Saturday, June 13, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, June 12, 2015

Let's.... finish up one game, and then we can get to the regularly scheduled game!

Let's play 2 in the Quad Cities!

Welcome to the Texas League, Joe Musgrove!

From April 24: Fresno 6, Salt Lake 3 in 11 innings

W- Kevin Chapman (2-2)
L- Vinnie Pestano (0-1)

This game was suspended due to rain, and before the Grizzlies and the Bees could get on with their regularly scheduled game, the matter of this late-April game had to be settled. For everything that occurred before this game was suspended, please refer to the recaps of April 24.

Kevin Chapman, who was on the mound when this game was suspended, finished it off, allowing 3 hits and striking out 3.

The Grizzlies decided that they were going to end this immediately and scored 3 runs in the top of the 11th. Jon Singleton ripped a 2-run double and later scored on a wild pitch.

Fresno 9, Salt Lake 2

W- Luis Cruz (3-2)
L- Tyler DeLoach (1-2)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizz mauled the Bees early and often, and won this one rather comfortably.

L.J. Hoes opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. One batter later, Domingo Santana ripped a 2-run double. The two of them collaborated again in the 3rd; after Hoes ripped an RBI double of his own and stole 3rd (10), Domingo sent him home with an RBI single. The floodgates opened in the 4th as Fresno pushed their lead to 9-0. In that frame, Matt Duffy hit an RBI single, Domingo drew a bases-loaded walk, and Alex Presley followed with a 2-run single.

Tony Kemp, Duffy, Jon Singleton, and Hoes scored 2 runs apiece; Duffy, Hoes, Santana, and Presley all had 2-hit nights.

Luis Cruz had a fine outing; the only blemish was a homer by Marc Krauss. Cruz went 6 innings and allowed 3 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 9. Mitch Lambson, James Hoyt, and Richard Rodriguez pitched an inning apiece. Lambson, the first man out, worked around a hit and a walk to throw a scoreless 7th. Hoyt struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Rodriguez allowed a run on 2 hits and walked 1, but he pulled himself together and prevented any more damage.

Game 3 of this series has Brady Rodgers on the bump for Fresno. He'll face Andrew Heaney at 6:35 Mountain.

Corpus Christi 3, Midland 1

W- Joe Musgrove (1-0, 9-1 season)
L- Chris Jensen (4-5)
S- Travis Ballew (2)

CC home runs: None.

New level, same results. With the win, the Hooks swept the Hounds and clinched the 1st-half crown in the Texas League South and a playoff berth.

Joe Musgrove allowed a solo homer in the 5th to Renato Nuñez, which was literally the only hitch in another outstanding start. He went 7 innings and allowed 5 other hits and struck out 3. Chris Cotton struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Travis Ballew worked around an error by inducing the game-ending double play.

Roberto Peña whacked a ground-rule double in the 3rd, advanced to 3rd on a groundout, and scored the game's first run on an error that also allowed Chan-Jong Moon to reach. Jio Mier went 2-4 with an RBI single in the 4th, and in the 8th, Teoscar Hernandez cranked a triple and scored on an RBI single from Tyler White.

Tonight, the Hooks are in San Antonio to begin a 4-game set with the Missions at 7:05. Starters for both sides are TBA.

Lake Elsinore 3, Lancaster 0

W- Rafael De Paula (4-4)
L- Kevin Comer (0-1, 5-2 season)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks were grounded by a Storm.

D.J. Fisher and Alfredo Gonzalez had 2 hits apiece; the other JetHawks hit was a Chase McDonald double.

Kevin Comer, in his first start in the California League, allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4 in 3.2 innings. Edison Frias went 4.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 1, and striking out 3.

The series continues tonight at 6:00 Pacific as Dan Mengden takes on Kyle Lloyd.

Game 1: Quad Cities 9, Lansing 1

W- Brock Dykxhoorn (4-3)
L- Michael Kraft (0-1)

QC home runs: Thomas Lindauer (2, 2-run in 6th)

The Banditos busted out for 8 runs in the bottom of the 6th after the Lugnuts had tied the game at 1 in the top half of the inning. The 1 Quad Cities run before that outburst came courtesy of a Jake Nottingham RBI single in the 3rd inning. As I said a moment ago, all hell broke loose in the River Bandits' favor in the 6th inning.

Ryan Bottger and Kristian Trompiz drew walks to begin the inning. They both advanced a base on a sac bunt from Sean McMullen. Bobby Boyd hit a sac fly to score Bottger (1), and the ensuing error allowed Trompiz to score (2) and Boyd to reach 3rd. Thomas Lindauer made Lansing rue that miscue by ripping a 2-run homer (4). Jamie Ritchie followed with a single. He advanced to 2nd on a Jason Martin walk, to 3rd on a Nottingham single, and scored on a wild pitch (5). Bottger came back and ripped a 2-run double (7), and Trompiz capped off the scoring in game 1 with a sac fly (8).

Everyone in the lineup scored a run except for McMullen. Ritchie and Nottingham had 2 hits apiece.

Brock Dykxhoorn allowed a solo homer to Richard Urena in the 6th, the only blemish in an otherwise outstanding performance. He allowed 2 singles, walked 2, and struck out 10 in 6 innings. Angel Heredia worked around a hit and a walk to finish off game 1, striking out 2.

What would game 2 have in store for the Bandits?

Game 2: Lansing 2, Quad Cities 0 in 8 innings

W- Chase De Jong (6-4)
L- Eric Peterson (2-2)
S- Jose Fernandez (5)

QC home runs: None.

The Bandits and Lugnuts dueled to a scoreless tie in regulation, but Lansing was able to get their bats going.

Josh James allowed 2 hits and struck out 7 over 7 shutout innings. The Lugnuts were able to crack Eric Peterson as they got 2 runs on 3 hits off of him in the 8th. Peterson walked 1 and struck out the side in the 8th.

The River Bandits only got 4 hits, one of which was a double from Nick Tanielu.

Because the Lugnuts won the series, they got free rides on the ferris wheel at Modern Woodmen Park. It's alright though; the River Bandits clinched a playoff berth by virtue of winning game 1 of the twinbill.

The Banditos' homestand continues as they welcome the Great Lakes Loons to the Quad Cities. In game 1, Christian Powell will take on former Aggie Ross Stripling. First pitch is at 6:00.

DSL Athletics 6, DSL Astros Blue 5 in 10 innings

W- Reinaldo Hoyos (1-0)
L- Jacques Sambo (0-1)
S- Gerardo Vilchez (1)

Blue home runs: Reiny Beltre (1, 3-run in 8th)

The A's managed to get two extra-inning wins against the Blue team in their latest encounter.

Jose Benjamin put the Blue team on the board with an RBI single in the 4th. Reiny Beltre bashed a 3-run homer in the 8th that tied the game at 4 at that point, and after the A's thought they took the lead in the top of the 9th, Oscar Campos re-tied the game with an RBI single in the 9th. The Blue had a chance to win the game as they had runners on 2nd and 3rd after a wild pitch, but they couldn't capitalize. Cristopher Luciano went 2-3.

Enrique Chavez went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and struck out 4. Hansel Paulino was the first man out; he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Luis Castro allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 1.1 innings. Jorge Alcala allowed an unearned, walked 2, and struck out 1 in the 9th, and Jacques Sambo allowed a run on a sac fly, a single, and walked 1 in the 10th.

The Blue team played the Indians today.

DSL Astros Orange 12, DSL Nationals 5 in 11 innings

W- Gabriel Pirela (1-2)
L- Francisco Pinto (0-1)

Orange home runs: Miguelangel Sierra (1, solo in 3rd)

After losing their first 10 games of the year, the Orange team is now on a nice little 2-game winning streak. In this game, they withstood a 4-run 5th inning from the Nationals, chipped away at that deficit to tie the game, and then seized all control by scoring a touchdown in the 11th inning.

