Saturday, July 25, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, July 23, 2015 and Friday, July 24, 2015

Fireworks in Frisco.

Suddenly, Lancaster's series with Stockton became the Jake Nottingham/Dan Mengden Reunion Series.

Thursday: Las Vegas 9, Fresno 4

W- Dillon Gee (4-1)
L- Asher Wojciechowski (5-2)

Fresno home runs: Matt Duffy (15, solo in 4th)

The game started off well enough for the Grizz as they took an early 2-0 lead, but it was all Vegas after that.

Fresno got 2 runs in the 1st off a pair of RBI doubles from Tyler White and Matt Duffy. Duffy smacked a solo homer in the 4th to give the Grizzlies a 3-0 lead, but the 51s scored 4 in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Max Stassi scored on an error in the 5th following a Tony Kemp lineout.

Duffy and Robbie Grossman had 2 hits apiece, while White drew 2 walks to go with his double.

Asher Wojciechowski went 4.2 innings and allowed 7 runs on 9 hits (3 2-run homers), walked 3, and struck out 2. Jason Stoffel was the first man out; he went 1.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Jordan Jankowski and Kevin Chapman both pitched a scoreless inning. Jankowski walked 1 and struck out 1 in the 7th, and Chapman allowed a hit while striking out 1 in the 8th.

Friday: Fresno 9, Tacoma 3

W- Dan Straily (8-6)
L- James Gillheeney (1-2)

Fresno home runs: Jonathan Villar (3, led off game)

The Grizz were up 9-0, and despite a late snag, they came out with the win in the first of 4 games.

Jonathan Villar's homer led off the game. In the 2nd, Tyler Heineman added a 2-run single. Leo Heras ripped an RBI double in the 4th, and Heineman scored on a fielder's choice. Tyler White added a 2-run single to push the lead to 7-0. Domingo Santana hit a 2-run single of his own in the 6th.

Villar (2 RBI, 3 R) and Nolan Fontana (2B, R) had 3 hits apiece, while White (2B, 2 RBI, R) and Domingo (2 RBI) had 2-hit games.

Dan Straily allowed just 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7 over 8 shutout innings. Luis Cruz allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and walked 2 in the 9th, but that was alright, since he had an 8-run cushion to work with.

Mark Appel is on the mound tonight. He'll take on Forrest Snow in a battle of former Pac-12 pitchers at 7:05 Pacific.

Thursday: Frisco 6, Corpus Christi 5

W- Cody Ege (3-2)
L- Travis Ballew (3-4)
S- Andrew Faulkner (1)

CC home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (11, solo in 1st), Jon Kemmer (13, 2-run in 4th), Jack Mayfield (3, 10 season; 2-run in 6th)

Both teams hit 3 homers, which accounted for 5 of their runs. However, the Roughriders managed to get one over on the Hooks late to take this game.

In the Hooks' case, all 5 of their runs came on their 3 blasts. Teoscar Hernandez opened up the scoring with a solo shot in the 1st, his 11th of the season. Jon Kemmer hit a 2-run homer in the 4th, his 13th of the year, and Jack Mayfield hit a 2-run homer in the 6th, his 3rd in the Texas League and 10th overall. Kemmer went 2-4 and was the only Hook to finish with a multi-hit game.

Adrian Houser went 4.2 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits (solo and 2 2-run homers), walked 4, and struck out 3. Juan Minaya was the first man out of the Corpus bullpen; he struck out 5 over 2.1 perfect innings. Travis Ballew got 2 outs in the 8th, but Frisco broke the tie off of him with a run on a force out. Chris Cotton got the final out of the 8th without incident.

Friday: Corpus Christi 9, Frisco 3

W- Michael Feliz (4-2, 5-3 season)
L- Lendy Castillo (2-1)
S- Joe Musgrove (1)

CC home runs: Teoscar Hernandez 2 (13; solo in 1st, 3-run in 6th), A.J. Reed (2, 25 season; 2-run in 9th)

The Hooks blew this game wide open with a 5-run 6th inning.

Teoscar opened up the scoring with a solo shot in the 1st, his 3rd consecutive game with a home run. Jed Lowrie continued his rehab by going 2-3 with a double. He also hit an RBI single in the 3rd inning. Roberto Peña put the Hooks in front in the 6th inning with a 2-run single, and Teoscar struck again with a 3-run home run. A.J. Reed topped it off with a 2-run homer in the 9th, his 25th of 2015.

Michael Feliz got the cobwebs out after a shaky start. He went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and fanned 5. Joe Musgrove allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck otu 5 over 4 scoreless.

In game 3 of this series, Kyle Westwood will face Vitcor Payano. First pitch is at 7:05.

Thursday: Lancaster 6, Stockton 1

W- Bryan Radziewski (3-3, 4-3 season)
L- Taylor Thompson (0-1)

Lancaster home runs: Ronnie Mitchell (7, solo in 5th), Jamie Ritchie (1, 5 season; solo in 7th)

The Ports got on the board first, but the duo of Keegan Yuhl and Bryan Radziewski held them to 3 hits and the JetHawks scored the final 6 runs of the evening.

Yuhl allowed an unearned run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6 in 5 innings of work. and Radziewski struck out 3 over 4 perfect frames.

Ronnie Mitchell put Lancaster on the board with a solo shot in the 5th. The JetHawks seized control with 4 in the 6th as Chase McDonald put them in the lead with an RBI single. They had the bases loaded later in the 6th and Mott Hyde cleared them with a double. Jamie Ritchie connected for his first home run in the California League with a solo shot in the 7th. Hyde (3-R 2B), McDonald (RBI single), and D.J. Fisher had 2 hits apiece. Jake Nottingham went 1-4 for Stockton.

Friday: Stockton 5, Lancaster 4

W- Sam Bragg (5-2)
L- Troy Scribner (2-5)
S- Brendan McCurry (20)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The Ports scored 3 in the 6th to take the lead, and the JetHawks were silenced the rest of the way.

Ronnie Mitchell opened the scoring in the 2nd when he scored on a passed ball. D.J. Fisher tripled to lead off the 3rd and scored on a Jamie Ritchie sac fly. Brian Holberton hit an RBI single in the 4th, and Chase McDonald added another RBI single in the 5th. Fisher finished 3-4.

In his Lancaster debut, Francis Martes went 5.2 innings and allowed 4 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 9. Troy Scribner went 1.1 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits (3-run homer; 2 runs were charged to Martes) and struck out 1. Tyler Brunnemann allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 over 2 innings.

Edison Frias will get the start for Lancaster tonight. He'll take on Dan Mengden at 6:00 Pacific.

Thursday: Kane County 5, Quad Cities 2

W- Wei-Chih Huang (5-1)
L- Jorge Perez (1-2)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits dropped the series, which was the first time this season that they've lost a series on the road. It took until late July for this to occur. Yeah, they've had a pretty good season. They tied the game at 2 in the top of the 8th, only to see the Cougars re-take the lead with 3 in the bottom of the 8th.

Bobby Boyd hit a 1-out triple in the 8th and trotted home on a Jason Martin triple. Martin came home on a sac fly from Alex Bregman. Trent Woodward finished 2-4.

Justin Ferrell allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 6 innings of work. Jorge Perez pitched the final 2 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 1.

Friday: Quad Cities 1, Burlington 0

W- David Paulino (3-2, 4-2 season)
L- Justin Anderson (6-8)
S- Eric Peterson (5)

QC home runs: None.

1 run was enough to decide the outcome of this game as David Paulino and 2 relievers kept the Bees off the board.

Paulino allowed 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 6 over 6.2 innings. Zach Davis, in his Quad Cities debut, worked around a couple of hits to pitch a scoreless inning (final out of the 7th, 2 outs in the 8th). Eric Peterson got the 4-out save, allowing a hit and striking out 3.

Ramon Laureano drove in the only run of the evening with a single in the 1st. Nick Tanielu was the only player on either side with a multi-hit game as he went 3-4 with 2 doubles.

In game 2 of this series, Elieser Hernandez will take on Austin Robichaux. First pitch is at 6:00.

Thursday: Tri-City 4, Lowell 2

W- Scott Weathersby (2-1)
L- Randy Perez (0-2)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats took the series, and took the lead in the NYPL Stedler Division. There were 3 innings in which 2 runs were scored, and the ValleyCats won that aspect 2-1.

Aaron Mizell put Tri-City on the board with an RBI triple in the 2nd, and he later scored on an Anthony Hermelyn groundout. They broke the tie in the 7th as Brooks Marlow scored on a wild pitch, and Bobby Wernes hit a sac fly. Mizell, Pat Porter (2B), and Tony Nuñez each had 2 hits.

Friday: Batavia 8, Tri-City 6

W- Scott Squier (2-0)
L- Dean Deetz (4-2)
S- Steven Farnworth (5)

TC home runs: None.

