Saturday, May 9, 2015

2014 Interviews and Profiles

My interview and profile links are getting really lengthy on the front page so I'm going to consolidate the links from 2014 into one post for the front page. Here are the links in alphabetical order with the publication dates of the interviews/profiles indicated.

OF Andrew Aplin - 4/30/14

RHP Mark Appel - 2/5/14

OF Bobby Boyd - 8/6/14

RHP Tyler Brunnemann - 6/27/14

Special Assistant to the GM Enos Cabell - 2/20/14

RHP Kevin Comer - 6/25/14

SS Carlos Correa - 6/6/14

RHP Jamaine Cotton - 6/3/14

LHP Kent Emanuel - 12/9/14

OF Derek Fisher - 8/15/14

RHP Devonte German - 7/9/14

OF Justin Gominsky - 8/27/14

C Alfredo Gonzalez - 8/5/14

RHP Aaron Greenwood - 7/12/14

1B Conrad Gregor - 8/22/14

LHP Evan Grills - 7/1/14

LHP Josh Hader - 6/9/14

OF Teoscar Hernandez - 6/13/14

C Brian Holberton - 7/3/14

2B Tony Kemp - 6/10/14

RHP Jordan Jankowski - 11/13/14

LHP Mitch Lambson - 6/11/14

1B Mike Martinez - 7/14/14

RHP Lance McCullers- 6/4/14

OF Sean McMullen - 7/15/14

3B Jonathan Meyer - 1/22/14

LHP Jordan Mills - 5/13/14

OF Brett Phillips - 1/7/14

RHP Francis Ramirez - 8/5/14

C Jamie Ritchie - 8/8/14

RHP Brady Rodgers - 5/6/14

3B Rio Ruiz - 5/13/14

RHP Gonzalo Sanudo - 5/30/14

IF/OF Joe Sclafani - 2/17/14

RHP Troy Scribner - 8/13/14

LHP Tommy Shirley - 5/14/14

OF Preston Tucker - 5/7/14

OF Danry Vasquez - 6/13/14

RHP Derick Velazquez - 8/12/14

C/LF/1B/DH Trent Woodward - 7/16/14

Tweet of the Day

Friday, May 8, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, May 7, 2015

It was a fine night for pitching in the system...

Fresno 8, El Paso 4

W- Jordan Jankowski (3-0)
L- Robbie Erlin (4-2)
S- Tyson Perez (1, 2 season)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizz earned the split as they busted out for 5 runs in the 3rd to take a 6-2 lead. El Paso got 2 runs back in the top of the 9th, but the 6-run lead was a comfortable enough cushion.

Jon Singleton put Fresno on the board with a sac fly in the 2nd, which tied the game at 1. The bottom of the 3rd kicked off with Joe Sclafani reaching on an error. He made his way around the bases with a couple of productive outs, and scored on an infield single by Alex Presley. All 5 Fresno runs in the inning came with 2 outs. Domingo Santana followed by drawing a walk. The two of them would score on a 2-error play from Brett Wallace as Jon Singleton advanced to 3rd. Matt Dominguez and Max Stassi closed out the inning as they both hit RBI singles. Sclafani hit an RBI single in the 6th, and he also scored on a Nolan Fontana triple in the 8th. Presley was the only player in the Fresno lineup to record more than one hit. They capitalized on 4 Chihuahuas errors.

Luis Cruz went 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Jordan Jankowski threw 1.1 hitless innings, walking 3 and striking out 3. In his AAA debut, Jonas Dufek threw a 1-2-3 7th, striking out 1. Jason Stoffel came on for the 8th inning and also set El Paso down in order with 2 flyouts and a groundball out. James Hoyt got 2 outs in the 9th, but he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and walked 2. The 2nd walk loaded the bases. So, Tyson Perez was summoned to extricate the Grizzlies from a bases-loaded, 2 out situation, which he successfully did by getting Rymer Liriano to ground out to end the game.

Brady Rodgers will be on the mound tonight as the Grizz welcome Tacoma to Chukchansi Park for a 4-game set. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 3, Midland 1

W- Lance McCullers (2-1)
L- Nate Long (0-2)
S- Jandel Gustave (1)

CC home runs: Carlos Correa (7, solo in 1st)

The Astros' first two selections in the 2012 draft took center stage on the mound and at the plate.

Lance McCullers fought off spells of wildness (he uncorked a wild pitch and hit a batter) and rendered the Midland offense useless in his 5 shutout innings; he allowed 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 9. McCullers is one of 3 Texas League pitchers who qualify for the league's ERA title with an ERA under 1.

The RockHounds spoiled the shutout when they got a run on a single off of Mitch Lambson in the 8th inning. That run was charged to Angel Báez, who walked the run-scorer, Matt Olson, to begin the inning. Báez, who was the first Corpus reliever to appear, went 2.2 innings and allowed a double in the 7th inning, walked 1, and struck out 2. Lambson only faced one batter, Jaycob Brugman, who hit the RBI single for Midland's only run. Travis Ballew got Ryon Healy to fly out to end the 8th inning. Jandel Gustave closed it out with a 1-2-3 9th, getting a lineout and 2 groundouts.