Marcos Almonte scored the first run of the day on a wild pitch in the 1st. Miguelangel Sierra went deep for the first time in his career in the 3rd inning. Sierra doubled with 1 out in the 5th and scored on a Randy Vasquez RBI single. In the 6th, Carlos Machado grounded into a force out that scored Felix Lucas, who entered the game as a pinch-runner for Hector Martinez. Vasquez scored in the 7th when Ronny Rafael grounded into a double play.

Sierra was plunked to lead off the 11th, and he'd be joined on the bases by Marcos Almonte and Vasquez, who both walked. Anthony Rodriguez drew the go-ahead bases-loaded walk, and it was tack-on time. Oliver Toribio was then plunked, which brought Almonte home. Vasquez scored when Rafael grounded into a force out. Anardo Peralta walked to re-load the bases, and Juan Fuente followed with an RBI single. Sierra came on for a 2nd time in the inning and drew another bases-loaded walk. Almonte came up again and whacked a 2-run double for the final runs of the day for the Orange team. Sierra (2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R) and Vasquez (RBI, 2 R, 2 BB) both finished 3-5, while Fuente (RBI, R, SB), Almonte (2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB), and Rafael (RBI, 2 R) had 2 hits apiece.

Jorge Guzman allowed a solo homer to Omar Meregildo in the 3rd. He allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 4 innings. Jose Ramos pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Gabriel Pirela threw 2 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3.

The Orange team played the Angels today.

Happy Birthday - 6/13

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

LHP Evan Grills (23)
Grills was born June 13, 1992 in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, and was drafted by Houston in the 10th round in 2010. He is currently playing at High A Lancaster.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, June 12, 2015

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

The latest Astros MiLB roster moves ...

FRESNO
6-11  OF/2B Tony Kemp assigned from Corpus Christi to Fresno

CORPUS CHRISTI
6-11  IF Chan Moon assigned from Fresno to Corpus Christi

LANCASTER
6-11  RHP Austin Chrismon assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

QUAD CITIES
6-11  RHP Justin Ferrell assigned from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities

Getting to Know Astros/JetHawks CF Brett Phllips

Phew! I finally made it. This will be the 10th out of 10 interviews I conducted on my recent trip to California to visit the High A Lancaster team and the AAA Fresno team. (See the links at the bottom for any that you may have missed.) I decided early on to save this interview for last. Consider it dessert.

Anyone who has ever had the privilege to meet and interact with Lancaster CF Brett Phillips will tell you that he is one of those people who has the rare talent of making you feel immediately as though you are his best friend. He's open, generous, funny and enjoys life to its fullest. The fact that he's a very talented ballplayer as well is the cherry on top of the sundae. In 55 games for Lancaster this season, he is hitting .321/.383/.575 with 16 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 44 RBI and 54 runs scored.

Lancaster Manager Omar Lopez said of Phillips, "I have to say that I feel very privileged to be able to manage him in Low A and HIgh A. If you have to rank from 1 to 10 the players that (I've been) excited to manage in the last couple of years, Brett Phillips is one of the top three guys because I think he has the perfect makeup to be able to succeed in the big leagues in my opinion."

Lopez went on to say how impressed he was about what Phillips, who is more than a year and a half younger than the average player in the California League, has been able to accomplish at the level. And he is particularly impressed with Phillips's demeanor. "You will never know when Phillips is going through any kind of bad situation. He's going to be the same guy every day ... on the good days, on the bad days. There's a lot of good things that I can say about Brett. We can stay all day long talking about him," said Lopez

The one thing that Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson really wants Brett to work on is his focus. Robinson related a story about Phillips from late 2014, "Last year, we talked before the playoffs started and I told him, 'You know, you're a game changer. You can control an entire ballgame. And what you have to understand is you have to be focused in order to do that. You're fast. You play great defense. You can bunt. You can hit. You can hit for power. Steal a base. You can do all of these things. So it's very important that you be the leader that you are, but be focused about being that leader.' The saying was, 'If you go, we go.' We won the championship and he started off with a triple and he just had a really, really good series and I have a video of him saying, 'You go, we go. You go, we go. If I go, we go.' So that was really, really cool."

The day that I had scheduled my interview with Phillips, I showed up to observe early work. When I got to the ballpark, one of the first things I saw was Brett wearing a fake mustache ... upside down!


When informed of his folicular faux paus, he quickly righted the situation ...


While waiting for Lopez to address the troops, a game of dugout hockey quickly ensued with Phillips acting as goalie ...


And, Brett being Brett, he proceeded to take early work and batting practice wearing the fake mustache ...


And finally we talked ...


Flash forward to 2017. The Astros are in the playoffs. George Springer is dancing in the dugout. Brett Phillips is chanting, "I go, we go. I go, we go," following that with his dying donkey laugh. And Carlos Correa is off to the side watching it all with a bemused smile, the epitome of cool. And scene. Fade to black.

Thank you for your time, Brett, and thank you for being you! Best of luck as the season continues to unfold.

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

Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton
LHP Bryan Radziewski
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Joe Musgrove
3B J.D. Davis
LHP Albert Minnis
SS Carlos Correa
RHP Tyson Perez
C Tyler Heineman

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, June 11, 2015

A streak is over.

Fresno 5, Salt Lake 4

W- Jason Stoffel (3-0)
L- Jeremy McBryde (1-1)

Fresno home runs: Max Stassi (7, solo in 9th)

Max Stassi was the hero as his home run propelled the Grizz to a win in the first game of this roadtrip.

Jon Singleton and Domingo Santana hit RBI singles in the 4th. In the 5th inning, Robbie Grossman ripped an RBI double, and Matt Duffy followed with an RBI single. The game was tied at 4 heading into the 9th, but Stassi wasted little time in giving Fresno the lead with his 7th home run of the year. Tony Kemp, in his AAA debut, went 1-4 with a run scored.

Asher Wojciechowski went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Jordan Jankowski fired a 1-2-3 7th, striking out 1. Jason Stoffel allowed a hit and struck out 3 over 2 scoreless.

In game 2 of this series, Luis Cruz will face Tyler DeLoach at 7:05 Mountain.

Corpus Christi 7, Midland 6

W- Aaron West (2-3)
L- Jake Sanchez (4-5)
S- Jandel Gustave (8)

CC home runs: Jon Kemmer (6, 3-run in 5th)

This time, a 7-1 lead through 4.5 innings was nearly erased. But, once again, the Hooks escaped by the skin of their teeth. And so, the Hooks' magic number to clinch the 1st half in the Texas League South is now 1.

Colin Moran put the Hooks on the board first with a 2-run double in the 3rd, but he left the game after taking a bad step onto 2nd base. In the 4th, the Hooks got 2 more as Chan-Jong Moon hit a sac fly to score Jon Kemmer, and Teoscar Hernandez added an RBI single. Kemmer, who finished 4-4 with 2 runs scored, delivered the big hit of the evening as he whacked a 3-run homer in the 5th. Teoscar went 2-5 with a run scored and a stolen base (14).

Brad Peacock threw 2 scoreless innings in his rehab start; he allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Aaron West allowed a run on 4 hits and struck out 1 in 2 innings. Josh Hader was the only Corpus hurler to throw 3 innings; he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 5. Chris Cotton got 2 outs in the 8th; he allowed a single and had an inherited runner charged to him. Juan Minaya recorded the final out of the inning, but not before he allowed the runner he inherited from Cotton to score. Jandel Gustave locked it down by striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Joe Musgrove will make his AA debut as the Hooks look for the sweep. He'll take on Chris Jensen at 7:00.

Lancaster 9, Lake Elsinore 8

W- Frederick Tiburcio (2-0)
L- Kyle Bartsch (1-2)
S- Reymin Guduan (3)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks withstood a 5-run 3rd from the Storm by scoring 5 of their own in the 6th to take a 9-6 lead. Lake Elsinore made it a 1-run game with 2 runs in the 6th, but Tyler Brunnemann and Reymin Guduan shut the door.

