Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/21

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Andrew Aplin (24)
Drafted in the fifth round in 2012 out of Arizona State, Aplin spent the majority of his 2014 season with Corpus Christi, earning a promotion to Oklahoma City on August 1st. In the two venues combined, he hit .265/.372/.345 in 126 games.

These former Astros mark the day as well ~

1B Prentice Almont "Pidge" Browne (died June 3, 1997 at 68)
Browne played in 65 games for the Colt 45's in 1962, a rookie at 33. According to Baseball-Reference:
Pidge Browne was a long time minor league star who at the age of 33 finally got a shot at the major leagues with the expansion Houston Colt .45's in 1962 ... He was the Texas League home run champion in 1955 when he hit 33 home runs for Shreveport. He later became a fan favorite playing for the Houston minor league team in the late 1950s. 
He hit .210/.298/.320 with four doubles, two triples and a home run for Houston that season and never played in the major leagues again.

OF Tommy Davis (76)
Davis came to Houston in a trade with the Seattle Pilots in August of 1969 and played for Houston for parts of the 1969 and 1970 seasons, hitting .271/.308/.377 over 81 games. Davis spent parts of 18 seasons in the major leagues, playing 1999 games for 10 teams and earning All-Star nods and National League batting titles in 1962 and 1963.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/20

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

RHP Jim Golden (79)
Obtained by Houston from the Dodgers in the 1961 expansion draft, Golden pitched for the Colt .45's for two seasons before being included in a trade to the White Sox in 1963 for Nellie Fox. He was 7-12 for Houston with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.428 WHIP in 40 appearances (19 starts).

OF Rick Parker (52)
Drafted by the Phillies in the 16th round in 1985 out of the University of Texas, Parker was signed by Houston as a free agent in January of 1992 and spent one season with the Astros. In 49 plate appearances over 45 games, he hit a solid .333/.375/.400.

RHP Blas Minor (49)
Minor was drafted three times before he finally signed with Pittsburgh on the fourth try as a sixth round pick in 1988. His best season was for the Mets in 1995 when he went 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.221 WHIP.  Having signed with Houston as a free agent in November of 1996, Minor pitched in only 12 innings for the Astros in 1997 with a 1-0 record, a 4.50 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP.

LHP Wilfredo Rodriguez (36)
A non-drafted free agent first signed by Houston in 1995 out of Venezuela, Rodriguez's whole major league career consists of  three innings pitched over two games in 2001 with an ERA of 15.00 and a WHIP of 2.333. In eight seasons of minor league and independent ball, he had a 4.17 ERA and a 1.384 WHIP.  He was named as a #25 prospect by Baseball America before the 2000 season and a #57 prospect by Baseball America before the 2001 season.

I would also like to wish Kevin Goldstein, Director of Pro Scouting for the Astros, a very Happy Birthday!

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 Consensus Astros Top Prospect Listings

MLB Pipeline came out with their Astros Top 30 Prospects yesterday and I have incorporated that information and added consensus ranking information by compiling all of the various lists into one and ranking them by their average. I will keep this information posted on the sidebar of the front page throughout the season for future reference.

Now that you've seen the Top 30 or so prospects in the Astros system, it's time to check out the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook. There you will find information on over 250 players in the Astros system, including many who will make these lists for the first time next year. Read up now and get ahead of the experts!

Carlos Correa - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen


Cumulative Prospect Rankings:
(All of those ranked 1-10 were on at least 5 of 6 lists; all those ranked 11-21 were on at least 3 of 6 lists)

1. SS Carlos Correa
2. RHP Mark Appel
21. IF Ronald Torreyes

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 - traded to Atlanta
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

