Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Personal Note

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will have several more posts coming out with interviews and details from my trip to Corpus Christi last weekend. Unfortunately, there was a death in my work family this week and my focus simply hasn't been on baseball the last few days. I'll be re-grouping this weekend and should have interviews with Brady Rodgers and Preston Tucker up next week, along with Doug Brocail's thoughts about Tommy Shirley and Luis Cruz.

Thank you for your understanding.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, May 2, 2014

Uh, hi, you might remember me. I used to do recaps around here until Dustin came along and started doing it a whole lot better than I did. Actually, I haven't done a recap since November, but I'll do my best to not embarrass Dustin. Be gentle.

Oklahoma City 3, Omaha 1

W- Richard Rodriguez (1-0)
L- Brett Tomko (1-3)
S- Josh Zeid (4)

OKC home runs: Jon Singleton (10, solo in 6th)

The RedHawks took the first of four against division rival Omaha and crept back within a half game of the division lead.

Omaha managed a leadoff home run off starter David Martinez in the bottom of the first, but Oklahoma pitching held the Storm Chasers scoreless for the next 8.2 innings. Martinez was pulled after the third inning with what was characterized as an apparent injury, after throwing only 36 pitches. Richard Rodriguez, who was just promoted from Lancaster on Friday, hurled three scoreless innings and was rewarded with the win in only his third appearance above Low A. Jason Stoffel held things for 2 innings before handing the ball to Josh Zeid who got his 4th save, retiring the side in order in the 9th.

Ronny Torreyes countered the Brett Eibner lead off home run with an RBI single in the second to tie things up. That's where it stayed until Jon Singleton blasted his 10th home run of the season to right-center in the sixth. An RBI double from Andy Simunic in the 7th capped off the scoring for the night.

In the second game of the series, the RedHawks' Bobby Doran (0-1, 7.15 ERA) will take on Jon Lamb (0-5, 5.13) with first pitch at 7:05 CST.

Midland 8, Corpus Christi 6

W- Blake Hassebrock (2-0)
L- Michael Dimock (1-1)

CC home runs: Andrew Aplin (2, 2-run home run in 9th)

The Hooks were swept in the 4-game series by Midland, the South League division leaders, and have now dropped to .500 after going 3-7 in their last 10.

This Hooks team is better than that. I hate to have to do this, but it's time to bring out Cher.

Starter Troy Scribner had a nice outing, allowing only one run on three hits and no walks, while striking out four in his three innings of work, but Michael Dimock didn't fare quite so well as he was victimized by a big inning in the fifth. When all was said and done, Dimock allowed five runs on seven hits, including a solo home run, in his three innings. Andrew Robinson was uncharacteristically wild in his two innings. He gave up two earned runs on three hits, walked three batters and was charged with a wild pitch. Robinson had only walked a total of three batters in his previous 8 outings.

The Hooks were in a deep 6-1 hole after the 5th inning, with an RBI double from M.P. Cokinos in the third accounting for their only run, but they went on to make things interesting by adding on three runs in the sixth as Preston Tucker doubled in two and later scored in the frame. In the ninth, the Hooks added on two more runs on Andrew Aplin's second home run of the season.

The Hooks return home for a 4-game series against the San Antonio Missions. James Needy (0-2, 4.32 ERA) will face off against Luis Cruz (2-2, 1.69) at 7:00 CST.

Lancaster 6, San Jose 3

W- Mike Hauschild (2-1)
L- Joe Biagini (0-2)
S- Brian Holmes (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks got back to a three-way tie for first place in the division with the win, the first in a 3-game series with San Jose.

Mike Hauschild gave up one run in the first and then settled in nicely until a walk and three singles in the sixth saw two more runs score for the Giants. Brian Holmes, in his Lancaster debut, came to the rescue, stranding two inherited runners in the frame and going on to allow no runs, one hit and one walk in his 3.1 innings.

The offense jumped on San Jose starter Joe Biagini early with RBI doubles from Rio Ruiz and Brandon Meredith accounting for three runs in the first and an RBI single from Carlos Perdomo capping off the 4-run frame. The 'Hawks added on in the second as Roberto Pena doubled and was driven in by Tony Kemp; Kemp went on to score on a Rio Ruiz ground out. Carlos Correa returned to the line-up for the first time since April 24th and went 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and scored a run.

Chris Stratton (1-3, 5.04 ERA) will face Kyle Westwood (1-2, 2.90) in the second game of the series, starting at 8:00 CST. Vince Velasquez is scheduled to follow Westwood to the mound.

Quad Cities 5, Beloit 3

W- Evan Grills (1-0)
L- Lou Trivino (1-3)
S- Keven Comer (1)

QC home runs: None

The Banditos victimized the last place Beloit Snappers to creep back into a tie for 6th place in the division.

Evan Grills' start wasn't particularly pretty, as he allowed three runs on 10 hits and a walk over his six innings, but he kept things within reach for the River Bandits to come back and win. Grills was followed to the mound by Kevin Comer making his season debut. Comer pitched three scoreless innings to earn the save.

Down 2-0 going into the 5th, the River Bandits scored three by playing a little small ball. RBI singles from Tanner Mathis and Jack Mayfield accounted for two of the runs and the other run scored as Tanner Mathis came home on a wild pitch. The 3-2 lead was short-lived as Beloit scored in the bottom of the frame, but Quad Cities re-took the lead in the sixth as Ronnie Mitchell doubled and scored on a Tyler White single. The final run came in the seventh as Brett Phillips walked, advanced on a ground out and scored from second on a Conrad Gregor single.

Edison Frias (0-0, -.-- ERA) will make his season debut for the River Bandits in the second game of the 3-game series, starting at 2:00 CST. His opponent will be Kyle Finnegan (1-1, 2.83).

Three Stars (Position Players)


OF Teoscar Hernandez, Lancaster
3-4, R, SB, Outfield Assist


OF Ronnie Mitchell, Quad Cities
2-4, 2-2B, R


OF Andrew Aplin, Corpus Christi
2-3, HR, 2RBI, 2BB, 2R

Apologies to Brett Phillips, Tyler White and Tony Kemp!

Three Stars (Pitchers)


RHP Richard Rodriguez
3.0IP, 4H, 2SO, W, AAA Debut


RHP Kevin Comer
3.0IP, 2H, 1SO, Save, Quad Cities Debut


LHP Brian Holmes
3.1IP, 1H, 1BB, 3SO, Save, 2 Stranded Runners
Season and High A Debut

Happy Birthday - 5/3

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Elieser Hernandez (19)
A non-drafted free agent from Venezuela, Hernandez excelled in his second season with the Astros as he pitched for the Dominican Summer League team. In 13 games (12 starts), he was 5-1 with a 1.26 ERA and a 0.994 WHIP.

One former Astro celebrates today as well ~

2B/OF Davey Lopes (69)
Drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in 1968, Lopes played in 84 games for Houston at the end of his career in 1986 and 1987. Lopes was a four-time All Star and one-time Gold Glove winner with the Dodgers, and also appeared in four World Series with the team. A career .268 hitter, Lopes was known more for his stolen base prowess than his batting as he swiped 557 in 16 seasons and led the league in steals in 1975 (77) and 1976 (63).

