Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday - 8/27

Nick Tropeano (21)
Drafted in the 5th Round in 2011 out of Stony Brook (NY), this right-hander has come out of the gate strong for Tri-City this season. In 11 starts, he is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, 1HR, 19BB, 56SO and a .217 BA against. I look forward to seeing how quickly he progresses through the Astros system.

Former Astros with Birthdays today:

RHP Jim York (63)
With the Astros from 1972 to 1975

C Ed Hermann (64)
With the Astros from 1976 to 1978

IF David Gus "Buddy" Bell (59)
With the Astros in 1988

RHP Mike Maddux (49)
With the Astros in 2000

Tweet of the Day

@Cottonjlc Jamaine Cotton
Im seriously not bragging.....but just faced JD Drew k'd him and broke his bat in his second at bat against me....:D #goodoutting

Friday, August 26, 2011

Latest on the Trade Deadline Ten ...

Stats through 8/25
(Just caught the typo on Singleton - obviously .559 SLG not 5.59)

Happy Birthday - 8/26

August 26th turns out to be the most popular birthday in the Astros organization.

Brett Wallace (25)
Received in a quick flip after the Oswalt trade in 2010 (for Anthony Gose), the sturdy lefty-hitting 1B was first drafted by St. Louis as its 1st Round pick in 2008. Brick Wall, er, Brett Wallace has been banished to OKC to find his power stroke by using those tree-trunk legs of his more. I'd better not say anything else right now about how Brett's development has been handled by the powers-that-be because this is a family blog.

Xavier Cedeno (25)
LHP 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 has split his time between Corpus and Oklahoma City. Earlier in the season he was used primarily as a starter in Corpus with a 3.95 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. At OKC, he has been used primarily out of the bullpen and has not been as effective, posting a 7.80 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.

Justin Gominsky (22)
Drafted in the 11th Round in 2011 out of the University of Minnesota, Justin started off strong for TCV with a .283 BA in June but has since tapered off. The right-handed hitting OF from Birchwood, MN has posted a .237 average over 58 games with 8-2B and 12SB for the season.

Jimmy Howick (21)
Jimmy was drafted in the 21st Round of the 2011 draft as a SS out of Jacksonville University in FL. After signing, he reported to Kissimmee and was never heard from again. Seriously, I assume that he went to extended spring training, but I haven't heard anything about him since he signed.

Jiovanni Mier (21)
This 1st Round draft pick from 2009 has struggled to duplicate a strong rookie season in which he posted a .286/.380/.484/.864 line. Jiovanni has split his time this season between Lexington earlier in the season and now Lancaster. He has also been slowed by injury issues in the second half of the season, but showed some promise earlier as he was named a Sally League mid-season All Star.

Former Astros Birthdays Today:

3B Morgan Ensberg (36)
With the Astros from 2002 to 2007 (plus a cup of joe in 2000)

RHP Geoff Geary (35)
With the Astros from 2008 to 2009

Tweet of the Day Twofer

@brianmctaggart Brian McTaggart
Carlos Lee just ran down Carlos Beltran in a rundown to complete a double play. That just happened.

@Funky2414 Jordan Comadena
Another 0'fer for me...but on a better note I will get to watch #JerseyShore when we get to the hotel.

Roster Moves - 8/25

OKC
LF Collin DeLome placed on the TI list
RHP Enerio Del Rosario assigned from GCL to OKC (Rehab)

Also, the Shuck/Happ moves posted yesterday were made official.

TCV
OF George Springer assigned to TCV. (So let him play already!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

RHP Starters - GO/AO

Here is the lowdown on the groundball/flyball ratio for all RHP in the Astros minor-league system who have been used primarily as starters this season. Stats are for current team only through 8/24 and are ranked from highest groundball ratio to lowest.

