Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter League Recaps

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Lara 4-3 in 10 innings
2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single for Magallanes. He was also credited with an RBI on a bases loaded walk. Anyone who is concerned about Altuve's ability to draw walks should consider this -- in 30 games in Venezuela this winter, he has 15 walks to 15 strikeouts.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Escogido over Gigantes 8-5
Free Agent RHP Erick Abreu pitched two and a third innings of relief for the Gigantes team and was charged with the loss as he allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts.

Licey over Toros 12-3
RHP Jose Valdez made his first appearance of the winter for Licey. In a third of an inning, he allowed a single and a walk before being lifted from the game. Both runners came around to score before the inning was over. There was also a wild pitch in there, so it wasn't the greatest debut for Jose.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Santurce over Caguas 6-5
LHP Xavier Cedeno pitched one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief with one hit, one walk and four strikeouts for Santurce.

Carolina over Mayaguez 1-0

2B Kiké Hernandez was 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout for Carolina. C Carlos Corporan was 1-for-2 with a double and a strikeout before being lifted for a pinch runner. C Rene Garcia came in as a late inning defensive replacement and didn't get any at-bats.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

Culiacan over Hermosillo 3-2
RHP Edgar Gonzalez got the start and the loss for Hermosillo as he allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings of work. He also struck out six. All three runs scored via two home runs.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Perth over Sydney 10-9
While you and I were sleeping, RHP Cameron Lamb has already closed out Saturday's ABL game for Perth with his fourth save. Unfortunately, he also allowed his first run of the season on two hits and two walks.

Happy Birthday - 12/15

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

IF Art Howe (66)
Howe came to Houston in a January 1976 trade and played for the Astros from 1976 to 1982. In 706 games, he played all of the infield positions (even a little shortstop) and compiled a .269/.337/.394 batting line. As Manager of the team from 1989 to 1993, he had a 392-418 record.

SS Jimmy Sexton (61)
Traded to Houston from Seattle in December 1977, Sexton played in 140 games for the Astros in 1978 and 1979 hitting .207/.284/.277.

Heartbroken

Asher Wojciechowski

Went to an elementary school today,read Christmas stories to 2nd graders. Came home and heard the news about this tragedy

Friday, December 14, 2012

More Dominican Signings

According to Baseball America, the Astros have signed Dominican LHP Junior Garcia for a $200,000 signing bonus. This is in addition to two other Dominican Republic signings announced by the DPL Baseball website earlier this week.

According to the DPL Baseball site, the Astros signed Joselo Pinales, a 6'1" 180 lb. right-handed pitcher from La Romana in the Dominican Republic (h/t to Brian Stevenson for catching this one) as well as Catcher Oliver Toribio this week as well.

When I talked to Jeff Luhnow late last month, he indicated that he would be headed to the Dominican Republic after the winter meetings to look at a few prospects. It appears that is precisely what he's been doing this week.

The Off-Season Transaction List has been updated with these signings.

Winter League Recaps

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Since being injured in a car accident on December 1st, Jimmy Paredes has only appeared in one game for the Gigantes team. On December 8th, he played four innings before leaving the game with what the team twitter feed characterized as back problems. He hasn't been back in the line-up since (including Tuesday's All-Star Game) and I haven't seen any further news.

Escogido over Gigantes 6-5
RHP Rhiner Cruz pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Gigantes with one strikeout. *RHP Enerio del Rosario did not fare quite so well. After having his only two batters reach base via a walk and a force attempt/error, del Rosario was lifted from the game without recording an out. Both of his runners scored on a grand slam later in the inning.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Zulia over Magallanes 8-3
2B Jose Altuve went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout for Magallanes.

Aragua over Margarita 4-3
Jose Martinez was 1-for-3 as the DH for Aragua before being lifted for a pinch hitter.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caguas over Carolina 14-8
2B Kiké Hernandez went 1-for-5 with a triple and scored a run for Carolina. Carlos Corporan and Jobduan Morales split catching duty. Both went hitless with Corporan striking out twice and Morales striking out once. RHP Raul Rivera provided long relief for Carolina allowing one run (a solo home run) on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts in three and a third innings.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/14

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jack Armstrong (23)
Originally from Florida, Armstrong was drafted in the third round in 2011 out of Vanderbilt. He signed late and did not play in 2011 and then had Tommy John surgery prior to the 2012 season. I'm looking forward to finally seeing his stuff in 2013.

