Saturday, September 19, 2015

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/19

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

Before we get to the details of the Fresno Grizzlies LCS Game 3, first things first. You've got to see this play from Grizzlies catcher Tyler Heineman. Just wow!
Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

IF Ronny Jiminez (21)
Jiminez was born September 19, 1994 in Moca, Dominican Republic and was signed by the Astros prior to the 2015 season in which he played for the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue team.

Also, some guy named Springer celebrates today. Happy 26th, George.

ROSTER MOVES AND OTHER NEWS

With the promotion of Matt Duffy to Houston, 3B Colin Moran was assigned to the Grizzlies for the LCS. RHP Chris Devenski was activated for Wednesday's game as RHP Mike Hauschild was placed on the 7-day DL. IF Jio Mier and RHP Jandel Gustave also joined the team, but they haven't been activated at this time.

In addition to RHP Chris Devenski being named the Hooks Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, the Hooks named OF Jon Kemmer the Hooks Player of the Year on Thursday.

OF Johnny Sewald talks about breaking a couple of records for the Tri-City ValleyCats (and more) in this piece from CBS 6 in Albany.

MLB Pipeline named its Organizational Prospects of the Year on Thursday with RHP Joe Musgrove and 1B A.J. Reed representing the Astros. Reed also got some love from Baseball America as its Player of the Year runner-up. [NEW] And Jonathan Mayo gets in on the action with praise for Reed as well.

WTHB's Season in Review series:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros
Tri-City ValleyCats

Coming soon: The Quad Cities River Bandits

And, finally, in case you missed it, I'm now working on my second million page views!

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)
Round Rock leads the series 2-1

Tuesday the 15th: Round Rock 9 over Fresno 8 in 12 innings

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno 3 over Round Rock 1

Friday the 18th: Round Rock 6 over Fresno 2
It was a tough night for Grizzlies starter Brett Oberholtzer who allowed a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and ended his night after 4.2 innings, having allowed six runs on 10 hits (three home runs). Travis Ballew, Chris Cotton, Jake Buchanan and Juan Minaya kept a lid on the Express hitters the rest of the way, but by then the damage was done.

Fresno's offense had trouble getting much going and didn't capitalize on a bases loaded, one out opportunity in the fifth inning. Finally, with two outs in the eighth inning, a Robbie Grossman single and walks from Andrew Aplin and Colin Moran loaded the bases for Tyler Heineman. Heineman drove in two runs with a single to account for the only two Grizzlies runs of the night. Fresno was ultimately held to seven singles, two each from Tyler White and Robbie Grossman.

The Grizzlies now have their work cut out for them. They must win Saturday and Sunday if they want to bring a championship to the City of Fresno. It won't be easy but the fans are definitely with them!

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at 3:05 CST if necessary (TBD vs. RHP Mark Appel)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tri-City ValleyCats: 2015 Season in Review

Tri-City won the Stedler Division for the fourth straight season with their 42-33 record. Unfortunately, they fell to the Staten Island Yankees in the Semifinals and did not advance to the League Championship series. As usual, Tri-City saw quite a few of the first year draftees as well as some talented free agents. Let's take a look at the team performance within the league and some of the individual standouts.

Dexture McCall - August 2014
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green


Note all rankings are out of 14 total teams

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS TEAM BATTING
Batting average: .261 (2nd)
On-base percentage: .345 (1st)
Slugging percentage: .367 (2nd)
Doubles: 128 (T4th)
Triples: 14 (13th)
Home runs: 38 (2nd)
Walks: 297 (1st)
Strikeouts: 569 (6th)
Stolen bases: 78 (4th)

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS TEAM PITCHING
ERA: 3.79 (10th)
WHIP: 1.318 (9th)
Walks: 211 (11th)
Strikeouts: 635 (1st)

The offense was extremely strong on this team, but the pitching was somewhat uneven. Let's look at some of the team standouts.

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS BATTING LEADERS (minimum 40 games for BA, OBP and SLG)
Batting Average: Bobby Wernes (.346 - 1st in the league)
On-Base Percentage: Bobby Wernes (.434 - 1st in the league)
Slugging Percentage: Aaron Mizell (.423 - 7th in the league)
Doubles: Brooks Marlow and Pat Porter (tied with 15)
Triples: Aaron Mizell (7 - T1st in the league)
Home Runs: Brooks Marlow (6 - T6th in the league)
RBI: Dexture McCall (37 - T6th in the league)
Stolen Bases: Johnny Sewald (31 - 1st in the league)
Walks: Johnny Sewald (46 - T1st in the league)
Runs: Johnny Sewald (57 - 1st in the league)

3B Bobby Wernes (21)
Wernes, the 2015 30th round pick, won the New York-Penn League batting title in his first professional season. In 53 games, he hit .346/.434/.388 with eight doubles, 29 RBI and three stolen bases. He walked 27 times and struck out 27 times.

OF Johnny Sewald (21)
A 14th rounder out of Arizona State, Sewald broke a couple of single season records for Tri-City this season (for runs scored and stolen bases) and ended the season hitting .289/.413/.341 in 70 games.

OF Aaron Mizell (21)
Mizell, the Astros 33rd pick, started his first season with Greeneville but was promoted to Tri-City after only 20 games. For the season, he hit a combined .263/.330/.421 with 14 doubles, a very impressive eight triples, four home runs, 36 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

1B Dexture McCall (21)
McCall is another later round pick (31st round in 2014) who performed quite well for Tri-City this season, hitting .295/.376/.400 with nine doubles, four home runs and 37 RBI in 59 games.

Also of note are a duo who split their time between Tri-City and Quad Cities: OF Drew Ferguson (.328/.418/.586 in 17 games for Tri-City) and 1B Bryan Muniz (.292/.387/.443 in 29 games for Tri-City). Hector Roa slugged .444 in 27 games at the level as well.

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS PITCHING LEADERS (minimum 30IP for ERA and WHIP)
ERA: Scott Weathersby (2.48 in 32.2IP)
WHIP: Scott Weathersby (1.133)
Strikeouts: Harold Arauz (52)
Saves: Jacob Dorris (6 - T8th in the league)

RHP Scott Weathersby (23)
Weathersby, a 10th round pick, was only given a couple of starts in his 12 appearances for the season, but averaged almost three innings per appearance. He ended the season with a 2.48 ERA, 1.133 WHIP and six walks to 39 strikeouts in his 32.2 innings.

