Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oklahoma City 13, Albuquerque 6

W- Ross Seaton (1-1)
L- Zach Lee (7-12)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks won the series, and with Omaha's loss last night, took the lead in the PCL American Northern division. A 6-run 3rd and 4-run 4th gave them an 11-4 lead and they were up by as much as 13-4.

Matt Duffy opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 1st. In that 6-run 3rd, OKC got RBI singles from Preston Tucker, Duffy, Domingo Santana (an error after Santana's single allowed a 2nd run to score), Carlos Perez, and Max Stassi. Ronald Torreyes scored on a botched force out attempt in the 4th, and then Domingo added an RBI double to his ledger. Andrew Aplin had a sac fly, and Perez hit his 2nd RBI single of the evening. Jio Mier had an RBI single in the 7th, and Domingo drove in the final RedHawks run of the evening with a sac fly in the 8th. Duffy led the charge with 3 hits, while Domingo, Tucker, Aplin, and Perez had 2 hits apiece.

Alex White pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits (2 solo homers), walked 5, and struck out 3. Ross Seaton tagged in for 3.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 2. Paul Clemens allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 8th, and David Martinez allowed 2 runs on 3 hits (solo homer) and struck out 1 in the 9th.

In their final home game of the season, the RedHawks will look for the sweep. Rudy Owens will face Jeff Bennett at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 1, Frisco 0

W- Mark Appel (1-2, 3-7 season)
L- Joe Ortiz (0-2)
S- Tyson Perez (11, 12 season)

CC home runs: None.

Where are all the naysayers now? Mark Appel delivered the most brilliant start of his career to date, and Tyson Perez tightroped out of a massive jam in the 9th to close it out.

Appel pitched 8+ innings and allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 10. He was pulled after allowing a double to Hanser Alberto to begin the 9th. Tyson Perez got Teodoro Martinez to ground out for the 1st out. But, he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Alberto to advance to 3rd. Perez then walked Jake Skole to put runners on the corners. Perez struck out Jorge Alfaro for the 2nd out, but Skole stole 2nd in the process. Nick Williams was given an express pass to 1st base to load 'em up, but Tyson Perez kept his cool and struck out Trever Adams to end it, making sure that Appel wouldn't leave his best start without a much-deserved victory.

The only run in this game came courtesy of Colin Moran's RBI single in the bottom of the 8th. Brandon Meredith and Carlos Perdomo had 2 hits apiece; Perdomo scored that 1 run.

In game 2 of this series, Jordan Jankowski will take on Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 12, High Desert 5

W- Chris Cotton (1-0, 2-3 season)
L- Oliver Garcia (2-1)

Lancaster home runs: Tyler White 2 (7, 14 season; 2-run in 6th, 2-run in 9th)

The JetHawks trailed 5-3 entering the 6th, but they swamped the Mavericks by finishing the game on a 9-0 run.

Tyler White started off his big night with a baby step... he opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 1st. He then added an RBI double and scored on a single from Jobduan Morales in the 3rd. He hit a foul ball that could've ended the top of the 6th, but it was dropped by High Desert 1B Zach Shank. White made Shank pay dearly for that as his 2-run homer tied the game at 5 and brought the JetHawks to life. Chan-Jong Moon hit an RBI single in the 7th. Then in the 8th, Jack Mayfield had a 2-run double. In the 9th, Rio Ruiz smacked a 2-run double, and one batter later, White capped off the evening with his 2nd 2-run homer. He finished 4-5 and scored 4 runs. Rio, Mayfield, and Moon had 2 hits apiece. Moon also stole his 10th base with Lancaster, giving him 35 on the year.

Zach Morton allowed 2 runs, a double, and walked 5 over 3.1 innings. Dan Minor was the first man out; he had 2 inherited runners charged to him, allowed a double, walked 1, and struck out 1 in 1.1 innings of work. Chris Cotton, in his Lancaster debut, allowed a 3-run homer to Marcus Littlewood in the 5th, which resulted in both of Minor's runners scoring. He struck out 1 over 1.1 innings. Jamaine Cotton struck out 1 over 2 perfect frames, and Gonzalo Sañudo struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In game 2 of this series, Vince Velasquez gets the start. First pitch is at 9:05.

Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 1

W- Chris Mazza (4-3)
L- Michael Feliz (8-5)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits' elimination number is down to 3 with 6 to play. They were behind the 8-ball early with a 5-1 deficit after 3 innings and couldn't get themselves off the canvas.