Tweet of the Day

Friday, May 2, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

In addition to the roster moves Dustin posted yesterday evening, a few more Astros minor league transactions have been made official today:

RHP Richard Rodriguez assigned from Lancaster to Oklahoma City
RHP Paul Clemens optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City

RHP J.D. Osborne placed on the temporary inactive list
LHP Brian Holmes activated from the DL
Correction: RHP Mike Hauschild was not on the DL. He was on the TI list and was activated today.

RHP Andrew Thurman assigned to Extended Spring Training
2B Jack Mayfield activated from the DL
RHP Kevin Comer promoted from Extended Spring Training
SS Alex Gonzalez assigned to Extended Spring Training

Beat the Streak, May 2

Ronald Torreyes went 2-3, but Preston Tucker went 0-5. So... the slump continues. I've got much better luck on the version, I swear.

Rip Noblin stood pat at 6 because he chose Teoscar Hernandez, who got yesterday off.

Jayne got back on the board as Brett Phillips had 3 hits in Quad Cities' 2nd consecutive twinbill. (Ha! Just my luck.)

Baseball Mom extended her streak to 2 with Thomas Lindauer's single in game 1 of the QC doubleheader.

Daniel Nelson got 0-fers from Brandon Meredith and Conrad Gregor, so he's headed back to the start.

And finally, pacbellpilgrim got off the canvas with 2-hit nights from Tony Kemp and Rio Ruiz.

I'll stick with Preston Tucker again tonight.

Today's Games

OKC @ Omaha, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 7:00
Lancaster vs. San Jose, 8:30
Quad Cities @ Beloit, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Rip Noblin- 6

Baseball Mom, pacbellpilgrim- tied at 2

Jayne- 1

Streak to Beat

Jayne, 7

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, May 1, 2014

Let's play 2 in Davenport....


Round Rock 3, Oklahoma City 0

W- Nick Tepesch (5-1)
L- Nick Tropeano (1-2)
S- Ben Rowen (1)

The RedHawks had to settle for a split as they were held off the scoreboard.

OKC only had 6 hits; Ronald Torreyes went 2-3, while Robbie Grossman's double was their only extra-base hit.

In the battle of Nicks, Tropeano came out on the short end. He went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 4. Chia-Jen Lo was the first man out; he threw 1.2 innings allowed a hit and struck out 3. Rhiner Cruz struck out 1 over 1.1 perfect frames, and Kevin Chapman went 2 innings and allowed a run (in the 9th) on 2 hits, walked 1, and fanned 4.

OKC will now hit the road... they'll be spending this weekend and Monday in Omaha. In game 1, David Martinez will take on Brett Tomko. Now, I haven't heard that name in a while. First pitch is at 7:05.

Midland 6, Corpus Christi 5

W- Shawn Haviland (1-1)
L- Brady Rodgers (1-3)
S- Seth Frankoff (6)

CC home runs: Chris Epps (3, solo in 5th)

The Hooks came close, but.... no cigar.

Brady Rodgers got jumped for 4 runs in the 1st, but he was able to pull himself together to hold Midland scoreless for the rest of his outing. He went 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (again, all in the 1st) on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Travis Ballew pitched 1.2 innings and gave up an unearned run on 2 hits, walked 2, and fanned 1. Pat Urckfitz was the 3rd and final pitcher of the night for Corpus; he threw 2 innings and gave up an unearned run on 2 hits and struck out 1.

Leo Heras got the Hooks on the board in the 4th by scoring on a wild pitch. He hit a 2-out triple right before that. Epps took Midland starter Shawn Haviland deep with 1 out in the 5th. Matt Duffy added an RBI groundout in the 7th. Duffy and Heras hit RBI singles in the 9th to make it a 1-run game, but they were both stranded to end the game. Heras finished 2-5. Jio Mier went 3-5, and Andrew Aplin finished 3-4 with 2 doubles, a triple, and 2 runs scored.

The Hooks will look to avoid the sweep as they send out Troy Scribner for the finale. He'll take on Nate Long at 7:00. I think this was supposed to be Aaron West's spot in the rotation.

High Desert 13, Lancaster 7

W- Matt Anderson (2-2)
L- Chris Devenski (1-4)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks fought back bravely, but a 10-0 deficit would prove to be just too much to overcome. They had to settle for the split.

Danry Vasquez finally put the JetHawks on the board with an RBI double in the 6th. Roberto Peña walked to lead off the bottom of the 7th and would eventually score on a Tony Kemp single. Dan Gulbransen drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. Vasquez drew a bases-loaded walk in the 9th, and Peña cleared the bases with a double. He, Kemp, and Rio Ruiz had 2 hits apiece.

Chris Devenski went 4 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 8. J.D. Osborne was the first reliever out of the bullpen, and he gave up 5 runs on 5 hits and walked 2 in 1.2 innings. Mitch Lambson went 2 innings and allowed a run (inherited runner charged to him), a hit, and fanned 3. Richard Rodriguez got the final out of the 8th via strikeout, but not before he allowed a 2-run homer to Dario Pizzano. Pizzano was his runner, while the runner on base was Lambson's. Jamaine Cotton allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 2 in the 9th.

The JetHawks will now welcome San Jose to The Hangar for the weekend. Mike Hauschild is listed as the starter when you first pull up the JetHawks' home page, but he's only spent 5 days on the 7-day disabled list. So, Brian Holmes, who's in California right now, could get the start. However, he's not listed on the roster, nor has an announcement been formally made regarding his roster status.

Well, whoever's starting for the JetHawks will take on Joe Biagini at 6:30 Pacific.

Game 1: Clinton 5, Quad Cities 4

W- Carlos Misell (4-1)
L- Andrew Thurman (2-2)
S- Rafael Piñeda (2)

QC home runs: Brian Holberton (2, solo in 2nd)

The River Bandits got 3 in the bottom of the 6th to make it a 1-run game, but a double play in the 7th was the backbreaker in their comeback attempt.

Down 3-0 in the 2nd, Brian Holberton put QC on the board by taking Carlos Misell for a ride. Holberton got things started in the 6th with a single, then came around to score on a James Ramsay double. Ramsay advanced to 3rd on a single from Tanner Mathis and scored on an Alex Gonzalez single. Mathis, the new lead runner, was erased at 3rd as Thomas Lindauer attempted a sac bunt, so Gonzalez ended up scoring on a Brett Phillips double. Lindauer was thrown out at home trying to score. Holberton was not retired in any of his 4 plate apperances; he finished a triple shy of the cycle (in 3 at-bats).

Andrew Thurman pitched 2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, walked 4, and struck out 2. Chris Cotton was the first man out, and he pitched 3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 2, and striking out 1. Pat Christensen threw 2 scoreless and allowed a hit while striking out 2.

Well, would the River Bandits split yet another doubleheader?

Game 2: Clinton 3, Quad Cities 1

W- Paul Fry (1-0)
L- Alex Gonzalez (0-1)

QC home runs: None.

