Saturday, April 4, 2015

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Happy Birthday - 4/3

Wishing a Very Happy 20th Birthday to C Jacob Nottingham! Nottingham was the 6th round pick in 2013 and he will start the season with the Quad Cities team.

Nottingham - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Minor League Rosters Announced

Well, much to Jayne's chagrin (kidding, of course), the Astros have released the minor league rosters of the full-season affiliates. So, (shameless plug time) who are these guys, and where did they come from? You know Mark Appel and Carlos Correa and Preston Tucker, but what about Mott Hyde, Troy Scribner, and Richard Rodriguez? Learn more about them, and over 250 more prospects in the Houston Astros organization by purchasing the 2015 Houston Astros Farm System Handbook, available now on Amazon!

Notice: These rosters are preliminary and are subject to change. Minor League Opening Day is April 9.


The franchise that is a continuation of the former Tucson Toros will play their first season as an affiliate of the Houston Astros organization since 1997.


Manager: Tony DeFrancesco
Hitting Coach: Leon Roberts
Pitching Coach: Arthur "Ace" Adams
Catching Coach: Jeff Murphy


RHP Jake Buchanan - 8th round, 2010 Draft (North Carolina State)
LHP Kevin Chapman - Acquired from Royals (along with D'Andre Toney) for Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois, 3/20/12
LHP Luis Cruz - 9th round, 2008 Draft (Academia Santa Monica; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
LHP Darin Downs - Claimed off waivers from the Tigers, 11/1/13
RHP James Hoyt - Acquired from Braves (along with Evan Gattis) for Mike Foltynewicz, Andrew Thurman, and Rio Ruiz, 1/14/15
RHP Jordan Jankowski - 34th round, 2012 Draft (Catawba College)
RHP Brady Rodgers - 3rd round, 2012 Draft (Arizona State)
RHP Richard Rodriguez - International free agent signing, 2010
LHP Tommy Shirley - 9th round, 2010 draft (Xavier)
RHP Jason Stoffel - Acquired from Giants (along with Henry Sosa) for Jeff Keppinger, 7/19/11
RHP Dan Straily - Acquired from Cubs (along with Luis Valbuena) for Dexter Fowler, 1/19/15
RHP Alex White - Acquired from Rockies (along with Alex Gillingham) for Wilton Lopez and Jose Monzon (PTBNL), 12/4/12


Luis Flores - Rule 5 draft pick (minor league phase) from Cubs, 2014
Max Stassi - Acquired from Athletics (along with Brad Peacock and Chris Carter) for Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez, 2/4/13


Matt Dominguez - Acquired from Marlins (along with Rob Rasmussen) for Carlos Lee, 7/4/12
Matt Duffy - 20th round, 2011 draft (Tennessee)
Nolan Fontana - 2nd round, 2012 draft (Florida)
Jon Singleton - Acquired from Phillies (along with Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid and Domingo Santana) for Hunter Pence, 7/29/11
Joe Sclafani - 14th round, 2012 draft (Dartmouth)
Ronald Torreyes - Acquired from Cubs for international signing pool space, 7/2/13


Andrew Aplin - 5th round, 2012 draft (Arizona State)
L.J. Hoes - Acquired from Orioles (along with Josh Hader and a competitive balance draft pick) for Bud Norris, 7/31/13
Domingo Santana - Announced as the PTBNL from Phillies to complete the Hunter Pence trade, 8/15/11
Ruben Sosa - 23rd round, 2011 draft (Oklahoma City University)
Preston Tucker - 7th round, 2012 draft (Florida)


The Hooks are without a doubt the affiliate to watch in 2015 as the two #1 overall picks, Carlos Correa and Mark Appel, headline the squad.


Manager: Rodney Linares
Hitting Coach: Dan Radison
Pitching Coach: Doug Brocail
Infield Coach: Tom Lawless (Is he roving this year?)