Per Jason Schwartz, this was the 900th JetHawks game as an affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Troy Scribner, Frederick Tiburcio, and Tyler Brunnemann pitched 2.2 innings apiece. Scribner, who got the start, allowed 6 runs on 11 hits (9 singles, 2 doubles), walked 2, and struck out 2. Tiburcio was the first man out of the bullpen and allowed 2 runs (1 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Tyler Brunnemann did not allow a run himself, but a groundout in the 6th allowed one of the 3 runners he inherited from Tiburcio to score. Bruno walked 2 and struck out 5. Reymin Guduan worked around a hit to close it out, striking out 2 in the 9th.

Brett Phillips tripled to lead off the game and came home on an RBI single from D.J. Fisher, who later scored on a double play. In the 4th, the JetHawks got 2 on a pair of RBI singles from Brian Holberton and Phillips. Phillips struck again in the 6th as he ripped an RBI double. J.D. Davis followed with a 2-run single, and Jack Mayfield got in on the fun by smacking a 2-run triple. Phillips finished 4-5, a homer shy of the cycle. Davis (2-run single) and Mayfield (2-run 3B) both finished 2-5, while Chase McDonald (2B, R) and Mott Hyde (2 R) were both 2-4.

Kevin Comer will make his first California League start in game 2 of this series. He'll face Rafael De Paula at 7:00 Pacific.

Quad Cities and Lansing was postponed

Due to rain. A doubleheader is scheduled for today, with game 1 beginning at 5:00. Brock Dykxhoorn and Josh James will take on Sean Reid-Foley and Chase De Jong. The River Bandits do not have a starter listed for game 2; whoever he is, he'll take on Jesus Tinoco.

DSL Athletics 4, DSL Astros Blue 3 in 10 innings

W- Alejandro Vargas (1-0)
L- Dariel Aquino (0-1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team had a flurry of runs to take the lead, but the A's ultimately walked off with the victory.

Ronny Jimenez put the Blue team on the board with an RBI groundout in the 6th. Reiny Beltre ripped an RBI triple in the 7th, and he'd score on an Angel De Leon RBI single.

Diogenes Almengo went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Joel Belboder allowed an unearned run on 2 hits and struck out 4 in 5 innings. Dariel Aquino got 1 out in the 10th. He allowed the winning run on a single and walked 3, 1 of which was intentional.

These two teams are at the Astros' complex. First pitch is at 10:30 A.M. Atlantic, which isn't too long from now.

DSL Astros Orange 3, DSL Nationals 1

W- Starlyng Sanchez (1-0)
L- Tomas Alastre (0-1)
S- Luis Vasquez (1)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team dropped their first 10 games of the season, but on the 11th try, they finally got themselves off the schneid.

Angel Tejeda singled to lead off the 3rd inning, advanced to 2nd on a sac bunt, and scored the first run of the game on an error that also allowed Marcos Almonte to reach. Randy Vasquez went 2-4 and added a 2-run single in the 5th.

Franklin Perez started off with 3 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1. Starlyng Sanchez allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2 over 4 scoreless. Maikel Sepulveda allowed an unearned run, a single, walked 1, and struck out 2 in the 8th. Luis Vasquez closed it out with a 1-2-3 9th.

The Orange team and Nationals will be playing at the Nationals' complex later this morning.

Tweet of the Day

Happy Birthday - 6/12

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

2B Nicolas Miranda (19)
Miranda was born on June 12, 1996 in David, Panama, and was signed by the Astros in February 2015. He is currently playing for the Astros Orange team in the Dominican Summer League.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/Grizzlies C Tyler Heineman

I've always enjoyed talking with C Tyler Heineman on my various minor league trips, not only because he's smart and has a dry, quirky sense of humor, but also because of his honesty. He cuts to the chase and will give you his honest assessment on a wide variety of topics. It's refreshing since some ballplayers are very caught up with their images. With Heineman, what you see is what you get.

I had hoped to speak with Heineman when I was in Corpus Christi in early May, but I ran out of time so I was thrilled to hear that he had received a well-deserved promotion to Fresno just before I arrived later in the month. With the AA Hooks team, Heineman had a .318/.383/.400 slashline to go with a 54% caught stealing rate in 22 games. Since his promotion to the AAA Grizzlies team, he has boasted a .394/.412/.455 batting line over 9 games, but hasn't really had his arm tested too much yet; he has only had one baserunner attempt to steal on him so far. He is hitting .337/.387/.408 as a left-handed batter and .350/.409/.450 from the right.

Tyler Heineman - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Historically, Heineman has always been a strong offensive performer, but his numbers at Corpus Christi in 2014 were somewhat lackluster. I asked him about why he seemed to have struggled in 2014 and about his 2015 turnaround at the plate. Heineman said, "I was just getting used to splitting time I think. Last year was my first year splitting time and trying to do that in AA is a tough thing to do. In Tri-City and Lancaster, I basically played five, six times a week and had one off day. That was a bit of an adjustment. With [2014 Hooks Manager Keith] Bodie last year, I was trying to focus on defense and pitch calling and working on my ability to handle a game behind the plate. Some of the time I chose to go into his office to talk about pitch calling and managing a game as opposed to hitting in the cage so I think that had a little of a carryover effect. This year, I just tried to stay within what I'd normally try to do as opposed to try(ing) to be something I'm not and just go up there and compete."

Does he feel that extra worked helped him behind the dish? "Absolutely, the information (Bodie) gave me for defense was invaluable and he really cared about getting me better with putting the right fingers down and managing a staff, managing a game. I really appreciated that and I think it helped me a lot. Going to the big league camp last year for the first time, being with Murph [Catching Coach Jeff Murphy], who's here now, and doing early work every single morning before camp started really helped me kind of hone my skills defensively and just make sure my blocking was consistent, my throwing was consistent, my receiving was consistent," said Heineman.



Switch-Pitcher Pat Venditte - May 2015
Photos by Jayne Hansen

While I was in Fresno, Heineman got his his first AAA hit, an experience that he is likely to remember for a long time as he got it off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte who has since been promoted to the A's and whose unusual career spawned this much-mocked headline. When asked about the experience, Heineman told me, "I was a little nervous going up there to the plate. I was asking Robbie [Grossman] who is also a switch hitter about what to do. He (told me that Venditte would have to) declare so I walked up there left-handed and he put his glove on his right hand to throw left-handed so I'm going to switch over to the right side and it got me a little rattled but it was definitely nice to get that first hit out of the way. They made the rule [that Venditte was required to declare] because of him. It's called the Venditte Rule or whatever."

While at Corpus Christi, Heineman shared catching duties with Roberto Pena who is widely regarded as one of the best (if not the best) defensive catchers in the minor leagues. Of their friendly rivalry, Heineman said, "Every time that we caught, we tried to be better than the other guy, but in a friendly kind of way. If I throw someone out, I'll ask for the time I threw him out on, what the clock was. And whatever it was, say it was a 1.94, the next game if Pena throws a guy out, it will be a 1.91 or something. We'll bicker back and forth at each other. It's just friendly kind of competition that helps us both grow as players. And I think he's outstanding behind the plate and I think he's going to be a big leaguer for a while. I love playing with him and I'm glad that he's going to be able to play every day down there."

My final question to Heineman ... has it hit you since the promotion to AAA just how close you are to the majors? "I think it hits you a little bit. For me, it was spring training. Going to the big league camp and just realizing what you see on TV is really not that different from what you're used to playing at. It's just a more consistent level of baseball than AA and AAA. You kind of realize that you can play with them, you're able to stay up with them and be with them and it gives you the confidence that one day if you were called upon, you can do your job and don't have to be scared about it. Being in AAA, seeing a bunch of guys like Barry Zito and a lot of big leaguers ... it kind of hits you that, wow, you're extremely close. I try not to think about it as much as possible, just try to do the best I can and help the team win that I'm on now."

Heineman will help any team that he's a part of win. He will make any team that he's part of better whether it is at the plate or behind it.

Thank you for your time, Tyler, and best of luck as the season continues to unfold.


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

Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton
LHP Bryan Radziewski
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Joe Musgrove
3B J.D. Davis
LHP Albert Minnis
SS Carlos Correa
RHP Tyson Perez

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, June 10, 2015

California League craziness.

Fresno was off

The Grizzlies are in Salt Lake City where they'll begin a 4-game series with the Bees at 7:05 Mountain. Asher Wojciechowski will take on Adam Wilk.

