll say Springer first and go from there.

WTHB: Are there any players that you've played with over the last couple of years who you think are flying under the radar a bit?

PU: I feel like there's a lot of players that would fit under that category. I definitely think that [Kiké] Hernandez is a great player, all around good. I haven't seen a second baseman cover the range he can cover and I don't know if he's underestimated or not because I don't know what they think of him, but I think he's definitely one of those guys that I feel is up there. From what I see, I feel like he's a great second baseman and good all around. [And fun?] Yeah, he's one of the funnest teammates I've ever been around.

WTHB: That brings me to my next question. Who on the teams you played on this season could really make you laugh?

PU: [Kiké] would be one of them and up there with him is Jose Martinez, for sure. He's a great teammate. Great guy.

WTHB: Who do you like to just sit back and watch play?

PU: There's a bunch of them. I like to watch a lot of the guys I've played with pitch and one guy I thought was fun to watch when he got to Corpus, just because he's so young and learning how to pitch at the higher levels was [Mike] Foltynewicz. The way he pitched when he first got there and what he turned into was impressive, to see how fast he picked up on what the hitters were trying to do. I looked forward to seeing him pitch this year. Just the way he goes after it is pretty cool. I also liked to see Jake Buchanan when he'd come around every five days. That was fun as well.

WTHB: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?

PU: If I could do anything, I love the outdoors so basically anything outside. I love to fish. I love to hunt. I love anything, just being outside is kind of my thing. If I could do anything other than baseball, that's what it would be.

WTHB: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?

PU: The last year I just started making, just to go along with the outdoor thing, duck calls and turkey calls. I don't think many people know that I do that in the off season as a hobby. So I would say that would be it. [Patrick's business, Beaver Creek Game Calls, can be found here.]

WTHB: One last question. Since you've been in the Astros system since 2008, you've seen a lot of changes. What do you think of everything?

PU: Oh, yeah, there's been a lot of changes for sure. I think it's definitely a good thing, seeing as the last two years, I've had winning seasons on all the teams I've been a part of so that's definitely encouraging. It's a lot more fun being part of a winning team than a losing team, obviously. I think that really helps with the way players develop. Keith Bodie said it all year, "You've got to learn to win." Certain teams know how to win and how to pull it off and other teams know how to lose. And it definitely seems like the teams I've played on since these changes, all of them have known how to win and how to pull it off. We always had that thought in the back of our head, even if we were losing, that we would find a way to do it, and most of the time we did. It's been cool and definitely encouraging to see.


Thank you for your time, Patrick. Enjoy the off season because I have a feeling big things are headed your way in 2014 and people won't be forgetting about you any more.

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Tuesday's Games


Peoria over Glendale 5-4

Peoria Javelinas
CF Delino DeShields - 0x3 BB SO
1B Japhet Amador - 2x4 HR RBI SO R
DH Nolan Fontana - 0x2 2BB 2R

LHP Alex Sogard (BS, 2) (W, 1-0) - 2IP 2H 1R 2BB (plus PO at 1st)
RHP Andrew Robinson (S, 1) - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO

Today's Game - Mesa at Peoria at 2:35 CST


Caribes over Caracas 6-5

Leones del Caracas
C Carlos Perez - 1x3

Aragua over Margarita 4-3

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 2x5


Tiburones over Zulia 5-4 (Boxscore not available at time of posting - check back later)

Bravos over Seattle 2-1

Bravos de Margarita
DH Carlos Perdomo - 2x4

Tampa Bay over Navegantes 9-5 (Boxscore not available at time of posting - check back later)


Happy Birthday - 10/16

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Enerio del Rosario (28)
Acquired from the Reds in 2010 for cash considerations, Rosario pitched for the Astros from 2010 to 2012. In 75 games, he was 0-3 with a 6.01 ERA and a 1.841 WHIP. In 2013, he pitched in the Mexican League where he compiled a 4-4 record with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP in 41 appearances.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Monday's Games


Glendale over Peoria 5-1

Peoria Javelinas
SS Nolan Fontana - 0x4 2SO

Today's Game - Glendale at Peoria at 8:35 CST


Off Day for the League


Thanks to a friend of the blog, I was finally able to find the boxscores for the Liga Paralela. Most of the Astros players are playing for the Tiburones, but there are a few others scattered throughout the league, mostly players who are from Venezuela. I'm going to catch you up on all the action you've missed, starting with Monday's games and working back.


