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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008 Fall Instructional Leaguers

Baseball America has posted the players the Astros currently have in their Fall Instructional League camp at Osceola County Stadium in Florida. The league began September 19 and runs five plus weeks until October 25. The roster of 41 players consists mostly of 2008 draft picks coming off of short season play. As best I can tell, the league includes games between other clubs stationed in the Florida as well as off days for intrasquad games and instruction. The 41 players:

Robert Bono(2007 Draft Pick, Tri-City in 2008)
Luis Cruz(2008, Greeneville)
David Duncan(2008, Tri-City)
Brad Dydalewicz(2008, Greeneville)
Kyle Godfrey(2008, Tri-City)
Kyle Greenwalt(2007, Greeneville, Tri-City)
Zachary Grimmett(2008, Greeneville)
Michael Hacker(2008, Tri-City)
Jarred Holloway(2008, Tri-City)
Arcenio Leon(Greeneville)
Jordan Lyles(2008, Greeneville, Tri-City)
Daniel Meszaros(2008, Tri-City)
Colt Pitkin(2007, Greeneville)
Kirkland Rivers(2008, Tri-City)
Philip Rummel(2008, Tri-City)
Ross Seaton(2008, Greeneville)
Jack Tilghman(Lexington)... Tilghman was signed from Independent ball during the season.
Jose Trinidad(Greeneville)
Patrick Urckfitz(Greeneville)
Henry Villar(Greeneville)

Koby Clemens(Salem)...Looks like Clemens gets more catching work as team decides where to assign him in 2009. Lancaster or Corpus Christi?
Rene Garcia(2008, Greeneville)
Federico Hernandez(Greeneville)
Max Sapp(Lexington)...Curious how much rope the team gives this former 1st rounder

Albert Cartwright(2007, Greeneville)
Craig Corrado(2007, Lexington)
Jorge DeLeon(Greeneville)
Michael Diaz(2008, Tri-City)
Phil Disher(2008, Tri-City)
Jeff Hulett(2008, Tri-City)
Chris Jackson(2008, Tri-City, Lexington)
Ebert Rosarion(Greeneville, Tri-City)
Andrew Simunic(2008, Tri-City)

Frank Almonte(Greeneville)
Jay Austin(2008, Greeneville)
Collin DeLome(2007, Lexington, Salem)
Jonathon Gaston(2008, Tri-City)
Dan Meier(2008, Tri-City)
Jack Shuck(2008, Tri-City)
T.J. Steele(2008, Tri-City)

Josh Flores, OF... Flores spent the entire season on the Corpus Christi DL after an off-season ACL injury.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rule 5 Eligibles

Another off-season means another crop of players who will be eligible for this December's Rule 5 draft. As best I can tell with my resources, the Astros will have 24 players eligible for the draft if they aren't moved to the 40-man roster. 17 of these players are eligible for the first time(Their names are in all caps:

Four of note:
TOMMY MANZELLA, SS. Manzella ended the year in Round Rock and is in line to be the next shortstop at Minute Maid Park.
BRIAN BOGUSEVIC, OF. If Bogusevic continues to excel in the transition from the pitching mound, he will be worth protecting.
Drew Sutton, IF. Sutton led Corpus Christi in numerous offensive categories in his second AA season.
CHRIS BLAZEK, LHP. Blazek struck out 84 in 70 relief innings for Corpus.

The other 20:
Jonny Ash, IF(Round Rock)
Steve Brown, OF(Lexington)
Jose Duran, RHP(Lexington)
Evan Englebrook, RHP(Corpus Christi)
TIP FAIRCHILD, RHP(Corpus Christi)
JOSH FLORES, OF(Corpus Christi)
JAMES GOETHALS, C(Corpus Christi)
BILLY HART, OF(Corpus Christi)
ELI IORG, OF(Corpus Christi)
Jordan Parraz, OF(Salem)
Lou Santangelo, C(Round Rock)
Ole Sheldon, IF(Corpus Christi)
SEAN WALKER, RHP(Corpus Christi)

Astros Minor League Free Agents

According to my best count, the Astros will have 39 players eligible to be free agents this off-season. A player is eligible if they have six seasons of minor league service with their original team of if they have ever been released.

