Saturday, June 7, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

All of these moves were made as of 6/7:

OF Chris Epps released
UT Ruben Sosa assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi

OF Tanner Mathis assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

SS Jose Fernandez assigned to Quad Cities

Astros 2014 Draft Picks, Their Twitter Handles and Birth Dates

You can get scouting reports on most of the Astros draft picks from a variety of sources. In addition to those more well known players, our good friends at Astros County have also been compiling info on all harder to find lower round picks as fast as their fingers can type them up.

I'm just going to keep a simple list up with name, position, birth date, twitter handle (if known) and signing status for easy reference. I'll keep it linked on the front page until the signing deadline comes and goes. If you find a twitter handle that I'm missing, leave it in the comments and I'll update.

1. LHP Brady Aiken (8/16/96) - @bradyaiken10 (Agreed to terms per Jim Callis of Baseball America)
CBA. OF Derek Fisher (8/21/93) - @DeFish23 (Signed)
2. 1B A.J. Reed (5/10/93) - @ajreed18UK (Signed)
3. 1B J.D. Davis (4/27/93) - @JDDavis26 (Signed)
4. RHP Daniel Mengden (2/19/93) - @dmengden15 (Signed)
5. RHP Jacob Nix (1/9/96) - @JakeNix33 (Agreed to terms per Mark Berman)
6. RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (7/2/94) - @Dykxy8 (Signed)
7. RHP Derick Velazquez (11/28/93) (Signed for $207,800)
8. CF Bobby Boyd (1/4/93) - @BobbyBoydWVU4 (Signed per Baseball America)
9. LHP Bryan Radziewski (2/21/92) - @BryanRadziewski (Signed)
10. RHP Jay Gause (4/24/92) (Signed)
11. RHP Dean Deetz (11/29/93) - @DeetzDean_12 (Signed per Baseball America)
12. LF Ryan Bottger (4/14/93) - @rbottger05 (Signed)
13. C Jamie Ritchie (4/9/93) - @jamieritchie35 (Signed)
14. 2B Nick Tanielu (9/4/92) - @TanieluN (Signed)
15. 3B Connor Goedert (12/14/93) (Signed per Baseball America)
16. LF Ramon Laureano (7/15/94) - @ramonlaureano1 (Signed)
17. LHP Ben Smith (1/20/93) (Signed)
18. SS Antonio Nunez (1/10/93)  (Signed)
19. C Ruben Castro (7/10/96) (Signed)
20. C Trent Woodward (2/4/92) - @Twoodward_3  (Signed)
21. LHP Mac Marshall (1/27/96) - @macmarshall19 (Hard sign per Brian McTaggart)
22. 1B Bryan Muniz (6/5/93) - @be_muniz10 (Signed per Baseball America)
23. RHP Ryan Thompson (6/26/92) - @R_Thompson15 (Signed)
24. RHP Vince Wheeland (1/10/92) - @VinnyW35 (Signed)
25. LHP Zach Davis (12/16/91) - @ZachDavis21 (Signed)
26. 2B Mott Hyde (3/10/92) (Signed)
27. RHP Brandon McNitt (1/09/92) - @BMcNitt20 (Signed)
28. RHP Aaron Greenwood (8/18/91) - @AaronGwood44 (Signed)
29. C Richard Gonzalez (11/18/93) (Signed)
30. OF Sean McMullen (6/4/92) - @SeanMac04 (Signed)
31. 1B Dexture McCall (1/29/94) - @youngdoe21 (Not active) (Signed per Baseball America)
32. RHP Robert Kahana (5/16/93) (Signed)
33. OF Edwin Medina (2/11/93) (Signed per Baseball America)
34. RHP Joshua James (3/8/93)  (Signed)
35. RHP Keegan Yuhl (1/23/92) (Signed)
36. RHP Justin Ferrell (4/21/94) - @Daddy_Slank (Signed per Baseball America)
37. RHP Eric Peterson (3/8/93) (Signed per Baseball America)
38. 2B Michael Foster (11/4/93)
39. SS Brad Antchak (12/11/95) - @BradAntchak
40. 2B Alexander Hernandez (4/4/92) @aherns7 (Signed)

Undrafted Free Agents

LHP Kyle Gehrs - @gehrsE10
IF Dayne Parker - @Dparker_11
IF John Gatlin - @johngatlin36

Beat the Streak, June 7

So, my computer decided that it didn't want to connect to the Internet yesterday, and it appears that the sole survivor from last night was Rip Noblin, who got a hit from both Austin Wates and Conrad Gregor.

I'll attempt to start a new streak with Teoscar.

Today's Games

OKC @ Omaha, 7:05
Corpus Christi vs. San Antonio, 7:10
Lancaster @ Visalia, 9:00
Peoria vs. Quad Cities, 6:00

Current Active Streak

Rip Noblin, 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, June 6, 2014

Omaha 6, Oklahoma City 2

W- Louis Coleman (1-0)
L- Jason Stoffel (0-1)

OKC home runs: Kiké Hernandez (5, 6 season; solo in 4th), Carlos Perez (3, solo in 8th)

Well there you have it. Those 2 solo shots were the entire OKC offense. Hernandez went 2-4 and was the only RedHawk with a multi-hit evening.

David Martinez kicked things off with 6 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 4. Alex White and Jason Stoffel were battered by Matt Fields. White served up a 2-run homer to him in the 7th, and he slammed Stoffel in the 8th. White struck out 2, and Stoffel walked 1 and fanned 1.

Game 3 of this series has a pretty solid name matchup as Mike Foltynewicz takes on Sugar Ray Marimon. First pitch is at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 2, Midland 0

W- Jordan Jankowski (1-1)
L- Chris Jensen (2-6)
S- Pat Urckfitz (3)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks avoided the sweep thanks to a magnificent performance on the mound from Jordan Jankowski.

JJ allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7 over 7.1 shutout innings. And, Pat Urckfitz brought it home, allowing a hit and striking out 1 over 1.2 innings.

Only 4 hits for each side, but the Hooks got the runs. Nolan Fontana led off the 4th with a double and scored the first run of the game on a Carlos Perdomo single. An error would allow Perdomo to advance to 3rd on the play. Jonathan Meyer added another RBI single in the 7th inning to put Corpus up 2-0.

The Hooks will head home to begin a 4-game set with San Antonio. In the opener, Kyle Smith will face TBA; the notes for this game lists James Needy as the Missions starter. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 8, Visalia 5

W- Matt Heidenreich (2-0, 3-0 season)
L- Keith Hessler (1-2)
S- Dan Minor (2)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks put up 5 in the top of the 8th which erased a 5-3 deficit (they had been down 4-0 after 4 innings) and the score you see above is how it turned out after they were through with their rally.

Zach Morton pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Matt Heidenreich tagged in for 3 innings and gave up a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Dan Minor got the save with his 12th straight scoreless appearance; he worked around a 1-out single and struck out 2. Minor has gone nearly 2 months without allowing a run.

Danry Vásquez put the JetHawks on the board with an RBI groundout in the 5th. They would put up 2 more in the 6th, thanks to an RBI double from Jobduan Morales and a sac fly from Conrad Gregor. Those 2 runs made it a 1-run game. After the Rawhide got one run back in the 7th to extend their lead to 2, the Hawks began their comeback.

Rio Ruiz drew a 1-out walk and advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Morales followed suit by drawing a free pass himself, and then Gregor brought Rio home to kick off the scoring in the inning. Morales was struck down at home as he tried to score from 2nd on a Jack Mayfield single, but Lancaster still got the tying run across as Ruben Sosa laid down a bunt single to score Gregor. Sosa then stole 2nd (14), and Vásquez drew a walk to load the bases to bring up probably the last person you would want to face with the bases loaded: Tony Kemp. He drew 3 walks, and the 3rd one gave the JetHawks the lead. One batter later, Teoscar Hernandez finished his night on a positive note with a 2-run single. Before that, he earned himself a golden sombrero.

