Saturday, November 1, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Friday, October 31, 2014

*For convenience's sake, I will include the scores for the next day's ABL games. With the massive time zone difference and all...


Salt River 8, Scottsdale 6

W- Jason Adam (1-0)
L- Clayton Blackburn (1-1)
S- Ken Roberts (1)

Salt River HRs by Astros players: None.

The Rafters jumped out to a 5-3 lead, then they briefly lost it after the Scorpions struck for 3 in the top of the 5th, but they were able to recover by scoring 3 unanswered for the victory.

Mark Appel got the start for Salt River and allowed 6 runs (5 earned, 3 inherited runners charged to him) on 5 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2 over 4+ innings. Mitch Lambson was the first reliever out for the Rafters; he allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 over 1.2 scoreless, but all 3 runners that he inherited from Appel also scored.

On the position player side of things, Andrew Aplin was part of a Rafters lineup that saw everyone get a hit; he finished 2-3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored.

Today is the Fall-Stars Game; this game will be taking place at Salt River Fields at 5:08 Mountain. The Rafters will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Mesa.


Brisbane 6, Adelaide 5

W- Ryan Searle (1-0)
L- Morgan Coombs (0-1)

Adelaide HRs by Astros players: Chan-Jong Moon (1, solo in 5th)

The Bite fell behind 5-2 after the 5th, and they were able to mount a late rally to make it a 1-run game, but.... no cigar. Chan-Jong Moon only had 1 hit in 5 at-bats, but it was a solo shot in the 5th.

Tyler Brunnemann made his debut Down Under in the 8th inning. He walked Maxx Tissenbaum to lead off the inning, and he wound up scoring on an error that allowed Andrew Campbell to reach. Naturally, that run was unearned. Bruno struck out 2 and caught Campbell stealing 2nd base.

Tomorrow (this) afternoon, the Bite and Bandits will conclude their season-opening series at 1:00 Australian Eastern.


Zulia 8, Caracas 7

W- Sergio Perez (2-0)
L- Boone Whiting (0-2)
S- Leonel Campos (1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

It was a mixed bag for Astros players in the capital. First, Gregorio Petit was given the boot in the 3rd inning after he struck out looking to end the frame, and he obviously did not agree with that call. Incoming Astros hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who is currently managing Leones, also saw his night come to an end early after he got tossed in the 5th.

On the other hand, Danry Vásquez finished 2-4 with an RBI triple in the 7th, scored 3 times, and had an outfield assist as Carlos Moncrief was thrown out at the plate. Carlos Perez finished 1-2 and drew 2 walks.

Caracas will now head up to the coast, where they'll take on La Guaira to begin a brief weekend roadtrip. First pitch is at 6:00 Venezuelan time.


Caribes 3, Caracas 0

W- Joyce Linares (1-0)
L- Luis Bastardo (2-1)
S- Jesus Ramirez (1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

Nestor Tejada struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 7th for Caracas.

The Liga Paralela resumes action on Monday.


Toros 10, Estrellas 4

W- Jose Valdez (1-0)
L- Jailen Peguero (0-1)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.

The Bulls of the East busted this game open with 5 in the 6th and 2 more in the 7th to push their lead to 10-3. Teoscar Hernandez finished 2-5 with an RBI infield single in the 6th inning.

Toros will now head up to Cibao to face Águilas. First pitch is at 7:30 Atlantic.

Gigantes 10, Águilas 5

W- Scott Alexander (3-0)
L- Amaury Rivas (0-1)

Gigantes took Round 2 in the Cibao derby as they put up 5 in the 5th to take a 7-2 lead. They never looked back.

Jandel Gustave worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 9th for Gigantes.

Gigantes will travel to Santo Domingo to take on Licey at 5:00 Atlantic, while Águilas hosts Toros.

Licey 6, Escogido 3

W- Manny Delcarmen (1-0)
L- Ryan Tepera (0-1)

Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

The Tigers turned the tide of this game with a 4-run 8th.

Ruben Sosa came on as a pinch-runner for Licey in the 8th and scored on an infield single. Sosa then hit a double that scored Jhonatan Solano, but a missed catch error prevented him from being credited with an RBI.

Licey will host Gigantes in the early LIDOM game. First pitch is at 5:00 Atlantic.


Jalisco 1, Los Mochis 0

W- Marco Tovar (2-0)
L- Oscar Verdugo (2-1)
S- Brian Broderick (6)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: None.

Jalisco topped Los Mochis in a low-scoring affair. Leo Heras was 0-1 with a walk, and Japhet Amador went 0-3.

The series continues at 6:00 Mountain.


Santurce 2, Carolina 0

W- Jorge Martinez (1-0)
L- Hector Santiago (0-1)
S- Jon Velasquez (1)

Santurce HRs by Astros players: None.
Carolina HRs by Astros players: None.

Delino DeShields left the game after he was hit by a pitch in the 1st.

Carlos Corporán went 1-3, and Jobduan Morales was 0-3 for Carolina. The Giants were held to just 3 hits in this game.

Carolina will face Mayagüez, while Santurce will host San Juan in a local derby. Both games will start at 7:30 Atlantic.

Astros Arizona Fall League Game 22 Eyewitness Report

Wallee has the latest from the Arizona Fall League as he recounts a Halloween Halloweird game fraught with more frights than a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie marathon!


Though I missed it, apparently a few of the players dressed up in Halloween costumes for the cameras during early morning warmups … for Astros fans, though, the most frightening moment of the day came after the umpire yelled ‘play ball’ – it was a scary display that we’ll hopefully not see repeated after the Fall(en) Stars game Saturday.

Mark Appel started and his first two innings were largely uneventful … vintage Appel – K, K, 6-3 and 3U, F-8, Single, F-9. It was at this point that the evil Astros made their appearance … and it started so promisingly – Andrew Aplin laid down a first-pitch bunt and advanced to second on the pitcher’s throwing error.

I don’t know if the Salt River Rafter’s manager, Andy Haines, gave Andrew the steal sign or if Aplin decided to take third on his own … but he was out by the old-timey country mile, and for the third time in seven tries this fall – it may be time for either Andy or Andrew to rethink this thing because were it not for the defensive incompetence of the whole Scottsdale team Andrew might have run the Rafters out of the inning.

Someone wearing the uniform of Mark Appel took the mound in the top of the third with a sweet 3-0 cushion and promptly made a mess of it … triple, single, base on balls, fly out, base on balls, error, sac fly and finally, blessedly, a force at second to end the inning. In his previous outing I mentioned that Mark was upset with what was happening around him and it was reflected in his pitching … perhaps, I was wrong, and Appel's frustration stems from his struggles to be effective out of the stretch. That certainly would help make sense out of his troubles in the California League. Hooda thunk it?

The Rafters picked up Mark in the bottom of the inning … Aplin drew a walk behind D-back Peter O’Brien’s single and followed the big fellow home on a double by Appel’s battery mate today, Chris O’Dowd. On a related note, catcher Tyler Heineman, whose picture has been on milk cartons around the Valley since the second week of the AFL, has been allowed to go enjoy a little California beach time … Tyler has been on an AFL-type DL with an eye infection – I saw Joe Sclafani in uniform in the dugout today so I suspect Joe is now off the ‘Taxi Squad’ and can participate more fully in the proceedings from here on out.