QC manager Omar Lopez ran out of relievers, so Gonzalez, who started at 3B in the first game, got the call to preserve a 1-0 lead in the 7th. He pitched valiantly, but Burt Reynolds unleashed a 3-run blast with 1 out in the inning to give the LumberKings the lead, and eventually the win. Edison Frias was not available; he's scheduled to start on Saturday.

The 4 hits in this game belonged to Brett Phillips (double and triple) and James Ramsay (single and double). Tyler White's sac fly in the 3rd accounted for the lone River Bandits run.

Chris Lee had a no-hitter going for 4 innings, but he did issue 6 walks against 3 strikeouts. But again, he did keep Clinton off the board. Andrew Walter worked around a hit and a hit batter to throw a scoreless 5th, striking out 2. Tyler Brunnemann struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 6th, and Gonzalez couldn't hold the lead.

The River Bandits will now spend the weekend in scenic Beloit, Wisconsin. They've got a 3-game series with the Snappers. Evan Grills will start the opener against Lou Trivino at 6:30.

Three Stars


Roberto Peña, C, Lancaster
2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, R


Andrew Aplin, CF, Corpus Christi
3-4, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R


Brian Holberton, C, Quad Cities
Game 1 vs. Clinton: 3-3, solo HR (2), 2 R

Astros Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Month for April

Trying to narrow down my list of nominees for Pitchers and Players of the Month for April had to be one of the hardest things I've done lately. So many players got off to a terrific start! First, let's look at the Position Players:

Gregorio Petit (OKC)
10-2B 2HR 12RBI 1SB 2CS 7BB 20SO

Ronny Torreyes (OKC)
6-2B 1-3B 1HR 14 RBI 0SB 1CS 4BB 4SO

Domingo Santana (OKC)
9-2B 1-3B 3HR 20RBI 0SB 1CS 8BB 34SO
3 outfield assists

Max Stassi (OKC)
7-2B 5HR 19RBI 0SB 0CS 6BB 20SO

Enrique Hernandez (OKC/CC)
7-2B 2HR 12RBI 1SB 1CS 6BB 7SO

Andrew Aplin (CC)
3-2B 1HR 17RBI 4SB 4CS 22BB 15SO
1 outfield assist

Preston Tucker (CC)
9-2B 6HR 17RBI 1SB 2CS 8BB 16SO
2 outfield assists

Carlos Perdomo (LAN)
1-2B 2-3B 1HR 7RBI 3SB 1CS 5BB 6SO

Tony Kemp (LAN)
7-2B 3-3B 2HR 13RBI 10SB 4CS 15BB 12SO

Rio Ruiz (LAN)
8-2B 1HR 13RBI 1SB 0CS 10BB 26SO

Chan Moon (QC)
3-2B 2-3B 4RBI 7SB 2CS 7BB 14SO

Conrad Gregor (QC)
7-2B 11RBI 0SB 0CS 15BB 18SO

Brett Phillips (QC)
3-3B 2HR 13RBI 2SB 6CS 14BB 17SO
2 outfield assists

Our winner will probably not come as a huge surprise ...

Jon Singleton (OKC)
6-2B 1-3B 9HR 27RBI 0SB 1CS 18BB 31SO


Jon Singleton - March 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As a reminder, Players of the Week for April were:

Austin Elkins
Teoscar Hernandez
Jon Singleton
Leo Heras


Next up, we look at Starting (Tandem) Pitchers who had good starts. The talent in Lancaster alone is nothing short of phenomenal. When you look at their numbers, keep in mind that they are pitching in an extremely hitter-friendly environment and the average ERA there has hovered around 5.00 the last couple of years.

Nick Tropeano (OKC)
6 Games/3 Starts    23IP    1-1 record
2.74 ERA/1.174 WHIP   9BB:14SO

In addition, Rudy Owens had a 0.951 WHIP and 2BB:26SO for Oklahoma City, and David Martinez had a 1.167 WHIP.

Luis Cruz (CC)
6 Games/4 Starts   26.2IP   2-2 record
1.69 ERA/0.975 WHIP    6BB:20SO

Brady Rodgers (CC)
6 Games/4 Starts    28IP   1-2 record w/1 save
2.25 ERA/1.179 WHIP   4BB:22SO

Also, Aaron West had a 1.103 WHIP for April for Corpus Christi.

Lance McCullers (LAN)
7 Games/4 Starts   28.2IP   1-1 record w/2 saves
2.51 ERA/1.151 WHIP   12BB:33SO

Kyle Smith (LAN)
7 Games/3 Starts   27.2IP   4-0 record
2.60 ERA/1.084 WHIP  12BB:31SO
(Smith was just promoted to Corpus Christi)

Kyle Westwood (LAN)
7 Games/4 Starts   31IP   1-2 record w/2 saves
2.90 ERA/1.032 WHIP  8BB:16SO

Josh Hader (LAN)
7 Games/4 Starts   27.2IP   1-0 record w/1 save
2.93 ERA/1.048 WHIP  10BB:36SO

Vincent Velasquez (LAN)
6 Games/3 Starts    23IP   4-0 record
3.13 ERA/1.000 WHIP   8BB:26SO

In addition, Chris Devenski had a 1.151 WHIP and 4BB:18SO in April for Lancaster.

Kent Emanuel (QC)
6 Games/4 Starts   22IP   0-2 record
2.45 ERA/1.091 WHIP    4BB:17SO
(Emanuel was just promoted to Lancaster)

Gonzalo Sanudo (QC)
5 Games/2 Starts   18IP   3-0 record
0.50 ERA/0.778 WHIP  2BB:14SO

Although Gonzalo Sanudo's numbers are incredible, our winner has similar results over a greater number of innings.

Tommy Shirley (CC)
6 Games/4 Starts   28.1IP   2-2 record w/1 save
1.27 ERA/0.776 WHIP    4BB:34SO


Tommy Shirley - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As a reminder, the Starting Pitchers of the Week for April were:

Kent Emanuel
Vince Velasquez/David Martinez
Aaron West
Tommy Shirley


Now for our Relief Pitchers:

Andrew Robinson (CC)
8 Games    11.2IP    1 save
0.77 ERA/1.200 WHIP   3BB:13SO
12 inherited runners/5 scored

Travis Ballew (CC)
8 Games   9.2IP    2 saves
0.93 ERA/1.345 WHIP  5BB:5SO
4 inherited runners/2 scored

Alex Sogard (CC)
8 Games   13IP   1 save
2.08 ERA/1.077 WHIP   6BB:4SO
5 inherited runners/0 scored

Also, Patrick  Urckfitz had a very nice 1.059 WHIP in his 5.2 innings for Corpus Christi.

