Saturday, March 7, 2015

Reason #9 to Buy My Book: 257+125+87+84+71=Awesome!!!

Reason #9 in the Top 10 Reasons to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook: 257+125+87+84+71=Awesome

  • 257 basic player profiles + expanded profiles on dozens of those players
  • 125 high quality player photos
  • 87 charts showing comparative system-wide player stats (including fielding by position)
  • 84 player interview links
  • 71 player video links

PLUS

  • Links to each player's Baseball-Reference Page
  • Links to player's twitter accounts
  • Post-season stats for each player
  • 2014 Fall/Winter League Stats
  • Awards, honors and rankings for players through 2014

PLUS

  • Information on Astros Minor League Coaching Staff
  • Information on each Astros minor league ballpark, including ballpark dimensions

Previous Post:
Reason #10 in the Top 10 Reasons to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook: Instant Hipster Cred!


>>>>>>><<<<<<<

Please consider purchasing my new e-book, the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook. The book can be read immediately on your kindle, and can also be read on virtually any computer, tablet or phone by downloading the Free Kindle Reading App from Amazon or from the iTunes store. And if you have an Amazon account, no need to download anything ... just read it on the Kindle Cloud Reader at read.amazon.com.

Happy Birthday - 3/7

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

RHP J.R. Richard (65)
Richard was the Astros first round pick (second overall) in 1969 and pitched for Houston from 1971 to 1980. When Richard hit his stride, he dominated - leading the National League in ERA in 1979 and leading in strikeouts in 1978 and 1979 with 303 and 313, respectively. He was third in Cy Young voting in 1979 behind Bruce Sutter and Joe Niekro. He was at the peak of his abilities in his 1980 All-Star season with a 10-4 record and a 1.90 ERA and 0.924 WHIP over 17 starts when he was felled by a stroke on July 30th of that year. He was never able to recover his prior success.  For more on the fascinating story of J.R. Richard, see his Wikipedia page.

His new book is available for pre-order from Amazon here: Still Throwing Heat: Strikeouts, the Streets, and a Second Chance.

RHP Jose Cano (53)
Cano signed with Houston as a free agent in April 1987 and pitched in six games for the Astros in 1989, going 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.348 WHIP. Cano is father of Robinson Cano. The elder Cano pitched to Robinson in the 2011 Home Run Derby and helped him to win the crown.

IF Jeff Kent (47)
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 20th round in 1989, Kent signed with Houston as a free agent in December of 2002. Kent played 2B for Houston in 2003 and 2004, hitting .293/.350/.521/.870. Kent was a five-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger and the National League MVP in 2000 while playing for the Giants. He is most remembered by Astros fans for this. He also appeared on the television show "Survivor" in the fall of 2012 (he didn't win, and he didn't lose very graciously).

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Funky Foto Friday

It's been way too long since we've had a Funky Foto Friday ...


Alex Hernandez

Ronnie Mitchell

Brett Phillips

Joe Sclafani

M.P. Cokinos

Kent Emanuel

Michael Feliz


Mike Hauschild

Brian Holmes



Reason #10 To Buy My Book: Instant Hipster Cred

Reason #10 in the Top 10 Reasons to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook: Instant Hipster Cred! John Burgess explains in his foreword to the book.

FOREWORD
by John Burgess

As I walk around city streets and flip through 120 worthless television channels, I've noticed a certain trend with America's youth. Bow ties, suspenders, thick plastic-framed glasses, and Chuck Taylors are all in style. Basically, the same style that would have gotten you an atomic wedgie while I was in school, is now being worn by the "cool kids!" It is actually cool to be a nerd these days.

I say all of this because there is no nerdier franchise in professional sports than the Houston Astros. It's only a matter of time before Minute Maid Park changes its name to Books-A-Million Park and adds an Internet cafe and book nook just beyond Tal's Hill in centerfield. Since taking over as the General Manager of the Houston Astros in December of 2011, mega dork Jeff Luhnow has surrounded himself with like-minded geniuses in the front office, and fully stocked the minor league system with prospects that we can all nerd-out to.