Appel zipped through the fourth without any drama – meaning base runners – and we moved into the fifth, and normally last, inning for Mark clinging to a 5-3 lead … and that’s when the fellow impersonating Appel came out to throw again. Single, single, base on balls … and Mark was through for the day. But wait, there’s hope … Mitch Lambson is called out of the ‘pen for a classic lefty-on-lefty matchup … first pitch single, run scores. Dante Bichette, Jr, a right-handed hitter, singles on a 1-1 pitch and two more runs are in … all three of these runs are charged to Mark Appel, who finishes with a forgettable line I’ll leave to Dustin to disclose. A strikeout and a double play ends the inning and, viola, Lambson records a perfect inning … Halloween-style.

Once again, however, the Rafters come back to pull Mark and Mitch’s fat from the fire … that’s just an expression fellas. With one out in the bottom of the fifth Aplin singles again, moves to second on an out and scores on a single to tie the game at 6-6 … the Rafters add singletons in the sixth and eighth and win the game 8-6. But nothing I will see Halloween night will be nearly as frightening as the performance I witnessed this afternoon … burn the film and bury the ashes – oh, that’s right, everything is digital these days. Then burn those digitals and bury them.

~ Wallee Wright ~

Happy Birthday - 11/1

Happy Birthday to ~

3B Jonathan Meyer (24)
Drafted as a third round supplemental pick in 2009 out of high school in California, Meyer split his 2014 season between the Oklahoma City team and the Corpus Christi team, hitting a combined .215/.274/.280 with 13 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 51 RBI over 120 games.

RHP Frederick Tiburcio (24)
A non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, Tiburcio pitched all but one of his games for Quad Cities (with a spot appearance in Oklahoma City). In 28 bullpen appearances, he was 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP and seven saves.

RHP Anthony Bass (27)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the fifth round in 2008, Bass came to Houston in a trade for Astros Rule 5 pick Patrick Schuster. In 21 bullpen appearances for the Astros, he was 1-1 with a 6.33 ERA, 1.444 WHIP and two saves. In the minors, he was 0-2 with a 2.66 ERA, a 1.131 WHIP and one save in 17 appearances.

Three former Astros mark the day as well ~

RHP Rhiner Cruz (28)
Initially signed by the Tigers as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, Cruz was drafted from the Mets in the December 2011 Rule 5 draft. In 72 appearances for the Astros in 2012 and 2013, Cruz was 1-3 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.703 WHIP. He most recently played for Rakuten in the Japan Pacific League.

RHP Russ Kemmerer (83)
Kemmerer came to Houston in a trade with the White Sox in June 1962. In a total of 53 appearances for the Colt .45's in 1962 and 1963, he was 5-3 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.366 WHIP.

OF Howie Goss (died July 31, 1996 at 61)
Goss came to Houston from the Pirates in April 1963 and played in 133 games for the 1963 Colt .45's with a .209/.264/.328.

Tweets of the Day

Friday, October 31, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Thursday, October 30, 2014 (and one from today, too)

Happy Opening Day in Puerto Rico and Australia! The Fall and Winter League Rosters page has now been updated to include Astros players playing in Puerto Rico and Down Under.


Surprise 5, Salt River 4

W- Aaron Kurcz (1-0)
L- Kaleb Fleck (0-1)
S- Brandon Alger (2)

Salt River HRs by Astros players: None.

The Saguaros surprised the Rafters (OK, I'll stop) with 2 in the top of the 9th to take the lead, and eventually, they got the win. Austin Nola was the only Rafter to get on base against Kurcz and Alger, and that was after Kurcz hit him.

Rio Ruiz went 0-2, but he made his mark on the proceedings with 2 sac flies in the 2nd and the 4th. Andrew Aplin went 0-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Salt River will be the late game again. They'll host Scottsdale; whose mascot is actually the Scorpions. Not the Saguaros, which I erroneously stated yesterday. First pitch is 6:35 Mountain.


Adelaide 8, Brisbane 3

W- Matthew Williams (1-0)
L- Steven Chambers (0-1)

Adelaide HRs by Astros players: None.

The Bite opened up the 2014 ABL campaign with a nice road win, scoring the game's final 8 runs. Chan-Jong Moon got the start at shortstop and hit 1st, finishing 1-5 with a double and a run scored.

Result for Friday, October 31, 2014

Adelaide 23, Brisbane 3

W- Josh Tols (1-0)
L- Justin Staatz (0-1)

Adelaide HRs by Astros players: None.
Brisbane HRs by Astros players: Connor MacDonald (1, solo in 6th)

Adelaide really took a Bite out of the Bandits (feel free to roll your eyes on that one too) on Halloween as they scored in 7 of their 9 innings, paced by Mitch Dening's 3 homers. Chan-Jong Moon finished 2-5 with a couple of walks and 3 runs scored.

Connor MacDonald provided a bit of a silver lining for Brisbane with a solo homer in the 6th. He came on as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning.

Tomorrow (or tonight, I guess), the Bite and Bandits play game 3 of this season-opening 4-game set at 7:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time. Queensland, which is where Brisbane is located, is on Standard Time year-round; they, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory are the only locations in Australia that do not observe Daylight Saving time.


Caribes 6, Caracas 2

W- Jack Snodgrass (2-0)
L- Albert Suarez (1-1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

The capital club was held to just 2 hits, and 4 errors wound up dooming them. Danry Vásquez went 0-1 with a couple of walks and scored a run, while Gregorio Petit was 0-2 with a walk.

Caracas will conclude their homestand tonight as Zulia comes to the capital. First pitch is at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Caribes 13, Navegantes 4

W- Edwin Villarroel (2-0)
L- Richard Reina (0-2)

The Caribes offense gave Edwin Villarroel a boost as they busted out for 5 in the 5th. Villarroel went 5.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 8 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4.

Later this morning, Caribes will face Caracas. First pitch is at 11:00 AM Venezuelan time.


Licey 7, Águilas 6

W- Warner Madrigal (1-0)
L- Tony Peña (0-1)

Licey HRs by Astros players: None.
Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.

Licey tied the game with a bases-clearing triple in the 7th and walked off with the win thanks to Elmer Reyes' single in the bottom of the 9th. Sosa entered the game as a pinch-runner in the 7th and remained in the game at LF. He singled with 1 out in the 9th and eventually came around to score the winning run.

For Águilas, Jonathan Villar went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Tonight, Águilas will take on Gigantes in Round 2 of the Cibao derby, while Licey will travel to take on Escogido in the battle of Santo Domingo. Both games will begin at 7:30 Atlantic.


Navojoa 6, Culiacán 1

W- Jose Oyervidez (1-0)
L- Rodrigo Lopez (0-1)

Culiacán was held to just 3 hits. Gonzalo Sañudo worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 7th.

The Tomato Growers will host Hermosillo for the weekend. First pitch is at 7:30 Mountain.


Caguas 7, Mayagüez 3

W- Derek Blacksher (1-0)
L- Eliecer Navarro (0-1)

Caguas HRs by Astros players: None.