A 7-0 deficit after 4 innings proved to be too much for the ValleyCats to overcome. However, with Lowell's loss, they retain 1st place.

They were no-hit through 4.1 innings until Pat Porter hit a triple. He scored himself on a wild pitch in the 5th. He ripped an RBI double in the 7th. Johnny Sewald followed by bringing him home with an RBI single. Bryan Muñiz added an RBI single of his own, and Bobby Wernes grounded into a force out that scored Tony Nuñez. Anthony Hermelyn hit an RBI groundout in the 8th. Porter went 2-4 at the bottom of the order. He's got a nice little 4-game hitting streak going.

Dean Deetz allowed 6 runs (5 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits (solo homer) and struck out 4 in 3.1 innings. David Schmidt got the final 2 outs of the 4th inning, but not before he allowed a 2-run homer to Stone Garrett (a graduate of George Ranch High School in Richmond), which resulted in a run being charged to Deetz. That was the only hit that Schmidt allowed, and he struck out 1. Agapito Barrios was next; he allowed a run on 3 hits and struck out 2 in 3 innings, and Juan Carlos Santos worked around 2 walks to throw a scoreless 8th, striking out 2.

In game 2 of this series, Harold Arauz will face Justin Jacome. First pitch is at 7:05 Eastern.

Thursday: Greeneville 8, Bluefield 1

W- Cris Santamaria (2-0)
L- Dalton Rodriguez (1-3)
S- Jose Hernandez (1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros scored in the final 5 innings as they took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays.

Justin Garcia put Greeneville on the board in the 4th with an RBI single. Ford Stainback scored the go-ahead run in the 5th on a fielder's choice, and then the floodgates opened. Kevin Martir added an RBI single in the 6th. In the 7th, Osvaldo Duarte hit a sac fly, and Marlon Avea ripped an RBI double. Avea tacked on 2 more in the 8th with a single, and Randy Cesar drove in the final run of the night with an RBI double.

Avea finished 3-4, while Ford Stainback (2 R) and Luis Payano (2B, 2 R) had 2 hits apiece at the bottom of the order.

Yhoan Acosta went 4 innings, allowing a run on 4 hits, walking 2, and striking out 4. Cris Santamaria threw a 1-2-3 5th for the win. Jose Hernandez allowed 2 hits and struck out 8 over 4 scoreless for the save.

Friday: Burlington 9, Greeneville 7 in 11 innings

W- Jake Kalish (1-0)
L- Samil De Los Santos (1-3)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros managed to erase an early 5-0 deficit, but the Royals forced extras and won it with 2 in the 11th. Oh well, the Major League Astros blanked the Major League Royals, so we'll take that instead.

Their 2 runs in the 1st came on RBI singles from Connor Goegert and Brauly Mejia. Goedert added a sac fly in the 5th. Luis Payano scored the first of 3 runs in the 7th on an error. Goedert followed with another sac fly, and Justin Garcia added a sac fly of his own. Osvaldo Duarte ripped an RBI triple in the 8th that gave Greeneville a 7-6 lead at that point. Duarte also stole his 10th base of the season.

Albert Abreu only got 2 outs in the 1st as he allowed 5 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Lachlan Madden stopped the bleeding as he threw 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit, walking 2, and striking out 3. Alejandro Solarte was next; he allowed 3 hits over 2 scoreless. Salvador Montaño went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Samil De Los Santos allowed the 2-run homer to Brandon Dulin in the 11th that broke the tie. He allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 2.

In game 2 of this series, Devonte German will take on Matt Tenuta. First pitch is at 6:00 Eastern.

GCL Astros

The Kissimmee Stros let another late lead slip away on Thursday and lost 4-2 in 10 innings to the Braves, and they lost 8-2 to the Tigers on Friday.

Daz Cameron showed off his wheels on Thursday as he stole 2 bases. Frankeny Fernandez went 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Diogenes Almengo was the third pitcher to appear on Thursday and allowed 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3 in 3 innings.

Kyle Tucker went 2-4 with a run scored on Friday.

DSL Astros Blue

The Blue team got 2 wins in 2 days, as they blanked the Royals 3-0 on Thursday and defeated the Rays 3-1 on Friday.

Leovanny Rodriguez and Framber Valdez combined on a 5-hitter on Thursday. Rodriguez allowed 3 hits and struck out 2 in 5 innings, and Valdez pitched the final 4 innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 2, and striking out 7.

Ozziel Sanchez-Galan opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 2nd. Oscar Campos had an RBI groundout in the 6th, and Orlando Marquez went 3-3 with an RBI single in the 7th.

The Blue team won on Friday despite being held to 4 hits. Marcos Almonte broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the 6th, and Cristopher Luciano drew a bases-loaded walk. Marquez ripped an RBI double in the 8th.

Yoanys Quiala allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 over 5 shutout innings. Michel Martinez allowed a run on 4 hits and walked 2 in 3 innings. Gabriel Pirela got 2 outs in the 9th but walked 2, and Dariel Aquino secured the win by getting the final out of the game.

DSL Astros Orange

The Orange team was mauled 19-4 by the Rangers 1 on Thursday, but they rebounded to beat the Cardinals 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday.

Marcos Almonte went 2-5 with a double and a run scored as they got pummeled on Thursday. Edwin Villarroel was the only Orange team pitcher to not get smashed as he allowed a hit and struck out 3 over 2 scoreless innings.

Alejandro Garcia (2B, 2 RBI, R) and Carlos Machado (2 R) went 3-4 from the top and the bottom of the order, respectively. Miguelangel Sierra put the Orange team ahead with a sac fly in the 10th inning. Randy Vasquez went 2-4 with a sac fly in the 8th.

Franklin Perez allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4 over 4 innings. He was followed by Javier Navas, who allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 3 in 3 innings. Juan Lopez walked 2 and struck out 2 in 2 innings, and he got the win in his first career appearance. Josue Uribe struck out the side in order in the 10th for the save.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

A few more Astros minor league roster moves

FRESNO
7-24: OF Alex Presley outrighted to Fresno
7-24: OF L.J. Hoes optioned to Fresno

QUAD CITIES
7-24: LHP Zach Davis assigned to Quad Cities from Tri-City

TRI-CITY
7-24: RHP Jacob Dorris assigned to Tri-City from Greeneville
7-24: C Marlon Avea assigned to Tri-City from Greeneville

Dorris is a non-drafted free agent from Texas A&M—Corpus Christi.

GREENEVILLE
7-25: LHP Starlyng Sanchez assigned from the GCL Astros to Greeneville
7-25: RHP Diogenes Almengo assigned from the GCL Astros to Greeneville
7-24: RHP Juan Delis retired

Tweet of the Day

Happy Birthday - 7/25

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

Fresno Pitching Coach Ace Adams (63)
Adams was born in Needham, Massachusetts on July 25, 1952 and has been coaching since 1984, most recently in the Cardinals organization. He is in his first season with the Houston system, coaching for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies team.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Astros MiLB Alumni: Jordan Comadena

Jordan Comadena (also known as Funky) was a catcher in the Astros system from 2009 to early 2012. He quickly became a very popular player with the fans, even those who had never seen him play, largely due to his very interactive presence on twitter (@Funky2414). Follow him at your own peril during football season, particularly when his beloved Steelers aren't doing well! One of the biggest changes in his life since he left the Astros system came in a small package. His daughter Kynli came along and wrapped Daddy around her tiny little finger. Jordan shared this photo with his wife Alicyn and daughter Kynli.

Alicyn, Kynli and Jordan

Now let's hear from Jordan on what he's been doing the last couple of years.

Jayne: Can you tell me a little about what you've been doing since you were with the Astros?

Jordan: Since 2012 I have done a variety of things. Right after I was released I ended up coaching in the Northwoods League for the Madison Mallards. The Mallards were the team I played for the 3 summers I was at Purdue. Following that summer I spent a year coaching at Parkland Junior College in Champaign IL. I worked with the hitters and the catchers primarily. With that season concluding, my wife and I moved back to Lafayette, IN, where we currently reside. My primary focus for the next year was to find a way on as a bullpen catcher with a major league ball club. In the meantime I helped manage a gym that a friend of ours owned. I also worked as a sales rep for Chandler Bats. I handled the professional sales in the Midwest. In the spare time that I had, I also worked at an indoor baseball facility as an instructor. All of that brings us to today, where I have accepted a coaching position at Purdue University [his alma mater]. I very much want to be around the game and I am very grateful and excited for this opportunity.

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

Jordan: Without question, the thing that I miss the most is my teammates ... being in the clubhouse, being on the road ... and just all the day-to-day stuff that went into playing professional baseball. I may be different than most, but I really enjoyed the 'process' ... the weight training, the early hitting, the extra defensive work, catching bullpens ... I miss all of that. I loved everything that went into making up my day at the ballpark. And spending that time with some awesome guys day in and day out is something that I will always remember.