Some of the best prospects in all of baseball are shooting up through the Astros system, and are nearing the time they'll be called to join the major league roster. When that happens, you can bet that all of those trendy wonks will be filling the seats of Minute Maid Park. Astros fans will no longer be the victims of wedgies, swirlies, and name-calling. We will be the "cool kids." The Screech Powerses will become the Zach Morrises!

If you'd like to be ahead of the curve so that you can consider yourself an Astros Hipster, or if you are already an avid Astros fan that's just looking for a great minor league resource, then you are starting in the right place. No one knows the Houston Astros farm system better than the "Mother of the Minors," Jayne Hansen. Jayne is the Creator, Editor, and Senior Staff Writer for the popular "What the Heck, Bobby?" blogsite. Her blog is the go-to source for keeping fans up-to-date on all of the happenings on the Astros' farm.

There is not a single member of the dweeby, Houston Front Office that doesn't know Jayne personally (which makes her a pretty nice person to run around with at the ballpark). In fact, a majority of the Astros bigwigs will admit to visiting "What The Heck, Bobby?" on a regular basis. You can find Jayne roaming the Club area at Minute Maid Park on most game nights. If she's not there, it's likely because she's traveling around the country, watching the minor league guys and recording outstanding interviews with them between games.

I originally "met" Jayne through Twitter. I was a huge fan of her blog and an even bigger fan of her Twitter personality, so when I had the opportunity to start blogging myself I made sure to reach out to her for advice. Since then, we have met several times at Astros games and have struck up a genuine friendship (though she may still rather call it more of an acquaintanceship). Jayne is one of the most quick-witted and intelligent people that I have ever met, and her passion for baseball runs beyond that of even the most devoted fans.

I am honored to know Jayne, and even more honored to write this Foreword for her. I look forward to the day that I can buy her and every other geeky 'stros fan a celebratory beer following Houston's first baseball World Championship. Judging from this book, it'll happen much more quickly that you'd think!

>>>>>>><<<<<<<

Please consider purchasing my new e-book, the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook. The book can be read immediately on your kindle, and can also be read on virtually any computer, tablet or phone by downloading the Free Kindle Reading App from Amazon or from the iTunes store. And if you have an Amazon account, no need to download anything ... just read it on the Kindle Cloud Reader at read.amazon.com.

Happy Birthday - 3/6

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Carlos Pizzolato (19)
An international free agent signed out of Venezuela, Pizzolato pitched his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League. In 13 games (six starts), he was 2-3 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

SS Clint Barmes (35)
Originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2000, Barmes was obtained in a trade with Colorado in November of 2010 for RHP Felipe Paulino. In one season with the Astros in 2011, he had a batting line of .244/.312/.386 over 123 games. Barmes signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent in November of 2011 and has now played three seasons for that team.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/5

Happy Birthday to ~

C Hayden Timberlake (19)
Signed out of Queensland, Australia in July 2013, Timberlake played his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League. In 22 games, he hit .188/.303/.250 and caught 50% (16 of 32) of would-be base stealers.

OF L.J. Hoes (25)
Originally drafted by Baltimore in the third round in 2008, Hoes came to Houston in the July 2013 trade that sent Bud Norris to Baltimore. In 35 games in Oklahoma City, he hit .397/.381/.391 and in 55 games for Houston .172/.230/.287.

Two former Astros celebrate today as well ~

LHP Erik Bedard (36)
Born in Ontario, Bedard was drafted by the Orioles in the sixth round in 1999 and came to Houston as a free agent in January 2013. In 32 games (26 starts) for the Astros in 2013, Bedard was 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.483 WHIP. Bedard played with Tampa Bay in 2014 until his release on August 3rd.

