Friday, December 16, 2016

A Football Soapbox

I have had issues with the football mentality for a long time. I grew up in northeast Texas where football was king. I remember vividly when our band was practicing a competition routine at a JV game half time. Apparently, we took a little too long with our routine and the coach sent the team out to the field as we were finishing our routine. The team actually ran through our formation, pummeling a few individual band members. The bell of my french horn came between me and any serious injury. And, of course, nothing was done to the players who basically assaulted us or to the coaches who told them to.

Then there was the quarterback at my junior college in Mississippi who was allowed to start a game on a Saturday night two days after he broke into a gun store in the adjacent town on Thursday night. He never spent any time in jail, but yours truly got into trouble with the Dean of the college for making a few disparaging remarks at the football game (no curse words, just word words criticizing the college for allowing him to play) within earshot of the Dean at that game.

Was it a coincidence that I ended up spending my last two years at a college in Mississippi that didn't even have a football team, just baseball and basketball? And was it a coincidence that I enjoyed that final two years massively? Maybe. Maybe not.

There were many, many episodes that I saw in high school and junior college that left a bad taste in my mouth for football. I was always a baseball gal. I didn't hate football, but I knew that the mentality that I saw from that quarter didn't make me particularly comfortable.

Fast forward to football in 2016. Things haven't really changed that much. There are a ton of great men playing the game, but the lackluster reaction of the powers that be to reining in those who aren't good men, who are in fact evil men, is beyond disappointing. It is unconscionable.

The two latest episodes in college football are the Baylor football program, a supposedly Christian university, covering up and quashing evidence of sexual assault against women; and Joe Mixon, a cretin who felt comfortable delivering a roundhouse knockout punch to a woman likely weighing in at half his girth, being allowed to continue playing for Oklahoma University. These are only two of the latest examples of violence against women being condoned in the name of almighty football.

And that's not all. Those who have looked the other way while so many players have either died or taken their own lives from the effects of CTE are effectively advocating for a game that kills people. I have been so incredibly disturbed by the seeming indifference to those who condone what amounts to bloodlust as sport.

Not all, thankfully, and it is my sincere hope that public opinion is changing in that regard ...

But that seems to be the way that professional sports are tailored. Money is always more important than the players, the fans or anything else. The times when I am most appalled with baseball is when they don't treat their own properly. The MiLB pay situation is abhorrent and embarrassing and makes me very uncomfortable with those in charge. Honestly, it would take very little effort on the part of MLB to make things just a little bit more palatable for the players who don't get the big draft paydays. I would like to see someone do that because it's the right thing to do rather than because they are forced to do so by a lawsuit.

And that's what we should be able to expect from college and professional football when it comes to the treatment of women by players and the health of the players when it comes to CTE ... fix the problems because it's the right thing to do. And get rid of those who don't understand why you should.

And, as a final note, I do realize that the MLB and it's players aren't 100% blameless when it comes to addressing violence against women, but they have made some strides and I hope that they continue to evolve and improve their response to these issues as well.

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for December 14 and 15, 2016

LIDOM

Wednesday: Toros 7, Gigantes 4

Teoscar Hernandez led the offensive charge for Toros with a couple of RBI singles. He also stole his fourth base of the Dominican campaign.

Reymin Guduan allowed a run on two hits and struck out the side for Gigantes in the 7th inning.

LIGA MEXICANA DEL PACIFICO

Leo Heras' only hit on Wednesday was a double as Obregón was dispatched by Jalisco by a score of 10-2. Heras walked and scored a run in a 7-3 loss on Thursday.

LIGA VENEZOLANA DE BEISBOL PROFESIONAL

Marwin Gonzalez was 1-4 as Aragua walked off with a 3-2 loss in Zulia on Wednesday. He finished 0-4 in their 5-1 victory on Thursday.

LIGA PARALELA

Nestor Tejada was 0-4 on Wednesday as Caracas dropped the third and deciding game of the Liga Paralela's championship series to Lara by a score of 1-0.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Brisbane 10, Adelaide 6

Note: This game was played today.

