Monday, July 4, 2016

Astros Farm Report: Supersized July 4th Edition

Lots of links, a mini-soapbox, a favorite former Astro and more, but first things first ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

7-4: 3B Bobby Wernes (22)
7-6: OF Hector Martinez (18)
7-6: OF Preston Tucker (26)
7-7: RHP Diosward Gonzalez (21)
7-8: LHP Sean Stutzman (23)
7-9: RHP Edgardo Sandoval (20)
7-10: C Ruben Castro (20)

Birthday Boy Bobby Wernes - May 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

TRANSACTIONS/ROSTER MOVES

7-2: C Alfredo Gonzalez traded to the White Sox for cash
7-1: LHP Alex Winkelman to GCL for rehab assignment
6-30: RHP Reggie Johnson assigned from the GCL to Greeneville
6-30: OF Teoscar Hernandez assigned from Corpus Christi to Fresno
6-30: SS/3B Alex Bregman assigned from Corpus Christi to Fresno
6-30: IF Jack Mayfield assigned from Fresno to Corpus Christi
6-30: LHP Albert Minnis assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
6-30: RHP David Paulino placed on the Corpus Christi 7-day DL retroactive to 6-28
6-28: IF Chan-Jong Moon assigned from Fresno to Corpus Christi
6-28: LHP Chris Cotton to Tri-City on a rehab assignment
6-27: Astros signed FA RHP Manuel Gonzalez (released by Padres 6-15); assigned to the GCL 6-28
6-27: RHP Gonzalo Sanudo assigned from Corpus Christi to Lancaster

Also, according to Baseball America, the Astros signed the following international free agents as a part of the July international signing period:

SS Freudis Nova, Dominican Republic, #5 ranked prospect
SS Yorbin Ceuta, Venezuela, #11 ranked prospect
RHP Angel Macuare, Venezuela, #40 ranked prospect
C Nerio Rodriguez, Dominican Republic, #43 ranked prospect
SS Deurys Carrasco, Dominican Republic, #46 ranked prospect
SS Jeury Castillo, Dominican Republic
RHP Jairo Solis, Venezuela
C Jose Alvarez, Venezuela
RHP Angel Ortega, Venezuela
RHP Ronny Garcia, Dominican Republic
SS Sean Mendoza, Venezuela
OF Leonardo Gonzalez, Venezuela

And, finally, I've updated the 2016 draft list by noting the players who have yet to sign (as of 7/3) according to Baseball America. The signing deadline is July 15th.

STANDINGS

Since we last checked in on the standings, Fresno has gone 6-3 and is now above .500. In addition, they have crept somewhat closer to the division-leading Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) and now only lag behind the second place Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) by one game.

The Hooks are 4-3 in their last seven and have dropped to second place in the second half standings, one game behind Midland (Oakland). However, they are assured of a playoff berth regardless of what happens in the second half by virtue of winning the first half.

Lancaster is 5-5 since we last looked, 6-5 in the second half. They are currently in a three-way tie, along with High Desert (Rangers) and Lake Elsinore (Padres) for second place in the second half. Those three teams are one game behind Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers) and one game ahead of Inland Empire (Angels). It's shaping up to be an interesting second half race!

Like Lancaster, Quad Cities is also 5-5 since we last checked and are also in a three-way tie albeit for fourth place instead of second place in the second half. Clinton (Mariners) is currently dominating in the second half with Beloit (A's) and Wisconsin (Brewers) three games behind, and Quad Cities, Burlington (Angels) and Cedar Rapids (Twins) one game further behind. As a matter of fact, only two games separate the second place team and the eighth place team so Quad Cities will have to play markedly better than .500 in order to separate themselves from the pack.

After stumbling out of the gate, the ValleyCats are 6-4 in their last ten and are four games behind division-leading Lowell (Red Sox) and two games behind Connecticut (Tigers) and are tied with Vermont (A's).

