Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/27

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Tyson Perez (25)
Drafted in the 17th round in 2011 out of Fresno Community College, Perez started the season with High A Lancaster (5.87 ERA and 2.022 WHIP in 9 games), but was promoted to Corpus Christi in late May. Perez had a phenomenal season with the AA team, putting up a 2.09 ERA and a 1.009 WHIP in 30 games, and collecting 11 of his 12 saves for the season. Perez played in the Arizona Fall League in 2014 and made the "Fall-Star" team.

Catching Coach Jeff Murphy (44)
Murphy served as the Catching Coach for the AAA Oklahoma City team in his first season coaching in the Astros system in 2014.

These former Astros mark the day as well ~

1B Norm Larker (died March 12, 2007 at 76)
Drafted from the Dodgers in the 1961 expansion draft, Larker played in 147 games for the Colt .45's in 1962, hitting .263/.358/.374. Larker was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 1960 and won a World Series with that team in 1959.

OF Byron Browne (72)
Browne came to the Astros in a May 1968 trade with the Cubs and played in only 10 games for Houston that season, hitting .231/.412/.231, before being purchased by the Cardinals in February 1969.

CF Michael Bourn (32)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round in 2003, Bourn came to Houston as part of the November 2007 trade that sent Brad Lidge to the Phillies. In 541 games played for the Astros from 2008 to 2011, Bourn hit .271/.337/.359 with 193 stolen bases. He won Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2010 for Houston and was an All-Star in 2010. In July 2011, he was traded to Atlanta where he earned another All-Star bid in 2012. He is currently with the Cleveland Indians.

SS Craig Reynolds (62)
A first round pick by the Pirates in 1971, Reynolds came to the Astros in a December 1978 trade with the Mariners. In 1170 games played for Houston from 1979 to 1989, he hit .252/.286/.345. Reynolds was an All-Star in 1978 for Seattle and in 1979 for Houston.

LHP Nate Bland (40)
Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round in 1993, Bland was drafted by Houston from the Mets in the December 2002 rule 5 draft. In 22 appearances for the Astros in 2003, he had a 5.75 ERA and a 1.672 WHIP.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for December 23-25, 2014

Most of the leagues had a Christmas break. For many players, especially the Americans playing overseas this winter, they find themselves living far away from home, far from their loved ones as they continue playing a game they love almost as much as they love their families. (I may catch some heat for this statement.)

This was a very light schedule that only saw significant action in Mexico, which was off on Christmas Eve, but every team was playing on Christmas Day. In Puerto Rico, 4 of the 5 teams were in action on Tuesday.


Charros del Jalisco

Tuesday: Jalisco 7, Obregón 1

Leo Heras went 1-3 with a walk and scored 2 runs for Jalisco as they blew this one open with a 4-run 5th.

In their final series of the season, Jalisco will host Mazatlán beginning on Saturday.

Tomateros de Culiacán

Thursday: Hermosillo 3, Culiacán 2

Gonzalo Sañudo was the first man out of the Culiacán bullpen on Christmas night, and he worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 7th, striking out 1.

Culiacán will travel to Mexicali for their final series of the year.


Results from Tuesday

San Juan 3, Santurce 2 in 14 innings

This was the 2nd game of a doubleheader. This game was originally scheduled for November 22, but rain washed it out, and if I'm not mistaken, they tried making this game up once already, only to see it get suspended by rain yet again.

Travis Ballew, who is actually in Puerto Rico and not Panama, came on to begin the 8th and got the first 2 outs before he gave way to David Rollins, who struck out 4 over 2.1 perfect frames.

Santurce will host Caguas tonight at 7:30 Atlantic.

Mayagüez 4, Carolina 2

Carlos Corporán went 2-4 with a double and a run scored for Carolina.

Carolina will travel to San Juan tomorrow.

Happy Birthday - 12/26

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Darin Downs (30)
Originally drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round in 2003, Downs was claimed by the Astros off waivers from Detroit in November 2013. In 45 bullpen appearances for Houston in 2014, Downs was 2-1 with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.536 WHIP.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/25

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

2B Nellie Fox (died December 1, 1975 at 47)
Fox came to Houston in a Deccember 1963 trade with the White Sox and played in 154 games for the Colt .45's and the Astros in 1964 and 1965 at the end of his career, hitting .265/.317/.319. A 12-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and 1959 AL MVP, Fox was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1997.

IF Julio Gonzalez (62)
Gonzalez came to the Astros in a December 1976 trade with the Cubs and played for Houston from 1977 to 1980, hitting .235/.270/.288 in 296 games.

