Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Looking back at the Astros 2011 Draft Class

Over the last few weeks, we've been looking back at some of the Astros draft classes to see where things stand. Let's check in on the Class of 2011. 2011 was the last year of the Ed Wade/Bobby Heck tandem (although Heck was still around in 2012 to help out new General Manager Jeff Luhnow).

Let's look at the numbers:

50 players drafted
35 players signed
3 players still in the Astros system
17 players still active in baseball in 2015*
4 have made their major league debuts

26 position players drafted/19 signed/2 still in the system
7 from high school/2 signed/0 still in the system
1 from junior college/0 signed
18 from college/17 signed/2 still in the system

24 pitchers drafted/16 signed/1 still in the system
6 from high school/3 signed/0 still in the system
6 from junior college/4 signed/1 still in the system
12 from college/9 signed/0 still in the system

*Of the 17 players who were still active in baseball in 2015, 13 of those were still playing in organized baseball, including five players who did not sign with Houston, but later signed with other teams; five who were traded (Houser, Lee, Tropeano, Lambson and Sosa); and three players who were still in the Astros system (Springer, Duffy and Perez). Two others were released by Houston and were still playing in independent ball in 2015, and two were still playing in college in 2015. Four of the players (Springer, Houser, Tropeano and Duffy) have made their major league debuts.

George Springer - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Here is a little on each of them. Players who signed with the Astros organization 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. OF George Springer (C)

Springer made his MLB debut for the Astros on April 16, 2014. He has hit .256/.354/.463 with 27 doubles, three triples and 36 home runs in 180 MLB games over the last two seasons.

2. RHP Adrian Houser (HS) - Traded in July 2015

Houser was dealt to the Brewers, along with OF Brett Phillips, OF Domingo Santana and LHP Josh Hader for OF Carlos Gomez and RHP Mike Fiers in July, and made his major league debut for the Brewers on September 26, 2015. He appeared in two major league games (two innings). In five minor league seasons, he has compiled a 4.16 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP.

3. RHP Jack Armstrong (C) - Voluntarily retired in 2014

Armstrong never threw a pitch for the Astros in competition. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and never made it back from the disabled list. Armstrong briefly tried to re-invent himself as a first baseman during Spring Training in 2014, but shortly thereafter announced his retirement.

4. LHP Chris Lee (JC) - Traded in May 2015

Lee was traded to the Orioles in May 2015 for international signing bonus slots. In five minor league seasons, Lee has compiled a 3.83 ERA and a 1.473 WHIP. The 23-year old ended the season with Baltimore's AA affiliate.

5. RHP Nick Tropeano (C) - Traded in 2014

Tropeano was traded in November 2014, along with C Carlos Perez, to the Angels for C Hank Conger. Tropeano split his 2015 season between AAA (4.81 ERA and 1.511 WHIP in 16 starts) and the majors (3.82 ERA and 1.327 WHIP in 8 games/7 starts).

6. OF Brandon Meredith (C) - Released in July 2015

Meredith was released in July after spending five seasons with the Astros. In 346 minor league games, he hit .263/.371/.466.

7. OF Javaris Reynolds (HS) - Released in 2014

Reynolds failed to progress beyond the Gulf Coast League in three seasons. He hit .213/.323/.243 in 106 games before being released in January 2014.

8. RHP Brandon Culbreth (HS) - Retired in July 2015

Culbreth spent his 2014 on Team Rehab after undergoing Tommy John surgery and only pitched in three games in 2015 before deciding to retire. His entire minor league career consisted of 50 innings pitched with a 6.84 ERA and a 1.920 WHIP.

9. RHP Jonas Dufek (C) - Voluntary release in June 2015

Dufek was another pitcher coming back from rehab who decided to hang it up in 2015. He was having a great deal of success out of the bullpen prior to the surgery and ended his time with the Astros with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.413 WHIP over four seasons.

10. LHP Kyle Hallock (C) - Released in 2014

Hallock pitched for three seasons in the system, ending with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.553 WHIP in 59 games (37 starts) before being released in March 2014.

11. OF Justin Gominsky (C) - Released in 2014

After missing most of 2013 due to a wrist injury, Gominsky was released after playing only five games for Lancaster in 2014. He went on to play a few games in independent ball before hanging up his cleats. In a total of 183 games over four seasons, he hit .233/.309/.287.

12. C Miles Hamblin (C) - Released in 2013

Hamblin missed most of 2012 on the DL and ended up playing in only 96 games in three seasons before his June 2013 release. Playing at catcher and first base, he hit .241/.337/.353.

13. 2B John Hinson (C) - Released in 2013

Hinson played in the Astros system for two seasons, hitting .299/.349/.421 in 58 games. He missed most of the 2012 season and was released in March 2013.

