Saturday, September 8, 2012

Playoff Recaps & Pitching Matchups

Friday's Games

Tri-City over Auburn 5-4 (Game 1)
Aaron West got the start and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings and was followed by a magnificent three and a third inning outing from Juri Perez in which he allowed only one hit and struck out four. Perez got the win, but not until four more pitchers took the mound to get the final two outs. John Neely recorded one of the outs and Travis Ballew recorded the final out for the save. The offense was a small ball offense all the way, with RBI singles from Joe Sclafani, M.P. Cokinos, Jarrod McKinney and Austin "Catfish" Elkins accounting for the scoring.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 5-0 (Game 3; Hooks lose Series 0-3)
This was a tough loss as the Hooks didn't manage a hit until the sixth inning so I don't really feel like doing a full recap. If you want to see the boxscore, click here. Since I was there, I'll just leave you with some random observations about the game.

The crowd was fantastic (and large). They were in it until the final out. Only a handful left early. The thing that most impressed me were the sincere standing O's for Ross Seaton, Josh Zeid and Alex Sogard as they left the game. The crowd was thanking them for a good season and a job well done.

Ross Seaton was much better than his line shows. He held Frisco scoreless through the first five and then ultimately gave up two runs only when Frisco managed to find holes with a batch of singles. He looked sharp, was alert and adept in his fielding and showed a great amount of poise and control on the mound. He has matured as a player even since I saw him in early June.

We need to be able to clone Kike Hernandez. The Hooks were held to two hits. Both of them belonged to Kike. After having seen and talked to Kike in Lancaster last month and now again in Corpus last night, one thing is immediately evident. Kike is an exciting player who plays with all his heart and makes things happen. He is already a crowd favorite in Corpus after playing there only a month.

Jay Fernandez has one heck of an arm which he displayed several times on Friday night. When I was in Corpus in June, Jay had been pressed into service as an emergency third baseman so I didn't have much of an opportunity to see him behind the dish. His throws to first are harder than many a pitcher I've seen this season. You can hear the sharp report as the ball hits the first baseman's glove with deadly accuracy. It was something to see (and hear).

All in all, it was a great experience to end a great season and I'm glad I came. And I'm glad I got to spend time with my kindred spirit down there behind the home dugout. You know who you are. Thanks for everything.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 3-2 (Game 3; Lancaster wins series 2-1 and advances)
Does anyone know CPR? You might need it as you follow the JetHawks as they advance through the playoffs. David Martinez had a very strong season for the 'Hawks and he's not slowing down for the playoff run as he pitched six innings of one run ball to earn the win. That one run was in the first inning after which he shut the door and allowed the JetHawks room to maneuver. A Rafy Valenzuela home run tied it in the third inning and a bases loaded Domingo Santana hit by pitch in the fifth gave Lancaster the slimmest of leads. A two-out triple from Andrew Aplin in the seventh, subsequently driven in by Domingo Santana, proved to be a crucial run as Lake Elsinore made things interesting in the top of the eighth scoring a run off Pat Urckfitz to bring the margin back to one run. But it was the top of the ninth that was cardiac event inducing as it took three pitchers to get through the inning. Jorge de Leon ultimately got the final out with the bases loaded, a foul pop up to Rafy Valenzuela. The JetHawks advance to the Southern Division Championship Series with the win.

Pitching Matchups

[UPDATE: POSTPONED UNTIL SUNDAY DUE TO RAIN] 6:00 CST - Auburn at Tri-City (Game 2)
RHP Brady Rodgers is scheduled to pitch for Tri-City. Rodgers was 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.139 ERA during the regular season. One of his two losses was at the hands of the Auburn team. RHP David Fischer will be the starter for Auburn. He was 3-3 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.429 WHIP during the regular season. He did not have a start against Tri-City this season.

9:05 CST - Lancaster at High Desert (Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series)
LHP Blair Walters gets the start for Lancaster and he has seen High Desert three times out of his eight starts for Lancaster with a 1-0 record and two no-decisions against them. In his eight starts with Lancaster, he is 3-3 with a 7.62 ERA and a 1.769 WHIP. LHP Roenis Elias is the scheduled starter for High Desert. He has  faced Lancaster three times in the last month alone, going 0-1 with two no-decisions. He has a 7-6 record with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.193 WHIP for the season.

Happy Birthday - 9/8

No future Astros and one former Astro celebrating today:

RHP Ken Forsch (66)
Drafted by the Astros in the 18th round in 1968, Forsch pitched for Houston from 1970 to 1980. In 421 appearances, he was 78-81 with 50 saves, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.250 WHIP. Even more impressive in this day and age of bullpen specialists, Forsch threw 36 complete games for Houston. He was an All-Star in 1976 for Houston and in 1981 for the California Angels to whom he was traded in April of 1981 for Dickie Thon.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Rudy Owens

The closest I got to actually going outside & doing something w/ my life today was putting jeans on and looking out the window :/

Tweet of the Day

Grant Hogue

Unreal game tonight at the Hangar. Don't sleep on the HAWKS!!! Gotta keep it rolling tomorrow....  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Oklahoma City Redhawks Season Recap

So far we have looked at the DSL Astros season, the GCL Astros season, the Greeneville Astros season and the Lexington Legends season. Now let's take a look at the AAA Oklahoma City affiliate. Here's a quick look at how the 2011 and 2012 teams compare.


2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 68-75/.476
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 78-65/.545

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 619 - 717 = (98)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 764 - 758 = 6

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.63 & 1.516
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.91 & 1.508

2011 Team Batting Line: .260/.341/.381
2012 Team Batting Line: .282/.349/.434

It's hard to truly judge a AAA affiliate because those teams are generally a mix of lifetime minor leaguers who may get an occasional MLB callup to fill a hole, struggling major leaguers who have been sent down to work on things and a few true prospects. With that said, it's difficult to read too much into the results and season comparisons at this level.

So which players had standout seasons in Oklahoma City?

There were several position players whose 2012 seasons resulted in a call-up to the Astros, such as OF Brandon Barnes (.321/.381/.514 39-2B 1-3B 12HR between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City), 3B Matt Dominguez (.298/.347/.398), IF Scott Moore (.318/.410/.555 26-2B 1-3B 10HR), OF Fernando Martinez (.314/.367/.507 23-2B 2-3B 13HR) and C Carlos Corporan (.286/.349/.447 15-2B 6HR).

But probably the most noteworthy of those getting call-ups was OF Jimmy Paredes. In 124 games, the 23-year old hit .318/.348/.477 with 28 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs and 37 stolen bases (tied for second in the league). He was third in the league in hits with 161 and fifth in runs scored with 92.

Of the position players left behind, the best seasons belonged to SS Angel Sanchez (.320/.390/.407 13-2B 1-3B 5HR), OF Brad Snyder (.304/.375/.550 23-2B 3-3B 20HR) and the ever dependable albeit not flashy OF J.B. Shuck (.298/.374/.352 with 11-2B 3-3B). Sanchez ranked in the top 20 in the league in batting average and on-base percentage. Snyder was seventh in slugging, eighth in OPS and was tied for 11th in home runs.

