Saturday, November 3, 2012

Roster Moves - 11/3

According to tweets from Mark Berman, Brian Smith and Brian McTaggart, the following players have been removed from the 40-man roster which now stands at 31.

OF Brian Bogusevic - Outrighted and is now a free agent
RHP Jorge de Leon - Outrighted and is now a free agent
OF J.B. Shuck - Outrighted and is now a free agent
RHP Chuckie Fick - Outrighted to Oklahoma City

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 11/2

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Peoria over Mesa 7-5
Jio Mier got the start at short for Mesa and went 2-for-5 with two RBI singles, a strikeout and a run scored. Chia-Jen Lo pitched two innings and allowed two hits, no runs, no walk and recorded one strikeout.

Today's Game - Rising Stars Game at 7:00 CST on MLB Network, featuring Astros Jarred Cosart, George Springer and Jon Singleton.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Caribes 10-4
Jake Goebbert started in right field for Caribes and moved to center in a late-inning move. He was 1-for-5 in the game.

Caracas over Aragua 8-2
For Caracas last night, Brandon Barnes was 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI, a strikeout and scored two runs. He is now hitting .300/.370/.486 in 18 games. Jose Martinez was the DH for Aragua and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Escogido over Gigantes 6-4
Jimmy Paredes was the DH for the Gigantes and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Rhiner Cruz made his first appearance in the Dominican Winter League for the Gigantes last night and pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts.

Toros over Licey 12-3
Domingo Santana got the start for Licey in right field and went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.

Aguilas over Estrellas 13-6
Jonathan Villar came in to pinch hit, drew a walk and scored a run for Aguilas.

NOTE: The Astros also announced that Carlos Correa will be participating in the Puerto Rican Winter League which starts play on November 18th.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Lucas Harrell


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There are no birthdays today so please enjoy this wonderful look at the Astros past meeting the Astros future instead.

Tweet of the Day

Rudy Owens

Is it bad when you have to set your alarm for 11:30am to make sure you get up on time   

Friday, November 2, 2012

Roster Moves - 11/2

RHP Arcenio Leon who had spent the 2012 season with Corpus Christi was claimed off waivers by the Brewers, opening up another 40-man roster spot. The 40-man currently stands at 35.

In addition, according to tweets from utility player Neiko Johnson and RHP Nate "Carl" Pettus, they are no longer with the organization. UPDATED: Another tweet from OF Garen Wright indicated that he has been released as well.

Here's is the complete list of roster cuts from today (with a link to their stats page and last team):

RHP Yoiner Angulo  - DSL
RHP Francisco Baso - DSL
LHP Ricardo Batista - GCL
RHP Steven Dennison - GCL
C Kenny Diaz - GCL
LHP Brad Dydalewicz - Lancaster
RHP Blake Ford - Tri-City
SS Jimmy Howick - Greeneville
UT Neiko Johnson - Tri-City
OF Emilio King - Tri-City
2B Jordan Kreke - Lexington
OF Jarrod McKinney - Tri-City
RHP Juan Mojica - Greeneville
RHP Nate Pettus - Lexington
C Franny Polanco - GCL
RHP Brad Propst - Greeneville
3B Kyle Redinger - GCL
OF Garen Wright - Greeneville

I will update the ongoing off-season transaction list shortly.

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 11/1

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Peoria over Mesa 7-3
Since RHP Jarred Cosart is pitching in the Rising Stars game on Saturday, his turn in the rotation was skipped and RHP Nick Tropeano got the start. Tropeano pitched two innings and allowed one hit with four strikeouts. Over eight appearances, he has a 2.45 ERA and a 0.818 WHIP. LHP Alex Sogard pitched one and two-thirds innings in relief and allowed three hits and no runs of his own, but did allow two inherited runners to score. 1B Jon Singleton was 1-for-5 with a double, three strikeouts and scored a run. George Springer got the start in right field and went 0-for-3 with a bases loaded walk and a strikeout. 3B Bobby Borchering was 2-for-4 with a double, strikeout and run scored. In case you missed it, there was a nice  article from MLB.com about the Astros Arizona Fall League prospects that came out yesterday.

Today's game - Mesa (5-14) at Peoria (12-9) at 2:35 CST

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caribes over Aragua 7-3
RF Jake Goebbert was 2-for-5 with an RBI, strikeout and run scored for Caribes.

