Saturday, May 5, 2012

RHP Nick Tropeano

Check out my latest post for The Futurists blog profiling Lexington Legends RHP Nick Tropeano. I also interviewed Nick briefly and I'll be sharing that soon on this site.

Minor League Schedule and Results

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Asheville at 5:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD and RHP Chris Jensen (2-0, 3.76)

San Antonio at Corpus Christi at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Hayden Beard (0-3, 10.98) and LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-1, 6.86)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Omaha at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jordan Lyles (4-0, 3.46) and LHP Mike Montgomery (2-0, 4.55)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Stockton at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Bobby Doran (2-1, 3.30) and RHP Josh Bowman (0-3, 5.75)

FRIDAY'S RESULTS

Lexington over Greenville 6-5
Jonas Dufek simply hasn't gotten into a groove as a starter at Lexington yet; his 5.1 innings were unimpressive.  Evan Grills got the win in relief despite making things a little more exciting than they needed to be, and unsurprisingly Jason Chowning pitched two dominating innings (no hits, no walks, four strikeouts) to get his fourth save of the season. Delino DeShields hit his second home run of the season and stole two bags to bring his season total to 18.  Matt Duffy (2x3, RBI, BB), Alex Todd (2x3, 2B, RBI, 2BB), and John Hinson (1x4 2B 2RBI) also had good nights.

Midland over Corpus Christi 6-5
The pitching by Jose Cisnero, Alex Sogard, Jason Stoffel (L, 0-1) and Kevin Chapman was uninspiring as the staff allowed a collective eight walks with two wild pitches and a hit batter. Austin Wates and Jake Goebbert hit back to back solo homers. Jonathan Singleton (2B, RBI) and Jonathan Villar were both 2x4, and Andy Simunic had an RBI double.

Omaha over Oklahoma City 4-2
Dallas Keuchel showed that he is human after all as he allowed a season-high four earned runs over eight innings pitched; his ERA skyrocketed all the way to 2.18. The OKC hitters only managed six hits for the night, with two of those belonging to Angel Sanchez. Scott Moore hit his third home run of the season.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Stockton 3-2

What went right:  Good starting pitching, great relief pitching and Adam Bailey.

David Martinez, in his first start since coming off the DL, pitched a strong six innings but it was Kirk Clark who got the win in relief with three terrific innings in which he allowed only one single.  Adam Bailey was practically a one man wrecking crew, scoring two of Lancaster's three runs via an inside the park home run and a solo home run.

David Martinez - 6IP 5H 2R 1BB 6SO 1HR
Kirk Clark (W, 1-1) - 3IP 1H

Ben Orloff - 2x4 2B R
George Springer - 2x5 RBI SO
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 2B SO
Adam Bailey - 3x4 2HR 2RBI 2R
Ben Heath - 2x3 BB SO

What went wrong: Jio Mier came up lame trying to leg out a triple. Word is that he pulled a hammy. I hope he can avoid the DL and continue with the great progress he's been making.

PITCHERS OF THE DAY
I'm declaring a tie as both Jason Chowning and Kirk Clark provided stellar relief for their teams.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Adam Bailey is my man. How often do you get two home runs in a game, much less having one of them be an inside the parker?

Happy Birthday - 5/5

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

LF Bob Cerv (86)
Cerv was a three-time Yankee who played only 19 games for the Colt .45's at the end of his career in 1962.  A career .276 hitter, Cerv played in three World Series for the Yankees in 1955, 1956 and 1960 and was a one-time All Star for Kansas City in 1958.

SS Don Buddin (died June 30, 2011 at 77)
Buddin was another early Colt .45 player. In 1962, the .241 career hitter played in 40 games for Houston  hitting .163.

2B Tommy Helms (71)
Helms was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1966, a two-time All Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner during his time playing for the Reds.  According to Baseball-Reference, here is how he came to and left Houston:
  • November 29, 1971: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Lee May and Jimmy Stewart to the Houston Astros for Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke and Joe Morgan.
  • December 12, 1975: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Art Howe (January 6, 1976) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.

  • In the intervening four seasons, Helms played in 486 games for Houston, hitting .269/.306./.348.

