Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy Birthday - 9/27

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jamaine Cotton (24)
Originally from the Virgin Islands, Cotton was drafted in the 15th round in 2010 out of Western Oklahoma State University. In 37 regular season appearances for Lancaster this season, Cotton was 2-4 with 12 saves, a 4.61 ERA and a 1.511 WHIP.

Two former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

2B Gary Sutherland (70)
Sutherland spent time with the Philadelphia and Montreal organizations before coming to Houston in 1972. He only played in 21 games for the Astros in 1972 and 1973, hitting .242/.277/.323, before moving on to have his most productive years with Detroit in the mid 70's.

RHP Doug Konieczny (63)
A first round pick by Houston in 1971, Konieczny played for the Astros in 1973 to 1975 and in 1977. In 44 games (38 starts), he was 7-18 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.588 WHIP. Methinks he would have been right at home pitching alongside Asher Wojciechowski and Mike Foltynewicz.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Birthday - 9/26

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Albert Abreu (19)
Signed by the Astros out of the Dominican Republic, Abreu played in his first professional season in 2014 for the Dominican Summer League Astros. In 14 starts, he was 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP. He walked 29 and struck out 54 in 68 innings.

Two former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

LHP Bobby Shantz (89)
In 16 seasons pitched between 1949 and 1964, Shantz went full circle, starting his career with the Philadelphia Athletics and ending it with the Philadelphia Phillies.  In between, he pitched for the Kansas City Athletics, the Yankees, the Pirates, the Colt 45's, the Cardinals and the Cubs.  In 1935 and two-thirds innings pitched, he was 119-99 over 171 starts with a lifetime ERA of 3.38 and WHIP of 1.260.  He had 78 complete games, 15 shut-outs and 48 saves.  Obtained from the Pirates as the 21st pick in the 1961 expansion draft, Shantz was only with the Colt 45's for 3 starts in 1962, in which he went 1-1 with a 1.31 ERA and a 0.968 WHIP, before being traded to the Cardinals.  In addition to appearing in three All-Star games, he also won eight Gold Gloves and the 1952 AL MVP.

C Rich Gedman (55)
After spending the majority of his career with Boston, Gedman only played one season with the Astros (1990) and was used primarily as a back-up catcher to Craig Biggio.  He had a lifetime .252 batting average, .202 with the Astros.

More on Gedman from Wikipedia:

"1986 saw three of the highlights of Gedman's career. On April 29, he set the American League record for putouts by a catcher with 20, as Roger Clemens set the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game against the Seattle Mariners. On April 30, he had 16 putouts for a total of 36 in two days, which is the most for a catcher in two consecutive games. Gedman was also selected to the All-Star Game that year, to go with his appearance in the 1985 game. But the peak of his career coincided with one of its lows in the 1986 World Series. In the bottom of the tenth inning of Game 6, with the Sox leading by one run with two outs, Kevin Mitchell on third and Mookie Wilson at bat, reliever Bob Stanley threw a pitch that Gedman failed to handle. It was scored as a wild pitch, but many considered it a Gedman passed ball. Mitchell came in to score, tying the game. Then, Wilson hit a ball that went through first baseman Bill Buckner's legs to win the game for the Mets. The Sox went on to lose the deciding game, and the series."

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

High A Lancaster JetHawks Season in Review

In my ongoing season reviews of the various Astros minor league teams, the final team up is the High A Lancaster JetHawks.

The team finished with a 78-62 record (.557 win percentage), first place overall, won the first half of the season, swept the South Division playoffs and walked away from the Finals with some bling!

Lancaster Team Batting
.285 BA - 2nd out of 10 teams
.366 OBP - 1st
.452 SLG - 2nd

They also led the league in doubles, triples and walks, and were last in the league in strikeouts.

Lancaster Team Pitching
4.75 ERA - 8th
1.381 WHIP - 3rd
1134 SO - 5th
391 BB - 9th

This is the only team for which my prediction was not only close, but right on the money. I predicted precisely 78-62 and a return to the California League Championship Finals. I also correctly predicted a bit of a drop off in their offensive numbers and an improvement in the pitching numbers over the 2013 team. But I don't plan on breaking my arm patting myself on the back since I botched my Corpus Christi prediction so badly. The team had their best ERA and WHIP in six years of playing at The Hangar.

Now, on to individual achievements. Below I am indicating the player's current age as well as information as to how many years the player has been playing.