Happy Birthday - 8/25

Horace Guy "Dooley" Womack (72)
Where did all the colorful names go? Oh well. Dooley had a nice little stint with the Astros in 1969. A RHP, he was 2-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 30 games, giving up only 1 HR (not as unusual in the days of the Dome). His career in the majors from 1966 to 1970 was a long time coming. According to his wikipedia page, he spent 10 years in the minors in which "he appeared in 349 minor league games, going 65-55 with a 3.13 ERA in 1041 1/3 innings."

We'll be back to Astros prospect birthdays on Thursday when we have a whopping 5 birthdays in the organization to cover.

Tweet of the Day

@ThisIsNJJ Neiko Johnson
Thanks to everyone showing me love for my 1st home run and thanks to @ChampTheMan45 for getting me the ball

Congratulations to Neiko Johnson on his first professional homerun for Tri-City!

Roster Moves - 8/24

HOU
LHP Sergio Escalona to the 15-Day DL
OF J.B. Shuck assigned to OKC from HOU

OKC
RHP Mickey Storey activated from the TI list
RHP Juan Abreu called up to Houston

LEX
LHP Brad Dydalewicz activated from the DL
RHP Ruben Alaniz placed on the 7-Day DL retroactive to 8/16
RHP Tanner Bushue to 7-Day DL retroactive to 8/20
LHP Tommy Shirley assigned to LEX from TCV

GCL
Enerio Del Rosario to GCL for rehab assignment

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lefty Starters and the GO/AO Ratio

The subtitle of this article should be The Curious Case of Xavier Cedeno. More on that later.

The GO/AO (ground outs/air outs) ratio is a squirrelly little stat. It doesn't necessarily mean anything in and of itself, but it helps us see a pitcher's tendencies (flyball pitcher, groundball pitcher or somewhere in the middle) and whether or not those tendencies are working for him. A groundball pitcher can get killed if he has weak infield defense behind him. A flyball pitcher can get killed if all of his flyballs get directed to the front rows of the Crawford Boxes.

With that said, a look at Astro minor league lefty pitchers who have predominantly been starters this season (stats through 8/23).

HIGHER GROUNDBALL RATIOS

Christopher Lee (GRN)
Lee has the highest groundball ratio at 2.52, but it isn't working in his favor (at least not yet) as he has a .300 BA and a HR/9 of 0.9.

Thomas Shirley (GCL/TCV)
In limited innings pitched, Shirley's groundball ratio of 2.40 is working well for him so far, with a .143 BA and HR/9 of 0.

Reymin Guduan (DSL)
Guduan's 2.32 GO/AO has translated well into a .193 BA against and a HR/9 of 0.

LOWER GROUNDBALL RATIOS

J.A. Happ (MLB/OKC)
Happ has a 0.65 MLB/0.75 OKC split on his GO/AO. As a flyball pitcher, he has struggled with a .290 BA and 1.28 HR/9 rate at the major league level. In his stint at OKC, he has fared much better with a .177 BA and 0 HR/9 rate.

Luis Cruz (LAN/LEX)
Cruz' combined GO/AO for the season is 0.79. He was getting lit up in his short stint at Lancaster where he posted a 0.33 GO/AO, .407 BA and a 4.85 HR/9 rate. At Lexington, his numbers are better since he increased his groundball ratio to 0.90 and lowered his BA against to .274, but his HR/9 is still fairly high at 1.67 HR/9.

Ricardo Batista (GRN)
Batista's GO/AO of 0.88 has translated into a .235 BA and a 0.4 HR/9.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF XAVIER CEDENO

Xavier Cedeno (CC/OKC) had been used the bulk of the season as a starter at Corpus Christi where he had a groundball ratio of 2.00 (which is fairly typical of his entire minor league career) and a BA against of .263. Since being used primarily in relief at OKC, he has posted a GO/AO of 0.87 which has translated into a .306 BA. His HR/9 has remained relatively unchanged at around 0.6, but his ERA jumped from 3.95 to 7.80.