RHP Chris Murphy (22)
Murphy actually had better numbers than Weathersby, but fell just shy of my 30 inning minimum since he started the season with Greeneville. The 24th rounder ended the season with a combined 2.25 ERA and 1.062 WHIP in 48 innings (14 games/6 starts). He walked seven batters and struck out 40.

Jacob Dorris (22)
Dorris, a NDFA out of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, started the season at Greeneville and ended it in Quad Cities, but it was in Tri-City that Dorris earned six of his seven season saves. Dorris had a 1.80 ERA and a 0.700 WHIP in 10 innings with Tri-City and a combined 0.98 ERA and a 0.759 WHIP in his 27.2 innings pitched at the three levels.

Also of particular note were RHP Elieser Hernandez with a 1.31 ERA and a 0.726 WHIP in 20.2 innings prior to his mid-July promotion to Quad Cities; and LHP Steve Naemark with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP in 11.2 innings at the level.

Previous Season Reviews:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/18

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

The Grizzlies had the day off as they traveled back to Fresno yesterday. Game 3 of the tied series will take place tonight at 9:05 CST with LHP Brett Oberholtzer scheduled to take the mound for the Grizzlies. But first, some birthdays, a little news and a notable passing.

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

1B Jon Singleton (24)
Singleton was born September 18, 1991 in Harbor City, California, and was drafted by the Phillies in the 8th round in 2009 out of Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. He came to the Astros organization in the July 2011 Hunter Pence trade and has spent the majority of the 2015 season with the AAA Fresno Grizzlies.

RHP Juan Minaya (25)
Minaya was born September 18, 1990 in Maimon, Dominican Republic and signed with the Astros in September 2008. Minaya pitched for the AA Corpus Christi Hooks for most of the season prior to a late August promotion to the AAA Fresno Grizzlies.

TWEET OF THE DAY
ROSTER MOVES AND OTHER NEWS

With the promotion of Matt Duffy to Houston, 3B Colin Moran was assigned to the Grizzlies for the LCS. RHP Chris Devenski was activated for Wednesday's game as RHP Mike Hauschild was placed on the 7-day DL. IF Jio Mier and RHP Jandel Gustave also joined the team, but they haven't been activated at this time.

In addition to RHP Chris Devenski being named the Hooks Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, the Hooks named OF Jon Kemmer the Hooks Player of the Year on Thursday.

OF Johnny Sewald talks about breaking a couple of records for the Tri-City ValleyCats (and more) in this piece from CBS 6 in Albany.

MLB Pipeline named its Organizational Prospects of the Year on Thursday with RHP Joe Musgrove and 1B A.J. Reed representing the Astros. Reed also got some love from Baseball America as its Player of the Year runner-up.

WTHB's Season in Review series:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros

Coming soon: The Tri-City ValleyCats

And, finally, in case you missed it, I'm now working on my second million page views!

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)
Series tied 1-1

Tuesday the 15th: Round Rock 9 over Fresno 8 in 12 innings

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno 3 over Round Rock 1

Thursday was a travel day for the Grizzlies.

Friday the 18th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer)

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at 3:05 CST if necessary (TBD vs. RHP Mark Appel)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Thursday, September 17, 2015

WTHB State of the Blog Address: One in a Million

If you were reading WTHB at around midnight last night, you may very well have been the blog's 1,000,000th page view. It's a milestone for the blog that, in all reality, is fairly meaningless. But people like round numbers, particularly nice big round numbers.

One million page views is probably a pittance for those who have dozens of writers and the support of SB Nation or Fansided, but for those of us independent sports bloggers like Astros County and What the Heck, Bobby?, it's kind of a big deal.

I wasn't able to write a "Blogiversary" post last month when WTHB turned four, but now that the Astros minor league season is rapidly winding to a close, this seems like as good a time as any to give you my State of the Blog Address. Pardon me while I meander.

The blog started with my desire to learn more about the Astros farm system as the on-field play in Houston was rapidly deteriorating. I thought, "Why not share my findings?" It's never been a sophisticated blog. I don't embrace advanced statistics much. That's not because I'm against them. It's simply because a lot of those metrics don't mean a whole lot in the lower levels of the minors where the competition is often incredibly uneven as the rawest of the raw high schoolers and international free agents face former collegians and the ages range from 17 to 21 and older. As the Astros PITCHf/x guru Mike Fast once told me, a pitcher's ability to miss bats is probably the best indicator of a rookie league pitcher's potential as any other metric.

I also found that I don't really have the patience to do detailed game recaps. My many thanks to Dustin (and Buca before him) for handling that thankless chore. Dustin has recapped approximately 860+ games this season and most of those have been full detailed game stories. Wrap your head around that! That is incredible, and I hope that Dustin will continue with his fine work next season.

But I honestly don't have the patience for the recaps because with a few exceptions, the day-to-day doesn't interest me. Yes, I get excited when Jon Singleton drives in 10 runs in one game or when Dean Deetz gets lifted from a game after pitching seven no-hit innings, but I am more interested in the big picture. I'm not likely to point out that a .189 hitter went 3-for-5 in a game. I'm more apt to tell you what a hitter or a pitcher has done over the last month or two. I like to look for trends in a player's development, not what they've done over one or two games.

And, as a part of the big picture, I love getting to know the players. Not just talking to them, but watching them. Watching how they "go about their business," a popular phrase from coaches and managers. I can learn almost as much about a player from watching them take early work, batting practice, pitcher's fielding practice and the like, and seeing how they interact with others, as I can from watching them in a game or talking to them. A player is so much more than stats. His work ethic, his ability to lead by word or example, his ability to keep a clubhouse loose are all important to building a good team. Is a player a "team player" or is he only focused on his own goals and desires? How does that player handle adversity and success? Character is important. It won't replace talent, but it certainly can supplement that talent and take a player just that much further. It's all a part of that bigger picture.

Which brings me to a thought that I had when I was visiting California in May. I hit up Fresno and Lancaster while I was there, but first I went to Yosemite to commune with nature. As is always the case, I took a lot of pictures. But I don't just take pictures of gorgeous vistas. I take pictures of things other people might consider odd. Two of my favorite pictures were these:



It struck me that both trees were beautiful, the giant Sequoia and the small gnarled and twisted specimen arising from the rocks. Carlos Correa is the Sequoia, a majestic awe-inspiring specimen, a thing of beauty. But most ballplayers are more like the latter photo. Their path is rarely straight. Just making it up through the various obstacles and detours thrown at them is nothing short of miraculous. And those are the players I like to follow and write about.