Mr. Correa (pretty weird to address him as Mister, considering that he's 2 years younger than me). He's pretty good, I suppose. All he did in this game was serve as the Hooks offense. He opened up the scoring with a solo blast in the 1st, his 7th of the season, added a 2-run double in the 5th, and continued his streak of perfection on the basepaths with a stolen base in the 7th. Carlos Correa is now 14-14 on stolen base attempts this season.

The Hooks look to finish this homestand with a sweep tonight as Aaron West takes on Tim Atherton. First pitch is at 7:05.

Lancaster 2, Stockton 0

W- Brian Holmes (2-1)
L- Dylan Covey (2-3)
S- Frederick Tiburcio (2)

Lancaster home runs: J.D. Davis (4, 2-run in 3rd)

After getting smashed by a combined score of 19-3 in the first 2 games of this series, the JetHawks rallied to split with the Ports by smashing them 20-4 over the final 2 games. In this one, 3 JetHawks pitchers combined on a 3-hit shutout. JetHawks commentator Jason Schwartz also noted that this was the 300th career win for Lancaster skipper Omar Lopez. Congratulations, Mr. Lopez!

In a game largely dominated by pitching, J.D. Davis' 2-run shot in the 3rd inning that constituted all the scoring proved to be the difference. A.J. Reed finished 2-4 with a double, and Jose Fernandez hit a single in the 2nd inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.

Brian Holmes tossed a gem, allowing just 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 10 over 6 shutout innings. His 38 strikeouts lead the system, and he recorded the first double-digit strikeout start in the system this season. Chris Cotton was the first man out of the bullpen, and all he did was allow a hit and strike out 5 in 2.2 scoreless frames. Frederick Tiburcio came on with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th and issued a walk to the first man he faced, but nothing came of the BB as he induced a force out to end the game.

The JetHawks are back home tonight, and they will be starting a weekend series with Lake Elsinore. Game 1 will take place at 6:30 Pacific; Zach Morton will take on Ronald Herrera.

Quad Cities 4, Wisconsin 1

W- Chris Lee (2-2)
L- Cy Sneed (1-3)
S- Kevin Comer (1)

QC home runs: None.

9 in a row for the River Bandits! They are maintaining their 1 run allowed per game average during the streak.

Chris Lee allowed a solo homer to Brandon Diaz with 1 out in the 1st, but after that, he and Kevin Comer shackled the Wisconsin offense. He went 5 innings and allowed 2 singles to go with the homer, walked 2, and struck out 3. Kevin Comer shut it down in his 4 innings; he allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 9; he struck out the side in the final 3 innings of the game.

The Banditos mounted a quick response to the 1st-inning homer by taking the lead in the bottom of the 1st. They got a pair of RBI singles from Jake Nottingham and Alex Hernandez. Jason Martin added an RBI double in the 7th, and Nottingham added a second RBI single in the 8th inning. He and D.J. Fisher (2B, R) finished 2-4.

The series continues tonight at 7. The River Bandits have yet to announce a starter for this game.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Astros Minor League Transactions

Here are your latest Astros MiLB transactions ..

5-8 RHP Asher Wojciechowski recalled to Houston
5-7 IF Chan Moon promoted from Corpus Christi to Fresno
5-7 IF Ronald Torreyes designated for assignment
5-7 OF Preston Tucker called up to Houston
5-6 RHP Jonas Dufek promoted from Corpus Christi to Fresno
5-6 3B/1B Matt Duffy placed on the 7-day DL retroactive to 5-4

5-8 RHP Vince Velasquez activated from the 7-day DL
5-7 IF Jio Mier activated from the 7-day DL
5-6 RHP Juan Minaya activated from the 7-day DL

5-8 LHP Ambiorix de Leon released
5-8 C Jobduan Morales released
5-8 RHP Joe Musgrove promoted from Quad Cities to Lancaster (CONFIRMED)
5-8 LHP Bryan Radziewski promoted from Quad Cities to Lancaster (CONFIRMED)
5-7 C Alfredo Gonzalez promoted from Quad Cities to Lancaster (CONFIRMED)

Musgrove has a 0.70 ERA and a 0.896 WHIP in 5 games (3 starts) for Quad Cities and Radziewski has a 2.05 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP in 5 games (3 starts) for the River Bandits. An earlier tweet showing Radziewski and Musgrove on a plane that was "Cali Bound" has since been removed.

Gonzalez is also rumored to be headed to Lancaster. He is hitting .326/.482/.395 in 13 games and has a 63% caught stealing percentage.

5-8 RHP Brandon McNitt activated from Extended Spring Training
5-8 RHP Akeem Bostick activated from Extended Spring Training

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Fresno 7, El Paso 3

W- Brett Oberholtzer (1-1)
L- Chris Smith (0-1)
S- Alex White (1)

Fresno home runs: Jon Singleton 2 (7; 2-run in 2nd, solo in 4th)

The Grizzlies got on the board in this series behind a power show from Jon Singleton and a fine start from Brett Oberholtzer.