    2B/3B Keith Ginter (36)
    Drafted by Houston in the 10th round in 1998, Ginter played in only 13 games for Houston over three seasons (2000-2002) before being traded to Milwaukee for Mark Loretta.

    Tweet of the Day

    J CHOW21

     inside the Parker huh. Didn't know you had it in you slow poke. 

    Adam scott bailey

    Thanks for the love but the inside the parker I was MOVINNN

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Roster Moves - 5/4

    Looks as though Jarred Cosart is headed to AAA. I'll post more when I know more.

    Jarred Cosart

    Off to triple a tomorrow. One step closer to my dream! Thanks to my family  and teammates for the support. Love you guys

    Mini-Profile on SS Alex Todd

    I didn't get the opportunity to talk to SS Alex Todd while I was in Lexington, but I did talk to Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay about one of his most improved hitters. Last season in Greeneville, Todd hit .159/.287/.215 over 33 games but did show definite signs of improvement in his final 16 games at Lancaster with a .298/.310/.421 batting line. Through 18 games in 2012, Todd is hitting .300/.375/.414. He already has almost as many RBI's as he had all last season and is showing indications of much better power.

    Coach Bonifay attributes the improvements to hard work, pure and simple. The key for Todd, according to Bonifay, is to work on keeping his lower half closed to create more torque in his swing. Todd has worked hard to make the adjustments and is seeing good results. "He works his butt off. He's in here early. He's in here often and he really grinds and and gets after it."

    I also asked Jordan Scott, one of Todd's roommates, what Todd was doing differently this year. He said that Todd had tried about 15 or 20 different stances and swings last season and was really struggling. Now, according to Scott, Todd has found confidence in what he's doing at the plate and that has made all the difference for him.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what Todd can do over a full season. [UPDATED TO ADD: I should never try to write in too big a hurry. I forgot to mention that Todd was a 27th round pick in 2011 out of Sonoma State, he's 22 and bats right-handed (although you can see that from the picture).]


    Alex Todd April 2012

    Minor League Schedule and Results

    FRIDAY'S GAMES

    Lexington at Greenville at 6:05 CST
    Probable Pitchers:  RHP Jonas Dufek (0-0, 4.60) and RHP Jason Garcia (0-1, 4.15)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Corpus Christi at Midland at 7:00 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Jose Cisnero (2-2, 3.80) and RHP Sonny Gray (1-2, 4.80)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Oklahoma City at Omaha at 7:05 CST
    Probable Pitchers: LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-1, 1.62) and LHP Ryan Verdugo (2-0, 3.70)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Lancaster at Stockton at 9:05 CST
    Probable Pitchers: TBD

    THURSDAY'S RESULTS

    Greenville over Lexington 5-3
    It wasn't the best debut for relief pitcher Euris Quezada as he gave up three runs and was charged with the loss. Luis Cruz wasn't as dominating as he had been his last time out, but still put up a quality start.
    Carlos Quevedo picked up the pieces in the last 1.2 innings after Quezada's eventful third of an inning, but the damage had already been done.  Brandon Meredith's debut was not much better, although he did manage a sac fly RBI in his 0x3 three strikeout appearance.  Matt Duffy on the other hand was 3x4 with three doubles and two runs scored. Kvasknicka added a double and an RBI and Zach Johnson got his 31st RBI through 26 games.

    Midland over Corpus Christi 10-2
    Midland jumped all over starter Ross Seaton (L, 1-3) in his three innings. Seaton gave up seven hits, nine runs (four earned), three walks, a strikeout and a home run. Arcenio Leon allowed one unearned run in his two innings and Jonnathan Aristil shut down Midland for the final three.  Six unearned runs, four errors, a passed ball, and a wild pitch. You're just not going to win many games that way. Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with a triple and an RBI and Jonathan Villar hit a triple as well.  T.J. Steele (.160) was 1x3 with a strikeout and a run scored.

    Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 15-5
    Paul Clemens fared even worse than Seaton did in his start, giving up 10 hits and seven runs (all earned) and one walk over only two innings. Sergio Perez, Adalberto Flores and Juan Abreu collectively allowed another 14 hits, eight runs and three home runs in their six innings of "relief."  Fernando Martinez (2x4), Scott Moore (3x5 with two doubles), and Jimmy Paredes (2x5) all had decent nights at the plate. Justin Ruggiano hit a two-run home run, his third dinger of the season.

    GAME OF THE DAY
    Lancaster over Bakersfield 8-6

    What went right:  The top five in the batting order got it done. Ruben Alaniz (W, 3-0) might very well have lost this one as he gave up nine hits, six runs and two home runs over six innings, but his offense came to the rescue and Pat Urckfitz and Jorge de Leon (S, 3) nailed the door shut against Bakersfield. Another good night (3x5 with a home run) from Jio Mier was awfully nice to see as he has now raised his average to .301.

    Ruben Alaniz - 6IP 9H 6R 1BB 4SO 2HR
    Pat Urckfitz - 2IP 1H 1SO
    Jorge de Leon - 1IP 0H 1SO

    Jio Mier - 3x5 HR RBI 2R SB
    Rafy Valenzuela - 2x5 RBI 2SO 2R SB
    George Springer - 2x5 2B RBI 2SO 2R
    Telvin Nash - 2x3 2B 2RBI BB SO R SF
    Erik Castro - 2x5 2RBI 2SO

    What went wrong: Three errors. You guys are killing me with these errors - cut it out!

    PITCHER OF THE DAY
    Jonnathan Aristil for three innings of relief for Corpus with two hits, no runs, one walk and six strikeouts.

    PLAYER OF THE DAY
    Matt Duffy or Jio Mier probably deserve it, but I'm going with Telvin Nash because he's been in a mini-slump and needed the good night.

    Happy Birthday - 5/4

    No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

    3B/2B Ken Oberkfell (56)
    Oberkfell played in 16 seasons in the majors for six different teams.  A career .278 hitter, he played for Houston in 1990 and 1991 toward the end of his career and only managed a .214 batting average over 130 games for the Astros. In two World Series (1982 for St. Louis and 1989 for San Francisco) he hit .300 in 11 games.

    OF Jason Michaels (36)
    Originally drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round in 1998, Michaels came to Houston as a free agent before the 2009 season.  In three years with the Astros, Michaels hit .231/.296/.400 over 297 games.  He is a career .263 hitter and is currently playing for Washington's AAA team in Syracuse.

    C Robinson Cancel (36)
    Cancel was drafted by Milwaukee in the 16th round in 1994 out of high school in Puerto Rico. He has played in 19 seasons of minor league, independent ball and now Mexican league baseball.  He played in 45 games at the major league level, but only two games for Houston in 2011 (in which he went hitless).

    Tweet of the Day

    Rafael Valenzuela

    What? I'm still awake... Glad I can gently go to sleep on bus rides

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Roster Moves - 5/3

    CC
    C Chris Wallace moved to the temporary inactive list.
    C Ryan McCurdy assigned from LAN to CC.

    It appears that Wallace may have sustained a minor injury that wouldn't necessitate a trip to the DL, but would leave the Hooks with only one catcher if he takes a day or two to recover.

    Minor League Schedule and Results

    THURSDAY'S GAMES

    Lexington at Greenville at 6:05 CST
    Probable Pitchers:  LHP Luis Cruz (1-1, 4.44) and LHP Miguel Pena (1-2, 2.33)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Corpus Christi at Midland at 7:00 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (1-2, 4.29) and RHP Daniel Straily (0-2, 3.21)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Oklahoma City at Albuquerque at 7:35 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Paul Clemens (2-1, 2.05) and RHP Will Savage (4-0, 2.55)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Lancaster at Bakersfield at 9:15 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Ruben Alaniz (2-0, 2.90) and RHP Kyle Lotzkar (3-0, 1.25)

    WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

    Midland over Corpus Christi 3-2
    When you can only manage to get three hits, it's just not easy to get a win even if one of those hits is a Jose Martinez home run. Starting pitcher Jarred Cosart actually lowered his ERA from 3.38 to 2.84 and still got charged with the loss. Only one of Cosart's three runs was earned, thanks to a hit batter and one of two errors from Jonathan Villar.  The four walks didn't help. At some point you have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher.  A.J. Griffin earned his win for Midland.

