With Wandy Rodriguez, Juan Gutierrez, and Felipe Paulino all pitching in the Astros' game this evening(September 15), it is a fitting time to review the club's Venezuelan and Dominican Summer League squads, with a look at a few prospects who may be filtering into rookie ball and other minor league levels next season and beyond. Ten players from the DSL or VSL Astros were on the Greeneville roster this summer.
The Venezuelan Astros won the summer league this season with a balanced attack and a 48 and 22 record. Five names to watch for in June 2008:
Jose Altuve- 17(ages are as of April 1, 2008), 2B. In his first season with the Astros, Altuve hit .343 with 15 Stolen Bases. He may be young for 2008, but keep an eye on him.
Herman Armas- 21, OF. Armas is improved greatly over his performance last season in VSL. He hit .300 with 9 HR and 58 RBI as well as ten stolen bases in 70 games. Greenville in '08.
Federico Hernandez- 20, C. The first-string catcher hit .299 with 23 RBI in his second season with the Astros. I'd look for him in Greenville or Tri-City depending on who the Astros draft.
German Perez- 17, RHP, 13 starts, 7-1, 2.07 ERA, 68 2/3 IP, 54 K. He may be too young for Greeneville, but he'll get there soon like Altuve.
Julio Puentes-21, RHP. 5-3, 8 saves, 20 appearances, 40 IP, 34 Ks, 2.25 ERA. Greeneville in '08.
Meanwhile, the Dominican Astros weren't as successful(29-39); however there are five to watch from there too:
Wilton Infante-20, OF. Infante was the only hitter on the DSL Astros over .260 with a .309 batting average. He also swiped 16 SB in 36 games.
Joel Romero-19, RHP. Romero started 12 games, pitched 61 innings and struck out 52. The right-hander also had 2.07 ERA. He may join several of his fellow pitchers in the Appalachain League next summer.
Henry Villar-20, RHP. Villar struck out 69 in 73 1/3 IP. He also posted a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts.
Jose Trinidad-20, RHP. The top reliever for the Astros, Trindad may find himself in the Greeneville bullpen soon after recording 8 saves and striking out 52 in 54 2/3 IP.
Wander Ortiz-21, RHP. (perhaps the next Wandy, based on name along)... Ortiz made 13 starts for the Astros. He struck out 59 in 68 1/3 innings and ended the year with a 3.16 ERA.
More than thirty players in the Astros organization this season are products of either the DSL or the VSL. Look for the above to join these numbers in 2008.