MLB Pipeline: 3/18/15

1. SS Carlos Correa (#3 overall; #1 in shortstops)
2. RHP Mark Appel (#30 overall)
3. OF Domingo Santana (#71 overall)
4. RHP Vince Velasquez (#86 overall)
5. RHP Michael Feliz
6. 3B Colin Moran (#9 at third base)
7. OF Brett Phillips
8. OF Teoscar Hernandez
9. LHP Josh Hader
10. RHP Lance McCullers
11. OF Derek Fisher
12. 1B A.J. Reed (#5 at first base)
13. 3B J.D. Davis
14. 2B Tony Kemp
15. OF Preston Tucker
16. RHP Joe Musgrove
17. IF Nolan Fontana
18. RHP Kyle Smith
19. C Max Stassi
20. OF Danry Vasquez
21. RHP Frances Martes
22. RHP Daniel Mengden
23. RHP Asher Wojciechowski
24. RHP James Hoyt
25. RHP Adrian Houser
26. RHP Brady Rodgers
27. OF Andrew Aplin
28. IF Ronald Torreyes
29. SS Joan Mauricio
30. SS/OF Osvaldo Duarte


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

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 smart phone by downloading the Free Kindle Reading App.

Happy Birthday - 3/19

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

UT Matt Downs (31)
Originally drafted by the Giants in the 36th round in 2006 out of the University of Alabama, Downs became an Astro after being claimed off waivers in August of 2010. In three seasons with the Astros, he hit .235/.298/.432 in 208 games and played at 2B, 3B, 1B, RF, SS and LF. He was also the emergency catcher but was never called upon in that capacity.

3B/2B Jose Castillo (34)
Claimed off waivers from the Giants in 2008, Castillo played in 15 games for Houston that year, hitting .281/.314/.313. In 2014, he played in the Mexican League.

UT Chuck Jackson (52)
Drafted by Houston in the seventh round in 1984, Jackson played in 81 games for Houston in 1987 and 1988, hitting .218/.281/.321. In 12 seasons in the minors, he hit .288/.369/.426.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

American League West Top Prospects

MLB Pipeline has been rolling out the top 30 prospects for each American League West team this afternoon. Here are the links that have come out so far. The Astros and the Rangers are in the top 10 farm systems and those in the top 10 will be revealed throughout the remainder of the week starting Tuesday. Also included in the Top 10 (in no particular order) are the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Twins, Mets, Pirates and Blue Jays.

[UPDATE]: Houston was named #8 out of the Top 10 farm systems and the top 30 prospects were released here: Houston Astros

[SECOND UPDATE]: The Rangers came in at #7 in the Top 10 farm systems and the top 30 prospects were released here: Texas Rangers

Former Astros farmhand Delino DeShields (#18) made the list.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Former Astros farmhands RHP Nick Tropeano (#5) and C Carlos Perez (#20) made the list.

Seattle Mariners

Former Astros farmhand LHP David Rollins (#26) made the list.

Oakland A's


Reason #1 To Buy My Book: Drumroll Please ...

Reason #1 in the Top 10 Reasons to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook: Drumroll Please ...

The Number One reason to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook? The sooner you buy the book, the sooner I quit nagging you about it and get back to writing on the blog!

One final note: Aside from all of the 5-star ratings I've received on Amazon, I also received this comment from someone with whom you should be familiar.
And you know that Brownie wouldn't lie!

Previous Posts:
Reason #10:Instant Hipster Cred!
Reason #9: 257+125+87+84+81=AWESOME!!!
Reason #8: You Can't Tell The Players Without A Program!
Reason #7: Humor and Fun Facts
Reason #6: Exclusive Content
Reason #5: 5-Star Reviews
Reason #4: Exclusive and Hard to Come By Stats
Reason #3: Portable and Searchable
Reason #2: Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes


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

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 smart 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 - 3/18

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

RHP Brian Fisher (53)
Originally drafted by Atlanta in the second round in 1980, Fisher signed with Houston as a free agent in February 1990 and pitched in only four games (five total innings) for the Astros that season. His best season was his rookie season for the Yankees in 1985 when he was 4-4 with an ERA of 2.38 and a WHIP of 1.078 over 55 games.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Birthday - 3/17