Jamaine Cotton (LAN)
7 Games   5.2IP   3 saves
0.00 ERA/1.412 WHIP   3BB:3SO
7 inherited runners/4 scored
(Cotton finally gave up his first earned run 5/1)

Patrick Christensen (QC)
8 Games    8.1IP
1.12 ERA/0.875 WHIP   2BB:9SO
9 inherited runners/3 scored

Zach Morton (QC)
8 Games  14.1IP
1.88 ERA/1.186 WHIP   6BB:10SO
5 inherited runners/1 scored

And our winner has definitely had an excellent run:

Tyler Brunnemann (QC)
7 Games    14.1IP
0.61 ERA/0.614 WHIP   2BB:14SO
8 inherited runners/2 scored


Tyler Brunnemann

As a reminder, the Relief Pitchers of the Week for April were:

Josh Zeid
Jason Stoffel
Tyler Brunnemann
Alex Sogard


I want to address one final category. I've tried to figure out a way to acknowledge the contributions of catchers in the system. Since catchers seldom play in as many games as other position players, it seems unfair to judge their offensive contributions against those other positions. At the same time, defense is such a huge component of catching, you can't simply ignore that aspect. The best way I can think of to recognize our catchers is to honor offensive and defensive contributions separately. With that said ....


In his 20 games in April, Pena caught a whopping 68% of all runners attempting to steal. He had a .995 fielding percentage and a 9.40 range factor. Pena was behind the dish in 12 of Lancaster's 16 wins in April.

Roberto Pena - March 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen


Morales only played in 13 games in April, but put up quite an impressive batting line - .378/.463/.578 with six doubles, one home run and 10 RBI. He also managed a very respectable caught stealing rate of 32%.

Jobduan Morales - April 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Happy Birthday - 5/2

Happy Birthday to ~

SS Jonathan Villar (23)
Originally signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Villar came to Houston as a part of the Oswalt trade in July 2010. After making his major league debut for Houston in July 2013, he has now played in 85 games for the Astros, hitting .242/.315/.358 with 16 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 22 stolen bases.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

Big news out of Lancaster, as Eric Smith of the Antelope Valley Press has reported that RHP Kyle Smith is headed to Corpus Christi.

But, that's not the only move that was made within the system. Who went where? Here's the rundown:


4/27: RHP Ross Seaton placed on the 7-day DL.
4/29: C Ryan McCurdy activated from the temporarily inactive list.


5/1: RHP Aaron West placed on the 7-day DL.
5/1: RHP Kyle Smith promoted from Lancaster.


4/28: RHP Mike Hauschild placed on 7-day DL.
4/28: RHP Richard Rodriguez promoted from Extended Spring Training.
4/29: OF Jordan Scott activated from temporarily inactive list.
4/29: 1B Bobby Borchering placed on 7-day DL.
5/1: LHP Kent Emanuel promoted from Quad Cities.

Also, LHP Brian Holmes is apparently on his way to Lancaster, although there hasn't been confirmation of a move, as far as his roster status is concerned.


4/27: RHP Michael Feliz placed on the 7-day DL.
5/1: OF Jon Kemmer assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/1: OF Ronnie Mitchell promoted from Extended Spring Training.
5/1: RHP Edison Frias promoted from Extended Spring Training.

Frias and Mitchell were both in Tri-City last year; Frias split time between there and Greeneville.
LHP Chris Lee was assigned to Kissimmee on April 28, but is now assigned back with Quad Cities.

Beat the Streak, May 1

Andrew Aplin went 2-4 yesterday, but although Brett Phillips delivered a pair of sac flies, he was hitless in Quad Cities' doubleheader. Therefore, I am continuing to have difficulty in stringing a streak together starting a streak.

Rip Noblin tops the leaderboard once again with his picks of Andy Simunic and Tony Kemp. He's now at 6.

Daniel Nelson is back on the board with a triple from Carlos Perdomo and a Conrad Gregor RBI single.

Jayne got a hit from Jon Singleton, but an 0-3 night from Brandon Meredith, so she'll stay at the start for at least one more day.

pacbellpilgrim had Rio Ruiz, who hit an RBI double, but he also chose Meredith, so he'll be back at the start.

Baseball Mom is on the board with Tyler White's pinch-hit 2-run single!

For May Day, I'll be rolling with Ronald Torreyes and Preston Tucker.

Today's Games

OKC vs. Round Rock, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 7:00
Lancaster vs. High Desert, 8:30
Quad Cities vs. Clinton, 6:00 (doubleheader game 1)

Current Active Streaks

Rip Noblin- 6

Daniel Nelson- 2

Baseball Mom- 1

Streak to Beat

Jayne, 7

Astros Minor League Snapshot

I'm currently working on Players and Pitchers of the Month and on writing up some of my Corpus Christi interviews so today's Minor League snapshot will be a little shorter than usual. First, here are the current standings for the four full season teams after four weeks of play.

Oklahoma City
2nd    15-12    .556    1.0GB    L1

Corpus Christi
3rd    14-12    .538    3.0GB    L2

T1st    16-11    .593    -.-GB    W2

Quad Cities
T5th    11-13    .458    6.5GB    W1

And here are the Astros minor league leaders in various categories:

Games Played: Domingo Santana (26)
Runs Scored: Tony Kemp (31)
Hits: Gregorio Petit (32)
Doubles: Gregorio Petit (10)
Triples: Teoscar Hernandez (6)
Home Runs: Jon Singleton (9)
RBI: Jon Singleton (27)
Stolen Bases: Tony Kemp (10)
Walks: Andrew Aplin (21)
BA (min. 20 games): Gregorio Petit (.330)
OBP (min. 20 games): Andrew Aplin (.426)
SLG (min. 20 games): Jon Singleton (.663)
Highest Caught Stealing Rate: Roberto Pena (68%)

Innings Pitched: Kyle Westwood (31)
ERA (min. 20 IP): Tommy Shirley (1.16)
WHIP (min. 20 IP): Tommy Shirley (0.857)
Wins: Vince Velasquez, Kyle Smith (both 4-0)
Strikeouts: Josh Hader (35)
Starter SO/9: Josh Hader (13.3)
Starter BB/9: Rudy Owens (0.7)
Most IP with no HR: David Martinez (24 IP)
Saves: Josh Zeid, Jamaine Cotton, Jason Stoffel (Tied at 3)
Most Relief Appearances: Jason Stoffel (10)
Most Relief Appearances w/o allowing an Earned Run: Jamaine Cotton (7)
Lowest Bullpen ERA (min. 10 IP): Tyler Brunnemann (0.73)
Lowest Bullpen WHIP (min. 10 IP): Tyler Brunnemann (0.486)

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's try it again... let's play 2 in Davenport!

Round Rock 5, Oklahoma City 2

W- Ryan Feierabend (4-1)
L- Jake Buchanan (1-3)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks were stifled as they only got a run in the 1st and the 9th. Seems like they just couldn't string hits together to start rallies. Domingo Santana hit an RBI double in the 1st and Jonathan Meyer added a sac fly in the 9th. Robbie Grossman went 2-4.

Jake Buchanan went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and struck out 2. Darin Downs allowed a hit and struck out 3 in 2 scoreless innings, and Jason Stoffel pitched the final 2 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 2.

The series finale features a battle of Nicks. Tropeano will be on the hill for OKC, and Tepesch will be his opponent. First pitch is at 7:05.

