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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Qualben picks off a hat trick, wins first

David Qualben pitched seven innings of two hit baseball for Salem tonight, picked up his first victory of the season and lowered his ERA to 7.03. More importantly, he picked off three more runners. That runs his total to six in 24 1/3 innings a 2.22(Pick-off per 9 innings). Apparently his pick-off move helped Koby Clemens behind the plate too. Clemens threw out the two Kinston Indians who hung around on first base long enough to try to steal second base. Clemens has now thrown out 12 of 30 attempted base stealers this season.

Perez to Express, Klassen Disabled

Thomas Perez has been added to the Round Rock roster, and Danny Klassen has been put on the disabled list. Meanwhile, Ty Wigginton is slated to play the final game of a three game rehab assignment tonight at Dell Diamond against Tucson.

Farmstros Five- Week Four

The week of April 23-29 was a rough one for the Astros' minor league teams. Only Corpus(4-3) was over .500 for the week. The Hooks ended the week at 15-10. The other three teams: Round Rock 0-5(8-16); Salem 1-5(11-13); Lexington 2-4(8-17). In spite of the struggles, there were a few highlights. The week's Farmstros Five:

Sergio Severino, P, Lexington. Severino pitched six hitless innings in what ended up being a 1-0 for the Legends. Severino's season ERA is 1.50 in five starts.

Matthew Cusick, IF, Lexington. Cusick went 12 for 25(.480) with two doubles, one home run, and six RBI. Cusick's season Batting Average is .390.

Richie Paz, IF, Corpus Christi. Paz was 11 for 26(.423) with two doubles, one triple and nine RBI. Paz is hitting .419 with 16 RBI this season.

Chris Johnson, IF, Corpus Christi. Johnson was 10 for 23(.434) with two doubles, one home run, and five RBI.

Jordan Parraz, OF, Salem. Parraz continued his season long on base streak to 21 games. Additionally, he hit the game-winning home run in Salem's only victory this week and scored six runs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Weekend Full of Lefties

Left-handed starters were on display this weekend at three levels of the Astros minor league system. Polin Trinidad threw out the first southpaw pitch Friday night for Salem. Trinidad got a no decision after pitching seven allowing five hits and one run while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 1.74 in five starts. Meanwhile Saturday in the Texas League, Brian Bogusevic had his best start of the season. The Hooks' #2 starter gave up five hits and one run in a six inning outing. Sergio Severino wrapped up the show Sunday afternoon in Lexington. Severino pitched six hitless innings with seven strikeouts before leaving due to his high pitch count. The Legends held on to give Severino a 1-0 victory. His ERA is 1.50 in five starts.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trinidad on the Hill Tonight

Salem lefty Polin Trinidad who holds a 2-0 record and a sub 2.00 ERA makes his fifth start of the season tonight. Trinidad will start for the Avalanche against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at 6:05(Central Time).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Farmstros Five-Week Three

Another week has passed down on the farm. Salem(10 and 8) and Corpus Christi(11 and 7) continue to play over .500. Round Rock is at 7 and 12, while Lexington has improved to 6 and 13. The Farmstros Five for the week of April 16-22 are as follows:

Mark Saccomanno, Round Rock. Saccomanno picked up 14 hits in 28 at bats(.500 BA). He had four doubles, two triples, and two home runs(1.000 slugging) and nine RBI for the week.

Polin Trinidad, Salem. In his one start, Trinidad pitched seven scoreless innings allowing four hits. He improved his record for the season to 2-0 in four starts.

Craig Corrado, Lexington. Corrado posted a .429 average(9/21) for the Legends. He scored five runs and drove in five, while picking up two doubles and stealing four bases.

Tommy Manzella, Corpus Christi. Manzella ended the week with his 11 game hitting streak intact. He hit .385 for the week(10/26) with three doubles, one home run and four RBI.

Tim Torres, Salem. Torres rounds out the Farmstros Five with an 8 for 22 week(.364) . He had four doubles, one home run, five walks and six RBI.

Clemens as a Catcher

When he is not hitting disputed home runs Koby Clemens is trying to transition to catcher for the Salem Avalanche. Through 11 starts behind the plate, Clemens has thrown out nine of 24 would-be base stealers(37.5%). He also has four passed balls and two throwing errors.

