Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Astros Minor League Coaching Staff

Today, the Houston Astros released their minor league staff assignments for the 2017 season.

COORDINATORS

Pitching: Doug White
Hitting: Jeff Albert
Catching: Mark Bailey
Fundamentals: Dan Radison
Infield: Adam Everett
Complex pitching: Josh Miller
Hitting instructor: Ralph Dickenson
Medical Coordinator: Bryan Baca
Medical Coordinator, Latin America: Christian Bermudez
Strength & Conditioning: Brendan Verner
Strength & Conditioning, Latin America: Rachel Balkovec
Rehab: J.T. Podell
Mental skills: Dr. Jesse Michel

Dr. Michel will be the first Mental Skills Coordinator for the Houston Astros. Prior to being named to the position, he spent the last three years with Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness as a Lead Master Resilience Trainer, helping U.S. Army personnel and their families develop their mental conditioning and toughness in order to cope with and adapt to the rigors that come with military life.

Dr. Michel also has a blog, "The Mental Athlete," but he is in the process of moving it to a new site. You can follow him on Twitter at JesseDMichel.

FRESNO GRIZZLIES

Darryl Robinson will enter his first season as Fresno's hitting coach after spending the last eight seasons with Lancaster. Taylor Rhodes moves up from Corpus Christi.

Manager: Tony DeFrancesco
Pitching Coach: Dyar Miller
Hitting Coach: Darryl Robinson
Development Coach: Aaron DelGiudice
Athletic Trainer: Lee Meyer
Strength & Conditioning: Taylor Rhoades

CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS

Dwayne Peterson spent 2016 with Lancaster.

Manager: Rodney Linares
Pitching Coach: Dave Borkowski
Hitting Coach: Joel Chimelis
Development Coach: Tommy Kawamura
Athletic Trainer: Grant Hufford
Strength & Conditioning: Dwayne Peterson

BUIES CREEK ASTROS

A brand-new (albeit temporary) team has a brand-new coaching staff. Omar Lopez and Chris Holt are moving up from Quad Cities. Troy Snitker, the son of Braves manager Brian Snitker, gets his first coaching position in the Astros system after helping out at the Kissimmee complex last season.

Former Astro Mickey Storey will serve as the development coach. John Gregorich and Mark Spadavecchia are moving up from Tri-City.

Manager: Omar Lopez
Pitching Coach: Chris Holt
Hitting Coach: Troy Snitker
Development Coach: Mickey Storey
Athletic Trainer: John Gregorich
Strength & Conditioning: Mark Spadavecchia

QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

This is also an all-new staff; everyone will be in their first year with the Banditos. Russ Steinhorn is back in America after his successful stint at the helm of the DSL Blue team. Pitching coach Drew French moves up from Tri-City.

Hitting coach Ben Rosenthal is in his first year with the Astros; according to the Astros' press release, he was the hitting coach at Point Loma Nazarene, a Division II school in San Diego, prior to joining the organization. After finishing his college career at San Diego State, the former catcher played for four seasons as a professional, mainly with independent league teams. In 2004, Rosenthal played at both of the Cardinals' Class A affiliates and played in eight more games at Class A Advanced Palm Beach in 2005.

Elliot Diehl was Greeneville's athletic trainer in 2016.

Manager: Russ Steinhorn
Pitching Coach: Drew French
Hitting Coach: Ben Rosenthal
Development Coach: Jason Bell
Athletic Trainer: Elliot Diehl
Strength & Conditioning: Hazael Wessin

TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS

The always-exuberant Morgan Ensberg will manage a team for the first time in his coaching career. He will be joined by Bill Murphy, who was at Greeneville last season, and Jeremy Barnes, who 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

GREENEVILLE ASTROS

In his first coaching job in the United States after starting his career in the Dominican Summer League, Danny Ortega will replace Josh Bonifay as the skipper of the Appy Astros. Ortega shared hitting coach duties with Omar Rosario on the DSL Blue team in 2016.

Erick Abreu and Ben Myers are moving up from the GCL. César Cedeño needs no introduction.

Manager: Danny Ortega
Pitching Coach: Erick Abreu
Hitting Coach: César Cedeño
Athletic Trainer: Ben Myers
Strength & Conditioning: Jacob Behara

GCL ASTROS

Wladimir Sutil will manage a team for the first time in his career.

Jose Rada is another former Cardinal minor leaguer who will be coaching in the Astros' minor league system. Rada pitched in the Cardinals' system from 2006-11, reaching Double-A in his final season.

Manager: Wladimir Sutil
Pitching Coach: Jose Rada
Hitting Coach: Luis Mateo
Athletic Trainer: Christian Bermudez
Strength & Conditioning: Rachel Balkovec

DSL ASTROS BLUE

The Blue team has the only vacancy at manager; we will update the post once it is filled. Evaristo Lantigua was previously a manager for the Padres' Dominican Summer League club.

Manager: TBA
Pitching Coach: Rick Aponte
Hitting Coaches: Omar Rosario and Evaristo Lantigua
Coach: Erik Acevedo Rojas
Athletic Trainer: Ambiorix Reyes
Strength & Conditioning: Miguel Angel Cabrera

DSL ASTROS ORANGE

Carlos Lugo will enter his second season at the helm of the Orange team. Gerardo Olivares will share pitching coach duties with Darwin Peguero, who pitched in the Astros system from 1997-2002, reaching Round Rock in his final season. After departing the organization, Peguero pitched three more seasons in independent ball.