Their lone run came in the 3rd as Bobby Boyd took advantage of the Kernels having their attention focused on Jose Fernandez, who they caught stealing 2nd. Boyd scampered home and scored on the play. A.J. Reed finished 2-4.

Michael Feliz allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 10 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Jandel Gustave threw a scoreless 6th, allowing a hit and fanning 1. Albert Minnis struck out 1 in the 7th, and Raul Rivera pitched the final 2 innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 3.

The River Bandits host the Clinton LumberKings in their final home series of the season. In the opener, Kevin Comer will face Carlos Misell at 7.

Vermont 2, Tri-City 1

W- A.J. Burke (6-3)
L- Francis Ramirez (2-5)
S- Koby Gauna (11)

TC home runs: None.

The Cats' bats went quiet as they're suddenly in a funk. They've been held to 2 runs or less in their last 3 games, all losses.

Jamie Ritchie went 2-4 with a double and scored the only TC run in the 7th, when he came home on a Ricky Gingras double.

Francis Ramirez went 4 innings and allowed an unearned run on 4 hits and struck out 3. Randall Fant allowed a run on 3 hits and struck out 3 over 3 innings, and Derick Velazquez pitched 2 perfect innings, striking out 1.

The ValleyCats will look to avoid the sweep as Austin Chrismon takes on Jerad Grundy at 6.

Bluefield 10, Greeneville 2

W- Conor Fisk (5-1)
L- Reymin Guduan (2-5)
S- Tim Mayza (1)

Unfortunately, with this loss, the Appy Astros have been eliminated from playoff contention. They were down 5-2 after 2 innings and were buried with 6 unanswered from the Blue Jays.

Their only 2 runs came in the 2nd as Richard Gonzalez and Tony Nuñez scored on a wild pitch. Cesar Carrasco finished 3-4.

Reymin Guduan went 2 innings and all 6 of his outs were strikeouts. He allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and walked 1. Aaron Greenwood allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and struck out 3 in 2 innings. Samil De Los Santos walked 1 and struck out 2 in the 6th. Juan Delis allowed 4 runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1 in 1.1 innings, and Ambiorix De Leon struck out 2 over 1.2 perfect innings.

In their final series of the season, Greeneville will be in Johnson City for 3. Starters have yet to be announced. First pitch is at 6.

GCL Tigers 8, GCL Astros 7 in 11 innings

W- Gerson Moreno (1-1)
L- John Gatlin (1-3)

GCL home runs: Jorge Martinez 2 (3, 5 season; 2-run in 1st, 2-run in 6th), Randy Cesar (2, solo in 5th)

The Kissimmee Stros couldn't hold a 7-5 lead in the 9th and walked off with the loss.

Martinez went 3-5 with those 2 2-run homers and scored 3 runs. Cesar went 3-6 with his 2nd homer of the year. Dex McCall hit an RBI double in the 3rd, and Nestor Tejada added an RBI single in the 8th.

Junior Garcia went 6 and allowed 2 unearned runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. Joselo Pinales got 1 out in the 7th, but allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, including a 2-run homer to Shane Zeile. Kyle Gehrs walked 1 and struck out 2 over 1.2 innings. Krishawn Holley couldn't close it out as he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in the 9th, and John Gatlin threw a scoreless 10th, but the Tigers got the winning run off of him with 1 out in the 11th. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 1.

The Kissimmee Stros are in Tampa to take on the Yankees 2. First pitch will be at 11 AM.


Astros MiLB Alumni: OF Justin Gominsky

[This is the second in an ongoing series in which we will check in on former Astros farmhands in order to hear about their lives after minor league baseball.]

Justin Gominsky, an outfielder drafted in the 11th round in 2011 out of the University of Minnesota, hasn't exactly been idle since asking for his release from the Astros earlier this season. Gominsky is a spokesperson for a health company, part owner and coach of the Minnesota Icemen, a club baseball team, and in his spare time, he plans to finish his degree. (There's a reason his nickname is GoGo!) But it is his recent involvement in a new charity called Assist2Play that has him really excited. Assist2Play raises money to help families in need so their children can participate in sports when their financial situation might not otherwise allow their participation. The children are asked to volunteer for a charity of their choice in exchange for the gift. Justin expressed how awful it must feel for a parent to say no to their talented athlete due to money troubles. If a child makes an elite team of any sport, Assist2Play will help fund his/her participation. Of his endeavors, Gominsky said, "I'm really excited to be able to give back the information and experience I have learned over the years of playing baseball, as well as to develop kids into the best student, person and athlete they can be."