Game 2 of this series pits Kyle Westwood against Spencer Arroyo. First pitch is at 7:00 Pacific.

Quad Cities 4, Burlington 0

W- Edison Frias (3-3)
L- Ryan Etsell (4-2)

QC home runs: None.

Well look at that. The two teams that were looking to avoid sweeps did so, and they did so with shutouts. The Bandits jumped ahead of the Bees and are now 1 game behind Peoria for that 2nd playoff spot in the Midwest League West.

Thomas Lindauer kicked things off with an RBI double in the 2nd. Tyler White finished 2-5... he added an RBI double in the 6th. Catfish Elkins added an RBI single in the 8th, and later in the inning, he would score on a sac bunt from Tanner Mathis. Brett Phillips went 2-3 with a triple, a steal (10) and 2 runs scored. James Ramsay had 2 steals (16).

Edison Frias pitched 5 shutout innings and allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and fanned 5. Evan Grills followed up with 3 scoreless and allowed a hit, a walk, and struck out 3. Frederick Tiburcio finished it up by striking out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Quad Cities will be home for the weekend. They'll host Peoria for 3 beginning at 6:00. Kevin Comer will take on Blake McKnight.

DSL Rays 6, DSL Astros Blue 5

W- Luis Nuñez (2-0)
L- Albert Abreu (0-1)
S- Diego Castillo (1)

Blue home runs: None.

Well, the difference turned out to be a 2-run bottom of the 1st for the Rays. Both teams had a 1-run frame (Blue in the 3rd, Rays in the 4th) and they both scored 3 in the 5th inning.

Well (again), it would've been the most awesome thing ever if Wander Franco went his whole career without striking out. (Whoa, expectations way, way too high.) He struck out for the first time as a professional in this game. But..... he did draw 2 more walks, giving him a 5-game multi-walk streak and a 13:1 BB:K ratio. The only game in which he didn't draw a walk was the first one. And all he did was club a 3-run homer in that game. Whoops, sidebar. He ripped a 2-run double in the 5th in this game and would score on a wild pitch.

Nestor Tejada hit a 1-out triple in the 1st and would score the 1st run of the morning on a Connor MacDonald groundout. Joan Mauricio hit an RBI double in the 3rd. Edgar Lorenzo, Hayden Timberlake, and Jonathan Matute finished with 2 hits apiece.

Albert Abreu pitched 4 innings and allowed 6 runs (4 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. He faced 3 batters in the 5th and did not retire any of them. Carlos Hiraldo got 2 outs in the 5th, but allowed the runner he inherited from Abreu to score. He allowed 2 hits and walked 1. Josue Uribe walked 2 and struck out 1 over 1.2 scoreless, and Jose Rosario struck out 3 over 1.2 perfect frames.

The Blue team will head out to the A's complex to play a game later this morning.

DSL Yankees2 12, DSL Astros Orange 10

W- Javier Calvo (2-0)
L- Starlyn Taveras (0-1)
S- Freddery Arias (1)

Orange home runs: None.

Once again, the Orange team could not hold a substantial lead. They had been up 10-4, but the Yankees put up 4 in the 7th and 4 more in the 8th. Ugh.

Osvaldo Duarte and Cristopher Luciano finished with identical lines: they both went 2-5 with a couple of doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.

Luciano's 1st double led off the bottom of the 2nd; he would score the Orange's first run of the morning on a single from Gabriel Bracamonte. Later in the inning, Wilson Amador hit a sac fly, and Bracamonte scored on an errant pickoff throw.

They batted around in the 4th, sending 12 men to the plate and scoring 6 runs in the process. Ihan Bernal hit an RBI single, then Amador reached on an error that allowed Bryan De La Cruz to score. Duarte got in on the fun with an RBI double, and then Frankeny Fernandez chipped in with an RBI single. Luciano grounded into a force out that scored Duarte, and an error on the play allowed Fernandez to score. Fernandez scored on a wild pitch in the 6th.

Once again, the rawness of Dominican Summer League pitchers was in full effect yesterday, as both teams combined for 20 walks, 8 wild pitches, and a passed ball. Starlyng Sanchez pitched 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and struck out 6. Juan Hernandez went 2.1 innings and allowed 4 unearned runs (3 inherited runners charged to him), a hit, walked 3, and fanned 3. Jose Ramos walked 2 and allowed all 3 runners he inherited from Hernandez to score while failing to record an out in the 7th. Cristhopher Santamaria retired the only batter he faced to end the 7th. Starlyn Taveras got 2 outs in the 8th, but he gave up 4 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him), a hit, walked 2, and struck out 3. Hansel Paulino got the final out of the 8th, but not before he allowed 2 of Taveras' runners to score. He also got the 1st out of the 9th and allowed a hit and walked 3. Bryan Abreu got the last 2 outs of the 9th, walking 1.

The Orange team is the only winless team in the entire DSL. They'll host the Mets 2 later this morning.

Three Stars: Position Players


Tyler White on Twitter: @twhite409

Tyler White, 3B, Quad Cities
2-5, 2B, RBI 


Conrad Gregor, 1B, Lancaster
1-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB


Enrique Hernandez, Utility, Oklahoma City
2-4, solo HR (5, 6 season)

Three Stars: Pitchers


David Martinez, RHP, Oklahoma City
6 IP, 3 H, BB, 4 K

2. Quad Cities shutout!

Grills and Frias photos courtesy of Bryan Green. Tiburcio picture by John Whinery.

Edison Frias, RHP
W (3-3) 5 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K

Evan Grills, LHP
3 IP, H, BB, 3 K

Frederick Tiburcio, RHP

1. Corpus Christi shutout!

Jordan Jankowski, RHP
W (1-1), 7.1 IP, 3 H, BB, 7 K

Pat Urckfitz, LHP
1.2 IP, H, K

Happy Birthday - 6/7

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Vincent Velasquez (22)
Velasquez was drafted by Houston in the second round in 2010 out of high school in California. In his first eight appearances (four starts) for Lancaster in 2014, Velasquez is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA and a 0.929 WHIP. He suffered a groin injury last month and is currently on the DL.

C Jobduan Morales (23)
Obtained in a trade with the Marlins for Justin Ruggiano in May 2012, Morales excelled with Quad Cities in the Midwest Legaue in his first 20 games, hitting .310/.390/.451 leading to his promotion to Lancaster in mid-May where he has gotten off to a bit of a slow start.

C Oliver Toribio (18)
Toribio was signed out of the Dominican Republic in late 2012. He just started his professional career last week with the DSL Astros Blue team and has yet to collect his first hit. Here is some additional information on Toribio from when he signed.

One former Astro celebrates today as well ~

1B Roberto Petagine (43)
Originally signed as a NDFA out of Venezuela by the Astros in 1990, Petagine only played in eight games for Houston in 1994 (eight plate appearances and no hits), but he went on to play in a sporadic 242 games in the major leagues with a six season gap between 1998 and 2005, and had a career major league batting average of .227. In addition to his major league stints, Petagine played 20 seasons of minor league and foreign league ball, hitting .309/.418/.522.

I would also like to wish Astros radio announcer Robert Ford a Very Happy Birthday!

Tweets of the Day

My two favorite draft pick observations from today ~ Regarding 4th round pick Daniel Mengden
Regarding sixth round pick Brock Dykxhoorn

Friday, June 6, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, June 5, 2014

Happy Draft Day!

Omaha 6, Oklahoma City 3

W- Aaron Brooks (5-1)
L- Brett Oberholtzer (1-2)
S- Spencer Patton (12)

OKC home runs: Erik Castro (2, solo in 3rd)

The RedHawks lost their 2nd consecutive 6-3 decision in the series opener.