Monday, April 21, 2008

DeJean Released

Mike DeJean, pitcher, who had been on the Round Rock inactive list has been released. DeJean was signed in the off-season after spending 2007 in the Colorado system.

My Corpus Christi Vacation

This weekend my father and I made a trip to Corpus Christi to see the Hooks play two games against Frisco on Saturday and Sunday. A few highlights/notes from the trip:

Lou Santangelo is a tractor-driver...the start of Sunday's game was briefly delayed when the home plate umpire noticed that the grounds crew had left a tractor in foul territory down the third base line. Hooks catcher Lou Santangelo, who didn't play Sunday, jumped out of the dugout and drove the tractor to its proper place, much to the delight of the fans. I just hope someone tells Roy Oswalt about this in case he is looking for some off-season help in Mississippi.

40 man roster guys come through... Brad James started Sunday pitching six strong innings before running out of gas in the seventh. Sammy Gervacio finished off the win for James with a perfect ninth inning including two strikeouts.

Who Wants to be a $38,500aire?... The Corpus Christ Caller Times is sponsoring a Home Run JackPot this season. If a Hook hits a home run into the fishing net stationed about 400 feet from home plate, one lucky fan wins the jackpot.. I was Sunday's lucky fan and the jackpot was $38,500. Unfortunately, I came up empty. Home runs by Jose Lopez and Ole Sheldon both came within 100-150 feet of the net, but not close enough.

Sean Walker, watch out for Polin... The Hooks fifth starter was roughed up on Saturday night. His ERA is over 12 in three starts. If Polin Trinidad keeps it up at Salem, Walker may lose his spot.

Chris Johnson is back... I blogged previously about his injury. He made his return Friday and also started at third base Saturday and Sunday.

Billy Hart Rubix Cube Genius?... The players in Corpus have fairly unique introduction videos on the scoreboard when they bat. My favorite was outfielder Billy Hart whose video shows him trying to solve a Rubix Cube for about five seconds before he gives up and shrugs his shoulders.

Controversey Thy Name is Clemens

Koby Clemens raised his average to .300 over the weekend and hit his first home run at the High A level. However, that home run caused quite a stir. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Clemens crushed a ball over the left-field wall that was ruled a home run. However listening to Salem play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti's call of the game, the ball was at least three or four baseball's foul. An argument of at least five minutes ensued and Lynchburg manager Jeff Branson was ejected.

A Few Transactions

The Astros made several moves over the weekend:

When Kazuo Matsui was taken off of the Disabled List, Humberto Quintero was designated for assignment for the second time this season.

David Newhan, who was designated last week is back on the Round Rock roster.

Wandy Rodriguez was put on the disabled list after his injury Saturday, while Tim Byrdak was called up from Round Rock. Byrdak made seven appearances for the Express striking out 10 and posting a 3.68 ERA in 7 1/3 innings. Byrdak's call-up give the Astros three former Rice Owls on their 25-man roster(Berkman and Cruz, Jr.)

Jack Cassel will be called up to take Wandy's spot in the rotation Thursday at Cincinnati. Cassel has made three starts at AAA this season. He has a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings.

The club has signed another prospective starter, Alay Soler. Soler was a Cuban defector signed by the Mets in 2004. Due to visa issues, he didn't start pitching until 2006. He pitched at four different levels ending up with the Mets for eight starts and a 6.00 ERA. Soler pitched for Altoona in 2007 until he requested his release in June.

Pick-Off Machine Strikes Again

Noted pick-off artist David Qualben struck again for the Avalanche on Saturday. Qualben picked off Brian Friday of the Lynchburg Hillcats. Qualben has three pick-offs in 14 1/3 innings(a 1.88 PRA). Unfortunately, Qualben's ERA over the same 14 1/3 innings is 8.16.