Former Astros with birthdays today

2B Craig Biggio (47)
A first round pick by Houston in 1987, Biggio played his entire career for the Astros from 1988 to 2007. He played in 2850 games and had 3060 hits, 668 doubles, 55 triples, 291 home runs, 1175 RBI, 414 stolen bases, and 285 HBP. His lifetime batting line was .281/.363/.433.  He won five Silver Slugger awards, four Gold Glove awards and appeared in seven All-Star games.  If he doesn't go in to Cooperstown on the first ballot, there is no justice in the world.

RHP Rodrigo Rosario (35)
Signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1996, Rosario pitched in two starts in 2003 with an ERA of 1.13 and a WHIP of 1.000. He suffered a major injury in his second major league start and never pitched again professionally.

Also, a belated Happy Birthday to friend of the blog, Lee Street, the one attorney I know who would defend me pro bono (or at least provide me with an alibi) if I ever happened to be accused (unjustly of course) of leaving a flaming bag of dog poo on the doorstep of a certain baseball commissioner. Sorry I missed it, Lee.

Tweet of the Day

Jake Buchanan

Well if i ever make it to the grande leagues it should be fun to pitch against the Angels.... might need a helmet on the mound

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter League Recaps

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Zulia 4-2 in 12 innings
2B Jose Altuve was 1-for-6 with two strikeouts and an error for Magallanes. Free Agent RHP Sergio Perez got the start for Magallanes and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over four and two-thirds innings.

Margarita 7-4 over Aragua
DH Jose Martinez was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored for Aragua.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Caguas over Manati 4-2 in 7 innings
Roberto Pena was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the second game of the double-header for Caguas as he made a rare start at third base.

Mayaguez over Carolina 4-3

2B Kiké Hernandez was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and scored a run for Carolina while his teammate C Carlos Corporan went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and a strikeout.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE - Off Day

Happy Birthday - 12/13

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Aneury Rodriguez (25)
Originally signed by the Rockies as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, the Astros acquired Aneury from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft in 2010. After spending all season on the Astros roster as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2011, Rodriguez spent the vast majority of his 2012 season at Oklahoma City with only one start in Houston. In 29 games (13 starts) with the Redhawks, he was 4-7 with a 6.60 ERA and a 1.878 WHIP. In his only start for Houston, he allowed two runs on two home runs over six innings. He is pitching for the Toros del Este team in the Dominican Republic this winter, and as of 12/12, he was 3-1 in eight starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.219 WHIP. He is currently a free agent.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Ron Taylor (75)
Taylor came to Houston in a June 1965 trade with the Cardinals and pitched in 68 games for the Astros in 1965 and 1966 with a 6.03 ERA and a 1.496 WHIP. Following his playing career, he went back to school at the University of Toronto, got his medical degree and became the team doctor for the Blue Jays.

SS/3B Dale Berra (56)
A first round pick by the Pirates in 1975, Berra came to Houston as a free agent in August 1986 and played in only 19 games for the Astros in 1987 at the end of his major league career. He hit .178/.296/.244. According to Baseball-Reference, Berra was once quoted in talking about his father Yogi as saying, "Our similarities are different."

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tannerbushue's avatar

As hard as I try I can't fall asleep in the middle of the bed..Maybe it's because I'm tweeting???

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Interview with RHP Chris Devenski

Chris Devenski was a 25th round draft pick by the White Sox in 2011 out of Cal State Fullerton. He came to the Houston organization on August 3, 2012 as the PTBNL in the trade that brought LHP Blair Walters and RHP Matt Heidenreich to Houston while sending Brett Myers to the White Sox. In five starts for Lexington after the trade, he was 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP, but it was his fifth and last start of the season that made an indelible mark. On September 1st, Devenski threw a nine-inning complete game no-hitter, the first in Lexington Legends history. He also struck out 16 batters and was only one walk away from a perfect game.

I caught up with Chris via email and this is what he had to say ~

WTH: You were probably the last player to join the Astros during the season as the PTBNL in the Myers trade. Was it difficult to come to a new team that late in the season, particularly one that you had been playing against all season?