CF Brian Hunter (44)
A second round draft pick for the Astros in 1989, Brian started his major league career in Houston (1994-1996) and ended it in Houston (2002-2003), but played for five other teams in between. He had a .278/.314/.377 batting line in 370 games for Houston. His best season at the plate was 1995 when he hit .302 in 78 games. Per Baseball-Reference, he was part of this trade to Detroit in December of 1996:
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug Brocail, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
He led the American League in stolen bases in 1997 and 1999.

Tweets of the Day


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The J.R. Richard Story

Don't know about you, but I can't wait!!!! On Pre-Order Now!


Happy Birthday - 3/4

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Richard Rodriguez (25)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Rodriguez was moved around a lot in 2014 among Lancaster, Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, but started and ended the season for the OKC squad. In a combined 34 appearances, he was 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.006 WHIP. He walked 10 and struck out 67 in 59.2 innings.

One former Astro also celebrates ~

2B Andy Mota (49)
Drafted by Houston in the 12th round in 1987, Andy didn't have quite the success that his father Manny had in the major leagues. Andy appeared in 27 games for Houston in 1991, hitting .189/.198/.244. In eight minor league seasons, he hit .293/.347/.408.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/3

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

LHP Jack DiLauro (72)
Picked up from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft, DiLauro only spent one season with the Astros in 1970.  He went 1-3 in 42 appearances with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.515 WHIP.  In his rookie season with the Mets in 1969, he had a 2.40 ERA and a 1.068 WHIP, but did not make an appearance in the World Series for the Mets.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Astros Top Prospect Rankings (Updated)

I have been remiss in keeping everyone updated with all of the Astros top prospect rankings that have come out over the last few months. Here is what we have thus far [UPDATED WITH FANGRAPH'S TOP 200 OVERALL AND BASEBALL AMERICA'S ASTROS TOP 31]:

Carlos Correa - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen


FanGraphs: 10/10/2014
Top 200 List: 2/17/15

1. SS Carlos Correa (#5 on top 200)
2. RHP Mark Appel (#18 on top 200)
3. RHP Vince Velasquez (#75 on top 200)
4. 3B Colin Moran (#121 on top 200)
5. 3B Rio Ruiz - Traded to the Braves (#43 on top 200)
6. RHP Lance McCullers (#126 on top 200)
7. RHP Mike Foltynewicz - Traded to the Braves (#69 on top 200)
8. OF Brett Phillips (#107 on top 200)
9. OF Domingo Santana
10. OF Teoscar Hernandez
11. RHP Nick Tropeano - Traded to the Angels
12. OF Derek Fisher
13. 1B A.J. Reed
14. LHP Josh Hader
15. RHP Michael Feliz
16. IF Nolan Fontana
17. 3B J.D. Davis
18. OF Preston Tucker
19. C Max Stassi
20. LHP Kent Emanuel
21. RHP Andrew Thurman - Traded to the Braves
22. RHP Joe Musgrove
23. 2B Tony Kemp
24. RHP Brady Rodgers
25. OF Delino DeShields - Claimed in the Rule 5 Draft
26. IF Ronald Torreyes

Baseball America: 11/24/14 [UPDATED 3/2/15]
(This is the updated list of the top 31 from the recently released prospect handbook.)

1. SS Carlos Correa
2. RHP Mark Appel
3. RHP Mike Foltynewicz - traded to Atlanta
4. RHP Vince Velasquez
5. RHP Michael Feliz
6. OF Brett Phillips
7. 3B Colin Moran
8. 3B Rio Ruiz - traded to Atlanta
9. OF Teoscar Hernandez
10. LHP Josh Hader
11. RHP Lance McCullers
12. OF Domingo Santana
13. OF Derek Fisher
14. OF Preston Tucker
15. 3B J.D. Davis
16. 1B A.J. Reed
17. RHP Frances Martes
18. 2B/OF Tony Kemp
19. RHP Joe Musgrove
20. C Max Stassi
21. RHP Adrian Houser
22. RHP Brady Rodgers
23. C Roberto Pena
24. 2B/UT Ronald Torreyes
25. OF Andrew Aplin
26. LHP Kent Emanuel
27. RHP Jake Buchanan
28. RHP Asher Wojciechowski
29. RHP Andrew Thurman
30. OF Danry Vasquez
31. 1B Conrad Gregor