Brett Oberholtzer went 6 innings and gave up 5 runs (4 on homers) on 8 hits (2 solos and a 2-run), walked 1, and struck out 6. Jorge De Leon allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 1 in the 7th, and Kevin Chapman struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th.

Erik Castro got OKC on the board with a solo homer in the 3rd. Marc Krauss hit an RBI double in the 6th, and Domingo Santana smacked an RBI double in the 8th. Austin Wates (15) and Kiké Hernandez (5) had steals, and Castro was the only RedHawk with a multi-hit game, going 2-4.

Game 2 of this series will be at 7:05 and will feature David Martinez on the mound. He'll face John Lamb.

Midland 3, Corpus Christi 2

W- Nate Long (6-1)
L- Mike Hauschild (1-1, 3-2 season)
S- Seth Frankoff (11)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (14, solo in 6th)

The Hooks dropped their 4th straight, and dropped the series in the process, as they got burned by Midland's #9 hitter, Beau Taylor, who hit a pair of RBI doubles.

Delino DeShields, not hitting leadoff for the first time this season (5th), went 2-4 with an RBI single in the 1st. Preston Tucker was 1-1 with 3 walks; the 1 hit was a solo homer (14) in the 6th inning.

Mike Hauschild grinded his way through 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 9 hits and struck out 5. Alex Sogard struck out 3 over 3 perfect innings.

The Hooks will look to avoid a sweep as Jordan Jankowski takes on Chris Jensen. First pitch is at 7:00.

Lancaster 16, Inland Empire 7

W- Brian Holmes (2-1)
L- Elliot Morris (1-1)

Lancaster home runs: Tony Kemp (4, solo in 1st), Teoscar Hernandez (11, solo in 1st), Dan Gulbransen (3, 3-run in 4th), Rio Ruiz (5, 3-run in 5th)

Sweep! After the 66ers scored 2 in the top of the 1st, the JetHawks scored 2 unanswered touchdowns. Everyone in the lineup had an RBI except for Conrad Gregor, who went 1-2 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored. Everyone had a hit except for Jordan Scott.

The JetHawks responded to IE's 2 in the 1st by having Tony Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back solo shots in the bottom of the inning. And then the floodgates opened. Dan Gulbransen cleared the bases with a triple in the 3rd, then came home on a Ruben Sosa double. Roberto Peña added an RBI single in the 4th, and then Gulbransen unleashed a 3-run shot. Rio Ruiz decided to swat a 3-run homer of his own in the 5th. Gulbransen singled in the 6th, and Scott added a run in the frame by hitting a sac fly to score Gregor. Carlos Correa, after a hat trick of walks, hit an RBI triple in the 7th and scored on Rio's groundout. Gulbransen completed the cycle by leading off the 8th with a double. Teoscar had 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Kemp, Rio, and Peña had 2 each. Correa scored 4 times, which meant that he reached base in all of his plate appearances and scored every time he reached base. He also stole a base (18), too. So did Teoscar (20) and Ruben Sosa (13).

Brian Holmes went 7 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (2-run and solo homers), walked 2, and struck out 3. J.D. Osborne threw a scoreless 8th, but ran into some trouble in the 9th as he allowed 3 runs, 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. He left with 2 on base. Mitch Lambson got the last 2 outs without incident.

The JetHawks are on the road for the weekend; they'll be playing 4 in Visalia beginning tonight at 7:00 Pacific. Zach Morton will face Braden Shipley.

Burlington 2, Quad Cities 1

W- Trevor Foss (2-4)
L- Tyler Brunnemann (0-2)
S- Alan Busenitz (8)

QC home runs: None.

Tyler Brunnemann shot himself in the foot when he uncorked a wild pitch in the bottom of the 8th, which allowed Angel Rosa to break a 1-1 tie.

Brian Holberton's RBI groundout in the 6th accounted for the only River Bandits run. Tanner Mathis and Chan-Jong Moon had 2 hits apiece.

Michael Feliz went 4 innings and got dinged by Kody Eaves to begin the bottom of the 1st. After that, though, he gave up just 2 more hits. Feliz also walked 4 and struck out 6. Chris Cotton allowed a hit and struck out 1 over 2 scoreless. Brunnemann pitched 2 innings, and that wild pitch turned out to be the difference. That run was unearned; he gave up 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1.

The Bandits will look to avoid the sweep tonight at 6:30. TBA will get the start for QC; he'll take on Ryan Etsell.

DSL Astros Blue 6, DSL Rays 2

W- Abdiel Saldaña (1-0)
L- Jose Disla (0-1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team held the Rays in check as they've emerged on top in their division so far. It's a tight one... the other 5 teams are within 2 games of them in the early going.

Salvador Montaño started with 4 scoreless and allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Abdiel Saldaña followed up with 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits, walking 2, and striking out 1. The Rays spoiled the shutout bid as they got a pair (1 earned) off of Gabriel Valdez in the final 2 innings. He allowed 4 hits and struck out 1.

Hayden Timberlake opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 2nd, which was part of a 3-run inning. Edgar Lorenzo added an RBI double, and he would score on a Nestor Tejada single. Connor MacDonald added an RBI single in the 4th, and Joan Mauricio hit an RBI groundout. Mauricio brought home the final run of the morning with an RBI single in the 8th. He also hit a triple to lead off the 3rd, but was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice. Wander Franco went 1-2 with 2 runs scored and 3 walks. It's the 4th consecutive game in which he's walked more than once, and he's now the owner of an 11:0 BB:K ratio.

They're at the Rays' complex so they can play a game there.

DSL Yankees1 16, DSL Astros Orange 15

W- Jose Pujols (1-0)
L- Juan Cuevas (0-1)
S- Rafael Ordaz (2)

Orange home runs: None.

On the other hand, the Orange team is still on the schneid. At least the Marlins are there to keep them company. You can count on the DSL to provide some downright wacky stuff. The Orange squad blew a 14-1 lead. Argggggghhhhhhhhh.....

Cristopher Luciano is turning out to be an early bright spot for the Orange offense; he finished a homer shy of the cycle, going 4-4 with 4 RBI, 2 runs scored, and reached in all 5 of his plate appearances. The Orange team opened the scoring with a pair of RBI doubles from Ihan Bernal and Luciano in the 1st. Rodrigo Ayarza hit an RBI single in the 2nd. Luciano added a 2-run single in the 3rd, and a passed ball and a wild pitch later, he'd score himself. Jesus Bermejo scored on yet another wild pitch, and Ayarza finished the 6-run inning with a 2-run single.

They got 5 more in the 4th as Bernal scored on... a wild pitch. Vicente Sanchez added a 2-run single, and then another wild pitch scored Bryan De La Cruz. Wilson Amador hit an RBI groundout for the final run of the inning. Luciano hit an RBI triple for the final Orange run of the morning.

Let's just say that it wasn't the prettiest display of pitching. The two teams combined for 12 wild pitches, a passed ball, and 22 walks. Oh, and 31 runs. All 15 Orange runs were earned. Orange pitchers, on the other hand, had 8 unearned runs. Edwin Villarroel, Adonis Peña, Michael Richez, and Juan Cuevas all had rocky outings. Let's leave it at that. Please. The one guy who didn't was in the middle of all of them. Tomas Lopez, who made his first appearance ever after injuries wiped out his first 2 seasons, threw 2.1 scoreless and allowed 1 hit while walking 2.

Both teams are at it again, this time at the Astros complex.

