Saturday, February 14, 2015

2015 Houston Farm System Handbook

Some of my long-time readers may have noticed that I haven't posted nearly as much during this off-season as I normally do. There is a reason for that, and it's not because I've been lazily enjoying my downtime.

For a long time, I've been trying to figure out how to better utilize all of the information that comes my way during a season. I generally have tons of extra information from all of the interviews that I conduct that doesn't really fit with the posts that I write on a day-to-day basis. Then, in a "Eureka!" moment, I thought to myself, "Why not put together a farm system handbook?" It seemed like a good idea at the time so I forged ahead.

I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I don't think I had any idea precisely how difficult the process would be. I feel as though I have given birth (without the epidural). I am at once as proud, as exhausted and as trepidatious as a new mother would be as well.

The other factor in writing the book was that, although the status quo applies for the time being in regard to my job, an element of uncertainty has crept into the picture. My company may very well still be around when I'm ready to retire, but the likelihood of that has lessened considerably with the untimely passing of one of the company's owners. As a result, I have started cutting back on some of my expenses. And my biggest discretionary expense is the travel I have indulged in for my minor league fix. A little income to offset some of those expenses will help me justify that indulgence.

With that said, I hope that you will considering buying my new book, the "2015 Houston Farm System Handbook." I have come to think of it as a media guide on steroids, including basic profiles on 257 players in the Astros farm system (with expanded profiles on dozens of those players).

The book contains basic stats, reports on many of the players as obtained from coaches, managers, fellow players and my own observations (among other sources), links to available interviews and video, dozens of quality player photos, a good dose of humor and much more.

It is meant to introduce you to the players with whom you may not be quite as familiar. Yes, there is information about Carlos Correa, Mark Appel and other top prospects, but you will also learn more about names you may not be quite as familiar with, such as Frankeny Fernandez, Andy Pineda, Erasmo Pinales and Carlos Pizzolato.

The book is available on Amazon, and should now be compatible with the iPad using the kindle app for iPad.

Thanks to all of you for your kindness and support over the last few years and your indulgence over the last few months. I promise that things will start getting back to normal around here very soon!

Happy Birthday - 2/14

Happy Birthday to ~

Bullpen Coach Craig Bjornson (46)
Bjornson will return to the Astros as Bullpen Coach in 2015, a position he held previously in 2012 and 2014.

Two former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

RHP Paul Clemens (27)
Originally drafted by Atlanta out of a community college in North Carolina in the seventh round in 2008, this South Carolina native came to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade in 2011. In 48 games (five starts) for Houston in 2013 and 2014, Clemens had a 5.51 ERA and a 1.520 WHIP. Clemens signed with the Phillies as a free agent in November 2014.

IF Larry Milbourne (64)
Drafted from the Cardinals in the 1973 Rule 5 draft, Milbourne played in 244 games for Houston from 1974 to 1976, hitting .245/.297/.282.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/13

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one former Astro celebrates the day ~

RF Matt Mieske (47)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the 17th round in 1990, Mieske came to Houston in a June 1999 trade with the Mariners. In 116 games for the Astros in 1999 and 2000, he hit .237/.286/.384 (although he hit substantially better in 1999 than in 2000).

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/12

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

RHP Don Wilson (died January 5, 1975 at 29)
Wilson pitched for Houston from 1966 to 1974.  In 266 games, he was 104-92 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP. In 1971, his only All-Star season, he was 16-10 with a 2.45 ERA, 1.022 WHIP and 18 complete games in 268 innings pitched. He is the only Astros pitcher to have ever pitched two no-hitters for the team. His number 40 was retired in 1976, the year after death. For more, check out his Wikipedia page.

C Chris Snyder (34)
A second round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2002, Snyder signed with Houston as a free agent in January 2012. In 76 games for the Astros in 2012, he hit .176/.295/.308. He has a lifetime caught stealing percentage of 29%. He last played in the Rangers minor league system.

RHP Tim Redding (37)
Drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 1995, Redding pitched in 91 games (72 starts) for Houston from 2001 to 2004 with a 21-28 record, a 4.75 ERA and a 1.506 WHIP. He was traded to the Padres for Humberto Quintero in March 2005. In 2013, Redding pitched in the Independent Atlantic League and in the Mexican League.