Caracas over Magallanes 8-5
Brandon Barnes got the start in left field for Caracas and went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and two runs scored.

La Guaira over Zulia 6-2
RHP Arcenio Leon pitched one inning for Zulia and allowed one hit, no runs and one walk with three strikeouts.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Licey over Aguilas 3-2 in 10 innings
Domingo Santana came in as a late-inning defensive replacement in left field for Licey and did not get an at-bat.

MEXICAN PACIFIC WINTER LEAGUE

Guasave over Hermosillo 12-3
RHP Garrett Mock (L, 2-1) had a bit of a tough start for Hermosillo. In three innings, he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. Five of the runs scored in the first inning. Mock had not allowed a run in his first four appearances.

Happy Birthday - 11/2

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

OF/1B Orlando Merced (46)
Merced signed with Houston as a free agent in August 2000 and played for the Astros from 2001 to 2003 at the end of his career.  He hit .262/.323/.417 for the Astros over 340 games. His spent the greatest part of his career with the Pirates. In seven years in Pittsburgh, he hit .283/.364/.428 and came in second in voting for the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, losing out to Jeff Bagwell.

Tweets of the Day

Rafael Valenzuela

And its officially no shave November!!


Rafael Valenzuela

But ladies, don't participate in no shave November please and thank you :)

Roster Moves

In addition to yesterday afternoon's news that Jordan Schafer has been claimed off waivers by Atlanta, the Astros announced several other moves last night.

RHP Kyle Weiland was outrighted to Oklahoma City. LHP Fernando Abad, LHP Sergio Escalona, RHP Edgar Gonzalez and RHP Jose Valdez were also outrighted to Oklahoma City but are unrestricted free agents. (It was also noted that IF Matt Downs, who had been removed from the 40-man roster a couple days ago, is an unrestricted free agent as well.) Only two of these players were on the 40-man roster since Weiland and Escalona were on the 60-day DL so this effectively brought the running total down to 34 on the 40-man roster.

Two players, however, were added to the 40-man roster bring it back up to 36. RHP Sam Demel and 2B/SS Jake Elmore were claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks. The 25-year old Demel, a third round draft pick by Oakland in 2007 and a native of Channelview, Texas, had significant major league experience with the Diamondbacks in 2010 and 2011, but made only one appearance at the major league level in 2012. In 72 major league appearances, he has a 4.95 ERA and a 1.586 WHIP out of the bullpen. In 56 appearances for AAA Reno this season, he had a 4.07 ERA and a 1.236 WHIP. Elmore, also 25, was a 34th round pick by Arizona in 2008. He spent the majority of his season at Reno as well, hitting .344/.422/.465 with 30 doubles, nine triples, one home run and 32 stolen bases in 108 games. He walked 74 times to 54 strikeouts. Elmore got his first call-up to the bigs on August 11th and hit .191/.247/.250 in 30 games.

I will update my ongoing list of off-season transactions (that I have linked on the front page) later today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roster Moves

If this MLB Trade Rumors post is true, then Jordan Schafer is no longer an Astro and the 40-man roster stands at 37 + 2 on the 60-day DL.

UPDATE: The MLB Trade Rumors post has been confirmed. I have updated the ongoing off-season transaction list that I'm keeping linked on the front page of the blog here.

So How Did I Do? Lancaster JetHawks

In taking a long overdue look at how I did in predicting the the 2012 Astros minor league full season team results, I first looked at the Lexington Legends. Today let's look at the worst of my predictions - the Advanced A level Lancaster JetHawks.

OFFENSE

I wasn't overly concerned about the offense on this team despite the fact that they had big shoes to fill offensively as players such as Jose Altuve, Kody Hinze, Austin Wates, Adam Bailey and Jon Singleton had great success there in 2011, and ultimately I thought that the 2011 and 2012 teams would profile somewhat similarly. I predicted that George Springer, Telvin Nash and Domingo Santana would drive the offense, and they did exactly that as three of the top four RBI men on the team. I didn't anticipate, however, that Erik Castro was going to have such a terrific season and lead all of them in the RBI category.