Five of note:
Doug Arguello, LHP. Arguello had a break out year with Salem with a 3.30 ERA in 142 IP.
Josh Muecke, LHP. Muecke was a PCL all-star after a strong first half. He struggled down the stretch finishing with a 4.89 ERA in 29 starts.
Ray Sadler, OF. Sadler split time between Corpus and Round Rock hitting a total of 25 home runs a driving in 78 runs in 452 at bats.
Polin Trinidad, LHP. Trinidad 28 starts and pitched 171 innings. His combined ERA was in the mid 3s.
Andy Van Hekken, LHP. Van Hekken made 11 starts for Corpus after being signed mid-season. He pitched 68 innings and had a 3.19 ERA.


The other 34 potential free agents:
Fernando Abad, LHP(Lexington, Highest level in 2008)
Erick Abreu, RHP(Salem)
Jarred Ball, OF(Corpus)
Ron Chiavacci, RHP(Round Rock)
Rob Cosby, IF(Corpus Christi)
Raymar Diaz, RHP(Salem)
Chance Douglass, RHP(Round Rock)
Osvaldo Fernando, IF(Salem)#Fernando coached for Salem in 2008
Jhonny Florentino, IF(Salem)
Nick Gorneault, OF(Round Rock)
Bo Hall, RHP(Corpus Christi)
Julian Henson, C(Lexington)
Runelvys Hernandez, RHP(Houston)
J.R. House, 1B/C(Houston)
Ray King, LHP(Round Rock)
Danny Klassen, IF(Round Rock)
Carlos Ladeuth, RHP(Lexington)
Jose Lopez, C(Round Rock)
Val Majewski, OF(Round Rock)
Mark McClemore, LHP(Round Rock)
Ryan McKeller, RHP(Corpus Christi)
Roberton Mena, IF(Lexington)
Kyle Middleton, RHP(Round Rock)
Josh Miller, RHP(Round Rock)
Jose Oyervidez, RHP(Round Rock)
Chad Paronto, RHP(Houston)
Richie Paz, IF(Round Rock)
Tomas Perez, IF(Round Rock)
Cesar Quintero, OF(Salem)
Nick Regilio, RHP(Round Rock)
Todd Self, IF(Corpus Christi)#Self coached for Corpus in 2008
Sergio Severino, LHP(Salem)
Wladamir Sutil, IF(Corpus Christi)
Jack Tilghman, RHP(Lexington)

A few Things pertaining to the 2009 Draft

The Astros late surge didn't get them to the play-offs, but it did improve them to the 11th best record in the majors. This means the team will have the 20th pick in the June 2009 draft. Additionally, since they finished in the top 15 in baseball, Houston will give up their first round pick in the event they sign a Type A free agent during the off-season.

Speaking of Type A free agents, the club has five potential free agents heading to 2009. I don't work for the Elias Sports Bureau, but I've been trying to compare numbers to guess who of those five will be type A or type B...

Brad Ausmus, C. I will be as disappointed as anyone to see Ausmus leave Houston, but he won't be a Type A or Type B free agent if he ends up playing on the West Coast in 2009.
Doug Brocail, RP. Brocail has a team option and my guess is the team will pick it up. The numbers indicate he would probably be a Type B.
LaTroy Hawkings, RP. Hawkings numbers from 2007 and 2008 are comparable to Brocail's. My guess is he will be a Type B.
Mark Loretta, IF. Loretta was a Type B last off-season when the club offered him arbitration. He hasn't played nearly as much this season and I can't see him qualifying as a Type B.
Randy Wolf, SP. Wolf late season surge makes him a Type B lock. Comparing him to Chuck James who was Type A last season, Wolf being a Type A free agent, and worth two draft picks of compensation, seems to be a possibility.

Speaking of draft compensation, the club will receive a third round compensation pick in 2009 for their failure to sign third pick Charles Davidson this summer.

Leading off for your Lancaster Jethawks- Jack Shuck?

The Astros High A team will be relocating to Lancaster, California for the 2009 season. It is the first time that the Astros have had a team in the California League since 1964( Modesto). The team's first game will be April 9 at High Desert(Seattle).