OF Cameron Drew (51)
A first round pick by Houston in 1985, Drew played in only seven games for Houston in 1988, hitting .188/.188/.313.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/11

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Edwin Medina (22)
Drafted by Houston in the 33rd round in 2014, Medina split his first season between the Gulf Coast League and Greeneville. In 50 games, he hit .257/.397/.311.

Several former Astros celebrate birthdays today as well ~

RF John Paciorek (70)
Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1963, Paciorek had the ultimate cup of coffee in the majors.  In one game for the 1963 Colt 45's, he went 3-for-3 with two walks, scored four runs and drove in three, all at the ripe old age of 18! He ended his career with a 1.000/1.000/1.000 batting line.

RHP Matt Lindstrom (35)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the 10th round in 2002, Lindstrom came to Houston in a December 2009 trade with the Marlins. In 58 games for the Astros in late relief in 2010, he was 2-5 with 23 saves, a 4.39 ERA and a 1.650 WHIP. He was traded to Colorado in December 2010 for Jonnathan Aristil and Wes Musick. He played most recently for the White Sox.

C J.R. Towles (31)
A 20th round pick by the Astros in 2004, Towles played in 155 games for Houston over five seasons from 2007 to 2011. Although he started out with a bang in a September call-up in 2007, hitting .375/.432/.575 and breaking the Astros single game RBI record with eight RBI's in one game, he ultimately ended up with a .187 batting average at the major league level. In eight seasons at the minor league level, he had a .295/.394/.465 batting line. After a stint in independent ball, Towles was picked up by the Rangers in August 2014, playing for their AAA affiliate.

RF Ollie Brown (71)
Purchased from the Angels in March 1974, Brown played in 27 games for Houston that season, hitting .217/.260/.362. Out of 13 major league seasons, his best season was 1970 for the Padres when he hit .292/.331/.489 with 31 doubles, a triple and 23 home runs in 139 games.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/10

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

OF/1B/DH Lance Berkman (39)
Berkman, also known as the Big Puma or Fat Elvis, was the Astros first round draft pick in 1997.  In 15 seasons, he had a .293/.406/.537 batting line with 422 doubles, 30 triples and 366 home runs. Berkman played for Houston from 1999 to 2010, when he was traded to the Yankees for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes. A 6-time All-Star, Berkman was named the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year. After his retirement following the 2013 season, Berkman returned to Rice University to pursue his degree and act as a student assistant to Head Baseball Coach Wayne Graham.

RHP Ryan Bowen (47)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1986, Bowen pitched in 25 games (22 starts) for Houston in 1991 and 1992, going 6-11 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.775 WHIP.

SS Eddie Zosky (47)
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round in 1989, Zosky came to Houston via Pittsburgh in August of 2000. Zosky had a total of four at-bats for Houston and went hitless.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/9

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Daniel Minor (24)
Drafted in the ninth round in 2012 out of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Minor was 9-3 with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP in 36 bullpen appearances for Lancaster in 2014. He also got the save in a combined no-hitter in May. If you back out Minor's first three appearances of the season (two of which were a bit dicey), his numbers improve to a 3.02 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP over his final 33 outings.

Two former Astros celebrate birthdays today as well ~

RHP Ramon Garcia (46)
Drafted from the Brewers in the 1996 Rule 5 draft, Garcia pitched in 42 games (20 starts) for the Astros in 1997 with a 9-8 record, a 3.69 ERA and a 1.305 WHIP.

LHP Hal Gilson (73)
Gilson came to Houston in a trade with the Cardinals in June 1968 and pitched only three and two-thirds innings in two games for the Astros that year with forgettable results.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy Birthday - 2/8

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Krishawn Holley (22)
Holley was drafted in the 39th round in 2010 out of high school in South Carolina. After starting the season with Tri-City, Holley spent the majority of his season pitching out of the bullpen in Greeneville, and ended it with the GCL Astros after missing several weeks. In a total of 15 appearances, he had a 6.19 ERA and a 2.188 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day