I was expecting improvements from Jio Mier and Kiké Hernandez and they obliged as well, although Mier got sidetracked by injury for a large chunk of the season and Hernandez' walk rate took a hit. (Hernandez' 2012 numbers below are for Lancaster and Corpus combined.)

Jio Mier
.239/.345/.344 in 114 games in 2011
.292/.396/.409 in 46 games in 2012

Kiké Hernandez
.247/.341/.326 with 11 doubles, 0 triples, 2 home runs and 17 RBI in 62 games in 2011
.270/.314/.399 with 27 doubles, 7 triples, 6 home runs and 52 RBI in 123 games in 2012

One concern that I had, offensively, going in to the season was that Erik Castro and Rafy Valenzuela were the only lefty hitters on the team, but since they both had very good seasons and their ranks were supplemented with lefty Chris Epps in June (as well as Drew Muren and Andrew Aplin later in the season), it turned out to be a non-issue. Finally, I was hoping that Dan Adamson's numbers wouldn't fall off too drastically from his 2011 numbers at Lexington, but he was cut only four games into the season.

Ultimately, the offense stacked up this way:

2011 - .280/.352/.420 with 5.35 runs scored per game
2012 - .283/.353/.448 with 6.02 runs scored per game

PITCHING

I didn't really make any predictions as to how the pitching staff as a whole would fare in 2012 as compared to the 2011 team, but rather focused on the individual pitchers and my predictions didn't fall far from the mark.

As far as the opening day starting rotation, I was very optimistic about Bobby Doran going in to the season and looked for a big improvement from him. I didn't, however, anticipate that he would go all the way from 1-3 with a 9.04 ERA and a 2.010 WHIP in 2011 to a 14-6 record with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.284 WHIP in 2012, meriting a mid-season promotion. I was a little leery about Wes Musick pitching a full season at The Hangar, but with his quick promotion after only five starts, that became a non-factor (although, interestingly enough, he did have a 4.76 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP in two starts at The Hangar as compared to a 1.29 ERA and 0.857 WHIP in 3 starts on the road). I was pretty much on the money with R.J. Alaniz (6-2, 5.04 ERA, 1.390 WHIP) and David Martinez (9-5, 4.38 ERA, 1.335 WHIP) for whom I predicted modest success at Lancaster and with Zach Grimmett (3-6, 8.21 ERA, 1.776 WHIP) for whom I anticipated difficulty at Lancaster. I was concerned about Grimmett's extreme flyball tendencies in an unforgiving park, coupled with a fairly low strikeout rate, and my concerns were justified as he only made 10 starts and was moved to the bullpen for the bulk of the season.

In looking at the bullpen, I was right when I saw Lancaster as a bad fit for Gabriel Garcia (also an extreme flyball pitcher); Garcia ended up back in Lexington after only nine appearances at Lancaster. And I was wrong when I predicted that Brian Streilein would have the best season out of the 'pen; after putting up a 7.78 ERA and a 1.632 WHIP in 26 appearances, he was cut from the team in July. I also predicted modest success for Alex Sogard (he was promoted after only six appearances) and Jorge de Leon (who had a tough season after getting thrown into the starting rotation for a large part of the season) -- I'll take an incomplete on these two.

Ultimately, this is how the pitching stacked up:

2011 - 5.96 ERA/1.569 WHIP/6.64 runs allowed per game
2012 - 5.00 ERA/1.458 WHIP/5.61 runs allowed per game

OVERALL RECORD

I vastly underestimated how the Lancaster team would do. I didn't anticipate just how well they would  function as a team under Rodney Linares' leadership. This was a case where the whole was definitely greater than the sum of the parts because all of the parts worked together so well.

2011 Actual - 55-85/.393 win percentage
2012 Prediction - 60-80/.428 win percentage
2012 Actual - 74-66/.529 win percentage

Next up: Corpus Christi (next week)

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 10/31

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Mesa and Salt River Tied 2-2
The game was suspended after nine innings and declared a tie. Jon Singleton went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. As DH, George Springer was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Jio Mier got the start at third base and went 2-for-4 with a strikeout and scored the tying run. Mier is now hitting .281/.314/.438 in nine games.

Today's Game - Peoria (11-9) at Mesa (5-13) at 2:35 CST.

