WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO
10-17: OF Myles Straw (22)
10-18: RHP Riley Ferrell (23)
10-18: LHP Patrick Sandoval (20)
10-18: RHP Carlos Sierra (22)
10-18: RHP Andrew Walter (26)
10-20: C Ihan Bernal (20)
10-21: RHP Manual Gonzalez (22)
10-22: SS Joan Mauricio (20)
10-23: RHP Gerardo Bojorquez (19)
Patrick Sandoval - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
Friend of the Blog Wallee Wright is back with some first-hand observations about the Astros participating in the Arizona Fall League!
Wednesday, October 12th
Today was the home opener in Mesa, Spring Training home of the Cubs and A's, so both teams featured Chicago players ... and once again, a lone position player from the Astros was starting - Ramon Laureano. Ramon is clearly too good at this point for the other AA players on the opposition ... first at bat, a two-hopper to the third baseman, playing behind the bag, and when the third-sacker nonchalantly played the ball Ramon beat the throw to first and scored a batter later on a home run. Second at bat, a laser over the center fielder's head, one-hopping the 410 sign for a triple, then scoring on a sac fly ... third at bat another laser splitting the left and center fielders, one-hopping the fence for a ground rule double.
Ramon Laureano - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen
Ramon Laureano was a man among boys in that game ... the balls he hit for the triple and double looked and sounded like batting practice home runs - you almost expected the hide to fly loose from the core. I did not stay for more since Laureano was the whole show in a very dull game at a second-rate ball park surrounded by obnoxious Cubbie fans.
Friday, October 14th
Interesting evening, sitting amongst the New Yawkers, like an evening watching Friends ... no Tebow on the field but two or three Tebow jerseys on youngish ladies in the stands. Jason Martin powdered a ball to left center his first time up, one-hopping the wall ... the league is getting an introduction to Jason and Ramon Laureano - both those young men really square up the ball. Forewarned is forearmed though ... by Martin's third time up the left and center fielders were playing well back and his high fly to left center was corralled on the warning track. In an odd move in the sixth the Glendale manager, Aaron Rowland, pinch hit Laureano for his DH ... odd because his DH was two-for-two with a double at that point. Ramon made him look good nonetheless with a base hit to right for an RBI ... Laureano was one-for-two on the evening, Martin was two-for-four. Rogelio Armenteros made a cameo appearance as an informal batting practice pitcher in the Scottsdale fourth inning ... he throws hard but does not appear to know how to pitch - one powder river pitch went off the catcher's glove and nearly knocked the home plate umpire down.
To summarize the week for our guys: hitting, great; catching, good; and pitching, not so great - though a very small sample.
Garrett Stubbs got three starts during the week, catching two of the Desert Dogs five games and DH-ing the other ... only two-for-eleven hitting, though with a home run and a walk, but he threw out three of five steal attempts. Jason Martin, who is apparently the Astros' Taxi Squader, sneaked into one game going two-for-four with a double and a walk ... the double was a rocket to left center that jumped the fence. Ramon Laureano did not see action until Wednesday, but played in every one of the remaining four during the week ... small wonder, all he did was go eight-for-fourteen with two infield and two outfield singles, two doubles, two triples, two walks and, just for variety's sake, three stolen bases. Ramon leads the league in batting average and triples, is tied for the lead in stolen bases, and is second in OPS ... not so bad for a 2014 sixteenth round pick. [Laureano is hitting .571/.588/1.000 in his first four games.] Nick Tanielu has not appeared and may not be healthy or in Arizona.
Rogelio Armenteros endured a really rough inning-and-two-thirds in two appearances ... enough said. Francis Martes had a similarly tough inning-and-two-thirds in a start ... though 1.2 innings is hardly a reasonable sample to make an assessment of their ability to compete successfully at this level. Jacob Dorris and David Paulino each threw one inning this week, each giving up a hit but no runs ... Dorris also earned a relief win while striking out two batters.
As a side note, in Jacob Dorris' one appearance, he was throwing his specialty ...
Jacob Dorris is out here throwing riseballs.— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) October 14, 2016
WINTER LEAGUES10/13 Mesa @ Salt River Pitcher Video:— Aaron Thorn (@Athorn5) October 15, 2016
Francis Martes: https://t.co/GsF0lU34XM
Jacob Dorris: https://t.co/khOXKdOHwn
Play has also started in the Venezuelan Winter League and the Mexican Pacific League, but the only Astros farmhand to participate so far is OF Leo Heras who spent the majority of his 2016 season on loan to the Mexican League. In five games for Obregon, he is hitting .118/.250/.353 (his only two hits so far have been a double and a home run).
The Dominican Winter League is scheduled to start on Thursday. Those rosters haven't been published yet, but I have seen that Fresno OF Andrew Aplin will be participating, as well as Fresno RHPs Mike Hauschild and Jordan Jankowski.
Fall/Winter League Start Dates
Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP) - 10/9
Arizona Fall League (AFL) - 10/11
Mexican Pacific League (LMP) - 10/11
Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) - 10/20
Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC) - 10/27
Australian Baseball League (ABL) -11/7 (Exhibitions start 11/7; season starts 11/17)
NEWS AND LINKS
LEAGUE TOP PROSPECTS
Baseball America finished rolling out their League by League Top 20 prospects. Here are the Astros minor (and some now major) leaguers who made the cut.
Gulf Coast League
#20: RHP Lupe Chavez
#14: SS Miguelangel Sierra
New York-Penn League
#19: OF Daz Cameron
#4: OF Kyle Tucker
#10: RHP Franklin Perez
#14: RHP Albert Abreu
#20: OF Ramon Laureano
#1: SS Alex Bregman
#3: RHP Francis Martes
#5: RHP David Paulino
#9: OF Teoscar Hernandez
#18: OF Derek Fisher
Pacific Coast League
#8: 1B A.J. Reed
#9: RHP Joe Musgrove
#14: OF Teoscar Hernandez
Voting for the annual MiLBy Awards is open through October 5th. Vote early and vote often!!! You can vote for the Astros system, the Hooks, the JetHawks, James Hoyt, Alex Bregman and Joe Musgrove in various categories. Old WTHB friends Brett Phillips and Josh Hader are also in the mix.