Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tweet of the Day

Friday, September 5, 2014

Astros Minor League Playoff Recaps

Results for Thursday, September 4, 2014

More on that in a moment. First up, the Lancaster JetHawks now know who they'll be up against in the California League's South Division Finals. Inland Empire walked off with a 5-4 win in 13 innings to sweep the mini-series against Lake Elsinore. The JetHawks begin their playoff run tomorrow evening at 8:00. Vince Velasquez will get the start in game 1 of that series.

New York-Penn League Semifinals: Tri-City 6, Connecticut 5 (Tri-City wins series 2-0)

W- Austin Chrismon (1-0)
L- Austin Pritcher (0-1)
S- Derick Velazquez (1)

TC home runs: None.

For the 3rd consecutive season, the ValleyCats will head off to the New York-Penn League Championship Series. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead after 4 innings, but the Tigers responded with 1 in the 5th and 4 in the 6th to whittle the lead all the way down to a single run. However, Derick Velazquez shut it down and finished them off.

Austin Chrismon got the start; he went 5.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him via RBI single and sac fly) on 8 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Chris Munnelly only got 1 out in the 6th; he had 2 inherited runners charged to him and a couple of singles. Angel Heredia got TC out of the 6th, but not before he allowed a 2-run single that scored both of Munnelly's runners. After that, he caught Derek Hill, who brought the Tigers to within 1, stealing 2nd to end the inning, and then proceeded to throw a 1-2-3 7th, striking out 1. Derick Velazquez was called on to preserve the lead, and he did just that by firing 2 perfect innings, striking out the side in order in the 9th.

The ValleyCats got a pair of 3-run innings on offense. The first came in the 2nd, when Jason Martin smacked an RBI double, and then Alfredo Gonzalez and D.J. Fisher followed up with RBI singles. In the 4th, Fisher added a sac fly, Martin scored on a wild pitch, and Nick Tanielu smashed an RBI double. Fisher, who reached in all 3 of his plate appearances, finished 2-2 with a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 steals. Tanielu (RBI 2B), Jamie Ritchie (2B), and Mott Hyde (run scored) also finished with 2 hits. Martin and Alex Hernandez scored 2 runs apiece.

The ValleyCats' opponent in the NYPL Championship Series will be determined tonight, as the Hudson Valley Renegades and the State College Spikes will play a deciding game 3 in State College tonight. Both teams traded 3-0 victories in the first 2 games.

Happy Birthday - 9/5

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Jason Martin (19)
Drafted by Houston in the eighth round in 2013 out of Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, California, Martin spent the majority of his season with Greeneville before being promoted to Tri-City on August 10th. In 63 games between the two venues, he hit .257/.338/.384 with 14 doubles, seven triples, one home run and 13 stolen bases.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

OF Jeff Baldwin (49)
Drafted by Houston in the 14th round in 1985, blink and you probably missed him. In seven games for the Astros in 1990, with only 9 PA, Baldwin had one walk and scored a run but he never had a hit. And that was the sum total of his entire major league career.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Astros Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Month for August/September

WTHB won't be handing out Player and Pitcher of the Year Awards until the post-season is finito. In the meantime, I give you your stars for the month of August (plus a day).

In addition to the following nominees for Player of the Month, Lancaster OF Jon Kemmer DEFINITELY deserves a big shoutout for what he did in August before an injury on August 24th ended his season. Kemmer led the Astros system (for anyone with significant playing time) in Slugging Percentage in August with a .659 mark. He hit six doubles, one triple and SEVEN home runs in August. And a number of the home runs he hit after his July 11th call up to Lancaster were on the road so don't be quick to attribute them to the "Lancaster effect." According to a tweet from his girlfriend, he had surgery on his leg this week. We wish him a swift recovery! Also, a shoutout is in order for Quad Cities' J.D. Davis who led the Astros minors in home runs during the period with eight and Corpus Christi's Delino DeShields with his 20 walks!

Now for my nominees in no particular order ~

1B/3B Tyler White (Lancaster)
29G .293/.432/.596
18R 9-2B 7HR 17RBI 19BB 13SO

OF Brett Phillips (Lancaster)
29G .328/.410/.560
20R 8-2B 2-3B 5HR 11RBI 15BB 20SO 5SB 4CS

OF Preston Tucker (Oklahoma City)
29G .324/.357/.528
19R 10-2B 4HR 30RBI 13BB 31SO

1B/3B Matt Duffy (Oklahoma City)
29G .342/.362/.453
22R 5-2B 3B 2HR 18RBI 6BB 22SO 0SB 1CS

Sometimes the decision is difficult because one is often judging different types of players against each other, but this month, the decision was easy. Joe "Super Joe" Sclafani was such a complete player in August, hitting for average, getting on base at a great clip, hitting for good power, drawing a few walks, stealing a few bases ... just terrific well-rounded offensive output for the month.

IF Joe Sclafani (Oklahoma City)
28G .361/.444/.509
23R 6-2B 2-3B 2HR* 16RBI 15BB 11SO 5SB 0CS
*Including a Grand Slam


Joe Sclafani - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As a reminder, Players of the Week for July were:
Brett Phillips
Terrell Joyce
Colin Moran
James Ramsay
Brandon Meredith/Tyler White


Next up, we look at Starting (Tandem) Pitchers who had particularly good outings in August. Honorable mention goes to Elieser Hernandez who performed extremely well after his promotion to Greeneville in August. In limiting the nominees to those who pitched a minimum of 20 innings, a couple DSL pitchers are getting squeezed out so honorable mention also goes to Edgardo Sandoval (3 starts: 17IP 0.00 ERA/0.706 WHIP/.161 BA) and Albert Abreu (3 starts: 14.2IP 0.61 ERA/0.955 WHIP/.173 BA) from the DSL teams.

My nominees are ~

RHP Erasmo Pinales (DSL)
4 Games/4 Starts 21IP 1-0 record
0.86 ERA/0.619 WHIP 3BB:17SO .137 BA

RHP Agapito Barrios (Greeneville)
5 Games/3 Starts 23.1IP 2-0 record
0.77 ERA/0.557 WHIP 4BB:22SO .118 BA

RHP Jordan Jankowski (Corpus Christi)
5 Games/4 Starts 24IP 2-1 record
1.50 ERA/0.708 WHIP 4BB:38SO .149 BA
(And, no, that 14.3 SO/9 is not a typo!)