Greeneville is 4-6 in their last 10 and trail division leaders Johnson City (Cardinals) by four games. Likewise, the Gulf Coast League Astros have started their season 4-6, but they only lag the front running Nationals by two games.

The DSL Blue team slipped to second place after going 4-4 in their last 8 games (they had only lost one game prior to that) and are now a half game behind the DSL Red Sox 1 team. The DSL Orange Astros are still in second place after going 3-4 in their last seven, but have dropped further behind the first place Red Sox 2 team. I'm sensing a theme here. The Red Sox 1 team is currently on an 11 game win streak and the Red Sox 2 team is on a 6 game win streak.

AAA Fresno 3rd 41-40 .506 4.5GB L1

AA Corpus Christi 1st 53-27 .663 0.0GB W2 (Overall)
2nd half: 2nd 6-4 .600 1.0GB W2
(Clinched playoff berth by winning first half)

A+ Lancaster 3rd 40-40 .500 8.5GB L2 (Overall)
2nd half: T2nd 6-5 .545 1.0GB L2

A- Quad Cities 8th 36-44 .450 11.5GB L2 (Overall)
2nd half: T4th 5-6 .455 4.0GB L2

SSA Tri-City T3rd 8-9 .471 4.0GB W1

Rk+ Greeneville 4th 4-7 .364 4.0GB L1

Rk- GCL 5th 4-6 .400 2.0GB W2

FRk DSL Blue 2nd 19-5 .792 0.5GB L1

FRk DSL Orange 2nd 14-10 .583 5.0GB W1

RANDOM FORMER ASTROS MINOR LEAGUER UPDATE

After being traded to the Braves in January 2015, 3B Rio Ruiz had an inconsistent season with their AA affiliate, but continued to show signs of promise with a couple of strong months interspersed with the not-so-good months. This piece from the Atlanta Journal Constitution looks at Ruiz's disappointing 2015 season and what he took from that. Apparently, the powers-that-be saw enough from Ruiz in Spring Training that they decided to promote him to AAA in 2016. Ruiz came on strong in April, then followed with a lackluster May but bounced back and has hit .302/.391/.365 since the beginning of June for AAA Gwinnett. And having just turned 22, he is around four and a half years younger than the average AAA International League position player.

NEWS AND LINKS

I've fallen behind in my reading, but here are a few articles of note you may have missed ...

Quad Cities 3B Bobby Wernes talks about his (and the team's) first half struggles.

The San Diego Union-Tribune checks in with Lancaster C Garrett Stubbs.

Greeneville 1B Chase MacDonald makes history.

Friend of the Blog Bryan Tostel brings it in this piece on minor league pay. (As Bryan notes, minor leaguers are also not paid for spring training other than a small per diem and, unless things have changed over the last year or so, they also receive no pay for fall instructional league. On top of that, they generally have to pay for their own bats and gloves, etc. And they have to pay regular clubhouse dues to the clubby for cleaning their uniforms, bringing in lunch and the like. In other words, as bad as their sub-minimum wage salary looks on the surface, it's really even much worse.)

2016 15th Round Draft pick SS Alex DeGoti has been a baseball frequent flyer since he was 10 years old.

In case you missed it, here were my June Players of the Month.

Righthanders Brady Rodgers, James Hoyt and Mike Hauschild were named to the PCL All-Star team. As a side note, Hauschild's good season has not received the notice that it deserves because it has been somewhat overshadowed by Rodgers fine season. Hauschild has been a solid, reliable workhorse since he entered the system in 2012.

And last, but certainly not least, SS/3B Alex Bregman and RHP Joe Musgrove have been selected to represent the Astros in the Futures Game.

One final note ... I really enjoyed getting to know C Alfredo Gonzalez a little bit over the last few years and it was my genuine pleasure watching him behind the plate. I know that I will miss him and so will the pitchers that he caught over the years. However, opposing runners will be happy to see him gone. I wish him nothing but the best in his new chapter with the White Sox organization.

Alfredo Gonzalez - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

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