Sure, I'll write about Carlos Correa and players like him whose path is straight and true and majestic. But I'm more interested in the 40th round 25-year old draft pick who made it back to baseball after a detour in life or the atypical corner infielder who has mashed his way to AAA in 3 seasons after falling to the 33rd round in 2013 or another corner outfielder who has largely flown under the radar (despite being one of the most consistent hitters in the system since he was drafted) and has never appeared on a top prospect list but just made his major league debut.

My own path has been littered with obstacles the last year and a half. A contract to sell my company should be signed in the next week or two with a potential closing after the first of the year. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won't. Maybe I'll have a job when the next minor league season rolls around in April. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll be able to continue travelling to minor league games. Maybe I won't. And with the big league club doing so well, I expect a decline in readership as interest in the farm system wanes. But I intend to continue persevering. I don't know what the blog will look like a year from now; it will likely continue to evolve and adapt just as those players have whose lives I find interesting, just as my own life may over the next few months and years. In any event, I will keep writing about the things that interest me and I hope that my readers will continue with me on the ride, wherever it takes us.

Thank you for reading and thank you for indulging me.

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/17

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

Game 2 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series was a beaut!

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

RHP Brady Rodgers (25)
Rodgers was born September 17, 1990 in Richmond, Texas, and was drafted by the Astros in the third round in 2012 out of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Rodgers played for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies in 2015.

ROSTER MOVES AND OTHER NEWS

With the promotion of Matt Duffy to Houston, 3B Colin Moran was assigned to the Grizzlies for the LCS. RHP Chris Devenski was activated for Wednesday's game as RHP Mike Hauschild was placed on the 7-day DL. IF Jio Mier and RHP Jandel Gustave have also joined the team, but they haven't been activated at this time.

Chris Devenski was (unsurprisingly) name the Hooks Pitcher of the Year.

WTHB's Season in Review series:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros

Coming soon: The Tri-City ValleyCats

Unlabeled photos from Game 1 of the PCL LCS series can be found here. I'll upload Game 2 when I get back to Houston, but in the meantime, this is probably my favorite from the trip.

Tony Kemp and Andrew Aplin
Photo by Jayne Hansen

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)
Series tied 1-1

Tuesday the 15th: Round Rock 9 over Fresno 8 in 12 innings

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno 3 over Round Rock 1
Like I said, Game 2 was a beaut! Jon Singleton provided Dan Straily with all he needed with his first inning two-run home run. Then Straily went to work ... in a big way ... retiring 20 straight batters before allowing two two-out walks and a hit in his seventh and final inning of work.  He was relieved by Chris Devenski making his AAA debut (1.1IP 2SO) and Kevin Chapman for the save as the three held the Express to the one hit. Now the series returns to Fresno!


Friday the 18th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer)

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at 3:05 CST if necessary (TBD vs. RHP Mark Appel)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PCL Championship Series Game 1 Recap

In Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series, Round Rock walked off with a 9-8 win in 12 innings over Fresno.

The Grizzles fought their way back from a 7-1 deficit after 3 innings, only to see the luck that has seemingly been on the Rangers' side all season trickle down to the Express. CAN ONE ORGANIZATION BE ANY MORE BLESSED THAN THE RANGERS HAVE THIS SEASON????????

Tony Kemp scored the first run of the evening when Jon Singleton grounded into a force out in the 1st. They'd have to wait until the 6th to score again.... in the meantime, Round Rock scored 7 runs. However, Fresno erased that deficit with a 7-0 run of their own. Andrew Aplin hit an RBI single that brought Singleton home in the 6th. Tyler White added 2 more runs in the 7th with his 2-run homer, which was his 1st of the PCL playoffs. The Grizz finally pulled even in the 8th as Tyler Heineman hit a sac fly, and Tony Kemp, Alex Presley, and White hit RBI singles. 

Kemp (RBI, 3 R, 2 BB) and White (2B, HR, 3 RBI, R) both finished with 3 hits. Presley (RBI), Singleton (2 2B, 2 BB, R), Aplin (RBI, R), and L.J. Hoes (2B, 2 BB, R) all had 2 hits in this game.

Mike Hauschild went 1.1 innings and allowed 6 runs (5 earned, 3 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 2. Luis Cruz was the first man out; he went 3.2 innings and allowed a run of his own on 2 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 8. Jake Buchanan allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 over 2 innings. Kevin Chapman allowed 2 hits in a scoreless 8th. James Hoyt came on to close the game, and Nomar Mazara took him for a ride, hitting a game-tying homer on his first pitch of the evening (****!!!!!). That was the only run that Hoyt allowed in his 2 innings. He allowed one other hit and fanned 4. Jordan Jankowski struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 11th, but things got rocky for him in the 12th as he walked the bases loaded despite getting 2 outs. Juan Minaya picked a horrible time to uncork a wild pitch, as that allowed the winning run to score.

Don't you just despise baseball sometimes?

Dan Straily will take the mound tonight for Game 2. He'll face Robert Coello at 7:05.

Greeneville Astros: 2015 Season in Review

Greeneville squeaked through to the playoffs, winning their spot on the final day of the season as they went 34-33 for the season. They then went on to beat Kingsport in the semifinals and advance to the League Championship series. After getting trounced in Game 1 of the LCS, Greeneville came back to beat Princeton on their own turf in the final two games of the series to claim the Appalachian League crown. Let's take a look at the team performance within the league and some of the individual standouts.

Connor Goedert - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Note all rankings are out of 10 total teams

GREENEVILLE ASTROS TEAM BATTING
Batting average: .249 (9th)
On-base percentage: .325 (9th)
Slugging percentage: .359 (9th)
Doubles: 116 (5th)
Triples: 18 (T7th)
Home runs: 31 (9th)
Walks: 232 (3rd)
Strikeouts: 562 (2nd)
Stolen bases: 73 (1st)

GREENEVILLE ASTROS TEAM PITCHING
ERA: 3.18 (2nd)
WHIP: 1.235 (1st)
Walks: 199 (9th)
Strikeouts: 515 (T6th)

It's pretty obvious that pitching, overall, helped to carry this team, but there were some very strong offensive performances as well.