Justin Gominsky - April 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Justin's time with the Astros is a time he will never forget. "My most memorable moment as an Astro had to come my rookie ball year playing with the Tri-City ValleyCats. We had a good squad. I made and started in the All-Star Game that season. Playing in the All-Star game, as well as meeting all my teammates (some who are now in the big leagues) was one of my best baseball moments I have ever had." He is excited to now be able to help other players have those opportunities, and hopes to develop a template for success that will last them a lifetime.

Gominsky knows that a professional baseball career is an experience that only a select few are able to accomplish, and he truly appreciates the relationships that he established in his time in the minor leagues. He keeps in touch with many of the teammates he's had over the years and feels a brother-like bond with them. Justin said, "When you’re with a group of guys for six months every day you become family. I always loved being able to interact and talk to the fans as well. When I was a kid I always wanted to be able to talk to a 'real' baseball player, so when I was in the position of being a 'real' baseball player, I wanted to give back to the fans and community. I feel blessed that I was given a chance to play this great sport for as long as I did and the relationships I have made will definitely impact my life forever."

While Gominsky now is focused on the new relationships formed with the Minnesota Icemen and Assist2Play.org, he remains interested in maintaining the relationships he made with the Astros. "I would like to say to my friends and fans that I am so thankful for all of your support. I feel the Astros organization and players are so blessed to be able to have the fans that we do. I genuinely believe we have the best fans in baseball. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made was to walk away from baseball this year and start a new endeavor. As most of my fans and family know, I played the game with all my heart and I was always happy to be on the field. I personally want to thank all my fans and friends out there who have come into my life. Y'ALL ARE THE BEST. Please stay in touch with me because I care about each and every one of you. Thanks for the memories and keep helping guys like myself endure the rigors of professional baseball."

If you would like to know more about Justin’s baseball program or if you would like to contribute to Assist2Play, the links for those websites are:


>>>>>>><<<<<<<

Thanks for checking in with us, Justin. It's wonderful to see you giving back in order to help others' dreams come true. And I would be remiss if I didn't wish you a Happy Birthday, although I am a day late. Hope it was a great one!

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

I have (yet again) been remiss in keeping my readers up-to-date on the various roster moves around the system. Here are the moves from the last week ~

CORPUS CHRISTI
8/26 - RHP Matt Heidenreich assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
8/25 - LHP Colton Cain placed on the 7-day DL

LANCASTER
8/26 - OF James Ramsay assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster
8/25 - OF Jon Kemmer placed on the 7-day DL

8/24 - LHP Chris Cotton assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

QUAD CITIES
8/26 - LF Brauly Mejia assigned from the GCL to Quad Cities
8/24 - RHP Raul Rivera assigned from Tri-City to Quad Cities
8/20 - RHP Edison Frias placed on the 7-day DL

TRI-CITY
8/24 - RHP Daniel Mengden assigned from the GCL to Tri-City
8/21 - LHP Zach Davis assigned from Greeneville to Tri-City

GREENEVILLE
8/24 - RHP Jose Montero assigned from the GCL to Greeneville
8/21 - RHP Ambiorix de Leon assigned from the GCL to Greeneville


ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
Also, the announcement was made yesterday regarding those players being sent to the Arizona Fall League by the Astros for the season starting October 7th. The following players will be members of the Salt River Rafters and will be joined by Greeneville pitching coach Josh Miller ~

RHP Mark Appel
RHP Vincent Velasquez
3B Rio Ruiz
C Tyler Heineman
OF Andrew Aplin
LHP Mitch Lambson
RHP Tyson Perez
IF Joe Sclafani*

*Sclafani will be on the taxi squad and will not be slated to be an everyday player, but the last two players that the Astros sent in that capacity ended up playing regularly before the season was over.

Astros Minor League Playoff Picture

With six days left in the minor league regular season, let's take a brief look at the Astro affiliates' playoff picture. I will try to update this daily until all of the playoffs have been decided.

Also, there are no playoffs in Houston's immediate future, but the team is zeroing in on a magic number of their own.