Roberto Peña - 22; 5th season
Peña has long been called the best defensive catcher in the Astros system and for good reason. He had a .996 fielding percentage, 9.02 range factor and a 57% caught stealing rate in 93 games behind the dish in Lancaster this season. In those 93 games, he hit .249/.306/.414 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs, 54 RBI, and had 25 walks to 63 strikeouts. Peña was drafted by the Astros in the seventh round in 2010 out of Puerto Rico.

Jobduan Morales - 23; 6th season
Originally drafted by the Marlins in the 9th round in 2009, Morales came to the Houston system in the May 2012 Justin Ruggiano trade. He isn't quite the elite defensive catcher that Peña is, but he is a solid backstop and managed a very nice 35% caught stealing rate in his 56 games as catcher (18 at Quad Cities and 38 at Lancaster). In a total of 65 games at the plate, Morales hit .244/.318/.376 with 5 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 39 RBI. In Quad Cities, he hit .310/.390/.451 in 20 games prior to his promotion.


SS Carlos Correa - 19; 3rd season
Correa broke his fibula on June 21st and missed the remainder of the season, but what he did before that? Oy. The 2012 number one overall pick hit .325/.416/.510 with 16 doubles, six triples, six home runs and 57 RBI in only 61 games. He swiped 20 bags and was caught four times, walked 36 times and had 45 strikeouts. His range factor at shortstop was a whopping 5.32. Be still, my heart.

3B Rio Ruiz - 20; 3rd season
Drafted by Houston in the 4th round in 2012, Ruiz had an extremely solid season defensively and at the plate at Lancaster. Ruiz hit over .290 every month from April through July before dropping off somewhat in August. For the season, he hit .293/.387/.436 with 37 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 77 RBI in 131 games. He walked 82 times and struck out 91 times. A left-handed hitter, Rio hit .286 against right-handed pitchers and .312 against his fellow lefties.

3B/1B Tyler White - 23; 2nd season
White played mostly third base in his time with Quad Cities (71 games) and mostly first base after his promotion to Lancaster (43 games), and handled both positions adeptly. In a total of 114 games, he had a .290/.410/.501 batting line, with 33 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 64 RBI. White collected 63 walks while striking out 67 times. White was the 33rd round pick in 2013.

SS/2B Chan Moon - 23; 5th season
Moon was called up to Lancaster from Quad Cities after the injury to Carlos Correa to fill in at short and handled the task well, although his defensive numbers at second base while in Quad Cities were superior to his numbers at short in Lancaster. In a total of 127 games between the two venues, Moon hit .283/.352/.401 with 18 doubles, 10 triples, six home runs and 60 RBI. He stole 35 bases (13 caught stealing) and walked 52 times while striking out 100 times. Moon was signed by the Astros out of South Korea prior to the 2010 season.

IF Jack Mayfield - 23: 2nd season
Mayfield played more of his games at second base, his best position defensively, but also spent time at short and third. He received his promotion from Quad Cities (39 games) in early June and played in an additional 66 games for Lancaster. In a total of 105 games, Mayfield hit .282/.341/.440 with 31 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 55 RBI. Mayfield signed with Houston as a non-drafted free agent in 2013.

2B Austin Elkins - 23; 3rd season
Elkins, a switch-hitter drafted in the 19th round in 2012, followed Mayfield from Quad Cities to Lancaster in late June. He missed approximately six weeks early in the season and only appeared in 62 games (26 at Quad Cities; 36 at Lancaster), hitting a combined .254/.369/340. In August, he was hitting his stride at the plate, hitting .309/.449/.400 for that month. He provided plus defense at second base.

1B/DH Chase McDonald - 22; 2nd season
The 12th round 2013 draft pick played all but one of his 103 games at Quad Cities, getting the call to California just in time for the playoffs. In 102 games with the River Bandits, he hit .279/.363/.481 with 25 doubles, 16 home runs, 67 RBI, 44 walks and 116 strikeouts. Often used as a DH, McDonald excelled defensively in the 65 games he played at first base. In the post season, McDonald hit .323/.364/.710.


All of the following players are left-handed hitters.

Danry Vasquez - 20; 4th season.
Vasquez played his entire season with the JetHawks. In 114 games, he hit .291/.353/.407 with 30 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 47 RBI and 40 walks (to 68 strikeouts). Vasquez had better defensive numbers in left field than he did in right field (and having seen him play both, I will say that he looks more comfortable playing in left field). Vasquez came into the Astros system in the July 2013 trade with Detroit for Jose Veras. He is from Venezuela.