Some may argue that Jankowski deserves the nod for August and I couldn't argue with you very hard. But my winner did something he needed to do this season. He needed to prove to the naysayers that he was 100% healthy and could be the effective workhorse pitcher that was envisioned of him when he was drafted in the first round in 2011. With no further ado, your winner ~

RHP Joe Musgrove (Tri-City)
5 Games/5 Starts 30.2IP 3-0 record
1.17 ERA/0.685 WHIP 3BB:26SO .173 BA


Joe Musgrove - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

As a reminder, the Starting Pitchers of the Week for August were:
Salvador Montano
Michael Feliz
Joe Musgrove
Agapito Barrios
Jordan Jankowski


Now for our Relief Pitchers. First, I have a ton of honorable mentions to hand out: Corpus Christi's Mitch Lambson; Quad Cities' Raul Rivera; Tri-City's Vince Wheeland, Brandon McNitt and Bryan Radziewski; Greeneville's Gerardo Juarez and Ambiorix de Leon; and the DSL's Diogenes Almengo and Luis Ramirez. In particular, I would like to take note of Tri-City's Ryan Thompson for his SEVEN saves during the month.

Three players stood out from the crowd for me, though. My runners-up are ~

RHP Derick Velazquez (Tri-City)
9 Games 12.2IP 2-0 record with 2 saves
0.71 ERA/0.711 WHIP 0BB:13SO .205 BA
5 inherited runners/0 scored

RHP Tyson Perez (Corpus Christi)
12 Games 11.1IP 1-0 record with 4 saves
0.79 ERA/0.529 WHIP 2BB:11SO .100 BA
3 inherited runners/0 scored

My winner kind of sneaked up on me. I didn't realize just how fantastic a month he was having until I put it all together. He was absolutely lights out!

RHP Eric Peterson (Greeneville)
8 Games 8IP 0-0 record with 5 saves
0.00 ERA/0.250 WHIP 1BB:9SO .040 BA


Eric Peterson

As a reminder, the Relief Pitchers of the Week for August were:
Antonio Almonte
Jorge de Leon
Derick Velazquez
Raul Rivera
Gerardo Juarez


If you remember, I decided to create separate categories for catchers since they generally play in fewer games and are judged as much if not more by their defensive contributions as they are by their offense.

My Defensive Catcher of the Month is someone who has long intrigued me and who definitely doesn't get the attention that he deserves for his defensive contributions. When I was in Quad Cities in June, Manager Omar Lopez told me that having this catcher on his team was like having an extra coach. Brett Booth caught in 15 games in August and in five of them was tasked with the unenviable job of catching knuckleballer Blaine Sims. Four of the five passed balls he allowed n August were from when he was catching Sims. For the season he has a .991 fielding percentage and a 9.05 range factor. His caught stealing percentage for the season is 40%, but he actually caught the would-be thieves 53% of the time in August, an excellent showing by the 2013 34th round pick.


Brett Booth - June 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

On the offensive side, the clear standout was Max Stassi. In 18 games in August (plus a day), he hit .338/.373/.521 with four walks, four doubles, three home runs, 10 RBI and nine runs scored. There was, however, the matter of his 20 strikeouts, but we'll let that one go for now.


Max Stassi
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

Astros Minor League Playoff Recaps

In case you missed it, the Lancaster JetHawks and Tri-City ValleyCats will carry the banner of the Houston Astros organization into the 2014 Minor League playoffs. While the JetHawks will have to wait until Saturday to begin their playoff journey, the ValleyCats were first up; they're looking to defend their New York-Penn League crown.

Tri-City 3, Connecticut 2 in 11 innings (Tri-City leads 1-0)

W- Dan Mengden (1-0)
L- Paul Voelker (0-1)
S- Ryan Thompson (1)

TC home runs: D.J. Fisher (1, solo in 3rd)

The ValleyCats were doubled up in the hit column (10-5) and squandered a golden opportunity in the 10th, but they won the column that counts and atoned for failing to convert on a bases loaded, no out situation by pulling ahead in the 11th.

D.J. Fisher kicked things off with a mammoth solo shot in the top of the 3rd. Mott Hyde hit a single in the 4th and advanced to 2nd on an error. Another error allowed him to score Tri-City's 2nd run and also allowed Alfredo Gonzalez to reach safely.

Terrell Joyce led off the top of the 11th with a double and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. Hyde was the first casualty of the inning, but Gonzalez came through with a sac fly, which put TC up 3-2. Joyce was the only ValleyCat with a multi-hit game as he went 2-5. His other hit was a triple that led off the 2nd.

Joe Musgrove put up a line that was a familiar sight in the regular season: 6 innings of 1-run ball. He allowed 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. Chris Munnelly was the first man out; he got 2 outs in the 7th, but before that, he plunked Derek Hill, who ended up scoring on an RBI triple from Will Maddox which tied game at 2. Munnelly also issued a walk. Derick Velazquez was the next man out; he allowed a hit and struck out 1 over 2.1 scoreless. Dan Mengden was next, and he allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 in 1.2 innings. He left with 2 runners on for The Closer, Ryan Thompson, who did his job by getting the final out of the game.

The best-of-3 series shifts to Troy, where Austin Chrismon will get the start in front of the ValleyCats faithful. He'll face Austin Pritcher at 6:00.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Happy Birthday - 9/4

Happy Birthday to ~

3B Nick Tanielu (22)
Drafted by Houston in the 14th round in 2014 out of Washington State University, Tanielu spent his first season with the Tri-City team. In 62 games during the regular season, he hit .300/.353/.425 with 16 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 40 RBI. Not only was he named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team, he earned MVP honors for his contributions.

Two former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

CF Jordan Schafer (28)
Originally from Hammond, Indiana, Jordan was drafted in the third round in 2005 by the Braves out of Winter Haven High School in Florida. He came to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade in July 2011. In 136 games for the Astros in 2011 and 2012, he hit .220/.301/.298. He was selected off waivers by Atlanta in November 2012. He is currently with the Twins after having been selected off waivers from Atlanta by Minnesota.

RF Paul Householder (56)
Drafted by the Reds in the second round in 1976, Householder only played in 14 games for Houston in 1987 at the end of his major league career after spending the majority of his time playing for the Reds and the Brewers.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Astros Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Week

It's time to look back at Week 22+ and acknowledge some winning performances for the period commencing Sunday, August 24th and continuing through the end of regular season play on Monday, September 1st. The Player and Pitchers for the Month of August (plus a day) will come out tomorrow (I hope!).