Three Stars: Position Players


Rio Ruiz, 3B, Lancaster
2-5, 3-R HR (5), 4 RBI, 2 R

2. Cristopher Luciano, 1B, DSL Astros Orange: 4-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB


Dan Gulbransen, DH, Lancaster
Cycle (in 5 at-bats), 6 RBI, 2 R

Honorable Mentions: The other 7 guys in the Lancaster lineup, Rodrigo Ayarza, Preston Tucker, Delino DeShields, Erik Castro, Joan Mauricio, Tanner Mathis

Three Stars: Pitchers


Chris "58%" Cotton, LHP, Quad Cities
2 IP, H, K

2. Salvador Montaño, LHP, DSL Astros Blue: 4 IP, 4 H, BB, 5 K


Alex Sogard, LHP, Corpus Christi
3 IP, 3 K

Getting to Know Astros SS Carlos Correa

Before I spoke with Carlos Correa on my recent trip to Lancaster, I first talked to Lancaster Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson (aka D-Rob) about him. I laughingly asked D-Rob, "What can you tell me about Correa that hasn't already been said?" His response, "You know what I say about Correa? Wow! He's 19 years old. That's something that I have to keep reminding myself."

Carlos Correa - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As did I. I had talked to Correa two years ago shortly after he was first drafted and he was impressive then. Now he is even more so. Watching this man-child go about his business is jaw-dropping when you remind yourself that he's only 19 years old. He is all business on the field, even in early work and during batting practice. When I asked Manager Rodney Linares if Correa ever let his hair down, the response was a quick "no." The one time I saw him crack a smile during all the pre-game work was when he rolled up his sleeves and joked about needing to even out his tan.

Correa with Hitting Coordinator Jeff Albert - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

The reason Correa is so serious and focused? According to Linares, it's because "He wants to be the best player that ever put on a uniform." And Linares asserts that Correa has the chance to be a superstar, "Not only because of his physical tools but the way he plays the game, the way he carries himself, the way he talks, what he shows you day in, day out and the conversations that you hear him have in the dugout. What I really like about him is his leadership. And that look, he's got the look that he wants to win. He will do whatever is in his power to win. Defensively, he's as good as I've seen. He moves well. He's got probably one of the most accurate arms, strong arms that I've seen playing short. He gets to balls that I don't think that any other human being can. He runs extremely well. He's really mature for his age, not only as a man but as a baseball player. He knows how to play the game. He's one of those guys you've only got to tell him once. Tell him once and he'll do it."

Robinson calls Correa a sponge, "He asks the best questions. He wants to know more and more and more. He's a student of the game at 19 years old. It's unreal. The way he carries himself, the way he goes about his business, his routine daily ... it's incredible to see a 19-year old be able to do that and carry it out every day. And that's why he's as good as he is. Because he works on it. He didn't just suddenly [become] a great baseball player. It didn't work like that. He worked on his craft and here he is. And he's only going to get better."

Robinson went on to say that Correa is not satisfied with where he is offensively yet, but Correa is still doing extremely well and that when it all clicks for him, he's going to be "unreal." Robinson adds, "Offensively, he hasn't shown as much as I'm sure he has, but defensively, oh my goodness. It's unreal. Some of the plays he's made ... I've never seen that play ever made and I've been around the game for a little while. He's a pleasure to watch."

I had arranged to speak with Correa outside the clubhouse. When he came out and saw that it would be a video interview, he quickly ducked back in to grab a cap because he wanted to look more professional.

I was glad that I was able to get a smile out of Correa with my final comment, but then it was back to work for him. I'll leave you with one final quote from Manager Rodney Linares, "He told me that when he was five years old, he told his Dad he was going to be the best player ever. He is holding himself accountable for that." In the words of D-Rob, "Wow!"

Happy Birthday - 6/6

Happy Birthday to ~

SS Nolan Fontana (23)
Drafted by the Astros in the second round in 2012 out of the University of Florida, Fontana started off a little bit slowly in his season at Corpus Christi, but through Wednesday's game, he is hitting a very solid .288/.438/.412 with 17 doubles, one triple and one home run in 51 games. He has walked 47 times to 51 strikeouts.

Three former Astros celebrate today as well ~

C Larry Howard (69)
Signed as a free agent by the Colt .45's in 1963, Howard finally made it to Houston in 1970. From 1970 to 1973, he was primarily a back up catcher to Johnny Edwards. He played in 129 games for Houston, hitting .238/.305/.342 and had a 37% caught stealing percentage.

1B/LF Dave Bergman (61)
A second round draft pick by the Yankees in 1974, Bergman came to Houston in a June 1977 trade with the Yankees and played in 213 games for the Astros before departing via trade to the Giants in April 1981. Frequently used as a pinch hitter, Bergman had a .246/.354/.319 batting line with the team.

OF Ken Ramos (47)
Ramos was a waiver claim from the White Sox in 1984. His entire major league career consisted of 15 plate appearances over 14 games in 1997. He never got that elusive big league hit, but he did get one RBI so he's got that going for him. Ironically, in 10 minor league seasons, he was an excellent hitter with a .300/.388/.395 line.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Draft Day

I don't cover the draft because I have my hands full just trying to keep track of all the players already in the Astros system. Once drafted, my job is to help you get to know each of them a little, but until then, Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes have got you more than covered. Enjoy!

Beat the Streak, June 5

Brett Phillips came through for Baseball Mom and me with a 2-run single for Quad Cities.

Conrad Gregor came through for Jayne in 5 ways. Daniel Nelson got half of a double down once again as Tony Kemp hit a 2-run double, but Carlos Correa went 0-2 with 3 walks. Matt Naber also drew a blank with Carlos Correa, and Rip Noblin also got half of a double down as Dan Gulbransen hit an RBI single for Lancaster, but Catfish Elkins was 0-2 for Quad Cities.

Today, I'll stick with Brett Phillips.

Today's Games

OKC @ Omaha, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 7:00
Lancaster vs. Inland Empire, 8:30
Quad Cities @ Burlington, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Baseball Mom- 3

Jayne, Me- tied at 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oklahoma City was off

They'll begin a 4-game series in Omaha tonight at 7:05. Brett Oberholtzer will face Aaron Brooks.

Midland 2, Corpus Christi 0

W- Shawn Haviland (4-2)
L- David Rollins (0-2)
S- Tucker Healy (1)

CC home runs: None.

The difference in this game was those 2 runs for the RockHounds off David Rollins in the 4th. Rollins pitched 4 innings and allowed 6 hits while striking out 5. Richard Rodriguez, in his AA debut, pitched 2 innings and allowed 2 hits and struck out 4. Tyson Perez issued 2 walks in the 7th, but allowed nothing more. Michael Dimock struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th.

Carlos Perdomo and Tyler Heineman had 2 hits apiece. The other 2 Hooks hits belonged to Jonathan Meyer and M.P. Cokinos.

In game 3 of this series, Mike Hauschild will take on Nate Long at 7:00.

Lancaster 12, Inland Empire 8

W- Chris Devenski (3-5)
L- Mark Sappington (0-3, 1-7 season)

Lancaster home runs: Conrad Gregor (2, 3 season; 3-run in 4th)

The JetHawks won the series behind a solid pitching performance from Chris Devenski and a perfect night at the plate from Conrad Gregor. It got hairy in the 6th, as the 66ers scored 5 in the frame to make it a 9-8 game, but the JetHawks pulled themselves together and were able to put IE away.

Devenski went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and struck out 8. Josh Hader got knocked around in his 3 innings, allowing 5 unearned runs on 4 hits (3-run homer), walking 2 and striking out 3. Juan Minaya finished with a 1-2-3 9th, striking out 1.

Gregor finished 5-5 and was a triple shy of the cycle. He scored 3 runs, hit an RBI single in the 3rd and a 3-run homer in the 4th. Jordan Scott went 2-5 and opened up the scoring in the 2nd with an RBI double. One batter later, Tony Kemp ripped a 2-run double. Before Gregor's shot in the 4th, Carlos Correa grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Teoscar Hernandez to score, and Dan Gulbransen hit an RBI single. Gregor scored the Taco Run when he came home on Ruben Sosa's sac fly in the 6th, and Jobduan Morales provided a little more separation with a 2-run single in the 7th. JetHawks batters drew 11 walks and struck out only 5 times. Correa's 7-game hitting streak was snapped, but he walked 3 times, scored a run, and went 2-3 on steals (17). Teoscar walked twice, scored twice, and stole 3 (19). Kemp also had a swipe, giving him 22 on the season.