Corpus Christi 8, Midland 7

W- Chris Devenski (7-0)
L- Tim Atherton (2-3)
S- Jandel Gustave (7)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks jumped out to an 8-0 lead then watched it wither away. However, Chris Devenski saved the day. With the win, Corpus Christi leapfrogged Quad Cities for the best record in the system.

Michael Feliz went 4+ innings and allowed 6 runs (3 inherited runners charged to him) on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 2. Travis Ballew came on in relief of Feliz to try to bail him out of a bases-loaded situation, but he allowed all 3 runners to score and a run of his own on 2 hits while failing to record an out. At that point, the Hooks lead was whittled down to 1.

Never fear, Chris Devenski is here! He stopped all that nonsense from Midland by firing 4 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, walking 2, and striking out 6. Jandel Gustave quickly got 2 outs in the 9th, but the Hounds suddenly decided that they weren't done yet. They got 2 singles and an error to load the bases, but Gustave ended that by getting Chad Oberacker to ground out to end the game.

Andrew Aplin hit a sac fly in the 1st to open the scoring. Conrad Gregor tripled to lead off the 2nd, and that's when the fun began. Jon Kemmer brought him home with a single. A wild pitch allowed Kemmer to move to 2nd, and Jio Mier to 3rd. Roberto Peña followed by ripping a 2-run double. Peña advanced to 3rd on a groundout and scored on a sac fly from Teoscar Hernandez. Aplin smacked a triple and scored himself on a wild pitch. The Hooks got a couple of RBI singles from Teoscar and Colin Moran in the 4th inning. Kemp, Teoscar, Aplin, Gregor, and Peña all finished with 2 hits in the game. Teoscar finally got himself off the interstate as he's now at an even .200 at the plate.

Brad Peacock begins his rehab assignment tonight. He'll take on Jake Sanchez at 7.

Lancaster 11, Visalia 9 in 10 innings

W- Keegan Yuhl (1-0, 2-0 season)
L- J.R. Bradley (0-2)

Lancaster home runs: Jack Mayfield (6, solo in 3rd), Ronnie Mitchell (5, solo in 5th), Brett Phillips (11, 3-run in 5th)

The JetHawks lost a lead late, but they kept the game tied before things got out of hand, re-took the lead, and navigated a minefield to secure the win and the series.

Both teams got 2 in the 2nd. Lancaster's 2 came in the form of an Alfredo Gonzalez RBI single and an RBI triple from Brian Holberton. Jack Mayfield went deep in the 3rd, and J.D. Davis added an RBI infield single in the 4th. The JetHawks' 4 runs came off the home runs by Ronnie Mitchell (solo) and Brett Phillips (3-run). Phillips added an RBI triple in the 7th, which put the JetHawks up 9-4 at that point. Chase McDonald was the hero in the first extra frame as he put the JetHawks ahead with a 2-run single. He and J.D. Davis had 3 hits apiece. Alfredo Gonzalez went 2-3 with 3 runs scored. He, Holberton (3B, RBI, R), and Phillips (3B, HR, 4 RBI) had 2-hit nights.

Adrian Houser went 6+ innings and allowed 6 runs (4 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 6. Andrew Walter, in his season debut, came on to relieve Houser in the 7th. He got 2 outs, both via strikeout, and allowed a 2-run homer. Reymin Guduan got the final out of the 7th and 1 out in the 8th, allowing an unearned run (inherited runner charged to him), a hit, walking 1, and striking out 1. Keegan Yuhl allowed 4 hits and struck out 4 over 2.1 innings. Tyler Brunnemann was summoned to secure the win with the bases loaded, and he did just that, striking out Fidel Peña to end the game.

The 2nd leg of the JetHawks' roadtrip will take them to Lake Elsinore for 4 games. In the opener, Troy Scribner will take on Ronald Herrera. First pitch is at 7:00 Pacific.

Lansing 12, Quad Cities 5

W- Starlyn Suriel (4-3)
L- Ryan Thompson (1-2)

QC home runs: None.

The Lugnuts got the jump on the Banditos, who fell behind the Hooks for the best record in pro baseball.

Jake Nottingham ripped an RBI double in the 1st to open the scoring. He later scored on a sac fly from Ryan Bottger. Bottger drove in Nottingham for a 2nd time with an RBI single in the 6th. Bobby Boyd added an RBI groundout in the 7th, and Jason Martin hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 9th.

Austin Chrismon had an inherited runner charged to him, allowed a double, and struck out 1 in 2.2 innings. He didn't leave with an injury. Ryan Thompson pitched 1.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (all on homers) on 4 hits (solo and 2-run home runs) and struck out 2. Jorge Perez bore the brunt of the Lansing assault as he allowed 8 runs on 7 hits, walked 5, and struck out 2. Aaron Greenwood struck out 1 over 1.2 perfect innings.

In game 2 of this series, Brock Dykxhoorn will face Sean Reid-Foley at 7:00.

DSL Astros Blue 18, DSL Phillies 9

W- Cristian Javier (1-0)
L- Joel Cabrera (0-1)

Blue home runs: Angel De Leon (2, 2-run in 1st)

The Blue team is back to its winning ways after stumbling a bit on Tuesday. They used a 6-run 6th and a 7-run 8th to spur themselves on to the win.

Every starter in the lineup scored a run. Andy Piñeda led the way by going 5-6 with a triple and 4 RBI. Orlando Marquez (2 3B) and Angel De Leon (2-run homer) drove in 3 and scored 2 runs each. Reiny Beltre and Wilson Amador drove in 2 and scored 2 runs. Ronny Jimenez went 3-5 with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Ozziel Sanchez-Galan went 0-2, but he walked twice and scored twice.

Michel Martinez allowed an unearned run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 over 3 innings. Luidin Toribio allowed a 2-run homer in the 4th. He walked 1 and struck out 1. Cristian Javier was next; he allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 2 scoreless and got the win in his professional debut. Jacques Sambo allowed a run, a single, walked 1, and struck out 2 in the 7th. Framber Valdez allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2 in 2 innings.

The Blue team is playing the A's.

DSL Mariners2 5, DSL Astros Orange 1

W- Saul Cuenca (1-0)
L- Gabriel Valdez (0-2)

This isn't funny anymore.

The Orange team's only run came in the 5th as Marcos Almonte stole 2nd, and on the ensuing errant throw down, Juan Fuente seized the opportunity and scored. Almonte finished 3-4.

Gabriel Valdez went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Josue Uribe pitched 4 innings as well; he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and walked 1 while striking out 3.

Well, they can't go winless forever, right? The Orange team is playing the Nationals.

Tweets of the Day

An epic battle ensued last evening in Room 308 in Midland and the stakes were large:










Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Astros Draft Pick/Undrafted Free Agent Twitter Accounts

Let's welcome the Class of 2015 to the Houston Astros organization!

This page contains the Twitter accounts of the Astros' 2015 Draft Class. Accounts for undrafted players will be added later on. I'm sure some of them are on Instagram as well, but there's also probably a good chance that their Instagram accounts are private. In the event that they are not on Twitter, their Instagram page, if they have one, will be listed instead.