OKLAHOMA CITY

1st    73-66    .525    -.-GB    W4

Playoff Picture - 5 games left; elimination number is N/A

The RedHawks' four straight wins put them in front of the pack as they head down the stretch! They now lead Omaha by one game (elimination number of 5) and they lead Iowa by four games (elimination number of 2). On paper, Omaha has the easiest remaining schedule of the three teams since they will be playing their final five games at home against last place Colorado Springs (53-85) while Iowa and OKC will face off for their final four. The RedHawks really need to make it a sweep tonight of Albuquerque (59-78) going in to an off day on Thursday and hope for Reno (76-62) to take down Omaha (71-66) and for Tacoma (72-66) to defeat Iowa (69-70) tonight. It's starting to get interesting!!!

CORPUS CHRISTI

For the second half:
T3rd     30-34     .469     6.0GB     W3

Playoff picture - 6 games left; elimination number is 1

As a friend of the blog pointed out, the Hooks have already been eliminated technically because of the way the remaining schedule plays out between the first and second place teams, but they are making for a very respectable finish with their current win streak.

LANCASTER - Clinched

For the season:
1st    77-57    .575    -.-GB    W2

For the second half:
1st     33-31     .516     -.-GB     W2

Playoff Picture - 6 games left; elimination number is N/A

The 'Hawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half. All that remains at this point is to see whether or not they can win the second half as well. With last night's win, they took sole possession of first place in the second half standings. Inland Empire and Lake Elsinore trail them by one game, Rancho Cucamonga by three games and High Desert by four games. The second half title is still very much in play. Lancaster plays two more games at High Desert before finishing the season with four at home against Inland Empire.

QUAD CITIES - Eliminated

TRI-CITY - Clinched

1st     43-27     .614     -.-GB     L3

Playoff Picture - 6 games left; elimination number is N/A

Although, technically, the magic number for elimination of second place Connecticut remains at 1, the ValleyCats have clinched at least a tie and the tie-breaker would be decided in their favor because of their record against division teams. With that said, Tri-City needs to start putting together some wins over their final six games in order to avoid limping in to the playoffs.

GREENEVILLE - Eliminated

Alas, there will be no magical last minute run to the playoffs like last season as Greeneville was eliminated last night with only three games left in their season.

GCL ASTROS - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS ORANGE - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS BLUE - Eliminated

Happy Birthday - 8/27

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Nick Tropeano (24)
Drafted in the fifth round in 2011 out of Stony Brook (NY), Tropeano has spent the 2014 season with the AAA Oklahoma City team. In 22 games (19 starts), he is 9-5 with a 3.12 ERA and a 0.997 WHIP. He has walked 33 batters while striking out 118 in 121.1 innings pitched.

Severeal former Astros mark the day as well ~

RHP Jim York (67)
A 16th round pick by the Royals in 1969, York came to Houston in a trade with Kansas City prior to the 1972 season. In 114 games with the Astros from 1972 to 1975, he was 9-11 with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.646 WHIP.

C Ed Herrmann (died December 22, 2013 at age 67)
Obtained in a trade with the California Angels in June of 1976, Herrmann was with the Astros until he went to the Expos in June of 1978. In 151 games with the Astros, he hit .227/.293/.288. He was an All-Star for the White Sox in 1974.

3B David Gus "Buddy" Bell (63)
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the 16th round in 1969, Bell came to Houston in a June 1988 trade with the Reds and played for the Astros the remainder of that season. In 74 games, he was .253/.301/.375. In all, he played for four teams over a span of 18 seasons and won six Golden Gloves, a Silver Slugger and five All-Star nods.

RHP Mike Maddux (53)
A fifth round pick by the Phillies in 1982, Maddux came to Houston as a free agent in 2000 at the end of his career. In 21 games, he was 2-2 with a 6.26 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP. The well-traveled Maddux played for nine different teams in his 15-year major league career. He is currently the pitching coach for the Arlington Rangers.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, August 25, 2014

Oklahoma City 3, Albuquerque 0

W- Asher Wojciechowski (4-4)
L- Matt Magill (7-6)
S- Jorge De Leon (2)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks got another great start from Asher Wojciechowski as they've taken the first 2 from the Isotopes.