The JetHawks will go for the sweep as Brian Holmes will take on Elliot Morris at 6:30 Pacific.

Burlington 6, Quad Cities 3

W- Alfonso Alcantara (3-3)
L- Jandel Gustave (5-3)
S- Brian Loconsole (1)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos dropped the series opener as they fell behind 5-0 after the 5th. They got 3 in the 6th, but it's sort of tough to win when you only score in 1 inning. Also tough to win when you only get 2 hits, but then again, the Padres only had 1 hit last night and still beat the Pirates 3-2.

Chan-Jong Moon got QC on the board with a bases-loaded walk, and one batter later, Brett Phillips poked a 2-run single through the right side of the infield. The other QC hit belonged to Jake Rodriguez.

Jandel Gustave went 5 innings and allowed 5 runs on 8 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 3. Pat Christensen pitched the final 3 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3.

The middle game of this series features Michael Feliz on the mound for the River Bandits. He'll be taking on Harrison Cooney at 6:30.

DSL Astros Blue 7, DSL Royals 2

W- Joselo Pinales (1-0)
L- Ofreidy Gomez (0-1)
S- Lachlan Madden (1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team split their matchup with the Royals as they got 2 in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Jonathan Matute opened up the scoring with an RBI single, and Edgar Lorenzo hit a sac fly in the 2nd. In the 3rd, Joan Mauricio hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Wander Franco to score, and Carlos Canelon hit an RBI groundout. Connor MacDonald went 3-4 with a double, a 2-run single in the 4th, and 2 runs scored. Nestor Tejada grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Lorenzo in the 8th. Wander Franco went 1-3 with a double, 2 runs scored, and 2 walks.

Joselo Pinales went 5 innings and allowed an unearned run on 2 hits and struck out 4. Gabriel Pirela went 2 innings and gave up a run on 2 hits and struck out 2. Carlos Sanabria got 2 outs in the 8th, 1 via strikeout, but he issued 3 walks and left the bases loaded for Lachlan Madden, who averted disaster and got the save. He allowed a hit in the 9th and struck out 3.

The Blue team will welcome the Rays to their complex with a game set to begin at 10:30 Atlantic. The Dominican Republic is on standard time year-round, but right now, it's the same time as Eastern Daylight Time.

DSL Rangers1 6, DSL Astros Orange 3

W- Marcos Diplan (1-0)
L- Joel Belboder (0-1)
S- Albert Decena (2)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team is still on the schneid as a 4-run 5th from the Rangers did them in.

Luis Vásquez hit an RBI groundout in the 1st to put them on the board first. Rodrigo Ayarza, who spent the last 2 seasons with the Rangers' DSL club, hit an RBI single in the 7th, and Vicente Sanchez scored on an errant pickoff throw in the 8th.

Joel Belboder pitched 4.1 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 4 hits and walked 1. Bryan Abreu allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 2.2 innings. Juan Cuevas threw a 1-2-3 8th.

The Orange team will face the Yankees 2 at the Yankees' complex.

Three Stars: Position Players


Jobduan Morales, C, Lancaster
2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Connor MacDonald, 1B, DSL Astros Blue
3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R


Conrad Gregor, 1B, Lancaster
5-5, 2B, 3-R HR (2, 3 season), 4 RBI, 3 R

Three Stars: Pitchers


Richard Rodriguez, RHP, Corpus Christi
2 IP, 2 H, 4 K; AA debut


Chris Devenski, RHP, Lancaster
W (3-5), 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 earned), 8 K

1. Joselo Pinales, RHP, DSL Astros Blue: 5 IP, 2 H, unearned run, 4 K

Astros Minor League Snapshot

The minor league season is now nine weeks old. Let's take a look at where things stand.


2nd   32-28   .533   -.-GB   L1

The RedHawks are currently in second place place in the American Northern Division, behind the first place Iowa Cubs who they trail by .003 in win percentage (the Cubs have played four fewer games). After a "day off" (translation: overnight bus trip), the RedHawks will be playing four games against the third place Omaha team. The Omaha Storm Chasers only trail Oklahoma City by a half game and lead the season series 5-3. Following a 2:05 game on Sunday, the 'Hawks will once again board the bus and head back home where they will host the Salt Lake Bees for four games starting Monday. It will be the first meeting of the two teams this season. Salt Lake (21-39) is currently in last place in the Pacific Southern Division.


4th   29-29   .500   5.5GB   L3

The Hooks have scuffled in the past week, going 2-4 and dropping to 4th place in the South Division since we last checked in with them. They will be playing games three and four tonight and Friday in their current 4-game road series against second place Midland (31-27) and will have to take both games in order to salvage a split; Midland leads that season series 9-5. They will return home on Saturday and continue playing within the division, four games against third place San Antonio (30-28) and four against first place Frisco (34-23). The Hooks are 6-2 and 4-8 respectively in the season series against those two teams.

The fourth game of the San Antonio series will take place at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. The game is free and everyone should come see the next wave of talent headed to Houston!

This Hooks team has had a lot of injuries and that may be contributing to their problem with winning consistently. Already this season, we've seen Delino DeShields, Leo Heras, David Rollins, Aaron West, R.J. Alaniz, Colton Cain, Luis Cruz and Brady Rodgers spend time on the DL (and that's only the ones I can think of off the top of my head). I keep saying this team can/should/will do better than their current standings indicate and I hope to see them start to win more consistently. Soon.


1st    38-23   .623   -.-GB   W4

Lancaster, on the other hand, has finally broken through in what seemed like a perpetual tie with Lake Elsinore for first place in the South Division and now leads that team by three games after going 6-1 over the last week. Lancaster's magic number to clinch the first half is 7.

The 'Hawks will try to sweep last place Inland Empire at home tonight after having taken the first two from that team in their ongoing 3-game series; they lead the season series 7-3. They will then hit the road for their first look at the North Division second place Visalia Rawhide team (33-28) for four games. That will be followed by a rare JetHawks day off on Tuesday, their first off day since they started the current string of 28 games straight. The fourth place Rancho Cucamonga Quakes will come to town on Wednesday for four games to close out the first half of the season. Lancaster leads Rancho 6-5 in their season series.

Yesterday the California League All-Stars were announced and the JetHawks will have five representatives. 2B Tony Kemp and OF Teoscar Hernandez will be starters; LHP Josh Hader, SS Carlos Correa and C Roberto Pena will be reserves. The All-Star game between the California League All-Stars and the Carolina League All-Stars will take place in Wilmington, Delaware on June 17th.


3rd    30-28    .517    8.5GB    L2

Quad Cities has crept into third place in the 8-team division, eight and a half games behind Kane County, but only one game behind second place Peoria. Burlington and Clinton are breathing down the Bandits necks as both teams are just a half game behind Quad Cities in the standings. The River Bandits have lost the first of three on the road with Burlington and have fallen to 2-5 against that team for the season. On Saturday they will return home for three against Peoria (1-2 for the season) followed by three down the road in Cedar Rapids starting Tuesday. The Bandits are 5-1 against 7th place Cedar Rapids for the season.

The Midwest League also announced All-Stars on Tuesday and three River Bandits made the cut. OF Brett Phillips was named as a starter; IF Chan-Jong Moon and RHP Tyler Brunnemann were named as reserves. Manager Omar Lopez, Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski, Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis and Company will serve as coaching staff for the Western Division All-Stars in the game which will be played on June 17th in Comstock Park, Michigan.


1st    3-1    .750    -.-GB    W1

Four games into the season, the Blue team leads the Boca Chica Northwest division by one game over the four teams tied for second place. There are six teams in the division.


T9th    0-4    .000    4.0GB    L4

The Orange team, however, is not faring quite so well. They are still looking for their first win four games in and trail the undefeated DSL Rangers1 by four games in the Boca Chica North division. The Marlins, also seeking their first win, share the cellar in the 10-team division with Astros Orange.