    Lexington over Greenville 4-2
    Mike Foltynewicz (W, 4-1) wasn't exactly overwhelming but he was effective giving up one run (no earned runs) on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. The Legends hitters did what good teams do.  They took advantage of mistakes. Lexington scored four runs, thanks in large part to two errors and two wild pitches. Murilo Gouvea pitched two innings giving up one run and Dayan Diaz was perfect in the ninth. Zach Johnson went 2x4 with a triple; Jordan Scott and Mike Kvasnicka both hit doubles.

    Bakersfield over Lancaster 7-2
    Jose Trinidad pitched four innings in a spot start in place of the injured David Martinez, followed by three innings by Andrew Robinson. Trinidad and Robinson kept the Jethawks in the game, but Bakersfield scored four against Brian Streilein in relief to break away. Brad Dydalewicz stopped the bleeding, but it was too late. Domingo Santana had a huge 4x4 night with a double and Jonathan Meyer provided the only runs for Lancaster with a two-run home run.

    GAME OF THE DAY
    Oklahoma City over Albuquerque 4-1

    What went right:  A furious two-out ninth inning rally!!! When I went to bed last night, OKC was on the wrong side of a 1-0 pitcher's duel.  With two outs in the ninth, doubles by Brett Wallace and Jimmy Paredes (scoring one) and walks by Brad Snyder and Carlos Corporan set things up nicely for a pinch hit Justin Ruggiano bases clearing double. Jose Valdez then pitched an efficient ninth for the save. But it was Aneury Rodriquez' strong start that kept the team in striking distance. Adalaberto Flores got the win in relief.

    Aneury Rodriguez - 7IP 7H 1R 1BB 6SO
    Adalberto Flores (W, 1-0) - 1IP 0H 1BB
    Jose Valdez (S, 5) - 1IP 0H 1SO

    Fernando Martinez - 2x4 2B SO
    Brett Wallace - 1x4 2B SO R
    Jimmy Paredes - 2x4 2B RBI SO R
    Justin Ruggiano - 1x1 2B 3RBI

    What went wrong: Not much offense in the pitcher's duel, but since they got the hits when they needed them, we're good.

    PITCHER OF THE DAY
    Aneury Rodriguez added six more strikeouts to his total and leads the Pacific Coast league with 37. Not too shabby.

    PLAYER OF THE DAY
    A 4x4 night? Yeah, Domingo Santana it is!

    Happy Birthday - 5/3

    No future Astros, only one former Astro with a birthday today ~

    2B/OF Davey Lopes (67)
    Drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in 1968, Lopes played in 84 games for Houston at the end of his career in 1986 and 1987. Lopes was a four-time All Star and one-time Gold Glove winner with the Dodgers, and also appeared in four World Series with the team.  A career .268 hitter, Lopes was known more for his stolen base prowess than his batting as he swiped 557 in 16 seasons and led the league in steals in 1975 (77) and 1976 (63).

    Tweet of the Day

    Rafael Valenzuela

    Miss my bud everyday 
    pic.twitter.com/8ULXQUau

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    More Roster Moves - 5/2

    LEX
    OF Brandon Meredith assigned from Tri-City to Lexington.
    RHP Euris Quezada assigned from Tri-City to Lexington (had been serving a suspension).
    RHP Luis Ordosgoitti assigned from Tri-City to Lexington.

    Looking at the Legends Relief Corps

    Please check out my latest guest post for The Crawfishboxes looking at what I learned about five of the Lexington Legends relievers from pitching coach Dave Borkowski.

    What Is Going On?

    That is what I asked Dave Borkowski, pitching coach for the Lexington Legends, when I interviewed him on Saturday regarding the slow starts of Kyle Hallock and Tanner Bushue. On Tuesday, the club announced that Hallock and Bushue were being sent back to extended spring training. So, what is going on?

    LHP Kyle Hallock was 3-4 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.216 WHIP over 13 starts at Tri-City last season. After five starts at Lexington, he is 1-1 with a 11.50 ERA and a 2.667 WHIP. When asked about Hallock's start Borkowski stated simply, "Lack of confidence," an assessment shared by Hallock himself when I posed the question to Kyle.