Wojo allowed 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4 over 7.1 shutout innings. Anthony Bass walked 1 and got a strikeout in the 8th. Tommy Shirley got the final out of the 8th, and Jorge De Leon finished it off with 2 strikeouts in a 1-2-3 9th.

Domingo Santana didn't have an official at-bat, but he had a sac fly in the 2nd and drew a bases-loaded walk in the 8th. Carlos Perez hit a sac fly of his own in the 8th. Matt Duffy went 2-4 with a double. Now, I'm legitimately interested to know when the last time all of the RedHawks' RBIs came without hits.

In game 3 of this 4-game set, Alex White will face Zach Lee at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 23, San Antonio 7

W- Travis Ballew (6-3)
L- Leonel Campos (2-6)

CC home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (4, 21 season; 2-run in 5th), Delino DeShields 2 (11, solo in 1st, solo in 6th)


DeShields was a single shy of the cycle. He had a chance for an elcyc, but his 4th hit was his 2nd home run of the game. Teoscar was a triple shy of the cycle.

I don't really know how to describe this game, so I'll leave it to Ron Simmons of the WWE:



Chris Devenski went 4 innings and allowed 5 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 6. Travis Ballew was the first man out; he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 2 over 3 innings. Tyson Perez threw a 1-2-3 8th, and Mitch Lambson allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The Hooks will now begin a 4-game set with Frisco. In game 1, Mark Appel will take on Jake Thompson. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will begin a 3-game series in High Desert tonight at 9:05. Starters have yet to be announced.

Quad Cities 3, Cedar Rapids 2

W- Chris Lee (8-6)
L- Jared Wilson (3-3)

QC home runs: A.J. Reed (6, 11 season; 2-run in 4th), James Ramsay (3, solo in 6th)

The Banditos struck out 18 Kernels and Ramsay's homer was the difference.

All 3 Quad Cities runs came off those 2 home runs. Ramsay and Reed had 2 hits apiece. Reed has 34 home runs in this calendar year.

Troy Scribner went 3.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walked 3, and struck out 7. Jordan Mills was the first man out and allowed a hit and struck out 3 over 1.1 scoreless. Chris Lee allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 7 over 3.2 scoreless, and Keegan Yuhl struck out Tanner Vavra to end the game.

In the series finale, Michael Feliz will take on Lewis Thorpe at 7:00.

Vermont 5, Tri-City 2

W- Corey Miller (1-3)
L- Robert Kahana (0-3, 1-4 season)

TC home runs: None.

Despite the loss, the ValleyCats clinched the Stedler Division thanks to Lowell's 7-3 win over Connecticut.

Mott Hyde put the ValleyCats on the board first when he scored on an error in the 1st that saw D.J. Fisher reach base . He scored both runs; in the 9th, he came home on Fisher's sac fly. Jamie Ritchie went 2-4.

Robert Kahana went 3 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 9 hits (all singles) and struck out 2. Chris Munnelly allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 5 over 3 innings. Dan Mengden was next up; he allowed a run on 2 hits and fanned 3 over 2 innings, and Angel Heredia walked 1 in a scoreless 9th.

In game 2, A.J. Burke will take on Francis Ramirez at 6:00.

Greeneville 3, Bluefield 1

W- Brock Dykxhoorn (3-3)
L- Jesus Tinoco (1-9)
S- Eric Peterson (7)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros are hanging on by a thread now, but this win certainly helps their cause.

Greeneville got a pair in the 5th as Bluefield pitcher Jesus Tinoco threw the ball away on a force out attempt, scoring Jake Nottingham and Ydarqui Marte. In the 7th, Jeffry Santos hit an RBI infield single. Santos was 2-4, and Marte, who scored 2 of Greeneville's 3 runs, reached base in all 3 of his plate appearances, going 1-1 with a couple of walks.

Brock Dykxhoorn had his finest outing yet, as he allowed an unearned run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 10. Josh James tagged in and allowed a hit and fanned 3 over 2 scoreless. Jose Montero allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in a scoreless 8th, and Eric Peterson walked 1 in a scoreless 9th to finish it off.

In the series finale, Reymin Guduan will take on Oscar Cabrera at 6:00.

GCL Astros 10, GCL Tigers 8

W- Starlyng Sanchez (1-2, 2-5 season)
L- Carlos Lara (6-1)
S- Gerardo Juarez (1)

GCL home runs: Jorge Martinez (1, 3 season; solo in 6th)

The Kissimmee Stros erupted for a 6-run 2nd in response to a 4-run top of the inning from the Tigers, giving them an 8-4 lead. The Tigers made things a bit interesting in the top of the 9th, but the GCLstros were able to secure the win.