Many, many players ended their regular seasons on a high note. All of these players had noteworthy performances. My nominees (in no particular order) ~

3B/1B Randy Cesar (GCL/Greeneville)
.381/.409/.810 in 5 games
5R 3-2B 2HR 5RBI 1BB 1SO

3B J.D. Davis (Quad Cities)
.290/.371/.774 in 9 games
5R 5HR 13RBI 4BB 9SO 2SB 0CS

OF Domingo Santana (Oklahoma City)
.348/.528/.565 in 8 games
6R 2-2B HR 11RBI 10BB 11SO 0SB 1CS

1B A.J. Reed (Quad Cities)
.389/.389/.667 in 9 games
8R 4-2B 2HR 8RBI 0BB 9SO

OF Jorge Martinez (GCL/Tri-City)
.280/.321/.720 in 8 games
6R 2-2B 3HR 6RBI 2BB 6SO 2SB 0CS

2B Austin Elkins (Lancaster)
.350/.552/.450 in 6 games
6R 2-2B 2RBI 6BB 7SO

2B Tony Kemp (Corpus Christi)
.400/.500/.500 in 8 games
7R 3-2B 5RBI 5BB 4SO 3SB 0CS

OF Preston Tucker (Oklahoma City)
.407/.500/.444 in 8 games
4R 2B 4RBI 6BB 4SO

OF Ryan Bottger (Quad Cities)
.379/.457/.448 in 9 games
5R 2-2B 3RBI 4BB 5K 2SB 0CS

1B/3B Matt Duffy (Oklahoma City)
.375/.429/.531 in 8 games
6R 3-2B 3B 3RBI 3BB 5SO

OF/2B Marc Wik (Quad Cities)
.320/.500/.480 in 8 games
10R 4-2B 2RBI 9BB 10SO 4SB 1CS

OF James Ramsay (Lancaster)
.320/.433/.560 in 7 games

Even though many of those performances were excellent, there were two that stood out for me. And since I'm tired and don't feel like making any more decisions in my life right now, I'm going to award co-winners for this week. So with no further ado, the winners are ...

1B/3B Tyler White (Lancaster)
.310/.462/.759 in 8 games
8R 4-2B 3HR 9RBI 6BB 5SO

OF Brandon Meredith (Corpus Christi)
.323/.400/.677 in 8 games
8R 2-2B 3HR* 12 RBI 4BB 5SO 2SB 0CS
*Including an 8th inning Grand Slam for the go-ahead runs in the final game of the season


Tyler White - June 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Brandon Meredith - August 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen



The starting crew definitely didn't run out of gas to end the season. Honorable mentions go to some strikeout artists: Oklahoma City's Rudy Owens (9SO in 7.2IP); Corpus Christi's Mark Appel (14SO in 12.2IP) and Mike Hauschild (8SO in 4IP); Lancaster's Kyle Westwood (8SO in 6.1IP); Quad Cities' Kevin Comer (10SO in 6IP), Adrian Houser (8SO in 6IP), Blaine Sims (12SO in 12IP), and Chris Lee (9SO in 7.2IP); Greeneville's Harold Arauz (9SO in 8.2IP) and Brock Dykxhoorn (10K in 5IP and Appy League Pitcher of the Week); and Justin Ferrell in the GCL (7 SO in 4IP).

But, to me, there was one clear winner ~

RHP Jordan Jankowski (Corpus Christi)
0.90 ERA/0.600 WHIP .114 BA
10IP (2 games/2 starts) 4H 1R 2BB 14SO

Jordan Jankowski - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen




Honorable mentions this week go to Oklahoma City's Jorge de Leon and Ross Seaton; and Tri-City's Bryan Radziewski and Aaron Vaughn. However, I just can't seem to narrow down my runners-up so let's just go with it (in no particular order) ~

LHP Ambiorix de Leon (Greeneville)
0.00 ERA/0.375 WHIP
2.2IP (2 games) 1H 0BB 4SO

LHP Kyle Gehrs (GCL)
0.00 ERA/0.429 WHIP
4.2IP (2 games) 0H 2BB 4SO
2 inherited runners/0 scored

RHP Eric Peterson (Greeneville) - Save
0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP
2.1IP (2 games) 0H 1BB 1SO

RHP Tyson Perez (Corpus Christi) - Save
0.00 ERA/0.750 WHIP
4IP (4 games) 1H 2BB (one intentional) 3SO
1 inherited runner/0 scored

RHP Derick Velazquez (Tri-City) - Win & Save
0.00 ERA/0.800 WHIP
5IP (3 games) 4H 0BB 4SO
1 inherited runner/0 scored

LHP David Rollins (Corpus Christi)
0.00 ERA/0.682 WHIP
7.1IP (4 games) 3H 2BB 5SO
2 inherited runners/1 scored

RHP Tyler Brunnemann (Lancaster)
0.00 ERA/0.818 WHIP
3.2IP (3 games) 1H 2BB 6SO
3 inherited runners/2 scored

RHP Samil de los Santos (Greeneville)
0.00 ERA/0.818 WHIP
3.2IP (2 games) 1H 2BB 8SO
2 inherited runners/0 scored

RHP Keegan Yuhl (Quad Cities) - 2 Saves
0.00 ERA/0.900 WHIP
3.1IP (3 games) 1H 2BB 6SO
1 inherited runner/0 scored

My winner gets the nod because, despite missing almost the whole season, he came through in the clutch at the end. After making one start for Greeneville in June, he missed almost two months before making three rehab appearances with the GCL (in which he allowed only two hits, no walks, no runs and collected a save). After finally making it back to Greeneville, he gets called into a game with the based loaded for his first game back. Easy, breezy ... a quick strikeout and he saved Jorge Perez' bacon. That, to me, is what a good relief pitcher does best so with no further ado I give you ....

RHP Gerardo Juarez (GCL/Greeneville) - Save
0.00 ERA/0.000 WHIP
2IP (2 games) 0H 0BB 1SO
4 inherited runners/0 scored

Gerardo Juarez - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen


Happy Birthday - 9/3

Happy Birthday to ~

C Brandon Benavente (17)
Signed by the Astros out of Venezuela during the July 2014 international signing period, Benavente has not yet made his professional debut.

Several former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

OF (and former Coach) Dave Clark (52)
Clark spent the majority of his playing days with Cleveland and Pittsburgh and played for Houston in 1998 at the end of his major league career. After his playing days, he went in to coaching. He managed the Corpus Christi Hooks from 2005 to 2007 and led them to win the Texas League Championship in 2006, managed the Round Round Express AAA affiliate for one year in 2008, and then served as the Astros third base coach from 2009 through 2012 and the first base coach in 2013. Clark served as interim manager of the Astros for 13 games in 2009 as well. Also on Clark's resume is the fact that he was a Golden Gloves boxer in high school, going 26-0. He is currently the third base coach of the Detroit Tigers.