Midland 5, Corpus Christi 4

W- Ryan Dull (3-0)
L- Pat Urckfitz (0-1)
S- Seth Frankoff (5)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (6, 3-run in 3rd)

For the 2nd straight game, the Hooks bullpen couldn't hold a late lead. An incredibly costly error in the bottom of the 8th did not help matters either. Midland put up 4 in that frame to erase a 4-1 deficit. The Hooks lost despite doubling up Midland 8-4 in the hit column.

All 4 Corpus runs were scored in the 3rd; Matt Duffy grounded into a fielder's choice allowing Nolan Fontana to score, and Preston Tucker's blast (6) extended the lead to 4-0. Fontana, Andrew Aplin, and René Garcia all went 2-4.

Tommy Shirley continued his stellar start to the season; he went 5 innings and his only blemish was serving up a solo homer to Miles Head in the bottom of the 4th. Shirley allowed one other hit and struck out 6. His 1.27 ERA is now 3rd in the Texas League.

Alex Sogard cruised through 2 innings and got 1 out in the 8th, but an error on what could've been the inning-ending double play allowed the batter, Connor Crumbliss, to reach, and that's when the wheels fell off. Sogard was ultimately charged with 2 unearned runs (both inherited runners who scored); he walked 3 and struck out 1. Pat Urckfitz got the 2nd out, but then he issued a walk to load the bases, and they were promptly cleared on a double, which tied the game. Max Muncy, the former Baylor standout, gave the RockHounds the lead with an RBI single. Urckfitz got the final 2 outs of the 8th and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and walked 1.

In game 3 of this series, Brady Rodgers will face Shawn Haviland. First pitch is at 7:00.

Lancaster 2, High Desert 0

W- Dan Minor (1-1)
L- Dylan Unsworth (2-2)
S- Juan Minaya (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

A game after striking out 17 Mavericks, the Lancaster pitching staff delivered an encore in the form of a 1-hit shutout. These 2 outstanding performances surely have to be the main reasons as to why the JetHawks have taken the last 2 games in the series after getting waxed in the opener.

Josh Hader was all over the place, but he was effective enough to keep the Mavericks off the scoreboard. He allowed a leadoff single to Gabriel Guerrero, Vladimir's nephew, in the 4th. That was it for the Mavericks as far as hits were concerned. Hader, who also uncorked a wild pitch, went 4 innings and walked 5 while striking out 1. 5 walks isn't pretty, but he still managed to keep High Desert off the scoreboard. Dan Minor struck out 3 over 2 perfect innings. He's had 4 straight scoreless appearances after an incredibly rough first 3 appearances. Tyson Perez walked 1 and struck out 2 in 2 innings, and Juan Minaya worked around a walk to finish it off, striking out 1 in the 9th.

Carlos Perdomo led off the 5th with a triple and scored on a Roberto Peña GIDP. Tony Kemp doubled to lead off the 5th and came around to score on a Rio Ruiz double. Danry Vasquez went 2-2 with a walk.

The series finale has Chris Devenski facing Matt Anderson at 6:30 Pacific.

Game 1: Clinton 6, Quad Cities 3

W- Aaron Brooks (1-0)
L- Kent Emanuel (0-2)
S- Emilio Pagan (5)

QC home runs: None.

After getting washed out 2 days in a row, the doubleheader went as scheduled. From the pictures I've seen, the skies over the Quad Cities were still rather ominous; fortunately, the weather cooperated (for once). The LumberKings scored 1-2-3 in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively to come out on top in the first game of the twinbill.

The River Bandits' 3 came in the bottom of the 5th in the form of a James Ramsay 2-run single and a Chase McDonald groundout. Tanner Mathis and Brett Phillips both drew 2 walks. In his first game in his home area, Thomas Lindauer went 1-2 with a double and a run scored.

Kent Emanuel pitched 3 innings and the only ding on his line was a solo homer to Jeff Zimmerman in the 3rd. He allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 4. Albert Minnis went 1.2 innings and allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Tyler Brunnemann allowed 3 hits and struck out 1 over 2.1 scoreless.

So... what would game 2 have in store for QC?

Game 2: Quad Cities 9, Clinton 8

W- Andrew Walter (2-2)
L- Thyago Vieira (0-1)

QC home runs: Jon Kemmer (3, solo in 2nd)

I think Quad Cities has split like 38 consecutive doubleheaders since last year.

In the nightcap, the River Bandits scored 5 in the 5th to turn a 7-3 deficit into an 8-7 lead.

Conrad Gregor put QC on the board with an RBI double in the bottom of the 1st, down 2-1. Jon Kemmer tied the game for the first time when he went deep (3) with 1 out in the 2nd. After Brian Holberton hit a 1-out double in the 4th, he advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch and Alex Gonzalez brought him home with a single.

Chan-Jong Moon singled to begin the 5th, moved to 2nd on a Gregor walk, and scored on a Chase McDonald single. After James Ramsay flew out, a Holberton single loaded the bases. Kemmer, who finished 2-3 with 3 runs scored, sent Gregor home by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Tyler White then followed with a pinch-hit, 2-run single. A Lindauer walk re-loaded the bases, and Brett Phillips completed the comeback with a sac fly. Well, he actually reached base, thanks to an error from Clinton CF Burt Reynolds (yes, that really is his name, and I'm being totally serious).

There was a brief lull in the 6th, then Austin Wilson tied it for Clinton with a homer to begin the 7th. But, Phillips un-tied it in the bottom of the inning with his 2nd sac fly of the evening. Moon, McDonald, Holberton, Kemmer, and Lindauer all had 2 hits.

Jandel Gustave went 3.2 innings and allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Zach Morton was the first man out, and in 2.1 innings, he allowed a run on 3 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and fanned 2. Andrew Walter got taken deep by Wilson, but that was the only hit he allowed in the 7th. He walked 1 and struck out 2.

Well, let's play 2 again. The River Bandits and LumberKings will conclude their series with another doubleheader. Andrew Thurman will face Carlos Misell in game 1, and Chris Lee is taking on Jake Zokan in game 2. First pitch for game 1 is scheduled for 6:00.

Happy Birthday 5/1

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Travis Ballew (23)
Drafted by Houston in the 23rd round in 2012 out of Texas State University, Ballew is in his third season in the organization. After leading the Astros system with 21 saves for Lancaster last season, he is currently working out of the Corpus Christi bullpen this season with a 0.93 ERA, a 1.345 WHIP and two saves to date.

CF Ravel Santana (22)
First signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic by the Yankees prior to the 2009 season, Santana was picked up by the Astros in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft this past winter. Santana missed the entire 2013 season, reportedly due to a broken arm, but was also severely injured in 2011 when his ankle had to be surgically repaired. He is currently in Extended Spring Training after having reported late due to visa issues. Over the four seasons that he has played, he hit .265/.365/.436 with 36 doubles, five triples, 27 home runs and 43 stolen bases in 214 games.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

LHP Steve Randolph (40)
Drafted by the Yankees in the 18th round in 1995, Randolph pitched 1257.1 innings in minor league and foreign leagues from 1995 to 2010. He only managed 155 innings pitched in the major leagues, though.  He pitched for Arizona in 2003 and 2004 and pitched 13.1 innings over 14 games for Houston in 2007 with less than spectacular results.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Video Interview with Corpus Christi Hooks OF Andrew Aplin

I first talked to Andrew Aplin in May of last year when he was playing at Lancaster and, after seeing how hard he plays the game, he quickly became one of my favorite players to watch in action. In Corpus Christi over the weekend, I had the opportunity to chat with him briefly. (It was a very windy day!)