The 34-year old journeyman IF Mike Hessman deserves his own paragraph. Although he only hit .231 with a .301 OBP, he was 13th in the league with a .515 slugging percentage, first in home runs with 35 (and third in strikeouts with 136), and was tied for 11th in the league in RBI.

Several relief pitchers shuttled back and forth from Oklahoma City to Houston and back again, such as Fernando Abad (now starting), Xavier Cedeno and Enerio del Rosario. But it was RHP Mickey Storey that opened some eyes with his performance at Oklahoma City and merited an August 3rd call-up. In 38 appearances, including two spot starts, Storey was 7-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.169 WHIP. Another standout was RHP Jose Valdez who ranked third in the league in saves with 21. His season numbers do not impress at first glance, but if you throw out his June numbers when he was nursing an injury that would eventually land him on the DL, his ERA drops to 2.84 with a 1.237 WHIP for the remainder of the season.

LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-4 in 16 starts, 3.90 ERA, 1.213 WHIP) had a good season with OKC before his call-up and RHP Edgar Gonzalez (1-0 in 2 starts, 0.69 ERA, 0.615 WHIP) barely saw the inside of the clubhouse at OKC before his call-up.

Of the pitchers left behind, three in particular made that crucial step from AA to AAA during the season and showed good progress in their development. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (10-10 in 38 starts, 4.37 ERA, 1.356 WHIP combined) actually got stronger as the season progressed and ended the season at Oklahoma City with a 2.02 ERA and a 1.121 WHIP over his final five starts. RHP Jarred Cosart only made six appearances (five starts) with Oklahoma City, but had a very impressive 2.60 ERA and 1.410 WHIP. His combined numbers for the season were 6-7 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP. RHP Jose Cisnero was 4-1 at Oklahoma City and ended the season with a 3.70 ERA and 1.409 WHIP (combined), and a 4.54 ERA and 1.764 WHIP at Oklahoma City -- not the most impressive of numbers but a decent first step.

I will continue with my look at the final three teams' seasons when they finish post-season play. I hope I have to wait a good long while!

Playoff Recaps & Pitching Matchup Previews

Thursday's Games

Frisco over Corpus Christi 3-2 (Game 2, Frisco leads best of five series 2-0)
You can't blame Keith Bodie for going with what has worked for him all season. The 1-2 punch of Kevin Chapman and Jason Stoffel in the eighth and ninth innings has worked well for Bodie all year. It just didn't work last night. Rob Rasmussen got the start and pitched seven innings allowing seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts. He made quick work of Frisco in the seventh leading some to speculate that he should have been left in as his pitch count was still below the century mark, but Rasmussen had pitched out of trouble several times already last night so Bodie's move to his best closing team from the bullpen is not something I would question. Unfortunately, it just didn't work this time. Chapman and Stoffel combined to allow three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks. A two-out home run off Stoffel in the ninth sealed the Hooks fate. The Hooks put up their two runs in the third inning by way of an Austin Wates RBI single and an Andy Simunic RBI triple. The only men reaching scoring position from that point forward were Chris Wallace and Jake Goebbert who both reached on two-out doubles and were stranded.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 2-1 (Game 2, Best of three series tied 1-1)
Nick Tropeano flat dealt as he allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts over six innings with the first hit not coming until the fourth inning. He was followed by excellent bullpen relief in the form of Pat Urckfitz, Chia-Jen Lo and Kenny Long. Scoreless through four, Lake Elsinore put up a run in the top of the fifth which was answered by Lancaster in the bottom of the frame as Robert Pena drove in Jonathan Meyer. The game stayed tied at 1-1 until the JetHawks broke it wide open in the bottom of the eighth as a 10-pitch at-bat from Erik Castro resulted in a two-run double (one of two doubles from Castro) before Jonathan Meyer put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run home run. Jio Mier and Chris Epps also had good nights, each going two-for-four with a double.

Friday's Pitching Matchups
(Note: I'm pretty sure that I found all of the relevant starts for pitchers versus tonight's opponents, but going through individual boxscores is quite tedious so I might have missed something.)

6:05 CST - Game 1: Tri-City at Auburn
Auburn and Tri-City have only faced off three times this season with Tri-City leading the season series 2-1 so there's not much history from which to draw. RHP Aaron West will start for Tri-City and has not faced Auburn this season. He is 6-2 for the season in 12 starts with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP. LHP Brett Mooneyham has faced Tri-City once and that one game was Tri-City's one loss to Auburn. He is 2-2 in ten games (nine starts) for the season with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.228 WHIP.

7:05 CST - Game 3: Frisco at Corpus Christi
This is a must-win game for Corpus tonight. RHP Ross Seaton takes the mound for Corpus Christi. He has faced Frisco several times this season and is 1-2 with two no-decisions against them. For the season he is 8-9 with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.281 WHIP. RHP Nicholas Tepesch is scheduled to start for Frisco. He is 0-1 with two no-decisions in three starts against Corpus Christi this season. For the season he is 6-3 in 16 appearances (14 starts) with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.361 WHIP.

9:00 CST - Game 3: Lake Elsinore at Lancaster
This is the rubber game in a best of three series. RHP David Martinez takes to the bump for Lancaster. In two starts against Lake Elsinore this season, he has one loss and one no-decision. He is 9-5 with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.335 WHIP, but finished the season very strongly going 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.050 WHIP in his final three starts. RHP Burch Smith, scheduled pitcher for Lake Elsinore, has two no-decisions against Lancaster this season. In 26 starts this year, he is 9-6 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.197 WHIP.


Happy Birthday - 9/7

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Willie Crawford (died August 27, 2004 at 57)
Crawford came to Houston in a March 1977 trade from San Francisco after playing most of his career with the Dodgers. Crawford played in 42 games for the Astros, posting a .254/.341/.333 batting line before being traded to the Oakland A's for Denny Walling in June 1977.

2B David Newhan (39)
Drafted in the 17th round in 1995 by Oakland, Newhan signed as a free agent with Houston in February 2008. In 64 games for the Astros, he hit .260/.297/.404. His father is Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan.

Tweet of the Day

Jamaine Cotton

On our way to Auburn, NY to open up this 3 game series  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
OF Adam Bailey was placed on the 7-day DL.
SS Jonathan Villar was activated from the 7-day DL.


An Interview with RHP Joe Musgrove

When you first meet Joe Musgrove, the first thing you notice is his sheer size. At least it was the first thing I noticed. He is every bit of his listed 6'5" 230. The second thing you notice is how open, easy-going and engaging he is. Then you realize that he's only 19 and you can't help but be impressed.

Musgrove came to the Astros organization in the July 2012 trade that sent David Carpenter, J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon to the Blue Jays for major leaguers Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco and minor league pitchers Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins, Kevin Comer and catcher Carlos Perez.