LHP Troy Patton (29)
Drafted in the ninth round in 2004 by Houston, Patton only made three appearances for Houston in 2007 before being sent to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade. In those three games (two starts), he was 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP. He is currently in the San Diego Padres bullpen after having been traded to that team by Baltimore in May 2014.

LF Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez (47)
Drafted in the fourth round in 1988 by Houston, Gonzo played for the Astros from 1990 to 1995 and again in 1997. In 745 games for Houston, he hit .266/.335/.417 with 153 doubles, 25 triples, 62 home runs and 63 stolen bases. Gonzo is best known, however, for his eight years in the Diamondbacks organization in which he compiled a .298/.391/.529 batting line, earned five All-Star nods and a Silver Slugger award. He played in unsuccessful NLDS for both the Astros (1997) and the Diamondbacks (1999) before taking it all in 2001 in the Diamondbacks World Series win over the Yankees.

UT Alan Bannister (63)
A first round pick by the Phillies in 1973, Bannister played in only nine games for Houston in 1984, hitting .200/.273/.300 before being traded to the Rangers. He spent the majority of his career with Cleveland and the White Sox.

Tweets of the Day

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, September 1, 2014

Season finales for all, while 2 will play on later this week.

Iowa 11, Oklahoma City 1

W- Dae-Eun Rhee (3-2)
L- Alex White (3-6)

OKC home runs: None.

In their final game as an Astros affiliate, the RedHawks were down 10-0 after 3 innings and finished the season by getting swept out of Iowa. Next season, they'll be the new AAA affiliate of the Dodgers.

The lone RedHawks run came in the 9th, when Andrew Aplin hit a sac fly. Jio Mier finished 3-4, while Preston Tucker and Max Stassi went 2-4 with a double apiece.

Alex White was shelled as he allowed 9 runs (5 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 9 hits, walked 3, and struck out 1 in just 2.1 innings. Ross Seaton pitched the next 3.2 innings and gave up a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2. David Martinez allowed an unearned run on 3 hits and struck out 1 in 2 innings.

Corpus Christi 8, San Antonio 4

W- Mitch Lambson (3-1, 4-2 season)
L- Adys Portillo (1-4)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (8, 15 season; grand slam in 7th)

The Hooks used a 5-run 7th to take control of this game, capped off by Meredith's slam.

Colin Moran kicked things off with an RBI single in the 1st. Carlos Perdomo added an RBI infield single in the 2nd. Telvin Nash hit a 3rd RBI single in the 5th. In the 7th inning, Teoscar Hernandez drew a bases-loaded walk which tied the game at 4, and one batter later, Meredith un-tied the game by emptying the bases with a 4-run homer. Teoscar finished 2-3 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base (2, 33 season), while Perdomo was 2-4. M.P. Cokinos went 2-4, and Delino DeShields scored twice and stole 2 bases (54).

Jordan Jankowski went 4 innings and, other than a 32-pitch 1st and a solo homer to Hunter Renfroe to lead off the 4th, he pitched rather well. He allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Matt Heidenreich tagged in for the next 2 innings; he allowed a run, a single, walked 1, and struck out 1. Juan Minaya got 2 outs in the 7th, both via strikeout, but he also allowed a 2-run homer to Jake Lemmerman. Mitch Lambson was the next man out; he went 1.1 innings and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1. Tyson Perez allowed a hit in a scoreless 9th.

Inland Empire 10, Lancaster 3

W- Eduard Santos (4-4)
L- Vince Velasquez (7-4)
S- David Murillo (1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Well, the JetHawks will be stumbling into the playoffs as the 66ers swept them in this final series of the regular season.

Roberto Peña hit a 2-run double in the 2nd, and Ronnie Mitchell added an RBI groundout in the 3rd inning.

Vince Velasquez went 2 innings and all 6 of his outs were strikeouts. However, he also allowed 4 runs on 7 hits (solo homer) in the process. Evan Grills allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and struck out 3 over 3 innings. Dan Minor allowed a hit over 2 scoreless, Tyler Brunnemann struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Gonzalo Sañudo allowed 3 runs on 4 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The JetHawks will be off until Saturday as they await the winner of the South Division mini-series, which will be contested between Inland Empire and Lake Elsinore.

Burlington 8, Quad Cities 5

W- Alex Blackford (2-4)
L- Michael Feliz (8-6)
S- Ben Carlson (14)

QC home runs: Dayne Parker (2, solo in 7th), J.D. Davis (8, 13 season; solo in 8th)

The Bees just created enough separation between them and the Bandits.

Marc Wik kicked things off with a 2-run double in the 1st. He would be back in action in the 3rd as he scored on an RBI single from A.J. Reed. Parker's 2nd homer came with 1 out in the 7th, and Davis sent out his 13th with 1 out in the 8th. Ryan Bottger finished 3-5, while Davis, Wik, and Bobby Boyd had 2 hits apiece. Wik (11, 15 season) and Bottger (6, 8 season) also stole a base.

Michael Feliz allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 12 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 6 over 5 innings. Jandel Gustave tagged in for 2 innings and gave up a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1, and Jordan Mills allowed a 2-run homer to Brandon Bayardi in the 8th. He walked 1 and struck out 2.

Tri-City 3, Vermont 2

W- Brandon McNitt (2-1)
L- Jerad Grundy (4-7)
S- Ryan Thompson (12)

TC home runs: Ricky Gingras (3, solo in 9th)

The ValleyCats finished strong as they wrapped up the regular season with 5 straight victories.

Jose Solano opened up the scoring when he hit an RBI triple in the 3rd. He would score himself as Jason Martin grounded into a fielder's choice. In the 9th, Ricky Gingras hit his 3rd home run of the season. He and Mott Hyde both finished 2-4.

The first 3 Tri-City pitchers went 2 innings. Austin Chrismon allowed a hit and struck out 1. Brandon McNitt struck out 3, and Junior Garcia allowed a hit and fanned 1. Aaron Vaughn got 2 outs in the 7th, but also allowed a solo homer to Jose Brizuela. He walked 1 and fanned 1. Bryan Radziewski walked 1, but he got the final out of the 7th via strikeout. The Closer, Ryan Thompson, got a 2-inning save; he was dinged by a solo homer from Seong-min Kim with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. He walked 1 and struck out 1.

After a day off, the ValleyCats begin their quest for a repeat as they take on the Connecticut Tigers in a best-of-3 beginning Wednesday. First pitch is at 5:35.

Getting to Know Your Newest Astro: RHP Nick Tropeano

RHP Nick Tropeano will be the newest member of the Astros when he is officially added to the roster (presumably later today) as major league rosters are expanded. I really like Nick Tropeano, and not just because he's easy on the eyes.