Singleton's first home run, the 2-run shot in the 2nd, was a no-doubter; spectators noted that Rymer Liriano, El Paso's right fielder, didn't even bother moving. Later on in the 2nd, Joe Sclafani added an RBI single. Singleton led off the 4th with his 2nd home run of the game, a solo shot that time. In the 5th, Alex Presley hit a 2-run single, and Singleton struck once more, blooping in an RBI single to score Presley.

Obie was absolutely dominant in his 2nd rehab start as he allowed 4 hits and struck out 9 over 5.1 shutout frames. Alex White pitched the final 3.2 innings; Cody Decker spoiled the shutout when he hit a 3-run homer off of Alex in the 7th. He allowed 3 other hits, walked 3, and struck out 1.

The Grizz will look to split the series tonight at Luis Cruz faces Robbie Erlin. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 7, Midland 2

W- Mike Hauschild (3-1)
L- Chris Jensen (3-2)

CC home runs: Jon Kemmer (2, solo in 2nd), Chan-Jong Moon (1 (2 season), solo in 5th)

The Hooks fell behind right off the bat as Chad Oberacker led off the game with a homer, but Mike Hauschild righted the ship and kept the Hounds in check.

Oberacker's homer was the only run Hauschild allowed in his 6 innings; he allowed 5 singles, walked 3, and struck out 3. Juan Minaya was activated from the disabled list and was assigned to the Hooks. He came out in the 7th for his season debut and allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Travis Ballew pitched a 1-2-3 8th, and Jandel Gustave struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Jon Kemmer put the Hooks on the board in the 2nd with his 2nd home run in as many nights. Corpus took the lead in the 3rd and never looked back; their 2 runs in the frame came on a Conrad Gregor RBI single and a Brandon Meredith RBI double. Chan-Jong Moon, who doubled to lead off the 3rd, led off the 5th with his 1st home run at the AA level and 2nd of the season. Kemmer scored on an error in the 7th, and with the bases loaded, Moon got his 4th hit of the evening when he poked a 2-run single through the right side of the infield. Moon also stole his 1st base at AA; he now has 6 steals on the season. Roberto Peña (BB, R). Conrad Gregor (2B, RBI, 2 BB, R), and Jon Kemmer (solo HR, 2 R) all finished with 2 hits apiece.

The Hooks look to clinch a series win tonight at 7:05. Lance McCullers will be on the mound for Corpus; he'll take on Nate Long.

Lancaster 18, Stockton 4

W- Edison Frias (3-2)
L- Lou Trivino (2-1)

Lancaster home runs: A.J. Reed 3 (8; 3-run in 1st, grand slam in 4th, solo in 9th)

Well, that's one way to snap a 6-game losing streak... Mr. Golden Spikes struck terror into the hearts of Stockton's pitchers as he homered off of 3 of the 4 Ports hurlers who appeared and ultimately finished a 2-run homer shy of a home run cycle.

Everyone in the Lancaster lineup scored a run; the JetHawks scored in 7 out of 9 innings. Everyone had a hit except for Marc Wik, who walked twice and scored twice despite finishing 0-3. Reed opened up the scoring with his 3-run homer in the 1st. Brett Phillips drew 3 walks, scored 3 runs (for the game), and hit an RBI single in the 2nd. Before Reed's salami in the 4th, Jack Mayfield hit a 2-run single. Mayfield struck again when he hit a bloop RBI single in the 5th. Reed drew a walk to lead off the 6th and would eventually score on a Ronnie Mitchell double. Mitchell scored himself on a double from Brian Holberton. In the 7th, Reed grounded into a force out that scored Phillips. Jose Fernandez followed by extending his hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI single. Mitchell hit another RBI double that brought home Reed, and Holberton added an RBI groundout. A.J. Reed capped off his outstanding night with a 1-out solo homer in the 9th inning. He and Mayfield had 3 hits each, while Mitchell, Holberton, and J.D. Davis finished with 2-hit nights.

Edison Frias was the beneficiary of some ample run support; he went 5.2 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Albert Minnis was the first man out of the bullpen; he pitched 2.1 scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out 3. Frederick Tiburcio worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 9th inning.

The JetHawks look to split the series as Brian Holmes faces Dylan Covey at 7:10 Pacific.

Quad Cities 4, Kane County 1

W- Reymin Guduan (2-0)
L- Jared Miller (2-2)
S- Eric Peterson (3)

QC home runs: None.

Make it 8 straight victories for the River Bandits. The Cougars managed to make it a 1-run game late, but some timely hitting in the 9th sealed the deal for Quad Cities. They have allowed a grand total of 8 runs during this 8-game winning streak. Now, this could be an insane theory, but when you hold your opponent to 1 run per game, there's a good chance that you'll win those games.

Alfredo Gonzalez put QC on the board first with an RBI double in the 4th inning. The next River Bandits run came in the 8th, when Thomas Lindauer scored on a wild pitch. The Banditos scored a pair in the 9th, which gave them some much-needed separation from Kane County after they had made it a 1-run game in the bottom of the 8th. Ryan Bottger hit an RBI single with the bases loaded, and Lindauer added a little more insurance with a sac fly. In addition to his RBI double, Fredo also stole his 2nd base of the season.