Names in RED have signed according to the Astros website (as of 6:30 p.m. on 6/24)

Round 1, Pick 2: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU - @ABREG_1
Round 1, Pick 5: Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant High School (Tampa) - @KTuck30
Competitive Balance A, Pick 37: Dazmon Cameron, OF, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Georgia)  - @daz_cameron16
Round 2, Pick 46: Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton - @ThomasEshelman1
Round 3, Pick 79: Riley Ferrell, RHP, TCU - @riley_ferrell12
Round 4, Pick 109: Anthony Hermelyn, C, Oklahoma - @anthonyhermelyn
Round 5, Pick 139: Trent Thornton, RHP, North Carolina - @Trent_Thornton1
Round 6, Pick 169: Nestor Muriel, CF, Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy (Florida, Puerto Rico) -  @NestorMuriel
Round 7, Pick 199: Michael Freeman, LHP, Oklahoma State - @MikeTheFreeMan_
Round 8, Pick 229: Garrett Stubbs, C, USC - @GarrettStubbs
Round 9, Pick 259: Zac Person, LHP, LSU - @Zac_Person
Round 10, Pick 289: Scott Weathersby, RHP, Ole Miss - @S_Weathersby40
Round 11, Pick 319: Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Mission Viejo High School (Mission Viejo, California) - @P_Sandoval16
Round 12, Pick 349: Myles Straw, OF, St. John's River State College - @mylesstraw
Round 13, Pick 379: Kevin McCanna, RHP, Rice - @kmccanna23
Round 14, Pick 409: Johnny Sewald, OF, Arizona State - @johnnysewald
Round 15, Pick 439: Pat Porter, RF, Ohio State - @Pat_Porter3
Round 16, Pick 469: Adam Whitt, RHP, Nevada - @abomb34
Round 17, Pick 499: Justin Garcia, LF, Nova Southeastern - @JustinGarcia106
Round 18, Pick 529: Kevin Martir, C, Maryland - Not on Twitter, but he is on Instagram at @kevloso32
Round 19, Pick 559: Drew Ferguson, CF, Belmont - @_drewferguson
Round 20, Pick 589: Makay Nelson, RHP, College of Southern Idaho - @MakayNelson26
Round 21, Pick 619: Alex Winkelman, LHP, Southeast Missouri State - @winks_253
Round 22, Pick 649: Cole Sands, RHP, North Florida Christian High School (Tallahassee, Florida) - @ColeSands; his account is private.
Round 23, Pick 679: Matt Bower, LHP, Washington State - @BOWER16
Round 24, Pick 709: Chris Murphy, RHP, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Round 25, Pick 739: Jorge Martinez, C, Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy (Florida, Puerto Rico) - @JLMR_28
Round 26, Pick 769: Ralph Garza Jr., RHP, Oklahoma - @La_Garza_32
Round 27, Pick 799: James Carter, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara - @JTC_23_
Round 28, Pick 829: Zac Grotz, RHP, Embry-Riddle - @zacgrotz
Round 29, Pick 859: Brooks Marlow, 2B, Texas - @Bmarlow8
Round 30, Pick 889: Bobby Wernes, 3B, Arkansas - @bobbywernes
Round 31: Pick 919: Keach Ballard, SS, Oklahoma Baptist - @THE_DKB2
Round 32: Pick 949: Aaron Mizell, OF, Georgia Southern - @aaron_mizell
Round 33, Pick 979: Kolbey Carpenter, 2B, Oklahoma - @KolbeyA
Round 34, Pick 1009: Conor Biggio, OF, Notre Dame - @GETBIGgio10
Round 35, Pick 1039: Kody Clemens, SS, Memorial High School (Houston) - @KClemens2203
Round 36, Pick 1069: Ryan Deemes, RHP, Nicholls State - @Ryan_Deemes_6; his account is private.
Round 37, Pick 1099: Luken Baker, RHP, Oak Ridge High School (Shenandoah, Texas) - @lukenb9
Round 38, Pick 1129: Nick Rivera, 1B, Florida Gulf Coast - @NickRivera35; his account is private.
Round 39, Pick 1159: Alex Vargas, RHP, Monroe Community College
Round 40, Pick 1189: Steve Naemark, LHP, Angelo State - @GrandpaSteve1

Undrafted Free Agents

Christian Correa, C, Nicholls State - @chrisbaseball7
Jacob Dorris, RHP, Texas A&M—Corpus Christi - @JacobDorris38
David Schmidt, RHP, Stanford - I haven't seen a twitter for him yet.
Andrew Thome, RHP, North Dakota - @Thome_Hawk
Ford Stainback, IF, Rice - @FordStainback

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mark Appel takes the hill in Midland.

Reno 5, Fresno 1

W- Edgar Garcia (1-0)
L- Dan Straily (4-5)

Fresno home runs: L.J. Hoes (3, solo in 7th)

Well, the Grizz were foiled in their attempt to sweep the series as the Aces knocked Dan Straily around.

Straily went 6 innings and allowed 5 runs on 8 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 8. 6 of the 8 hits he allowed went for extra bases. Three relievers pitched a scoreless inning each: Jason Stoffel allowed a hit and struck out 1 in the 7th, Jose Veras walked 1 and fanned 1 in the 8th, and Mitch Lambson struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Hoes' solo homer in the 7th was the only Fresno run, and one of just 4 hits on the day.

Fresno has a day off today. Tomorrow, they'll begin a 4-game set in Salt Lake.

Corpus Christi 5, Midland 2

W- Kyle Westwood (4-2)
L- Nate Long (3-4)

CC home runs: Tyler White (4, solo in 9th)

Kyle Westwood shut it down, and the Hooks got some much-needed insurance runs in the 9th as they took the first of 4 from the Hounds.

Mark Appel went 5 innings and served up 2 solo shots to Colin Walsh. The Hounds couldn't muster up much of anything else against him; the other hit he allowed was a double. Appel walked 3 and struck out 5. Westwood tagged in and finished the game, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 6 in 4 innings.

Jio Mier drew a 1-out walk in the 1st, advanced to 3rd on an Andrew Aplin double, and scored the first run of the evening on a wild pitch. Aplin later scored on a sac fly from Colin Moran. Tony Kemp finished 3-5 with a double and an RBI single in the 7th; he's now on a 12-game hitting streak. Tyler White came on as a pinch-hitter for Danry Vásquez to begin the 9th and swatted his 4th homer of the year. Later in the inning, Aplin added an RBI single to his ledger. He (2B, RBI, R, SB [10, 16 season]) and Jon Kemmer (R) finished with 2 hits apiece.

Michael Feliz will be on the mound for Corpus Christi in game 2 of this series. He'll face Tim Atherton at 6:30.

Visalia 3, Lancaster 0

W- Zack Godley (7-3)
L- Bryan Radziewski (0-1, 1-1 season)
S- Nick Sarianides (9)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks threatened in the top of the 9th, but sadly, James Ramsay struck out with the bases loaded to end the game. They only got 4 singles, 2 of which belonged to A.J. Reed. Mott Hyde, in his Lancaster debut, went 0-2 and walked twice.

Sometimes, one hit is all a team needs. Bryan Radziewski, unfortunately, was the victim of that one hit for Visalia as he allowed a 3-run homer to Kevin Cron in the 3rd that constituted all the scoring in this game. He went 5 innings and allowed 4 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Evan Grills allowed a hit and fanned 6 over 3 scoreless.

In the rubber game of this series, Adrian Houser will take on Blayne Weller. First pitch is at 6 Pacific.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits will begin a 3-game set with Lansing tonight at 7. In game 1, Austin Chrismon will take on Starlyn Suriel.

DSL Phillies 9, DSL Astros Blue 7

W- Robinson Martinez (1-0)
L- Cristofer Melendez (0-1)

Blue home runs: Andy Piñeda (1, led off game)

The Blue team withstood a 6-run 6th from the Phillies by scoring 3 in the 8th to tie the game... but their opponents had an answer with 2 in the bottom of the 8th to re-take the lead.

Andy Piñeda went deep to begin the game. In the 3rd, the Blue team got an RBI single from Reiny Beltre and a 2-run double from Cristopher Luciano. Luciano scored on a wild pitch in the 8th inning. Jose Benjamin followed by scoring on an error, and then Andy Piñeda, who finished 3-4, hit an RBI single. Beltre went 2-5, while Oscar Campos finished 2-2 with 2 walks and another caught basestealer.

Hector Perez allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 in 5 innings. Jorge Alcala came on for the 6th and failed to record an out. He was on the hook for all 6 of the Phillies' runs in that inning; 3 of those were inherited runners that were charged to him. Alcala allowed 4 hits and walked 2. Cristofer Melendez allowed the 2 runs in the 8th that put the Phillies back in the lead; both were unearned. He pitched 3 innings, allowed 3 hits, and walked 1.

These teams played again today.

