Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Minor League Staffing Changes

The Astros announced today that they would be making a few minor league staffing changes. I absolutely love that 2015 Quad Cities Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski will be filling the huge hole that Doug Brocail left in Corpus Christi when he went to the Rangers over the offseason. I advocated for the move at that time. And former Tri-City Pitching Coach Chris Holt is a logical replacement for Borkowski at Quad Cities and should be a solid addition for the RiverBandits.

However, I am a bit surprised and puzzled by the Manager moves at Lancaster, Quad Cities and Greeneville, particularly moving 2015 Quad Cities Manager Josh Bonifay back to the rookie league team in Greeneville after having been named Manager of the Year in the Low A Midwest League in 2015. But then the Astros still don't ask me my opinion on these things. More's the pity.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 1/3

Non-roster invitees, a couple of new signings and a little love for a couple of Astros minor leaguers, but first things first ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

1-3: RHP Hansel Paulino (20)
1-4: OF Bobby Boyd (23)
1-8: RHP Samil de los Santos (22)
1-8: OF Danry Vasquez (22)

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

Something must be in the air! Not only did Michael Freeman, A.J. Reed, Jordan Jankowski, Aaron West and Lance McCullers tie the knot (not with each other, of course) in the offseason, there were also a few New Years Eve proposals!

Even the coaches were getting into the act ...
 FALL/WINTER LEAGUE STATS

Here is how the Astros players participating in fall and winter leagues have fared to date (through Saturday, the 2nd, unless otherwise noted):

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE - FALL LEAGUE ENDED 11/21
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, 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 - REGULAR SEASON ENDED 12/21
OF Andrew Aplin - .278/.325/.444 in 10 games
C Tyler Heineman - .190/.288/.224 in 19 games
OF Teoscar Hernandez - .275/.295/.375 in 17 games
OF Eury Perez - .236/.250/.273 in 16 games
1B/DH Tyler White - .297/.421/.494 in 44 games
RHP Jake Buchanan - 2.01 ERA/0.830 WHIP in 7 games (31.1IP)
LHP Reymin Guduan - 4.22 ERA/1.875 WHIP in 13 games (10.2IP)
RHP Jandel Gustave - 2.87 ERA/1.277 WHIP in 14 games (15.2IP)
RHP Angel Heredia - 13.50 ERA/2.500 WHIP in 2 games (2.0IP)
RHP Jordan Jankowski - 16.20 ERA and 2.400 WHIP in 2 games (1.2IP) - moved to LBPRC
RHP Juan Minaya - 12.79 ERA/2.842 WHIP in 6 games (6.1IP)
RHP Cesar Valdez - 2.52 ERA/0.960 WHIP in 5 games (25.0IP)

New additions to the Astros system, OF Eury Perez and RHP Cesar Valdez, both played in the Dominican Winter League this season and I've added their regular season stats above. The only players currently playing in the round robin playoffs are Teoscar Hernandez and Perez, who up until Saturday's games have been mostly used as defensive replacements, and Valdez, who got a win for Licey in his start earlier this week. Valdez pitched six innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out four. For the regular season, Valdez walked only four batters while striking out 33 in his 25 innings of work. Perez did see some action in Saturday's game, entering a 13-inning game as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a strikeout in Escogido's 4-3 loss. Hernandez came in to pinch hit on Saturday and stayed to play center field, going 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the Toros loss. Licey leads the playoffs at this point.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE - REGULAR SEASON ENDED 12/30
IF Arturo Michelena - .083/.083/.083 in 8 games (only 12 at-bats)
IF Kristian Trompiz - 2 games as pinch runner; no at-bats
OF Danry Vasquez - .276/.338/.392 in 57 games
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)

The Venezuelan Winter League regular season ended on Wednesday and Danry Vasquez went 1-for-7 with three walks in his final games. The first round of the playoffs started on Saturday and Vasquez went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game for Caracas in their loss to the Magallanes in the best of 7 series.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE - REGULAR SEASON ENDED 12/29
OF Leo Heras - .301/.410/.493 in 44 games
RHP Octavio Acosta - 1.98 ERA and 1.463 WHIP in 8 games (13.2IP)
RHP Enrique Chavez - 9.00 ERA/3.000 WHIP in 1 game (1.0IP)
RHP Jose Hernandez - 1.39 ERA/1.021 WHIP in 8 games (32.1IP)
RHP Juan Robles - 4.02 ERA/1.277 WHIP in 10 games (15.2IP)
RHP Gonzalo Sanudo - 3.60 ERA/1.200 WHIP in 17 games (15.0IP)