Josh James went 3.2 innings and allowed 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3. Reymin Guduan retired all 4 Cougars he faced, striking out 1. The shutout bid was spoiled in the 8th off of Brock Dykxhoorn, who nonetheless had a good 3-inning stint; he allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Eric Peterson worked around a walk to close out the game; he struck out 2.

The River Bandits head home to begin a 3-game set with Wisconsin. In the opener, Chris Lee will face off against Cy Sneed at 7.

Getting to Know Astros OF Preston Tucker

As you probably already know by now, Fresno OF Preston Tucker will be called up by the Astros later today. Tucker was hitting .320/.378/.650 with three doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 25 games. He currently leads the Pacific Coast League in home runs and in RBI.

I've really enjoyed getting to know Tucker over the last couple of years. Here are my interviews with him from May 2013 and May 2014, and a more recent piece from Fresno Grizzlies writer Ryan Young.

Bonus Tweets of the Day

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/Hooks 3B Tyler White

3B Tyler White has somehow managed to fly under the radar despite the fact that he was among the organization leaders in 2014 in walk rate, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, WRC+ and wOBA. He missed time early in the season for a family matter, but is now making up for lost time, getting the bulk of playing time at third base for the Corpus Christi Hooks as Colin Moran recovers from a non-displaced jaw fracture.

Tyler White - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

In 13 games White is hitting .300/.500/.400 (.302/.415/.479 career-to-date) and, although he hasn't displayed much power so far this season, he collected 33 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs in 2014. He also currently has a career 106 walks to 100 strikeouts (16 walks and 9 strikeouts so far in 2015).

Hooks Hitting Coach Dan Radison had this to say about White, "He's got a hitter's mentality. He's got some natural aggressiveness, but the aggressiveness doesn't spill over into chasing bad pitches. He's done a good job at swinging at strikes and taking balls, but he's still able to attack the baseball in doing that. So if you can attack strikes and take balls, you can hit."

Hooks Manager Rodney Linares is working with a recently slimmed-down White on his agility in the field and, based on what I saw over the weekend, that work may be paying off. Linares went on to say of White, "He's a very smart hitter," citing his ability to work the counts and draw walks.

I caught up with White this past Sunday and we spoke about his experience playing winter ball in Panama, what type of player he is, the talent on that Hooks team and more.


You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros farm system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook. Get your copy now!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quad Cities keeps on rolling.

El Paso 6, Fresno 3

W- Jason Lane (3-2)
L- Dan Straily (2-2)
S- Cory Mazzoni (1)

Fresno home runs: Max Stassi (3, solo in 5th), Jon Singleton (5, solo in 6th)

Old friend Jason Lane topped the Grizz. Fresno cut into a 4-0 deficit and managed to make it a 1-run game, but El Paso put just enough distance between them and the Grizzlies.

Max Stassi's 3rd home run of the season put Fresno on the board in the 5th, down 4-1. Preston Tucker finished 3-4; he added an RBI single later in the inning. Jon Singleton made it a 1-run game when he led off the bottom of the 6th with a homer. Domingo Santana and Andrew Aplin both finished 2-4.

Dan Straily allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 9 hits (8 singles and a double), walked 1, and struck out 2 over 5.1 innings. Tommy Shirley went 1.2 innings as the first man out of the pen; he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and issued a walk. Jordan Jankowski pitched the final 2 innings, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 2.

Tonight, Brett Oberholtzer makes his 2nd rehab start. He'll take on Chris Smith at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 6, Midland 1

W- Mitch Lambson (2-1)
L- Zach Neal (2-2)

CC home runs: Jon Kemmer (1, solo in 2nd), Carlos Correa (6, 3-run in 2nd)

#1 continued his massacre of the Texas League. That's really all you need to know here.

The 2 homers in the 2nd inning accounted for 4 of the 6 Hooks runs. Jon Kemmer started the inning with his 1st homer of the season, and later on in the inning, Tony Kemp hit an RBI single. After Tyler Heineman walked, Correa sent one into the sunset for a 3-run home run. Carlos finished 3-4 with that 3-run homer and added 2 stolen bases (13). Brandon Meredith added a sac fly in the 7th for the final run of the evening. Kemp, Kemmer, and Tyler White finished with 2 hits apiece.

Chris Devenski allowed 2 hits and struck out 6 over 4+ shutout innings, but he also issued 5 BBs in the process. He extended his scoreless streak to 23.1 innings. He left 2 runners on for Mitch Lambson, who struck out 2 in a scoreless 5th. Josh Hader allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 3, hit 2 batters, and struck out 4 in 3.2 innings. Travis Ballew got Colin Walsh to ground out for the final out.

Game 2 of this series is at 7:05. Mike Hauschild will take on Chris Jensen.

Stockton 8, Lancaster 1

W- Sam Bragg (1-2)
L- Blaine Sims (1-4)

Lancaster home runs: Jose Fernandez (2, led off game)

The JetHawks suffered their 6th consecutive defeat as an early lead was erased rather quickly.

Jose Fernandez finished 2-4 with a stolen base (3), and his homer to lead off the game extended his hitting streak to 14 games. It was also the only JetHawks run. Jack Mayfield and Ronnie Mitchell both finished 2-3 with a walk, and the other Lancaster hit belonged to Brian Holberton.