GREENEVILLE ASTROS BATTING LEADERS (minimum 40 games for BA, OBP and SLG)
Batting Average: Connor Goedert (.286)
On-Base Percentage: Myles Straw (.355)
Slugging Percentage: Connor Goedert (.449)
Doubles: Connor Goedert (20 - T3rd in the league)
Triples: Osvaldo Duarte (4 - T10th in the league)
Home Runs: Hector Roa and Connor Goedert (Tied with 6)
RBI: Connor Goedert (43 - 6th in the league)
Stolen Bases: Myles Straw (22 - 1st in the league)
Walks: Myles Straw (29 - T10th in the league)
Runs: Myles Straw (47 - T3rd in the league)

As you can see a couple of names stand out.

1B Connor Goedert (21)
Goedert, the 15th round 2014 draft pick, did not have a very good first season, but he more than made up for it in his sophomore campaign, earning the Team MVP. He ended the season with a .286/.349/.449 slashline in 63 games, and hit .333 in the postseason with two home runs.

OF Myles Straw (20)
Straw, the 12th round 2015 draft pick, had a very solid freshman season, hitting .268/.355/.344 in 58 games and leading the league with 22 stolen bases.

20-year old OF Brauly Mejia also did well at the level, hitting .283/.335/.428 in 42 games. Up and coming outfielders Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker spent limited time at Greeneville after their August 1st promotion to the level and both had more success in Greeneville than they had with the Gulf Coast League Astros. Cameron hit .272/.372/.350 and stole 11 bases (24 for the season) over 30 games, and Tucker hit .286/.322/.393 with 14 stolen bases (18 for the season) in his 30 games.

Others of note include 2B Rodrigo Ayarza who hit .292/.286/.438 in 16 regular season games for Greeneville and who also contributed a crucial grand slam during the LCS; OF Aaron Mizell who hit a robust .325/.373/.416 prior to his mid-July promotion to Tri-City; and OF Hector Roa who hit .315/.333/.574 in 27 games for Greeneville before returning to Tri-City on August 1st.

GREENEVILLE ASTROS TEAM PITCHING LEADERS (minimum 30IP for ERA and WHIP)
ERA: Andrew Thome (0.87 in 31IP)
WHIP: Erasmo Pinales (0.980 in 32.2IP)
Strikeouts: Yhoan Acosta (56 - T5th in the league
Saves: Samil de los Santos (4 - T9th in the league)

RHP Erasmo Pinales (20)
Pinales did a fantastic job in his first season of domestic ball, putting up a 1.93 ERA and a 0.980 WHIP over 32.2 innings in nine games (five starts) for Greeneville.

RHP Andrew Thome (22)
Thome, a non-drafted free agent, shone in his debut season. He had a 0.87 ERA and a 1.032 WHIP in 31 innings (11 games/4 starts) for Greeneville before making one final regular season appearance with Quad Cities and ending the season with a 0.77 ERA and a 1.029 WHIP over 35 innings.

RHP Albert Abreu (19)
In 13 games (7 starts), Abreu had a 2.51 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in 46.2 innings. Abreu will turn 20 later this month.

RHP Ryan Deemes (22)
Deemes, the 36th round 2015 draft pick, split his season between Greeneville and Tri-City. He was lights out in the Appy League, recording a 0.75 ERA and a 0.708 WHIP with the team prior to his promotion to Tri-City in early August. He finished the season with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.912 WHIP in 14 games (5 starts). He walked 9 batters and struck out 40 in 49.1 innings of work.

RHP Diogenes Almengo (20)
Almengo started the season with the DSL, receieved a late June promotion to the GCL and a late July promotion to Greeneville. He did well at all three levels and ended the season with a combined 1.98 ERA and a 1.068 WHIP in 63.2 innings over 17 games (12 starts). For Greeneville, he had a 2.31 ERA and a 1.029 WHIP in 23.1 innings (6 games/5 starts).

There were actually quite a number of noteworthy pitching performances at the level, including LHP Matt Bower (2.84 ERA/0.947 WHIP in 19.1IP); RHP Samil de los Santos (0.913 WHIP in 19.1IP); RHP Jacob Dorris (0.84 ERA/0.938 in 10.2IP); RHP Jose Hernandez (2.11 ERA/0.938 WHIP in 21.1IP); RHP Lachlan Madden (2.13 ERA in 12.2IP); Chris Murphy (2.25 ERA/1.000 WHIP in 20IP); RHP Joselo Pinales (2.29 ERA in 19.1IP); and LHP Cristhopher Santamaria (0.900 WHIP in 23.1IP. Phew! In all, 32 pitchers spent at least part of their seasons with the Appy Astros.

Also of note was was RHP Edgardo Sandoval (see GCL review for more) who had a 1.12 ERA and 1.062 WHIP in 16 innings following his mid-August promotion to Greeneville. Sandoval had a 1.13 ERA and a 0.625 WHIP with two saves in his two postseason appearances as well.

Previous Season Reviews:
Dominican Summer League
Gulf Coast League

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/16

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

Game 1 of the Pacific League Championship Series did not exactly unfold according to plan.

Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to ...

OF Robbie Grossman (26)
Grossman was born on September 16, 1989 in San Diego, California, was drafted by the Pirates in the 6th round in 2008 and came to the Astros system as a part of the July 2012 Wandy Rodriguez trade with the Pirates. He is currently playing for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies in the Pacific Coast League Championship series.

RHP Austin Chrismon (23)
Chrismon was born September 16, 1992 in Newport News, Virginia and was drafted by the Astros twice ... in the 32nd round in 2010 out of Menchville High School in Newport News and again in the 26th round in 2013 out of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He finished the season playing for the High A Lancaster JetHawks.

RHP Cristofer Melendez (18)
Melendez was born September 16, 1997 in Azua, Dominican Republic and was signed by the Astros in July 2014. He played his first professional season in 2015 for the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue team.

ROSTER MOVES AND OTHER NEWS

With the promotion of Matt Duffy to Houston, 3B Colin Moran has been assigned to the Grizzlies for the LCS. RHP Chris Devenski, IF Jio Mier and RHP Jandel Gustave have also joined the team, but they haven't been activated at this time.