Trinidad Keeps Rolling

Salem Left-Hander Polin Trinidad continued his impressive start for the Avalanche on Sunday with seven scoreless innings. Trinidad improved to 2 and 0 with the victory over Lynchburg. He allowed only four hits and lowered his season ERA to 1.88 in four starts.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Former Astros/Farmstros in 2008

The current issue of Baseball America includes the opening day rosters of every professional baseball team. This list of around 3700 players includes 24 players who ended last season in the Astro organization and are beginning 2008 elsewhere. I've included a rundown for those who want to follow former Farmstros(NOTE: I've included those on disabled lists such as Troy Patton):

Majors
Matt Albers-Baltimore
Eric Bruntlett- Philadelphia
Chris Burke- Arizona
Adam Everett-Minnesota
Jason Jennings- Texas
Mike Lamb- Minnesota
Brad Lidge- Philadelphia
Trever Miller- Tampa Bay
Troy Patton- Baltimore-Disabled List
Chad Qualls- Arizona
Dennis Sarfate- Baltimore
Luke Scott- Baltimore

AAA
Josh Anderson- Richmond
Phillip Barzilla- Tacoma
Juan Gutierrez- Tucson
Eric Munson- Nashville
Tim Raines, Jr.- Tucson
Cody Ransom- Scranton/Wilkes-Barre(Jason Lane is his teammate, both one step below Morgan Ensberg in the Yankee chain)

AA
Jimmy Barthmeier- Altoona
Mike Rodriguez- Bowie
Neil Sellers- Reading(Lost as a Rule 5 draft pick-minor league phase)

High A
Levi Romero- Bakersfield- Disabled List(Lost as a Rule 5 draft pick-minor league phase)

Low A
Victor Garate- Great Lakes(Lost as a Rule 5 draft pick-minor league phase)
Luis Santo- Kannapolis(Lost as a Rule 5 draft pick- minor league phase)

Arguello: Three Starts- 0.00 ERA

Salem starter Doug Arguello continued his streak of innings without allowing an earned run to fourteen Thursday night. The right-hander from Nicaragua gave up two hits and three walks in five innings against Lynchburg in his third start of the season. He loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter with no outs in the second inning. However, the streak survived when Arguello came up with a strikeout and a double play to end the inning.

Chris Johnson Update

According to Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Johnson took grounders before Thursday night's game, and should be back playing soon. There was some thought that he might have a hernia, but that is not the case.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hooks Johnson out of Action

Corpus' Third Baseman Chris Johnson did not play again this evening as the team returned to Whataburger Field. He hasn't played since April 8.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sapp Injured

I am listening to the live Lexington broadcast on Wednesday morning(Central Time). According to Rob Gidel(Legends' play-by-play) catcher Max Sapp is on the shelf with an injury. No word on what exactly the injury is, but Kevin Carkeek has started behind the plate four straight games.

Farmstros Five- Week Two

Another week of Minor League baseball is in the books with the AA Hooks under manager Luis Pujols lead the way with a 9 and 3 record. The Hooks have won all four of their series so far this season. The Avalanche(High A) at 6 and 5 is only other affiliate over .500. Round Rock is 5 and 7, while Lexington is 3 and 10. In light of the Hooks' record, it is not surprising that three of the Farmstros Five for the week of April 9-15 call Whataburger Field home.

Polin Trinidad, LHP-Salem. Trinidad made two starts this week posting a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings. In Tuesday night's game, he pitched six perfect innings before a hit and two walks in the seventh inning ended his outing.

Drew Sutton, IF-Corpus Christi. Sutton has started in 11 of the Hooks' 12 games, he has hits in all 11 starts. For the week, Sutton hit .308(8/26) with two doubles, two homeruns, five runs scored, and four RBIs.

Brad James, RHP-Corpus Christi. James made one start picking up his first win of the season allowing four hits and no runs in six innings.

Fernando Abad, LHP-Lexington. Abad appeared in three games out of the Legends bullpen during the week. He pitched 7 2/3 innings allowing only one earned one while striking out seven.

Richard Paz, IF- Corpus Christi. Paz filled in quite nicely for the Hooks regular third baseman Chris Johnson. Paz, who spent 2006 and 2007 with Alexandria(Independent), had nine hits in 19 ABs(.474). He slos had one double and four RBI.

Mayoral Bobbleheads and Holidays at Tri-City

Bobbleheads of local mayors and holiday celebrations highlight the Tri-City Valley Cats summer promotional schedule. The Astros short season affiliate in the New York-Penn League holds their first home game in Troy, New York June 20 vs. Oneonta.(The team begins its season on the road June 17.) A look at the team's promotional highlights:
June 30- vs. Vermont- Albany Night-Bobbleheads of Albany mayor Jerry Jennings
July 1- vs. Vermont- April Fools' Day in July
July 4- vs. Jamestown- Independence Day w/Fireworks
July 9- vs. Williamsport- Troy Night- Bobbleheads of Troy mayor Harry Tutunjan
July 13- vs. Staten Island- Halloween in July
July 28- vs. Oneonta- Schenectady Night- Bobbleheads of Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton
July 31- vs. Hudson Valley- Thanksgiving in July
August 25- vs. Brooklyn- Christmas in August

In addition, the Valley Cats will host the New York-Penn League All-Star Game on August 19.