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

C Raul Chavez (42)
Chavez, a native of Venezuela, was originally signed as a NDFA by Houston in 1990 and was traded to the Expos along with Dave Veres for Sean Berry in 1995. Signing with Houston in 2000 as a free agent, he played in 136 games in 2000 and 2002 through 2005 as a back-up catcher. His regular season stats were nothing to write home about, but he did go 4 for 9 with a home run and two RBI's in the NLDS and NLCS in 2004. He also boasts a 41% career caught stealing percentage in the major leagues and a 44% career caught stealing in the minor leagues.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, March 16, 2015

American League West Top Prospects

MLB Pipeline has been rolling out the top 30 prospects for each American League West team this afternoon. Here are the links that have come out so far. The Astros and the Rangers are in the top 10 farm systems and those in the top 10 will be revealed throughout the remainder of the week starting Tuesday. Also included in the Top 10 (in no particular order) are the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Twins, Mets, Pirates and Blue Jays.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Former Astros farmhands RHP Nick Tropeano (#5) and C Carlos Perez (#20) made the list.

Seattle Mariners

Former Astros farmhand LHP David Rollins (#26) made the list.

Oakland A's


Astros Minor Leaguers in Spring Training

Today the Astros announced more cuts from the big league camp as RHP Michael Feliz, IF Ronald Torreyes and RHP Vince Velasquez were optioned and RHP Brady Rodgers was re-assigned to minor league camp.

Let's check in and see how the Astros minor leaguers have fared to date while playing with the big league club:

Position Players
SS Carlos Correa - 4x16 R RBI 2BB 4SO
OF Andrew Aplin - 1x11 4R 5BB SO 2SB
OF Domingo Santana - 0x5 RBI 5SO
C Max Stassi - 4x10 3R HR 2RBI 2BB SO
IF Ronald Torreyes - 0x8 RBI BB 2SO
IF Nolan Fontana - 1x7 R RBI BB 3SO
3B Colin Moran - 4x7 R BB SO CS
IF Joe Sclafani - 3x7 4R
1B/3B Matt Duffy - 1x7 R HR RBI 2BB SB
C Tyler Heineman - 1x3 R 2B
C Roberto Pena - 0x3
OF Brett Phillips - 2x3 R HR 2RBI SO
OF Jason Martin - 0x2
OF Derek Fisher - 0x1 SO
C Luis Flores - 0x1
1B Telvin Nash - 0x1 SO
OF Ruben Sosa - 0x1
OF Preston Tucker - 0x1 2BB
SS Mott Hyde - 0x0 CS

Pitchers
RHP James Hoyt - 3G 3.2IP 0.00ERA 0.545WHIP BB 2SO
RHP Brady Rodgers - 3G 3.1IP 16.20ERA 2.700WHIP 3BB SO
RHP Asher Wojciechowski - 3G 9.0IP 0.00ERA 1.000WHIP 3BB 7SO
LHP Luis Cruz - 2G 3.2IP 2.45ERA 1.090WHIP 2BB 4SO
RHP Michael Feliz - 2G 3.0IP 0.00ERA 0.667WHIP BB 3SO
RHP Jordan Jankowski - 2G 2.0IP 22.50ERA 3.000WHIP BB 4SO
RHP Jason Stoffel - 2G 2.1IP 3.86ERA 0.857WHIP BB SO
RHP Mark Appel - 1G 2.0IP 4.50ERA 1.500WHIP 2SO
LHP Kent Emanuel - 1G 0.1IP 27.00ERA 6.000WHIP SO
RHP Tyson Perez - 1G 1.0IP BB SO

Happy Birthday - 3/16

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Reymin Guduan (23)
An international free agent from the Dominican Republic, Guduan has played in the Astros system for five seasons. For the Greeneville team in 2014, Guduan was 2-5 with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.805 WHIP in 13 games (nine starts). He struck out 58 batters in 44.1 innings.