Brett Phillips - 20; 3rd season
Phillips was named the Astros minor league Player of the Year for good reason. In 130 games (103 with Quad Cities and 27 with Lancaster), Phillips put up a .310/.375/.529 batting line and collected 29 doubles, 14 triples, 17 home runs, 68 RBI, 23 stolen bases (14 caught stealing), and 50 walks (to 96 strikeouts). He had an outstanding season defensively with 10 outfield assists while playing right field and seven more in center. Phillips was drafted by Houston in the 6th round in 2012.

James Ramsay - 22; 2nd season
Another plus defensive outfielder, Ramsay received his promotion to Lancaster in late August, playing only five regular season games with the team. In a total of 123 games, the 7th round 2013 pick hit .246/.340/.374 with 27 doubles, 11 triples, three home runs and 34 stolen bases (caught stealing eight times).

Ronnie Mitchell - 23; 2nd season
The Astros 38th round 2013 draft pick received his call up to Lancaster at the end of July. In a total of 99 games between Quad Cities and Lancaster, Mitchell hit .274/.353/.466 with 17 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 57 RBI, and 41 walks to 85 strikeouts. Another very good defensive outfielder, his best numbers came in right field.

Jon Kemmer - 23; 2nd season
Drafted by Houston in the 21st round in 2013, Kemmer played in 52 games at Quad Cities before his July call up to Lancaster. In a total of 91 games, he hit .291/.345/.523 with 25 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 50 RBI. While in Quad Cities, Kemmer was tasked with playing first base for a number of games, a position that he handled extremely well. In Lancaster, he returned to the outfield and provided solid defense in right field. He suffered a broken fibula in late August and was shut down for the season.

Jordan Scott - 22; 5th season
The 14th round 2010 draft pick played all but four of his 62 games with Lancaster (four in Corpus Christi) before being shut down on July 16th for a thumb injury that eventually required surgery. Scott put up a .294/.350/.431 batting line with 13 doubles, seven triples, a home run and 31 RBI. On paper, his outfield defense appears to be more or less average.

Tanner Mathis - 23; 2nd season
Mathis was also shut down early due to a foot/ankle injury suffered on August 20th. Mathis started his season with Quad Cities (36 games) before earning an early June promotion to Lancaster. In a total of 76 games, he hit .259/.362/.371 with 14 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 26 RBI. He walked 38 times while striking out 46 times, and stole 10 bases with eight caught stealing. Mathis played all three outfield positions this season and had stronger defensive numbers in center and right than he did in left. Mathis signed with the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in 2013.


Kent Emanuel - 22; 2nd season
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 2013, Emanuel started his season for Quad Cities with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in six games (four starts). Following his early May promotion to Lancaster, Emanuel went 9-5 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.275 WHIP in 21 games (14 starts). In his six appearances in August, he improved to a 3.09 ERA and a 1.250 WHIP. In 124 innings of work, he walked only 23 batters while striking out 93. Emanuel also has one of the best (if not the best) pick off moves in the system.

Brian Holmes - 23; 3rd season
Holmes played his entire season for Lancaster and went 5-2 with a 4.53 ERA (3.00 in August) and a 1.248 WHIP in 20 games (10 starts). He walked 23 batters and struck out 82 in 87.1 innings of work. Holmes was a 13th round draft pick in 2012.

Evan Grills - 22; 5th season
Grills started his season with Quad Cities, going 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.239 WHIP in 16 games (10 starts) and was promoted to Lancaster in early July. In 10 games (six starts) for the JetHawks, Grills was 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.409 WHIP. For the season, he fared better in relief (2.67 ERA/1.099 WHIP). In 120.2 innings, he walked only 15 batters and struck out 73. Grills was drafted in the 10th round in 2010.

Chris Cotton - 23; 2nd season
Cotton only appeared with Lancaster three times at the end of the season (2.2IP) with forgettable results. In his 32 appearances with Quad Cities (including one spot start), Cotton had a 3.40 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP. In August, prior to his promotion, he had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.692 WHIP in six appearances. For the season, Cotton walked only 11 batters and struck out 50 in 58.1 innings. He was drafted in the 14th round in 2013.