Everyone in the lineup had a hit. Brauly Mejia and Dex McCall had RBI doubles in the 1st. Luis Payano hit a bases-clearing triple in the 2nd, and then the Kissimmee Stros got RBI singles from Mejia, Randy Cesar, and Connor Goedert. Jorge Martinez's 1st home run as a member of the Astros organization led off the 6th, and in the 8th, Brian Peña hit an RBI single.

Cris Santamaria allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits (solo homer) and struck out 2. Starlyng Sanchez went 4.2 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 1. Gerardo Juarez got the final out of the game.

The Kissimmee Stros are currently in a game against the Tigers in Lakeland.

Dominican Summer League Season Recap - Offense

The Dominican Summer League teams ended their seasons a little early due to rainouts of their last couple of games. The Astros Orange team ended the season with a 31-39 record and the Astros Blue team ended with a 35-34 record. But both of the teams were coming on strong in August with 12-7 and 11-6 records, respectively, so they certainly left on a high note.

Since the Astros expanded their presence in the Dominican Summer League to two teams, there are a lot of players from the two teams who deserve a look so I'll be splitting this season recap into offensive performances and pitching performances. First up, the offense ~

Orange Team
.248 BA - 16th out of 36 teams
.377 OBP - 2nd
.342 SLG - 13th

Blue Team
.235 BA - 25th
.358 OBP - 10th
.325 SLG - 20th

The two teams ranked highly in walks. The Orange team was first in drawing walks with 403 and the Blue team was third with 381. In addition, the Orange team was third in stolen bases with 156 in 70 games. By contrast, the Corpus Christi team has stolen 161 bases, but it took them 133 games to do that.

The vast majority of those players having good offensive seasons in the DSL are still only 17 or 18 years old. In my notes on each player, I will indicate the player's current age with his birthday in parentheses. All of the players are in their first season of professional play except for two of them as noted below. Any players who were promoted to the GCL prior to the end of the season will be addressed in the season recap for that team.

CATCHERS

Orlando Marquez - 18 (3/12)
The Venezuelan born Marquez didn't start playing until July 4th. He caught in 15 of his 28 games and had five passed balls, five errors and a 37% caught stealing rate. Marquez hit .296/.381/.429.

Gabriel Bracamonte - 19 (5/15)
Also from Venezuela, Bracamonte showed early promise, but did not play after July 1st. He caught in only 10 of his 15 games with three passed balls, four errors and a 35% caught stealing rate. He hit a robust .378/.481/.511 in that small sampling.

Ihan Bernal - 17 (10/20)
Bernal is, to me, the most intriguing of the group. The young Panamanian may only have hit .200/.411/.284, but he was tied for the league lead with his 51 walks. In 52 games, he walked 51 times and struck out 47 times. Bernal caught in 40 of those games and had a .980 fielding percentage, a 7.33 range factor, 12 passed balls, six errors and a 39% caught stealing rate.

INFIELDERS

2B Jonathan Matute - 17 (4/28)
Another Venezuelan, Matute put up average defensive numbers, but like Bernal, he had a propensity to draw walks. His 43 walks (to 53 strikeouts) in 69 games tied for 10th in the league. His nine sacrifice hits were the most on his team. He had a .245/.369/.327 batting line for the season.

1B Connor MacDonald - 18 (2/27)
One of the young Australians playing for the Astros this year, MacDonald put up a .328/.442/.461 line in 35 games before being shut down on July 10th. His defensive numbers were at or above average.

1B Jake Bowey - 18 (7/16)
MacDonald's fellow Australian Bowey started the season with the Gulf Coast League (6 games) before being sent to the DSL (27 games) to finish the season. A lefty hitter, he hit .221/.362/.375 and walked 24 times while striking out 31 times. His defensive numbers were at or above average.

1B Cristopher Luciano - 18 (5/31)
This young Dominican was third in the league with his 50 walks (to 68 strikeouts) in 62 games. He hit .255/.401/.356 and put up defensive numbers that were at or above average.