One former Astro celebrates today as well ~

RHP Mickey Storey (29)
Originally signed by Oakland in the 31st round in 2008, Storey came to the Astros organization in a trade with Oakland for "future considerations" in July 2011 and made his major league debut in Houston on August 3, 2012. In 26 games, he had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.220 WHIP. He played with the Blue Jays organization in 2014.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reason #2 To Buy My Book: Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Reason #2 in the Top 10 Reasons to buy the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook: Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes

For three years and seven months, I have been bringing you minor league news from all levels of the Astros organization. And for the last three years, I have been bleeding cash to get my minor league fix and to get you yours. Apparently some readers still don't understand that, other than a couple of hundred dollars in ad revenue over the last three years, I haven't made a cent on this. Some are under the grossly mistaken impression that I am either employed by the Astros (WRONG!) or that they reimburse me for my travel costs (WRONG AGAIN!).

But I wouldn't change a minute of it. I love to travel. I love to meet baseball people (the best people in the world) and interview the players and others. I love to take photographs. And I love to write about it all. And I was able to afford the travel costs and the new lens for my camera and the subscription to Baseball America and the video recorder and the audio recorder and the many other expenses I have had in conjunction with this pursuit.

But now my situation is changing. I will honestly be extremely surprised if I am still employed at year end. One of the owners of my company passed away and the other looks increasingly likely to sell. With the uncertainty of the situation, I have no choice but to cut way back on my travel expenses. I have only firmly scheduled one minor league trip so far and am hoping against hope to make enough on the handbook to help pay for additional travel.

I have never been one to hold out my hand expecting something for nothing. There is no way that I would ever set up a Paypal account asking for your support or a crowdfunding account like Go Fund Me or the like. Heck, I didn't even want to put ads on the blog, but I finally broke down and did that. So, instead of looking for a handout, I decided to create something of value ... the handbook.

And the handbook is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Astros minor league system. It has received nothing but 5-star reviews so far from those of you who have purchased it. Covering 257 players in the Astros minor league system and including exclusive stats and content available nowhere else, frankly it would be a bargain at twice the price. Amazon estimates that the book would be 855 pages long if it was in print form. That is a lot of information.

Not everyone is going to be interested in purchasing the book no matter how much information it contains. I get that. But if you have enjoyed the blog for any part of the past three and half plus years, if you enjoy the in person player interviews, if you enjoy the photographs and the videos, if you enjoy the eyewitness accounts ... I would urge you to consider the purchase anyway because I really don't want 2015 to be my farewell tour.

Previous Posts:
Reason #10:Instant Hipster Cred!
Reason #9: 257+125+87+84+81=AWESOME!!!
Reason #8: You Can't Tell The Players Without A Program!
Reason #7: Humor and Fun Facts
Reason #6: Exclusive Content
Reason #5: 5-Star Reviews
Reason #4: Exclusive and Hard to Come By Stats
Reason #3: Portable and Searchable


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

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 smart 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 - 3/15

Happy Birthday to ~

C Max Stassi (24)
Originally drafted by Oakland in the fourth round in 2009, Stassi came to Houston as a part of the February 2013 trade that sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the Athletics. Stassi played all season for AAA Oklahoma City until after the minor league season ended, at which time he was recalled to Houston. In 101 games for OKC, he hit .247/.296/.378 with 20 doubles, two triples and nine home runs. In 72 games as catcher, he posted a 26% caught stealing rate. In Houston, he appeared in only seven games, hitting .350/.350/.450 in 20 plate appearances.

OF Jose Solano (23)
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic, Solano has now played in the system for five seasons. In 2014, he appeared in 56 games for Tri-City, hitting .241/.267/.352.

One former Astro celebrates a birthday today as well ~

RHP Wayne Granger (71)
Granger came to Houston as a free agent in February 1975 and appeared in 55 games for the Astros that season, going 2-5 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP. He led the National League in saves in 1970 for the Reds and was named the NL Reliever of the Year in 1969 and 1970.

Tweet of the Day