In case you missed it, I posted the first two installments of WTHB's Season in Review series:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros

Coming soon: The Appy League Champion Greeneville Astros

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)
Round Rock leads the series 1-0

Tuesday the 15th: Round Rock 9 over Fresno 8 in 12 innings
I sincerely hope that Dustin recaps the game later this morning because after a crisply played 4:46 12-inning game, I'm exhausted! Suffice it to say that the wheels came off early and late, but in between the Grizzlies played beautifully! Luis Cruz struck out 8 in 3.2 innings (after first allowing his three inherited runners to score), Tyler White drove in three of the runs needed for the comeback (two via the long ball) and Andrew Aplin had an amazing outfield assist to catch a runner at home that totally silenced the Round Rock crowd momentarily. Since the teams used seven pitchers each in Game 1, Game 2 could get very interesting if either starter struggles.

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno at Round Rock at 7:05 CST (RHP Dan Straily vs. RHP Robert Coello)

Friday the 18th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (TBD vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski)

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST if necessary (TBD vs. RHP Mark Appel)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at 3:05 CST if necessary (TBD vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gulf Coast League: 2015 Season in Review

With a lowly .317 win percentage (19-41) for their 60-game season, the Astros rookie level Gulf Coast League Astros team had a pretty forgettable season. Keep in mind, however, that the GCL is generally populated with the youngest, rawest players that the Astros field domestically. Let's dig a little deeper and look at the team performance within the league and some of the individual standouts.

Edgardo Sandoval - June 2015
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

Note all rankings are out of 16 total teams

GCL ASTROS TEAM BATTING
Batting average: .200 (16th)
On-base percentage: .287 (16th)
Slugging percentage: .262 (16th)
Doubles: 63 (15th)
Triples: 10 (14th)
Home runs: 10 (T12th)
Walks: 201 (6th)
Strikeouts: 511 (2nd)
Stolen bases: 60 (T11th)

I think one can easily see what went wrong with this team. A .200 team batting average? Ouch.

GCL ASTROS TEAM PITCHING
ERA: 3.83 (12th)
WHIP: 1.408 (13th)
Walks: 216 (5th)
Strikeouts: 376 (16th)

That may not look a whole lot better than the team batting, but overall there were more standout performances among the pitchers than among the hitters.

GCL ASTROS BATTING LEADERS (minimum 40 games for BA, OBP and SLG)
Batting Average: Bryan de la Cruz (.242)
On-Base Percentage: Bryan de la Cruz (.313)
Slugging Percentage: Wander Franco (.341)
Doubles: Wander Franco (11 - T9th in the league)
Triples: Kyle Tucker and Joan Mauricio (tied with 2)
Home Runs: Wander Franco (3)
RBI: Wander Franco (26 - T6th in the league)
Stolen Bases: Daz Cameron (13 - T10th in the league)
Walks: Connor MacDonald (20)
Runs: Wander Franco (23)

Only one name appears with any frequency, that of 18-year old 1B Wander Franco. He finished the season hitting .236/.296/.351 with 12 doubles, four home runs and 32 RBI including his seven-game stint with Quad Cities at the end of the season. Rising stars Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker hit much better after their promotions to Greeneville.

GCL ASTROS TEAM PITCHING LEADERS (minimum 30IP for ERA and WHIP)
ERA: Moreno Polanco (0.60)
WHIP: Moreno Polanco (0.967)
Strikeouts: Enrique Chavez (40 in 48.2)
Saves: Lachlan Madden (3)

RHP Moreno Polanco (21)
Polanco led the way with his 0.60 ERA and 0.967 WHIP in the 30 innings he pitched for the team prior to his August 1st promotion to Greeneville.

LHP Starlyng Sanchez (21)
Sanchez had a solid tenure out of the bullpen for the GCL team (3.60 ERA and 0.800 WHIP) prior to his late July promotion to Greeneville where he had mixed results.

RHP Edgardo Sandoval (19)
Sandoval spent the bulk of the season with the GCL, putting up a 2.45 ERA and a 1.030 WHIP in 33 innings (9 games/5 starts) prior to his mid-August promotion to Greeneville where he was instrumental in that team's playoff run. He ended the season with a 2.02 ERA and a 1.041 WHIP in 49 innings.

Other pitchers of note include 20-year old Diogenes Almengo (2.78 ERA and 1.103 WHIP) and RHP Lachlan Madden (2.00 ERA and 1.111 WHIP) prior to their promotions to Greeneville, as well as RHP Juan Robles (1.80 ERA and 1.067 WHIP) and RHP Hector Perez (1.16 ERA and 1.114 WHIP) who were written up in the DSL Season Review. RHP Enrique Chavez received a late callup to High A Lancaster to help out and acquitted himself nicely at the (much) higher level; he ended the season with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.309 WHIP between the DSL, GCL and Lancaster.

Previous Season Reviews:
Dominican Summer League

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/15

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

The Grizzlies are seeking the first League Championship in franchise history with Game 1 of the LCS tonight.

TWEET OF THE DAY
ROSTER MOVES AND OTHER NEWS

With the promotion of Matt Duffy, 3B Colin Moran has been assigned to the Grizzlies for the LCS. RHP Chris Devenski and IF Jio Mier are also joining the team, but they haven't been activated at this time.

Baseball America posted the Astros Fall instructional league invitees yesterday. Of particular note, the Astros will be working with 3B/1B Tyler White to convert him to catcher. Also, it will be a young group with 18-year old outfielders Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron, as well as SS Miguelangel Sierra and RHP Franklin Perez, both 17.

In case you missed it from yesterday, I posted the first installment of WTHB's Season in Review series on the Dominican Summer League Astros teams. Come back later today for the Gulf Coast League Astros Season in Review.


STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)

The LCS will start tonight in Round Rock. For any Astros fans who live in that area and who can come out today or tomorrow, tickets are available here. The Grizzlies lead the season series over the Express three games to one.
Tuesday the 15th: Fresno at Round Rock at 7:05 CST (RHP Mike Hauschild vs. RHP Anthony Ranaudo)

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno at Round Rock at 7:05 CST (Starters TBD)

Friday the 18th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (Starters TBD)

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST if necessary (Starters TBD)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at TBD if necessary (Starters TBD)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dominican Summer League: 2015 Season in Review

The seasons for the two Astros Dominican Summer League teams could not have played out much differently. The Blue team won their division, ended the season with a 43-29 record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. (As a side note, it was the first time in 14 years that one of the Astros DSL teams had made the playoffs.) The Orange team, however, ended the season in 5th place (22 games behind the leader) in their division with a record of 28-44. Let's dig a little deeper and look at the team performances and some of the individual standouts.