RHP Mark Appel - 1st round, 2013 draft (Stanford)
RHP Angel Baez - Acquired from Royals for cash considerations, 3/28/15
RHP Travis Ballew - 23rd round, 2012 draft (Texas State)
RHP Chris Devenski - Announced as the PTBNL from White Sox to complete the Brett Myers trade, 8/3/12
LHP Kent Emanuel - 3rd round, 2013 draft (North Carolina)
RHP Jandel Gustave - International free agent signing, 2010 (returned to organization after being claimed in the 2014 Rule 5 draft)
LHP Josh Hader - Acquired from Orioles (along with L.J. Hoes and a competitive balance draft pick) for Bud Norris, 7/31/13
RHP Mike Hauschild - 33rd round, 2012 draft (Dayton)
LHP Mitch Lambson - 19th round, 2011 draft (Arizona State)
RHP Lance McCullers - Supplemental 1st round, 2012 draft (Jesuit HS; Tampa, Florida)
RHP Dan Minor - 9th round, 2012 draft (Texas A&M—Corpus Christi)
RHP Tyson Perez - 17th round, 2011 draft (Fresno City College)
RHP Aaron West - 17th round, 2012 draft (Washington)
RHP Kyle Westwood - 13th round, 2013 draft (North Florida)


Brett Booth - 34th round, 2013 draft (Alabama)
Tyler Heineman - 8th round, 2012 draft (UCLA)
Roberto Peña - 7th round, 2010 draft (Colegio Eloisa Pascual; Caguas, Puerto Rico)


Carlos Correa - 1st round, 2012 draft (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School; Gurabo, Puerto Rico)
Conrad Gregor - 4th round, 2013 draft (Vanderbilt)
Tony Kemp - 5th round, 2013 draft (Vanderbilt)
Jio Mier - 1st round, 2009 draft (Bonita HS; La Verne, California)
Colin Moran - Acquired from Marlins (along with Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, and a compensation draft pick) for Jarred Cosart and Kiké Hernandez, 7/31/14
Telvin Nash - 3rd round, 2009 draft (Griffin HS; Griffin, Georgia)
Tyler White - 33rd round, 2013 draft (Western Carolina)


Leo Heras - Rights purchased from Mexico City, 8/3/13
Teoscar Hernandez - International free agent signing, 2011
Jon Kemmer - 21st round, 2013 draft (Brewton-Parker College)
Brandon Meredith - 6th round, 2011 draft (San Diego State)


All 5 outfielders on the JetHawks roster are left-handed hitters. In fact, the JetHawks have 12 players who do things left-handed (throwing or hitting), which is the most out of all the full-season teams. The lineup will be headlined by the college duo of J.D. Davis and A.J. Reed, who both bring some serious power to the table. In the outfield, Brett Phillips is looking to build upon his breakout 2014, and surely, he has to be salivating at the prospect of putting up some gaudy numbers at The Hangar.

Michael Feliz is the big name on the JetHawks' pitching staff. He'll be the next top pitching prospect to take on the California League, where, as we know, the combination of the elevation, strong winds, and high temperatures can make a pitcher's life absolutely miserable. The California League Championship Series MVP, Tyler Brunnemann, will be a galvanizing presence in the back of the bullpen.


Manager: Omar Lopez
Hitting Coach: Darryl Robinson
Pitching Coach: Don Alexander
Infield Coach: Ramon Vazquez


RHP Tyler Brunnemann - 40th round, 2013 draft (Hardin-Simmons)
LHP Chris Cotton - 14th round, 2013 draft (LSU)
LHP Randall Fant - 29th round, 2013 draft (Arkansas)
RHP Michael Feliz - International free agent signing, 2010
RHP Edison Frias - International free agent signing, 2011
LHP Evan Grills - 10th round, 2010 draft (Sinclair SS [secondary school]; Whitby, Ontario)
LHP Brian Holmes - 13th round, 2012 draft (Wake Forest)
RHP Adrian Houser - 2nd round, 2011 draft (Locust Grove HS; Locust Grove, Oklahoma)
RHP Zach Morton - 32nd round, 2013 draft (Northwestern)
RHP Gonzalo Sañudo - Acquired from Twins for Mike Kvasnicka, 3/25/13
RHP Troy Scribner - Non-drafted free agent, 2013 (Sacred Heart)
LHP Blaine Sims - Rule 5 draft pick (minor league phase) from Braves, 2013
RHP Frederick Tiburcio - International free agent signing, 2008