14. RHP Gandy Stubblefield (HS) - Did not sign

Stubblefield played for Texas A&M before transferring to the University of West Alabama prior to the 2015 season. He was drafted from that school by the Phillies in the 28th round in 2015 and had a 3.44 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in 14 bullpen appearances (six saves) in his first pro season.

15. 1B Zach Johnson (C) - Released in 2013

Johnson made it as far as AA Corpus Christi before being released in August 2013. In 268 games over three seasons, he hit .252/.339/.403.

16. LHP Scott Zuloaga (JC) - Released after the 2012 season

Zuloaga pitched in 57 games out of the bullpen in the Astros system over two seasons with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP and was released at some point following the 2012 season.

17. RHP Tyson Perez (JC)

Perez spent the vast majority of the 2015 season pitching for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies and compiled a 2.45 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP in 42 bullpen appearances for the season. Perez was shut down early and reportedly underwent Tommy John surgery.

18. RHP Kevin Miller (C) - Did not sign

Miller played his final season for the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. It does not appear that he ever played professionally.

19. LHP Mitch Lambson (C) - Traded in July 2015

Lambson was traded to the Braves in July for cash considerations. In 40 bullpen appearances between AA and AAA for both the Houston and Braves organizations, Lambson had a 2.35 ERA and a 1.151 WHIP for the season.

20. 3B Matt Duffy (C)

Duffy made his major league debut for the Astros on September 16, 2015, but only had nine plate appearances for the season, hitting .375/.444/.500. In his season with the AAA Fresno Grizzlies, Duffy hit .293/.367/.471 in 127 games, splitting his time between third base and first base.

21. SS Jimmy Howick (C) - Released in 2012

Howick didn't play at all in 2011 and was released in November 2012 after hitting only .193/.264/.275 in 74 games in the 2012 season.

22. OF Drew Muren (C) - Released in 2014

After three years in the Astros system, Muren was released in March 2014 and has since played in independent ball. For his career, he is hitting .276/.348/.398.

23. 2B Ruben Sosa (C) - Traded in 2015

Sosa played in the Astros system from 2011 through 2014. In April 2015, Sosa was loaned to the Mexican League for a time before being traded to the Angels for cash in late May 2015. In 339 minor league games, he has hit .261/.344/.365.

24. 1B Jesse Wierzbicki (C) - Released in 2014

Wierzbicki plays for three seasons in the Astros system before his release in March 2014, hitting .271/.362/.409 in 235 games.

25. OF Billy Flamion (HS) - Did not sign

Flamion was drafted by the Dodgers in 2013 and played for them for two seasons before being released in June 2015. He had a 3.00 ERA and a 1.533 WHIP in 35 games and never progressed beyond rookie level.

26. RHP Jared Fisher (HS) - Did not sign

Fisher was drafted by the Dodgers in 2014 and played one season in that organization with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP in 13 appearances prior to his release in June 2015.

27. SS Alex Todd (C) Voluntarily retired after 2012 season

Todd spent two seasons with the Astros, hitting .260/.349/.362 in 125 games prior to his offseason retirement after the 2012 season.

28. LHP Jordan John (C) - Did not sign

John was subsequently drafted by the Tigers in the 6th round in 2012 and spent three seasons in that organization, compiling a 3.33 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP in 29 appearances, prior to his release or retirement after the 2014 season.

29. OF Wallace Gonzalez (HS) - Released in 2014

Gonzalez spent three seasons in the Astros system, hitting .225/.284/.329 in 89 games, prior to his May 2014 release.

30. 3B Jordan Steranka (C) - Did not sign

Steranka was re-drafted by the Pirates in 2012 and has played in that system for three seasons, hitting .258/.277/.356 in 221 games. He has spent the last two seasons with the Pirates High A affiliate playing mostly first base.

31. OF Jarrod McKinney (C) - Released in 2012

McKinney only played two seasons in the Astros system, hitting .206/.279/.305 in 83 games prior to his November 2012 release.

32. RHP Zach Dando (JC) - Released in 2014

Dando played three seasons in the Astros system prior to his release in March 2014. After sitting out the 2014 season, Dando played independent ball in 2015. He has a career 3.80 ERA and a 1.367 WHIP.

33. OF Dominique Taylor (JC) - Did not sign

Taylor was re-drafted by the Royals in the 15th round in 2013. In three seasons in that organization, he has a .273/.328/.397 batting line. Taylor spent the 2015 season with the Royals High A affiliate.

34. RHP Dustin Kellogg (HS) - Died October 2011

Kellogg died in an auto accident just months after signing with the Astros. He only pitched a handful of innings in his time with the Gulf Coast League Astros in 2011.

35. RHP Chris Morales (HS) - Did not sign

It appears that Morales played with the University of Houston for a short time, but never played professionally.