For any Jethawks fans, here's a quick look at who you may be rooting for next season...

Sergio Severino, LHP
Leandro Cespedes, RHP
Anthony Bello, LHP
Jeff Icenogle, LHP
Carlos Ladeuth, RHP
J.J. Pacella, RHP
Jordan Powell, RHP
Jose Duran, RHP
Eduin Ciriaco, LHP

Jonathon Fixler
Koby Clemens
Jason Castro

Craig Corrado, 2B
Eric Taylor
Kyle Miller
Phil Disher

Collin DeLome
Brian Pellegrini
Jack Shuck

Three Farmstros in Hawaii

The North Shore Honu of the Hawaii Winter Baseball League kicked off this weekend with three Astros minor leaguers on the roster. Catcher Jason Castro went 2 for 7 in the team's first two games Saturday and Sunday. Castro is joined by RHP Christopher Hicks(2008 Draft Pick) and Jordan Parraz, OF who spent the 2008 season with Salem.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Thanks for the year

I started this blog one year ago this past weekend. It has been educational and entertaining for me to maintain it and I hope for you it has been so as well. I am amazed at the number of hits the farmstros site gets. Who knew there were others interested in the trivial world of Astros minor league baseball?
I thank all the team representatives who have been willing to share information with me. Especially Matt Rogers and all the Hooks front office, who are by far the best of the Astros farm teams at communicating with fans. Also, thanks to Avery Holton in Round Rock, who has had to keep up with all the transactions the Express made this season. It seemed they were making a move every other day sometimes.

With this post, I will be on a break from posting at least until the end of the major league regular season. I intend to continue the blog into the off-season and the 2009 regular season just not sure to what extent yet. Thanks for reading. Peace!

Astros Opening Day-2011

Regular readers of Farmstros know that this site is devoted exclusively to the Astros' minor league system. My thought is that there are plenty of sources to get information about the major league club, so for the convenience of those interested I focus solely on the farm. Maintaining this website reminds me of several trips I took with family where we saw minor league games. It was always a kick to see a guy pitching in Waterloo, Iowa one summer and then three summer later see him in the boxscores pitching for the Rangers. In that spirit, I present some of the players who were Farmstros, who may well be in Minute Maid Park on Opening Day 2011 along with Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, and Carlos Lee, the only current Astros signed to the club through 2011.

Felipe Paulino, RHP... He spent this season injured. If he gets healthy he could be in an Astros uniform in 2009
Bud Norris, RHP... His health is an issue too, but he seems to be rated the top arm in the system(Corpus in 2008)
Polin Trinidad, LHP... What I've read is he is not overpowering, but he seemed to fare well this season transitioning from High A to AA(Salem and Corpus in 2008)
Josh Muecke, LHP... He was a dependable starter for Round Rock, especially in the first half. I've seen him mentioned as reliever in the big leagues.(Round Rock in 2008)
Bryan Hallberg, RHP... Hallberg was the top bullpen man at Salem this season.(Salem in 2008)
Sammy Gervacio, RHP... Gervacio may be in the bullpen by next year(Corpus and RR in 2008)

Koby Clemens, C...He kept hitting this season while switching to catcher. Personally, I'd prefer he not make it to the big leagues, as when he does we will get to hear more of the Roger Clemens' saga. However, I keep thinking if he has his father's work ethic, he might just move past J.R. Towles at some point.(Salem in 2008)

Tommy Manzella, SS... hit well at Corpus this season before ending at Round Rock. Everything I've seen indicates that the glove is fine. So if he can hit in AAA in 2009, he may replace Tejada after he is gone.(Corpus and Round Rock in 2008)
Chris Johnson, 3B... hit well and with power at Corpus. It will be interesting to see how he fares in a full AAA season next year(Corpus and Round Rock in 2008)
Edwin Maysonet, IF... Maysonet is in Houston now. He doesn't strike me as a starter but he could be a utility man.(Round Rock and Houston in 2008)
Drew Sutton, 2B... Matsui will be gone by 2011. Much like Maysonet, I don't think Sutton is a starter in the majors, but he could be a bench guy.(Corpus in 2008)