Blaine Sims went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (2 solo homers), walked 1, and struck out 3. Adrian Houser pitched the final 3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, walking 1, and striking out 3.

In game 3, Edison Frias takes on Lou Trivino. First pitch is at 7:10 Pacific.

Quad Cities 4, Kane County 0

W- Dan Mengden (2-1)
L- Brent Jones (1-3)

QC home runs: None.

7 in a row for the River Bandits, whose 20-6 mark is the best in all of baseball. Dan Mengden, his 'stache, and two relievers combined on a 6-hitter.

Mengden allowed 5 hits and fanned 4 over 6 shutout innings. Keegan Yuhl was the first man out; he allowed a hit over 2 scoreless. The Closer, Ryan Thompson, did just that, striking out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Bobby Boyd, who went 0-2 with a walk and a run scored. The Banditos got deuces in the 4th and the 7th inning. In the 4th, Sean McMullen ripped an RBI double, and Jason Martin followed that up with an RBI single; McMullen was thrown out at home to end the inning. Boyd scored in the 7th on a safety squeeze from Mott Hyde that was scored as a sacrifice. One batter later, Nick Tanielu hit an RBI single. Tanielu finished 3-5, and Kristian Trompiz went 2-4.

The River Bandits look to sweep the series later this morning as Josh James takes on Jared Miller at 11 A.M.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, May 4, 2015

Sorry, I'm in a malaise over the Rockets game.

El Paso 13, Fresno 6

W- Shawn Kelley (1-0)
L- Jake Buchanan (2-1)

Fresno home runs: Preston Tucker (10, solo in 1st)

Well, the Grizzlies trailed 8-6 after scoring 2 in the bottom of the 5th, but they only had 1 baserunner the rest of the way... and the Chihuahuas put the game out of reach with 5 in the 9th inning.

Preston Tucker hit his 10th homer of the season in the 1st inning to put Fresno on the board. The Grizz took the lead in the 2nd thanks to a 2-run single from Luis Flores and an RBI groundout by Tucker. In the 5th, Joe Sclafani ripped an RBI triple and scored on an error that allowed Flores to reach. Sclafani (3B, RBI, 2 R) and Alex Presley (2B, 2 R) both finished 2-4.

Jake Buchanan allowed 8 runs on 9 hits (grand slam), walked 3, and fanned 4 in 4 innings. Richard Rodriguez allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 2.2 scoreless, Tyson Perez struck out 2 as he retired all 4 El Paso hitters he faced, and Darin Downs bore the brunt of that El Paso 9th; 3 of the 5 runs were earned. He allowed 4 hits (3-run homer) and struck otu 2 in the inning.

In game 2 of this series, Dan Straily will be going up against a very familiar name to us Astros fans... Jason Lane. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 5, Frisco 4

W- Jonas Dufek (1-0)
L- Josh McElwee (0-1)

CC home runs: None.

Better late than never: the Hooks' 5 runs all came in the final 2 innings, culminating with a walk-off victory! With the win, the Hooks avoided the sweep.

Mark Appel allowed 3 runs on 5 hits (4 singles and a double), walked 4, and struck out 7 in 3.2 innings. The 4 BBs matched his total coming into this game. Dan Minor pitched 2.1 innings and allowed 1 hit: a solo homer to Jorge Alfaro in the 5th. He walked 1 and struck out 2. Jonas Dufek allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 over 3 scoreless, and he got the win after Carlos Correa's heroics in the 9th.

The Corpus offense had zero answers for Jake Thompson as they were held off the scoreboard for 7 innings and struck out 12 times. But, in the 8th, a Joey Gallo error to lead off the inning kicked off a bit of a rally. Teoscar Hernandez reached on that error to begin the inning and scored the Hooks' first run of the evening on a Tyler Heineman double. They did strand runners on 2nd and 3rd to end the inning, but no problem. They'd have one more shot at a rally in the bottom of the 9th.

After Jon Kemmer struck out, Tyler White drew a walk. Two straight singles from Leo Heras and Teoscar loaded the bases. Tony Kemp then drew a walk to bring in White, making it a 4-2 game. Heineman struck out for the 2nd out, bringing up Carlos Correa. All he did was end the game by clearing the bases with a double, no big deal. He finished 3-5 with a stolen base (11). Correa is 100% on stolen base attempts this season. Heineman (2 2B, RBI) and Heras (R) both finished 2-4.

Tonight, the Hooks welcome Midland to town as they get set to kick off a 4-game series. In game 1, Mr. Pitcher of the Month, Chris Devenski, takes the mound. He'll take on Zach Neal at 7:05.

Stockton 11, Lancaster 2

W- Brendan McCurry (1-1)
L- Evan Grills (1-3)

Lancaster home runs: Brett Phillips (5, led off game), A.J. Reed (5, solo in 4th)

A 5-run 1st really put the JetHawks in a bind, and they just couldn't mount up a response.

Their 2 runs came on the leadoff homer from Phillips and the solo shot from Reed in the 4th. J.D. Davis hit a triple with 2 outs in the 6th.

Evan Grills pitched 3 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 earned, all in the 1st) on 4 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Tyler Brunnemann and Gonzalo Sañudo had identical lines; both went 2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits (both allowed solo homers) and struck out 2. Frederick Tiburcio worked around 2 hits to throw a scoreless 8th, striking out 2.