As a reminder the Rising Stars Game is scheduled to be broadcast on the MLB Network on Saturday at 7:00 CST. In addition to the previous announcement that Jarred Cosart would be the East Division starter, it was also announced that Jon Singleton and George Springer will be on the squad.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Aragua 10-5
Jose Martinez was DH for Aragua and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

La Guaira over Caracas 7-6
Brandon Barnes got the start in left field and batted fifth in the order; he went 2-for-5 with a triple, scored two runs and struck out once.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Escogido over Aguilas 11-4
Jonathan Villar came in as a defensive substitution at third base in the seventh inning and went 1-for-1 with an RBI single and scored a run.

Toros over Gigantes 4-2
DH Jimmy Paredes went 1-for-3 with a double, scored a run and struck out once for the Gigantes. He is currently hitting .318 over his first five games. Also for the Gigantes, RHP Erick Abreu pitched two perfect innings in relief.

Happy Birthday - 11/1

RHP Rhiner Cruz (26)
Initially signed by the Tigers as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, Cruz was drafted from the Mets in the December 2011 Rule 5 draft. In 52 appearances for the Astros in 2012, Cruz had an ERA of 6.05 and a WHIP of 1.709. But that's not the whole story. Like much of the Astros bullpen, Cruz was effective early in the season and late in the season. In between? Not so much. In April, May and August through October, his ERA was 3.13 and his WHIP was 1.473. In June and July? 12.46 ERA and 2.250 WHIP.

3B Jonathan Meyer (22)
Drafted as a third round supplemental pick in 2009 out of high school in California, Meyer spent his second season with Lancaster in 2012, hitting .272/.315/.375 with 24 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. Like  many of his Lancaster teammates, his hot bat helped he JetHawks get to the playoffs as he hit .350/.409/.600 with four doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI in his final 10 regular season games. He carried that into the playoffs, hitting .343 with three doubles, two home runs, a stolen base and 10 RBI.

RHP Frederick Tiburcio (22)
A non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic, Tiburcio is in his fourth season in the organiztion. He spent 2011 with the GCL Astros and 2012 with the Greeneville Astros with remarkably similar results.

2011 - 12 games (10 starts), 3-5 record, 4.47 ERA, 1.399 WHIP, 54-1/3 IP
2012 - 12 games (11 starts), 3-5 record, 4.47 ERA, 1.354 WHIP, 58-1/3 IP

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Russ Kemmerer (81)
Kemmerer came to Houston in a trade with the White Sox in June 1962. In a total of 53 appearances for the Colt .45's in 1962 and 1963, he was 5-3 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.366 WHIP.

OF Howie Goss (died July 31, 1996 at 61)
Goss came to Houston from the Pirates in April 1963 and played in 133 games for the 1963 Colt .45's with a .209/.264/.328.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Greg Rajan

Before he leaked new  logos, Bud Selig stood outside theaters in 1980 and yelled out Darth Vader's true identity.

Tweet of the Day

Mike Martinez

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So How Did I Do? Lexington Legends

I've been dragging my heels a bit in going back to look at some of my predictions for the Astros minor league  teams for 2012. Frankly I was surprised that I did fairly well overall with one major exception. Let's look at my predictions as to how the 2012 full season teams would fare. First the A level Lexington Legends.

OFFENSE

I was concerned about the offense on this team. On paper, they looked to improve slightly in batting average and on-base percentage over the 2011 team, but were poised for a large drop-off in power coming in to the season. I saw Mike Kvasnicka and Matt Duffy as keys to shoring up the team slugging percentage. I wanted to see those two players translate some of their doubles power into home run power as I thought they were the most likely candidates to do so. They both obliged nicely.

Mike Kvasnicka
32 doubles/4 triples/4 home runs in 128 games in 2011
15 doubles/1 triple/15 home runs in 63 games in 2012

Matt Duffy
20 doubles/1 triple/2 home runs in 63 games in 2011
32 doubles/1 triple/16 home runs in 134 games in 2012

I also wanted to see at least incremental improvements offensively from three players. Robert Pena started off the year at Lexington slowly, but did start showing those incremental improvements prior to his promotion to Lancaster. Alex Todd didn't do anything incrementally. He blew away his rather anemic 2011 numbers and only spent 22 games with Lexington before getting the call up to Lancaster. And we all know about Delino DeShields terrific season as he went from hitting .220/.305/.322 at Lexington in 2011 to .298/.401/.439 in 2012, leading to his late season call-up to Lancaster.