Brian Bogusevic... I am curious to see how rapidly he progresse in his switch to the outfield. If he comes up and succeeds as an everyday player that will be great, it will also give us another reason to scratch our heads about the previous regime.(Salem and Corpus in 2008)

Five who will be on the brink in 2011:
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP
Doug Arguello, LHP
Jordan Parraz, OF
Sergio Perez, RHP
Jhon Florentino, IF

Valley Cats close down the Farmstros season

Tri-City ended their season with a rainout Saturday, marking the end of the Astros minor league season. Several players who ended the season with Valley Cats should be moving on to full season baseball in the Spring:

Phil Disher, 1B, Disher was the club's top hitter. He batted .304 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI.
Jack Shuck, OF, Shuck batted .300 with 12 doubles and eight stolen bases.
T.J. Steele, OF, Before his season ended with an injury, Steele batted .283 with six stolen bases in 40 games.
Michael Diaz, 2B, Diaz batted .282 with five home runs and 22 RBIin 48 games.
Jason Castro, C, The #1 pick batted .275 with nine doubles and 12 RBI in 138 at bats.
Shane Wolf, LHP, Wolf made 13 starts. He pitched 58 innings and posted a 4.19 ERA.
David Miller, RHP, Miller made 18 appearances, posting a 3.51 ERA in 38 innings.
Philip Rummel, RHP, Rummel had a 2.84 ERA in 38 IP over 21 appearances.
Eduin Ciriaco, LHP, Ciriaco struck out 47 in 37 1/3 IP. His ERA was 2.65.
Brian Wabick, RHP, Wabick posted a 2.14 ERA in 21 IP with 23 strikeouts.

Whither Tim Raines, Jr.-Part Two

This weekend was the first anniversary of the birth of Farmstros. The first post concerned Tim Raines, Jr. and his 2007 with Round Rock. Raines, Jr. spent the 2008 season at Tucson, Arizona's AAA team. He batted .311 in over 500 at bats. He had 30 doubles, 11 triples, 18 home runs, 78 RBI, and 28 stolen bases. Despite the impressive numbers, he didn't get a September call-up for the Diamondbacks.

Hernandez Suspended

Runelvys Hernandez, who spent most of the season with Round Rock has been suspended for 50 games under the minor league's performance abuse policy. Hernandez was dropped from the Astros 40-man roster earlier this month.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Farmstros Two- Week 23

The Tri-City Valley Cats had their finale rained out Saturday night. With that rain out the Astros minor league season is complete. The final week was a short one as Tri-City was the only team playing. The Valley Cats were 1 and 3, completing their season at 28-51.

For the week of September 2-6, the Farmstros Two are:

Michael Diaz, IF, Tri-City. Diaz was 5 for 9 with four runs scored, two doubles, one triple, and three RBI.

David Flores, IF, Tri-City. Flores was 4 for 8 with two home runs(in one game) and four RBI.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Five Up to Big Leagues, and Six more Express

Five Round Rock Express are with the Astros now. Six more who ended the season in AAA bear noting for next season.

The Call-ups
J.R. Towles, C. Towles struggled in the big leagues this season, however, he found his stride at AAA. He batted .304 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 48 games.
Edwin Maysonet, IF. Maysonet batted .271 on the season with 34 RBI. He would become a free agent if he is not on the 40-man roster, so it appears this call-up is his audition for the 2009 40-man roster.
Jack Cassel, RHP. Cassel made a few big league starts this season. In AAA, he made 17 starts and had a 3.69 ERA in 107 1/3 innings.
Fernando Nieve, RHP. Nieve ended a season in which he moved to the bullpen with a 5.72 ERA and six saves in 69 1/3 innings.
Alberto Arias, RHP. After being released by Colorado, Arias made three starts and five relief appearances for Round Rock. He had a 1.52 ERA in 23 2/3 innings.