    Borkowski noted that, although Hallock's stuff isn't overwhelming, he saw him pitch three or four times in Spring Training and really liked him and liked his approach.  "... he competed. He had no fear. He attacked the zone and pitched to contact."  What happened? "He got here and now he didn't want to throw a ball over the plate.  Deep counts, walks, and then sooner or later you've got to throw a strike and [if] it's not quality ... So if he gets the confidence, he's going to be all right."

    I believe that Kyle will turn it around.  His stuff may not be overpowering, but he knew how to pitch last season and he'll figure out how to pitch again effectively.

    RHP Tanner Bushue is another story. He struggled last season with injuries, but in 16 starts at Lexington, he was 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.370 WHIP. Over 6 games at Lexington this season (3 starts), he is 0-3 with an 18.82 ERA and a 3.000 WHIP. In discussing the situation with Borkowski, it is apparent that Bushue's mechanics are totally off-kilter, but from personal observation I would say that his struggles are now as much mental as mechanical.

    When I asked about Bushue, Borkowski had this to say, "What is going on with Tanner? Tanner just hasn't executed.  He's been flat. He's been up in the zone. [He] didn't have the good angle he had on the ball last year when he was healthy, and his velocity is down and he's paid the price for it."  In discussing his last start, Borkowski said, "There wasn't much life there and he pitched behind. You don't throw a breaking ball for a strike, all they're going to do is sit on your fastball and when you're throwing it belt high ... they're going to hit it."

    John Matlack, the roving pitching coordinator for the Astros was in Lexington while I was there and he and Borkowski were working with Bushue on making a couple of adjustments to generate a little more power and direction on the ball.

    I don't think that a trip back to extended spring training will hurt Bushue at all as he works through these issues.  Getting him out of the direct spotlight should help. And at only 20 years of age, the #12 prospect in the organization (according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB) still has plenty of time to work things out.

    Minor League Schedule and Results

    WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

    Corpus Christi at Midland at 11:00 a.m. CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 3.38) and RHP A.J. Griffin (2-0, 2.08)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Lexington at Greenville at 6:05 CST
    Probable Pitchers:  RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 1.98) and RHP Madison Younginer (0-2, 6.19)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Oklahoma City at Albuquerque at 7:35 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Aneury Rodriquez (1-3, 6.14) and RHP Mike Parisi (1-1, 2.79)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Lancaster at Bakersfield at 9:15 CST
    Probable Pitchers: TBD

    TUESDAY'S RESULTS

    Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 7-6
    Starting pitcher Henry Sosa was less than sharp, giving up five runs over four innings pitched but it was Mickey Storey who got the loss in relief.  Justin Ruggiano and Fernando Martinez hit home runs. Martinez' homer was of the three-run variety, but it was Justin Ruggiano who drew the unwanted attention of an amorous female fan who had to be escorted from the field (according to intrepid reporter Andy aka @HouCounterplot and his girlfriend who were in attendance). Angel Sanchez also had a nice night, going 3x4 with a walk and an RBI.

    Midland over Corpus 5-3
    Jake Buchanan was charged with the loss despite putting up a decent start as Kevin Chapman and Jonnathan Aristil allowed two additional runs in relief and the Corpus hitters weren't able to get much going either. Brandon Barnes, Jose Martinez and Andrew Simunic each had two hits, but no one managed to get one for  extra bases on Tuesday. Jordan Kreke had a stolen base as did Jonathan Villar (his 12th).

    Lexington - Off Day

    GAME OF THE DAY
    Lancaster over Bakersfield 5-4

    What went right:  Excellent start from Wes Musick and an offense that got the lead for him early.  Pat Urckfitz and Jorge de Leon did their dangdest to cough this one up by allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but Kirk Clark came to the rescue to get the final out and his second save of the season (50th career save) and rewarded Wes Musick with a well-deserved win. George Springer hit a two-run home run, Kike Hernandez had a solo shot, and Adam Bailey had a nice three hit night.

