Monday, June 19, 2017

Meet the 2017 Tri-City ValleyCats

The Houston Astros' short-season affiliates are getting ready to start their campaigns. First up... the Tri-City ValleyCats.

The Tri-City ValleyCats are members of the New York-Penn League and play at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York. The Tri-City moniker derives from its location in New York's Capital District, which consists of Troy, Schenectady, and New York's capital city, Albany. Why ValleyCats? That's because they are located in the Hudson River Valley.

This franchise began play in 1977 as the Little Falls Mets. The club relocated to Pittsfield in 2001, which was the first year that it became a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. In 2002, the club moved to Troy, so they're celebrating their 15th anniversary this year.

Joe Bruno Stadium will host the 2017 New York-Penn League All-Star Game on August 15.

The ValleyCats' website was recently updated with a new roster; this is what it looks like right now. Expect some 2017 draftees like Peter Solomon, Jake Adams, Corey Julks, and Parker Mushinski to enter the fold soon.

2016 5th-round pick Abraham Toro-Hernandez is making the transition behind the plate after playing third base in his draft year. Miguelangel Sierra burst onto the scene with 10 homers in Greeneville before hitting a bump after getting promoted to Tri-City late in the season. Connor MacDonald, the Aussie, also began to flash some power with the Appy Astros last season and he'll look to continue to build on a nice 2016 season.

There will be plenty of speed in the outfield with Frankeny Fernandez and Andy Piñeda; Fernandez stole 20 in 52 games with Greeneville, while Piñeda swiped 18 in 40 games between the GCL and Tri-City.

Cristian Javier has put up outstanding numbers in the complex leagues and Greeneville. Felipe Tejada had a breakout of sorts with the DSL Blue team and the GCL club and even spent a little time with Quad Cities to start the season, although he didn't get into a game. César Rosado also turned in a nice 2016 in the complex leagues and now he'll make the leap to upstate New York. Ben Smith continues to work his way back from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The ValleyCats were supposed to open their season tonight in Connecticut, but that game got rained out. It'll be made up as part of a doubleheader on June 28.

So, I've rambled on long enough. Let's meet the 2017 Tri-City ValleyCats (for right now)!

Bold - player bats/throws left-handed
Italics - player is a switch-hitter


The always-exuberant Morgan Ensberg will manage a team for the first time in his coaching career after spending the last four years as a special assignment coach and a roving instructor for the Astros. He will be joined by pitching coach Bill Murphy, who was at Greeneville last season. Hitting coach Jeremy Barnes is new to the Astros organization.

Barnes, a native of Garland, spent four seasons in the Phillies system after they drafted him in the 11th round in 2009 out of Notre Dame. The bulk of his time as a Phillies farmhand was spent in Class A, and he appeared in two games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012, his final season in the system. He then moved on to independent ball and also had two stints in the Australian Baseball League with the Canberra Cavalry.

Manager: Morgan Ensberg
Pitching Coach: Bill Murphy
Hitting Coach: Jeremy Barnes
Athletic Trainer: Daniel Cerquera


Diogenes Almengo - International free agent (DR), 2014; played with Greeneville in 2016
Humberto Castellanos - International free agent (Mexico), 2015; DSL Orange
Ricardo Castro - International free agent (Mexico), 2015; mostly with Greeneville, with 2 appearances in Tri-City and 1 with Quad Cities
Robert Corniel - International free agent (DR), 2012; DSL Blue
Carlos Hiraldo - International free agent (DR), 2013; Greeneville in 2016, made 3 appearances for Corpus Christi in May
Cristian Javier - International free agent (DR), 2015; GCL/Greeneville in 2016, made 1 appearance for Buies Creek on May 25
Reggie Johnson - Undrafted free agent (Hampden-Sydney College, VA), 2016; GCL/Greeneville in 2016, made 5 appearances with Quad Cities in April/May
Colin McKee - 18th round (Mercyhurst, PA), 2016 draft; Greeneville
Luis Ramirez - International free agent (Venezuela), 2014; Greeneville/Tri-City/1 appearance with Quad Cities
Leovanny Rodriguez - International free agent (DR), 2015; DSL Blue/GCL
César Rosado - International free agent (DR), 2014; DSL Orange/GCL
Patrick Sandoval - 11th round (Mission Viejo HS, CA), 2015 draft; Greeneville, made 1 appearance for Buies Creek on May 14
Ben Smith - 17th round (Coastal Carolina), 2014 draft; Tri-City/Greeneville
Felipe Tejada - International free agent (DR), 2015; DSL Blue/GCL
Nathan Thompson - 27th round (Oklahoma Baptist), 2016 draft; Greeneville


Carlos Canelon - International free agent (Venezuela), 2014; DSL Blue
Ruben Castro - 19th round (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy), 2014 draft; Greeneville (throws right-handed)
Abraham Toro-Hernandez - 5th round (Seminole State, OK), 2016 draft; Greeneville
Randy Vasquez - International free agent (DR), 2015; GCL


Connor MacDonald - International free agent (Australia), 2012; Greeneville
Joan Mauricio - International free agent (DR), 2013; GCL (throws right-handed)
Troy Sieber - 24th round (St. Leo, FL), 2016 draft; GCL/Greeneville
Miguelangel Sierra - International free agent (Venezuela), 2014; Greeneville/Tri-City
Kristian Trompiz - International free agent (Venezuela), 2013; Lancaster/Quad Cities in 2016, spent May with Corpus Christi


Frankeny Fernandez - International free agent (DR), 2013; Greeneville
Luis Payano - International free agent (DR), 2012; Greeneville
Andy Piñeda - International free agent (DR), 2014; GCL/Tri-City
Vicente Sanchez - International free agent (DR), 2014; Greeneville


  1. Good luck boys and especially to Connor Mac.

  2. No word on brooks marlow? Was he released?