CD: Yes, It was difficult leaving the White Sox; it was my team for 4 months. I was accustomed to my fellow teammates, coaches and fans. When the trade happened, I looked at the situation with a positive attitude and I can adapt to situations easily. When I joined the Astros, I was friendly and upbeat to my new fellow teammates knowing it takes some time to adjust.

WTH: Could you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire, including velocity, movement, etc.

CD: I throw a 2-seam fastball with sink movement on it. My velocity varies from 90 to 95 mph occasionally surpassing 95 mph. My secondary pitches include a change up that has downward movement on it, which is the pitch that works best for me. I also throw a 12 to 6 curveball.

WTH: Since I haven't seen you pitch yet, what will I see from you when I do?

CD: When you first see me throw, you will see a focused, quick working, confident and consistent pitcher with good command.

WTH: In your limited time at Lexington, was there another player or pitcher on the team that you liked to just sit back and watch?

CD: When at Lexington I liked observing all my teammates. I especially observed Mike Foltynewicz and Brandon Meredith. Mike is very exciting to watch. He is quick worker and throws very hard. He was the South Atlantic pitcher of the year which is a great honor. Brandon is also fun to watch because you never know what you're going to see from him. You can see him hit singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. He has extreme power to hit the ball all over the field.

WTH: In only your fifth start with Lexington, you pitched what would be for many the game of a lifetime, a complete game no-hitter that was one walk away from being a perfect game. When did you realize that you had a no-no going? What went through your mind when you walked a batter in the fifth? Since you struck out 16 batters, your defense had a relatively easy time of it. Where there any defensive plays that made your heart skip a beat? What was your mindset getting that last out?

CD: Pitching a no-hitter for Lexington was an individual accomplishment of a lifetime for me. I realized I had a no-hitter going when I went out for the 5th inning, I knew I was about to do something very special. When I walked the batter in the 5th inning it was a battle between me and him. He was determined and fouling a lot of pitches off. I was focused on getting him out, then I threw a change up on full count that dived in the dirt. After that I knew it wouldn't be a perfect game because I walked him. I was a little frustrated but the chance of a no-hitter was still there. So I re-focused on the next pitch. My defense did an extremely good job that night. Two plays stood out in my mind and got my blood rushing. The first one was a long fly ball out into deep right center near the warning track -- it was saved by Teoscar Hernandez who made a tremendous catch. The second play was a slow roller hit in between the mound and first base. I went for it and it got past me. I thought the hitter was going to beat it out. Then Chan Moon, our second baseman, came out of no where, scooped up the grounder, threw to first and got the runner out by a step. What a relief. For me, getting the last out was electrifying. The energy level from the players, the fans, took me to a whole different level. The last pitch I threw was a change up to strike him out. I threw it as hard as I could and the batter swung right through it. When I knew I had accomplished the no-hitter, the feeling was unbelievable. It is hard to put into words. This is what I can give you -- I felt like I was floating, everything was happening so fast. From my teammates mobbing me, to taking pictures, the crowd cheering, interviewers and getting blasted with shaving cream, it was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. When the no-hitter was done,  everyone was caught up in the moment. Earlier in the game Matt Duffy put on a show. He contributed two home runs and five RBI. He also made a great catch in foul territory in the bullpen avoiding a trash can. It was a great game for both myself and Matt Duffy.

WTH: I noticed on twitter than you seem to know Joe Musgrove. How do you know him?

CD: Yes, I do know Joe Musgrove, we were both part of trades and I met him during instructional league in Florida. We are both from Southern California and Joe lives in San Diego. I live closer to Los Angeles. We both meet up and do workouts together in San Diego; we also have the same pitching coach and are good friends.

WTH: What do you think you accomplished in your first full season and what do you think you need to do to get to the next level developmentally?

CD: I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to be a successful pitcher. I accomplished the success of throwing a no-hitter. To get to the next level I need to stay focused and stay mentally strong. I will also have to challenge myself.

WTH: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?

CD: If I couldn't play baseball I would most likely still be in college finishing my degree in criminal justice. I would continue to pursue a career in criminal justice most likely, eventually detective work. I would also would be helping my Dad out with his moving business.

WTH: What are you doing in the off-season?

CD: In my offseason, I'm getting better mentally and physically every day by working hard at everything I do. I run, do workouts in San Diego and work with my Dad doing physical work. I've always been a hard worker at anything I do and I am looking forward to being back on the field soon.