Towles T-shirt and NASCAR Night at Greeneville

A J.R. Towles t-shirt and NASCAR night highlight the promotion schedule of the Astros Appalachain League affiliate in Greeneville, Tennessee. The G-Stros home opener is set for June 20 vs. Danville.(The team begins its season June 17 on the road.) A look at some of the promotional highlights:
July 3 vs. Elizabethton- 4th of July Fireworks show
July 10 vs. Burlington- Birdzerk!
July 19 vs. Bluefield- J.R. Towles T-Shirt
July 31 vs. Elizabethon- President Andrew Johnson Bobblehead
August 12 vs. Johnson City- NASCAR Night/Matchbox Car giveaway
August 26 vs. Kingsport- Fan Appreciation- Season Finale

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quintero Up, Newhan down

In repsonse to J.R. Towles' injury, the Astros brought up catcher Humberton Quintero from Round Rock as an insurance policy. To make room, they sent David Newhan back to Round Rock.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Norris 2 and 0

Hooks starter Bud Norris picked up his second victory of the young season Friday night. Through two five inning starts the right-hander is 2-0 with 16 strikeouts and an 0.90 ERA.

Moves for the Express

As mentioned previously, there was some shaking in Round Rock. First of all, David Newhan is up to Houston after Ty Wigginton's injury. Catcher Josh Johnson was released when Josh Paul another catcher was added. Infielder Edwin Maysonet is on the DL and left-hander Tim Byrdak is inactive. The active roster in Round Rock is at 23. Kazuo Matsui is still disabled, and it's likely that Newhan or Tomas Perez will be down to Round Rock once Matsui is ready to play in Houston.

Legends Post-Game show

The Lexington broadcast crew posted a post-game show after Sunday's game at Applebee Park. If you go the team's website, see my favorites section, it is one of the featured items.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Welcome Home Express... don't unpack too quickly!

After a seven-game road trip, on which the club went 3 and 4, the Express start their home tonight when Fernando Nieve takes the Dell Diamond hill against the New Orleans Zephyrs at 7:05. However, not everyone who made the trip to Iowa and Omaha will be staying in Round Rock for long. After consulting with Avery Holton in the Express offices, it seems the club has 26 players active. Pitcher Josh Miller was reactivated this week, or the report of his being on the inactive that I read was inaccurate. Further, the club stands to add two players over the weekend. Recently signed catcher, Josh Paul, is one. Whoever, is sent down when Kazuo Matsui comes off of the disabled list would be the second. That leaves 28 players on the roster, which is four over the league limit of 24. The club has 13 pitchers, so my guess is that Stephen Randolph is the out man out. The Astros signed Tim Byrdak, who has MLB experience and success, making Randolph expendable. The club has four catchers. I think Josh Johnson will be out. J. R. House is hitting well and he can play the infield some. I guess he will stay with Josh Paul and Humberto Quintero. That leaves two more to disable or release. Either Gorneault of Diaz would be my guess.

Oyervidez in at Corpus; Gordon Out

The Hooks had a new pitcher Thursday night. Right hander Jose Oyervidez pitched two scoreless innings after being acquired for a player to be named later from the Padres. The 26 year old spent last year in the San Antonio bullpen after spending the previous two seasons starting for Mobile(San Diego's previous AA club). To make room for Oyervidez, the Hooks released Brian Gordon, who recently converted to a pitcher, and spent last year between Corpus and Round Rock.

New Dad In Salem?

Bryan Hallberg, who left the Avalanche for a few games to be with his wife while she gave birth has apparently returned. He pitched two scoreless innings in his season debut for Salem Thursday. More information as it arrives.

What Would Pence's BobbleHead Say?