OF Telmanch "Ty" Gainey (54)
Drafted by the Astros in the second round in 1979, Gainey played in 57 games for Houston from 1985 to 1987, hitting .216/.293/.288.

CF Willy Taveras (33)
Taveres was drafted by Houston from Cleveland in the December 2003 Rule 5 draft and played for the Astros from 2004 to 2006, hitting .284/.329/.340. In 2005, he came in second in Rookie of the Year voting to Ryan Howard. In December of 2006, Tavares was included in a trade to the Rockies for he-who-must-not-be-named. Taveras last played for Puebla in the Mexican League in 2014.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Astros Minor League Transactions

According to Baseball America, the following four Astros minor league pitchers have been released:

LHP Kyle Gehrs
LHP J.D. Osborne
RHP Patrick Christensen
RHP Aaron Vaughn

The only one that I'm really surprised about is Vaughn. He had an outstanding first season and I was hoping to see more of him.

I have updated the Off-Season Transaction list here to reflect those changes.

In addition, Darin Downs was outrighted to Fresno yesterday and the Astros 40-man roster now stands at 39.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for Monday, December 22, 2014


Caracas 10, La Guaira 1

It was all Caracas in a game that sounded like it got chippy at times; 4 players were hit by pitches; La Guaira's Heiker Meneses was plunked twice.

Danry Vásquez entered the game as a defensive sub in the 5th to play LF. He finished 1-2 with a run scored. Gregorio Petit went 0-4 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.

Caracas' penultimate game of the season will be on Saturday, when they conclude this long, season-ending roadtrip against Magallanes.


Caballos 2, Águilas 0

Caballos continued their blazing start to the season as they blanked Águilas, who had Harold Arauz on the mound. Arauz threw 4 scoreless and allowed a hit, walked 4, and struck out 3.

Telvin Nash went 1-4 with an RBI single, Jack Mayfield was 1-3 with a solo homer, and Tyler White finished 0-3 with a walk.

These teams will play once more at 7:00 Eastern.

Industriales 6, Indios 2

Rodrigo Ayarza appeared as a pinch-hitter for Indios and struck out. On the mound, Cris Santamaria was the first man out of the Indios bullpen and allowed a run, a hit, and walked 4 over 2.2 innings.

7:00 Eastern. Don't you just love it when the start times are synchronized?


Jalisco 7, Obregón 3

Touchdown > field goal.

Leo Heras had a perfect night at the plate for Jalisco. About the only thing that went wrong for him was that he was caught stealing 2nd in the 1st inning... but he still made it safely, thanks to an error. He finished 3-3, a homer shy of the cycle, with 2 RBI, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. He hit an RBI double in the 7th, an RBI single in the 9th, and led off the 4th with the triple.

This series continues at 7:30 Mountain.


Caguas 6, San Juan 3

Roberto Peña appeared as a defensive replacement in the top of the 9th.

Caguas will return to action on Boxing Day as they take on Santurce.

Astros Playing in the Dominican Winter League

The seasons for many of the winter league clubs are starting to wind down. The Dominican Winter League finished up over the weekend. Here is the scoop on how your Astros fared. Click on the player's name to see their full winter stats line.

Asher Wojciechowski

Wojo had three great outings and two not-so-great outings for Licey. In five games (five starts), he had a 5.31 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP in 20.1 innings. He walked eight batters and struck out 22.

Richard Rodriguez

Rodriguez did a nice job in his five bullpen appearances for Aguilas. He was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in 3.2 innings, walking one and striking out five.

Jonathan Villar

Villar also appeared for Aguilas. In 38 games, he hit .233/.310/.333 with four doubles and three home runs, walking 14 times while striking out 37.

Domingo Santana

Santana appeared in 36 games for Licey, hitting .284/.400/.422 with seven doubles, four triples and no home runs. He walked 17 times while striking out 44 times.

Ruben Sosa

Sosa also played for Licey, appearing in 29 games and hitting .231/.302/.308 with one double, one triple, two walks and six strikeouts. Sosa only had 39 at-bats in his 29 games as he was often used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

Teoscar Hernandez

Hernandez appeared in 34 games for the Toros, hitting .228/.279/.354 with four doubles and two home runs. Like Sosa, Hernandez was frequently used as a defensive replacement and/or pinch runner, but did manage to get 79 at-bats in. He walked five times and struck out 28 times.

Luis Flores

Flores, a catcher who was picked up in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft earlier this month, appeared in eight games for the Estrellas team, hitting .125/.300/.125 with two walks and five strikeouts.