I sat down and talked to Joe late last month in Greeneville where he was assigned to the Astros Appy League affiliate. Although I didn't get to see him pitch while I was there, I nevertheless walked away impressed. Here is just some of what he had to say ~



On his size: "I've always been big. My mom's full-blooded Italian. My Dad's Mexican and a few other things so I get good cooking around the house, and I'm just blessed with the size I guess. My Dad has five brothers and all of them are six foot plus so I got some size from that."

On the trade from the Blue Jays: "I think it's huge. I had a great time with the Blue Jays. [It was] the first team I was with and I was obviously really excited when I got drafted by them, especially where I got drafted. It wasn't really where I was expecting to go. I talked to scouts and stuff and they all told me they were expecting maybe second, third round so when I got the call and saw it on TV on draft day, I was ecstatic. We had a really good group of guys over there in Bluefield too. Just a lot of young guys that had a lot of upside. I think the Astros made a huge pick up with the guys they got. They got three first rounders or supplemental rounders and a catcher who's a big prospect and a couple of big leaguers so I think it was a really good trade for Houston.

"I'm comfortable with this organization. They seem to move guys pretty well so I think it's a good spot for me. That organization [Blue Jays] is stacked with players at all levels, stacked with players, especially pitching. It would have been tough for me to make a move up there any time soon. Here, I think they tend to move their guys fast. Blue Jays like to keep their young guys down for a couple of years and let them grow. [With the Astros, if] guys are doing well, they'll give you an opportunity and that's what I'm looking for.

"When I first got the call, I was kind of shocked. I didn't expect it to come at all. They woke me up and said, 'Hey, we traded you to the Astros this morning.' It didn't even seem real. I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to do. I'm just thinking, 'I just got comfortable with all these guys and we're doing a ton of stuff, have a good team and now they're throwing me away.' But I talked with my Dad and [my godfather] Dom and they made it clear to me that it's a good thing. It's just another team that wants you. They don't want to trade big leaguers for a guy that they don't think is worth anything so I think it's good. It's a different way to look at it and I'm excited for it."

On what he's accomplished since being drafted in 2011: "I've come a long way from when I first started playing. I didn't start pitching until my freshman year in high school so I've only been pitching for about five years. My godfather, Dominic Johnson, taught me everything I know about it. He worked with a lot of ex-big leaguers and guys that were injured, trying to get back with the game. He taught me everything I know.

"I'm sure it was the same for a lot of guys, [but] in high school we threw hard so we could get away with throwing fastballs right down the middle. Guys just couldn't catch up to it or square it up well, but I learned pretty fast when I got in to pro ball my first year that I can't leave pitches over the middle. I'd have a good at-bat where I'd throw good pitches and leave one pitch over the middle and that's the one they'd crush. Over the past year of pro ball, I've learned a lot. I actually worked out with Jamie Moyer a few times in the off-season. He was throwing with my godfather and I got to meet him and talk baseball with him for a few hours and he really opened my eyes to the game. It's a lot more than you think. Not just physical, but much more the mental part. I've come a long way and I think I'm in a comfortable spot. I'm nowhere near where I want to get, but it's a process."

On his pitch repertoire: "I have a 4-seam and a 2-seam, curve, slider and the change, straight change. Coming in to pro ball, I threw something called a fosh. It's like a splitter/changeup kind of pitch. They kind of took it away from me, the Blue Jays, my first year because they said a lot of guys who throw splitters have elbow injuries down the line so they didn't want me throwing it but that was my out pitch and I liked it. It was a good pitch. I got a lot of good results with it. I could throw it in there either as a waste pitch to get someone to chase it or try to spot up with it and get a guy to look, but they [the Blue Jays] didn't like it too much and took it away. And when I got here, I told them [the Astros] about it, what had happened. I hadn't thrown it in a while but they're slowly letting me get back into it. I haven't thrown it in a game yet because I've been away from it for about a year so I had to get a feel back for it. It's definitely something I want to use in the future. It's a good pitch and I enjoy it."

On his velocity: "[In] high school, some scouts said they saw me up to 98. I don't know; that's pretty fast. I know I've hit 96 a few times and last season I was sitting anywhere from 91 to 95, hit 96 a few times and this season I've gotten up to 94 a few times - not as much but I had a shoulder injury. When the season started, I had two starts in and then I came down with a muscle strain in my shoulder. They said it was in the rotator cuff or in the labrum, somewhere in the shoulder. They said it was a strain, nothing serious so I did a ton of rehab and cuff exercises to try and strenghen it up and now it's feeling good so now I'm just trying to get back into it and slowly move my velocity up. I'm not too worried about velocity. I know it helps, for sure, to have a little extra something on your fastball but at this level it's more about locating your pitches rather than running it up on the gun. I'm not worried about it. I know it will come. I'm still young and have room to grow."

How is his shoulder doing?: "It feels great, 100%. I feel so good to have it 100%. It's the best feeling I've felt in a while, just to have a healthy arm."

On playing in Greeneville: "I love it. The park is unbelievable. It's unreal. It's one of the nicest parks I've played at. The guys are all real great, all good guys. [After the trade] I was worried because [sometimes] you get those guys that are kind of cocky and they want to brush off the rookies and the younger kids, but these guys all welcomed me in nicely and made me feel pretty comfortable so I'm enjoying myself. Coaches are real good. I really enjoy working with [Pitching Coach] Hector [Mercado]. I've heard nothing but good things about him and I'm enjoying [working with] him so far. Omar's [Manager Omar Lopez] a great guy. So I'm liking it. I'm comfortable here."

On something most people don't know about him: "When I was younger, I went to a performing arts school, kindergarten through sixth grade. We had a program called FAME, Fine Arts Magnet and Education, [where the day was split between regular classes in the morning and rehearsals in the afternoon] and at the end of the year, we'd put on a play. My sisters were all in to that. My sisters were big theater freaks. They love acting and singing and stuff. They got me tied in with that and when I wasn't playing ball, I was doing tap-dancing, tap-dancing with my sisters. We have a big fair in San Diego called the Del Mar Fair and it's huge. There's a big stage with thousands of people. Me and my sisters actually got invited to the fair to perform the tap-dancing [routine] on the stage and I'm the only one that didn't mess up out of my two sisters. I was the only one that nailed it perfect. That's definitely something I don't talk about a lot."

Flash forward a few years. Joe makes his major league debut at Minute Maid Park. A little step-ball-change tap move as he toes the rubber? Probably not, but he'd certainly be a hit with the fans, particularly if he nailed it.

Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Hudson Valley over Tri-City 3-2
In the last game of the regular season, Joe Bircher got the start and the loss as he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings of work. He was followed by scoreless outings from Jeremiah Meiners and John Neely. After a three run third by Hudson Valley, Tri-City countered with a run in the bottom of the frame and followed with a Joe Sclafani home run in the fifth, but that was all the offense the Valley Cats could muster. Ryan Dineen stole a bag and Austin Elkins did him one better stealing two. Tyler Heineman was two-for-four  which was enough to assure him of the New York-Penn League batting title as he finished the season with a .358/.452/.430 batting line. Tri-City will start their playoff run on Friday.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 6-5 (Game 1 of playoffs)
The Hooks fought hard in this one, but ultimately came out on the wrong side of the win column. Paul Clemens got the start and only lasted two and two-thirds as he allowed five runs on seven hits, but three of those runs were unearned as two quick outs in the third blossomed into three runs after an Andy Simunic error. Erick Abreu came in for four innings of one-hit scoreless relief and was followed by one and a third effective innings from Kevin Chapman. Alex Sogard gave up the winning run in the ninth and was charged with the loss. Despite being down 5-2 after the third innings, the Hooks battled back a run at a time to bring the game even in the ninth. Jon Singleton continued on the hot streak he rode in to the playoffs, going two-for-five with a double, solo home run and two RBI. Ben Orloff was three-for-four with two RBI; Austin Wates was two-for-five and scored a run; and Drew Locke was two-for-four with a double and an RBI. George Springer stole a base and scored twice. Despite the loss, I was very encouraged as the Hooks held tough against a pitcher with a 14-1 record who had killed them earlier in the season. They not only held tough, they also scored three runs off of Barrett Loux.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 1-0 (Game 1 of playoffs)
This one was a pitcher's duel from the start as each team only managed three singles each in the hit column. The one walk starter Tyson Perez issued in an otherwise magnificent start came back to haunt him as the runner advanced on a ground out and scored on one of those three singles. Perez pitched seven innings, struck out eight and was awarded a hard luck loss. Kenny Long pitched the eighth with no hits, no walks and one strikeout. Carlos Perez had two of the three JetHawks hits with Delino DeShields getting the other one. Erik Castro drew the lone Lancaster walk. This series is a best of three so tonight's game is a must win for the JetHawks.

Thursday's Playoff Pitching Matchups

7:00 CST - Game 2: Corpus Christi at Frisco (Available on MiLB.tv)
The scheduled starters are LHP Rob Rasmussen for Corpus Christi and RHP Wilfredo Boscan for Frisco. Rasmussen has faced Frisco three times since coming in to the Astros system and is 1-2 with a 7.54 ERA and a 1.535 WHIP in those three outings. Boscan only recently converted to a starter and had one start against the Hooks on August 31st which resulted in a no-decision. In 9 starts this season, Boscan is 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP.

9:00 CST - Game 2: Lake Elsinore at Lancaster (Audio available)
The scheduled starters are RHP Nick Tropeano for Lancaster and RHP Chris Fetter for Lake Elsinore. Tropeano is 1-1 in two appearances against Lake Elsinore this season with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP in those two appearances. Since his promotion to Lancaster, he is 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.316 WHIP. Fetter has only had three starts with Lake Elsinore, one of which was a loss to Lancaster. He has a 4.35 ERA and a 1.839 WHIP since his promotion to Hi-A.

Happy Birthday - 9/6

RHP Daniel Meszaros (27)
Drafted by Houston in the 48th round in 2008 out of the College of Charleston (SC), Meszaros logged 48 appearances in 2011 between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City. He was 1-5 with 5 saves, posting a 4.87 ERA and 1.656 WHIP. He has been rehabbing at the Florida complex since having Tommy John surgery in the off-season.

Tweet of the Day

Adam Bailey was assigned to Corpus Christi for the playoffs and then this happened ~

Adam scott bailey


Hospital yahoo 


Embedded image permalink

Appendectomy. He tweeted early this morning that all went well.

Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
OF Adam Bailey was assigned from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.
RHP Matt Heidenreich was assigned from Corpus Christi to Lexington.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Minor League Regular Season Comparisons

All Teams Combined

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 337-488/.408
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 439-394/.527

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 3810 - 4571 = (761)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 4268 - 4007 = 261

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.87 & 1.490
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.23 & 1.393

2011 Team Batting Line: .258/.334/.379
2012 Team Batting Line: .264/.340/.397

Oklahoma City

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 68-75/.476
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 78-65/.545

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 619 - 717 = (98)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 764 - 758 = 6

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.63 & 1.516
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.91 & 1.508

2011 Team Batting Line: .260/.341/.381
2012 Team Batting Line: .282/.349/.434

Corpus Christi

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 50-90/.357
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 81-59/.579

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 605 - 761 = (156)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 736 - 628 = 108

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 5.01 & 1.460
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.07 & 1.332

2011 Team Batting Line: .258/.320/.388
2012 Team Batting Line: .268/.342/.410

Lancaster

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 55-85/.393
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 74-66/.529

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 749 - 929 = (180)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 843 - 786 = 57

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 5.96 & 1.569
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 5.00 & 1.458

2011 Team Batting Line: .280/.352/.420
2012 Team Batting Line: .283/.353/.448

Lexington

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 59-79/.428
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 69-69/.500

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 645 - 731 = (86)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 691 - 664 = 27

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.63 & 1.413
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.26 & 1.387

2011 Team Batting Line: .255/.327/.389
2012 Team Batting Line: .252/.344/.380

Tri-City

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 33-42/.440
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 51-25/.671

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 345 - 343 = 2
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 414 - 251 = 163

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 3.78 & 1.393
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 2.75 & 1.170

2011 Team Batting Line: .247/.335/.349
2012 Team Batting Line: .271/.355/.391

Greeneville

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 25-43/.368
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 36-32/.529

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 326 - 419 = (93)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 339 - 297 = 42

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 5.12 & 1.487
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 3.80 & 1.301

2011 Team Batting Line: .252/.330/.365
2012 Team Batting Line: .262/.328/.379

Gulf Coast League

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 20-34/.370
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 28-31/.475

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 215 - 280 = (65)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 227 - 240 = (13)

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.19 & 1.453
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 3.45 & 1.387

2011 Team Batting Line: .231/.308/.314
2012 Team Batting Line: .244/.307/.342

Dominican Summer League

2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 27-40/.403
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 22-47/.319

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 306 - 391 = (85)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 254 - 383 = (129)

2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.71 & 1.625
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.19 & 1.494

2011 Team Batting Line: .245/.339/.337
2012 Team Batting Line: .215/.301/.285

Lexington Legends Season Recap

Last week, I took a look at the DSL Astros season, the GCL Astros season, and the Greeneville Astros season. Now let's look at the Lexington Legends Lo-A affiliate. Here's a quick look at how the 2011 and 2012 teams compare.

2011 Win Percentage - .428
2012 Win Percentage - .500

2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 645 - 731 = (86)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 691 - 664 = 27

2011 Team ERA & WHIP - 4.63 & 1.413
2012 Team ERA & WHIP - 4.26 & 1.387

2011 Team Batting Line - .255/.327/.389
2012 Team Batting Line - .252/.344/.380

The results for Lexington are somewhat deceptive. As late as mid-August, they were substantially over .500 before hitting a skid in which they lost 16 of 18. I don't know if these players were simply out of gas after many of them participated in their first full professional season, but I'm sure that was a factor. And I'm certain that the loss of Delino DeShields as he was promoted to Lancaster in early August was a factor as well. The season-long chemistry established with DeShields at the top of the order had to be difficult to recreate.