In case you are planning on picking up a Hunter Pence bobblehead doll on August 9 at Dell Diamond, the Astros outfielder sheds a little light on what his bobblehead might say in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. Pence discusses sliding glass doors, World Of Warcraft, Lance Berkman's obscure war references, and more at the link under Recent Articles on Farmstros.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Return of the Pick-Off Artist

David Qualben is at it again. This time in Salem. I have read numerous times of the 2006 draft pick's prowess on the pick-off front, so I have been interested to see how he would do at High A. The lefty made his first start of the season for Salem against Wilmington on Wednesday. On the down side, he gave up six runs in six innings. On the bright side, he picked two runners off of first base, and the Avalanche scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-7.

Farmstros Five-Week One

A week of minor league baseball is in the books. Corpus is 5 and 1 with two extra-inning walk-off wins at Whataburger Field. Salem is 3 and 1 after Tuesday's 14 inning win at home. Round Rock is 3 and 3, and Lexington is 2 and 4. This weeks Farmstros Five:

Eli Iorg(Corpus Christi)...the Hooks new centerfielder doubled the pleasure of fans in South Texas this week. Iorg had walk-off RBI singles in two extra-inning victories for the Hooks, including one on opening night. Over-all, he was 8 for 23 with four RBIs.

Fernando Nieve(Round Rock)...the Express righthander looked sharp in his first start of the season. He pitched five innings and gave up just one hit, while striking out five. If he stays healthy, he may not be in Round Rock.

Nick Moresi(Lexington)... the outfielder hit a grand-slam on opening night to tie the Legends game in the seventh inning.

Rob Cosby(Corpus Christi)...the infielder hit a home run with two outs in the ninth inning Monday sending the game into extra-inning and keeping the Hooks winning streak alive. Over-all, Cosby was 9/26 with two homeruns and 10 RBIs for the week.

Bud Norris(Corpus Christi)... the right-hander burst onto the Texas League scene with five shutout innings and eight strikeouts in his Whataburger Field debut.

Matsui a Hook for a few Days

Kazuo Matsui isn't in an Astros uniform yet, but he is a Hook. He started at second base and doubled in the first game of his rehab stint. Matsui is to be in Houston today, as the Hooks have today off. He will rejoin Corpus in Tulsa for games Thursday-Saturday. If all goes well, the Astros could have a new second baseman on Sunday.

Expectant Father in Salem

According to the Salem radio broadcast on Tuesday, pitcher Bryan Hallberg is gone from the team briefly to be his wife when she gives birth. Manager Jim Pankovits might have been able to use Hallberg last night as the game against Wilmington went 14 innings. However, the Avalanche won without the expectant father when hit a walk-off double.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Farmstros to Join Biggio with 3000 Hits(at Home)

Barring a complete crash of the world wide web, Farmstros should pass the 3000-hit milestone sometime today. Farmstros CEO, Mark Lemongello, spoke about the importance of the milestone, "We are just so excited about this milestone for our organization, and that it happens to take place during the day of the Astros opening home game just adds to the specialness of the moment.
The management of Farmstros has received some criticism for refraining from posting during the past weekend, when the milestone was coming into range. Farmstros blog manager, Mike Fischlin, addressed the criticism, "It is early in the season, but our blogger has been working hard since September especially so with all of Ed Wade's activity. We've noticed some undue swelling in some of the fingers on his left hand. It seemed prudent to give him the weekend off. Especially since we have a long season ahead of us."

Three Arms Come out Throwing in the Minors

Three Astros prospects made impressive season debuts on the mound this weekend.

(AAA-Round Rock) Fernando Nieve pitched five innings of one hit ball Sunday. Nieve struck out five and allowed no runs picking up the win and taking a step toward being fully recovered from his injuries and heading to Houston.

(AA-Corpus) Bud Norris' first AA start included five shutouts innings and eight strikeouts Saturday night. Norris seems to be building on the momentum he had built in the Hawaiian Winter League.

(Low A- Lexington) Sergio Severino pitched five scoreless innings on Saturday. The lefty allowed two hits and struck out six.

Josh Paul Signs with Astros; Who's hurt and inactive?

The Astros added another veteran to their stable of catchers this weekend, as Josh Paul signed. Paul, 32, has spent parts of nine seasons in the big leagues posting a .244 batting average. He spent last season with Tampa Bay, Vero Beach, and Montgomery. He is scheduled to report to Round Rock. In case his name sounds familiar, Paul was the Angels' catcher in game 2 of the 2005 ALCS, when it was ruled he dropped a third strike allowing the White Sox to stay alive and turn that series around.