The JetHawks will look to snap their 5-game slide at 11:05 A.M. Pacific. Blaine Sims will face Dillon Overton.

Quad Cities 3, Kane County 1

W- Austin Chrismon (3-1)
L- Markus Solbach (1-2)
S- Jose Montero (4)

QC home runs: None.

That's 6 in a row for the River Bandits!

Their 3 runs came in the 6th inning on a 2-run double swatted by D.J. Fisher, who didn't have to wait long to score himself; one batter later, Mott Hyde drove him in with a single. Fisher finished 2-3, while Nick Tanielu went 2-4. Everyone in the lineup recorded a hit except for Jamie Ritchie, who went 0-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Austin Chrismon was excellent in his 7 innings as he allowed a run on 6 hits and struck out 1. Jose Montero locked it down with a 2-inning save, allowing 1 hit and striking out 3.

Dan Mengden and his 'stache take the mound this afternoon. They'll be taking on an Ivy Leaguer, Brent Jones (Cornell), at noon.

Getting to Know Astros/Hooks RHP Chris Devenski

RHP Chris Devenski has had a phenomenal start to his 2015 season for the Corpus Christi Hooks, already earning Pitcher of the Week honors in the Texas League and Player of the Month honors from the Astros organization. In 19.1 innings of work (4 games, 2 starts), he is 2-0 with 1 save, a 0.00 ERA and a 0.621 WHIP. He has walked only 4 batters while striking out 16. Hitters are only managing to hit .121 against him, and he's holding lefties to a .059 batting average. On April 25th, Devenski threw 6.1 no-hit innings in a 7-inning game before being taken out of the game. He is no stranger to no-hitters, having tossed one in the final game of the season in 2012 for the Lexington Legends.

Hooks Manager Rodney Linares said of Devenski, "He's taken it to heart to work as hard as he can every day," so much so that some of the staff are concerned that he may overwork himself. But as Linares puts it, "It's a marathon, not a sprint. I know that, but it's hard for me to tell a kid not to work, and hard work pays off. It's paid off for him. He's been amazing."

Linares continued, "The good thing with (Devenski) is that even when he's behind in the count, he will make that one good pitch to get back into the count or to get the guy out. He mixes real well. What's not to like about what Devo is doing this year? Hopefully, he can maintain it. He's not on anybody's list, but he's definitely on our list. Hopefully he can maintain it and probably pitch in the big leagues."

Before Saturday's game, Devenski was being being interviewed by Hooks media director Chris Blake about his terrific start and the Player of the Month honors. Blake asked Devenski about his circle changeup which has been described by Hooks Pitching Coach Doug Brocail as a "major league changeup." It turns out that early in his career, his teammates came up with a nickname for that pitch ... The Circle of Death.

I talked with Devenski on Sunday about overcoming struggles, his success against lefties, what makes his changeup so effective, interacting with the fans and more. (I apologize for the shakiness of the video ... I promise that I wasn't inebriated!)


For much, much more on the Astros minor league system and all the players, purchase the highly rated 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Minor League Transactions, Part 2

Here is another installment of Minor League Transactions. Unfortunately, there were some releases in the Astros organization. But, first things first.

In the latest installment of Baseball America's Minor League Transactions, utility player Ruben Sosa was loaned to the Mexican League. He began his loan deal with Mexico City, but is now currently playing with Veracruz.

And now, on to the players who were released. Team(s) in parentheses was the team(s) they spent 2014 with. WTHB would like to wish these players all the best in their future endeavors.

C Hayden Timberlake (DSL Blue, DSL Orange)
LHP Christian Perdomo (GCL)
RHP Krishawn Holley (GCL)
RHP Juan Hernandez (DSL Orange, GCL)
RHP Jay Gause (Tri-City)

Getting to Know Astros OF Brandon Meredith

Since he was drafted by Houston in the 6th round in 2011, Brandon Meredith has traditionally been a slow starter. That is decidedly not the case in 2015. Through the first 19 games of the season for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Meredith is hitting .324/.407/.521 with three doubles, one triple and three home runs. He has drawn nine walks while striking out 13 times.

Brandon Meredith - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Hooks Hitting Coach Dan Radison about Meredith's hot start. According to Radison, "I think his preparation has more clarity to it. He knows how he's going to attack the baseball. We've definitely helped his direction by getting his extension out through the middle of the field and he's hitting the ball better in the air than he has in the past." Radison also noted that Meredith has started using his lower half more effectively to complement his strong upper body.

Manager Rodney Linares also weighed in, telling me that Brandon is maturing as a player and has taken advantage of an opportunity as some of the other players started out more slowly. Linares went on to say, "Nothing to not like about Meredith. He plays the game the right way. He's fun to watch. He's fun to be around. He keeps the guys loose. He's one of the guys that does a lot of good things not only on the field but off the field." The one thing he's trying to change about Meredith is to get him to slow down his home run trot which is more of a home run sprint. And that's probably one of the better problems to have with a player.

Meredith and I spoke briefly about his fast start, playing right field, the talented Corpus Christi team and his not-so-secret passion.