The other six
Mark Saccomanno, IF. Saccomanno had a second solid season at Round Rock. He batted .297 with 27 home runs and 84. However, Saccomanno is a free agent after this season and as a 1B/3B, he has Berkman, Wiggninton, and Chris Johnson ahead of him, so he may be in a different organization next season.
Tommy Manzella, SS. Manzella batted .299 at Corpus before being called up to RR. He played 61 games at AAA, and is Rule 5 eligible.
Chris Johnson, 3B. Johnson spent most of the year at AA where he batted .324 with 24 doubles, 12 home runs and 58 RBI before a late season promotion.
Josh Muecke, LHP. Muecke had a strong first half before finishing with a 4.89 in 29 starts. Muecke is eligible to become a free agent this off-season.
Sammy Gervacio, RHP. The reliever spent most of the season at Corpus with 4.13 ERA in 65 1/3IP before a brief promotion to AAA.
Nick Regilio, RHP. Regilio,30, hadn't played professional baseball since 2005 due to injury. He made a strong return with RR posting a 3.00 ERA in 60 innings with 59 strikeouts.

A New Outfielder Heads Hooks Class

Brian Bogusevic's outfield experiment was the top development at Whataburger Field this summer. After being at best mediocre as a pitcher, Bogusevic was moved to the outfield by the Astros minor league brass. After a brief stint at Salem, Bogusevic was inserted into the Corpus Christi outfield on a regular basis. He finished the season with a .371 batting average in 124 at bats. He had 10 doubles, two doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI. Bogusevic is scheduled to participate in the Arizona Fall League to get more outfield work.

Other players of note that ended the season at AA Corpus:

Drew Sutton, IF. Sutton batted .317 with 39 doubles, four triples, 20 home runs, 69 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. He is also headed for the Arizona Fall League. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if the Astros don't add him to the 40-man roster.
Eli Iorg, OF. Iorg hit .268 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI along with 21 stolen bases. Iorg is also Rule 5 eligible.
Mitch Einertson, OF. Einertson batted .262, with 26 doubles, 11 home runs and 62 RBI. Einertson is another Rule 5 candidate.
Polin Trinidad, LHP. Trinidad split the season between Salem and Corpus Christi. In 18 starts for the Hooks, he posted a 3.61 ERA in 107 1/3 innings. Trinidad is eligible to become a minor league free agent this off-season.
Brad James, RHP. James missed a large portion of the season with back injuries. In 18 starts, he pitched 93 innings and had a 4.45 ERA. James is also heading to Arizona this fall.
Bud Noris, RHP. Norris struck out 84 batters in 80 innings. He made 19 starts and posted 4.05 ERA.
Andy Van Hekken, LHP. Van Hekken made 11 starts for the Hooks after being signed out of independent baseball. The 29 year old who has been in the majors with Detroit, pitched 67 2/3 innings with a 3.19 ERA.
Sergio Perez, RHP. When Perez wasn't injured he pitched 27 1/3 innings and posted a 2.30 ERA. Now healthy, he will try to get some work in in Arizona this fall.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

74 Wins, a Lot Sooner than I thought

The Astros won their 74th game Wednesday night. I am glad to say, I was wrong about the season when I predicted a 74 and 88 record back in March. Pitching has been a lot better than I expected, and now, even with Carlos Lee out, the hitting is hitting on all cylinders.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Watch for these Avalanche in South Texas in '09

The Salem Avalanche wrapped up their final season as an Astros affiliate. Most of the following members of the Astros' final Avalanche class should be in Corpus next Spring.

Mark Ori, 1B. Ori led the team with a .304 average, 11 home runs, and 89 RBI.
James Van Ostrand, 1B. Van Ostrand took three weeks to play in the Olympics and had a few weeks in Corpus, yet he still batted .292 with seven home runs and 64 RBI in 363 at bats.
Jhon Florentino, IF. Florentino batted .290 with 48 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Jordan Parraz, OF. Parraz batted .289 with a .399 OBP. He homered nine times with 62 RBI.
Koby Clemens, C. In his first season as a catcher, Clemens batted .258 with seven home runs and 52 RBI in 388 at bats.
Doug Arguello, LHP. Arguello pitched 142 innings with two complete games, one shutout and a 3.30 ERA.
Erick Abreu, RHP. Abreu logged 131 innings in 35 appearances(19 starts). He had a 3.98 ERA.
Bryan Hallberg, RHP. Hallberg became a father early in the season. He went on to gain six saves and a 2.68 ERA in 80 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
Jason Dominguez, RHP. Dominguez followed up on a strong 2007 season at Tri-City posting a 3.81 ERA with five saves in 80 1/3 innings.
Chad Wagler, RHP. Wagler started the year on the disabled list. He came back in time to post a 3.66 ERA in 59 innings.
J.J. Pacella, RHP. Pacella ended the season with 13 1/3IP(3.38) for Salem. He spent a majority of the year at Lexington where he had 12 saves and a 3.02 ERA in 59 2/3 IP.