Prior to signing Josh Paul, the Astros made numerous addition to their Disabled and Inactive Lists...Here's a look at who's where.
Disabled List
Paul Estrada, P
Tip Fairchild, P
Sergio Perez, P
Chad Wagler, P
Jeff Icenogle, P-2007 Draft Pick, Jacob Leonhardt, RHP, was called in to replace Icenogle on the Lexington roster. Leonhardt spent last year at Tri-City.
Mark McClemore, P
Josh Flores, OF
Kyle Middleton, P
Felipe Paulino, P

Inactive List
Mike De Jean, P
Josh Miller, P
James Goethals, C( He is serving as RR's bullpen catcher at the moment)
Osvaldo Fernando, IF(He is on the coaching staff at Salem)
Brian Gordon, P(He joined the active roster of CC when Middleton was disabled)
Todd Self, IF(He is on the coaching staff at CC)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Express and Avalanche Get Rolling With Wins

Round Rock and Salem opened up their 2008 campaigns with victories Friday night.

Josh Muecke got the first victory of the season in the Express' 4-2 win over Iowa in Des Moines. The left-hander pitched five innings allowing three hits an one run. Outfielder Reggie Abercrombie picked up two hits, stole two bases, and scored a run in the victory.

The Express' opening day lineup: Abercrombie, LF; Klassen, 2B; House, C; Niekro, 1B; Saccomanno, 3B; Diaz, RF; Ramirez, CF; Maysonet, SS; Muecke, P

Polin Trinidad started the season well in the Avalanche's 4-3 victory over Potomac at home. The left-hander, who was called up to Salem from Lexington late last season, pitcher six innings surrendering four hits and two runs, picking up the victory. Reliever Jason Dominguez pitched a hitless ninth to record the save.

Avalanche opening day lineup: Sutil, SS; Rosales, RF; Torres, 2B; Van Ostrand, 1B; Ori, DH; Parraz, CF; Reed, LF; Clemens, C; Florentino, 3B; Trinidad, P

A Little Bit Extra on Opening Day

The Express may have been postponed on Opening Day, but the other two Astros' teams that played Thursday made up for the canceled by playing a little bit extra.

Mitch Einertson and Eli Iorg didn't take long to introduce themselves to the fans of their new team, the Hooks. Iorg doubled to drive in Einertson with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning at Whataburger Field. Chris Blazek pitched two hitless innings with three strikeouts to pick up the victory in the Hooks' 8-7 win over Tulsa. Brad James started and gave up five hits and two runs in six innings. Sammy Gervacio gave up two runs in two innings in his season debut.

The Hooks opening day lineup: Sutton, 2B; Manzella,SS; Chris Johnson, 3b; Cosby, 1B; Einertson, RF; Santangelo, C; Iorg, CF; Hart, LF; James, P.

Nick Moresi provided all the Legends runs with one swing of his bat, while the Legends fell 5-4 in 11 innings at Asheville. The outfielder hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to tie the game. Craig Corrado chipped in with three hits including a double for the Legends.

The Legends opening day lineup: Cusick, 2B; Corrado, 3B; DeLome, LF; Barner, DH; Sapp, C; Taylor, 1B; Dixon, RF; Ramirez, SS; Moresi, CF; Cesepedes, P.

Round Rock and Salem are scheduled to get started today.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Express wait a day(at least) to Open

The Express' season opener was postponed Thursday afternoon due to wintry weather in Des Moines, Iowa. Round Rock and the Cubs will try to get the season started Friday night at 7:05. Thursday's canceled game is scheduled to be made up as part of a day/night DH Saturday.

PLAY BALL!!!

Thursday, April 3 (Central Time)
Express(Josh Muecke) @ Iowa (3:05 p.m.)
Legends(Leandro Cespedes) @ Asheville(6:05 p.m.)
Hooks(Brad James) vs. Tulsa (7:05 p.m.)

Friday, April 4
Avalanche vs. Potomac (6:07 p.m.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Express Roster Last to Arrive

The Express have announced their roster for the 2008 season which kicks off tomorrow in DesMoines, Iowa against the Cubs. Left-hander Josh Muecke is slated to make the opening day start for the Express in the 3:05 game at Principal Park formerly known as Sec Taylor Stadium.
The roster has 26 players plus one on the Disabled List, Mark McClemore, meaning two more have to go to make the 24 player limit.