    Wes Musick (W, 3-1) - 8IP 4H 1R 2BB 4SO HR (2.51 ERA)
    Pat Urckfitz - 0.2IP 1H 2R 1BB 1SO
    Jorge de Leon - 0IP 2H 1R
    Kirk Clark (S, 2) - 0.1IP 0H 0R

    Jio Mier - 1x4 2B BB
    Rafy Valenzuela - 1x3 2B 2BB 2R
    George Springer - 1x3 HR 2RBI 2BB SO 2R
    Adam Bailey - 3x4 2B 2RBI
    Jonathan Meyer - 1x4 2B SO
    Kike Hernandez - 1x3 HR RBI SO R

    What went wrong: The near heart attack inducing bullpen and an 0x4 four strikeout night for Telvin Nash.

    PITCHER OF THE DAY
    Wes Musick gets the nod along with the win.

    PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    I'll give this one to George Springer. He had a good night at the plate, but his outfield assist puts him over the top for me.

    Happy Birthday - 5/2

    SS Jonathan Villar (21)
    Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the Astros organization, Villar came to Houston as a part of the Oswalt trade in 2010.  He has had a somewhat slow start so far this season, but has shown signs of coming around as of late.  Through Tuesday's game, Villar is hitting .306/.342/.389 over the last ten games, and has 12 stolen bases so far this season.

    Tweet of the Day

    Mike Foltynewicz

    Roster Moves - 5/2

    HOU
    RHP Rhiner Cruz is being placed on the 15-day DL with an ankle sprain.
    RHP Enerio del Rosario is being assigned from OKC to Houston.

    I will post as soon as I receive confirmation about further roster moves in Lexington (as to who will be taking the place of Bushue, Hallock and King on the roster), but since I have to work my real job today, it may not be very timely.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Some Random Thoughts on Lexington

    As most of you probably know, I spent the last few days in Lexington watching the Legends (Astros LoA) in person.  I was able to interview pitching coach Dave Borkowski, hitting coach Josh Bonifay, RHP Nick Tropeano, 1B Zach Johnson, RHP Mike Foltynewicz and LF Jordan Scott.  I also met several other players while I was there.  It will take a while to listen to and transcribe the interviews and make some sense of everything I heard, saw and learned, but I would like to leave you with some overall impressions.

    Whitaker Bank Ballpark and the Legends organization is a first class operation.  The facilities are extremely nice and the staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating. Keith Elkins, the voice of the Legends, made the trek from the press box to the back field clubhouse on numerous occasions to set up my interviews and patiently answered my many questions.  Every worker at the ballpark took good-natured pride in what they did (except for one surly waitress who shall remain nameless). Dave, one of the ushers at the stadium, became my new BFF despite the fact that he's a Red Sox fan.

    I got a much better understanding of life in the minor leagues from talking to some of the players and meeting several members of the Legends Booster Club (including Ryan, Heather and Clinton who may be familiar to you if you're on twitter) as they hosted a potluck dinner for the players on Sunday after the day game. (As a side note, watching some of these players eat is somewhat awe-inspiring.)  It is not an easy life, but booster clubs and host families certainly make it more bearable.

    I was simply blown away by the amount of information that Coaches Borkowski and Bonifay were able to impart in such a short period of time and how in tune they are with each and every one of their players. I didn't get as much of a feel for Bonifay as a coach, but I watched a few minutes of Borkowski working with pitchers on bullpens and I thought that the way he handled them was simply outstanding.  In talking to some of the pitchers, it is evident that they have a great deal of respect for Borkowski as well.

    There were several things that surprised me. I didn't expect Mike Foltynewicz to be as charming and easy-going as he was. He was incredibly easy to talk to. I also didn't expect Zach Johnson and Delino DeShields to be as quiet as they were. I was pleasantly surprised to hear how good Nick Tropeano's fastball is and how he's using it to his advantage. I was a little miffed to hear from everyone how funny Matt Duffy is since he gave me the driest interview in the history of interviews over the winter (but since he hit three home runs while I was there, he's forgiven). And I never, ever, ever thought I would or could enjoy a rain delay as much as I did.