In the interview, I mentioned that Aplin's power seemed to be developing slowly this season. Coincidentally, Aplin has kicked it into gear with a double and a home run (his first of the season) under his belt in the last two games.

I also spoke with Hooks Manager Keith Bodie about Aplin, "He's a very intelligent player, very aggressive, but his judgement needs development and refining [like all the players at this level], but he's a baseball player and he's going to figure it out. He's got enough power to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's got enough speed to be a table-setter. He's got the challenge of figuring out the player he really is, and that's going to take a little time."

Aplin may still have that challenge ahead of him, but he's starting to figure it out. And when he gets there, I personally think it's going to be pretty special.

Beat the Streak, April 30

Tony Kemp got the day off and Domingo Santana went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts yesterday. Well, at least I'll have some company. How long I get to keep that company remains to be seen. 

Again, we've got a new leader, and it's Rip Noblin, who got a single from Rio Ruiz to extend his streak to 4. Daniel Nelson got 2 from Matt Duffy, but Robbie Grossman's 0-3 line sent him back to square 1. He would've topped Jayne and set a new season-high streak. 

Jayne's also back to the start, as she picked Jonathan Meyer. Multi-hit nights from Duffy and Brandon Meredith has pacbellpilgrim in 2nd place. 

Today, for this final day of April, I will go with a pair of CFs from the 2012 draft class: Andrew Aplin and Brett Phillips.

Today's Schedule

OKC vs. Round Rock, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 11:00 A.M.
Lancaster vs. High Desert, 8:30
Quad Cities vs. Clinton, 6:00 (doubleheader game 1)

Current Active Streaks

Rip Noblin- 4

pacbellpilgrim- 3

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Let's play 2 in Davenport! Never mind.

Oklahoma City 2, Round Rock 0

W- Rhiner Cruz (1-0)
L- Justin Germano (1-3)
S- Josh Zeid (3)

OKC home runs: Gregorio Petit (2, 2-run in 1st)

This game lasted 2 hours and 7 minutes. This was the shortest OKC game since the 2012 season finale: September 3, 2012. The RedHawks topped Round Rock 1-0 that day in 2 hours, 2 minutes.

Well, there you have it. All the offense in this game came off the bat of Gregorio Petit in the 1st inning. That blast would also be the only OKC hit until the 6th, when Ronald Torreyes singled. Max Stassi had the other RedHawks hit, a single in the 7th.

The pitching staff combined on a 4-hitter. Mike Foltynewicz pitched 4 innings and allowed 2 hits, walked 4, and struck out 3. Rhiner Cruz threw 2 scoreless and allowed 2 hits while striking out 3. Chia-Jen Lo struck out 2 over 2 perfect frames, and Josh Zeid finished it with a 1-2-3 9th.

Jake Buchanan will face Ryan Feierabend in game 3 of this series. First pitch is at 7:05. The tandem system in OKC is now in a holding pattern, per Brian McTaggart.

Midland 9, Corpus Christi 8

W- Jesus Castillo (1-0)
L- Jorge De Leon (1-2)

CC home runs: Chris Epps (2, 3-run in 2nd)

The Hooks coughed up a 7-1 lead and wound up walking off with the loss after the RockHounds put up 4 in the bottom of the 9th.

7 of the 8 Corpus runs came in the 2nd inning. Tyler Heineman began the assault with a bases-clearing double. Chris Epps then clubbed a 3-run homer (2), and Matt Duffy added an RBI double. Andrew Aplin went 2-5 with an RBI single in the 9th, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Matt Duffy and M.P. Cokinos both finished 2-4, and everyone in the lineup scored a run except for Joe Sclafani, who was 0-2 with 3 walks.

Matt Heidenreich allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on a force out and a sac fly, a hit, walked 6, and struck out 2 in 4.2 innings of work. Jordan Jankowski went 1.1 innings and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Travis Ballew was the only Hooks pitcher with a scoreless outing, as he allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1 over 2 innings. Jorge De Leon blew it.

Game 2 will feature Tommy Shirley as he faces Drew Granier at 11:00 A.M. Is the tandem system also on hold in Corpus?

Lancaster 5, High Desert 3

W- Lance McCullers (1-1)
L- Scott DeCecco (1-2)
S- Jamaine Cotton (3)

Lancaster home runs: Brandon Meredith (5, solo in 8th)

Before the game, a players-only meeting was held. According to Eric Smith, although no one discussed what was said behind closed doors, it seems that the purpose was to let some frustration go. The venting looked like it had a positive effect, as the JetHawks snapped a 3-game losing streak. Lance McCullers rendered the High Desert offense useless, and now they're in a 3-way tie with the Mavericks and Lake Elsinore at the top of the Cal League South division.

The JetHawks struck out 17 batters, which tied a team record set back in 1997, when they were a Mariners affiliate. McCullers tossed 5 shutout innings and allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out a career-high 10. Kyle Smith allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits (solo homer) and struck out 7 in 3.2 innings. Jamaine Cotton got D.J. Peterson to fly out for the final out of the game.

The Lancaster offense finally cracked Scott DeCecco, who had really shackled them in his first 2 appearances. Brandon Meredith went 3-4; he singled to lead off the bottom of the 4th and scored the first run of the night on Dan Gulbransen's double. Gulbransen would score on a Carlos Perdomo sac fly, and Ruben Sosa added an RBI single to wrap up the scoring in the 4th. Perdomo, who went 2-3, scored on a force out that was hit by Jake Rodriguez in the 6th, and Meredith hit a solo shot (5) in the 8th. Rodriguez finished 2-4 with a run scored and was credited with an RBI on his force out in the 6th.

Josh Hader and Chris Devenski will face Dylan Unsworth in game 3 of this series. First pitch is at 6:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities and Clinton was rained out, again

Due to wet grounds. They'll play two doubleheaders; 2 games tonight and 2 games on Thursday. Kent Emanuel (game 1) and Jandel Gustave (game 2) will be the pitchers for tonight. Emanuel will face Eddie Campbell and Gustave is taking on Tommy Burns. First pitch of game 1 will be at 6:00.

Three Stars: Position Players


Gregorio Petit, SS, Oklahoma City
1-3, 2-R HR (2) in 1st

2. They only had 1 hit apiece, but they sure made 'em count.

Chris Epps, OF, Corpus Christi
As the DH: 3-R HR (2) in the 2nd

4 of Epps' 7 hits have gone for extra bases. He's sporting an .848 OPS despite only hitting .206 through his first 10 games with the Hooks.

Tyler Heineman, C, Corpus Christi
1-3, 3-R 2B in 2nd, R


Brandon Meredith, OF/1B, Lancaster
3-4, solo HR (5), 2 R

Three Stars: Pitchers

Hmm.... shutout, or team record?