Brian Holberton - 9th round, 2013 draft (North Carolina)
Jobduan Morales - Acquired from Marlins for Justin Ruggiano, 5/26/12


J.D. Davis - 3rd round, 2014 draft (Cal State Fullerton)
Jose Fernandez - International free agent signing, 2009
Jack Mayfield - Non-drafted free agent, 2013 (Oklahoma)
Chase McDonald - 12th round, 2013 draft (East Carolina)
Chan-Jong Moon - International free agent signing, 2009
A.J. Reed - 2nd round, 2014 draft (Kentucky)


Ronnie Mitchell - 38th round, 2013 draft (Dallas Baptist)
Brett Phillips - 6th round, 2012 draft (Seminole HS; Seminole, Florida)
James Ramsay - 7th round, 2013 draft (South Florida)
Danry Vásquez - Acquired from Tigers (along with David Paulino) for Jose Veras, 7/29/13
Marc Wik - 21st round, 2012 draft (Chabot College)


Derek Fisher is the big name in this contingent, while Joe Musgrove looks to continue his momentum from a strong 2014 with Tri-City in his first stab at full-season ball.

The River Bandits boast a fine triumvirate of backstops; Jake Nottingham has shown promise in the Rookie leagues, Jamie Ritchie put up some outstanding numbers in his half-season at Tri-City, and Alfredo Gonzalez brings a fine defensive reputation to the squad.


Manager: Josh Bonifay
Hitting Coach: Joel Chimelis
Pitching Coach: Dave Borkowski
Outfield/Baserunning Coach: Tim Garland


RHP Austin Chrismon - 26th round, 2013 (Christopher Newport University)
RHP Kevin Comer - Announced as the PTBNL from Blue Jays to complete the David Carpenter, Brandon Lyon, and J.A. Happ trade (which occurred on 7/20/12), 8/16/12
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn - 6th round, 2014 draft (Central Arizona College)
RHP Josh James - 34th round, 2014 draft (Western Oklahoma State College)
LHP Chris Lee - 4th round, 2011 draft (Santa Fe Community College)
RHP Dan Mengden - 4th round, 2014 draft (Texas A&M)
LHP Albert Minnis - 25th round, 2013 draft (Wichita State)
RHP Jose Montero - International free agent signing, 2010
RHP Joe Musgrove - Acquired from Blue Jays (along with Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Francisco Cordero, Kevin Comer, and Ben Francisco) for David Carpenter, J.A. Happ, and Brandon Lyon, 7/20/12
RHP Eric Peterson - 37th round, 2014 draft (North Carolina State)
LHP Bryan Radziewski - 9th round, 2014 draft (Miami)
RHP Ryan Thompson - 23rd round, 2014 draft (Campbell)
RHP Keegan Yuhl - 35th round, 2014 draft (Concordia; Irvine, California)


Alfredo Gonzalez - International free agent signing, 2008
Jake Nottingham - 6th round, 2013 (Redlands HS; Redlands, California)
Jamie Ritchie - 13th round, 2014 (Belmont)


Alex Hernandez - 40th round, 2014 draft (Miami)
Mott Hyde - 26th round, 2014 draft (Georgia Tech)
Thomas Lindauer - 23rd round, 2013 draft (Illinois)
Bryan Muniz - 22nd round, 2014 draft (Southwestern [Florida])
Nick Tanielu- 14th round, 2014 draft (Washington State)
Kristian Trompiz - International free agent signing, 2012


Ryan Bottger - 12th round, 2014 draft (UT—Arlington)
Bobby Boyd - 8th round, 2014 draft (West Virginia)
Derek Fisher - Supplemental 1st round, 2014 draft (Virginia)
Jorge Martinez - Minor league free agent signing, 2014, after being released by Indians
Sean McMullen - 30th round, 2014 draft (LSU)

Astros MiLB Alumni: RHP Kirk Clark

In the latest in an ongoing series, we catch up with another former Astros farmhand to hear about life after minor league baseball. Today we hear from Kirk Clark, a non-drafted free agent and righthanded bullpen catcher/closer who toiled in the Astros system from 2009 through 2012.