There was a 10-game swing in the win column and a 113-run swing in the run differential. Although the pitching stats don't show a dramatic difference, the team went from toward the bottom of the pack in league ERA and WHIP to solidly in the middle, and went from 9th in saves and 12th in strikeouts (out of 14 teams) to second in the league in both of those categories. Team batting average and slugging percentage are roughly where they were last season. The biggest improvements are in on-base percentage (from 9th to 4th in the league), runs scored and RBIs (from 8th to 4th), and walks and stolen bases (from the bottom of the pack to 2nd in the league).

Here are some individual standouts from the team ~

I'll take a complete look at 2B Delino DeShields, Jr. when I write my season recap on the Lancaster team, but it bears noting that despite having been gone from the Lexington club for almost a month, DeShields is still a league leader in numerous categories, including stolen bases (1st), runs (2nd), OBP (7th) and walks (8th). He's also in the top 20 in the league in batting average, slugging, OPS and hits. He was recently named a South Atlantic League post-season All-Star.

3B Matt Duffy ended the season with a .280/.387/.447 batting line and a team leading 138 hits (7th in the league) and 16 home runs (tied for 9th in the league). He was also in the top 20 in the league in OBP, slugging, runs, RBI and doubles. He also held the dubious "honor" of being hit by pitch 41 times in the season, leading all of the minor leagues ... by far.

1B Zach Johnson led the team, and the league, in RBI with 108 and was tied for the lead on all Astros minor league teams with Erik Castro of Lancaster. He also led the team in walks (5th in the league) and doubles (tied for 3rd in the league), and was in the top three on the team in runs, hits and home runs. He ended the season hitting .238/.339/.406 and was also named to the South Atlantic League post-season All-Star team.

Although OF Brandon Meredith didn't play in enough games to qualify as a league leader in slugging, his .506 slugging percentage over 86 games was still impressive. In 48 fewer games than Zach Johnson and Matt Duffy, Meredith managed to tie Johnson in home runs and trail Duffy by just one. He was also in the top five on the team in runs, RBI, hits, doubles and triples. He ended the season with a .278/.377/.506 batting line.

RF/C Mike Kvasnicka was also limited in playing time due to injuries and similarly to Meredith managed to rank highly in several categories, including doubles, home runs and RBIs. SS Nolan Fontana led the team with a .464 OBP, albeit only over 49 games as he drew 65 walks, only 10 fewer than Zach Johnson who had played in 134 games.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz had an absolute breakthrough season. He turned a 5-11 2011 season into a 14-4 2012 campaign. He was tied for first in wins in the South Atlantic league, and was second in innings pitched, fourth in ERA, sixth in strikeouts and tied for 13th in WHIP among qualifiers. He also made the post-season All-Star squad. He ended the season with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP.

LHP Luis Cruz ended the season with a 9-8 record, a 4.05 ERA (tied for 13th) and a 1.357 WHIP (also tied for 13th). He was third in the league in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched and tied for 11th in wins.

RHP Dayan Diaz was 5-4 with 19 saves in 41 appearances out of the bullpen. His ERA of 1.85 led the entire Astros system for pitchers making at least 30 appearances and was accompanied by a 1.200 WHIP. He was tied for third in the league in saves.

LHP Mitch Lambson started at Greeneville and was quickly promoted as he dominated the Appy League. His combined record for the season was 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA, a 0.975 WHIP, 10.6 SO/9 and a 5.40 SO/BB ratio. At Lexington, he had a 2.72 ERA and a 1.101 WHIP.

The sample size on RHP Chris Devenski (5 starts with Lexington) is too small for generalized conclusions, but I would be remiss if I didn't note his complete game no-hitter on his last start of the season, including his 16 strikeouts from that game. I would also be remiss if I didn't point out Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay's inclusion as a coach for the South Atlantic League post-season All-Star team (Hum you!)

I hope to have a post-season look at the Oklahoma City squad ready by the end of the week, but no promises.

Minor League Recap and Playoff Schedule

Tuesday's Game

Tri-City over Hudson Valley 9-3
Tri-City took the lead early in the penultimate game of the 2012 regular season and never looked back. After losing five in a row, the ValleyCats were finally able to break the impasse and get in the win column. It was their 51st win of the season, breaking a franchise record for wins. The final game of the season will take place at 5:00 CST today and will determine home field advantage for the playoffs which will start Friday.

Starting pitcher Juan Minaya got his second win of the season as he was able to keep Hudson Valley from scoring until allowing two runs in the sixth inning. Prior to that, Tri-City already had a comfortable 5-0 lead. Jamaine Cotton allowed an additional unearned run before giving way to Blake Ford who, after inheriting two runners, promptly walked the bases loaded before inducing a double play to end the threat.

Dan Gulbransen set the tone early as he hit a three-run home run in the second and followed up with a solo shot in the fourth inning, ending his evening with four RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base. With Jeff Luhnow in attendance, Joe Sclafani also set out to impress the boss with a five-for-five night in which he hit two doubles, drove in one and scored a run. M.P. Cokinos was three-for-four in his role as designated hitter and Tyler Heineman was two-for-five and scored twice.

Wednesday's Playoff Schedule

7:00 CST - Game 1: Corpus Christi at Frisco (Available on MiLB.tv)
The scheduled starters are RHP Paul Clemens for Corpus Christi and RHP Barrett Loux for Frisco. Clemens appears to have righted his ship after struggling mightily in Oklahoma City earlier this season. In seven starts for Corpus Christi, he is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP (1.80 ERA ad 1.167 WHIP over his last five). He faced Frisco for the first time in his last start, allowing two runs over five innings and getting a no-decision. Loux is 2-0 with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.270 WHIP in his last 10 games. Loux was extremely tough on Corpus Christi early in the season. The Hooks have not faced him since a July 13th start in which he gave up five runs (three earned) and was out of the game after three innings.

9:05 CST - Game 1: Lancaster at Lake Elsinore (Audio available)
The scheduled starters are RHP Tyson Perez for Lancaster and RHP Matthew Andriese for Lake Elsinore. Perez is 3-3 in his last 10 outings with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.553 WHIP. He is 1-2 in his starts against Lake Elsinore this season. Andriese is 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.169 WHIP in his last 10 outings. He is 4-1 in his starts against Lancaster this season. Lake Elsinore has been a tough venue for Lancaster. The JetHawks did not win at Lake Elsinore until their 13th game of the season. The key to this game will be getting Perez lots of run support, something he has benefited from frequently this season.

Happy Birthday - 9/5

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

OF Jeff Baldwin (46)
Drafted by Houston in the 14th round in 1985, blink and you probably missed him. In seven games for the Astros in 1990, with only 9 PA, Baldwin had one walk and scored a run but he never had a hit. And that was the sum total of his entire major league career.