Lance McCullers
W (1-1), 5 IP, 3 H, BB, 10 K

Kyle Smith
3.2 IP, 6 H (solo HR), 3 R (1 earned), 7 K

Jamaine Cotton
Save (3); Recorded final out of the game

Cotton only needed to get one out, but his role was just as big as McCullers' and Smith's. Also, if a team's pitchers all performed well, then it would make sense to include all of them, right?

1. OKC shutout wins.

Mike Foltynewicz
4 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K

Rhiner Cruz
W (1-0), 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K

Chia-Jen Lo
2 IP, 2 K

Josh Zeid
Save (3), IP

Happy Birthday - 4/30

No future Astros with birthdays today, but a few former Astros are celebrating ~

3B/2B Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner (65)
Originally drafted by Oakland in the first round in 1971, Garner came to Houston from Pittsburgh in an August 1981 trade. In 753 games for Houston from 1981 to 1987, Garner hit .260/.323/.389/.712. The three-time All Star played for five teams over 16 seasons and won a World Series ring while playing for the Pirates in 1979. Garner managed the Astros from 2004 until 2007 with a 277-252 record and led the team to a NL pennant in 2005.

1B Mark Saccomanno (34)
A 23rd round draft pick by the Astros in 2003, Saccomanno only got to the show for ten games, but his first game was memorable. On September 8, 2008, he became the 20th player in MLB history to hit a home run on the first major league pitch thrown to him. It was a pinch hit AB off Ian Snell. Who cares what else he did? He can tell that one to his grandkids.

RHP Mike Barlow (66)
Barlow pitched in 16 games for Houston in 1976, going 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beat the Streak, April 29

I was totally out of it yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to post the results from Sunday's games or give anyone a chance to make picks. As a result, I've decided that everyone has a streak going. Here's Oprah to help me out:

Daniel Nelson, who was the only person with an active streak entering Monday, got a hit from Tyler White on Sunday to extend his streak to 6. 

Today, my picks will be Domingo Santana and Tony Kemp.

Today's Games

OKC vs. Round Rock, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 6:30
Lancaster vs. High Desert, 8:30
Quad Cities vs. Clinton, doubleheader game 1, 11:00 AM

Current Active Streaks

Streak to beat: Jayne, 7

Daniel Nelson- 6

Rip Noblin- 3

Jayne- 2

Everyone else- tied at 1

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, April 28, 2014

Oklahoma City 4, Round Rock 1

W- Darin Downs (1-2)
L- Daniel McCutchen (0-1)

OKC home runs: Domingo Santana (3, 2-run in 6th), Jon Singleton (9, solo in 8th)

The RedHawks took the opener with 4 unanswered runs.

Domingo Santana broke a 1-1 tie with his 2-run homer, and Jon Singleton sealed it with his PCL-leading 9th blast of the year. Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Jonathan Meyer. Robbie Grossman went 2-4 with an RBI single in the 3rd that put OKC on the board and tied the game at 1. OKC got 2-4 nights from Grossman, Ronald Torreyes, and Carlos Perez.

Rudy Owens went 4 innings and gave up a run on 6 hits and struck out 4. Darin Downs was the first man out of the bullpen and threw 2 scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out 1. Jason Stoffel struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 7th, Kevin Chapman allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 over 1.1 scoreless frames, and Josh Zeid got the final 2 outs of the evening, striking out 1.

Mike Foltynewicz will be on the mound for game 2 of this series. He'll be taking on Justin Germano at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 11, Frisco 2

W- Michael Dimock (1-0)
L- Alec Asher (1-3)

CC home runs: René Garcia (2, solo in 4th), Andrew Aplin (1, 2-run in 7th), Preston Tucker (5, solo in 7th)

The Hooks earned the split in emphatic fashion as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead after 4 innings, and after Frisco scored a pair in the 5th, buried them with 6 unanswered to close out the game.

Before Aplin went deep, he opened up the scoring with a 2-run single in the 3rd. Not long after that, Tucker joined in on the act with a 2-run ground rule double. René Garcia added to the lead by starting off the bottom of the 4th with a homer. Leo Heras clubbed an RBI triple in the 6th and wound up scoring on a wild pitch. Aplin and Tucker then destroyed Jon Edwards' soul by taking him deep in the 7th. And finally, Joe Sclafani provided the cherry with an RBI triple in the 8th. Tucker finished 3-4, Aplin went 2-5, and they were joined in the multi-hit club by Jio Mier, who finished 2-4 with a double and 2 runs scored.

Luis Cruz started off with 4 scoreless and allowed 2 hits while striking out 4. R.J. Alaniz tagged in for 2.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 4, and fanned 1. Michael Dimock finished it off with 2.1 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 1.

Corpus will now hit the road for 4 in scenic Midland, Texas. The starters for this series have not been announced yet. In the opener, someone will take the mound to take on Andrew Werner at 6:30.

High Desert 13, Lancaster 4

W- Tyler Olson (2-1)
L- Kyle Westwood (1-2)
S- Blake Hauser (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks were sent to their 3rd straight loss as the Mavericks scored a touchdown in the top of the 9th to complement their 3 safeties.

Kyle Westwood went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 1. Mitch Lambson pitched the next 2 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 4. Richard Rodriguez, who was just activated prior to the game, was the only JetHawk pitcher to have a scoreless outing, striking out 4 over 2 perfect frames. Juan Minaya bore the brunt of the High Desert assault, as he gave up 7 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 4 hits and walked 3, getting 2 outs in the 9th. Dan Minor got the final out of the 9th, but not before allowing a 2-run triple to Tim Lopes.

The offense didn't mail it in, though, as they got a pair in the 8th on a couple of RBI singles from Rio Ruiz and Bobby Borchering, and 2 more in the 9th on a Ruben Sosa RBI single and a Tony Kemp RBI triple. Kemp and Brandon Meredith had 2 hits apiece, while Sosa (5) and Teoscar Hernandez (8) stole a base.

In game 2 of this series, Lance McCullers and Kyle Smith will face Scott DeCecco. First pitch is at 6:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities and Clinton was postponed

There will now be two doubleheaders in this series. The first set of two will begin not long from now, with the first game beginning at 11 A.M. Andrew Thurman will start game 1 against Eddie Campbell, and Chris Lee will take on Tommy Burns in game 2.

Three Stars


Domingo Santana, LF, Oklahoma City
Go-ahead 2-R HR (3) in 6th

Jon Singleton, 1B, Oklahoma City
Solo HR (9, leads PCL)


Luis Cruz, LHP, Corpus Christi
4 IP, 2 H, 4 K

Richard Rodriguez, RHP, Lancaster
2 IP, 4 K (season debut)


Andrew Aplin, CF, Corpus Christi
2-5, 2-R HR (1), 4 RBI, 2 R

Preston Tucker, RF, Corpus Christi
3-4, 2B, solo HR (5), 3 RBI, 2 R

Honorable Mentions: Jio Mier, Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman, Tony Kemp, Michael Dimock

Random Observations From My Corpus Christi Trip

I haven't had time to write up much from my Corpus Christi trip yet, but I hope to have my interview with Andrew Aplin ready tomorrow. Interviews with Brady Rodgers and Preston Tucker will follow. In addition to those interviews, I talked with interim Pitching Coach Doug Brocail about Rodgers, Luis Cruz and Tommy Shirley. Brocail was very generous with his time and his thoughts on those players and I will be sharing those as well.