Jayne: What life lessons have you taken from your time playing minor league baseball?

Jordan: Playing minor league baseball teaches you a lot about yourself ... it tests your attitude, your mind, your passion for the game, your time management skills and your priorities. To do things the right way, and to get the most out of all your opportunities you have to be real good with all of those things.

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

Jordan: This is a tough question. Hopefully you can look back and truly know you did everything you could do to become the best player, teammate and professional you could be. I will always believe I had the ability to play at the highest level but a lot of things that were out of my control were constantly put in my way. I know, however, I earned the respect of my teammates and coaches who were around me every day.

Jayne: What would you like to say to your friends and fans that you made along the way?

Jordan: I would say thank you. Thank you for the support and thank you for the memories. I still keep in touch with a number of former teammates as well as a few fans from various stops.

Jayne: One extra question in honor of the recent All-Star Game. Since you had the opportunity to play with Dallas Keuchel back in the day, did you think that he was going to be as good a pitcher as he turned out to be?

Jordan: I played with Dallas, JD (Martinez) and Jose (Altuve). To answer your initial question, honestly, no .... I didn't think he would become as dominant as he has become. However, I'm not surprised either. What makes Dallas so great is that he knows exactly what he is. He knows what his game is and what he needs to do to be successful. He has also improved his cutter since we played together and now has 4 pitches he can throw at any time.

JD and Jose are the same in that they play their game and they get the most out of themselves. Jose and JD are two of the smartest hitters I ever played with ... they take a plan to the plate and execute it as well as any player in the game. It was very cool to watch them all in the All-Star game this year.

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

Thank you for your time, Jordan. It was great to hear from you again. Best of luck with wherever your path leads you!

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, July 22, 2015 

Let's play 2 at Disney World, apparently!

Fresno 12, Las Vegas 4

W- Mike Hauschild (4-2, 9-3 season)
L- Darin Gorski (8-7)

Fresno home runs: Robbie Grossman (3, solo in 5th), Jonathan Villar (2, 2-run in 8th), Domingo Santana (15, solo in 8th)

The Grizzlies got 3 in the 2nd and 4 in the 5th to jump out to a big lead, and although the 51s attempted to dent that lead, Fresno found an answer each time.

The offense got a big boost from Joe Sclafani. He opened up the scoring with a 2-run single in the 2nd and later scored on an RBI single from Leo Heras. Sclafani, who finished 3-5, struck again in the 5th when he whacked a 2-run triple. Prior to his triple, Robbie Grossman went deep. Sclafani wound up coming home on a Nolan Fontana triple. In the 6th, Tyler White ripped an RBI double.

The Grizzlies' 3 runs in the 8th came on a 2-run shot from Jonathan Villar and a solo homer from Domingo Santana, and finally, Sclafani scored Fresno's final run of the night when Jonathan Villar grounded into a force out in the 9th. Domingo (solo HR, 3 R), Matt Duffy (2B, 2 R), and Leo Heras (RBI, 2 R) had 2 hits apiece.

Mike Hauschild had a fine outing as he allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 2, and whiffed 8 in 7 innings of work. Jake Buchanan and Jose Veras pitched an inning apiece; Buchanan allowed an unearned run and a hit in the 8th and Veras allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in the 9th inning.

In the series finale, Asher Wojciechowski will face Dillon Gee. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 9, Midland 3

W- Brian Holmes (4-4, 6-5 season)
L- Tim Atherton (5-4)
S- Aaron West (3)

CC home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (10, solo in 1st), Jon Kemmer (12, 2-run in 2nd), Brett Phillips (1, 16 season; 2-run in 8th)

A 5-run 8th gave the Hooks the separation they needed in this one. With this win, they earned the split with the Rockhounds.

Teoscar opened the scoring in the 1st with his 10th homer of the year, and Jon Kemmer added to the lead with a 2-run homer in the 2nd. A,J, Reed tripled to lead off the 4th and scored on a sac fly from Colin Moran.

Reed drew a walk to begin the 8th, which set the stage for their big inning. Moran joined him on the bases with a walk, and they both advanced a base on a Jio Mier sac bunt. Well, actually, Danry Vásquez replaced Reed on the basepaths. Kemmer was given a free pass to 1st to load the bases. Conrad Gregor was the 2nd casualty of the inning, which put the inning in the hands of Chan-Jong Moon. He came through in a huge way by bringing everyone home with a triple. He came around to score when Brett Phillips provided the cherry with his first Texas League homer. Phillips led the way with a 3-5 night.

Brian Holmes went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 7. Travis Ballew worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 6th, striking out 1, and Aaron West finished it off by allowing 2 hits and striking out 2 over the final 3 innings.

Adrian Houser will get the start as the Hooks begin a new series in Frisco. He'll face Frank Lopez at 7:05.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will kick off a 4-game series with Stockton at The Hangar tonight at 6:30 Pacific. Keegan Yuhl will face Chris Lamb.

Quad Cities 4, Kane County 3 in 15 innings

W- Ryan Thompson (4-2)
L- Ryan Gebhardt (0-1); a position player

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos managed to outlast the Cougars after 2 7th-inning stretches and nearly 5 hours.

Quad Cities got on the board as Jason Martin hit an RBI groundout and Alex Bregman hit an RBI single. Ramon Laureano doubled to lead off the 6th and scored on a Drew Ferguson double. They were held off the scoreboard for 8 innings while the Cougars forced extra innings. That's not to say that the Bandits went down 1-2-3 for 8 innings in a row; they had a couple of chances. They couldn't capitalize on a bases-loaded, 1-out situation in the 10th and Kristian Trompiz was stranded at 3rd to end the 11th.

Jason Martin hit a 1-out single in the 15th and advanced to 3rd on a passed ball. Bregman was then given a free pass, and then Ramon Laureano was plunked to load the bases. Ferguson came through with a sac fly that turned out to be the difference. Trompiz finished 3-6, while Laureano went 2-6 with a double and a run scored. Bregman was intentionally walked twice, which constituted all the River Bandits' BBs.

Christian Powell allowed a run on 8 hits, walked 1, and fanned 3 in 6.1 innings. Michael Freeman was the first man out; he allowed 2 runs (1 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 3 hits and struck out 1. Angel Heredia was next; he allowed a hit, walked 4, and struck out 4 in 3 innings. Riley Ferrell walked 2 and struck out 3 over 2.2 scoreless, and Ryan Thompson allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 1.1 innings.

In the series finale, Justin Ferrell will take on Ethan Elias at 6:30.

Tri-City 5, Lowell 4

W- Steve Naemark (1-0)
L- Javier Rodriguez (0-2)
S- Adam Whitt (1)

TC home runs: None.

The difference here was a 3-run 4th for the ValleyCats.

Bryan Muñiz put Tri-City on the board with an RBI double in the 3rd. Their 3 runs in the 4th all came with 2 outs. Richard Gonzalez hit an RBI double and an error allowed him and Johnny Sewald to score. Cesar Carrasco added an RBI single in the 7th.

Tony Nuñez (2 R), Carrasco (RBI single), and Bobby Wernes had 2 hits apiece

Rogelio Armenteros went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and struck out 3. Steve Naemark went 2 innings and allowed a solo homer to Andrew Benintendi, which was the only hit he allowed in his outing. He struck out 1. Austin Nicely was next; he allowed a run on 2 hits and walked 2 in 1.1 innings. Adam Whitt got the final 5 outs of the day for the save. He walked 1 and struck out 1.

The winner of the series finale will lead the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division. Trent Thornton will take on Luis Ramos 7:05 Eastern.

Bluefield 6, Greeneville 5

W- Alberto Guzman (1-2)
L- Samil De Los Santos (1-2)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros had the tables turned on them as the Blue Jays decided to mount a late uprising of their own. Greeneville responded by putting up 3 in the 9th to cut it to 1, but... no cigar.

Osvaldo Duarte walked to lead off the 1st, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored the first run of the evening on an error. He scored again on a Ford Stainback single in the 3rd. Luis Payano cleared the bases with a double in the bottom of the 9th, but Duarte popped out to become the final casualty of the game. Duarte, who had 2 steals (9), and Randy Cesar both finished 2-4.

Chris Murphy went 3 innings and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2. Andrew Thome was first; he allowed a run on 3 hits in 2 innings. In his pro debut, Matt Bower struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 6th. Samil De Los Santos allowed 2 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 2 hits, walked 2, and fanned 1. He faced 1 batter in the 8th, who reached base. Alejandro Solarte got 2 outs in the 8th and allowed 3 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 2 hits (2-run homer) and walked 2. Joselo Pinales allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 1.1 innings.

Yhoan Acosta will get the start in the series finale. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

GCL Astros

The Kissimmee Stros lost 2-1 and 6-4 to the Braves. The 2-1 loss was a completion of a game that was suspended on July 7.