Happy Birthday - 6/5

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

3B Bill Spiers (48)
A first round pick by Milwaukee in 1987, Spiers signed as a free agent with Houston in January of 1996 and played with the Astros for the next few years until his last game on April 8, 2001. In 632 games for Houston, he hit .288/.375/.408. I had forgotten about this unfortunate incident in which Spiers was attacked by a fan.

RHP Russ Ortiz (40)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 1995, Ortiz came to Houston as a free agent in 2009. In 23 appearances (13 starts), he was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.669 WHIP. His best season was with Atlanta in 2003 when he was 21-7 in 34 starts and earned an All-Star appearance.

RHP Jason Green (39)
A 30th round pick by the Astros in 1993, his entire major league career consisted of 17.2 innings pitched over 14 games in 2000 with forgettable results (although he did get credited with one win). In six minor league seasons, he had a 3.68 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP.

LHP Paul Siebert (61)
Drafted by the Astros in the third round in 1971, he pitched in 31 games for Houston in 1974 to 1976, going 1-5 with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.514 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day

In reference to Pena's All-Star selection ~

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Beat the Streak, June 4

Got a perfect day from Nolan Fontana to start a new streak. How about you?

Rip Noblin fell just short of matching the season-best streak that he set. He chose Preston Tucker (sending me a message on Twitter saying so), but then he decided to go for broke and chose Delino DeShields as well (comment on the previous day's post). DeShields went 0-2 with 2 walks, which put an end to Mr. Rip's streak.

Jayne got herself back on the board with Preston Tucker, while Baseball Mom got a double from Tony Kemp to extend her streak to 2.

Today, I'll be going with a Midwest League All-Star, Brett Phillips.

Today's Games

OKC is off.
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 6:30
Lancaster vs. Inland Empire, 8:30
Quad Cities @ Burlington, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Baseball Mom, 2

Jayne and Me- tied at 1

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Memphis 6, Oklahoma City 3

W- Tim Cooney (6-4)
L- Rudy Owens (2-4)
S- David Aardsma (10)

OKC home runs: Max Stassi (6, solo in 7th)

The RedHawks got doubled up as they had to settle for the split. This was their final meeting with the Redbirds, as well.

Stassi's blast put OKC on the board and was the only run that was batted in. The other 2 runs were scored on wild pitches. Ronald Torreyes came home in the 7th, and Domingo Santana followed suit in the 8th. Santana finished 2-4 and was the only RedHawk with a multi-hit game.

Rudy Owens pitched 7 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and struck out 4. Ross Seaton, in his 1st appearance since April 26, pitched the 8th and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Jason Stoffel worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th.

OKC is in Omaha to begin a 4-game series starting tomorrow at 7:05. Brett Oberholtzer will be taking on John Lamb.

Midland 4, Corpus Christi 3

W- Seth Frankoff (2-1)
L- Andrew Robinson (4-1)

CC home runs: None.

The 2-time Pitcher of the Month had to settle for a no-decision as the bullpen was unable to hold a 3-0 lead as the Hooks walked off with the loss. They lost, despite only allowing 4 hits. Baseball's just weird that way.

Tommy Shirley went 7 innings and allowed a run (on a solo homer), 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. His 1.51 ERA is 2nd in the Texas League, just 0.02 behind the leader, Dan Winkler of Tulsa. Tyson Perez came on for the 8th and failed to retire the 2 batters he faced. One walked, and the other recorded a hit. Both scored. Andrew Robinson got the Hooks out of the inning, but not before Hiro Nakajima got plunked with the bases loaded, and an error allowed the tying run to score. He hit Dusty Coleman to begin the 9th, and Coleman turned out to be the winning run. Robinson pitched 1.2 innings and allowed a run (Coleman the game-winner) on a hit (a walk-off single), walked 1, and struck out 1.

Delino DeShields went 0-2, but he walked twice, scored a run, and stole a base (25). Nolan Fontana finished 2-2 with a double, a run scored, and 3 walks. Corpus got on the board first with a pair in the 1st, as Preston Tucker hit an RBI single and Jonathan Meyer hit into a force out that scored Fontana. Carlos Perdomo made his Hooks debut as a pinch-hitter for Chris Epps and drew a walk to lead off the 8th. He advanced to 3rd on a René Garcia single and scored on another single from M.P. Cokinos.

David Rollins will face Shawn Haviland in game 2 of this series. First pitch is at 6:30.

Lancaster 6, Inland Empire 5

W- Matt Heidenreich (1-0, 2-0 season)
L- Austin Adams (0-1)
S- Jamaine Cotton (6)

Lancaster home runs: None.

With the win, the JetHawks remain perfect on Tuesdays this year. They're now 9-0 on the 3rd day of the week, or if you see it a different way, the 2nd day of the work week, and have won 10 of their last 11 games. They scored the final 4 runs of the game after falling behind 5-2 heading into their half of the 5th.

Kent Emanuel went 5 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 2. Matt Heidenreich held the 66ers in check with 3 scoreless, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 3. Jamaine Cotton worked around a walk to close it out.

Tony Kemp led off the bottom of the 1st with a double and it didn't take long for him to find home plate, as Teoscar Hernandez laid down a bunt single that 66ers pitcher Tyler DeLoach threw away, which allowed Kemp to score the first run of the night. Teoscar was erased at 2nd, but Carlos Correa took his place. He advanced to 3rd on Rio Ruiz's single and scored on a sac fly from Roberto Peña.

Yoga Man Dan Gulbransen made it a 1-run game with a 2-run single in the 5th. Conrad Gregor went 2-4 with a double and tied the game with an RBI single in the 7th. The comeback was completed in the 8th when #1 ripped an RBI double to bring Teoscar home. Correa finished 3-4, scored twice, stole a base (15), and is now on a 7-game hitting streak. Rio went 2-4 with a run scored and is now hitting an even .300 for the season. Ruben Sosa hit a double and drew 3 walks. Kemp added a steal (21) to his ledger.

In the middle game of this series, Chris Devenski will take on Mark Sappington at 6:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits are in Burlington for a 3-game series starting tonight at 6:30. May Pitcher of the Month Jandel Gustave will get the start in the opener for QC; he'll take on TBA.

DSL Royals 6, DSL Astros Blue 5

W- Wilson Acevedo (1-0)
L- Hansel Paulino (0-1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team suffered their first defeat of the season in walk-off fashion as the Royals scored 3 in the bottom of the 9th.

All 5 of their runs were batted in, but none of them were the result of hits. Marcos Almonte led off the game with a triple and scored one batter later, as Nestor Tejada grounded out. Edgar Lorenzo added another RBI groundout in the 2nd. Wander Franco went 0-1, but he had 2 RBI and walked 3 times. One of those 3 BBs came with the bases loaded in the 5th, and he hit a sac fly in the 7th. Connor MacDonald also drew a bases-loaded walk in the 5th.

Carlos Hiraldo went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned), 1 hit, walked 1, and struck out 4. Jose Rosario allowed a run on 3 hits and struck out 3 in his 4 innings. Hansel Paulino couldn't hold the lead.

Now, these two teams are playing at the Astros complex in Santo Domingo.

DSL Rangers1 4, DSL Astros Orange 3

W- Yelfri Muñoz (1-0)
L- Cristhopher Santamaria (0-1)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team is still looking to get in the win column as they dropped their 2nd consecutive 1-run game.

Ihan Bernal opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. Luis Vásquez and Bryan De La Cruz both finished 2-4 with an RBI. Vásquez's came when he grounded into a force out in the 5th, and De La Cruz hit an RBI single in the 8th. Cristopher Luciano was 1-2 with 2 runs scored and 2 walks, and Osvaldo Duarte was 2-5 with a run scored from the leadoff spot.