In the meantime, let me leave you with some random observations.

Speaking of Luis Cruz, I was disappointed that I wouldn't see him pitch while I was in Corpus Christi and I told him, "Well, I guess I won't be seeing a no-hitter this trip." That was in reference to the tandem no-hitter that Cruz tossed with Kyle Hallock in Lancaster last year. He grinned and told me, "When you come back, I'll throw one for you." He does not lack confidence and is a bulldog on the mound, but a laid-back sweetheart off the mound.

Jorge de Leon and Luis Cruz

The fun and camaraderie of last year's Lancaster team definitely carried over to this year's Corpus Christi team. This team works hard, but they also have a lot of fun. Watching the pre-game antics and rituals in the dugout is a show unto itself. And you can usually find Leo Heras and Jio Mier in the middle of it all.

Jio and Leo in a pre-game ritual

Heras is a high energy guy, zipping back and forth in the dugout, jumping up on the railing, dangling from the dugout overhang. It made me almost dizzy to watch him. He's also a fun player to watch on the field. Keep your eye on this guy!

The Corpus Christi bullpen has done some excellent work this season. Now we know the reason. They are all secretly superheroes!

Jordan Jankowski, Andrew Robinson, Alex Sogard
and Travis Ballew reveal their true identities

I didn't think I would like the baby blue jerseys, but I absolutely LOVE them.

M.P. Cokinos models the light blue jersey

Delino DeShields is looking oh-so-much better and he's getting antsy to get back on the field. He's been taking BP and is participating in most baseball activities so it shouldn't be too much longer (I hope).

Delino DeShields

Similarly, David Rollins is on the road back from an oblique injury and tossed for what I believe was the first time on Sunday.

David Rollins

All in all, it was a great trip (until somebody turned the heat up at Sunday's game). I would like to thank Michael Coffin, Chris Blake and Travis (whose last name I unfortunately don't remember) for all of their help.

I have uploaded my photos from the trip, but I haven't finished weeding them out and labeling them yet. If you're game to look through almost 400 pictures, go for it! As always, I just ask that photos only be used for personal use by the players and their families. Otherwise, use of the photos requires permission and acknowledgement.

One final thought. This team may currently be in third place in their division, but they are definitely not a third place team. Things are really starting to come together for them as a team and I'm looking for them to put up a lot of W's in the not so distant future.

Happy Birthday - 4/29

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one of the Astros minor league coaches celebrates ~

Pitching Coach Hector Mercado (40)
Mercado was a lefty pitcher drafted by Houston out of Puerto Rico in 1992, but he never played in the big leagues for Houston. He pitched for the Reds and the Phillies from 2000 to 2003 and was still playing in the Mexican League up through 2008. Since 2010, he has served as the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Astros with the exception of 2012 when he coached in that capacity for Greeneville.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

IF Ron Washington (62)
Originally signed as a free agent by the Royals in 1970, Washington played in only seven games for Houston at the end of his major league career after having played for the Dodgers, Twins, Orioles and Indians. Despite hitting a rather impressive .320/.347/.447 for the Astros AAA affiliate, he only managed a .143/.143/.286 line for the big club. Rumor has it that, after his playing days, he was reduced to managing some team in the southern Oklahoma area - the Rangers, I believe.

1B/OF J.R. Phillips (44)
Phillip played 16 seasons of minor league and foreign ball from 1988 to 2005. You've got to respect the desire to keep playing. He saw limited action (242 total games) in the major leagues from 1993 to 1999, playing for the Giants, Phillies, Astros (49 games in 1997 and 1998), and Rockies.

OF Louie Meadows (53)
Meadows was drafted by Houston in the second round in 1982 and played for the Astros in 87 games in 1986 and 1988 to 1990.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, April 28, 2014

Astros Minor League Player and Pitchers of the Week: Week Four

Since I've been travelling, the post for Week Four Player and Pitchers of the Week will be, by necessity, a little shorter than usual. These performances are for the week starting Sunday, April 20th and going through Saturday, April 26th.


There were many good performances in smaller sample sizes this week, including Conrad Gregor and Chase McDonald in Quad Cities; and Roberto Pena and Carlos Correa in Lancaster. Lancaster's Carlos Perdomo gets a special shout-out for getting two hits, including a home run, off Clayton Kershaw in Kershaw's rehab start on Friday, as does Quad Cities' Thomas Lindauer for hitting two home runs in his second game with the team. Continuing with a theme, Max Stassi only had four hits during the week in question but two of them were home runs. Gregorio Petit (Oklahoma City) and Nolan Fontana (Corpus Christi) had strong weeks as well.

But when it came down to it, three performances stood out for me. Stats are for the week only and are not cumulative for the season.

OF Domingo Santana (Oklahoma City)

OF Brett Phillips (Quad Cities)
4R 2-3B 1RBI 5BB 1SO
2 outfield assists

The race between Phillips and the winner was a close one, but ultimately Brett only played in 5 games while our winner played in all 7 games last week.

OF Leo Heras (Corpus Christi)
6R 2-2B HR 1RBI 5BB 3SO 2SB 2CS




Andrew Thurman (Quad Cities), Gonzalo Sanudo (QC), Mike Hauschild (Lancaster) and Rudy Owens (Oklahoma City) all excelled in the one appearance they each made during the week. For those making two appearances, three pitchers stood out. Stats are for the week only and are not cumulative for the season.

RHP Chris Devenski (Lancaster) - 1 loss
1.13 ERA/1.000 WHIP
8IP 7H 1R 1BB 6SO

LHP Josh Hader (Lancaster) - 1 win
1.13 ERA/0.375 WHIP
8IP 2H 1R 1BB 13SO

As dominant as Hader's performance was, I have to go with another lefty this week.

LHP Tommy Shirley (Corpus Christi) - 1 win, 1 save
0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP
10IP 4H 0R 1BB 12SO




I hate glossing over some of the great relief appearances this week, but time is not my friend right now. I would like to point out that Lancaster's Mitch Lambson and Jamaine Cotton (one appearance each last week) have yet to give up a run this season. Other bullpen pros who shone for the week were Travis Ballew, Patrick Urckfitz, Jorge de Leon, Andrew Robinson (all at Corpus Christi), Patrick Christensen (Quad Cities) and Daniel Minor (Lancaster). None of the listed individuals allowed an earned run in multiple appearances last week. Jordan Jankowski also did a great job in a relief appearance and a spot start, allowing only one run, four hits and a walk over five innings.

My winner provided two scoreless long relief outings for the week. Stats are for the week only and are not cumulative for the season.

LHP Alex Sogard (Corpus Christi)
0.00 ERA/0.800 WHIP
5IP 3H 0R 1BB 2SO
1 inherited runner/0 scored