Caguas scored the game's first 7 runs as they took care of business in the Puerto Rican season opener. Roberto Peña got the start at catcher for Caguas and finished 1-4 with a double.

Both of these teams will play each other again, only this time, the game will be in Caguas. First pitch is at 7:30 Atlantic.

Astros Arizona Fall League Game 21 Eyewitness Report

Hmmmm, it's not a full moon, but according to Wallee Wright's eyewitness account of Salt River's 5-4 loss last night, a little lunar lunacy would have helped explain some of the action.


The Surprise Saguaros made it abundantly clear from the outset that they do not like The Salt River Rafters even a little bit … perhaps the Rafters 4-0 record going into tonight’s game had something to do with it, but the baiting and derisive cheering by the opposing bullpens made it clear to everyone that this was no ordinary game.

What involvement can a bullpen have in the conduct of the game, you ask … you see, the ‘pens at Salt River field have chicken wire fascia and are located inside the foul lines so the pitching staff not going tonight was all but seated on the field of play – and both ‘pens were raucous from the get-go. Perhaps that is why Andrew Aplin misplayed the first fly ball of the evening into a double that eventually led to one of two runs in the top of the first.

The Rockies Jayson Aquino started for the Rafters and essentially threw BP for five innings … the Rafter outfielders pretty much played the first three innings on the warning track – but Aquino has now thrown sixteen innings, giving up sixteen hits including three of eight tonight for extra bases, and yet has a 2-0 record with a 3.38 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Key to Jayson successfully dodging these bullets is his not giving up walks … just like the coaches keep telling you.

The Padres’ Mallex Smith is a 5’9”, 170 pound bolt of lightning on the base paths, making even sharply struck grounders a potential base hit with his speed … but baseball is more than running fast - you need to do little things like check in with the third base coach as you round second base. On the ball Andrew misplayed to start the game Smith wheeled into second base as Aplin attempted to corner the ball, and just stopped … Delino DeShields Sr was making like a windmill at third but by the time Mallex finally looked in that direction as he stood on second, Aplin was throwing the ball in to the cutoff man. The next batter fouled of a bunt attempt with Smith running on the play, but poor Mallex had made it all the way to third before time was called … I told you he was fast. Whereupon DeShields forcefully explained the concept of looking to the third base coach for guidance when rounding second – so forcefully, in fact, that Rio Ruiz felt compelled to pat Mallex on the butt as he made his way back to second.

Rio Ruiz drove in two runs this evening with one-out sacrifice flies … and was robbed of a base hit by a sensational play by the seventeen-year-old shortstop Michael DeLeon, who then doubled Peter O’Brien off second. Rio had an odd evening in the field as well, whiffing on a ball down the line in the second or third inning, then making a sensational backhand stop on Cincinnati’s top prospect Jesse Winkler and turning it into an around-the-horn double play to end the fifth … the second such double play to bail Aquino out of an inning tonight.

Andrew Aplin was similarly robbed in the bottom of the inning by San Diego’s Jace Peterson … Peterson laid out, completely airborne, to snag a scorched ball headed to centerfield. This evening was likely very frustrating to Andrew on another score … he was the target of an inordinate amount of noise from the Saguaro bullpen this evening. I don’t know if it was Andrew, personally, that was the target or the fact he was in right field directly in front of the chicken wire … or maybe there were a couple of University of Arizona grads seizing the opportunity to stick it to a Sun Devil – like I said, it was clear early on that something was going on between these two team.

Salt River led into the ninth inning when Kaleb Fleck of the home town D-backs came on to close it out … he promptly gave up 800 feet of fly balls, one of which left the yard to tie the game. Then, with the bases loaded, the lightning bolt Smith sprinted home with what would be the winner on a ground ball to Rio Ruiz … Rio’s only play was the force at third and that was the game as the Rafters went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth - Fleck has now closed two and blown two in four chances.

~ Wallee Wright ~

Happy Birthday - 10/31

Happy Birthday to ~

2B Tony Kemp (23)
Drafted by Houston in the fifth round in 2013 out of Vanderbilt, Kemp split his 2014 season between Lancaster (72 games) and Corpus Christi (59 games), hitting a combined .301/.396/.413 with 30 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs, 58 RBI, 41 stolen bases (13 caught stealing) and 73 walks to 67 strikeouts.

SS Ozziel Sanchez (17)
Sanchez was signed out of Panama during the 2014 international signing period and has not played in his first professional game at this time.

Three former Astros mark the day as well ~

C John "Pork Chop" Hoffman (died December 27, 2001 at 58)
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Colt .45's in 1963, Hoffman played in only eight games for the Colt .45's and the Astros in 1964 and 1965, hitting .143/.182/.143. And that was the sum total of his major league career.

C Ed Taubensee (46)
Originally drafted by the Reds in the sixth round in 1986, Taubensee came to Houston in a December 1991 trade with Cleveland. In 203 games for the Astros from 1992 to 1994, he hit .234/.296/.351. According to Baseball-Reference, he was:
Nicknamed "The Model" because of the way he strutted his stuff on the runway when the Astros revealed their new uniforms in 1994.
LHP Tim Byrdak (41)
A fifth round pick by Kansas City in 1994, he signed with Houston as a free agent in April 2008. In 199 games for the Astros from 2008 to 2010, he was 5-5 with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.345 WHIP. According to Baseball-Reference, while pitching for the Mets in 2012:
[H]e was leading the National League in games pitched with 56 when he announced on August 9th that he would need to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder.
Byrdak made it back to pitch for the Mets in September 2013 for eight games before retiring at the end of the 2013 season.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Update on the 2009 Astros Draft Class

Over the last few weeks, we've been looking back at some of the Astros draft classes to see where things stand. Today we'll look at 2009, the second class from the Ed Wade/Bobby Heck era. Let's look at the numbers:

51 players drafted
36 players signed (only one out of the top 26 picks did not sign)
5 players still in the Astros system
21 players still active in organized baseball in 2014*

26 position players drafted/19 signed/3 still in the system
10 from high school/6 signed/3 still in the system
4 from junior college/2 signed/0 still in the system
12 from college/11 signed/0 still in the system

25 pitchers drafted/17 signed/2 still in the system
9 from high school/3 signed/1 still in the system
1 from junior college/1 signed/0 still in the system
15 from college/13 signed/1 still in the system

*Of the 21 players who were still active in baseball in 2014, nine are players who did not sign with Houston, but later signed with other teams, five were released (Wikoff, Hyatt, Castro, Williams and Martinez), two were traded (Hernandez and Goebbert), and five are left in the system from the original draft (Mier, Nash, Meyer, Keuchel and Rivera).

Here is a little on each of them. Active Astros players are in bold. The position shown is the position at which the player was drafted, and I have also indicated in parentheses whether they were drafted out of high school (HS), junior college (JC) or college (C).

1. SS Jiovanni Mier (HS)

Mier split his 2014 season between AA Corpus Christi (.216/.281/.302 in 79 games) and AAA Oklahoma City (.250/.348/.310 in 42 games).

2. RHP Tanner Bushue (HS) - Retired in 2013

Bushue retired at the end of the 2013 season after pitching in the Astros system for five seasons. He had a career ERA of 4.99 and a WHIP of 1.391.