Previously posted: Astros in the Arizona Fall League

Happy Birthday - 12/23

No future Astros are celebrating, but these former Astros have birthdays today ~

RHP Al "Bozo" Cicotte (died November 29, 1982 at 52)
Purchased from the Cardinals in October 1961, Cicotte pitched in five games for the Colt 45's in 1962 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.929 WHIP.

RHP Brad "Lights Out" Lidge (38)
A first round draft pick by Houston in 1998, Lidge played for the Astros from 2002 to 2007 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.197 WHIP and 123 saves in 378 games. He was an All-Star for Houston in 2005 when he had 42 saves in 70 games. Lidge was traded, along with Eric Bruntlett, to the Phillies for Mike Costanzo, Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary in November of 2007. In 2008 he was on the All-Star team for the Phillies and won a World Series with them. He retired at the end of 2012 after last pitching for the Washington Nationals.

RHP Shawn Chacon (37)
Originally drafted by the Rockies in the third round in 1996, Chacon started 15 games for Houston in 2008, going 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.506 WHIP. He was an All-Star for the Rockies in 2003. For some reason, I can't help but get choked up whenever I think of Chacon.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Astros Winter League Recaps

Results for Saturday, December 20, and Sunday, December 21


Sunday: Adelaide 4, Sydney 3

The Blue Sox tied the game at 3 with a pair in the top of the 9th, but Ben Lodge un-tied it with a solo homer in the 9th to give Adelaide the sweep. Chan-Jong Moon went 0-2.

This weekend, Adelaide will be in the capital for 4, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday.


Saturday: Caballos 5, Indios 1

Caballos scored in just 1 inning, but it was enough for them to win the game. Telvin Nash went 0-2, but he walked 3 times and scored a run. Jack Mayfield went 1-3 with 2 walks and a run scored, and Tyler White hit a 2-run double and came around to score in the 5-run 3rd.

Jose Montero and Juan Delis combined for 6.1 scoreless innings for Indios; Montero allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 4 over 3.1 innings, and Delis walked 2 and fanned 4 over the final 3 frames.

Results from Sunday

Industriales 4, Indios 3

Rodrigo Ayarza appeared as a defensive sub for Indios; he did not appear at the plate. Agapito Barrios allowed a hit and walked 1 in the 1st inning.

These two teams will play again at 7:00 Eastern.

Águilas 6, Caballos 1

Telvin finished with a double in 4 at-bats, Jack Mayfield went 0-4, and Tyler White tripled in 3 at-bats. Blaine Sims pitched 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 4 hits (2 homers), walked 2, and struck out 3.

Ditto for these two teams. They play again at 7:00 Eastern.


Saturday: Caribes 5, Caracas 4

Caracas scored their 4 in the top of the 6th, which gave them the lead. Caribes, however, scored 3 unanswered runs late to get the win. Gregorio Petit finished 0-3 for Caracas.

Sunday: Caracas 10, Caribes 9

Caracas wound up taking 2 of 3 from Caribes as they fended off a 5-run 1st and a 3-run 5th. They outscored Caribes 7-4 from the 5th to the 8th. Petit finished 2-5 with a double and a run scored.

Tonight, they will be in La Guaira. First pitch is at 7:30 Venezuelan time.


Results from Saturday

Águilas 10, Estrellas 3

Jonathan Villar went 1-2 with a walk and a run scored for Águilas.

Toros 6, Licey 2

Ruben Sosa got the start in left field for Licey and went 3-4 with an RBI infield single in the 5th.

Sunday: Escogido 8, Licey 3

Sosa started at 2B and went 0-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Sunday marked the end of the regular season in the Dominican Republic.


Saturday: Jalisco 6, Los Mochis 5

Leo Heras had a solid night for Jalisco as he finished 3-5 with a double and scored 3 runs.

Sunday: Los Mochis 4, Jalisco 3

Jalisco fought back from an early 3-0 hole to tie the game.... only to see Los Mochis un-tie the game with a run in the 7th. Leo Heras smacked a 2-run homer in the 5th, his 9th homer of the campaign.

There is one week left in the regular season. Jalisco will take on Obregón tonight at 7:30 Mountain.


Saturday: Caguas 4, Mayagüez 3

Roberto Peña got the start behind the plate for Caguas and went 0-3.

Sunday: Carolina 5, Caguas 4

Luis Cruz got the start for Caguas, and he was done in by a 4-run 5th from Caguas. He went 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 inherited runners charged to him) on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Peña finished 0-4 with a strikeout.

