Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Looking Back at the 2009 Astros Draft Class

Over the last couple of weeks, we've been looking back at some of the Astros draft classes to see where things stand. Today we'll look at 2009, the second class from the Ed Wade/Bobby Heck era. Let's look at the numbers:

51 players drafted
36 players signed (only one out of the top 26 picks did not sign)
2 players still in the Astros system
15 players still active in organized baseball in 2015*

26 position players drafted/19 signed/1 still in the system
10 from high school/6 signed/1 still in the system
4 from junior college/2 signed/0 still in the system
12 from college/11 signed/0 still in the system

25 pitchers drafted/17 signed/1 still in the system
9 from high school/3 signed/0 still in the system
1 from junior college/1 signed/0 still in the system
15 from college/13 signed/1 still in the system

*Of the 15 players who were still active in baseball in 2015, five are players who did not sign with Houston, but later signed with other affiliated teams, one who did not sign and has only played independent ball, five who were released (Nash, Meyer, Hyatt, Martinez and Rivera), two who were traded (Hernandez and Goebbert), and two who are left in the system from the original draft (Mier and Keuchel). Of those who are still active, 10 are in affiliated ball, five are in independent ball and six have made their major league debuts (Hernandez, Keuchel, Goebbert, Martinez, Saladino and Rodriguez).

Dallas Keuchel - March 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Here is a little on each of them. Players who were signed by the Astros players are in bold. The position shown is the position at which the player was drafted, and I have also indicated in parentheses whether they were drafted out of high school (HS), junior college (JC) or college (C).

1. SS Jiovanni Mier (HS) - Slated to be a minor league free agent this year

Mier spent his 2015 season with the AA Corpus Christi Hooks, hitting .258/.350/.372 in 109 games. Since Mier will become a minor league free agent at the end of this season, he could very well have seen his final days in the Astros system unless they re-sign him.

2. RHP Tanner Bushue (HS) - Retired in 2013

Bushue retired at the end of the 2013 season after pitching in the Astros system for five seasons. He had a career ERA of 4.99 and a WHIP of 1.391.

3. OF Telvin Nash (HS) - Released in May 2015

After being released by the Astros in May, Nash hooked up with the York Revolution in the Atlantic League, hitting .270/.391/.516 in 64 games. In his seven seasons in the Astros minor leagues, he hit .241/.336/.479 in 461 games.

3s. 3B Jonathan Meyer (HS) - Released in March 2015

Meyer was picked up briefly by the Padres after his release in March but was subsequently released by that team and picked up by the Rangers organization in June 2015. He played mostly at 1B and C for that organization's Low A affiliate. His career batting line to date is .245/.309/.349 in 732 games.

4. RHP B.J. Hyatt (JC) - Released in 2013

Hyatt played in only eight games (19.1 innings) in 2009 (8.84 ERA and 2.172 WHIP) before spending the next three seasons on the DL. He was released in June 2013 and went on to play independent ball in 2013 through 2015 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.536 WHIP.

5. SS Brandon Wikoff (C) - Released in March 2014

Wikoff played in the system from 2009 through 2013 and was released in March of 2014. In his final two seasons, he missed a lot of time due to injuries, including injuries suffered in a car accident during Spring Training in 2013. After his release, he played independent ball in 2014. He has a lifetime batting line of .270/.346/.300.

6. SS Enrique "Kiké" Hernandez (HS) - Traded in July 2014

Hernandez segued into a second baseman and later a utility player prior to making his MLB debut for the Astros on July 1, 2014. He was traded later that month, along with Jarred Cosart and Austin Wates, for Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, Colin Moran and a 2015 compensatory pick (which turned into OF Daz Cameron). In December 2014, the Marlins traded Hernandez to the Dodgers. In 76 games for the Dodgers in 2015, he hit .307/.346/.490.

7. LHP Dallas Keuchel (C)

Gee, I wonder whatever happened to that guy? What happened is that Keuchel built on a terrific season in 2014 to become the Astros staff ace in 2015, earning 20 wins with a 2.48 ERA and a MLB-leading 1.017 WHIP. Keuchel earned a Gold Glove in 2014 and made the 2015 All-Star team. He is a finalist Gold Glove candidate in 2015 and is a leading contender for the 2015 AL Cy Young Award.

8. RHP Brandt Walker (C) - Released in 2012

Walker pitched in the system in 2009 and 2010 and then spent 2011 on the DL before being released in March 2012. He has a lifetime ERA of 7.14 and a WHIP of 1.882.

9. SS Ben Orloff (C) - Retired in 2013

Orloff put up a .283/.363/.329 batting line in 355 games over five seasons before voluntarily retiring in June 2013 to become an assistant coach for his alma mater, U.C. Irvine. He was elevated to Associate Head Coach for the 2015 season.