And finally, I wanted to see three players avoid major drop-offs from their 2011 seasons. Matt Duffy continued to show consistency all season and ended up with only a slightly lower batting average than he did in 2011 despite playing in more than twice as many games (and had a higher OBP and SLG). However, Emilio King went from .293/.332/.439 in 98 games with Lexington in 2011 to hitting .135/.220/.176 in 20 games with Lexington in 2012, leading to a trip back to extended Spring Training. Somewhere in between was Jordan Scott who I saw as unlikely to produce at the level he had the previous year (.323/.380/.406 through three levels), but who ultimately fell off offensively more than I had expected (.230/.325/.280).

Ultimately, the offense stacked up this way:

2011 - .255/.327/.389 with 4.67 runs scored per game
2012 - .252/.344/.380 with 5.01 runs scored per game

PITCHING

I was more optimistic about the pitching than the offense. Overall, the 2012 staff looked to be stronger than the 2011 staff and I expected improvement in that area. But after I established some of my keys to success, the team quickly re-keyed the locks. First of all I was looking for Nick Tropeano to build on his terrific freshman year success. Check. But I hoped for the same from Kyle Hallock who struggled out of the gate before having surgery and missing the vast bulk of the season.

But I looked rather perspicacious when I went on to note that Luis Cruz and Carlos Quevedo, both of whom started the season in the bullpen, had experience as starters and were quite capable of picking up the slack if the opening day roster rotation struggled. Quevedo started four games for Lexington, but Cruz became a regular and started 24 games for the team and did so quite capably.

The other key, in my mind, was improvement by Mike Foltynewicz and Tanner Bushue. I expected improvement from Folty but was very pleasantly surprised by the level of his improvement. I also expected improvement from Bushue, but he continued to struggle with mechanics and was quickly sent back to extended Spring Training after only six games.

I also liked the bullpen and saw good seasons from Dayan Diaz and Jason Chowning, in particular, as establishing the strength of the Lexington 'pen. They did not disappoint.

Ultimately, this is how the pitching stacked up:

2011 - 4.63 ERA/1.413 WHIP/5.30 runs allowed per game
2012 - 4.26 ERA/1.387 WHIP/4.81 runs allowed per game

OVERALL RECORD

I underestimated how well every single full season team would do, but I did come close on Lexington.

2011 Actual - 59-79/.428 win percentage
2012 Prediction - 65-75/.464 win percentage
2012 Actual - 69-69/.500 win percentage

Next up: Lancaster

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 10/30

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Mesa over Phoenix 7-5
1B Jon Singleton was 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. George Springer was back in centerfield and went 2-for-4 with a double, strikeout, run scored and stolen base. SS Jio Mier was 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout and scored a run.

Today's Game - Salt River (11-7) at Mesa (5-13) at 2:35 CST

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Zulia over Caribes 4-3
The third time was the charm for RF Jake Goebbert. Hitless in his first two games, Goebbert was 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI, a strikeout and scored a run for Caribes in his third game for the team.

Magallanes over Caracas 4-2
Brandon Barnes got the start for Caracas in left field and went 1-for-4 with a solo home run (his third of the season) and two strikeouts.

La Guaira over Aragua 8-6
2B Jose Martinez came in to the game as a late-inning defensive replacement but did not get an at-bat.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Gigantes over Escogido 9-4
DH Jimmy Paredes went 3-for-6 with a solo home run and a strikeout and scored two runs for the Gigantes.

Happy Birthday - 10/31

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

C John "Pork Chop" Hoffman (died December 27, 2001 at 58)
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Colt .45's in 1963, Hoffman played in only eight games for the Colt .45's and the Astros in 1964 and 1965, hitting .143/.182/.143. And that was the sum total of his major league career.