Wander Franco and Connor MacDonald both had 2 hits and they hit back-to-back doubles in the 4th inning (in that order).

Edgardo Sandoval came on after play resumed and had 2 inherited runners charged to him (both unearned runs) on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 in 4.2 innings. Junior A. Garcia pitched 1.2 innings and allowed a hit and struck out 2.

Kyle Tucker went 1-3 with 2 RBI in the regularly scheduled game. Starlyng Sanchez allowed a solo homer to Isranel Wilson in the 4th, which was the only run he allowed in his 3 innings. Sanchez allowed one other hit and struck out 4.

DSL Royals 13, DSL Astros Blue 7

W- Felix Santiago (1-0)
L- Hansel Paulino (1-3)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team scored 5 in the 4th to take a 7-6 lead, but the Royals scored 7 unanswered to finish the game.

Ronny Jimenez hit a pop-fly 2-run single in the 2nd. Cristopher Luciano went 2-3 with a 2-run single in the 4th. He, Wilson Amador, and Edgar Lorenzo had 2 hits apiece.

Angelo Serrano, who was making his debut, allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 1 in the 8th.

DSL Astros Orange 3, DSL Rangers1 2

W- Maikel Sepulveda (2-1)
L- Ronny Carvajal (2-1)
S- Yan De La Cruz (1)

Marcos Almonte was the offense. He grounded into a force out that scored Carlos Machado in the 6th and smacked a 2-run double in the 8th inning. Alejandro Garcia, a Cuban defector who signed on July 2, finished 3-4 in his 2nd game. Angel Tejeda went 2-3 with a run scored at the bottom of the order.

Jose Ramos got the start and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4 in 5 innings .Maikel Sepulveda allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and fanned 1 in 3.1 innings, and Yan De La Cruz got the final 2 outs of the game to get the save.

Hall of Fame Weekend, Part II

A couple of clarifications to the guide that I posted on Sunday regarding the Hall of Fame experience ...

The forecast still shows a 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Sunday (0% chance of rain on Saturday). In the event of rain, the ceremony won't necessarily be moved to the Clark Sports Center (with only invited guests allowed in), but it will be moved if there is lightning in the area. That is understandable because there will be thousands and thousands of people out in an open field with no shelter available. However, if there is just rain with no lightning, the show will go on. So you may want to add a rain poncho or a big garbage bag to your list of items to bring. Umbrellas weren't allowed in the reserved section last year, but you can probably get away with those in the open seating areas.

I saw that shuttles would be leaving from Doubleday Field on the day of the induction. But there will probably be long lines; if you are able to walk to the Clark Sports Center, I would recommend it.

Happy Birthday - 7/23

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

3B Anthony Rodriguez (19)
Rodriguez was born in Mao, Dominican Republic on July 23, 1996 and signed with the Astros in February 2015. He is currently playing on the Astros Orange team in the Dominican Summer League.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, July 20, and Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Colin Moran catching fire.

They played 2 in Troy on Monday!

Monday: Fresno 9, Las Vegas 2

W- Brett Oberholtzer (3-2)
L- Luis Cessa (0-2)

Fresno home runs: None.

Andrew Aplin: 3-4, 2 RBI, R, SB (10, 22 season)
Leo Heras: 1-4, 3B, RBI (AAA debut)
Tyler White: 2-4, BB, 2 R
Domingo Santana: 2-5, 3 RBI, R

Brett Oberholtzer: 7 IP, 3 H (solo homer), 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
James Hoyt: 2 IP, BB, K

Tuesday: Las Vegas 4, Fresno 0

W- Matt Bowman (7-10)
L- Brady Rodgers (8-5)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizz were held to just 2 hits in Sin City.

Matt Duffy and Tyler White had 1 hit apiece. Tony Kemp stole a base (11, 26 season).

Brady Rodgers allowed 2 runs on 7 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 5 in 6 innings of work. Jordan Jankowski struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th, and Tyson Perez allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and walked 2 in the 8th.

In game 3 of this series, Mike Hauschild will face Darin Gorski. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Monday: Midland 9, Corpus Christi 5

W- Dillon Overton (2-1)
L- R.J. Alaniz (2-2)

CC home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (9, solo in 1st), Colin Moran (2, solo in 9th)

Colin Moran: 3-5, 2B, solo HR (2), 2 R
Teoscar Hernandez: solo HR (9), 2 R
A.J. Reed: 2-5, 2B
Jack Mayfield: 2-5, RBI, R

Joe Musgrove: 2 IP, 2 H (solo homer), ER, K; 1st appearance since being activated from DL
Juan Minaya: 3rd pitcher to appear; 2.1 IP, H, BB, 4 K

Tuesday: Midland 9, Corpus Christi 7

W- Omar Duran (1-0)
L- Chris Devenski  (7-3)
S- Tucker Healy (3)

CC home runs: Colin Moran (3, 2-run in 1st)

The Hooks led 6-3 after the 3rd inning, but the Rockhounds outscored them 6-1 to close the game.

Colin Moran put Corpus on the board with a 2-run homer in the 1st, his 2nd blast in as many nights. Brett Phillips added an RBI single in the 2nd inning. None of their 3 runs in the 3rd were driven in. Chan-Jong Moon reached on an error that allowed both A.J. Reed and Jio Mier to score. Moon then stole 2nd (11, 16 season), and Danry Vásquez, who was on 3rd, scored on another error. Jio hit an RBI groundout in the 4th. Moon and Moran had 2 hits apiece.

Chris Devenski went 4.1 innings and allowed 8 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 12 hits (3-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 1. Chris Cotton was the first man out; he allowed a solo homer to Chad Pinder in the 6th, which was the only hit he allowed in 1.2 innings. He walked 1 and struck out 1. Reymin Guduan was next; he walked 1 and struck out 3 in 1.1 innings, and Jandel Gustave allowed a hit and struck out 2 in 1.2 innings.

The Hooks will look for a split as Brian Holmes takes on Tim Atherton at 7:05.

Monday: San Jose 5, Lancaster 4 in 11 innings

W- Jake Smith (3-2)
L- Albert Minnis (1-3)

Lancaster home runs: Chase McDonald (16, 3-run in 4th)

All of Lancaster's runs were scored in the 4th inning.

Chase McDonald: 2-5, 3-R HR (16)
Ronnie Mitchell: 1-5, RBI

Dan Mengden: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Andrew Walter: 3rd pitcher to appear; 2.2 IP, H, 3 BB, 2 K

Tuesday: San Jose 10, Lancaster 2

W- Luis Ysla (1-4)
L- Akeem Bostick (1-3, 4-4 season)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Well, the game started off well enough for the JetHawks. With the loss, the JetHawks were swept out of San Jose and are now on a 5-game slide.

Ronnie Mitchell opened the scoring with a 2-run triple in the 1st... and that was it. The other Lancaster hit was a Brian Holberton single in the 9th.

Akeem Bostick allowed 8 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 9 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 4 in 4 innings. Jordan Mills went 2.1 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2. Aaron Greenwood allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 1.2 innings.

The JetHawks are back home as they look to snap their losing streak. They'll begin a 4-game set with Stockton tomorrow.

Monday: Quad Cities 14, Cedar Rapids 5

W- Eric Peterson (5-4)
L- Keaton Steele (2-3)

QC home runs: Ryan Bottger (5, solo in 6th)

Alex Bregman: 3-5, RBI, 3 R, BB
Ryan Bottger: 3-5, solo HR (5), 2 RBI, 2 R
Bobby Boyd: 2-5, 2 R, BB
Jason Martin: 2-5, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 R, BB
Ramon Laureano: 2-5, RBI, 3 R
Drew Ferguson: 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI, R

Elieser Hernandez: 4 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 K

Tuesday: Kane County 9, Quad Cities 5

W- Nick Baker (7-1)
L- Josh James (2-2)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos took a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 5th, but the Cougars scored 5 to take the lead and added 3 more to take this one.

Bobby Boyd put Quad Cities on the board with an RBI single in the 2nd. Jason Martin added an RBI single, and with the bases loaded, Nick Tanielu was plunked and Drew Ferguson walked in another run. In the 5th, Trent Woodward grounded into a force out that scored Sean McMullen.

Martin finished 4-5, while Ferguson, McMullen, Ryan Bottger, and Kristian Trompiz had 2 hits apiece.

Josh James went 4.1 innings and allowed 6 runs (4 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 8 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Mr. Gold Medalist, Brock Dykxhoorn, was the first man out; he went 2.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Ryan Thompson worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 8th, striking out 1.

In game 2 of this series, Christian Powell will face Brad Keller at 6:30.

Monday Game 1: Tri-City 7, Aberdeen 2

W- Alex Winkelman (1-0, 3-1 season)
L- Zach Albin (0-4)

TC home runs: None.