So why has Cedeno suddenly become a flyball pitcher at OKC? I realize that he has had a limited number of relief appearances and IP in relief, but the difference is striking enough that it may be worth following.

THE IN-BETWEENERS (FROM HIGH GROUNDBALL RATIOS TO LOW)

1.91/.242BA/0.2HR/9 - Kyle Hallock (TCV)
1.88/.274BA/0.7HR/9 - Dallas Keuchel (CC/OKC)
1.66/.283BA/1.1HR/9 - Alex Sogard (TCV) - no longer being used as starter
1.30/.295BA/0.5HR/9 - Andy Van Hekken (OKC)
1.11/.250BA/0.9HR/9 - Brett Oberholtzer (CC) - 0.88 for full season
1.07/.230BA/0.2HR/9 - Geronimo Franzua (DSL)
0.97/.239BA/0.5HR/9 - Ambiorix De Leon (DSL)

Another Roster Move Soon ...

LHP Brad Dydalewicz tweeted that he is headed back to Lexington from Kissimmee and should be activated from the DL soon.

Happy Birthday - 8/24

Bryce Lane (22)
Lane, a 41st Round pick in 2010 signed out of Gulf Coast Community College in Florida, is currently on the DL. A right-handed hitting OF, the Alabama native struggled at the plate earlier in the season but had shown marked improvement in the second half by increasing his SLG% from .258 to .447 and significantly lowering his SO rate while compiling a .230 BA at Lexington.

Enrique Hernandez (20)
As reported by Astros County, Hernandez recently had surgery and is out for the season but is expected to be able to resume baseball activities in November. Taken in the 6th Round in 2009 out of the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico, Hernandez' BA for Lexington this year, at .247, is down from last season at TCV, but his OBP is up.

Former Astros with birthdays today:

Hal Woodeshick
LHP 62-65 Colt 45's and Houston Astros
Died in 2009 at 76

Dean Wilkins (45)
RHP pitched 8 innings for Astros in 1991

Mike Grzanich (39)
RHP pitched 1 inning for Astros in 1998 (entire MLB career)

Kip Gross (47)
RHP pitched 4.1 innings for Astros in 2000

Tweet of the Day

From 8/22

@laneb15 Bryce Lane
Aint nothing better than getting home from a 8 day road trip and your car broken into and everything stolen #livingthedream

Another reminder that minor league baseball is a tough road at times. Happy Birthday, anyway, Bryce.

Roster Moves - 8/23

TCV
1B Chase Davidson to 7-Day DL retroactive to 8/20

Also, it has been reported that J.A. Happ will be assigned to Houston later this week for a Friday start in San Francisco.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2009 Draft Where Are They Now? Pitchers Edition

Stats are for full season through 8/22 unless noted otherwise

2009 Draft Where Are They Now? Hitters Edition

Stats are for full season through 8/22 unless otherwise noted

Tweet of the Day

@blackdiamondd0 brandon meredith
Just saw Yankee stadium... Would love to play there one day... Place looked like a church for baseball!!! #dreams

Happy Birthday - 8/23

Orlando "Marty" Martinez - Born 8/23/1941 in Cuba, Died 3/8/2007 at age 65
Martinez was received by the Astros in a trade with Atlanta for Bob Aspromonte in December of 1968. A utility player, he played primarily SS & 3B in his 3 seasons for the Astros (1969 through 1971), but eventually played every position except RF. He even pitched 0.2 innings in 1969 and had a much more effective outing than poor Hipolito (from yesterday's birthdays) giving up only 1 hit (OK, it was a HR, but still...). He had a .308 BA in his first season with the Astros, dropping off to a composite .268 over the 3 seasons.

He later became a player-manager for the Tulsa Drillers and then a coach in the Seattle Mariners organization, managing one game for the Mariners as an interim manager in 1986.