3. OF Telvin Nash (HS)

Nash spent his 2014 season with the Hooks, hitting .227/.330/.484 with four doubles, 22 home runs and 49 RBI in 84 games. He was used primarily at first base and as a designated hitter.

3s. 3B Jonathan Meyer (HS)

Meyer started the season at Oklahoma City and finished it at Corpus Christi, hitting a combined .215/.274/.280 with 13 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 51 RBI.

4. RHP B.J. Hyatt (JC) - Released in 2013

Hyatt played in only eight games (19.1 innings) in 2009 (8.84 ERA and 2.172 WHIP) before spending the next three seasons on the DL. He was released in June 2013 and went on to play independent ball in 2013 and 2014 with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.673 WHIP.

5. SS Brandon Wikoff (C) - Released in 2014

Wikoff played in the system from 2009 through 2013 and was released in March of 2014. In his final two seasons, he missed a lot of time due to injuries, including injuries suffered in a car accident during Spring Training in 2013. After his release, he played independent ball in 2014. He has a lifetime batting line of .270/.346/.300.

6. SS Enrique "Kiké" Hernandez (HS) - Traded in 2014

Hernandez segued into a second baseman and later a utility player prior to making his MLB debut for the Astros on July 1, 2014. He was traded later that month, along with Jarred Cosart and Austin Wates, for Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, Colin Moran and a 2015 compensatory pick. He has a minor league career batting line of .273/.328/.402 in 512 games and a major league career line of .248/.321/.421 in 42 games.

7. LHP Dallas Keuchel (C)

Keuchel is in his third season in the majors, having made his debut on June 17, 2012. He came into his own in 2014, going 12-9 with a 2.93 ERA, a 1.175 WHIP, five complete games and is a finalist for a Gold Glove.

8. RHP Brandt Walker (C) - Released in 2012

Walker pitched in the system in 2009 and 2010 and then spent 2011 on the DL before being released in March 2012. He has a lifetime ERA of 7.14 and a WHIP of 1.882.

9. SS Ben Orloff (C) - Retired in 2013

Orloff put up a .283/.363/.329 batting line in 355 games over five seasons before voluntarily retiring in June 2013 to become an assistant coach for his alma mater, U.C. Irvine.

10. 3B Erik Castro (C) - Released in 2014

Castro played in the Houston system from 2009 until his release in June 2014 (missing the 2010 season to injury) and then played independent ball until he was picked up by the Braves organization in mid-August. In a total of 459 games over five seasons played, he has a line of .271/.362/.456, playing the bulk of his games at first base.

11. C Bubby Williams (JC) - Released in 2012

Williams played three seasons in the Astros system before his release in March 2012 and three additional seasons (so far) in independent ball with a .223/.248/.351 career line.

12. RHP Geoff Thomas (HS) - Did not sign

Thomas went on to play for the University of Southern Mississippi. It does not appear that he ever played professionally.

13. OF Jake Goebbert (C) - Traded in 2013

Goebbert played in the Astros system until his April 2013 trade to Oakland for Travis Blackley and was subsequently traded to San Diego in May 2014, for whom he made his major league debut on June 20, 2014. In 51 MLB games, he has hit .218/.313/.317. In six minor league seasons, he hit .281/.367/.452.

14. LHP David Berner (C) - Released in 2011

Berner pitched in 90 games over three seasons for the Houston organization with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.644 WHIP.

15. OF Ryan Humphrey (JC) - Released in 2011

Humphrey played two seasons in the system, hitting .215/.278/.276, and was released in March 2011.

16. 1B Ronald Sanchez (HS) - Released in 2011

Sanchez was released in November 2011 after playing three seasons, hitting .174/.268/.203.

17. RHP Justin Harper (C) - Released in 2010

Harper was released after the 2010 season, and was picked up by the Angels (very) briefly in 2011. After one season in independent ball in 2012, he ended with a career 5.08 ERA and 1.656 WHIP.

18. RHP J.B. (James) MacDonald (C) - Released in 2011

MacDonald played one year in 2009, sat out on the restricted list in 2010 and was released in February 2011. He had a 2.53 ERA, a 1.344 WHIP and 8 saves in 23 games.

19. OF Brian Kemp (C) - Released in 2011

Kemp played in the system in 2009 and 2010 with a .244/.347/.285 batting line prior to his January 2011 release.

20. OF J.D. Martinez (C) - Released in 2014

Martinez made his major league debut for Houston on July 30, 2011, just a little over two years after he was drafted. After playing for Houston in three seasons (.251/.300/.387), he was released in March of 2014 and signed by the Tigers two days later. In 123 regular season games for Detroit in 2014, Martinez hit .315/.358/.553. Sigh.

21. 2B Barry Butera (C) - Released/retired after the 2010 season

Baseball America doesn't have the date of his release or retirement, but Butera did not play again after the 2010 season. In 127 games over two seasons, he hit .246/.312/.322.

22. RHP Mark Jones (HS) - Released in 2011

Jones was released after three seasons in the system in which he had a 4.79 ERA and a 1.777 WHIP.

23. RHP Robby Donovan (C) - Released in 2012

Donvan was released in March 2012 after playing in three season with the organization. He played an additional season in independent ball in 2012 and finished his career with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.470 WHIP.

24. LHP Mike Modica (C) - Released in 2011

Modica pitched in the system for two seasons and had a 4.18 ERA and a 1.546 WHIP.

25. 1B Nick Stanley (C) - Released in 2010

Stanley played for two seasons with a .214/.294/.312 batting line.

26. 1B Matt Pare (HS) - Did not sign

Pare signed with the Giants as a non-drafted free agent in June 2013 as a catcher. In two seasons, he has hit .218/.333/.308, although he has only played in a total of 29 games.

27. 3B Aaron Bray (C) - Released in 2010

Bray played in the organization for two seasons, predominantly at first base, hitting .256/.344/.317.

28. RHP Eric Anderson (HS) - Did not sign

Anderson played at the University of Missouri from 2010 through 2014 (missing the better part of a year after undergoing TJ surgery) and then pitched in independent ball in 2014. In 23 appearances, he had a 2.65 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP, walking 9 and striking out 40 in 34 innings.

29. OF Garen Wright (HS) - Released in 2012

Wright played in the organization for three seasons and then was released after sitting out the 2012 season. In 99 games, he hit .222/.304/.277.

30. RHP Brandon Petite (HS) - Did not sign

It appears that Petite played one season for Texas Tech in 2010, but never played professionally.

31. LHP Travis Smink (C) - Released in 2011

Smink pitched in the Astros system for three seasons with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.371 WHIP.

32. RHP Greg Peavey (C) - Did not sign

Peavey was drafted out of Oregon State in the 6th round in 2010 by the Mets and has played in that system from 2011 through 2014 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.326 WHIP.

33. RHP Brenden Stines (C) - Released in 2011

Stines was released in March 2011 after pitching in the system for two seasons with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.611 WHIP.

34. RHP Scott Migl (C) - Released in 2010

Migl only pitched for the organization for one season in 2009 and then one season in independent ball in 2010. He had a career 5.85 ERA and 1.902 WHIP.

35. OF Grant Hogue (C) - Retired in 2013

Hogue played in the system for four seasons, but struggled with injuries that final season. In a total of 322 games, he hit .289/.361/.357.