Kyle Westwood - 23; 2nd season
Drafted in the 13th round in 2013, Westwood spent his entire 2014 season with Lancaster. He started out the season extremely well, but encountered some struggles in the middle of the season and ended with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP, 26 walks to 88 strikeouts in 132 innings.

Lance McCullers - 20; 3rd season
The Astros supplemental first round pick in 2012 also got off to a good start (2.51 ERA and 1.151 WHIP in April), but then encountered some turbulence to end the season with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.557 WHIP. When pitching the back half of a piggyback, McCullers fared much, much better. In relief he had a 2.16 ERA and a 1.240 WHIP, holding batters to a .191 average. He walked 56 batters and struck out 115 in 97 innings of work.

Vince Velasquez - 22; 4th season (DNP in 2011)
Velasquez is still one of the most exciting players to watch in the Astros system; he just needs to stay healthy! Velasquez missed over two months of the season with a groin injury. He ended the season with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.172 WHIP in 18 games (13 starts), including three rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League. In 64 innings, Velasquez walked 25 batters and struck out 91. He was drafted in the second round in 2010 and missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Zach Morton - 24; 2nd season
Drafted in the 36th round in 2013, Morton was used exclusively as a reliever in his first 12 appearances of the season in Quad Cities, compiling a 2.86 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP. Following his promotion to Lancaster in mid May, he was used in both a starting role and relief (often long relief) and ended his regular season for the JetHawks with a 4.94 ERA and a 1.437 WHIP in 22 games (seven starts). By August, he had improved to a 2.91 ERA and a 1.292 WHIP in six games (three starts). For the season, Morton allowed 29 free passes while striking out 47 batters in 93 innings.

Gonzalo Sanudo - 22; 4th season
Obtained from the Twins in the March 2013 Mike Kvasnicka trade, Sanudo started his season appearing in seven games (two starts) for Quad Cities with a 1.14 ERA and a 0.887 WHIP. After his mid-May promotion to Lancaster, Sanudo struggled in several starts and worked solely from the bullpen for his final 11 appearances. In looking at his splits, it is abundantly obvious that Sanudo is not a fan of The Hangar. At home he had a 7.22 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP; on the road, he had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.179 WHIP. For the season, he ended with a 4.50 ERA, 1.250 WHIP and 15 walks to 55 strikeouts in 76 innings.

Daniel Minor - 23; 3rd season
Minor, the Astros 9th round draft pick in 2012, did not get off to a good start in 2014. In his first season with Lancaster and first season being used solely in relief, Minor got hammered in his first three appearances (30.86 ERA and 4.715 WHIP), but then turned around and gave the JetHawks 12 straight scoreless appearances. He ended the season with a 9-3 record, three saves, a 4.25 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP (2.45 ERA/0.727 WHIP in August/September) in 36 appearances. He walked 17 batters and struck out 51 in 53 innings. One of his saves was in a combined no-hitter on May 13th. He also played a huge role in the JetHawks post-season success.

Jamaine Cotton - 23; 5th season
Cotton pitched for Lancaster the entire season and ended with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.511 WHIP with 12 saves. Those numbers were inflated by a bad month in August. Prior to August, Cotton had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.392 WHIP. He walked 15 batters and struck out 29 in 45 innings. Cotton was the Astros 15th round draft pick in 2010.

Tyler Brunnemann - 23; 2nd season
This 40th round 2013 draft pick had a storybook season. After playing most of his season with Quad Cities, Brunnemann received a promotion to Lancaster for his final eight appearances of the regular season. For the season, he had a 1.90 ERA, 0.892 WHIP, 15 walks and 69 strikeouts in 61.2 innings (33 appearances). He pitched brilliantly in the postseason, leading to his being named MVP of the Championship Series.

Andrew Walter - 23; 4th season
Walter received his promotion to Lancaster in mid-August. In his first 33 appearances of the season with Quad Cities, he had a 3.21 ERA and a 1.259 WHIP. In 40 total appearances, he had a 3.46 ERA and a 1.354 WHIP with 12 saves, and 20 walks to 56 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work. Walter was another integral part of the JetHawks post-season success. He signed with the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in 2011.