10. 3B Erik Castro (C) - Released in 2014

Castro played in the Houston system from 2009 until his release in June 2014 (missing the 2010 season to injury) and then played independent ball until he was picked up by the Braves organization in mid-August. After his release in December 2014, Castro retired from playing and is now working for PSI Sports Management. In a total of 459 games over five seasons played, he had a line of .271/.362/.456, playing the bulk of his games at first base.

11. C Bubby Williams (JC) - Released in 2012

Williams played three seasons in the Astros system before his release in March 2012 and three additional seasons in independent ball from 2012 through 2014 with a .223/.248/.351 career line.

12. RHP Geoff Thomas (HS) - Did not sign

Thomas went on to play for the University of Southern Mississippi. It does not appear that he ever played professionally.

13. OF Jake Goebbert (C) - Traded in 2013

Goebbert played in the Astros system until his April 2013 trade to Oakland for Travis Blackley and was subsequently traded to San Diego in May 2014, for whom he made his major league debut on June 20, 2014. In 51 MLB games for the Padres in 2014, he hit .218/.313/.317. He spent all of 2015 playing for the Padres' AAA affiliate, hitting .294/.392/.452 in 122 games.

14. LHP David Berner (C) - Released in 2011

Berner pitched in 90 games over three seasons for the Houston organization with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.644 WHIP.

15. OF Ryan Humphrey (JC) - Released in 2011

Humphrey played two seasons in the system, hitting .215/.278/.276, and was released in March 2011.

16. 1B Ronald Sanchez (HS) - Released in 2011

Sanchez was released in November 2011 after playing three seasons, hitting .174/.268/.203.

17. RHP Justin Harper (C) - Released in 2010

Harper was released after the 2010 season, and was picked up by the Angels (very) briefly in 2011. After one season in independent ball in 2012, he ended with a career 5.08 ERA and 1.656 WHIP.

18. RHP J.B. (James) MacDonald (C) - Released in 2011

MacDonald played one year in 2009, sat out on the restricted list in 2010 and was released in February 2011. He had a 2.53 ERA, a 1.344 WHIP and 8 saves in 23 games.

19. OF Brian Kemp (C) - Released in 2011

Kemp played in the system in 2009 and 2010 with a .244/.347/.285 batting line prior to his January 2011 release.

20. OF J.D. Martinez (C) - Released in 2014

Martinez made his major league debut for Houston on July 30, 2011, just a little over two years after he was drafted. After playing for Houston in three seasons (.251/.300/.387), he was released in March of 2014 and signed by the Tigers two days later. In two seasons for Detroit, Martinez has hit .296/.350/.543. Sigh.

21. 2B Barry Butera (C) - Released/retired after the 2010 season

I don't have the date of his release or retirement, but Butera did not play again after the 2010 season. In 127 games over two seasons, he hit .246/.312/.322.

22. RHP Mark Jones (HS) - Released in 2011

Jones was released after three seasons in the system in which he had a 4.79 ERA and a 1.777 WHIP.

23. RHP Robby Donovan (C) - Released in 2012

Donvan was released in March 2012 after playing in three season with the organization. He played an additional season in independent ball in 2012 and finished his career with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.470 WHIP.

24. LHP Mike Modica (C) - Released in 2011

Modica pitched in the system for two seasons and had a 4.18 ERA and a 1.546 WHIP.

25. 1B Nick Stanley (C) - Released in 2010

Stanley played for two seasons with a .214/.294/.312 batting line.

26. 1B Matt Pare (HS) - Did not sign

Pare signed with the Giants as a non-drafted free agent in June 2013 as a catcher. In three seasons, he has hit .217/.326/.328 in 87 games.

27. 3B Aaron Bray (C) - Released in 2010

Bray played in the organization for two seasons, predominantly at first base, hitting .256/.344/.317.

28. RHP Eric Anderson (HS) - Did not sign

Anderson played at the University of Missouri from 2010 through 2014 (missing the better part of a year after undergoing TJ surgery) and then pitched in independent ball in 2014 and 2015. In 25 appearances, he had a 2.75 ERA and a 1.194 WHIP.

29. OF Garen Wright (HS) - Released in 2012

Wright played in the organization for three seasons and then was released after sitting out the 2012 season. In 99 games, he hit .222/.304/.277.

30. RHP Brandon Petite (HS) - Did not sign

It appears that Petite played one season for Texas Tech in 2010, but never played professionally.

31. LHP Travis Smink (C) - Released in 2011

Smink pitched in the Astros system for three seasons with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.371 WHIP.

32. RHP Greg Peavey (C) - Did not sign

Peavey was drafted out of Oregon State in the 6th round in 2010 by the Mets and has played in that system from 2011 through 2014 until being picked up by the Twins in the December 2014 Rule 5 draft. In five minor league seasons, he has a 4.60 ERA and a 1.332 WHIP in 148 games (106 starts).