Cristhopher Santamaria pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Jose Ramos allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 2 innings, and Starlyn Taveras allowed 2 hits while striking out 3 over 2 scoreless.

The Orange team is currently playing at the Rangers' complex.

Catching up with Lancaster JetHawks RHP Lance McCullers

A couple of months after Lance McCullers was drafted by Houston in the first supplemental round in 2012, I sat down and talked to him in Greeneville, Tennessee. It was hard for me to believe that he was only 18 years old at the time. Now 20 years old, McCullers is a part of the youngest pitching staff in the California League and is about a year and a half younger than the team average.

Lance McCullers - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

So it's not surprising when Lancaster Manager Rodney Linares spoke of McCullers' need to mature as a pitcher -- to show more poise on the mound and to trust in his stuff more. He notes that McCullers sometimes falls back on what has worked before because he doesn't always trust in his fastball command. "I've never seen guys swing at so many breaking balls in the dirt like they do off of him, but sometimes I think he forgets he throws 96, and it's not easy to hit 96 even when you know it's coming."

Lancaster Pitching Coach Don Alexander noted that McCullers is progressing nicely, but "he's riding the roller coaster a little bit." Alexander expects things to level out a bit for McCullers as they go through the process, "He's a little inexperienced, but he's got tremendous, tremendous talent and tremendous upside. He's going through the learning process ... the command of his fastball, sequences, pitching to what he sees, trusting his eyes, all those things that go into the making of a pitcher."

I talked with McCullers on my recent trip to Lancaster and this is what he had to say ~

I neglected to ask McCullers one last question, but I caught up with him after the fact to ask him what advice he would give to those going through the draft process starting tomorrow. Lance said, "I would just say enjoy it. I would say don't put too much pressure on yourself or build too many unrealistic expectations for yourself. Just enjoy the process. Enjoy it with your family. It's a special moment. That's the one thing that I wish that I had done is maybe just enjoy the whole process just a little more."


Thank you for your time, Lance. I can honestly say that it's always a pleasure talking with you. Best of luck as you continue on your journey.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

A few stragglers (and one move with which you may be familiar):

6/3 - 1B Jon Singleton recalled from Oklahoma City to Houston
6/3 - 1B/OF Marc Krauss optioned to Oklahoma City
6/2 - RHP Ross Seaton activated from the DL

6/3 - LHP Luis Cruz placed on the 7-day DL retroactive to 5/31
6/2 - Richard Rodriguez assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi

6/3: OF Juan Fuentes assigned to team.

6/4: 1B Jesus Bermejo and RHP Juan Cuevas assigned to team.

Happy Birthday - 6/4

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Kent Emanuel (22)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 2013 out of the University of North Carolina, Emanuel started the season at Quad Cities where he had a 2.45 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in six games (four starts) before being promoted to Lancaster in early May. Since joining the JetHawks, he is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP in five games (four starts).

Several former Astros mark the day today as well ~

LHP Arnold Earley (died September 29, 1999 at 66)
Earley came to Houston in a trade with the Cubs in 1967 and only pitched 1.1 innings for the Astros with less than desirable results. His best season was in 1964 for Boston when he had a 2.68 ERA and a 1.371 WHIP over 25 appearances.

C Scott Servais (47)
Servais was drafted by Houston in the third round in 1988 and played for Houston from 1991 to 1995 and again in 2001. In 295 games for Houston, he hit .225/.284/.357.

OF/1B Darin Erstad (40)
Originally drafted by the Angels in the first round in 1985, Erstad came to Houston as a free agent at the end of his career. In 247 games for the Astros in 2008 and 2009, he hit .252/.297/.353. In his time with the Angels, he was a two time All-Star, three time Gold Glove winner and one time winner of the Silver Slugger. He got his World Series ring with the Angels in 2002. Erstad is currently head coach of his alma mater, the University of Nebraska.

C Rick Wilkins (47)
Ironically, Wilkins came to Houston from the Cubs in a trade for Scott Servais with whom he shares a birthday to the year. He spent parts of the 1995 and 1996 seasons with Houston before being traded to the Giants for C Kirt Manwaring. Wilkins hit .218/.339/.333 in 99 games.

C Tony Pena (57)
Pena only played in nine games for Houston in 1997 at the end of his career. In 18 major league seasons, playing for Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston, Cleveland, the White Sox and Houston, he made five All-Star appearances and won four Gold Gloves. Pena managed the 2013 World Baseball Classic Dominican Republic team to a perfect record as they won the tournament.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Welcome to Houston, Jon. We hope you enjoy your stay.

Tweets of the Day

The JetHawks have some Really Good Players.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting to Know Lancaster JetHawks RHP Jamaine Cotton

I actually got to know Lancaster JetHawks RHP Jamaine Cotton a little bit through "talking" with him on twitter and then followed up with a little email Q&A regarding his experience with the Liga Paralela in Venezuela last winter.

Jamaine Cotton - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Cotton was drafted in the 15th round in 2010 out of Western Oklahoma State College, but he is actually from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. And that has always fascinated me. I wanted to hear more from Cotton about baseball in his childhood home since only 11 players from the U.S. Virgin Islands have made it to the big leagues.

Let's hear from Jamaine. (Apologies for the audio quality ... the Lancaster wind strikes again!)

Cotton has been having a good season this year as well. He didn't allow a single run in the month of April and he has converted 5 of 6 save opportunities. For the season, he has a 1.65 ERA and a 1.531 WHIP.

According to Lancaster Pitching Coach Don Alexander, "Cotton has been doing good work this year. Has been working mostly at the back end of games and is throwing the ball very well. Aggressive, works in the strikezone well and attacks hitters with a solid fastball/slider combination. Works at the bottom of the zone well. Continues to work at keeping his delivery athletic with good rhythm and has been doing a good job of this. Solid makeup with excellent work habits and competes very well."


Thank you for your time, Jamaine. Best of luck to you and your brother Jharel as the season progresses.

Beat the Streak, June 3

Ronald Torreyes had yesterday off, so I stood pat. And, I forgot that Corpus had a day off yesterday.

Rip Noblin put himself 1 step closer to matching his own season's best streak as Teoscar Hernandez went deep and Carlos Correa added a single. Danry Vásquez hit a sac fly, but went 0-3, ending Jayne's streak at 4. Everyone chose Carlos Correa! Matt Naber began a new streak with him. Daniel Nelson got half a double down for the 3rd day in a row with Correa, but Rio Ruiz got the day off. Baseball Mom got herself back on the board as Kiké Hernandez went deep for OKC.

Today, I will go with Nolan Fontana.

Today's Games

OKC vs. Memphis, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Midland, 6:30
Lancaster vs. Inland Empire, 8:30
Quad Cities is off.

Current Active Streaks

Rip Noblin- 7

Baseball Mom and Matt Naber- tied at 1

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, June 2, 2014

Jon Singleton is coming!!!

Oklahoma City 8, Memphis 1

W- Nick Tropeano (3-4)
L- Angel Castro (5-4)

OKC home runs: Kiké Hernandez (4, 5 season; solo in 1st), Gregorio Petit (5, 3-run in 1st)

Nick Tropeano's brilliant outing and the 1st-inning homers you see above set the tone for the RedHawks as they took 3 of 4 from the Redbirds.

Tropeano started it off with 8 shutout innings and allowed 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 2.28, which puts him 3rd in the PCL. Jermaine Curtis spoiled the shutout with an RBI single off of Alex White in the 9th. That was the only hit and run that White allowed; he walked 1 in the inning.

Petit finished a triple shy of the cycle in 3 at-bats. Hernandez, L.J. Hoes, Erik Castro, and Adron Chambers had 2 hits apiece; Chambers scored twice and hit a 2-run double in the 3rd, while Hoes stole a base (1) and hit an RBI single in the 8th. Castro hit a double. Carlos Perez also had an RBI single in the 3rd.