Pitchers:
Byrdak(Toledo/Detroit in 2007)... He was released by the Tigers just last week. The lefty has extensive big league experience and could well be in Houston in case of injury or bullpen failure
Cassel(Portland/San Diego)-40 man roster
Estrada(Round Rock)-40 man roster
Gothreaux(Round Rock)
Hernandez(Pawtucket, SWB, and Indianapolis)
Hines(Fresno)
Houston(Syracuse)- 40 man roster
McClemore(RR/Houston)- Disabled List
Miller(CC/RR)
Muecke(CC)
Nieve(RR)
Paronto(Richmond/Atlanta)-40 man roster
Randolph(RR/Houston)
Regilio-hasn't played since 2005 in Texas system due to injury
Reineke(RR)-40 man roster

Catchers
House(Norfolk/Baltimore)
Johnson(Vero Beach/Durham)

Infielders
Ash(CC)
Klassen(RR)
Maysonet(CC)
Newhan(New Orleans/Mets)
Niekro(Fresno/SF)
Saccomanno(RR)

Outfielders
Abercrombie(Albuquerque/Florida)
Diaz(Oklahoma/Texas)
Gorneault(Salt Lake/Angels)
Ramirez(Lake Elsinore/Portland)-40 man roster

You may notice that Brian Gordon is not on the roster. He doesn't show up on the Hooks roster. I am trying to track down what happened to this Round Rock resident.

Goethals One Injury Away from Major Leagues

The good news for James Goethals of the Astros organization as the 2008 season begins is that he is one injury away from the major leagues. On the flip side, that injury has to happen to one of the most durable members of the big league club since the 70s. Goethals, 25, begins the season as the bullpen catcher for the Round Rock Express after three seasons catching in the team's farm system. His major league counterpart is Stretch Suba, who has been catching in the Astros bullpen for over 30 years, so Goethals path to the majors appears to be blocked.(You thought Chris Burke had it rough behind Biggio.)

A few Last Minute Predicitions

I'm not much into predictions, but since the season opens tomorrow here goes:

First, I know the Astros have played two games... I can't see them winning more than 75 games. I just don't think they have enough pitching. As an Astros fan and Houston resident, I hope I am wrong. Oswalt will win 17, and he will have at least four wins blown for him by the bullpen.

Now to the Farmstros... The struggles at the top will lead to more opportunities.
Including September call-ups the following will be Astros during the season:
McClemore, Nieve, Paulino, Reineke, Saccomanno, Yordany Ramirez, James, Gervacio, Norris, Chris Johnson and Manzella.

Five players to watch:
Polin Trinidad, LHP, starts the year at Salem, finishes at at least Corpus
Colin DeLome, OF, first full season of pro ball. Astros need to get something from the 2007
Chris Johnson, IF, fully healthy will be full time third baseman at Corpus
Bud Norris, RHP, interesting to see if he can build on Hawaii Winter performance
Koby Clemens, C, I didn't think I'd say it, but I think he'll do well as a catcher

I'm not going to give detailed descriptions of every game throughout the season. There are already websites that do that. However, I will be blogging either Thursday night or Friday with summaries of opening day action in Lexington, Corpus, and Round Rock. Starting lineups, pitchers, top performances, etc.
In case you are interested, MiLB.com has links to many audio broadcasts of minor league games.

A few Last Minute Changes

The Astros farm teams are tweaking their rosters in preparations for opening day. Lexington, Corpus, and Round Rock start Thursday. Salem opens Friday. A few changes to the information listed here.

Todd Self will be serving as a first base coach and outfield instructor in Corpus Christi. He hasn't ruled out playing again, but for now he will be coaching.
Kyle Middleton is showing up as a pitcher for Corpus Christi. His presence gives the Hooks one extra player to release before opening day.
Ryan Thompson is off the Hooks roster that is posted at the team's website.
Chad Wagler is on the disabled list in Salem. He has a toe injury and is out until summer at least.
Felipe Garcia was apparently released from the Salem roster.
Joel Santo replaces Garcia on the Avalanche pitching staff. Santo has been with the Cubs system for six years. He pitched mostly at High A Daytona last season, making one start at AAA Iowa.