Patrick Christensen - 23; 2nd season
Christensen split his season fairly evenly between Quad Cities and Lancaster. Unfortunately, his results in Quad Cities (2.39 ERA and 1.253 WHIP) didn't exactly translate well to Lancaster (5.60 ERA and 1.939 WHIP). All told, the 27th round 2013 draft pick ended the season with a 4.02 ERA, 1.602 WHIP and 18 walks to 46 strikeouts in 53.2 innings (30 appearances).


Earlier season reviews ~

Happy Birthday - 9/25

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

SS/3B Ray Busse (66)
Originally signed by Houston as a NDFA in 1967, Busse played in a total of 44 games for the Astros in 1971, 1973 and 1974, hitting .153/.209/.200.

RHP Mike Stanton (62)
Drafted by Houston in the first round in 1973, Stanton pitched in only seven games for the Astros in 1975 with a 7.27 ERA and a 2.308 WHIP. He went on to pitch for Cleveland, Seattle and the White Sox with a career 4.61 ERA and 1.509 WHIP.

RHP Ron Mathis (56)
Originally drafted by Detroit in the 30th round in 1980, Mathis came to Houston as a free agent in May of 1982. In 31 games for the Astros in 1985 and 1987, he was 3-6 with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.598 WHIP.

RHP David Weathers (45)
A third round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 1988, Weathers came to Houston as a part of the June 2004 trade with the Mets for Richard Hidalgo. He pitched in 26 games that season with a 1-4 record, a 4.78 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP. In all, Weathers spent 19 seasons in the major leagues playing for nine different teams. He won a World Series with the Yankees in 1996.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Birthday - 9/24

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jake Buchanan (25)
Drafted in the eighth round in 2010 out of North Carolina State, Buchanan made his major league debut on June 21st. In 16 appearances (two starts) for the Astros this season, he has a 1-3 record with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP. In 16 games (15 starts) for the AAA Oklahoma City team, he had a 7-5 record with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.257 WHIP. He walked only 16 batters (one intentional) in 88.1 innings for the RedHawks.

Alyson Footer (?)
Although Alyson isn't technically a part of our Astros family anymore, the scarlet-tressed goddess will always hold a special place in our hearts. Happy Birthday, Alyson!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Birthday - 9/23

Happy Birthday to ~

C Brett Clements (24)
A graduate of Nova Southeastern, Clements signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2013. He appeared in 15 games with the Greeneville Astros, hitting .116/.220/.140.

OF Ruben Sosa (24)
This switch-hitter from the Dominican Republic was drafted in the 23rd round in 2011 out of Oklahoma City University. Sosa split his season between Lancaster (40 games), Corpus Christi (50 games) and Oklahoma City (26 games) and hit a combined .257/.340/.402 with 18 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs, 47 RBI and 39 stolen bases.

Three former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

RHP Oscar Zamora (70)
Zamora signed with Houston as a free agent prior to the 1978 season and pitched in 10 games with a 7.20 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP.

C Terry McGriff (51)
Originally drafted by the Reds in the eighth round in 1981, McGriff came to Houston in an August 1990 trade and played in only four games for the Astros in which he went hitless.

RHP Pete Harnisch (48)
A first round pick by Baltimore in 1987, Harnisch came to Houston as part of the Glenn Davis trade with the Orioles (along with Steve Finley and Curt Schilling) in January of 1991. In 117 starts from 1991 through 1994, he was 45-33 with ten complete games, six shut-outs, a 3.41 ERA and a 1.205 WHIP. Harnisch was named to the All-Star team for Houston in 1991. His best season was 1993 when he compiled a 16-9 record and threw two one-hitters.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Oklahoma City RedHawks Season in Review

In my ongoing season reviews of the various Astros minor league teams, today we'll look at the AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks.

The team finished with a 74-70 record (.514 win percentage) and was tied for second place in the division, two and a half games out of first.

Oklahoma City Team Batting
.283 BA - 6th out of 16 teams
.356 OBP - 4th
.417 SLG - 10th

Oklahoma City Team Pitching
4.19 ERA - 4th
1.36 WHIP - 4th
1089 SO - 10th
454 BB - 11th

Yet again, I was woefully wrong in my prediction for this team's record to end the season. Their win-loss record did not come close to my eternally optimistic speculation. However, I was correct in my assumption that they would be better across the board in ERA, WHIP, BA, OBP and SLG over the team's 2013 numbers.

Now, on to individual achievements. Below I am indicating the player's current age as well as information as to how many years the player has been playing. I won't be including any players who spent substantial time with the major league club during the season.