Dex McCall: 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI
Bryan Muñiz: 1-1, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 R
Anthony Hermelyn: 2-4, RBI, R

Alex Winkelman: 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 6 K
Yeyfry Del Rosario: 2 IP, H (solo homer), ER, 3 K

Monday Game 2: Aberdeen 3, Tri-City 1 in 8 innings

W- Garrett Cleavinger (1-0)
L- Zac Grotz (1-1)
S- Ryan Meisinger (5)

TC home runs: Richard Gonzalez (1, solo in 5th)

Richard Gonzalez: 1-2, solo HR (1)
Kolbey Carpenter: 1-3

Harold Arauz: 5 IP, 3 H (solo homer), ER, 5 K
Juan Carlos Santos: 1.2 IP, H, BB, 2 K

Tuesday: Lowell 2, Tri-City 1

W- Logan Boyd (1-0)
L- Kevin McCanna (0-2)
S- Bobby Poyner (4)

TC home runs: None.

The Spinners came out on top in the first game of this battle for 1st in the NYPL's Stedler Division.

Bobby Wernes went 3-3 with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. Bryan Muñiz was 2-3 with a double and walked twice. Tony Nuñez appeared at the plate 3 times and walked each time.

Kevin McCanna went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Ralph Garza Jr. was the first man out and fired 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and whiffing 5. Zac Person threw a 1-2-3 8th inning.

These two teams are currently in a game. The ValleyCats have a 4-1 lead in the 4th inning.

Tuesday: Greeneville 6, Bluefield 1

The series finale with Kingsport on Monday was postponed. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 27.

W- Junior Garcia (3-0)
L- Zak Wasilewski (1-2)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros mounted a late uprising on offense that spurred them to a win.

Randy Cesar tied the game with an RBI single in the 6th. Ford Stainback scored the go-ahead run on an error in the 7th inning, and then Greeneville busted the game open with 4 runs in the 8th.

Brauly Mejia delivered the big hit in the inning with a 2-run triple. Stainback and Luis Payano followed with RBI singles. Everyone in the Greeneville lineup had a hit except for Marlon Avea, who still managed to score a run. Myles Straw went 3-5 with a triple. Connor Goedert, Hector Roa, and Brauly Mejia had 2 hits each.

Ryan Deemes allowed a run on 5 hits and fanned 3 in 5 innings of work. Junior Garcia walked 2 and struck out 2 over the final 4 innings.

Chris Murphy will be on the mound tonight. First pitch is at 7:00.

GCL Astros

The Kissimmee Stros allowed 3 in the top of the 9th and lost 3-2 to the Blue Jays on Monday. Ugh. Kyle Tucker went 2-4 and scored a run. Ruben Castro went 2-2 with an RBI single in the 4th. Wander Franco was 2-3 with a double, and Nestor Tejada finished 2-4.

Hector Perez allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 2 over 4 scoreless innings.

But, they returned the favor by scoring 1 in the 8th and 4 in the 9th to win 5-0 on Tuesday. Kyle Tucker cleared the bases with a triple in the 9th and scored on an error. Daz Cameron went 2-4 with a double and 2 runs scored. Jorge Martinez broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the 8th. Bryan De La Cruz and Ihan Bernal had 2 hits apiece.

Moreno Polanco threw 5 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 2. Dylan James walked 1 in a scoreless 6th, and Carlos Hiraldo allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1.

DSL Astros Blue

The Blue team lost 2 to the Indians: 13-10 on Monday and 6-5 on Tuesday.

Orlando Marquez and Edgar Lorenzo had 3 hits each on Monday, while 5 others had 2 hits.

On Tuesday, they scored 3 in the 7th to take a 5-4 lead, but the Indians retook that lead with 2 in the bottom of the inning. Ozziel Sanchez-Galan went 3-5 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.

DSL Astros Orange

On the other hand, the Orange team got 2 shutout wins over the Angels, winning 3-0 and 8-0.

On Monday, Darlin Figueroa went 2-4 with an RBI single in the 2nd and a solo homer in the 7th in his first game. Hector Martinez scored on a wild pitch in the 9th.

Bryan Abreu threw 4 scoreless, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 4. Cesar Rosado allowed a hit, walked 5, and struck out 5 in 3.2 innings. Josue Uribe got the save; he allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 2 in 1.1 innings.

On Tuesday, Gabriel Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Edwin Villarroel combined on a 2-hitter. Valdez allowed a hit and fanned 3 in 4 innings, Javier allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 5 over 4 innings, and Villarroel struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

They scored a touchdown in the 4th and completed the 2-point conversion in the 5th. Randy Vasquez went 4-4 with 2 doubles. The second one came during his 2nd trip to the plate in that big 4th inning and drove in a run. He scored the first run of the game on an RBI double from Anthony Rodriguez. Carlos Machado added an RBI single, and Angel Tejeda hit a sac fly. Miguelangel Sierra ripped a 2-run triple, and he later scored on an error that allowed Marcos Almonte to reach. Nicolas Miranda tripled in the 5th and scored on a groundout from Machado. Miranda hit 2 triples. Alejandro Garcia, a Cuban defector who signed with the Astros on July 2, made his debut and went 1-4 with a run scored at the top of the order.

Happy Birthday - 7/22

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

RHP Angel Heredia (23)
Heredia was born in Palenque, Dominican Republic on July 22, 1992 and first played in the Pirates organization as a shortstop. He signed with the Astros in 2012 and is currently playing for the Low A Quad Cities River Bandits.

Angel Heredia - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/Hooks LHP Chris Cotton

When lefty reliever Chris Cotton was promoted to Lancaster at the end of the year in 2014, he made quite the impression. The problem was that it wasn't a very good impression. In three appearances (2.2 innings), he compiled a 16.88 ERA and a 2.250 WHIP. He allowed three home runs, one in each of those three appearances, which was one more home run than he had allowed in 32 appearances for Quad Cities prior to the promotion.

Fast forward to the 2015 season. Chris Cotton started the season back in Lancaster, but it didn't take him long to prove that he had what it takes to conquer The Hangar. In 13 appearances for Lancaster (25.2 innings), he had a 1.40 ERA and a 1.052 WHIP with four saves, earning him a promotion to Corpus Christi on May 22nd.

Chris Cotton - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Lancaster Pitching Coach Don Alexander about Cotton back in May. Alexander said, "He's been the big surprise for me. This is not a secret ... last year he struggled up here. But this year, he came into camp, and you can't always judge from Spring Training, but I saw some better stuff. I saw more aggressiveness. He got here and he's been nails. Nice mix of pitches. The stuff has tightened up; it's sharpened up. He's throwing the ball a little harder. The breaking ball against left-hand hitters has been devastating. And the changeup has become a real good weapon for him against right-hand hitters."

Alexander knows from experience that The Hangar's reputation as a very hitter-friendly ballpark can sometimes get into pitchers' heads and, although that may have been a factor in 2014 for Cotton, Alexander was extremely impressed by how Cotton put that rough start behind him, citing his overall aggressiveness and approach this season. "He did real good work here for us at the back end of games and I expect the same thing (in Corpus Christi) from what I've seen here."

And Cotton has done nicely since his promotion to AA. In 17 games (22.0 innings), he has a 2.05 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP and is 2-0 with three saves. I caught up with him last week to learn more about this lefty reliever who has climbed the depth charts with the recent trade of fellow lefty reliever Mitch Lambson.

First a little background on Cotton. Louisiana born and bred, Cotton grew up "bleeding purple and gold." His whole family went to LSU and he had his heart set on going there himself. Out of high school, he had a JuCo offer. He visited the school, but he knew he wouldn't be happy anywhere but at LSU so he started classes in Baton Rouge, setting aside his baseball career for the time being. About a month into the semester, Cotton got the word that the baseball team would be having walk-on tryouts so he went. According to Cotton, "They had no idea who I was ... little lefty throwing strikes." But they invited him back.

And Cotton persevered. He kept coming back for three or four months, throwing in intersquad games. He didn't work out with the team. He just kept showing up. "They didn't tell me I made the team until about a week before the season started. It was a great thing, growing up an LSU Tiger fan," said Cotton. He had his doubts at times, but his parents told him that he would make it and they were right.

Drafted out of LSU in the 14th round in 2013, Cotton is now in his third season with the Astros. He throws a fastball that sits 87 to 91 and hits 92, a changeup and a breaking ball that has morphed into a slider, more or less. I asked him what people should expect to see of him when he takes the mound. Cotton said, "A lot of offspeed. I'm just going to mix that in and then try to get (the hitters) off balance with my fastball. I like to be out there for as little as possible because if I'm out there for a short amount of time, I'm doing my job. I'm getting outs. If I'm out there long, then I'm having a bad day."