36. C Kevin Gonzalez (C) - Released/Retired in 2012

Gonzalez played in only 13 games in 2011 (hitting .250/.333/.313) and was either released or retired prior to the 2012 season.

37. RHP Steve Martin (C) - Released in 2012

Martin also only played in only a handful of games in 2011 and was released prior to the 2012 season. He had a 6.00 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP in 16 games for Greeneville. Martin, drafted out of Texas A&M, had the distinction of being born in Swaziland.

38. RHP Brad Propst (C) - Released in 2012

Propst played for two seasons in the Astros system, compiling a 5.65 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in 34 games prior to his release in November 2012.

39. RHP David Haerle (JC) - Did not sign

It does not appear that Haerle ever played professionally.

40. RHP Buddy Lamothe (JC) - Did not sign

Lamothe was on the Astros draft board until he was paralyzed in a swimming accident. Drafting him was a symbolic gesture made to both honor him and bring attention to a fund set up to help his family with his needs. Later in the 2011 season, Lamothe threw out the first pitch at an Astros game and was awarded with an accessible van by former Astros owner Drayton McClane.

41. 1B Chase Davidson (C) - Retired after the 2013 season

Davidson was first drafted by the Astros in the third round in 2008, but did not sign and went on to the University of Georgia. Davidson battled injuries in his three seasons with the Astros. He only played in 63 games (19 over his final two seasons), hitting .289/.371/.540 before retiring after the 2013 season.

42. OF Hoke Granger (HS) - Did not sign

Granger was a junior at Troy University in Troy, Alabama in 2015. He has not been re-drafted at this time.

43. OF David Grimes (HS) - Did not sign

It does not appear that Grimes ever went on to play in college or professionally.

44. RHP Blake Ford (C) - Released in 2012

Ford spent two seasons in the Astros organization, going 4-6 with 22 saves and compiling a 2.53 ERA and a 1.388 WHIP in 47 games.

45. OF Chris Epps (C) - Released in June 2014

After a mid-season release by the Astros, Epps played the remainder of the 2014 season in independent ball, but did not play in 2015. He ended his minor league career hitting .260/.371/.470 in 274 games over four seasons.

46. 1B Justin Shults (C) - Released after the 2011 season

Shults only made it one season in the system, hitting .224/.317/.379 in 51 games.

47. LHP Zachary Hardoin (C) - Released in July 2012

Hardoin was released during the 2012 season after posting a 4.15 ERA and a 1.384 WHIP in 24 appearances. His release was reportedly due to off-field issues.

48. C A.J. Murray (HS) - Did not sign

Murray was re-drafted by the Twins in the 14th round in 2015 out of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. In his first season, he hit .264/.366/.409 in 51 games and had a 32% caught stealing rate in 27 games behind the plate.

49. RHP David Peterson (C) - Did not sign

Peterson was re-drafted by the Braves in the 8th round in 2012 out of the College of Charleston. In four seasons with that organization, he is 10-4 with 21 saves, a 2.84 ERA and a 1.254 WHIP in 83 appearances (four starts). He ended the season with their AAA affiliate.

50. OF Colton Davis (HS) - Did not sign

Davis was a junior with Western Carolina in 2015.

Previous draft reviews:

2007 Draft
2008 Draft
2009 Draft
2010 Draft

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Astros Farm Report: 11/29

A couple of new Astros minor league pitchers and the Astros spring training schedule has been released, but first things first.


11-29: RHP Dean Deetz (22)
11-30: RHP Agapito Barrios (22)
11-30: 3B Luis Valbuena (30)
12-1: RHP Dan Straily (27)
12-2: Miguelangel Sierra (18)
12-2: IF Kristian Trompiz (20)
12-4: OF Carlos Gomez (30)
12-4: RHP Joe Musgrove (23)
12-4: DH/OF/1B Jose Hernandez (20)


Here is how the Astros players participating in fall and winter leagues have fared to date (through Saturday, the 28th, unless otherwise noted):

3B J.D. Davis - .279/.329/.456 in 17 games
OF Derek Fisher - .254/.397/.424 in 17 games
IF Chan-Jong Moon - .093/.241/.116 in 13 games
1B A.J. Reed - .231/.326/.385 in 11 games
LHP Chris Cotton - 1.17 ERA/0.783 WHIP in 8 games (7.2IP)
LHP Brian Holmes - 1.13 ERA/1.250 WHIP in 6 games (16.0IP)
LHP Albert Minnis - 2.31 ERA/1.200 WHIP in 9 games (11.2IP)
RHP Keegan Yuhl - 7.88 ERA/1.625 WHIP in 8 games (8.0IP)