Tweet of the Day

Travis Ballew

Number 51 for the  most wins in a single season

Roster Moves

Lancaster
OF Chris Epps was assigned from Lexington to Lancaster.
OF Grant Hogue was placed on the 7-day DL.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Interview with 2B Brian Blasik

Brian Blasik comes across as a quiet, unassuming, even-keeled individual. Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent this summer, he quietly made a statement in his first season, hitting .318/.346/.424 over 55 games and being named the Greeneville Astros MVP as he ranked fifth in the league in batting average and RBI. In his college career with the University of Dayton, he made the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Team three years straight and was named a Louisville Slugger All-American his senior year when he hit .343/.390/.484 with a school record 36 stolen bases.

RHP Adrian Houser, Brian's teammate, picked Brian as the Astros hitter he would least like to face in the batter's box, saying, "He's a freak; he's just so good. Guys joking around call him Baby Jesus because you hardly ever see him go a game without getting a hit. He's a solid infielder. He just plays the game how it's supposed to be played, works hard."

I interviewed Brian last month in Greeneville. Here is what he had to say [edited for brevity and clarity] ~

On why he thinks he wasn't drafted: "I was in Dayton. I'm not the biggest guy in the world. I don't have the best arm. I don't hit the most home runs or anything like that so it's really hard for me to stand out in a see-me-one-time [way]. I think the best thing for me is you've got to see me throughout a season and see how I am. That's kind of the situation. I think I didn't get drafted because I'm not a showcase guy ... one time seeing me, 'I should draft him,' but you have to see me over the span of a season, I think. [I] played summer league ball in Coastal Plains the last two years, did pretty special in that, had a great college career and everything, so I got my chance here."

On his MVP season: "I've been doing pretty well. Just trying to do everything I've done the past years I've played baseball and not let anything get to my head or anything like that. Just play for fun really. Just see what I can do."

What is his natural position?: "I played shortstop in college mostly, and the outfield in summer ball mostly. So I've played pretty much everywhere. Been playing second base here. I'm pretty comfortable everywhere in the field really. I never really had a set position in college. [It] took me to senior year to play shortstop even. I played outfield, second base, third base, shortstop and same thing with summer ball league so I've been pretty sound in [those] positions. It helped me out a lot getting a lot of playing time in summer ball. And second base is just really the same thing as shortstop."

On coming into the organization with Dayton teammate Mike Hauschild: "It helped. Made me a little more comfortable knowing who my roommate's going to be ahead of time. That takes one stress out of the thing, knowing I'm going to room with him. Great guy. I roomed with him for four years already. We were in the same house, six people to a house, and he was one of them."

On his season accomplishments: "I think I've accomplished being able to be confident. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect really, competition level and stuff, so I was trying to be myself. That's what I feel like I've accomplished so far, accomplished showing that I can do it at this level for now at least. And in the future I think I just need to keep showing that I can do it and keep producing and keep getting jobs done and keep being sound defensively and having good at-bats and getting some more walks probably. I haven't had a lot of walks so far. That's probably the one thing I need to work on [from] a batting standpoint."

On teammate Jean Batista who was promoted to Tri-City mid-season: "He's a great guy. He swings at a lot of pitches. He had a lot of power. He hit a lot of doubles, triples and home runs. Just a great hitter all around, hits almost any pitch. That probably sums him up right there. He played mostly at first base. It was new to him and it took a couple of games to get used to it, but after that he was great at first base, played shortstop a couple of games, was fine there too."

Which teammate would he least like to face on the mound?: "Mike [Hauschild] has a lot of nasty pitches really ... lot of changeups and fastballs and breaks a decent amount of bats, [but] I'm going to say [Jordan] Jankowski because he throws a ton of sliders. I don't like sliders. I like hitting fastballs, but to be honest everyone does I guess. He throws all sliders and so I'd probably least like to face him because of that."

What would he do if he couldn't play baseball?: "Probably start off giving lessons to high school kids, make some money that way and see where I could go from there, go into coaching maybe, finish up on school, maybe get into a college coaching stuation. [Baseball] has been my whole entire life. I've spent 18 years doing it already so why stop at 18 years? I've got a lot of experience in it."

What has been the biggest surprise about pro ball?: "I'm surprised at how much it's like summer ball, like the summer leagues. That's all you do is baseball. I expected that. I was expecting it to probably be more intense, I think. It's pretty relaxed. They keep you comfortable. College was really demanding. It's demanding here, but coaches yell at you all the time [in college] - it's stressful. I was surprised they keep it non-stressful for you [here]. It's a stressful sport and everything but I'm surprised how [much] less stressful it is than what I was expecting compared to school baseball."

Who on the team makes him laugh?: "Ricky Gingras makes me laugh. He's a funny guy I think. I don't think he even tries to. He just does."

What would he say to Astros fans about the future?: "From what I've heard, all the minor league teams are doing pretty well lately. [There's] a lot of good talent, especially Correa's been pretty good for us. He looks pretty solid. A lot of players here look pretty good. That's good news as the years go on."

Final words: "[I'm] having a lot of fun. Not many people get to play a game for their life, for their career, and that's kind of a nice thing to say. You think of the alternative and you could be going in to work 9 to 5 [instead of] just coming to the field to hit BP, take ground balls, throw, do a little running and lifting, play a game and then go home and do it all over again."

I didn't have the opportunity to see Brian play as he was day-to-day having been hit on the fingers in a bunt attempt. When he came back the day after I left, he picked up right where he left off, hitting .296 in the final seven games of the season. And that fits right in with how I see him going forward. Quiet, steady, dependable. Never too high. Never too low. And thankful that he was given an opportunity to show it.

Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Hudson Valley over Tri-Cty 2-1 in 11 innings
This game was the definition of a pitcher's duel as each team's pitching staff allowed only three hits. Brady Rodgers got the start going two innings and giving up one hit, which happened to be a solo home run, in his two innings. He was followed by a masterful seven-inning hitless relief performance from Brian Holmes. Travis Ballew was charged with his first loss in relief as Scott Zuloaga allowed one of Ballew's base runners to score in the 11th inning. Euris Quezada got the final out in the top of the 11th, but the damage was done as Tri-City failed to score in the bottom of the frame. M.P. Cokinos pushed across the only Tri-City run by way of a bases loaded walk. Joe Sclafani, Preston Tucker and Tyler Heineman owned the three Tri-City hits, all singles. The Tri-City staff did collect eight walks in addition to the three hits, but also struck out 13 times. Two games remain for Tri-City in the regular season.

Rome over Lexington 9-1
Lexington's season finale wasn't exactly the way they wanted to end it, but they should take comfort in the fact that their 69-69 (.500) finish was a step up from the 59-79 (.428) record from 2011. Mike Foltynewicz got the start and the loss as he went to 14-4 on the season. Folty gave up five runs (three off two home runs) on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in three and a third innings pitched. Judging from Folty's last two starts, I think he might just have run out of gas at the end of an otherwise excellent season. Four additional pitchers came in with only Gabriel Garcia remaining unscathed in the run column. The Legends were held to five hits, including an RBI double from Teoscar Hernandez. Ruben Sosa was two-for-four and scored the Legends only run. Nolan Fontana walked four times to bring his season total to 65 over 49 games. He ended the season with a very lopsided .225 batting average and a .464 on base percentage. I will be taking a more in-depth look at Lexington's season later this week.