WTHB: Can you tell me a little about what you've been doing since you were with the Astros (and your latest happy news as well)?

KC: Well, let's start at the beginning. I was released by the Astros July 20, 2012 (the day after my birthday). That time was literally probably the worst time of my life. My sister was diagnosed with cancer and my father had a stroke. So the 2012 season was a rough one from the start. I then signed with the Schaumburg Boomers and pitched very well. From there I headed to the American Association and played with the Sioux Falls Canaries for 1-1/2 years. After that I headed to Quebec City which was an amazing experience. During my time in Quebec I received a random phone call from the Head Coach from Wayne State College, a Division 2 school in Nebraska. I initially told them no because I wanted to finish my last season. They ended up calling me back in the morning and told me they'd love to have me once the season is over. So I am now the Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at Wayne State. I asked my girlfriend of 2-1/2 years to marry me a week ago and she, of course, said yes. So my life has changed quite a bit over the last year. We're currently looking at houses and getting married in October 2016. My goal is still to get to the big leagues, just in another way now. Coaching, scouting, whatever. Just looking for another opportunity.

WTHB: What one memory (or more) will you take with you from your time with the Astros organization?

KC: Ohhh the memories. One thing I love to see is the guys I played with succeed. JD Martinez, Jake Goebbert, Jose Altuve, Jose Cisnero, and the list goes on. Of course the individual records will always be with me as well, saving 29 games in Lexington, and getting an opportunity to pitch in a big league game and all-star game. I made noise as a non-drafted guy. Setting records and getting an appearance in a big league game ... that was enough for me. I really thank the Astros for giving me an opportunity to chase after my dream. I also got to meet a lot of great guys. I still keep in touch with some of the guys such as Jordan Comadena, Adam Champion, Mike Ness, Dan Sarisky and Jonny Meyer. There are a few others that I kept in contact with kicking around indy ball. We are all brothers and have gone through some crazy things: long bus rides, longer nights, early mornings, wins, losses, punch outs, bench clearings, injuries, walk offs (good and bad), hotel casinos, taxi rides and so on. Special Thanks to all my managers, pitching coaches, and so on. And last I will never forget this... Fred Nelson [the Astros former Director of Player Development] didn't know my name... he always called me Chris.

WTHB: What life lesson have you taken from your time playing minor league and independent baseball?

KC: The baseball family is smaller than you think. Everyone has their own stories. Everyone knows someone that you know so everyone is connected in a way. Always be the best person you can be because you never know how that will aid you in the future. That's literally how I got my job now. They knew I knew the game and it came down to when he asked people who coached me if I was a good guy or not. Also, baseball is an absolute GRIND. 140 games you get to prove yourself. I was always a fast starter so I always did well my first few months and would struggle in July. Make sure to keep doing what you're doing. You'll have more peaks than valleys. Don't get down on yourself ... as soon as you do, you'll be done and it'll be too late. Don't forget to have fun. This isn't a miserable experience. I get that it sounds stupid, but a lot of people forget to have fun.

WTHB: What advice would you give to a player whose dream gets cut short?

KC: Don't stop chasing till you're ready to. I get it ... you're getting older and you want more than $500 in your bank account at a time, and you want to move out of your parents place. You have the rest of your life to grow up even if you play till your 30, you'll get 35 years of real life work for the 8 years you put into playing. Trust me when I say there are plenty of places to play. I just gave up ball in September, and when January hit I started working out and throwing to get into shape just in case I get to throw a few innings this summer for a random team somewhere. It just got to the point for me that playing the game was no longer a priority for me. I want to be able to be around family, get married, and so on. I dedicated everything since I was in high school to the game of baseball and I just couldn't do that full-time anymore. I said to myself when I got to that point I won't hang around and keep playing, because you're just taking up someone's spot who sitting at home.