36. SS Tyler Saladino (JC) - Did not sign

Saladino was drafted by the White Sox in 2010 out of Oral Roberts University and has played in that organization from 2010 through 2014, hitting .262/.353/.398 (.310/.367/.483 in 82 games for their AAA club in 2014).

37. RHP Raul Rivera (HS)

Rivera missed 2011 on the DL, but otherwise has played in the Astros system from 2009 through 2014. He spent the majority of his 2014 season pitching for Tri-City with a late promotion to Quad Cities. In 22 games in 2014, he had a 2.97 ERA and a 1.266 WHIP. He will be 24 in February.

Raul Rivera - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

38. OF Sean Barksdale (C) - Released in 2010

Barksdale was released in March 2010 after playing only one season in the system, hitting .175/.234/.301.

39. RHP Rory Young (HS) - Did not sign

It appears that Young played for five different colleges (an injury after four games in 2012 earned him a medical redshirt). It doesn't appear that he has played professionally.

40. RHP Dan Sarisky (C) - Released in 2010

Sarisky pitched in the organization for two seasons with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.648 WHIP.

41. C Carlos Escobar (HS) - Did not sign

Escobar was drafted by the Cubs in the 15th round in 2012 out of the University of Nevada-Reno and played in their system for three years, hitting .229/.316/.358, prior to his release in March 2014.

42. OF Ivory Thomas (HS) - Did not sign

Drafted by the Twins in the 34th round in 2013, Thomas played in two seasons for that organization, hitting .198/.414/.275. He was released in June 2014.

43. RHP Anthony Tzamtzis (HS) - Did not sign

Tzamtzis was drafted out of North Carolina State in the 32nd round in 2013 by the Rays. In his first two seasons, he has a 5.23 ERA and a 1.645 WHIP.

44. RHP Mike Schurz (C) - Released in 2010

Schurz pitched for two seasons in the Astros system and one additional season in 2011 in independent ball and ended his career with a 5.37 ERA and a 1.612 WHIP.

45. 2B Adrian Morales (JC) - Did not sign

Morales was drafted by the Royals in the 49th round in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina. Playing predominantly at third base over three seasons and hitting .223/.335/.308, he was released in June 2013.

46. SS Justin Gonzalez (HS) - Did not sign

Gonzalez was drafted by the Dodgers in the 27th round in 2012 and did not sign and was drafted once more in the 9th round in 2014 out of Florida State University by the D'Backs. In his first 40 professional games, he hit .198/.314/.382.

47. RHP Matt Branham (C) - Did not sign

Branham was drafted by the Padres in the 27th round in 2010 out of the University of South Carolina Upstate. In five seasons with that organization, he has a 4.02 ERA and a 1.331 WHIP.

48. LHP Paco Rodriguez (HS) - Did not sign

Rodriguez was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in 2012 out of the University of Florida and made his major league debut later that year on September 9th (at the ripe old age of 21). He has currently pitched in 106 games for the Dodgers over three seasons with a 2.51 ERA and a 0.960 WHIP. He moved back and forth from AAA to the majors several times in the 2014 season.

49. 1B Matt Smith (C) - Did not sign

Smith was signed by the Marlins as a non-drafted free agent in November 2011 and was released in August 2013 after hitting .271/.344/.471.

50. LHP Spencer Hylander (C) - Released in 2010

Hylander only pitched in the organization for one season with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.154 WHIP and pitched an additional season in independent ball in 2010, ending his career with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP.

Previous draft reviews:

2007 Draft
2008 Draft
2012 Draft

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Salt River 14, Glendale 2

Here is Wallee Wright's Eyewitness Report of this game. Sorry, the laziness took over.


Caracas 4, Phillies 2

W- Andres Mendoza (1-1)
L- Alejandro Arteaga (0-2)
S- Josman Pacheco (1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

Nestor Tejada went 1-4 with 2 strikeouts out of the leadoff spot for the Little Lions.


Estrellas 9, Gigantes 7

W- Radhames Liz (2-0)
L- Brooks Raley (0-1)
S- Marcos Mateo (4)

Jandel Gustave made his LIDOM debut for Gigantes in this game. He was the first man out of the bullpen and allowed a run on 3 hits and struck out 1 over 2 innings.

Toros 6, Escogido 2

W- Dylan Axelrod (1-0)
L- Merrill Kelly (0-2)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.

Toros busted out for 6 in the 4th, which was their only scoring inning. That 4th turned out to be enough.

Teoscar Hernandez went 2-4 and chipped in with a 2-run double in that 4th inning.


Obregón 8, Jalisco 4

W- Irwin Delgado (1-1)
L- Ben Kozlowski (0-1)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: None.

It was all Obregón until Jalisco suddenly sprang to life by slashing their 8-0 deficit in half with 4 in the bottom of the 9th. However, that cushion was comfortable enough.

Quiet night for Leo Heras (0-5, 3 K) and Japhet Amador (0-3, BB, K) for Jalisco.

Results for Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Salt River 4, Surprise 4 after 11 innings

Yep... another tie.

Andrew Aplin went 0-3, but he drew 3 walks, scored a run, and drove in the tying run with a groundout in the top of the 9th inning. Joe Sclafani finished 1-5.

The Rafters will take on the Scottsdale Saguaros in the AFL late game. First pitch is at 6:35 Mountain.


Caracas 8, La Guaira 2

W- Victor Sanchez (1-0)
L- Edgmer Escalona (1-1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

The capital club jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and when La Guaira finally got on the board with a pair in the 7th, they got those 2 runs back after stretch time.

Danry Vásquez went 0-5, while Gregorio Petit finished 1-4. Carlos Perez opened up the scoring with a sac fly in the 2nd, and he drove in the final 2 runs of the game with a double in the bottom of the 7th.

The Lions' homestand continues when they welcome Caribes to the capital. First pitch is at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Caracas 5, Boston 3

W- Jhonathan Jimenez (3-0)
L- Carlos Cortes (0-1)

The Little Lions broke a 3-3 tie with 2 in the top of the 9th. Nestor Tejada entered the game as a pinch-hitter and went 0-1 with a walk and a strikeout.

Caracas is just about ready to start a game against the Tigers' Liga Paralela squad.


Águilas 4, Toros 1

W- Liam Hendriks (1-0)
L- Claudio Vargas (0-1)
S- Matt Ramsey (2)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.
Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.

Teoscar Hernandez had a double in 4 at-bats for Toros, while Jonathan Villar was 0-1 with a walk before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 6th.

Águilas will host Licey in the lone game on the slate tonight. First pitch is at 7:30 Atlantic.

Gigantes 4, Licey 2

W- Scott Alexander (2-0)
L- Ramon Ortiz (0-1)

Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

Domingo Santana finished 0-2 with 2 walks and scored a run.


Jalisco 11, Obregón 4

W- Graham Godfrey (2-0)
L- Rolando Valdez (1-2)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: Japhet Amador 2 (3; 2-run in 1st, 2-run in 5th)

Japhet Amador's 2 2-run blasts helped spur los Charros to a win. After Obregón scored 3 in the 5th to cut the Jalisco lead to 5-4, Jalisco finished the game by scoring 6 unanswered.