C Ed Taubensee (44)
Originally drafted by the Reds in the sixth round in 1986, Taubensee came to Houston in a December 1991 trade with Cleveland. In 203 games for the Astros from 1992 to 1994, he hit .234/.296/.351. According to Baseball-Reference, he was:
Nicknamed "The Model" because of the way he strutted his stuff on the runway when the Astros revealed their new uniforms in 1994.
LHP Tim Byrdak (39)
A fifth round pick by Kansas City in 1994, he signed with Houston as a free agent in April 2008. In 199 games for the Astros from 2008 to 2010, he was 5-5 with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.345 WHIP. According to Baseball-Reference, while pitching for the Mets in 2012:
[H]e was leading the National League in games pitched with 56 when he announced on August 9th that he would need to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder.

Tweet of the Day

Austin Wates

A little kid today asked me if Ive killed a man..I said No. But Ive eaten grilled cheese twice in one day. Don't mess with me..




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Different Perspective - Chelsa Messinger

I first got the idea of interviewing Astros RHP Jake Buchanan's girlfriend, Chelsa Messinger, instead of Jake after I started following her on twitter a while back. She is smart and funny with a very sharp sense of humor, and frankly, I thought it would be fun for a change. Chelsa is the sports anchor for the local NBC affiliate in Columbus, Georgia and SEC Football is her sweet spot. She was an athlete in her own right as a swimmer at North Carolina State. 

I asked Chelsa a few questions about Jake and life with a minor league boyfriend and here's what she had to say.

WTH: How long have you and Jake known each other? Does he know how lucky he is to have a girlfriend who loves sports?

CM: I met Jake about five years ago when I was a sophomore at NC State, and we started dating four years ago. We both like to talk trash, and I think that's part of the reason we started talking, actually! Haha. But the first time I watched him pitch was when NC State played in the NCAA Super Regional against UGA (Gordon Beckham was the shortstop at the time), and on the very first pitch of the first inning, Jake gives up a monster home run. Oh no. I was worried to say the least. But after that, he settled down and ended up getting the only win NC State got in the 3-game series. Throughout his college career, his first few innings have usually been his toughest. But once he gets in a rhythm, it's hard to slow him down.

As far as having a girlfriend that likes sports, I'd like to think he appreciates it. But he watches A LOT of golf, and NASCAR ... two sports I don't particularly care for. So instead of arguments over watching either sports or Keeping up with the Kardashians, like normal couples, we argue about watching the Golf Channel (him) or College Football (me).

WTH: How does Jake feel about his 2012 season?

CM: I feel like I can't answer this question. We don't talk much about his pitching. One thing I appreciate about Jake is that he keeps baseball very compartmentalized. Once he leaves the field, he doesn't take his emotions with him. He can pitch 7 shutout relief innings for an extra-innings win over Virginia Tech to go to the ACC Championship (he got a key out from Austin Wates) or throw the worst game of his life, and still act the same after he comes out of the locker room. He's very even-keeled. I think that's one thing you won't find in the stat sheet that makes him a great pitcher.

WTH:. How did Jake feel about your tweeting that you wanted the Hooks to lose in the playoffs so you'd see him sooner?

CM: Well he knows that I miss him during the season, so I don't think he was mad. Obviously I want him to do well, but the season is just ... so ... long.

WTH: Have you ever seen a worse playoff beard than Jake's?

CM: His actually wasn't that bad compared to some of the beards I've been seeing in the World Series. But he knows I'm not a fan of the beard.

WTH: I saw you tweet about a wives/girlfriends gathering in Corpus Christi this season. Had you met any of them before? How did it go?

CM: It's always nice to talk with people who are in a similar situation - with the long season, unstable future, and inevitable problems (going stag to every wedding in the summer). But I actually met most of the Hooks wives/girlfriends for the first time that week. Since all the trades, the majority of them came from other organizations. But I have known Arlie (Alex Sogard's wife) since they both also went to NC State. It's so nice to have someone you know going through the same process together. Not just for me, but I know it's been great for Jake to have Alex, too.

WTH: What is Jake doing in the off-season?

CM: Hanging out with me, hopefully! I know he's taking some time to just relax and do the things he missed out during the season (seeing his family, fishing, playing LOTS of golf).

WTH: Can you tell us something about Jake that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?

CM: One of his first big moments in baseball for him was actually in Texas. When he was 9, his Dixie Youth team played in the World Series in Terrell, TX. When he got drafted by the Astros, I wrote an article on Jake coming full circle from that day at the Dixie Youth World Series, to being drafted by a Texas team for The Raleigh News & Observer. It was my first paid article. I'm pretty sure my editor didn't know Jake and I were dating when he assigned me that story, but he loved the article.