New Astro Brendan McCurry, obtained in the Jed Lowrie trade last week, went 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP in 11 games (13.1 IP) in the Arizona Fall League.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE (stats thru Friday only)
C Tyler Heineman - .190/.288/.224 in 19 games - no longer playing
OF Teoscar Hernandez - .100/.100/.100 in 3 games
1B/DH Tyler White - .287/.417/.500 in 29 games
RHP Jake Buchanan - 2.01 ERA/0.830 WHIP in 7 games (31.1IP) - not currently playing
LHP Reymin Guduan - 2.89 ERA/1.714 WHIP in 11 games (9.1IP)
RHP Jandel Gustave - 2.35 ERA/1.239 WHIP in 13 games (15.1IP)
RHP Angel Heredia - 13.50 ERA/2.500 WHIP in 2 games (2.0IP) - not currently playing
RHP Jordan Jankowski - 40.50 ERA and 4.498 WHIP in 1 game (0.2IP)
RHP Juan Minaya - 12.79 ERA/2.842 WHIP in 6 games (6.1IP) - not currently playing

Heineman headed home as Teoscar Hernandez just got going. White's bat started heating up again; he went 5-for-13 with a home run in his last three games. I don't know if Buchanan is back home now as well, but he didn't play last week. Guduan and Gustave both had very good relief outings, but newcomer Jordan Jankowski most decidedly did not.

IF Arturo Michelena - .083/.083/.083 in 8 games (only 12 at-bats; has been playing in the Liga Paralela)
IF Kristian Trompiz - 2 games as pinch runner; no at-bats (has been playing in the Liga Paralela)
OF Danry Vasquez - .292/.338/.431 in 36 games
*RHP Ruben "R.J." Alaniz - 2.70 ERA/1.200 WHIP in 6 games (23.1IP)
RHP Chris Devenski - 5.21 ERA/1.579 in 5 games (19.0IP)
RHP James Hoyt - 1.86 ERA/1.035 WHIP in 19 games (19.1IP)

*Free agent

Danry Vasquez had a nice couple of games on Friday and Saturday, going 6-for-10 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored. Devenski had a very nice start on Monday getting his first win of his winter league campaign (5.0IP 4H 1R 0BB 7SO). Alaniz also had a good start on Tuesday, going 5.2 innings and allowing four hits, no runs and one walk while striking out seven, but allowed two runs in two innings of relief last night. Hoyt made his first appearance in a week last night, allowing two hits and a walk over one and a third innings, but keeping it scoreless (and earning the save) due to a couple of well timed strikeouts.

OF Leo Heras - .268/.394/.463 in 26 games - not currently playing
RHP Enrique Chavez - 9.00 ERA/3.000 WHIP in 1 game (1.0IP) - not currently playing
RHP Jose Hernandez - 1.65 ERA/1.061 WHIP in 7 games (27.1IP)
RHP Juan Robles - 4.02 ERA/1.277 WHIP in 10 games (15.2IP)
RHP Gonzalo Sanudo - 3.68 ERA/0.818 WHIP in 7 games (7.1IP)

Hernandez got a tough luck 1-0 loss as he allowed only one run on three hits and no walks in his five innings on Tuesday. Sanudo was perfect in two innings of relief last night but got beaten up a little earlier in the week.

C Jake Bowey - .094/.171/.094 in 10 games
IF Jared Cruz - .091/.091/.091 in 7 games - not currently playing
1B Connor MacDonald - .156/.264/.267 in 19 games
IF/OF Marc Wik - .273/.385/.364 in 22 games
RHP Kevin Comer - 16.88 ERA/4.499 WHIP in 4 games (2.2IP) - not currently playing

Wik had another nice week, going 5-for-15 with two runs, two walks and two stolen bases.

OF Edwin Medina - .267/.368/.333 in 11 games (15AB)
OF Alexander Melendez - .000/.000/.000 in 4 games (1AB)
C Roberto Pena - .111/.200/.139 in 12 games
C Max Stassi - .280/.333/.520 in 8 games - hasn't played since 11/14
RHP Travis Ballew - 3.52 ERA/1.263 WHIP in 9 games (12.2IP)

Ballew continued to whittle away on that ERA with three more scoreless outings this past week.


For those headed to Spring Training, the Astros schedule has now been released.

Astros scout Jim Stevenson talks about scouting Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel "just checked all the boxes." It was a "no-brainer" for him.

RHP Brendan McCurry came to the Astros in a trade with Oakland for Jed Lowrie and RHP Cy Sneed came from the Brewers for Jonathan Villar. You can find more about McCurry, a right-handed relief pitcher with good command and an enviable strikeout-to-walk ratio here and more about Sneed, a starting pitcher who has made it as far as High A in his second season here. McCurry made it to AA in his second season and was placed at #30 on the Astros MLB Pipeline prospect list after the trade, replacing Kyle Smith who sat out 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Keep up with all the Astros offseason action here.