Coming in to the 2015 season, Cotton put that rough 2014 introduction to Lancaster behind him. "I kind of knew what to expect. Keep the ball down and get ahead. Throw strikes and mix in my offspeed more. And that's what I did. I think that's why I was successful ... getting ahead and keeping the ball down. If you can do that at Lancaster and not give up too many runs, then I feel like that (translates) to AA. Hitters are a little better (in AA). Strike zone's a little smaller. But I feel like if you can just get ahead and throw strikes and mix in offspeed, then you can be successful. That's what I've been doing and, actually, it keeps working," said Cotton.

As to what he feels he needs to work on, Cotton told me, "Right now, it would be maybe keeping the ball down even more. Hitting my spots with my fastball every time. If I can do that, it will help me even more to get ahead so I can go to my breaking ball or go to my changeup."

I asked Cotton who in the Astros system has a pitch he would like to steal. He replied, "I'd have to go with The Dragon, Chris Devenski ... his changeup. (My) changeup's my best pitch, but compared to his, it's nothing. He throws it any time he wants and people don't hit it. He's obviously right-handed, but if I could turn it into a left-handed changeup, that's a pitch I wouldn't mind having. And you could also say (Jandel) Gustave's 100 mph fastball. I wouldn't mind having that either."

As to what Astros hitter he'd least like to face, at first Cotton told me Tony Kemp, but he changed that to another player recently promoted to AAA Fresno. "No, Tyler White. I'm going to go with Tyler White. Right now, he's been seeing the ball extremely well and he's a good hitter. Just all around. He gets on base. He takes pitches that are balls. And he hits pitches that are strikes. And that's what you want to do as a hitter. He did well here. And what's he hitting (at Fresno)? Four-something in Triple A? That's not a coincidence. I faced him in Spring Training. I think he's two-for-two off me and I just can't seem to get the guy out," said Cotton. Cotton went on to point out that White has a great story as well, having that kind of success as a 33rd round pick.

As one of my final questions, I asked Cotton if he could tell me something about himself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear. His initial response showed me that Cotton is more than capable of laughing at himself. Generously listed at 5'10" in Baseball-Reference, Cotton initially responded, "That I can dunk." Then he laughed and continued, "I'm kidding. That's a lie. That's a complete lie. I'd be surprised to see that myself. No, I can't dunk."

It turns out, however, that he has something in common with teammate A.J. Reed. "My hobbies include ping pong. I'm a big ping pong player. That's my go-to sport. I might be a better ping pong player than baseball player." Reed told me much the same when I interviewed him in May. I'm expecting an epic showdown one of these days and Cotton promised to give me the scoop when it happens.

Cotton learned a lesson at LSU and again at The Hangar a few years later. It's a lesson he's still embracing. Just keep showing up and keep throwing strikes. Brush off the failures and just keep plugging along. As long as you keep showing up, you've got a chance. In life and in baseball.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

A few more moves since this last post ...

[I'm moving this back to the top of the page so you don't miss any of these.]

FRESNO
7-20: OF Leo Heras assigned from Corpus Christi to Fresno

CORPUS CHRISTI
7-22: C Brett Booth released
7-20: RHP Joe Musgrove activated from the DL

LANCASTER
7-23: RHP Aaron Greenwood released
7-23: RHP Daniel Mengden traded to the A's for LHP Scott Kazmir
7-23: C Jacob Nottingham traded to the A's for LHP Scott Kazmir
7-20: RHP Francis Martes assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster
7-16: C/1B Jamie Ritchie assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster
7-15: LHP Albert Minnis activated from the DL (MiLB error - Minnis wasn't on the DL)

QUAD CITIES
7-24: LHP Zach Davis assigned to Quad Cities from Tri-City
7-16: C Garrett Stubbs assigned from Tri-City to Quad Cities

TRI-CITY
7-24: RHP Jacob Dorris assigned to Tri-City from Greeneville
7-24: C Marlon Avea assigned to Tri-City from Greeneville

Dorris is a non-drafted free agent from Texas A&M—Corpus Christi.

GREENEVILLE
7-24: RHP Juan Delis retired
7-20: RHP Brandon Culbreth retired
7-17: RHP Lachlan Madden assigned from the GCL to Greeneville

Culbreth, an 8th-round pick in 2011, had returned to action after missing all of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

GCL ASTROS
7-19: RHP Thomas Eshelman assigned to the GCL

Eshelman was the Astros' 2nd-round pick last month out of Cal State Fullerton.

DSL ASTROS ORANGE
7-21: Cuban OF Alejandro Garcia, 24, assigned to the DSL Orange team
7-20: OF Darlin Figueroa assigned to the DSL Orange team

Figueroa will turn 20 on September 9. Country of origin unknown.

DSL ASTROS BLUE
7-22: RHP Angelo Serrano assigned to DSL Astros Blue
7-21: RHP Joel Belboder released

Serrano is a 23-year-old Dominican.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, July 20, 2015

After the weekend, the week that really was a trip!

The past week was filled with too much non-baseball. But the minor league game that did happen for me was the best. Not the final score. But seeing so many of the players that began their year with the High-A Lancaster JetHawks. Many are now playing in AA Corpus Christi. Another two on hand have played for the Astros this year (Michael Feliz and Vincent Velasquez). Watching the boys learn and progress is what the minors are all about. I love being a part of the process, even if it is only as a fan.

The Futures Game


Second half projections for players
http://t.co/gIz8IsZzdy

Top 75 MLB prospects, updated
www.minorleagueball.com/2015/7/12/8940113/top-75-mlb-prospects-mid-season-update

Astros pitching prospect turns it around!
http://t.co/pnZOSYNtIU

Canada wins over US Team in unbelievable Pan-Am finish

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/canada-wins-gold-classic-finish/

Bonuses for the recent draft
http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/breaking-top-bonuses-2015-draft/

 Fresno Grizzlies onto a playoff season
http://www.fresnobee.com/sports/article27892657.html

 Former JetHawk vs former JetHawk
http://www.crawfishboxes.com/2015/7/19/9001055/video-dallas-keuchel-yells-at-delino-deshields-to-sit-down-after

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, July 19, 2015

Let's play 2 in Fresno!

But first... the medal games from the Pan Am Games.

In the bronze medal game, Cuba walked off with a 7-6 win over Puerto Rico after walking off with 4 in the bottom of the 9th. Roberto Peña played 1B for Puerto Rico and went 0-4 with a strikeout.

The gold medal game was a doozy as Canada topped the United States 7-6 in 10 innings. Apparently, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America, extra innings in international play stipulate that each half-inning starts with runners on 1st and 2nd. Yes, seriously. Canada won the gold thanks to an errant pickoff throw that was recovered, and thrown away once again in the bottom of the 10th. Yes, seriously. The ball was recovered again, but winning run scored as the throw to home was dropped by the catcher, Tom Murphy.

Josh Hader got the start for Team USA and allowed 3 runs (all on a 3-run homer) on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4 in 4 innings.

Game 1: El Paso 7, Fresno 1

W- Colin Rea (1-0)
L- Mark Appel (1-2, 6-3 season)
S- Frank Garces (1)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Chihuahuas busted out with 4 runs in the 4th to run away with this one.

Joe Sclafani hit an RBI single in the 4th, and Tony Kemp finished 2-4.

Mark Appel went 4 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits (2 2-run homers), walked 2, and struck out 3. Jose Veras, Jason Stoffel, and Jordan Jankowski each pitched 1 inning. Veras worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 5th, striking out 1. Stoffel threw a 1-2-3 6th, but he had 2 inherited runners charged to him after he loaded the bases with nobody out to begin the 7th. He allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 1. The 7th became Jankowski's inning; he walked 2 and struck out 2.

Game 2: El Paso 7, Fresno 1

W- Daniel McCutchen (5-5)
L- Luis Cruz (5-5)

Fresno home runs: Matt Duffy (12, solo in 7th)

Yeah, not the Grizzlies' night.

Matt Duffy's solo shot in the 7th was their only run.

Luis Cruz allowed 3 runs (2 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 2. Jake Buchanan, Kevin Chapman, and Tyson Perez each pitched an inning. Buchanan allowed 3 runs on 3 hits (grand slam; 1 run was charged to Cruz) in the 5th. Chapman allowed a hit in the 6th, and Perez allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 2 in the 7th.

The Grizzlies will hit the road. First stop, Las Vegas. Brett Oberholtzer will take on Luis Cessa at 7:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 9, Midland 4

W- Kyle Westwood (7-3)
L- Jake Sanches (7-6)

CC home runs: Conrad Gregor (7, 3-run in 1st)

The Hooks stormed out to a 9-1 lead after the 3rd inning and aside from a speed bump in the 6th, had a rather smooth ride to the win.

Kyle Westwood went the distance for the 2nd time this season. Well, his first complete game was 7 innings as it was part of a doubleheader. In this outing, he needed 102 pitches (77 strikes) to do so. Westwood allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6.