Miguelangel Sierra - July 2015
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

Note all rankings are out of 38 total teams

DSL ASTROS BLUE TEAM BATTING
Batting average: .243 (27th)
On-base percentage: .356 (6th)
Slugging percentage: .349 (17th)
Doubles: 129 (3rd)
Triples: 26 (T17th)
Home runs: 24 (T10th)
Walks: 352 (4th)
Strikeouts: 480 (28th)
Stolen bases: 113 (T10th)

DSL ASTROS ORANGE TEAM BATTING
Batting average: .253 (17th)
On-base percentage: .339 (21st)
Slugging percentage: .358 (11th)
Doubles: 125 (T5th)
Triples: 20 (T29th)
Home runs: 30 (T4th)
Walks: 234 (30th)
Strikeouts: 611 (6th)
Stolen bases: 75 (28th)

Based on some of these numbers, it appears that the Orange team had more raw power than the Blue team, but the Blue team was much more disciplined at the plate, but neither team exhibited a lot of speed as a whole.

DSL ASTROS BLUE TEAM PITCHING
ERA: 3.47 (14th)
WHIP: 1.342 (15th)
Walks: 252 (26th)
Strikeouts: 549 (14th)

DSL ASTROS ORANGE TEAM PITCHING
ERA: 4.21 (30th)
WHIP: 1.526 (37th)
Walks: 334 (3rd)
Strikeouts: 532 (20th)

Based on the team standings in the various categories and the fact that the average age of the Orange team was somewhat younger than the Blue team, it appears that the differences between the two teams was mostly by design with the younger, rawer players placed on the Orange team and those who were a little more well-developed in baseball skills being placed on the Blue team. That is just a broad generalization, though, since numerous players were shuttled back and forth between the two teams.

BLUE TEAM BATTING LEADERS (minimum 45 games for BA, OBP and SLG)
Batting Average: Andy Pineda (.293)
On-Base Percentage: Andy Pineda (.417 - 9th in the league)
Slugging Percentage: Christopher Luciano (.402)
Doubles: Christopher Luciano (19 - T7th in the league)
Triples: Wilson Amador (6)
Home Runs: Reiny Beltre (6 - T8th in the league)
RBI: Christopher Luciano (51 - T4th in the league)
Stolen Bases: Andy Pineda (30 - T3rd in the league)
Walks: Christopher Luciano (54 - 3rd in the league)
Runs: Andy Pineda (51 - T11th in the league)

ORANGE TEAM BATTING LEADERS (minimum 45 games for BA, OBP and SLG)
Batting Average: Carlos Machado (.344)
On-Base Percentage: Carlos Machado (.410)
Slugging Percentage: Miguelangel Sierra (.439)
Doubles: Miguelangel Sierra and Randy Vasquez (17 - T13th in the league)
Triples: Angel Tejeda (4)
Home Runs: Marcos Almonte and Felix Lucas (5)
RBI: Randy Vasquez (34)
Stolen Bases: Juan Fuentes (17)
Walks: Randy Vasquez (35)
Runs: Randy Vasquez (34)

As you can see, certain players appear numerous times. Let's look at a few in more detail:

OF Andy Pineda (18)
69 games: .293/.417/.378 10-2B 4-3B 1HR 29RBI 30SB 16CS 46BB 44SO

1B Christopher Luciano (19)
72 games: .266/.409/.402 19-2B 2-3B 4HR 51RBI 11SB 7CS 54BB 51SO

OF Carlos Machado (17)
49 games: .344/.410/.383 2-2B 2-3B 20RBI 10SB 4CS 13BB 17SO

1B/C Randy Vasquez (19)
64 games: .309/.405/.448 17-2B 1-3B 4HR 34RBI 2SB 4CS 35BB 42SO

SS Miguelangel Sierra (17)
45 games: .302/.406/.479 17-2B 2-3B 3HR 19RBI 8SB 5CS 20BB 48SO

Sierra also played in 24 games with the Gulf Coast League Astros after a late July promotion and he struggled at the higher level. However, considering that he won't be 18 until December, I think that was to be expected. IF Marcos Almonte (19) also received a promotion to the GCL in early August. Almonte fared better at the higher level and ended his season hitting a combined .270/.343/.404 between the two venues.

BLUE TEAM PITCHING LEADERS (minimum 30IP+/- or 10 appearances for ERA and WHIP)
Starter ERA: Michel Martinez (1.06 in 34.1IP)
Relief ERA: Dariel Aquino (0.51 in 17.1IP/13G)
Starter WHIP: Hector Perez (0.876 in 29.2IP)
Relief WHIP: Dariel Aquino (1.019)
Strikeouts: Felipe Tejeda (45 in 51.1IP)
Saves: Dariel Aquino (6)

ORANGE TEAM PITCHING LEADERS (minimum 30IP for ERA and WHIP)
ERA: Juan Robles (1.49 in 36.1IP)
WHIP: Jose Ramos (0.970 in 44.1IP - 7th in the league)
Strikeouts: Bryan Abreu (48 in 51.2IP)
Saves: Josue Uribe (7 for Orange team/8 total - T7th in the league)

Also of note for the Orange team was 17-year old RHP Franklin Perez whose 11.3 strikeout per nine rate in 35 innings was the best mark for the Astros DSL teams before his promotion to the GCL in August.

Virtually every one of these team leaders was subsequently promoted to the GCL. Let's look a little more closely:

RHP Michael Martinez (21)
The 21-year old Cuban had a 1.06 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP in 34 innings with the DSL. After his late July promotion to the GCL, he had a 4.82 ERA and a 1.607 WHIP in 18.2 innings.

RHP Dariel Aquino (19)
The converted shortstop had a 0.51 ERA, a 1.019 WHIP and 6 saves in 13 appearances (17.1IP) for the DSL and a 18.90 ERA and a 3.600 WHIP in 7 appearances (6.2IP) for the GCL after his late July promotion.

RHP Hector Perez (19)
Perez was promoted twice (mid-July to the GCL and late August to Greeneville) and was very successful at all levels, ending the season with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.964 WHIP in 55 innings.