Roster Moves - 8/22

OKC
LHP Douglas Arguello released

CC
1B James Van Ostrand activated from the DL
2B Jose Carlos Thompson sent to the 7-Day DL

Monday, August 22, 2011

Should Tanner Bushue consider a career in janitorial services?

@tbush26 Tanner Bushue
Looking for a career backup plan......is being a janitor a career?
21 Aug via web

I think it's safe to say that Tanner was a wee little bit discouraged after his most recent start. He has struggled a bit in his 5 starts since coming back from the DL so I thought I'd delve a little deeper.

His ERA, WHIP and BA against are all up since his rehab assignment, but guess what? A couple of his numbers are actually better than his first half numbers.

SO/9 - 6.3 as compared to 5.8 in the first half
BB/9 - 1.2 as compared to 2.3 in the first half

So I looked at the recaps on his last couple of starts too. In his last start, he had the keystone kops fielding behind him with 3 errors in the first 2 innings. Until 2 solo homers in the 5th, he really didn't seem to be struggling at all. The start before that was a hard luck loss in which he was totally in control for the first 5 innings before getting hit in the 6th.

Then I looked at his age. He is 20 years old and 63 days. A couple weeks ago, I had determined that the average age at Lexington is 22 years, 22 days.

So, I think the talk of a career change might be a tad bit premature. If he can keep the back healthy and stay off the DL, he won't be needing to pick up a mop and bucket anytime soon. Don't give up the night job, Tanner.

A Down and Dirty Look at Stats

I have posted below stats for BA and ERA for all players on their current teams. "Foul," you say. "This method cheats the Chase Davidsons and Dallas Keuchels of the world as their numbers were so much better with their former team." Or something along those lines.

Never fear, this is not intended to be anything but a snapshot in time. When the minor league season ends soon, I will enter full season data into ye olde database and then we can really look at apples-to-apples numbers based on similar AB's, appearances, IP's, etc.

In the meantime, enjoy a little peek into who's hot and who's not.

ERA Down & Dirty

Stats are for all Astros minor league players, current team only, and are through 8/21 (TCV suspended game not included)

BA Down & Dirty

Stats are for all Astros minor league players, current team only, and are through 8/21 (TCV suspended game not included)


Roster Moves - 8/21

OKC
RHP Jordan Lyles assigned to OKC from HOU

As has been widely reported, this move is being made to limit the 20-year old rookie Lyles' innings down the stretch, with the plan being to get him occasional work out of the bullpen and to bring him back to Houston when rosters are expanded in September. It is also being emphasized by the Astros brass that this is not a demotion in any way.

Tweet of the Day

@Darren_Headrick Darren Headrick
Final: #OKCRedHawks 4, Iowa 0. WP - Happ (1-0); LP - J. Jackson (7-13) *Happ and Abad combined on 1 hitter. @astros

It would be really great to see J.A. Happ figure things out. Maybe Burt Hooten has done his magic.

Happy Birthday - 8/22

No Astros birthdays today so let's say Happy Birthday to a couple of former Astros.

Randy Wolf (35)
The Astros traded Chad Reineke to the San Diego Padres in July of 2008 for Randy Wolf (and was subsequently and mystifyingly not retained by the Astros at the end of that season). In 12 starts for the Astros, Wolf was 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP. But the thing I most remember Randy Wolf for is that he was just another hapless Houston victim of Bud Selig, having to start a "home game" against the Cubs in Milwaukee after Hurricane Ike. We can only hope that, if anything like that should ever happen again, Jim Crane will politely but firmly tell Bud what to do with himself.

Hipolito Pichardo (42)
Acquired as a free agent in 2002, Hipolito, despite having a pretty awesome name, did not do well in his one appearance for the Astros that year. I mean he REALLY did not do well. In 0.1 IP, he gave up 3H, 3ER, 2BB and a wild pitch, for an ERA with the Astros of 81.00 and a WHIP of 15.00. That was his last major league appearance.