Nick Tropeano - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Let me introduce you to him a little bit. I wrote this profile on him back in 2012, and did this interview back then as well, and then interviewed him again last year in Corpus. Enjoy!

Gulf Coast League Season Recap

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be looking at some of the standout players from each of the Astros minor league teams. Last week I looked at the offensive standouts and the pitching standouts on the Astros Dominican Summer League teams. Today, let's look at the Gulf Coast League Astros.

The team finished with a 28-32 record (.467 win percentage). As a team they ranked within the league as follows:

GCL Team Batting
.254 BA - 5th out of 16 teams
.337 OBP - 6th
.354 SLG - 6th

They were also first in strikeouts (ouch!) with 490 and second in stolen bases with 91.

GCL Team Pitching
3.90 ERA - 11th
1.425 WHIP - 13th
497 SO - 2nd
227 BB - 4th

Below I am indicating the player's current age with his birthday in parentheses. I am also including information as to how many years the player has been playing and whether or not this is his first season playing in the U.S. Any players who were promoted to Greeneville or above prior to the end of the season will be addressed in the season recap for that team.


Brian Pena - 20 (6/14); 3rd season/1st in U.S.
The Dominican-born Pena only played in 17 games in the GCL, hitting .260/.315/.300 and catching 29% of would-be base stealers.

Ruben Castro - 18 (7/10); 1st season
Castro was drafted in the 19th round out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. In 20 games, the lefty hit .241/.349/.259. He only caught in seven games (22% caught stealing rate) and served as the DH in the remainder of the games.

Marlon Avea - 21 (8/31); 4th season/1st in U.S.
Avea, from Nicaragua, has been a plus defender throughout his career and his first stint in the U.S. was no different; he put up nice defensive numbers and caught 41% of base runners in the 15 games in which he caught. In 21 total games, he hit .279/.383/.353.


2B Frankeny Fernandez - 17 (12/7); 1st season
Fernandez played his first 50 games in the DSL, hitting .320/.435/.440 before being promoted to the GCL where he hit .250/.329/.294 in 19 games. In total, he hit 13 doubles, four triples and one home run and stole 35 bases. His defensive numbers were somewhat below average, but since he's not even 18 yet, I'm not too worried! Fernandez is from the Dominican Republic.

2B/SS/3B Arturo Michelena - 19 (10/15); 3rd season; 1st in U.S.
This young Venezuelan, however, put up plus defense at second base (average +/- at third and short). In 45 games, he hit .235/.320/.301.

SS Joan Mauricio - 17 (10/22); 1st season
Maurcio started his season in his home country of the Dominican Republic, playing his first 43 games with the DSL and hitting .275/.376/.444. However, the lefty only hit .127/.271/.211 in his 22 games with the GCL and his defense is still a bit rough. Maurcio hit nine doubles, ten triples and one home run for the season.

SS Osvaldo Duarte - 18 (1/18); 1st season
Also from the Dominican Republic, Duarte was having a great season at the plate before he was placed on the 60-day DL in late July. In 15 games in the DSL, he hit .270/.325/.378. After his promotion to the GCL, he hit .280/.341/.347 in 20 games. For the season, he hit seven doubles and three triples while collecting 19 RBI and 16 stolen bases in his 35 games. On paper, his defense at short was somewhat below average.

1B/DH Dexture McCall - 20 (1/29); 1st season
McCall was drafted by Houston in the 31st round this year. In 50 games with the GCL, he hit .258/.338/.343 and was starting to heat up in August when he hit .280/.386/.400. For the season he hit eight doubles, two triples and one home run with 29 RBI. He exhibited plus defensive skills at first base.

2B Will Dupont, who was obtained in a trade from the Blue Jays, only played in six games for the GCL Astros before being placed on the 60-day DL. Dupont was a 16th round pick in 2012, will be 21 in December and is in his third professional season.


Luis Payano - 18 (5/12); 2nd season/1st in U.S.
Payano was the only notable outfielder from the team who wasn't promoted. In 42 games with the GCL, Payano hit .257/.314/.434 (.284/.326/.494 in August). His defensive numbers skewed above average.


Yhoan Acosta - 19 (6/17); 2nd season/1st in U.S.
Acosta actually performed better after his promotion to the GCL (3.00 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 8 games/3 starts) than he did with the DSL (5.29 ERA and 1.647 WHIP in 8 games/7 starts). He struck out exactly one batter per inning pitched (67 in 67 innings) while walking only 22. He is from the Dominican Republic.

Kyle Gehrs - 23 (6/10); 1st season
Gehrs, a non-drafted free agent out of Central Missouri, had an unremarkable season, but was coming on strong in August with a 0.90 ERA and a 1.100 WHIP in seven games (10IP).

Cristhopher Santamaria - 18 (6/19); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
The Panamanian-born Santamaria put up excellent numbers in his first six games (five starts) in the DSL (2.20 ERA and 0.942 WHIP) before his promotion to the GCL. In 10 games (five starts) in the GCL, he had a 4.91 ERA and a 1.485 WHIP. Over a total of 61.2 innings pitched, he walked 11 batters while striking out 55.


Francis Martes - 18 (11/24); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
Martes came to the Astros from the Marlins in the Cosart et. al. trade and only pitched in four games (three starts) for the GCL Astros in which he had a 0.82 ERA and a 0.727 WHIP. He is from the Dominican Republic.

John Gatlin - 23 (12/14); 1st season
Gatlin is a work in progress. A non-drafted free agent out of Ole Miss, he is being converted to a pitcher. For the season, he had a 1.29 ERA and a 1.643 WHIP in 13 games. In August, he had a 2.00 ERA and a 1.444 WHIP in eight games and walked four batters while striking out 11.

Justin Ferrell - 20 (4/21); 1st season
Ferrell was drafted by Houston in the 36th round this year. In 12 games (five starts), he had a 3.67 ERA and a 1.311 WHIP. He walked 12 batters while striking out 39 in 34.1 innings.

Joselo Pinales - 19 (11/16); 2nd season; 1st in U.S.
Pinales started his season with the DSL team, starting four games with a 4.43 ERA and a 0.934 WHIP. He walked four batters and struck out 14 in 20.1 innings. After his promotion to the GCL, he had a 4.66 ERA and a 1.422 WHIP in 13 games (four starts) and walked 18 batters while striking out 24 in 38.2 innings pitched.

Later this week, we'll take a look at the Rookie League Greeneville Astros team.