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

CD: Most people do not know that I have a twin sister named Amanda. I am 6 minutes older than her. I also like to draw and do artwork in my free time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for your time, Chris. Good luck in the 2013 season. No pressure, but I'll be making the rounds of some of the Astros minor league venues again next season and I've never seen a no-hitter in person before so ... Just sayin'.

Chris is fairly new to twitter. Give him a follow at @ddddeevvvoooo

Winter League Recaps

Dominican League All-Stars over Venezuelan League All-Stars 8-2
It's no big surprise that 2B Jose Altuve was the player who drove in one of the Venezuelan League's two runs with an RBI double in the first while scoring their other run in the same inning. He also drew a walk in his second plate appearance but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. The only Astro playing on the Dominican All-Star team was Free Agent RHP Enerio del Rosario who quickly dispatched his two batters via a flyout and a strikeout.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Carolina over Ponce 3-1
2B Kiké Hernandez was hitless in four at-bats with one strikeout for Carolina as was SS Carlos Correa. Jobduan Morales was the DH for Carolina and went 1-for-3 with a double and a sac fly RBI. He struck out once. C Carlos Corporan was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Happy Birthday - 12/12

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

IF Carlos Hernandez (37)
No, not that Carlos Hernandez. This Carlos Hernandez was an amateur free agent from Venezuela signed by the Astros in 1992 who played in 16 games for Houston in 1999 with a .143 batting average in 14 at-bats. He also had three stolen bases in his limited playing time. He was traded in March 2000 to the Mariners.

Tweet of the Day

Michael Dimock

 fortune cookies never lie 
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some News from the Dominican

There was no winter league action to report from Monday, but there is some news from the Dominican Republic. DPL Baseball announced that the Astros signed C Oliver Toribio. The DPL website was down this morning but here is a cached version of the story along with a short video of Toribio.

Happy Birthday - 12/11

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Derek Bell (44)
A second round pick by the Blue Jays in 1987, Bell came to Houston from San Diego in a December 1994 trade. Bell played for Houston from 1995 to 1999 and compiled a batting line of .284/.341/.430/.771 in 683 games as an Astro.  He had 153 doubles, ten triples, 74 home runs, 444 RBI's and 102 stolen bases.  In nine games of post-season play from 1997 to 1999, he only managed a .094 batting average. He got his one World Series ring in 1992 with the Blue Jays.

OF Thomas Howard (48)
Originally drafted by the Padres in the first round in 1986, Howard signed with Houston as a free agent in December 1996. In 107 games for the Astros in 1997, he hit .247/.323/.353.

RHP Hal Brown (88)
Brown was purchased from the Yankees in March 1963 and pitched in 53 games for the Colt 45's in 1963 and 1964 at the end of his career with an ERA of 3.62 and a WHIP of 1.189. Brown spent a total of 14 seasons in the major leagues. His 1960 season in Baltimore, when he went 12-5 in 30 games (20 starts) with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP, was probably his best year.

OF Lee Maye (died July 17, 2002 at 67)
Maye came to Houston in a May 1965 trade with the Milwaukee Braves and played in 223 games for the Astros in 1965 and 1966, hitting .268/.302/.380. In 1964, he led the National League in doubles with 44 as he hit .304/.346/.447 for Milwaukee.

2B Rob Andrews (60)
A 10th round pick by the Orioles in 1970, Andrews came to Houston, along with Enos Cabell, in a December 1974 trade with Baltimore. In 212 games for the Astros in 1975 and 1976, he hit .249/.311/.294.

RHP Mike Henneman (51)
Originally drafted in the fourth round by Detroit in 1984, Henneman came to Houston in an August 1995 trade with the Tigers for Phil Nevin. In 21 games for the Astros in 1995, he had a 3.00 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. He was an All-Star for Detroit in 1989.

Also, a very happy birthday to Rachel Frey, "MLB.com Real Time Correspondent covering the Houston Astros."

Tweet of the Day

Jamaine Cotton

We out here at Señor Frogs, STT 

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter League Recaps and Player Stats

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Aragua 4-3
2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored  for Magallanes. He struck out once.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Gigantes over Toros 6-4
*RHP Enerio del Rosario didn't allow any runs of his own in a third of an inning for the Gigantes, but two inherited runners scored on his watch as he allowed a hit and a walk and was charged with a blown save. RHP Rhiner Cruz allowed one run on two hits with one strikeout in his inning of work.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE

All-Star Game
Equipo Metro over Equipo Isla 11-4
Kiké Herandez split his time between second base and third base in the All-Star game and went 1-for-5 with a double and scored two runs for Equipo Metro. Also for the Metro team, C Rene Garcia was 1-for-1 with an RBI double.