Bravos over Tiburones 3-2

3B Carlos Perdomo - 2x4

SS Alex Gonzalez - 0x4
DH Ricky Gingras - 1x4 SO
C Marlon Avea - 1x4 HR RBI SO R
RF Marc Wik - 1x3 BB SO
3B Ryan Dineen - 0x4 SO

RHP Joe Musgrove - 3.0IP 4H 0R 0BB 3SO
LHP Blair Walters - 1.2IP 2H 0R 0BB 1SO
RHP Michael Dimock - 1.2IP 2H 0R 0BB 1SO

Caracas and Magallanes tied 0-0 after nine innings

RHP Juri Perez - 4.0IP 2H 0R 0BB 2SO

RHP Enderson Franco - 3.2IP 1H 1R 2BB 2SO


Tiburones over Cardenales 8-5

3B Ryan Dineen - 1x2 2B 3BB 2R
C Marlon Avea - 3x4 2B 3RBI
DH Ricky Gingras - 1x5 2SO
RF Marc Wik - 2x4 2B 3B BB SO
1B Pedro Coa - 1x4 2R

RHP Joe Musgrove - 2.0IP 2H 0R 0BB 1SO
LHP Blair Walters - 1.2IP 1H 1R 2BB 1SO
RHP Michael Dimock (W, 1-0) - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO

Caracas over Aragua 12-2

RHP Luis Ordosgoitti - 1.0IP 1H 0R 0BB 1SO
RHP Juri Perez - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO


Detroit over Tiburones 5-2

SS Alex Gonzalez - 1x4 2B BB 2SO R
3B Ryan Dineen - 0x3 2BB SO R
C Ricky Gingras - 1x4 2B RBI
RF Marc Wik - 0x4 2SO
1B Pedro Coa - 1x4 SO

Cardenales over Zulia 12-3

3B Arturo Michelena - 2x4 2B 2RBI E

Bravos over Caimanes 12-0

2B Carlos Perdomo - 1x4 BB 2R


Happy Birthday - 10/15

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Teoscar Hernandez (21)
A NDFA from the Dominican Republic, Hernandez has been on my radar since his first strong season in 2011 with the DSL Astros. This season, he had his first full season experience with the Quad Cities River Bandits and answered with a solid season. In 123 games, he hit .271/.328/.435 with 25 doubles, nine triples, 13 home runs, 55 RBI, 24 stolen bases and 14 outfield assists.

IF Arturo Michelena (19)
Michelena, a NDFA from Venezuela, spent his second season with the Dominican Summer League Astros. In 67 games, he hit .226/.284/.300 with 11 doubles and four triples. He is currently playing in the Liga Paralela in Venezuela this winter.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Bill Henry (86)
In 1969, at the end of his career, he made three appearances for the Astros. In five innings, he had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.800 WHIP. An All-Star for the Reds in 1960, Henry spent a total of 16 seasons in the major leagues, playing for six different teams.

IF Mendy Lopez (40)
Lopez signed as a free agent with Houston in January 2001 and was claimed off waivers by the Pirates in August of 2001. In between, he played in 10 games for the Astros, hitting .267/.389/.467. Lopez has been playing in the Mexican League since 2006 with great success.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Sunday's Games


Off Day on Sunday

Today's Game - Peoria at Glendale at 8:35 CST


La Guaira over Caracas 6-2

Tiburones de La Guaira
LHP Sergio Escalona - Faced one batter and induced a ground out

Leones del Caracas
C Carlos Perez - 0x2 BB

Aragua over Lara 6-2

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 1x4 R

Margarita over Caribes 5-3

Bravos de Margarita
LHP Eric Berger - 2.0IP 2H 1R 0BB 0SO HR

Still no results from the Liga Paralela.


Happy Birthday - 10/14

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Devonte German (19)
Drafted in the 11th round in 2013 out of high school in Reno Nevada, German only pitched in seven games for the Gulf Coast League Astros with unremarkable results. One thing is quite remarkable, though. The newly turned 19-year old is listed as 6'5" 240#. I can't wait to see this big guy in action next season.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

RHP Alberto Arias (30)
From the Dominican Republic, Arias was originally signed as a NDFA by Colorado and was picked up by Houston in 2008 as a waiver claim. In 45 appearances for Houston in 2008 and 2009, Arias had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.584 WHIP.

SS/2B Kiko Garcia (60)
Originally drafted by the Orioles in the third round in 1971, Garcia came to Houston in an April 1981 trade with Baltimore. In 82 games for the Astros in 1981 and 1982, Garcia hit .250/.295/.325.