DSL Mariners2 6, DSL Astros Orange 4 in 10 innings

W- Ricardo Reyes (1-0)
L- Gabriel Pirela (0-2)

Orange home runs: Felix Lucas (1, solo in 8th)

What on earth does the Orange team have to do???

They opened up the scoring with a pair in the 3rd, thanks to a sac fly from Juan Fuente and an RBI double from Michael Richez. Richez, who is normally a pitcher, finished 2-5, was making his first appearance as a position player. Felix Lucas scored in the 4th as Carlos Machado grounded into a force out. Lucas finished 3-5 and smacked a solo homer in the 8th that tied the game at 4.

Unfortunately, the Mariners got a 2-run homer in the first extra frame to get back in front. The Orange team threatened with runners on 1st and 2nd in the bottom of the 10th, but Randy Vasquez grounded into a force out to end the game.

Cesar Rosado allowed an unearned run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 4 innings. Bryan Abreu was the first man out of the bullpen and went 2.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 2 hits, walking 3, and striking out 1. Gabriel Pirela pitched 2.1 innings and allowed the go-ahead 2-run homer in the 10th. He allowed 3 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Yonatan Quintin pitched the 10th, allowing a hit and walking 1.

The Orange team is still searching for that first win as they're at the Mariners complex.

Happy Birthday - 6/10

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

C Brian Holberton (23)
Holberton was born June 10, 1992 in Scarsdale, New York, and was drafted by Houston in the 9th round in 2013 out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently playing for the High A Lancaster JetHawks.

Brian Holberton - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, June 8, 2015

Happy Draft Day!

A Tale of Two Dominican Summer League Squads is unfolding.

Fresno 6, Reno 4

W- Brady Rodgers (4-3)
L- Caleb Clay (4-4)
S- Tyson Perez (4, 5 season)

Fresno home runs: Domingo Santana (11, 2-run in 4th)

The Grizz withstood a late uprising from the Aces as they got the series-clinching victory to kick off life after Carlos Correa.

Brady Rodgers allowed a run on 6 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4 in 5.2 innings of work. Mitch Lambson got the final out of the 6th, but couldn't get himself going in the 7th. He allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him), 2 hits, and walked 1. Jonas Dufek got 1 out in the 7th and allowed 2 hits. Jordan Jankowski restored order as he struck out 2 over 1.2 perfect innings, and Tyson Perez closed it out by striking out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th inning.

Matt Duffy opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 3rd inning. Domingo went deep for the 11th time this season in the 4th inning. In the 6th, Nolan Fontana ripped a 2-run triple and scored on an infield single from Alex Presley. Domingo Santana reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances, finishing a triple shy of the cycle and drawing a walk. Tyler Heineman and Nolan Fontana both finished with 2 hits.

The Grizzlies look to sweep the Aces out of the Central Valley as Dan Straily takes the mound. He'll face Edgar Garcia at 12:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi was off

The Hooks are in Midland, where they'll begin a 4-game set tonight at 6:30. Mark Appel will be on the mound for Corpus Christi... he'll face Nate Long.

Lancaster 8, Visalia 3

W- Dan Mengden (1-0, 5-1 season)
L- Patrick Corbin (0-1)
S- Kevin Comer (1, 2 season)

Lancaster home runs: Marc Wik (3, solo in 5th)

The JetHawks knocked around a rehabbing Patrick Corbin as they took the first of this 3-game set, which was played in triple-digit heat.

They took flight with 4 in the 1st. J.D. Davis kicked off the proceedings with an RBI double. An A.J. Reed RBI groundout and a pair of RBI singles from Alfredo Gonzalez and Brian Holberton followed. Reed added an RBI single in the 4th.

Holberton ripped an RBI double in the 5th inning, although he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Marc Wik followed by smacking his 3rd homer of the year. James Ramsay scored the final Lancaster run of the evening when Holberton grounded into a double play in the 7th. Brett Phillips, Davis, and Gonzalez all finished 3-5, while at the bottom of the order, Holberton and Wik were both 2-5.

Dan Mengden got his first win in the Cali League as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Kevin Comer closed it out in his Lancaster debut; he went 4 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and fanned 3.

Bryan Radziewski gets the start in game 2 of this series. He will take on Zack Godley at 6 Pacific.

Quad Cities and South Bend was cancelled

Due to rain. As this was the final meeting between the River Bandits and the newly-minted Cubs, this game will not be made up. The River Bandits have an off day today as they head home. On Wednesday, they'll welcome the Lansing Lugnuts to Modern Woodmen Park.

DSL Astros Blue 10, DSL Rays 9

W- Jose Rosario (1-1)
L- Miguel De La Cruz (0-1)
S- Dariel Aquino (1)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team was outhit 16-8 and were down 6-3 after the 3rd inning, but they still managed to emerge with the victory. Such is life in the Dominican Summer League. It got a little hairy late as the Rays scored 3 in the 8th to make it a 1-run game.

Both teams traded 2 runs in the 1st inning. Andy Piñeda led off the game with a walk, and a passed ball and 2 wild pitches later, he scored the first run of the morning. Orlando Marquez added an RBI groundout. Another wild pitch in the 2nd allowed Cristopher Luciano to score. The Rays got 4 in the 3rd to take the lead, but the Blue tied it with 3 in the 4th. Their 3 runs scored on zero hits. They drew 3 walks to open up the frame. Andy Piñeda hit an RBI groundout, and two more wild pitches allowed Carlos Canelon and Juan Piñeda to score. In the 5th, they got an RBI double from Jose Benjamin, a 2-run double from Canelon, and a sac fly from Andy Piñeda. Angel De Leon finished 3-5 with a double and a run scored. He has a 5-game hitting streak and has a hit in 7 of the 8 games he's played so far.

Felipe Tejada went 3+ innings and allowed 6 runs on 8 hits while striking out 4. Jose Rosario allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5 in 4.1 innings. Saul Martinez got the 2nd out of the 8th inning with a strikeout. Dariel Aquino allowed a hit as he got the final 4 outs of the game.

The Blue team played the Phillies today.

DSL Cardinals 13, DSL Astros Orange 1


W- David Oca (2-0)
L- Juan Cuevas (0-1)

Orange home runs: None.

They commited 9 errors???

The Orange team still can't seem to get off the schneid. They committed 9 errors in this game. This is not a fabrication... it's what the MILB.com box score says.

They did hold a lead for a bit as Brandon Benavente hit an RBI single in the 2nd. He and Ronny Rafael had 2 hits apiece.

Juan Robles has emerged as a bit of a bright spot in a tough start for the Orange team so far. He walked 2 and struck out 7 over 4 innings. Juan Cuevas allowed 9 runs, but amazingly, only 1 of them was counted as an earned run. He went 2 innings and allowed 4 hits (3-run homer) and struck out 1. Michael Richez also pitched 2 innings; he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and walked 2. Ezequiel Madera allowed 2 runs, a double (1 run scored on that double), and walked 3 in the 9th.

The Orange team played the Mariners 2 today.

Getting to Know Astros/Grizzlies RHP Tyson Perez

Following his promotion to Corpus Christi last season on May 30, 2014, RHP Tyson Perez has arguably been the most consistent reliever in the Astros system. In 51 appearances since that 2014 promotion, Perez has compiled a 1.98 ERA and a 0.880 WHIP with 16 saves in 63.2 innings of work. Perez started his 2015 season with Corpus Christi, but was promoted to Fresno after only three appearances. In 2015, he has a 1.80 ERA and a 0.680 WHIP in 21 appearances to date.

Tyson Perez - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I asked Perez what clicked for him that has caused him to excel so consistently since that 2014 promotion. He said, "I think it was all about confidence. When I went to Corpus, you had [former Manager Keith] Bodie there and [Pitching Coach] Doug Brocail. Broc helped me so much. He basically told me every day, 'Why don't you believe that you're good? Because your stuff's so good.' And then it just took me a little while to actually believe and get the confidence that I used to have. I think I kind of lost it there for a little bit. And you can't play this game without confidence. Confidence is the main thing that you need. So working with (Brocail) every day, I literally took it day by day and did everything I could do for that day and when tomorrow came, I'd worry about tomorrow. I think that helps a lot and that's how you've got to play this game. This game is tough. You play a lot of games and a lot of days and you've just got to take it day by day and get the best you can out of that day."