Connor MacDonald went 1-3 and drove in Brisbane's second run of the evening with a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning. In the 7th, he singled, stole second, and came around to score on a single from Jake Turcato.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for December 12 and 13, 2016

LIGA MEXICANA DEL PACIFICO

Leo Heras went 1-6 with a run scored and a stolen base in Obregón's 9-4, 12-inning victory over Jalisco on Tuesday. Heras now has nine steals for the winter.

LIGA VENEZOLANA DE BEISBOL PROFESIONAL

Marwin Gonzalez finished 0-3 with two strikeouts in Aragua's 5-1 loss to Zulia on Tuesday.

LIGA PARALELA

Nestor Tejada went 2-5 with an RBI and scored two runs as Caracas topped Lara 11-7 on Monday, and finished 0-4 in their 6-4 loss on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 12/13

A brief Farm Report as I take a break from my Russian lessons ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

12-13: LHP Austin Nicely (22)
12-14: OF Wilson Amador (20)
12-14: C Carlos Canelon (22)
12-14: 1B/OF Connor Goedert (23)
12-14: IF Kendy Moya (18)
12-14: C Chuckie Robinson (22)
12-16: OF Jose Benjamin (21)
12-16: OF Bryan de la Cruz (20)
12-18: RHP Edison Frias (26)
12-19: C Jorge Martinez (20)

Chuckie Robinson - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

ROSTER MOVES/TRANSACTIONS

There have been numerous transactions since I last wrote. Thankfully, Dustin has been keeping the cumulative offseason transaction list updated in my absence. You can find it here. As a reminder, here are the most recent transactions:

12-9: IF Reid Brignac signed to a minor league contract with a spring training invite
12-9: LHP Cionel Perez - Cuban pitcher signed to a minor league contract
12-8: RHP Jared Mortensen claimed in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft
12-8: C Eduardo de Oleo claimed in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft
12-8: RHP Mike Hauschild claimed by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft
12-5: OF Carlos Beltran signed as a free agent
12-5: LHP Ashur Tolliver claimed off waivers from the Angels
12-3: LHP C.J. Riefenhauser signed to a minor league contract with a spring training invite

ASTROS FALL/WINTER LEAGUE UPDATES

Here is how your Astros have fared thus far in fall/winter league play:

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE (AFL) - SEASON OVER

OF Alejandro Garcia: .200/.304/.200 in 6 games (replaced Laureano on the roster)
OF Jason Martin: .194/.375/.290 w/3-2B 2RBI 9R in 11 games
OF Ramon Laureano: .295/.340/.477 w/ 4-2B 2-3B 8RBI 5SB 12R in 12 games (last played 10/29)
C Garrett Stubbs: .171/.280/.271 w/ 4-2B 1HR 6RBI 13R in 20 games
IF Nick Tanielu: .352/.379/.500 w/ 5-2B 1HR 5RBI 7R in 14 games

RHP Francis Martes: 2-1 in 6 starts with a 3.22 ERA/1.299 WHIP in 22.1IP
RHP Jacob Dorris: 1-1 in 8 games with a 3.38 ERA/2.375 WHIP in 8.0IP
RHP Rogelio Armenteros: 0-0 (1SV) in 8 games with a 11.05 ERA/1.909 WHIP in 7.1IP
RHP David Paulino: 0-0 (1SV) in 5 games with a 0.00 ERA/0.600 WHIP in 5.0IP

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LIDOM)

OF Andrew Aplin: .114/.216/.114 in 18 games
OF Osvaldo Duarte: .000/.000/.000 in 6 games (only 4 at bats)
OF Teoscar Hernandez: .146/.222/.220 (1-2B 1-3B) in 11 games
C Max Stassi: .400/.400/.400 in 2 games (last played 10/22)

RHP Edison Frias: 0-0 in 2 games with a 4.50 ERA/0.500 WHIP in 2.0IP (last played 11/9)
LHP Reymin Guduan: 1-1 with 1 save in 13 games with a 6.43 ERA/2.286 WHIP in 7.0IP
*RHP Mike Hauschild: 0-1 in 5 starts with a 2.31 ERA/1.329 WHIP in 23.1IP (last played 11/13)
RHP Jordan Jankowski: 0-1 in 7 games with a 4.50 ERA/1.667 WHIP in 6.0IP (last played 11/5)