C Carl Nichols (51)
A fourth round pick by Baltimore in 1980, Nichols came to Houston in a March 1989 trade and played for the Astros for three seasons, from 1989 to 1991. In 60 games, he hit .186/.271/.239. After his retirement, he coached at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California.

IF Dave Hajek (46)
Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1989, Hajek got a couple of cups of coffee as he played in a total of 13 games for the Astros in 1995 and 1996, hitting .250/.400/.333. In 10 minor league seasons, he hit  .301/.344/.408. In 2013, he was the hitting coach for the Rockies AAA team.

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I'm certain that it feels small for the 6'4" 260# McDonald!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Astros Fall And Winter League Recaps

Saturday's Games


It is only fitting that roving reporter Bill Morton was able to make it to the first instructional game and the last one on Saturday. Here is his report ...

It may have been October 12th, but Houston left fielder Leo Heras stayed in mid-season form Saturday morning, leading the Astros Instructional League team to a 4-1 victory over Atlanta in the team's league finale in Kissimmee.

Heras went 2/3 with a pair of triples, a walk, drove in two runs and scored a run in leading the Houston offense, while outfielder Teoscar Hernandez added a couple of singles, scored two runs and stole a base.

The Astros' pitching staff also had some quality outings.

Left-handed starter Reymin Guduan allowed just one hit in three innings, while striking out three. The final two strikeouts ended a Braves second-inning threat, as they had runners at third and second and one out.

The Braves touched Francis Ramirez in the fourth for their lone run of the game, but the crafty right-hander used a blazing fastball to strike out four in his two-inning stint.

Kyle Smith, Tyler Brunnemann, Juan Santos and Juan Minaya also saw an inning each on the bump for the Astros.

Osceola County Stadium and the Astros complex will now take a four-month vacation, eagerly awaiting the pitchers and catchers return in February.

Finally, best wishes to Astros farmhand Brett Phillips, who is leaving Sunday to play winter ball in Venezuela.


Today - Off Day


Aragua over Caracas 9-8

Tigres de Aragua
2B Jose Martinez - 2x4 2B HR 3RBI SO R
Martinez hit a two-run home run in a 5-run first inning for Aragua.

Leones del Caracas
C Carlos Perez - 2x3 2B RBI BB 2R

Zulia over Magallanes 12-3

Navagantes del Magallanes
RHP Carlos Quevedo - 2.0IP 1H 0BB 2SO

Still no results from the Liga Paralela.


Happy Birthday - 10/13

No future Astros, but several former Astros are celebrating birthdays today ~

3B Eddie Mathews (died 2/18/01 at 69)
Mathews came to Houston in a December 1966 trade with the Braves and played in 101 games for the Astros before an August 1967 trade sent him to Detroit. His .238/.333/.381 batting line with the Astros is not indicative of his Hall of Fame career. Mathews spent the greatest part of his career playing for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves for whom he made eight All-Star appearances and hit .273/.379/.517 with 493 home runs in 15 seasons.

RHP Frank LaCorte (62)
Obtained in a May 1979 trade with Atlanta, LaCorte went on to pitch for the Astros from 1979 to 1983. In 196 appearances, he had a 4.03 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP. 1980 was his best season for Houston as he was  8-5 with 11 saves, a 2.82 ERA and a 1.253 WHIP in 55 appearances.

RHP Randy Moffitt (65)
Originally a first round pick by San Francisco in 1970, Moffitt signed with Houston as a free agent in 1982. In 30 appearances for the Astros that year, he was 2-4 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP. Tennis legend Billie Jean King is Moffitt's sister.

RHP Mike Capel (52)
A 13th round draft pick by the Cubs in 1983, Capel signed with Houston as a free agent in January 1991. In one season for Houston, he went 1-3 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.469 WHIP in 25 games. Capel was a teammate of Roger Clemens on the 1983 University of Texas team that won the College World Series.

RHP Taylor Buchholz (32)
A sixth round draft pick by the Phillies in 2000, Buchholz came to Houston in a November 2003 trade with Philadelphia, along with Ezequial Astacio and Brandon Duckworth for Billy Wagner. He appeared in 22 games (19 starts) for the Astros in 2006 with a 6-10 record, a 5.89 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP. He was traded to Colorado in December 2006, along with Jason Hirsch and Willy Taveras for Miguel Asencio and he-who-must-not-be-named.

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