Thanks, Chelsa, for being a good sport. I'll try to do a "serious" interview with Jake later (if he's still willing). 

Give Chelsa a follow on twitter if you like your sports coverage peppered with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

Chelsa Messinger
 fire Bobby Valentine after putting together the worst Win percentage since 1964-1966. Beer & Fried Chicken for everyone!

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 10/29

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Surprise over Mesa 7-2
DH Jon Singleton was 0-for-2 with two walks; 3B Bobby Borchering was 0-for-1 with a sac fly RBI and two walks; and Jio Mier came in as a defensive replacement at third base (moving Borchering to first) and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. RHP Nick Tropeano gave up one run on two hits in one inning of work; LHP Alex Sogard gave up one run on one hit and a walk in his inning; and RHP Chia-Jen Lo gave up two unearned runs on one hit in his inning as two errors, including a throwing error from Lo, came back to haunt him.

Today's Game - Mesa (4-13) at Phoenix (6-8) at 2:35 CST

NOTE: The Rising Stars Game will be televised on Saturday, November 3rd at 7:00 CST on MLB Network. RHP Jarred Cosart will get the start for the East Division.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Estrellas over Gigantes 9-6
RHP Erick Abreu pitched two perfect innings of relief for the Gigantes team with two strikeouts while Jimmy Paredes went 1-for-5 with an RBI as the DH.

The Venezuelan Winter League and Mexican Pacific Winter League had the day off.

Happy Birthday - 10/30

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

2B/SS Anderson Hernandez (30)
Hernandez was first signed by the Tigers in 2001 as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic and was picked up from Cleveland by the Astros as a waiver claim in 2010.  In 132 games for Houston in 2010, he hit .188/.304/.229. Hernandez played for the Pirates AAA team in Indianapolis in 2012.

RHP Mark Portugal (50)
Portugal came to Houston in a December 1988 trade with the Twins. In 135 games (123 starts) for the Astros from 1989 to 1993, he went 52-30 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP. Portugal was first in the National League in win percentage in 1993, going 18-4.

Tweet of the Day

Booogggie's avatar

Going to watch the weather channel all day because I have nothing better to do 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Congratulations!!!

RHP Chris Devenski got to the party late. As the PTBNL in the Brett Myers trade with the White Sox, he only got in five starts with his new club, the Lexington Legends, before the season ended. The last of those five starts was a memorable one. Devenski threw a 16-strikeout complete game no-hitter, the first in Lexington Legends history. Devenski had never pitched beyond the seventh inning in his two years in the minor leagues, yet he was only one fifth-inning walk away from a perfect game in his final start of the season.

Devenski was nominated for a MiLBY award, in which the fans vote for, among other things, the Game of the Year. This year Devenski's no-hitter was the winner. Congratulations to Chris and to all of his Legends teammates on this well-deserved recognition!

Winter League Recaps & Stats - 10/28

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

No game on Sunday. Today's game - Mesa (4-12) at Surprise (9-7) at 2:35 CST.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Lara over Magallanes 6-3
RHP Sergio Perez (L, 3-1) got the start and his first loss of the season as he allowed five runs on four hits and four walks in four and two-thirds innings pitched for Magallanes. LHP Gabriel Garcia pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed two hits and no runs with one strikeout.

Caracas over Aragua 7-5
Brandon Barnes got another start in left field for Caracas and went 1-for-2 with three walks, scored a run and was caught stealing. 2B Jose Martinez went 3-for-4 with a double and scored a run for Aragua and is now hitting .302.

Caribes over La Guaira 4-3
Jake Goebbert got a start in right field and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in his second game with the Caribes.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Gigantes over Aguilas 4-1
Jimmy Paredes got a start in left field for the Gigantes and basically gave them the win as he went 1-for-4 with the "1" being of the Grand Slam variety in the top of the ninth.

LIGA PARALELA
Stats through 10/26 for the Astros players playing in the Venezuelan Liga Paralela.