WTHB: What would you like to say to the friends and fans you've made along the way?

KC: Thank you. Thank you to Rip and Missy in New York. They're some of the greatest people I've ever met. Thank you to my host mom Kim in Lexington and all the other host families. You guys were absolutely amazing. Thank you to all the host families in Lancaster. Thanks to all the bloggers who were behind me climbing the ladder. I promised myself I will make it back to all of those places sometime in the near future to hang with everyone in the stands and enjoy a ball game. I will never ever forget the time I spent in each place and thank you for making that special.

Thank you for sharing your story, Kirk! Best of luck with life after minor league baseball.


It's only 8 days until the minor league season will be upon us! Time to purchase the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook!

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Astros Minor League Releases

Unfortunately, the Astros announced several more minor league player releases today. It's never easy, but the players left behind are probably reeling from this one with several "old-timers" leaving.

1B/C M.P. Cokinos - Drafted in the 31st round in 2012
RHP Jamaine Cotton - Drafted in the 15th round in 2010
RHP John Gatlin - Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2014
1B/C Ricky Gingras - Drafted in the 18th round in 2012
RHP Gerardo Juarez - International Free Agent signed April 2013
3B Jonathan Meyer - Drafted in the 3rd round in 2009
OF Jordan Scott - Drafted in the 14th round in 2010
RHP Robert Stock (MiLB free agent signed earlier this month)







The 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook. Buy it now and thank me later!

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Happy Birthday - 3/31

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

RHP Rafael Montalvo (51)
Montalvo was included as part of the Dodger trade in July 1985 for Enos Cabell. His entire major league career consisted of pitching one inning on April 13, 1986. At 22, he was 17 years younger than teammate Nolan Ryan. He continued to toil in the minors and last played in independent ball in 1999. In 13 seasons in the minors and independent league ball, he was 59-48 with 83 saves and a 3.75 ERA in 561 games.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Astros Minor Leaguers in Spring Training

The Astros announced more Spring Training cuts yesterday (see yesterday's post for those and other minor league roster moves). Although some of these players have technically been assigned to minor league camp, they will continue to play with the major league club as needed.

Time to check in on how all the minor leaguers have fared in their time playing with the big league club. (Unfortunately, boxscores for the games on the backfields during Spring Training aren't available so this is really the only info readily available.) The following includes all stats to date with those players who had at-bats or innings in the past week in bold.

SS Carlos Correa - 14x41 7R 2B 2HR 5RBI 2BB 10SO 2SB (.341/.372/.512)
C Max Stassi - 6x16 4R 2B HR 5RBI 3BB 2SO (.375/.450/.688)
OF Andrew Aplin - 1x14 5R 5BB 2SO 2SB
OF Domingo Santana - 0x10 RBI 6SO
IF Nolan Fontana - 1x9 2R RBI 2BB 4SO
3B Colin Moran - 4x9 2R BB 2SO CS
IF Joe Sclafani - 4x9 6R RBI
IF Ronald Torreyes - 0x8 RBI BB 2SO
OF Preston Tucker - 0x8 2BB 3SO
1B/3B Matt Duffy - 2x7 R HR RBI 2BB SB
C Tyler Heineman - 1x7 R 2B RBI
OF Brett Phillips - 2x6 R HR 2RBI 2SO
C Roberto Pena - 0x5
OF Teoscar Hernandez - 1x3 2B SO
2B Tony Kemp - 1x3 SO
OF Jason Martin - 0x2
OF Derek Fisher - 0x2 2SO
OF Ruben Sosa - 0x2
OF Leo Heras - 1x1 2R 2B
3B J.D. Davis - 0x1
C Luis Flores - 0x1
SS Jio Mier - 0x1
1B Telvin Nash - 0x1 SO
SS Mott Hyde - 0x0 CS