Lancaster over High Desert 11-5
Blair Walters got the start and the win as he went to 3-3 on the season as he allowed five runs on six hits with seven strikeouts over five and two-thirds innings. He was followed by three and a third innings of one hit relief from Brad Dydalewicz, Pat Urckfitz, Kenny Long and Jorge de Leon (although Dydalewicz did make things a little too interesting with three walks and had to be bailed out by Urckfitz). Lancaster led the entire game, but they broke things wide open with nine runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Jonathan Meyer was en fuego with a three-for-five afternoon and five RBI via two home runs. His second home run of the day was followed immediately by Telvin Nash with his 29th of the season. Carlos Perez was also three-for-five with a double and Rafy Valenzuela was two-for-four and ended the season hitting .429/.432/.771 over his last 10 games. But the big story of the game were the stolen bases. Yes, Jio Mier and Domingo Santana swiped one each, but Delino DeShields broke the century mark as he stole his 100th and 101st bases of the season. What an amazing feat! Lancaster ends their regular season with a final record of 74-66 or a .529 win percentage as opposed to last year's .393 win percentage. I will do a final look at the season after the playoffs are over. The first playoff game will be Lancaster at Lake Elsinore on Wednesday.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 4-1
Corpus Christi ended their regular season with an exclamation point as their 81-59 (.579) record not only was tops in the Texas League, it gave the Hooks 31 more wins than last season's dismal 50-90 record. Bobby Doran got the start and the win in a very nice five-inning stint in which he allowed only four hits with five strikeouts. Matt Heidenreich gave up the one San Antonio run and was quickly pulled for Josh Zeid. Zied, Kevin Chapman, Jake Buchanan and Jason Stoffel (S, 27) provided scoreless relief. The Hooks scored a couple early and then were able to add on a couple of insurance runs late on a wild pitch and an Andy Simunic single. Simunic was two-for-five with an RBI and scored a run; Jay Fernandez was three-for-four and scored a run; and Ben Orloff was two-for-three with a double, walk and run scored. The Hooks first playoff game will be Wednesday at Frisco.

Oklahoma City over Round Rock 1-0
Dallas Keuchel (3IP) and Sergio Perez (2IP) allowed no hits through the first five innings; Aneury Rodriguez (W, 4-7) allowed only two hits in his three innings of work; and Chuckie Fick (S, 3) allowed one hit in the ninth for a combined three hit shutout. The Redhawks were being shutout as well until a Brad Snyder RBI double broke the impasse. Of the seven Redhawks hits, three of them belonged to Snyder. This brings the Oklahoma City season to a close with a final record of 78-65 (.545). I will be looking at the Redhawks season later this week as well (I hope).

Player of the Day: I have a feeling that Delino DeShields stolen base accomplishment will remain an Astros minor league record for a long, long time. It really is an amazing feat. Honorable mention goes to Jonathan Meyer for his two home run, five RBI afternoon.

Pitcher of the Day: I continue to be extremely impressed by Brian Holmes. In his seven innings of relief, he gave up zero hits and one walk and recorded seven strikeouts. He is definitely a player to watch.




Happy Birthday - 9/4

CF Jordan Schafer (26)
Originally from Hammond, Indiana, Jordan was drafted in the third round in 2005 by the Braves out of Winter Haven High School in Florida. He compiled a .223/.310/.303 batting line in 102 games for the Braves in 2009 and 2011 before coming to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade in July 2011. In 98 games for the Astros this season, he is hitting .216/.303/.301.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RF Paul Householder (54)
Drafted by the Reds in the second round in 1976, Householder only played in 14 games for Houston in 1987 at the end of his major league career after spending the majority of his time playing for the Reds and the Brewers.

Tweet of the Day

Mike Kvasnicka

Well, just filled up the tank, the truck is stuffed to the rafters, and I have a few 5-hour energy's... I am coming home. 

Roster Moves

Oklahoma City/Houston
C Carlos Corporan was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.
LF J.D. Martinez was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.
RHP Chuckie Fick was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.
LHP Dallas Keuchel was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Vermont over Tri-City 7-3
Aaron West got the start and the loss as he gave up two runs via the long ball in the first of his two innings of work. He was followed by five innings from Lance Day in which he allowed four runs on six hits, and John Neely gave up the final run in the ninth. Tri-City trailed from the bottom of the first inning on and never got much going beyond two runs in the seventh. Neiko Johnson was two-for-four with a double, walk, two stolen bases and a run scored; Jean Batista was two-for-five with a double and scored two runs; and M.P. Cokinos was one-for-two with a double and two walks, including a bases loaded walk.

Rome at Lexington - cancelled

San Antonio over Corpus 4-3
Asher Wojciechowski pitched a beautiful five innings, allowing only one single and facing the minimum number of batters through five thanks to a double play. The Hooks put up three runs through the first six innings thanks to a solo home run from Austin Wates and a two-run shot from George Springer. But Rob Rasmussen allowed two runs, also via the long ball, in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Missions within one run. One inning later, Alex Sogard was charged with a blown save as he allowed the tying run to cross the plate. The Hooks didn't get a man on base after the sixth and Arcenio Leon was charged with the loss after allowing three consecutive singles and the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Oklahoma City over Round Rock 9-6
The Redhawks led this one from the first inning on, giving Jose Cisnero his fourth win at OKC after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings followed by two runs from Enerio del Rosario in his inning of work. Mark Hamburger and Garrett Mock (S, 1) kept the door closed the rest of the way. Two-run home runs from Brad Snyder and Mike Hessman helped power the offense. Brian Bixler (3x5 2-2B 2R), Angel Sanchez (3x4 R), J.B. Shuck (2x4 2RBI R), and Carlos Corporan (2x4 2B RBI 2R) all had big nights as well. The Redhawks did their part in winning to stay alive for a possible playoff berth, but Omaha wasn't able to stave off Albuquerque, and the Redhawks were eliminated from the post-season.

High Desert over Lancaster 3-2
David Martinez had another great start, going seven innings and allowing one run on four hits with seven strikeouts but was rewarded with a no decision. Jose Trinidad pitched one and a third and was charged with the loss as he allowed two runs in the ninth in a very tight game. The lone JetHawks score in the first eight innings came courtesy of a Carlos Perez single driving in Erik Castro. Domingo Santana hit a solo home run to give Lancaster a 2-1 lead in the ninth, but the lead was short-lived.

Players of the Day: The whole Oklahoma City Redhawks offense deserves this one as they banged out nine runs on 14 hits with only one starter not getting in the hit column.

Pitchers of the Day: Asher Wojciechowski and David Martinez both deserved a better fate than the no decision they each earned. Excellent pitching from both!

Happy Birthday - 9/3

No future Astros, only former Astros celebrating birthdays today:

LHP Troy Patton (27)
Drafted in the ninth round in 2004 by Houston, Patton only made three appearances for Houston in 2007 before being sent to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade. In those three games (two starts), he was 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP. He is having a very good year for Baltimore this season. In 50 appearances, he has a 2.58 ERA and a 1.032 WHIP.