MinorLeagueBall.com (John Sickels): 1/27/15

1. SS Carlos Correa
2. RHP Mark Appel
3. RHP Michael Feliz
4. RHP Vince Velasquez
5. OF Domingo Santana
6. OF Brett Phillips
7. LHP Josh Hader
8. RHP Lance McCullers
9. OF Derek Fisher
10. OF Teoscar Hernandez
11. 3B Colin Moran
12. 2B Tony Kemp
13. 3B J.D. Davis
14. 1B A.J. Reed
15. 1B Conrad Gregor
16. IF Nolan Fontana
17. C Max Stassi
18. OF Danry Vasquez
19. OF Preston Tucker
20. RHP Kyle Smith

Keith Law ESPN: 1/30/15 (Insider only)

1. SS Carlos Correa (#3 on top 100)
2. RHP Mark Appel (#44 on top 100)
3. RHP Vince Velasquez (#56 on top 100)
4. 3B Colin Moran (#73 on top 100)
5. OF Brett Phillips (#76 on top 100)
6. RHP Lance McCullers
7. RHP Michael Feliz
8. OF Derek Fisher
9. LHP Josh Hader
10. 3B J.D. Davis

Baseball Prospectus: 2/4/15

1. SS Carlos Correa
2. RHP Mark Appel
3. RHP Vince Velasquez
4. OF Brett Phillips
5. OF Derek Fisher
6. RHP Michael Feliz
7. RHP Lance McCullers
8. OF Domingo Santana
9. 3B Colin Moran
10. OF Teoscar Hernandez

Jonathan Mayo's MLB Pipeline (Postseason)
This is Mayo's postseason list as updated by taking off players from the recent trades. He will be rolling out his official preseason lists over the next few weeks. However, the notes on top 100 and top prospect by position are current information.

1. SS Carlos Correa (#3 overall; #1 in shortstops)
2. RHP Mark Appel (#30 overall)
3. OF Domingo Santana (#71 overall)
4. 3B Colin Moran (#9 at third base)
5. RHP Lance McCullers
6. RHP Michael Feliz
7. RHP Vince Velasquez (#86 overall)
8. LHP Josh Hader
9. OF Teoscar Hernandez
10. OF Derek Fisher
11. 1B A.J. Reed (#5 at first base)
12. OF Brett Phillips
13. RHP Kyle Smith
14. IF Nolan Fontana
15. 2B Tony Kemp
16. C Max Stassi
17. OF Preston Tucker
18. 3B J.D. Davis
19. OF Danry Vasquez
20. RHP Asher Wojciechowski

I will update the list when MLB Pipeline updates their list and then I will do a consensus top 20 (or so) by putting all of the lists together.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<

Please consider purchasing my new e-book, the "2015 Houston Farm System Handbook." The book can be read immediately on your kindle, and can also be read on virtually any computer or tablet by downloading the Free Kindle Reading App.

Happy Birthday - 3/2

Happy Birthday to ~

CF James Ramsay (23)
Drafted by Houston in the seventh round, Ramsay played the majority of his season with Quad Cities, earning a late August promotion to Lancaster. In 123 games, he hit .246/.340/.374 with 27 doubles, 11 triples and three home runs.

One former Astro also celebrates today ~

RHP David Stefan "Bud" Norris (30)
A sixth round pick by the Astros in 2006, Norris pitched in 119 games for Houston from 2009 until his trade to Baltimore in July 2013 (for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader and a compensation pick that turned into Derek Fisher). He was 34-46 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.404 WHIP in those appearances.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/1

Happy Birthday to ~

OF/1B Hector Roa (20)
Roa split his 2014 season between the Gulf Coast League and Greeneville. In a total of 55 games, he hit .257/.302/.451. Roa was born and raised in the U.S., but moved to the Dominican Republic to train prior to his signing in 2012.

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