Manager: Carlos Lugo
Pitching Coaches: Gerardo Olivares and Darwin Peguero
Hitting Coach: René Rojas
Coaches: Alejandro Martinez and Selin Aquino
Athletic Trainer: Roman Rendon
Strength & Conditioning: Mike Myers and Geremias Guzman

Monday, January 9, 2017

Astros Farm Report: 1-9

Taking a break from watching The Manchurian Candidate to bring you today's Astros farm news ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

1-7: RHP Brandon McCurry (25)
1-10: IF Antonio Nunez (24)
1-11: 3B Randy Cesar (22)
1-12: RHP Ricardo Castro (21)
1-12: SS Freudys Nova (17)
1-13: RHP Andrew Thome (24)
1-14: SS Yorbin Ceuta (17)
1-15: OF Daz Cameron (20)
1-15: OF Edgar Lorenzo (20)
1-15: RHP Yoanys Quiala (23)

Randy Cesar - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

ROSTER MOVES/TRANSACTIONS

Things continue to be very quiet on the transaction front, but here is a reminder of what's transpired so far this offseason.

1-10: C José Mario Barajas signed to a minor league contract. (H/T to Ryan Dunsmore of The Crawfish Boxes)
1-9: RHP Agapito Barrios was released.
1-9: LHP Austin Nicely was released.

Barajas, 18, played with the Marineros de Ensenada, a team in the Northern League, a minor league affiliated with the Mexican League.

Barrios, 22, was signed in 2011 out of Panama and pitched in the Gulf Coast League, Tri-City, and Quad Cities in 2016.

Nicely, also 22, was the Astros' 10th-round draft pick in 2013 out of Spotswood High School in Penn Laird, Virginia. He pitched for Tri-City and had one appearance with Quad Cities in 2016.

We would like to wish Agapito and Austin all the best in their future endeavors.

ASTROS FALL/WINTER LEAGUE UPDATES

All of the fall/winter regular seasons are now over except for the Australian Baseball League where Connor MacDonald has been on a nice roll, batting .400 with one home run, eight RBI and six runs over his last 10 games.

There are also a few Astros minor leaguers still playing in the Caribbean Leagues in playoff games. OF Drew Ferguson is hitting .222 in four playoff games for Santurce in the Puerto Rican winter league, and RHP Juan Santos has pitched 2/3 of an inning for Carolina, allowing only one hit. Santurce leads Carolina 3-1 in the best of 7 semifinal.

And Ramon Laureano has shown up in the playoffs in the Dominican Republic; in three games, he is hitting .125 for the Tigres del Licey. Licey currently has the second best record in the round robin playoffs (which are being dominated by Aguilas).

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
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)
(Regular season ended 12/22; playoffs started 12/27)

OF Andrew Aplin: .114/.216/.114 in 19 games
OF Osvaldo Duarte: .000/.111/.000 in 7 games (only 8 at bats)
OF Teoscar Hernandez: .162/.230/.221 w/2-2B 1-3B 4RBI 6R in 20 games
C Max Stassi: .400/.400/.400 in 2 games

RHP Edison Frias: 0-0 in 2 games with a 4.50 ERA/0.500 WHIP in 2.0IP
LHP Reymin Guduan: 1-1 with 1 save in 14 games with a 5.63 ERA/2.250 WHIP in 8.0IP
*RHP Mike Hauschild: 0-1 in 5 starts with a 2.31 ERA/1.329 WHIP in 23.1IP
RHP Jordan Jankowski: 0-1 in 7 games with a 4.50 ERA/1.667 WHIP in 6.0IP

*Claimed by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE (LMP)
(Regular season ended Friday, 12/30; playoffs started 1/2)

OF Leo Heras: .262/.368/.443 w/9-2B 8-3B 6HR 26RBI 43R in 67 games

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE (LVBP)
(Regular season ended Thursday, 12/29; playoffs started 1/2)

IF Marwin Gonzalez: .174/.269/.174 in 14 games
SS Miguel Sierra: .333/.333/.444 w/1-2B 3RBI in 3 games

RHP Jared Mortensen: 0-0 in 3 games with a 2.70 ERA/0.900 WHIP in 3.1IP

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LBPRC)
(Regular season ended Friday, 12/30; playoffs started 1/3)

C Juan Centeno: .235/.327/.282 with 4-2B 9RBI in 26 games
OF Drew Ferguson: .283/.327/.413 with 1-2B 1-3B 1HR 1RBI 8R in 12 games

RHP Juan Santos: 0-0 in 8 games with a 3.68 ERA/1.364 WHIP in 7.1IP

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (ABL)
(Regular season ends Sunday, 1/29/17)

1B Connor MacDonald: .272/.340/.370 with 2-2B 2HR 17RBI 10R in 25 games

NEWS AND LINKS

The World Baseball Classic will soon be upon us. It runs from March 6th through March 22nd and the full schedule can be found here. The rosters haven't been officially announced yet, but several Astros players are slated to participate, including RHP Luke Gregerson (U.S. Team); SS Carlos Correa and OF Carlos Beltran (Team Puerto Rico); 2B Jose Altuve (Venezuelan Team); and OF Nori Aoki (Team Japan). I will update this list as more information on the rosters becomes available.

Former Astros reliever Josh Zeid was among the WBC Israeli Team members who traveled to Israel recently; Jonathan Mayo chronicled the trip.

Former Astros farmhand David Rollins, claimed from Houston in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, has been on the move this offseason. Where will he land?

RHP Mike Hauschild, another former Astro claimed in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, will have a chance to be the Rangers fifth starter. (WTHB wishes him luck!)

And, last but not least, another former Astros farmhand, the very popular Jimmy VanOstrand, landed a unique gig with the Seattle Mariners. (h/t to Steve Duer)