33. RHP Brenden Stines (C) - Released in 2011

Stines was released in March 2011 after pitching in the system for two seasons with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.611 WHIP.

34. RHP Scott Migl (C) - Released in 2010

Migl only pitched for the organization for one season in 2009 and then one season in independent ball in 2010. He had a career 5.85 ERA and 1.902 WHIP.

35. OF Grant Hogue (C) - Retired in 2013

Hogue played in the system for four seasons, but struggled with injuries that final season. In a total of 322 games, he hit .289/.361/.357.

36. SS Tyler Saladino (JC) - Did not sign

Saladino was drafted by the White Sox in 2010 out of Oral Roberts University and has played in that organization from 2010 through 2015, making his major league debut July 10, 2015. In 68 games at the major league level, he has hit .225/.267/.335 playing the majority of his time at third base.

37. RHP Raul Rivera (HS) - Released October 2014

Rivera missed 2011 on the DL, but otherwise played in the Astros system from 2009 through 2014 before his release in late 2014. He moved on to independent ball in 2015 and has a career 3.26 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP.

38. OF Sean Barksdale (C) - Released in 2010

Barksdale was released in March 2010 after playing only one season in the system, hitting .175/.234/.301.

39. RHP Rory Young (HS) - Did not sign

It appears that Young played for five different colleges (an injury after four games in 2012 earned him a medical redshirt). It doesn't appear that he has played professionally.

40. RHP Dan Sarisky (C) - Released in 2010

Sarisky pitched in the organization for two seasons with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.648 WHIP.

41. C Carlos Escobar (HS) - Did not sign

Escobar was drafted by the Cubs in the 15th round in 2012 out of the University of Nevada-Reno and played in their system for two years prior to his release in March 2014. Escobar went on to play one more season in independent ball and ended with a career .229/.316/.258 batting line.

42. OF Ivory Thomas (HS) - Did not sign

Drafted by the Twins in the 34th round in 2013, Thomas played in two seasons for that organization, hitting .198/.414/.275. He was released in June 2014.

43. RHP Anthony Tzamtzis (HS) - Did not sign

Tzamtzis was drafted out of North Carolina State in the 32nd round in 2013 by the Rays. He had a 5.23 ERA and a 1.645 WHIP in 2013 and 2014. He did not play in 2015 and was released in July.

44. RHP Mike Schurz (C) - Released in 2010

Schurz pitched for two seasons in the Astros system and one additional season in 2011 in independent ball and ended his career with a 5.37 ERA and a 1.612 WHIP.

45. 2B Adrian Morales (JC) - Did not sign

Morales was drafted by the Royals in the 49th round in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina. Playing predominantly at third base over three seasons and hitting .223/.335/.308, he was released in June 2013.

46. SS Justin Gonzalez (HS) - Did not sign

Gonzalez was drafted by the Dodgers in the 27th round in 2012 and did not sign and was drafted once more in the 9th round in 2014 out of Florida State University by the D'Backs. He hit .198/.314/.382 in 40 games in 2014 and was released in March 2015.

47. RHP Matt Branham (C) - Did not sign

Branham was drafted by the Padres in the 27th round in 2010 out of the University of South Carolina Upstate. He played for five seasons with that organization prior to his release in March 2015. He went on to play in independent ball in 2015 and has a career 4.19 ERA and a 1.346 WHIP.

48. LHP Paco Rodriguez (HS) - Did not sign

Rodriguez was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in 2012 out of the University of Florida and made his major league debut later that year on September 9th (at the ripe old age of 21). He pitched in 124 games for the Dodgers over four seasons with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.996 WHIP prior to a July 2015 trade that sent him to the Braves organization. He did not pitch for Atlanta in 2015 and has reportedly undergone Tommy John surgery.

49. 1B Matt Smith (C) - Did not sign

Smith was signed by the Marlins as a non-drafted free agent in November 2011 and was released in August 2013 after hitting .271/.344/.471.

50. LHP Spencer Hylander (C) - Released in 2010

Hylander only pitched in the organization for one season with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.154 WHIP and pitched an additional season in independent ball in 2010, ending his career with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP.

Previous draft reviews:

2007 Draft
2008 Draft

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Astros Farm Report: 11/1

More accolades for Astros farm hands, but first things first ....