Corpus scored 5 in the 1st, so they had a pretty good start. A.J. Reed opened up the scoring with an RBI double, and Jon Kemmer added a sac fly. The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Conrad Gregor, who ripped a 3-run homer. Colin Moran hit an RBI single in the 2nd and followed that up with a 2-run single in the 3rd. Prior to Moran's 2-run single, Brett Phillips added an RBI single of his own.

Moran finished 3-4, while Phillips (RBI, 2 R), Reed (2B, RBI, R), and Gregor (3-R HR, 2 R) had 2 hits apiece. Reed was not feeling well, so he left the game in the 3rd inning, which immediately sparked trade speculation.

The Hooks have yet to announce a starter for tonight's game. Whoever he is, he'll take on Dillon Overton at 7:05.

San Jose 3, Lancaster 2


W- Chase Johnson (6-3)
L- Austin Chrismon (3-2, 7-3 season)
S- Dan Slania (14)

Lancaster home runs: D.J. Fisher (10, 16 season; solo in 4th)

The JetHawks dropped a tight one.

D.J. Fisher finished 2-4, and his solo homer in the 4th put Lancaster on the board. Jake Nottingham hit an RBI single in the 9th to cut the deficit to 1. Fisher scored both of the JetHawks' runs.

Kevin Comer allowed a run on 4 hits and fanned 6 in 5 innings of work. Austin Chrismon allowed 2 runs on 3 hits (solo homer) and struck out 2 over the final 3 innings.

In game 3 of this series, Dan Mengden will take on Jose Reyes at 7:00 Eastern.

Quad Cities 5, Cedar Rapids 1

W- David Paulino (2-2, 3-2 season)
L- Luke Westphal (1-2)
S- Ryan Thompson (4)

After the Kernels made it a 1-run game in the 8th, the Banditos put them away with 3 in the bottom of the inning.

Ramon Laureano walked to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. He then stole 2nd base (9) and advanced to 3rd on the errant throw down. Jason Martin brought him home with a groundout to put Quad Cities on the board. Kristian Trompiz hit a 1-out triple in the 6th and scored on an RBI double from Alex Bregman. Nick Tanielu delivered a crucial hit in the 8th when he cleared the bases with a double, giving the Banditos the cushion they needed. Trompiz went 2-2 with the triple and 2 runs scored at the bottom of the order.

David Paulino was excellent as he allowed just 4 hits and struck out 7 over 7 shutout innings. Riley Ferrell allowed a run, a single, walked 4, and struck out 1 in 1.1 innings. He left 2 runners on for The Closer, Ryan Thompson, who finished the game without incident.

Elieser Hernandez will make his first start as a River Bandit in the series finale. First pitch is at 1:00.

Tri-City and Aberdeen was postponed

Due to rain. A doubleheader is just getting started.

Greeneville 7, Kingsport 2


W- Devonte German (2-1)
L- Darwin Ramos (2-1)

Greeneville home runs; Hector Roa (4, 2-run in 8th)

The Appy Astros took the series as they scored 2 in the 6th and 2 in the 8th to create some separation between them and the K-Mets.

Erasmo Pinales allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 3 in 4.2 innings. Juan Delis got the final out of the 5th. Devonte German allowed a hit, walked 3, and struck out 1 over 3 scoreless, and in his Appalachian League debut, Lachlan Madden worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 9th.

Luis Payano opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd. Later, a wild pitch allowed Randy Cesar to score, and Myles Straw hit a sac fly. Payano struck again in the 6th as he smacked a 2-run double, and Hector Roa capped it off with a 2-run shot, his 4th of the year. Payano and Roa both finished 2-4.

The Appy Astros will look for the sweep as Ryan Deemes takes on Harol Gonzalez. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Saturday, July 18, 2015

I suppose we could settle for the Astros' AA team ripping the Rangers' AA team apart.

First, let's start off with the semifinals of the Pan Am Games!

The United States thrashed Cuba 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Wait a minute... wrong sport.

In the first semifinal, the Americans erased a 5-1 deficit by scoring 4 in the 7th to tie, and they walked off with a 6-5 win. USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! ONCE AGAIN UNCLE SAM TRIUMPHS OVER COMMUNISM!!!!!

Yes, I am well aware that U.S.-Cuba relations are on the road to normalcy.

In the other semifinal, it was all Canada as they topped Puerto Rico 7-1. Roberto Peña drove in the only run for the Boricuas.

Brock Dykxhoorn, who I completely forgot was playing in the Pan Am Games, allowed that Puerto Rico run on 3 hits in the 9th. He struck out 2. In his other appearance in the Games, he struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 8th against Nicaragua on July 13.

In the bronze medal game, Puerto Rico will take on Cuba at 1:05 Eastern. The US and Canada will battle for the gold tonight at 7:05 Eastern.

Fresno and El Paso was postponed

Due to rain. This series will conclude with a doubleheader today with game 1 beginning at 4:05 Pacific. Mark Appel will take on Daniel McCutchen in game 1, and Luis Cruz will face Colin Rea in game 2.

Corpus Christi 12, Frisco 4

W- Michael Feliz (3-2, 4-3 season)
L- Frank Lopez (3-3)
S- Aaron West (2)

CC home runs: Conrad Gregor (6, solo in 2nd), Jio Mier (6, 2-run in 8th), A.J. Reed (1, 24 season; 3-run in 8th)

And there you have it. The Hooks were up by as much as 12-1 before the Roughriders made this game appear to be less of a blowout. It still doesn't change the fact that the Hooks opened up a can. With the win, they avoided the sweep.

Conrad Gregor's 6th homer of the year opened up the scoring in the 2nd inning, and that basically set the tone for the evening. Andrew Reed hit a sac fly in the 3rd, and Jack Mayfield added another run by scoring on a wild pitch. Brett Phillips hit a 2-run single in the 4th. Corpus got another 2-run inning in the 7th as Colin Moran hit an RBI single and Reed hit his 2nd sac fly of the game. Their 5 runs in the 8th all came on home runs. Jio Mier hit a 2-run shot, and A.J. Reed whacked a 3-run homer for his 1st in the Texas League.

Brett Phillips finished 3-5 with the 2-run single and scored 2 runs from the top of the order. Mayfield (2B, 3 R), Moran (RBI, R), and Jio (2-run homer, 2 R) all had 2-hit nights. Everyone in the Hooks' lineup scored a run except for Alfredo Gonzalez, who saw his 15-game hitting streak reach its end. However, he did walk twice.

Michael Feliz allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 in 6 innings of work. Aaron West finished it off. Frisco did get to him for 3 runs in the 9th, but he had an 11-run cushion to work with. He allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 in the final 3 innings.

Kyle Westwood will be on the mound tonight as the Hooks welcome Midland to Whataburger Field. He'll face Jake Sanchez at 6:05.

San Jose 4, Lancaster 1

W- Jason Forjet (3-2)
L- Troy Scribner (2-4)
S- Jake Smith (5)

Lancaster home runs: Chase McDonald (15, solo in 8th)

Well, aside from a tough 1st inning, Troy Scribner was able to keep the Giants in check. Unfortunately, the offense strung some hits together, but they couldn't push any runs across the plate.

Scribner allowed 3 runs, all on a solo and a 2-run homer, in the 1st inning. He allowed 4 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 5 innings. Edison Frias allowed a solo homer to Seth Harrison (a Cy-Fair alum) in the 7th, which was the only hit that he allowed in his 3 innings. Frias struck out 3.

The only JetHawks run came off the bat of Chase McDonald, who clubbed a solo shot in the 8th, his 15th of the year. He and Ronnie Mitchell both finished 2-4, and Jamie Ritchie was 3-3 with a double.

In game 2 of this series, Kevin Comer will face Chase Johnson. First pitch is at 5:00 Pacific.

Cedar Rapids 3, Quad Cities 2

W- Michael Theofanopoulos (3-2)
L- Angel Heredia (3-2)
S- Trevor Hildenberger (14)

QC home runs: None.

The Kernels ruined Saturday night as they scored 2 in the top of the 9th to swipe a win from the Banditos.

Justin Ferrell allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3 in 6 innings of work. Jorge Perez allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 over 2 scoreless, and Heredia couldn't close it out. 1 of the runs he allowed in the 9th was unearned, and he allowed a hit and issued a walk.

Ramon Laureano scored the first Quad Cities run of the game on a passed ball in the 6th inning. Trent Woodward, who was at the plate at the time, followed with an RBI single. Woodward, Laureano, and Nick Tanielu all finished 2-4.

David Paulino will be on the mound for Quad Cities tonight. He'll take on Luke Westphal at 5:15.

Tri-City 7, Aberdeen 4

W- Dean Deetz (4-1)
L- Reid Love (0-2)
S- Zac Grotz (1, 2 season)

TC home runs: Bryan Muñiz (3, solo in 4th), Kolbey Carpenter (1, 2-run in 4th)

The ValleyCats saw their early 4-0 lead nearly disappear as the Ironbirds scored 3 in the top of the 5th, but they found an answer and walked out with a win.