    And I discovered a couple of players to watch who weren't really on my radar before who bear watching. I was somewhat intrigued by Evan Grills but after meeting him, seeing him pitch and talking to Dave Borkowski about him, I will be following the 19-year old lefty much more closely.  Drew Muren hadn't really even registered with me at all before, but seeing the rail thin centerfielder in action was a true eye opener.  Josh Bonifay described Muren as "wiry strong" and had some other interesting things to say about him. Another player I'll be keeping an eye on is SS Alex Todd.

    More information, interviews, profiles and the like will be forthcoming but I just wanted to give you a taste of what I experienced on the trip.

    One final thing I learned in Lexington. When the hitting coach calls you "ma'am," you're officially getting old.

    Drew Muren April 2012
    All 6'6" 195 lbs of him

    Roster Moves - 5/1

    The following moves have been confirmed by the Astros.

    LEX
    LHP Kyle Hallock is being sent to extended spring training.
    RHP Tanner Bushue is being sent to extended spring training.
    RF Emilio King is being sent to extended spring training.

    None of these moves are unexpected based on the rough starts they've had. I sincerely hope that each of these players can make the necessary adjustments quickly and get back to fulfilling their potential.  I have been told that corresponding moves to Lexington will be made official on Wednesday.

    CC
    LHP Brett Oberholtzer will be assigned from OKC to CC.
    RHP Henry Villar will be put on the 7-day DL retroactive to 4/29.

    Minor League Schedule and Results

    TUESDAY'S GAMES

    Corpus Christi at Midland at 6:30 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Jake Buchanan (1-0, 4.13) and RHP Gary Daley (2-1, 4.35)
    Available on MiLB.tv

    Oklahoma City at Albuquerque at 7:35 CST
    Probable Pitchers: RHP Henry Sosa (2-0, 3.18) and LHP Michael Antonini (1-0, 4.26)

    Lancaster at Bakersfield at 9:15 CST
    Probable Pitchers: TBD

    MONDAY'S RESULTS

    Savannah over Lexington 10-9 in 12 innings
    The fact that Lexington came back and tied this one up was quite a feat considering starting pitcher Kyle Hallock gave up five home runs in only 3.1 innings pitched. Carlos Quevedo and Jason Chowning each pitched very well (each pitching three innings of relief) and allowed the Legends some breathing room to catch up. Jason Chowning, in particular, dominated in a longer role than his normal one to two innings -- he has yet to give up an earned run this season.  After getting some good swings in on Saturday with little to show for it, Kvasnicka broke through in a big way on Monday with a 3x6 game, including a three-run home run.  Several players had good days at the plate (Matt Duffy has hit home runs in his last three games) and Delino DeShields was a terror on the basepaths with three stolen bags, but Lexington couldn't capitalize on a couple of late opportunities, and a wild pitch by Dayan Diaz allowed Savannah to score the winning run in the 12th inning.

    Frisco over Corpus 9-4
    Erick Abreu (L, 2-1) struggled, giving up three home runs in his four innings pitched. And the bullpen (in the guise of Alex Sogard, Josh Zeid and Jason Stoffel) couldn't shut Frisco down either. Corpus was limited to three hits and one walk, with one of the hits being a three-run homer from Kody Hinze.  T.J. Steele was 0-4 with two strikeouts and is hitting .149. Overall, not a day to remember so let's not.

    Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 5-0
    Brett Oberholtzer (L, 0-1) pitched very well through his first five innings, but started to struggle in the sixth.  Adalberto Flores and Juan Abreu finished things off.  Fernando Martinez, Scott Moore and Justin Ruggiano all hit doubles, but J.B. Shuck was the only player to get multiple hits with his two singles.  The team was 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Another forgettable game to put behind us.

    Lancaster - Off Day

    GAME OF THE DAY
    None today. Partly because none of our boys won, but mostly because my flight got delayed and I didn't get home until almost one in the morning.

    PITCHER OF THE DAY
    Jason Chowning's outing on Monday proved to me that he has nothing left to prove at Lexington.  After his great season last year and his great start this year, it's past the time for a promotion.

    PLAYER OF THE DAY
    I have to go with Mike Kvasnicka.  He really needed a breakthrough day at the plate and he definitely got that!