Leo Heras doubled in his 5 at-bats, and Amador's 2 hits both left the yard.

After getting today off, Jalisco will travel to Los Mochis on Halloween night.

Happy Birthday - 10/30

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

2B/SS Anderson Hernandez (32)
Hernandez was first signed by the Tigers in 2001 as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic and was picked up from Cleveland by the Astros as a waiver claim in 2010.  In 132 games for Houston in 2010, he hit .188/.304/.229. Hernandez played for the Chunichi Dragons in the Japan Central League in 2014.

RHP Mark Portugal (52)
Portugal came to Houston in a December 1988 trade with the Twins. In 135 games (123 starts) for the Astros from 1989 to 1993, he went 52-30 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP. Portugal was first in the National League in win percentage in 1993, going 18-4.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arizona Fall League Game 19 Eyewitness Report

Dustin is taking a day off as he basks in the glow of the Rockets season-opening win against the Lakers, but rest assured he will bring you all the fall and winter league action on his return tomorrow. In the meantime, Wallee Wright has you covered with his Eyewitness Report of a game featuring several of your Astros, including an excellent start by RHP Vince Velasquez.


The game today was never in doubt but it was, nonetheless, oddly interesting … while the final suggests a wipeout, the game was within reach for the Desert Dogs until the bottom fell out in the sixth - Astros prospects, and there were two or three in the game through out, played a leading role from beginning to end.

Vincent Velasquez blew through the Desert Dog lineup 1-2-3 for the first three innings … he did a pretty damn good Nolan Ryan imitation in the process – ‘here it is, hit it if you can’, and they couldn’t. Bear in mind that these Desert Dogs were the team that blew up Vincent’s ERA with five runs on two homers in three innings on the fifteen of this month … if you don’t remember, no problem, because it was clear that Velasquez did – he was overpowering.

Then came the fourth … the leadoff batter walked on a questionable 3-1 ball call that also had Vincent shaking his throwing hand as if he’d torn a nail or popped a blister. The Chisox’ Tim Anderson, the next hitter, bounced Velasquez’s next pitch into the Desert Dog bullpen for a ground rule double that left runners on second and third with none out … a ground out plates one and a sac fly plates Anderson and Vincent’s eight-inning scoreless streak was history. But that was it for the Dogs in the fourth and fifth and Vincent lowered his ERA to an increasingly more respectable 4.85 … but Velasquez’s 0.92 WHIP and twelve strikeouts in thirteen innings of work tells the real story of his Fall League efforts.

The seventh inning brought Mitch Lambson to the mound … and Mitch did his job just as he has every time out – strangely. Lambson struck out the leadoff batter on three pitches, then got the next hitter to ground out … Mitch has faced thirty-three batters in his eight innings of work, striking out ten and walking six, but this was just the third batter retired by Lambson on a ground ball – very un-Astro like. He then walked the next batter, though there were two called balls that could have gone either way, before getting the final batter of the inning on strikeouts with just three pitches … another strange outing for Mitch, who now sits at 2.25 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, and would be even better if one of those fly balls hadn’t left the yard a few games back.

And then the Rafters turned the game over to our Astros Fall Star, Tyson Perez … and Tyson did what he has done for ten innings now – he made the rest of the game almost uneventful. The only blip in his two innings work was a beater to Rio Ruiz that was thrown away in a futile effort to keep Tim Anderson from picking up his third hit of the game … Anderson got a hit, and Ruiz an error as he advanced to second, but Perez got Corey Seager on a 2-2 fly ball to left to end the inning. In the ninth, Tyson needed only ten pitches to end the game … Perez has faced only thirty-seven batters in ten innings work, maintained his 0.00 ERA and now sports a 0.70 WHIP.

On the offensive side of the ledger, the Astros were just as active … Andrew Aplin started in centerfield and led off, where upon he promptly walked and scored the first run. He went on to get two hits and to drive in two runs in five plate at bats, and is now slashing (.350/.395/.500). Rio Ruiz was in his normal six spot, playing third again as usual, and picked up a hit, two walks and scored two runs … a pretty typical day for the young man slashing (.245/.383/.286).

The Rafters are 13-4-2 after this afternoon, and now lead the Mesa Solar Sox by four games in the AFL East … the Glendale Desert Dogs remained in first place in the AFL East at 8-9-1. Any combination of ten Rafter wins and Solar Sox losses will clinch the Rafters a spot in the AFL Championship game November 15 … a game that will be televised.

~ Wallee Wright ~

Happy Birthday - 10/29

Happy Birthday to ~

3B Tyler White (24)
Drafted by Houston in the 33rd round in 2013 out of Western Carolina University in North Carolina, White split his 2014 season between Quad Cities (71 games) and Lancaster (43 games), hitting a combined .290/.410/.501 with 33 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 64 RBI.

RHP Adonis Pena (21)
An international free agent from the Dominican Republic, Pena spent his first season with the Dominican Summer League team. In 15 games (10 starts), he was 2-4 with a 5.92 ERA and a 1.911 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Monday, October 27, 2014


Salt River 3, Mesa 3 after 11 innings

Yes, games in the AFL can end in a tie.

Rio Ruiz went 1-5 with a run scored, and Andrew Aplin appeared as a pinch-runner in the 10th.

Today, the Rafters will take on Glendale at 12:35 Mountain.


Caracas 11, Zulia 7

W- Victor Larez (2-0)
L- Marcos Tabata (2-1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: Carlos Perez (3, 2-run in 9th)

The capital club trailed 7-3 after the 4th, but they finished the game on an 8-0 run. Both teams combined to send 8 out of the park in this one.

Danry Vásquez finished 2-6 with a double, and it was a huge night for Carlos Perez, as he finished 4-5 with an RBI single in the 5th and provided some insurance with a 2-run homer in the 9th. Perez has played 8 games with Caracas and has homered 3 times, which puts him in a tie for the club lead.

Today, Caracas will travel to the island of Margarita for 2 games against Bravos. First pitch is at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Caracas 2, Zulia 1

W- Luis Sanz (1-0)
L- Robert Gonzalez (0-1)
S- Jhonathan Jimenez (2)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

The little Lions also topped Zulia. Nestor Tejada entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 6th and struck out in his only plate appearance in the 8th.

A little later on this morning, Caracas will host the Phillies. First pitch is at 11:00 A.M. Venezuelan time.


Obregón 5, Jalisco 4

W- Oswaldo Martinez (1-1)
L- Juan Delgadillo (0-4)
S- Jonathan Arias (6)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: None.

The difference in this game was a 2-run 5th for Obregón. Leo Heras hit an RBI single in the 2nd, his only hit in 4 at-bats. He also stole his 3rd base of the LMP season. Heras currently has a 7-game hitting streak going, but in 6 of those 7 games, he's recorded 1 hit. Japhet Amador went 0-3 with a walk.

These two teams will go at it again at 7:00.

Arizona Fall-Star Faux Pas: A Soapbox from Wallee Wright

The list of Fall League All-Stars came out yesterday and our intrepid Arizona correspondent was not amused. The good news is that Astros RHP Tyson Perez got the nod. The bad news? Well, let's hear from Wallee Wright about that as he borrows my soapbox for the day.