Carlos Perez - 23; 7th season
Perez was one of the 10 players who changed hands in the July 2012 trade between Houston and the Blue Jays. An above average defensive catcher, Perez hit .259/.323/.385 with 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 88 games. He walked 29 times and struck out 54 times. In 74 games behind the dish, Perez had a 32% caught stealing rate.

Max Stassi - 23; 6th season
Stassi received his call-up back to Houston after the RedHawks season concluded, spending his entire season in Oklahoma City prior to that. In 101 games, he hit .247/.296/.378 with 20 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 45 RBI, walking 22 times and striking out 103 times. On paper, I would characterize his work in 72 games behind the plate as average to slightly above average; his 26% caught stealing rate keeps me from rating him higher, particularly considering some of the other very strong defensive catchers in the system. Stassi came to the Astros system in the February 2013 trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland.


3B/2B/SS Jio Mier - (24; 6th season)
Mier seems to have gotten a second wind after his promotion to Oklahoma City in July. In 41 games with the RedHawks, he hit .250/.348/.310 as opposed to his .216/.281/.302 batting line with Corpus Christi in the first 79 games of the season. In 120 total games, he collected 16 doubles, four home runs, 35 RBI and 37 walks, while striking out 89 times. Mier was the Astros first round draft pick in 2009. He also held his own defensively as he spent significant time at third base and second base for the first time in his professional career.

2B/3B/DH Joe Sclafani - 24; 3rd season
Drafted by Houston in the 14th round in 2012, Sclafani had a very good season at the plate between his first 36 games in Corpus Christi (.285/.333/.361) and his final 62 games in Oklahoma City (.339/.420/438). In the 98 games combined, Sclafani hit seven doubles, three triples and two home runs, walking 26 times to 27 strikeouts. Drafted as a middle infielder, his defense is much stronger at second base than it is at third base. He is a switch-hitter who hits better from the left side of the plate, but also has solid numbers as a right-handed bat.

1B/3B Matt Duffy - 25; 4th season
Duffy played in 136 games this season, second in the system to only Preston Tucker, and his time was evenly split between first base and third base. He was very solid defensively at both positions. Duffy started his season at Corpus Christi (49 games), hitting .302/.340/.455 before earning his promotion to Oklahoma City in late May. In 87 games for the RedHawks, he hit .279/.333/.448. For the season, he collected 22 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, 84 RBI and walked 28 times while striking out 106 times. Duffy was the Astros 20th round draft pick in 2011.

2B Ronald Torreyes - 22 (as of 9/2): 5th season
Torreyes played far more games at second base than any other position, but did get his hand in at third base, short, left field and center field as well and provided solid defense at all of those positions. In 126 games for Oklahoma City this season, he hit .298/.345/.376 with 20 doubles, five triples, two home runs and 46 RBI. He snagged 12 bases and was caught in the act nine times. Torreyes was also one of the hardest outs in the system as he struck out only 26 times while walking 25 times. Originally from Venezuela, Torreyes came to the Astros system from the Cubs in 2013 in exchange for two international bonus slots.


Preston Tucker - 24; 3rd season
Drafted by Houston in the 7th round in 2012, Tucker appeared in 65 games with Corpus Christi and was promoted a couple of days after he hit two home runs in a showcase game against the Missions in Minute Maid Park. He played in another 73 at Oklahoma City, and his 138 total games led the system. For the season, the lefty hit .282/.352/.481 with 35 doubles, 24 home runs and 94 RBI, walking 57 times and striking out 120 times. Although Tucker played a handful of games at first base, he spent the vast majority of his time in right field and left field, and has progressed nicely with his defensive skills.

Andrew Aplin - 23; 3rd season
The fifth round 2012 draft pick played in 98 games for Corpus Christi before receiving an August 1st promotion to Oklahoma City for his last 28 games of the season. Splitting his time between right field and center field, he continued to show off his impressive defensive skills and collected 15 outfield assists for the season. At the plate, the lefty hit a combined .265/.372/.345 with 14 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 65 RBI and 26 stolen bases (caught 11 times). He also walked (80 times) more than he struck out (71 times).

Domingo Santana - 22; 6th season
Aside from two very brief (and forgettable) stints in Houston, Santana played the rest of his season at Oklahoma City, hitting .296/.384/.474 with 27 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 81 RBI in 120 games. He walked 64 times and struck out 149 times. Santana held his own defensively, splitting his time between right field and left field. Santana, from the Dominican Republic, came to the Astros system as the PTBNL in the Hunter Pence trade.