C Ernesto Genoves - .344/.488/.594 2-2B 2HR 7RBI in 9 games

C Luis Alvarez - .304/.360/.348 1-2B 6RBI in 6 games

OF Jose Monzon - .241/.353/.414 1-3B 1HR 2RBI in 10 games

RHP Carlos Quevedo - 0-1 3.00 ERA 1.000 WHIP in 2 games (1 start)

RHP Enderson Franco - 0-1 5.00 ERA 2.000 WHIP in 3 games (3 starts)

C Alfredo Gonzalez - .421/.450/.684 2-2B 1HR 5RBI in 7 games

C Carlos Perez - .360/.429/.600 with 3-2B 1HR 6RBI in 8 games

NICARAGUAN WINTER LEAGUE
I believe that these stats are through 10/25 for Astros playing in Nicaragua (the site is a little difficult to decipher).

LF Mesac Laguna - .333 Avg. .750 Slg. 2-2B 1HR in 4 games

C Marlon Avea - No hits in one at-bat


No Birthdays Today ...

There are no future or former Astros birthdays today, but I always feel compelled to come up with something. With that said, how about a little birthday trivia? I looked at all the players in the Astros system at the end of the season and came up with this ~

Most popular Astros birth month - September with 35

Least popular Astros birth month - April with only 13

Most popular birthday - August 26th with 6

Players sharing exact birthdays (including year) - 14 pairs

Interestingly enough, two of the pairs of players sharing exact birthdays fall on August 26th as well with Jio Mier and Jimmy Howick both being born on 8/26/90 and Xavier Cedeno and Brett Wallace both being born on 8/26/86. The other two from that date are Justin Gominsky (1989) and Edwin Gomez (1991).

How's that for totally useless trivia?

Tweet of the Day

kenny long

Is it baseball season yet??

This was posted approximately five minutes after the end of the World Series ...... Well, is it?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Arizona Fall and Winter League Recaps - 10/27

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

Salt River over Mesa 12-6
3B Bobby Borchering was 1-for-4 with a walk, a strikeout and (thank goodness) a two-run home run. Borchering has been struggling mightily, hitting only .121 in nine games. 1B Jon Singleton went 2-for-5 with a strikeout and scored a run. Jio Mier got the start for Mesa at second base and then switched to short in a late game defensive move. Mier was 1-for-4 with a two-RBI double and a strikeout.

No game today.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

La Guaira over Caribes 8-2
Jake Goebbert showed up on the Caribes roster last night. He went 0-for-4 as the DH in his first Venezuelan winter league appearance.

Lara over Caracas 4-2
Brandon Barnes got another start in left field for Caracas and went 2-for-5 with two strikeouts and he scored both of Caracas' runs.

Magallanes over Aragua 6-5
2B Jose Martinez went 2-for-4 for Aragua and scored two runs.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Gigantes over Licey 6-1
DH Jimmy Paredes was 1-for-4 with an RBI single and a strikeout, and he scored a run for the Gigantes.

Aguilas over Toros 3-2
Jonathan Villar was 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter for Aguilas. RHP Aneury Rodriguez got the start (and the loss) for the Toros as he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in three innings pitched.

Happy Birthday - 10/28

OF Brauly Mejia (18)
On a vastly underperforming offensive DSL team, the NDFA from the Dominican was one of the few bright spots as he hit .250/.323/.298 in 36 games in his first season in the organization. In his final 10 games, that was .273/.385/.364.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Mark Knudson (52)
Drafted by the Astros in the third round in 1982, Knudson pitched in only 11 games for the Astros in 1985 and 1986. In those 11 games (9 starts), he went 1-7 with a 5.20 ERA and a 1.621 WHIP. He was traded to the Brewers in August of 1986 and went on to have modest success with Milwaukee over six seasons with that organization.

SS Tim Bogar (46)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the eighth round in 1987, Bogar came to Houston in a March 1997 trade with New York. In 392 games for the Astros in 1997 through 2000, he hit .219/.297/.327 with 43 doubles, nine triples and sixteen home runs. In the 1999 NLDS, he went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and an RBI. In 2012, he was the bench coach for Boston.

RHP Kirk Bullinger (43)
A 32nd round pick by the Cardinals in 1992, Bullinger signed with Houston as a free agent in December of 2001. In 34 games pitched for the Astros in 2003 and 2004, he had a 6.28 ERA and a 1.397 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Rudy Owens


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