Want to know more about the Astros farm system? Purchase the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook for information on over 250 players in the Astros minor league system!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's been a rough start to the month for Corpus and Lancaster.

Fresno 6, Tacoma 5

W- Jordan Jankowski (2-0)
L- Logan Bawcom (0-1)
S- James Hoyt (4)

Fresno home runs: Domingo Santana 2 (7; solo in 1st, 3-run in 8th), Max Stassi (2, solo in 4th)

The Grizz avoided a sweep as Domingo's 3-run shot in the 8th put them on top 6-4, and despite a Tacoma run in the 9th, that lead would hold up.

Santana's 2 hits were homers; he opened the scoring with a solo homer in the 1st. Max Stassi homered to lead off the 4th inning. Nolan Fontana went 2-3 with a run scored and a steal (5); on that stolen base, which happened in the 6th, Andrew Aplin scored on the errant throw down to 2nd.

Asher Wojciechowski had a bare minimum quality start (6 IP, 3 ER), allowing 7 hits, walking 2, and striking out 4. Jordan Jankowski allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in the 7th. Tommy Shirley worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 8th, striking out 1. James Hoyt allowed a run in the 9th but was able to close out the game. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 2.

The Grizzlies head home for the week. Tonight, they begin the first of 4 against El Paso at 7:05 Pacific. Jake Buchanan gets the start.

Frisco 6, Corpus Christi 3

W- Kyle Lotzkar (1-1)
L- Kyle Westwood (1-2)
S- Francisco Mendoza (5)

CC home runs: Tyler White (1, solo in 2nd), Telvin Nash (5, 2-run in 3rd)

The Hooks got out to a nice start as they led 3-0 after 3 innings. Unfortunately, it was all Frisco as they scored 6 unanswered to close out the game.
All 3 Corpus runs came off of those 2 homers you see above. Carlos Correa finished 3-4 with a double and a run scored.

Kyle Westwood's day started out well enough, but the Roughriders tagged him for 4 runs in the 4th inning; 3 of those 4 scored on a homer. Westwood went 5 innings and allowed 3 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Aaron West pitched the final 4 innings; he allowed 2 runs in the 9th, 4 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2.

Corpus looks to avoid the sweep tonight as Mark Appel faces Jake Thompson at 7:05.

Modesto 7, Lancaster 1

W- Johendi Jiminian (1-3)
L- Troy Scribner (1-1)

Lancaster home runs: J.D. Davis (3, solo in 4th)

The JetHawks suffered the sweep in what was just a rough series all around.  In this one, a 5-run 3rd doomed them, and the 'Hawks never really got their bats going.

J.D. Davis's solo shot in the 4th represented the only run. Brett Phillips finished 2-4.

Troy Scribner only lasted 2.1 innings; he allowed 5 unearned runs (1 inherited runner charged to him), a single, walked 1, and struck out 3. Chris Cotton allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 over 2.2 scoreless. Ambiorix De Leon pitched 2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits (solo homer) and struck out 2. Albert Minnis struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th.

Well, on to the next. The JetHawks will begin a 4-game series with Stockton tonight at 7:10. Evan Grills will take on Joel Seddon.

Quad Cities 10, Wisconsin 1

W- Joe Musgrove (4-1)
L- Kodi Medeiros (0-2)

QC home runs: None.

The Bandits swept the Rattlers in dominating fashion, outscoring them 17-4 over the weekend series. They just keep rolling along; this is their 5th straight victory.

6 players in the lineup had 2 hits: the top 5 in the order (Bobby Boyd, Jamie Ritchie, D.J. Fisher, Mott Hyde, and Nick Tanielu) and the #9 hitter, Kristian Trompiz. All of them played a significant part in the River Bandits' romp; Hyde opened the scoring with a bases-loaded walk in the 1st. Tanielu followed with a 2-run single. Then, Alfredo Gonzalez grounded into a force out that brought Hyde home.

The Banditos added 2 more in the 5th, the 6th, and the 9th. Kristian Trompiz hit a 2-run single in the 5th, Hyde hit an RBI double and Gonzalez added an RBI groundout in the 6th, and they got 3 consecutive triples from Trompiz, Boyd, and Ritchie (in that order) in the top of the 9th. Boyd, Ritchie, Fisher, and Hyde scored 2 runs each.

Joe Musgrove continued his dominant start to the season with 5 more shutout innings. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 3. Bryan Radziewski finished things off; he allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4 in 4 innings.

The second leg of this roadtrip takes the River Bandits to Kane County for 3 games. They have yet to announce a starter for this game. Whoever it is, he'll take on Markus Solbach at 6:30.

Happy Birthday - 5/4

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

RHP Akeem Bostick (20)
Bostick was born May 4, 1995 in Florence, South Carolina, and came to the Astros system in a January 2015 trade that sent C Carlos Corporan to the Texas Rangers. Bostick is currently at Extended Spring Training.