3B Wander Franco - 17 (10/11)
Fellow Dominican Franco hit .243/.363/.352 in 68 games and was coming on strong at the end of the season, hitting .323/.392/.431 in August. Franco was tied for fourth in the league in walks with 48 (to 37 strikeouts). Franco is a switch-hitter who hit better from the right side of the plate this season. His defensive numbers were somewhat below average.

3B Reiny Beltre - 18 (7/16)
Beltre also improved toward the end of the season, hitting .294/.422/.368 in August (and .231/.380/.281 for the season). Beltre did not join the team until July 12th and only played in 34 games (walking 20 times and striking out 21). His defensive numbers were somewhat below average. Beltre is from the Dominican Republic.

SS Wilson Amador - 17 (12/14)
This young Dominican has the unenviable honor of currently leading all Astros minor league players in hit by pitches, with 17. He led his team in runs, hits (a tie) and stolen bases, and was tied for 8th in the league in that last category. A .245/.349/.302 hitter in 64 games, he hit .284/.383/.328 in August. With 39 errors to his name, his defense is a work in progress.

IF/OF Marcos Almonte - 18 (3/28)
Almonte is also Dominican. He has played more games at shortstop than any other position, but also played at left field, third base, center field and second base this year. He is tied with Amador (and Andy Pineda below) for the DSL Astros lead in hits, but leads the DSL 'Stros outright in doubles and triples. Almonte is tied for 14th in doubles and walks in the league. He walked 42 times while striking out 44 times in 67 games, as he hit .233/.359/.353. His defensive numbers at short are at or below average.

OUTFIELD

Vincente Sanchez - 17 (10/4)
Sanchez, another Dominican, showed tremendous promise early in the season, but played in only one game after July 8th. The lefty hit .281/.390/.479 in 32 games and his five home runs led the DSL Astros. Another patient hitter, he walked 22 times while striking out 23 times. His defensive numbers are at or slightly below average.

Andy Pineda - 17 (11/11)
Another Dominican lefty, Pineda hit .279/.384/.312 in 65 games and is in a three-way tie for the DSL lead in hits. His defensive abilities appear to be at or above average.

Edgar Lorenzo - 17 (1/15)
Yet another player from the Dominican Republic, Lorenzo showed average or somewhat below defensive abilities while putting up a .236/.361/.363 in 56 games. His bat was coming on strong in August as he hit .302/.431/.453 in August.

Bryan de la Cruz - 17 (12/16)
De la Cruz is also (surprise, surprise) from the Dominican Republic. He hit .346/.435/.481 in August and .262/.387/.317 in 59 games over the season. His defensive numbers are at or somewhat below average.

Jose Benjamin - 18 (12/16)
Benjamin's defense appears to be average to somewhat below average. In 42 games this season, he hit .235/.349/.309 with 20 walks to 24 strikeouts. He is also from the Dominican Republic.

Juan Fuentes - 20 (11/8)
Another average to slightly below average defender (on paper), Fuentes is in his second year as a professional, having played last season in the Blue Jays organization. The switch-hitter hit .300/.423/.367 in 58 games and had the 17th highest OBP in the league. He is from the Dominican Republic.

Rodrigo Ayarza - 19 (2/20)
Ayarza is in his third professional season, but his first with the Astros (after spending two years in the Rangers organization). A switch-hitter from Panama, he led the DSL Astros in RBI and sacrifice flies, and he was tied for 18th in walks in the league (41 walks to 30 strikeouts). On paper, he is an average to above average defender.

Later this week, I'll be taking a look at the DSL pitchers.

Astros Minor League Playoff Picture Update

With seven days left in the minor league regular season, let's take a brief look at the Astro affiliates playoff picture. I will try to update this daily until all of the playoffs have been decided.

OKLAHOMA CITY

T1st    72-66    .522    -.-GB    W3

Playoff Picture - 6 games left; elimination number is N/A

The RedHawks did exactly what I said that they needed to do ... they kept winning. The result is that they are now in a tie with Omaha for first place in the division. Their lead over third place Iowa remains at three games. Iowa's elimination number is now 4. On paper, Omaha has the easiest remaining schedule of the three teams since they will be playing their final five games at home against Colorado Springs (53-84) while Iowa and OKC will face off for their final four. The RedHawks really need to win their next two games against the 59-77 Albuquerque team and hope that Omaha and Iowa aren't as successful against the over-500 teams they are currently playing. This one could very well come down to the wire.