RHP Juan Robles (17)
The 17-year old Mexican born Robles also received double promotions (early August to the GCL and late August to Quad Cities) and also did quite well at the higher levels with the exception of one stumble for Quad Cities. He ended the season with a 1.81 ERA and a 1.171 WHIP in 54.2 innings.

RHP Jose Ramos (19)
Ramos, who just turned 19 last month, did not receive a promotion. However, he excelled with the DSL, playing on both the Orange and Blue teams, and ended the season with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.949 WHIP in 65.1 innings pitched. His ERA ranked 13th in the league and his WHIP ranked 7th.

Others of note are RHP Yoanys Quiala, a 21-year old Cuban who had a 1.54 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP in 35 innings for the Blue team; 18-year old RHP Cristian Javier with a combined 2.13 ERA and 0.921 WHIP in 42.1 innings pitched for the Blue and Orange teams (14 appearances/4 starts); and 19-year old RHP Ricardo Castro who had a 1.63 ERA and 0.940 WHIP in 27.2 innings for the Blue team.

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/14

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

For the first day since April 9th, there is no Astros minor league game action to report, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any news!

TWEET OF THE DAY
Yes, Congratulations to 3B/1B Matt Duffy who will be joining the Astros on the road in Arlington today. In case you missed it from yesterday, WTHB Contributor Jeremy Schmidt took a look at how Duffy got here in his latest installment of "Before They Were Astros."

There have been no other announced transactions the last couple of days, but a birdie told me that RHP Chris Devenski may be on his way to Fresno to join the Grizzlies as they pursue their first League Championship in the history of the franchise. The Astros made several such moves for other playoff runs in the system, but most were not official as the players were presumably waiting in the wings in case of injury and the like.

Come back later today for the first installment of WTHB's Season in Review series on each of the Astros minor league teams. First up will be the two DSL teams.

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

Playoff Record:
Won Pacific Conference Championship 3-1 over El Paso

PCL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST OF FIVE)

The LCS will start tomorrow in Round Rock. Any Astros fans who live in that area and who can come out on Tuesday and/or Wednesday, tickets are available here. The Grizzlies lead the season series over the Express three games to one.

Tuesday the 15th: Fresno at Round Rock at 7:05 CST (RHP Mike Hauschild vs. TBD)

Wednesday the 16th: Fresno at Round Rock at 7:05 CST (Starters TBD)

Friday the 18th: Round Rock at Fresno at 9:05 CST (Starters TBD)

Saturday the 19th: Round Rock at Fresno at TBD if necessary (Starters TBD)

Sunday the 20th: Round Rock at Fresno at TBD if necessary (Starters TBD)

CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Lost 1-3 to Midland in the Southern Division Playoffs


Season Over


LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Before They Were Astros: 3B/1B Matt Duffy

Jeremy Schmidt is back with another entry in his "Before They Were Astros" series, this time looking back at Matt Duffy on the heels of the news that Duffy will be joining the Astros tomorrow in Arlington. You can also read more about Duffy in my February 2012 interview with him and this June 2013 one as well. You can find Schmidt on twitter at @Jeremy_IP_TTM.

Matt Duffy - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen


Before They Were Astros: Matt Duffy

Matt Duffy has been called up to the Astros and is set to make his major league debut in Arlington against the Rangers this week. Duffy is a 6’3” 215 pound right handed corner infielder who the Astros drafted in the 20th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Tennessee. Duffy, in what has become a trademark of Houston drafts, is a high OBP player. How did he get to this point in his career? Keep reading to find out.

Matt Duffy played his high school baseball at a small all boys parochial school in Needham, Massachusetts named St. Sebastian’s School. It is a small school by many standards supporting an enrollment of only 375. While there Duffy batted .542 with 7 home runs to lead his team to the Massachusetts Independent School League title in 2007. He also pitched a shutout in the championship game.

Duffy went on to enroll at the University of Vermont where, as a freshman, he played all 51 games for the Catamounts. He acquitted himself quite well slashing .308/.363/.455 as a 19 year old. Duffy also pitched in 5 games picking up 2 saves with a 2.57 ERA. Despite Duffy’s impressive season the Catamounts didn’t make it to postseason play after finishing the season 27-24 and in the middle of the pack in conference play.

Returning to Vermont for the 2009 season Duffy continued his excellent performance and exceeded his freshman numbers rather easily. As a sophomore Duffy lead the team hitting .388 with a near .500 on base percentage. He hit 13 homeruns while driving in 57 in 50 games all while walking more than he struck out. Again the team’s success did not match Duffy’s as they missed postseason play. Duffy was named the American East Player of the Year to put a cap on his season. Early in that sophomore season, Duffy found out that Vermont would be ending its baseball program which resulted in his transfer to Tennessee to finish out his college career.

Matt Duffy’s first season at the University of Tennessee would see him move from shortstop to third base as he started 53 of 56 games. Duffy responded well to tougher competition hitting .304/.382/.444 on the season. He performed better as the season progressed hit .348 in SEC play. The Vols didn’t fair quite so well finishing conference play 12-18 finishing 10 games back of Preston Tucker and Nolan Fontana’s Florida Gators.

Duffy after going undrafted as a junior returned to Tennessee for his senior season. Much like the improvement between his freshman and sophomore years at Vermont, Duffy improved on his previous year’s performance by upping his slash line .312/.429/.497 again while walking more than he struck out. There wasn’t much more Duffy could do for his team as he lead the Vols in doubles, RBIs, walks, HBP, and OPS all while starting all 54 games.

Matt Duffy was selected with the 610th pick of the 2011 draft by the Astros and began his pro career with the short season Tri-City Valley Cats after signing. He would preform well to finish in his first taste of pro ball sporting an OPS of .787. 2012 would see Duffy promoted to the A level Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic league. Here Duffy would solidify himself as an interesting prospect as his power began to develop turning in 16 homeruns and 32 doubles. He posted a .387 OBP aided by 41 (yes 41) HBP.

2013 would see Duffy’s timeline sped up as he continued to prove himself capable at each level. Duffy began 2013 in hitter friendly Lancaster where he slashed .323/.397/.553 with 19 homeruns and 84 RBI in exactly 100 games. That performance led to a promotion to AA Corpus Christi for the final month of the season. Duffy’s 2014 season would begin with 2 more months with the Hooks where he improved on his final month of 2013 to post a AA total of 73 games with a line of .285/.326/.457. Following his promotion to AAA Oklahoma City to finish 2014, Duffy hit a quality .279/.333/.448 with 12 homeruns.