Where Will these Legends be headed in 2009?

The Lexington Legends franchise knows they will still be in town next season, however, several of the players who move up to High A next spring are still uncertain of their destination. A major shuffle in High A baseball means the following players who ended their season with Lexington may end up in the Carolina League(somewhere other than Salem), in California, or back in Lexington.

Craig Corrado, 2B. Corrado spent the entire year in Lexington batting .275 with 43 RBI and 43 SB. He did commit 33 errors.
Brian Pellegrini, OF. Pellegrini joined Lexington during the season from Extended Spring Training. He had 310 at bats, hit 21 home runs and drove in 69 runs. However, he struck out 95 times and batted .226.
Leandro Cespedes, RHP. The Legends' opening day starter, Cespedes led the team with 27 starts. He pitched 130 innings and posted a 4.02 ERA striking out 137.
Carlos Ladeuth, RHP. Ladeuth made 13 starts and 19 relief appearances. He pitched 117 innings striking out 107 and posting a 4.15 ERA.
Anthony Bello, LHP. Bello made 23 starts posting a 4.17 ERA in 116 2/3 innnings.
Fernando Abad, LHP. Abad made 45 appearances, pitching 76 1/3 innings. He posted a 3.30 ERA with 94 strikeouts.
Reid Kelly, RHP. Kelly had a 3.41 ERA in 71 1/3 IP. In 35 appearances, he struck out 72.
Jose Duran, RHP. Duran split the season between Tri-City and Lexington. At Tri-City, he posted a 3.10 ERA in 29 innings. At Lexington, he had a 1.66 ERA in 21 2/3 IP with 19 strikeouts.
Jack Tilghman, RHP. The late-season signee from independent baseball, posted a 2.70 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 22

The season wrapped up on Labor Day for all but one Astros farm team. Round Rock went 2 and 4 ending their season at 64-79. Corpus Christi was 3 and 4(25-45 in the second half); Salem was 1 and 5(26-44 for the second half); Lexington was 2 and 3(24-45 in the second half); Tri-City was 2 and 4(27-48). Tri-City's season runs through Saturday.

The Farmstros Five for the week of August 27-September 1:

Mark Saccomanno, IF, Round Rock. Saccomanno ended what may have been his final season in the Astros organization with a bang... 9 for 22 with one double, two home runs and six RBI. Saccomanno was not called up to the majors and is eligible to become a free agent this off-season, unless he is added to the 40-man roster.
Polin Trinidad, LHP, Corpus Christi. Trinidad pitched 15 innings, allowing three runs and striking out 15 in two starts to wrap up his season.
Andy Van Hekken, LHP, Corpus Christi. Van Hekken pitched eight scoreless innings allowing only five hits in his only start of the week.
Drew Sutton, IF, Corpus Christi. Sutton went 8 for 23 with three doubles, one home run and seven RBI.
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP, Tri-City. In his first week after being called up from Greeneville, Greenwalt made a start and a relief appearance. He pitched six innings, allowed two hits and no earned runs. He struck out five and picked up a victory.

Transactions 8/27-9/1

The season ends with a few transactions:

Back on the Corpus Christi Roster:

Brad James, RHP and Sergio Perez, RHP were back in time to make a final start for the Hooks before the off-season. Both are slated to play in the Arizona Fall League.

Called Up to Houston:

Jack Cassel, RHP
Alberto Arias, RHP
Fernando Nieve, RHP
Edwin Maysonet, IF
J.R. Towles, C