Bryan Muñiz opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. He led off the bottom of the 4th with a solo homer, and later in the inning, Kolbey Carpenter followed with his first homer as a pro. After Aberdeen cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the 5th, Bobby Wernes did some maintenance with a 2-run single in the bottom of the 5th. Carpenter drove in the final run of the evening with a sac fly in the 8th.

Edwin Medina went 3-4 with a double, 2 runs scored, and 3 steals (9). Muñiz finished 2-3, while Wernes went 2-4 with the 2-run single, 2 runs scored, and a steal (2).

Agapito Barrios went 4.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. David Schmidt was the first man out; he got the final 2 outs of the 5th, but not before allowing the 2 runners he inherited from Barrios to score. He allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 1. Dean Deetz tagged in for 3 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 2. Zac Grotz struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th to close it out.

In game 2 of this series, Alex Winkelman will take on Zach Albin. First pitch is at 6:00 Eastern.

Greeneville 6, Kingsport 3

W- Albert Abreu (1-1)
L- Joe Shaw (1-1)
S- Cris Santamaria (2)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros used a late offensive outburst to propel themselves to the win. They had been trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th, but they promptly erased that deficit with a 6-0 run.

Randy Cesar put Greeneville on the board in the 6th when he lashed a 2-run double. Myles Straw led off the bottom of the 7th with a single. He advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a double from Connor Goedert. After Justin Garcia was intentionally walked to load the bases, Hector Roa put the Appy Astros ahead with an RBI single. Kevin Martir followed with a 2-run single, but Cesar was thrown out at 3rd to end the inning. No matter; Greeneville still had a fine 7th inning.

Roa finished 3-4 with a triple and 2 runs scored. Myles Straw, Ford Stainback, and Kevin Martir had 2 hits apiece.

Salvador Montaño went 4.2 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2. Albert Abreu tagged in and got the win as he allowed 2 hits and whiffed 3 over 3.1 scoreless. Cris Santamaria struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th to get the save.

In game 2 of this series, Erasmo Pinales will face Darwin Ramos. First pitch is at 6:00 Eastern.

GCL Yankees1 5, GCL Astros 2

W- Jose Pujols (1-1)
L- Enrique Chavez (1-3)
S- Icezack (really?) Flemming (1)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros were held to 1 hit, but they managed to get 2 runs across. Unfortunately, having 1 hit in 9 innings can be a major drawback.

Their 2 runs came in the 4th as Wander Franco hit an RBI groundout to score Daz Cameron, and Kyle Tucker scored on a balk. The only hit for the GCLstros was a Bryan De La Cruz single in the 7th.

Diogenes Almengo allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and struck out 2 in 4 innings. In his pro debut, Dylan James threw a 1-2-3 5th. Enrique Chavez allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings, and Luis Ramirez allowed a run on 2 hits and fanned 2 in 2 innings.

A Guide to Hall of Fame Weekend

Going to Cooperstown this weekend to see Craig Biggio inducted into the Hall of Fame? Here are a few things you should know before you get there ...

Keep in mind that Cooperstown, New York is a tiny little postage stamp of a village. It's only about 1.6 square miles in size and is, therefore, extremely walkable. But it also means that, with tens of thousands of additional souls descending on the town for one weekend, it is very crowded. The first and last thing you will need to know is that you should be patient and flexible and wear comfortable shoes.

Since there are very few hotel rooms available in Cooperstown, most visitors for Hall of Fame Weekend are staying elsewhere and coming from a distance. Specifically for those visitors, the Village of Cooperstown provides three free parking lots on the outskirts of town and a trolley system that will drop you off right in front of the Hall of Fame. An all-day pass on the trolley (which you can purchase from the driver) is only $2.00 per day. Or you can walk to the Hall of Fame from the Red lot or the Blue lot, but not the Yellow lot (which is further out than this map indicates and doesn't have sidewalks).



These free parking lots fill up quickly on Hall of Fame weekend. As an alternative, property owners throughout the village offer up their front yards for parking, but they are not exactly free. I saw numerous places last year that charged around $40 to park. If you're on a budget, come early!

There are actually quite a few places to eat right on and directly off the main drag in Cooperstown, but with all the additional people in for the weekend, plan on dining early or late unless you don't mind waiting on line. The very popular Cooperstown Diner has only 26 seats so plan ahead if you have your heart set on eating there! Also highly recommended is the Doubleday Cafe which is adjacent to Doubleday Field.

From this list, Alex and Ika's (which was excellent) has apparently closed, but I can also recommend the New York Pizzeria which is off the beaten path down Chestnut Street and the somewhat more pricey and even further out Bocca Osteria which is also on Chestnut (and is very, very good!). There are also a couple of grocery stores in town that offer deli food if you're trying to save some cash.

If you want to visit the actual Hall of Fame (and why wouldn't you?), again, you will find it less crowded if you plan ahead and get there either very early or very late. By mid-day, the line just to get in will be quite long and you'll be elbow to elbow once you get inside. If you want to skip the line, buy a membership. Members don't have to wait in the main line and can more or less waltz right by. The Hall also offers early entry for members.

As you walk along Main Street on Hall of Fame weekend, you will see many former ballplayers, both Hall of Famers and non-HOFers, set up in front of the different shops for autographs. Of course, the autographs aren't free, but you can still walk along the street and get within a few feet of Gaylord Perry or Darryl Strawberry or Dale Murphy, as I did last year.

If you are going to be in Cooperstown on Saturday, you will want to attend the annual Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field, starting at 4:30 (first-come, first-serve stadium seating). This year's inductees will be Detroit News baseball writer Tom Gage (J.G. Taylor Spink Award) and long-time baseball broadcaster Dick Enberg (Ford C. Frick Award). From the Hall of Fame website:
Additionally, the Hall will recognize the legacies of former All-Star Curt Flood, whose challenge to baseball’s reserve clause laid the foundation for free agency in the major leagues, and all the ballplayers who defended their country in World War II. United States Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will speak on behalf of all military branches as America marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Following the presentation, you will need to head on over to Main Street and find a spot to watch the Parade of Legends. The Hall is saying around four dozen Hall of Famers will be in attendance this year plus, of course, the four inductees. A lot of people bring lawn chairs and stake out a location first thing Saturday morning, but I maneuvered into a good spot right behind the lawn chairs and got some great photos of the Legends as the parade went by.

Ernie Banks getting ready
to flash the "Let's play two!" sign

Hank Aaron

Brooks Robinson

Tom Seaver

George Brett

Nolan Ryan

Tom Glavine

The parade starts with the oldest classes and ends with the current inductees and it gets pretty crowded. Be prepared to be on your feet for a couple of hours before all is said and done. Again, be patient and wear comfortable shoes.


Main Street

Which brings us to the induction ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 Sunday afternoon at the field outside the Clark Sports Center. In the event of rain, the ceremony goes on inside the center and is only available to the invited guests of the inductees. So pray for no rain! (As of the time of posting, there is a 60% chance of rain ... boo!)

There is no shade, even in the reserved seating, so it's extremely important to wear a hat and suncreen, maybe even bring a towel to put over your neck or your knees if you're wearing shorts (umbrellas are not allowed). There are a limited number of reserved seats (about 1200 last year) for friends and family, for those buying a HOF travel package and for those members who ponied up for the $500 and $1000 memberships. Everyone else congregates in the field behind the reserved seating.


I had a reserved seat last year through a contact I met in Cooperstown so I don't have direct knowledge of how field seating works. It's my understanding that a lot of people will come early, set up their chairs and leave them without any problems. Even if you have reserved seats, you need to get there plenty early so that you aren't stuck on the last row!

The center is about a mile from the Hall of Fame. I'm not aware of any shuttle service to the site, but it is probably best to walk there anyway, if you are able, due to the large crowds. Water and portable bathrooms are available (you might want to bring hand sanitizer) at the site.

Even in the reserved seating area (unless you are a family member), you're not going to be able to get a close look at the inductees.



But there are big screens and an excellent sound system so you will be able to see and hear everything.



If memory serves, last year's induction lasted over three hours, but there were six inductees. I would imagine this year's ceremony will be somewhat shorter with only four inductees.

As far as other things to do (if you're all baseballed out), there are a few things to do in the area. I visited the Fenimore Art Museum last year (a yellow trolley stop). Anyone interested in Native American art, in particular, should really enjoy the museum. I also stopped by the Cooperstown Distillery and sampled their wares (very good gin, but Tito's Vodka is better!).

Again, the key to a successful HOF weekend (aside from no rain!) is to plan ahead and show patience. Eat when you can, go to the bathroom when you can, sit when you can and WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!

I hope to see a ton of Astros fans at the induction. And I hope to hear a particularly loud and raucous chant of B-G-O!!!! Safe travels.