Matt Duffy returned to AAA for the start of the 2015 season, only this time to the new Astros’ AAA affiliate Fresno Grizzlies. Duffy’s 5th minor league season would be different than his first 4, oddly enough it would be a breakout season that somehow didn’t get him elected to a mid-season all-star team as he did in his first 4 seasons. Duffy’s season at Fresno was part of juggernaut team that will have to play for the PCL championship without him. He hit .294 with 20 homeruns and 104 RBI while scoring 94 runs on the way to winning the PCL MVP award and leading the Grizzlies to a franchise best 84-59 record and first playoff appearance since 1998.

Over the past few seasons the Astros’ marketing team has dubbed the day a highly touted prospect gets called up as the name of that prospect –day (SpringerDay, CorreaDay). In Duffy’s case the city of Fresno beat the Astros to the punch in proclaiming September 9th Matt Duffy day in recognition of his outstanding season and MVP award. Happy DuffyDayPartDuex Astros fans.

- Jeremy Schmidt -

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Astros Minor League Playoff Recaps

Results for Saturday, September 12, 2015

Another one bites the dust.....

....but Fresno is headed to the 'ship!

Fresno 7, El Paso 4 (Fresno wins series 3-1)

W- Brett Oberholtzer
L- Casey Kelly
S- James Hoyt (2)

Fresno home runs: Tyler White (solo in 3rd)

The Grizzlies won the PCL Pacific Conference Series (I don't know the official name, that's something I made up) as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead after 4 innings.

Brett Oberholtzer also had a fine start; in his 6.2 innings, the only complication he encountered was a solo shot hit by Hunter Renfroe in the 6th. Obie allowed 4 other hits and struck out 4. Renfroe struck again as he hit a 3-run shot off of Jordan Jankowski in the 8th. Jankowski allowed 2 other hits and struck out 1 in 1.1 innings. James Hoyt struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th to close out the series.

Jon Singleton scored the first run of the evening when Andrew Aplin grounded into a force out in the 2nd. Tyler Heineman later added an RBI groundout. Tyler White whacked a solo shot in the 3rd to put the Grizz up 3-0, and then Tony Kemp ripped a 2-run double in the 4th. In the 8th, Matt Duffy hit a sac fly, and White scored on an error following a fielder's choice. Aplin finished 3-5, while Kemp, Singleton, and Alex Presley had 2 hits apiece.

The Pacific Coast Championship Series will pit the Grizzlies against the Round Rock Express. This 5-game series will start in Round Rock on Tuesday.

Midland 4, Corpus Christi 1 (Midland wins series 3-1)

W- Jake Sanchez
L- Francis Martes
S- Brendan McCurry

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks' bats went quiet as the Hounds ended their season.

Jio Mier's RBI double in the 7th scored their 1 run. Alfredo Gonzalez, who scored that 1 run, finished 3-4.

Francis Martes allowed 4 runs on 8 hits (2 solos and a 2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 5 in 4 innings. Michael Freeman and Edison Frias both threw 2 scoreless innings; Freeman allowed 2 hits and struck out 2, and Frias allowed a hit, walked 1, and fanned 4.

Astros Daily Farm Report: 9/13

Everything you need to know from down on the farm ...

And now there's one, but for this one, it's a first!

TWEET OF THE DAY
Keep up with the latest Astros minor league roster moves here.

STANDINGS, RESULTS AND LAGNIAPPE

FRESNO

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 84-59 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title; won the conference series)

PACIFIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP (BEST OF FIVE)
Fresno wins the series 3-1

Wednesday: Fresno 9 over El Paso 1

Thursday: Fresno 5 over El Paso 4

Friday: El Paso 6 over Fresno 4

Saturday: Fresno 7 over El Paso 4
That's right! The Grizzlies are headed to the 'Ship for the first time in franchise history! Brett Oberholtzer's terrific start and some early scoring from the Grizzlies gave the team enough breathing room to weather a little bullpen storm later in the game.

Now the Grizzlies head to face the Texas Rangers affiliate Round Rock Express for a best-of-five series starting Tuesday the 15th at 7:05 CST at Round Rock with RHP Mike Hauschild starting for the Grizzlies, Game 2 will be in Round Rock on Wednesday the 16th with the final 3 games if all three are necessary returning to Fresno on Friday the 18th. Fresno led the regular season series against the Express 3 games to 1.



CORPUS CHRISTI

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 89-51 -.-GB W2 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

SOUTHERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS (BEST OF FIVE)
Midland wins the series 3-1


Wednesday: Corpus Christi 9 over Midland 2


Thursday: Midland 9 over Corpus Christi 3

Friday: Midland 9 over Corpus Christi 5

Saturday: Midland 4 over Corpus Christi 1
And so it ends. The Hooks just couldn't string together enough hits to scratch together more runs. The Rockhounds scored all of their runs via the long ball as Francis Martes served up three homers in his four innings. Michael Freeman and Edison Frias were sparkling in relief. C Alfredo Gonzalez went 3-for-4 and scored the Hooks only run.

LANCASTER

Final Regular Season Record: 3rd 75-65 3.0GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth via the wild card)

Playoff Record:
Lost 1-2 to High Desert in the South Division miniseries


Season Over

QUAD CITIES

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 88-50 -.-GB L1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched first half title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Cedar Rapids in Western Division Quaterfinals

Season Over
TRI-CITY

Final Regular Season Record: 1st 42-33 -.-GB W1 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record:
Lost 0-2 to Staten Island in Semifinal Championship Series


Season Over

GREENEVILLE

Final Regular Season Record: 2nd 34-33 5.5GB W1 (clinched playoff berth; won League Championship)

Playoff Record:
Won 2-1 in best-of-three semifinals over Kingsport
Won 2-1 in the best-of-three League Championship Series over Princeton

Season Over

GULF COAST LEAGUE

Record: 4th 19-41 16.5GB L7 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BLUE TEAM

Record: 1st 43-29 -.-GB L3 (Clinched playoff berth; clinched division title)

Playoff Record: 
Won first round of playoffs over DSL Blue Jays 2 games to 0
Lost second round of playoffs to DSL Rangers1 2 games to 0

Season Over

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ORANGE TEAM

Record: 5th 28-44 22.0GB W1 (Eliminated from postseason play)

Season Over