Ruben Sosa - 23; 4th season
A switch-hitter, Sosa played in 40 games at Lancaster, 50 games in Corpus Christi and his final 26 games in Oklahoma City. Sosa played a few games at second base, but was used primarily in left field, putting up decent defensive numbers. For the season, he hit .257/.340/.402 with 18 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs, 47 RBI and 39 stolen bases (caught stealing 10 times). In 116 games, he struck out 103 times while walking 46 times. Sosa was drafted by the Astros in the 23rd round in 2011.


Rudy Owens - 26; 8th season
Owens made one spot start in Houston, but otherwise spent his entire season with Oklahoma City, leading the Astros minor league system in innings pitched only a year removed from a season-ending foot injury in early 2013. Owens appeared in 25 games (21 starts) with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP for the season, and 35 walks to 105 strikeouts in 140.2 innings. He had a terrific final month of the season as he went 3-0 in 6 starts (40 innings) with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.100 WHIP. Batters hit .217 against him for the month. Owens, a 26th round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2006, came to the Astros system in the July 2012 Wandy Rodriguez trade.

Tommy Shirley - 25; 5th season
A 9th round draft pick in 2010, Shirley started his season with Corpus Christi. In 17 games (13 starts) for the Hooks, he had a very stingy 1.88 ERA and 0.927 WHIP leading to his early July promotion. After three starts in Oklahoma City, he was relegated to bullpen duties for his next 10 appearances, presumably due to the large increase in workload from the prior season. When all was said and done, he ended the season with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP, striking out 100 batters while walking 32 in 117.1 innings pitched.

Luis Cruz - 24 (as of 9/10); 7th season
Drafted by the Astros in the 9th round in 2008 out of Puerto Rico, Cruz spent the majority of his seaason with Corpus Christi before being promoted to OKC in early August. In 21 appearances (17 starts) with the Hooks, Cruz had a 3.14 ERA, a 1.106 and held batters to a .231 average. After five starts for the RedHawks, he ended the season with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.243 WHIP. In 124.2 inning, he issued 38 walks while striking out 118.

Patrick Urckfitz - 26; 7th season
Urckfitz pitched out of the bullpen in Corpus Chrisit for 22 games and in Oklahoma City for 25 games, ending the season with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.323 WHIP. Predominantly a ground ball pitcher, he walked 20 batters and struck out 42 in 53.2 innings. He was more adept at keeping righties in check when he pitched for the Hooks than he was after the promotion. Urckfitz was a non-drafted free agent signed by the Astros in 2008.


Nick Tropeano - 24; 4th season
Until Tropeano's call-up after the minor league season had concluded, he spent his entire 2014 season in Oklahoma City, putting up some of the best numbers in the Pacific Coast League. In 23 games (20 starts), the 5th round 2011 draft pick went 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA and a 0.987 WHIP while holding hitters to a .203 batting average. In 124.2 innings, he walked 33 batters and struck out 120. Tropeano missed approximately a month on the DL in the middle of the season.

Asher Wojciechowski - 25; 5th season
Wojo got a late start to his season as he battled back from injury. In a total of 15 games (14 starts), he compiled a 4-4 record with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.447 WHIP. However, he was coming on strong at the end of the season; in six starts in August, he was 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.115 WHIP. A first round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2010, Wojciechowski came to the Astros system in the July 2012 10-player trade with that team.

Jason Stoffel - 26 (as of 9/15); 6th season
Stoffel was the workhorse of the RedHawks bullpen, appearing in a system-leading 54 games. In 64.2 innings of work, Stoffel was 5-4 with 11 saves, a 3.20 ERA, a 1.485 WHIP and he walked 28 batters (six intentionally) to 68 strikeouts. Stoffel was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round in 2009 and came to the Houston system in the July 2011 Jeff Keppinger trade.

Richard Rodriguez - 24; 5th season
Rodriguez was moved up and down a bit this season, and spent time in Lancaster (seven appearances) and Corpus Christi (11 games) before landing in Oklahoma City permanently in July. In a total of three stints with Oklahoma City, Rodriguez was 2-0 with a 3.49 ERA and a 0.882 WHIP in 16 games. For the season, he had a 3.62 ERA, a 1.006 WHIP and walked 10 batters while striking out 67 in 59.2 innings. Rodriguez is from the Dominican Republic.