Perez's pitch repertoire consists of fastball, cutter, and curveball, but as he told me, "You're always working on stuff in this game. You're learning every day. I've been working on a little bit of a changeup, kind of a split change ... some other look for lefties. I throw the cutter a lot to lefties in and I throw the curveball off that, but to have something to use kind of going down and away from them will be a lot of help, especially when you get up to these levels. These hitters are so good. In the big leagues, they have just as much scouting report on us as we have on them. So you've got to be able to throw all your pitches wherever you want and execute."

When I asked Fresno Pitching Coach Ace Adams what Perez needed to work on, he told me, "He doesn't need to work on a lot. He's been outstanding for us. If we didn't have him, we'd be really hurting. Right now, all he needs is getting more confidence and believe that he can pitch in the big leagues. That's all he needs to work on right now. He's done a great job. Without him, I don't know where we would be. When he came here, our bullpen was in disarray and he's really done an unbelievable job. He's been a great, great addition."

Perez is more of a pitch-to-contact guy than a strikeout guy as evidenced by the game I watched him pitch in recently in which he retired the side on seven pitches, including a strikeout. "In my mind, I try to get he guy out on three pitches or less. If he's still there after three pitches, then I have to strike him out. You can't get in those 2-1 counts, 3-1 counts, 3-2 counts because that's where these guys hurt you. I'm not up there throwing 96, 97. I've got to work with what I've got and I've got to get them out as fast as I can and if everything goes together, then I should be able to get them out," said Perez.

When I spoke with Doug Brocail last season about Perez, I mentioned the somewhat goofy persona that Perez sometimes hides behind. Brocail assured me that there was a bullpen leader behind that persona and that, when it was time to work, Perez was all business. Of this assessment, Perez said, "You've got to have fun in this game, especially when you're with a group of guys you're with so much every day and everyone's fun and everyone's a good guy, but when it's time to take care of business, everyone's out there taking care of business."

Perez is originally from nearby Hanford, California, having grown up around ranching and rodeos (see this October 2012 interview for more about that) and was drafted out of Fresno City College in 2011 so Fresno is more or less home to him. Perez said, "My parents are about an hour away. I get to see them a lot. They try to come to every game so they've been here almost every time so that's really great to see them."

I know that Perez is enjoying the time spent on his home turf, but I don't think he would mind getting a little homesick by spending some time in, say, Houston. It is my sincerest hope that he will get that opportunity sooner rather than later.


Perez - May 2015

Thank you for your time, Tyson, and best of luck as the season continues to unfold!

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

Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton
LHP Bryan Radziewski
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Joe Musgrove
3B J.D. Davis
LHP Albert Minnis
SS Carlos Correa

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.

Tweets of the Day





Monday, June 8, 2015

Astros Minor League Transactions

More transactions are rolling in, including a few promotions.

FRESNO GRIZZLIES

6/9 - SS Jonathan Villar optioned to Fresno from Houston.
6/8 - RHP Mike Hauschild assigned to Fresno from Corpus Christi.
6/8 - IF Chan-Jong Moon assigned to Fresno from Corpus Christi.
6/8 - RHP Alex White released.
6/8 - RHP Jake Buchanan optioned to Fresno from Houston.
6/6 - RHP Murilo Gouvea released.

Murilo Gouvea's return from injury was a nice story, and a most surprising development. Wishing him all the best for the future.

CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS

6/9 - RHP Joe Musgrove assigned to Corpus Christi from Lancaster.
6/9 - RHP R.J. Alaniz activated from restricted list.
6/6 - RHP Brad Peacock began rehab assignment.
6/5 - OF Brandon Meredith placed on 7-day disabled list.
6/5 - OF Jon Kemmer activated from temporarily inactive list.
6/4 - RHP Kyle Westwood placed on temporarily inactive list. Kyle Westwood was activated on 6/9.

Alaniz has served his 50-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

LANCASTER JETHAWKS

6/8 - IF Mott Hyde assigned to Lancaster from Quad Cities.
6/8 - RHP Andrew Walter activated from restricted list.
6/8- LHP Albert Minnis and IF Jose Fernandez placed on 7-day disabled list, retroactive to June 6.

Walter has served his 50-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

6/8 - IF Luis Reynoso assigned to Quad Cities from Extended Spring Training.

DSL ASTROS BLUE

6/9 - RHP Jacques Sambo assigned to DSL Astros Blue.
6/9 - RHP Cristian Javier assigned to DSL Astros Blue.

Sambo is a 16-year-old from the island of Curaçao. He'll turn 17 on July 27, making him the youngest player currently in the Houston Astros organization (until this July 2 IFA period begins). I found this article from a paper in Curaçao via Google in the Papiamentu language about his signing, which occurred last month. Papiamentu, along with Dutch, is an official language of Curaçao. It is a language that has Portuguese, African, American Indian, English, Dutch, and Spanish influences.

Curaçao is one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Aruba, Sint Maarten (the Dutch portion of the island of St. Martin; the other portion belongs to France) and the Netherlands itself. The island has produced some baseball talent such as Jurickson Profar (Rangers), Jonathan Schoop (Orioles), and Kenley Jansen (Dodgers). Its most notable name is Andruw Jones, the longtime outfielder for the Braves.

Cristian Javier is an 18-year-old righty. Don't think there's any info on him that is readily available.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for the weekend of June 5-7, 2015

I had a tremendous amount of fun during Free Press Summer Fest 2015, which took place on Saturday and Sunday at Reliant Park, but now, it's back to reality.

Since there's a lot of games to cover, the format of these recaps will be a little bit different.

Fresno

The Grizzlies won the first 2 games of their series against Reno on Saturday and Sunday, while their series finale against Colorado Springs on Friday night was rained out. Since that was the final meeting between the Grizz and Sky Sox in the 2015 season, that game will not be made up.

On Saturday, Fresno scored 4 in the 6th to tie the game at 7, and scored 4 more in the 8th to take the lead, and eventually won 11-7. Jason Stoffel got the win in relief of Asher Wojciechowski; Stoffel allowed a hit and struck out 2 in the 8th. Tyler Heineman went 3-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Domingo Santana, Matt Duffy, and Carlos Correa also drove in 2 runs each.

The Grizz blew a 14-8 lead in the 9th inning, but they pulled themselves together and walked off with a 15-14 win on a wild Sunday. Both teams had a combined 29 runs and 32 hits as they pulled off their best Lancaster impressions.

Domingo was the only player in the Fresno lineup without a hit, but he got on base 3 times by way of 2 walks and a HBP and scored 3 runs. Max Stassi was the only player in the Fresno lineup who did not score a run; he hit 2 doubles in his 4 trips to the plate and drove in 3. Matt Dominguez hit a grand slam in the 5th inning (4), part of a 7-RBI night for him. Jose Veras, in his return to the Astros organization, allowed 2 hits in a scoreless 8th inning.

Carlos Correa, in his final 2 games at the AAA level, went 4-7 (2 hits in each game) with a double, 4 RBI (2 RBI each game), and 2 runs scored.

The Grizzlies kick off the post-Carlos Correa era as they continue their series with Reno tonight at 7:05 Pacific. Brady Rodgers gets the nod tonight; he'll face Caleb Clay.

Corpus Christi

The Hooks took 2 of 3 from the Arkansas Travelers this weekend. Both teams scored in 1 inning in each game. I don't recall seeing something like that before.

On Friday, Arkansas scored 4 in the top of the 7th to win 4-2. They finally got to Josh Hader, who had a fine performance otherwise. Hader allowed 3 runs (all inherited runners that were charged to him; only 1 run was earned) on 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3 over 6+ innings of work.

The Hooks' 2 runs came in the 4th. Colin Moran ripped an RBI double and later scored on an error. Tony Kemp had the other 2 Corpus hits.