11-1: LHP Tommy Shirley (27) (Oops! Tommy doesn't celebrate until the 11th.)
11-5: LHP Albert Minnis (24)
11-6: RHP Juan Robles (18)


Here is how the Astros players participating in fall and winter leagues have fared to date (through Saturday, the 31st):

3B J.D. Davis - .231/.310/.462 in 7 games
OF Derek Fisher - .167/.375/.208 in 8 games
IF Chan-Jong Moon - .118/.200/.118 in 5 games
1B A.J. Reed - .257/.357/.429 in 10 games
LHP Chris Cotton - 1.93 ERA/1.071 WHIP in 5 games (4.2IP)
LHP Brian Holmes - 0.82 ERA/1.182 WHIP in 4 games (11.0IP)
LHP Albert Minnis - 1.59 ERA/0.882 WHIP in 4 games (5.2IP)
RHP Keegan Yuhl - 5.79 ERA/0.857 WHIP in 4 games (4.2IP)

Holmes has continued to shine, allowing only one earned run in his four starts while Yuhl has been perfect in his last three outings. Minnis has been strong as well, but Cotton allowed a couple of unearned runs across in his last outing.

On the offensive side, Davis and Reed have started to kick it up a notch, going 4-for-11 and 5-for-15 respectively over the last week.

C Tyler Heineman - .189/.282/.212 in 10 games
1B/DH Tyler White - .317/.429/.610 in 11 games
RHP Jake Buchanan - 1.50 ERA/0.667 WHIP in 3 games (12.0IP)
LHP Reymin Guduan - 0.00 ERA/1.000 WHIP in 5 games (5.0IP)
RHP Jandel Gustave - 0.00 ERA/1.384 WHIP in 4 games (2.0IP)
RHP Angel Heredia - 13.50 ERA/2.500 WHIP in 2 games (2.0IP) - DNP last week
RHP Juan Minaya - 12.60 ERA/1.800 WHIP in 4 games (5.0IP)

Tyler White continues to make fans in yet another country and currently boasts a very healthy 1.038 OPS. Jake Buchanan has been excellent in his three appearances (two starts). And Gustave and Guduan, the mirror image heat throwers, have not allowed an earned run yet in relief.

IF Kristian Trompiz - 2 games as pinch runner; no at-bats (DNP last two weeks; he is playing in the Liga Paralela)
OF Danry Vasquez - .292/.347/.477 in 18 games
RHP Ruben "R.J." Alaniz -3.60 ERA/1.200 WHIP in 1 game (5.0IP)
RHP James Hoyt - 0.96 ERA/0.964 WHIP in 9 games (9.1IP)

Vasquez continues to put up a very solid season for Caracas. Alaniz joined Vasquez's team and got his first start last week. Hoyt gave up his first and only run allowed on a solo home run last week.

OF Leo Heras - .300/.475/.500 in 11 games
RHP Enrique Chavez - 9.00 ERA/3.000 WHIP in 1 game (1.0IP) - DNP last two weeks
RHP Jose Hernandez - 1.80 ERA/1.000 WHIP in 2 games (5.0IP)
RHP Juan Robles - 0.00 ERA/0.700 WHIP in 5 games (10.0IP)

Heras is having a great start, but Robles is doing the best of the bunch and he won't even be 18 until later this week!

C Jake Bowey - .000/.067/.000 in 3 games
IF Jared Cruz - .091/.091/.091 in 7 games
1B Connor MacDonald - .294/.409/.529 in 6 games
IF/OF Marc Wik - .379/.455/.483 in 7 games
RHP Kevin Comer - 27.00 ERA/4.800 WHIP in 3 games (1.2IP)

MacDonald and Wik continue to enjoy their time down under. Comer's first two outings were really tough, but his third was much better; let's hope he can build on that.

OF Robbie Grossman - .000/.250/.000 in 1 game
OF Edwin Medina - .000/.000/.000 in 1 game
C Roberto Pena - .333/.500/.333 in 1 game
C Max Stassi - .500/.750/.500 in 1 game
RHP Travis Ballew - 0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP in 1 game (2.0IP)
LHP Luis Cruz - 33.75 ERA/9.002 WHIP in 1 game (1.1IP)

The Puerto Rican Winter League, also known as the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, had its start Friday. Pena, Stassi and Ballew got off to a good start, but Luis Cruz (with 7 hits, 5 runs and 5 walks allowed in 1.1IP) is in serious need of a do-over.


Minor League Baseball started rolling out their annual MiLBy awards and a couple of Astros made the list as top offensive players. 1B A.J. Reed won the staff vote and 1B/3B/DH and Catcher-to-be Tyler White earned the fan vote. The full story is here. And here are the fan voting results, featuring White, Reed and former Astros farm hands Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana. The Fresno Grizzlies were robbed in the Promo of the Year category with their Taco Truck Throwdown losing out to the Staten Island Yankees Game of Thrones night. More winners will be announced in the coming days.

Also, Alyson Footer checked in with Astros SS Carlos Correa on his tour of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

And, in case you missed it, Justine Seigel is my new hero.