CORPUS CHRISTI

For the second half:
4th     29-34     .460     7.0GB     W2

Playoff picture - 7 games left; elimination number is 1

As a friend of the blog pointed out, the Hooks have already been eliminated technically because of the way the remaining schedule plays out between the first and second place teams. But then, I don't think anyone really believed that they had much of a chance as things currently stand so there's that.

LANCASTER - Clinched

For the season:
1st    76-57    .571    -.-GB    W1

For the second half:
T1st     32-31     .508     -.-GB     W1

Playoff Picture - 7 games left; elimination number is N/A

The 'Hawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half. All that remains at this point is to see whether or not they can win the second half as well. They are currently tied with Lake Elsinore for first place in the second half standings. Inland Empire trails by one game, Rancho Cucamonga by two games and High Desert by three games. The second half title is still very much up in the air. Lancaster plays four more games against Inland Empire and three against High Desert.

QUAD CITIES - Eliminated

TRI-CITY - Clinched

1st     43-25     .632     -.-GB     L1

Playoff Picture - 7 games left; elimination number is N/A

Although technically, the magic number for elimination of second place Connecticut remains at 1, the ValleyCats have clinched at least a tie and the tie-breaker would be decided in their favor because of their record against division teams. From the Tri-City website:
Despite falling to the Vermont Lake Monsters 5-2 on Monday, the 'Cats postseason berth was finalized due to the Connecticut Tigers' 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Lowell Spinners. Because the Tigers lost, Tri-City's division lead remained at seven games, with seven games remaining. As a result, there is now no longer a possibility that the Tigers could win the division, due to the fact that the ValleyCats also hold the best record against teams Stedler Division opponents (the tie-breaking scenario if two teams are tied for first place once the regular season ends).
GREENEVILLE

4th     31-31     .500     4.0GB     W1

Playoff picture - 4 games left; elimination number is 2

Greeneville is hanging in there, trailing the second place team (Johnson City) by two games and the third place team (Kingsport) by one game. As a reminder, both the first and second place teams advance to the playoffs. Greeneville needs to win tonight and they have to hope for Kingsport to prevail over Johnson City as well in order to creep a little closer to a possible playoff spot. First place Elizabethton faces third place Kingsport for the final three games of the season starting tomorrow and Greeneville faces second place Johnson City for three. It could get very interesting.

GCL ASTROS - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS ORANGE - Eliminated

DSL ASTROS BLUE - Eliminated

Happy Birthday - 8/26

Happy Birthday to ~

SS Jiovanni Mier (24)
A first round draft pick from 2009, Mier spent the first 79 games of the season with the Corpus Christi team before his promotion to AAA Oklahoma City in early July. In 117 total games between the two venues, he is hitting .218/.294/.298 with 16 doubles, four home runs and 34 RBI.

Special Assignment Coach/Former 3B Morgan Ensberg (39)
A ninth round pick by the Astros in 1998, Ensberg got his toes wet with the Astros in four games in 2000 and then played in 669 more games from 2002 to 2007, hitting .266/.367/.475. In his All-Star year of 2005, he hit .283/.388/.557 with 30 doubles, three triples, 36 home runs and 101 RBI, and won a Silver Slugger as well. He is currently a Special Assignment Coach for the Astros.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Brett Wallace (28)
Received in a quick flip after the Oswalt trade in 2010 (for Anthony Gose), Wallace was first drafted by St. Louis as its first round pick in 2008. In 311 games for the Astros from 2010 through 2013, Wallace hit .242/.313/.391 with 52 doubles, three triples and 29 home runs. Wallace is currently playing for the Blue Jays AAA team.

RHP Geoff Geary (38)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 15th round in 1998, Geary came to Houston (along with Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo) in the November 2007 trade that sent Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies. In 71 games for Houston in 2008 and 2009, Geary was 3-6 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.345 WHIP.

LHP Xavier Cedeno (28)
Cedeno was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 31st round of the 2004 draft and picked up by the Astros as a free agent in 2010. A native of Puerto Rico, Cedeno appeared in 52 games for Houston over three seasons with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.744 WHIP. He was claimed off waivers by the Nationals in April of 2013.

C George Bjorkman (58)
Bjorkman was originally drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round in 1978 and came to Houston in a March 1983 trade with that team. He only played in 29 games, hitting .227/.370/.360, before being shipped off to Montreal in a March 1984 trade for Catcher Tom Wieghaus.