*Claimed by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE (LMP)

OF Leo Heras: .280/.385/.484 w/7-2B 8-3B 5HR 21RBI 36R in 52 games

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE (LVBP)

IF Marwin Gonzalez: .259/.355/.259 in 8 games
SS Miguel Sierra: .333/.333/.444 w/1-2B 3RBI in 3 games (last played 11/5)

Dustin is also keeping an eye on the Liga Paralela (Venezuelan minor league) every day so check in with him to see how a few of our Baby 'Stros are doing there.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LBPRC)

RHP Juan Santos: 0-0 in 4 games with a 8.10 ERA/1.800 WHIP in 3.1IP

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (ABL)

1B Connor MacDonald: .174/.291/.261 with 1-2B 1HR 9RBI in 15 games

NEWS AND LINKS

Yes, I've been really, really lazy lately so I'm just going to link you to Astros County's info on the minor league players that the Astros picked up in the Rule 5 draft last week. He also touches on what the Astros lost in RHP Mike Hauschild who was picked up in the major league phase of the draft by the Rangers.

I'm also going to weigh in on Hauschild. I have followed him closely since I first saw him in 2012 in Greeneville shortly after he was drafted in the 33rd round out of Dayton University. He stood out on that team for his work ethic and his high socks. The high socks have mostly gone away, but the work ethic remains. He isn't what you would call a sexy pitcher, but he is a workhorse innings-eater who rarely sees the DL. He is never too high or too low and will carry the same demeanor whether he's pitching a shutout or getting shelled by the opposition. He just quietly goes about his business and gets lots of groundball outs. I wrote once that Hauschild isn't a Lamborghini. He's more like a Ford F-150. A Lamborghini is fun, but in the end, a Ford is reliable and a lot less trouble.

Hauschild worked with Doug Brocail when he coached in the Astros minor league system so it came as no surprise to me that the Rangers drafted him in the Rule 5 draft. Brocail now heads that staff and knows what he'll be getting with Hauschild. He can anchor the end of a rotation or he could end up as I had always envisioned from him as a really good long man. Whatever transpires, I am happy for Mike that he is getting this opportunity. I always root a little bit harder for the late round draft picks and the non-drafted guys, especially when they are quality individuals like Mike.

Mike Hauschild - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

And speaking of the Rule 5 draft, I am finally going to have to update my primer now that MLB has tweaked it. Baseball America has the scoop here.

Tony Kemp and his brother Corey were honored by their high school.

And John Sickels rolled out his Astros Top 20 prospects yesterday.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Astros Fall and Winter League Recaps

Results for December 9-11, 2016

LIDOM

Friday's games

Licey 13, Gigantes 0

Andrew Aplin entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 8th and grounded out in his only at-bat in the 9th.

Saturday's games

Gigantes 7, Estrellas 4 in 12 innings

Reymin Guduan got the win for Gigantes, allowing two hits over 1.1 scoreless innings. Osvaldo Duarte appeared as a pinch-runner in the 10th for Estrellas.

LIGA MEXICANA DEL PACIFICO

Leo Heras hit an RBI double on Friday, driving in the only run of Obregón's 1-0 win over Hermosillo. He tripled and scored Obregón's only run as they dropped a 4-1 game on Saturday. In Obregón's 4-3 loss on Sunday, Heras went 0-2, drew two walks, and scored a run.

LIGA VENEZOLANA DE BEISBOL PROFESIONAL

Aragua took on Magallanes twice this weekend; Marwin Gonzalez went 0-3 in a 5-1 loss on Friday and finished 1-3 in their 8-5 win on Saturday.

LIGA PARALELA

Friday's games

Nestor Tejada went 3-5 with an RBI for Caracas in their 7-5 win over La Guaira, and Ronaldo Urdaneta finished 1-5 as Zulia topped the Phillies 6-0.

Saturday's games

Tejada only had one hit on Saturday, but it was a solo home run as Caracas beat the Red Sox 9-4.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Connor MacDonald smacked a two-run double in the 4th inning of the second game of Brisbane's doubleheader with Sydney, a game that the Blue Sox would go on to win 9-8 in nine innings. He went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout in a 5-1 loss on Sunday.