RHP James Hoyt - 7G 8.1IP 0.00ERA 0.960WHIP 5BB 11SO
RHP Asher Wojciechowski - 5G 16.2IP 1.08ERA 0.960WHIP 4BB 13SO
RHP Mark Appel - 3G 7.0IP 2.57ERA 1.143WHIP 3BB 5SO
RHP Brady Rodgers - 3G 3.1IP 16.20ERA 2.700WHIP 3BB SO
RHP Jason Stoffel - 3G 3.1IP 2.70ERA 1.200WHIP 3BB 2SO
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
LHP Kent Emanuel - 1G 0.1IP 27.00ERA 6.000WHIP SO
RHP Tyson Perez - 1G 1.0IP 0.00ERA 1.000WHIP BB SO
LHP Chris Lee - 1G 1.0IP 0.00ERA 0.000WHIP 2SO
RHP Lance McCullers - 1G 1.0IP 0.00ERA 1.000WHIP SO
LHP Tommy Shirley - 1G 1.0IP 0.00ERA 0.000WHIP


The 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook is available on Amazon and can be read on kindle, iPad, most other tablets, laptop, desktop and smart phones. Time's a wastin'! Get yours now!

Happy Birthday - 3/30

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Jake Marisnick (24)
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round in 2009, Marisnick came to Houston as a part of the July 2014 trade that sent RHP Jarred Cosart, OF Austin Wates and IF/OF Kiké Hernandez to the Marlins. In 51 games for Houston, he hit .272/.299/.370.

These former Astros have birthdays today as well ~

LHP Jeriome Robertson (died May 29, 2010 at 33)
Robertson was drafted by Houston in the 24th round in 1995 and pitched for Houston in 2002 and 2003 before being traded to Cleveland in March of 2004 for Luke Scott. The 2003 season was Robertson's shining moment in the majors. Despite a somewhat high 5.10 ERA and 1.519 WHIP, he managed a 15-9 record. His eight appearances for Cleveland didn't impress and his last major league game was in July of 2004. He died in a motorcycle accident in May 2010 at only 33.

RHP Chris Gardner (46)
A sixth round draft pick by Houston in 1988, Gardner was 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP in five games (four starts) for Houston in 1991. A September call-up, Gardner never made it back to the show.

RHP Conrad Cardinal (73)
Drafted by the Colt .45's from Detroit in November 1962, Cardinal appeared in six games (one start) for Houston in 1963 at the ripe old age of 21. Those six games constituted his entire major league career.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

According to the MiLB transaction pages, IF Austin Elkins and C Jake Rodriguez have both retired. WTHB wishes them both the best of luck!

In addition, the Houston Chronicle reported today that the Astros have acquired minor league RHP Angel Baez from the Royals for cash considerations. The 24-year old Dominican has a minor league career 4.29 ERA and 1.500 WHIP. He was 1-5 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.403 WHIP in 35 games (62IP) for the Royals AA affiliate in 2014.

The 2014-2015 Astros Off-Season Transaction List has been updated with these moves.

And finally, several players were reassigned from the Astros major league camp to the minor league side today: SS Carlos Correa, C Tyler Heineman, RHP James Hoyt, LHP Darin Downs and IF Gregorio Petit. RHP Jake Buchanan, IF Matt Dominguez and C Max Stassi were optioned to minor league camp as well. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Chronicle reported that Carlos Correa would start the season at AA Corpus Christi.


Have you bought your copy yet? The minor league season starts April 9th!!!

Happy Birthday - 3/29

Happy Birthday to ~

1B/2B Jared Cruz (20)
Cruz played his first professional season in the Braves organization in 2014, coming to Houston after the season ended. Cruz, who is originally from Melbourne, Australia, was the player to be named later in the July 2014 trade that sent RHP Andrew Robinson to the Braves.

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

UT Eric Bruntlett (37)
Drafted by Houston in the ninth round in 2000, Bruntlett spent five seasons, between 2003 and 2007 playing for the Astros, hitting .250/.323/.364 over 320 games. In November of 2007, he was traded along with Brad Lidge to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Mike Costanzo and Geoff Geary. In August 2009, he became only the second player in major league history to end a game with an unassisted triple play.

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