The Arizona Fall League rosters for their Fall Star game were named today on, and frankly folks, monkeys at the San Diego Zoo could have made better choices slinging dung at poster board rosters. It’s a shame the folks that make these selections have chosen to include young men who have not performed up to their billing because it lessens the honor for those who truly deserve the recognition … and Tyson Perez is one of those who has earned this recognition.

A little harsh, you say? Try this on for size … the list includes MLB Top-100 prospect number 86, Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier, who is rocking a .184/.298/.327 slash with 17 strikeouts in forty-nine at bats, but does not include the Yankees Greg Bird, slashing .343/.375/.672 with a league leading 6 home runs and sixteen strikeouts in sixty-seven at bats.

Had to get a certain number of players from each team, you say? Puzzle me this then, Batman … how does the roster include Minnesota Twin outfielder and MLB Top-100 Number One, Byron Buxton, who is stroking a modest.264/.316/.302 yet exclude Minnesota Twin outfielder/2B Eddie Rosario who is the second leading hitter in the entire league at .429/.436/.449?

But it’s the pitching staff that I’m sure those monkeys played a part in selecting … check these out – the Blue Jays Roberto Osuna made the squad with a 12.27 ERA and 2.59 WHIP in seven and one-third innings of work, walking four and striking out seven; and Tayron Guerrero of the monkey’s home town Padres made the squad with an astounding 21.60 ERA and 3.30 WHIP in three and one-third innings of work.

Not making the Falling Stars roster was our own Mark Appel, with a league high seventeen innings of work at a 1.59 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and four bases on balls to go with his fourteen strikeouts … nor did the Pirates Joely Rodriguez, with a 3-0 record in thirteen and one-third innings and a 1.35 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and three walks against 13 strikeouts. But looking forward to ‘play(ing) the best, and beat(ing) the best’ is Arizona’s Archie Bradley with his 0-2 record and 6.55 ERA with a 2.18 WHIP while walking seven and striking out eight.

This screed is not an indictment of the players selected and mentioned … it is not their fault. These young men are all superior athletes, with extraordinary skills that folks like myself could have never dreamed of possessing, and it troubles me not just a little to write something like this piece. But an All Star game should include only those whose performance warranted selection and should not be based upon the number of winter visitors from a certain area, or the location of the game, or the ranking of the players by, which is apparently what was employed this year … unless, of course, the San Diego Zoo is missing some monkeys.

~ Wallee Wright ~

Happy Birthday - 10/28

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Brauly Mejia (20)
Signed by the Astros as an international free agent in May 2012 out of the Dominican Republic, Mejia spent most of his 2014 season with the Gulf Coast League Astros, hitting .273/.394/.429 in 49 games. He played his last five games of the season with Quad Cities, and let's just say that his bat didn't have time to get warmed up.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Mark Knudson (54)
Drafted by the Astros in the third round in 1982, Knudson pitched in only 11 games for the Astros in 1985 and 1986. In those 11 games (9 starts), he went 1-7 with a 5.20 ERA and a 1.621 WHIP. He was traded to the Brewers in August of 1986 and went on to have modest success with Milwaukee over six seasons with that organization.

SS Tim Bogar (48)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the eighth round in 1987, Bogar came to Houston in a March 1997 trade with New York. In 392 games for the Astros in 1997 through 2000, he hit .219/.297/.327 with 43 doubles, nine triples and sixteen home runs. In the 1999 NLDS, he went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and an RBI. In 2014, he served as the bench coach and interim manager for the Texas Rangers.

RHP Kirk Bullinger (45)
A 32nd round pick by the Cardinals in 1992, Bullinger signed with Houston as a free agent in December of 2001. In 34 games pitched for the Astros in 2003 and 2004, he had a 6.28 ERA and a 1.397 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, October 27, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Sunday, October 26, 2014


Zulia 2, Caracas 0

W- Julio Vivas (1-0)
L- Boone Whiting (0-1)
S- Tim Dillard (1)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

The capital club was blanked and got held to just 4 hits. Danry Vásquez went 0-3 from the leadoff spot for Caracas.

Caracas and Zulia will be the only game on the LVBP slate today. First pitch will be at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Águilas 6, Licey 1

W- Tony Peña (1-0)
L- Randall Delgado (0-1)

Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.
Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

Águilas had a pair of 3-run innings to top Licey as they honored a fallen teammate with a victory. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras, 22, was a member of the team in 2012. He, along with his girlfriend, Edilia, lost their lives in a car accident in the Dominican Republic yesterday. My condolences go out to his family and friends, his girlfriend's family and friends, and the St. Louis Cardinals organization and its fans.

Sidebar: Although he was not a part of the Houston Astros organization, I knew that Oscar Taveras was extremely well-regarded. Not just as a baseball player, but as a person, as well. He was a perennial top prospect who got his chance to shine in the Major Leagues this season. I feel that Oscar was just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential as a MLB player, and he was on the cusp of becoming one of the game's brighest stars. Not many people who play baseball can say that they reached the Majors by the time they turned 22. Oscar Taveras, from the time he turned professional, honed his skills every year, and in the process, he became a top prospect, and as a testament to his top prospect status, he eventually became one of the few men who could say that he achieved the feat of becoming a Major League Baseball player by the age of 22. With his passing, we can only talk about what could have been. The game of baseball will never know how great Oscar Taveras could have been, and that, for lack of a better term, is simply unfair.

Oscar Taveras and I were the same age. Obviously, I did not know him personally, but whenever I hear of, or read about, someone my age, or close to my age, passing away, I suddenly feel myself becoming more mortal. It has been said countless times, but tomorrow is not guaranteed. Cherish every moment you spend with your loved ones.

Descanse en paz, Oscar. Rest in peace, Oscar. You will be greatly missed. Although your family, and Edilia's family, grieve for the two of you, I hope that they find solace in the fact that you are both at peace now. And, as time passes, they will remember you for the joy that you brought them during your time on this Earth. I also hope that everyone involved with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, from the front office to their fans, will remember you for the excitement that you brought them as a top prospect who brought them great hope for the future of their team. Now that you have taken your place alongside the Lord, I hope that you will take some time to reflect on your brief time here on this Earth and know that you have accomplished so much in that timespan.

As long as your family lives, you will live on in their hearts and souls. You will never be forgotten.

End sidebar. Recollecting myself....

As far as the game was concerned, Jonathan Villar went 0-4 with a strikeout, but he did record a stolen base (3).

For Licey, Domingo Santana entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 4th and led off the 6th with a double. Ruben Sosa went 1-4.

Both of these teams will be off until Wednesday. Licey will host Gigantes that night, while Águilas will host Toros.

Toros 4, Escogido 3

W- Jhan Marinez (1-0)
L- Stephen Kohlscheen (0-2)
S- Jose Valverde (2)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.

Teoscar Hernandez's sac fly in the top of the 9th was the difference for Toros as it broke a 3-3 tie. He entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 8th for Cameron Maybin.

These two teams will be back in action tomorrow as they face each other.


Culiacán 9, Mazatlán 2

W- Oscar Villarreal (1-1)
L- Alejandro Martinez (0-2)

Gonzalo Sañudo worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 7th, striking out 1.