A Farewell to the Regular Season and a Look at the Post-Season

It is with zero regret that I bid adieu to the 2014 regular season. Each year around this time I've hit a wall and those 5:00 a.m. writing sessions start to take their toll. I absolutely hate making mistakes in what I post, but each year it seems that more and more mistakes creep into my work toward the end of the season when I become mentally exhausted. I apologize for those mistakes. I always try to be accurate.

Many thanks to Dustin who has toiled thanklessly to get you the minor league recaps every day. With his post today, he will have recapped all but a handful of the 904 games played in the system this year. I do not know how he does it, but thankfully he has agreed to continue doing it again next year. And I would be remiss if I didn't thank DeAnna as well for handling the Facebook duties. She's done a great job with that.

I will continue to post regularly throughout the off-season as we follow those Astros players who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League and in Winter League ball in the more tropical climes. I will also continue interviewing players over the off-season and, hopefully, I can sweet talk Jeff Luhnow into continuing our annual State of the Farm System talk.

More immediately, over the next couple of weeks I'll be doing a season recap on each of the minor league teams (I've already done the DSL team), and I will have my Players of the Week, Month and Year coming out before too long. In other words, the posts will keep coming regularly and I hope that you will come back to read them.

But first, there are two Astros minor league teams in the playoffs ~


As the South Division first half champions, the JetHawks have a "bye" in the first round of the playoffs which is a Mini-Series between the second half champion (Inland Empire) and the Wild Card (Lake Elsinore). Those two teams will play a best-of-three series starting Wednesday so Lancaster will not know who their opponent in the South Division Finals will be until Thursday or Friday.

The best-of-five South Division Finals will start on Saturday, September 6th at 6:00 local time (8:00 CST) at The Hangar. The 'Hawks will play two at home on Saturday and Sunday; two on the road on Monday and Tuesday (if necessary); and will return to The Hangar for Game 5 on Wednesday the 10th if necessary. The Championship Series will start on Thursday the 11th.

The rotation for the Division Finals has already been announced: Vince Velasquez, Kent Emanuel, Kyle Westwood, Brian Holmes and Lance McCullers.


The ValleyCats clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with their win on Monday. They will play Connecticut who won the Wild Card berth on Monday. Tri-City is 7-3 against Connecticut for the season. In a best-of-three series, the 'Cats will travel to Connecticut for the first game on Wednesday the 3rd at 6:35 local time (5:35 CST) on Wednesday and then return to The Joe on Thursday and Friday (if necessary). I have not seen the probable pitchers announced for that game yet.

Happy Birthday - 9/2

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Ronald Torreyes (22)
Originally signed by the Reds as a NDFA out of Venezuela, Torreyes came to the Astros system in a trade that sent two international bonus signing slots to the Cubs in July 2013. In 125 games with AAA Oklahoma City this season, he hit .298/.346/.377 with 20 doubles, five triples, and two home runs. He only walked 25 times, but then again, he only struck out 25 times over those 125 games as well!

IF Luis Reynoso (20)
Reynoso was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and first played for the DSL in 2012. Reynoso spent the 2014 season with the Greeneville Astros, hitting .233/.298/.310 in 36 games.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Iowa 11, Oklahoma City 8

W- Marcos Mateo (3-0)
L- Anthony Bass (0-2)

OKC home runs: Joe Sclafani (2, 3 season; solo in 2nd), Ruben Sosa (1, 5 season; 2-run in 5th)

What a kick to the dong. The Cubs scored 6 in the bottom of the 8th to erase the RedHawks' 8-5 lead, and coupled with Omaha's victory, OKC was eliminated from playoff contention.

Matt Duffy opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 3rd. One batter later, Ronald Torreyes laid down a sac bunt, and an error resulted in Preston Tucker scoring. Domingo Santana added a 2-run single. Sclafani sent one out in the 4th, his 3rd home run of the season, and Sosa smacked his 5th homer in the 5th, a 2-run shot that gave OKC a 7-4 lead. Sclafani finished 3-5 and added an RBI triple in the 8th.

Asher Wojciechowski went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs, all in the 3rd, on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Jason Stoffel was the first man out; he allowed a run on 4 hits and struck out 1 over 2 innings. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in the 8th. Anthony Bass only got 1 out and allowed 4 runs (3 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits (solo homer). Pat Urckfitz allowed a 3-run homer to Ryan Kalish and did not record an out. He allowed 2 runs, one of which was an inherited runner that was charged to him. Jorge De Leon finally got the last 2 outs of the inning, but he allowed a single that allowed one of Urckfitz's runners to score.

In the final game of the 2014 season, Alex White will take on Dae-Eun Rhee at 12:05.

San Antonio 7, Corpus Christi 1

W- John Hussey (5-5)
L- Darin Downs (0-1)

CC home runs: Telvin Nash (22, solo in 2nd)

Well, that home run you see above constituted the Hooks' offense.

Darin Downs allowed a run on a double play, a single, and walked 2 as he got 2 outs in the 1st. Mark Appel tagged in and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Travis Ballew allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 1.2 innings, and David Rollins allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1 over 2 innings.

In the season finale, Jordan Jankowski will take on Bryce Morrow at 4:10.

Inland Empire 9, Lancaster 5

W- Chris O'Grady (4-4)
L- Kent Emanuel (9-5, 9-7 season)

Lancaster home runs: Ronnie Mitchell (3, 16 season; solo in 4th), Brett Phillips (4, 17 season; solo in 7th)

The JetHawks' hopes of taking both halves in the California League South were dashed with this loss.

In the 3rd, an error on a force out attempt resulted in Chan-Jong Moon and Brett Phillips scoring the first 2 JetHawks runs. Mitchell led off the 4th with his 16th homer of the year, and then Danry Vásquez added an RBI single. Phillips sent out his 17th to lead off the 7th. He also added a stolen base (5, 23 season). Moon finished 3-4, while Catfish Elkins went 2-3 with a double.

Kent Emanuel went 4.1 innings and allowed 6 runs on 11 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Zach Morton allowed a run on 4 hits in 2.2 innings, and Pat Christensen pitched the final 2 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs on 3 hits, walking 3, and striking out 2.

Vince Velasquez will be on the mound in the final game of the regular season. He'll face Ray Hanson at 7:00.

Quad Cities 9, Burlington 4

W- Troy Scribner (1-2, 10-3 season)
L- Daniel Hurtado (2-4)
S- Keegan Yuhl (2)

QC home runs: J.D. Davis 2 (7, 12 season; solo in 2nd, 3-run in 6th), Chase McDonald (16, solo in 4th)

The Banditos did their part by winning, but the team they were chasing, Wisconsin, also won, which knocked them out of the playoff chase.

