Monday, January 29, 2018

Astros Farm Report: 1/29

Catching you up on the latest Astros MiLB offseason news ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

Dex McCall - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

1-29: 1B Dex McCall (24)
1-30: RHP Dariel Aquino (22)
1-31: SS Juan Pineda (20)
2-2: RHP Brad Peacock (30)
2-2: OF Ramiro Rodriguez (20)
2-3: LHP Javier Navas (20)

ROSTER MOVES/TRANSACTIONS

These are the only recent posted transactions, aside from the non-roster invitees which are covered below.




Jon Singleton - April 2017
Photos by Jayne Hansen

1-23: 1B Jon Singleton suspended 100 games for a third positive test for a drug of abuse
1-23: RHP Dean Deetz suspended 80 games for a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug
1-22: LHP Buddy Boshers claimed off waivers from Minnesota

Boshers is being added to the mix (along with Tony Sipp and Rule 5 Draft pickup Anthony Gose) as a possible lefty reliever. Drafted by the Angels in the fourth round in 2008, Boshers has pitched in 100 major league games, compiling a 4.54 ERA and 1.274 WHIP. In 2016, lefties slashed .241/.267/.293 against him; in 2017, they hit .224/.258/.397 against him.

I would like to add a personal word about the suspension of Dean Deetz. I've had the opportunity to talk to and observe Deetz several times over the last three seasons and I have come to admire his humility and his professionalism. Following the suspension, Deetz released the statement below and he has given me no reason to doubt him. I'm sure many of you will think that I'm just being naive, but I'm going to go with my gut here. Other players have been just as adamant that they didn't know how the same banned substance Deetz tested positive for got into their system. Again, I may be naive, but I'm going to give Deetz the benefit of a doubt.

"Let me say first and foremost that I have never knowingly taken a performance enhancing substance of any kind," Deetz said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity, or betray those who have supported me along the way, by trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage. As I explained to the arbitrator in my appeal, I have no idea how I could possibly have tested positive and although I am disappointed with the outcome, I will abide by his decision."

Several additional players were extended non-roster invitations to Spring Training this week. The complete list is here. One interesting invitee is 3B Randy Cesar. As I wrote in my post last week on third base depth, Cesar has been pretty steady at third base the last couple of seasons, but he has yet to play above High A going in to his seventh season in the system. It appears that the Astros intend to be aggressive with him in order to determine what his ceiling may be before he is lost to minor league free agency. All of the other invitees have played at AA or higher, although OF Myles Straw only played in 13 games with the AA Corpus Christi Hooks at the end of the season.

You can check the cumulative Astros offseason transaction list here to see if you've missed any of the posted moves this offseason.

FALL AND WINTER LEAGUE UPDATES

The winter leagues are all but over with only the Australian Baseball League postseason and Caribbean Series left to play. The final updates for the ABL regular season and LBPRC are below.  For the final stats for players having participated in the Arizona Fall League, Venezuelan Winter League, Mexican Pacific Winter League and the Dominican Winter League, please visit my Farm Report from 1/1. The Caribbean Series will start on Friday; information on the series can be found here.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (ABL)

Since Rodrigo Ayarza's team was in dead last at the end of the regular season, he will not be playing in the postseason. But Ayarza is sure to have left a good impression on his Australian hosts with a very solid season. In his final four games, he was 5-for-18 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.

Adelaide Bite
Rodrigo Ayarza - 40G .292/.324/.476 11-2B 1-3B 6HR 15RBI 8BB:34SO 6SB:2CS

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LBPRC)

The stats below carry over from last week as neither Ruben Castro nor Carlos Sierra appeared in the final regular season games. Castro had only one plate appearance in the postseason, going 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter and Sierra did not appear in postseason play. The Cangrejeros de Santurce lost 0-3 to the Criollos de Caguas.

Cangrejeros de Santurce
RHP Carlos Sierra - 5G 3.1IP 5.40 ERA 3.900 WHIP 1SO:7BB
C Ruben Castro - 5G .500/.545/.600 1-2B 1RBI 1BB:3SO

NEWS AND LINKS

Kyle Glaser at Baseball America has this great article about players who take the opportunity to play in Korea and Japan. [Insider only]

Connor MacDonald - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Former Astro Connor MacDonald, a first baseman who signed with the Astros in 2012 as the first signing out of Australia in 20 years, was released by the Astros during the 2017 season but is getting a second chance with the Pirates as a pitcher. We at WTHB wish Connor all the best!

The Greeneville Reds, formerly the  Greeneville Astros, unveiled their logo this week. (I will miss visiting beautiful Pioneer Park at Tusculum College.).

Prospect ranking season continues with Kyle Tucker ranked by MLB Pipeline as the #5 outfield prospect. Last week, they had Forrest Whitley as second on their list of right-handed pitching prospects, behind only Shohei Ohtani.

And over the weekend, MLB Pipeline came out with their Top 100 overall prospect list and it included RHP Forrest Whitley (#9), OF Kyle Tucker (#17) and RHP J.B. Bukauskas (#76). In addition, former Astros RHP Franklin Perez (#39) and RHP Albert Abreu (#74) were also ranked. Notably missing from MLB Pipeline's list was Yordan Alvarez who was ranked #62 by Baseball America. Jonathan Mayo breaks down the Top 100 for you.

As a reminder, here is Baseball America's Top 100 Prospect Rankings list which came out last week, with RHP Forrest Whitley (#10), OF Kyle Tucker (#15), 1B/OF Yordan Alvarez (#62) and RHP J.B. Bukauskas (#76) all earning a nod. In addition, former Astros RHP Franklin Perez (#35), RHP Albert Abreu (#77), OF Brett Phillips (#80) and RHP Jorge Guzman (#87) were also ranked. BA included tool rankings for all 100 here.

Baseball America also posted an article about breakout prospects for 2018 who didn't quite make the Top 100 and included the Astros Freudis Nova.

When MLB Pipeline posts their 2018 pre-season prospect list, Baseball America releases their 2018 Prospect Handbook and FanGraphs weighs in with their Top Prospect list, I'll do a consensus prospect list. In the meantime ...

In case you missed it, I started a "Beyond the Top 30" series, looking at both those Astros players who are considered Top 30 prospects and others at each position who may not be top talents (or may grow to be), but will be interesting to watch nonetheless. So far we've looked at ...

Shortstops
Second Basemen
First Basemen
Third Basemen
Center Field - Coming this week

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