After a day off, Culiacán will travel to Navojoa for a 2-game set beginning tomorrow.

Jalisco 2, Mexicali 1

W- Brian Broderick (2-0)
L- Francisco Rodriguez (1-2)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: None.

All 3 runs in this game were scored in the final 3 innings. Jalisco walked off with the W thanks to an RBI single from Amadeo Zazueta. Leo Heras hit a 2-out double in the 8th and drew a walk in 3 at-bats, while Japhet Amador went 0-4.

Jalisco will now begin a series Obregón tonight. It's the only game on the LMP schedule, and it will begin at 7:00.

Happy Birthday - 10/27

Happy Birthday to ~

C Carlos Perez (24)
Perez was one of the players obtained in the 10-player megatrade with the Blue Jays in July 2012. He spent the 2014 season with Oklahoma City, hitting .259/.323/.385 in 88 games. In 74 games behind the plate, he caught 32% of would-be base stealers.

One former Astro celebrates as well ~

LHP Eric Bell (51)
Originally drafted by the Orioles in the ninth round in 1982, Bell signed with Houston as a free agent in 1993. In 10 appearances for the Astros that year, he was 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.636 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for Saturday, October 25, 2014


Peoria 6, Salt River 3

W- Ryne Harper (2-0)
L- Edgar Olmos (0-1)
S- Sam Tuivailala (2)

Salt River HRs by Astros players: None.

Mark Appel got the start for the Rafters and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 over 5 innings of work. Those were the first 3 runs that he's allowed in AFL play. The Javelinas broke a 3-3 tie with a pair off of Edgar Olmos (Marlins) in the top of the 6th to take control of the game. Mitch Lambson struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th.

Batting 2nd and playing LF, Joe Sclafani went 1-4 with an RBI single in the 5th, and Rio Ruiz finished 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

It's Sunday, so the AFL is off. The Rafters will be back in action on Monday afternoon when they host the Mesa Solar Sox.


Zulia 5, Caracas 1

W- Sergio Perez (1-0)
L- Yoanner Negrin (0-3)

Caracas HRs by Astros players: None.

Danry Vásquez was 1-3 and scored the lone Caracas run in the 7th when he came home on a sac fly from Tommy Pham. Gregorio Petit was 0-2 with a strikeout before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 7th.

These two teams will play again at 7:00 Venezuelan time.


Águilas 8, Estrellas 3

W- Angel Castro (1-0)
L- Richard Bleier (1-1)

Águilas HRs by Astros players: None.

Águilas seized all the momentum in this game when they put up a 5-spot in the 4th inning. Jonathan Villar went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, but he drove in Águilas' final run of the evening with a sac fly in the 6th.

Águilas will host Licey at 5:00 Atlantic.

Toros 4, Licey 3

W- Elih Villanueva (2-0)
L- John Lannan (0-1)
S- Jose Valverde (1)

Toros HRs by Astros players: None.
Licey HRs by Astros players: None.

Ruben Sosa and Domingo Santana were pinch-runners for Licey; Santana scored in the 8th, while Sosa was thrown out at home trying to score the tying run in the top of the 9th. Sosa also stole his 2nd base of the LIDOM campaign.

For Toros, Teoscar Hernandez entered the game as a defensive replacement in LF in the 8th and did not appear at the plate.

Toros will take on Escogido at 5:00 Atlantic.


Jalisco 3, Mexicali 1

W- Ivan Salas (1-0)
L- Edgar Gomez (1-1)
S- Brian Broderick (5)

Jalisco HRs by Astros players: Japhet Amador (1, solo in 4th)

Amador tied the game at 1 with his blast in the 4th, and the Horsemen put up 2 in the bottom of the 8th to break the tie. Leo Heras was 1-3 with the go-ahead RBI ground-rule double in the 8th, and then Amador, who finished 3-4, brought him home with an RBI single for insurance.

Mexicali and Jalisco will wrap up their weekend series at noon.

Astros Arizona Fall League Game 17 Eyewitness Report

Wallee Wright weighs in again with one of his excellent eyewitness reports of Arizona Fall League action ~

In the midst of Mark Appel’s widely-chronicled California League troubles one of the most frequently cited ‘proofs’ that Appel was an overrated bust in the making was the apparent absence of emotion when things were going badly … ‘he doesn’t even care enough to get upset.’ was the prevailing sentiment among the baseball ‘writers’ community. Well, he may not show the made-for-television ‘emotion’ they love at Fenway, but he does get genuinely upset … and the results are as predictable for a number 1-1 draft pick as they would be for a 40-30 selection.

After cruising through the first two innings Mark let a poor decision by his first baseman get to him in the third, opening the door to a two-run inning … in defense of his first sacker, he is another of the offensively talented but defense-challenged catchers getting time at another position this fall. The ball that resulted in a base hit was a skulled roller down the line that never even reached the bag - barely more than a drag bunt – that Appel was pursuing when Casteel called him off and attempted a scoop and tag play … and failed to come up with the ball. I don’t think Mark was upset with his first baseman so much as giving up a hit on a bleeder.

A sacrifice bunt and a ground out moved the runner to third and then Appel’s only tormentor this fall, Francisco Lindor, creamed a gapper between Astro shortstop/second baseman/third baseman (playing left field) Joe Sclafani and the Twins second baseman (playing center field) Eddie Rosario that became a triple … before the Rockies’ shortstop/third baseman (playing second base) Trevor Story, threw the relay into the dugout. Perhaps you’ve noticed the pattern here … the inning came to a merciful end three batters later when D-Backs outfielder, playing right field, Evan Marzilli made the first of two spectacular catches on balls that appeared to be destined for extra bases.

Sclafani and Rosario clearly had communication issues this afternoon … they played Alphonse and Gaston on a lazy fly ball to mid-left center field that dropped between the two of them for a ‘double’. A ground out and sacrifice fly and there’s one more ‘earned run’ for the Javelinas … Trevor Story redeemed himself briefly in the bottom of the inning with an RBI triple driving in Rosario, and then Sclafani and Rosario redeemed themselves in the bottom of the next inning with RBI singles to keep Appel from absorbing a loss in the game.

Today’s Rafters starting lineup included four Colorado Rockies, two Astros, and one each from Miami, Arizona and Minnesota … three of those four Rox contributed a total of nine strikeouts to the team’s total of thirteen – and two of the Rafter’s seven hits. I’m just sayin’ … there’s a reason the Rox lost four more games than the Astros while playing in the lamest division in baseball.

As you might have suspected by now, to these old eyes there was not a lot to like today from either our Astros or our Rafters … player of the game was clearly Evan Marzilli, who made two sterling defensive plays and went two-for-three with a double and a walk. Marzilli, who has not been getting the same playing time as the two ranked prospects, Drury and O’Brien, has nonetheless outplayed them both to date.

Just so you won’t think I’m just being a grump today, with nothing good to say about anything, I’d like to point out that they fixed enough of the centerfield scoreboard to display the score by the bottom of the first … he was 500 feet away, so I can’t be sure, but I don’t believe the man on the lift with the really cool tool belt was Tony LaRussa – but everyone else was out of position today so it may have been.

~ Wallee Wright ~

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