Corpus got a measure of revenge on Saturday by walking off with a 3-2 win, scoring all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th. Conrad Gregor hit the winner in the form of a 2-run single. Tyler White put them on the board with a sac fly earlier in the inning. Tony Kemp went 2-4 with a steal (15). Brian Holmes went 5.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Juan Minaya pitched 1.1 innings and allowed a hit while striking out 3. Jandel Gustave struck out 2 over 2 perfect innings.

Mike Hauschild was excellent as the Hooks won 3-1 on Sunday. He allowed a run on 8 hits (all singles) and struck out 2 over 7 innings. Travis Ballew wrapped it up with 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 2.

The Hooks' 3 runs on Sunday came in the 6th. Colin Moran hit an RBI single to tie the game. Jio Mier put them ahead with a sac fly, and Conrad Gregor added an RBI single. Gregor finished 2-4.

After a day off, the Hooks hit the road. First stop, Midland.

Lancaster

The JetHawks won on Saturday and Sunday to split their series with Rancho Cucamonga. They lost 4-1 on Friday, but responded with a 3-1 win on Saturday and blasted the Quakes 17-2 in the series finale on Sunday.

Their only run on Friday was a J.D. Davis solo shot, his 7th of the year. Troy Scribner went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 4. Adrian Houser pitched the final 4 innings and allowed an unearned run on 3 hits and struck out 2.

Joe Musgrove walked someone on Saturday. That was only the 2nd walk he's issued all season. He allowed a run on a wild pitch; the runner who scored had the only hit off of him: a double. Musgrove struck out 7 in 6 innings to run his K:BB ratio to 66:2. Or, in lowest terms, 33:1. Keegan Yuhl allowed a hit and fanned 2 over 1.2 scoreless, and Reymin Guduan shut it down, walking 1 and striking out 2 in 1.1 innings.

Jack Mayfield was the JetHawks offense on Saturday; he put the JetHawks on the board with a 2-run double in the 1st and cranked a solo shot (5) in the 4th.

Brett Phillips ripped his 10th home run of the year in Lancaster's 17-2 romp on Sunday. He drove in a career-high 6 runs. Mayfield finished 3-6 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Edison Frias had a solid night as he allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5 in 6.1 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.86.

The JetHawks are in Visalia tonight to begin a 3-game set. Dan Mengden gets the start at 6:00 Pacific.

Quad Cities

The River Bandits went 2-1 this weekend. They finished up their series in West Michigan with a 4-3 win on Friday and have moved on to South Bend. They lost 2-1 on Saturday but rallied for an 8-3 win on Sunday.

On Friday, the Banditos rallied for 3 in the final 2 innings to counter a 3-run 6th from the Whitecaps. Jake Nottingham opened the scoring in the 1st with an RBI single. Ryan Bottger tied the game with a 2-run single in the 8th, and Sean McMullen put the Bandits in front with an RBI double in the 9th.

Josh James allowed 3 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 5 hits, walked 4, and struck out 5. Aaron Greenwood got through the 6th, but not before allowing the 2 runners he inherited from James to score. Angel Heredia pitched 3 scoreless, walking 2 and striking out 3.

They dropped their series opener with South Bend 2-1 on Saturday. Their only run in that game came on a Kristian Trompiz sac fly in the 4th. Francis Martes allowed 2 runs on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 2 in 5 innings. Christian Powell allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 3 innings.

The Banditos rebounded to win 8-3 on Sunday as they used a pair of 3-run innings. Nick Tanielu ripped his 2nd homer of the season, a 3-run shot in the 3rd. The top 3 of Jason Martin, Jamie Ritchie, and Jake Nottingham all had 2-hit games. Ramon Laureano, after a bit of a slow start, looks to be getting himself going... he went 2-4 with a double and scored 2 runs.

Akeem Bostick got the win after tagging in as the 2nd starter. He went 4 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6.

The River Bandits and Cubs conclude their series at 7:05 Eastern. Austin Chrismon will take on Tommy Thorpe.

DSL Astros Blue

The Blue team continued their hot start as they defeated the Royals 6-3 on Friday and walked off with a 6-5 win against the Rays on Saturday.

DSL Astros Orange

On the other hand, the Orange team is still searching for that elusive first win. They lost 11-3 to the Rangers 1 on Friday and walked off with a 3-2 loss in 11 innings to the Cardinals on Saturday.

An April 2013 Interview with Astros RHP Vince Velasquez

In honor of the news that RHP Vince Velasquez is going to be making his major league debut later this week, you may want to look at this April 2013 interview with him. When asked what he would say to frustrated Astros fans, Velasquez said:
I want to say within the next few years, this team could really turn around. I mean there’s so much talent. If these people [Astros fans] haven’t noticed, it’s going to be noticeable soon because this team is really going to turn around and it’s a high possibility we might win a ring back-to-back-to-back years. We have so much talent in this organization. If we keep working all together, we could be unstoppable. Don’t give up on us too quick because we’ll turn it around. Two plus years. I’m going to be looking forward to it.

A Brief Interview with Astros SS Carlos Correa

[I had saved my brief late May interview with Correa to post in conjunction with the first day of the MLB draft. With yesterday's announcement that Correa is being called up to the Bigs today, even more reason to get to know Carlos just a wee little bit better.]

In honor of today's draft, let's check in with former 2012 number one overall draft pick, SS Carlos Correa. I had the chance to watch Correa in action at the beginning of May in Corpus Christi and again toward the end of May in Fresno after his promotion to the AAA club and it was an eye-opening experience. Just seeing how much he is enjoying himself, how loose and relaxed he is, is a wonderful thing to see.

Carlos Correa - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

With Correa, the talent has always been undeniable, as has his work ethic, his determination and his maturity. During my recent visit to Fresno, Manager Tony DeFrancesco said of Correa, "Carlos is definitely a professional. It's good to see a young player like that with that kind of tools and ambition and excited to play the game of baseball."

When I spoke with Correa, I decided to take a little different tack in my first question. I went back to three years ago when his friendship with 2012 draft members RHP Lance McCullers, OF Brett Phillips and 3B Rio Ruiz (since traded to the Braves) was first formed and asked him if that friendship foursome was still intact. According to Correa, "Yeah, yeah, of course. We still talk a lot, especially with Lance. I've been playing with him my entire professional career. I talk to him the most, but, yeah, I stay in touch with Rio and Brett. I called Brett the other day to see how he was doing. He's doing pretty well in the Cal League and Rio is working hard and doing his thing out there with the Braves. We stay in touch. We're really good friends so our relationship is going to be there forever."

McCullers was promoted to AAA for about a nanosecond before being called up to the big club and was with the Fresno team when he got that call. Of that moment, Correa told me, "I literally cried with him when he got called up. We were all sitting in the clubhouse in Albuquerque and all of a sudden, he's saying that he's only 21 years old and all this stuff, and all of a sudden he says he's going to pitch on Monday against the A's. I was like 'what?' And he goes, yeah, I'm going to The Show. Wow! I gave him a hug and congratulated him because it was a great accomplishment for him and he totally deserved it. He was doing a great job in the minor leagues and I think he deserved that call up."

I also asked Correa about my perception that he seemed much looser and more relaxed after the injury that derailed his season in 2014 than he had before. After assuring me that he always has fun playing baseball, he did admit that, "Just after the injury, everything was different. I enjoyed playing baseball even more than I used to. You appreciate it more when you're not able to play and you want to be out there."

Correa continued, "In Corpus, Rodney was a great manager. We had a great atmosphere there, great ballplayers. We were winning games. I was doing really good. You have to smile when everything is going right for you and your team. You've got to go out there and have fun every single day. I have fun all the time. Sometimes you've just got to be more serious. I always try to have fun with the guys, especially in Corpus. I've known those guys a long time. They're like family already."

The last thing that Correa told me was that he was just trying to reach his goals, "just trying to make it to the big leagues at some point this year." When I told him that I thought Astros fans would see him in June, Correa smiled broadly and said, "Hopefully!" Indeed.



Thank you for your time, Carlos. It was a pleasure getting to know you just a little bit better. Best of luck in your big league debut!

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

Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton
LHP Bryan Radziewski
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Joe Musgrove
3B J.D. Davis
LHP Albert Minnis

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.