The Mexican Pacific regular season ended on Tuesday. Leo Heras was 3-for-8 with a double, walk, stolen base and two runs scored in his last three regular season games for Obregon. In the playoffs which started on Friday, Heras has gone 1-for-7 with two walks, two strikeouts, a run scored and a caught stealing in the first two games. Obregon is tied with Los Mochis 1-1 in a best of seven series.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (thru Sunday)
C Jake Bowey - .103/.186./.103 in 12 games
IF Jared Cruz - .091/.091/.091 in 7 games - not currently playing
1B Connor MacDonald - .156/.264/.267 in 19 games - last played 11/29
IF/OF Marc Wik - .328/.471/.423 in 43 games
RHP Kevin Comer - 16.88 ERA/4.499 WHIP in 4 games (2.2IP) - not currently playing

Mark Wik has been a busy boy this week, playing in seven games over the last eight days. In those seven games, he has gone 8-for-22 with six walks, two doubles, a triple, an RBI, three stolen bases and scored eight runs!

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE - REGULAR SEASON ENDED 12/30
C Ruben Castro - 1.000/.1.000/.1.000 in 1 game (1AB)
OF Edwin Medina - .281/.342/.313 in 26 games (32AB)
OF Alexander Melendez - .250/.333/.375 in 8 games (8AB)
OF Nestor Muriel - .000/.000/.000 in 1 game (3AB)
C Roberto Pena - .159/.205/.203 in 24 games
C Max Stassi - .280/.333/.520 in 8 games
RHP Travis Ballew - 2.19 ERA/1.338 WHIP in 20 games (24.2IP)
RHP Jordan Jankowski - 1.80 ERA/1.000 WHIP in 6 games (5.0IP)
RHP Juan Santos - 12.00 ERA/4.000 WHIP in 3 games (3.0IP)

The LBPRC actually ended their regular season on the 30th and started their playoffs on Saturday. A couple of additional Astros players showed up at the end of the season. Ruben Castro got a hit in his only at-bat and Nestor Muriel collected three strikeouts in his only three at-bats. And Juan Santos somehow managed to allow three hits and nine walks in his three innings of work. Medina continued to get a little playing time and was 3-for-10 with two RBI and a run scored in his final three regular season games while Travis Ballew pitched two scoreless innings and Jordan Jankowski allowed his only run in the final of his six outings with Caguas. Alexander Melendez got the start in left field in the final game of the season and went 2-for-4 with a double.

The only Astros player who has seen action in the playoffs so far is Edwin Medina who came in as a defensive replacement for Mayaguez and struck out in his one at-bat. Mayaguez is currently 0-1 in the round robin playoffs.

NEWS AND LINKS

The biggest news of the week was the announcement of the Astros non-roster invites to Spring Training. In addition to new minor league signings OF Eury Perez and RHP Cesar Valdez, the following players are receiving invites:

SS Alex Bregman
RHP Jake Buchanan
3B J.D. Davis
RHP Chris Devenski
OF Derek Fisher
C Tyler Heineman
RHP James Hoyt
RHP Jordan Jankowski
OF Jon Kemmer
2B Tony Kemp
RHP Brendan McCurry
3B Colin Moran
C Roberto Pena
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Brady Rodgers
IF Joe Sclafani
3B/1B Tyler White (White is getting attention from Baseball America now)

For more on all of these players, including Perez and Valdez, go here. The master offseason transaction list has been updated here with Perez and Valdez signings and Kazmir's free agent signing with the Dodgers.

Jim Callis has a MLB post with players to watch in 2016, including the Astros RHP Francis Martes and former Astro LHP Josh Hader.

And last, but certainly not least, the always wonderful Alyson Footer has this terrific piece about women who are making big strides on the baseball front.