J.D. Davis kicked things off by sending out his first homer of the day in the 2nd inning. Chase McDonald followed suit in the 4th. Davis was back at it again as he delivered a haymaker in the form of a 3-run homer in the 6th inning. After the Bees scored 3 in the 7th to cut the Quad Cities lead to 6-4, the Bandits responded with a pair in the final 2 innings. Ryan Bottger hit an RBI double in the 8th, and he later scored on a sac fly from McDonald. Bobby Boyd ripped an RBI triple in the top of the 9th, and he scored on a sac fly from Dayne Parker.

Chris Lee allowed 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 over 4 scoreless. Troy Scribner tagged in for 3 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits (solo and 2-run homers), walked 3, and struck out 2. Keegan Yuhl allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 4 over the final 2 innings.

Michael Feliz takes the hill in the season finale. First pitch is at 2.

Tri-City 4, Vermont 1

W- Randall Fant (2-3)
L- A.J. Burke (6-4)
S- Derick Velazquez (4)

TC home runs: Terrell Joyce (11, solo in 5th)

The ValleyCats scored the game's final 4 runs as they took the first of 2 in this season-ending series.

Alex Hernandez hit an RBI single in the 3rd, which tied the game at 1. Terrell Joyce's 11th homer of the year led off the 5th and put Tri-City on top, and in the 8th, Nick Tanielu had an RBI double, and Jose Solano added an RBI infield single. Kristian Trompiz went 2-4 with 2 doubles and a run scored.

Randall Fant allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Francis Ramirez tagged in for 2 innings and allowed a hit and struck out 2. Aaron Vaughn threw a 1-2-3 8th, and Derick Velazquez allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in the bottom of the 9th.

Austin Chrismon will take on Jerad Grundy in the season finale. First pitch is at 4:05.

Astros Minor League Playoff Update

Only one game left in the minor league regular season and all has been decided except for opponents. Here is the latest. But first a word from our sponsor ~

OKLAHOMA CITY - Eliminated

Oklahoma City seems to have run out of gas as they went into their final series with Iowa. After winning five straight to get into the division lead, they then promptly dropped three in a row while Omaha won four straight. In the process, Omaha re-took the lead and last night they clinched the division. It was a valiant effort, but the 'Hawks fell just short.


LANCASTER - Clinched

The JetHawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half, but they were eliminated from holding the second half title in last night's loss to Inland Empire. Inland Empire currently leads Lake Elsinore by one game for the second half title with one game left to play. Those two teams will face off in the mini-series next week to see who will take on Lancaster in the Divisional Finals which will start next Saturday at The Hangar.

QUAD CITIES - Eliminated

Quad Cities did its part by winning yesterday, but Wisconsin also won, thus eliminating both Quad Cities and Peoria for the final playoff berth. They will play their final game today at 2:00 CST with Michael Feliz schedule to take the mound in search of his ninth win of the season.

TRI-CITY - Clinched

The 'Cats have won the Stedler Division and are in the playoffs. And headed into the last game of the season, they still don't know who they will be facing in the Semi-Final Championship Series. As things stand today, Tri-City is in a tie with State College for best league record (with Hudson Valley one game behind). The team with the best record will take on the Wild Card in that Semi-Final Series, but the Wild Card is also up for grabs as well with Brooklyn and Connecticut tied for that final spot. With a win today in their final game of the regular season, the ValleyCats would assure home field advantage throughout the playoffs because they hold the tie-breakers with both State College and Hudson Valley.

GREENEVILLE - Eliminated

GCL ASTROS - Eliminated


DSL ASTROS BLUE - Eliminated

Happy Birthday - 9/1

No future Astros with birthdays today, but two former Astros celebrate the day ~

LHP Dean Stone (84)
Stone played for the Colt 45's for part of the 1962 season. His first two games were complete game shutouts. When he was traded to the White Sox in June of that year, he had a 3-2 record with a 4.47 ERA. His best season was his 1954 All-Star season for the Washington Senators.

LHP Pat House (74)
Obtained from the Braves in the minor league draft in November of 1966, House had a short major league career, pitching for parts of two seasons with the Astros in 1967 and 1968. He was 2-1 with one save in 24 appearances over 20.1 innings, with a 7.08 ERA and a 1.475 WHIP.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Saturday, August 30, 2014

Iowa 3, Oklahoma City 0

W- Dallas Beeler (9-6)
L- Luis Cruz (1-2, 8-8 season)
S- Blake Parker (25)

OKC home runs: None.

Costly loss for the RedHawks, as Omaha's victory knocked them from the top spot in the division.

Matt Duffy went 2-3, Jonathan Villar drew 2 walks and stole 2 bases (24, 38 season), and Ronald Torreyes saw an impressive streak come to an end.... he struck out for the first time this month on a "questionable" strike 3 in the 1st inning.

Luis Cruz went 6 innings and allowed a solo homer to Jonathan Mota in the 5th, the only blemish on an otherwise fine night for him. He allowed 5 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. Richard Rodriguez pitched the final 2 innings and allowed a 2-run homer to Ryan Kalish in the 8th. He allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 2.

In a monumental game 3 of this series, Asher Wojciechowski will take on Eric Jokisch at 1:05.

Corpus Christi 5, San Antonio 1

W- Chris Devenski (5-3, 10-8 season)
L- Leonel Campos (2-7)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (7, 14 season; solo in 8th)

The Hooks flew out of the gate with a 4-0 lead after 2 innings.

Colin Moran opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. Delino DeShields smacked a 2-run double in the 2nd, and he scored on an RBI single from Tony Kemp. The Missions spoiled the shutout in the 8th, but Brandon Meredith restored the Hooks' 4-run lead with his solo blast in the 8th. Kemp went 2-3 and was the only player on either side to log a multi-hit game.

Josh Hader allowed a hit, walked 3, and struck out 7 over 4.1 scoreless. Juan Minaya issued a walk to load the bases in the 5th, but he was able to get the final 2 outs of the inning without incident. Chris Devenski tagged in for 3 innings and allowed a solo homer to Cody Overbeck in the 7th. He allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 1. Tyson Perez finished it off by striking out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Mark Appel will make his final appearance of the regular season as he gets the start this evening. He'll take on Matt Branham at 6:10.

Inland Empire 9, Lancaster 7 in 10 innings

W- Austin Adams (3-2)
L- Andrew Walter (0-2, 4-5 season)

Lancaster home runs: Roberto Peña (13, solo in 7th)

The 66ers outscored the JetHawks 4-2 in the extra frame.