Carlos Corporán ripped a 2-run double in that 4-run 5th.

Tonight, Carolina will take on Santurce, while Caguas hosts San Juan. Both games will be at 7:30 Atlantic.

Happy Birthday - 12/22

No future Astros have birthdays today, but these former Astros celebrate ~

RF Glenn Wilson (56)
Originally drafted in the first round in 1980 by the Tigers, Wilson came to Houston in an August 1980 trade that sent Billy Hatcher to Pittsburgh. In 146 games for the Astros in 1989 and 1990, he hit .238/.284/.357. His best season was his All-Star season for the Phillies in 1985 when he hit 39 doubles and drove in 102 runs.

RHP Michael Jackson (50)
A second round pick by the Phillies in 1984, Jackson signed with the Astros as a free agent in December 2000. In 67 games for Houston in 2001, he had a 4.70 ERA and a 1.304 WHIP. In 1998, he saved 40 games for Cleveland with a 1.55 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.

OF/LHP Jason Lane (38)
Drafted by the Astros in the sixth round in 1999, Lane played in 494 games for Houston from 2002 to 2007, hitting .241/.315/.458. He re-invented himself in 2011 as a left-handed pitcher with a little help from the Diamondbacks organization. After his release in May 2012 by Arizona, Lane pitched for the Independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012 and 2013 before being picked up by the Padres organization in July 2013. On June 3, 2014, Jason Lane played in his first major league game since October 1, 2007, this time as a pitcher for the Padres. He made three appearances for San Diego in 2014 with a 0.87 ERA and a 0.667 WHIP in 10.1 innings. What a terrific story!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Birthday - 12/21

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Asher Wojciechowski (26)
A first round pick by Toronto in 2010, Wojciechowski came to the Astros in the July 2012 10-player trade with the Blue Jays. Wojo spent a good chunk of his season on the DL, but in his 15 games (14 starts) for the AAA Oklahoma City team in 2014, he was 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.447 WHIP.

LHP David Rollins (25)
Drafted by Toronto in the 24th round in 2011, Rollins also came to Houston in the big July 2012 trade with the Blue Jays. Rollins pitched for the AA Corpus Christi team for the entire season and was transitioning from a starter to a relief role in the latter part of the season. In 27 games (12 starts), Rollins had a 3.81 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP. He walked 22 batters and struck out 77 in 78 innings. [NOTE: Rollins was claimed in the Rule 5 draft, but I'm currently in denial so I'm leaving him on the birthday list for now.]

2B Austin "Catfish" Elkins (24)
A 19th round pick out of Dallas Baptist by Houston in the 2012 draft, Elkins split the 2014 season between Quad Cities and Lancaster, but also spent a chunk of the season on the DL. In 62 games, he hit .254/.369/.340.

RHP Gerald Benzant (20)
An international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Benzant pitched his first season in the Dominican Summer League. In 14 games (seven starts), he had a 7.17 ERA and a 1.912 WHIP.

These former Astros mark the day as well ~

RHP Howie Reed (died December 7, 1984 at 47)
Reed came to Houston in an October 1966 trade with the Angels. In four games (two starts) for the Astros in 1967, he was 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP. His best season was 1965 when he played for the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

RHP Joaquin Andujar (62)
Andujar first came to Houston in an October 1975 trade with the Reds and pitched for the Astros from 1976 to 1981 and again in 1988.  In 202 games with the Astros, he had a 3.67 ERA and a 1.377 WHIP.  He was an All-Star with Houston in 1977 and 1979. Andujar made two additional All-Star appearances and won a Gold Glove with the Cardinals, and he earned his one World Series ring with them  in 1982.

RHP LaTroy Hawkins (42)
Originally drafted by Minnesota in the seventh round in 1991, Hawkins came to Houston in a July 2008 trade with the Yankees. In 89 appearances for Houston in 2008 and 2009, he was 3-4 with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP. He has currently pitched 20 seasons for ten different teams with the latest being the Rockies in 2014. He may be turning 42, but I still wouldn't mess with him if I were you.

RHP Philip Humber (32)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the first round in 2004, Humber was claimed by the Astros off waivers from the White Sox in November 2012. In 17 appearances (seven starts) with the Astros in 2013, Humber went 0-8 with a 7.90 ERA and a 1.738 WHIP, a far cry from the perfect game he threw for the White Sox on April 21, 2012. Humber spent 2014 playing for the AAA Oakland affiliate.

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