I've thrown together all the stats for all the Astros players that have played or are still playing on the Fall League or the Winter League teams. Stats are through Sunday's games.




*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/10

Happy Birthday to ~

OF Chris Epps (24)
Drafted in the 45th round in 2011 out of Clemson, this Georgia native split his time in 2012 between Lexington (.226/.311/.338 in 36 games) and Lancaster (285/.376/.589 in 46 games). In the post-season for Lancaster, he hit .353 with three doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI and a stolen base.

C Jair "Jay" Fernandez (26)
A native of Colombia, Fernandez signed with the Astros organization as a free agent prior to the 2012 season. Fernandez spent the vast majority of his season with Corpus Christi where he hit .269/.341/.419 with ten doubles and six home runs in 56 games. He is currently a free agent.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Doug Henry (49)
Originally drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round in 1985, Henry came to Houston as a free agent in November 1997. In 139 games for the Astros from 1998 to 2000, he was 11-8 with 5 saves and had a 3.88 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP.  In four games for Houston in the NLDS in 1998 and 1999, he had a 1.88 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP.

RHP Dan Wheeler (35)
A 34th round pick by Tampa in 1996, Wheeler came to Houston in an August 2004 trade with the Mets. In 205 games for the Astros from 2004 to 2007, he was 6-12 with 23 saves and had a 3.02 ERA and a 1.088 WHIP.  In the NLDS in 2004 and 2005, he pitched in four games with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.313 WHIP.  Since it's his birthday, we'll just say that he didn't fare quite that well in the World Series and leave it at that.  He was traded to the then Devil Rays in 2007 for Ty Wigginton. He played for Cleveland in 2012 and is currently a free agent.

2B Bob Fenwick (66)
A first round pick by the Giants in 1967, Fenwick was drafted from the Giants in the Rule 5 draft in November 1971. In 36 games for the Astros in 1972, he hit .180/.226/.240. According to Baseball-Reference, Fenwick was the only major leaguer born in Okinawa when it was under U.S. control.

Tweet of the Day

Christian García

A rendition of last nights fight.  is in blue.
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter League Recaps

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Magallanes over Caracas 10-2
2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. He scored two runs for Magallanes.

La Guaira over Aragua 8-7
DH Jose Martinez was hitless in four at-bats with one strikeout for Aragua.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Gigantes over Aguilas 4-2
The Gigantes eased Jimmy Paredes back in to the line-up last night in left field. He played four innings, going 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. *RHP Erick Abreu got the win in relief, pitching one and two-thirds hitless innings with two walks and three strikeouts; RHP Rhiner Cruz pitched a perfect seventh with one strikeout; and *RHP Enerio del Rosario pitched a scoreless third of an inning with two walks and a strikeout. Jonathan Villar was back to pinch running duty for Aguilas and didn't get an at-bat.

PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE - Off Day

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hermosillo over Mazatlan 6-5
Despite a rather inauspicious start in which RHP Edgar Gonalzez gave up back-to-back home runs to the first two batters of the game, Gonzalez earned the win for Hermosillo. His final line was five runs on 12 hits and two walks (with four strikeouts) in five and two-thirds innings.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Perth over Brisbane 3-2
Brand new Astro Cameron Lamb (from the Rule 5 draft) earned his third save in six appearances for Perth in Saturday's game, allowing one hit and striking out one. In seven innings pitched, he has a 0.00 ERA, a 0.571 WHIP and 7.00 GO/AO ratio.

*Free Agent

Happy Birthday - 12/9

Happy Birthday to ~

GCL Manager Ed Romero (55)
Romero managed the GCL Astros in 2011 and 2012 after managing the Greeneville Astros in 2010.  He was the Astros third base coach and bench coach in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

3B Chris Truby (39)
Originally signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent in 1992, Truby played in 126 games for Houston in 2000 and 2001. He hit .241/.288/.464 with 21 doubles, five triples and 19 home runs. He was traded to the Expos for Geoff Blum in March 2002 (in Blum's first stint with the team).

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Brady Rodgers