James Ramsay scored the first JetHawks run when he came home on an error in the 3rd which allowed Rio Ruiz to reach. In the 5th, Chan-Jong Moon smacked a 2-run triple and Rio added an RBI groundout. Roberto Peña led off the 7th with his homer, which gave the JetHawks a 5-2 lead, but the 66ers tied the game with 3 in the 8th. Danry Vásquez hit a 2-run double in the bottom of the 10th, but the comeback bid fell short. Moon, Danry, Ramsay, and Brett Phillips had 2 hits apiece.

Kyle Westwood pitched 6.1 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 8. Tyler Brunnemann got 1 out in the 7th via strikeout; he walked 2. Jamaine Cotton inherited a bases-loaded situation, but he got the final out of the 7th inning. He got 1 out in the 8th but ran into trouble. He allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him), a single, walked 2, and struck out 1. Andrew Walter pitched the next 2 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 7 hits (solo homer) and struck out 2. Chris Cotton got the last out of the 10th via strikeout, but not before he allowed a 2-run homer to Sherman Johnson. He allowed one other hit.

Kent Emanuel will face Trevor Foss in the penultimate game of the season. First pitch is at 7:00.

Quad Cities 5, Burlington 1

W- Blaine Sims (4-4)
L- Harrison Cooney (9-8)

QC home runs: A.J. Reed (7, 12 season; 3-run in 1st)

The Banditos kept their playoff hopes, slim as they may be, alive as they scored the game's first 5 runs and contained the Bees.

A.J. Reed's 35th home run in 2014 was a 3-run shot that opened the scoring. Ryan Bottger went 3-4 with an RBI single in the 4th, and in the 7th, J.D. Davis added an RBI single. Reed finished a triple shy of the cycle (Astros County has a not-exactly-kid-friendly term for that) and scored 2 runs. Brett Booth went 2-3.

Blaine Sims allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 5, and struck out 5 over 6 innings. Raul Rivera allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 7th, Jordan Mills allowed a hit and struck out 1 in a scoreless 8th, and Frederick Tiburcio struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Today, Chris Lee gets the start. First pitch is at 2.

Tri-City 3, Brooklyn 2

W- Robert Kahana (1-3, 2-4 season)
L- Marcos Molina (7-3)
S- Ryan Thompson (11)

TC home runs: Jose Solano (1, 2-run in 5th), Nick Tanielu (3, solo in 6th)

The 2 homers you see above proved to be enough for the ValleyCats, who have gotten themselves back on track a bit after a 4-game losing streak. Tanielu finished 2-4.

Robert Kahana went 5 innings and allowed an unearned run on 3 hits and struck out 4. Chris Munnelly cruised through 3 innings and came out for the 9th, but he was knocked out by a solo homer from Michael Conforto. Munnelly allowed 2 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. The Closer, Ryan Thompson, did his job. He walked 1 and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The ValleyCats will close out the regular season with 2 in Vermont. In the opener, Randall Fant will take on
A.J. Burke at 4:05.

Astros Minor League Playoff Pictures Updated

Only two games left in the minor league regular season and there are still two teams trying to break through! Here is the latest. But first a word from our sponsor ~


Playoff Picture - 2 games left; elimination number is 3

For the season:
1st     74-68     .521     0.5 GB     L2

I said it wasn't going to be easy, but now it looks darn near impossible. With the RedHawks' loss to Iowa last night, they fell out of first place and are now a half game behind Omaha. With two games remaining, the OKC website says that the 'Hawks must win tonight to avoid elimination. If that's the case, I must be missing something. Due to the different number of games played, if OKC went 1-1 in the final two games and Omaha went 0-2 in their final games, Oklahoma City would have the higher win percentage. In any event, I wouldn't rely on that eventuality. The 'Hawks effectively do have to have a win tonight and hope against hope that Omaha finally stumbles against Colorado Springs.


LANCASTER - Clinched

For the season:
1st    78-60    .565    -.-GB    L2

For the second half:
T2nd     34-34     .500     1.0GB     L2

Playoff Picture - 2 games left; elimination number is N/A

The JetHawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half. Right now they are focusing on winning the second half title as well, but their chances to do so are quickly diminishing. Inland Empire's second straight win over the 'Hawks puts that team in first place with a magic number of one required to clinch the second half. Lancaster and Lake Elsinore are tied for second, one game behind the 66ers. Lancaster and Inland Empire will play their final two regular season games in Lancaster today and tomorrow. I would really like for the 'Hawks to win both games ... 80 is such a nice round number.


For the second half:
T4th    34-34     .500     11.0GB     (1.0GB for playoff berth)    W2

Playoff Picture - 2 games left; elimination number is 1

Three teams are still vying for the remaining playoff spot in the Western Division. Frankly, it is Wisconsin's to lose as they are one game in front of Peoria and Quad Cities with only two games remaining in the season. However, Wisconsin lost another game of their lead with their loss last night as Peoria and Quad Cities both won their matches. The elimination number for Quad Cities is currently one. Any Wisconsin win or Quad Cities loss will mean that Quad Cities is eliminated since a tie would go to Wisconsin for their head-to-head record against Quad Cities.

Wisconsin (35-33 in second half) has two games remaining on the road in Beloit (24-43 in second half). Peoria will play their final two at Kane County (45-23 in the second half). Quad Cities will also finish their regular season on the road, playing two more in Burlington (29-39 in the second half).

All the River Bandits can do is win their final two games and hope that Lady Luck smiles on them.

TRI-CITY - Clinched

The 'Cats have won the Stedler Division and are in the playoffs. Now they are just jockeying for position to see who they will face in the Semi-Final Championship Series. As things stand today, Tri-City is in a three-way tie for best league record (with Hudson Valley and State College). The team with the best record will take on the Wild Card in that Semi-Final Series, but the Wild Card is also up for grabs as well with Brooklyn and Connecticut tied for that final spot. Tri-City will be taking on Vermont (33-41) in Burlington for the final two games of the regular season today and tomorrow.

GREENEVILLE - Eliminated

GCL ASTROS - Eliminated


DSL ASTROS BLUE - Eliminated

Happy Birthday - 8/31

Happy Birthday to ~

C Marlon Avea (21)
From Nicaragua, Marlon was signed by the Astros as a NDFA in 2010 and played his first season in the U.S. this year in the Gulf Coast League. In 21 games, he hit .279/.383/.353, and he had a 41% caught stealing rate.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

RHP Tom Dukes (72)
Dukes came to Houston via a trade with Atlanta prior to the 1967 season. In 60 appearances out of the bullpen in 1967 and 1968, he was 2-4 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.651 WHIP. He was subsequently picked up by the Padres in the 1968 expansion draft.

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