RHP Juan Cuevas (21)
Cuevas was born May 4, 1994 in San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, and first appeared with the Astros in the Dominican Summer League in June 2014.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tacoma 5, Fresno 1

W- Sam Gaviglio (2-2)
L- Brady Rodgers (1-2)

Fresno home runs: Matt Duffy (2, solo in 2nd)

The Grizz dropped this series as the Rainiers have silenced their bats, holding them to just 4 runs through 3 games. This loss is their 6th straight away from Chukchansi Park.

Matt Duffy's homer to lead off the 2nd inning was the only Fresno run, and was one of just 4 hits. Domingo Santana hit a double in 2 at-bats and drew a walk.

Brady Rodgers went 6 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits (2 homers hit by Stefen Romero), walked 2, and struck out 7. Richard Rodriguez struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th, and James Hoyt worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 8th.

The Grizzlies will try to avoid the sweep at 1:35 Pacific. They have yet to announce a starter for this game.

Frisco 2, Corpus Christi 0

W- Alec Asher (1-2)
L- Lance McCullers (1-1)
S- Josh McElwee (3)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks held the Roughriders to just 2 hits, but they still ended up with the loss. Baseball.

One mistake really can decide the outcome, and in no sport is this more obvious than in baseball. One pitch that Lance McCullers would absolutely love to have back... sunk him in this game. He allowed a 2-run homer to Royce Bolinger in the 2nd, which turned out to be the difference. McCullers pitched 6 innings and allowed just one other hit (a single before the homer), walked 2, and struck out 7. The 2-run home run represented the first earned runs that Lance has surrendered this season.

Angel Báez was the first man out of the bullpen; he walked 1 and struck out 2 over 2 scoreless, and Travis Ballew struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Corpus had 6 singles on offense, 2 of which were hit by Conrad Gregor. Despite the power outage, the Hooks still threatened as they put 2 runners on in the bottom of the 9th, but sadly, Teoscar Hernandez lined out to end the game.

The Hooks are looking to get on the board in this series as Kyle Westwood takes the hill. He'll face Andrew Faulkner at 2:05.

Modesto 8, Lancaster 6

W- Rayan Gonzalez (1-1)
L- Albert Minnis (0-1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Ugh. The JetHawks bullpen suffered a horrible meltdown as they gave up 6 in the bottom of the 9th and walked off with a loss. Ugh.

A.J. Reed opened up the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 1st. Jose Fernandez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single in the 4th. After the Nuts tied the game in the bottom half of the 4th, the JetHawks quickly re-took control with 2 in the 5th coming on a J.D. Davis single. They got some insurance in the 9th on an RBI single by Brett Phillips and an RBI double by Jack Mayfield.... but in the California League, no lead is truly safe, and the JetHawks found that out in a painful fashion.

Michael Feliz went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Zach Morton tagged in and threw 3 scoreless. He came out for the 9th, and that's when the trouble began. Wilfredo Rodriguez tagged him for a 2-run homer. Albert Minnis came in, but only got 1 out (via strikeout) and allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 2 hits. Gonzalo Sañudo got the 2nd out of the 9th, but he was unable to extract the JetHawks from this perilous situation, allowing the game-winning 3-run homer to Jordan Patterson.

The JetHawks will look to avoid the sweep this afternoon. Troy Scribner gets the start at 1:05 Pacific.

Quad Cities 5, Wisconsin 2

W- Reymin Guduan (1-0)
L- Zach Hirsch (1-3)
S- Eric Peterson (1)

QC home runs: None.

The best in the Midwest notched their 4th consecutive victory as they got the jump on the Timber Rattlers.

Nick Tanielu finished 2-4 with 2 doubles; the first one came in the 1st and drove in the first 2 runs of the day. He later scored on a single from Alex Hernandez. After Mott Hyde hit his 2nd double of the game in the 3rd, Tanielu traded places with him by cracking another double. And, in the 7th, Alfredo Gonzalez added an RBI single. Hyde finished 3-3 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored; both runs came off of Tanielu's doubles.

Kevin Comer went 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Reymin Guduan got the win in his season debut as he allowed 2 hits, and walked 1 while striking out 3 over 2 scoreless. Eric Peterson got the 7-out save, allowing 4 hits, walking 1, and striking out 1.

The River Bandits are looking for the sweep. Joe Musgrove will take on Kodi Medeiros at 1:05.

Three Stars: Position Players

Brett Phillips, OF, Lancaster
3-5, 2B, RBI, 3 R

Nick Tanielu, IF, Quad Cities
2-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI, R

Mott Hyde, IF, Quad Cities
3-3, 2 2B, 2 R
*Fun fact that was not included in Jayne's book: Mott was born in Saudi Arabia.

Three Stars: Pitchers

Reymin Guduan, LHP, Quad Cities
W (1-0), 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K

Lance McCullers, RHP, Corpus Christi
L (1-1), 6 IP, 2 H (2-run HR), 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

Angel Báez, RHP, Corpus Christi
2 IP, BB, 2 K

Happy Birthday - 5/3

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

RHP Elieser Hernandez (20)
Hernandez was born May 3, 1995 in Ocumare del Tuy, Miranda, Venezuela, and was signed by the Astros in November 2011. Hernandez spent the majority of his third season (2014) in the organization with the Gulf Coast League Astros before an August promotion to the Appalachian League Greeneville Astros.

Elieser Hernandez - July 2014
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

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