LF Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez (45)
Drafted in the fourth round in 1988 by Houston, Gonzo played for the Astros from 1990 to 1995 and again in 1997. In 745 games for Houston, he hit .266/.335/.417 with 153 doubles, 25 triples, 62 home runs and 63 stolen bases. Gonzo is best known, however, for his eight years in the Diamondbacks organization in which he compiled a .298/.391/.529 batting line, earned five All-Star nods and a Silver Slugger award. He played in unsuccessful NLDS for both the Astros (1997) and the Diamondbacks (1999) before taking it all in 2001 in the Diamondbacks World Series win over the Yankees.

OF Dave Clark (50)
Clark spent the majority of his playing days with Cleveland and Pittsburgh and played for Houston in 1998 at the end of his major league career. After his playing days, he went in to coaching. He managed the Corpus Christi Hooks from 2005 to 2007 and led them to win the Texas League Championship in 2006, managed the Round Round Express AAA affiliate for one year in 2008 and has served as the Astros 3B coach since 2009. Clark served as interim manager of the Astros for 13 games in 2009 as well. Also on Clark's resume is the fact that he was a Golden Gloves boxer in high school, going 26-0.

UT Alan Bannister (61)
A first round pick by the Phillies in 1973, Bannister played in only nine games for Houston in 1984, hitting .200/.273/.300 before being traded to the Rangers. He spent the majority of his career with Cleveland and the White Sox.

Tweet of the Day

Rudy Owens

After coming home at 230am giving my roommate the ultimate tuck in Haha   @ New Roommates House
Embedded image permalink

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Roster Moves

Houston/Oklahoma City
RHP Edgar Gonzalez was called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.
RHP Adalberto Flores was assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Minor League Recaps


Saturday's Results

Tri-City ValleyCats 0, Vermont Lake Monsters 2
Vermont not only shutout, but no hit Tri-City on Saturday, using 3 different pitchers in the process.  The pitching was strong for the ValleyCats too, but starter Juri Perez (2-2) just couldn't compete with the complete halt to his offense and took the loss.  Perez went 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits with 6 Ks—a very nice outing.  Jeremiah Meiners came on to pitch the eighth frame and with 1 hit and a strikeout.  Neither ValleyCats pitcher allowed a walk in the game.

Rome Braves 0, Lexington Legends 10
When the pitchers' box looks like this you know something special happened: 

It did on Friday for Lexington and Chris Devenski (8-7).  Devenski threw a complete game no-hitter and was just 1 walk away from a perfecto.  Through 9 innings Devenski also struck out 16 batters and his complete game no-hitter is the first of its kind in Lexington's 12-season history.  On the other side of the coin was the Legends' offense, which was on fire.  Matt Duffy led the charge, hitting 3 for 5 with 2 homers (worth 4 runs) and a double that scored a run, leaving him with 5 RBIs for the game.  Ruben Sosa hit 3 for 4 with a walk and scored a run.  Jobduan Morales got in on the action too, batting 2 for 5 with a RBI.

Lancaster JetHawks 23, High Desert Mavericks 12
Delino Deshields set the tone early Saturday, literally on the first pitch he saw, with a solo homer and the JetHawks were off to the races.  Lancaster would hit 7 more homers in the game, score 11 runs in the fifth inning, draw 9 walks, and get 21 hits total.  Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway because it's fun), every JetHawks starter got a hit and all but 2 had multi-hit performances. Even more impressive, every starter got at least 1 RBI too.  Rafael Valenzuela had 8 RBIs, partially because, amidst all the offensive chaos, he hit a fifth inning, 2-out grand slam.  Colton Cain (2-2) threw the first 5 frames and took the win, allowing 5 runs (3ER) on 6 hits with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.  Andrew Robinson came on for the final 3 outs with a 17 run buffer and faced 10 batters in the inning.  Robinson gave up 6 runs on 5 hits, walked 1 and struck out 2.

Here is Saturday's box with all the madness that was this game:

Corpus Christi Hooks 11, San Antonio Missions 1
Corpus Christi got off to a slow start, but scored 9 runs after the start of the sixth inning. Erick Abreu (10-4) was the second in a line of 5 pitchers for the Hooks on Saturday that combined to log 10 Ks total and allowed 1 run all game.  Abreu took the win after coming in 1 out into the fourth inning and sticking around for two more frames.  Abreu left with after giving out just a hit and striking out 3 in that time.  Ross Seaton started the game on the mound and through his 3 and a third gave up 1 run on 4 hits, walked 1 and struck out 4.  Jake Goebbert was in command at the plate, hitting 3 for 5 with a RBI and 2 doubles.  Jair Fernandez went 4 for 5 with 4 runs scored. Ben Orloff had a productive showing too, hitting 2 for 4 with a double, run scored and 4 RBI.  Orloff was also hit by a pitch in the in the sixth inning, scoring Jair Fernandez.

Round Rock Express 6, Oklahoma City RedHawks 3
Oklahoma City had a 2 run lead almost the entire game until a 5 run rally in the ninth put them behind for the loss.  Jarred Cosart started the game on the bump and through 6 innings gave up 1 unearned run on 4 hits while walking 3 and striking out the same.  Chuckie Fick (2-2) took the loss after coming on to start the ninth and not recording a single out.  Fick was charged with 4 runs on 2 hits, walked 1 and hit another with a pitch.  J.D. Martinez and Angel Sanchez both went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored Saturday.  Jose Martinez went 1 for 3 with a walk and had 2 RBIs. 

Player of the Day:  Two words: Rafael Valenzuela.  Valenzuela hit 2 homers and a double, one homer was a grand slam and he collected 8 RBIs in one 9 inning game.  He claims he is from Nogales, Arizona, but I'm thinking Nogales by way of Roswell, New Mexico—after his people crash landed from the planet Krypton.

Pitcher of the Day:  You just can't say enough good things about a 21-year-old kid like Devenski who has a game like he did last night.  Mowing down 16 batters? Facing just 1 over the minimum?  Of course he's getting the WTHB honor today, but, even better, his name is going down in the books for Lexington as the first individual pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter for them.  That's special.  Great job, Devenski.
     

Bonus Tweet of the Day


Jason Schwartz

The  5th inning: 16 batters, 11 runs, 8 walks, 5 hits, 3 pitchers (70 pitches thrown), 1 HBP and a partridge in a pear tree.

Happy Birthday - 9/2

OF Austin Wates (24)
Drafted out of Virginia Tech by the Astros in the third round in 2010, Wates has spent the 2012 season with the Hooks and, despite being somewhat hampered by injuries this season, has been his normal dependable self. In 96 games, he has hit .314/.382/.439 with 16 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 16 stolen bases. Read this for more on Austin's philosophy of hitting.

SS Luis Reynoso (18)
Reynoso was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and first played for the DSL in 2012 with great success. In 50 games, he hit .281/.382/.363 with 11 doubles, one home run and eight stolen bases.

Tweet of the Day

David Rollins

Shout out to my boy Chris for throwing lexington legends first no hitter in its team history