Jorge de Leon - 27; 9th season (5th season as a pitcher)
After spending some of last August in the Houston bullpen, de Leon found himself back in Corpus Christi to start the season. After 15 appearances, he was promoted to Oklahoma City where he spent the remainder of the season prior to his post-season callup back to the big league club. In 46 total appearances, he had a 3.01 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP, walking 23 and striking out 61 in 68.2 innings. De Leon is from the Dominican Republic.

Next up will be the final installment in the series on the Lancaster team.

Earlier season reviews ~

Happy Birthday - 9/22

Happy Birthday ~

LHP Alejandro Solarte (20)
Solarte came to the Astros system in a trade with the Blue Jays organization for Adron Chambers earlier this year. The young Venezuelan lefty is in his third professional season. In 17 bullpen appearances with the Gulf Coast League Astros this season, Solarte was 2-1 with one save, a 4.88 ERA and a 1.792 WHIP.

SS Carlos Correa (20)
The number one overall pick from the 2012 draft was doing swimmingly at High A Lancaster and was likely headed for a promotion to Corpus Christi shortly when he suffered a broken fibula on June 21st which required surgery and which, obviously, derailed the remainder of his season. In 62 games with the JetHawks, he hit .325/.416/.510 with 16 doubles, six triples, six home runs, 57 RBI, 20 stolen bases (four caught stealing), and 36 walks to 45 strikeouts.

OF Jordan Scott (23)
Drafted in the 14th round in 2010 out of Riverside High School in South Carolina, Scott was having a successful season with Lancaster when he suffered a thumb injury that ended up requiring surgery. Before he was shut down for the season, he hit .297/.355/.439 with 13 doubles, seven triples and one home run in 58 games at Lancaster.

RHP Luis Ordosgoitti (22)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2009, Ordosgoitti spent the 2014 season with Tri-City. In 14 games (nine starts), he had a 4.53 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP. He walked 19 while striking out 53 in 59.2 innings pitched.

Outfield/Baserunning Coach Vince Coleman (53)
Coleman, the former All-Star outfielder for the Cardinals and perennial league stolen base leader, just finished his second season with the Astros organization working with players on their outfield and baserunning skills.

Three former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

RHP Larry Dierker (68)
Dierker signed with the Colt .45's prior to the 1964 season and made his major league debut on his 18th birthday that same year. Dierker pitched in 345 games for the Colt .45's and Astros from 1964 to 1976 with a 137-117 record, a 3.28 ERA and a 1.214 WHIP. He was a two-time All-Star for Houston. He also managed the Astros from 1997 to 2001, compiling a 435-348 record and being named the National League Manager of the Year in 1998.

LF Jeffrey Leonard (59)
Leonard came to Houston in a September 1978 trade with Los Angeles and played in 237 games for the Astros until his trade to the Giants in April 1981. During that time, he hit .265/.329/.349. He came in second in Rookie of the Year voting to Rick Sutcliffe and made the All-Star team for both the Giants and the Mariners. Probably the most awesome thing about Leonard is that he has three nicknames listed on Baseball-Reference: HacMan, One Flap Down and Penitentiary Face.

RF Charlton Jimerson (35)
A fifth round draft pick by Houston in 2001, Jimerson played in 18 games for Houston in 2005 and 2006 hitting .333/.333/.833 in six plate appearances.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Birthday - 9/21

No future Astros with birthdays today, but several former Astros mark the day ~

OF Art Gardner (62)
A second round pick by the Astros in 1971, Gardner played for Houston in 1975 and in 1977. In 79 games, he hit .167/.216/.167.

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

C Troy Afenir (51)
A first round pick by Houston in 1983, Afenir played in only 10 games for the Astros in 1987 before being included in an April 1989 trade to Oakland. In those 10 games, he hit .300/.300/.350.

RHP Manuel Barrios (40)
Signed as a free agent in January 1993, Barrios played in only two games for the Astros in 1997 with rather inauspicious results. His entire major league career consisted of 6.2 innings pitched for three different teams with a 6.75 ERA and a 2.550 WHIP.

RHP Billy Sadler (33)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the sixth round in 2003, Sadler signed as a free agent with Houston in August 2009 and pitched 1.1 innings in one game for Houston in 2009 with forgettable results.

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