The series finale pits Rudy Owens against Tim Cooney. First pitch is at 7:05.

Corpus Christi was off

They'll actually be starting a 4-game series with Midland tonight at 6:30. Tommy Shirley will face Drew Granier.

Lancaster 8, Rancho Cucamonga 2

W- Lance McCullers (3-3)
L- Tom Windle (4-4)

Lancaster home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (10, 2-run in 5th), Conrad Gregor (1, 2 season; solo in 8th)

The JetHawks also won their series as they overwhelmed the Quakes with a 6-run 5th inning and tacked on the 2-point conversion in the 8th. They had been down 2-0.

Lance McCullers pitched very well despite getting taken deep twice by Steven Proscia. He allowed 2 other hits (both of Proscia's homers were solo), walked 1, and struck out 6. Three relievers took it home; Mitch Lambson walked 1 and struck out 1 in the 7th, Dan Minor threw a 1-2-3 8th, striking out 1, and Juan Minaya worked around a walk to finish it off.

Tony Kemp went 2-3 and laid down a sac bunt in the 5th. The ensuing error allowed Conrad Gregor and Ruben Sosa to come home. One batter later, Teoscar put the JetHawks on top with his blast. A single and a double from Carlos Correa and Dan Gulbransen, respectively, kept the inning going; they would both score on a couple of sac flies from Jobduan Morales and Danry Vásquez. Gregor led off the 8th with a homer, and Kemp capped off the scoring with an RBI single. He, Teoscar, and Gulbransen finished with 2 hits apiece. Jack Mayfield went 0-4 in his Lancaster debut; he started at 3B and hit 7th in the order.

The JetHawks will begin a 3-game set against Inland Empire tonight beginning at 6:30 Pacific. In the opener. Kent Emanuel will face Tyler DeLoach.

From Sunday: Quad Cities 7, Wisconsin 4

W- Adrian Houser (4-1)
L- Harvey Martin (2-4)
S- Andrew Walter (5)

QC home runs: Chan-Jong Moon (1, solo in 1st), Tyler White (3 at the time, solo in 4th), Brett Booth (1, solo in 9th)

After play resumed, we saw (or listened to) a 4-4 tie, which the River Bandits broke with 3 in the top of the 9th. Everyone finished with a hit except for Thomas Lindauer; Brett Phillips, Tyler White, and Jon Kemmer had 2 each, while Brett Booth finished 3-4.

It didn't take long for the River Bandits to get the scoring going again, as Tyler White hit an RBI single in the 6th right after Brett Phillips ripped a 1-out double. White homered on Sunday before the game was suspended. In the 9th, Brett Booth broke the tie by leading off with a homer (1). Tanner Mathis hit a single and 2 errors allowed Ronnie Mitchell to score, and allowed Mathis to advance to 3rd. He would score on a Chase McDonald single.

Adrian Houser came on after play resumed; he went 3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 3. He did not retire the one batter he faced in the 9th, but no matter; Andrew Walter struck out the next 3 to finish it.

Now, on to the regularly scheduled game.

Wisconsin 4, Quad Cities 3

W- Trevor Seidenberger (5-1)
L- Chris Lee (2-3)

QC home runs: Ronnie Mitchell (8, solo in 2nd), Tyler White 2 (5, solo in 4th, solo in 6th)

According to Baseball Mom, they were lucky to get this one in since the field was still rather wet. This was a 7-inning game in which the Banditos walked off with a loss, foiling their sweep attempt and snapping their 6-game winning streak.

White and Mitchell were the offense. They, Jon Kemmer, and Catfish Elkins (in his 1st game off the DL) had 2-hit days. This was Elkins' first appearance since April 18. White has 5-game hitting streak going. He's got 2 hits in 4 of those 5, and 6 of the 9 hits that he's recorded in this span have either been a double or a home run. In his last 10, his triple slash line reads as .394/.500/.909.

Andrew Thurman went 4 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits and struck out 6. Chris Lee struggled through 2.2 innings; he gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, walked 4, and struck out 1.

QC's roadtrip continues with 3 in Burlington starting Wednesday at 6:30.

DSL Astros Blue 3, DSL Indians 2

W- Josue Uribe (1-0)
L- Jesús Ramirez (0-1)

Blue home runs: Connor MacDonald (1, 2-run in 3rd)

A walk-off sac fly from Hayden Timberlake gave the Blue team the sweep over the Indians' Academy after they blew a 2-0 lead in the top of the 9th.

The Aussies provided all the offense in this game, as Connor MacDonald hit his first home run, a 2-run shot in the 3rd that opened the scoring. Marcos Almonte's double was the only other extra-base hit. Wander Franco went 0-1 with 3 walks and a run scored.

Erasmo Pinales threw 5 shutout innings and allowed a hit while striking out 5. Abdiel Saldaña followed with 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 2. Lachlan Madden struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Josue Uribe gave up the 2 runs in the 9th and walked 1 while striking out 1. He was absolved by Timberlake's sac fly.

The Blue team is currently at the Royals' complex.

DSL Angels 5, DSL Astros Orange 4

W- Alexander Valdez (1-0)
L- Gerald Benzant (0-1)

Orange home runs: None.

The Angels scored a pair in the 6th off Gerald Benzant and took both meetings.

Cristopher Luciano put the Orange team on the board first in the 1st with an RBI single. They scored a pair in the 3rd on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Wilson Amador and an RBI single from Andy Piñeda. And, in the 4th, Vicente Sanchez scored on a wild pitch. Piñeda finished 3-4, while Ihan Bernal went 2-3. They drew 12 walks in this game! They're learning early... get yourselves on base.

Yhoan Acosta went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Benzant threw 3 innings and gave up 2 runs (both in the 6th; 1 earned) on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5.

The Orange team is at home, hosting the Rangers 1.

Three Stars: Position Players


Teoscar Hernandez, CF, Lancaster
2-5, 2B, 2-R HR (10)


Gregorio Petit, SS, Oklahoma City
3-3, 3-R HR (5)

1. Oh, just hitting a couple out of the park.

Tyler White, 3B, Quad Cities
2-3, 2 solo HR (5)

Honorable Mentions: Ronnie Mitchell, Enrique Hernandez, Adron Chambers

Three Stars: Pitchers


Lance McCullers, RHP, Lancaster
W (3-3), 6 IP, 4 H (2 solo HRs), 2 ER, BB, 6 K

2. Erasmo Pinales, RHP, DSL Astros Blue: 5 IP, H, 5 K


Nick Tropeano, RHP, Oklahoma City
W (3-4), 8 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Happy Birthday - 6/3

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

RHP Lucas Harrell (29)
Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 4th round in 2004, Harrell was claimed off waivers from that organization in July of 2011. In 77 games (59 starts) for the Astros from 2011 to 2014, he was 17-33 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.535 WHIP. In April of 2014, Harrell was shifted to the Diamondbacks for a PTBNL (just seeing if anyone is paying attention).

1B Jim "Diamond Jim" Gentile (80)
Gentile was received in a trade from the Kansas City Athletics and played in 130 games for Houston in 1965 and 1966, hitting .243/.353/.412. His best years, by far, were spent in Baltimore where he was an three time All-Star. In 1961, he came in third in AL MVP voting behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle as he hit .302/.423/.646 with 46 home runs and tied with Roger Maris for the AL lead in RBIs at 141.

1B Jose Tolentino (53)
Drafted by Oakland in the 7th round in 1983, Tolentino signed with Houston as a free agent in 1988. He only played in 44 games in the majors for Houston in 1990, hitting .259/.305/.389. He coached for the Mexican team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

OF Carl Everett (43)
A first round pick by the Yankees in 1990, Everett came to Houston via the Mets in a December 1997 trade for RHP John Hudek. He played two seasons for Houston in 1998 and 1999 with a batting line of .310/.378/.526. He was a two time All-Star in 2000 and 2003.

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